Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2 years with Coco

Chloe turned 2 on December 10th.  I was in a little bit of denial at first, but this girl is definitely a 2 year old, and sometimes more like a 13 year old...so I guess I've had to let it sink in.  Sometimes when she's in the right mood, she'll snuggle up with me or Matt and it seems like just yesterday she was this sweet little newborn...
Now look at her.  Two years later and she's definitely not a baby anymore.  She picks out her own clothes, and usually asks to change outfits 2-3 times a day.  She picks out hair clips and says "thank you" more than most adults I know.  I confess, it's so hard to say no to that sweet little face when she wants something.
  Truly, could you resist this face?
Obviously we tell her no plenty, but she really does make it difficult.  She's so super sweet, especially when she wants something.  She absolutely adores her brother, and if he's not giving her the attention she wants she provokes otherwise even-tempered Noah into hysterics (but then she gets attention...smart girl).  She's quick to say "sah-wy" and give hugs and kisses (which happens a lot).  She talks practically non-stop, most of which Matt and I understand, but much of which others couldn't.  She loves to spin...and she can spin for a long time without falling down, it's kind of amazing really.  She is very stubborn (no clue where she got that from) - when she gets her mind set on something it will take an act of God to change it.  She thinks that she's Noah's age and gets very upset when we treat her any differently than her brother. She is very expressive, so much so that she leaves you in no doubt of what she's thinking.  It makes for some pretty funny, and sometimes downright mean looks she shoots at people.  When she's happy and laughing, you have to laugh with her...there's no way you'd be able to keep a smile off your face when Chloe's smiling at you. 

I just love this girl.  The past two years with her have been such a gift...and I know that the year ahead will be full of lots of laughter, and probably lots of time-outs too.

Oh, and for those of you wondering (stop reading if you don't want to hear about breastfeeding)..Chloe is FINALLY fully weaned.  And yes, it did happen before her 2nd birthday.  My goal was to have her weaned at 18 months, and she was except for the occasional middle of the night sick baby nursing and the right before bed (nightly) nursing.  But she held on to that last one for a long time.  I'm really glad that I didn't force her to stop sooner, cause with all the transition we've had going on, I know that it was a big comfort to her to have that time.  It was also nice for me to have those peaceful moments with her.  So we had been talking about how Chloe is a big girl and nursing is for babies for several weeks and I finally decided to cut her off about a week before her birthday.  She cried (the screaming in agony kind) for about 35 minutes and then settled down.  She only fussed about it one other time, and has only asked to nurse a handful of times after that.  So the first day was rough, but it needed to be done.  I wanted to make sure she had a good break before she saw me nursing Baby 3 (and hello...it'll be nice for me to have a break too).

Here are some photos from her birthday.  I ran out of space on the memory card about half way through and did get some good video...but can't figure out how to get the video off the camcorder...so for now, just pictures. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Over 6 Weeks Now...

...so what do we really think of our new home?  Well, Matt and I are determined to love it here.  We're committed to at least 3 years, and they will be three great years.  Of course we miss our friends and family, but are so grateful for skype, and for relationships that that will last regardless of any distance between us.  Now some quick takes on our new life/house/city.

- It's cold.  It's a dry cold, and it's often sunny, which really does make a difference.  What we didn't really know before the move, is that it's also often suite windy here.  Could be 20 degrees and sunny, great for playing outside with the kids.  But if the wind starts blowing it's just bone chilling.  We're adapting slowly.  (Matt still loves the cold)

- We have much more family time.  Not just me with the kids, but all of us together.  Matt's actually had to work almost every Saturday since we moved cause it's their busy season...and I still feel that way.  He'll only have to work Saturdays around Christmas and probably close to Valentines Day and possibly Mother's Day.  YAY:)

- We have a garage - so minimal snow shoveling and very nice for loading and unloading the kids on cold days.  Also, the kids LOVE pushing the button.

- Only have 1 garage door opener which is in my car.  So I have to remember to close the garage door after Matt leaves for work.  I've forgotten many times (Matt would want to make sure you all know that). I also left the kitchen window open once when it dropped to 20 degrees.  Again, telling you for Matt's satisfaction.

- We have a fenced in yard.  LOVE it!  And big glass doors overlooking it so I can watch the kids from inside.  Of course Chloe won't go out without me...and Noah doesn't want to be out for more than 10 minutes by himself cause he wants someone to play with.  Still, LOVE it!

- We now have a basement, aka: playroom.  I still end up cleaning up toys from the living room each day, but  it's SO nice to just throw them down the stairs into the playroom.  The kids love it too and it's big enough for them to actually run around in when it's too yucky to go outside.

-  Yes, that means we have 3 floors, so I get more of a work out that I did at our old house.  Also means a lot more to clean.  And the vacuum isn't really working (though I think I can fix that).  So grateful for the blessing that this house is.  Matt works with the owner (her husband is an OBGYN - convenient!) and we were definitely given and amazing deal to get to stay at this house.

-Least favorite thing about the house: the first floor bathroom is a solid 15 - 20 degrees colder than the rest of the house at all times.  And the washer and dryer are in that bathroom.  Kind of weird no?

-Least favorite thing about the house if I didn't hate being cold so much:  The master bedroom is a weird tangerine orange color.  Painting is not a priority for us though we have permission...we'll see how long I can stand it.

- We've been to a couple of churches, one of them several times.  We like it but want to visit at least two others as well.  This past Sunday I almost started crying in the middle of church cause I just missed Covenant so much. 

- I discovered downtown Gillette on Friday and I love it.  Lots of cute locally owned stores.  Probably wont go down there too often until it gets warmer.

- Rec Center here is A-Mazing.  But pretty pricey for an annual family pass:/  The swim lessons were pretty well priced...so I think there will be a couple of kids learning to swim in the next year...

-There's an Arts Center with kids classes that I'm so excited to take the kids to.  Both kids just love doing crafts and anything artistic, so I think they'll really enjoy the class.  And I'm sure I will too:)

- MOPS!  There have been 2 meetings so far and it was so nice to sit down with some other moms and have some fellowship time.  They meet twice a month (though not in Dec) so it'll be a great way for the kids and me to meet people.   Noah is still pretty hesitant to large group settings, so he was a little overwhelmed by the
 childcare since there were so many kids.  Hopefully we'll have some playdates soon and once he makes a couple of friends he'll be more excited to go.

- The hardest thing is definitely hearing Noah saw that he misses his friends and that he wants kids to play with.  We've met one of our neighbors, and they're great, but they have a 6 year old girl...so there's a little age discrepancy there.  I'm sure once the holidays are over I'll be able to get some playdates set up, but until then please pray for Noah's heart.  It just kills me to see him sad and missing his friends.  I'm so grateful for the friendship he has with Chloe - he's just the best big brother we could ever hope for and I know he would be just miserable without her.

- Did I say these were going to be quick takes?   Here's a couple of pics to make it more worth your time;)

Monday, December 12, 2011

2011 Miles, 11 States and 4 Days...

Did I say something in my last post about blogging more?  And then follow by a blog absence of 2 months?  Sounds like me.  Well, we're settled in Wyoming now, or mostly settled, so in theory I'll have more time to blog.  (I know, I'll believe it when I see it too).
So now, I'm catching up, as usual...

First, a big THANK YOU to everyone that helped us, prayed for us and helped to keep me sane during the time leading up to our departure.  Thanks to friends and family who changed plans to come spend time with us in the narrow window you were given.  Thanks for the help packing, the time away from packing, and the general shared excitement for our new adventure.  Thanks for loving us as a family, and for loving and caring for our precious kids.  It's been bittersweet, we are keenly aware of all the good that we've moved away from, but we're in our new home together and are definitely where God wants us.

Before I start crying all over the keyboard, I do have one special shout out to make.  I can't imagine how we could have made this trip without the amazingly selfless Julia Gardner.  Thank you dear friend for the great company, for loving Noah and Chloe even while trapped in a car with them for 4 days.  For driving many more hours than I did, and for being willing to follow my determined husband through a LOT of states on Day 2.  For the great conversations and lots of laughter.  For listening to way more cartoons than anyone should ever have to listen to in such a short duration.  For doing all this and at the end of it unpacking almost my entire kitchen.  And for ending the trip with a full day of travel that included 2 layovers.  You are such a blessing and I'm so grateful to call you my friend.  Lastly, thanks for staring at this with me for 4 days...

I was really hoping to have all the trip details (including how much we spent on gas) but I think I'm avoiding figuring it up cause I just don't really want to know.  This is most of the details from the trip:

Day 1:  Left Harrisonburg around 2pm after packing up the truck.  States: VA, MD, WV, PA, OH.  Arrived in Columbus, OH at my brothers house 9 hours later after 3 stops, (1 meal & 2 gas), 4 movies (thanks to Grammie) and 462 miles.

Day 2:  Spent the morning playing visiting with Michael (my brother) and his super sweet kids that we love so much.  Left Columbus shortly before 2pm.  States: OH, IN, IL, WI, MN.  Arrived in Winona, MN 12.5 hours later after 3 stops, (1 meal & 2 gas), 2 movies and 729 miles.  **We passed into the Central time zone and had daylight savings, so we gained 2 hours this day.

Day 3:  Left Winona around 10am after letting the kids run around the hotel lobby for close to 2 hours.  States: MN, SD.  Arrived in Rapid City, SD 12.5 hours later after 5 stops, (1 meal, 2 gas, 2 "potty"), 2 movies and 615 miles.  **We passed into the Mountain time zone and gained another hour.

Day 4:  Let the kids run around the hotel lobby for a while and left by 10am.  States: SD, WY.  Drove slightly out of the way to go see Mt. Rushmore with Julia.  Arrived in Gillette at our new house just over 5 hours later after 2 stops, (1 meal, 1 gas), side trek to Mt. Rushmore and 205 miles. **This is the only day that I actually drove more than Julia. 

Thanks again friends for all your prayers and support through this big life change of ours.  More to come soon...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wyoming, really? Yes - Wyoming.

We're moving.  To Wyoming.  In about 5 weeks.  Yes really.

Matt has a new job as a goldsmith and jewelry designer at a jewelry store in Gillette, Wyoming.  This isn't something we were looking for or even had any idea would happen a month ago.  It's come up that suddenly.

Here are some quick takes that will hopefully answer any questions you may have:

Matt flew out there last week and had a great experience with the store owners and employees.  He's signed a contract, so we're definitely going, and we'll definitely be gone for at least two years. 

We're still trying to nail down exactly what we want to do with the store here.  The plan now is to maintain ownership and have Randy and Sheri Dixon (the former owners) run the store.  Our lease is up in November, so we have options and will definitely be moving the store location at minimum. 

I'll be staying home with the kids.  (Insert cheering and jumping up and down).  I'm very sad that I'll finally be doing this in a place where I know no one and have no stay at home mommy support system.  I do know that God is good, and He has given us the opportunity that we've wanted for a long time - I'm so grateful for God's provisions thus far and know that He has amazing people and experiences in store for us in WY. 

Matt will be leaving in mid-late Oct, will work for 2-3 weeks and then fly back to drive across the country with us. 

Yes we've moving ourselves.  The new job is helping, but it will still be costly for us.  Matt will be driving the moving truck...so I'll be driving the kids in our car.  For the approximately 27 hour drive.  We're praying that it works out for someone to come with us for the drive.  Thinking that we'll split it into 4 days, the first day ending in a visit with my brother's family in Ohio (but for not long enough). 

I am in major purge mode.  I'm hoping to sell some things to help with the cost of the move...but when it comes down to it, we just have a lot of stuff that we don't need to take across the country with us.  Stay tuned on FB for a ghetto-virtual yardsale of sorts. 

Thanks for all our friends and family that have been supportive and have offered to help.  We'll probably take you up on it, so stay tuned. 

Oh, and hey, I'll be able to blog a lot more.  Hmm, I meant to sell you more on the idea of Wyoming, but got a little caught up in other details.  I guess that's a future post.  That's it for now.  I have to pack people!!!  (while Matt watches football)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer - Before the Heat Wave...

I hate how hot it's been lately.  I feel like I can't take the kids outside for longer than 30 minutes...and that's only if I manage to get them out of the house before 10 (or after 6).  Boo to being stuck inside when it looks like it's so nice outside...
Here's a few fun things we did before the excessive heat started. (In memory of the nice days, and in hopes of them returning soon.)

Strawberry picking!  This was our first time and we all loved it.  The kids ate tons of strawberries and we got plenty to take home too. 
Still at the strawberry farm - Noah still loves tractors.  (Who doesn't?)

This is what we've been doing when we want to play with water at the house.  The baby pool got gross over the winter, so it's destined for the trash (though it may still be under our porch at the moment).   
Chloe doesn't like to get too wet or stay wet for too long, so this is perfect for her.
Noah on the other hand...could play in the sprinkler for hours it seems.
And more water!
We also fill up a bunch of buckets for water play too.  The kids like to water things: the grass, the tree, the plants, and of course, themselves.



Time to Ride!

Chloe loves her car, and she loves bubbles.  But when things don't do what she wants them to do she gets mad.  And makes this face.  And it's hard not to laugh. 
(Don't worry - I'm sure that as soon as I took this picture I told Noah that he had to wear shoes to ride his bike.  The kid takes them off every chance he gets.)

Construction & Gardening!

We (err, Matt) built a raised bed on the back deck.  The kids helped.  Noah really loved going to Lowe's with Matt to pick up everything he needed (they had to take 2-3 trips).  They helped put in some dirt too.  Unfortunately, the back deck doesn't get enough sun throughout the day to grow plants successfully.  Lots of work, and no veggies out back to show for it.  The plants in the front are still doing great though... 


Noah got the sandbox from Granddaddy for his birthday.  The kids love it!

 I got this idea from Hope - the kids had a ton of fun, and so did Matt and I. (We had blue, yellow, red and green...but Noah mixed them all up) 

Baby Birds!

 Back in May we had a momma bird with some eggs on the front of out house.  Noah loved watching her sit on her eggs, and once they hatched he got to see her feed her babies a few times.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


This was actually back in May.  Had to get creative with entertaining the kiddos when we had all that rain...
Thank you Scottie for the idea!

Monday, July 11, 2011


We went to Ohio to visit the cousins (and meet our newest nephew Ryan) over Memorial Day weekend.  I really wish we lived closer so we could see them more - the kids had so much fun together.  The weekend had a rocky start when we decided to leave at 2 am for the drive instead of right after work (due to a thunderstorm).  Would have been fine, except both kids woke up and stayed awake for the entire drive.  They were actually amazingly good all weekend considering that they had so little sleep that first night (thank you Jesus!)
Noah obviously understood and remembered his cousins, so he was super excited and had an amazing time.  Chloe tried her hardest to keep up with all the big kids too. 
Aunt Rachel and Grammie got to come too...
Chloe and Allison - such sweet girls:)
Noah and Luke.  Noah really looked up to Luke and had such a great time playing with him.  Luke even let Noah play with some of his Legos - it was really sweet. 
Swingset in the backyard - Win!
We just love sweet Ryan. Noah doted on him quite a bit...
What a bunch of cuties!
The gorwn-ups had fun playing too...
Noah loves his cousin...

And he had so much fun playing big boy games with Luke and Uncle Michael.
Chloe, Noah, Ryan, Luke and Allison
The drive home - these were some tuckered out kids.