Everyone’s Home

It seems like we have been scattered near and far this year, but today and for the rest of the summer everyone is at home, and it feels good. It’s not that I minded “the scattering.” Everyone in the Krum family had wonderful and necessary experiences off on their own, but it’s nice to be back under the same roof and have a bit of concentrated time at home.
Cooper had an incredible time in South Africa…
Leaving Boston with his Quest Team
Working in rural classrooms
Homework help in the afternoons

And not only these things, but a safari, a trip to an AIDS Hospice, spending time with missionaries, exploring Durban and swimming in the Indian Ocean.  He shared his testimony at least twice before different groups and got to play basketball with local kids. He did NOT like the hours of travel, but has been longing to be back there ever since he got home.  He loved it!  (And upon being asked if he knew Justin Beiber ~ since they’re both living in the U.S., of course, ~ he may or may not have led some South African kids to believe that he WAS JB himself.)

While Coop was in South Africa, I took a bit of a mental-health-escape-the-brutal-New-England-winter trip to Texas.  I also needed to work on several talks I was to give at upcoming women’s retreats, and that’s difficult for me to do with all of the tasks and needs at home.  When I arrived at my dad’s house, these sweet Valentine’s Day treats greeted me on my bed. Wonderful surprise from my sister, Melinda, and I enjoyed all of them thoroughly.

My dad and I attempted to surprise Kory at one of his Baylor Club Baseball games. Not knowing the exact times, we arrived at the last “at bat” ~ sigh. I hated missing the actual game, but really enjoyed taking Kory out to eat and for a stock-up-on-Nutella-and-cereal-Target-run.  The hard part was saying goodbye again after just a few short hours.
Love the shadow of my dad’s cowboy hat in this pic!
Speaking of cowboy hats, I got to help my dad catch up on a bit of his work which always does my heart good.  We unpacked lots of hats, unwrapped lots of shirts, and exchanged lots plastic hangers for metal ones.  I learned that not only does he go through this meticulous process with each new line of western wear, but he also takes all of those shirts to be “pressed” at the dry cleaner’s.  They arrive already “pressed” and carefully wrapped in plastic, but he insists that a trip to the cleaner’s improves their appearance and makes them more appealing to customers. After his 43 years in the business, I decided not not question this expensive practice.  Bittersweet that he has decided to retire at the end of June.  What a valued and successful salesman he has been.  He’s currently on what we’ve been calling “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour of central and south Texas ~ a final sales call to all of his long-time customers.
From plastic ones to metal ones and THEN to the cleaner’s.

  It happened to be my sister’s birthday while I was in town, so my dad and I got to celebrate with her and the family at P.F. Chang’s ~ one of everyone’s favorite gluten-free-accommodating restaurants!

And then I spent days in the house or out on my dad’s deck doing this…
Studying and writing and creating Powerpoint presentations…
…and soaking up the endless DAYS of sunshine and warmth!
(This was a pic I texted to Robert and Kayla.  Kinda mean since they were buried in knee-deep snow at the time.)

My last hurrah was a trip to the Gristmill with my dad and these two favorite people ~ Jack and Kelly.  We enjoyed dinner outside, the sunset  over the river, and talking about Jack’s new iPhone!

Then, a couple of weeks later, and nearly against my will, I went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  Robert had to go to Santo Domingo with some men from church to scout and plan the next projects for our church’s upcoming mission trip, and felt it would be a good idea for me to meet him afterward for a few days of vacation in the resort area of the country.  He worked on me for months, and I kept telling him no and giving him a long list of reasons why it was impossible for me to get away.  He gently brought it up again and again and finally just booked my tickets.  I’m glad he did.
My collection of coral and shells. The white sand beach was only feet from our hotel room.
Breakfast was our favorite meal of the day.
The “Dominican Breakfast” ~ fried cheese, mashed plantains, eggs, fruit platters…

One story I keep telling to help convey they complete luxury we found ourselves in the lap of is this: After sleeping in (about 8am for us – ha!), we would pull ourselves out of our Westin “Heavenly Bed” and go out for about a 4 mile run.  Upon returning to the resort and as we approached the open-air lobby, a hotel attendant would come out to greet us with a smile. In his hands he was holding a silver platter with two ice-cold water bottles and rolled up, white, wash cloths for our parched throats and red, sweaty faces. We were stunned and had to laugh about how “this never happens at home!”

After the refreshing homecoming, we might take a quick dip in the pool just feet away from our room’s patio, take our time getting dressed, and then eat a late, leisurely breakfast.  After this, we would walk a few yards to the beach, get comfortable on reclining lounge chairs under an umbrella overlooking clear blue waters and read books!  I finished an entire book in two days which is totally unheard of in my current life situation! Our only breaks from this strenuous activity were to take a dip in the refreshing Caribbean surf or walk to the poolside bar to order some sort of refreshing, icy drink ~ in case we missed the waiter on the beach, that is.
Oh my ~ I have never experienced anything like this, and it was so, so wonderful. I don’t think I have ever been that rested or relaxed in my entire life. This trip was made possible because, not only did my husband keep gently insisting that I go, he also contacted a few folks who support our us, our church, and ministry here in MA, and asked them if they would help provide this vacation for us. They eagerly agreed and gave generously to this dream of a vacation. We couldn’t have done it without their gifts.  We were and are truly blessed.
Selfies on our patio after dinner
Gorgeous open-air lobby. We lounged in here one day reading books due to my extreme sunburn ~
my one regret from the trip. Note to self: the Dominican Republic is WAY closer to the equator than Massachusetts. Sigh…
Then ~ just a couple of weeks ago, Cooper and I flew to Texas to pick up Kory from his first year at Baylor.
Waiting at the gate selfies.  We had a bit of a delay.
Seems like I was just here moving him in, and now it was time to pack up and leave!
Got to walk on campus a lot, eat in the dining hall, and give Coop a taste of college life!
Cooper even had an official campus tour.
And we indulged in a couple of last trips to Common Grounds.

After finishing up in Waco, we spent a few days in Austin and San Marcos with my dad.  I also managed to meet my Uncle and grandmother for a delicious Texas BBQ lunch. It was so nice to see her up and at ’em after suffering a heart attack a few weeks before.  She looks like she’s ready for a trip to the Caribbean, too, huh?

My uncle Chuck sent me back home with large amounts of BBQ brisket, sausage, pork ribs, potato salad, baked beans, and cole slaw.  Pretty sure we never had to cook a meal for the rest of the week.
My dad and boys enjoying the BBQ

We were in Texas for Mother’s Day and so spent the afternoon and evening with my sister’s family playing Top Golf (so fun!) and eating an incredible Paleo ~ tenderloin, mashed cauliflower, salad, asparagus and more ~ meal. Wow.

A driving range complete with air conditioning, couches, and full food and drink table service ~ wow!

It was my first-ever experience playing golf or going to a driving range.
Pretty sure that’s a set-up for future disappointment.
We were invited to eat dinner at one of Kory’s best Baylor friend’s houses.  Julia and her family so graciously hosted us in their beautiful home for a delicious meal. It was wonderful to get to know them, and I was thankful all over again for the incredible experience Kory had as a freshman in college.
Last meal in Texas with my boys ~ the Gristmill, of course.
So nice after spending the day cleaning out my dad’s garage and making trips to Good Will ~
and all the while missing our flight back to MA. How did I get the dates wrong???

If you are still reading, I know you must really love me.  Thanks for indulging me again in the archiving of my life ~ and in my inconsistency at that.

Less than 24 hours after the boys and I returned from Texas, Robert and Kayla left on a mission trip back to the Dominican Republic with our church. Kayla began showing interest in the trip months ago, and because she felt that the Lord was nudging her to go, she did!

About half of the 23-member team as they left from the church two weeks ago.
The whole group outside of the community in which they served ~ Las Malvinas.
The trip included a community clean-up, planting trees, English classes for kids, Vacation Bible School type stories and activities, too, and jewelry-making for the women of the community. It was a challenging trip for all as far as the intensity of the schedule, the living conditions, the lack of sleep, and food concerns, but Kayla really loved it.  She knew she would be stretched, which is part of why she knew she was supposed to go ~ to confront some of her greatest fears. She was stretched and she did grow. One of her challenges was cutting herself pretty badly on a piece of sheet metal.  She probably should have had stitches, but the two medical professionals in the group ~ Hayley and Izckra got her cleaned, bandaged, and butterflied, and her cut is looking better and better. The hardest part was keeping it from getting wet at all by the contaminated water which not even the locals drink.
She loved all of the kids and they loved her AND her hair!  She was greatly impacted
by the poverty and family situations.

Kayla and Robert in the Colonial District of Santo Domingo
on their last night in the country!

They arrived home on Friday morning, and have been catching up on sleep and home-cooked meals ever since.

She slept about three hours after getting home and eating breakfast on Friday morning.
The red-eye flight did her in!

And now we’re all home together and the days are full of job-hunting for the poor college student, lots of lawn-mowing jobs for the middle child, Memorial Day cookouts, spring cleaning, weddings, birthdays, dinners on the grill, and catching up on everyone’s scattered adventures.  I know this summer is going to FLY by like they always do, so I’m hoping to enjoy the moments of togetherness more than ever, because in no time at all we’ll all probably be scattered more permanently.  Only four more years of high school schooling in this house, and by then we’ll have a college graduate.  This nest could potentially be completely empty in under 8 years and that is a weird, but exciting thought, because I love watching the adventures the Lord has us on together and individually scattered, but it’s wonderful to have everyone home for now.

I watched the first of my friends and peers dance with her son at his wedding on Sunday afternoon. It really hit home. The time is short, but so good.

Thanks for reading. I really hope to be here more often this summer and in the year to come. Lots of reading and learning and growing and changing going on here in my heart and mind and I can’t wait to share.  I hope you are well and that your summer is off to a wonderful beginning!
With much love from the very inconsistent blogger ~ Melanie