This past week our family went on vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico. We went with all of Ryan's family and stayed at a vacation home owned by our sister in-law's parents. I will admit that I was a little intimidated to take a 9 month old baby on a 10 hour car ride. But my fears were for nothing, because Eva did awesome! She normally hates the car but was a pretty happy girl for most of the time - probably because I was hanging out in the backseat with her.
Inside the Cabin
One of the best parts of taking a family vacation was all of the time that Eva got to spend playing with her cousins! All four little girl cousins were there and they were all so cute! Eva was so excited to see all of her family every day.
On our second day in Ruidoso we all went to the Alameda Park Zoo. I took a million pictures of animals, but they honestly didn't turn out that well. So you'll just have to trust me that there were animals at the zoo. Lots of them. We even saw 2 big bears playing with each other.
Kiersi and Kayden were big enough to really enjoy the zoo. The littler cousins were interested at times but mostly just along for the ride.
Just hanging out with Daddy and looking at the animals!
After a hot morning and picnic lunch we stopped and got some frozen custard. Amanda and I wanted a cute picture of Mallory and Eva since we put the girls in matching dresses that day :)
Then we were off for a drive in the mountains. The views were gorgeous. I love the beautiful landscape.
Ryan's Dad (Bruce), Ryan, His Brother (Greg), and Our Brother In-law (Brian) - looking manly on the cliff.
Back at the cabin we squeezed in a few more cousin photos in their cute outfits.
It was always fun to see the deer walk through right below the back porch.
Finally it was time to put those babies in the bath and get them ready for bed. Check back later for the rest of the vacation photos.
Part 1: Where will we live?????
To quickly share the amazing facts about finding a place to live, let's travel back in time about 2 months...May 2nd. We don't know how things will end up with Ryan's position at Redeemer Church because we aren't actually sure if there will be a Redeemer Church. This date was the deadline for renewing are lease. We prayed about it a lot and decided that we both had peace about not renewing our lease at our old apartment. We decided that we wouldn't renew it because we weren't sure where God would call us to serve and we wanted to be available to live in whatever community we served in. We made this decision knowing that we would have to live somewhere else by July 2nd.
During our time of transition we did visit several other apartment complexes in the area. Too big. Too small. No units available. Too expensive. Wrong location. Nothing that quite fit us. Then about two weeks ago (umm, was it really only 2 weeks?) Ryan was asked to be the full time Youth Director at Bara Church! We knew that we definitely wanted to stay in the area we were in. There was a townhouse community that we liked in Trophy Club but there was no way that one would be available, right? Wrong! Our new pastor (who happens to live in the same townhouses) told us that he saw someone moving out the day before they offered Ryan a job. What? So we came to check it out. The leasing lady said that it was in fact available. Here is the crazy part - this complex rarely has openings because it isn't huge and people that live here do so for the specific location and tend to stay a while. The person who lived in this townhouse before us was a pilot who was building a home in Trophy Club. The leasing lady knew that he was planning on moving out soon (his lease was flexible) but was surprised when he stopped by the office to drop off his key the day before Ryan was hired. This apartment was not even technically listed as available although they would be able to have it ready quickly for us to move in. We decided to make our big move June 19th. And so the crazy mad pack-a-thon began for me the week that Ryan went to camp.
When we look back at the timing and how circumstances turned out, we stand in awe at the faithfulness and sovereign provision of God. It is often said that God may not be early, but he is NEVER LATE. All of our needs were met in the exact perfect timing and in a way that was so much better than the options we tried to come up with on our own. Some may read that and think that it is a nice coincidence, but having lived out this time I can say with complete confidence that it was God answering prayers.
Part 2: Moving Day
This was the best moving day experience we've ever had. Our new church family reached out and helped us out so much! We had people of all ages helping move furniture and boxes. We had dinner provided for us. We were shown love by so many people. THANK YOU to everybody that came out to help!
Part 3: Cleaning Out
Today we went over and cleaned out the old apartment. I am a clean person. I keep a clean home. So it was shocking the amount of dirt and grime everywhere! Housewife shame. We spent hours and hours scrubbing and dusting and mopping. It was probably the worst part of this whole move. But as I was cleaning out I was also reminded of the wonderful memories we had there. Memories of hosting Christmases and Bible studies - memories of playing with Cosby and cuddling him and telling him goodbye when he was sick - memories of where my brand new sleeping baby slept after bringing her home from the hospital. I told Ryan it was kind of like the scenes in Titanic where you flash back in time and can picture everything live and in full color even though just the empty shell of the place remains. I really loved our apartment.
Part 4: Settling In
And now I will really love our new home. I look forward to the memories that we will make here - things like Eva's first birthday and hearing her little voice call out my name for the first time. I have shared with a few friends that this townhouse is bigger and more beautiful that I would have expected. Eva will have lots of space to play and we can fill it with friends and family since that's what homes are for. We have unpacked most of the boxes. The first few nights in a new home are always strange, sort of like staying in a hotel that happens to have some of your furniture in it. One cool moment came when I realized that I can see the airplanes headed in to land at DFW through the window in our upstairs shower. As we continue to settle in, I just want to praise God each day for this safe, beautiful home that we get the privileged of living in. There is a phrase in Swahili that says, "Barikiwa mpake ushangae." It means,
"May you be blessed until you are surprised." This has happened to me. I
am so astounded at the blessings God has poured out on us. Pictures coming soon :)
Sometimes the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...
Happy Father's Day, Ryan! You are a wonderful Daddy to Eva. Thanks for all of your help with her. I know that she loves you soooo much and so do I. You are our hero and we appreciate all you do to provide for us!
Also Happy Father's Day to my Dad. Thanks for being such a good Grandpa to my little girl. We enjoy hanging out with you! We love you!
Last night I had the chance to meet up with two friends from college (and their cute babies!) and have dinner with them up in Denton. As I was driving through town I was reminded once again of how much I love Denton. Maybe it's because I went to college there and that's where I really became a grown up. Maybe it's the perfect blend of artsy-hippie-college town-family friendly culture. Maybe it's my super fun memories of meeting my best friends and marrying my wonderful husband there. Probably it's a blend of all of those things.
I love that Denton has cafes to get sandwiches and the world's cutest ice cream parlor. I love that when I'm at Super Target I can randomly run into one of my favorite past students who now looks so grown up. I love that as I'm driving from one side of town to another I can think of at least 10 friends that I want to just drop in on to say hi - I didn't do that but I sure thought about it! I love that John B. Denton, whom the town is named after, is buried on the town square even though he possibly defended his town against the wrong tribe of Native Americans (hey, in Denton a town hero is a town hero). I love that Denton has community events that celebrate Christmas and music and dogs.
I also know that at this point in our life, Denton is not where God has called my family to serve. Rather it is the place that built us up and equipped us to be able to serve well in Trophy Club. I am actually really excited to move to Trophy Club because I love that it's a small town. It seems very community centered and is still close to bigger cities for fun nights out on the town. I no longer wish that I could go back and live in Denton, but I sure do love to visit! Maybe Eva will end up at UNT for college???? We'll see...
PS I got the image above from this website. If you are a fellow Denton lover you should check it out.
We're moving .... of course, we knew that we'd be moving soon, but we're extra excited to be moving because .... Ryan was offered a full time position as the Youth Director for Bara Church! This is the church that Redeemer merged with back in May so we've already gotten to know and love many of the people and youth there. Ryan and I have still been involved in the youth stuff during the time of transition so it won't be a huge change, but Ryan will be an official staff member as of July 1st. Join with us in THANKING GOD and PRAISING HIM for this AWESOME PROVISION!!!!
We not only love the people of Bara, we love the theology of Bara Church - to Know Christ and Make Him Known. We would not have stayed with a church that didn't fully teach the Gospel and have a desire to share truth with others.
So after a few months of knowing that we had to move somewhere, but being unsure where that somewhere was, we are looking forward to moving into a townhouse in Trophy Club. And we're moving next Tuesday! Umm, yeah, as in 4 days from now. While Ryan has been away at youth camp this week I have been working super hard to get us all packed up and ready to move. Our apartment is already stacked high with boxes and I still have a few more rooms to pack. Yikes!
Thank you to everybody who has encouraged us and prayed for our family. We are ready to rejoice and fully appreciate all that God has led us through and done in our lives. He is indeed good all the time!
This morning we got Ryan packed up and sent off to go to youth camp for the week. It'll be just me and Eva for a whole week while Ryan ventures off into the great outdoors with a group of middle school boys. Well, just me, Eva, and all of the friends and family that are coming over to stay with me. I've made many plans for people to come over or for us to go do things so that we're not lonely.
This is the first time for Ryan to be gone since having Eva. We knew it was inevitable with his job but that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye. I may have cried as I drove away, but only for a minute or so. I can't imagine if he was a soldier and had to leave us for months at a time. We will miss him so much!
Ryan and his crew of boys. I know they'll have so much fun this week!
Happy 9 Months! You were very happy when I picked you up out of your crib this morning! We have had a busy month watching you grow into a babbling, wiggling, cruising baby. I used to see babies on commercials wiggle around and thought that would never be my tiny girl, but it happened. You are always on the move now.
9 Month Stats
Weight: 17 lbs 3 oz (25th percentile)
Height: 27 inches (30th percentile)
Teeth: 2 bottom front, 2 top incisors, and your 2 front teeth are currently budding through :)
You love people! You think everybody that you meet is your new friend. In the past week you have started waving "Bye bye" to Daddy when he leaves for work. You always want us to be right beside you while you play.
Crawling or walking?
Nope. Not yet. You still roll everywhere and use your arms to turn in the direction you want to go. All day long you want us to help you pull up so that you can cruise along your toys or the furniture. You're not completely steady yet so we're still right behind you to catch you. In the past week you've become more daring and want to let go and cruise along with one hand. You would cruise all day if we had the time to be right there next to you. I keep trying to encourage you to crawl by giving you plenty of floor time but as soon as you are close enough you try to pull up on my arms so you can stand again.
Reading a story about vegetables, you obviously love it!
A Few of Your Favorite Things
You like to read books together. You love your pink puppy that sings songs. Your favorite song right now is "If You're Happy and You Know It," and you clap your hands the whole time. When you roll around the floor you go straight for our DVDs and pull all the cases off the shelf so that must be big fun for you. One of your favorite toys is a small pink spatula.
Remember when you were only a few months old and slept great? Let's get back to that. Your sleeping habits aren't terrible, but there have been some nights where you woke up a lot. Or woke up way too early. I think it's mostly because of teething. The past few nights have been way better so keep up the great sleeping!
You are usually still taking 3 naps a day. If our day is crazy sometimes you only get 2 naps in, but you do so much better in the evening if we can squeeze in at least a 30 minutes snooze before dinner time.
You love to make sound. Lots of loud sound. You say "a-bah-bah" all the time. I wish I new what you meant. A few days ago you started occasionally saying "ma-ma-ma-ma" but I don't count that as your first word because you didn't say it in a way that seemed to be associated with me.
You nurse 5-6 times a day. You eat 3
meals a day, about 4-6 ounces total. You love trying new foods. Some of
the foods I introduced to you this month were broccoli, squash,
zucchini, apples, watermelon, and pineapple. You love cold,
pureed broccoli more than sweet, juicy watermelon - at least you eat
healthy! You eat a little bit of finger foods each day, mostly mashed up
pieces of bananas and avocado.
When you are older I look forward to sharing with you all the amazing ways that God is showing himself faithful to our family during this time. I pray for you every day and hope that I can always teach you to trust in God above all else. He will always love you the most.
Daddy and I love you so much. We love you when you're happy and smiling. We love you when you're fussy. We are so proud to be your parents. We look forward to watching you continue to grow. Just don't grow too fast.
Congratulations to all of the students who recently graduated! Eva was so excited for each of you that she played dress up in my old graduation cap. I think she still has a few years before she's ready to go away to college....
Last week on Thursday morning I stopped by the elementary school where I used to work. I didn't take any photos of kids, but here is what the entrance looks like. I had originally hoped to make it for the 5th grade graduation ceremony but sometimes my job as a mama throws a loop in my plans. Eva and I still made it in time to visit with some teacher friends and to see my former students do their graduation walk where they walk the full hallway loop 3 times.
As I visited with former colleagues the two questions I got most were, "Do you love staying at home?" and "Do you miss teaching?" My answer to both question is YES! I love, love, LOVE being at home with Eva. I also miss being in the classroom. When I see my students all grown up my heart swells with pride and I just want to give them all a million hugs. (Although when I was teaching them all day, every day there were plenty of moments that I felt other emotions towards them.)
The 5th graders who graduated were a particularly challenging group. When I look back at that group it was definitely the hardest, but also the group I probably prayed the most for. There are a few friends in that group that I still think of and pray for often. Kids who need stability and love and most of all Jesus. I hope someone shares that hope with them. Ironically only 5 of my students from that group were still there on the last day of 5th grade. I would have loved to see all of them.
I also saw my students that are now 4th graders (well technically they are now 5th graders). They were my last class and I don't want to call them my favorites so I'll just say that they were awesome! Almost all of my last group of kids still goes to Lee. I was soooo happy to see them and they seemed pretty thrilled to see me to! I'm sure it helped that I had a cute baby on my hip. I will definitely be back to see that group graduate next year if at all possible. I love those kids!
Later on Thursday Eva and I went to the Westlake Academy Baccalaureate Ceremony. Ryan was asked to give the Baccalaureate speech - what an honor to get to encourage such an amazing and intelligent group of Seniors!
Eva loves her friend Mollie! Mollie is one of our students who has been with our ministry from early on and we are sad that she'll be leaving us for A&M but excited to see what God does in her life.
Westlake Academy, Class of 2012
Saturday afternoon we saw our Westlake Seniors walk across the stage at their graduation celebration. Eva did a great job of playing quietly on the floor during the ceremony. It probably helped that we packed a bag full of toys to entertain her.
Ryan with Ramsey and Sydney
Mollie with the Bradley family
There were some other Seniors we would have liked to get pics with but we decided to play it cool since all of the families were there. Yeah, I guess they can take photos with their families instead of their cool Youth Director and his wife.
Monday night another one of our girls graduated from Steele High School. We were excited to cheer for Mea as she walked across the stage in her trendy wedges!
Mea will be going to TWU in Denton. She may not realize it yet, but she'll be getting several Denton recommendations from Ryan and I (where to live, where to eat, info about the best college ministry ever!) After the ceremony we got to go back to Mea's house to celebrate at her graduation party! Eva was all partied out last night.
And just because it was cool... there are several airfields and airports in the area that we live in and this huge plane flew over while we were taking pictures. I liked how the space in the clouds looks like a heart and it flew right through it. Neat. Congratulations to all of the Class of 2012!!!!!!!
Flash Mob: A group of people who appear from out of nowhere, to perform
predetermined actions, designed to amuse and confuse surrounding people.
The group performs these actions for a short amount of time before
Being in a flash mob has been something on my bucket list for a while. I have seen lots of YouTube videos of them and I liked it when they did on one Modern Family. I like it when people burst into song and dance in musicals. I love the idea of spontaneously performing a dance and surprising a group of unsuspecting strangers.
Yesterday my dream came true. I got to be part of the flash mob that performed at Hawaiian Falls. When I heard about the opportunity to be part of this, I was super excited. The photo above is when we performed for the 2nd time (not a surprise) as a whole choreographed group. The first time (shown on the video below) we were spread out all throughout the water park. The video is only a short 45 sec clip, not the whole dance.
I hope that everybody who saw the routine was amused. Maybe one day I will be the one being surprised!!!! Until then, this is as close as my life could ever get to being in a real life musical.
Please let ABC know that I am now ready for Dancing with the Stars.