Friday, June 26

After 5 years of marriage...

Well after five years of marriage (today is our anniversary) and over a decade of being "an item", Joe and I have decided to go separate ways. I realize this may come as a shock to many but this was a mutual decision. This move has proved to be harder than I expected. After living in Florida for less than a month, I've realized how deeply rooted I was in Georgia. Joe has surprised me with how quickly he has become connected with Florida. I simply do not feel the same. Though we love each other, through this move we have realized how different we are from one another. We have decided that in time we will allow Owen to choose "where he belongs", but for now it makes since to us that he be a "Georgia boy" (since that is where he was born). Again I realize this may be a shock to you but this fall we will go our separate ways- Owen and I will continue to cheer for The Georgia Bulldogs and Joe has decided to cheer for The Florida Gators. Please pray for us during this huge transition in our lives (especially for me...I'm not sure how good of a season the Dawgs will have).

What? Did I confuse you in some way at the beginning of this post? Was I not clear that I was talking about college football? You didn't actually think I was talking about the "D" word did you? Wow! And I thought you knew us! We love each other deeply and the past 5 years have been the best years of my life!! :)

Monday, June 22

We miss CATR!

Yesterday we visited another church. I felt like I was cheating on Church at the Ridge! :( Although we like the set up of the church (very similar to CATR), it just wasn't the same. Granted we've only gone once, but in my heart I just know it won't be the same. I guess I've always heard "the church isn't the building, it's the body of people" but now that truth seems even more real to me. I miss The Ridgers! I miss being greeted by familiar faces, I miss walking up and down those long hallways, I miss chatting with Emily and Erin at Connection Point, I miss getting hugs from so many kidos, I miss Land of a Thousand Hills coffee :), I miss feeling connected. It wasn't easy handing over Owen to someone other than Ms.Dawn. :)
It was a little strange being the visitor. It really made me look at CATR in another light and I think CATR is doing it right!! CATR is full of great people, great passion, great purpose, and God in the center of it all!!! Keep up the hard work Ridgers, God is with you always and He wants to use The Ridge to do GREAT things for His kingdom...I just know it!

Saturday, June 20

Tidbits from Joe

I encouraged Ashley to start this blog so she would take a break from watching Oprah and Rachel Ray while I was out working in the sweltering Florida a suit. I think she was reluctant to start but this is the only way we can keep our friends and family in the know while hundreds of miles separate us. The hardest part of this move has been just that. We miss our family and friends terribly. The Brew crew and the Linns made the adjustment a little easier. Both of these families visited us shortly after moving and they will be with us forever no matter where we move. The move would have been impossible without the help of Wendell, Blair, the Harrells, and the Grazianos. I owe them all help during their most hellacious move. I did not realize what a blessing it was to have Grammy and Pops 10 minutes away and Aunt Sissy, Uncle Adam, and Bennett practically next door. I now realize a 3 hour drive to Knoxville to see my parents really is not that bad compared to 11 hours. I miss my three little brothers terribly. I am always excited to get a call from Sam about his wrestling match or football game or jump on xbox live to play some games with Nick. I especially miss Matt who is like a twin to me and for the past 3 years while he has been in physical therapy school all we have done is dream of the day we could go play ball together like the good old days at Bryan College. Ironic how he is planning to move to Hiram just a couple months after I move to Florida. The move would be a little easier if Owen was not here. The fact that we took Owen away from two sets of grandparents and our home church that loved him was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life. However, it was necessary. Through all the doubt that has stirred in my heart over this decision to drag my family into another state one thing has been clear. We are supposed to be here. God has confirmed this repeatedly in radical ways. (Unfortunately God has to communicate with me in radical ways because I am extremely hard headed). Only God knows how long we will be here. It may be a year it may be ten but our little family continues to grow closer together and I continue to grow as a man as I learn how to follow God and put less faith in myself and more in him.

All Things Owen...

Owen will be 19 weeks young tomorrow...amazing how time flies! Like all moms would say-He is the joy of my life! God has so richly blessed us with a wonderful son. Here's what's going on in Owen's world:

*Rolling Over
Owen has been rolling over (from stomach to back) for several weeks. In the beginning we were so excited about this milestone...but since then, the excitement has somewhat worn off. I'm not saying we aren't proud of his development, we are just a little frustrated with what has come with it. Here's what happens- We put our sweet baby to bed on his stomach to sleep...a few minutes later, he's upset because he's rolled to his back. A few minutes later it happens again, and again, and AGAIN! But I think I may have solved this-I now lay him down on his stomach with his side right against the crib bumper. I'm not sure if there is some "rule" out there against that, but it seems to be working! I will say though, some mornings he manages to roll over and I wake up to hearing my son babbling and squealing---It's so cute!!

*His favorite things
1 month-sleep
This boy loves to sleep...I guess he got this from his Daddy!
2 months-sleeping and eating
3 months-His "Star" and his right hand
His Star is a Baby Einstein star that lights up and plays music. And yes, he specifically loves his right hand. He just holds it up above his head and just stares at it....and then of course sticks it in his mouth.
4 months-himself
He loves to hear himself "talk"! He just squeals, and mumbles, and babbles all the time! He also loves to look at himself in the mirror. His closet doors (here in our temporary apartment) are mirrors and everyday I just place him in his Bumbo seat and he just looks and laughs at himself! Sometimes if I just walk by a mirror while holding him he'll just start laughing! It is so cute!

*Yummy Cereal
He is really growing up---he no longer just needs me to survive, he's eating rice cereal! He is really enjoying eating---no surprise with Joe as his Daddy! :)

*Water Boy
He is so relaxed when in the water! He loves the beach, the pool, baths, and showers! He practically floats on his back in the pool...all we have to hold up is his head!

His most recent personality development has been soooo cute! Every once in a while if someone (Joe, Aunt Sissy, a stranger, etc)talks to him in a sweet voice, Owen will make this adorable bashful smile and tuck his face into my neck. Being bashful is definitely not something he got from his father!!

For the grandparents and great grandparents out there who would love to be able to look at the clock and know what Owen is doing at that time, here is his recent schedule. I'm in the process of tweaking this schedule- I would like for him to go to bed earlier, but if I put him to bed earlier he would wake up earlier--and I'm a much better mom at 9:00pm than I am at 6:00am!!
Of course we are flexible with this schedule so it's not exact, but for the most part, this is what we go by:
Wake up-7:00am
Eat-6:00pm ("milk" and cereal)
Play & Bath
Eat & got to bed-9:00pm

Wednesday, June 17

I knew I would be no good at this!!

Well. here it is 11 days after I created this blog and I'm just now making a new post. AND- I haven't even shared the blog with anyone. I guess this is turning into a personal journal. :)
Well, here's what's happened over the past week.

Making new friends-
The most difficult thing about moving to FL was leaving behind our family and friends. Although those back home could never be replaced, we know it is our calling to reach out and seek new friends. The only people we know here in FL (and honestly we don't know them all that well), is Jason and Beverly T. Jason is Joe's manager. Before moving here I had only met Jason a handful of times, and Beverly once. They have since stepped up and have been great about helping us feel at home here in FL. I had lunch with Joe and Jason one day--at Sonny's BBQ (yummm). Beverly has really reached out in attempt to get me plugged in. She invited Owen and I to a kids play group where I was able to meet other moms and Owen was able to interact with other babies! So cute!! Beverly also drove me around to look at houses. It was fun! Her kids (Amelia-5, Lane-3, Owen-22months) and my Owen were just along for the ride!

Great Company-
The Brewtons (our good friends from GA) came to visit us for the weekend. It was so wonderful to see them!!! We had a blast just hanging out with them. We went to the beach, hung out by the pool, and spent quality time together. Their kids (Bethany-7, Hannah-5, Conner-3, Addison-on the way) are so wonderful!! It is so much fun to watch Owen interact with children. He loves to just stare and laugh at kids...especially Bethany! We are so thankful that the Brewtons took time out of their busy schedules to come visit us! Thank you Wendell, Emily, and kids!!
After the Brewtons left on Sunday, the Linns arrived only a few hours later! (We love the company:)! It was Blair's (my sister's) birthday, so when she arrived I had a banner up for her, a chocolate fudge Cake (Thanks to the recipe from Mom G), and gifts! It was great getting to celebrate with her. Adam and my nephew Bennett (15 months) came along as well! That boy is such a hoot! I just love watching him run around, talk, and these days climb. While he was here I taught him how to give "knucks" (got the idea from Wendell Brewton). It was so cute and a lot of fun to teach him something. It gets me excited to think about all that I have to teach Owen soon! I love my sissy very was wonderful spending time with her and having her spend time with Owen.

Looking for a house-
We've spent most of our time house hunting since we arrived in FL. This has been quite the stressful task. I thought looking for a house was suppose to be fun!? Here is what we quickly discovered about FL homes-
-yards practically do not exist
-almost all neighborhoods have a pond, lake, or river
-most houses have two small living/family rooms
-houses are VERY close together (unless in a $500K neighborhood)
-there's no molding around windows (weird)
-there are very few 2 story homes
-they simply are not as pretty as GA houses (and definitely not as pretty as houses built by James McIntyre!)
So, needless to say I was becoming very discouraged about finding a house. It seemed like every time we found a house we liked (and could afford) it would get snatched up by an investor who would put it up for rent a week later! :( But my wonderful husband would not give up. He wanted so badly to provide a nice home for his family so he spent hours and hours searching for a house. Well, his persistence seemed to pay off. On Monday June 8, he found a great house in a neighborhood that we really like. It had everything we wanted...including the price! So, the next morning I called the Realtor excited about setting up a time to view the house. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment when I found out that this house was actually a house up for auction. The asking price we saw online was the starting bid price. :( The Realtor also informed me that he already had two bids and several others who had shown great interest. The home was clearly worth way more than the starting bid we thought there's no way we're going to get this house...but for kicks we decided to view the house anyway. Upon viewing the house we became even more excited. I started envisioning cooking in the kitchen, chasing Owen in the yard, and swimming in the neighborhood pool.
As an auction house the Realtor could not legally tell us the other bids, but Joe being led by the Spirit began to talk to the Realtor in a very real way. At the end of their long conversation it was clear that the realtor was a Christ follower and he was willing to share with us all the information we needed without jeopardizing his integrity. It was truly a blessing.
That evening Joe and I prayed HARD about what God wanted us to do about placing a bid. The next morning Joe went to the Realtor's office and placed a bid. It wasn't the bid that he originally was going to place, because as Joe completed the appropriate paper work, the Spirit led him to place a different bid. We were informed that the auction could go on for weeks, and there was no telling when we would find out if we "won" the house or not. It was totally in God's hands.
The following day, Wednesday June 17, I received a phone call from the realtor. The first words out of his mouth were "Congratulations and Praise God!"---We got the house!
As long as everything goes as planned, we will move into the house on August 17th! WAHOO!!

I know that was a lot at once, and I'm pretty sure I'm just writing to myself, since no one will read this...but at least I have a journal of the start of our life here in FL. :)

Saturday, June 6

What have I started!!

Well, it seems as if I have given into peer pressure! I have always been a critic when it comes to bloggers and those addicted to facebook....well look at me now. But of course I have a valid excuse for starting my blog-we moved to Florida and I want all of my family and friends to be able to keep up with us....especially Owen.
I do have one disclaimer--I CAN"T SPELL!! So, please look past my flaws!
And I have one promise to make--I'll never tell you what I ate for breakfast...because I simply don't think anyone cares!!

So, let the blogging begin!