Wow! I can’t believe that I just recapped a year of our life in 18 posts… Hopefully THAT will never happen again. Anyways, now that we’re caught up I think it’s best to end this year in review with our little man’s 1 year birthday party. When I look back over the past year it’s hard to imagine that a year has gone by but as I comb through these posts I can see that a lot has happened in our lives. God has been SO good to both Amanda and I and we can’t even begin t thank Him for all that he has allowed us to be stewards over. Tonight as I finish this post our home is quiet. Jonathan sleeping while periodically kicking the side of his crib (our only guess is that it’s just a twitch), our Molly is once again barking in her sleep (I’d like to know what it is that she dreams about since she is partially blind), and Amanda is out cold resting that brilliant mind of hers before a new week of challenges in which she will no doubt swoop in like the Jedi that she is and once again leave the marketing industry in awe.
As much as we love our little man, sometimes it’s good for just Amanda and I to get away too. When we were living in Wisconsin we established irreplaceable friendships with families who took a chance on a couple of newlyweds who immigrated north after a job promotion. Needless to say one of the hardest parts of leaving Madison was saying goodbye to those families and wondering if we’d ever find that again.
Our Madison (Verona) friends to this day are still irreplaceable, but we have been SUPREMELY blessed to find a new community of friends who we can not only find love and find support in but also take vacations with and laugh at each other’s quarks. Thus, this past month we took an adults only vacation with our small group to Lake Tahoe for an extended weekend. Since the trip comprised of the Aupperlees, the Roarks, and the Coxs, we named our trip the” AuRoCo Vacay” (#aurocovacay2015). It was more fun than a blog can describe and we are already looking forward to our next adults only vacation with them! Eric even had a chance to catch up with a friend from church who now lives there with his wife and their two beautiful little girls.
One of our first adventures at the very beginning of summer break was a trip to Ohio to see Nana and Papaw Roark. While we were there Jonathan got to see his Cincinnati Reds play the San Diego Padres. The Reds ended up blowing a 7 run lead and lost 9-7 that day but the real excitement was in Machine Room; a restaurant within the ballpark. It was there that he and daddy shared in the moment (along with about 250 other patrons in the restaurant) the first Triple Crown victory in both of their lifetimes. The atmosphere was the most exciting thing that either of them had experienced as people were jumping up and down cheering American Pharaoh on to victory! We were hugging complete strangers and some people were even crying. Needless to say Jonathan was a little freaked out by all of the excitement in the restaurant and mom was none too happy with daddy who seemed to think that his own jumping up and down (while holding Jonathan in the Infantito) and cheering was all a part of the memorable experience for Jonathan. Dad was put in time out and sent out of the restaurant immediately following but had a hard time leaving because he was drunk with excitement.
While we were there Eric also got to watch his brother race in the Little Miami Triathalon. Having grown up alongside the Little Miami River in Ohio it was great to be a part of river culture again if only for a few hours on a Sunday morning. Overall Josh did really well and is already looking forward to his next race once he and Courtney have number two which is due in October. Eric on the other hand is trying to figure out how he can safely get his bike to Ohio next summer to take part in the race… I’m sure he’ll figure it out.
In addition to fighting off the West Nile within our home, Jonathan turned eleven months old at the end of June and Eric went into summer break mode which meant that daddy daycare went into full swing! Within his first week he was already considering way to become a stay at home dad. Needless to say, his decision to get his master’s degree in applied linguistics two years earlier put a quick end to that discussion. Either way, he has loved every moment of being at home with Jonathan this summer. In addition to this, he has had to learn how to knock out his to-do list in two hour increments while Jonathan sleeps. The yard looks like something out of a magazine and Lowe’s has become one of their favorite places to visit (along with the Goodwill) They have taken adventures to Sea Life, Good Records, The Tubes at IBC (church), lunch dates with mom, pool parties, coffee breaks with Papaw Sawyer, and numerous other places.
Video 3 -Jonathan’s House
With the rain of May being what it was, the bugs of June (particularly the mosquitoes) became a brief issue until Amanda had a stroke of genius! It is evident that my influence of practical problem solving issues have rubbed off on her and I couldn’t be more proud
When I moved to Texas in 2007 one thing I remember is that the state had had an exceptionally wet summer and that a lot of the parks that were close to the lakes were underwater. Since that time it seemed that the state had steadily become more and more dry to the point that water restrictions were a norm for the majority of the state.
The month of May more than changed all of that and by the time that the rain had ended, the majority of the lakes were once again over capacity leaving people like me (who take full advantage of the running trails) limited to the streets .It also meant that some of the stops on my train (that I rely on to get to and from work) were flooded and therefore closed. One stat said that enough rain fell in the month of May to completely fill Lake Tahoe. This stat would mean very little to us until July when we’d go there for vacation with some friends in our small group.
As May rolled around Jonathan has become much more mobile and talkative. While he was not able to mutter a “Happy Mother’s Day” to his mommy, his love for her is unfathomable. I have always heard that there is a special connection between a little boy and his mom, but having experienced his constant draw to her first hand I can vouch that the bond is uniquely theirs. It makes me so happy to see the way that Amanda can fix things when I can’t… she seems to be really good at that as she can also fix my own things when I can’t. Sometimes we find ourselves busy just doing life beside each other but at the end of the day when we’re home together I look at everything that God has given us and my heart overflows with happiness. I’m truly blessed beyond all measure to be a steward of the lives within my own life.
One of the great things about the spring in Texas is that open fields are covered with blue bonnets. Being that it was his first time to experience the spring, we thought it would be fitting to find a nearby field and let him take in the color. I (Eric) have always heard that picking blue bonnets is frowned upon, but I have never heard any disgraceful remarks made regarding eating them… apparently Jonathan hadn’t either.
In addition to blue bonnets, the parks are filled with neighbors who have been cooped up inside and eager to get out (including us). It was on one of these ventures that Jonathan discovered his love for swinging. His mantra being “the higher the better” It was a great discovery for him to make as he turned eighth months old.
Towards the end of the month a band that we started following while living in Madison (Phox) stopped in Dallas on their self-titled album tour. We are no strangers to the concert scene but for some reason we had neglected to consider that the show starting at 9:00 meant that there would be two opening acts. Needless to say getting home at 1:00 on a work night meant that the next day was a worthwhile struggle
March brought an interesting month of late winter snow storms and weekend vacays to Wisconsin to visit our dear friends Ryan, Julie, and their precious kids (although Eric had to stay for the remainder of the week for a training). The boys spent Spring Break partying at the house, getting our garden started, and brewing a batch of root beer (because everybody knows that it wouldn’t be spring break without some sort of beer J).
There’s no smell like that Wisconsin dairy air
Holy Six Months Batman!!! February 29th marked Jonathan’s half year party… to celebrate we spent part of our morning with his photographer Alysse Renee who somehow manages to magnify his cuteness to unimaginable levels. We have been so fortunate to have found her and to continually rely on her to for these landmark moments in his life.