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Photo Friday #39

Well who would have thought we had to come to Massachusetts to sweat, but this last week has been hot!  The kids insisted they wanted to go to West End Creamery (a place they remembered from last time we lived here) last weekend so we went just long enough to play one round of mini-golf and cool off with some ice cream.  You’d think we would be used to the heat, but it feels hotter and definitely more humid than we’re used to in the highlands of PNG.  Ukarumpa is at 5,000 feet and we enjoy much cooler temperatures there than the low lands.West End CreameryConnor Golfing 3 Golfers

Makenna has been enjoying wearing all of the “new” clothes she was given.Outfit

Makenna has also been learning to ride a bicycle someone gave us.  Actually, we were blessed with a 2nd bike this week so now we have one for each of the kids!  People have been so generous with us.  A friend also dropped off some sports equipment. Connor’s been sitting back and watching Makenna ride bikes, but he picked up the bat and ball right away to play with Josh.Bike2 Bike1

After being in the U.S. 7 weeks, I finally opened my first bag of flour and container of yeast.  Makenna has been sweet talking me and telling me that she really likes the pizza I make the best.  Really?  The dough I bought at Trader Joe’s isn’t as good as mine?  I usually bought 11+ pound bags of flour in PNG and went through it really fast.  I think the 5 pound bag I bought here will last me a while!  I bought tortillas instead of making them, and I think they taste just fine.  Although, maybe when it’s not so hot I’ll start baking again.  It’s not that it’s that hard.  I know many of you might be making your own pizza dough too.  I’ve just been enjoying a little break!

Pizza Dough

Photo Friday- First Day of School

The big news for the week is the kids started school Monday!  They both love their teachers and look forward to going each day which is a huge blessing!  1st DayConnors Class Kennas Class

We’ve also been busy getting things done to make our move to Massachusetts official.  We waited at Registry of Motor Vehicles and got license plates for the van and got it inspected.  Next to get new drivers’ licenses and start getting us all to the doctor and dentist!  Fun stuff!Plates

Josh is in Greenbay, Wisconsin for Pacific area meetings.


I got to go to the kids’ school today to help Makenna and her classmates do a nature scavenger hunt on the school property.  I stayed for their picnic lunch and was able to snap this photo of Makenna and her cousin eating lunch together.  They’ve been happy to be reunited!


Photo Friday- Bee Thankful

Our kids’ first day at Whitinsville Christian School (WCS) is Monday. WCS has a theme for every school year. This year’s theme is “Bee Thankful Always”. This goes right along with how we are feeling right now. We always have so much to be thankful for, but we’ve been especially thankful during our transition from PNG to the USA.

Whitinsville Christian School's Annual Theme

Whitinsville Christian School’s Annual Theme

These are just some of the things we’re thankful for…

• The churches and individuals that continue to partner with us in our ministry with Wycliffe and The Seed Company. Josh & I will continue this work over the next year and we still need your partnership. Josh will travel to Texas and Papua New Guinea several times over the year as well.

• From what we’re heard, most missionaries spend about a year planning for furlough. We ended up pulling ours together with many prayers and help in 4 months.

• Friends in PNG helped us pack, care for our kids and fed us.

Some of our friends in PNG

Some of our friends in PNG

• Friends and family researched housing, school and vehicle options for us in NC, NJ & MA.

• We had 6 flights to get us from Ukarumpa to New Jersey and didn’t have any major problems with any of them! The kids even enjoyed most of our trip!

Flight #2

Flight #2

• We were given a mini-van (it has 230,000+ miles on it so please pray it keeps running for a year).

Our van and the moving truck we needed to haul all the things people blessed us with

Our van and the moving truck we needed to haul all the things people blessed us with

• We’re living in a furnished apartment with low rent that’s also close to Josh’s sister and parents (with a dishwasher!).

Our Apartment in Uxbridge, MA

Our Apartment in Uxbridge, MA

• Our kids are able attend the same Christian school that Makenna attended for Kindergarten. Kids from Makenna’s kindergarten class have been writing to her in PNG so they haven’t forgotten her.

Friends from WCS sent our kids cards while we were in PNG

Friends from WCS sent our kids cards while we were in PNG

• Josh’s mother and sister cleaned our apartment and stocked it with some items to get us started.

• Our landlord got a bed set up for Josh & I and made it with linens so we wouldn’t have to worry about that our first night.

• Josh’s parents had our kids sleepover our first few nights which helped us get some unpacking done.

• We were given furniture to supplement what was already in our apartment.

• Josh and I left most of our clothes in PNG  so we were in need of some clothes here. A family member works for a company that was about to purge a bunch of clothes and we fit their sample size. We got a huge box of clothes for both of us, many of which fit over this baby bump.

• Someone gave us lots of clothing for Makenna, some of which are from her favorite store! Connor got some clothing from his grandparents too.

One of Makenna's new outfits

One of Makenna’s new outfits

• We’ve already been given many baby items including a car seat, booster seat, pack ‘n play, furniture, a handmade blanket and clothes.

Friends in PNG decorated these onesies for baby K and they were waiting in MA for us when we arrived (a fun surprise!)

Friends in PNG decorated these onesies for baby K and they were waiting in MA for us when we arrived (a fun surprise!)

• Our baby appears to be healthy and I have been healthy despite all our travels.

• Ice cream and all the other yummy things available in America.

Makenna remembered Brusters from living in NC and requested to go there.

Makenna remembered Brusters from living in NC and requested to go there.

We were excited to eat grapes & seedless watermelon again!

We were excited to eat grapes & seedless watermelon again!

We went to Georgetown Cupcakes while visiting my brother in Washington, DC.

We went to Georgetown Cupcakes while visiting my brother in Washington, DC.

• A clothes dryer!

• Fun! Even though we’ve been very busy traveling, visiting and doing many important things to get re-established here, we’ve managed to fit in some fun too.

Connor loved playing wiffle ball with daddy and Uncle Matt

Connor loved playing wiffle ball with daddy and Uncle Matt

We visited friends and saw The Waterfalls in downtown Greenville, SC

We visited friends and saw The Waterfalls in downtown Greenville, SC

National Zoo with my brother Matt

National Zoo with my brother Matt

We went swimming with friends at their town pool.

We went swimming with friends at their town pool.

A day at the Jersey Shore

A day at the Jersey Shore

It’s A…

We found out the genders of both Makenna and Connor before they were born.  I usually like surprises, but I wanted to be prepared and 9 months is a long time to wait. Since this baby has been a surprise from the beginning, I thought we’d keep the surprise going. However, I decided the waiting wasn’t as fun as I thought it would be.  I had an ultrasound last week and we decided to find out.

If you are as curious as we were, put your mouse HERE to find out what we are having. Otherwise you can always wait and be surprised in November (only works on a computer- not a phone or iPad).

 I’m 27 weeks pregnant.


The baby appears to be healthy and is definitely growing!  Look at that sweet little face!  This is the first time I had a 3-D ultrasound (just because that’s what the office does).

BabyK Face BabyK


Photo Friday- Charlotte

We’ve now been back in the U.S. for 3 weeks.  It’s been so jam packed that it feels like we’ve been back longer.  We’re still in Charlotte, and we’ve been enjoying swimming.

Pooldiving loungingpoolEating yummy treats… did you know our family loves ice cream and frozen yogurt?  We can buy (or make) ice cream in PNG, but it doesn’t even compare to what’s available here so we’ve been indulging a bit.

blog blog

We’ve also enjoyed visiting friends, although I haven’t captured most of our visits with my camera.  We’ve had fun with with Josh’s brother and his family.  We’re still a little shocked at how much our nieces and nephews have grown since we last saw them!  Sam has always had a special place in Connor’s heart and it was sweet to see he hasn’t forgotten.  We ate lunch at their house and Connor shadowed Sam the whole time.

Alana Sam

We went to the National Whitewater Center for dinner with a friend.  During the summer they have live music on Thursday nights so it was a busy place.  We’re still getting used to being in such large crowds!  Even though we didn’t kayak or raft it was a bit of an adventure.  While we were trying to eat dinner outside it started raining on us.  At first just a drizzle and then it poured so we all dashed inside and squished in with everyone else that escaped the rain.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t get a good photo.  Here’s a little Where’s Waldo for you.  Can you spy Josh in the photo?

whitewaterWe were happy to drive to Greenville, South Carolina for the day to see sweet friends from our seminary years.  We enjoyed some southern barbecue and and guess what… more ice cream!HuntersBoysWaterfallblog2

We also had the pleasure of returning to our sending church, Sovereign Grace, to share what we’ve been doing in PNG and visit with friends.  It was a joy to be able to worship and pray with the congregation again.  We have a little more visiting ahead of us and then we start driving north Monday morning.  We have about another week of traveling before checking out our temporary home in Uxbridge, MA and getting ready for the kids to go to school.


Photo Friday #35

First Photo Friday from America to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to.  We jumped right into visiting friends and family, which also included eating lots of food that we’ve been missing.

We started our visits in New Jersey, where I grew up and most of my family still lives.  My parents now live in a lake community which is a perfect place for grandkids to visit.  My dad enjoyed taking the kids to swim and my parents opened their home to a bunch of friends and family the first weekend we were


Makenna and Connor have known these kids their whole lives, and I was so happy that they all picked up just where they left off 1-1/2 years ago.  They had so much fun playing with them, even though Brooke is already 13 years old!


I enjoyed meeting my sister and friends at my favourite Thai restaurant for lunch.  I met Melissa (far left) in PNG and we became fast friends when I found out she was from Rockaway, NJ!  I’ve known Michelle and Amy around 14 years and love that we’ve been able to keep a long-distance friendship still going!

Melissa, Me, Michelle, Amy & Dayna

Melissa, Me, Michelle, Amy & Dayna

I was in a bible study with these ladies (plus some that missed the photo) for many years.  I’ve known them all before they were married and had kids and it’s always nice to see our families grow and continue to pray for and encourage each other.

Bible Study

Connor and his cousin, Marcus, are just about the same size, despite the year + age difference.  They both love to play soccer too so I hope they can get to know each other more over the year we’re in America and play lots of soccer together!Cousins

Next, we drove to Washington, DC to visit my brother, Matt.  We went to the National Zoo and I did more walking than I’ve done in many weeks.  I suddenly felt the effects of all that rest I did in Ukarumpa!  It was a pretty hot day, and it reminded us how much we love the weather in the highlands of Ukarumpa!  We live at 5,000 feet in PNG and it usually only gets up into the 80’s.

Zoo blog7 blog6 blog5

The kids and I have watched a few episodes of the show, “DC Cupcakes”, on our laptop in PNG so they asked if we could go try their cupcakes.  We enjoyed an afternoon in Georgetown and had a cupcake picnic in Georgetown Waterfront Park.  And, yes the cupcakes tasted as good as they look!Family


This week, we’re in Charlotte, NC.  We lived in Charlotte while Josh attended Reformed Theological Seminary .  Our sending church, Sovereign Grace Presbyterian Church, is here as well as Josh’s brother.  I’ve been sick since we arrived in NC so we’re easing into visiting people.  We took some time to relax, work and go through items we have stored here.  The kids were very happy we got some swimming in just before the 5 days of forecasted rain

I wasn’t sure how we’d all do driving from NJ to NC after not having driven in cars very often over the past 1-1/2 years.  It went well!  Road trips in PNG involve car sickness and stress because of all of the potholes, curvy roads and wondering what might be in the road you’ll have to avoid (people, pigs, dogs, etc.) and we try never to stop for safety reasons.  This road trip was nice on paved smooth roads, with nice places to stop off for refreshment, good radio stations and no one got sick.  A few years ago we bought a portable DVD player when we started taking long road trips so that always makes the trip more enjoyable for everyone too.blog2 blog

Back in America!

We’ve been in the U.S. almost a week, and I want to share how our trip went.  In traditional Ukarumpa fashion, a group of our friends came to the airport to see us off, despite the early 7:30 departure time!  We have good friends!  Some even brought donuts and banana cake for breakfast.  We had a mostly happy time hanging out before we had to board the plane.  It suddenly felt sad when they gave us the 5 minute warning that we had to board the plane and as we hugged everyone goodbye or “see you later” as I prefer to think.  We are very thankful for these friends God gave us in PNG and will miss all of them!Friends AiyuraGirlsSONY DSC

It was very foggy when we first arrived at the airport.Fog

By the time we boarded the 10 seater Kodiak, it had cleared up.  Connor was very afraid to get back on one of these planes, but it went much better than expected.  Last time we flew one he screamed and clenched onto Josh’s hand much of the trip, but it was a bumpy ride.  This time he was able to have a pair of headphones and he was able to listen to the co-pilot (another pilot catching a ride home) talk to him a little about the flight.  He started out very afraid, then cracked a little smile, then eventually fell asleep.  When we landed he was able to tell the pilot he did a really good job of flying the plane so hopefully he won’t be so scared next time! He loves big planes so he had no trouble with all the other planes.Boarding Plane

We passed through the capital city of Port Morseby, and were able to have coffee with friends we made back at POC.  They’re going finish (going to their home country and not returning to PNG) this year so this may have been a real goodbye, but maybe we’ll get to New Zealand some day!HaagortsPt Morseby

Brisbane, AustraliaBrisbane Brisbane



Los Angeles, CA where we were happy to be able to meet up with a friend from Ukarumpa!  She had been in the U.S. on a short visit and was heading back to Ukarumpa.  We were able to visit with her for about an hour which was a nice surprise!

First sights of America!

First sights of America!


Charlotte, NC where I took no pictures.  The kids did great on all 6 flights!  They actually slept on some of them (Connor did the best), but I don’t think Josh & I did.  We all enjoyed some movies on the 2 longer flights, and then Connor would take off his headphones and announce he was going to sleep and then sleep for hours!  By the time we had to board out last flight I was done.    I really just felt like crawling in bed!  I was so tired and couldn’t get comfortable enough to take a nap.  The kids were very excited, even during the very last flight so their excitement was enough for all of us.

We finally arrived in Newark, NJ where we were greeted by family.  It was a wonderful surprise to be greeted by my uncle and grandmother.  My 87 year-old grandmother drove from Hazlet to Newark so that my uncle could drive us his van and have a ride with Gram home.  I hope I’m still driving around and as active as she is when I’m in my 80’s.  We’ve been so blessed by people offering what we need during this furlough- like this van, an apartment, beds, baby items, clothes and even a toaster as ours died before we left.


My mother wanted us to go to lunch on the way to their house.  I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about it, but decided to go with the flow since she seemed so certain it was a good idea.  When we arrived, we were greeted by Josh’s parents, sister & sons that had driven down from MA; cousins from NC (that happened to be visiting NJ), my sister and another friend from NJ.  The kids were off the wall crazy to be reunited with their cousins again, and Josh & I were able to stay awake through lunch.  It was nice to see so many family members on our first day back.




A big long hug for Binnie

A big long hug for Binnie

All of the Kitchen Cousins

All of the Kitchen Cousins

Lunch at my parent's favourite restaurant with family & friends

Lunch at my parent’s favourite restaurant with family & friends

We’ve been enjoying our first few days in America, and I’ll have to do another post to update you on that.  We’ve been busy visiting with friends & family and eating many of the foods we’ve missed.



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