Thursday, January 31, 2013

First day of School

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     Shortly after moving to Jacksonville we decided to enroll Adoration in a two day a week (from 9-1) preschool class.  My sweet, friendly, extroverted child was missing her friends and we thought school would make the transition easier for her.  I found a church preschool that had an awesome program and equally awesome rates. Cost of living is so much cheaper here (we are paying $400 less for our rent. $400!) so we had the funds to comfortably pay for it. I called up to see if they had any openings for their Tues/Thurs class and lo and behold ONE spot had just opened up the day before I called. This school had quite the waiting list but nobody on the waiting list wanted that spot. Score. 

We toured the preschool and Adoration cried when we left and didn't understand why she couldn't stay. She stood in the door way of her would-be classroom staring longingly at the other children or (fwiends!) saying, "bye Mama!" I guess all our lessons plans and "school time" had her super excited about the idea of school. I enrolled her that day and the next Tuesday I had a brand new Hello Kitty book bag and lunch box ready for her. I lovingly packed her lunch and wrote her a little picture note and left it in her lunch box. We got to school a little early, prayed in the car together, took a couple photos in front of the school, and dropped her off. She cried when I left but when I picked her up she was as happy as can be, babbling on about "fwiends," and "circle time," and singing the songs they sang. And the sweetest of all....little strawberry stain fingerprints on the "note" I had left in her lunchbox. She wanted to take her note with her to bed for her nap time. 

It felt a little bittersweet but I was mostly just excited for my daughter. I know her little personality and I knew that she would love this so much. I use the time while she is at school to get some one-on-one time with Asa, grocery shop, clean, laundry, errands, etc. All that stuff that is SO hard to do with Adoration around. I feel like those couple of hours makes me so much more efficient as a stay-at-home mama and that alone time I get to spend with Asa is very sweet. And I just love picking up Adoration from school. She always screams in delight and runs to give me a big hug when she sees me and then happily babbles on about her day at school. She usually says, "I had a fun day!"  

Oh my baby, she is growing up. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Portrait a Week

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Asa: almost 4 mo.
Adoration: 2 years, 7 mo.

My first installation of a portrait a week of my children. I sure do love them. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Outward and Up.

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Every region has it's beauty. I have quite the crush on the live oak trees of this region. Add in that haunting Spanish moss and I am done for.Watching my daughter run under the benevolent branches of grand daddy oak trees make me so happy. Trees and children were always meant to be friends.     ie. Swiss Family Robinson and Peter Pan. 

Pausing to drink in beauty in nature is part of who I am. If prayer is a conversation, then beauty is God's way of talking to me all day long. My soul is thirsty for it, and I am always looking for where it may be hidden. My husband lovingly pokes fun of me because often on a walk, I will stop him and exclaim over something seemingly inconsequential, "Do you see?! Do you see the way the light is shining through the branches? The colors?" Or "look! look at this tiny red leaf surrounded by all the green? Isn't it perfect?"  Or even, in a dirty alley way...pointing out the angles of fire escapes, or graffiti, or gutter grates. I'm always asking "Do you SEE?"  He will often smile with amusement and I know this is something that often does not connect with his own heart but that he very much loves about me.

I am introspective by nature. But when left alone with one's thought's for too long, unchecked and free to roam, they can quickly become toxic, turning to taunting lies. In this season of my life, I am often either talking to small children or alone with my thoughts. I can so easily become lost in the swirling sea of self, but then a whisper in my hearts urges me to look outside myself, and outward, and up, and I am redeemed.  


"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-- think about such things." Philippians 4:8

May your hearts always dwell on lovely things. 
~Kristina

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A New Year, A New Focus

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Happy 2013 ya'll! 

This year we started a New Year's Eve tradition of a family dance party. Cause let's face it, there is little chance that we would get to go out and party up the town with small children. No one wants to babysit on New Year's Eve! So we decided, just cause we are stuck at home, doesn't mean we have to miss out on any fun.  We had take-out Chinese food for dinner, and read our fortunes for the year. I hung up a sparkly garland blew up balloons to cover the floor. We dressed up pseudo-fancy and had a dance party right there in the living room. Adoration was thought it was the best thing eve. We had a mock count-down and Adoration was in bed by 8:00 (I'm not keeping my two year old up till midnight. That's crazy talk!) James and I spent the remainder of the evening cuddling on the couch in our pj's. Perfect. 

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With the new year, and a proverbial fresh start, I sat down and thought about this little ol' blog of mine. As you have probably noticed, my blogging has been very sporadic. It's because sitting down to blog felt draining.This blog is very much a family album, but I don't want it to be just that. I don't want to use my children as a blogging platform. I don't want to overexpose them, if that makes any sense at all. But other things I tried to do felt like half hearted attempts, draining my time and energy. For example, trying to do blog posts of lessons plans. Planning a lesson plan and executing it with my daughter is one thing. Blogging it is a whole other ball game. It takes FOREVER and I don't have forever, I have maybe 10 minutes. I'll probably still contribute some Learning at Home activities every now and then, but no more lesson plans. There are other (and much better) blogs that are more focused for that. 

So I thought about who I am, what I love, and what I DO want my blog to be.
I want my time spent blogging to feed in to all other areas of my life, not drain it. 
So here is what you can expect :

* Probably still on the sporadic side of posting. (Hopefully, not quite as sporadic as it has been.) This 
is just my life right now. 

* Family album and letters. I will continue to post letters to my children and document our days. Being able to look back at our family life is invaluable to me. But don't expect all my posts to be about my kids.

* Thoughts on faith and life. I've never intended this to be a "preachy" blog, but my faith is a big part of who I am and affects all avenues of my life. I haven't done too much of that on this blog but I want to do more. Writing about faith and life helps me process what I'm learning or experiencing.

*More photography. I love it. I want to grow in this area. And at some point, would love to do family photography as a business. Ideas and dreams have been brewing in my head of what that would look like. Basically, I want to do a more unconventional, documentary style of family photography. I want to get in family's lives and really capture those special moments you want to remember forever. The kind of photographs I would want of my own family. It's very much in the baby stages in my mind, and I would just like to get better at the craft at this point before I start any kind of business venture. 
That being said, if you are in the Jacksonville area, I'm looking for family's to practice on and experiment this style!

As this pertains to my blog, I will try to capture some of my own family's sweet moments. I will start carrying my camera (not just my phone) on outings of our everyday life. 

I've seen this on some other blogs and it was such a good and simple idea, I've decided to incorporate it into my blog as well. A portrait a week of both my children. small. attainable. And I'm inspired by the possibilities of such a simple project. 


And to my faithful readers, thanks for sticking with me this long! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Last Three Months.

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The last three months (October-December) have been some of the busiest of my life. Aside from the usual trips to park, zoo, beach and the loving, discipline, instruction, meals, laundry,and cleaning that are regular parts of my SAHM life, these are other events of note that have happened in these few months:

* gave birth to a beautiful baby boy via a natural labor.
* James got offered a promotion but found out we would need to move to Jax in December. We accepted.
* completely potty trained Adoration.
* Adoration was a flower girl in a wedding.
* family visitors.
* we traveled to Jacksonville for Thanksgiving. Family met us there for a restaurant Thanksgiving meal, but mainly they loved on our children while James and I house hunted.
* James had a work trip to Jacksonville.
* James, me, and Asa went to Jamaica, while my father-in-law watched Adoration. It was a work/vacation trip.
* Packed up our house.
* Moved to our new rental house in Jax. The trip took two days. After a full day of packing up the truck with just one other person to help out. By the time we got on the road it was dark. The kids were tired and hungry (no naps for Adoration.) Two hours down the road, and after an hour of listening to both Asa and Adoration cry we decided to pull over to a Cracker Barrel for dinner and stay at a hotel for the night.
* Half-way unpacked, and set up a Christmas tree in our new home. ( I was determined to have a tree!)
* Two days after moving to Jax, we headed to Georgia for Christmas.
* Asa turned 3 months old. My tiny newborn transformed into a chubby smiley, squishy cheeked boy.

Whew! I;m tired just thinking about all that.
We will never forget this time in our lives for sure!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Away We Go.

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* I wrote this post before we moved, but didn't have a chance to post it before we disconnected our Internet. But I figured I would just go ahead and post it late.

      Currently, our house is in quite the disarray, boxes packed and halfway packed. There are no Christmas decorations, no tree, no stalkings. We are moving on Thursday to Jacksonville. In the last year and a half we have moved from Charlotte to South Florida, then to even farther South Florida, and now we will move to Jacksonville. Have you seen the movie, "Away We Go?"  In the movie, Mya Rudolph's character becomes pregnant. Her and the father of the child, embark on a journey to find the place where they will plant their family. They travel to different destinations hoping to find "home." They end up returning to the home where Mya's character spent her childhood. They place they call home in the movie is what feels like parts of Jacksonville.....live oak trees, rivers, orange trees, and spanish moss. It's beautiful.
      I feel like our little family has been on it's own "Away We Go" adventure. It was really hard leaving Charlotte. It was a place that had grown to feel like home, mostly because of the incredible friendships I had there. I still mourn not having close proximity to those friendships and my heart aches at the thought of my children not growing up around those precious friends and their children. Yet, somehow, we knew that it was our time to leave Charlotte, that we would not be planted there. So we took a chance.
      South Florida never felt like a very good fit for us as a family, but not knowing what the future held I cried, and prayed, hoped, and tried to remain in a place of contentment. But taking that chance led to growth in my faith and trust of the Lord, a couple of friendships that will remain with me, our family's bond growing stronger , and a journey of healing for my heart in a time of turmoil.  And ultimately, a job promotion for my husband leading us to Jacksonville, the place our family will call home for this next season of our lives.
      And I am ready. I am ready to live in the land of grand-daddy oak trees and spanish moss, river and ocean, city and southern culture. To be a drive away instead of a plane-ride away from loved ones. To sink our roots in nice and deep, and grow this family. 
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