Friday, April 29, 2011

a whole new world

It still doesn't seem real. Like a crazy dream. But the truth is that Jamie, the girls, and I are moving to New York City!

I know it may seem sudden, but actually it all started this past Fall. I like to blame it on Jamie. He came across an article about a charter school near Harlem in New York City that is trying a new ‘teaching experiment’. You can watch a clip on 60 Minutes that Katie Couric did about the school on the school's website (The Equity Project Charter School).

The basic idea is they offer a substantial salary to their teachers in hopes of attracting the finest teachers across the country to teach in this tough neighborhood school. The application process is very intense, but I decided to go for it!  After months of going through the rigorous paperwork and flying up there for two teaching auditions they finally offered me the job of teaching 6th grade music/choir. I had to do some serious soul searching and prayer before accepting. The students at this school are… I don’t even know how to explain their extreme level of need… behaviorally, emotionally, socially, and educationally.. these kids need tons of tough love. But the entire staff of this school is ON FIRE with motivation to change these kid’s lives. Every single day after school the whole staff meets for an hour to analyze every minute of what happened that day and how to do better tomorrow for each kid. They video tape all their lessons and review them with a peer mentor. It’s mind blowing. This is going to be really hard work, but I’m ready for this chapter in my life!

Jamie and I have two dear friends from college (Jason and Samanthe) who have lived in Manhattan for several years and they have a little boy. We are going to live close to them and have them to guide us through life in the big city. Jamie and I are so excited about taking our girls to play in Central Park, walk to the zoo, aquarium, kid’s museums, art shows, the library that takes up ten city blocks, to see Lion King and Mary Poppins on Broadway, etc, etc!

We are not pretending this is going to be all sunshine and roses. We may wave the white flag once we get there, realize this is not the life for us, and come scrambling back to Arkansas. But for now we are going to take off on this adventure and see what God has in store for us.

I hope you understand how much we will miss our life here and the people that we love and adore. Sometimes we can't even believe that we are choosing to leave all this behind. But one thing that has been happening the past few weeks is how MUCH we've had to turn over to God. The spiritual journey for us has already begun and that alone is amazing.

Please keep us in your prayers and I know you probably have a million questions for us. Don’t hesitate to ask. As long as it’s not “Are you nuts??”. Cuz that answer is obviously yes!

"Be brave enough to live life creatively. Creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus; only hard work and risk. What you will discover will be wonderful. What you will discover will be yourself."
~Alan Alda

Thursday, April 28, 2011

our tennis star

Jamie plays tennis all the time but it's rare that I get a chance to watch him play. The other day I took Audrie to one of his matches and she LOVED watching her daddy play tennis! (Huge thanks to Kim for keeping Annie while we went to the match.)
Audrie sat so still watching him play! I did have to stop her a few times from yelling out 'GO DADDY!". (Yelling is not really permitted in this gentleman's game, ya know.)

I'm always so impressed every time I get to watch Jamie compete. He's really good!!
Audrie did run up to the fence several times to give him a high five in between points. It was super cute.
Having his fan club there must have helped because Jamie won the match!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

what about me??

And ok, Annie is awesome, too!! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

i love u more

I know I totally shouldn't jinx myself by admitting this, but Audrie turning three has been really great for me. I'm absolutely loving this age for her! She's just so talkative and shares real feelings and thoughts that I just adore hearing about. Of course, she still has her not so fun moments, but I'm telling you- three is soooo much better.

Here she is putting on her back pack for preschool... looking so grown up.

And we made some cookies the other night (after she 'helped' me fix her hair in a side ponytail).
 Audrie loves cooking! (Gotta love her technique for cookie decorating here...)
 Waking up all bushy-eyed from a nap...
 But still managing a big ole smile.
 Couple quick stories:

The other day I took her with me to the Dollar General store and as we were leaving I told her she could pick out one toy to buy. She kind of shrugged her shoulders and said... "nah, I have toys at home".  Helloooo??! That's awesome! Hope that attitude lasts a few more years!

Tonight we were snuggled in bed together watching Cinderella and she said "I love you, mommy" (she really is super sweet about telling us how she really loves us). So I responded "I love you, more". And she thought about it for a moment and said "no... I love you for ten seconds mommy and that is more!". Melt my heart.

I know this all sounds super corny, but I never imagined being a mom would be so crazy wonderful. Don't get me wrong- we have our share of tantrums and time outs. But my goodness, the good times are pretty amazing!

 I love you, Audrie baby!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

same girl??

It's been awhile since I've posted a side-by-side comparison of Audrie and Annie at the same age. So here ya go!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

bad case of the cooties

It feels like we've had the crud around our house for weeks now. We've been cycling through pink eye, sore throats, cough, snots, and now barf. Enough already!!

(photo credit- Jamie)

what are those?!

I was spring cleaning my desk drawer and found these two items that made me feel real old...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

almost one year old!

 Annie Boo turns 11 months old on Monday and I don't think there is a more beautiful 11 month old in the whole wide world.

There are not enough adjectives to describe our love for this little one. Her spunky little personality is starting to appear more and more all the time and we adore it. She loves to be tickled and gives huge open mouth slobbery kisses that are so cute and disgusting. The past couple days she has started to say Mama (I swear it's true) and my heart skips a beat every time. I am working on getting her birthday invitations out, but save the date because it's Sunday, May 22nd at 4pm. We want to have a big birthday bash for her very first birthday! Can't believe it's almost been a year since we first met this love of our lives. Happy 11 months, Annie Bannanie!

Friday, April 15, 2011

dinner with my parents

 My mom and dad came over for dinner the other night and spent some time playing with the girls.
 Annie is always mesmerized with my dad.
 I tried to get a photo of the four of them on the porch swing, but the only one I got of everyone looking... I cut my dad's head off the photo! (I might be able to do some editing and piece together a better one.)
 But I liked this photo of my mom and dad...
 My mom is definitely my best friend and role model. I hope when I grow up I'll be half as cool as her.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for spending the evening with us!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

weekend road trip

 A couple weeks ago we loaded up the kiddos (and Donna) and made a quick trip to Kansas City. Jamie's aunt and uncle, Donnie and Wendy, live there so we stayed with them. Both girls did great in the car!
 We got to their house Friday night and the girls had a blast playing with their dog, Buddy!
 Annie was smitten with Wendy.
 The girls stayed up late playing with the dog while we caught up with Donnie and Wendy.
 Finally after everyone went to bed, I made Jamie take me to Cheesecake Factory for some late night dessert.

 Saturday morning we took the girls to the Kansas City Zoo. Audrie was super excited and Annie was sleepy. :)
 We had talked about it with Audrie all week so she was ready to see some animals!
 My favorite was the polar bear. He was SO cute.
 Audrie was enthralled, too.
 We've been this zoo a few times and always love it. They are doing construction right now, but in a month or so they are opening some new amazing exhibits.

 Annie had trouble shaking her nap but seemed to enjoy seeing all the sights.

 This sign seemed appropriate for our life...
 Audrie chased this poor sheep around for awhile.
 He finally gave in a let her pet him.

 Of course we spent some time on the train!

 Perfect time for Annie to grab a snack.
 And of course Audrie sang the entire time. That's what she does.
 Annie loved the train, too!
 I love carousels!
 Audrie practiced her princess wave...

 We rented a stroller for Annie, but you can see who took it over.
 Jamie's favorite was the elephants.

 We tried to let both girls ride in the stroller but Annie kept pulling Audrie's hair (way to go, Annie).

 Audrie totally didn't get this sign! :)

It was a fun day at the zoo!

I kind of slacked off the rest of the weekend and didn't take anymore photos. Jamie and Donna went to a hockey game to see cousin Trevor play Saturday night. Sunday we had breakfast with Donnie and Wendy before heading back to Arkansas.

Thanks, Donnie and Wendy, for letting us spend the weekend with you!