John:

Oh my god! We're home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There were no major catastrophes, and I can think of a hundred bad things that didn't happen, and a hundred ways the trip could have much, much worse, BUT the trip home was soooooo looooooooong! We figured out that from the time we left the Almaty apartment at midnight to catch our 320am flight, to the time we landed in Chicago, we were traveling for 24 hours straight. The poor kids were attached to our hip, in our arms, or on an airplane bassinette while in an airplane or airport for 24 hour straight. We slept about 1-2 broken hours over the 40 hours since we woke up Friday morning. Somewhere in the middle of the trip, I said to Anne, 'you know, I can think of a hundred ways things could be going a lot worse, but this is one long freakin' trip.' Anne's knowing face, rolling eyes, and nod were all the reply I needed. Several times during the trip, during periods of desperate angst, I'd just look over at Anne with my pleading eyes, and she'd look back at me with her rolling eyes, and that was all we needed to do to say 'Help me, I'm dyin'!'. In the end, though, WE ARE HOME! No major injuries or problems. The kids were really good, considering what we went through. They had many mini crying spells, a few big ones, but no major meltdowns. The last 8 hours were pretty dicey; Maya, especially cried and cried, and just couldn't be settled. I handed off to Anne, and she settled down for her (of course!), but after another hour, even Anne was working over-time to keep her down to the occasional full blown cry and multiple whimpers. I forgot one piece of luggage at the carousel in Chicago, and had to get into it with the German Luftansa rep to get it through customs without us, but after waiting an hour or so, we did get it. When we approached the final 'exit' doors, we looked at each other in disbelief. 'We're here, can you believe it? 'No, it's incredible!' We went through that final threshold, walked a few steps, and there was our little welcome party! What a wonderful feeling! Jeanne, Tony and David brought us Starbucks (Anne's request), Steve and Carrie were jumping up and down and holding a 'Welcome Home Maya, Daniel (and parents)' sign, and Joaquin and Ellen were there and were all smiles. On the drive home, I looked at the gas prices in amazement and asked all about New Orleans. My brother told me I was like Rip Van Winkle. 'It's like you were asleep for a hundred years, and when you woke up, a city was destroyed, and all the prices had completely changed!' After settling in last night, I uploaded the web site. It uploaded the last two days that I couldn't upload in Almaty in about 15 seconds, compared to the 20-30 minutes and multiple 'lost connection, must re-dial' messages for just one day of posts!

We've had a number of people say that they read our site quite regularly; some even read it every morning to start their day and don't know what they'll do after we return! To these people, I will say that for only $14.95 per month, you can continue to receive our updates! In all seriousness, everyone who visited regularly and emailed from across the world helped us so much to stay afloat during this trip! We'd have gone stir crazy without you! But let's be honest - how entertaining and interesting can it be now? This morning I had some cereal AND I POURED MILK OVER IT! You get the idea. But we would like to try to put in an update every now and then, maybe once a month. We'll see how well we do with this - the best laid plans ... But thanks again for visiting us via this site!

Anne:

Hello, all--  I am so incredibly tired right now (Sunday evening) that I'm not going to say too much... just want to say how very happy we are to be home!!  It's a strange feeling-- almost like it was all a dream!  Except somehow we have these two little beautiful babies here, so I guess it really happened!  The kids are doing amazingly well overall.  They both had some meltdowns yesterday and were out cold by 5pm (we were out cold not long after that), but they only woke up once during the night.  Luckily Joaquin and Ellen were kind enough to help us out since we were in a comatose state!  They did go back to bed, though, and slept through to 6 am.  Tonight they stayed awake until 7pm, so we're hoping for a full night's sleep!  Over the last two days they have met so many new people and have been wonderful.  As John said, we've been enjoying lots of the little things about being home-- great shower, washing machine and dryer, driving a car!  It's been wonderful seeing family and friends.  And today, my parents brought Ginger and Ollie back!  Hooray!  Now the family is again complete!

As John said, we won't be posting every day anymore, but we will continue to update this website with photos and musings.  Thank you so much to all of you that have been with us in thought, prayer and cyberspace!!!

The sun sets on Almaty - goodbye Kazakhstan!

 

We're here!

Our Welcoming Party

Home Sweet Home!

Meet the neighbors!

Yeah! High chairs!

Nice crib!

'What's the green stuff?'