Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 in Review

2007 was an eventful year for our little family. I wanted to take some time and reflect on everything that happened...especially since I neglected this blog for a good portion of this year.

January: We brought the New Year in with some friends from the Baptist church. Jayla started a new school (the Montessori that she is currently attending) and she finally stopped nursing. I started half-heartedly taking classes at a local university.

February: I interviewed for the Ph.D. program that I am currently in. I was offered admission along with a fellowship and an assistantship that would allow me to quit my job and go to school full-time. My dad had triple-bypass surgery and I turned 28. We made two trips to Mississippi that month.

March: I left Jayla overnight for the first time. I traveled to Phoenix for 3 days to complete a certification class. I also officially accepted the fellowship and assistantship offers with my husband’s full support. Consequently, I started counting the days until I could quit my job.

April: We started visiting a Lutheran church. We had been attending a Baptist church for the past 4 years, even though neither of us was raised Baptist. My husband was raised Lutheran and could not reconcile some of the doctrinal differences. So, we went to check out a Lutheran church near our house since our responsibilities as small group leaders at the Baptist church would be on hiatus until the beginning of the summer.

May: We started taking a Lutheran 101 class which required us to be in attendance at the Lutheran church each Sunday for 13 weeks. We committed to it so that I could learn more about the Lutheran church since I was not as familiar with it as my husband. At the end of the 13 weeks, we would make a decision on joining the church. We also traveled to Mississippi for my sister’s MBA graduation.

June: My sister moved in with us after her graduation. My husband turned 30 and we left Jayla with my parents for the first time. We took a quick trip (4 days) down to Galveston while they watched her at our house. We were only 45 minutes away from home but, it was nice to get away together for the first time since we’ve had Jayla.

July: We traveled to Atlanta for my husband’s family reunion. My parents came to visit for a weekend to witness my baptism at the Lutheran church.

August: I visited girlfriends in Nashville for a weekend (three times away from Jayla this year!). Our little family officially joined the Lutheran church that we’d been visiting. I finally quit my job. Jayla turned 2 and all of her grandparents came to town for her birthday party. I started school full-time. We started taking Financial Peace University (FPU) through the Lutheran church.

September: We celebrated 6 years of marriage by traveling to Mississippi for my family reunion. My husband was thrilled . We also made a trip to St. Louis for my husband’s college scholarship reunion (they were celebrating 20 years of the scholarship award’s existence). In between, I was trying to adjust to being a student again and FPU was in full swing.

October: We flew to North Carolina for a wedding that I was in. Otherwise, I was intently focused on school and trying to recover from so much traveling. Jayla dressed as a bumblebee for Halloween and we took her and her best friend to a city park to a sponsored trick-or-treat trail.

November: I was still pretty focused on school. FPU finally ended. We spent Thanksgiving in Mississippi with my family.

December: I finished my first semester in this program with all A’s. With me done with school, we got to enjoy a bit more quality time as a family. We also drove to St. Louis to spend the week of Christmas with my husband’s family and friends.

There were a lot of changes with my employment, the church/denomination switch and Jayla’s development, of course. But, looking back over the year, it is so clear that God was faithful and we were blessed. I’m looking forward to big things in 2008...

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Travels

This evening we returned from our week-long trip to St. Louis. The drive took us 13 hours to get there last Saturday and 13 hours and 10 minutes to get back today. I was really apprehensive about trying to entertain Jayla on the way there. But, we made it in one piece. On the way back today, entertaining her was a piece of cake. She spent the first half of the trip like this:

Then, she enjoyed some fried chicken out of box (which, if you know me, you know that for me to claim her as my child, she is required to enjoy this experience):

Then, back to sleep for the rest of the trip. Easy Peasy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Performances

How has it been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. Oh, yeah - I have spent that time being tremendously busy with holiday-related activities!

For instance, last weekend, I found out that a two-year-old can in fact monopolize the entire social calendar for her family. Jayla had three Christmas performances last weekend - Friday night was her school's Christmas music concert. After a full month of hearing nothing but "Jingle Bells" come out of her mouth, she sang not a word of it at the concert. But, how proud I was that she swayed with the beat unlike so many of her other classmates. Then, Saturday night she sang at church. I knew they were singing "Away in a Manger" but, I just wasn't ready for all of the hand gestures and movement that went along with it. It was really cute and she belted that song like there was no tomorrow. Then on Monday night, she had her dance concert. Apparently, my husband and I were talking a little too loud during the performance because she kept turning to us and saying "shhhhh!!!" It cracked me up. I managed to sneak this picture when she wasn't preoccupied by the volume at which my husband and I were discussing her dancing skills:

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Playing Hookie with the Girls

Yesterday I kept Jayla at home with me. She seemed a little sad in the morning that she wasn't going to see her friends at school. But, once I revealed our plans for the day, she soon got over that. Our goal for the day was to hang out at the big, swanky mall with a girl that I used to work with and her daughters (ages 4.5 and almost-3). Last year, we took off of work to take our girls to the mall at Christmastime. This year, I thankfully, didn't have to take off of work to do it. It's funny because Jayla was talking about them this weekend, not knowing that we had an outing planned with them this week. That made it extra-sweet when she got to see them.

We met at lunch time and started at the Bennigan's in the mall. Then we walked around for about 3 hours. The girls were great. First of all, I was just so happy that Jayla used the potty when we were at Bennigan's because it is so much easier to hold her over a potty than it is to change a pull-up in a public bathroom. Then, we actually got to shop - and buy Christmas presents! The girls walked around most of the day, holding hands, and really just entertaining themselves. Usually Jayla was in the middle. But, they walked in front of us the whole time. It was really cute. They got to watch ice skating, awesome water fountains, see Santa and blow kisses at him without making us stand in line to take a picture with him, and Lord only knows how long we were in the Disney Store! We wrapped up the day with a trip to the Nestle store in the food court for chocolate chip cookies. And even though the girls probably don't remember last year, we did the exact some thing so, it is officially a tradition now.

My friend and I were debating on how much longer the girls will enjoy being at the mall with their moms. Since her oldest is already 4.5, we figure we've only got another 8 years before she starts convincing the younger two girls that it isn't cool to walk around with us anymore. But, for now, those trips are definitely a blast and really, I am so already looking forward to doing it again next year!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My Little Chef

Jayla helped me make pepperoni rolls for dinner tonight. I was so proud of her for putting the cheese on the dough rather than in her mouth. The pepperoni, however, didn't stand a chance against her!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Thanks for staying...

For the past few months of non-activity on this blog, I've been seriously thinking about whether I would ever post here again. I mean, I didn't blog about my child's 2nd birthday, quitting my job, starting school, the cute halloween outfit, Jayla starting ballet classes, or our Thankgiving trip. But, I feel compelled to come back to this blog because a few of you are still faithfully checking in on me. And I appreciate that...really, I do.

So, I won't bore you with trying to catch up much on what's been going on but, let's just say that school has been keeping me extremely busy and Jayla and her vocabulary and attitude have grown to the point that I can no longer even imagine that time when she didn't tell me what she wants to wear, what she likes and doesn't like, and how I should wear my hair. It is never boring when she is around...that's for sure...

Anyway, I'm welcoming myself back to my own blog. Thanks for staying...