Monday, June 30, 2014

Away we go

Ben's family threw us a beautiful send-off here in New York and my parents came to be a part of it. It was wonderful to see and be prayed for by so many supporters and friends.  
That dreaded day is here, when we have to decide what is actually going to get stuffed into our suitcases and what we're willing to say goodbye to for the foreseeable future. How many books can one child carry in his or her own backpack? How many books will one child actually read during 24 hours of travel? How many hours can any of our devices hold a charge? And most importantly, when I finally beat level 350 of candy crush (embarrassing confession), how will I be able to wait until I can connect with Facebook to ask for tickets?

Today looks like this:
1) Laundry
2) Pack
3) Argue over what goes and what stays
4) Break the kids' hearts that they have to carry their own stuff
5) Get the kids excited that on international flights there will be plenty of movies
6) Drive to various banks to get all our money in bills printed after 2006.
7) Spend precious moments with family.
8) Load up my Kindle
9) rest

Tomorrow looks like this:
1) Pack up all the things you can't pack ahead of time (toothbrushes, pajamas, chargers, etc.)
2) Showers for Susie and the kids
3) Make sure the kids are each dressed in their US World Cup jerseys
4) Ben, along with his dad and brother, will take 26 pieces of luggage to the airport in a rented cargo van.
5) shower for Ben
6) Final prayers, hugs, words and tears in with Ben's fan in Merrick
7) Go to the airport and meet Susie's parents for more prayers, hugs, words and tears.
8) Check-in
9) Security
****My genius idea for this trip is to leave the stroller behind and use this to transport kids and items. I will have family members standing by with a stroller in case the TSA disagrees with my ingenuity. ****
10) Hope the World Cup game is on in the airport terminal.
11) Sit at the Brussels Airlines gate outfitted in USA soccer jerseys while the US plays Belgium. Try not to act like loud, ugly Americans while enthusiastically cheering for our team. Feel slightly awkward about that.
12) Board. Hand out headphones, water bottles and gum. Explain to Charlie and Annie that they are too young for gum, or give them special gumdrops called "gum."
13) Preemptively apologize to all those seated around us, and be glad that on an international flight, their drinks are free and we don't have to spring for them to take the edge off.
14) Watch movies, read books and relax on our way to Kigali, via Brussels.

Where do you stand on the idea of drugging kids for flights? Honestly, we tried it when Simon was a baby and, while it fortunately didn't key him up, it didn't seem to have any sedative effects either. So, we've never done it since. Plus, this Friday's episode of What Would You Do centered around drugging kids to make them sleep and it seems to be generally disapproved of (except by every mom I've spoken to who has taken a small child on an overnight plane trip). Thanks to the magic of on-demand media, Annie will probably be our only tricky one. She may be content to repeat her favorite word loudly (alternately "mama," "Talya," or "airplane")....for the first 45 minutes. Then she'll want to explore and eat off her neighbors' trays and roam the aisles and bother flight attendants.

When we land in Kigali it will be evening. We don't yet know if our house will be ready for our arrival or if we'll be temporarily crashing with friends. We will be welcomed by the small army required to transport 6 people and 30 bags and boxes. We will attempt to convince the kids it's time to sleep (again) and wake up to start our life in Rwanda.

Thank you for your prayers, and please keep them going. We are tired and we haven't left yet. Pray for peace, contentment, confidence in God's presence with us, and for those who are assisting us in getting settled. We leave completely dependent on God for His leading, providing, and sustaining.

'Til we get internet,
Susie for Team Thomas


  1. Praying with you and for you. You aren't going to Rwanda alone. Lots of folks will "be with you." Blessings to you all as you begin this next chapter of adventure with The Lord.

  2. I am praying for a safe and calm flight. Benadryl is your friend…embrace it! Those who disagree are either never flown with or around unruly and/or cranky children or have never experienced the grace to be imperfect and are still trying to "do it right"…whatever that is. I used Benedryl before I ever heard of anyone else using it. My son, Daniel used to scream at the thought of getting inside a car…for two years I could barely go to the grocery store. God graciously answered my prayer for him to stop that behavior…no idea why, but he did. However, we stuck with the Benedryl anyway for long road trips. Of course, this was before DVD players etc in the vehicle. I say do what you have to do to maintain peace in confined and difficult quarters. Your fellow flight companions will thank you…even as they're judging you. Blessings, Lisa

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