Thursday, January 31, 2008

Prayer request

A favor to ask of all of our faithful blog-followers: Please keep our Uncle Carlos in your prayers as he is hospitalized, awaiting surgery, and suffering from congestive heart failure among other ailments. He and my Aunt Pam are tough cookies, but they both need our support right now and would definitely appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers. Thanks and we will keep you posted!

(That's Uncle Carlos holding Mali at her baptism)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Friends and Neighbors

We had a really memorable afternoon this weekend when our former neighbor Becky came to visit. Our other neighbors surprised her by introducing them to their baby daughter whom they had adopted since Becky's move. This was particulary special as Becky and her husband Nick are in the middle of an adoption themselves. We keep being blessed by watching our friends' families grow, and these "expansions" are some of the best.

Here's the pictures of the girls together: Brinn, Mali, and Elizabeth.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Attention all Michigan readers:

Don't forget to go out and vote! Preferably for Mike Huckabee. Not that we intend for this blog to be our own political soapbox, but any candidate that both voting members of this household agree on deserves a shout-out.

However, if you are looking for a blog that has great political (and religious and social) discourse check out Gene Veith's. His posts are always insightful and the comments take on a respectful, thoughtful debate.

Four Months Old!

Our smiley little girl is now a quarter of a year old. She celebrated this milestone by trying out a little bit of rice cereal and having a better hair day than her sister. She's still on a bottle strike, but she occasionally sleeps through the night making all of our days easier.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My promotion

"Tomorrow is my last day of work."

A friend of mine recently started a blog post with that same sentence and it certainly caught my interest. She went out to list her reasons for resigning, and summed it up by saying that while quitting work may not make sense to many people (with or without kids), it made sense to her. Knowing her and her husband, who is probably keeping his fingers crossed that she'll make more of her yummy cookies in her time home, I'm sure it's the right decision for them. I'm so happy for them.

And now it's my turn. It now makes sense to me and to our family. For the past two months or so, I've been attempting to work part-time, still doing social work consultation at Head Start centers, like I did before Brinn was born. The so-called life-work balance has yet to take form. Brinn refuses a bottle. Mali came down with Fifth disease. Regular night-time sleeping has not been occurring. Jonathan's job requires his 100 percent, as well as us as a supporting cast. Our baby-sitters are wonderful (I'm not just saying this because they read this blog), but I missed any time with the girls. And even though I was only scheduled to work PART-time, my job exists FULL-time and it was often on my mind. It is difficult and frustrating not to be able to do a job well. I NEED to do the job of parenting well.

Of course, this is bittersweet. I work for an amazing agency (how many non-profits can be described in that way?) and for the best supervisor in the world. They have been unbelievably gracious with this transition. I will miss them, and the work. While contemplating this, I read another friend's blog post about her resignation (by the way, I didn't ask anyone's permission to quote them, so I'm not identifying my sources). She explained "I'm glad to be sad about leaving. Because if I was glad to be leaving, then that would be sad. I've always felt very blessed to have my job...doing something meaningful, and getting to work with some pretty great people. Very blessed indeed"

We are all really excited to begin this new phase in our lives. I have lots of ideas of how to spend my time at home and with my girls. Maybe I'll finally make a few of the updates to this blog that I've been thinking about. I'm actually going to a puree-party next week to learn how to sneak veggies into recipes. (Does that sound like fun or what?) This is a really good move for us--just look how cute my new bosses are!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Christmas Reflections

Merry Christmas, or more precisely, a blessed Epiphany. We are slowly adjusting to our normal home routines after a wonderful Christmas trip with many celebrations. In many ways, we felt this was our best Christmas-tide ever. The girls adored spending so much time with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins as well as friends we don't see often enough.

We also tried to maintain our own family Christmas tradition (now two years in the running) of celebrating the twelfth day of Christmas this Saturday. After a fun-filled trip to Ikea with Grandma Sandy we had a family dinner together and let the girls finally enjoy all of their new toys. Here are the rest of the pictures from the past few weeks.

We've also started something new this year...a book that my friend Ruth sent me suggested to save Christmas cards throughout the year. Each day (or week, or whatever) choose a card that you received and pray for person or family. What a way to purposefully remember loved ones throughout the year! We're hoping Mali will soon join in this too...the other day at breakfast she asked to pray for her friend Jack and then for her friend Adi. We had been talking about Jack earlier in that meal but her suggestion of Adi was pretty spontaneous. Hopefully they both had good days that day!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 to 2008

Happy New Year! (And happy engagement anniversary to us) I LOVE this holiday! We had a fantastic time celebrating last night at a neighbors' party and then had a birthday/New Year's brunch this morning. Entertaining certainly is different with children. I think we may start this tradition of an 11:00 am party, complete with pajamas, champagne, and football.

On our drive back from Michigan the other day, we reminisced about the past year. Here are a few recaps of things we've learned:

1) Life is much better and also much more challenging with two children. Mali was born to be a big sister.

2) As Mali came into her own (and Brinn will soon do the same), we came up with our own philosophies about disciplining our children. Setting boundaries, teaching skills, enforcing consequences, infusing humor and hopefully grace...what a responsibility.

3) Jonathan dubbed 2007 as "the year of craigslist". It is amazing how useful and addictive that site is. We can't imagine our life without our minivan now. Or having the clutter around that I managed to get rid of thanks to craigslist.

4) Speaking of clutter, we also learned how to simplify our schedule and household more this year too. Weekly routines were essential during the hectic times of 2007. We definitely recommend the tips we learned from, even if the website itself is over-the-top cheesy at times.

5) Did we mention that having two kids keeps us on our toes? While attempting to slow down during the season of Advent, we made more decisions regarding life simplification. (More on that in another post).

6) Finally, and most importantly--pregnancy tests can be wrong! On New Year's Eve 2006, we were disappointed with a negative test. However, weeks later, my growing belly alone was proof that Brinnly Ruth Ward was on the way. I knew those cravings meant something!

What did you learn over the past year? Advice welcome!