Tag Archives: visit

Traveling East in 2012

September 2012 – After moving to Texas, I had assumed that we might take some time to travel around the state and get to know it better.  What ended up happening is that we’ve spent more time heading east than we have going any further west of Houston.  Our biggest attraction to heading east of Texas happens to come in the form of family location.

Stephen’s sister and her family live near Mobile, Alabama.  My three siblings and their spouses and families live in Gainesville, Florida.  A few days before our week-long spring break in March, we made a last minute decision to travel east to visit them during our vacation.  So, we packed up and traveled east.  We spent one evening in Mobile with Stephen’s sister’s family.  They have four children.  Their second and third children are close to Jared and Luke’s ages.  Their fourth child is about six months older than Grace.  So, our kids always have a blast visiting with them.

Our second day of traveling brought us down to Gainesville where my sister had been able to secure a guest apartment at their apartment complex for us to stay during most of our visit in Florida.  It was a great time to meet three new members of the family.  First of all, my sister, Anita gave birth to her second child, Eliana in mid-November of 2011. My youngest brother, Tim, had recently married the love of his life, Briana, right before Christmas of 2011.  I had never met her outside of Facebook contact.  Around that same time, my brother Philip and his wife, Chrissy, had finalized the adoption process of a precious little girl from China.  So, it was the first time that I got to meet little Li Rose.  Jared and Luke also enjoy playing with their cousins, Noah and Josh.  It was also the first time for Grace and Eliana to meet each other.

During our visit in Florida, I also had the opportunity to travel down to Ocala and visit with my grandfather, Bill Lassiter and his wife.  It was a short visit and the Meier kiddos basically napped the whole time we were there, but it was fun to sit and chat with him the way I used to when I was in college.

At the end of our one week vacation, we stopped in Mobile again on our way back to Texas and spent one more night with the Blanton family.  It is always so hard to leave their home, because our visits tend to be so brief.

We’ve already decided that we will make another one-week trip east before the end of the year.  I will be too far along in my pregnancy to travel anywhere for Christmas.  However, my doctor has authorized my travel plans for the week of Thanksgiving break.  We are excited that BCS allows for an entire week of vacation for Thanksgiving.  Besides seeing the family that we visited in the spring, we have an additional couple of family members we haven’t visited with in a long time.  Just this past July, my parents (Steve and Helen Cobb) moved to Gainesville, Florida after leaving their missionary home of 16 years in Guatemala. My father has not spent time with my kids since before Grace was born.  Jared had just turned three and Luke was a year and a half when they last visited with their “Papi.”  They last visited with their “Mimi” when she came to Ecuador for a few weeks after Grace was born. 

Here are the general plans for the trip:

November 16  (Friday) – Thanksgiving vacation begins at the end of the school day

November 17 (Saturday)  – Leave Lake Jackson, Texas and arrive in Mobile, Alabama

November 19 (Monday) – Leave Mobile and arrive in Gainesville, Florida

November 23 (Friday) … yeah, we’re traveling on Black Friday – Leave Gainesville and return to Mobile, Alabama

November 24 (Saturday) – Leave Mobile, Alabama and return to Lake Jackson, Texas

November 26 (Monday) – School is back in session until Christmas break

Fireworks in Galveston

July 2012 – This was our first summer in several years that we did not make big travel plans to visit people around the U.S.  In spite of lighter summer hours, Stephen was still pretty busy with his job and I was still struggling through nausea and fatigue from my present state of being.  However, we wanted to do something special to celebrate the 4th of July.  We did hear that there was a fireworks event here in Lake Jackson, but that seemed a little tame after some of the fireworks events that we’ve attended in the past.

After some research, I discovered that Galveston put together a pretty good show on their beach front that included a parade and a fireworks show over the ocean in the same evening (http://www.galveston.com/cvb060812/).  Galveston is only an hour away from Lake Jackson.  So, we piled the kids, a picnic dinner and a sense of adventure into our van and made our way over to the seaside of Galveston.

We arrive mid-afternoon while there was still some parking available along the parade route.  Several streets were already being roped off, but Stephen squeezed our mini-van through and managed to find a parking spot on the very edge of a parking lot facing the ocean.  For the first time, we used the “tail gating” option on the back seat of our Chrysler Town and Country Minivan. We spread out blankets and got ready to enjoy the evening.

Our Patriotic Children

We were trying to decide if we should put on our bathing suits and take a quick swim in the ocean when Jared and Luke informed us that they needed to go to the bathroom.  So, I left Grace with Stephen and walked down the block to the nearest gas station to use the bathroom.  Of course, there was a long line of people also trying to use the restroom.  So, it took us a while to get through the line.

As we waited, I grabbed a free copy of a car sales magazine.  Jared and Luke became immediately fascinated with the vehicles they saw displayed.  I told Jared that the magazine was free, so he could keep it.  Ever since then, Jared will skim through that same magazine and dream about the car that he wants to own when he grows up.  (This changes usually every few days.)

By the time we finally got back to the car with bladders relieved, stomachs were beginning to speak.  So, we started getting dinner ready.  Hotdogs were distributed, baby food was prepared for Grace and we munched on our dinner as the parade participants prepared themselves for the show.

The weather was pleasant.  There was a breeze making the summer temperatures feel cooler than normal.  The sun was setting behind us, and the sky was nearly cloudless.  The ocean’s waves were mild, and the hum of vehicle and human traffic filled the air around us.

Right on schedule, the police cars that led the parade began to make their way down our street.  Lights were flashing and people scrambled to the sidewalks to find a good spot to catch any surprise gifts that might be given to them from the floats that were soon to arrive.

For the next hour, the boys waved their American flags and chased down candy, colorful beaded necklaces, fliers and stickers that were tossed in their direction.  Grace was especially fascinated with the beads.  I think she ended up with about 10 strands around her neck by the time the parade was over.

Once the parade was over, there was a lull as we waited for the sky to darken enough to begin the fireworks.  During that time, the kids played with their new treasures, relieved bladders once again, brushed their teeth and got their pajamas on.  (We were expecting them to fall asleep on the way home.)

At about 9:15pm, when the sky was just beginning to darken completely, the fireworks show began.  Music played in the background as kids watched in fascination at the bright colors lighting up the sky.  We were far enough away from the explosions as to not scare Grace.  So, even she was enjoying the show. The show lasted over 20 minutes, and we were all happy with the display.

We hit some traffic on the way home, and it was hard for the hyped up kiddos to finally close their eyes.  However, by the time we got home around 11pm, they were all fast asleep.  The parade and fireworks in Galveston is definitely something we will look forward to attending in the future, if we decide to spend our summer here in Lake Jackson again.

A Caroling (on Skype) we will go…

CALLING ALL SKYPE USERS! CALLING ALL SKYPE USERS!  This is a Skype Caroling Event that you DON’T WANT TO MISS.

Jared in the park with the Awana Club of Clute, Texas

In an earlier post, I was discussing the things that we are doing to make the Christmas holiday special for our kids.  The focus is mostly on Jared and Luke right now, because Grace doesn’t really understand what is going on right now at eight and a half months of age.  However, Christmas in the life of a boy who is nearly four and a half, and a boy who is almost three, is quite the exciting time of year.

I have been practicing a lot of Christmas carols with them, because Jared became involved in a Christmas caroling event with his Awana Cubbies group.  As we sang the songs, I got a great idea for a Christmas Tradition that I would like to start with my friends and family.

Here’s the idea:  We will find out how many of our friends and family have Skype addresses (if we don’t have that contact information).  Then we will schedule a time in which we will “visit” by “knocking” on the Skype doors of your homes and singing some Christmas carols for about five minutes and wish you a merry Christmas.

For those of you who are interested in our Skype Caroling Event, please e-mail me (crcmeier@yahoo.com) the following information:

Your Name
Your Skype Name
Date for Skyping (Choose between December 22, December 23, December 24, December 25)
Time for Skyping (Between 9am-12pm or Between 4pm-9pm, CENTRAL STANDARD TIME)

It will only be five minutes of your time and it would be fun to go Skype caroling to your home across the virtual spaces of our computers.

Texas Routines

In the past few months, we’ve gone to stores and garage sales to get all the things we needed for our home.  We’ve adjusted to a new altitude, new food, and a new schedule in which mommy doesn’t have to rush off to work and in which Daddy has to leave a lot earlier than he used to in Ecuador.  So far, we’ve come down with the following weekly routine.

Monday – Mommy gets up earlier and runs on the treadmill.  Then after breakfast, we go to the pool store with a sample of the pool water to get it tested so that we know how much cleaning agent we need for its weekly cleaning.  When Cristina and Stephen bought the small 8 foot wide by 3 foot deep pool, they didn’t realize how much maintenance would go into keeping it clean.  But they are glad they have it in this hot, Texan weather. After running errands, we come back home for lunch and an afternoon nap.  Mommy is grateful to get all three kids sleeping between the hours of 2pm and 4pm.  She usually gets the house swept and mopped during that time.  Then Stephen comes home to play with the kids before dinner.

At some point during the day, we also work on Jared’s Awana lesson for the week and his memory verses and try to work on some of his phonics lessons.  Right now, he is going through the capital letters of the alphabet.  Luke is trying to keep up with him, but he’s not quite figuring it all out.  He doesn’t seem to mind.  He is just content to repeat everything Jared says.

Tuesday – Mommy tries to get on the treadmill before the kids get up.  Then, after breakfast, we all go to the library for story time with one of the librarians.  This is usually followed by an arts and craft time.  Jared and Luke have fun doing the craft and then selecting new books to check out of the library and bring home.  Then it is lunch time and nap time. Mommy spends some time on the phone with her advisor talking about what she needs to do to get her Ph.D. dissertatation written…ever so slowly.  Then she tries to get some dusting done before the kids wake up.

At the Lake Jackson Library

Wednesday – After breakfast, we all meet up with our “play date” buddies.  A lady I met at the library and her four year old son have come with us to the Texas Sea Center (a Fish hatchery), the Gulf Coast Observatory or visit each other’s homes.  This keeps the boys busy for the rest of the morning.  Wednesday evenings, Jared also attends Awana at a church in Clute.  It’s the only church in the area that has an Awana program.

Posing in front of a statue at the Sea Center of Texas

Thursday – After Mommy runs on the tread mill, breakfast is served a little more quickly, because we all have to rush out the door for her to make it in time to her weekly women’s Bible study that she started attending last month.  Most of the time, she arrives at the Bible study about 5-10 minutes late, but no one seems to mind too much.

Friday – This is usually Mommy’s day to wind down and do some things with the kids around the house.  Sometimes they just go out in the yard so the boys can get out some excess energy before nap time. Sometimes they’ve gone garage sale shopping on Fridays and Saturday.  Some evenings, they have gone to watch a BCS football game.

Saturday – There isn’t really a schedule for Saturday.  We’ve gone to garage sales, or driven to the beach or played around the house.  Just this past week, we joined a group of people to do a 5km race sponsored by the school.  Jared and Luke ran a short race for little kids.  Stephen and Cristina ran the 5km race.  It is usually the day that weekly shopping gets done.

Sunday – We go church shopping.  Yes, eventually, we will decide to go to one church on a regular basis.  Right now, we are making sure to visit as many as we can before we make that decision.

So, this is a typical schedule at the Meier household.  Cristina is enjoying being a home maker and spending time with her three kids.

June Updates and Summer Plans

The expression “April showers bring May flowers,” came into mind many times during the weeks that followed the birth of Grace Erin Meier.  It certainly seemed that we were getting enough rain in Quito during that month to water the May flowers of several countries.  Although Grace’s memory bank will not be able to remember those first couple months of her life, her mother will not forget them. 

It is hard to believe that spring has so quickly slipped into summer and we are now preparing to make our next big move.  It has been nearly three years since we moved to Quito, Ecuador on July 31, 2008, with a 12 month old boy and a few suitcases.  

Now, we are preparing to leave with a nearly 4 year old boy, his 2 ½ year old brother, their nearly 3 month old sister and quite a few more suitcases.  Please visit the posts below to find out more about our big move to Lake Jackson, Texas, and some of the adventures we’ve had in the past few months. 

You’ll find the following stories here:
1) Summer Plans 2011
*Read our itinerary and find out if we’ll be in your area this summer to plan a possible visit 

2) Graduating the class of 2011
*Find out about finishing the 2010-2011 school year 

3) Our April Showers
*Find out about the health challenges and weather-related trials we faced 

4) A Quick Trip toTexas
*We flew toTexasin mid-May to visit our soon-to-be home and ministry location 

5) Bringing Voting to the 21st Century
*Impressions of the election process inQuitothis past May

Thanks for keeping in touch!  We would love to hear from you through e-mail, Facebook, Skype, telephone, blog comments, etc. 

Sincerely,
Cristina Meier (along with Stephen, Jared, Luke and Grace)

Summer Plans 2011

Once school ended on June 17, we were in earnest to get all our packing done so that we’d be ready to leave Ecuador on the evening of June 24.  Here is our traveling itinerary in case you want to know where we will be traveling before we end up inLake Jackson,Texas. 

Cell phone in theU.S.= 352-215-4524

Meier Traveling Itinerary

(Friday & Saturday) June 24 –25 = Leave Ecuador / Arrive in Florida

Flight Information:
LanEcuador516 @ 6:30pm leavingQuito
LanEcuador516 @ 11:35pm arrive inMiami

Travel Information:
Rent van in Miamiand drive to Gainesville, Florida(on the road 8 hours)Approximate arrival time between 10am -12pm on Saturday, June 25
Drop off rental van and pick up van in Gainesville 

Saturday, June 25 – Wednesday, June 29 = In Gainesville, Florida
*Staying with family, visiting, etc. 

Thursday, June 30 = Travel to Virginia Beach, Virginia
*On the road (14 hours) 

Friday, July 1 = In Virginia Beach / Travel to Northern Virginia
*On the road (5 ½ hours) 

Saturday, July 2 – Monday, July 4 = In Winchester / Stephens City, VA
*Visiting friends, church, etc.
Pick up storage items from Griffin family 

Tuesday, July 5 = Drive to Mobile, AL
*On the road (18 hours) 

Wednesday, July 6 = In Mobile, AL
*Visiting with Blanton family 

Thursday, July 7 = Drive to Lake Jackson, TX
*On the road (10 hours) 

Friday, July 8 – Sunday, July 10 = In Lake Jackson
*Settling in, buying furniture, pick up shipped items from Quito, prepare for Stephen’s first day at work

Monday, July 11 = Stephen begins working at BCS in Lake Jackson, Texas

Stephen’s Current Job Opportunities

The year began slowly as Stephen found himself back at the beginning of the process of looking for a new job.  He began to send out more applications to more schools both in and out of the United States.  He looked at the job conference taking place in Chicago in February for a while.  After much prayer and asking different people for advise, he decided the expense of the trip wasn’t worth the risk of not coming back home with a sure job offer.

So, we continued to wait.  As the weeks of February passed by, he received both positive and negative feedback from different schools.  He was interviewed over the phone and Internet for several schools.  A school in Lake Jackson, Texas, called Brazosport Christian School (BCS) was the first to ask for an on-site visit from Stephen and agreed to pay for his travel expenses and hotel stay.  Soon, they had scheduled him to leave Quito on Wednesday, February 23 and return to Quito the evening of Saturday, February 26.

Bangkok, Thailand

In the midst of talking to this school in Texas, another school in Bangkok, Thailand called International Community School (ICS), had also started interviewing Stephen.  Just a few days before Stephen was planning to leave on his trip to Texas, they also asked for him to take a flight over 12 time zones to come and visit them. 

With Cristina’s due date approaching, he asked for the trip to be booked soon after he returned from Texas.  Just this morning, he has been given a tentative itinerary which would have him leaving Quito only 24 hours after returning on February 26.  His flight will leave soon after midnight on Monday, February 28.  He will arrive in Thailand on Tuesday night and spend all of Wednesday and Thursday there before flying out early Friday morning to arrive in Quito late on March 4.

Fortunately for him, we have a two day holiday on Monday and Tuesday for Ecuador’s “Carnival” vacation.  So, he will hopefully be able to recover from his jet lag soon after returning to Ecuador.

Besides these two schools, there is a school in Peach Tree, Georgia, which has told Stephen he is among their top eight candidates for the administrative position they have there. There is also another international school in Casablanca, Morocco (northern Africa) and in Tegucigalpa, Honduras that have been interviewing Stephen, but have not requested an on-site visit yet. 

However, since Cristina has requested that Stephen not travel anywhere in her last four weeks of pregnancy, these two trips are the last he will make until our third little bundle of joy arrives on the scene.

If you would like to call Stephen and encourage him in the next few days while he is Texas, he is using the following cell phone number: 352-215-4524.