Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Letter

Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! God has brought such amazing change to our lives in 2006, and we would like to share it with you.

This has been an incredible first year as parents. Joshua is a constant delight and blessing to us. We could not have imagined how much he would teach us and shape us. Joshua turned one year old on December 5 and has grown from a tiny baby into an energetic little boy, who is crawling and getting into everything he can reach. He pulls himself to a standing position and we know it is only a matter of time before he is walking. Joshua is already sporting nine teeth and working on another one.

As many of you know, Darren was accepted to the Master of Divinity program at Princeton Theological Seminary. In June we sold our house in Nashville, quit our long-time jobs at Big Idea, and moved to New Jersey. It was difficult to say goodbye to Big Idea after seven years there (eight for Darren), but we felt God moving us on to new things. We are settling into our new life in married student housing.

Darren completed his M.A. in Systematic and Historical Theology at Wheaton College this spring, and started the PTS program in July with summer Greek. It is a subject he has wanted to take for years, and he loved every minute of it. In September, Darren made the transition back to full-time student. Although the work load is intensive, he is studying the subjects he loves. His favorite class this semester is atonement theology, with noted theologian Dr. Bruce McCormack.

Since our move to Princeton, Christy has had the pleasure of transitioning to full-time mommy, a role she is thoroughly enjoying. She and Joshua attend a mommy-baby group each week, where we are able to connect with others in our community. She is also working three days per week at a Catholic boy’s school, helping out with their after-school program. It has definitely given her a new perspective and appreciation for her role as mother of a little boy.

We pray this Christmas season that you are strengthened in the hope given us by the gospel: Even while we were His enemies, God drew near to us, reconciling us to Himself in the life of Jesus.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Joshua turned one year old today! I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed.

We had a small family party for him, to celebrate this milestone. He had his first taste of cupcakes, although I couldn't convince myself to give him the sugar-loaded frosting. Instead, I made fresh whipped cream with no sugar added. He loved it!

At one year old, Joshua has grown to 29 inches tall and weighs 17 pounds eight ounces -- that's quite a big increase from 17 inches tall and only four pounds two ounces in weight.

He has eight teeth, but another one will be poking through any day now. He is agressively crawling and working on his standing skills. I know he is not far from walking.

He loves the swing-set at the playground near us. They have infant swings made just for little guys like him. He laughs and screams with glee whenever we have a chance to go out and swing. He is also fond of playing in the fallen leaves.

Happy Birthday, Joshua!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Visiting Washington

In October, Joshua and I traveled to Washington State to visit my family.

We finally got to meet little Evan, my nephew and Joshua's cousin, who was born last April. We also we able to visit with my sibling and parents... And my grandmother even made the trip from Western Washington to see us.

It was a wonderful time. I can't wait to go back at Christmas!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Into New York City!

Darren's mom and Harley came up from Georgia to visit in September. We took that opportunity to check out some of the sites of New York City.

First, we rode the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, then on the Battery Park in the ciy. We then proceeded to walk through the financial district at 5pm on a Friday. I was amazed at just how crowded the sidewalks can be!

We stopped at a beautiful, historic church, then walked to Chinatown where we ate at an authentic Chinese restaurant. It was great! After dinner, we took a cab to Ground Zero. That was an emotional stop. We spent a significant amount of time at the memorial wall.

We had parked our car across the water at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Our water taxi never showed up, so we took a differnt water taxi to another New Jersey location, hopped the light rail, then a bus and finally arrived at our vehicle.

What fun we had! Joshua did great, too! We really enjoyed our brief visit with Mom and Harley. It is fun to see Joshua with his grandparents!

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Joshua is 10 months old!


Joshua just celebrated his ten-month birthday. Here are some pictures of him from this summer.

At his last check-up, he weighed 15 pounds nine ounces. Although he didn't gain as much weight as we were hoping, he did grow two and a half inches taller over the summer to 28 and a quarter inches tall.

He is now sporting five teeth, with another one on the way. He loves chewing (actually mostly gumming) new foods and textures. This week he tried a fresh pear for the first time and seemed to enjoy it. String cheese, though, remains his favorite new food.

Every day he becomes more mobile. He is now so efficient at his tummy scoot that he hardly has motivation to learn to crawl.

A few weeks ago he learned how to sit up from a tummy position and loves the new power it has given him.

Currently his favorite activity is jumping -- in his jumper or on any volunteer's lap.

He is still very sweet, and we so enjoy watching as he explores the world around him and discovers all the new things he can do!

Settling in...

I can hardly believe we have been in Princeton for over three months now. The time has passed so quickly. We are settling in and trying to establish a routine. The apartment is unpacked, except for those one or two boxes that continue to haunt us.

Darren is now starting his fourth week of the fall term, having completed Greek this summer. He has a full load, but is enjoying it. I can hardly believe the reading load they expect for each class -- and the number of books he had to purchase. I always love it when we have the chance to talk about what he is learning, and I know there will be ample opportunity in the coming years.

I have the pleasure of spending most of my time as an at-home mommy, though I am also working about 9 hours a week with the after school program at a Catholic boy's school. I mostly play with the kids on the playground, pushing swings or playing soccer. It has been an eye-opening experience; I have a much better idea of what is in store for me as the mother of an energetic little boy.

Our one prayer request is that God will lead us to a church home. That has been our one frustration. It is always hard to find a new place to worship and grow. But the seminary community has been wonderful, and it is a comfort to be surrounded by such loving people.

Keep in touch! And may the grace of God be with each of you.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Getting Ready to Move

Our house is officially on the market. Check out RealTracs.com for photos! (See if you can find Jaffa the cat!)

It's been a week and we have had a dozen or so showings, but no offers yet. Our last house (in Chicago) sold in a day -- obviously that's the exception to the rule, but we have to get used to the fact that (like everything else down here) the market is very slow and relaxed. Going a day or two with no showings isn't at all unusual. We've had one potential buyer (who came today, in fact) say that if our house is still available once theirs is under contract and they are ready to buy, they'll want to take a second look and may make an offer. That's an encouraging nibble.

Joshua celebrates his six-month birthday tomorrow (Monday)! He's bigger every day, and more mobile. He's rolling over by himself quite a lot now, and smiling and laughing. He's so laid back -- we can take him anywhere and do just about anything, and he just goes along for the ride and sees the sights. Most people are amazed when we tell them that he's always like this.

So the house is more spin-&-span than it has ever been, and I'm enjoying the order of it all (while it lasts). After we have a contract (or mid-June, whichever comes first) the boxes will come out and the packing will begin, as we are aiming to load the truck on July 4 and hit the road to Princeton on the 5th.

I received my initial info packet on summer Greek the other day. A nice expensive book or two to buy, and I need to memorize the Greek alphabet before the first day of class. Off I go!

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Big Baby

Joshua visited the church nursery for the first time this week, and compared to those other kids he's still a little shrimp! No matter. He's still getting bigger and bigger every day. Today he weighed in at 12 pounds 14 ounces. He's rolling over now (though only when he wants to, and not so much when Mom tries to coax him to), and laughs a lot. He loves it when he can get grown-us to pay him lots of attention, which is no problem at all with a face like that.

We've decided to go ahead and sell our house rather than trying to rent it, so the fun of getting it cleaned up and put on the market has begun. We hope to have it listed in two weeks or less. We've been doing lots of clearing out; we'll experience the joys of our first garage sale soon; and Christy is making drapes. Wow, this place is going to look so good I'm going to want to buy it.

A week ago Sunday I finally finished my last paper for Wheaton College, a whopping 50 pages on Calvin's view of the doctrine of the atonement. It's a great weight off to have it done. There is a brief respite before we move to New Jersey in two months, and I start an 8-week Greek intensive. That leads into early September, when I'll have another three weeks off before the fall semester at Princeton Seminary officially begins. As a Junior (that's what they call newbies) I'll be in mostly required courses -- intro to the Old Testament, church history, Hebrew, and speech comunications. I can try to opt out of some of the basic courses because of the studying I've already done in those areas, but I suspect that the church history sequence may be the only one I may be able to (or ought to try to) get out of.

Meanwhile, we're both trying to wrap things up at work. Christy is trying to finish up her projects while they hire her replacement. My replacement has been hired and starts next Monday. Most of what I have to do is train him, and help ramp up on the BigIdea.com relaunch.

But I know what you want. More baby pictures are coming soon! Joshua had his first studio shoot while he was in Washington in March, and last week he had a photo shoot with Mommy. Lots of cute stuff.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Joshua at Three Months


Joshua just celebrated his four-month birthday, actually, but here are pictures of him from March.

He's a happy and healthy baby, now weighing in at 11 pounds 8 ounces and standing 24 inches tall. This week he started on rice cereal in addition to his formula. He ate with a spoon remarkably well, so we think he'll enjoy taking to solid food down the road. He's not so fond of formula, and is now giving Mom and Dad a hard time whenever it's time to sit down and eat.

On April 2 Joshua was dedicated at church by our pastor, who happens to be Darren's childhood pastor. It was a great blessing to be there with Pastor Henecke as he prayed over our son before the assembled church, and we pledged to raise him in a home where Christ is visible. He got lots of ooh and ahhs from the ladies, thanks especially to his sharp theologian's outfit with the bowtie (courtesy of Aunt Carol). Pictures coming soon!

Christy is back to work half-time, and of course she spends those hours at work craving to be home with the kid. Darren is working part-time on a freelance basis, but backing off a bit this month to finally get his last paper done to finish his degree. (Please, let it be done!)

This summer draws nearer, as we prepare to move to Princeton, New Jersey. Class starts on July 10, and it looks like we may not have much notice as to when our apartment will become available. The worst case scenario is that Darren may have to go up and stay in the dorms by himself for a few weeks before we have a place to move to.

Monday, January 30, 2006

January Update

Joshua

Here's a quick update! Why has it been seven weeks since we posted anything? You try bringing home your first newborn, then having family around for Christmas, then going back to work, then having more family, then buying a car and working on a paper, then having more family.

Joshua is doing terrific. He's growing and gaining weight -- probably well over 7 pounds now, though he hasn't been weighed for a few weeks. That thin little boy is chunking up nicely, now with pudgy cheeks and even a bit of a double chin. He is also maturing, and just last week started smiling. Not the gassy, involuntary mouth spasms -- honest to goodness smiling.

His favorite hobbies still include eating, burping, and hanging out with Mom and Dad. He's not as keen on sleeping these days, but he gets the job done.

Darren is back to working half-time and trying to make progress on his thesis, with the winter goals now pushed back to spring. Christy is entering her final month of maternity leave, and we are both trying to figure out what this will all look like a month from now.

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