Thursday, April 19, 2012

Official News

Most of you may know, but to make it "blog official"...


It is true.  Jarod got accepted at the University of Rochester for his PhD studies!  Yes, so exciting!  Can you imagine, "Dr. Sickler"?!  Crazy!  

We got the offer from Rochester mid-February, and we needed to officially make our decision by April 16th.  We were thrilled.  The offer includes full tuition coverage and a full stipend!  We decided to wait and see if any other offers would come from his 11 other applications before making our decision.  We heard several no's, a few wait-listed, and two other yes's.  We got an offer from Calgary, Canada.  It too was full tuition coverage and a stipend.  And just today, we got an offer from the University of Nebraska.  We felt so blessed to even have choices between schools.  

Two weeks ago today, Jarod and I were able to go out for a long lunch (thanks, Mom for watching the baby!) and lay everything on the table about our decisions.  What a "date" that was.. (next time, it'll be dinner and a brain-less movie, I'm tellin' ya).  But after discussing, discussing, cussing, discussing, discussing and cussing a little more, we chose to take the offer in New York.  

It was a tough decision for me emotionally.  We had applied at schools that were nearer to our families in the midwest, but didn't get accepted.  Being near family was important to me for the sake of Charlie Ann.  So we even debated about Jarod refusing all offers and taking some job in the Midwest for the sole reason of family.  But, the more we discussed it, we both new we had to come back to big picture.  We had moved to LA in order for Jarod to improve his probabilities of being accepted for PhD work (through graduate studies here) and we needed to be faithful to walk through the doors that the Lord had opened for us.  And for me, it was okay to grieve the loss of a dream of Charlie Ann growing up close to extended family.  We will be in New York for five years, so it is not forever.  But post PhD, Jarod will be applying for teaching positions, so once again, we will be somewhere else in this great United States.  

Until then, I am soaking up my southern California sun and warmth and not really thinking about living in the north east.  Ha, I guess I am still in denial!  However, reality is fast approaching.  Our move out date is June 8th, 6 weeks from now!  I better get with it.  



I can't believe my little baby is five moths old!  How did that happen?!  Just the other day, I was dressing her on the bed and tickling her belly and for one instant, she looked SO GROWN UP.  Not like an elementary kid, but like a big baby.  She totally lost her tiny baby look to me.  Now, this may not make sense to anyone, but she seriously looked like she would just roll over, climb off the bed and toddle away.  Phew, thank goodness that's not happening.. BUT, she sure looks older to me these days.  

So a little recap of her last month:

Charlie Ann is ALL about her play mat.  I've started propping her belly down in the boppy so she can be eye level with the toys..  Or sitting her in the boppy so she reach more of the hanging animals.  It's fun.  She likes it.

Charlie Ann had her second round of shots with the best pediatrician ever!  So at 19 weeks, she was 25 inches long and an ounce shy of 12 pounds.  She went from 3% in weight to the 10%!  Our doctor was pleased (phew) and she gave us GREAT tips on improving nursing.  

Also in the fourth month, she got her first cold!  Miserable.  I was a little disappointed because I had heard if you exclusively breast feed, your child probably won't get sick 'til much older.  Whelp, didn't work in our case.  So here is my little sicko.  

Her cold lasted one whole week.  During that time, Jarod flew to New York for four days.  I was so stressed out to be with a sick child for the first time and take care of Taiga... BUT, the Lord took care of me!  My sweet friend, Lani, invited me to come to San Diego for those four days with her to stay at her in-laws place while her husband was out of town at the same time.  PERFECT!  Those four days were the best days since coming back to Cali after Christmas.  God knew I needed that r & r and He made a way.  This is a picture of Lani's daughter, Nan (2 yrs), "reading" to Charlie Ann.  (Oh, and Lani owns Margot, which is Taiga's best friend--both dogs had a great time playing in the in-laws backyard-- thank goodness for a leash-free weekend!!!)

In San Diego, Charlie Ann rolled over for the FIRST TIME!  A photo right after the momentous occasion:

This month I started a Beth Moore Bible Study on the fruit of the Spirit.  It is a big commitment, but so worthwhile.  Here she is in her stroller while I am is going over the homework with the other girls.  You are a cutie if I must say so.

Here are some sweet and silly photos of Charlie Ann on the bed the morning my mom was arriving from Missouri.  We were so excited for her to come and looking for her already.

It was SO GREAT having Grandma here for two whole weeks!  We did lots of walks and playtime.  A few highlights with Grandma here was a trip to Idyllwild for the day.  So fun hiking and shopping and relaxing at the coffee shop.  

Another fabulous part of Grandma's time here was our trip to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks (see previous post).  No picture, but as we were hiking out of the Sequoia, I got Charlie Ann to laugh!  That was definitely momentous.  As thrilled as we were about the views and the big trees, Charlie Ann was just as excited about the fruit she got to play with at the hotel's breakfast.  

We also went shopping at IKEA.   She loved it, look at that face!

The last fun thing we did with Grandma in town was to take the Surfliner Train (Amtrak) to San Diego.  Charlie Ann did great and was (for the most part) an agreeable little traveler! 

In San Diego, she heard your first mariachi band and were so intrigued.  It was SUPER CUTE.  

Charlie Ann napped with Grandma in Old Towne, San Diego during a little rainy spell while I got a Chai.  Again, I say, kind of a cutie.

In other news, you still pretty much wear the same things you have been wearing the last five months (0-3 mon onesies, 6 mon pants, 9 mon sleepers).  Haha.  You are long, but just so so skinny.  You are definitely in a size 2 diaper, although a few of the brands are still a little "tall" on you.  Your demeanor is happy; you smile and every now and then, grace us with a little chuckle.  I am noticing how social you are.  You are beginning to prefer Mom and Dad to napping.  Nap time is becoming more difficult, so get ready, sleep training is fast approaching!  This has been a fun month.  You are a sweet girl and you make Mom and Dad proud.   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet Gift

I received a gift last nite. It's not my birthday. It's not my anniversary. No milestone to be celebrated. It was a just because gift. And I LOVE it. But the best part was the endearing note attached, "Brooke- Being a mommy is hard. The only way to get through it is with lots of presents." So funny, yet so true! Thank you Stephani for thinking of me!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Yosemite & Sequoia National Parks

I can't spend enough time in this place.  I literally spend the hours there just soaking it all in... and I am always left wanting.  I guess thats why this is our 3rd trip to the Valley.  And this trip, we introduced two new people to Yosemite National Park- my Mom and Charlie Ann.  My mom was brought to tears coming through tunnel on the southern entrance and Charlie Ann, well she came to tears multiple times throughout the trip.

Family Photo - The Valley Overlook

Three Generations of Girls

Jarod introducing Charlie Ann to the Captain.

So she was a little pouty...

Mom relaxing in the meadow.

Coming down from hiking up to Bridal Veil Falls..  She likes the water.

Then we visited the GIANT FOREST in Sequoia National Park.

Family Photo

So we look a little tired.  Haha.

Biggest Tree. Ever.