Monday, August 29, 2011

We're Expecting!!!

Most of you have probably already heard by now...but we are expecting another baby in March!!! We are very excited, and Grant is really excited to be a big brother! He always talks about the baby in Mommy's tummy, and he really likes to hug and kiss other babies that he sees. He is very gentle with them, so I hope that that means he will be that way with ours when it comes :) We won't find out until October what we're having. It's so hard to wait!

This is something my sister-in-law, Elizabeth, does with her pregnancies. I thought I would copy the fun idea! I'm not sure how often I'll remember to do it, but I will try to do it a few times at least.

How far along: 13 weeks
Total weight gain: 8 pounds. My doctor informed me at my last appointment that with my other pregnancy I was an "over achiever" and gained 45 pounds!! I am going to try and reign that in this time. Maybe blogging about it every once in a while will help keep me accountable. Although...I did start out much lower on my weight this time than I did with Grant...
Best moments this month: Seeing the baby on the high-tec ultrasound. They do the 3D and you can almost see what the baby looks like...although most of them look like aliens at this stage. It was so fun to see it kicking and moving around. Really strange though to see it moving and not feel anything.
Food cravings: Not really craving anything specific. I have been nauseous with this pregnancy, and I wasn't at all with Grant. I think most of the nausea is past now, but nothing sounds really good to eat yet.
Gender: Will find out October 20th
What I miss: Pop with caffeine. I love Pepsi and Diet Dr. Pepper. I know they aren't good for me, but I love them anyway! I have been drinking Sprite instead, but it's just not quite the same! Therefore I am not drinking as much pop...which is probably better anyway.
What I am looking forward to: Finding out whether it's a boy or girl, and feeling the first kicks/movements.
Milestones: Getting past the first trimester and nausea. Like I said before, I wasn't nauseous with Grant at all, so this was rather unpleasant and unexpected. I am definitely learning that not all pregnancies are the same!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Costa Rica

 As promised...a closer look at my trip to Costa Rica:

When I heard that the high school youth group was going on a missions trip, I knew I wanted to go. Missions has been important to me for some time. My first trip was when I was in high school. Our youth group went to the Bahamas (almost as tough as Costa Rica...I know). In college I went to Japan twice on two week trips. And after college I moved to Japan for 6 months to work as a missionary teacher. Many members of my family have done missions trips, and my great-grandparents both died as missionaries in Africa. I said...missions is important to me. I was excited to go this time as a leader. I knew the missions aspect would be great, but I was also excited about watching/helping high school students experience an amazing adventure.

We arrived in Costa Rica after a long night of traveling. We were working with a group called Youth With A Mission (YWAM). They picked us up in this wonderfully air conditioned bus. That was the last time we felt air conditioning for the rest of the week! And boy was it HOT and HUMID! That bus would have been nice for the rest of the trip, but we're missionaries right?!
 Our first day was sort of relaxing as we got to the YWAM base and settled in. We ate a yummy lunch of arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), which incidentally we ate quite a bit of the rest of the week! They informed us that evening that the next morning we were taking off to distribute bibles to people in a village about 2 hours away. We needed to take our sleeping mats because it was too far away to come back for sleeping, and we needed two days to pass out the bibles.
 No worries though...they told us we would be sleeping in a church. This was the church...
 No doors...oh well!

After another meal of some variation of rice and chicken we set off in groups with translators to distribute bibles. Many of these homes had never had a bible, and the people were very appreciative of the gift. We got to share our faith a little, and some of the people wanted to accept the Lord!
It was very eye opening to see the conditions in which the people lived. Their houses were often pieced together with various boards and had dirt floors. Definitely no air conditioning in these places!
We walked a lot!!!
 That evening we got to be a part of the church service. I always love listening to people praising the Lord in other languages. I can feel the Spirit there even though I can't understand the words. It is so awesome to experience the presence of God in that way and know that He is real!

On to sleeping in the church. They were very nice to set up a net for us. Most of the people on our team had 50-100 bug bites by this time (only two days into the trip). I am so thankful that for some reason the bugs did not like me, and I didn't get one bite the whole time I was there! Praise the Lord! I think I might have been the only one!
 The nets were kind of comforting since there were lots of bugs around...but then we found the tarantula. I wasn't sure that our nets were going to keep this out! The Lord protected us though :).
 The second day we passed out bibles again, and every one of the 105 homes in the village were given bibles. Then we had some fun play time with the children of the village. We did crafts, balloon animals, played games, and just had fun...even though it was pouring down rain! We had a crazy thunder storm, but no one complained as the rain brought the temperature down a little.
 When we got back to the YWAM base we got to relax a little. Here is what the base looked like.
 Then we went back to distributing bibles. This time we were in more of a city setting. The people in the city weren't quite as welcoming as the people in the village, but there were still some great stories of people receiving the Lord and being prayed for.

 The next day we did something totally different. We went into two different high schools and presented an anti-drug program. Apparently drugs is a big issue in Costa Rica, but not much is taught against it. Our drama team got to act out a drama that was very straight forward in its message though. It was cool to be able to present something that "religious" in a school.
 The high school soccer teams wanted to play against our "team". I'm not sure they knew how bad we would be.
 I really shouldn't say "we", because I didn't play. It was SO hot, and this is how some of the girls and I spent the game time.
 We had another chance to interact with some kids. We went back to the city where we had passed out bibles and did it again. Then we got to put on a little event for the kids. We did some more crafts and balloons, and the face painting was a big hit!

 Part of our duties each day at the YWAM base were to make sure that everything was clean. It was our team's job to clean the floors, bathrooms, kitchen, and outside showers. The students (and leaders too) did a great job of getting in there and doing the not-so-lovely jobs. It was a good part of the missions experience.

 Our team :)
 On our last day in Costa Rica we had a free day. They took us to the beach. It was beautiful! The ocean was warm, and we got to eat pizza! So good after all those rice, beans, and chicken meals!

I had a wonderful time in Costa Rica! It was great to see the Lord working in the activities we did with the natives and also in the lives of the team.

If you were one of my supporters on this trip, whether through finances or prayer, thank you so much for your support! I couldn't have had this amazing experience without you! And through your support, you were a part of what God did through our team. Thank you!!!

I would love your comments, especially if you supported me, and even if you didn't. I would love to know who got to read this and experience the adventure with me. I don't know if you have to have an account to comment or if you can just comment anonymously. If you do that though, please make sure you put your name on it. Or you can also email me at

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Whirlwind of July

 Sometimes I think we must be a little crazy. We definitely do not sit around and enjoy nice relaxing times at home (it would be so much easier!). But we do have fun! July was extremely busy for us. I haven't even had a chance to get my pictures put on the computer much less blog about our adventures. I finally had a weekend at home, and I am doing just that. Here is a recap of our month.

As is becoming a yearly tradition for us, we went out for a dinner cruise with our friends, the Davenports. They provided the boat and we brought the pizza! Grant liked being on the boat, he loved the pizza, but he didn't like the tubing. Of course, being the parents that we are, we made him go on it anyway. But he still talks about how we went on "Spencer's boat" and he didn't like the tube. We had a wonderful time though, and are so thankful for our "wealthy" ;) friends who take us out on their boat.

The next day we went to Tiller for a birthday/wedding get together. Paul's sister, Sheila, got married recently, and she was able to come with her kids and new husband. The kids loved the kayak, and Grant loved throwing rocks in the river. Grant loves his older cousins! He plays right alongside them as if he is the same age. And then he talks about them for weeks after we see them. Whenever we say that he is getting big, he says "Like Tyler and Brian!" It was nice to have the whole Caswell family together in Tiller.

And just a couple days later, Mommy went to McMinnville to meet up with some of her college friends. Grant went as far as Salem, and then hopped in the car with Gammy and Auntie Kate to go to Black Butte. Mommy had a wonderful time with her friends visiting all of our old favorite places. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from my mom of Grant's time in Black Butte. He had a blast of course, and didn't want to leave when Mommy came to get him the next day.

Our next adventure was with the Table Rock High School group. Paul and I are leaders for the group, so we get to do all the fun stuff they do! This particular adventure was Rafting Camp...right up Paul's alley. We left Grant with our friends, the Bonners, for one night and then with Grandma and Popin Caswell for the rest of the time. We had a wonderful time with the high school kids rafting, hiking, and jumping off big rocks. I got to see my first rattlesnake upclose and personal...Paul's view was even closer as he jumped back into me to avoid stepping on the snake as it shook its rattle. It was a really fun time, and we enjoyed getting to know some of the kids in the youth group better.

The next weekend we went camping at Tree of Heaven with Paul's family and family friends, the Grantlands. This is such a great place to camp! It is in Northern California (where it is hot!) and right along a river (that is refreshingly cold!). The Grantlands have a couple of boats that we took down the river a few times. Grant loved playing in the river, but he wasn't so sure about rafting. It took him awhile to adjust to it, and then he was okay with everything except the big splashes of water that kept soaking him :) His cousins, Blake and Hailey, came for a day, and they had lots of fun playing together.

Right when we got back from camping, Mommy and Grant got in the car once again and drove to Eugene to meet Gammy and Auntie Kate. Grant stayed with them for a week while Mommy went to Costa Rica! Here are some pictures from the trip, but there will be a complete blog post about it soon.

And while Mommy and Grant were away, Daddy went with a group of Young Life high schoolers into the Marble Mountain Wilderness. I couldn't give you all of the details on the trip like Paul could, so you will just have to survive with these pictures and ask him about it when you see him. He would love to tell you stories!

When I got back from Costa Rica I went straight to Florence to pick up Grant. I realized how nice it was to have some extra help with Grant as I was recovering from my trip, so we decided to stay for a few extra days. Daddy came up for the weekend, and we had a relaxing time on the coast. Once again, I don't have pictures of this time. My camera ran out of batteries in Costa Rica, and I didn't have my mind together enough right when I got back to get that problem fixed. But you can be assured we had tons of fun at the lake, beach, and "shoppy cop" as Grant likes to call the coffee shop.

There you have it. Our crazy July! Now that I finally get it all written down we are halfway through August! August has mostly been spent catching up, but we have had some fun too...more to come :)