A more elaborate answer might go something like this:
Well, the house - the four room house - is in absolute disarray and chaos and I can't seem to make any palpable progress because of priorities like groceries and diaper changes and locating underwear for four people amidst mountains of stuff. All three kids have been crying and/or awake every single night until 2 am (or just beyond) and Richard and I are averaging about five or six hours of sleep daily.
around midnight, first night in our own house
Maria, who already lives at a level of existence intensely elevated from most of humankind, is now absolutely overwrought with stimulation and is having mood swings akin to a very hyperactively ecstatic Dr Jekyll and a horribly angry, mean and tearful Mr Hyde.
Bernadette is crying all night begging me to sleep with her, eating barely enough to keep a hummingbird alive, vomiting dry heaves - and "hating" everything in America ("hate" - being a word Bernadette may have used three times in her life prior to landing in America - has now become a word she uses at least five times hourly.) Before she even laid eyes on our house, I told her that we were going to drive over to see it and she informed me, "I hate our house." It's been like that.
Joseph is also crying all night - responsibly filling in for Bernadette during the hours she falls silent - and seems to be stuck on New Zealand time for sleeping and waking.
please don't let these happy faces fool you for a moment
We still have not found a good minivan to buy. Up until today we have been living the Amish dream, totally technologically cut off from the world, without internet or phone. We've been mooching a car and our meals off of Rich's parents. I could go on, but I think the picture emerges fairly clearly and that the reader will understand why Richard and I keep giving each other looks that say, "In five minutes, I may just give up entirely."
"I hate that and that and that"
The travel was actually easier than these first days have been. Fr. Michael drove us to Auckland and there was none of the usual drama associated with taking three small children on a fairly long drive. We arrived with the perfect amount of time to check-in, check our five allotted bags, plus the one that was going to cost $115 to check except that the lady decided not to charge us. Then with our stroller and six carry-ons (some of which nearly doubled the allotted 7 kg weight maximum) we said a sad goodbye to Fr. Michael, ate a leisurely dinner, passed through "security" without a hitch (including the random selection of only our two lightest carry-ons for a weight check). Within an hour we boarded, took off and got started on the eleven-plus hour flight. Everyone was happy. The girls watched Up (but refused to wear headphones and hear the movie as well). A meal came, which neither ate - the first of many, many meals that Bernadette would not eat - she has not really eaten a normal meal since we had lunch in Mt Maunganui the day we left). Then they slept - all three of them. For about three hours. Maybe less.
the calm before the storm
Joseph woke up first and began screaming. I mean, the kid was screaming. The whole plane had been asleep and he woke everyone up. Including, of course, his sisters. Nothing would calm him - not even the man behind him angrily taking the Lord's name in vain. He screamed on and on and on - for hours. It was hideous. He finally settled and slept shortly before we began our descent, but the rest of us landed at LAX exhausted. By the time we checked into our hotel I'd been awake for 30 straight hours. The girls were doing really well, despite their lack of rest, until dinnertime. They happily went to the pool with my mother and splashed merrily for over an hour. But neither one ate a bite of dinner and finally I had to remove them, crying, from the hotel restaurant. We bathed them and put them to bed, expecting to get some serious sleep, but all three simultaneously awoke at midnight. There was no coaxing or commanding them to sleep. Lights, crayons, pretzels, grape juice, ESPN, coloring books....at 2 am they were ready to give that whole sleep thing another go. And except for the first night home, when they slept the whole night through and had to be woken for lunch at 11:30 am, they have repeated this pattern every night since. Usually with more crying and sometimes with vomit.
partying at midnight in LA
Richard has a couple of interviews coming up over the next two weeks. I honestly don't know how he is going to pull it off. If I had to interview for a job this week, they'd probably take one look at me and make me take a drug test before the interview even began. Once I started talking they'd probably make me take another. But all will be well. Somehow. Please pray for us!