North American Neilson reunions.

While on our trip home, we had the chance to reunite with two of Brendon’s sisters.  Though their roots are all in Quispamsis, New Brunswick (on the East coast of Canada), the Neilson siblings have spread out somewhat in recent years, making reunions ever the more special when they happen.

Brendon’s youngest sister, Kendra, drove down to Muscatine from Benton Harbour, Michigan, where she is currently working as the worship and connecting pastor at Overflow Church.

We enjoyed a nice stroll along the Mississippi with Kendra, before retreating from the heat into The Button Factory, where we enjoyed a lovely lunch and views of the river.  We only had about 24 hours to spend together, but tried to make the most of it.  It was great to see this youngest sister of ours on the Neilson side.

Once back up in Edmonton, we made a short roadtrip down to Red Deer to visit Brendon’s older sister Nicole along with her husband Craig, and our niece and nephews.  Matt and Amy kindly lent us their wheels to make the trip down (thanks for the friendly reminder on the dash board, – this proved very helpful.)

It was so fun to see our niece and nephews again.  It’s crazy how much they have all changed from when they came to visit us in New Zealand a year and a half ago.

Shortly after our visit, Nicole and Craig welcomed their fourth child into their family!   Jasper Robert Schmitt is the newest member of the Schmitt clan, and our newest nephew!

We were hoping baby might have come early in hopes that we could meet him we were there… but at least Nicole and I got to snap a few maternity pics together.

I have had the honor of doing a maternity shoot with my beautiful sister-in-law before she gave birth to Naomi and Wyatt, and I’m so glad it worked out with Jasper too.

While we’re on a celebratory note, we’d also like to give a huge shout out and congrats to our amazing brother-in-law, Craig, for an OUTSTANDING finish at his first Ironman race  in Mont Tremblant, Quebec recently.  For those of you who are unfamiliar of the Ironman format, it entails a 3.9km swim, followed by a 180km bike, then topped off with a full (42km) marathon.  INSANE!!!  Craig placed 4th in his age category, and 39th overall out of over 2200 competitors, qualifying him to represent Canada and compete at the World Triathalon Championships in Kona, Hawaii this October.  We are SO proud of you, Craig!!!


Our time in Red Deer with the Schmitt fam was filled with some awesome times, including an ice cream sundae party, some nail painting (Naomi does a pretty great job of painting nails for being only 4 years old), and lots of cuddles and play time.  We also attempted to visit Dose, a new cafe in Red Deer, but unfortunately, our timing was off and we decided to visit on the one day it is closed: Monday.  Brendon was a little gutted.  We’ll have to catch you next time, Dose.

The only Neilson sister we unfortunately didn’t get to see was Brendon’s eldest sister, Karly, who lives in New Brunswick.  Karly, we love you, miss you, and look forward to reuniting with you again one day too!!


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