Friday, August 29, 2008

So much has changed!

Since the end of July, we've had lots of changes in our family. The first and most exciting to us is that we finally have a job!! Will is now the Director of Pastoral Care and Assimilation at Southwood Presbyterian Church in Huntsville, AL. Praise the Lord! When we first heard about this job, we both described it as our "dream job." The job description includes so many of the things Will has been gifted by God to do (and enjoys doing), and the church fits the needs of our family in so many ways. We never imagined that we would get this "dream job," but the Lord has once again blessed us beyond what we could ask or imagine. So...we now live in Huntsville and are currently renting a house while we look to buy a house of our own.

Some big changes for Caitlyn:

She is finally crawling!!! We were beginning to wonder if it would ever happen. She started off hesitantly at first, but now she has great confidence and is all over the place. We have finally had to "baby-proof" the house. Here is some footage from one of the first few attempts:

She also now has four teeth. She had no teeth until she was almost eleven months old, and then within a month she had four. She loves to smile and show them off! Here they are, two on the bottom and two on the top:
Her "vocabulary" is expanding and now includes "dada," "mama" (sort of...and only when she's fussing, of course), "doggie," "bye-bye," "no-no," "yum yum," "all done," and occasionally something resembling "thank you." I am really enjoying the stage she is in now. She is learning so many new things and I am constantly amazed at the things she understands and responds to even though we haven't intentionally taught them to her.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and encouragement as our family has gone through this job search process and transition to a new place. God has been so good to us and we are so excited to see what the future holds for us here in Huntsville.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beach Baby

Caitlyn's first trip to the beach

While in SC, we took a little family vacation to Charleston/Isle of Palms so Caitlyn could see the ocean for the first time. So far, she has really enjoyed water of all sorts, so we figured she would have a blast at the beach as well, and she did.

We stopped in Charleston on our way to Isle of Palms. Here we are at the pier at Waterfront Park (with the new bridge in the background):

I have always loved the swings on the pier. I could have stayed here all day.

Caitlyn at the market downtown:

The Beach!!!

Before heading down to the beach we attempted to have Caitlyn take a nap in her pack 'n' play (which she usually does quite well). However, this time, she finally discovered that she could sit up from lying down...a new trick she was quite proud of. I couldn't help but laugh when I came around the corner and saw her sitting up on her own, so of course, she thought her new ability was quite funny. After 30 minutes of trying to get her to lie down and take a nap, we gave up and headed down to the shore.

Caitlyn didn't quite know what to think of the sand. She tried to pick it up and then shake it off when it stuck to her fingers.

When she couldn't figure out how to get the sand off, she tried to hand it to me.

Will dug a hole for Caitlyn to sit in:
She enjoyed sitting in it for a few minutes before getting restless:
Movie star pose for Mimi:

Will thought it would be funny to "bury" Caitlyn in the sand:

We didn't take any pictures of Caitlyn in the water (oops), so I can only write about it. Will took her into the water at the very edge where it was only a few inches deep. She got excited every time the little "waves" would roll in and splash over her feet. She reached for the waves and clapped as they got was so cute. She loved picking up the mud and putting it on my leg and then having me splash it off. Will took her out a little deeper and they jumped over the waves together. She had an absolute blast. Thanks, Marmee and Granddad, for enabling us to take this fun vacation!

Monday, August 18, 2008

In the meantime...

After moving out of our apartment in St. Louis, we traveled to Lexington, SC, to visit my family. Below are some highlights:

Making grape jelly with my Grandma and Pop-pop:

My grandmother has been making delicious grape jelly for years, and I really wanted to learn how to make it. They have grapevines in their backyard, so we picked the grapes and turned them into jelly within a matter of hours. Here we are picking the grapes off of the bunches:

Cooking the grape juice:

Pouring the completed jelly into jars...yummy:

Swinging in the new swing at Grandma and Pop-pop's house (Caitlyn's great-grandparents):
Four generations on one swing:

Playing at Mimi and Pops' house:

She is standing up and holding on to furniture more and more. We wonder how long it will be before she is walking. She is still pretty timid, so we're guessing it will be a while.
Laundry basket races down the hallway:
Caitlyn just loved it. She held on tight and laughed the entire time. I wish I had a video!

Trip to the Riverbanks Zoo with Mimi and Pops:

This was Caitlyn's second visit to Riverbanks Zoo. I think she enjoyed this visit more than the last one. She could actually see the animals and attempted to interact with some of them.

At the "farm," Caitlyn was delighted by the goats:

She also enjoyed standing by the glass in the penguin house.

She tried to touch them as they swam past her in the tank:

Another ride on the carousel (on the tiger, of course!):

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moving Day

July 31 was a sad day for us. Our lease was up, and we said goodbye to 8445 2N. We have a lot of memories from our Atherton apartment. Will and I lived there for three of our four years of marriage, we began friendships that we hope will last a lifetime, we learned a lot about trusting the Lord and watched in amazement as he answered our prayers time after time in ways we couldn't have imagined possible. It is the place to which we brought Caitlyn home from the hospital, where we spent many sleep-deprived days and nights learning how to take care of her, and where we watched her grow and develop for the first 10 months of her life. Our Atherton apartment will always hold a special place in our hearts.

It is also the place we apparently managed to accumulate quite a large amount of stuff, so packing and moving was a lot of work. Thankfully we had some generous friends and family who gave up their time and energy to help with the entire process.


Caitlyn was a big help. Well, mostly she just looked cute while Will and I packed.
She loved being in a box so that was a great distraction when she started to fuss.

Our neighbors and good friends, the Jensens, moved out a week before us while we were in Huntsville for an interview. When we returned, we found this incredibly creative note taped to the front of our refrigerator. As I have mentioned before, we will really miss them!

Loading the truck...

Here is the empty truck. Twenty-four feet long: there's no way we'll fill that thing up, right?
The boxes from the basement...only the beginning.

Our amazing helpers...

We owe a huge thank-you to Jim Conrady, Chad and Annaliese, David and BeCa, Ben and Anna (and Ella), and Billy and Marsha. You were all very gracious to give up your entire day to help us out. We can't thank you enough!

Billy and Marsha not only helped carry boxes and furniture, but they also provided an invaluable service to us by entertaining Caitlyn. AND...they provided lunch for everyone. AND...they drove our Civic all the way to Alabama for us. They are amazing!

Here are the guys at the end of a long day. Try not to be distracted by their bulging biceps and check out that truck...we used every inch of it. And it wouldn't have fit except for David's amazing "puzzle piece" abilities.

The ice cream truck...

No summer day in Atherton is complete without the sound of the ice cream truck. Unfortunately, I think the music of this one will be etched in my head forever ("Hellooo"). He came through right before we drove away for the last time, so I had to snap a picture.

Dinner at Wendy's...

We had one last dinner at Wendy's to say "goodbye for now" to the Halls and Fisks. McKenzie and Carter were both so sweet as they entertained Caitlyn.
We could have stood in the parking lot forever, putting off saying farewell. We will miss y'all so much, but we're looking forward to hanging out again in the future.

On the road...

We spent the night at the Porters' new house and were refreshed for the drive the next morning. We had a tearful goodbye with the Porters and Townsleys before taking off.
Will drove the truck all the way to Memphis and then to Alabama with no air conditioning, and then he worked very persistently with Budget to get a discount for that inconvenience...what a trooper.

More details to follow regarding the end of this story...Where do we end up and where is Will called to work?