Hollyn’s 3rd Birthday Interview

Hollyn’s 3rd Birthday Interview:

*All answers are from Hollyn. I didn’t change anything.

Favorites

Color: pink

Toy: My Blankie

Fruit: pop-tart. [Me: Hollyn, thats not a fruit. What’s your favorite fruit? Her: cake.]

Movie: My big, big friend

Snack: fruit snacks

Outfit: jammas

Game: babies

Song: Twinkle Stars

Best Friend: Lil lil and Tae Tae and Mommy and Lil lil.

Book: Elsa

Restaurant: Chick fil A

Outside: Bubbles

Drink: milk

Sleep with: blankie, Margaret, my dog, my baby, and my mi mouse.

Be when I grow up: An animal

Slow Drive Down the East Coast- Finale

I’m irritated at myself for how long it has taken me to blog our one week trip, so I can’t imagine how irritating it is to you!

The final leg of our trip begins in Beaufort, SC. I did a report on Beaufort, SC when I was in the 6th or 7th grade and I’ve wanted to see it since then. During the planning stages of this east coast tour, I knew that Beaufort had to make the cut!

At this point we had seen more harborwalks than you can count. But this one is so memorable because it was lined with those wonderful swings!

We had dinner at Panini’s and it came with a lovely view of the harbor.

The food was amazing, too! I’m still dreaming about that shrimp cheese steak sandwich that Scott ordered!

After dinner we wandered around until we found dessert! I asked Scott if he could have anything what he would want and he said a homemade ice cream sandwich. And lo and behold, we found one at this cute little sweet shop!

We also found a candy shop and loaded up on “souvenirs” for the girls!

For breakfast the next morning, Southern Living told me that we needed to find Blackstone’s Cafe and have their cajun shrimp and grits. No one does shrimp and grits like the low country.

After breakfast and a substantial amount of time in a used bookstore in Beaufort, we headed on to Charleston.

Asia taught us to love a good market. The sweet grass baskets were beautiful at this one!

We stopped in to Bakehouse for some coffee and a muffin.

After wandering the streets of Charleston for a few hours, we popped into this magnificent used bookstore. The had some amazing old books, including a signed Faulkner and a first edition Hemingway. I wanted to touch them all and Scott was afraid of me touching any of them. He kept saying, “Yes, its neat… just put it back on the shelf, please!”

We had lunch at a neat little market called Caviar & Bananas.

Still looking for something that tastes like the Manao soda that I miss so much from Thailand. This San Pellegrino Limonata will work in a pinch, but it’s no manao.

Our afternoon wandering led us to this little cupcake shop where we shared a smores cupcake. I wasn’t able to get a picture before I devoured it.

We finally made it out of the great state of South Carolina and on to our last official stop on our east coast tour, Savannah, GA. We weren’t in Savannah for very long because by this point, we were really just ready to be home, but we managed to work in a few neat stops and a good tour of City Market, River Street, and a bit of the Historic District.

I didn’t get too many pictures of Savannah because I was tired, y’all!

As we were making our way home, we decided to take a route that would allow us to avoid Atlanta. And we are so glad that we did because it led us to this peach! I’ve never heard of Lane Southern Orchards before, but it ended up being a stop that topped our east coast tour!!

As we were driving through Alabama, we decided to stop in Montgomery to see “our” old apartment. Scott took a job in Prattville, Alabama a few months before we were married and we thought we would be living there (in Montgomery) after our wedding. We went one weekend and picked out this gem of an apartment and Scott lived there with our dog, Max, for a few months by himself while I was finishing up grad school in Knoxville. Life ended up changing those plans so we never actually lived in this apartment together, but it was fun to ride by and see it!!

And that brings us to the conclusion of our trip where we ended up back in the wonderful state of Mississippi!! We were excited to be home, to see our “babies,” and to get settled into what life would look like during our time in the States!

Thanks for following along on our journey… and what a journey it was!

Slow Drive Down the East Coast pt. 2

We left North Carolina late one afternoon and headed to Georgetown, SC where we stayed for our first night in that state.

We got checked into our hotel and then headed in search of dinner. We checked out the Harborwalk that they advertise on their welcome sign, but it was all shut down by 6pm.We ended up driving about 15 minutes into Pawley’s Island and ate at Pawley’s Island Tavern.

The entire restaurant was decorated in $1 bills.

This was the beginning of our seafood indulgence that lasted the rest of our trip. Scott and I didn’t eat much seafood while we lived in Asia so we had some making up for lost time to do.

The next morning we woke up and immediately went in search of coffee. We came across this lovely coffee shop in Murrell’s Inlet called The Local Grind.

I had a small macchiato and Scott had a monster pour over.

At that point it hit me hard every time we saw one of these massive American flags. Those stars and stripes would make my throat tighten every single time.

Late that morning we made it to our next location, Surfside Beach, where some crazy nice friends had offered us a beach house to stay in for a few days. After getting settled we immediately went to check out the beach!

We loved Surfside!! I especially loved all of these cutie beach houses that lined the street!

That night we headed back into Murrell’s Inlet for dinner at The Claw House. We sat outside on the porch overlooking the marsh. The views and the food were both incredible!

We spent most of the next day at the beach. We read and walked. We talked a little and just enjoyed the sounds of waves. That day provided us some great time to reflect.

We had lunch at the Conch Cafe in Surfside where Caitlyn used to work as a hostess.

I sent the girls pictures each day showing Fear doing whatever their daddy and I were doing. They loved them!

The next day we explored Pawley’s Island, which ended up being our absolute favorite location of the entire trip.

The island was small and the beaches were not crowded at all! It had wonderfully quaint beach houses lining the beach.

He’s saying, “Get in this cold water right now!!”

From Pawley’s Island we headed south to Mount Pleasant, where we stayed for 2 nights. Our first night in Mount Pleasant, we headed into Isle of Palms for dinner.

We ate at Morgan Creek Grill, where yet another water view provided us a wonderful setting for our meal. The sunset over the water with this beautiful American flag waving was the perfect backdrop!

After dinner we walked out to the beach and enjoyed the remainder of the sunset there.

The next morning we headed back into Isle of Palms to enjoy the beach for the morning.

Isle of Palms had been at the top of my To Visit list since the moment we started talking about this trip. During our second year in Thailand, I read 2 series of books by Mary Alice Monroe that were set in Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island. I couldn’t wait to see these locations in person after becoming so familiar with them through her series!

We spent the morning walking the packed sand and finding shells to take home to the girls!

After a few hours on IOP, we decided to head towards Sullivan’s Island to see what it had to offer.

It was a little more crowded here but was just as beautiful!

When we got hungry we headed into the little town of Sullivan’s Island and ate at a neat place called Poe’s Tavern. The whole place was decorated in paintings depicting Poe’s writings and quotes from his works.

I had a burger served “kai dao,” which is what we would say in Thai when we wanted an egg served on top of our food.

It was a perfect way to finish up our beach tour of South Carolina! In the next post we will head into Charleston. Thanks for following along on our journey!

 

 

 

 

Slow Drive Down the East Coast pt. 1

Two days after we arrived back to Mississippi, Scott and I left again to attend some meetings with our company. Since we would be attending the meetings without kids, we decided that we would have a much needed vacation, and take our time driving home after the meetings were over. We were severely jet-lagged, but driving to the meetings seemed like the best (and cheapest) option for us to be able to take a slow drive home.

Since we were jet-lagged, we woke up about 5am and started our trek early that morning. Our first stop was for the basic necessities.


Spartanburg, SC


It was a long trip, but we made it to Spartanburg, SC that first day. We were able to meet up with some close friends who agreed to take us on as boarders for the night.

They took us to dinner at The Beacon and we indulged in some wonderfully greasy American food. There can be no quiet, calm meals with this crew, so our ordering came with a lot of yelling and a cheer that involved the spelling of M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.

We received a wonderful tour of Holy Cow Farms (because he is a pastor. I know, right?!) where we got to meet our namesake, Tuminello the calf.

It was a great night catching up with our craziest friends, and they managed to keep us up until 10pm. We would need that help fighting jet-lag while we were in meetings over the next 3 days!


Wake Forest, NC


We left early the next morning to complete the remaining portion of our drive to Wake Forest, NC. For breakfast we stopped at the next best thing to Chick-fil-A. And we picked up a hitchhiker on the way.

We made it to Wake Forest, but I have no pictures to show for it, because meetings…


Wilmington, NC


After our 3 days of meetings, we were anxious to start our vacation. First stop: Wilmington, NC.

The thing I loved the most about this trip was that we had nowhere to be. We basically planned as we went and we were determined to take it slowly. We traveled back roads and took the longest route. We visited bigger cities, but stayed in small towns. If I saw a massive field of sunflowers and wanted to stop, we stopped.

One of the first things we spotted in downtown Wilmington was a market. After living in Asia for 2 years, the Tuminellos don’t turn down a good market.

In Wilmington we walked and ate and window-shopped. We talked through a little and thought through a lot. We found a boutique that was selling Thai pants for $20 each even though I brought home 10 pair that cost me $3 each. And we couldn’t come to Wilmington without finding where Karen and Lucas lived in One Tree Hill.


Wrightsville Beach, NC


From Wilmington we checked out Wrightsville Beach, where apparently I took a precious few blurry photos that included a whole lot of sky and a whole little beach. But that’s okay because my focus for this trip was just enjoying it. I didn’t capture the best pictures, but I have some fantastic memories that I hope will stay with me for as long as a photograph will.

My next post will take us out of North Carolina towards the South Carolina coast. Thanks for following along on our journey!!

Traveling to America

As of yesterday, we have now been in America for one month. I thought it would be fun to share photos from our airport goodbyes the night that we left Asia.

Fun crew!!

Dream!!!! Even though she is crazy, I miss her so, so much!!

Oh man. A part of my life feels empty without being able to share life with Pii Nid.

Sweet Abby is Taelyn’s friend from Australia. She and her mom were so sweet to come to the airport to say goodbye.

Love this sweet friend who poured so much into me during our time overseas. She is taking really good care of Nid for me.

Love the Burdette Clan. We are quite a crew when we are all together.

Pii Yo and Nong Dream stayed with us until we had to go through customs. We miss all of our friends every single day.

The first leg of our flight left at midnight and was 5 hours to Seoul. We all wanted to sleep since it was the middle of the night but the lovely ladies of Korean Air enjoy turning all of the lights up in the plane at 3am so that they can serve spicy noodles. It’s a third shorter than our longest leg of the trip, but it is by far my least favorite leg. By the time we made it to Seoul we were all sufficiently exhausted. After a breakfast of doughnuts (Dunkin’) a few of us got in some short naps before we boarded the long flight.

I really miss it being okay to have my shoes off all the time.

The next leg of our trip was Seoul to Atlanta and it was around 14 hours. We slept some, watched some movies, ate some junk food, and then started all over again. By the time we made it to Atlanta, we were zombies!!!! It was Sunday so we were all devastated that our first meal in America couldn’t be Chick-fil-A. We settled for chili cheese burgers and dogs from The Varsity. If that doesn’t scream “America,” then I don’t know what does.

After our bellies were full, we all settled in for some naps.

Except this little thing, who was just as wild as ever!!

I finally got Lillian to lay down in the floor with me and we both conked out!!

This was right before we boarded our last, quick 1-hour flight. By this point if a kid wasn’t asleep she was crying. The look on my face says exactly how I feel about 27 hours of international travel. However, this look is much [MUCH] better than the look on my face when we made this trek the first time around! Thankfully, I’ve learned so much and relaxed so much!!

Couldn’t stay awake!!!! Of course, this was also around 2am Thailand time!

I don’t have any pictures of it (because did I mention that this was the end of 27 hours of travel), but we had an awesome crew waiting for us in the Jackson airport when we arrived!! We survived another flight across oceans! And we were so grateful that all of our bags landed in Jackson right along with us!

As soon as we walked through the doors of Bebe and Papa’s house, we all dropped our shoes just like we had been accustomed to for the past two years. And if you were to see our front door now, 1 month later, you would still see a pile of shoes at the door. Some habits are hard to break!

We are glad to be back in America, but we miss the country that we called home and the people that we called friends for the past 2 years.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

 

Life.

It’s been three weeks since my last blog post. During that time we have left our home in Asia, attended meetings regarding our future, gotten spoiled by grandparents, traveled the eastern coast of America, just scraped the surface of getting accustomed to life back in the US, reunited with our “home church,” and have eaten a lot of good food. I have plans to blog all of that, but currently my pictures (especially from our road trip) are all locked up on my computer and my computer has chosen this moment in time to stop working… again. Apparently it doesn’t really like International travel.

The Tuminellos still do not feel that our time working overseas is finished. We still have plans to move forward in the process to another home somewhere in the world. But that process is a long one and we needed a job(s) to do intermittently during our time in the States. So as of today, I (Casey) am working as the Director of Communications at Morrison Heights Baptist Church. I will be helping out in their missions department as well. Combining communications and missions, it really is a perfect job for me! And Scott and I are so very grateful to God for how He has provided for us in this. Scott will be taking a full load of classes towards his seminary degree and playing Mr. Mom to Hollyn while the two big girls attend school each day!

We covet your prayers for the huge transition that we continue to work through daily. Thank you for the way that you have supported us and for the way that you have welcomed us back to America with opened arms. We are so grateful for your encouragement and support!!

Thanks for following along on our journey!

A stranger, A friend

Asia, you are a stranger.

I don’t know you. I won’t like you.

Dark hair. Dark skin. Dark eyes. Dark hearts.

How am I ever supposed to live with you?

***

Asia, you are a taker.

I took a chance on you. I made a leap for you.

My family. My friends. My life. My heart.

Why did you take so much from me?

***

Asia, you are a pursuer.

I watch you. I keep you at a distance.

Deep smiles. Warm conversations. Giving spirits. Friendly hearts.

What do you want with me?

***

Asia, you are a giver.

I feel you. I’ve been touched by you.

Guiding. Teaching. Softening. Opening.

Why do you give me so much?

***

Asia, you are a friend.

I know you. I have a part of you.

Family. Friends. A life. A heart.

How will I ever leave you?

 

 

Years of Goodbyes

 

Our goodbyes started with our coworkers. This is the group of ladies that did such a great job making us feel so special and loved at our goodbye party! We had Mexican food!!!!

And an unbelievable spread of desserts!!

Lillian and Miss Adrienne!!

We ended the night in a sweet, sweet time of prayer. We are so grateful for the opportunity that we have had to serve alongside these people for the past 2 years.

This past Sunday was our last Sunday in our church, Cool Shade of Life. We had many goodbyes to say there to the friends that we have loved worshipping with each week.

Every Sunday we have enjoyed lunch with our church friends after church! Each Sunday as soon as the service is over, the chairs get rearranged and we all sit together and enjoy lunch together that Khruu Taay’s mom prepares (EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY!!).

Our pastor, Aajaan Ogaat, and his wife, Khruu Taay.

We also had to say goodbye to our friends in Scott’s office this week. The girls love Khun Oat!!

And Khun Wet!

And one of our hardest goodbyes was to the friends from our Bible study. We enjoyed pizza to “celebrate” the time that we have had living our lives together here!!

I’m going to miss Pii Nid tremendously. My life is forever changed because of her. She has truly shared life with us the past 2 years and I don’t know how to tell her goodbye. We’ve both been a blubbering mess this week.

These are the most amazing women and I am a much better person because they are in my life.

And on our last evening here we shared dinner with Dream, our sister in Christ, our partner in ministry. Thankfully, her goodbye is only temporary because we will see her again, in our neck of the world, this fall!! And I hope that many of you will get to meet her in person, as well!!

It’s been quite the emotional week for us all. The goodbyes are hard. But we continue to be so thankful for our time in this country and all that we have learned from it. We celebrated our two years in Thailand with sparklers on our final night here.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Highest Point

A few Saturdays ago, we planned to take a trip with our Bible Study group to the highest point in our country. This mountaintop is about an hour and a half from our city and I, personally, enjoy making this trip because it is so much cooler at the peak. We met up early that morning and piled into two songteows to take us to the top. Nong Dream and Nong Mod brought fried chicken and sticky rice for breakfast.

It was nice being in an open-air songteow, because as we were headed up, you could feel it getting cooler! Plus, my girls loved being able to look out the window and see this beautiful country that we have felt so privileged to live in! Once we made it to the top we piled out to enjoy the wonderful temps!!

Mod, Lillian, Casey, Taelyn, Lemon, Scott, Nid, Hollyn, Ice, Dream, Yo, and Ton Glaa. (Not pictured but also in attendance, Tip.)

It was 9°C (about 48°F) at the top!! Everyone else was freezing, but I enjoyed every second of it!

These two dressed exactly alike for the trip… right down to their purses and shoes!!

Nong Tip and Hollyn!

My girls love Mod!! Taelyn was so cold!!

Pii Nid and Hollyn!! Hollyn has mastered the peace sign during her time living in Asia!

Dream was teaching Lillian how to take a picture Thai-style.

Once everyone was thoroughly chilled, we climbed back into the songteow in search of lunch!

This one huddled under her WINTER jacket all morning!!

Beautiful!!

We ate at a little spot about halfway back down the mountain. We had Som Tam, chicken (rotisserie-style), Northern Thai sausage, and a few other things that Dream brought to the table! (I believe my facial expression can be attributed to trying to understand Hollyn… not due to the food!)

Making Som Tom.

After lunch, we headed to the biggest waterfall on the mountain!

Nong Tip scaled the rocks to get up close and personal with that waterfall!

What a day!!

Then it was on to the absolute best part of our day!! We went to the bottom of the mountain (where it was sweltering hot again) and found a good swimming hole. We all sat on rocks next to it and Khun Scott and Nong Tip did a little reading from the Bible.

Then we listened as Pii Yo gave her testimony. She stated that after she was given a Bible she started reading it and she knew that this book was different from anything she had read before. She talked in depth about the freedom that she has experienced since becoming a Believer in Christ. We have loved watching this sister grow in her faith over the past year!! And we were so thrilled to be able to take part in her baptism on this special, special day!!

It was such an amazing day and it was certainly a high point of our time living in this country.

This group, that we have spent time with weekly while living here, has become our khrop khrua (family). We love them so much and are thankful that they have opened up their lives and have allowed us to be a part of them. We will miss them every single day.

Thanks for following along on our journey!

 

 

 

Summer Lists

On Day 1 of our Summer break, I broke the news to my children that we would not be zoning out to iPads all summer long. However, I was also quite insistent that I wasn’t going to spend my days trying to entertain them. I looked at some different “Summer Lists” that I have seen posted on social media, and from that, along with our own ideas of fun, we came up with a list that we felt would work for us. Before iPads can be played with this summer, my kids must complete [at least… but not limited to] one item from each category on our list. It has also been a great list for just giving them ideas for things to do when they are bored, as well.

We have spent hours upon hours putting all of our lego sets together.

The girls built a Lego Land on the bottom shelf of their toy shelf. I have been so impressed with their creativity and I’ve loved that this has actually allowed them to play with their built legos instead of just building, taking apart, and building again! My favorite thing that they have done is the toilet paper roll trees (Lillian added the cherries!!).

I also realized through this process that I could save PDF versions of the Lego instruction books to our iBooks app on our iPad. I know that we are trying not to look at iPads as much, hence the entire reason for our list above, but I can’t tell you what freedom came with being able to throw all of those Lego instruction books away and no longer having to hear, “Mama!! I can’t find my Andrea’s vet clinic instruction book!!” Living overseas, by nature, has caused us to live more digital lives (our books are mostly on Kindle. Our movies are mostly on iTunes.), and it is going to be so nice to have those instruction manuals stored nicely on our iPads instead of having to keep up with them between moves!!

Lillian has built elaborate towers with her blocks every single day. I have her pegged for an engineer or an architect!

We’ve played with all of our dolls and figurines repeatedly!

The girls have dug out board games to play. And the two older ones have gotten to an age where they can sometimes play together without me having to be involved in it!

Taelyn has done some cross stitching.

And we’ve spent our fair share of time outdoors. Their favorite activity for our “community category” has been to get bottles of cold water or cans of iced coffee and ride our bikes up to the guard shacks to share them with our guards.

We’ve made more things than you can imagine with toilet paper rolls! And we’ve painted any surface that will hold still long enough.

And on our really lucky days, we’ve played in the rain!!

And of course, once the list is complete and we are back to whining about being bored, they zone out to something on the iPad.

I feel that I should take the time to point out that while we do tend to repeat clothing way more often here than we did in America, I do not make my kids wear the same clothing every single day. However, this dress has become a favorite of Lillian’s and if it is clean, she puts it on.

Here are some close up pictures of our list in case you are interested in all of the things keeping us busy. I’ve especially appreciated the girls helping with the housework. It has made a huge difference in my time and my attitude.

Thanks for following along on our journey!