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Archive for July, 2010

We said our final goodbyes in VA which was just not fun. We loved our time in VA so although we are excited about this new chapter of life we were very sad to go.  We made it out of DC relatively in one piece….or maybe more in 4 pieces with lots of luggage. But sane nonetheless. We flew to Houston last Friday and have been in Friendswood since then. We have had a nice relaxing time with Seth’s family. Jackson has had lots of great time playing with his cousins. They all seem to have endless energy and have gotten along really well. Seth’s parents have a large window by their kitchen table and during meals Jackson can spot some of his Grandan’s turtles outside the window. This is proving to be a challenge in keeping Jackson in his chair to eat, but he can’t get enough of the turtle entertainment.

This afternoon we will drive to the Ft Worth/Arlington area to be with my family. We are looking forward to our time there. This trip is faster that we originally planned but we are trying to make the most of every minute! We plan to pack in the fun! It’s hard because with limited time we can’t do everything we would normally do and see everyone we would normally see.  If you are some of our friends that we aren’t getting to hang out with because we have been kidnapped by family, that is just a good excuse for you to come to Switzerland!

I will add some pictures when we get our camera and hook ups in the same place at the same time 🙂 We also want to blog about Jackson’s 3rd Birthday that was this past Friday the 23rd but want to do it when we have time and pictures! Happy Birthday to our little big boy!

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This morning at breakfast I told Seth it was a great day for a language waiver, sure enough he called about an hour later to say he had gotten the waiver!!! Seth has worked so hard and it is such a relief now for him to be able to take the test and get moving! So we are leaving for Texas on Friday. We will spend about a week and a half there and head to Switzerland. The good byes are sad but we have been preparing for this for a while now.I think being in an empty house has made us more than ready to get settled again sooner rather than later.

On a totally unrelated note, we met the O’Leary’s in Annapolis on Sunday night and had a wonderful evening catching up with them and introducing them to Owen. For those of you that don’t remember the O’Leary’s they are the family I met in Houston and babysat for for yrs. We spent some time with them on our homeleave and we afraid we would have to move before seeing them and them meeting Owen. It worked out with our delay that they were in Baltimore  while we were still in VA. Here are a few pictures.

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Summer fun!

Here are some pictures from our summer…friends, farmer’s market and all that stuff!

Although we didn’t plan on being in VA for most of our summer we have enjoyed the American summer! We have seen the fruit of our labor in our little garden. Our parsley, sunflowers and tomatoes have made us proud! And watching Jackson sit barefoot on the front step with popsicle juice dripping down to his elbows is just priceless. We wish we had a community pool to cool off in but overall we have found ways to keep cool and have fun!

We go into this new week hoping that we will be leaving on Friday but not knowing much for certain. We are still waiting on Seth’s language waiver and another language exam. Hoping for the best!! We will keep you posted!

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This yr we decided to lay low on the 4th of July. Last yr we spent the evening with 5500 others. You all may remember that Seth was responsible for the big shindig.  He did an amazing job. But the stress began in Oct and ended with the fireworks on the 4th! It was a ton of work. This year we decided to spend an evening at home with the 4 of us.

We made a yummy dinner and lit a few sparklers!

this was Jackson’s all American meal…farmer’s market tomatoes, hot dog with fixin’s, corn cut off the cobb and strawberries and blueberries! It was delicious!

the porch audience was quite enthusiastic during the sparkler show

The day after the 4th Seth had a federal holiday so we got to have him home. We originally thought we were going to be packing out the next day so hadn’t really made any plans. But, since our lives changed drastically the Thursday before the 4th, we were invited to spend the afternoon with friends and were able to accept because we weren’t moving. We drove out to Bluemont where our friend’s parents own a home in the country. We had time to just decompress with friends and enjoy a meal and the handful of sparklers we had left over from the night before. Here are a few pictures!

Owen and Rowyn reunited again! These two are hysterical together. They are both into kisses and tackling these days!

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A few Sundays ago our pastor preached on this passage, Romans 12:15.

I think before hearing this message I would have said I knew what he was talking about. I hate it when others are in pain or are struggling.  I drive myself (and likely the recipients) completely crazy trying to figure out how to carry other people’s burdens when at times it just isn’t possible. I have cried with many a friend and have rejoiced with many as well.

The news of my dear friend Bonnie passing her PA exam, the news of my little brother getting engaged, the news that my big brother was expecting his first baby girl.. and then a couple yrs later his second, the news that Jackson was cancer-free,  the news that after 18 weeks of pregnancy the doctor thought Owen was going to make it…those things have brought me great joy and have brought about rejoicing! I continue to thank God for those things and so many more! But then there is the weeping. In the last 24 hours I have learned of a girl my age who is on her death bed with cervical cancer (close the leaving her 3 yr, 5 yr old and husband behind), a marriage in distress, the death of a friends dear friend in the terrorist attack in Uganda. My heart grieves. Try as I may to step back and focus on our move and what is going on in our lives my heart remains heavy and prayerful. Lord, I can’t remove any of this. It is all so painful. Use me despite myself.

As I mature I realize that this verse is so true.  This is what I am called to. God doesn’t ask me to make everyone happy and solve all of their problems. I am to rejoice with those who rejoice and I am to weep with those who weep.

My prayer is that God would use me.  That he would give me a heart that can genuinely rejoice for others, even when I would love to be in their situation and that he would give me the energy and sensitivity to weep with others even at times when I have not experienced what they are going through.  As I get older I am learning that it isn’t about being excited or crying, it is about walking with Christ and allowing him to use us beyond ourselves. I think I hoped the bubble of youth would last a little longer. The growing pains are, well, quite painful.

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Status updates

For those of you that are friends of ours on facebook your newsfeed has likely reflected this time of uncertainty in the Kolb house.  A couple of weeks ago I commented on “Two weeks until Texas”, Seth wrote something like “only a few days of German”. Our world that always seemed pretty uncertain is most certainly uncertain these days.

When we arrived in October Seth was going to be here until the end of June. Then post requested that he arrive early and attempted to get him a language waiver to come in the end of May. When the waiver didn’t come through we weren’t disappointed because we were settled in here and enjoying every minute of it!

In early June Seth took a progress test that determined that he would need a little bit longer of german, thus an extension was filed. It’s a little bit tricky because the German dept is anxious to have a longer program but has not formally extended their program but rather has spent the last year extending most all of their students. Little do they realize that families are spinning with all of the changes. So, we embraced the extension, again thrilled for more time near our family and friends.

Last week Seth geared up for what was to be his final exam in German. He went in confident and prepared. He aced the speaking portion and was presented with a set of articles. He aced those as well. Because he did so well they advanced him to an even higher level article. The article was an obscure topic and more challenging that expected. A teacher explained to Seth that had he not done well on the first 4 he would have been bumped down to the easier level and could have achieved his score of 3 that he needed.   Instead he got a 3/2+….3 in speaking, 2+ in reading.  Had he had another article he would have had a chance of a 3.  I was bustling around prepping for the packers and keeping the kids in their routine when I got a call from him saying that he hadn’t passed.

So we went from half-packed and a couple of days before the packers arrived to canceling the packers and making a million phone calls to “uncancel” all of our services. Months of preparation went in to our original dates……..and now we wait in limbo.

The Embassy in Switzerland has initiated another waiver. This time one that appears to be going through. Without the waiver Seth tentatively will test on July 22nd. We have a packout scheduled for the 19th and 20th. I will do it while Seth is in German to save him 2 days of lost time in Bern now that we are going to be “late”. With the waiver we could have to pick up and go pretty quickly, except for the fact that the transportation department is telling us that a packout would be impossible on such short notice. Whew.  So while Seth plugs away at German, I am trying to decide what to do next. I am working on scheduling an additional “backup” packout date just in case things change again. And I am continuing to try to maintain some normalcy for the boys.

After 6 months of looking and waiting for a house to be available in Bern we have one waiting. Our biggest concern when the test didn’t go as expected was our housing here and our housing there. Our landlord here graciously allowed us to extend our lease through July. In Bern the house will be able to be held up to 2 weeks after our original arrival date.  I got notice yesterday that the painting is finished and the new floors (where needed) are being put in next week. The Embassy official has held off in sharing our new timeline because she feels like it will just cause undo stress if they know of the uncertainty- ie she probably fears they would find a new renter!

We still hope to see family in Texas on our way out of the country. Seth just finished canceling all of our tickets for tomorrow.  We will wait to see what happens with the waiver and timing to know what happens next. Jackson and I in particular have been super excited and talking about our trip to see family for months now. I hope that it can still happen but I am trying to let go knowing that there is very little we can do right now to make things happen.

I laugh now thinking that I was stressed a couple of weeks ago for our anticipated, planned move.  I never anticipated all of it being turned upside down and unknown. Each day we get a tidbit of information and have no idea when all of those tidbits will fit into something that looks like a plan. I find myself feeling like we are neither here nor there. We realize that our family and friends didn’t plan on us being around so they have there own things going on. It’s hard to plug in when we hate for everyone else to have to experience our rollercoaster.

So, we wait. We will keep you all posted!

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Before setting sail we wanted to celebrate Jackson’s 3rd birthday while we were still here with friends and family. Last weekend we had a big gang of Jackson’s cousins and friends over for an airplane themed party. The kids decorated postcards for Jackson to send them from Switzerland and painted little wooden airplanes. We had lots of great food and the kids had a blast.

For lunch the kids had Chickfila nuggets (the birthday boys favorite) and homemade macaroni and cheese. For the adults we had a spread of sandwiches, mini tomato pies, salad, etc. The best recipe to come out of the party was Barefoot Contessa’s mac and cheese. I couldn’t try it but everyone asked for the recipe and said it was delicious! The adults ate more of it than the kids! The best part was that I reheated it the next day for Seth and it was good again! I feel like macaroni and cheese rarely reheats  well!

I had a couple of cake disasters- one from my oven rack being crooked, the other from misusing some metalic baking strips…in the end I threw my arms up in surrender, admitted that I was trying to do too much a week before our move and made some cupcakes.  Jackson didn’t know anything had gone wrong!

I got some candy molds and made airplane chalk for the kids favors but unfortunately the wings were too thin and most broke on their way out of the mold, so I ended up using muffin tins and making little chalk rounds to pass out.

homemade artisan bread…ready for sandwiches

Owen and Rowyn

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