Friday, September 30, 2011

Dear Jesus

Confession: Andrew have never really prayed before eating our meals.

Not because we don't want to that God for all he's given us. I never wanted praying before a meal to become "something we just did" but more "something meaningful we did".

So, we didn't pray. Before meals, that is.

Enter Cooper.

It is probably no surprise to you how much Andrew and I love Cooper. We have fun with him, think he's cute, and most of my posts, it seems, are dedicated to him. (Maybe that's something I need to work on...give you guys some variety).

Anyhow, just as much as we love Cooper, we desire for him to grown into a man that LOVES THE LORD with his whole heart, mind, and soul. We desire for him to be a man that TRUSTS THE LORD with every bit of his being. We desire for him to have a marriage and family ROOTED IN GOD'S WORD, GOD'S LOVE, AND GOD'S TRUTH. We know that part of raising a child that grows into that kind of man requires a lot of intentional spirit training. So, we read the Bible, we say prayers before bed, we talk to him about God, we tell him which of his actions makes God happy and sad, we go to church, and we try our best to set a good example.

One day it hit both Andrew and I that we need to start praying before we eat our meals. We were in different states at the time of this realization, which just show me how God continues to work in mine and Andrews hearts. Andrew brought it up during one of our phone conversations and I said, "That's funny...I was convicted of the same thing!" Praying before our meals is one of the best ways that we can teach Cooper to pray. So, since we've been in Ohio, we have been praying before our meals.

We've taught Cooper to fold his hand and bow his head, but he hates doing those things.

So, we started having him say the prayer.

And it is my current favorite thing. Hearing my sweet boy talk to God is awesome.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

RAYs of sunshine

I'd like to back up a couple of weeks and share a wonderful event with you.

Andrew's sister, Ashleigh, got married to Kyle. They are now Mr. and Mrs. Kyle Ray.

I absolutely LOVE photographing special events. I was excited that Ashleigh had asked me to take pictures of their special day. Being the photographer at a wedding is quite an honor. The couple allows you to capture their long awaited, very special day. Throughout the day you are lucky enough to capture some of their most intimate moments.

Watching Kyle and Ashleigh, as well as their family and friends, was wonderful. To see the way the event unfolded, the love of everyone in the room for them, and how at peace they were, was neat.

As I took pictures through my lens, I couldn't help but feel love for every single one of my in-laws.

Our lives this year have been anything but easy. It's nice to see a break from the overwhelming, the discouraging, and the heartache. Instead, that night, we celebrated. Celebrated Kyle and Ashleigh, but also celebrated each other.

To my Sale family: I love you.

To Kyle and Ashleigh: Thanks for letting me capture these moments for you. I pray for your marriage often, praying that it is one where you learn to lean on God first, then each other. A marriage that grows in love each year. A marriage that is an example to your boys. A marriage that lasts. May your family be a RAY of sunshine to others. (get it??)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amish Zebras

We are getting more settled into our home and life in Ohio. There are boxes in different corners of the house that stare at me and taunt me all day long. Eventually they'll disappear.

About a week ago we took Cooper to an awesome park in town. It has many different types of playgrounds, and he loved it. He has learned how to climb up, and slide down a slide all by fear. He loves it.
Here he is riding a Zebra.
Which reminds me...last weekend we went to an Amish fall festival. They had all types of animals you could get up close and personal with. A zebra was one of them. Whenever we read books about animals, Cooper likes to make the sound of the animal. For a zebra, he always makes a horse sound, and I always tell him that I have no idea what sound a zebra makes. Well, I'm proud to say I know what one sounds like, and it's a weird noise that I don't know I can get right. If you don't know what one sounds like, google it and see if you can get some sounds of it.

Here are some of the pictures I had hoped to share with you a while ago.

This is my sweet boy wearing his backpack I got him for his airplane ride.
Playing outside on our last day of summer weather. We were in KY here.

Playing with the goats and riding Sonny Boy at Carrie and Amy's.

Maybe we got a little TOO close.
Our new home...outside.

Today I was cold. I had to shut all the windows and lay under a blanket. It's not even October, people...what am I going to do this winter?

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I never thought I'd be able to mark in a box that the state I lived in was......Ohio. I grew up in the state directly south, where wildcat fever runs deep. Then my family moved to FL, which became "home" to me for 17 years. Now, here we are, living in Ohio. And sorry to all you OSU fans, but I will not be a crossover.

The running theme when we tell people about Ohio is, "do you know what kind of weather they get there?" When we interviewed at places up north they asked, "Are you really considering leaving Florida?" Even today when the internet guy came to hook up up to the world again, he said, "Why did you come from Florida to Ohio in the fall?" I know that our winters will be tough, but I would take any weather if it meant that my husband came home fulfilled, feeling valued, and being poured into. I would take any weather if it meant that I was able to stay home with Cooper. I would take any weather if it meant our family could grow closer to God, closer to each other, and serve others. In Ohio we are able to experience all those things, so bring on the weather! I'm sure by my saying this, we are sure to have a wretched winter.

I am certain that this is going to be a place of healing for us. A place where we are going to be challenged and stretched. I think it will be a place of growth for us.

Update on our life:

We are all moved into our new home. There are still many, many boxes that have yet to be unpacked, pictures to be hung, things to be organized, new curtains to be bought, and the list at this point seems pretty endless. But, at least we're here, and together. I really like our new home. It is different than anything both Andrew and I have ever lived in. It is old, bringing with it lots of "quirks". It has an upstairs, and a basement. I think it's going to take me a while to feel comfortable going into the basement. There's something about it that just seems creepy to me. I'm sure the coming months will allow that feeling to pass. Even with all the quirks and things we'll have to get used to about our new home, I still like it. I told Andrew I'm ok to stay here in this house as long as we need to.

Andrew is loving his new job. He gets to do what he's best at and loves the people he works with. In some ways I feel like this church is the best kept church secret in our country. It's an awesome church, and Andrew is happy to be a part of it. So am I.

Cooper is adjusting well. When we walked in the door for the first time, he RAN to his toys and was so happy to be reunited with his train, zebra, rocking dog, elmo, perry, books, and on and on and on. He is loving the adventure of stairs. He can go up without any problems. It's down that we're more concerned with. He's mastering it pretty well, though, and he has not fallen yet (but we're only at day 5). He is beginning to pretend play a lot. He acts like animals and makes his stuffed animals play and interact with each other. He is still quite the talker, and I'm still amazed daily at his vocabulary. Yesterday I was hanging a star. The star has a circle in the middle of it. When I got it out, he said "sar". Yes, Cooper, that's a star. Then he pointed to the middle and said "circle". Yes, Cooper! He is also showing interest in going to the bathroom on the toilet. We've set him there a couple of times after he's asked, but nothing happened. Could we possibly be exiting the diaper stage in the next few months? Where has the time gone?

As for me, I have to remind myself that not everything has to be done right away. Andrew and I both like to have things a particular way in our home (Cooper's got that trait, too...big time). So, the sight of boxes sitting around makes us crazy sometimes. But, I'm not superwoman...shocker, I know. I can only do what I can and know that eventually it will all come together. I am trying my best to enjoy my new venture is stay-at-home-mom-and-wife. I have been able to fix breakfast in the mornings, fix dinner without rushing, and my favorite: spend some very precious time with Cooper. That, honestly, is why I'm not going crazy to get everything done. I am trying my best to sit back with him and enjoy him, because he's not going to be like this for long....remember that mention of no diapers much longer?? Anyhow, I'm excited to get to know people more. I went to church for the first time this past Sunday and absolutely loved it. I felt very at home there, and am happy to be here.

Computer/Pictures update: My computer is completely out of space. I cannot upload anything. I hope to remove some things to create space soon, so I promise one day soon you will lots of pictures. Probably an overload of them.

Goodbye Foxboro

Disclaimer: This post has no pictures. Not by choice, however. My computer is crazy right now and I've not been able to do much in the way of pictures recently. SORRY. I'm sure it would have been much cuter with photos.

This past weekend we said goodbye to a lot of things. Family, friends.......warm weather :/ But we will never say goodbye to the memories we've made with the ones we love.

We also said goodbye to our house. Being our first home, it holds a special place in our hearts and we have very fond memories of being there. If you don't mind, I'd like to share some of those memories with you.

  • The arrival of Cooper. This will probably be the most fond memory of all. Our late-night (really, early-morning) feedings, his bassinet in the living room, his sweet, tiny, self that I'll never hold again but in my memory bank.

  • Having friends over. It is no secret that Andrew and I are very social people. And, we love to have others over to our home. We have hosted adult leader parties, movie nights with the girls, and cigar nights with the boys. It's been the meeting place when we gather with our college friends (what will we do now, girls?). Also, a weekly night devoted to our friend Todd, so he and Andrew could watch dumb movies, and a weekly night devoted to Laura, so we could watch Survivor. It's been a place we've gotten to laugh with others, have fun with others, and know those people more deeply.

  • Holidays. Christmases, Halloweens, 4th of Julys, Birthdays, Thanksgivings, Easters. Treasured times. We were able to spend our last holidays before Cooper here, as well as our first holidays with Cooper here. I will always remember the look on Cooper's face the morning of his first Christmas, as well as the look on his face when we sang "Happy Birthday" to him on his first birthday.

  • Watching Cooper learn and love new things. It was at our house on Foxboro that Cooper fell in love with the vacuum, learned to crawl, walk, run, climb, play with his imagination, say "dada" and "mama", drink from cups, eat with a fork, and say lots of sweet things. Our son has grown into such a wonderful 18 (19 on Sunday) month old boy. I'm so glad we had our home on Foxboro as the place to watch him grow.

  • Love. A lot of it. Our home has been a place for us to love on others, and love on each other.

Foxboro Drive,
Thanks for the great memories.

"Chandrew" and Cooper