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...