Monday, June 29, 2009

Look Who's Crawling?

Who would have thought at 8 months that Caelan could do yoga? What started out as downward facing dog....

....ended up with full blown crawling overnight. There wasn't any in-between steps. He just up and did it one day. We left him on the floor in one room, came back and found him in another!

This was cool when we caught him doing a new trick.
Check this one out.

And of course I had to document this in the nursery when he moved from infants to...CRAWLERS. :) Christi was working the nursery on his first day of graduation.

He's learned a lot in the last two weeks in addition to yoga, and crawling. He is eating solid foods now and has tried chicken (his new favorite) bananas, and he can't get enough yogurt. He is also drinking fully out of a sippy cup and can also suck from a straw. Just don't try and take it away from him before he's done. :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day

Forgive me if I start to gush when I talk about Micah and Caelan's father. He truly is the World's Greatest Dad. I am constantly amazed by Patrick's natural ability to father his children. Before Micah was born, Patrick would read the bible to him, speaking loudly over my big pregnant belly. Since then, he's continued to read every single night to his boys, without fail. The impact that will make on their lives is immeasurable.

And for him, he says it's quite unnatural to be affectionate and physical with his boys, but I've seen him maul them with uncontrollable kisses and hugs, and also wrestle them down as often as they challenge him. Horsey rides and tossing them high into the air is a daily ritual in our house. The more I read about parenting, the more I understand how critically important it is for children to have physical affection, first from their fathers, giving them security, affirmation and significance.

In our culture, training a child is often seen as the mom's job, or the school teacher. In the bible, the Israelite fathers had the responsibility of instructing their children. Patrick has been teaching Micah scripture verses since he's turned two, and little Micah has memorized them! Most importantly, Patrick models it by living out the greatest commandment - to love the Lord with all his heart, and "these commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

(For Father's Day, Micah and Caelan painted their daddy a shirt.
Hand prints are on each sleeve. I totally stole the idea from Jessel.
Patrick loved it!)

I am so proud of this man, and all he does to invest in his children. Happy Father's Day, honey. I love you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beth Moore Conference

For the first time in 2 and 1/2 years, I left the kids for two days and one night. The girls and I were headed to Pittsburgh to attend a conference for one of my all-time favorite teachers in the world - Beth Moore. I did cry a little when I left Micah and Caelan, and while I was sad, my time was so awe-inspiring and without a doubt--life-changing.

She spoke out of a chapter in the bible (Acts 27-28) of the perfect storm that Paul, a missionary, encountered as they were shipwrecked and landed in Malta. It was so cool to see how God spoke to all the girls I came with, in a very specific way. There's nothing more humbling to be able to hear and see first hand God moving. While I didn't feel I was in a "Perfect Storm", in fact, I feel more like I'm walking on water with the new house, it was clear that God went out of His way this weekend to make Himself known to us. Conversations that were more than just coincidence, felt so much more like providence. I felt personally kissed by the King!

(Some of the most awesome women you will
ever get to know --Kelly, Jessel, Kathy, Jen)

God is at work. He's real. He's got a plan for me, for you. Being reminded all over again was worth every minute!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Journey Home

When God wants something to happen, His ways aren't thwarted! We have some great news to share with you. We put down an offer on a house, and they have accepted our offer! FINALLY!!! We are happy, but mostly just relieved now that this house process is over. :) It was a journey to get home, and as always, it comes with a God story!!! It's a long read, but worth it....

We had looked at quite a few houses. And the Lord said no, for one reason or another, to seven properties we looked at. Our prayer has always been to move forward in faith, and if this wasn't the house for us, God would close the door. Dear friends, as hard as it was, God remains faithful, and true.

After our thorough search, we decided that our dream house (the newer house, had a big yard, backs to trees) was not in this area at the price we wanted to pay--one in which we wouldn't be house poor. There were very nice houses at the max of our budget, but we generally had to compete against many other offers, and didn't have the room to counter. Meanwhile, the houses have appreciated by $50,000 and the townhouses only $20,000 and the interest rates were starting to creep up. We had several choices:

1. Wait.To stay put, refinance, and save up for the dream house in five years.
2. Sacrifice. Buy a single family dream home now while the rates were low enough, but we couldn't vacation, eat out, or save for a new car.
3. Enjoy. Buy a home that's within our price range, and position ourselves in five years if we wanted to go for the dream home, we could.

We chose the last option!

So last Friday, we narrowed it down to four properties. They were all GREAT houses, but again, they all had their trade offs:
  • Great house, OK lot.
  • OK house, Great lot.
  • OK house, OK lot.
  • Great house, No lot. Great price. (Total reduction $89,000!)
Truly, we couldn't decide. In His perfect timing, we had dinner with a friend of ours who we respect, and he said something at dinner that helped confirm our decision. He said you know 'no house is worth any stress'. In his case, he worked quite a bit to pay for his house and the price he had to pay was time with his family. It seemed easy. Patrick decided that the best house was one in which we live more financially free, so we chose the house previously blogged "Enormous", which had been reduced $20,000 since we last saw it. I, of course, was elated because it is a gorgeous townhome in a great community, Landsdowne, with 0ver 4600 square feet, and has $75K worth of upgrades.

Just when we get ready to put the offer down, the plot thickens. We see another listing that same morning that we couldn't believe --a new house in Ashburn, with a yard, that backs to trees and get this - also backs to water! It's our 100%. It is at the highest end of our budget (of course!) so we are tempted, and we go to make an offer, and already --two other offers are on it. Again, we sit back and continue to pray specifically that if God doesn't want us to have this house, that he would close the door. Well, that very afternoon, we put a call into our lender who says to us, 'did you know this week the interest rates have gone up again, the largest increase in six months?' All of a sudden, the numbers changed for us and already the stretched price tag with the increased interest rates, and now PMI, was taking us beyond our limit. We had to choose our options to sacrifice or enjoy. And did we really mean it when we wanted to honor God with His money? Sadly, we withdrew our offer. That was painful.

It gets worse.

In that 24 hour period, the townhouse that we already decided we wanted, now goes under contract!! Agggghhh!

But wait, it's not a done deal. Our realtor tells us that their contract is contingent upon the sale of their home, so there's a kickout! If we put in an offer that's not contingent, than they have 48 hours to lift their contingency. This is where I thank God for my husband's credit and debt to income ratio, because even in this market where banks are less giving, we were able to qualify for a loan for two mortgages. We put down our offer and we waited...and waited...and waited...two days could not have stretched any longer! Finally, a call comes and we're told the other party backed out, and that the house is ours. Our dream-e house is ours! I am Elated, Excited, and Ease!

You know so many times people say that if the Lord has it for you, it will be easy and peaceful. And I have always struggled with that line of thinking because it has never been true in my life. Every good gift from above has always come.... with me on my knees, waiting, wrestling, trusting, and ultimately praising no matter the outcome. He was there from the start, and if we hadn't gone through what we went through, I surely wouldn't know that it was only from Him!

But wait, the deal is still not yet done. Anything could fall through. And if we've learned anything in this process - it's that God's ways aren't thwarted---if He has a house for you, He will lead you to it. We're still trusting.

Pictures of the week

Not often that every week of your life gets documented, but at least my kids could never say I didn't get enough pictures of them. Here's snapshots of our fun week:

It was beach day at Mainly Music, a Thursday morning program at our church that Micah and Caelan attend with their cousin Gabriel and Liliana.

Then we celebrated their Auntie Heather's birthday
at Grandma & Grandpa's house, on their back deck.

While Caelan got quality lap time with Aunt Heather
and Uncle Eric, so did Micah. With grandma!

And we spent the rest of the weekend at church, looking at houses (we put down another offer by the way) and also spent time with the Lauers, and their kids. Micah, Audrey (in the middle) and Joshua on the swings at Dinosaur Park in Ashburn.

We're looking forward to kicking off the summer by spending quality time with family and friends. Since we really can't afford to do anything too exciting as far as summer travels, it doesn't really matter where we go, as long as we're with people we love, and enjoy!