7.27.2010

A Skype Happy Birthday

Nathanael and Dad skyped with Granddaddy and Grandmom to say "Happy Birthday" to Granddaddy. I think all thoroughly enjoyed the time to connect.

7.22.2010

Dear Nathanael (3 months)

My dearest Nathanael,

Today you are three months old! Today, as every day, I praise God for your life. My son, God is the Source of all life, and He sustains you every moment of every day. I thank Him for creating you, forming you in my womb, bringing you into my arms, and enabling you to grow into the little baby boy you are today.

This month has been such an important month for you! You continue to trek in the high percentiles for your age, weighing in at 15 pounds and a very long 25 inches in length! In fact, a couple weeks ago, we had to break out the 6-9 month clothes because the 3-6 month onesies weren't long enough for you. (Your happy belly gets in the way as well!)

You proved yourself to be a great traveler this month, wowing all with your airplane etiquette and handling a day trip to Great Grandma Gimple's quite well. You have visited many new places and met new people, including your Grandpa's family in southern Kansas, WalMart (you love the bright lights), Mommy's long-time friends at Twelfth Avenue Baptist Church (you are still enthralled by the music), Evan and Audrey Eusey's home, and even Mommy's childhood Peter Pan Park.

You have dealt so well with all of the change we have undergone in the past month. Our home in Boston was in complete disarray as we packed, we lived with friends (our beloved Cioffis) for four days, and we moved in with your grandparents (your own room!) and resettled our lives in Kansas. You took a lot of bottles and were held a lot during those transitional weeks, either in the sling or bjorn while Mommy packed or in the arms of Grandma or Auntie Angie. We are so thankful for how well you have adapted to everything!

You have such a pleasant demeanor, Nathanael. Unless you are tired (and then anything is game), you give out smiles generously. You LOVE to talk and have become quite the loud vocalist in the last week, even carrying on "conversations" with us at times. You let out a small giggle frequently and have squealed a few times. Grandpa taught you how to stick out your tongue, and you love to show us you can still do it (even though Grandpa is now trying to un-teach you that one in fear of future repercussions).

You are awake for longer periods now, and your favorite wake-time activities are standing, talking, and kicking. (Daddy said I should add regurgitating to the list, and it's true that you do that more than anything else!) Here are some other things I want to tell you about this month: standing while we hold your hands, following people with your eyes and head, fascination with ceiling fans, holding a rattle, reaching for and grabbing an object (Mr. Monster), sucking your thumb, napping swaddle-free (sometimes), discovering your hands, your eyelashes growing long and thick like Daddy's, and grasping more frequently and tightly.

And finally, to show that you're a big three-month old, you slept eight and a half hours straight last night for the first time!!! You had been making it nine hours between feedings at night for over a week, but you finally slept through the night without needing me to come in and comfort you at any point. We're so proud of you (and thankful to have a longer stretch of sleep)!

You are a true gift from God, Nathanael. Happy three-month birthday!

Lovingly,
your daddy and mommy

Nathanael Alim - 3 month old
And a few outtakes...
(notice the always-in-motion hand)
(Note that Mr. Bear is a little squished since Nathanael's pushing with his legs)

7.17.2010

Auntie Love


Two beautiful sisters and one handsome little boy...

7.16.2010

An Interview with Kim: Our Move

In an attempt to let you all know about our recent move to Kansas, I am copying an idea from a friend's blog -- an interview with myself.

So Kim, tell us why your family moved.

K: Well, that actually goes back a year and a half to our March 2009 trip to Istanbul. Greg was about to graduate from seminary, and we thought we were headed towards a PhD program in the UK. But after visiting Istanbul again, we started considering returning there instead. In June 2009, Greg decided to apply for a job there; it seemed quite likely that we'd be able to move to Istanbul in the summer or autumn of 2010. But in December, we found out that the non-profit to which he was applying was having some major fiscal issues, and they would not have funding for Greg's position for at least two years. We were so disappointed! And at that point, we were only four months from our son's birth. Thus, Greg began looking for a full-time job. We were greatly appreciative of the part-time job he had through seminary (leading the music and worship services at our church in Cambridge), but we knew it was time for a change. With the addition of our son to the family, we knew we weren't to continue our seminary lifestyle (Kim working full-time and Greg working part-time in a job that wasn't meant to be a long-term position for him). So when our apartment lease's end came (end of June) and we had no major breakthroughs in the job search, it was time to make a change.

Why Kansas?

K: My parents live in Emporia, Kansas. We're actually living with them temporarily. They are blessed to have a large home with space for the three of us to move in and spread out without taking over. (Well, sometimes I think Nathanael's stuff has taken over the house, but my mother claims she likes seeing his toys around.) The decision to move here was mostly a financial one. Boston is an expensive place to live while looking for a job; Kansas, and particularly with family, is much more economical for us. Other than finances though, it is a huge blessing to have my parents' help with Nathanael, and they love getting to spend these first few months of his life with him.

What type of job is Greg seeking?


K: Greg is a gifted teacher/trainer/equipper, so ultimately, he is looking for a position which will enable him to use those skills. Additionally, he has a high need for relational components as opposed to mostly task-specific responsibilities. How that plays out and in what type of organization could take many shapes. A couple more obvious options are (1) an associate pastoral role in a church, focused on discipleship and spiritual formation or (2) a Bible teacher at an academic institution.

In what locations are you looking?

K: I have to be honest; our hearts are still in New England. We went there for Greg's studies, but we also felt God's calling to the area beyond his schooling. We love the place and people and would be delighted to return. That said, we will always have our eyes on possibilities abroad; it's simply who we are. And we tend to be drawn towards coastal cities. Finally though, and most importantly, we do acknowledge that we have no idea where God will take us and that wherever that place is, it is the best place for us. Even if it's [insert less desirable location here]. :)

And what about you? Will you be looking for work as well?

K: Good question. I guess it depends on when and how and where everything comes together for us. For now, I am absolutely loving the time I have to simply be Nathanael's mother. He is changing so fast that I would be missing so much if I were working right now. At some point though, I would love to work again on a part-time basis. Quite a few years ago, I got my TEFL/TESL certification and would love to use that, maybe teach a class or two a week. But it would have to be just the right situation to take me away from Greg and Nathanael. We shall see. It may also be the case that I'll need to work part-time to help support the family, depending on where God takes us next. If Greg is working at a church, I would love to have the freedom to engage in a significant amount of hospitality and discipleship, especially with other young mothers, women, and couples.

How have your first couple weeks been living in Kansas?

K: Okay, I must preface this with my current circumstance; I'm sitting in my mom's large kitchen beside a sheet of fresh-from-the-oven big soft ginger cookies. My almost three-month old is sleeping peacefully against my chest, and my husband (who is actually sick right now) is napping on the couch. Doesn't all of that sound wonderful (other than the sick husband part)? So of course, right now, I'm going to say that it's going well.

There are definitely moments when we struggle with how humbling it is to be "living with the parents" in our culture. And though Kansas is a great place (hey, I grew up here), it's not really where or how we envisioned raising our family. We do know this is temporary though, and knowing that helps us on the days when we wonder what we're doing. We do have those days!

On the other side, it's wonderful to have the support of my parents right now. It's nice to share household tasks with my mother. It's amazing to watch Nathanael with his grandparents. It's special to be so near to relatives and be able to introduce them to our son. It's fun to be here to experience some of the traditions in which I was raised. And my parents' church is great; the people are supportive and engaging. We are thankful for all of this.

But we deeply miss our friends and family in Boston...

Saying goodbye at church

One last photo opp with our family
Our moving party in Boston (some of them)
Post-moving-party goodbye with the Fays
I wanted to post some pictures with our community group, but I don't have them yet. So those will come later.

7.04.2010

Talent

Stowaway

A stowaway in the cargo-hold
Thanks, Nick and Deb. Nicely done, you pranksters!