Sweet Home Alabama

Just a quick post to let you see we're here and settling in! This week is sure to be busy with unpacking, setting up and getting Moira ready for her first day of school next week - but I'll be sure to post more about our weekend with our friends soon. Have a great Tuesday!


It's official!

We are home owners! We closed on our new home at 5pm this evening, and things couldn't have gone better. We were surprised to find that the sellers had left their (nice) washer and dryer for us, and had renewed our Terminix Bond for another whole year. This is a little thing, but they also cleaned pretty thoroughly and mowed the lawn before leaving, which is a nicety that isn't always done nowadays. Plus, we only had to pay $72 of closing costs, which was about $300 less than we were expecting! Needless to say we couldn't be happier with the way things turned out.

We're relaxing here at the apartment this evening while waiting for our dear friends Stephen & Dara to arrive for a weekend of helping us unpack and do some little jobs around the house (installing new ceiling fan and faucets). We'll sign out of the apartment tomorrow and spend our first real night in our house tomorrow!

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes - we'll post again soon!


5 years of Sweetness

Our sweet little Moira turned 5 years old today! It's almost unbelievable that she'll be starting school this Fall - that it's been 5 whole years since she made her entrance into this world and changed our lives forever. We're so blessed with smart, funny, beautiful and sweet-spirited children; there's so much to be thankful for today, and always.

We had a relatively calm day for a birthday (as it was the first year we haven't had a big party for her, since we don't know anyone here yet), but we tried to make it as special as possible for her. I took both Moira and Ian to the Mall this morning to Build-a-Bear, where Moira built "Ally" a Topaz bear that sings happy birthday when you push a button in her foot. Ian chose a dinosaur, appropriately named "Dino."

Moira lovingly giving her new bear a bath and brushin'.
Ian & "Dino" with his volcano t-rex shirt Ian picked out for him.
Then we went to the food court, where they both had a blast on the bungee jumping trampoline thingy and we ate an indoor picnic lunch. I was quite surprised that they were both up for the jumping, as they were easily 20 ft in the air at the height of their bounce. They both had fun and were ready to go again right away!
Ian getting ready to jump.
Moira getting some serious air!
After a short time at home to rest, Daddy came home and we all went to Moira's choice of restaurant - and you'll never believe what she chose... Cracker Barrel!! How funny is that?! That a 5 year old would choose to go to Cracker Barrel for her birthday dinner... I guess she truly is her daddy's girl! Here's a cute clip of her being sung to by a host of Cracker Barrel servers tonight (excuse the vertical to horizontal switch in the beginning of the video).

Then we came back to the apartment for cake and presents. She chose a red velvet cake at the store, which was pretty yummy, and enjoyed opening her presents from Mommy & Daddy and Grammy, Papa & Mimi. I think her 5th year of life started off pretty darn well!

Look at all those candles for my (not-so) little one!

A new Fairy book to enjoy in her soon to be fairy-themed room.

An adorable dress from Grammy that Moira absolutely loves - aren't those dangling strawberries cute?! Thanks Grammy!

Thank you for the presents, cards and phone calls for our little girl today... she definitely knows she's loved, and that makes this Mother's heart happy. My wish today, is for many more blessed years with this sweet little girl.


Blessings abound!

Just wanted to say that the sellers agreed to a new roof! Their insurance adjuster isn't coming out until Wednesday, but they agreed to up to $5300 to be "escrowed" at closing for roof repair - and we couldn't be more happy, or feel more blessed. Everything has gone so smoothly in acquiring this house, and we know Whom we should be thanking. He is ever faithful. Through recent scary times, through our own uncertainty, in joy and thanksgiving, and renewed hope, He's proved to be the God of mercy and provision, above and beyond anything we could've imagined! We're so blessed.

On another topic, we registered Moira for Kindergarten on Friday. Can you believe our baby girl is going to be 5 tomorrow and will be starting the grand and new life of an elementary school student on August 6th? I hardly can. She's excited though, and we went to pick out all of her school supplies, and I really think this will be a good thing. Another thing to be thankful for, after the uncertainty of whether or not to start her this year or not.

Here is our not-so-little Moira, proudly displaying her new school supplies, as she readies herself for everything kindergarten will have in store. Please keep our precious little girl in your prayers as she starts this new adventure.


Just popping in to say...

Hi! We're still alive and breathing, there's just not a whole lot of interesting stuff to report. We had the home inspection last Friday, and everything went well, but we have asked the owners to reshingle the roof, or give us an allowance at closing so we can do so. It's not leaking or anything, the shingles are just at the end of the viable life (it's a 15 year old home), but there's a little hail damage so we're hoping their insurance company will cover the new roof. We should hear something back on that tomorrow sometime. Please keep the roof situation and our closing on the house on the 25th in your prayers!

And just for fun, here's a recent picture of our cute little ones to tide you over until next time! :)

Have a happy week!


Just a little fun

This survey was sent to me by two of my girlfriends in California... and I since I took the time to fill it out, I thought I'd post it here for a bit of fun. I'd love to see your answers to these questions, if you're so inclined to post them on your blog or send them to me in an e-mail. So, tag you're it!

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Not really after anyone - although my Mother fell in love with the name after hearing a woman named Janelle sing at their church in Alaska, about 8 years before I came along. At least I think that's how the story goes...

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? Tuesday night – this whole thing of adjusting to a new place again can be rough

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING I like my handwriting pretty well (when I’m not rushing), but I’m not fond of my printing.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS? 2 sweet little people who remind me daily what it really means to live (and a loving puppy that I can’t imagine life without either)


7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A Lot? When the conversation especially calls for it… mostly with Collin.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS Yes, yes I do. (And my adenoids and wisdom teeth and appendix, and all those random things Doctors like to take out - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!)

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Before kids, yes – now I’m not so sure.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Healthy – Basic 4 (although I just bought Kashi strawberry fields to try); Non-healthy – Ohs! (because I have fond memories of my Grandfather putting a layer of marshmallows beneath this cereal as a ‘surprise’ every morning we were visiting!)

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Untie? That must be something you do to shoes that aren’t flip flops!

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Definitely more than I was a year ago this month!

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Hmm… I love Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food *nom nom*, but I have a special place in my heart for the classic Mint Chocolate Chip too!

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Their face… usually eyes, followed by mouth/teeth

15. RED OR PINK? Pink. (I love Red, but I just can’t pull it off!)

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOU? My weight (and irrational emotional state during certain times of the month)

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? The family & friends we left behind in Texas (and elsewhere too)

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Sure, but only if it makes them happy to do so

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Grey & pink pants, with bare footsies

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE Coffee (with hazelnut biscotti creamer – yum!) if that counts… otherwise, Papa John’s pizza for dinner last night.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW The kids watching Spongebob Squarepants on TV

22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Red, because if I were a crayon I could probably pull it off!

23. FAVORITE SMELLS? Warm, cozy Fall smells like cloves and cinnamon; freshly bathed babies; rosemary

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? My Mother-In-Law, who is coming to visit us today (which means I should probably stop doing this and start cleaning!)

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Well, I got this from both Janessa and Diane, whom I miss very much, and wish I could be in California stamping with right now!

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH? Regularly, NBA Basketball (GO SPURS GO!) – but Collin & I love the Summer Olympics, especially Gymnastics, Swimming and Beach Volleyball, so we’re gearing up for that right now!

27. HAIR COLOR? Mousey brown

28. EYE COLOR? Yellowish with some green flecks (I was once told by a 5th grade boy that my eyes were the color of urine… nice, huh?)

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes, unless I’m wearing my glasses or sleeping. Otherwise you really don’t want me driving… or walking, or doing much of anything for that matter!

30. FAVORITE FOOD? Hmm – I’m with Janessa, that I don’t discriminate. But, if I have to, it’d be Greek (the whole of the Mediterranean knows how to cook) – I started eating table food on Greek Dolmas!

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings… there’s enough scary stuff in the world already.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? HA! – Spiderwick, how’s that for irony? But, it was Ian’s pick, so I couldn’t turn him down. Collin and I saw Semi-Pro before that (which really wasn’t great).

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING A neutral, oatmeal colored tank… real flattering! (oh, there’s that sarcasm after all)

34. FAVORITE SEASON? Autumn would have to be the winner for me, but I’m oh so thankful for all 4 – otherwise they all wouldn’t be so special.

35. HUGS OR KISSES? Big, squishy, reunion hugs are my favorite… but kisses are the best when initiated by my hubby!

36. FAVORITE DESSERT? Gosh… anything with chocolate. How does one pick?

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Maybe Dara or Erica?

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Whoever has better time-management skills than I do

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW? Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson (thanks Dara!); Haddassah: One Night With The King by Tommy Tenney; and I’m about to reread Ben Amittai by Bruce Judisch (my Daddy) in anticipation of the next book in the series!

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I’m using our laptop, but typically Mickey (that’d be Collin’s influence!)

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LASTNIGHT? So You Think You Can Dance (…dance… dance… dance)

42. FAVORITE SOUND? The giggling of my kiddos when their Daddy is on the floor wrestling, tickling and generally loving on them!


44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Geez... where is home again? I guess my family’s military tours in England, Greece and Germany when I was a child.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Does completely obsessing (eating, sleeping and breathing) over whatever thing has captured my attention most recently count?! (i.e. knitting, stamping, house hunting, and most recently decorating/remodeling in my head the house we haven’t even closed on yet!) No? I didn’t think so….

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Harrogate, County of North Yorkshire, England… as it says on my birth certificate. (Yes, I’m a limey Brit [sorta] as Collin likes to call me with frequency)


Well, I hope you enjoyed that wee bit of a waste of time. Thanks for caring! I promise I'll have something of more substance in my next post...


4th of July Weekend

We had a wonderful visit in Florida with our friends Stephen & Dara over the holiday weekend! On the 4th, they grilled tasty kabobs for dinner and we went to Destin to sit on the beach and watch the fireworks that night. "Uncle" Stephen and Daddy got sparklers and fountains for the kids to do at the house afterward, so we all had fun watching their wide-eyed wonder!
The wonder...
...and the wide-eyed!
Moira enjoying the show from the comfort of "Aunt" Dara's lap

The guys hangin' on the beach

Moira imitating the firework display back at home

A brave Ian with his sparkler (at arm's length)

On Saturday, we all went to eat at Panera bread in Destin for lunch, and then the girls split up and went to Old Time Pottery (kinda like a Garden Ridge, for you Texans) and the boys went to Best Buy. I got a great deal on some beachy decorations for our new screened in patio area, and Dara and I had lots of fun looking around together. We all enjoyed our gender specific activities and bonding time before we met up again, and checked out some local stores for patio furniture ideas. We headed to the Mellow Mushroom for a yummy and unique pizza dinner, which we all enjoyed, and went back home to get the kids off to bed, and the adults ended the night with the movie Cars on Blue Ray.

This fun & quirky restaurant had a bunch of murals all over the walls and lots to look at

We had so much fun with our hosts and best friends - and look forward to many more visits like this over the coming years!