Our Turks and Caicos House

We thought it would be fun to show you our house! We get so many questions about what our house looks like we wanted to do kind of a “home tour” for everyone. We so wish we could give you a tour in person but a slightly goofy video is the next best thing right? We also included pictures for those of you who can’t (or don’t want to) watch a video. Of course, the video shows a lot more than what the pictures can.

Some things to know, we started the video in the car because we wanted you to see what our neighborhood kind of looks like… and it’s hot so you can definitely hear the AC blowing full blast!

Also, we are a little cramped but when we get an office and move all of our CEF stuff into it, we will have more room for storage.

The house is not super clean and it’s not quite where we want it yet. We still have some organization and decoration to do!

And, I think I sound silly but oh well!

Enjoy the cameos from Maddy and Riley-Grace!

 


Here are the pictures…

DSC_0445Our Living Room – and the TV came with the house 😉

DSC_0447The kitchen and dining area

DSC_0449Kitchen

DSC_0450Our bathroom with double sinks!!

DSC_0451Our bedroom with mismatched pillows and Riley-Grace’s changing mat on our bed!

DSC_0452Another view of our room

DSC_0454Maddy’s room… she made her bed by herself. Can you tell? 🙂

DSC_0455Another view of her room. Eventually the girls will share it.

DSC_0457The girls’ bathroom

That’s it!

 I hope you enjoyed our home tour!

 

So Much to Celebrate!

The last month has been a blur but we are celebrating two wonderful things the Lord has done! First, and the most important, is that Riley-Grace was born June 4th at 4:16pm! She weighed a whopping 9 lbs 7oz and was 20 inches long!

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The Story

Nothing “too exciting” but for those of you who wanted to know what happened, here you go.

It was a Wednesday morning and we dropped Maddy off at VBS and headed straight for my regular 38 week appointment. The week before I was only at 1cm so we weren’t really expecting much. I had been having contractions on and off for a couple of weeks but did feel like something was different that morning. Although they still weren’t too painful or regular enough for me to even bother timing them. However, my doctor checked me and let us know I was at 4cm and was in labor! Unfortunately, Riley-Grace, just like her big sister, was still way high. In fact, despite my water breaking with Maddy (at 4cm too), laboring for 16 hours and pushing for over 2 hours, she NEVER did drop and I ended up needing a c-section. It seemed as if history was repeating itself so we all decided to go ahead with the c-section. Plus, we knew on top of everything else, Riley-Grace was not going to be a small baby! So my doctor suggested we move up the c-section date (which was scheduled for the following Monday). Sean assumed he meant Friday… but he suggested 4:00 that afternoon! I was ALL ABOUT having a baby that day… Sean was fairly shocked to say the least!

So we called Sean’s mom, went to Target for a few last minute things (Sean was so nervous my water would break in the store), picked up Maddy from VBS and went to the house to wait until time.

At 2:00 we headed to the hospital to register and get ready for my surgery. Riley-Grace was going crazy in the womb… the poor girl had no idea her world was about to be rocked! The surgery went great… aside from be very nauseous and needing four bags of anti-nausea medicine. Riley-Grace had barely made it out of my belly and she started SCREAMING. It made the whole room laugh… her lungs were working just fine and she had no problem letting us know how angry she was at disturbing her!

She beat her sister by 3oz! (Maddy was 9lbs 4oz). She was and still is very healthy.

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I stayed in the hospital until Saturday… c-sections are no cake walk that’s for sure. But overall I have recovered much faster this time, than with Maddy.

At Home

Fuzzy. A Blur. Sleep Deprived. That pretty much sums up the last few weeks! Riley-Grace is nursing well but has issues with Reflux… which the doctor gave her some medicine for. She is a much more “alert” newborn than her big sister who literally slept all the time. So, it’s taking some getting used to for Sean and I but we are hanging in there. One day we will sleep at night again and then we will miss these days! In fact, it’s going by so fast. She will be a month old this week! I feel like I’ll blink and she will be Maddy’s age! We are all so in love with her and are trying to soak up as much of her sweetness as possible. Maddy is a very proud big sister too! She is a great helper and just adores Riley-Grace!

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Sometimes I stare at her and can’t believe after wanting her for nearly four years, she is finally here! I am so grateful to the Lord for blessing our family with her!

Other Exciting News!

We are also celebrating all of our one-time support being raised!!!! As of Saturday our match was made complete! Just in time, because it expired on Monday! All we need to raise now is our additional monthly support. It’s so awesome to know all of our moving expenses, visa costs, plane tickets, etc have been covered! All of it! Wow. Hopefully we will be at 100% of our support in time to move to Turks and Caicos in August. We are very eager to get there and start working. And now with all of our one-time support taken care of we are that much closer to going.

Thank you so much for praying for our new daughter, her birth and first weeks at home… and thank you for praying and giving toward us going to Turks and Caicos! We feel so blessed in SO many ways!

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March and April Travels and Where We are Now

We are still around even though the last time we updated here was March! On one hand we are SO very busy but on the other hand how many blog updates can we write about meeting with people? And meeting with people has been the bulk of our time. Now that we are finally in Montgomery, we are meeting with supporters, friends and churches like crazy before this baby gets here!

But here is a little of what’s happened in the last six weeks…

We left Texas mid-March to spend two weeks with Sean’s family in Spanish Fort, AL. We had a lot of fun with family, getting together with friends, speaking at church and meeting with some of our supporters.

At the beginning of April we drove to CEF Headquarters in Missouri for a week-long missionary refresher. On the way up we stopped in Indianapolis to see our friends Luke, Taylor and his wife Marissa. Luke lived in St. Kitts for over a year as a missionary while Taylor and Marissa have been to St. Kitts several times on mission trips. We spent the night with Luke’s parents and had lunch with Luke and Taylor the next day. It was so nice to see them again! We hadn’t seen Luke since March 2013!

Indiana

Our week at CEF Headquarters was great! We knew we would be busy meeting with people and being in classes all day so we left Maddy with Sean’s mom. Even though we had a lot to do, we still had time to relax. We even got to take a tour of St. Louis!

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On our way back to Spanish Fort we stopped for the evening in Louisville, KY for a mini “baby-moon”. Sean got a great deal at The Brown Hotel (very swanky and historical) and we had dinner there… Sean ate the famous Hot Brown… which as very delicious. It’s famous throughout Kentucky but it was originally created at The Brown Hotel! The next day we drove to Tennessee to stay the night with our friends the Johnsons. Jason and Jennifer (and their son Elijah) are really from Alabama but lived St. Kitts for several years before moving to Tennessee. We hadn’t seen them since they left St. Kitts in October 2012! We missed them dearly so we were very thankful we could spend some time with them again.

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Just before getting back to Spanish Fort, we stopped for the night in Montgomery. I had a doctor’s appointment and we attended the local banquet for CEF of Central Alabama. Sean opened the event in prayer and we were able to see SO MANY people! The ministry in the Montgomery area continues to grow… it’s so amazing for us to watch it happen!

Once we got back to Spanish Fort (and reunited with Maddy, we missed her terribly) we stayed another 10 days… only leaving once to go back to Montgomery for a few hours for Riley-Grace’s 4D ultrasound. These are always so fun because you get to “see” what the baby looks like… and we think she looks like Maddy as a baby!

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On April 17th we arrived in Montgomery where we will be until mid-July. We are staying in a church’s mission house and we couldn’t be more grateful. It’s the first time since we came back to the States that it’s been just us… and we are no longer living out of our suitcases! We can actually put our clothes away in the closet and dresser! Who knew?!

Since then we’ve been attempting to have a more “normal” life, although I would hardly call things normal. Like I said, our schedule is pretty chock full with meetings… supporters, churches, Sunday School classes, friends, acquaintances, etc. Between meetings, spending time with friends, Sean’s college classes and simply trying to do fun things with Maddy, “busy” is sometimes and understatement.

But time is ticking. I am 34 weeks pregnant and once Riley-Grace is here, we will NOT be as busy… just trying to survive those newborn days haha!

However, last week we did get to go on a vacation. A wonderful family let us use their lake house outside of Birmingham for the week! Let me tell you… we did ABSOLUTELY nothing. It was the most relaxing vacation we have ever had. We spent our days playing board games and cards, fishing, cooking and reading. We only left to get bait and once to watch Rio 2. Maddy is very much a girly-girl so we were surprised that she took to fishing so well. She would even pull crickets out of the bucket! She actually caught a fish on her first outing!

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As for Riley-Grace…

She is still growing, moving and getting ready to make her appearance soon! In the last couple of weeks I started having some Braxton Hicks contractions that are only growing more intense and coming around more often. These will probably continue until they turn into true labor contractions… which could happen even in just a couple of weeks! We also learned from my doctor that if I haven’t had this baby by 39 weeks then we will likely schedule a c-section then (I had to have one with Maddy) and that is in just one month! It’s hard sometimes to wrap my mind around having another sweet girl in the house… and for her to be here in just a few weeks! We would definitely appreciate your prayers as we near the “home stretch”.

We would also ask you to pray for our support. The month of May is a very critical month and it is our hope to have the majority of our support raised by the time Riley-Grace gets here.

We have more meetings, more plans, and more things to do in May… but perhaps the next blog update will be about our little Riley!

A Sad Change of Plans Plus Our Trips to Seattle and Dallas

Well, it has been a very crazy couple of weeks for our family…

On February 23rd we flew from Houston to Colorado Springs, CO for a one-week missionary debriefing/training. We were all very excited to go… Maddy was especially eager to play in the snow. Unfortunately, not even two hours after arriving I received a phone call from my mom letting me know my grandmother (Mamaw) had died unexpectedly. Sean immediately began making arrangements to get us back to Texas as quickly as possible. We were up at 4am the next morning on our way to the airport.

Maddy and a SnowmanMaddy did at least get to build a snowman!

I cannot express how hard it has been for our family. I was very close with my Mamaw for my entire life. I grew up living in the same small town as my grandparents and have MANY fond memories of time at their home. Even now, three weeks later, it still seems surreal that she is gone.

My family (specifically my grandpa) asked Sean to officiate the funeral service… it was very tough for him but he did a wonderful job. I know my family is very appreciative of him. And if he didn’t feel accepted before, he should now!

We all miss my Mamaw dearly. I want to say “thank you” to all of the people who prayed (and continue to pray) for us during this time, and for those who took time to send cards, emails and messages. We are extremely grateful to have so many people love on us.

Mamaw and Papaw with MaddyMy Papaw and Mamaw at Maddy’s 1st Birthday in Texas – 2009

Unfortunately we were not able to do the training in Colorado and we are now on a waiting list for possible cancellations. All of that is “up in the air” because after mid-April I will not be able to travel anymore.

Seattle

On February 28th we continued on with our travel plans and flew to Seattle, WA. It was the first time either of us had been to the Pacific Northwest! We had such a great time hanging out with our friends from ECC (Evangelical Chinese Church). They have sent teams to St. Kitts for two years in a row and it was finally our turn to visit them and meet people at the church. Sean shared at a youth group, preached in the main service on Sunday and we both shared at their Sunday School time. The church members are some of the friendliest people we have ever met!

And the food? They treated us to ALL KINDS of Asian food over our time there. Taiwanese, Korean, Chinese, Japanese… it was all so delicious! I think they have ruined Asian food for us now… nothing will taste the same after having the authentic stuff.

Hot PotHot Pot

Baby Octopus Hot PotBaby Octopus

We had a chance to check out some of the sights!

1899898_10152287496603665_1706924991_nThe Space Needle

Original StarbucksThe original Starbucks… and the sun was shining (the only time we were there)

Pike's Place MarketPike’s Place Market

The day before we left Seattle, we drove about 3 hours south to Portland and met with Nathan! He spent a month with us in 2012 helping us out with the ministry and 5 Day Clubs. He showed us all around the downtown area and some residential areas plus we ate at the famous Voodoo Donuts and Stumptown Coffee.

Dallas

We flew directly from Seattle to Dallas last Wednesday. We had a very restful time there with the Johnsons… a family that lived near Montgomery but moved a few years ago. They were so wonderful to us! Maddy felt like she was at her grandparent’s house! Maddy went ice skating and spent a day at the new Science Museum downtown. We had dinner with friends and supporters every night. Sean shared about St. Kitts and Turks & Caicos with a Sunday School class, plus we were able to have a few minutes during the main service. We hadn’t been to Dallas since just before moving to St. Kitts so it was awesome having the opportunity to update people with all that has happened!

Next on the Agenda

We are back in the Houston area now but we leave on Saturday for Spanish Fort, AL. We will be spending time with Sean’s family and meeting friends and supporters for a couple of weeks. Then we will spend one week in Missouri at CEF Headquarters, go back to Spanish Fort for a week and then we will be in Montgomery to stay. We are almost done with our traveling because in just one week I will be in my last trimester!

We would appreciate your continued prayers for my family, for us as we travel and for our little Riley-Grace as she grows the next three months!

It’s Christmas Time!

It’s hard to believe Christmas is in two days! December has flown by for our family. We will be out of our house in just nine days… next Tuesday. Needless to say, we have spent much of December sorting and packing… sorting and packing… sorting and packing. Plus, we are getting ready for our two week visit to Turks and Caicos! A lot of the paper work for our visas needed to be done before January (to be able to move in July) so Sean has been working on getting it all (and it is A LOT) in order. We are preparing to meet with pastors, churches, volunteers, real estate agents, a doctor (we have to get check ups for our visas) and time to simply see the country. It all happens in three weeks! On one hand we are excited to see where we are going next and then to finally be home for a while but on the other hand, we are sad to be leaving our friends and our home for the last two years. I’m sure the next three weeks in St. Kitts will go by quickly.

In December we celebrated the Fall TCE Graduation!

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Sean shared the Christmas story to classes in some of the schools.

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Earlier this month we celebrated Maddy’s 5th Birthday! She had a double party with her best friend Audri… they are only two days apart!

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Mavis returned from CMI in Missouri so Sean has been catching her up to speed. She is ready to take over… in fact, there are times Sean feels like a “lame duck” just keeping a seat warm! It’s a good thing not to be needed here anymore! We have complete confidence in leaving.

Baby #2 seems to be doing well. We had another appointment and got to hear the baby’s heartbeat! Also, our first visit had us waiting five hours but our second was down to three! I’ll never complain about waiting to see the doctor in America again. We have one more appointment two days before we leave… and I’ll be having an ultrasound (I’ll be two days shy of 18 weeks). We are hopeful this little one will give us a nice shot of whether we are having a boy or a girl. But more so, we ask for your prayers that we are having a very healthy baby.

Honestly, we only plan to update this blog once or twice before we leave St. Kitts. We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!