We arrived home the end of June and spent the next two months reconnecting with family. We had a wonderful time in August when we went camping for a week with Jonathan's family. The first half of the week was spent at Jedidiah Smith Campground near the coast of Northern Calif. It was green and lush and just beautiful. After exploring that area, we headed to Lassen Volcanic Park. What a contrast. We should have switched the order so that we ended up at the green and lush park. Lassen was a little drier and barren. We went through a lot of smoke to get there as California experienced many forest fires this last summer.
I had surgery on my finger (the Chinese doctor did not do a good job on my cyst) at the end of August. We headed for Mi Wuk to spend Labor Day weekend with my parents right after the surgery. It was good to be where I had nothing to do as I was in a lot of pain and could NOT do anything. I was told not to take the bandaging off until I saw the doctor again after two weeks. I kept thinking that the finger was rotting in there without getting any air. When he took off the bandages finally, I cringed when I saw it. It was pretty nasty. I think the stitches came out too early and so it did not heal smoothly. There was a hole on my finger!
I wasn't going to put the picture in but it just looked too good not to!!
The doctor had told me the cyst could come back and he was right. It came back under my fingernail and so the nail was growing very strangely and I was in pain again. I had the finger operated on again a week ago. He removed the nail bed and fused the bones together and says that this will make it so the cyst will not return. The pain was pretty bad the first two days but is not too bad now. I can hardly wait to see what it looks like in another week when I will get the bandaging off.
In September, we got to go stay with Thomas, Lucas and Caroline while their parents went to San Diego. It was fun to get acquainted with their school, friends and life style of the Bay Area. I don't know if the kids enjoyed it but we did. We got to see Thomas play baseball also.
In September we also had visitors to our house. Stan and Nancy Pace came from Portland. They were here for about 5 days and we had a really hard time trying to think of things to do with them. Fresno really does not have much in the way of tourist entertainment. We ended up taking them to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks where we were able to do a bit of walking and viewing of the big trees. We went to the Temple one day and then since we were on the other side of town, we took them to Forestier Underground Gardens. It was Waynes first time to see them. I think everyone enjoyed that. The rest of the time we just enjoyed each others company reminiscing about China and sharing our doings since being home.
In October we took all the children and grandchildren to Disneyland. We spent 3 days in Anaheim and did a full day at Disneyland and another full day at California Adventure. And what an adventure it was.
Disneyland was all decorated up for Halloween. There were pumpkins everywhere and kids were dressed up in Disney costumes. Adeline went as Elsa.
The kids all seemed to like the rides that were like the teacups. I think we hit every one that Disneyland and California Adventure had.
From there, we went to Oxnard and spent 3 days at the beach. I found this wonderful house that accommodated all of us and was right on the beach. It was two story with the main floor being divided into separate quarters. Everyone congregated upstairs in the large living area. The dining area had large windows that looked out on the beach.
The kids had a blast playing in the sand and boogie boarding. All in all, it was a great week.
Lucas was baptized in November. The whole family went up to attend and we had a great time there.
Everyone else just went for the day but Wayne and I stayed the night and went to church with Lucas the next day.
We have now been back home for 5 months. Life is a bit slower in some ways but we find that there is plenty to keep us busy. My parents have doctor appointments several times a month and so we get to play "Driving Miss Daisy". We are both volunteering at the American English Institute one day a week. Wayne goes on Tuesday to be a conversation partner with a Chinese student and then helps our friend, Jane, in an oral English class. I go on Wednesday. I have a young lady from Saudi Arabia that I am a conversation partner to and then I help in Jane's writing class. I am very jealous of the size of classes that she works with. The class I help in has 2 students from China, 1 from Mexico and 3 from Saudi Arabia. I think of all the fun things I could have done with my classes in China if they had been as small as the classes here at AEI. It was just too hard to work with 55 students in a class. When they all got to talking in practice activities, you could not hear to tell them if they were not speaking correctly.
The big activity This week is Wayne's trip to Nepal. He is doing a humanitarian project with a group called Choice Humanitarian. I took him to the airport yesterday. He flew to Beijing. He is going to spend 3 days in Jinan before joining his group in Nepal. He has been so excited because he has lunches and dinners scheduled with lots of our friends there. We have Christmas stockings with little gifts that he is going to give to several of my students, our friend Lulu from the Branch and our friend Dr. Trisha. I am jealous of his time there but am glad I will not be accompanying him to Nepal. I will post his pictures when he gets back. We all know he will have plenty to choose from.