Ok, so I realize I haven’t given any sort of update since Father’s Day, and it feels in some ways that Father’s Day was like FOREVER ago and in other ways like it was just last week. Life for us has been sort of busy, and I can almost get worried just sitting here typing about how it will only be just as busy if not more in the next month or so. But I won’t. Here is what we’ve been up to…
Cailyn knows what suitcases are for all too well.
On June 20th, Cailyn and I flew from Nashville to Dallas, TX so that I could be a part of Tara (then Powell) Branch’s wedding shower. My mom met me in Dallas when we arrived in order to pick Cailyn up and take her to College Station to spend time with them while I was in Dallas celebrating with Tara. So, Cailyn spent 2 nights with my parents and 2 nights at Justin’s mom’s house, and then Teri (Nana) and Auntie Allie drove Cailyn back to Dallas to meet up with me and Justin at DFW Airport. Justin flew from Nashville to Dallas on Tuesday the 24th so that the 3 of us could then fly on to North Dakota. Confusing, I know. Justin’s brother, Preston, also flew with us to North Dakota, because we were meeting their entire family (their dad’s side) for a celebration of 60 years of marriage between their grandparents. Cailyn has become some what of a pro at flying. She has her moments, but here she is totally enjoying the freedom of the airport as we waited for our flight.
Our flight arrived actually in Minneapolis on Tuesday night around 9pm, and we met up with Justin’s dad and step mom there so we could spend a couple of days hanging out at the Mall of America. That was fun. Cailyn did well, and we got in some great shopping. Cailyn got a new outfit the first day we were at the mall solely due to the fact that I made a disgusting mistake. That morning, we were giving her a bath, and she (for the first time ever) pooped in the tub. Anyway, gross, I know. Justin got the treat of cleaning that up while I took her out and ended the bath early. As I was drying her off, I remembered that we had not packed diapers in order to save space. We had just enough to last our trip there, and I had planned on buying a small package to use while we were in ND. For some reason, I totally forgot that we would first be at a hotel in MN, probably not in an easy position to just go out and buy diapers. So, not only had she pooped in the tub, but I didn’t have a new diaper to put on her for the day. In my hurry to figure something out, I realized I had packed a couple of swim diapers. “I’ll just put that on her for now,” I thought. “Then, when we buy diapers, I will change her.” Well, we bought diapers, but just enough time had passed by that time that I totally forgot to put her in a real diaper once we got them. Well, we shopped, she napped in her stroller, and then we all met up again for lunch. We ate at this great place, enjoyed ourselves, and then were ready to shop a bit more. I told Justin I was going to take Cailyn to change her, and they could meet me right outside the bathrooms after they paid. When I went to pick her up, her pants were wet. “Why is she wet? Oh, she must have spilled some water in her lap when she was drinking. No. She drank from her sippy cup. Hmm. OH goodness. Oh no. She totally went so much it soaked that entire swim diaper AND her pants. SICK. ‘Justin, I’m gonna need to buy her some new clothes. Sorry. I forgot to change her when we got the new diapers. Good thing she pooped in the tub, huh.'” That’s exactly how my thoughts and comments to Justin went. So, I had to strip her in the bathroom, wash out her pants, and walk out of the restroom with a child that had nothing but a tank top and diaper on. I immediately felt like people saw me and were thinking, “geez, her kid isn’t even fully dressed.” Needless to say, Cailyn got a new, cute outfit at Old Navy, and she got to change clothes on the counter by the cash registers. Fun times. No pictures, sorry.
After 2 nights in MN, we drove 5 hours back to Grand Forks, ND, where Luke and Shannon live. Cailyn did fantastic in the car. Thank God. We had so much luggage with us that she was literally cramped in the back with it while Justin, myself, and Preston sat in the middle seat. Not much I could’ve done had she gone wild on the way home. When we got to Grand Forks, Cailyn immediately got so excited about the 2 cats and small little dog that her grandparents have. Unfortunately, none of them were as excited as she was about the 4 of them being in one house. The dog, Harriet (I really don’t even know if that’s how you spell her name) took almost our entire trip to warm up to Cailyn, but by the end, she would walk up to her if an adult was holding Cailyn. That’s progress I guess. The cats were a bit better, and mainly one in particular, Benny. Benny actually let Cailyn sit and pet him for a while, but Cailyn would get so excited about it, Ben decided other times that he was ok staying out of her way. It was a battle the entire time we were there trying to help Cailyn understand not to keep chasing the pets. She would literally crawl up to them and pucker up and sort of whine/cry when they would jet away. Funny stuff really. Here she is with Benny.
On the 29th, we got to visit with tons of family. We went to Park River, ND for a reunion/celebration with one side of the family, but we were blessed to also get to see Justin’s mom’s family as well. Both of his grandmothers live in Park River. It just so happened that Justin’s uncle’s family was also there visiting from Washington, so that was a treat to see them as well. We ate lunch with them and relaxed. Justin’s step dad, Andy’s, parents, Warren and Iva Wenzel, also live just 45 minutes from there, so they drove to see us during the day as well. We had a wonderful time. Here are some pictures from our visit.
Great Grandpa Warren, Great Grandma Iva, and Cailyn:
Preston and Grandma Marie Bakke:
This is everyone we saw minus an aunt and cousin of Justin’s who had gone already on the Bakke side…just a hodge podge group since none of them are with their full immediate families:
Cailyn and Great Grandma Marie:
Cailyn loved our visit…
We got to see everyone (I think about 40 people) on Justin’s dad’s side of the family just after that. They all come together every 5 years like this for a new family picture and big celebration for their grandparents. So, this was the first time Cailyn and I have ever been in the picture. There were actually several new family members this time. I’m not sure there was one picture that really got everyone looking their best, but there were some pretty good shots. All of the guys and kids played baseball in the front yard after dinner. We had a great time sitting and visiting with family. It was good to be able to see them all once again before we leave for Costa Rica. Here are some pictures from that day. It was a gorgeous day by the way!
Cailyn and Grandpa Luke playing games:
Riding in the golf cart is a must out at the farm:
Baseball in action:
Cute, little Jack:
The rest of our visit to ND was spent in Grand Forks. We had a great time. Here are a couple of pictures from that.
Cailyn playing Bocce Ball…so fun:
Cailyn and Grandpa Luke:
We left early on Wednesday morning from ND to fly back to Dallas, and when we got there, we had the pleasure of staying the night with Larry and Vicki McWilliams, Tara Davidson’s parents. They actually ended up having us and Mark Clancy that night, because all of us were there in Dallas awaiting the arrival of our new team member, Derek Steven Yoakum! Well, at the time all we knew was that we were waiting for a little boy, we didn’t know the name yet. Anyway, Justin and I figured that if we were going to be in Dallas anyway on our way to College Station, we might as well spend the night and be there the next day for Derek’s birth. It was such a blessing that we did! We waited a while in the waiting room while Stacy was in surgery, so Jakob (Derek’s big brother) and Cailyn got to play. They had fun. Jake was so sweet, and we can totally tell he will be a great big brother. We don’t actually have pictures ourselves, but if you click here, you can check out their site and see all sorts of pictures…DO IT! They have some good ones!
Then, Thursday, July 3rd, we rented a car and drove to College Station in order to celebrate the wedding of Tara Powell and Drew Branch…now Drew and Tara Branch…so crazy! Cailyn and I were both in the wedding. I had the privilege of serving Tara as her Matron of Honor, and Cailyn was her flower girl. We had a fantastic time. The rehearsal was on the 4th of July, so we got to spend our holiday celebrating with their families.
Cailyn rode in a wagon down the aisle since she couldn’t walk. She LOVED it, and Cole, Tara’s cousin, did a great job pulling her. She waved like Miss America the night of the rehearsal…she was a hit!
(don’t worry, her wipee case wasn’t part of the real thing!)
Cole pulling her (I know it’s fuzzy, but you can sort of see “the wave”):
The Happy Couple:
Drew and Tara were sweet and gave Cailyn a new baby doll as a thank-you for being in the wedding…she pretty much thinks that doll hung the moon!
So, it was all very fun and exciting, but we can all 3 say now that we are so glad to be back home again in our own beds. We finally flew back home from Houston to Nashville on July 8th. Yes, folks, Cailyn flew a total of 4 times and rode in the car for about 20 hours in a total of 3 weeks. AAAHHH! She is just preparing herself for a lot of traveling in the future.
I wish I could say things will be slowing down, but oh no. The minute we got back, we began working on an event we are putting together for our church here in TN. We are going to try and set up the gym at the church to look like a Peruvian Market. We have been helped TREMENDOUSLY by a team of missionaries here in TN that are also going to Peru this August. They have let us borrow tons of supplies and art projects that they used when they did this same thing at their church. They have been our inspiration…we are sort of stealing their idea with their permission I guess. So, we are continuing this week to work on that (painting, buying supplies, getting volunteers to make food, etc) so that it will be ready to happen on July 20th. We have until Wednesday this next week to finish, because MANY OF OUR TEAMMATES ARE VISITING US THIS NEXT WEEKEND!!! We are so excited. The Fletchers, Mark, and John Mark are all coming to visit us and our church here. They will get to be a part of the July 20th event, so it should be fun!
Then, I will be here another week before I fly alone to College Station in order to be there for another friend, Rachel Hudgens’, wedding on July 27th. Justin and Cailyn will stay behind, because Justin will be driving to Abilene from here on July 27th in order to meet the guys on our team to pack our shipping container with everything our team is sending to Peru. Man, this is all insane as I think about it. Cailyn will be spending the night with the sweetest family on the night of the 27th until I fly back on the 28th. Justin will probably be in Abilene for just a few days and then head back. Please, please pray for our family and the rest of our team. We are all now in crunch time mode as we think about what all we need to send to Abilene to be packed and what we need to pack for Costa Rica. I feel as if there are several little things that I wanted to get done this summer before we left, and I am realizing that some of them will just have to wait. Life is not over…I’m just moving. So, it might be that things like my magazine organizing project and Cailyn’s scrapbook get finished in Peru. They will have to be put on hold for 9 months while we are in language school, and I am learning slowly to be ok with that.
Once the weekend of the 27th is over, we will be here in TN for just 2 more Sundays. I am actually sad. It was hard to imagine getting so close with families here in TN so fast, but I will definitely miss them when we leave. On the other hand, I am excited. This just means, Costa Rica is around the corner! We have recently secured a rent house there thanks to our “Big Brother” we were set up with through the school. We are also excited, because the Fletchers will be living in a rent house just next to ours. Should be some fun times.
Ok, this is officially turning into a journal entry type post. Sorry if I bored anyone. I just kept thinking of things I wanted to tell all of you who check in with us here. Thanks for your prayers!