Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Houses

We now have looked at 11 houses, and tomorrow we are going to up our total to 17 (if all goes well). We have looked at some houses in the eastern suburbs...ok for the record they aren't exactly suburbs as some of the area even has an Atlanta address. So, it isn't as bad as Gwinitia...or Cobb heaven forbid I live there (see my sarcasm), it is just more suburban than Midtown. OK, so as I was saying, we looked at some houses just a bit east of the city, and saw 2 that were OK, but nothing that we HAD to buy. Last week we looked at a more urban neighborhood in the city, and found one house that is super cute...Jessica calls it the "Green House". It was adorable, but we aren't completely convinced that it was THE house. It could be, but we still need to look some more. Tomorrow we are going to look east of the city again which should be interesting...just this week 4 new houses went on the market, and they seem to be just what we want, not too big and not too small.

I actually had been having some anxiety associated with moving closer into town into the more urban neighborhood, but after looking at houses down there and meeting a neighbor and reading their community newsletter I feel a TON better. That kind of makes me feel funny, because the info I found out would probably not make most parents feel better. Dave and I laughed as we read the community newsletter that boasted 35 arrests since last April, involving drugs, burglaries and prostitution. And why would we want to live here, we asked? But those things happen everywhere, even the suburbs, it is just more over tin the city. It is also nice to know that there is a strong, active community that will fight against things that seek to destroy the community. That is one thing that attracks us to the area.

Who knows. I still desire to be close to our church community and so we do not know how this will play into our decision. I think that if we live outside of the city we will just have to be much more intentional with our time, so as to not get too comfortable in a life that on the surface might look neat and clean.

It will be interesting to see what the Lord has in store for us. I look forward to seeing what February holds.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Miss Hadleigh Claire Meets Petroleum Jelly

The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. Last Friday I thought Hadleigh was with Dave and he thought she was with me. Apparently Dave found her first, and sent her to find me. When she found me she was rubbing the jelly into her cheek (as if she was really enjoying it). It is hard to tell from the pictures, but it was all over her face and even on her eyelashes.

I wiped her down with a towel, and then washed her hair about 7 times. It just wouldn't come out, so after her bath we combed her hair back like a gangster...and Saturday morning she woke up with it all spikey. There was nothing I could do to make it stay close to her head. We are now at Tuesday and she still has some remnants from the jelly, but it is mostly gone!

I think she looks like a cross between Kramer and Jim Carey as Ace Ventura.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Tell Me What You Want...What You Really, Really Want

I wish I could tell you, but I just do not know myself, and I hate not knowing.

We are now embarking on a new hunting. I cannot believe that the time is actually here. As much as it pains me to think my days of wandering the earth are over, I am also looking forward to putting down some roots. The big question of the is where the heck do we want to live. I wish I could just pay someone to tell me the answer. At this point the main contenders are a little suburban community just east of Atlanta, or the more urban neighborhoods on the eastern side of Atlanta.

I literally change my mind once an hour, if not every five minutes. There are many variables...too many...and it is impossible to compare the two areas because they are vastly different. In many ways we are choosing between two different lifestyles and honestly I want them both, and I want it all.

Dave and I tend toward the risky side of life. We are not HUGE risk takers, but we kind of like living on the edge. Moving to Germany was a risk...a very, very good risk. It was hard, but good and wonderful. Moving back to Atlanta was a risk...of sorts...mostly because Dave did not have a job here. Can I say that having two children 20 months apart was a risk? Maybe I was risking my sanity. Anyway, we kind of enjoy a good challenge in life.

If I could choose the perfect place to live, it would have the following characteristics.
Close to Dave's work
Close to church
Lots of kids
People out walking around and getting to know the neighbors
Walking distance to restaurants
Walking distance to public transportation
Diverse...lots of ethnicities...different socio-economic...different lifestyles...
Good schools
Good parks, and maybe a community pool would be nice! =)
Oh and did I mention affordable? Affordable to a one income family...

Of the two different areas we are looking at they each possess some of those characteristics, but not all. So now we have to determine what is most important, and I am not sure how to do that.

How can I measure having Hadleigh grow up with her little buddies Jacob, Brennan, Sadie, Andrew...with being within walking distance of MARTA? How can I compare living in a diverse neighborhood with having a community pool?

I want both and I want neither. I love and hate both. I just cannot seem to get a grip on what is most important to our family. I do not want to settle. I want to take risks. I want my girls to grow up loving all sorts of different people. I want them to grow up seeing the church active, changing culture and proclaiming the gospel. I want them to grow up with good friends where they can ride their bikes and go to each others houses. I want them to grow up loving the culture of a city. But I just do not know what all of this means, and I honestly feel like I cannot have it all. That really bothers me. Well, I suppose that sometime in the next several months these questions will be answered, and I hope I like the answer!

Monday, January 07, 2008

22 Months

Wow, Hadleigh Claire is 22 months! I cannot believe that in just two short months my little girl is going to be two. We are having so much fun with Hadleigh these days. She just loves Annelise. Yesterday when we were getting ready for church, Hadleigh ran to Annelise's car seat and got it all ready for me to put her in it. She loves to push her in the swing and bounce her in the baby seat. This morning she walked up to Annelise and said "hi baby, hi baby". It was super sweet.

She is still a sleeping machine. The last couple of weeks she has been sleeping from 6pm until 10am and then still taking a 2 hour nap! I think part of that was because she was sick, but when she is well she sleeps until 8am, so life is still great in the sleep department. Sometimes she just likes playing in her crib and will play with her animals long after she is awake. Even if I go in to get her up she will ask to stay in her crib.

She loves being outside on walks or getting the mail, or just running around.

She loves our weekly family outings and was just a doll at our trip to the High Museum on Friday. We took MARTA to midtown and she just loves to ride the choo choo. As we were walking through the paintings she took a special interest in the landscape art and kept saying "Whoa!' "Dude!" Everyone around her got a real kick out of it. She also enjoys when we go out to eat, and on Friday loved the fried calamari as our appetizer and shared Dave's corn chowder and my lamb gyro.

Reading is still a fav past time. Her recent favs are "Pajama Time", an Elmo alphabet book, and a book about a mole and a bird (I can't remember the name). She also LOVES "Good Night Moon" and "Little Quack". Whenever we go in her room she says "Moon? Quack?"

Sesame Street is her fav show and we watch it some days over breakfast. She can name all the characters and especially loves Elmo and Grover. For Christmas she got a Sesame Street dvd that has lots of songs on it. She asks to watch it almost all day long.

Jackets (and sweaters), hats, and shoes are her favorite articles of clothing. As soon as she wakes up she wants to put those things on her body. Amazingly she has figured out how to put her shoes on and also manages to get them on the right feet.

Dave is still her favorite and as soon as she gets up in the morning she asks about Dada. She just loved having him home so much over Christmas.

She gives lots of hugs and kisses these days, and will even give a little back scratch when asked (Dave taught her that).

She still eats just about anything we put in front of her. And if it is on our plate she is even more interseted in eating it. Last week Lrod was over for lunch and Hadleigh was begging crackers off of her. If I am eating it, she wants it!

She seems to be learning more words, and she definitely understands everything we say to her. We do think that she is probably a bit behind in her vocabulary since she hasn't begun to use sentences or put words together. She babbles and sings a lot, and she memorizes books. For example, in our Pajama Time book, everytime it says pajama time in exclamation we raise our hands in the air. She knows where each exclamation is and will raise her hands before I say the words. She also has a book called "Head to Toes" that I have read so much I have memorized. I will quote the book to her and she will point to each body part and even point to the body part before I say it. She is so funny. Again I am thankful for a laid back pediatrician who knows sometimes children don't go by the books.


A Christmas post is long overdue! We had a wonderful and mostly quiet (except for Annelise crying) Christmas season. I had intended on taking the girls to the mall to get pictures with Santa, but changed my mind when I realized it would be silly to pay money to get a picture where both girls were crying. Annelise would cry because she always cries and Hadleigh would cry of fright (she might not have cried...but it was up in the air). Hadleigh did get to see Santa twice. The school that Hadleigh attends had a breakfast with Santa Claus. We joined Matt, Steph and Jacob, as well as Brea and Brennan at the breakfast and all three kiddos seemed to be a little nervouse about the big man in the red suit. We did manage to get Santa to stand behind us for a picture. In Dave's hometown Santa rides around on a firetruck on Christmas Eve and stops at all the houses where there are children to pass out peppermints. We actually jumped up when we heard the sirens and got Hadleigh out of bed to run outside and see Santa.

I think that one good thing about living far away from family is that you have to get Christmas shopping done early so presents can be sent. I was motivated to have everything done by the first week in December and apart from Dave's present I accomplished my task.

We enjoyed celebrating Christmas through worship at Intown through the Sundays in December. Our Community Group had a wine and cheese party, and there were a couple other little things we attended.

Dave's office was closed the week of Christmas, so we had extra fun having him home for almost two weeks in a row. Our little family celebrated Christmas on the 23rd. I made coffeecake for breakfast and Hadleigh got up to open presents. She enjoyed it, but wasn't as excited as I thought she might be. After church Dave started working on dinner while I kept Annelise mostly quiet. Our Christmas dinner tradition includes roast duck, which was amazing as always.

Christmas Eve we got up early, loaded up the car and drove up to Knoxville to Dave's family. Annelise cried all but 45 minutes of the 4 hour ride...good times...we just kept driving and only stopped to feed her and get fries and a vanilla shake.

Christmas day, Dave's sister, Angie, and her boys, Jonathan, Josh and Jacob, and Dave's grandmother all came over. We opened presents, and then had a yummy lunch.

It was really fun to see Hadleigh with her cousins and grandparents. The boys are so sweet with her and she was following around Josh giving him high 5s and fists. She also loves her Grandma and Bapa. She will occassionally pick up the phone and start talking to sweet!

We drove back down to Atlanta on Thursday and the trip went so much better. Dave sat in the
back in between the girls and Annelise slept the entire ride home...truly amazing.

I was thankful for the entire experience of Christmas. Christmas in Germany was such a different experience, and there are things that we learned while living there that we hope to keep in our lives. While I do enjoy getting and giving presents, I really hate for that to be the focus. I am thankful for our families who honored our wishes for toys that don't make noise, and also who got our children nice things without going over the top. I guess it is still nice for us because Hadleigh is too young to understand the whole gift thing, maybe things will change more when she gets older. One of the gals in our community group was asking me about Christmas and if we got Hadleigh and Annelise gifts. I laughed because we did not buy them gifts. They certainly do not know the difference and we certainly don't need any more toys, etc, and I figure we buy a lot of other things for zoo memberships, etc. One day I might buy them something, but right now we are going with the less is more philosophy.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Miss Hadleigh Claire Gets a Haircut

My little Hadleigh Claire has been looking a little rough lately. Her hair is trying to grow, but it is all uneven and had grown into a bit of a mullet. She won't consistently keep a clip in her hair, and it is generally filled with static and standing on end. Something needed to be done!

Yesterday I took her to CJ, the woman who cuts my hair, and she did a wonderful job of making her hair even. She sat in my lap for the cut and did a great job, though she was mildly distracted by the truck CJ gave her to hold. Also, she saw a reindeer on the wall and started calling it a giraffe. I hated the thought of cutting it, but I am hoping that this will help it grow out into a nice bob of sorts. Dave thinks the cut makes her eyebrows more pronounced and so her facial expressions are very vivid.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Elf is 2 Months

Today, our little elf, Annelise, is two months old. And as I type she is sleeping in the swing next to me. It has been a long 2 months, but I think the worst is finally over. Over the last week Annelise has begun sleeping in her own bed at night. This means I can feed her and immediately put her back in bed and she will sleep 3 hours until she is hungry again. Major accomplishment! She still likes to be held during the day, but tends to tolerate her swing for her afternoon snooze. I am actually able to get something done! Today I made cookies because my buds, Kris, Alex, Zack and Kate are coming over tomorrow to decorate them. And I am also going to make chicken pot pie tonight because Courtney and Jeremy are coming over for dinner.

Our little elf is eating well, every three hours around the clock, and seems to be growing. She is now smiling which has helped us to enjoy her more (hard to like someone when they are always screaming at you). She has kept most of her hair, but it seems to be getting a little lighter. She has red eyebrows, so I feel just certain she is going to have red hair (seems to fit with her personality). A lot more folks are saying she looks like me, but it seems to change everyday.

She loves her baths and could sit in the tub for hours.

Right now she is sick. Some wretched soul gave Hadleigh the bug and while we managed to keep her away from Annelise, Hadleigh managed to give her sickness to us, and we in turn gave it to Annelise. It is really sad to see such a little one sick. She is coughing a lot trying to get the junk out of her lungs and just looks miserable. Poor thing.

Next we hit the doctor's office for the 2 month visit, so I will know height and weight soon. I am going while Hadleigh is in her morning class...made the mistake of taking both of them to the dr.'s last time...NIGHTMARE!