Yes, that’s us.
We have loved our time here in the States so far, but it has definitely added some weight to our family – to our guts and our suitcases!
(you can’t really tell…but we had a TON of luggage – mostly all in those lg. army duffle bags, and then there were more that we carried on with us)
We arrived in Houston, TX on April 24th, and we were greeted by the wonderful Danny and Susan Clancy, our teammate Mark’s parents. They picked us up from the airport, and by the time we had arrived at their home, we were also able to see Justin’s mom, Teri, and his sister, Allie. Cailyn was a bit unsure at first, but as soon as she realized the Clancy folks were related to her beloved Mark, she loved them. Allie and Teri were so sweet to have brought some adorable gifts for Cailyn, and Cailyn immediately loved on Allie and enjoyed every minute of her play time. We were only there at the Clancy’s house from dinner time that day (and Mrs. Clancy made us the BEST homecoming meal ever – our first few lbs.!) until we left the next morning for Shelbyville, TN at 6 a.m.
After a short flight to TN, we were met at the airport by Russ and Marissa Countess. Russ and Natalie C. graciously opened their home to us while we were in TN for 10 nights! I know they were soon reminded of how crazy life can be with an almost 2 year old, but they were incredibly patient and so helpful. Marissa, Grant, and Seth, the Countess kids, were the perfect 3 playmates/babysitters for Cailyn while we were there. They did so much for Cailyn, and she LOVED every minute of it. We all just laughed at the way she would yell their names across the house in anticipation of seeing them in the mornings or in an attempt to get their undivided attention. They are 3 very special kids in our lives!
Cailyn and Grant enjoying some VERY BLUE ring pops…
Cailyn and Marissa just being sweet…
Cailyn and Seth playing ball…
While we were in TN, we were literally LOADED with love. We hit the ground running by enjoying dinner with 3 very special families the first night we were there. After that, our schedule did not get any less busy. Every day we were there, we had at least one meal, and sometimes 2, with a different group/family of people! We could not have been fed any better, and yet our bodies were probably yelling at us the entire time since we were eating so many things we had not had in at least 8 months! Not a single meal came without dessert, and many of them were accompanied by CHOICES of dessert. Yes, we are definitely a few pounds heavier…and that is NOT just because I am pregnant. Nearly everyone we met with had some sort of gift for Cailyn. We left TN with new toys, an adorable monogrammed bib for Cailyn, gifts for our coming baby, and the body weight from treats we had eaten upon receiving. We had to borrow a small duffle bag from the Countess family when we left in order to get everything on the plane. Literally…we left with more weight.
Here are a few pictures of some of the sweet people we got to visit with, and if you want to see a post Justin wrote about our time in TN, check out our team website for a few other pictures.
This is sweet Mr. McGill pulling Cailyn on a tricycle they had at their house. She ate this up! He and his wife could not be any more kind. They took us out to breakfast one morning at Cracker Barrel, and afterward, they took us back to their home to enjoy the beautiful morning on their land and to play some Wii…yes, they are both 80 and over, and they have a Wii! We loved it!
This is their backyard…beautiful. Their garden is amazing!
This is the dear Bobo family (minus their son Jason). Cailyn loves all of them! Michelle (red shirt) could not be better with kids, Suzanne, the mom, teaches a 2 yr. old class, so she knows all about Cailyn’s age, and Richard (“Bobo” to many kids at church) just won Cailyn’s heart. Cailyn quickly picked up on the fact that all she had to do was yell, “BOOOHHHBOOOHHH”, and Richard was right there…oh, and I promise her hair looked better when we arrived at church…this was how she looked post potluck lunch…
Ok, so I first want to apologize to Jennifer Giesemann, because her eyes are totally closed in this next picture. I know that if I were her, I would probably not like me for even posting it. BUT…this is the ONLY picture I have of myself with her and her mom, Patti. So, I just had to share it. These 2 ladies are so very special to me. They are the wife and one of the daughters of the preacher, Geoff, and their family lived in Venezuela for several years as missionaries. As you all can imagine, their family has been a jewel to us as we have made a home at Fairlane CofC. Jennifer always has an encouraging word for me, she is always so sweet with Cailyn, and seeing her and how successful she has been gives me hope for what Cailyn and any of our future children might be like when we return to the States after living in a foreign country for some years. A word, also, about Patti, but first…the picture…
Patti learned that she had breast cancer while we were in CR. She has recently finished her last round of chemo, and she will be starting radiation (all as a preventative measure) here very soon. We were not even sure if we would get to see her, because she had her last round of chemo just before we got to TN and her immune system was still in need of some distance from groups of people. Anyway, one of our days was scheduled for me and Justin to spend several hours with Geoff, her husband, and Juan, the Hispanic preacher. I think the plan had also been for their wives to be there depending on how Patti was doing. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be there, but she did meet us for lunch for about 40 minutes in the middle of our day. I told Justin at the end of our day with these two men that I had enjoyed my day, but that my 40 minutes with Patti was what had made the day worth it. I felt like in that 40 minutes she listened to me as I recounted all the ways Cailyn had misbehaved in the days since we arrived in the States and how I felt a bit overwhelmed by some different things, and she completely knew what I was talking about. Her past experiences made her the best person I could talk with in those 40 minutes! I knew she had listened, she understood the situation, and she was able to encourage me to keep plugging away. Although nothing profound was said in those 40 minutes, I was incredibly blessed to have had that time with her, and just knowing that she was a safe place to “unload” some feelings made my time with her priceless. Thank you, God, for Patti and the energy you gave her to spend those precious 40 minutes with me.
———HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY, CAILYN!———-
We celebrated Cailyn’s 2nd Birthday about a month early so that we could enjoy the company of lots of family and friends. She had a great time, and we loved getting to see all of our friends here in Abilene. Her cake was a mermaid…we didn’t really get any good overhead shots of it, but my mom and I made it…it turned out pretty good I thought, and it was fun.
We have had a great time with my parents. They have been so wonderful with Cailyn, and we have enjoyed the relaxing time there has been since coming to Abilene. In addition to my parents, we got to spend a few days with my sister, Hannah, and her boyfriend, Jason. They drove down from OK, and it was wonderful to see them. Here is a cute picture of them just before they were headed to ACU graduation.
We will be here until the 19th, and then we head to College Station to see Teri, Andy, Allie, and friends. BUT…before all of that, we still had other family to visit. Justin’s dad, Luke, and his wife, Shannon, flew into Austin, TX to visit us and Justin’s brother, Preston. They arrived this past Monday, and they will be in Austin until this coming Sunday. We were privileged to be able to drive down there to spend 3 nights with them at their hotel, and we had a wonderful time. They treated us to some amazing meals at restaurants we don’t have in these other cities we’ve been, and we also got some great shopping time in! They ALWAYS pamper us with gifts, and they are forever generous. Cailyn just loved her Grandpa (which she quickly translated to “mampa”), and she was constantly seeking Shannon’s attention. We had 2 wonderful tour guides, Preston and his girlfriend Reagan. They live there and attend school, so we were on their turf. That is how we knew about so many great places to eat and shop. We all had a wonderful time. Here are some shots from our time with them.
Everyone waiting for our table to come open at the Hula Hut for lunch.
Cool Uncle Preston
Wednesday night we went out to see the bats all come out for the night…it was pretty cool.
Cailyn with G-pa Luke and G-ma Shannon
Once again, we drove back to Abilene on Thursday with way more in our car than what we got to Austin with. AAHH…what are we going to do? Oh, don’t worry. We went and bought 2 new LG. duffle bags (those long military kind) today. We will probably have to either pay to take another bag with us, or we will be leaving those bags for my parents to bring in August when they come for the baby’s birth. There’s no escaping it. We have more weight.
Well, we have just a few more days in Abilene, and then our time in CS will close out our time here in the States. We are excited to get to Peru, and we are very excited to see our teammates, the Davidsons. Through their help, we have nailed down the details of an apartment that we will plan to live in for the first month while we are in Peru. It is furnished, and we will stay there while we begin to look for a more permanent set up. If you think of us, we would love prayers that God will prepare the way for us by making something available that He knows will fit our needs as far as housing goes.
Sorry for such a long post. I have been fairly absent on our blog lately, and I hope to not stay that way. Things have just been busy and pretty on-the-go since we left CR. On a final note, I did see our Dr. here in Abilene (Dr. Tadvick, who delivered Cailyn) this past Thursday, and he says everything looks great with the baby. We are thinking that our due date might be closer to August 19th now, which is just about a week earlier, but we will just have to wait and see. I am about 25 weeks now…I think. My mental calendar has been so messed us since leaving CR, and I honestly feel like time has almost stood still as we have spent time here with family and friends. The other day I thought I was a certain amount of weeks along, and I looked and it was like 2 weeks off. I have to get it together. Oh well. Hopefully things will straighten out again in a few weeks. Either way, we’re excited for this baby!
Just because I know many of you that read this believe in the power of prayer…here are a few prayer requests we have in the spirit of being vulnerable and open about our needs:
- That our family and the 3 of us will feel comforted despite any of the difficult emotional feelings that seeing one another for such a short time brings
- That our 6 hour flight to Lima (which might seem like nothing, except that we have a 2 year old) goes smoothly, without time or plane issues
- That the baby continues to kick often in order that we continue to physically know it is growing
- That Justin and I have patience with our sweet Cailyn as she continues to have so many new things come her way.
- Praises: That our teammates, the Davidsons, will be in Lima to greet us and make our transition easier
- Praises: That we have been abundantly blessed with people from TN, ND, and TX who have showered us with Love in our time here.
Thanks for reading, and most importantly…Praying for us!