Dang, I got a post a week in for Down syndrome Awareness month and then just disappeared.  I have a very good reason for it, and I hope I have a reader or two left, to wonder.

We initiated our kids to the activity that is the bane of existence to every third-culture kid I know — the drive for two days, go to lots of churches and meetings, be on our best behavior,  hear mom and dad talk endlessly about Afghanistan and have lots and lots of strangers give us hugs and tell us how much we’ve grown — extravaganza.

We went to Arizona, where Mr. Incredible and I lived for the first few years of married life.  We have some great friends and churches there who love Jesus, us and Afghans and are interested in our future work there.  Mr. I got to talk a lot about appropriate technology and small scale wind turbines that he gets to build and I got to talk a lot about home schooling and what we think things will be like for Jack Jack.

A family milestone — kids got their own carry-on cases. Looks like we could pack Jack Jack in his.

The kids were fabulous.  Seriously, they did such a great job on the long drive and in host homes and church buildings.  We did some practicing with Violet and Dash on shaking hands, looking people in the eye and answering questions.  Violet, especially is a bit shy and was not enjoying this at all.

One evening an older man held out his hand and said, “Would you like to shake hands?”

Violet looked him square in the eye and said, “NO!”  ”

Violet!” I hissed, “Remember what we talked about!!”.

She looked evenly at me and said, “Mom, he asked me if I like to.  I DON’T like to!”

Good point, my dear.

While driving on the freeway, I pointed out the hospital where Violet had been born and Dash asked to see the hospital he’d been born in.  “You weren’t born in a hospital, buddy.  You were born at Grandma’s house, remember?”

“But that’s not fair!  Violet got to be born in a hospital and I want to be too!”

Okay, then.

Jack Jack was a fabulous ambassador for people with Down syndrome.  Over and over we saw people’s preconceived notions and ideas melt away as they watched and interacted with him.  A couple people even told us that after meeting Jack Jack, they were much more sure of how well our family could do in Afghanistan, because of him.  How cool is that?

We loved the warm weather, and laughed at the native Tusconites who layered up for the chilly 80 degree weather.   The Saguaro cactus made the kids laugh every time they saw one, and the prayer and support we received was water to our thirsty souls.  Thank you, Arizona friends!  We left refreshed, revitalized and eager for our next adventure.

Beautiful desert flowers

We all had head colds at various points in the trip, but Jack Jack saved getting sick for the last day.  In Gallup, New Mexico he started in on the barking seal cough and by the time we got home to Colorado, it was full on croup.  Our first night home, he ended up in the ER with daddy.  A good dose of steroids and a couple good nights of sleep and he is back to his old self and we are all thankful to be home.

It’s hard to be sick