Sunday, August 05, 2007

Love comes to us from overseas...

This past week, we were so excited to be able to see David's cousin, James, and his wife, Shelly, and the girls, Rachel Elizabeth ( age 4 1/2), and Caroline Grace (age 2). They rolled in from Virginia on Monday and left on Saturday morning, so there was 7 people, including 3 under 5, in this little house for a week! =) It was so wonderful to be able to see them. The last time we saw them was right before they left to go overseas, about 3 years ago. Rachel Beth was just a tiny tot, and Caroline wasn't even a gleam in her daddy's eye yet. Despite all the time that's passed, and despite all the amazing changes we've all seen, it felt like we'd just said goodbye to them yesterday. We have the kind of relationship where you can just pick up right where you left off, no matter how much time has passed. That kind of friendship is such a rare gift, and we're so grateful for it. We sat around on the back porch in the evening after the babes were in bed and swapped stories of God's faithfulness to all of us in the intervening years since we were last together. We got to laugh, and talk and talk, and best of all, to pray together.

Our backyard was a real blessing to them, and that was so neat for me. Where they live, it's pretty hot and sandy. They don't have much in the way of grass and trees, so they loved our lush, green back yard. Shelly wanted to sleep out on the porch the first night, that is, until allergies started kicking in. Apparently, you can grow allergic to grass and trees if you're away from them long enough.

Shelly and I got to take a girl's outing to Target one afternoon, and we picked up this sprinkler on sale. It was nice to just be able to wander and take our time. We left during nap time, so the guys didn't have to do as much, but James was mumbling about tranquilizer darts if he had trouble with nappers. =) When we got back, Rachel Beth got up from her nap, and the girls put on their snazzy Aussie surfing suits and hit the backyard.

Other highlights of the trip included a visit to CiCi's pizza and an evening trip to ChuckECheese. It was R.B.'s first time experiencing this uniquely American childhood rite of passage. We all had a blast, and I even beat David at air hockey. On the way there, we stopped at Babies R' Us, and they blessed us by buying us a crib for Seth. (Unfortunately, the other bed was missing some parts that the company had stopped manufacturing a couple of years ago.) So now we have a wonderful bed for him, thanks to them.

We also did a lot of swinging, playing, and grilling out. We used our new grill for the first time while they were here. It was so nice and easy; I'm going to love gas, and we got a great deal on it. David and James had to work out a problem with the propane tank, but we're good to go now. Oh, and I also discovered that our slide on the playset is a really fast one. I'm thinking of putting a kiddie pool at the bottom and making a water slide next summer. =)

The lower deck is great for grilling, and I think it'll be great for Seth to push toys on or ride around on next year.

Caroline was so sweet with Seth. Both the girls are adorable and tenderhearted, and Caroline has a special place in her little heart for Seth. She would ask where "baby Set" was when she got up from her nap. She liked giving him kisses and handing him toys. He loved watching her play. She was also hilarious with Aravis. Our cat is not a fan of small people who can grab fur. Caroline was very nice to her, but she has bad memories. She would walk up to the cat and say, pretty loudly, "HELLO, KITTY CAT! HELLO, KITTY CAT!" Kitty would then either hiss or run for the hills. When she hissed, Caroline went and told her mom very excitedly, "Kitty cat said hi to me." This led to a hilarious bout of Caroline telling Kitty hello, Kitty hissing, and Caroline hissing back to say hello herself... We really enjoyed this visit. We're sad that it was so short, and we'll miss our cousins until we see them again, probably another three years from now. But we know that God has led them to live far away. He has called them to make a home out of the U.S., and we know that they will be a light for Him wherever they are. We will work and play and love and raise kids far apart, and I will smile when I think of them, knowing the blessing they are to those around them on the other side of the world.

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