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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Great News – A Matching Donation!

We are still getting ready for Riley-Grace’s arrival over here… she IS coming sometime in the next two weeks!

But we have some exciting news that we wanted to share with you! A wonderful couple has generously decided to give a matching gift toward our one-time expenses for Turks and Caicos. They will match, dollar for dollar, every donation up to $12,000 given until June 30th!

So, if a person gives $500 toward our one-time costs, that gift is then doubled to $1000!

The one-time expenses are for basically the cost of moving to Turks and Caicos… plane tickets, visas, a vehicle, shipping, etc. Right now, we need $8100 to complete the match, before June 30th.

We rarely use this blog to ask for donations but we felt we MUST get the word out about this! Please, would you consider giving toward this match? And would you please join along with us in prayer for the match to be reached by June 30th?

We still need to raise additional monthly support separate from our one-time costs to move. So if you are considering joining our monthly support team then know this is a separate way of giving altogether. But having all of our one-time expenses covered will help us tremendously. We would then ONLY have to focus on raising our additional monthly support… which could allow us to move to Turks and Caicos in August (our goal).

We are so excited to see how the Lord will use this match!

You can donate online or read instructions about giving in other ways by clicking here. Please specify that your gift is toward the match!

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!

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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.

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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!

Our Schedule For The Next Few Months

It’s kind of like a tour of America!

We get questions all the time about where we will be and when… and it gets really confusing when we try to explain it all. Most of our time is fairly set so here it goes:

(If you want to know just the basics then skip to the bottom of the page).

February

We will be in Texas until this Sunday. On Sunday we will fly from Houston to Colorado Springs, Colorado for a week-long missionary training school. It’s specifically for missionaries in between assignments so we are really looking forward to it!

Basically,

In Texas now

Colorado: Feb. 23 – Feb. 28

March

March is full with a trip to Seattle to visit ECC! They have come to St. Kitts on two mission trips and now we have the opportunity to visit them! We will also be in Dallas, back to Houston and then onto Spanish Fort, AL before leaving at the end of the month for CEF Headquarters in Missouri.

Basically,

Seattle: February 28th – March 5th

Dallas: March 5th – 9th

Houston: 9th – 16th (just for family)

Spanish Fort, AL: 16th through the 27th

April

In April we will be in Missouri (CEF Headquarters) for a week-long missionary refresher, we are going to the local CEF Banquet in Montgomery (just for the night) and back to Spanish Fort to continue visiting family and friends.

Finally on the 17th we will go back to Montgomery and we will be there until after Riley-Grace is born! We had to get all of our traveling done at once because at some point I won’t be able to anymore!

Breakdown for April

CEF Headquarters in Missouri: March 27th – April 6th

Montgomery for the Banquet: April 7th

Spanish Fort: April 8th – 17th

Montgomery: April 17th – ??? Sometime in June/July

June/July/August???

Riley-Grace is due on June 15th and we will be having her in Montgomery… where we would have been for two months already. We are only planning to stay in Montgomery for about 3 weeks or so after she is born. Afterwards we will be back in Spanish Fort with Sean’s family until it’s time for us to move to Turks & Caicos. Our goal is to move in July but it all depends on 1.) when Riley is born and 2.) our support level. We must have 100% of our support raised before we can move. Our “plan” is for Sean to head to Turks & Caicos two weeks before the rest of us come so he can get our house secured, our stuff moved in and our utilities ready to go.  Hopefully he will be able to do this in July when Riley is 6 weeks old and we would follow about two weeks later.

But depending on how our support is coming along that could stretch into August… but hopefully not much longer!

Either way, we will leave Montgomery 3 weeks after Riley is born and will only be back for doctor visits until we move to Turks and Caicos.

 

So there you have it! Our time until July/August is packed full! We are so excited to see everyone!

Full Breakdown

Now until February 23rd: In Texas

February 23rd – 28th: Colorado Springs, Colorado

February 28th – March 5th: Seattle

March 5th – 9th: Dallas

March 9th – 16th: Houston

March 16th – 27th: Spanish Fort, AL

March 27th – April 6th: Missouri (CEF Headquarters)

April 7th: Montgomery for the CEF Banquet

April 8th – 17th: Spanish Fort, AL

April 17th – Late June/Early July: Montgomery, AL

Late June/Early July – ???: Spanish Fort, AL until we move to Turks & Caicos