Summer 2018


After 10 months in India we made our first voyage back to the US.  Given our past trips all around the world, this trip was amazingly simple.  It wasn’t because we all had 32 hours of travel figured out, but rather your mother and I knew how to handle the combination of frustration and exhaustion that we all would reach on such a long trip.  At about 18 hours we all become problems.  We love you….remember that.

Our flight left Mumbai at 4:30 am, and we thought for days about how to set us all up for success with such an early departure.  We got everyone up early the day before we left so that everyone would be tired by 6:00 pm and ready for bed.  After 5 hours of sleep we woke everyone up, rounded up the bags (all 10) and headed for the airport.

The trip to the airport went faster than usual, even at 1 am, and for the first time the airport wasn’t crowded so customs went very fast.


Before traveling back to the US we had planned stops in Kansas City, Storm Lake, Okoboji, and Ames.  First stop was Kansas City.

Olathe, Kansas

We arrived in Kansas City to the surprise of Grandma and Grandpa waiting for us at the airport. It was an amazing welcome back to the states, and with the massive amount of luggage, it turned out to be very helpful.


After collecting all of our luggage, and picking up the rental car we all headed for the hotel.  Many people ask, “What is the first thing you did when you got back to the states?”.  Well for Christopher we got it on camera.


I headed out to a conference the Monday after we landed, and you three stayed in KC visiting our house, friends, the SMMC Strawberry Festival, and attending doctors appointments.  The last 2 months of our time in India you three increasingly mentioned missing ‘our old house’, as you called it, in Olathe.  It was a refreshing experience and enjoyed by all.

Before leaving for India we learned that the family building a house next to ours was on an international assignment in Beijing, China and would return shortly after we left.  Many people told us that when you take an expat assignment you become part of a very special community, and dinner with the Craig’s was our first real confirmation of it.  No matter where in the world you were located you immediately have a connection to anyone who spent time in a foreign country.  Bob, Myra, and their kids, are absolutely amazing and we couldn’t imagine better neighbors.



Storm Lake, Iowa

After checking off the majority of doctors visits, we packed up the car and you headed to Storm Lake, while I proceeded to visit our other offices in Texas and Missouri.   Storm Lake week 1 was spent at Grandma and Grandpas. You all were so busy that we typically FaceTime about every three days.

I landed in Des Moines and hopped a ride with Cory, Robyn, Alyson, and Kevyn to Storm Lake. We had an amazing weekend spending time with Grandma, Grandpa, Great Grandma and Grandpa Kohls, Cory, Robyn, Alyson, and Kevyn.


While in town we also had the privilege to attend Hazen’s baptism with the Hotovec side of the family.  For me it was a quick two weeks, as I was in 7 states, but awesome nonetheless.



Okoboji, Iowa

After a week in Storm Lake we embarked on our annual vacation to Okoboji.  This year was our 24th year vacationing with Fillenwarth and as usual it was amazing.  The week went by incredibly fast and it felt like we didn’t have enough time to get everything in.  We did manage to get in plenty of swimming, rides at Arnolds Park, a boat rental, miniature golf, and the family cruise.

Next year is the monumental 25 year anniversay, and we’re told the entire party gets a dinner cruise included in their stay.  We’ll see…


After Okoboji, we headed back to Storm Lake for one night before I headed back to Mumbai and you three went with Mom to Ames.

Ames, Iowa

The 4th of July week was spent in Ames, and getting in as much quality time as possible with Cory, Robyn, Alyson, and Kevyn.  The week flew by spending time at the school playground, grilling, and attending 4th of July festivities.



Storm Lake, Iowa

After an amazing week in Ames you packed up, well Mom packed up, and you headed back to Storm Lake.  This week you stayed out at Nana and Papas house in the country.  This was the week of fresh air.  You spent the vast majority of daylight outside running around on the farm, riding bikes, four-wheeling, and exploring.  At some point in the week Johnathon discovered his love for golf, and Nana was thrilled. I think you would give me a run for my money, lucky I wasn’t there.


Indianapolis, Indiana / Storm Lake, Iowa

Your mother and I met back in Kansas City before heading to the CII Annual Conference in Indianapolis, and you three went to Grandma and Grandpas house.  And yes with three of you there was anxiety on both sides of the arrangement.

The week went great on both ends and we looked forward to seeing you when we arrived back in Storm Lake the following weekend.  At that point it was almost 4 weeks since the three of you and I had been in the same place.  I was ecstatic to be back with my three rascals.



Olathe, Kansas

Our last week in the US was back in Kansas City finishing up appointments and wrapping things up for another 10 months in India.  We met back with friends and said our goodbyes before driving back to Storm Lake to attend a good friends wedding that weekend.



Mumbai, India

The trip back to India was longer than usual, because we added a 5 hour car ride to the beginning of the trip.  We left Storm Lake at 7 am and arrived in Mumbai almost 32 hours later.  You three did great and although it was great to be back with family we were all very happy to be home.


We weren’t sure how our first trip back to the US would pan out, but spending time with friends and family reminded us just how lucky we are.


Mom & Dad

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