Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wendy, Robbie and Brooke Come in Town!!!

Wendy (Billy's sister) and her husband, Robbie, and daughter, Brooke, drove down to spend some time with us this past weekend. The rain was pouring down for most of the trip but we managed to have fun anyway! Brooke was so excited to see Libby that when she arrived she raced up the front porch and into the house before she realized that Libby was waiting for her on the front steps! haha!! Libby was ready to play! They changed clothes together a thousand times and sang us many songs.

Libby and Brooke play and hug in Libby's room. We bought a trundle for Libby's bed so Brooke and future friends/cousins can come over and stay for a while.

Libby made a "I love Brooke" sign to welcome her cousin. They played and were silly together from the very first second Brooke entered our home.

Wendy and Gracie

Brooke holds Gracie!

After a great night of conversations with Wendy and Robbie we all slept well and woke on Saturday ready for a day at Sea World!!! It was an entire day of fun and entertainment. The rain poured down until we arrived and then the sun came out and the day was perfect from then on!

Brooke and Libby loved feeding the dolphins together!

Maybe these dolphins are cousins.

Wendy, Libby, Brooke and me inside the shark aquarium.

Robbie gets some love from Brooke and Libby.

Libby and Brooke held hands and walked together for a while. It was really cute!

Lots of walking!

The girls had a blast on the Shamu Express - a kiddie roller coaster ride. You should've heard those girls scream and laugh. They loved it!

The fabulous Shamu show is NEVER disappointing!

Daddy and his girl! (well, one of them)

Robbie and his girl!

This was the best part of all!!! Wendy and I took the girls on the Log Ride and they LOVED IT!!!! We just had to ride it twice! It was so much fun watching them enjoy their first big ride! Great memories!

Back Home, Back to School, Gotcha Day Dinner Year 3

Gracie and Libby back at home. It is so much fun watching them play together and love on each other!
This outfit was Libby's about 3 years ago. It is very cute on Lu!

Libby dressed in the new t-shirt her daddy bought for her on his fly-fishing trip for her first day back to "school" (aka Mom's Day Out). I love the sweet look on her face. She was excited to go back to school!

Gracie in her new dress. I love the pics of her in this dress! Adorable!!!!

After her first day in school we dressed Libby in her Chinese finest for a special, annual Gotcha Day Dinner with the Martine family. A special night indeed!

Daddy and Libby

Libby insisted on taking our picture too!

Mommy loves her girls!

Beautiful Liberty Song!

Smiling Maliah! Libby and Maliah are like sisters! They knew each other before we even knew them. They adore each other and play so well together. They are both very imaginative and full of energy!

This is one of the funniest pictures - I just love the look on her face. It makes me giggle every time I see it!

Best Friend Hugs!

Maliah, Dakota and Libby - all dressed up for the special dinner

All four girls together. Gracie was getting creamed with love!

This was such a special night! I can't believe it's already been 3 years since that amazing day of promises come true! Wow! We love you Martines and are so thankful God allowed us to travel together and become such awesome friends!

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!