Monday, March 31, 2014

Katie's Birthday Month

Garmin in the distance from the park across from our apartment.
Its been a month since our last post. We have been having fun adapting to a second shift  schedule. John has been working in the customer repair department at Garmin repairing transponders. He has joined the Garmin commuter challenge and now logs his 4 mile round trip bike ride to work. We had in the past been having groceries delivered, but recently we made a trip to the grocery store directly across from Garmin at midnight. It is quite nice shopping that late.

Katie with her new bike on her birthday
ride to Shawnee Mission Park.
Katie turned 26 on March 19th. She was excited to get a new bike that puts her in more of a racing position and can handle off road terrain. It is a Ridley X-Bow and she loves riding it. We decided to ride 12 miles north on the Mill Creek trail to take Rafiki to the Shawnee Mission Dog Park. All we can say is that is the most interesting dog park ever. There is actually no gate, but instead it is huge with a beach and forested trails with several fields and hundreds of dogs. There we met Lauren and the kids who ventured into the dog park to meet us at the beach. We talked and hung out for a while it was nice to see Lauren and the kids. While we talked Rafiki began to terrorize a couple and their dogs, we can only assume the female dog was in heat. On our way out of the park we decided to explore some of the wooded section when Rafiki decided to abandon us and run at least a quarter mile back to this dog. We had to keep him on leash till we got out of the park. That day we decided it was time to contact the vet....

We took Rafiki to the vet a few days after Katie's birthday, he is 33lbs and is about done growing. We set up his neuter appointment for a week later and realized Katie would have to pull his cart with her new bike. Ridley is a Belgium company who apparently does not care to answer customer questions. Around Christmas Katie wrote them and asked if the bike could be used for towing a cart and they never responded. Now that she has the bike John attempted to mount a hitch to the rear skewer and the threads broke off the skewer nut. We attempted to contact Ridley again to find out how long the skewer was and acquire a new longer one. It has been 2 weeks and still no response, luckily a local bike shop helped us out. Bike America had a skewer laying around that was slightly longer and they gave it to Katie for free a few days before Katie had to get Rafiki to the Vet for his neuter. Rafiki got neutered on March 25th and has healed well, though he is upset that we have not gone for any runs next to the bikes in a week!

John's mom sent us money for both Katie's birthday and a early present for John's birthday. We put that money to use and bought a new mattress for the bedroom here. Amazon shipped it for free and it came rolled up in a duffle bag. If you have never seen a compressed and rolled spring mattress, it is really kind of cool. After cutting the bag open the mattress expanded like a wet sponge. We have been happy to move from sleeping on the couch to a mattress. We also got a portable RO filter for our apartment as city water is never that great. John decided to purchase a filter from Pure Earth Technologies a water filter company based out of Georgia. Not only did they offer the best price, but also the best customer service responding quickly to our questions even on the weekend.  Thank you Joyce for your birthday gifts!

We have decided to visit another local church. We have been hoping to find a church with evening service as it isn't very easy to get up as early as we used to. Last Sunday we visited the Olathe Christian Church which we enjoyed and John even ran into a co-worker. Easter weekend we have made plans to rent a van and drive from Kansas to West Virginia to Pennsylvania and back to Kansas over a 5 day weekend. Visiting family and picking up some things we stored.

Since Rafiki's neuter we have only been able to walk him and on longer trips he has to stay in his cart. We have been making modifications to his cart to make it as comfortable as possible. Most recently we attached part of his metal crate to the bottom of the cart to give him a flat bottom to sit on which also offers some shock absorption through the paracord used to attach it.  Yesterday after we tested out his cart we took Rafiki for a walk around the local lake and found a family with their kite stuck in a tree. John boosted Katie into the tree who then shimmied her way out on the branch to help free the kite before dropping down for John to catch her. The family was very thankful and we had fun helping out. Kansas is a great place for kite flying, lol! :-)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Olathe - Kansas City

            In mid January John was working at Honeywell and we found a puppy friendly apartment. After John completed his training, he began working on transponders at Honeywell. Lauren helped by dropping him off and picking him up, but it was tough for her. When we learned that we would need to move out by the end of January, Katie decided to spend most of her time with Rafiki. Rafiki had been showing signs of being neglected and she was happy to give him extra attention and he was happy to receive it. We did manage to help speed up the neighbors' computer, and we had dinner with Erica and Jared and their two daughters. 

            On the 18th we moved into the Southfork apartment complex with a public park right across the street. We used the Youngs' Pilot and Jared helped with his van. Jared had given us some kitchen items that we needed, while Lauren and Drew let us keep some bedding and pillows.  Tom from the Edgerton UMC offered us a 50" plasma TV, but the best part was when we went to pick it up.  Tom said God wanted him to give us his couch as well, which folds into a bed. At first we declined, but then realized that it was something that answered our prayers, as we were planning to sleep on the floor with our camping mats. Tom had given us a recliner that John did not really want, but Katie and Rafiki love having it.  Tom was also kind enough to drive the couch and chair to our apartment since he had a truck that could do so. Thank you to everyone who helped us move! Again, a very big thank you to Drew and Lauren for taking us in when we really needed a place!

            John began biking to Honeywell at first by  taking the nearby bike trail. Eventually he found shorter ways via bike lanes. 8-10 miles one way.  A co-worker, named Jimmy, after learning that John was biking to work insisted on giving him a ride.  On several cold days and snowy days, Jimmy drove John to work.  It was great meeting Jimmy at Honeywell and John even took a snow day off to help shovel driveways, for cash of course. :-) Jimmy wasn't the only friend at Honeywell John made, there were also Steve and Ken. Ken initially was training him and Ken had a lot of interesting stories to tell about his younger days. Steve also gave John rides home from time to time and helped to train him as well.  Steve was even kind enough to sell John his old racing bike that John is now turning into a fixed gear bicycle.

            Well, during his time at Honeywell, John had a 3rd and final interview at Garmin. This last interview revolved around one main question. What were our plans for our future in Kansas City, were we planning to leave in the spring?  We had decided prior to this interview that if John was hired to work at Garmin, we would be staying in the Kansas City area for a while, think several years and John will take advantage of their tuition reimbursement program. Garmin offered him a job in early February which was quickly accepted. Not only are we receiving great benefits, but we live two miles away!

            Now John has most certainly been the more active one in the family with going to work, but Katie and Rafiki have been keeping pretty busy too. A couple weeks before we moved out of the Young's home, Katie decided to turn her bike into a fixed gear bicycle. However, she did not realize that it would take some time and parts to make it  ride able again so she had to learn how to entertain herself without her beloved bicycle while John researched, ordered parts and put it all together. Rafiki had done a good job of keep her busy by insisting on being walked three times a day around the park and homes behind the park despite what the weather was doing. The exercise helped to keep them both from getting cabin fever and keep Rafiki out of trouble because it caused him to sleep a lot in between walks. Katie also began cooking breakfast and dinner everyday for John and herself. Payday is always the most favorite day because she gets to take the night off from cooking!

            So now we are planning to stay in the KC area for a while. While we are here, we plan to continue to bike everywhere and resist the urge to buy a car. We are also planning to visit family in the spring to get our belongings that we had kept before we left on our adventure across the country. This weekend was a great weekend for us because  we rode with Rafiki five miles down the Indian Creek Trail to a local Dog Park, which Rafiki loved! He was very well behaved around the dogs and he was happy to be free of Katie and the leash so he could say hi to other dogs and play with them. He played with a wide variety of dogs and we ended up staying at the park for three hours while letting Rafiki enjoy himself at the park. When it was time to go, Rafiki was happy to jump into his cart and go home where he proceeded to sleep for four hours and then go for a walk around the lake. After church today, we ended up taking Rafiki out for a jog beside the bike and then a few hours later we took him for a walk. Just what Rafiki wanted!

            We have been attending a local church called Redemption Church, which is incredibly active with the homeless population here. We have been trying to help as much as we can. We even recently started going to bible study and getting to know some of the homeless better. We are making some friends in our church community, but it is still hard to remember everyone's name. It is nice to have a great church like Redemption to go to here in Olathe, but we miss everyone at the Edgerton UMC.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Christmas and 2014

Christmas came and we had a blast helping and enjoying the festivities with our adoptive family and friends. Christmas eve we spent visiting Lauren's family. Lauren's father shared some coins from his collection with us as Christmas gifts. Thank you. We were up late Christmas eve preparing for Santa's arrival, ;-). Christmas morning began right,  with sausage gravy (Drew and his mom made some)! Then we began the process of opening presents with Drew's family. John ran the video recorder during the explosion of gift unwrapping and even captured the kids all riding their new pony. We were all exhausted after Christmas, but we enjoyed ourselves. A few days later we got to know the neighbors better, Erica and Jared came over for a small impromptu party. New Year's we visited Drew's parents again, but came home to celebrate the New Year with their friends who board their horses here. Over the last few weeks Katie has gotten several pants repaired and kept the house as clean as possible, all while building her relationship with the children. They have been having a lot of fun playing together. John has repaired more things around the house, helped with Drew's moms' computer and kept the house warm with the wood stove. Plus making a wide variety of dinners from pizza to soup to burritos.

On January 3rd John went for his second interview at Garmin. On the 6th he started at Honeywell and is still training, but so far so good... On the 6th we experienced one of the coldest days we have ever witnessed, -10°F with a wind chill of -40°F, burr! We have been praying about it for a while and have decided that we may stay in the Kansas city area for a year or two, but we also may not. That is up to the Lord. Lauren and Drew have decided to give the apartment we are living in to a new nanny and her husband, so we are currently looking for an apartment near John's work, we have faith that God will make our path clear as he always does.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Warm home in Edgerton

We have certainly been settling in for the winter! We enjoyed Thanksgiving at Lauren's brother's home. John made a couple pies but they didn't last till thanksgiving. :-) Our left over thanksgiving ham has recently turned into ham potpie. John has also had the opportunity to make sauerkraut and dumplings. It has been fun to introduce some PA Dutch foods to this part of the country! Katie has been staying on top of house cleaning, Drew and Lauren have been very happy with a clean home. John has been fixing things around the house and even ran an Ethernet cable across the home to install a second router. John and Drew got all of their wood split and have been running the wood stove constantly as it has gotten very cold here. Everyone seems to think we should be used to the cold being from Pennsylvania, well we have had more days with sub zero wind chills in the last month than we ever had all winter in PA. We sure are thankful for the warm home!

We have met both Drew and Lauren's parents. Drew's parents are fun to talk to for sure, we have enjoyed some Christian debate and sharing stories of our travels. The kids and us have all been adapting to each other. Katie has become known as the authoritative one while John is the fun one. We both have our roles. We both have gotten to know the children much better and we enjoy playing with toys, playdoh, and coloring. On a couple warm days we have gotten Ayden and Avilyn outside to play in their toy car and jeep. Ayden is surprisingly good at driving and already mastered power slides, hehe. Auren has gotten used to us and loves to play with John's hair. Katie has learned to change diapers, luckily John had managed to avoid that duty. :-)

Katie has made sure that if the weather permits she gets a bike ride in, sometimes doing 20-30 miles. When the weather is nice we also get Rafiki out for a run next to the bike for a few miles. On colder days we only get in short walks with Rafiki. We have certainly gotten to know the small town of Edgerton much better. On Sundays we have made it a point to go to the local Edgerton United Methodist Church. We have met a lot of people there and have been enjoying the fellowship of the community. After our first Sunday a local couple, Virgil and Linda, invited us to a Germanfest at a nearby Methodist Church. We got to know them better and they even invited us to a community lunch in Edgerton where we talked about our travels with the locals. Afterwards we talked to the local firefighters at the firehouse for an hour or so. We recently did the advent reading at the morning service, Emmaus Road. Plus we have gotten to know Pastor Bruce from the EUMC. He actually emailed us shortly after our first service and we got to explain more about ourselves.

Finally, John will begin working at Honeywell in January, but Garmin is also still interviewing him. Katie is going to pursue some house cleaning in the community. Rafiki has not been neutered yet, but he doesn't have much time left... We have been very busy helping to prepare for Christmas and enjoying a recent snow with a high temp today of 10° and a low of -1°.