We have just tucked all four girls in bed after a very fun and "normal" day!
Our trip home went very well! We woke up early on Friday morning and everyone was ready by 9:00. Pretty much the only thing to do was watch tv and wait for the apartment representative to get there to check us out. She got there at 9:45 and it took about 30 seconds for her to look around, give us our deposit back and send us on our way! Our taxi was waiting for us and after loading up our 5 big suitcases and 4 carry-ons we headed to the airport. It took awhile for us to get checked in, the guy really looked over the paperwork that we got from the court that told our situation and that is was okay for us to have the girls in our care. Once we got our boarding passes we went found the right gate, then went to have some pizza before we left. They changed our gate 3 times, so we were going back and forth and up and down the stairs, which really annoyed the girls. They were so ready to leave and the wait was not fun for them!
Our flight to Munich was good, no delays or problems. We made it easily through the passport check place, took a tram to the right terminal and waited for our long flight. This flight was 8 hours and 50 minutes and with the exception of a bratty kid sitting in front of us (with an annoying mom who leaned both their seats back for the entire time, leaving us about 5 inches of room) the flight was great. The girls sat in seats behind us. Somewhere in Munich, Isabella lost her MP3 player, so Becca shared hers. The girls did great and the time passed surprisingly quickly.
When we were approaching Chicago, the girls were giddy! They took pictures of the city lights, which did look beautiful (even more so because we knew we were back on American soil!!!!). We had to go through customs, which also went smoothly. We got something to eat and then realized that our flight was delayed. They said it would be a half hour wait, but that turned into about an hour. The girls were completely exhausted and they fell asleep sitting in the chairs waiting. We woke them up, boarded the plane and made the short trip from Chicago to Springfield. Isabella was sound asleep for the flight. I was a little bit emotional and shed a few tears when they announced that we were making the final descent into Springfield.
I knew there were going to be family and friends greeting us, but I never could have imagined the crowd that was there! I literally ran with Becca once we got into the airport. I could see so many people, but there were 2 little faces that I could not wait to kiss! I don't even know exactly what happened, but when I reached the little girls, we somehow ended up in a big pile on the floor. I am sure we looked ridiculous to the people walking by, but I didn't really think about that until today! There were so many people to hug and thank and there were balloons for the girls and gifts and flowers and banners. It was an overwhelming and awesome homecoming! I am so thankful to each and every person who came that late to greet us. It will be a night I will never forget and I know my girls won't either!
Sometimes I get discouraged because there are people who I am not as close to as I used to be and I dwell on the fact that I have mistakes that people won't forgive. But I woke up this morning knowing that I am truly, truly blessed to have such a wonderful family and church family and friends that love us all for who we are! I wish I could have spent a lot more time thanking all the people who were at the airport! That show of love and support was so incredible. God has given us so much to be thankful for and I give Him all the praise for these blessings. We got lots of emails, too, from people who couldn't come to the airport that wanted to welcome us home and I really appreciate those special messages, too!
It was such a fantastic feeling to drive home in our van with our 4 girls all together! Reagan was so hilarious talking non-stop! They were all so excited to be together and I enjoyed listening to their chatter! When we got home, it was almost midnight, but that didn't stop us from having a mini-Christmas. We left our little fake tree up in the basement and put the girls' gifts under there. So for the last 2 months, those presents have been waiting! They opened everything and there was so much excitement from all 4 of them! Isabella and Becca loved their rooms and looked over everything with gigantic smiles and lots of "thank yous"! We were all so tired and about 1:30 decided we needed to call it a night. We prayed together and everyone climbed in their own beds. I have to say that laying down to go to sleep in my own bed after taking a shower in my own shower felt like a little piece of heaven! I slept so peacefully and woke up with a huge smile and sense of happiness knowing that it was our first day as a family of 6 together!
Tim and I made breakfast after spending some time cuddling with Reagan (she was the first one up). When the other girls got up, we ate and then they all wanted to go outside to play. I spent some time watching and listening to them from my bedroom window and again had so much praise in my heart for the blessing of my 4 daughters and the miracle that they each are. Tim and I couldn't get over how bright the sun was shining and how beautiful the day was, especially compared to what we have seen the last 3 weeks! We did most of the unpacking and the girls did a lot of playing, which is what they all needed!
My mom had made some delicious food and stocked our refrigerator, so that was a huge relief to not have to go to Wal-Mart today for groceries (thanks, Mom!). Then Tim's parent's brought over pizza for dinner! (Thanks!!)
We are looking forward to church tomorrow! I have really missed being at SHCC, I am used to being there at least 6 days a week, so it has been very hard to be away from where we worship and where I have 2 jobs! I have dreamed about this day for a long time and Ryan and Danielle put my favorite song in the worship set, "Count Your Blessings". How sweet and thoughtful is that?! They sang this song after Ryleigh was baptized, too! No wonder he was voted top Worship Leader in Lebanon!!!!
Ryleigh is not feeling very well, bless her little heart, she has pushed herself all day to have fun, but it is obvious she doesn't feel like herself. She didn't have a fever today, but she didn't eat much and she is coughing and looking a little pitiful.
Well, my eyes are getting very heavy and Tim is snoring now, so I think I better wrap this up! We are so glad to be home! We will post pictures tomorrow for those of you who didn't see them on facebook!