At the end of the January we went to Texas to visit family. The first weekend our niece, Nicole, celebrated her birthday. It’s hard to believe she’s seven already. I can still remember visiting her in the hospital after she was born.

We managed to fit a lot into our trip. Mommy, Grammy, and Aunt Manivanh went to some yoga and zumba classes at the local gym, and Daddy and Papa built a shelf in the garage. We went to Nicole’s dance classes each weekend and watched her practice ballet and tap. We also visited Nicole at school one day and had lunch in the cafeteria with her. Avery was excited and nervous to see the inside of a “big kid school.”

We’re lucky we timed the trip the way we did. We had great weather while we were there, mostly upper 60’s, and clear skies. We left the day before the ice storms arrived. At Avery’s request, Papa fired up the hot tub a couple of times so we could all go in.

One thing that made this trip to Texas extra-special was that Uncle Scott was back from Afghanistan for good. We timed our past couple trips with his so we could see him while he was visiting in the States. Along with the happiness of being together was the knowledge that in a few days he would return to a war-torn country, away from his family. Well not this time, thank goodness! We were able to enjoy the time we had together without worrying about any of that other stuff. It’s so good to have him back. I really don’t know how military families do it.

The four cousins: Nicole, Kieron, Avery & Andrew

Avery and Daddy horsing around

Nicole got her toenails painted before her big birthday party

So naturally, Avery wanted his painted too

Nicole & Avery watching a movie together

Aunt Manivanh made a yummy Thai dinner one night

Grammy, Mommy & Aunt Manivanh

With my cousin, Laura, at Nicole’s birthday party

All the partygoers

Andrew and Avery playing cars together

Nicole opening her birthday loot

Kieron’s first time in a swing

I think he looks so much like Jonathan did as a baby in this picture

After seeing Kieron in a baby swing, Avery wanted in one too

Nicole and Avery loved playing “Grammy’s School” each afternoon

Avery practiced writing his letters

Another day in the swing

Nicole and Avery on the walk to the park

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