Christian's father and sister, Bethany, came to visit with their friend, Jared. We love having company! The kids really enjoy getting to know their extended family. They came the weekend that Harry Potter came out, so we spent a lot of time reading side by side, then trying to talk about the book without spoiling it for those who hadn't read it yet. Daddy helped Christian fix some cracks in our ceiling and walls, prepping for painting later. We spent an afternoon at the Biltmore Estate, which is the largest privately owned home in the U.S. It was built in the 1890's by a member of the Vanderbilt family, and I've wanted to see it since I found out about it in high school. The home is amazing-- I could have spent much more time there, but it isn't exactly a kid-friendly place, and it started raining before we could see the gardens. I kept telling Hannah to pretend she was a princess in a castle, but she wasn't interested. Actually, Rachel and Nathan enjoyed themselves, as long as they could set the pace. They following day we had a nice kabob-BBQ with several types of meat (Christian and Daddy share a hobby for cooking and eating), and Bethany went to see Hannah in swim class. That evening we went to the city park, where there is a restored carousel and tiny train, and then the kids and Bethany played on the park. Hannah loved having Bethany to play with, and I really enjoyed seeing Rachel and Nathan warm up to Daddy.
Hannah finished up her swim class this week and is much more comfortable and independent in the water. Christian and I stay busy with our church callings and Nathan is learning to talk much more clearly. Rachel is happy and active, but her implant is giving us some troubles. It looks like the magnet in her implant has popped out of place, meaning another surgery as soon as possible. We are taking her to a hospital nearly 4 hours away, where the doctors are more experienced and we think she will get better care. This means that she will be without her implant for almost a month or so, depending on how the surgery goes. We'll keep you updated. For now, she is happy but she does want to listen again and while she is patient with the doctors, it is clear that she doesn't enjoy her visits with them. Fortunately this time, as opposed to last September, Rachel can communicate better and uses her words to narrate her experience and we can explain better what is happening and why. Please keep her in your prayers.
Hard to believe that summer is almost over!
Christian is preparing to take the GMAT again. He scored well on the language and quantitative portions, but didn't do as well with the analytical writing. We're pretty sure he needs a strong score to overcome his dubious academic record (Christian's words). We'll be applying to MBA programs this fall. Christian wants to attend Dartmouth, MIT or Harvard. Dartmouth is appealing because it offers a joint MBA/MA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies; MIT has a joint MBA/MS in Engineering, and Harvard is the premier program. If we don't get into any of those, we'll likely attend a part-time program and have work pay for it.