Friday, September 28, 2007

What's the word, bird? Vacation, Part 2

After the wedding weekend, we headed to Texas to visit our dear friends Wayne and Angie. Wayne was Doug's boss for many years before retiring to the south a couple of years ago. We have a very special relationship with them that we cherish, and it was so great to finally get to see them after a long time!

Here's their lovely home.... out in the country and with lots of land! Beautiful!

They are retired, like I said, but instead of relaxing, they bought an RV Resort and are fixing it up and running it. If you are in the Lake Buccanon, Texas area and want a great place to camp, fish, waterski, etc... this is your place.

We had fun spending time at Wayne and Angie's home and at the RV Park. From playing with all their animals to eating true Texas BBQ, we felt welcomed and loved.

The title of this post is thanks to Elwood, a parrot who is one of the many birds at their home. He says silly things like"what's the word, bird?", "Praise the Lord" (W & A's pastor taugh him to say that!), "C'mom girl", and "Goodnight Elwood". He can also whistle "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from "Oklahoma!". I didn't get a good pic of him, but he was certainly entertaining!

Here is Doug with Lillian, another parrot at the McCasland home. (You can see the "Bird Room" behind him.) Known as the "floosy" of the bunch, she really likes the boys, especially Doug. She would try to bite me if I got too close to Doug when she was with him. Crazy lady!

Angie gave Evelyn some dominos to play with and she LOVED it. It kept her busy and felt good on her teeth!

Dont' judge me here, people... and don't freak out if you are reading this, mom... but yes, my daughter is gnawing on a rib bone here. She LOVED it! My camera battery was getting low, so the pic isn't too good.

Eatin' BBQ with the gang. Nothin' like ribs, potato salad, beans, and sweet tea! The best!

Evelyn smiling seeing REAL duckies! Click on the photo to enlarge it and see her smile. Priceless!

Not the best picture, but here is our dear friends. We were sad to say goodbye!

Here's Ev at the Dallas airport waiting to board our plane. She really liked looking out the window and waving at the planes!

We are were excited to be home but have wonderful memories of our trip. We are so glad we took the risk of travelling with an infant. She did great and we all had great times.

We are thankful!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

We're Back, Y'all... Vacation, Part 1

We just returned from a fabulous week of fun with family and friends. Phoenix for 4 days, Marble Falls, Texas (outside Austin) for 3. We were sad to leave Texas yesterday but have many fun memories of our trip.

First of all, I must say, my baby girl was a total rock star traveler... amazingly calm and happy on our flights and had fun waving and smiling with the crew and other passengers. I could not have asked for a better flying experience. Despite having a cold pretty much the entire time, she was an absolute trooper. She met a lot of new people who loved on her and she loved back with lots of waves, claps, laughs and smiles. We are so thankful and praise God for answering our prayers.
Here she is on her first ever plane ride...

We were in Phoenix for Doug's cousin Jason's wedding. It was so great to spend time with his family who live there. They are great people and we wish they lived closer (hint, hint Ron and Pam... I know you are reading this!).

Before the wedding, we spent time at Uncle Ron and Aunt Pam's house just hanging out. It wasn't too hot for AZ standards, but still too warm to venture outside. So we just sat around and chatted.

This is Zach, Ron and Pam's grandson. He LOVED Evelyn and she loved playing with him. He taught her how to "high five" and made her smile constantly.

This is Desiree, Ron and Pam's grandaughter. She is growing into a beautiful young lady and helped with Evelyn a lot.

She's pretty cute, isn't she?

The wedding was the the Japanese Gardens in Phoenix, which is a beautiful place. Jason and Tara both looked beautiful and the ceremony was fun and meaningful.

Doug's uncle Ron and aunt Pam... love these guys!

Here's Doug with Ron and Jason, the groom.

Evelyn with her buddy, Zach. She kept waving at him during the ceremony... very cute!

Here's Tara walking down the "aisle"... a beautiful bridge over the lake.

You may now kiss the bride...

Evelyn waving... one of many new tricks!

This is Zach's mom, Nancey. She is so funny and a joy to be around!

Daddy blowing bubbles at Evelyn. She's not quite sure what to think of them.

Overall we had such fun in Arizona. Lots of joy shared. We will certainly get back there soon!

This post is getting way to long. I will post the Texas part of our vacation on another post later. Evelyn is getting tired of hanging out in her exersaucer while I blog.

Until then...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Helmet Update #3, then We're Off!

(For those who have stumbled onto my blog and/or don't know the story... here's a quick rundown. Evelyn has prefered to sleep on her left side since birth, maybe even in-utero. We have tried unsuccessfully to change her ways. Therefore she has mangaged to mishape her head so much that we have to have her in a corrective helmet to get back symetrical.)

Evelyn had her visit with the Orthotist today, and again we have made amazing progress with reshaping her pretty little head! All of the measurements of asymetry decreased by at least half of what they were before. Praise God! Randall (the helmet guy) said that even he was surprised and happy with her results and is thinking she might even get her helmet off earlier than we had originally thought! Yeah!! Of course, he made no promises... but we can always hope!

Tomorrow we head off for our first real vacation with Evelyn. We are heading to Phoenix for Doug's cousin Jason's wedding, then off to Marble Falls, Texas to visit some friends. Wouldn't you know it, Evelyn has a cold and isn't feeling too great, but we are hopeful she will turn a corner and enjoy a fun adventure with us. We have no idea what to expect from her on the plane. We're just gonna go with the flow!

On another exciting note.. Evelyn started clapping today all by herself! It is so cute! She also got her "big girl" car seat. She is in the 95th percentile in height and has outgrown her infant seat in the length. Of course, she is only in the 25th percentile in weight. She's gonna be tall and skinny like her daddy (insert angels singing here)!! I love her to bits and then some.

I really need to go finish packing.... but not before leaving you with a picture!

Stephanie out...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Change and Cinnamon Roll Hugs

Change is hard. So, so hard. I really don't like it. At all. Even good change is hard for me sometimes.

There has been so much change going on. Evelyn changes every day. I am in awe of this and love watching her grow, but it seems like I have to "learn" her again daily... a blessing and a curse. I still am adjusting to not working as a nurse any longer. I miss my dear, dear work friends and the kids/families I was honored to care for. Decisions Doug and I have made have to be changed due to this and that. I could go on and on....

... and my hair keeps getting more gray... ugh.

One of the biggest areas of change, tho, is in my church family. Leadership changes, service format changes, lots of dear friends leaving for a miriad of reasons. So hard.

The 7 couples in our Care Group (bible study) have been together for over 5 years. We started out with 2 kids between all of us. We now have 13 sweet kiddos and two more due early next year. We have been thru life, death and everything in between together. Amazing relationships, good times.

Last night we found out that one family is changing churches and leaving our group. It hit us all like a ton of bricks, even tho some of us already knew. There were many tears shed by guys and gals alike, as well as lots of laughs remembering old times. Its like losing a limb... we won't feel complete without them. Yet we will go on.

We ended our evening with powerful prayer... and a Cinnimon Roll hug. For those of you who don't know what that is, think high school church camp or singles retreats. It would take up too much space to explain. It was great. Just what we needed to end our last actual care group time all together. We love you, Ken and Christine!

I am not sure what to think about all of the change that is going on. Not sure at all. I don't like it. I feel like crawling under a rock. What I really need to do is get on my knees. Literally.

We serve a God who thankfully does NOT change. He is a faithful, constant source of grace, comfort, wisdom and love in an ever changing world. It is because of Him that we can have such great families, friendships and fellowship, not because of our church or ourselves. We are just vessels.

"Why so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God" ~Psalm 42:11

I pray I can ride the wave of change without fear or feeling "downcast" and "disturbed", but with hope, faith and grace. And of course, joy!