Saturday, September 12, 2009

Our Trip to Charleston

On Aug. 27, 2009 I made my first big trip with the two girls in tow without Billy. Billy went on his annual fly-fishing trip and I decided to brave the flights to see my family and celebrate my dad's 60th birthday and my sister's 32nd. birthday as well as meet Hunter - my first nephew - and introduce Gracie to my family and friends. The girls were fabulous on all the flights!!!!

We stayed very busy between seeing all the family members, celebrating birthdays, touring the city a bit (we were on vacation, after all!) and seeing some old friends from both high school and college. We also celebrated Libby's Gotcha Day on the 4th! It would be impossible to recall and share all the details and memories made on this trip. The pictures will have to tell the story. Here goes:

Libby and her Papa

Gigi holds Gracie for the first time!

Gracie and Aunt Becky

Great Mimi holds Gracie for the first time. Gracie was a little unhappy, but we had traveled a long way and she was very tired.

Libby and her cousins, Taylor and Camryn, all dressed up in costumes for fun. Libby was, of course, a Chinese Chicken! haha!

"What? I didn't do anything wrong? Chinese Chickens never do anything wrong."

Papa and Gigi took Libby, Gracie and I to the SC Aquarium. Libby loved looking at the water in the Charleston harbor with Papa and Gigi.
Libby was a little too scared of the giant frog to sit right next to it. Close enough.

Taylor and Libby with Papa

Taylor, Libby and Gracie stand next to the stinky cage of a beautiful Bald Eagle.

Gracie looks sweet in this picture, but I'm sure she was about to tug on that beautiful blonde hair.
The four girls together - Libby, Gracie, Taylor and Camryn.

Libby and Taylor played hard. They got along so well and would play for hours together.

Gracie - close up. Love those big eyes and sweet lips!
The outfit Gracie has on is one that Libby wore to her own Court Appointment in China. Libby was 9 months at that point, so Gracie is passing up Libby's size at just 7 months! I love this pic of them together. So sweet!

Libby and Bowen. Bowen is the son of my dear friend Betty Jean. He is such a doll!

This is not the best photo angel, but its the best I've got because my photographer was Libby and since she is shorter, her view is not eye level. These are the beautiful and precious ladies with whom I went to high school. Betty Jean, Laura, Shannon and Leighanne. We had such a great time catching up at the Sunflower Cafe. I also went to college with Betty Jean. Betty and I go WAY back. Love that girl! Thank you for working out all the details for us to get together Betty. I love you!

My mom really enjoyed holding Gracie.

My dad with the girls.

Gracie with Ann and Pepa Strickland.

I drove with the girls to Columbia, SC (about a 2 hour drive north of Charleston) to see some of my best friends in the world. I met each of these ladies in college and our hearts have been joined since. I love them all so much. God has multiplied each of us and 8 kids were present for our gathering - and that's not counting the school aged children! Oh my! Libby had so much fun with the older girls and they were so sweet to include her in all their fun and games. It was a fabulous day catching up with these pearls! Libby and I also met another college friend, Misty, for lunch one afternoon and enjoyed catching up with her as well. It is so good to reminisce and remember the faithfulness of God in each of our lives. Alli, thank you for hosting us all in your beautiful home. We have to do this again soon girls!

Upstairs, the six older kids gathered for a movie. The 2 infants, Gracie and Lily, were downstairs with the ladies. Each of these precious faces glows with the love of God because each of their moms and dads love Jesus and are true to that in private just as much as they are in public - just good, authentic, people - each and every one!

The girls huddled in on Jason for some love and attention.

Becky threw some leaves around with Libby. Simple entertainment that works!!

Camryn has grown up so much since I last saw her in Nov. '08. I can't believe it's been that long. Camy is SASSY and so much fun!

We stayed at Becky's house for our entire stay. The girls adore her! Becky, you were a wonderful hostess and we enjoyed your home (which is looking fabulous, btw!) and your family. You are so laid back and fun! We missed you the moment you drove away at the airport.

A sweet sister moment.

We met some of Becky's friends and their kids for lunch at Chic-fil-A. Libby and Moli (I just realized I don't know how to spell her name - sorry Tara!) had a chance to catch up and play together. Tara gave me great info on homeschooling since I THINK I'm interested in doing that in the future. Moli and her sister, Grace, are precious! All the kids there were so cute. It was great being with Becky's friends!

Cuteness again!

I love this picture. It looks like Gracie is coming in for a big slobbery kiss and Libby is graciously accepting.
Mom was able to give Gracie her bottle a couple of times. Sweet times.

WE FINALLY MET HUNTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is he a doll or what? He just sits there and observes his crazy girl cousins. He is squeezable, kissable and so very sweet! We were so happy to meet him. Kelly and Carissa had taken him to California to see Carissa's family, so we had to wait until the end of our trip to see them. It was worth the wait and extended stay. He is awesome!

Hunter is only a couple of weeks younger than Gracie. But he's in the 90th percentile in height, weight and head circumference so he was a big boy compared to Gracie Lu. This pic (above) was taken just minutes into their first introduction. I can't wait to see them grow up together over the years. I'm so happy Gracie has a cousin her own age!

Auntie Carissa with both girls.

Huggable Hunter asleep in his car seat.

Dad and Becky's birthday bash! Dad turned 60!!! Becky turned 32! It was great to celebrate both of them. Dad is a man of incredible strength, integrity and is has such a servant's heart. Becky is a lot like him in so many ways! She is always serving someone. Love them both so much!

Libby and I had fun decorating the room together.

Gracie gave Becky a big kiss!

The birthday pair!

The party guests - including my sweet little brother!

Gracie and Hunter at play.

So cute!
Carissa with Gracie

Kelly holding Libby

The sisters and their kiddos. 5 grandkids in all (so far!)

Jason gets some love from Taylor and Libby.

Libby and I had a date on the morning of September 4 to celebrate her 3rd. Gotcha Day Anniversary. From the moment she woke up all she wanted was a large lollipop!

The sweet girl God graciously gave to us! Isn't she pretty in her blue dress?!

We found the lollipop in the downtown market!

And then we took a carriage tour together. It was so much fun!

Lastly, we went to Bessengers just so we could throw down some old fashioned mac and cheese. YUM!


carissa said...

wow cindy! you were so so busy on your trip. the costume pic of the girls is so funny. hunter should have been there with his dinosaur on. hunter looks so FAT in the makes me laugh...there's just more of him to love! we had so much fun with you 3!

Debi said...

Awe. .
So much fun to catch up on your family. The trip sounds AMAZING!!! So fun to see all the cousins and sisters together. Family and long time friends are the BEST!
Love and hugs and prayers,