Friday, December 18, 2009

Transparency

While I know that mostly this blog is a way to keep everyone updated on how we are doing in NH and how big the boys are getting. But from time to time I will also have to spend a moment being transparent.

Last October, many of our close friends began praying with us over Chris's decision to pursue a job in NH and over our attempts at having another baby. At the time, we knew that both of these would bless our family in a way that we did not even know yet. We prayed and waited and within weeks of each other we were blessed with the wonderful news that we were having a baby and that baby would be born far from where we currently were living. Many of you watched as we started going through this scary process of preparing for both happenings and prayed over us for God's blessing and direction.

So now it is almost exactly one year from the time that we sat in the Duty's Hope Group and asked for prayer over these specific choices. And now we are here, somewhere we never really believed we would be.

Now comes the transparency. Many things had to change and choices had to be prayerfully considered in order for us to be here. We knew that my new job would be to stay home and care for our little one, as well as our home. We knew that Christopher would best thrive and be challenged in a private school, and that choice would cause us to make other sacrifices. We knew that God had asked us to come here as a mission and put Chris on a campus where he would have to be a light in a dark place.

All of this would require more faith of us than we had ever really had before. Before, we were able to live and just be a light along with a whole lot of other lights. Before, if things were not going right, we had innumerable options for help around every corner. Before this, exhibiting our faith took very little for us, because all of that made life somewhat easier. And then there is now.

Now, being a Christian in a place where there are so few is challenging. Now, the sacrifices we were so sure we had been called to make seem hard and frustrating. And so many other things that I would have never questioned, are becoming the only questions I have. I have now begun to doubt every decision that has led us here, to where we now are; so far from home with a new baby and a growing son.

Doubt, I am learning is one of those things that all of us are afflicted with as believers. The enemy loves to use that 5 letter word to make us question all that we know to be true. It is also one of those things that no one wants to talk about. It seems easier to talk about our other more obvious sins and how we need prayer for them or how are are conquering them; but this sin is one so many of us suffer in silence. No one, especially me, wants to admit that doubt is a daily part of our lives. But I have learned that by not admitting it is there, it has permeated every little detail of my life.

I say all this only to be 100% honest with all of you who came along side us during this difficult year of change. I ask for continued prayer in this area. I don't think I would have even admitted this was an issue if my sweet mother in law had not first sent me a devotional that just reminded me that I am not alone in this area. Why do we, as believers, sometimes think it is best to suffer our sins alone instead of going to the Body and asking for help. So, now I am asking, now knowing that I have never been alone in this.

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our First Snow


It finally happened. 3 days after Texas, but we finally got our first snow! It was beautiful!

The snow came all day on Saturday and into the night. Of course, we had no idea what all is involved in preparing for this, so we did not have enough cold weather gear. But we made do. Here are a few pictures of our winter wonderland that surrounds our house. Round 2 is headed our way tomorrow!

The view from our bedroom deck into the backyard.

Snowball fight!
Snow angel

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A New Thanksgiving


We did it!

For the very first time, the Harrist family cooked and ate Thanksgiving, just the 3 of us!

Together, we made the turkey.
Together we mixed the dressing.
Together we mashed potatoes.
Together we made the cake.

We made this meal in a way that has become a way of life for us recently in that everyone pitched in to make it wonderful and we had so much fun doing it. With this holiday, we continued making more new traditions in the Harrist family.

Since we have had so many ups and downs this year, we decided to talk about what we are thankful for while eating dinner. Too many times, when we are frustrated or lost in a situation, we begin to dwell on that thing, and forget that we are to give Him thanks in EVERYTHING.

We were all thankful for Aiden, for Chris's new job, for my "new" job and Christopher's school. We gave thanks for our new friends, old friends and our new church; thanks for our family in Texas and Colorado and for our many new adventures. Our biggest thanks was for all the trials and joys that the last year has brought us. It is through these situations that for the first time we have really begun to trust God in all ways. To be able to do that is has been an amazing thing for Chris and I and something I wish we had been able to experience a long time ago.

We have so much more to be thankful for, and we sat and listed things the whole time we ate.

Starting new traditions has been fun, and exciting. This is one that will stick around.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all! We are thankful for each of you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

2 months already!


This post is a little late, but we have passed the 2 month mark of having Aiden in our home. He has been such a joy and a blessing. We are still getting used to the fact that we are the parents of 2, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

In the past few weeks, he has learned to smile, talk and laugh a little. He has also grown out of some of his 3 month clothes! Aiden is putting on weight very well now, so we are no longer having to supplement with formula at feedings. He is sleeping great, and in his own bed (something we didn't think would ever happen after our Christopher experience!) We have even been told he'll start to sleep between 10-12 hours a night sometime in the next 6 weeks. So, fingers crossed for that one.

One of his favorite things to do is just lay and stare out the sky lights above the couch, or the windows in our room. The weather has been so up and down that we have not been able to be outside as much as we'd like, but we do what we can.

Aiden has been a joy to have in our home. Christopher still loves to help and make sure he is okay. Bubba has had a little cold lately, so he hasn't been able to help as much, which has made him not happy some days, but he knows we have to keep Aiden from being sick.

From the top of his auburn colored head to his Fred Flinstone feet, we have learned so much about love all over again with this new blessing. And watching Christopher learn to love Aiden so much has blessed Chris and I tremendously.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall "Fun"

Fall is one of those seasons that really does exist outside of Texas. We have enjoyed the weather, and the leaves (sorry, did not get good pictures of those), apple picking and Christopher even got to try apple cider for the first time. It has been too cold to take Aiden to the pumpkin patch, so I am looking forward to that next year.

Then came the best part of all. The fall chore. On Saturday, Chris and Christopher decided to do undertake round 1 of raking leaves. Our backyard has a huge semi-circle of trees surrounding it, so we had no shortage of the foliage lying on the ground. Thankfully, our homeowner's left us with the gift of aleaf blower. While, Chris manned that machine, Christopher grabbed a rake and worked right along side of him.

It took them about an hour and a half, but when they were done, it looked great. I loved watching the two of them working together and how much Christopher loves to help out.

Then, that night, we had huge wind gusts and lots of rain, and Sunday morning looked like nothing had been done. But, at least Christopher had fun! These pics do not adequately show the gigantic grin on his face as he dove in. But trust me, it was ear to ear!



Monday, November 2, 2009

Meet Dirk!

So, I always wanted to get a t-shirt that says "Dirk is my homeboy." But I finally got even better. I got to be "Dirk's Mom" for Halloween this year. I know, I don't look a bit German, and I am not tall but hey, it was fun!

Every year we are at a loss for Halloween costumes. We come up with good ideas, but because we are notoriously last minute for this day, can't seem to pull them together. This year was no different. But thankfully we had a great back up plan. Dirk Nowitzki! Great baller and team leader, and he's fair skinned and blonde haired, so no face paint or wigs needed (Christopher was adamant about no face paint).

Aiden's costume was easy. We knew that it would be cold, so it was hard to find something that would keep him warm and allow him to be safely strapped in the car seat. So this year, Aiden went as a sleeping baby. And he was great at it! He slept from the time we left the house until we got home after dinner. What a great character player!

We took the boys over to the Strawbery Banke Museum which is an historical museum that depicts how people lived in New England centuries ago. They had the grounds all decorated and historical "ghosts" at all the houses. We all had a great time and Christopher got to meet Ben Franklin's ghost in the very first house. The pictures are from the museum.

With all this for Halloween, I can't wait for their Holiday festivities!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Happy Halloween 2009
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Friday, October 16, 2009

One month of Aiden



Today Aiden is one month old. In that month, we have all gotten to know his cries and his faces. We have enjoyed so much of him!

Aiden has changed so much in just this short month. He is starting to really fill out those 0-3 month clothes! He has Chris's chin, my dimples. But hands down, we all agree that he looks just like Christopher did as a baby! We have taken lots of pictures with Aiden and all the family that has come to visit us (and we always have room for more visitors...)

Christopher adores Aiden. He makes sure to spend time with him everyday and takes his job as the big brother very seriously! It is so funny how he can be in his own world, then just stop to check on Aiden.

We have been blessed with help from family, and even meals from the MOPS group at church. I met the MOPS group 2 days before Aiden was born and they so lovingly provided my family with meals while we transitioned, knowing that we did not have family or many connections here. God is so GOOD!!!! He reminds me of that daily and my thankful list continues to grow.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Goodbye Big Belly ... Hello Big Baby!!

He has arrived!

(Sorry this took so long to get up; first day of non-zombie status!)

Aiden Zachary Harrist arrived on Friday morning at 6:50 am.

Being that nothing about this pregnancy was the same as it was with Christopher, Aiden decided to let his personality be known and chose when he would come into this world, rather than waiting for the surgeons to let him know! Maybe I finally have someone else in my house that has issues with always needing to be early. Hmm we'll see.

But on to the more important stuff. He weighed in at an hefty 9 lbs, 1 oz and has the chubbiest cheeks. He was 20 1/2 inches, only 1/2 inch shorter than Christopher. He won the hearts of our nurses very quickly and us as well.

Christopher adores his little brother and has already gotten very protective of him.

For now, enjoy the pictures! (and no judging the chubby, tired mommy look either. ;) )

Click to play this Smilebox photobook: Aiden's Birth day
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox photobook

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's in the air...

My fellow Texans.... I have a rumor that needs to be addressed here and now because, frankly I could not believe it myself.

That mythical season known around the world as "fall" or "autumn" does in fact exist. Not only does it exist, but it is marked not by the coming of football season and tailgate parties, but by actual weather change and the turning of leaves!

I know, it is shocking, and we were not prepared for it when it happened to us last week, but it is true, and it is beautiful!

We first noticed that the mornings were getting a bit cooler. Almost needed a jacket in the mornings. Then, one day, we noticed a tree that was no longer green by fiery red. Magnificent!

I will be posting a photo of our backyard, and as it changes colors, we will keep you updated with the progress of fall in our little slice of New England.

But, you know that this can't be a post just about a changing season; not with all the change going on in our lives right now.

Change has become almost an anthem in the Harrist household over the last year. First, I changed careers (actually started following what the Lord had called me to, what a blessing).

Then we found out we would be changing from a family of 3 to a family of 4. The last change was that we were going to be removing ourselves from Texas to New Hampshire. This was probably the biggest shocker of them all.

We have now completed one full month in New Hampshire and I must say it has gone much better than expected. We have explored some, and are finding our way around. We think we have found a church home as well.

Next comes the change to a family of 4. Since I survived the move to the north, I am now very much nervous for this one. It has been so long since there has been a baby around.

But the one thing that has been consistent thru all of this change has been trust. Not little trust, but big TRUST has been required of all of us in the Harrist household, even down to Christopher.

We have learned so much about TRUST and what it means to really rely on the Lord through all of this. He has shown us time and again that we cannot make it through these changes without Him right by our side.

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

Trust in the Lord with all of your heart... Proverbs 3:5

So many of you have been right beside us as we have sought His face during all of this, reminding us through it all that we must remain in Him and TRUST that He is in control. We have been daily reminded that there is nothing that is a surprise to Him. I remember that daily and am so thankful in His sovereignty.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Busy, busy weekend




We are really starting to find our way around our new home state. This weekend we did some more exploring for our shopping and leisure needs. On Saturday, we headed up to Maine, only a short 20 minute drive away, for some outlet shopping and lobster. Shopping there was pretty much a bust, but Christopher's new favorite is lobster, and since it is so cheap here, we can indulge him every now and again.

We also spent some time that day getting ready for Aiden's arrival. I am finally feeling like we may be about ready for this kiddo. Just a few more things to do and then he can at least come home and we can fill in the gaps.

Sunday was rest day and then on Monday we did one of our new favorite activties - the Pick Your Own farm (or PYO as it is known around here). The last of the fresh blueberries are out and there are some yummy peaches as well. This will definitely become a Harrist family staple year round. I am looking forward to the 20th so very much as that is when we can go and pick our own Honeycrisp apples right from the tree. YUM!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Today we made a mess..

And had the best time doing it!

We made blueberry muffins from scratch. Definitely a first in the Harrist household.  



Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Messy Muffins
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Who let this happen?



It happened today. My little boy officially started school. 

Today Christopher started Kindergarten and broke my heart by continuing to grow up right in front of my eyes.  Isn't he just the cutest (handsomest)?!  

His school day started later than usual today in order to allow for nervous parents and kiddos to have some last minute time together.  He was so excited to start school today that he asked several times to go yesterday.  And what was he looking forward to?  Recess, of course. New friends. Chapel. And most of all... not having to run errands with mom any more!  Yep, that really was on his list of why he was ready to go back to school.  Gotta love that honesty.

But what this means is that we have sent our son to school and in a mere 18 days we start all over!  That has weighed heavily on me the last few days. Here we go again!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Hampshire, New Home

Click to play this Smilebox postcard: Exploring NH
Create your own postcard - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox postcard

It has now officially been 2 weeks in New Hampshire and we have been exploring our new home.  It has been very eye opening and a lot of fun.  They do things a little different here, as you would imagine, but not so much so that we think they are completely nuts (but they sure may think we are!).  

There are so many little towns near us, and each with their own unique things to find and do. We have enjoyed that so much.  In our first two weeks we have driven to Maine for a lobster dinner, gone to the beach, eaten many new places (none of them chains) and seen everyone's new school.  And the favorite thing is that everynight, the boys have gone into our massive backyard and played baseball and hit golf balls because it feels so good outside!  That has been the best part!

 It has been busy to say the least.  The only thing we have not done is really spent time at the beach. It has rained both weekends we have been here due to some tropical storm or another.  But, this is just the beginning. We can't wait to see what the coming months have in store for us.  

Friday, August 21, 2009

Learning....

I have learned so much from God in regards to this move. He has taught me so much about His timing and learning how to wait on Him (something that I am 100% sure He is not done teaching me).

But there are some other things I have learned as well.

1) Driving across the country is not fun; in no way, shape, or form! Especially when you have no time to look at the neat things you are whizzing by.

2) I will, in no way, do this whole pack-and-move on your own thing again. (Mosier's, you had the right idea!)

3) If you put something for sale on Craigslist, you had really be ready to get rid of it!

4) We have way too much junk. I can't even call it stuff. Alot of what we found in boxes went into the category of "why did we need to move this 2000 miles?"

I am sure all this will either serve me well to remember next time we move, whenever that may be, or else I will completely forget these trials and think the Uhaul thing is the way to go. If option two is to happen, please someone shake me hard and remind me just how much "fun" this was!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

We have arrived....

Just over a week ago, our life looked much different from now.  Chris was finishing his dissertation, and we were living among boxes, and calling College Station home. 

Then, Chris defended and everything changed. We knew it was coming, but in all honesty did not expect it to happen. As the day got closer and closer, my head knew this was happening, but my heart was still holding on to "home."  

It has been a hard week.  It has been surreal that we aren't just on vacation but actually have a new place to call home.  The first day of driving was the hardest; as soon as Chris locked the door to our house, the crying finally came.  But the more miles we put behind us, the more we accepted what was happening. 

We got here Saturday night, ready to not drive anymore. Ready to sleep in our own bed. Ready to start our life here.  

Since getting here, we have explored the neighboring towns and celebrated Chris' birthday with a lobster dinner in Maine. Christopher is adjusting well and really likes to play around the house.  I am halfway done unpacking and Chris will start preparing for classes tomorrow.

Life goes on, even if we arent' ready for the change.  Thank you for all of your prayers and support during all this. We miss you all already!  

Monday, August 10, 2009

Finally....



5 months of research and writing.

5 Chapters ~ 264 pages

I proudly introduce Chris Harrist, Ph.D

Sunday, August 9, 2009

We are so blessed!





Today we were reminded of how blessed we have been while in College Station.

It took 9 1/2 amazing people a grand total of an hour and a half to completely load my house onto a Uhaul! Now, I must say 1 1/2 of these people live with me so there was no way they were getting out of this; and 3 more are very closely related, so they were roped in as well. But there were 4 blessings that, as of about a month ago, I did not even know their names!

Thank you for spending your Sunday afternoon with us and really reminding us that the God is in control. As our family sat down tonight to talk about our day, I remembered that when we moved here 3 years ago, we knew only 2 people. In such a short span of time, we have been infinitely blessed with so many people who we call friends, and in many cases extended family.

Now, as we leave, I am comforted by the fact that He will not just abandon us in the Northeast, but will take care of us there in ways that we have not even imagined we would need to be provided for. As we learned tonight, He is faithful by character!

He is teaching me so much about trusting Him in all of this, and I know I have so much more to learn.

Here we go. Down to less than 48 hours before we leave TX. We have no idea what will happen next, but we know that God has called us north. From here on out, I am going to have to let go.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

7 Days Away

With us being just one short week away from major change, I thought, "why not add something new to our lives?" And here it is. . . our new blog.

Isn't it beautiful!? Okay, so it is a work in progress, but at least it is finally started and not just a happy figment of my imagination. My hope is that we will be able to keep in better contact (i.e. I stink at communicating sometimes) to our wonderful friends and loving family that we are leaving here in the heat. (I will most likely be wishing for said heat come January 1st, but for now, you can have it!).

So, here you have it, our new communicator. Now, let's hope I am good at keeping it updated and really giving an accurate picture of New England life.

More to come soon.....