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From Florida we flew to Chicago, where our friend Erin greeted us with her three daughters. It was a full car ride back to the city where we checked out their new house and moved ourselves into their basement suite. It was a simple set up but it was all we needed with lots of dinners out planned. We dropped by Nate's sisters house for a few minutes and then spent our first night catching up with the Runyans over Chicken Enchiladas. I was so touched with how open Edie and Ella were to accepting o...

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Our second Home Assignment since moving to Ecuador. So much work to get ready for, so many details to iron out, so many to people to ask for help along the way. A solid seven months of planning and then one day in early June we were off with a bang! We started the trip in St. Augustine, Florida where we stayed with my Grandpa and spent time with my aunt, uncle and cousin. We didn't know it before we left but it was the perfect start to the trip. Most of our summer would be spent with non-stop ap...

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The weekend before we left for 3 months in the US I snuck away for about 36 hours of beach time with girlfriends. A big shout out to my friend Christine because she was more determined than I to make it happen and when I likely would have bowed out, feeling guilty about money and time away from the kids as travel plans got more difficult, she persevered through and got us both on that plane! I'm so glad she did because it was 36 hours of rest for the soul and deep connecting with friends. The ot...

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Canaan brought home something he made at school for me. He would talk about the "surprise" excitedly for weeks before. Eden's school, Alouette, loves to pamper moms so this year we were invited to a Mother/Child Tea. Eden was so excited and proud of the event. She was very specific, wanting me to wear a "pretty" dress. We walked in the yard, which had a white runner and rose petals strewn down it. The kids came out and sang a song for us and gave us each a rose. Then they accompanied us for a ca...

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Part of the idea of camping was to already be up on the mountain at El Refugio so that we could continue our tradition of an Easter Sunrise Service at the cross at El Refugio. I really enjoyed this year, with our kids being old enough to sit quietly and enjoy the worship music with us. I appreciate the tranquility up there and the ability to ponder the Resurrection while in nature and with a small community of people. I appreciate the simplicity of no microphones or amps, just a guitar and our v...

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The same day as Canaan's birthday party we quickly cleaned up and then headed out for an Easter weekend camping trip with the Passmores. It was a great way to spend the break, despite being a bit hectic to plan for the party, packing for camping, and Easter food and supplies. For me, camping is made fun by the people I'm with. It's not naturally fun to me to pack up half my house and then be dirty and work hard to make the simplest of meals only to immediately start over on the next meal shortly...

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I have wanted to do a mud run for over a year now and was thrilled when I learned El Refugio, a branch of Youth World was gearing up to do their first ever mud run. Initially I'd hoped to do the full course mud run with Nate and Christine and then do the short course with the kids but with Nate's soccer schedule it got too hard to predict his availability. So Christine and I decided to do the full course together. It was a BLAST! It was definitely muddy, soggy and all the rest. We ran with mud a...

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For Carnaval this year we decided to go away with the Passmores and Enderles. We wanted to get out of the city but no one wanted to travel far so we started our Air B&B research. We ended up picking a place with a Mickey Mouse pool in Ibarra that seemed to have lots of space, bedrooms and enough to do on the property. It turned out to be a great house, great town to visit, and great time with friends. We enjoyed eating all of our meals together family-style with each couple taking a days' wo...

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We had a great NYE. Probably one of my favorite ever. For days before the kids loved seeing the "Old Men" effigies for sale on street corners. During the afternoon we headed down to Amazonas Street, a childhood tradition, and checked out the crowd and the booths. It's different than it used to be in that they've moved it to daytime for safety reasons and it wasn't quite as packed as midnight used to be but it had the same fun feel. We had to answer quite a few questions from Canaan about wh...

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