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Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Waiting Game

A few people have been asking about the status of the house/move, so I thought it might be most convenient to share it here!  We did a walk through last week, and it is looking beautiful!

Joe and his team have been working hard at fixing up this lovely house.  The exterior is done - new windows, front door, back door, garage doors, sliding door, and all the trim has been painted white.  Inside, the walls are all done, and the tub and showers are in upstairs.  The entire house has been painted a lovely neutral gray, and the day we went to see it, the kitchen cabinets were being installed.

All that is left are the floors and fixtures!

James dropped off the good faith deposit today, and as soon as the house is done, the appraiser will come and our lender can move forward!

That being said, we don't exactly know our move-in date.  Yes, the house will be done in less than a week, but paperwork needs to be processed, and that is contingent upon the things mentioned above.  When we know more, I will be pleased to update everyone!  And now I don't feel so bad that we haven't packed a single box.

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Meanwhile, here are some fam updates:


  • He is talking so much - it is so fun to just sit and have a conversation with this one
  • He has a great sense of humor, and a contagious laugh
  • Jas is branching out - with his new Batman shirt that he wore three days in a row, he is no longer only ever Spider-Man
  • His fave toy for the past two days has been a little velociraptor.  It's currently in bed with him
  • He knows all the words to more songs than I can name, but here are a few:
    • "Yellow Submarine"
    • "I Wanna Be Like You"
    • "Holy, Holy, Holy"
    • "All Together Now"

  • He is five months old, and our little peanut
    • No, really!  At his last appointment, he was measuring in the 4th percentile for weight
  • This guy is ready to go:
    • He can roll from tummy to back and over again
    • He scoots all over the living room floor
    • When he gets excited, he waves his arms around and kicks his legs
    • He has such a strong back and neck!  It can be a challenge getting him into his car seat or giving him a bath
  • He loves to laugh, and is really ticklish
  • His favorite game is peekaboo
  • Pretty sure he is teething - non-stop drool and constantly gumming everything he can get to his mouth

  • This five-year-old is just too smart!  He asks so many great questions, and processes a lot of very complex concepts!
  • His favorite movies right now are "Goosebumps" and "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed"
  • He is so literal - when we play, he always reminds me that he is pretending
    • "Pretend this is my motorcycle..." *rides bike down the sidewalk*
  • He is a pro at riding his bike
    • He can stand up while he's pedaling (something he noticed the big kids doing)
    • He steered with one hand the other day!
  • Miles recently learned the joy of writing letters, and has been sending mail to people - it's the cutest
  • Just this week, he has started to get over his fear of the swimming pool.  It's like the switch flipped, and he realized he can hold his breath and actually have fun doing all the different skills!  Praise Jesus, prayer works!!
  • He has an imaginary alter-ego named "Tadingy"

JB & I:
  • We had a wonderful anniversary celebration in Savannah last weekend!  Can't believe it's already been seven years
  • James wrote a worship song (which I shared on Facebook, if you missed it)
  • He & Nathan have been recording more songs for their Farewell Teddy album
  • God has moved forward with the CPPTC prayer team!  Stay tuned!
  • I have been practicing brush calligraphy
    • tools of choice:  Crayola watercolor markers!!
    • Instagram:  marilynleecalligraphy

So much more to come soon (as always!)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fixer Upper

I'm not writing about the HGTV show.  (Although, admittedly, I have been watching that show non-stop since the in-laws are letting us use their Netflix account!)  I am excited to be writing the story of how God provided us with a home!

James and I started house hunting in February.  We were saving properties on websites and apps, and making a list (a modest one, mind you) of what we wanted in our home.

  • (at least) three bedrooms, two bath
  • a dishwasher
  • 1400 square feet, or more
  • preferably in PTC

And less than a month later, we found all that and more!  We began the hunt with a realtor who was recommended by friends.  He was super nice, and very flexible with his hours.  We started looking in early February, and by March, we had seen nine properties - and the ones we liked the best were at least 12 miles away.  Now, I know that is completely doable, and that it really wouldn't be that far, but I was really struggling with the idea that God would call us to move out of California, feeling uprooted from all that I knew, to temporarily place us somewhere, only to move us out again.  I was so discouraged, but knew that I had to ask for prayer.  My emotions were clouding what I knew to be true.  So I sent a message to the ladies in my small group, just letting them know how I felt about the whole process, and that I needed to allow my own expectations to match whatever God might have for our family!

Well, as it turned out, that very day, Joe found the house God had for our family!  At community group that night, he was asking James about what we were looking for, and what our price point was, and by Thursday of that week, we were looking at the property he was considering.

The Back Story
It was a dark and stormy night in December.

No really.

The same storm that was lighting up the night sky the night that Oliver was born, the torrential rain led to a ton of flooding at the house that Joe would soon snatch up off the market!  The backyard drain overflowed into the garage and into the house, making a giant mess of the downstairs floors and sheet rock walls.  When we went to look at it in February, the floors were all pulled up, and some of the walls were already pulled away.  The woman who owned it was still in the process of moving her stuff out, while already putting it on the market.  Needless to say, it was a mess when we went to look at it last month.  Joe and Carrie said I looked like a deer in the headlights walking through it!  Haha!!

At the end of the first walkthrough, James and I saw a ton of potential in this home.  I honestly think my "deer-in-the-headlights" expression had more to do with the two boys running around a house that was partially demolished, and partially crowded with someone else's stuff!  Still, it was really cool when Carrie turned to me and asked, "Do you ever watch the show Fixer Upper?"  Okay, I think my eyes were way bigger once she asked me that!  I could feel the excitement welling up, and the potential of the property expanded into dreaming about our home!!!

The Specs:

  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bath (two up, one down), plus a huge bonus room over the garage upstairs
  • large living room with wood burning fireplace, formal dining room, kitchen and dine-in area
  • about 1600 sqft
  • right in the heart of Peachtree City
  • good sized yard with lots of trees

The Waiting Game
The day we went to look at the place, there was one offer on the house, but Joe was super confident that he and the investors he works with would be able to get it, and talked to us as if we were already moving forward!  Well, he's obviously the professional because once we said we were on board, he called us that week to tell us they got it!

James and I started looking on Pinterest to find ideas to send over to Joe, especially for the kitchen and bathroom details.  Our second walk through was cool because James and I really saw the house as ours.  Joe talked us through the renovations that he and his team would be doing.  Without talking through every single detail, we are basically getting a brand new house inside!  Eeee!  We will have way more than my minimum desire of a dishwasher.  WOO HOO!!!

So now, we wait.

I mean, not without driving by (ahem, today) to peek at some of the work being done.  There are already new windows put in, and the exterior trim was painted white.  It is going to be so amazing.  And as I find out more, I will update more, I promise!

But the waiting is not forever.  Joe gave us a finish date in June!  Eep!  More to come soon.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ollie Dylan - Our Little Manny

It was a dark and stormy night in December.

No, really!  I'm talking a rainstorm of Biblical proportions!

December 22, two entire days past my due date, I had contractions around 11pm, but when I started timing them, they weren't very close together.  I knew that the baby would be making his/her (because at that point, we still didn't know if Bean was a boy or girl!) appearance very soon.

That morning, I would wake up to contractions, but after timing a few in a row, I would fall back asleep... that is, until about 5 in the morning.   They were coming closer now, and by 6am, I knew it was time to call my doctor, and for James to call Salli to come over to get the boys.  Salli and Grams arrived to get the boys at about 7, and we headed right out the door after James installed the car seats.  I was trying to talk to Salli and Grams, but right when James walked back in, I had a really strong contraction - like an "I can't even talk right now, I need to brace myself" strong.  We grabbed my bag, and drove to Piedmont Fayette.  The maternity ward is right above OB practice I had been going to, so we knew just where to go.

After a very quick check-in at 8 o'clock, I went to a labor and delivery room, only to be moved to another one.  When the nurse checked me, I was already a 6, and the pain was so intense, I actually asked for an epidural.  But the contractions were so close together, and they knew I was progressing quickly, so the opportunity to get pain meds in time went out the window!  The nurse checked me again, and I was at 8cm.  She realized that I was having 'back labor' meaning, Littlest Bean was face down, and to quote Nurse Jackie, "Back labor is no joke."  The contractions were so painful - very different from the other two labors I had experienced.  By the time I was fully dilated, I had called the nurse back in because I felt like I needed to push, but also knew that my water hadn't broken, so the pressure was intense.  Dr. Carter said, "Well, let me break your water, and let's have this baby!"  I immediately changed my mind, crying, saying I didn't want to break my water.  The doctor wasn't 20 feet down the hall, when I had my next contraction, and my water broke!  20 minutes and six pushes later, we met our third amazing son.

December 23, 2015 at 9:25am, Oliver Dylan was born.  He was 7 pounds, 13 ounces, and 19 3/4 inches long.  He had a full head of wavy black hair, and strong lungs.

That night, the rainstorm completely lit up the sky!  The hospital stay was actually pretty great.  I had no idea it was so crazy outside.  I was cozy in my own room, busy ordering meals that were brought to my bedside.  Salli, Dave, and Grams brought the boys to meet him that night, and on Christmas Eve, the Vizzinis and the Poeffels came to see us.  The downside of the hospital stay was that James went home both nights... but it allowed him to rest really well and take care of us with a clear head!

We were discharged on Christmas morning, so we had fun introducing our newest family member to everyone and also opening presents!  The holidays were definitely different.  But in the best way.  We literally did nothing on New Year's.  We went to bed.  I think it should be our new tradition.  Haha!

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Oliver is almost four months old, and it wasn't until now that I was able to find a moment to sit and write all about him.  It's like I have described it to so many people who ask me how I'm doing:  I finally feel like I have my head above water.  Initially, I felt like I was caught in the undertow, in a sea of children.  It's crazy how going from two kids to three is such a huge transition.  But I have finally conceded a lot of things that stressed me out in the beginning.  And I really think the bigger boys are getting into the new groove along with me.

Although I have been way too busy to keep up with blog updates, I have been able to post pictures and write blips on Facebook, etc.  I would like to get back into the routine of updating here.

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For weeks after we were back home, our church family cared for us so well.  Janyl set up a meal train PLUS for us - complete with childcare for my older two, so that I could have time to rest during the day!  Pop came to visit, the weekend after New Year's, and he got to hold Oliver and hang out with the big boys.  He took them to see Hotel Transylvania 2, which they LOVED.  He is supposed to come see us again soon.

The meal train went all the way to February, and my Mom helped us eat some of the meals - and store all of the leftovers!!  It was such a blessing to have her here for the last two weeks of January.  I wish we weren't so far away.  But we are already making plans for our next visit!

Nona and Jas at Cracker Barrel

Nona and her Georgia boys

Miles and Jasper love their baby brother.  Bubs actually gave him a nickname, "Little Manny."  I think it's because I would call Oliver my little man, and Miles made it even cuter.  He goes up to him every morning, and says, "Hello, Little Manny!" in his Bubbas way.  Jasper calls him Little Manny or Li'l Guy.  It's just the best!

Jolly Ollie

  • At almost 4 months, Ollie can turn from his side to his back
  • He has been holding his head up since about two months old
  • He is currently wearing 6m clothes - same size as Miles at this age
  • Oliver is over 12 pounds already
  • His first Easter was so much fun!  We got to spend it with Beth, Clayton, and Callie - and our fam here in GA, of course 
  • Oliver loves to smile, coo, and blow raspberries
  • He laughed for the first time last week!  It was just him and me upstairs, and I can't even remember what I was doing, but he thought it was the funniest thing!!
  • Ollie loves being held, and being outside.  I usually carry him in the sling, just like JasMan
  • I started feeding him one bottle a day, which really helps our family function better.  And he loves it!!

We are still using diapers and wipes from the baby shower Amy organized for us!  It was so much fun, and I am still overwhelmed by the fact that we have not had to buy any diapers for Oliver, or any wipes since November of last year!  I actually donated a bunch of newborn size diapers when he grew out of them!!

The great thing about having three boys is the hand-me-down situation.  It's been really cool seeing Jasper wearing the shirts Miles wore, back when Jas was the baby.  The boys are all 2 1/2 years apart!  We also got a ton of clothes from our friends, the Goverts, whose sons are 4 (almost 5) and 1 - so they have a ton of cute things to hand down to Ollie!  They also have two girls, so we would have been set either way.  :)

I am so excited to see how God will work in Oliver's life.  I know that our lives are enriched by Ollie's presence in our family.  He is our cuddlebug, and every single one of us loves to kiss his round face!  Being so very outnumbered has kept me humble, and I have grown in the area of asking for help.  I am also learning to plan ahead, have realistic expectations for myself (and my husband and kids!), and let go of the little stuff.  And this is just the beginning!

The many faces of Ollie Dylan

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ministry Update: March 2016

It has been quite a season for our family!  Our family has grown since I last posted - Oliver was born on a stormy night in December - and he will get his very own post soon!  But for now, a quick update including how God has continued to do work within, for, and through our family.

The latest, and most exciting news:  We found a house!  It is in the heart of Peachtree City, which is exactly where we wanted to stay, since that is the location of most of our church family - and the CPPTC building!  On the very day I became discouraged about house-hunting, God already had a plan in place.  We will be moving to a newly renovated home, thanks to an awesome brother in Christ in our community group.  James and I already had plans to talk with him when we purchased a home, but God moved in Joe's heart to approach us first - and with just the right home for us.  Not only is the location great, the size is just enough for our family to grow in, and it is right at our price point.  It's truly incredible how the Lord hears us, sees us, and provides exactly what we need, in His timing.  More details to come as this progresses!

photo from Google maps

We were also blessed with the provision of a much larger car!  We traded the Yaris in for a minivan!!  It is a Chrysler Town & Country, and we love it.  It has been so fantastic having the space to not only accommodate our family of five, but also two extra passengers.  It was perfectly timed that we got our van after the new year, right before my Mom came to visit for two weeks.  I'm glad she didn't have to be squished in the back with all of the carseats this time.

Room for one more... 

In other recent news, here on the home front, the boys have been keeping me busy during the week.  We still go to Bible Study Fellowship every Thursday, and Ollie stayed in his class for the first time last week!  I love knowing that they are hearing God's word, and learning the very same truths that I am in my small group, from Oliver's class, all the way up to Miles' class!  It also encourages me to be steadfast in discipling our boys.  If the volunteers who keep the babies from 6 weeks old to walking are able to teach the Bible to their students, I can do the same with my babies!!

Miles started little league last month.  He is #4 on the Durham Bulls!  This was the generous gift of dear friends, whose son played T-Ball last season, and invited us to join the league this Spring!  He loves every second of it, and is learning so much.  My heart bursts at every single game and practice, and I pray that I don't lose that feeling.  It is 'coach toss' instead of T-Ball, which is fun - the kids get five pitches to try and hit it, otherwise, they are allowed to hit off of the tee.  They also advance one base at a time, unless you are the last batter - then you get a home run!  Every player goes up to bat, and each one scores a run.  It has given us the opportunity to connect with new families, and see our kids bonding on the field.

Let's go Bulls!

James is continuing to work part-time at the warehouse, now three days a week.  We are so grateful for the provision God gives us through this job, and the flexibility of his bosses, supervisors, and coworkers.  Unfortunately, this limits his time at CrossPointe to just two days a week - one of prep and practice, and then Sunday.  Still, our faith is growing through this process, and we are continuing to pray that James will eventually be employed full time at the church.  He has been provided with time to pursue one passion - writing and recording music with his band, Farewell Teddy!  If you haven't downloaded the EP, do it now!  They also have a single on Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon:  "A Thousand Bouquets."

Thanks to your prayers and generosity, CrossPointe is continuing to grow and thrive.  We hit the three-year-mark on Super Bowl Sunday!  For a church plant, getting past the first two years is a huge deal, so please continue to lift up our efforts to reach the lost in PTC, and the surrounding areas of South Atlanta Metro.  Our youth group is expanding, and they have their own community group.  James and I are leading a community group still, and we have connected with really wonderful people this year.  I love how God knits the hearts of His followers together.

James at the men's event:  Skeet & Eat

Oliver also stayed in his classroom in CrossPointe Kids yesterday.  He did great!  It is super encouraging to know that each of the boys is being cared for by volunteers who love Jesus, pray for my children, and teach them about the gospel every single Sunday.  The preschool and elementary classes use The Gospel Project curriculum, which teaches the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and each lesson focuses on the fact that it is one story - Jesus' story!  It is so important for them to see that the stories from the Bible are not only related, but also that each one points to the saving power of Jesus Christ.

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As we continue to move forward this spring, please join us in praying!

  • God has called me to begin a prayer ministry/team
    • for vision, training, time management, and courage to move forward
  • For James, as he looks into officially becoming a pastor
  • For the boys, to make connections with their peers and to recognize opportunities to pray for and encourage their friends
  • For the church to continue to grow so James can be fully funded, and work at the church full time
graphic by me!

We are so thankful for each and every one of you!