March 31, 2009

joy and pain, like sunshine and rain...

A newspaper once asked the question: what was wrong with the world? With all that we have, we can not set the world right. I think it was G.K. Chesterton that answered with two words: "I am". The following is our top ten of ways that we know he is right.

1. GC ate a Salmon, cheese and rice casserole that was left out overnight for breakfast.

2. LC dropped GC's contacts into the laundry soap.

3. We washed our first load of laundry here with SC's Burt's Bees. (A two part fault really.)

4. GC put sink soap in the dishwasher.

5. We brought our pillows from home, and never checked them but carried them around with us Every Where which excited onlookers to make comments like "oh look pillows", and "you brought the whole house", and "oh look they brought their pillows". They were white when we left, but are now completely disgusting. I am pretty sure it is why we are now sick. And we only used them on the train. They will stay at this hotel when we leave.

6. The Dramamine GC took for the train ride made her irritable and unable to sleep, but at least she was not throwing up.

7. SC is a planner which means that if we do something that he did not anticipate or does not think he will enjoy- his pat response is to throw himself down and cry. The next time he does it I think I will join him.

8. WC will not stop trying to make out with GC. This Mostly happens in Public places.

9. Airplanes are full of little plastic bags that WC likes to put on his head, just so we know that He is in fact in charge of his own life.

10. When customs agents ask if you are carrying "hiking boots", they also mean galoshes. If you are unaware of this fact your bag, like GC's bag, will be unpacked and searched in front of God and everyone, giving all an opportunity to see your undies.

the lights go down in the city...

I (GC) got a full night sleep. I think we all did. Leighton and I are sick right now, but I don't think it will last long. It's just a cold. I really like this apartment and the view. It is beautiful. But I don't think I want to live somewhere that dropping something, or someone, 34 stories is a built-in hazard. We have been a little anxious about the boys, in that regard.

They have wrestled their way around most of the city. We try to keep them from hurting other people and each other too badly. William broke Samuel's left lateral incisor yesterday. No blood or anything. No big deal to them, except that it is a permanent tooth. My friends with grown boys have told me that they will not always be wild. I don't know. It is my hope that they are right. Until then, Dr. Cloud ( is my best friend, and Leighton and I are just trying not to scar them emotionally, or hurt them. I wish they would return the favor.

Later today we hop a small plane to Christchurch, around 2 pm here. We have to be out of our apt. at 10 am, so we will have time to see the city. First thing, breakfast and fresh baked croissants for all, and coffee for LC and I. When I visited France in '92 that is what our group ate every morning: a baguette or croissant and coffee or hot cocoa. Back then I had hot cocoa, but now I love coffee. (Thank you Lauren:) The smell of Leighton's beer yesterday reminded him of his trip here almost twenty years ago. We are just trying to take it all in. This is an amazing experience. Following along with God, and enjoying our time with him.

March 30, 2009

out about town

i'm pretty sure the bus drivers here enjoy
running down pedestrians.
it looks a bit like Frogger

it's snack time.
the boys have fresh baked croissants.
we will go back for breakfast tomorrow.

roof top gardens, and our view to the street.

Samuel loves the palm trees.

It's a Japanese sand and rock garden! Love it.

My tree monkey toes :) Samuel and I went down to get breakfast while Lc and William were getting ready. We found bakery around the corner, about where my big toes are pointed. We also stopped at a market to get laundry soap; we have lots of stinky laundry.

the view from our balcony

It took us five days to get here, and we are exhausted (not the boys of course)
but this place is amazing.

we are here...Auckland, NZ

It was a nice modern minimalist bathroom until we took over :)

Something would be wrong if this weren't happening.

(Say a prayer for Dad.)

waiting on the plane, and calling family...

March 29, 2009

New friends on the train.

William is smitten with our new English friend, Nechamma. (Her name is Hebrew for constellation.)

The boys watch Monsters Inc. with Elliot and another young friend in the observation car. Elliot is traveling cross country with his parents.

One of the best parts of the train ride was listening to the announcements from "Johnny the Dining Cart Attendant". He would let us know what was available in the dining cart, "piping hot pizza, Italian hoggies, a hot chicken sandwich...". He warned us about 10 minutes before his break that he would be absent his post for about an hour and we would be without food if we didn't get to him in "10 minutes...10 minutes..........10 minutes." His voice was low and he sounded like a jazz musician from Chicago. It always made us smile.

The train crew was from Chicago. They were all were very good at what they did, and made our experience great. I am sad that I can only remember Johnny's name, but I think I heard it about twenty times. I am also sad that the service efforts of the crew was met by, at least a few people that I witnessed, ungrateful attitudes of entitlement. I guess that is why we are asked to do our work as unto the Lord, because not everyone will appreciate it. As for me and my family, we think that the Chicago crew on the California Zephyr rocks.

Hello from San Francisco Bay

We have successfully crossed the country via Amtrak. It was long but actually very enjoyable. The scenery was spectacular, especially from Denver to San Fran. It was nice to meet people and make friends (love your comment Ian and Hailey and thanks Ian for your note to the boys). We even met two people who where on their way to New Zealand. Jon is a young guy who was going to spend the next six months or so working on farms and exploring the country. Nechama is a young woman from Britain who is making her way around the world. William took a special liking to her and spend most of the final day sitting with her chatting and playing her DS. We are going to spend some time today exploring Emeryville before taking a taxi over to the San Francisco Airport. Our flight leaves tonight at 7 pacific time. Good to hear from all of you making comments. Talk to you more soon.

March 26, 2009


We arrived at Union Station just a little while ago and we are currently sitting in a Panera Bread right across the street from the Sear's Tower in downtown Chicago. We have a few hours to kill so we are roaming around taking everything in. Downtown Chicago is really beautiful. I think it is finally starting to sink in that we are going somewhere. It's amazing how long it takes for your brain to change gears.

March 25, 2009

And so it begins...

Yesterday we packed it up and drove to Grand Rapids for the first leg of our journey. We stayed with Harvey's mom and dad, Lois and Steve. They will be keeping our car and driving us to the train station in just few minutes. Thanks Steve and Lois! You guys are awesome. We will be traveling by train from Grand Rapids Michigan to San Francisco. 56 hours to the west coast...

March 19, 2009

Lauren's puppy...

Hi everyone. We have new member of the family that I wanted to show off. Her name is Chilli and she has stolen all of our hearts. She loves to snuggle and as we found out yesterday, she also likes to dig. Gina's gardens may never be the same.

Everything is coming together nicely for the trip. We leave in 6 days and will be flying out of the country on Saturday March 28 at 7pm. Also, we will be canceling our 2820 phone number this Friday so that we have a little extra money for the trip. If you need to call us please call my phone - 231-633-2819.

Love you guys.

March 17, 2009

9 more days...

Hi everyone. We are trying not to get too wrapped up in all the details... Please continue to pray for us as we prepare to leave soon. Love you all.

March 14, 2009

We are getting excited...

Hello to all our family and friends. We are 11 days away from beginning our journey to New Zealand. We plan to update this site as much as possible to share our adventures with you. Samuel and William both have been in training for the long paddle.

Please leave a comment for us when you can. Love you guys!