This weekend Craig and Caroline arrived (as you've been hearing about for months!). It was too short of a visit but we made sure to pack it tight with all the best highlights of Amarillo. I never realized just how much there is to do here until we tried to do it all in essentially two days.
Their plane was delayed due to some sort of mechanical issue but they managed to rebook another flight and get in later Saturday evening. Our plan was to have dinner at the Big Texan which is right down by the airport, so that actually turned out to be somewhat convenient.
Craig who had boasted the 72 oz steak was a challenge he could face decided against it as Stephen had been prepping them for a ride in the Canyon the next day. A smart choice, I think. He did however order the 24 oz steak - which I forgot to get the picture of, but Craig has it if you really want to see it. It was massive. Craig managed to finish it too - but then realized 72 oz would probably not have been as easy as once thought! Stephen and Caroline got steaks and I ordered the catfish which is a favorite of mine. I think we were all stuffed clear into Sunday!
We did manage to get a couple of the classic pictures you have to take while at the Big Texan, and a big thanks to Caroline who used this new app on her iPhone to clump them together.
Sunday, we went to Stephen's Sunday school class that my middle school class is currently crashing. We decided we needed to get there a little earlier to meet the masses which was a good plan because I think we ended up delaying Stephen's Sunday school just trying to get through the door. Craig - the obvious biological brother was stopped by almost everyone who asked if Stephen and Craig were twins. There was no doubt Stephen's brother had come to visit even before I had a chance to introduce him! I think they look alike for sure, but I don't get the twin thing. It was pretty funny.
I felt bad for Craig and Caroline because people kept asking them if they were in Conn. for school. Caroline is only a year younger than Stephen and I and we're all at that age in life where you probably couldn't speak to who was one or two years older. It made me wonder if people see Stephen and I all the time and think, "Aw look at that cute couple from WTAMU!" Maybe that's why I get stared at all the time during this pregnancy...
One parishoner asked Craig if he was "gainfully employed" to which I responded "Are you kidding me? Craig's the one that's going to help take care of his poor big brother who worked for the church and lost his pension!" Stephen and I always joke that our brothers are going to be the ones that will help us out when we're old and can't afford a good nursing home...
Caroline got to add that she was a CPA...which if I were in a snarky mood, I probably would have added "And I ended in CT after I was transferred from our NYC office" because it sounds pretty impressive. Yes, I am a successful young adult with a Master's whose been out of college for more than a few years, thank you. But of course, the intentions of the questions were always good so no need for snarky-ness.
Worship was nice and I enjoyed having someone to sit in the pew with me. Stephen had quite a job preaching after the Boston marathon bombings and the explosion in West, TX. He did a great job and several people commented to me that they enjoyed his sermon that morning.
Afterwards, we had to get a good picture of the brothers.
So apart from my "oh we're adults" comment about asking Craig and Caroline if they were still in college...it takes a picture like this for me to realize how far we've come. (Never mind my marraige and the fact I'm about to birth a child into the world). When I first met the Friedrich boys, Craig was a guitar toting friend who taught me lots of chords for church songs as we went and played at various mission sites and youth events. Stephen was this really cute kid on crutches that always wore t-shirts and cargo shorts to church. Now here's Craig all grown-up and clean cut next to Stephen in some fantastic liturgical wear that is leaps and BOUNDS from t-shirts and cargo shorts. (Still just as handsome though...;-). We look so grown-up! Caroline asked me how long Stephen and I dated before got married, which was about five years (If you're counting that means 9 years together)...so if I think about it, I've known these two for a good 14 or so years. As a wife and a sister-in-law, I'm pretty darn proud of who they've become!
Mushy moment over...for now. (I am pregnant and hormonal - you never know when the next emotional moment may strike...)
Afterwards we took Craig and Caroline to our favorite Mexican place, Fernandos. Stephen and I got our standard Shredded Beef Burritos (Stephen) and Stuffed Avacados (Me) and Craig and Caroline split the fajitas which looked REALLY good. I may have to branch out next time. I keep thinking I can eat as much as I always do there...but again had to stop short of my second avacado and felt full literally the rest of the day!
We headed back to the house to change and head out to the Canyon. Stephen rented bikes for Craig and Caroline and wanted to share his love for biking down there with them. I did not ride, as I have trouble keeping balance walking sometimes, but instead opted for a seat in the shade and the start of a new good book. I probably relished that time as much as they did bike riding strictly because my time for reading good books is probably getting short. The weather was perfect, mid 70's a slight breeze...it was a great day for biking or sitting outside.
Not sure how much Craig and Caroline could handle, Stephen had suggested they go for about 45 minutes and then come back and re-assess going on the light house trail. Two hours after I'd been sitting there reading I hoped they were ok and just having fun! (No cell reception in the canyon). I then took a little nap and an hour later they returned from their three-hour bike ride! I was mega-impressed and enjoyed hearing about their ride. Here are some pictures they took along the way.
Yes, that's Caroline beasting it up the hill like a champ.Go, Caroline, Go!
This picture has to be posted because of the awesomeness of Craig's calf. I have to say, I think it beats Stephen's calf definition...just enough for some friendly sibling rivalry.
Afterwards we drove through the rest of the canyon, sadly there wasn't any water covering the water crossings for me to hit the gas through, but it was still fun. I love driving through the canyon!
We got back to the house and then went to Malcom's our favorite burger place for dinner. Having not burned so many calories, I couldn't handle a burger so I got a grilled cheese. Caroline ordered their club sandwich which I had heard was good but have a hard time usually straying from the burger...I'm going to definitely have to try it next time though!
The next day, I woke up to throw up in the toilet. Stephen dutifully got up and held my hair commenting on how it brought back so many memories (mind you I haven't done this in a while). Because my insurance only fills my Zofran six pills at a time, I had forgotten to go get my meds while the pharmacy was open on Sunday (too many other fun distracting activities). So it was my own fault. The pharmacy didn't open until 9 that morning and it usually takes about a half hour for the Zofran to kick in really good so I sent them on their way without me to go to Cavendars (a western-wear store) and the Cadillac Ranch. I hated to miss it but I'm sure they had more fun without me. From what I hear, the TN flag was the winner when deciding what to spray paint, and they did a fantastic job! Complete with a star stencil made by Craig with car keys and a cardboard box. Had I been there, I would've driven him back to Cavendars and told him real men in Texas must carry a pocket knife for such occasions, but since I can't even convince Stephen that, it probably would've been a lost cause!
I joined them at Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Caroline had to go because there aren't any in CT. (Poor thing! A girl after my own heart!!) I only got a small french fry after eating some PB toast at home. I wasn't sure how I would handle the chicken (sad day, I know). I did ok and we then went off to Route 66 for Cowboy Gelato and to see the sites and a few antique stores.
Then, sadly, it was time to take them to the airport. It was so good to meet Caroline and catch up with Craig. It was a definite spirit lifter! Stephen and I enjoyed hearing about life in CT. Made me miss our friends in seminary and the times we did fun things like go get a beer at the Flying Saucer after a long day or play/watch flag football practices for the Luther tournament, take weekend trips to Charleston if we wanted. Made me realize how dull my social life is...and that's probably why baby fever hit! 24 hour entertainment wrapped up in a cuddly bundle...lol!
Stephen and I agree that Caroline is a keeper (and that's not just because you read the blog! ;-) It will be interesting to hear where Craig heads off to next in June, but if I have to give my two cents (and I will...) I know my Friedrich boy was worth the long-distance wait for a while! My vote is for Houston because there's a direct flight to Amarillo and vice-versa so baby girl could spend lots of time with her Uncle Craig. But I suppose I would rather the job be something Craig wants to do and not just because he's got a cute niece to visit. But as her mother, I do have to say, she is going to be ridiculously cute...I mean look at the gene pool she has...;-)
As a wrap up...here's another cool picture Caroline combined that sort of sums up the trip! We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and can't wait to see them again! As I hugged Craig goodbye, I told him next time I saw him he'd be an uncle! Still a surreal idea, but the truth! And by the time they left I felt like Caroline was just another part of the family. (Did I mention we think she's a keeper????)
In other news...
Baby girl seems to be doing well. We will have another appointment next week. Typically the start checking for cervical changes around 35 weeks and then you start going every week. The nurse practitioner said depending on how she's measuring and whether I have anymore braxton-hicks contractions they may go head and check me at 34 and go two more weeks or they may wait and have me come back again the next week.
For now, I need you to pray extra hard she behaves herself as Stephen is going out of town tomorrow for Mission Assembly (Think Synod Assembly - North Texas/North Lousiana refers to their Synod as a Mission Area). I wish I could go with him, as he was voted Dean of our conference and will be doing a mission area wide presentation on the Macedonia Project which he helped spear-head. I love getting to see him in his element and I'm sure the commissioning as Dean is going to be an awesome service. But Temple, TX is 8 hours away and if I was to have problems there's no real quick way to get back to Amarillo, so I decided to stay close to my doctors. We asked the nurse practicioner last week if she thought it was ok for him to leave (despite all the things he's involved with - he would have stayed if they thought there was a true risk for labor). She said she never bets on pregnant ladies, but given the way everything looked last week, she thought he would be fine, I would be fine and the baby would stay put, but recommended he stay put after this trip. In the mean time I have a few people on stand-by to help me while he's gone should anything happen.
I feel pretty good about him leaving as she's not really been pulling any stunts lately. I just hate him leaving for the obvious normal reasons like having his company and warm body in the bed. But the way I've been snoring lately, having my own personal bed-warmer isn't a guarantee anyway. He's also a big help for when I drop things in the floor, or need things plugged in...I'm very spoiled that way. I appreciate all this, but I have a feeling I'll appreciate it even more by the end of the week! We've gotten to the point to where if he finds things in the floor he accepts it's not just because I'm lazy but because bending over takes SO much effort.
I admit that I feel big, but it isn't until I see pictures of myself with this HUGE belly that I realize just how big I really am! Apart from the swelling I get in my face, hands and feet, I'm all belly out front though. This is me in Stephen's shirt and shorts. I wore them to the canyon too. I have to wear his extra-large shorts or else they dig in. I remember in college my waist measurement was the same as his thigh. Now, you can see his large sized shirt barely has enough room for the belly! Such a weird feeling as I used to wear his shirts and no shorts as pajamas because they hung like a night gown! Now they barely cover my belly!
Keep those prayers coming!