Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Keeping my head above water

That has become my goal for everyday, just to simply keep my head above water. We are busy busy with lots of WONDERFUL things! But between Jack not napping anymore and me now having a job where I work from home (fitting it in between changing diapers, cleaning up food, trying to exercise, taking kids to library, grocery shopping, small group, etc.) I am feeling like me and the blogging world need to take a little hiatus. So, thanks to all of you who regularly check out my blog, but for now I need to sign off for busier things!! Ill keep you all posted as soon as I feel like holding my head above water is a little easier than it seems right now :). Much love and God bless!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

taking a sick break...

I still haven't even posted pictures from Atlanta and Christmas! We have had numerous viruses and bacterial infections over here at the Allen household! Three of the four members of this family are on anti biotics and around the clock motrin. We have gone to the pediatrician twice in the past 24  hours, praying we didn't pick up anything else while we were there! Its rainy and gross outside and Im just plain tired of being sick and  house bound! All of that to say I hope to be back at blogging soon and will post pics from Christmas asap! This weekend my parents are here and we will be celebrating Jack turning 3!!! Im not doing a big party so we have segmented his birthday into three events (pretty lucky kiddo) 1. visit from my parents and going to the Play Lodge with some buddies, 2. A special trip to Chattanooga to visit friends and go to the Aquarium, just mommy and Jack trip! 3. Fun celebration with Derrick's family when they come in town for Aunt Leslee's shower the end of February. Hopefully we will be feeling better soon so that I can have lots of pics to share!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hendo Christmas Preview

We've already had like three Christmas' and we still have about two more to go (with family members) but here are a few quick pics of our little families own Christmas morning. It was SO fun having it just be the four of us, in our own home and making breakfast while the kids played with their new toys. LOVED Jack's excited expressions!
















Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Season 2012

Recently we have all been running in five thousand directions! Its fun, but crazy over here!! Derrick recently started his new job at Four Circles (here he is up on the high ropes course)

and I didn't realize how spoiled I was by being used to his teacher schedule. Whats all this 9-5:30 nonsense??? 5:30?!!! You mean I have to get dinner ready and deal with the kids late afternoon all by myself??!!! I know I totally sound like a spoiled wife! Derrick is the chef around here and so I was used to getting most dinner's prepped before he got home but most of the actual cooking was done by him. In the past two weeks I've cooked pretty much every meal. Its actually been more fun than stressful, but I don't know how working moms do it when their husbands don't cook! My job has been steadying out a bit which is great. I enjoy it thoroughly and feel like my week to week tasks are getting more routine so that is helping in terms of my schedule and time with the kids. Speaking of the kids, my son has decided that napping is not necessary. HAH! Not cool!! I think he naps maybe 1 or 2 times out of 7 days. Most of the time I just make him play in his room and have rest time for at least an hour and a half. Thankfully Lucy sleeps great so even if he does stay up its pretty manageable.

We recently went on a trip to Atlanta. We took advantage of Mimi and Papa's helping hands and let them keep the kids one night while D and I stayed the night at the Perimeter Embassy Suites.  I found a great deal online and it included a King sized Suite, free drinks at their manager's reception in the evening and then breakfast the next morning. It was really nice and so fantastic for us to have some uninterrupted time.
Vodka Tonics at our hotel reception before we went out to dinner
We had an awesome dinner at Figo's pasta and then a romantic dessert at Cafe Intermezzo! If you are ever in Atlanta and want a romantic dessert/coffee place this is the place to be!!  I did however wake up at 7am the next morning and couldn't fall back asleep so I just went down to the gym for a run. I HATE treadmills with an all consuming passion. So I figured Id run as fast as I could for two miles and call it quits. Then I had an excuse to pig out on breakfast. :) Once we had breakfast we then went our separate ways and I got a pedicure and Derrick went to a classic barber shop for a hot shave and hair cut. We weren't too far from each other though since the stores backed up to one another. Then after our pampering we walked around Lenox in Buckhead and had lunch. After lunch we headed back to my parents, got the kiddos and then we all went to Stone Mountain (with my parents too) to enjoy the SNOW! Thats right,  I said snow! They have Snow Mountain every Christmas where they blow in snow and have lots of snow fun activities! Here are some pics from our afternoon...

















                           
And then here are just a few cute pics of the kids playing outside recently...


more to come after Christmas...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Turkey Day 2012

Little bit overdue, but here are our pics from Thanksgiving. We went to Orlando to stay with Derrick's parents in their new house. We had a blast and had tons of fun with family and friends! Our trip included some fun date nights, early Christmas presents with his family, poolside sunning, trying a new restaurant called The Cask and Larder (with old small group friends) and lots of laughter! The kids got to go with Aunt CeeCee and Grandma and Grandpa to Sea World while Derrick and I had a "date day." Derrick's brother Brenden and his girlfriend Natalie also came in town for Thanksgiving day and it was such a blast as always to see both of them! Jack is especially fond of Natalie, I think he has a wee little crush :). Here are the pics...























Friday, November 16, 2012

Many blessings around every corner!

It has been incredible to see the things that God has done in our lives in the past 6 months. Well, God has done incredible things in our lives all the time, but He has been particularly "active" in the past 6 months. Maybe it's that I am seeing it more, or that I am boldly asking God for more, but WOW WOW! I haven't blogged about any of this yet because I could never seem to know how to begin, but now that I feel like things are becoming complete and Im seeing things on the other side more clearly, I thought it was about time to put this down in writing.

Just to back up a bit, it was about 6 months ago, on the day my grandfather died, that Derrick decided to make some changes with his current job situation  This was incredibly hard on us and we knew we needed to continue to cling to God and trust that He was going to take care of us. We had been in Orlando for 5 years (as a married couple) and had built a great community of friends. Even though we had great friends we knew that we didn't want to be in Orlando for the long haul. We didn't want to raise our kids in Orlando but we weren't really making any movements towards leaving, it was just on the back burner. Well, God decided to act FAST! As I mentioned before, my grandfather passed away right about the time Derrick resigned from his job. We knew we were going to be making a trip up to GA for the funeral and since the kids were in good hands with the grandparents we decided to extend our trip a bit and do some "searching." Derrick and I had spent our honeymoon and 5 yr anniversary trip up in Asheville, NC. And although we loved Asheville, we weren't sure the "I don't shave my arm pits or wear deodorant" vibe was exactly right for our family. We had however heard of a cute family friendly town called Hendersonville (just 20 miles south of Asheville). Some Orlando friends of ours knew of a new PCA church plant in Hendersonville that some other friends of theirs had been a part of. So since we were going to GA we decided to head up to NC (our dream state) and check out Hendersonville.

 As soon as we decided that this little "push out of the nest" from God was our chance to make a change we were so anxious to arrive! We pulled into town just as the PCA church plant was beginning its service. We were able to meet the pastor (and find out he was a home brewer too just like Derrick!) and meet several people and we instantly LOVED the church! It was almost enough in and of itself to get us to move there. Several neat things fell into place that weekend that helped us to feel confident that this was where God was leading us... 1. having a great lunch in the cute downtown area of Hendersonville and picturing ourselves walking around with our own kiddos 2. finding a GREAT rental on craigslist that was more space and the same cost as our place in Florida 3. Finding a great church to build community 4. Our landlord agreeing to let us only pay half of June's rent since we would need to move mid June (big financial help!) 5. Derrick and I being so completely on the same page with one another that every decision fell into place without conflict. 6. getting to sit on the side of a magnificent waterfall, feel God's presence and only being 15 minutes from my house!

Only problem... we'd have 4 weeks to move and ...We didnt have jobs :)
Ok so those were pretty big problems but we felt SO incredibly peaceful about the whole thing that we knew that God would provide. It was eerie how calm we were. Our friends in Fl probably thought we were a little nuts, but for the most part our families and friends were SO supportive! There were so many things that we would miss about Florida but we knew that God had a new path for our adventure as a family!
I spent the next few weeks packing and Derrick spent time searching for jobs. The week we were supposed to move (on a Saturday) Derrick got a call asking to set up an interview with a local High School for a counseling position. WOOHOO! Problem... it was Tuesday, the interview was on Thursday and we werent supposed to leave until Saturday. SO, we went in to speedy Gonzalez mode, called all of our friends and changed the reservation for our moving van to LATER THAT AFTERNOON. After an hour of having our friends help us pack up the van, the next morning Derrick was on his way to NC! He was a champ, there was no running water or power in the house and thankfully our new Pastor and his wife offered to let him shower at their house before his interview. Derrick's parents and sister generously offered to help me and the kids travel up later in the week. On the afternoon of the day Derrick had his interview they offered him the job!! I just couldn't believe that before I even pulled into the driveway of my new house, God had already provided a way for us to live there with our family in our new house. That was HUGE!

We had an amazing summer! Since Derrick was working for a High School he didn't have to go into work until 2 months after we had moved there. We explored, watched lots of movies and tv shows, played with our kids and had so much fun getting to know new friends. Grace, our new church, became such a great support for us. We were in LOVE with Hendersonville!

As soon as the fall arrived and school started back we received some frustrating news that Derrick's income would be less than they had originally said due to some stupid technicalities. GRRRR! We felt so clearly that God has brought us here for a reason and we knew He would continue to provide. We were pinching ever penny to make it work from month to month. We don't believe in using credit cards and have always tried to follow Dave Ramsey's advice when it comes to financial planning. So we knew we weren't going to rely on credit cards to get us by, but we would cut costs everywhere. Our standard of living (by the worlds standard) may have not bee quite as exciting, but our standard of living (from our perspective) was better than ever. It was so amazing to see how God allowed us to be provided for from month to month and we still enjoyed doing lots of fun things as  a family. Of course it was stressful a bit on Derrick as I know it is on any husband trying to provide for their family. But we just kept plugging away.

So, I could keep going on and on about details, but within the past two months I was offered a fantastic job with our church which suits me SO well!! I am the new Director of Ministry at our church and I love it! AND, Derrick was just offered an incredible job opportunity with a local adventure based therapy program for addicts. This opportunity pays much better than teaching and allows us to save for a house or for any other things that may come up and it allows him to get hours and supervision towards his counseling license. And today for his new job training... hes about 30 feet up in the air training on a high ropes course. Pretty rough huh??!!
So wow, lots of ups and downs and I know that things will continue to go up and down. But its during these times that I want to be grateful to the one who has provided everything for us so that when times may be rough I will also be thankful to God because I know he will continue to provide for us.

So glad to be in Hendersonville, So glad for the amazing weather and beautiful surroundings to be able to let my children explore God's creation, and so happy to be able to keep my windows open in August :)!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Poo Poo Party!

Jack finally accomplished a pretty big milestone the other day! He went POO in the potty! Derrick sat in the bathroom with him for a long time and finally he did it and he was so excited! We had told him that if he went poop in the potty that we would have a poo poo party for him and that he would get to open up his new John Deer tractor toy. He also insisted that we have a candle for him to blow out. So after he finally went poo, Derrick let him pick which store he wanted to go to and which cupcake he wanted to buy. He was thrilled! Here are some pics of the joyous evening...