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Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Day...Great Friends. Great Time.

For Thanksgiving we were invited to our good friends', Ben and Carrie, house. It was a fun day as we joined our other friends Luke and Erin and Laura and Sean (all from church) for a thanksgiving spread full of good eats and great times!

Ben and Carrie working on the stuffing and turkey (gravy too?). It was their first turkey and they did great!
Laura and Erin (holding Susie)...
They had a slide out back and it was fast--so fast!!!
as you can see from the pictures with the blurrs!

Ella-Bella is Luke and Erin's youngest daughter...what a cutie!

Carrie holding Susie...she's definitely a surrogate auntie:)
The kids table...JJ has his pick, eh?
Kate and Shelby decided to play dress-up while we were waiting to eat!

"Romeo, Oh Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?"

"Don't worry, I'm comin' for ya!"
Notice the fast slide again...JJ's quite the blurr!
Shelby (Ben and Carrie's daughter) prefers to do everything with a bouquet of flowers:)
"Happy Thanksgiving everyone..."
"Little Turkey" do you see?
it wasn't the most feminine outfit...
Our first official attempt at a family pic...what do you think?
JJ wanted no part of the flowery bathtub...but the girls were lovin' it...
JJ was graced with a couple of stickers though!
Erin wants you to know that no alcohol was consumed that day, but there was one-too-many diet cokes!

Friday, November 27, 2009

In the meantime...

Hello dear faithful friends...I have many great pics to upload, edit and post...we had a beautiful thanksgiving and I hope you all did too! It's hard to be away for these days, but we so love and embrace the "family" God has given us through so many wonderful, likewise displaced friends who become family for one another...

In the meantime, check out my friend Julie's Blog as this post highlights our visit with her. She is my dear friend from Hungary and has a great blog: "My Life With Boys" (see sidebar). She was in Orlando for a Disney visit with her Dad and his family and her two boys. It was so great to see her!

So...check it out!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Susanne Elizabeth Alleman--2 months old

I had her 2 month doctor's appointment yesterday. Here are the vitals:

weight: 14 lbs. 10 oz.
length: 24 and 1/4 inches
(both off the chart and her head is 90%. I'd be a little worried if it were off the charts:)

Look at those cheeks...they were too big for the camera screen and got cut off;)

I love how you can really see how blue her eyes are here--they are bluer than JJ's ever were. When she was born, the nurses said, "she has blue they're going to stay blue!" I have to agree!

Glad to Be Blogging again...Crossroads Reflection

I've been looking forward to the chance to reflect on the past couple of weeks since I last got to blog. (several new posts of the kids follow this one!)

It seems to be a crossroads of sorts for a good way. Here's how:

  • I am feeling really myself and physically 100% again.
  • The scope of the ministry of now having two kids is setting in and molding me (us).
  • The amazing and so easily consuming aspects of ministry in a new school (UHS-update several posts below) are hitting Jared and therefore us.
  • The need to work through and embrace what fills my days with 2 kids as opposed to the aspects of ministry outside of the home I used to engage in much more so.
  • The reality of how easy it is to lose touch as a couple simply juggling extra demands.
So, where am I at in this crossroads? Well, quite providentially, Jared had to be away for the better part of 5 days and, surprisingly?, the pressing need to reflect upon what's listed above really caught my attention.
Sort of ironic, or surprising? I think it was that stretching that makes it so apparent that you cannot proceed--at least not well--in your own strength that brought me into deeper communion with the Lord in those days. Isn't God so good? Some days I was up with one at 5am and put the other down at 11pm. There were no extended quiet times (even past 5 minutes of "My Utmost For His Highest"!). But, in His supreme goodness, the Lord met me and taught me and reminded me of a great deal that I share mostly for myself, but perhaps there's some encouragement for you:)

I again was reminded of how easy it is to "demand" of a servant-hearted husband. Be selfish in my fatigue and only think of my needs--I am repenting of this and asking the Lord to give me the firm resolve to serve Jared in the ways I know he needs to be healthy himself. We are on the front lines in seeing young people be brought from darkness to light and the Enemy doesn't like it. My husband needs the space to commune with God as he faces spiritual attack daily because of what he does and as he seeks to exercise headship with a strong-willed, opinionated and too easily domineering wife. (I am NOT being too hard on myself here!)

I learned much of the sweetness of these days. To be able to run up and down the basketball court with JJ--I love having a boy! To talk to sweet, little cooing baby Susie and see the light in her eyes for her mama. To laugh with my son and shower kisses and hugs that he continues to eagerly snatch up. To have them both here and healthy and BE THANKFUL for that gift. I remember how tired I was as a teacher--hoping I was planting seeds, but working with tough terrain that had been so poorly treated for so many years. I am that kind of tired in the busiest of these days, but I see instantaneous rewards and am able to start with new soil and by God's grace, nurture it well.

I allowed the Lord to show me how my heart has become detached from what we do with high school students, by not experiencing it firsthand. In seeing this, I was reminded how quickly I could become embittered for the ways my husband is called away as he lives out this calling upon our lives. And, in turn, this has caused me to raise up a cry to have Him lead my heart and provide ways to re-connect with the ministry--to revive my heart in what we do. I note the "wisdom of the years" that holds me back from jumping into vast needs in the ministry, not willing to see the home be sacrificed, but yet, knowing and believing our faithful God wants to grant a lifeline that stokes the passion for what we do--fueling intercession and inspiring encouragement for my husband.

Isn't the Lord so good to us?? I read the following verses as a part of a courtship narrative at my friend Cindy's wedding and they often strike a chord in my heart in times of reflection:

"Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you...
How can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD."
Psalm 116: 7, 12-13

Big Boy JJ

It seemed to both Jared and I that so much changed with both kids while he was away only a few days...another reminder of how quickly these little years go...
One change I made while Jared was away was to pack up the high chair (which will re-emerge with Susie in a few months) and introduce JJ to the BIG BOY chair. He loves his high chair, particularly lounging back (he's been very hard on it--a sign of things to come!), so I didn't know, but since he is all about being a BIG BOY, it went fine:)

It seems like he's grown years in just a few weeks with several of our friends here who see him regularly saying he seems inches taller and he's lost his belly! Oh my! I still have some giggly in the cheeks, but it's diminishing:( I joke about how I mourned his high school graduation the day he was born, but it is so true...and yet I find that I am needing to press through and embrace the essentials of his need to grow and inborn desire to do so. I also feel the need to take good hard looks at the detriments of babying him, even while giving into my heart to cuddle him close often. As my sister says, "parenting isn't for wimps", and honestly, this is the most challenging element for me--more than middle-of-the-night feedings, changing poopy diapers,'s the letting go that will undoubtedly mark every stage...and I am indeed learning to embrace it for all that it is teaching me of the parent heart of our God.
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My little helper...

While Jared was away, to pass the time, we swept up acorns?--I'm not sure what they are, but we have alot of them.
Last Saturday was incredibly gorgeous--actually the whole time Jared was gone was very nice weather--what a gift!!
JJ loves to watch mommy "'eep" and we kept making BIG piles so that he could help by putting them in the bucket.

In these two collages you can see when we were working with putting the piles in his dump truck (like they do in Barney-Cleanup) and then dumping the dump truck in the bucket. But when he refused to "drive" his truck and picked it up by the "dump" part effectively dumping everything along the driveway, refusing to let me show him, we went to just taking the pile from the dust pan to the bucket.

You can see the whole process a couple of times here and how much of the pile gets transferred to the truck;)...
Til we were done, he let me 'eep into the dust pan and got really good at transferring to the bucket...
seriously, my sweet, determined little helper:)

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SV Baby

JJ got one of these bibs in blue after he was born and here is Susie in her pink one:)
(for those of you who don't know SV, with this symbol, is the logo for Student Venture--the ministry to high school students that we are privileged to give our lives to...)

She is definitely trying to get her thumb...I feel pretty certain she will suck her thumb or one/two of her fingers:)

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Our chubby lady bug

Recently it's been hard to not have our little girl look all chub in photos and the cheeks overtaking everything...I will find photos of JJ with similar chubs and pair them's really making me laugh how everyone down here is saying that Susie looks alot like her brother and they didn't even know him as that chubby baby.

I think we can say this is a smile caught on camera, right?

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Baby Susie...What a Smushy!

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"The Breakers"...Ministry Update

I don't think I've shared on the blog yet that we were re-assigned to a new high school--University High School (UHS) shortly after Susie was born. It has been an incredible blessing to get plugged into the ministry there. Jared is a part of a team and we have been hosting a Bible Study on Monday nights for football players that Scott, the SV team leader at UHS, connected with when he did an outreach with the freshman football team a couple of years back.

Another great ministry opportunity there involves "the Breakers" which is the breakdance club at the school. Jared has been working with one of the college volunteers, Alex, who first connected with the group last year. There was an outreach shortly after we joined the team and Jared was able to be with Alex in the follow-up of some of the students. One student, John, prayed with Jared and Alex to receive Christ! He just attended the fall retreat last Saturday and Sunday along with 14 other University guys, Jared, Scott and Alex.

(As I write this, do you notice what is lacking in the ministry at UHS?? Girls being reached and discipled and women to lead them! I carry this burden in my heart, knowing that it must be measured with my primary calling in the home, but as I survey the ripe harvest of young people at UHS, my heart aches to see young women be reached as well! Pray for workers for this harvest!)

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