Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just One Moment

It was one of those days.  Josh was gone.  I had a to-do list that was lengthy. 

After her afternoon nap, I simply managed her.  Supervised her.  Took a walk in the neighborhood with her and the dog.  Threw food her way for dinner.  But I didn't spent much time actually with her, engaging her or snuggling her or enjoying her company.

And then it was bedtime.  I put her in her crib with her favorite security objects, said some prayers, and left the room.  Per usual.

But it didn't feel right.  I knew I wasn't the parent to her today that I could have been.  My agenda for the afternoon and evening had been entirely me focused.

And then I heard her crying.

We're pretty strict about bed times around here.  Once we put Caroline to bed, in bed she stays.  She's comfortable and safe and secure in there, and it never takes her too long to drift off to sleep.

But there's a time for being strict and there's a time for making things right.

I felt that sacred little nudge, and this time didn't ignore it. 

I pulled her out of bed and onto my lap.  She grinned at me, all toothy.  Then she proceeded to point out where my eyes, teeth, ears, and nose are located on my face.  She looked through a picture book with her brows furrowed and eyes taking in each detail.  We shared hugs and kisses.  She was in no hurry to crawl off of my lap.  I told her how much I treasured her and how much of a gift from God she is.  I told her about the new baby and how I would need her help.  And I told her I was sorry for today.

She responded with more hugs and kisses.

I looked into her eyes and saw pure baby love reflected back at me.

I always knew I'd love my baby, but didn't realize the true joy I would feel to have my baby love me back.  Our fifteen minutes of quiet, intentional time together tonight was among my top moments with my girl.  I know it won't always be so easy to mend what's broken between us, but I'm so grateful that for now she's entirely willing to lavish love and affection on this tired, ungrateful Mama.

May I always be willing to lavish that love and affection back onto her.

Thank you, Jesus, for another chance tonight. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


We enjoyed a good old fashioned visit from our friends, the LeComptes, this past weekend.

Friends who are willing to travel to visit us?  High on the list of God's blessings to our family.

We have fantastic memories with these folks.  Like that weekend where we watched the first two seasons of The Office straight through.  The one where we played Guitar Hero constantly. The one where the four adults (pre-kids of our own) babysat for another friend's baby.  At that other friend's house.  The one where we picked out prints of Venice and frames to hang on the LeComptes' living room walls.

The LeComptes were the first to bring kids into the mix, and then they really outdid themselves with having twins two years later.  Caroline arrived on the scene just two months later.  Let's just say our weekends together look a bit different than they used to. 

They came down for a visit in December of 2010, when their twins were just a couple months old and Caroline was brand new.  If I remember correctly, DeeDee and I spent the weekend on the couch.  Nursing. A couple of months later we Browns went to visit them in Michigan, and I think DeeDee's and my only excursion was a trip to the grocery store with all four kids.

But this trip?  Now that all of the little buggers can walk and run and don't need to nurse constantly?

We can do extra-fun things.

Like the splash park in downtown Columbus.

Look at this place.  Summertime kiddy paradise.  AND it's free.

These kids ran around like crazy folks.

Up and down the aisles. 

Back and forth. 0623_2546

Pit stop. Kisses needed.

All morning long, they were as happy as clams.

Here's Drew.  And Will.  Let's just say all three kids were easy to spot with bright red hair and matching swim shirts.
0623_2571 0623_2595

And then we stopped for a picnic lunch.  What more can you ask for?

Then it was time to pack up and head home. Why? Because of the MAJOR LEAGUE WONDERFUL TRUTH about water play. It makes for spectacular nap times.  And not just for the kids.0623_2669

These two? Be still my heart. 0623_2680-2

Our weekend adventures with the LeCompte family will continue to evolve as our families grow up and change and all of that.  Paint ball?  Movies?  Kickball in the backyard?  Keeping the boys away from the girl(s?)

But what we appreciate about these friends, these weekends, is that it doesn't matter at all what we all do.  Toddler-centric activities or otherwise.  We will always have good times and make fantastic memories.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


We're moving. 

Specifically, we're moving to England.  Somewhere in or near London.  Probably in August of this year.

London, baby!

Man, you are Westminster crabby.

Oh sorry we're late.  My fault, I insisted on riding the tube.

Judy, the kids..
Jack, that’s what they call the subway.

Anyone, anyone?

Sorry for the Friends quotes.  I couldn't help it.

Anyway.  We're headed across the pond. It's been a pipe dream of ours for a long time to live overseas for a couple of years.  Wouldn't you know, London always ranked high on our list.  And now? It looks like that dream is actually going to come true.


Really, Lord?  You're giving this amazing gift to us?  Really?  




{pinches self}

See?  I hardly have words.  It's safe to say we're still in a bit of shock around here.  But I'll try and keep it together enough to give you some details.






For the purposes of this post, I'm subjecting you to our dubious photos of the last - and only - time we've been there, in the Spring of 2006.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long will you be there?
Josh's assignment is for two years.  His current employer is sending our family to the UK to work on a portion of their European business.


Where will you live?
Even though the office Josh will be working from is out in the suburbs, we're planning to try true city life in London.  Heck, we may never get another chance to live in a big city, especially one of our favorite cities in the world.  At the end of two years, we can happily return to our large suburban house and yard.

We'll go on a house hunting trip in a couple of weeks and get a better feel for it all.


Can we come visit?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  We'd love to have visitors.  And where else can you get free lodging in London?


Is Caroline going to have a British accent?
Oh man, we sure hope so.  We know it won't last when we return to the States, but if one does develop, rest assured we'll have it on video.  Lots of videos.


Are you going to start using British words and phrases?
I'm sure it's just inevitable.  Over there, diapers are known as "nappies," the "boot" is the trunk of your car, "Pants" refer to underwear, etc.  However, please forgive us in advance if we email/blog/talk in a way that sounds snobby or otherwise annoying.  We'll try not to go out of our way to talk about petrol and mobiles to our American friends and family.  However, if we slip up, please give us some grace, knowing that we're just muddling our way through the intricacies of a the Queen's English.

And while we're there, do I type color or colour?  These things keep me up at night.

(Not really.  I'm pregnant and tired.)

Will you have your baby there or in the US?
Over there!  Gratefully we're not moving to a third world country.  They have great medical care there and we're not concerned.  Oh, and speaking the same language does help.  Our parents are planning to come out in December and January to help out.

Also, yes, we're aware that Baby Brown #2 will not be eligible to be the President of the United States.


Will he/she have dual citizenship?
Nope, it doesn't work that way.  He or she will just be an American citizen.

What are you going to do with your house in OH?

Will you learn to drive on the other side of the road?
Yes, it seems we will!  Hopefully we all don't die as a result.  Prayers would be appreciated.


And the MOST frequently asked question?
Will you go on House Hunters International?
Ha!  No.  For one thing, we're going to be shopping for rental houses/apartments (flats?) in just a couple of weeks.  For another thing, we're sure we'd look like idiots in front of a camera and would prefer to avoid that embarrassment.

However, I'll try and do a little something for this here blog if I'm able.  Remember this?

We're beyond thrilled for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and work abroad.  We're also a mix of nervous, overwhelmed, excited, concerned, and in a state of shock.  Let's just say our minds are spinning with all kinds of details.  We'll miss our friends and family and US grocery shopping and Pei Wei and our church and our house and knowing what to expect.  We're anticipating some bumps in the road, some loneliness, and some longing for the American way of doing things.  But on the flip side we'll get to explore a new city, more easily travel around the UK and the rest of Europe, and try out a new culture.  Not to mention loading up the kids for a trip the British Museum for a morning.  Or grabbing a bite to eat in a gastropub that overlooks the Thames.  Or taking a weekend trip to see castles in Wales.

In general we're pretty much geeked.  Thank you, Jesus, for this amazing blessing!

Flipping through our new Living Abroad in London guidebook today, I came across this quote, which is how I'll end for today:

You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London.  No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

-Samuel Johnson, 1777

Sign us up. 


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cape Cod Vacation

140-1 Looking for a great summer destination?  Get thee to Cape Cod.

We met up with Josh's parents in Boston, and rented a little two bedroom place on the water halfway down the Cape.  Perfection!
With the Cape you'll find picturesque islands, cute towns, fantastic beaches, and delicious seafood.  And then if you want to enjoy a day or two exploring a big city, Boston is super close. 

And what's not fun about Martha's Vineyard?

Ferry ride?  Check.

Good food, beautiful water views, sandy beaches?  Check, check, check.

Gingerbread cottages?  Yes indeedy.

Bike rentals?   Yes as well.  Although why has no one ever mentioned that bike riding while pulling a small child in a Burley trailer is HARD WORK?  We had to take turns with that bike, and almost died riding back to the bike shop.  This one, on the other hand, took a nice nap.

We were on the Cape for a week, and did all kinds of local/touristy activities.

Beach walking (despite the chilly weather.)

Lighthouse viewing.

Lobster and clam chowder eating.

Mini-golf playing.

More eating.  Well.

And driving down to Newport, RI, and exploring some crazy/elaborate/over-the-top mansions from the turn of the century "Gilded Age."

At the end of the trip, we did some Boston sight-seeing.

We had to hop on this donkey (in front of Old City Hall) because that's exactly what we did on our 2004 Boston trip.

2012: Married for almost 7 years, one toddler in tow, one baby on the way...

2004: In college, still dating, on vacation with my parents.  Don't we look like kids? That's because we were!

In closing, I'll leave you with my favorite "let's get a group shot" pic. This particular group shot happened to include a tired toddler. Classic. 496

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Swim Lessons

A few friends and I decided a few weeks ago to forgo "official" baby swim lessons (to the tune of $8-$10 dollars per class) and hold our own at the apartment pool where one of our friends lives.

If baby swim lessons consist of...

1. McDonald's Drive Through,
2. Babies stealing each others food and toys and digging through our bags,
3. My muumuu maternity bathing suit,
4. Plopping the kids in floaties for a solid 45 minutes while the adults chat and swim and take pictures...

Then I think we've met our objective. Untitled
If official swim lessons include more than that, I don't think we'd be interested.
Our poolside morning was way too much fun.
What more could you ask for during the dog days of summer?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Surprise, surprise.

I sat there, and couldn't believe my eyes.

Um, excuse me?  

Two pink lines?  


Ahem.  Yes.  Two lines again.

Which means that we are, in fact, having another baby!  Josh was immediately thrilled.  Love him.  After the initial shock and deer-in-the-headlights feeling wore off, I got there, too.  It's amazing.  A true blessing.  A lot of excitement.  Some jitters and a daily intake of a large vitamin.

Oh, and an expanding waistline.

Majorly expanding.  As in, I'm 12 weeks along and yesterday a neighbor driving by stopped her car, turned it around, drove back to us, and rolled down her window to ask if I was pregnant.

You know you're showing when...

That Happens.

But six+ more months of elastic waist pants?  What's not to like?

We're due in mid-December.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.