Easter in Ann Arbor!

I was so excited to spend Easter weekend with my parents and grandparents in Ann Arbor this year, especially since we couldn't make it for Grandad's birthday celebration back in February. I think this was the first Easter I've spent with my family since college, since its not usually a travel-to-family type holiday. We drove up Friday morning and returned Sunday afternoon so it was a quick visit, but the drive wasn't as long as the six hour trips we're used to taking so it was no big deal!

First stop after a few hours in the car, the playground!

 Family portrait thanks to Mom ;)

I love my grandparents' neighborhood. It is so charming and reminiscent of (what I imagine) life was like back in those "simpler times." Jake rode this bike up and down the sidewalk probably fifty times and Grandad couldn't resist the chance to surprise him.

Jake introduced Grandad to the magic of Magna Tiles! I think they created some sort of sea monster...I'm continually blown away by the things Jake builds. He creates all sorts of shapes I wouldn't think of. I feel like playing with Magna Tiles will pay off when he takes Geometry one day. How could it not??

On Saturday morning (my) Grandad took us to the coolest botanical garden that was a rainforest in the front half and a desert in the back. That warm, humid air felt fantastic after so much winter weather! Seeing pineapple plants and mangos (plus about a hundred more I didn't recognize) was a lot of fun for Jake. 

A succulent kaleidoscope! It was fascinating. I'm so glad Mom got a picture of what it looked like inside the kaleidoscope--I could frame it. I'm not sure if Jake was able to see it or not since kids can't wink very well, but he had fun trying!

The fish in this pond were NOT afraid of us. They would actually surface to try to bite our fingers so I'm thinking they're used to being fed?? They were probably the biggest goldfish (koi?) that I've ever seen. We watched them swim for quite a while and couldn't get over how close they'd come!

From rainforest to desert! I've never seen so many varieties of cactus before. Jake was pretty enthralled as well and thankfully wasn't tempted to touch any of them.

On Easter morning we visited the Methodist church downtown where Mom and Dad were married. It is a gorgeous church and it was special to be there knowing this was where our family started. We kept both boys with us during service and while it took four adults to keep them occupied and quiet, they did pretty well! 

Obligatory family photo after church. Thankfully I had some good lookin' models while I set up the camera settings. ;)

And miracle of all miracles, we got a family photo where everyone is smiling and looking at the camera! 

I'm so glad we could spend Easter with our family! A great family, beautiful weather and celebrating the hope we have because of Jesus' resurrection made it a weekend that will always be remembered.


Reid at 9 & 10 months

So Reid is actually eleven months old but I can't be *so* far behind that I catch up the last three months all in one post--so I'll catch you up on months nine and ten first, and then we'll be basically up to date and an eleven month post will come soon!


Reid was breaking in his newly-found crawling skills and discovering all sorts of things like the outlets (easily popping off the outlet covers), pulling his monitor off the table and almost breaking a tripod-style floor lamp. We all love to build Magna Tile towers for him to knock down, but you have to build them quick or he smashes them before you're ready. He was learning to pull himself up and usually chose the corner of the coffee table, causing me a few heart attacks a day as I envisioned him hitting his head or mouth on the corner, but it hasn't happened yet!

His favorite party trick was to scrunch his face and tilt his head to the side when he knew he was funny and it was too much! (Sadly, he doesn't do it much anymore--we'll have to work on it.) He moved through the baby puree stage quickly and would much rather feed himself food than eat purees, unless its a baby food pouch--then he's all about it. His favorite finger foods were avocado (which doubled as conditioner every time) and sweet potatoes. He loves his blanket and has to have it to sleep, but the best part is how he'll hold it and rub his face, usually his cheek, with the blanket when he's especially tired. Its so sweet!

Reid absolutely loves baths. He crawls to the bathroom and pulls himself up on the side of the tub when I'm not around, and splashes like a maniac once he's in the water. There have been numerous times when its taken both me and Deric to change his diaper because he will.not.lay.still. I've taken to changing him on the floor (rather than risk him rolling off a table) and it typically ends with me fastening the last tab on the diaper as he's crawling away from me. Anytime Deric holds him, Reid will lay his arm across the top of Deric's shoulder and keep a hand on his neck. It always looks like Reid's got this casual "just chillin' with my bud" vibe going when he does it.

Reid often makes this little face and upturned palm like he's confused about whats going on and it makes us laugh. He eats about the same portion size as Jake at every meal and he's insistent that plenty of food be on his tray at all times! But the second he's done eating, he takes his arm and sweeps it back and forth, knocking all those tiny pieces on the floor. Jake thinks "sweeping" is hysterical; I'd rather not vacuum that often. ;)


life lately

 Well, there went February and March (and most of April)! I continually intended to post some photos in order to remember these first few months in Indiana, but we've all been adjusting to a new rhythm and its been a little hard. We all miss Tennessee and our friends there and we've been wading through the newcomer stage at church, slowly getting to know other families at church and meeting for playdates during the week. Both boys got the flu so we spent a solid two weeks cooped up at home, missing church, Bible study and other opportunities for us to continue making friends (and to go to Ann Arbor for Grandad's birthday). The house hunt is slow going but we're staying optimistic that spring weather will bring more houses on the market.

Grandma and Grandad came to visit the first weekend we were here!

Hard to believe that this was all the snow we've gotten! We bought a sled for Jake and he and I took turns on it one afternoon. Even with minimal snow he loved it.

We've absolutely enjoyed seeing Deric's parents frequently, usually every weekend and occasionally on a weeknight as well. Deric and I have gone on more dates lately than ever before and we love it! We celebrated my birthday with dinner in downtown Indianapolis...

Later we took Jake to Giordano's Pizza so he could see the skyscrapers and get some one-on-one time with us. We're looking forward to exploring more downtown.

Within the first week of moving, we bought a family pass to The Children's Museum in Indianapolis and we've already visited a handful of times. We got to meet Courtney and Cana one day and just last week we were able to meet friends from Tennessee at the Museum for the day.

We've gotten together with the Dunns twice now while they're on furlough from Ethiopia, and I'm hoping we can squeeze in one more visit before they fly back in July!

We've been able to spend a few weekends with the Fairs, which we love! Courtney brought the kids down one weekend while Tim was on a trip, and we went to visit them last weekend for a night. I love to see Jake playing with his cousins and know that we can see them much more often now than before. Jake and Cana are best friends from the minute we walk in the door and its so fun to see them playing and giggling together.

I'm behind on Reid's monthly updates so I'll have to catch up soon, but he is crawling--fast!--and pulling himself up frequently. I foresee him walking around his first birthday, which is about a month from now. I can't believe it!

Jake has logged a lot of miles on his bike thanks to a fairly mild winter! We found that Nemo helmet at the store for $5 and I can't get enough of him wearing it. Our typical park outings start with fairly long bike rides while I push Reid in the stroller and then we play on the playground. We've got our double jogging stroller finally fixed so very soon, I can get back into a routine of running! I assumed I'd be pushing both boys in the stroller but I think Jake will be able to keep up with me on his bike.

Its things like this--learning to ride with no hands!--that just take me completely by surprise. How is he already big enough?!

Little brother wants so badly to climb on the playground too!

Jake got up the courage to climb all the way up this rock (which is higher than it looks in the photo) and it was a big deal for him to overcome his fear of heights! Learning to climb down was stressful but I'm still so proud he was willing to try it.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, we've been out exploring our "backyard"--the church property behind our house. In one outing, we saw a crawdad, ducks, a muskrat (?), horses and goats.

If I had to pick one picture to summarize the last few months, this would be it. Jake plays K'Nex every day and they're often spread all over our table (which is the only place they're safely out of Reid's reach). Now that Jake doesn't nap, he has quiet time instead and plays with K'Nex for over an hour every afternoon with no complaints. He loves them!