Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesdays are Playdates!

If we were in Raleigh (and we're not because we're still in Orlando), we would have gone to PLAYGROUP! Since Ben misses all his little buddies, I thought I would post these pictures that we took the week before we left!
Ben LOVED Bridget's slide....so much that he did not want to share, if possible!

Little Baby Brian is getting so BIG!

Little Miss Kaitlyn perched on her favorite chair!
Carson liked to show Ben how to master the "playground".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy from our trip so far. The nice thing about this training is that we are all sharing pictures and the "instructors" are taking lots of pictures so we can use them for our newsletters and such!


First Day Mugshot!

Ben with one of his many hats!

Our New Friends Hannah, Andy and Melody! They are going to PNG, too!

New friends Lisa, little Gabriel and Jim!

Ice Cream Social!

Ben is adjusting much better. Thank you for your prayers!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 2- Florida is HOT!

Please check out my husband's site: Travel and Musings. You can link to it from my blog- top right! It was another busy day. If you are praying for us, please pray that we will stay hydrated and not feel sick anymore. Also, please pray that Ben will adjust to a new schedule for meals and naptime. Thanks!!

Here are a couple pictures for your viewing pleasure. I think that this site will have the family pics and Caleb's blog will have the "play by play" of our training, etc. Feel free to comment on his blog. I promise he won't bite!

Ben's daycare room ROCKS! Check out the Kawasaki. Just like dad......actually, just like Uncle Joe Joe!

Except I think that Joe's training wheels are off by now!! hehe

Ben is being his wonderful, loving and social self. He let our "tour guide" carry him and walk with him the whole time! Everyone was "oooo-ing" and "aaahh-ing". Which I loved! =0)

Caught this Father/Son moment:

Naptime usually: 11:30am. Time now: 1:30...

No words can express my love for this child. He cracks me up daily:

Happy Father's Day!

Caleb is one amazing dad!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Friday Afternoon- No nap for Ben. We thought we were "safe". Surely our sweet little boy will sleep for at least a couple of hours during the 6 1/2 hour drive to Jacksonville, FL. Don't let this picture fool you. He was up after 45 minutes and awake and MAD the whole trip.
Any pointers on traveling with an 18 month old?? And don't tell me cheap NEW toys that he can throw or DVD's....our DVD doesn't attach to a seat, so if Ben can't hold it, he ain't happy!
My high school friend let us crash at her place. I can't imagine what the trip would have been like if we were not able to stop.
On Saturday morning, we went to the Beach Diner! It was one of those Mom and Pop places that fills up and has lines out the door by 10 AM. It was WONDERFUL.
I know this isn't a great picture of Ben, but I liked it:
Here's a better picture for you:

After breakfast, we went out by the water with Dawn and her boyfriend Chris.

It was still early, so it wasn't 100 degrees, yet. Ben was not wearing a bathing suit but ended up covered in sand and water from head to toe. It was great!

Random Family "That's Life" Shot
Ben and "Auntie" Dawn:

"If you thought the beach was fun in JAX, think again! The showers are EVEN better" ~ Ben

After waking up at 7, going out to eat by 9, playing in the sand until 10:30, surely this little guy is in for a good nap, right?

Don't let this picture fool you. He was up after 1 hour! At least the naps are getting longer, right?
Anyway, we checked into our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. We'll be living here for the next two weeks. We met a lot of the other people that will be attending the training with us. I am probably now known as the "Mother who forgot her child's bib to the first dinner and let her child completely coat himself in spaghetti." Yeah....I'm THAT mom.
But, everyone is really nice and laid back.....which is VERY different then what I am used to.
I'm BEAT! Ben's asleep! Caleb's WIDE awake because he had like 5 cups of coffee!
More to come....

We Have Internet! (and we made it safely to Orlando....thanks for checking!)

We made it to Orlando after a LOOOOOOOOONG drive. It is HARD to drive long distances with a toddler. Ben is currently taking a nap and I am currently ECSTATIC that we have internet connection in our apartment.
We have to meet with the childcare teachers now, but I wanted to post a teaser picture so that you will come back for more!

On a side note, we were fortunate enough to stay at my friend Dawn's place in Jacksonville. This helped to cut down on the total drive time in one sitting! More pictures to come of our trip with her!

Ahhhh! What a perfect start to a Father's Day week-end!

Thursday, June 18, 2009



I think I've reached my signature "Sick in Anticipation" phase. My head is throbbing as I try to type this post. Maybe it's because I'm excited, but more likely it is the peanut butter I ate this week.

We leave for Orlando tomorrow!!! (If you are thinking about robbing our house- I hate putting details like this up on my blog- think again! We have people staying in it while we're gone!)

Ben has his first Water Play Day of the summer at his daycare in the morning, then we are off!

I'm SO excited because we will be staying Friday night in Jacksonville, FL. Ben gets to visit his favorite Auntie Dawn again. (Dawn and I have been friends since middle school!)

Then, we "check in" on Saturday around 3pm for "Training". This is one of three mandatory training experiences prior to leaving for PNG. We'll be staying in either a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment while we're there. Meals will be provided which means NO COOKING!

During the middle week-end, Caleb and I are going to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Better late then never, right? We are going to visit SeaWorld's Aquatica, which is one giant water park, with Dawn and her boyfriend Chris. Then, one Sunday night, Caleb, Ben and I have reservations for Boma- an African-inspired buffet style dinner at Disney's Animal Kingdom's Lodge. This was by-far our favorite dinner when we went to Disney last September! After our early dinner, we plan to walk around the lodge which is practically a really cool zoo!

Not sure how Internet usage will work when we are there. I'm sure we will be very busy training and working and clarifying and articulating our reasons for going overseas. I promise to take lots of pictures and will try to post while we are there!

I'M SO EXCITED!! Two weeks!! Ben's excited, too....he just doesn't know it yet! Caleb says he's not excited...he thinks this is going to be all work and no play. Except, I don't believe him! His fishing gear is all packed and ready to be put in the Trooper!

Monday, June 15, 2009

That post you've thought about writing for some time now...

Even though I don't know where to begin, it is better to "just" begin...

It feels like time is flying by and I'm not able to keep up with it! As you all probably know, we are planning to leave for Papua New Guinea THIS January. There are still so many things that need to fall into place before we step foot on that plane, but God continues to utterly amaze me with the generosity of people and churches. I am truly humbled by it all and feel (at times) so "unworthy" of it all (...until I am reminded that it is not about me)!

That being said, we are living life like we are leaving this winter!

Telling Ben's daycare that he would only be there through July was probably one of the hardest things for me to do. Caleb tried to "make me feel better" by saying that the daycare is probably used to this....that moms choose to stay home with their kids all the time. It didn't help. It was SO hard to tell his wonderful teachers this news. Ben is truly going to miss all his "other" mama's. I'm almost on the verge of tears just typing this. Seriously people! His daycare rocks! When he is out, I will shout their name from the rooftops....just not comfortable putting that on my blog yet!

Then, on Friday, I decided to tell my boss that I was quitting. I had this growing anxiety about having to "let work know" and a friend helped me decide that it was better to tell them now then to wait. Caleb and I were fully prepared for them to tell me not to return the next day or to work through my notice. But, they handled it well. Everyone said that they understood...not sure if they meant it. But, it was still nice to not be fired!

So now it is even more official. July 23rd will be my last day of work and Ben's last day of daycare....

The summer is going to FLY by...

This fall, we have also been blessed by our church. They are going to let Ben attend their Parent's Morning Out program even though it will only be for 1/2 the year. Again, utterly blown away by the generosity....

I have to admit that sometimes I have a hard time posting about what's really going on in my life. My hope is that this blog will be honest and authentic, but I can't help but feel guilty that sometimes my "problems" may pale in comparision to what others are facing. But....it is my blog afterall....and as wonderful as being married, having a son and going to the South Pacific may seem at face value, this is still REALLY hard for me. If you know me, you know how ambitious I can be. If you know me, you know that I thrive in the tragic moments of life and doubt in the times of blessings. If you know me, you know how each month between now and January, I will get a little more "weepy" over things like Lucky Charms, So You Think You Can Dance and Target!

If you know me...

Friday, June 12, 2009

South Africa Friends

Our friends, Casey and Sarah Prince, are moving to South Africa this September as missionaries with their little baby girl. Feel free to check out their site for more information about their plans. South African Benefit Night

We are so blessed to have friends "paving the way" before we leave in January. They have also been instrumental in teaching our church and our friends and ourselves, what it means to be a sender...

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It's a bird. No, it's a plane. Actually, it's SuperBen!

Caleb and I didn't know if we were going to keep this bodysuit that supposedly works like those old school orange floaties. But, once we put Ben in it, and watched him run around, it was just TOO funny to take back!
Think diving suit, with muscles:
Maybe it's more like a Power Ranger on steriods:

Regardless, 1) it worked and 2) it was REALLY funny:

Here's my baby's BayWatch running pose:

We also found out that if we tip him over in it, he can't get up!!

It's tiring being the center of attention:

Love my child...

Beach Grandparents

This past Sunday, after church, we packed the car and set off for Wilmington to celebrate Beach Grandpa's birthday! We had such a good time. After an initial "freak out" moment (Ben's signature, "I'm waking up from a nap and I'm not happy, yet"), he loved on Beach Grammy and Beach Grandpa and Uncle Philip and Uncle Scott. Thanks to Uncle Scott, we have the following pictures:
Ben had such a good time playing with family! It was so cute, because he can't say "Grammy", yet, but he can say "Beach"! Beach Grammy said that he can call her whatever he wants!

While we were there, a fire truck was very entertaining:

We also took advantage of Beach Grammy and Beach Grandpa's community pool. It was so nice. We were there early, but by mid morning, Ben had at least 4 other "friends" to play with!

Here's a picture with Mommy:

Check out the "Swimsuit".....more on that in the next post!


Caleb here...

This past weekend I sold my motorcycle. Sad, but necessary. The good news is, that it was purchased by my good friend Joe Garner from Maryland. So, in order to properly honor the sale, we decided that a road trip was in order! The destination was Kill Devil Hills on the North Carolina Outer Banks. I borrowed the red bike from a friend at church. I rode that, and Joe rode his new moto! We spent an hour the night before, washing and polishing the bikes.

First things first, the bikes:

Red- Honda Shadow 1100cc with all the trimmings. Highway bars, hard bags, driver's backrest attached to a Corbin seat, floorboards, heel/toe shifter, full windshield. This bike was MADE to eat up the miles!

Black- Kawasaki Vulcan 800cc. Looks great if I do say so myself! However, it was not built for the looooooong ride we had ahead of us! Loud pipes, smallish windscreen, stock seat!

Adrienne took the time to say goodbye to my bike and had a quick photo shoot with it!

And here I am, geared up and ready to go... And waiting for Joe.
Side Story: This was Joe's first distance ride, and boy was he in for it!

Finally, after Joe was done fixing his hair, he joined the ride. We pulled away from the house about 7:30 in the morning, gassed up, and headed East on NC 64.

The ride started great. We both got some highway miles under our belts and got familiar with our bikes. I spent a lot of time trying to find Joe in my mirrors. He's kinda slow.

On the East side of Plymouth NC, about 2.5 hours into the ride, it started to rain. We had been watching the weather intently for the 3 days prior, and NO WHERE did it say there was going to be any rain! The good thing was, the rain was a heavy mist, not those painful, full-on rain drops! Regardless, it was wet, and chilly. All that polishing for nothing! I was wearing rain gear, Joe was not. I was hiding behind a full windshield, Joe was not. I had ridden in the rain before, Joe had not. So we stopped! We sat around in some breakfast joint in Columbia NC for about an hour until the rain moved on. I made Joe drink coffee so he would stop shivering, and then we ate bacon. Trip Count: 148 miles.

The rest of the ride to Kill Devil Hills was awsome! The sun started fighting it's way through and we powered on across the bridges to Manteo and Nags Head. By this point, we'd been on the road for about 4 hours and Joe's rump was beginning to complain (see below)!
Here's proof we actually made it to the outer banks!
We rode up the island until we got to the Wright Brothers memorial at Kitty Hawk. Spent a couple hours doing the touristy thing until meal time called. Below is a view from the top of the hill, looking out over the Atlantic. Trip count: 197 miles.

The view from below the monument.

Lunch, then shopping for chincy beach gear for our kids, then back to the road! This time, we decided to head back to Raleigh via NC 264, which runs South from Manteo, along the coast, the turns back West towards home. We cleared the islands, back across the bridges, then jumped on 264. Little did we know that this would be the best and worst decision of the trip!
Up until now we had spent all of our time on 4-lane highway at 75mph. That's ok, but you spend a lot of time focusing on wind, weather, and other vehicles. We left all that behind when we hit 264! Two lanes, in the middle of nowhere, no other cars for miles, and the sun was out! It was fantastic! We rode through swampland with a canal on our right for miles and miles! Occasionally we got glimpses of the ocean, but for the most part it was solitude. Wish I would have taken pictures from that stretch of road.
As our trip meters counted ever higher we started to get worried we would never find civilization again! We rolled into Englehard NC with 115 miles since last fill up, just 10 miles away from empty fuel tanks! Below is our favorite gas station, because it was a gas station! Trip Count: 253 miles.
By this point, all Joe was talking about was how much his butt was hurting! I told him he should go brush his hair and stop complaining. I wasn't telling him that I thought my arms were going to fall off from holding them up for so long! So, we pounded our chests and hopped back in the saddle, thinking we were in for another hour or two of hard riding. Boy were we wrong!

The road from Englehard to Washington NC was breathtaking! In spite of our soreness, this was by far the highlight of the trip! As we pulled away from that sleepy little town, we hit a slice of North Carolina farm country that had me mezmorized for an hour straight. Fields of corn, wheat, tobbacco, and soy, punctuated by modern silos and barns, coupled with turn-of-the-century farm houses. The sun was popping out occasionally, hitting the fields and trees, glinting off roofs and tractors, it really was quite a sight! I had forgotton all about my shoulders and back, and Joe's butt was numb enough that he got to enjoy the sights and the twisty country road we were on! I just wish I would have taken some pictures.

We went through New Holland and Swanquarter and on into Pantego, and the scenery changed again! It was like we had ridden into Lousisiana back-country. Some of the houses were on stilts, there was swamp everywhere, the trees were hanging over the road, putting the whole scene into darker shade of daylight! This was not hard riding at all! This was what it was all about! I just wish I would have taken some pictures.
I think at some point we came out of our road induced stupor and recognized that our bodies were screaming for a break. Trip Count: 329 miles. Location: Washington NC.
Time to suck it up and ride. We had to make it back before dark. And it was clouding up again. NC 264 goes around the north side of Greenville and becomes a 4 lane highway again. The speeds are up and the miles fly by, but not fast enough. Somehow, we have found the rain again! The same type, the same riding conditions, the same misery, compounded by sore butts, arms, backs, eyes, and ears. We just can't make the distances between breaks anymore. A quick stop in Farmville for gas gives some relief. Trip Count: 366 miles.

Another stop in Wilson at a Sheetz for dinner and a Red Bull. This is starting to drag on. The rain is past, but it is evening now and the temperature is dropping. We aren't wet anymore, but the tiredness is really showing up. Both of us admitted to daydreaming before we pulled off in Wilson. Thus the Red Bulls. Trip Count: 392 miles.

THE SUN! All of the sudden, there it is! And we are riding straight into it! The sunglasses come out, the Red Bull kicks in and we are screaming for home! Some how, everything west of I95 had been in the sun all day, and we had been ducking rain for the last 12 hours!

It is 8pm when we roll up to the house. Trip count: 432 miles. 12.5 hours on the road. Joe and I loaded up his new moto, and I took this parting shot. The clouds were moving in.