Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Job! (And Other News)

The refrain in my life (and in my limited blog posts) throughout the past three years has been, "Where will Joe end up getting a job when he graduates?"  and then after receiving his Masters degree, "Okay, God, he's graduated, when is that job going to come through?"  It's been a looooong wait, but we found out a couple of weeks ago that Joe was offered a great position with a large company in Glenview as an innovation manager.  We are beyond excited!  And we are praising God for providing, just as our resources were being stretched so very thin.

Not only is Joe going to be working in a field he's truly passionate about, but the job location is just five minutes from Gavin's school and OT.  This has confirmed to us that a move is imminent, so we are putting our condo BACK on the market to see what it does this Spring/Summer.  We know for sure that we can't stay where we are much longer, although we have made a 1,000 square foot loft work amazingly well with two toddlers!  We're not sure yet where God is leading us, but we know for sure that we're well on our way to the next big adventure. 

Strangely, everything has been unknown for so long that I'm actually having trouble embracing any kind of certainty.  As much as I have desired for Joe to have a new job, I think I'm going to have a rough time transitioning into the role of primary care giver each weekday, in combination with my own work.  It's a role I haven't had to fully assume since Gavin was two, and now he's about to be five.  I'm not feeling sorry for myself for having to parent alone for part of each day (as all of my mom friends do), I simply don't yet understand how to prioritize all of my responsibilities.  In a flash, I've gone from primary bread winner with great childcare assistance to primary parent with limited childcare assistance and more limited work.  It's a lot to work through for sure, as I try and figure out what my role is and should be.

So we're over here praying and praising.  It's going to be good.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Avery's 1st Birthday Party

This past Saturday we celebrated Avery's first birthday with a Lemonade Stand birthday party, complete with lemonade, cupcakes, and little (and big) friends.  I came up with the idea after seeing the photography mini sessions our baby photographer did over Labor Day, and thought it would make a perfect concept for a child's birthday party.  It came out better than I even imagined, and I think everyone had a good time--especially the birthday girl who managed to polish off an entire lemonade cupcake in a matter of minutes!

Surprise for Sherry

This past summer I had the chance to celebrate my dear friend Sherry's 40th birthday in New York City.  Her rockstar husband, Allen, stealthly planned a surprise girl's weekend for her and flew Judy and I to the city for a couple of days of fun with the birthday woman.  It was a sweet time for three of us as we marked 15 years of friendship with Sherry's special day.  Plus, we managed to get into a little bit of shopping trouble and ate our way through Manhattan.  What's not to love??


Thursday, September 20, 2012


I'm woefully behind in posting our summer photos and happenings due to the advent of Facebook, Twitter, and a plethora of other social media that steals my time.  So, without further ado, I present to you our end-of-summer fun in California at the Harvest Crusade at Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Disneyland with Joe's cousins.  We had a couple of happy but tired kids at the end of this trip...and a newfound interest in "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."

Happy Birthday, Baby A!

Tomorrow is Avery's first birthday!  This last year has gone by so quickly.  Much more quickly than when we had just Gavin, but life gets busy with one in school and one connected to Mama 27-7. 

I am so proud to be that little girl's mama.  She is the snuggly, happy, joyful, funny, active, curious little girl I dreamed of having.  I love how her eyes light up and how she points her finger at me whenever I walk into a room after being gone for more than a minute.  She's a lover who giggles and showers me--and only me--with multiple kisses (French kisses since she thinks kissing means sticking her tongue on your nose and lips).

She adores her daddy and yells, "Hi, Daddy!" whenever she spots him across the room.  She adores her brother, following him around the house on hands and knees and picking up the crumbs of whatever he leaves behind...a snack, a toy, a shirt...she's just happy to grasp on to something that belongs to "Gab-an." 

Avery gets the giggles just before bed time each night at the antics of Daddy and Gab-an roughhousing on the bed, doing her best to insert herself in the middle of their play.  She and Gavin shout back and forth in one another's faces, and then laugh hysterically.

Avery has a few nicknames...Aves, Avy, Sweetpea, Avy-Baby.  But her brother calls her "Sweetie."  Seriously.  His voice goes up an octave when he talks to her: "Oh, Sweetie.  Put that fork down.  You could get hurt, Sweetie."  It's is the cutest thing.  Ever. 

In fact, Gavin is her protector.  He told us that last night at the church nursery another child was trying to pick her up and he said, "No!  You can't pick up my sister.  She is just little."

This sweet girl does her best to communicate with us by pointing at whatever she wants and shouting.  Fortunately, she has a few words which helps.  Bottle, ball, puppy, doggy, door.  Each one helps us and makes us chuckle over the forceful nature with which she utters each one.

She rarely cries, even when she falls down.  The girl just picks herself up and shows utter determination in reaching her little baby goals.  I can't wait to see how her qualities of determination, perserverence, joy, and good humor serve her as she grows from babyhood to a little girl.

Here's to you, Avy-Baby.  We celebrate you on your first birthday, and we love having you in our family.  You are our joy and you are this Mama's heart.  I love you!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Funny Kids

It's so much fun to watch my kids grow up and begin to comprehend life and the world around them.  Avery is a regular full-sized baby now at nine months and has just begun babbling actual words.  Apart from the dadadada and babababa commonly heard around our house, she pretty clearly repeated, "Hi, Brotha!" and "Ouch!" this past week.  She also laughs at everything and has a constant smile on her face, panting all the while like a little puppy.  Oh, and her best baby tick?  Turn on some tunes and she will jump and down dancing on a lap.  Quite enthusiastically and to the point of hilarity.  She is joy personified, that girl!

Avery's been rocking on her hands and knees for the past month and is now moving from a sitting position to a crawling position, and then trying to push off with her feet.  I wonder if she will bypass forward crawling (she has the backward scoot down) altogether and just begin to pull up and walk.  That girl is mighty strong.

Gavin is in the most delightful four-year-old stage.  So much different than the threes!  He now comprehends the structure and discipline we have put into place for him and has become a much better listener.  We're quite proud of him for the hard work he's put in at OT over the past several months and my heart swells with happiness when I see what a kind, friendly, and thoughtful little boy he has become.  His play group has helped him immensely with interactions with other children and I had fun listening to a conversation between him and another little boy the other day where Gavin asked him, "What do you like about your transformer?"  and "What else do you like about it?"  He is really becoming a great little friend.

I also appreciate Gavin's quick wit, and he makes the family laugh constantly.  The other day I said, "You're a good kid, Gavin."  He replied, "Thanks, Mommy.  You're a good adult."  This phrase is sure to become part of our family lexicon. :)

I love my sweet little people!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review: Stand By Me

I just finished a great book by one of my favorite fiction authors, Neta Jackson. Called Stand By Me, the story centers around many of the characters that I grew to love in Jackson's popular Yada Yada Sisterhood series. I couldn't wait to dig in to this story since Jackson's stories are absorbing and this one was no different--not to mention that it was an easy read on my iPad while feeding a baby!

Stand by Me follows the overlapping stories of two women: Avis Douglass, a seasoned woman of God, and graduate student and new Christian Katherine ("Kat") Davies. As she and her husband contemplate a potential move overseas, Avis' life is complicated by estrangement from her daughter, a leadership shake-up at church, and new neighbors. Similar to Avis, Kat struggles with strained family relationships, but as a brand new Christian and new attendee at Souled Out Church, her unbridled enthusiasm for social issues makes a few waves and rubs Avis the wrong way.

I enjoyed the way Jackson intertwined the stories of these two characters. Since I was already familiar with Avis' character and her portrayal as a strong Christian leader, it was interesting to see her, in this story, portrayed as more falliable--as a woman of God who can also be selfish and stubborn at times, as we all can be. I found Kat's character a wee bit annoying since she was idealistic to a fault and oblivious to social cues, but her compassion made up for this somewhat.

I particularly enjoyed the last few chapters of Stand By Me, where is becomes clear why Avis and Kat's lives intersect. Although there are no real surprises here, a beautiful story of redemption and true friendship unfolds as both women allow God to work in their lives. My only complaint about the story is that is ends rather abruptly and leaves a few loose ends. But perhaps that's the sign of a good book--it left me wanting more.

Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my review.