Monday, September 30, 2013

The Summer of Change

I know that we are now well into fall, but I want to recap our summer so I can remember how much things changed over the course of a few weeks.

You know how sometimes you make a decision, and that decision just forces another decision and another -- kind of like dominos falling? Well, that about sums up our summer.

In early June, Matt & I began talking about the next year. He was done with his Ph.D. coursework -- like 55 hours -- and we were finally to the countdown to being done with this thing. We've always planned to stay here 5-6 years until Matt finished his degree and then start looking at moving to another university for him to work. Since he's getting his Ph.D. from a research university, we have tons of options -- he's pretty much qualified to go anywhere. And with his teacher experience and college teaching experience (thanks to adjuncting) he's going to have an amazing Vita.

But, the more we talked about moving the more we talked about how much we love Fayetteville and NWA in general. We like our school district and we especially love how we live in a very small down outside of F'ville but are so close to so many cool things. It just felt like a chore to have to up and move when we are so happy.

However, there were a few things that weren't quite what we wanted. While Matt was grateful for his job at Ramay, he discovered last year that he didn't love administration -- which was what he was doing most of the time there. And, this year he was going to add back some classes to teach, which would be adding to his work load because of the planning time. We knew that the district wasn't adding any new jobs, and by August things have settled and the Math Coaching job that Matt would have loved wasn't open -- the girl from last year was staying in that role. So, we hunkered down for a long year and hoped for the best. And, then, 2 weeks before school started, she quit. And in a matter of about a day Matt had the job. Woohoo. I keep thinking of this as "the answered prayer we never prayed." I think we'd both thought that all of the job changing was done, and we praying that next year there would be an opening. But, our prayer was answered much sooner than we'd thought and it's been such a blessing.

This meant that we could stay in Fayetteville with Matt at a job that he not only loved, but was very well qualified to do! He's now the Middle & Jr. High Matt Coach and he works with all those math teachers and 5 different schools. It's a BIG job for him, but he's going to do great things with it, I just know.

The biggest change and the toughest decision we made this summer was to change churches. We've loved our church in Springdale, but honestly it's been tough. We live farther away from church than all of our friends and we live in the totally opposite direction as well. It meant that our kids didn't go to school with any church friends and they didn't live near any of them. It's been something that we've been thinking about for many months and praying fervently about for those months.

After much prayer, Matt really thought that we needed to worship the community where we lived and he worked. We changed to a church where that is much closer and they even have families that live in our neighborhood! It gives our kids the chance to form friendships with kids that live close enough that we can have playdates.

Ultimately it's going to be a really good for our family and we are already trying to get plugged in. We will miss our friends from our old church, but I'm thankful that we live close enough that we can see them often!

There are some things that we really love about our new church -- they do Lads to Leaders and Madeleine can participate in that starting in a few weeks. Madeleine's class at church has a Bible Memory verse to learn each week. It's perhaps a little more traditional, but Matt & I are a little more traditional and it's a good fit. They have a great Sunday night program for the kids and it's bothered us for some time that our kids were playing while we got to participate in our small group. Not that Matt & I didn't need that time, but we are still getting something only now our kids are learning as well. That's something that is most important to us.

So, it's been a summer full of changes for us -- new school for the kids, new church, new job for Matt. Sometimes I almost feel as if we've moved! But, it's also been a summer filled with some big answered prayers.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Playdate Fun

We met up with AJ and Titus last Wednesday for a fun playdate at one of our favorite parks! It was a cool, cloudy day and we lasted until the rain started, then we moved on to McDonalds. It was a great morning to catch up and let the kids play. And, as an added bonus, I got to hear all about their sweet new little girl and even see pictures! I'm thrilled for them at their newest family addition -- this spring Titus will be outnumbered by girls big time on our playdates!
As we were leaving Charlotte reminded me to bring bread, so we raided the deep freeze and found some (really) old bread. I don't think the ducks minded a bit though. We even found a tiny, yellow duck, smaller than we've ever seen before! 
As I've said, Charlotte is obsessed with cartwheels. She spent some time trying to teach Titus to do them. So cute!

The rain moved us to McDonalds and they played while we mostly ate. Ha! I think Charlotte finally finished off her burger on the way home. She'd rather play than eat. It was such a morning and just what I needed -- some good catch up time with my friend!

The next day, Charlotte played hookie from school and we went to Gymnastic Joes for open gym. It was a blast and we met up with Sharon & Whitney and the girls worked on their gymnastic moves. Ha! We had a quick lunch and then headed home for naps. Poor Charlotte was exhausted after all that jumping.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Ball!

The softball league we played in last spring is doing a short, 5 week season this fall. We joined up with a new team and Madeleine is loving it! We are the Pink Sox and Matt is helping with the coaching. It's become a family event this fall which has made it even more fun!
Their first game was last Friday night -- they played a double header. Harrison just integrated himself into all the pre-game happenings. He helped to set up the pitching machine and was in the middle of all the coaches' talks. Ha! He spent most of the game as the bat boy too. 
This cutie and I cheered from the stands! Madeleine is doing great this fall! She's a very talented player for just being 9 and hit the ball really well. She got on base several times and tried several postions.

She really didn't want to play catcher, but Matt had brought home the gear and they'd tried it out at home. He wanted her to give it a try since she can catch the ball so well. He even told her he'd up her allowance on the weeks she was catcher! haha! Well it turned out that she actually liked being catcher, but it was pretty tiring. She did great in that position and I think we'll see her there again.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Charlotte's First Field Trip

Charlotte's preschool class took their first field trip to the F'ville post office last week. It wasn't on a day that she usually goes, so I took her up there and stayed for the trip. Her school is just a block away from the post office and it was a nice day, so we got to walk over there. She was so excited to go! I have to admit that it was a pretty interesting experience.
First we toured the back of the post office and saw how the mail was sorted. 
Then they got to see a postal truck and talk about how mail is delivered.
Then it was back inside. They had each made a postcard and they got to mail them. Then they got to go to the back and see where their card had landed. It was pretty neat and Charlotte loved it! She checked the mail the next couple of days and was soo excited when her postcard came!

As an added bonus, it was a day that Whitney was there and they were so cute together!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sweet Friends

We've been spending lots of time lately with Whitney & her sweet momma! The girls are getting to be such good little friends and if we could only get on the same school day schedule it would be just perfect! We try and meet up in the afternoons a lot -- either for lunch at CFA or just some fun playtime. 

The girls have been dying to get to try some tumbling and we went in on a private lesson last week. It was a HUGE success! They were so cute! Sharon & I laughed and laughed and them trying their best to do some tumbling! Mr. Joe, their teacher, was amazing with them and they had the best time! They have been asking all the time to go back and do it again -- hopefully soon!
Charlotte was desperate to learn to do a cartwheel. She could do one, but always landed on her knees. Well, after some instruction from Mr. Joe, she has mastered it! She probably does 300 of them each day! It's crazy to see her little self just flying through the air doing that -- she is fearless. But, she's really good too! And she loves it. I think this may just be her thing.
We had dinner with the Scogins at their house one night -- the guys talked softball strategy and Sharon & I caught up too. The kids played so nice and had a blast!
Once again, I'm thankful for all the great friends we are continually making her in F'ville.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

First Weeks of Schoool

Well once again, I'm behind and find myself thinking, where did the time go??  The days are so full and busy and blogging has taken a backseat to all the things we are doing. The kids are doing fantastic at their new school and I'm so thankful for this HUGE blessing!
We celebrated the end of the first week of school with dinner at our favorite Mexican spot and snocones! Yum!

The first weekend of school, Matt was heavily into working on his COMPS so we met up with the Scogin girls for bowling and pizza that Saturday! It was big kids vs. Mommies and littles. Sadly, I think the big kids beat us!

Both Madeleine & Harrison received the WOW award at their school in the first couple of weeks. The WOW students are chosen, one per class, on Mondays. Their teachers called us the night before and told us so that Matt & I could both be there to see them get their awards. It's a pretty big deal and I'm so proud of how hard they are working!
And, Miss Charlotte and I have been busy busy at home. We've been working on her letters and having fun playing!
I don't know how the time is going by so quickly. We are staying busy with Bible Study, preschool, homework, softball, tumbling and on and on. The days seem too short sometimes to get everything done, but somehow we are doing it -- and the house is even clean too! :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Charlotte's First Day 2013

Charlotte started preschool this year and her first day was the big kids 2nd day. She was very excited to get to start school and be a big girl too! Right now she's going 2 morning/week, but as soon as there is an opening, I'm hoping to move her to 3 morning/week so she can be there at the same time as her friend Whitney.
This is a great little school. She is going to learn so much and have such fun! They have a great little playground and lots of fun things to do in the classroom. They have already worked with scissors and glue, markers and stamps, sand, puzzles and learned some songs. She tells me each day that they have a Bible story about Jesus, but that's all. Her teachers are so sweet and she is very happy there with them! 
 I can't believe how big she looks in this picture!
My baby is growing up so fast! She is such a mess, but can be oh so sweet too. She certainly keeps us laughing all the time! She has this BIG personality in this little tiny body with a little tiny voice. I love her voice and all the cute things she says! Some of my favorites right now are:

Hanitizer for Hand Sanitizer (which she is obsessed with those little Bath & Body works ones)
Bubba & Sissy for Harrison & Madeleine
Yiddle for Little
T-mote for remote
T-later for "later"

*She has this one blue dress that she loves and wears all the time at home. It's like her grandma "house dress" Ha!
*She hates underwear. We find her most nights with a big ol' naked bootie sticking out of the covers.
*Her favorite food is probably salad. She loves lettuce, cabbage, carrots and broccoli. She hates all berries -- strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. She likes to eat apples whole and will eat the entire thing.
*She is so girlie -- she loves to carry a purse (filled with money and her phone) and wears her pretend heels around the house.
*She likes to go go go -- most days she wants me to take her somewhere. :)
*Her imagination astounds me daily -- she like to play barbies and girl legos and has little stories going all the time.
*She loves her baby dolls -- they travel with us most days too. I find little beds made up throughout the house daily where she has them sleeping. She also likes her kitchen and loves to pretend cook.
*She is determined -- she has worked so hard and learned to ride her scooter like the big kids!