Monday, August 31, 2009

Returned With Honor

That's right, we have him back!! Justin spent an honorable 2 years serving the Lord and the people in Croatia and is now home! It was such an awesome experience of course for him but also for me to have a brother on a mission and to witness, through him, the miracles of Heavenly Father as well as the growth in my baby brother! I'm so glad that he served, but I am equally glad he is home!! It was a much anticipated day full of emotions!

My mom doesn't have a blog so for some family and friends I'm going to start off with a few pictures from their trip. My parents were fortunate enough to spend a week in Croatia and the surrounding areas before they picked him up and then almost a week with Justin traveling around his areas and others he didn't get to see. My parents said it was so touching to meet the people the Justin had such an impact on and to see their utter heartbreak to have to let him go home. Justin kept them busy going every day all day long, so I'll show you a few of the 600 pics they took!! Sorry but I don't know where they are in a lot of the pictures, but they are really beautiful!

This is a family Justin baptized towards the beginning of his mission. My parents were gracious enough to fly them to Germany (the closet Temple) and go through the Temple with them and also see them sealed as a family. This family meant so much to Justin, so to be able to see them sealed for all time and eternity was an awesome experience for him and my parents too!

Finally...the Homecoming!!
The girls and kiddos anxiously awaiting the arrival.
His view off the plane...

and our view The excitement and joy was indescribable!
Finally together again, Abby and J.
I don't know if you can tell, but all the kids had "Welcome Home Uncle JJ" shirts on. It was SO cute. Enlarge the picture you might be able to tell better.
J with his newest nephew Beckham. He left with 1 niece and 1 nephew and came home to 5!!
Kaden loved him right away!! Who couldn't?!?

Justin definitely had his priorities straight, the next morning he woke up and the first thing he did was go surfing with Rob and Felicity!! He was in heaven!

We were all fortunate enough to be able to spend some time in Santa Maria. For the first time in...I don't know when, we were all together (unfortunately w/o my dad who had to go back to work in Africa) for 5 days!! We had many late nights of laughing and joking, followed by many early morning of 5 kids under 3 at my parents house! It was chaotic but so much fun!!

We drove to Pismo one day, had the greatest clam chowder on earth at Splash, and took the kids on a walk on the pier. It was so much fun to take the kids back to our old stomping grounds and brought back many memories.On another day, we took all the kids to Avila Valley Barn for some yummy fruits and veggies and of course the little petting zoo. You could buy scrap food to feed them but somehow Skye, the littliest of them all, was the only one brave enough to feed them. Go figure! Kaden was SO in his element as you can imagine. He actually forced me to take a picture of him in front of every animal. Immediately after he had to approve of the picure to make sure he could see the animal in the background. :) He's a funny kid. I'll spare you and only show one!Cousins make the best of friends!!

We had a blast visiting, taking turns babysitting while the others ran the great trails around my parents house, eating yummy food cuz we were all on vaca, and spending awesome quality time with each other. I even got to meet up with an old friend from high school one day which was awesome!

Sunday came and Justin gave an amazing talk at church and then unfortunately we all had to head our seperate ways! But not before more pictures of course!!! :)

Again, do you think Kaden could love him any more? Although he was a little jealous that Justin got to ride on an airplane and he didn't!!

All the family that came to listen to J. We filled up half the room I think! What great family support we have!
Wow how our family has grown, and were still missing Dad in this picture!!The proud momma and her baby. Sorry mom even with heels he towers over you!! :) Great things come in little packages!Justin and Abby

I love you J!!! I'm so proud of all your hard work and selflessness. You are an amazing brother and a great example to me!! On our way home we made a stop in Santa Barbara to see Sally. We couldn't pass through without allowing her to see her little boyfriend!!! :)

Thanks for sticking it out through that. That whole week was so amazing! There were too many pictures to choose from and I still left out a ton!


the murdocks said...

For some reason I was so excited reading this whole post. I can't believe he is already home...I remember when he left! And hello gorgeous family. Seriously, you guys are ALL beautiful. it true???? Are you really coming to visit soon?!?! I would love to see you guys, so let us know!

the murdocks said...

OH and CONGRATS on getting into school! That is fantastic. I am so proud of you Tiff and all your hard work! I just went to the dentist this morning and the hygienist did everything. You go girl.

The Lehnick Family said...

What an amazing post! He has grown into a wonderful young proud of him too! Love you all!

The Millers said...

So exciting. It was so fun seeing you guys! It was so great talking to Justin and listening to his experiences, what a wonderful blessing to be able to serve a mission. can't wait to see everyone again!