Somehow our fall got swallowed up (as seems to happen to us regularly) in a cycle of traveling, doing our laundry, and repacking again. Landing at home for a (long, long) while feels kind of nice, but we did have wonderful times away from home, too.
First, as mentioned, there was Chicago. Just yesterday Jason said he was ready to do it again. If only. Then we spent a wonderful weekend with the Kings and the Gambills on our now-annual trip to meet up in Tennessee. We got a cabin a bit out in the country, which, as Amy said, made a very good ark, since it absolutely poured down rain for nearly the entire weekend. Even with rain—even with rain and six kids four and under stuck inside—we just had the best time. Amy and Tilly threw us a sweet little baby shower where the six of us sat around eating baked pears and laughing good, deep laughs. It is so easy to be with these people, seriously. I had to remind myself that I hadn’t seen them in months and months and that there was real catching up to do—it felt like we’d been together the weekend before. And since then Henry has prayed every single day for his “friends in Tennessee.” (And also for a hotel room.)
A week later, Jason headed to West Africa. It has been over 21 days and he has not come down with Ebola, just as he wisely predicted. He went to Ghana and Senegal, two countries he hadn’t visited before. Henry and I had a nice week together—especially given that one of us is very pregnant and one of us is very two. We spent a gorgeous fall morning at the zoo one day, and we had fun at a little friend’s birthday party early in the week. We declared Thursday “pajama day” and only got dressed when we realized we were out of milk. We had a couple of movie nights and ate dinner at Red Robin together. And finally, finally the paper chain we made at the beginning of the week dwindled down to its last link. We were both very, very happy when Daddy walked through the door on Saturday morning. And then we took the last trip of the year. In the summer we found ridiculously cheap tickets to Idaho over Veterans’ Day, and knowing we wouldn’t be able to see everyone until well into 2015, we snatched them up. We landed in the midst of a bit of craziness. Mom had just returned from Kenya, Casey got home from Thailand a day later, and Casey and Kim were right smack in the midst of moving to Boise (yay yay yaaaay!)–Kim literally walked through the door toting Olivia and all her earthly possessions on Wednesday in time for dinner. It was a full but fun house. The best part was dinner on the closed-in porch of a lovely Basque restaurant (missing Chad) while Auntie Fay and Uncle Charley bravely watched all eight of our children. And now we are home to stay for a long while…feverishly pushing through the rest of our pre-baby to-do list in hopes of having just a little bit of calm before going from three to four.