Let the summer begin!

We have had a busy few weeks.  On top of figuring out our transition to NC State, we have been having recitals, end of the year school parties, graduations, and trying to fit in ministry partner visits before we start sabbatical.

We have heard great things about the NC Zoo, so we knew we wanted to make that happen sometime this month before it got too warm.  It was a LONG day, but we had a great time (minus the occasional whines because of the walking or the heat or being afraid of this animal or that).  Favorite animal for them:  Giraffes and zebras.  Favorite for me:  Monkeys – they kept pushing each other off a sharp rock incline and trying to catch each other before they fell – it was quite amusing to watch 🙂

Then, Kinsley had her preschool graduation and end of the year picnic.  She thought she was big stuff graduating and we loved watching her enthusiasm. She is short, so we could hardly see her when she stood on stage and did the singing with the other students.  She also couldn’t find us in the crowd for a long time, but she kept looking and when she did, she didn’t stop waving.  I think we have a drama queen in the making. She is also real excited about going to kindergarten, especially after visiting her school and meeting her teachers.  She starts in July, since it’s year-round school.

After her graduation, we headed down to my parent’s house for the week to meet with ministry partners, have a few new appointments, and take a little vacation time.  It was a busy, busy week, but so fun.  My parent’s house is like heaven for my kids – between swimming in the pool, playing with new toys, feeding the fish in the pond, going to the beach, going out on my parent’s boat, eating at their restaurant, etc, they are NEVER bored.

In addition to a few appointments with potential ministry partners, we got to visit one of our sending churches, Pawleys Island Community Church, and host two desserts for current ministry partners to visit us.  We really value connecting with our ministry partners in person at least one every year or two, but with 3 kids, going to their houses and sitting down with them is not practical (envision two bulls in a china shop while the shop owner tries to talk about serious business).  One of the nights, we graciously had some ladies from another of our sending churches fix the food and drinks for us.  Let me just tell you…they were not only a huge blessing in doing this, but they outdid themselves.  Check out this spread they prepared (and this is only half the table!):

At the other dessert, we provided everything, including a cake that is considered my grandmother’s speciality – a 14 layer chocolate cake – yes, it is bad for your hips but oh so good!  Thank you Granny!  It was so good to visit with partners and be able to hear how they are doing as well.

The rest of the week was spent swimming (beach and pool!) –

Eating (and I am not exaggerating when I say my dad cooks for an army – the 2nd picture is only half the food) –

Visiting with family (love that we get to see brothers. sisters, nieces, aunts, uncles, my grandmother, etc) –

Enjoying scenic views while I run –

Ed and I took a day trip to Charleston, SC to celebrate our 10 year anniversary (thanks Mom and Dad for watching the girls!).  We got to eat at two of our favorite places – Fleet Landing and Kickin Chicken.  Fleet Landing is the only place in downtown where you can eat on the water – check out our amazing view we had at lunch.

Despite the fact that the bridge was closed because of an accident and we had to go the long way around along with everyone else in the world and it took WAY too long, it was a good, relaxing day reminiscing with Ed (and Blake because he refuses to take a bottle…oh men!)

One thing we learned during this trip – Kinsley hates alligators (and lizards and snakes and frogs and the list goes on and on) and Emerson loves them.  My dad and his friend killed one (they had tags to kill one and a friend of theirs who oversees a plantation called them to get it) and Kinsley was terrified to see the dead alligator and Emerson kept asking to see it.  The gator was 11.5 feet long and was monstrous.  They processed the gator’s tail (I can say that I actually like fried gator now), but dad kept the feet to show people how big they were.  Emerson kept asking to see his feet, talked about the “crocodile” (since she refused to call it an alligator) all week long, and even told a whole table at our ministry dessert about it.  If I don’t hear alligator or crocodile mentioned again in the next year, it won’t be long enough.

Our most favorite thing we did while we were there was go boating in Pop-Pop’s boat.  We loaded up everyone and took the boat out to North Inlet, which is right where the inlet meets the ocean.  We pulled the boat up to our own private beach, let the girls play, and educated them on jellyfish (since there were tons in the water).  The girls had a blast and I think its safe to say it was fun for everyone.  Going out in the boat to the inlet is so calming, peaceful, and relaxing….I would easily say its one of my favorite places in the world.

Yes, we are exhausted.  Yes, my children are breaking down as I write this.  Yes, I need to sleep….

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