But now that we are back in the States and life is starting to slip into more of a routine, we have begun to be open to having visitors. We are still trying to keep the bites small -- small stays and a laid back adventure while they are here -- in order to not overwhelm ourselves. But we have not seen many of the friends and family we love dearly in over four years. Lots of catching up to do.
So I will continue to update this blog post each time we have someone from our past stop in and see us -- if only for a few hours. Here's what we got so far:
In July of 2014 our friends Nick and Kristy and their three boys stopped in to see us on their way to a musical festival. They only spent a quick lunch with us, but it was still so wonderful to get to see them. Nick and Kristy were one year ahead of us in residency and we were therefore together in Eglin, Turkey AND the Azores! Nick isn't pictured here but he'd probably prefer it that way.
Just yesterday, JB's childhood friend Craig and his beautiful wife and children stopped in to see us for a night. They are an Air Force family as well and were going on TDY (basically a short assignment) and were passing through. It had been YEARS since we saw them. Erin and I have never actually been friends -- we've only just seen each other on periodic visits, but we both agree that we would be VERY good friends if life crossed our paths. She is one awesome lady!
How awesome to have my mom's sister: Janet, come and visit us for a few days. It was so wonderful to catch up with her. Her son has a home not far from where we are looking at moving with our new farm. So I'm hopeful I can see her and my Uncle Ed more.
So technically they didn't visit us at our home. Instead, they met us about 4 hours away for a little visit while we were farm shopping. But oh to see Michelle after so long! Can't believe there are seven kids between us now. And what sweet kids they are. Hershal and Michelle will always hold a very dear place in my heart, and it was wonderful to share our hopeful new farm home with them FIRST!
Our friend from medical school -- Tara -- along with her husband Kelvin (not pictured) came to TN to spend a few days with us. I haven't seen Tara since before we went overseas and it was wonderful to catch up and meet Kelvin. The next time I see them, there will be a baby included in their life!
Our backyard neighbors when in Turkey -- the Ellis family -- was driving through on the way to a new job for Tommie, who recently retired from the military. They decided to stop a night and hang with us. How wonderful to reconnect with Christina and her awesome boys!
Our friends Craig and Erin (and their two cutie pies) stopped back through our house for two nights on the way back to their home in Montana. Love helping out fellow military families. Scrubs and the girls LOVED Craig!
My friend from the island, Claire, drove up from Montgomery (about 4 hours) to visit with us for two days. Here are pics of all of our kids (except Abigail). In the top picture are, from left, Jacob (9), Sidge (5), Gavin (4), and Isaac (6). In the bottom pic are Hannah (1), and Bria (2). We had the ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 represented in our home!
It's been so cool that my good friend Sarah "Stebbs" lives just 4 hours from us. We have actually gotten to see her and her family four times since coming back to the USA. In November, she and her husband and two boys made the drive to see us. Never a dull moment when we get our six together -- and this was no exception. A visit to Jack Daniels Distillery (for the guys) capped off a fun Veteran's Weekend.
My parents drove up from South Florida to spend Thanksgiving with us. We hadn't seen my Dad since Hannah was born. My Mom and I did a day drive to the farm so I can show it to her.
Joni comes for a visit!
Grant and Liz fly in to spend Christmas at our house with their awesome twin boys: Ethan and Eli.
My brother and his wife drive up from South Florida with their two little girls. We went to an indoor swimming place, the science center, Chik-Fil-A, a Princess Tea Party, and a weekend at the farm.
My cousin Ryan's wife, Briana, comes to spend a week with us while JB is out of town. What a great time we all had!
JB's younger sister, Katie, spends a short visit with us on her way to visit her older sister.
My Dad visits at both the farm and our home in near Nashville.