The month of May could hardly get better! (Oh, it's June now, isn't it? Oh well, you get the point....) After hearing all about East team's and West team's multiple trips to beautiful beaches, WE finally got a turn to take the kids to the ocean. I realize the Atlantic ocean can't even compare to the Pacific's beauty, but we take what we can get.... :) Sunday evening's concert was held at a church in Ocean City, NJ. My host family lived in a house that was practically on the boardwalk....so after the concert, we took an evening stroll on the boardwalk which was quite lovely.
Brett and his sister, Ashten, live in Jersey. So they drove to see our Sunday night concert. The kids (and tearing down product) obviously kept me busy, so I didn't have a ton of time to chat, but it was great to see them again. And we ran into them later on the boardwalk which was an added bonus.
Monday was windy and frigid (if I'M wearing a sweatshirt on the beach, you know it's gotta be c-o-l-d!)...it warmed up SLIGHTLY, but the air was still chilly. Did that stop our kids from frolicking in the waves? Definitely not. In fact, for a long while they were the only ones in the water. Our whole team had a fun afternoon at Ocean City. We got a delicious lunch (I'm not a big fan of french fries, but boardwalk fries are delicious!) on the boardwalk, took lots of photos, relaxed on our beach towels, and all that fun stuff.
That afternoon I made the following phone call to my dear mom: "Hey mom, um....apparently we need housing tomorrow night and Wed night, and the office is wondering if the team could come to Lancaster (on our way to Pittsburgh)." My mom's amazing. She didn't want to miss this opportunity, so she scrambled to prep the house and grocery shop (if you know my mom, you'll understand that this last-minute stuff isn't ideal! :) Several wonderful host families came through, and I appreciate all of you!! Thank you Bjaneses, Mershons, Acebos, and Newhards--you were a blessing to the kids.
The next morning our tour bus pulled in to the church parking lot (next to my house), and as we stepped off the bus we almost fell over---we were greeted by the smell of cow manure. Welcome home! The kids were like, "ew! Pennsylvania stinks...." thankfully the smell passed :)
I can't even describe how wonderful it was to spend two days at home. A huge smile spread across my face every time I looked out the kitchen window to see the kids racing on bicycles or swinging on the swing-set my dad built. During the day, the whole team hung out at our house....the kids happily played outside for hours at a time. My mom made a spaghetti lunch for 24 people yesterday (some kids ate three plates. Where do they put all the food??) Then we went to the theater to see Up in 3-D (animated movies aren't my favorite, but I laughed all the way through this movie....) which the kids of course enjoyed.
We were home such a short time, but it was packed with non-stop action. It was wonderful to see friends and neighbors who I haven't seen in one or two years. I appreciate all the host families and of course my family--who welcomed the kids with open arms on such short notice. I'll never forget the last few days. I've taken numerous photos the past few days and will edit them soon, but for now here's a glimpse of the week.
Isaac (why the pink headband??), Ezera, Jimmy, and Lincoln cooking breakfast this morning. They made eggs--the Ugandan way. All by themselves. And let me tell you, they were the best eggs I've had in recent history!
Siblings (and Laura on the end, who was a great help)! With some uber cute Africans. The kids wanted to watch home videos of when I was a baby/toddler!
Val with Lincoln and Isaac. Val called me Tues night: "I saw Chelsea's Facebook status. Where ARE you? I'm coming over right now!" It was great to see her....we've been friends since our softball days (8 years?)
Ocean City, NJ: with Yeshoda and Jimmy. It was chilly, but I eventually got brave enough to wear my bathing suit
Look at our crazy boys...their new thing is taking jumping pictures. I'm afraid that's my fault.