Thursday, July 20, 2017

Family Reunion & Church Camp!

The kids' first 4 days in the USA were spent in Brownwood at Paw & Bmaw's for the Howell Family Reunion! This is Bmaw's side of the family - her two brothers, their kids (most of them!), and her aunt and uncle! Our kids had met most of these people before, but it had been awhile!

Bmaw and her brothers, Uncle Robin & Uncle Rusty!

Most of the group at church Sunday morning!


Caedmon played a lot of soccer with his second cousin, Kale!

Cason and AJ are best buds!

I miss that smile!

They have spent hours swimming!

After 4 days, they headed to GA & RA Camp with our home church (FBC Alvarado, TX) in Glen Rose, Texas! This is the same camp I attended in 1988 as a 3rd grader!

This is Caed's last year at RA Camp! Here he is throwing a tomahawk!

His first best friend, Wyatt!

Getting some love (and a hair rub!) from Lindsay!

Cambree just hates camp.... ;)

Cambree & Brookie - friends for a LONG time!
Apparently Cambree got engaged to Marco the Lifeguard...

Cambree & Lily were born a few weeks apart and had their baby dedication together!

Dress up night!

Cason got a top bunk!

I haven't heard much about him or seen many pictures, but looks like he's having fun!

The group from FBC!

Blu & I are at 7 days until we leave! Several people have commented on how excited we seem to be going, and I admit we are! Life in Zambia can be really hard, and this last term was especially trying. We are exhausted, and though we will miss our New Day babies and staff and my parents (and 42!!), we are ready for a break, so I won't apologize for that! Chick Fil A (and donuts...and barbecue...) are calling our name, and we'll be ready to head back to our African home in 5 short months!

Saturday, July 15, 2017


The kids made it to the USA! They had a pretty uneventful trip (once they got out of Livingstone!) Only one luggage piece didn't make it, but it's the one that nobody needed for awhile, and it's on its way to Austin today! Paw & B-maw got to the Austin airport early and waited to see their grandkids - it had been 13 months!

Waiting...until the fire alarms went off and they evacuated the Austin airport! False alarm - back to waiting!

Love the pictures of their first hugs!

Together at last!

They had a 3 hour drive to Brownwood, but their cousins Andie & AJ were waiting up for them! (along with American decor and cute little buckets of goodies for our kids - my sister-in-law Caity is so thoughtful!)

They are having a blast with extended family for their first few days as Blu's parents are hosting a family reunion! (They are also recovering from jet lag - Cason FaceTimed me at 4:30am yesterday!) They head to church camp on Tuesday!

Meanwhile, back at New Day! Blesten is smiling! He ALWAYS wants to be held, so we are trying to give him as much love as possible without spoiling him!

Dad up to his usual antics during an afternoon of 42!

Some last pics of the team that I loved - Misheck went with Jane and others to Bible study and helped to translate!

PRICELESS picture of Justin, Emma, and Stanley!

Sweet Kristin helping to cook nshima at Kids Club!

12 days until we leave! Not much planned - a nice Sunday of worship, 9 full days of teaching/school, Blu doing some more training with our new kitchen manager (and working on endless plumbing issues...), lots of games of 42, an overnight trip to Livingstone with Mom & Dad, and lots of house cleaning/organizing!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kids Last Week & USA Travel!

The kids had a great last week at New Day and will arrive in Austin later today! We are right behind them - leaving in 15 days!

Playing Tetris on the Wii..

Teaching Grandpa Tetris on the Wii...

Caedmon did a great job finishing up his classes and got all A's!

12 must be the magic age where kisses from your Mama is just not cool.. :(

Love my boy!

Cambree said bye to her bestie Laurie!

Haircuts to get ready for the USA!

Cason will miss his Science class with Mama Dee!

Cambree & Mama finished up their year long study on the Far East with a tea party!

The kids said bye to Grandpa & Mama Dee on Wednesday morning - and Mom did a great job of not crying!!

Time to go! We are so thankful for this group, led by Teacher Allison, flying our kids back to Austin!

Cambree ready to go!

Looking good, boys!

They look so cute! (and grown up!)

We can never thank Teacher Allison enough! (especially after all the baggage and immigration drama - they almost didn't get out of Zambia! Thankfully, it's been smooth sailing since then!)

They made it to Johannesburg, South Africa!

Where else do you go but Mugg & Bean for muffins and croissants?!

And they made it to London after an overnight flight! Cason only slept 1 hour (can you tell?!)

At their gate, ready to board their flight to Austin!

Cason only slept 1 hour on the flight, and then played for FIVE hours in the Heathrow playground! Surely he'll crash soon!

See? Told you. ;)

They will board soon and have their last 10 hour flight before arriving in Austin!

What we want to do for the next 5 months... :)