Friday, December 12, 2008

New House Pictures

So I don't know who's idea it was to buy and renovate a house in the weeks before Christmas - but I definitely would not recommend this experience to anybody else. We had hoped to be able to close on our house before Thanksgiving, but our closing date unfortunately got pushed back two weeks into December. Initially, I didn't think that would be a really big deal - though it seems like our move-in date keeps getting pushed back as well. At this rate, we're hoping to get into our house in time for Christmas - only to have to leave for our two week visit to Pennsylvania the next day. However, it will be really nice to have a home to return to when we fly back from Pennsylvania. We'll still have some work to do in painting, refacing cabinets, etc. - I am a little worried that we have a long road ahead of us. My brother-in-law was quick to increase those fears with a resounding "welcome to the money pit!" after hearing that we finally closed on the house. As a person who has an acute case of "project phobia" - I'm trying hard to not get overwhelmed with all of the changes that we could make. As you can see from the pictures, it is far from a "fixer-up," so we can definitely take it one step at a time.

For those of us who could care less about our house - but are wanting more Caleb pictures - I've also included some pictures of him from the last few weeks. He really seemed to enjoy Thanksgiving - as any celebration that involves lots of food is alright in his book. He still is just on the verge of walking, as he stands longer on his own and has really improved his balance. We're still hoping that his first steps will come in time for Christmas, but I guess you can never tell for sure. We promise we'll focus on Caleb more once we get settled in our house, and then this blog will once again regain its rightful focus.

In front of our new home

A little free advertising for the seller's realtor

The family room with fireplace
The formal living/dining room that is shrinking as we expand the kitchen
Our deck (which will be great for eating outside)

Our little angel (yeah right)

Practicing his politician skills

"Let me at...I can eat the whole drumstick"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thankful for so much!!!

Hello everyone, this is Sharon! I just wanted to say hi and let you all know that I am still here:) Actually I am here all by myself, because Mike is away for the week at the CrossGlobal Link Conference (formally IFMA). I just wanted to share a few things real quick.
First of all I just wanted to share that we had a great Thanksgiving and Caleb loved his first taste of turkey. He definitely lived up to his little piglet status.
I also wanted to pass on my dad's blog site; God is doing some great things (no surprise there) and we are particularly thankful that he returned safely from his last trip!
We are also thankful this week for our new home...we closed on Monday and it went so well. On our way down to closing we were listening to some Bebo when one of my favorites came know the wedding song he wrote for his brother. Well he speaks of the God's grace falling like rain and that is definitely how I feel...God is so good to us.
Hope you all are having a great day...we miss you can come and visit now:)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Caleb the Oinker

I always thought that one of the greatest trials in parenthood is getting your child to eat well. Now I know that stage may come later with Caleb - but I can honestly say that we have yet to have that sort of problem with our little oinker. Our issue is more of how to get him to stop eating - as he'll eat everything that we prepare for him and then have the nerve to try to eat off of his parents' plates as well. He has yet to meet a food that that he hasn't liked - as he eats everything from fruits to vegetables to meats to breads. If he wasn't so darn active crawling around all the time, I'd be seriously worried about an ultra-early onset of childhood obesity. Overall, he's a pretty happy baby - but his most demanding and impatient behavior surfaces if Sharon or I dare take a second too long in between bites when we're feeding him. He also hasn't quite learned the distinction between Caleb's food and his parents' food - as he'll go nuts if we don't give him at least a morsel of whatever we're trying to eat. Though I do appreciate his good eating habits, I'm secretly a little disappointed that I don't get to do the "airplane spoon" trick to interest him in eating. The one time I tried that trick just for fun - he shot me a disgusted "why are you messing around - GET THAT FOOD IN MY MOUTH!" look that revealed that he knows that food is for eating and not for playing.

Some of you may also be wondering what the latest on our house is since we were supposed to be closing this past week. The homeowner was willing to fix some of the issues that came out in the inspection, but unfortunately that also pushed our closing date back to December 1. We just found out that our loan was also officially approved so we will be homeowners in exactly 9 days from now - barring anything unforseen from arising. It's definitely exciting, but also a little scary and overwhelming for me as we're immediately undertaking the kitchen remodel project. I never thought I'd actually enjoy going to Home Depot or Lowes - but I have a feeling that we'll be making many trips there in the next few months so I better start liking it. That's all for now as our next blog entry will hopefully be as proud, new homeowners.

What is it about a cardboard box that brings hours of sheer bliss?

Unfortunately, Caleb still relies on his calculator for more complex multiplication problems.

Caleb's maiden voyage up the steps (I love how Sharon asks "Oh my gosh, he's standing!" like he's juggling flaming swords or something)

"Dadda" or random babble? - you be the judge

Monday, November 3, 2008

Housing Update #2

Well, a lot has changed in our housing search over the past two weeks. We did make an offer on a house about two weeks ago and have been under contract since then. Last Monday, we had the inspection done - and it definitely raised some concerns about how much money we would need to put into it right away. I am definitely not a "project guy" so the thought of having to redo some stuff on our own is a little intimidating to say the least. The most immediate area of concern is the tiny kitchen (pictured below), but we do have the option of pushing a wall back to give us more space there. Over the next two days, we'll be negotiating with the seller concerning some of the items we would like to have taken care of before we would move in. We also need to get a quote from a contractor to see if we could afford to move the wall in the kitchen as we had planned. As I am admittedly an over-analyzer, Sharon and I have gotten to the point that we're feeling a bit of "analysis paralysis," but we're going to need to make a decision for sure by Thursday at the very latest.

On the Caleb front - he has recently become more of a babbler on the verge of his first really word. I really think that he is already starting to say "da-da" and I think it will be just a few days before he's saying Polamalu - in reference to his favorite Steeler. He definitely is quite the extrovert (just like his dad) as he was having a bit of a fussy day on Sunday and we were really concerned to take him on the scheduled nursing home visit with our church small group. Once he got there - he turned in to a veritable prince charming as he smiled and flirted with all the old ladies (and some of the old men as well). One other thing we've noticed recently is his development of those irrational fears. Caleb loves the sound of white noise and the looks of electronics - but if you put these two items together into a hair dryer and a vacuum cleaner, it induces shear terror in our little guy. If Caleb sees a vacuum, hairdryer, or space heater - he instantly goes into freak out mode even if they aren't turned on. Hopefully this is something he will grow out of soon as I was hoping to have him vacuuming our house as soon as he learned how to walk.

The front of our potential new home

The tiny kitchen that we would want to expand somehow

Caleb loves his tongue!

Happy Baby!

Is this a Theo face?

Who needs a crib when you have a laundry basket?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Home Search Update

So the REAL reason that I haven't updated our blog recently is not laziness or busyness - but that we were going to wait until we had a home under contract so that we can share the news. So I am finally blogging to share the news...that we don't quite have a home under contract yet. However, we have narrowed it down to one or two options and are hoping to make an offer tomorrow or early next week. As far as the area where we are now looking to buy - that has been a pretty interesting story. In July we had pretty much settled on a home in Flowery Branch (wouldn't have that been a masculine hometown for Caleb to grow up in!) but our reasonable offer was barely considered despite the down market. In the meantime, we had started going to a church in that area we expected to live in, and while there - we found out about a community just east of Atlanta called Clarkston. Clarkston is a pretty unique small town of about 8,000 people whose residents hail from 50 different countries. It has been designated as a major refugee resettlement area by the US government so there are refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, Bhutan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Liberia, Kenya, etc. coming through Clarkston regularly.

To make a long story short, over a few weeks in August and September, we found out a lot more about the area and the really exciting ministry opportunities there. So the home that we're planning to put an offer in is in a small neighborhood within a mile of a mosque, Hindu temple, and a Buddhist temple. The amount of diversity there is pretty incredible, and I'm especially looking forward to getting involved in some great pick-up soccer games :)

Well, that is the home search update for now, and just to keep you all interested in reading the blog I'll post a video of a giggling/teetering Caleb as well as a montage of the many faces of Caleb. Just this evening he learned how to feed himself -and we haven't quite decided whether or not that is a good thing. He also just got over his first real cold - which he (or maybe his mom) had the nerve to pass on to me. Other than that - he is still a really happy, energetic baby, and we're so thankful to have him.

The giggler trying to stand on his own

The many faces of Caleb:

Thoughtful Caleb...

Determined/pooping Caleb...

Stoned Caleb (just kidding, he didn't inhale)...

And finally our favorite: Laughing Caleb.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Caleb's (not so exciting) new tricks

Since the last post was dedicated to that new skill Caleb learned which we got so excited about it (crawling), I figure I would devote this to some of the things he has learned recently which haven't made his mom and dad quite as excited. The first thing that Caleb learned this past week was to pull himself up - yet he doesn't just pull himself up on furniture or on people. No - our son decided it would be really fun to start pulling himself up on the toilet. Fortunately he isn't tall enough yet to lap up any water - but I'm sure that he would try it if he could reach.

We discovered another one of his newest tricks yesterday after his morning nap. Sharon's mom called down to us "We have a problem!" when she went to check up on Caleb while he was napping. When Sharon sprinted up to check on Caleb, she found him lying on his back, naked from the waist down - happy as a clam. It seems he has now learned how to take his diaper off - which is quite problematic since he is a typical boy that loves being naked :)

The third new trick he learned recently is how to pull himself up in his pack and play. Although this is not as humorous as the first two - it is something that we've been dreading the past few weeks. I've heard the horror stories of how babies will pull themselves up on their cribs in the middle of the nights and not be able to get back down unless a parent comes in and rescues them. I don't want to sound insensitive to the dilemma - but I can't figure out why Caleb just can't let himself fall down on his butt. We all know he has plenty of padding - even if he has already managed to pull his diaper off in the night. I just have this image of coming into his room in the morning and just seeing him there clinging to the rail of his pack and play with his muscles quivering and sweat pouring from his brow after 8 hours of holding on tight. I know I find it mildly amusing now - but I'm sure that will change when he wakes up tonight with his hysterical crying. Anyways, to show that we still are enjoying the new things Caleb is learning - I'm posting some pics of his recent "swim lessons" with mom and me at the pool.
Caleb wasn't quite sure about the water at first...
but he soon began to really enjoy himself in the water...
on dad's shoulder...
and playing with one of his favorite "toys" - the Dasani bottle
After twenty minutes in the water - he was glad to snuggle with mom.
Doesn't he look a little like a future Jedi warrior here for some reason?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crawling at last!

After two months of making us think that he was on the verge of crawling, Caleb finally has broken through and started crawling. Although his crawling is definitely not a thing of grace and beauty, it usually gets him where he needs (or thinks he needs) to go. It definitely has placed us in a new level of awareness about childproofing the house and not keeping him away from stairs, but it has also made our lives a little more fun as well. We actually don't know how long he will be just crawling because he has started pulling himself up on things (and people) and he really enjoys standing up. Also, if I didn't want to jinx us, I could tell you that he has done a much better job of sleeping through the night and getting regular naps recently. So hypothetically, if I was going to say something like that, I would say how proud I would be of our son. However, rest assured - I've learned my lesson and I would never talk about these seemingly positive steps - so maybe this hypothetical baby will keep it up :)

On the home search, we definitely have had a big shift in focus recently concerning where we are looking. Some of you already know what the plan is, but I think we wanted to wait to share where we're looking to move until it is a done deal. All that to say, we are really excited about some of the ministry possibilities in the area where we are looking to move now and we'll soon have more to say about that. Until then, enjoy the pics and videos of Caleb...

Two short clips of Caleb crawling

Caleb and his stylish soccer outfit...

although he seems to gravitate more towards the goalie position

Monday, September 8, 2008

Caleb's First Hike

Last Monday, Labor Day, Sharon and I finally decided that Caleb was ready for his first real hike with mom and dad. Well, when I say decided, I mean that it just so worked out that Caleb and his hiking backpack were in the same location for the first time this summer - so we actually could go hiking with him. We were a little nervous to see how much he would like his backpack (which was another one of our wonderful Seminary freebies...thanks Sara Just), but he ended up loving it more than we could have hoped. He spent most of the 2-3 mile hike up Sawnee Mountain (more of a glorified hill) smiling from cheek to cheek and checking out everything around him. The only problem was that the backpack wasn't designed great for sleeping in, and by the end of the excursion that was all he wanted to do. He eventually fell asleep so that his entire face was mashed up against the side of the backpack in a very uncomfortable looking manner. Fortunately for Caleb, Sharon had mercy on him and decided to carry him in her arms the last 10 minutes of the hike. Overall, it was a great introduction to hiking for Caleb and resparked my dream of hiking the Appalachain Trail with him in a few (or maybe twenty) years.

In other news, Caleb was also excited about the start of the football season. As you can see in the picture below, his "Steeler" face needs a bit of work - but at least his outfit is top-notch. We didn't quite think he was ready to join Koerber World Fantasy Football this year - as we thought it would be better for him to wait a year or two before embarrassing his family. For the time being, he is rooting hard for the Steelers when not napping during the games. Caleb has also started to crawl/scoot around the house, and we'll share some fun videos of that in the next post.

Caleb enjoyed holding on to the straps just like his dad

Unfortunately, the hat that kept the bugs away also blocked his vision a bit
Enjoying the view with Daddy

I love hiking!

Our family at the top of "rugged" Sawnee Mountain
Still a momma's boy
Sleeping in the backpack = not too comfortable :(
Sleeping on mommy = much better :)
I asked him to make an "intimidating" Steeler face and this was the best he could do?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ocean City Photo Extravaganza

Well, since I haven't blogged in about three weeks, I figure I would make up for it by having a "super-entry" today. Rather than taking the time to bore you with all of the details of our vacation - I'll just summarize it to say that it was a great time and we have so many great photos of Caleb and his cousins. It was actually really hard to narrow them down to these dozen or so, but if you want to see more of our Ocean City pictures, you can check out our picassa web site ( where you can see all of them. Here are some of our favorite pictures of Caleb from the week and I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do. As far as a brief update for us - we are now back in Georgia after arriving this morning at 3:00 AM after a long night of driving from Pennsylvania. We'll keep you posted on the house hunt as we hope to have more news this week. Enjoy the pictures!

Caleb's first Ocean City beach experience

Unfortunately, he wasn't big enough to enjoy the rides with his cousins

But he did enjoy cuddling with cousin Isaac

and we loved the photo ops with his cousin Nora

Hanging on the beach with Nora on our final evening at Ocean City

Nap time on the beach...much rarer than we would have liked

Caleb loved playing in his inflatable pool

"I'm a hunka, hunka burning love!"

Check out my sweet goggles!
Family photo on the beach
The family in front of one of the famous lifeguard chairs

Nama and Pap-pap with their six grandkids

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Back to Boston

So travelling with a baby does change some things...but not everything. Last Saturday, we were flying back up to Boston and were planning on leaving at 12:00 PM from the Atlanta area. As part of our ever-present quest to get as much free/discounted stuff as possible, Sharon and I almost always try to get bumped off overbooked flights so that we can get the free flights the airlines give as compensation. So this past Saturday we took advantage of one of those opportunities and got bumped off our original flight from Atlanta to Boston. Although the extra two hour wait was a little more difficult with Caleb's nap schedule, it was definitely worth it since we got $400 worth of flight vouchers that we'll use over Christmastime. All in all, it was exciting for me to realize that one of my favorite travel pastimes is still very much a possibility in this new era of parenthood.

Since we got up here to Boston last Saturday, we've been pretty busy catching up with people and staying current with Janz Team work. We've also been excited to have a couple photo shoots with our friend Cari McCormick and you can see some of those pictures below. Caleb's first tooth finally has made it through, but he is still really bothered by the second one that is making its way through. Even though he is teething, he is still a pretty happy baby and is becoming a lot of fun to play with. He is also quite interested in scooting backwards but he hasn't quite figured out how to go forward yet. Although we're excited for him to learn how to crawl, we're still a little nervous about how much extra attention we'll have to pay to him then. I have a feeling that our next blog post will have a video of him crawling, but he has also been showing signs of skipping crawling altogether and starting to walk instead. We'll keep you updated...

Caleb telling "secrets"

Showing off his new tooth

One of his favorite teething poses

Such a kissable baby

Working on his crawling