Tantrums and Living Room Forts

So far, this has been my favorite season as a mother. I so enjoy watching my little guy gain more and more independence each day. It’s fun to be able to walk somewhere together side by side. It’s amazing to me to see this little personality unfolding before my eyes. Judah has quite the sense of humor, and he’s super mischievous, but in that adventuresome way. Also, he farts frequently in the bathtub and looks up at me and giggles every time. And, I always laugh right back. Not the best of manners, but I kind of think I’ll always laugh when he farts, lets face it, farts are always funny. Sometimes gross, but mostly just funny.

But what would the best season be without a few trials? Isn’t that usually what helps to define them? Well, trials we have had…The tantrums have started. Yay for tantrums!! It’s fun huh? I especially enjoy walking on eggshells because I just never know what will set him off. Does he want the blue crayon or the red one? What if I give him the wrong one? Meltdown!!

My parents always laugh about a story, I think it was my sister (never me, right?) because a french fry broke and there was complete and utter world-shattering distress that followed. Whenever I heard them reference the “You broke my french fry” story, I laughed, but didn’t fully get it. Now, I get it. It’s so funny because you’re to the point where you’re so stressed about your child freaking out one minute, and laughing the next that you can barely keep up, so you just have to laugh when a french fry causes so much tragedy.

Kyle and I are figuring out for the first time how we are going to discipline, teach, and model behavior for our son. It’s been hard to figure out, and honestly, I think that’s the main stress. Not Judah crying over the wrong crayon, but knowing that how we choose to parent is going to greatly affect how he reacts over getting the wrong crayon, and other things he doesn’t really want, for the rest of his life.

However, there have been some great moments. Despite the challenges, it’s still my favorite stage.

photo 1This week, Judah finally reached the right weight to turn his carseat forward, and now our car rides are full of “vroom, vroom” sounds as he points out all the trucks that go by. Also, I love being able to play peek-a-boo with him from the passenger seat.

photo 3He tried raisins for the first time, and goodness, did he love them! Isn’t it awesome to watch kids try new things? I mean, seriously, time and time again he is such a reminder to slow down, and appreciate what’s around us.

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He also turned an ordinary dinner into a classy affair when he insisted on wearing his fedora hat (which he only took interest in once it was way too small) throughout the entire meal. What a stud.

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He also experienced his first professional haircut. I tried cutting it once before and it ended very tearfully. This time, he sat in that big chair all by himself and loved every second of it. How grown up is he??

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We visited old friends and explored new places. I swear he looked at every single item in that store and it blew me away how well he listened when I repeated, “just look, don’t touch.” I could have sworn I was going to walk out of that place with some broken trinket I was forced to pay for, but this boy, he never ceases to prove me wrong.

This week, we held hands and walked to the park. And it wasn’t that “mommy is holding your wrist while you walk/try to escape my grip” kind of thing. Nope. He wrapped his little fingers around mine and we actually, and willingly, held hands. It was one of those heart-exploding mommy moments.

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photo 8And, we built a fort, which was nothing short of magical.

photo 9So, tantrums, whatever. We’re still smiling.

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Anniversary post…and another move.

I got an email last week letting me know it’s been one year since my first blog post. Holy moly. One year already? As I sat and reflected on where I was at the time of that post, to where I am now, it’s been a crazy, wonderful, beautiful, trying, exciting, stressful, and fantastic ride.

I love being the mother to the most amazing little boy I’ve ever known. He gave Kyle and I a run for our money straight out of the gate, but to look at who he is today, how he has shaped us as parents–I’m so grateful for those initial struggles. Judah is the best thing to ever happen to Kyle and I, and you’d never know he was such a challenge if you knew him today. He’s sweet, mischievous, adventurous, friendly, and so loving. He has my heart.

Our little family has been through a lot since that first blog post. And, we’re about to go through yet another transition. This one is our craziest yet, but goodness, it’s going to be amazing.

Since we’ve known each other, Kyle and I have dreamed of a life out west. Well, more Kyle at first, until I took my first trip to Colorado. Once there, I was sold on the dream too. However, we decided to stay in Indiana after getting married instead of making the move right after saying our “I do’s.” But, the mountains, the hiking, the adventures, they’ve been tugging at us every year we’ve been here.

We don’t regret making the decision to stay. Because we stayed in Indiana, we were able to figure one another out in our early married life in a familiar area with friends and family close by. Kyle was able to get his master’s degree, and I was able to have the privilege of working with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, in a job I’d never have imagined myself doing. I was also able to support my husband as he got his master’s, and I’m sure proud of that. In turn, with my husband’s support, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for most of the first year of Judah’s life. In fact, I still am. But now, I get to write and be apart of a wonderful company full of individuals who genuinely care for each other and their customers. If we had moved away early on, these things wouldn’t have happened.

But, it’s time for us to go now. Those of you who know Kyle and I, know that we’ve moved…..a lot…over the last four years. It’s not because we enjoy packing and unpacking our things, trust me. We’ve kept moving because deep down, we’ve known this place isn’t for us anymore. Sure, we’d try out a different place, a different town, in hopes of finding our happiness, our niche, our place to spread our roots. But we’ve never found it. Not here anyway.

It’s a difficult conclusion to come to, and we haven’t done it lightly. We are leaving our families and going farther from them than we ever have before. We have received support from some, and not so much from others, and when you’re making a big life changing decision like this, it’s hard without that support. But we know this is right. We know it deep down, to our bones.

Next month, Kyle, Judah, and I are packing up for hopefully the second to last time for quite a while (last time being if we ever buy a house), and moving to Oregon. We will be an hour from the ocean (my soul’s sanctuary) and 30 minutes from the mountains (Kyle’s sanctuary).

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Since moving to our current location, Judah has made one friend here (yay Remmington!!), and not for lack of trying for more. But everywhere we go, we are alone. And let me tell you, this little boy has so much to offer and he deserves tons of friends.

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Typical, not one other kid at the playground. This is the third one we’ve tried in our town.

Same goes for my husband. He loves adventure and the great outdoors and he wants to share that with his son. He wants to teach Judah how to map out hikes, he wants to jump with him in clear pools of water way up in the mountains. He wants to explore, and go camping with his son. He wants to show Judah that there’s more out there than flat land and corn (not that there’s anything wrong with that). And he deserves to do that. He deserves to be the father he has always wanted to be to his son. He deserves to have those experiences.

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I want to splash with my little boy in the ocean waves. I want to build sand castles and watch the boats come in. I want to wade with him in the tide pools and look for “sea creatures” up on the shore. I deserve that. I deserve to explore and adventure with my son. I deserve to be the mom I’ve always wanted to be for my son. I deserve to have those experiences.

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Judah loves to explore. He loves to be outside. He loves to splash in the water. He loves to see and discover new things. He loves to be around other kids when he can. He deserves to play and discover. He deserves to make friends. He deserves to have those experiences.

Crazy, yes. Unexpected, maybe. But, if you really know us, it’s not. Challenging and scary, of course. But we’re doing it. We’re taking the risk. The time has come, and we’re making the move.

I recently saw this quote posted by Sevenly and I think it fits perfectly for our current situation:

“Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.”

So, if you’re ever on the west coast, or ever want to go, you’ve always got a free place to stay, adventures to be had, and if I really like you, I’ll even throw in a couple meals. 🙂

On to the next adventure we go!

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New York, New York

Last weekend, our little family traveled to New York to honor my dad. He has had a pretty impressive career as a soccer coach (you can read about it and here), and was inducted into Houghton College’s Hall of Honor. It was definitely a proud moment for our family.

Anyone who knows my dad understands he’s one of a kind. Not only is he successful on the soccer field, but he is one of those men that is living evidence of the love of Christ.  And, even if he wasn’t my dad, I would still say that he is one of the best human beings I know.

I won’t lie, I used to get jealous of the time that my dad spent with his soccer girls, and sometimes I still do. I think they are able to see a side of him that my family doesn’t always get to. Not only that, but it was hard to grow up with a dad who coached. Basically, we didn’t see him much from the end of July through December.

I do think this says something about my mom though.  She does a lot to support my dad’s career, one of the biggest things being taking care of my sister and I solo for a large chunk of the year. And somehow, she made it to every sporting event for both my sister and I, and also to every game for my dad, as long as it was at home, and she tried her best to get to every away game that she could. Pretty impressive if you ask me. The way those two have worked together over the years to support one another, raise my sister and I, and show love to so many players that have come through our home, is truly inspiring.

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All that being said, though I would envy the time my dad spent with his team, there was never a moment that I haven’t been proud of him. When we’d watch him coach, I was always, and still am, so impressed. When he’d preach at church, I’d sit and listen and think, “wow, that’s my dad up there.”

With some alumni (some of my favs too!)

With some alumni (some of my favs too! Sorry about the photo mom…don’t be too mad;))

My dad has impacted so many lives for the Kingdom. He’s gracious, gentle, loving, compassionate, and hard working. He has set such a wonderful example for my sister and I.

I realized something last weekend as I watched him accept his award. As I noticed all the alumni who came back to support him, and looked on while he received a standing ovation, I realized how proud I am of my dad.  I might have wished time after time, that I could joke with my dad the way his players could, or that I could play soccer as well as some of those he coached, but I realized I’ve got one thing that trumps it all–he’s my dad.  My dad. And what a great one.

Congratulations, “bad dude.” It was wonderful to see you get the recognition you deserve. We love you.

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As for the rest of the trip, of course it’s always nice to go back home, especially in the Fall. I love Western New York during this season and have so many great memories from that area. It’s even better that we were able to be there as an entire family and that my sister and I got to share some of our favorite childhood experiences over again with our babes. I’ll leave the rest of the post to share some photos from our time with you.

Happy weekend!

The cousins, heading out to the pumpkin patch!

The cousins, heading out to the pumpkin patch!

Judah's first wagon ride, at Pumpkinville!

Judah’s first wagon ride, at Pumpkinville!

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checking out all the apples with Pops (a.k.a. "bad dude")

checking out all the apples with Pops (a.k.a. “bad dude”)

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So typical, so adorable. Love this lil' bug oh so much!

So typical, so adorable. Love this lil’ bug oh so much!

chattin' with the goats.

chattin’ with the goats.

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Lily enjoying the game.

Lily enjoying the game.

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the alumni and current players worshipping together after the game

the alumni and current players worshipping together after the game

My dad receiving his award

My dad receiving his award