We miss friends and family back home. 

All of us do. Some days we are literally heart-sick for them. 

So it’s fun to reminisce about how much we love them through pictures.  They took such great care of us before we left.2014-08-28 iPhone 11310
Loved this car conversation:2014-08-16 iPhone 100578
Claire’s pajama Activity Days at church (thx for the pic Emily!)2014-08-23 iPhone 100623
And a trip to the temple with these gems:2014-08-21 iPhone 100608
Late-night dinner talks with these guys:2014-08-15 iPhone 99072014-08-25 en route to China 106802014-08-25 china prep 1008552014-08-25 iPhone 10766
Elle went out on her first date of her dating career with this cute friend:2014-08-16 iPhone 100576
It was a huge group date and they came to our house to hang at the very end.  Sadly this is the only pic I got as the tail-end kids were taking off:2014-08-16 iPhone 100580
These two both had a date that night:2014-08-16 fall 10428So fun that they both get to date now and have such fun friends to do it with.

The next weekend Elle got asked on a couple more dates but she and her friend were off on their birthday trip (both turned 16 within the same week) to an amusement park.  As you can see, she was pretty sad to leave the dates…Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
She did really wish she could do both, but boy it sure looks like they survived the non-dating weekend.2014-09-08 iPhone 11852
Lots of missionary farewells right before we left.2014-08-24 iPhone 1006252014-08-24 iPhone 1006332014-08-24 iPhone 100635
When Elle asked how in the world we could say goodbye to our friends, we somehow got the grand idea of having a crepe night.  I told all the kids they could invite any friends they wanted over to our house so we could hang out one last time. 

Little did I know that that girl of ours would invite the whole planet on over!  But boy it was fun to have people over. 

We invited the cousins to come over before the friends.  They helped us get the crepe stuff ready. 
Oh man we love these guys so much!  2014-08-24 pre china 100740
Then the friends started coming.2014-08-24 pre china 100744
…and coming.  And coming!2014-08-24 pre china 1007472014-08-24 pre china 1007422014-08-24 pre china 1007432014-08-24 pre china 1007532014-08-24 pre china 1007682014-08-24 iPhone 1008892014-08-24 pre china 1007692014-08-24 iPhone 1008882014-08-24 iPhone 1008872014-08-24 pre china 100774Not sure where Max was for that pic with all his friends…

Some of our friends came too (although I consider all these kids our friends too).  I wish I had pictures of the big people too but those pictures are on my other external drive and I’m having photo storage problems, dang it!

I call Lucy’s teacher my “friend” because she is.  She’s the best!  She was so amazingly helpful getting that girl ready to leave.  She sent us off with everything we would need to keep her up on grade-level while we were gone.2014-08-25 china prep 100877She made me teary-eyed she took such care and was so supportive.  Meant the world to all of us, especially Lu.  Now if we can just keep up with all that homework!  I swear that girl gets more than all the rest of them!

I call my Mom my friend because she’s practically my best one aside from Dave.  She wrote all the kids heartfelt notes and sent them in the mail before we left.2014-08-25 home 1026
Elle’s friends secretly organized a note-writing epidemic at school.  They all wrote out the sweetest notes to her and wrapped them up all nicely in a box.2014-08-25 china prep 100881
Meant the world to her.2014-08-25 china prep 100883
Friends helping us pack and get ready ‘til the bitter end.2014-08-25 en route to China 10683
And our neighbors across the street…well, they always take such good care of us.  2014-08-26 en route to China 10686
Makes me want to be a better friend.  So grateful for such kind, good ones. 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Love all those good people more than ever and can’t wait to see them in the new year!

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