Wednesday, August 31, 2011

KNIGHTly Freedom

Have you noticed that I'm on a roll when it comes to blog posts this week?

Yesterday my mom and dad flew to KY for the long weekend....with Cooper! That means it's just me, with no job to worry about, and no husband or child to take care of. YIPPEE! It is quite a freeing experience. I don't know when I'll get this feeling back, so until monday evening, I'm basking in the beauty of no worries! (Except worrying my husband and child are doing OK).

Today I am venturing with my brother to the first UCF game of the season. Football is one of my favorite sports to watch. (Baseball is the other.) Every time football season comes around I get a sense of excitement deep down. I can taste the sweetness of knowing that fall is close behind, with it some wonderful memory-making holidays and activities. Fall is my FAVORITE season and I'm excited that this year I'll get to experience a "real" fall. My brother is an avid UCF fan. I don't think I can accurately describe to you the passion he has for his alma mater. I'm sure that if he were to get cut on something, you would notice gold and black blood instead of the average person's red color. So, today is sure to be fun: 1)football and 2)watching my brother take delight and much pride in his school.

Since I'm no fool to knowing that most of you read my blog to look at picture, I will show you that Cooper's ready for football season too.


GO KNIGHTS!!!!!

Whew!


D.O.N.E.

Yes, ladies and gentlefolk, I am done packing! Our home is packed away in brown, taped-up boxes. To be done with this part of the process is an amazing feeling. Feel free to join in with me as I do m happy dance!

I do want to thank those of you who have volunteered your time in helping me pack our home. You donated your company, your service, your playing skills with Cooper, and your encouragement. I would not be able to say “done” if it weren’t for all your help, and I want you to know how grateful I am.

Cooper has also been a great helper. It has been interesting packing with him.

He required more attention, unpacked the boxes, and destroyed everything left out when I was focused on a particular room.


I made the mistake of packing a few things when he was awake. I kept telling him he’d get it back when we were in Ohio. “oy-yo” as he says it. Hope he’s not expecting a land of toys and blankets galore. Although, he may after me repeating over and over that he will get his toys and blankets back when we’re in “oy-yo”.

He also keeps asking for things that are packed “big ball” or looks for things that are no longer on the wall “whey is it?”.

Poor kid. One day when he’s in therapy he’ll probably be able to trace all of his problems back to this experience.


Now that I’m done I think I will reward myself with a week off from anything packing/moving related. For the next week I am retreating to a secret poolside location (aka – mom and dad’s). I will be available for all sorts of fun-having, relaxation, and hanging-out if you every want to join in. I’m glad my last week here with be a fun one instead of stressing over packing.

Missing "Daddy"

Cooper has done really well withoutAndrew around...until this week.

This is the longest time he has been away from his daddy, and I've seen more signs of it affecting him this week.

Monday night Cooper did not got to sleep easily. Cooper has been a great baby when it comes to sleeping. He has been sleeping through the night since he was 8 weeks old, and just falls asleep by himself after we lay him in his crib. However, Monday night he cried. The crying went beyond "normal" and then he started scream crying. So, I got him and brought him into the living room to try and calm him down. Nothing was working. I kept asking him what he wanted, and finally he said, well, cried, "Daddy".


I quickly call Andrew. We're in luck: he's still at the church. So, we do a skype call. As soon as Cooper sees his daddy, he calms down. They talk and play for a while. As soon as we hang up, Cooper starts screaming again. It took me 45 more minutes to get him calm and put down for good.
Then, last night my mom came over to help me pack/take down curtains/wash things. When she walked through the door I said, "Who is it Cooper?" Excitedly, he asked, "Daddy?". No, just Nana.


Needless today, Cooper is really missing his Daddy. It will be wonderful when we're all together again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthdays

In the midst of our crazy life, we have found time to celebrate two birthdays. My mom's (August 20th) and mine (August 25th).

Cooper helped me make a cake for my mom.
Cooper is infatuated with the vacuum as well as things that make loud noises like the vacuum (hair dryer, blenders, and mixers). He absolutely loves them, but at the same time, having a big fear of them. He runs from the vacuum, and cries if he's too close when I turn the hair dryer on. So, when it came time for me to mix the batter, I had to transfer the bowl and mixer to the other side of the kitchen. He really liked it when I poured the batter into the pans. He said "WOW" "OOOHHHHH".

Can you tell what he liked best?

For my birthday I took a break from all things packing/moving related. Amy was kind enough to take Cooper for me. I had some gift cards to use, so I...1) bought some cute boots for fall, after all I'll get a real fall this year 2) got a massage 3)got a hair cut 4) bought myself a new monthly planner. That night my brother came up and we went out for dinner, and got a couple of cupcakes.

Cooper was all about the cupcakes that night.
It was so funny that I had to take a video. - - (I'll do this later...taking too long to upload)

Birthday love.

Birthday kisses.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been having Andrew here.



Saturday, August 20, 2011

Andrew, Packing, Uncle Aaron, Eskimos


Disclaimer: I am tired, sick, and mentally overwhelmed. I cannot promise thoughts to flow correctly, words to be properly spelled, or any of this post to make sense.

I haven't posted in a few days. I have A LOT to share, but not enough time to post things in a proper speed. So, you get the lovely pleasure of enjoying some outdated blog posts in the coming weeks. Yay!

Andrew has been gone since Thursday and I can say that I'm already missing him. It is so helpful having him around...I miss his company, help with packing, entertaining Cooper for me while I do things like cook, clean....shower. Tonight we pulled into the driveway and Cooper said, "Daddy?" My heart melted. No, baby, Daddy isn't here. Daddy is in Ohio...remember? You told Daddy you were going to be a "good guy" while he was away in Ohio. So, we skyped with Andrew. Cooper grinned so big, gave his daddy a high five, and several kisses. Heart melted even more. Looking forward to seeing him in a few weeks. Really looking forward to being at our next home...all together.

A few weeks ago we put our house up for rent. We found renters within 24 hours. CRAZY!! Even crazier that we are happy with our renters. We don't think we could have found a better couple to live in and take care of our home. I took this picture when we put our house up for rent.
Let me assure you, my house does not look like this anymore. There are no decorations on the walls, no frames, nothing in it's place. Instead, big brown boxes in every corner, and (if Cooper's here while I'm packing) an explosion of toys, drink spills, and snacks. It is no easy task to pack a house by yourself with an 18 month old.


Enter Aaron. Aaron has been a great help with packing and doing things around the house. He is a great brother, brother-in-law, and uncle to our family. It is especially fun to see him with Cooper. They love each other a whole lot. Can't you just see the sheer enjoyment of being together in this picture?

Cooper's new trick is eskimo kisses.
Our handsome lad.
Off to bed. Early to bed, early to rise...right?? We'll see...with my stuffed up nose and tired and heavy eyes, sleep will probably become a must in the morning.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Andrew's Leaving

After 6 months, Andrew starts a new job on Monday! I am so excited for him and this next opportunity.

Since he starts Monday, he leaves tomorrow. Cooper and I are staying here until September 12. I have been COMPLETELY unmotiviated this week to do anything. I realized yesterday it was because I know that starting tomorrow, I get no days off for at least 3 weeks. I will be a single mom - not just any single mom - a single mom trying to pack her 3 bedroom house. So, this week I have lounged and not cared, well, tried not to care. Tomorrow I will be more motivated and things will get back into routine. Until then, just know that if you stop by, you are sure to see Cooper and myself still in our PJs and playing.

I have pictures to share, but they're still on my camera. Another time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Friends

In college God blessed me with incredible friends. I had the pleasure of getting to know 4 other wonderful girls (now women). I always find great pleasure in spending time with these four girls because they know a different me than most anyone else. Everyone I’ve met since college knows me as a wife, and now as a wife and mother. However, these friends know me before any of that. They were able to experience me trying to find my way through life one my own for the first time during my college years. They know the me who was completely silly and at times way emotional. We have watched each other fall in love, get married, and now we all have babies. We have managed to get together often since graduating, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do. However, this time was the first time we all got together with of our husbands, and all of our babies. It turned out to be an exhausting day, but it was still wonderful. It turned out to be great timing as Andrew and I are getting ready to move. Allison, Amanda, Erin, and Liz, I love you more than you know. I miss having you close. I love that when we get together it picks us like we were never apart. I can’t wait until we can leave the kids at home and go cruising together.

Everyone pretty much knows Cooper, so let me introduce you to the other characters of today’s story.

Meet Molli.


Molli is a sweet ball of energy. She seemed to spend a large part of her day by the basket of toys (sometimes in it). She loved to take out all of the toys and spend a little time with each one. She interacted with the other children well. Molli also makes a quite adorable growling sound. She smiled the whole day and loved the attention and love from any one of us. Erin and Myles, you have a wonderful daughter with such a great personality. I am excited to see how she ends up using all that energy and excitement to serve the Lord.

Meet Addison.

Addison is a picture of quiet beauty. She loves to observe what’s going on around her, not minding at all that her hands being in her mouth is causing her cute outfits to be drenched in drool. She has the cutest rolls, all over, except her belly. That’s because every time she is laid on her back she pulls herself into a crunch position and hangs out like that, sometimes moving her legs back and forth. I dare you to go try that yourself. Just hang out like that for a minute straight, and kick your legs back and forth. Addison also makes the cutest pout face right before she gets upset and starts crying. She also loves to be with her mom and is contented in Amanda’s arms. Amanda and Drew, I believe that one day the Lord will add strength to the quiet beauty of Addison. She is a beautiful girl who is going to do great things.

Meet Elijah.

Elijah is a younger boy version of Molli. He is always making loud excited noises and so excited about everything that’s going on around him. Basically, Elijah is a ball of fun. Liz and Kayne, I envision your son growing into someone who is the life of the party. I can see him making everyone laugh and good times following him everywhere he goes. I know he will use those talents to bring others to Christ.

Meet Judah.

Judah is the smallest of the bunch and he completely stole my heart in just the few short hours we spent together. It was so fun watching him and observing him. He’s got such small features and big eyes that take in everything around him. He is calm, easy-going, and relaxed. (I’m sure Jeff and Allison see other sides, but I didn’t see them that day). Jeff and Allison, I love your son and am confident that he is going to grow into a man that honors God in all he does.

Cooper had a rough day. He did not enjoy having a bunch of babies in his territory and having to share his mom and dad’s attention. My current prayer is that Cooper learns to share with and love on others…not matter how he feels.

At the end of the weekend, my heart had swelled and was overflowing with love for each one of these children. To my friends: I love you, I love your husbands, and I love your growing families. Thank you for sharing your weekend with me. It was joyful.

Monday, August 8, 2011

BIG NEWS!!!

I am excited to announce to you today that we are moving to Ohio! Andrew has accepted a position as Assistant Communications Director at a church we are excited to have become our next church family. New Pointe Community Church in Dover, Ohio is one of the healthiest church environments we have ever experienced and we are happy to announce our move there. Andrew’s job will be casting vision for the design aesthetic of the church, and building a team of artists under him. Inside he is doing cartwheels over the excitement of this position. It combines his love for art, and his skill in leading a team, all in one job. One of the things we are most looking forward to is this move allows me to stay home with Cooper! Andrew’s job will be a Monday-Friday job, giving us the weekends together. This will also allow us to serve in whichever ministry we desire. We are confident this is the right move for our family. We have many different emotions about leaving our wonderful friends and family in Florida. Our hearts are so full from our time with you. We thank you for your support and encouragement during these past 6 months. Andrew starts August 22 and will be driving up to Ohio on August 18. I will be staying behind until we have a renter and most likely until Ashleigh's wedding.

As we are at the end of Andrew’s job search and the many emotions felt through this whole process, we are able to look back and see just how God has had his hand in it all. If you’d like to know just how we’ve seen God, continue reading. If not, you can stop here and go about your day!

Ways God has been evident to us in this process:

  • Andrew’s Cohort. A year and a half ago, Andrew heard of a mentorship program that Mark Ostreiker was starting. It was a small group leadership training experience. Andrew was feeling like he needed to grow more, so he signed up for the program. Generations agreed to pay for the training. His training started in September and ended just 2 weeks ago. Andrew would not have made it through this ordeal the way he has without this group of men + Caroline (the one girl in the group). We have both been hurt, but Andrew especially, struggling with self-doubt and depression. This group that come around Andrew, encouraging him, pouring time into him, and helping him process through thoughts, emotions, and decisions that have needed to be made. We know that God had put this whole group in motion well before anything every happened at Generations so that Andrew would have a support group. (By the way, if anyone is interested in this program, let us know – we would love to connect you to this awesome experience).
  • My desire to stay at home. Around October a desire for me to stay at home started growing. Before I even discussed this with Andrew seriously, it is something I prayed about for a couple of months. I also discussed it with a few trusted friends. I wanted to make sure this decision was not a selfish decision so I could stay home in my pjs and not have to wake up early. I realized that our family life would be much healthier if I were home. So, in January it was something I finally brought to Andrew as a topic of discussion. He dragged his feet about it for a long time. He kept telling me there was no way it would work, and it was just better to have 2 incomes rather than 1. Well, after a couple of weeks of discussion with our core group, some people from church, and reading the book Radical, Andrew told me he would join me in my prayer to stay home. Our prayer was for something “radical” to occur to stay home. Exactly one week later was when everything changed for us at Generations. We weren’t expecting a loss of job to be the answer to that prayer, but were hopeful that in the end this prayer would be answered. I know that God placed that desire on my heart long before anything happened with Andrew’s job so that we would have something to aim for. Andrew has had opportunities come up that we didn’t accept because it didn’t allow me to stay home. Because we have waited we have found a truly amazing church to call home.
  • Provision. How is it that we now have more money in savings than when we began this process (granted, it’s not a lot). How is it that we have been completely taken care of and our needs have been met this whole time? God. This was His plan, and He has worked it out for us to be taken care of. I am holding onto that in the next few weeks as we have to find someone to rent our house, find a house to rent in Ohio, and come up with money to get a house in Ohio. We will not be making any money for at least a month, so I’m just trusting that God keeps on providing the way he has.
  • Timing. How dare we ever doubt God’s timing. Sure, there were times during the past six months where we just wanted Andrew to have a new job and to be able to move on. However, great blessing has occurred with timing. Because so much of the action occurred this summer, I have been able to travel with Andrew to different churches, interviewing, and being able to scope out the scene with him. Also, we are now both home to organize and pack our life up and take care of everything before we move. God also worked it out that I didn’t have to start the school year, and then have to quit just a few weeks into the school year. God has the best timing. (I know this to be true, but I will tell you that there were many times during everything that I wondered about it. It’s so easy to see now that we’re at the end).
  • Growth. Because of this process, Andrew and I have both grown in our walk with God. We have grown closer to each other as well. Our experience has made us not be na├»ve anymore. It seemed as though we aged over night. We have grown a hunger to grow more in Christ. One of greatest parts of moving to Ohio is that we know we are moving to a healthy church environment that serves others and will stretch our fait to reach out our hands to others as well. In the few short hours we were with the people of this church, our faith was challenged. We both questioned the way we treated others and the way we served. So excited to know we’re going to a place that will allow us to grow.
  • People. It has been a crazy experience interacting with others during this time. First we broke the hearts of adult leaders and students. Then we were broken because of leadership. Then we tried to make connections at other churches. Some churches we had a harder time being unguarded. Andrew even walked away as an “introvert” at one of them. Other churches, however, we felt completely at home. We fell in love with the people and genuinely hoped we could work with the people there. Choosing to go to Ohio was difficult because of some of the people we met along our journey that we now have had to turn down. And, now, we are leaving behind some wonderful people. God has created Andrew and I both as relational people. We both love to form relationships with others, and it has been a learning experience for us. We know that God has moved in us, showing us how much he values others, and how we are his tools to make that happen. We are very excited to do life with the people in Ohio.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poop

For the first time in a whole week, Cooper had solid poop!

I don't know if it's teething (4 teeth pushing through right now), or change of routine (we were away from home for 2 weeks) but Cooper has had quite the week of poop. It has shot out all sides of his diaper, as well as been all different shades and consistencies. He has not had an appetite, and we've tried all sorts of different diets. So, not only has Cooper had solid poop, but his appetite is back in full swing. 2 eggs and peanut butter sandwich for breakfast, 2 slices of white spinach pizza for lunch, and grapes and goldfish in between.

Wanna know what's even crazier than all of that?? Cooper can name each one of those things. I have quite the talker on my hands. At least he's a cute talker.