Monday, August 25, 2014

Curtis's First Day of Preschool!

After watching Bella and Graydon get up and go off to school for the past two weeks, Curtis was definitely ready for his turn.



His preschool is just across the field. 


Yellow cubby! 

Working with Play-Doh when we said goodbye.  No tears!  He's such a big boy. 

I forgot to post Bella and Graydon's "First Day of School" videos, so I'll include them here as well.  Here's how all of the first days went from the kids' perspectives. . .

On a more random note, a hummingbird got stuck in our garage.  He was flapping around so fast that I thought he was just a big bug at first.  He flew around for hours and often perched up on top of the garage door track.  Bella tried to lure him out with a flower taped to the end of a broom.  Finally, he flew to a window and Andy was able to lift up the screen.  Cute little fella.   

Friday, August 22, 2014

Andy's Installation as the new pastor at Hope Moravian!

Andy's first official Sunday at our new church was August 17th. 

Before the official "installation", our family was welcomed in as new members.  (Curtis is hidden behind Graydon, but you can see his Batman shoes).

The installation is the formal part of the service where Andy is officially made the pastor of this church.

Praying for Andy and his ministry here. 




After the service, we enjoyed a gathering of new church family and some yummy food.  Everyone has been so warm and friendly.  We are very "hope"ful about our days to come at this church!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Soccer has begun!

Bella and Graydon are both on teams this year.

One practice for each of them during the week and both games are always on Friday evenings.  That means Saturday mornings can still be slow and lazy.  Yay!

Here are some photos from the kids' first games last Friday.  







It sure is fun watching them play!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Our Neighbors' Farm

Our next door neighbors own a farm.  First off, I am going to say that I love having next door neighbors!  We used to be next door to a Dunkin Donuts on the right and a strip of little stores on the left.  Having actual people living next to you is pretty cool!  And they are super nice and we already enjoy spending time with them, which makes it even better.

And they have a farm!

We got a nice little tour the other day.  The kids were super excited about getting in the tractors.    


Andy was too. 

Graydon seems to be such a natural little farmer. 



We also visited the hog house.  But the smell out there was pretty strong that we didn't last too long!  So no photos from that.

We all got a little education on all that goes in to running a farm! 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Back to School!

I was feeling so sad that it was already the first day of school.  The previous few weeks had been so busy with packing and cleaning and moving.  Our first few days in Indiana were heavenly because, although there were a ton of boxes to unpack, there was no deadline to doing it.  We unpacked a little, played outside, explored the town, took naps, etc.  I loved the pace of it all.  And then four days later, we had to exchange our easygoing pace for structure and schedules and early mornings.  And, we had just moved here.  Everything was so unfamiliar.  And now I was sending off two of my three kids off to a whole new school for eight hours each day.  Plus, Graydon was just starting kindergarten.  I'd have been emotional about that anyway.  I had a whole mess of emotions going on that morning.

Fortunately, the elementary school counselor is also an active member of our church.  She was in our home the evening before and had settled a lot of my nerves.  I felt much more comforted knowing that she would be there looking out for my little ones. 

So the morning arrived.  I got out my good camera and snapped some photos of my growing children on their first day of school.

Thankfully, both of them were very excited. 


Still can't believe he's in kindergarten. 



Our school bus picks up the kids right at the end of our driveway.  I am loving the convenience of that!


Curtis was still in his jammies because his preschool doesn't start until two weeks later. 

There he is getting on the bus. 

I feel so much better that Bella goes with him. 

Of course I cried all the way back to the house.  But then I just channeled my sad energy into unpacking.  I must admit that I got a lot done that day and before too long, it was time to pick the kids up.

Back at the edge of the yard, waiting for the bus. 

They're here!  First day of school successfully completed.  

With Bella and Graydon gone all day, I've had a lot of quality time with Curtis.  I'm enjoying this time with him.  "Look what I can do Mom!  Take my picture!" 

Of course, I am only fun for so long.  When boredom sets in, naps soon follow. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hope, Indiana

IMG_0009 2

We arrived her around noon on Thursday morning.  As we pulled in to town, we were about to make our final right turn before heading onto our street and then we were stopped.  That road was being repaved and would be blocked for at least another half hour or so.  So close and yet so far!  Fortunately, a girl from the area pulled up behind us and led us around to another entrance into town.

When we pulled into the driveway of the new house, the movers were already there and almost completely done moving our stuff in.  They asked me where I wanted various pieces of furniture and I had absolutely no idea!   

This is our view from the front porch.  So peaceful and quite.  I am really enjoying that. 

And the kids are taking full advantage of all of the space to run around. 

I think their favorite thing so far is riding their bikes on the driveway whenever they feel like it.  In New Jersey, I had to head out to the garage across the parking lot and unlock it for them, which wasn't always convenient for me if I was in the middle of something.  And I always felt the need to sit out there with them due to the heavy traffic near the house and the random people who would walk through the parking lot.  Here, the garage is attached and they have a little bit more freedom and independence, which we can all appreciate. 

New church friends have been very generous with meals and vegetables!  (You are looking at the back entrance of the house that leads right into the dining room).  More house pics to come eventually.   
IMG_0011 2

Bella had her whole room unpacked by the end of the first night!  But she still has no curtains or anything up on her walls.  One thing at a time.

Here in Indiana, we must be about as far west as you can get while still being in the Eastern Time Zone.  For that reason, this is what the sky still looks like at 9pm!  I'm sure I will appreciate this much more come winter.   

Venturing out in to the town of Columbus (which is where we'll be doing most of our shopping, doctor visits, etc.) for some fun.  Through the opening to the left lies a huge indoor playground for the kid.  Definitely a neat place! 

Our carefree days didn't last too long, for just four days after we arrived, it was time for the kids to start school!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Saying Goodbye to New Jersey

I'll start this post out with a few garden randoms that I just found in my photo stream. . . 

We accidentally planted some pumpkins after putting last year's pumpkins in our compost pile. 

And then somehow a few seeds must have blown into our garden.  This particular plant then started to vine up the trellis.  Not sure how that is all going to work when those pumpkins start to get really big.  Unfortunately, we won't get to see that. 
IMG_0004 2A couple of weeks earlier, we had our carrot harvest.  This is what you get when you don't thin out your carrots very well.  


. . . 

Our final days in New Jersey were hard.  The packing was tedious.  The cleaning was endless.  (It's amazing how much dust, dirt, and crumbs you can live with without knowing it!)  And the goodbyes were sad.  Emotions that I had stuffed down back in April (after it had been decided that we were moving) were now coming to the surface again.  I did a lot of crying.  Saying goodbye is pretty difficult.

Our moving truck arrived at 7:30am on Monday morning.  We were literally still packing up our final boxes as they began to load up the truck.

Here are the boys hanging out in their mostly-emptied room in order to keep out of the movers' way.  Incidentally, these boys didn't get dressed until about 5pm that evening.  Curtis was in his underwear throughout the entire move! 

Bella spent some time coloring in her room, using a box as a desk.  She snapped this photo herself. 

We all camped out that night in the empty living room. 

These were a few of the kids' crafts from our VBS the week prior. 

On our final night in New Jersey, Andy and I turned our focus to deep cleaning of the house.  While he was out sweeping the front porch, he was stung by a bee on his ankle.  Andy is allergic to bees.  He hasn't been bitten since he was a child, so we didn't know how severe; but within minutes, he began to develop hives all over and then his face swelled up.  We were pretty quickly on our way to Urgent Care.  They used an epi-pen on him and gave him a steroid shot as well.  This created a very memorable final evening.   
Thankfully, the itchiness and swelling started to go down after a while; but the whole experience kind of wiped Andy out. 

We moved a little slower the next morning and didn't end up getting the van and car loaded up until about 10:30am.  At some point in the morning, Andy brought all of our keys to his now-old office. 
I got some photos of the kids in the empty house. 

The boys in their room. 

Curtis knows the trick to get a real smile out of Graydon.  Tickling!

And Bella's room.


Shortly after, the kids and I got in the van.  Andy walked through the house one final time and then he came out, locking the door behind him.  And just like that, this house was no longer ours.

The drive itself was a good one.  Other than some rain and hail in West Virginia, it was smooth and the kids were awesome.  Bella snapped this photo of Curtis while he slept. 

I think my favorite portion of the drive was through some easy roads in Ohio.  I played some old CDs that brought me back to a different time and place.  The kids were entertaining themselves and Andy was in the car ahead of me.  I got some alone time with my thoughts and it was amazingly peaceful.  The best way I can think to describe this drive was as the blank space on the page at the end of a chapter in a book, before starting the next chapter.  I felt light and care-free.  I am thankful for those unexpected moments of complete peace.

We stopped for the night in Ohio and then arrived in Hope, Indiana around noon the next day.  More on that to come!