Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

What a great year 2010 was! As I scroll through blog posts from this past year, I am grateful for so much God has done in our family!
Earlier this month, on December 9th, Elisabeth Anne turned one year old! We had so much fun recounting her birth from the year before (36 hours before finally meeting her via C-section!). We celebrated her first birthday with a small family party at our apartment, and Elisabeth had so much fun opening presents, playing, and eating cake! I contemplated making her a healthy birthday cake, but then decided to just order a small one since I didn't think she would actually eat any of it. She hadn't taken an interest in feeding herself up to that point, but then the day after I ordered the cake she started feeding herself Cheerios. Sure enough, she devoured her cake at her party! It didn't make her sick, so I was thankful for that!
Here she is, pre- and post-cake!

Elisabeth's Grandma Kester made a special punch for the party, and it was actually the punch served at our wedding in 2007! I made cupcakes, and we used the cupcake tiers from our wedding as well. The cupcakes at our weddng were a Martha Stewart monongram recipe:

My mom gave me a Martha Stewart cupcake cookbook last year for my birthday so I made cupcakes for Elisabeth's party from this book. I wanted to make homemade frosting but ran out of time, so Jason saved the day with cupcake frosting in a can. (I didn't even know they made that until recently!) Didn't he do a great job decorating them? I like to call them "modified Martha" cupcakes!

Speaking of Martha Stewart, my friend Kristin introduced me to her pom poms as an easy and inexpensive way to decorate for a party. I gave them a try for Elisabeth's party and they were a fun project! They are easy to make and I was able to "modify" them to make them even easier than the website:

Over Elisabeth's first year we took her picture every month with her stuffed animal friends, each month adding one more to correspond with how old she was. We included them on every blog update, and her final picture includes 12 friends surrounding her in her new big girl chair she received for her birthday:

We returned to Lawrence last Wednesday from Wichita where we had a great time celebrating Christmas with family. Elisabeth was able to be with all 7 of her cousins at her Grandma Donna's house on Christmas Day! It was a special time to be together. She also had so much fun with her Kester Grandparents.

Jason and I look forward to this new year with eagnerness and anticipation. We are approaching our final semester here in Lawrence and have been reflecting on what a neat season the past three years have been to begin our marriage and ministry here at KU. We are so grateful for this opportunity! We will post soon with updates on our next assignment!

We are also directing the Jacksonville Summer Training Program this summer and will be preparing and planning for this neat opportunity throughout the spring semester as well.

May you have a joyous beginning to 2011. We are grateful for your love and support of our family!

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Fall!

Elisabeth turned 11 months last week and we are excited to plan her first birthday party! We're going to make it low-key and have it at our apartment here in Lawrence. During her 11 month photo shoot last week she had so much fun with all of her friends. (And by "photo shoot" I mean mom bustling around trying to contain a squirming baby for five seconds to get a posed shot!) She is too fun! We did manage to get one posed shot:

And a few unposed:

Her eleventh month began with a trip over KU's fall break to visit Grandma and Grandpa Ross in Arizona! We all had such a great time, and Elisabeth had a blast with her grandparents. We went hiking on South Mountain in Phoenix and this was her first hiking trip. Dad was brave to carry her in the Ergo carrier:

She also went swimming for the first time in Grandma and Grandpa's beautiful back yard:

We look forward to going back one day!

Lawrence has been bright with fall colors, and Elisabeth has enjoyed our daily walks. We watch the squirrels scurrying up and down the trees while the trees gracefully drop their beautiful fall leaves on our path. We have a favorite tree on our route that looks like it has been painted red. Set against a beautiful fall blue sky it makes a winning KU combination of crimson and blue! Kansas is always so beautiful and fun in the fall, and to celebrate this season we tried to take Elisabeth to a local pumpkin patch here in town. The farm also had animals you could pet, and Elisabeth is wild about her furry friends, so we thought it would be a fun field trip! We also recently purchased Elisabeth's "big girl" carseat and our pumpkin patch field trip was the first time she rode in it. She was so comfortable in it that she fell asleep on the way there! (This was monumental because she doesn't really sleep in the car at all). Rather than waking her up we just let her sleep and tried again the next day. When we arrived at the pumpkin patch the next day they had just closed their gates for the season! I was determined to get her picture with some pumpkins so we drove to a garden center and had a lot of fun! Elisabeth was even dressed like a pumpkin thanks to a cute outfit from Grandma and Grandpa Kester! Here is our cute little pumpkin in her own private pumpkin patch:

The first Friday in November the KU Navigators hosted our annual "Barn Bash", which is the main outreach event of the year. I've blogged about it before, and this year there was a new cowgirl on the scene:

What a fun evening of eating chili, dancing, and hearing about how Jesus has changed students' lives here at KU!

Another event with the KU Navs is a new monthly meeting called "Greekside", which is a gathering for Greek students desiring to grow in their faith and reach out their friends around them. It's at 9:30 on a Tuesday evening, and we are grateful for one of our former students (now a graduate student here at KU), who comes over to listen for Elisabeth on the monitor so Jason and I can partner together for this meeting. We've had a lot of fun meeting some new students and bringing everyone together. Our last meeting we watched a powerful video by Francis Chan, a California pastor who wrote the book, "Crazy Love". The book's website has some neat videos, and the one we watched and discussed with the students is called "Just Stop and Think". Check it out:
Our final meeting for the fall is tomorrow evening and we are excited to continue into the spring semester.

With Thanksgiving approaching I am always reminded about how much I have to be thankful for, and may the season do the same for you! We are continually grateful for your love and support!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Double Digits!

Elisabeth turned 10 months old on Saturday, October 9, so she's now officially double digits! At her nine month check-up she was in the 30th percentile for weight and only 9th percentile for height! She's a little bug! Don't tell her that though, because she's got big plans and is going big places! She currently will stand up on her own in the middle of the floor, unassisted, and does her "surfer" stance (as we call it!) We're just waiting for her to take a step any day!

During Elisabeth's tenth month we took Elisabeth to the Kansas City zoo, and she was joined by her cousin Abigail and Uncle Kevin and Aunt Laura. Our favorite animals were the meerkats, who, upon seeing Elisabeth, started scurring around and posing for the camera. They were putting on quite the show and were such a delight.

We also went to a fall festival in Baldwin City, just outside of Lawrence, hosted by some friends who go to our church, and Elisabeth picked out her very own pint-sized pumpkin. She also went on a hayrack ride, and of course Mom thought about how that was her first time to ride in a moving vehicle without her carseat!

This past weekend the Heartland Region for the Navs (Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa), hosted our fall conference, The Main Event, and it was attended by nearly 1,000 college students! What an impactful and life-changing weekend as these students had the opportunity to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus, or maybe to begin that journey for the first time! Exciting stuff indeed. Below is a shot of our KU group:

Speaking of going deeper, "Go Deep" is the theme for the Jacksonville Summer Training Program for the summer of 2011, and Jason and I have accepted the role as program directors. Our family will spend the summer living on the University of North Florida campus, side-by-side with students and going deeper in our faith. This is also exciting stuff! Below is a picture of Jason and me in front of the Jax booth at the Main Event conference this past weekend:

I've been buying summer clearance items for Elisabeth and she already has two swimsuits for her summer in Florida. (-:

We continue to be grateful for your love and support!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

9 on 9-9!!

Nine months, that is! Our little girl is getting so big! Just today she stood for about three seconds on her own without holding on to anyone or anything. She has us laughing nearly all day long with her adorable and inquisitive personality. When she hears us laugh then she'll start laughing, too, which only makes us laugh more! There's a lot of laughing going on these days. This reminds me of a Psalm we printed on our wedding program: "Our mouths were filled with laughter,our tongues with songs of joy...The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." (Psalm 126: 2-3). Speaking of our wedding, we just celebrated our three year anniversary on September 15th and are truly filled with thankfulness and joy!

The first month of school has been filled with lots of excitement and activity. The Welcome Back BBQ in August included a massive game of tug-of-war, which just seems painful to me!

Our first Nav Night (the large group gathering on campus) was on the first day of class and meets in the Kansas Room of the Kansas Union (easy enough to remember at the University of Kansas!)

The first few meetings centered around the story of the Prodigal Son (the son, the older brother, and the father), and Jason spoke on the son. I had a babysitter that night (thanks Grandma!) so I was able to go and hear him speak. He did an amazing job and really is an excellent public speaker.

Two of Elisabeth's student friends, Roshni and Kaitlynn, saw her this past month and I wanted to post some "then and now pics" of her with them. The first set are when Elisabeth was about one month and the second set are of her at nine months. It's so fun to see how much she's changed!

Kaitlynn and Elisabeth:

Roshni and Elisabeth:

Happy Fall!
With love, The Rosses

Friday, August 20, 2010

And we're off!

What's one way to tell that the students are back and we are in full swing? Cooking mass quantities of food! This week included baking eight dozen cookies and almost breaking our can opener opening a 117 ounce can of baked beans! We hosted a BBQ for our student leadership team on Monday evening as we welcomed them back to campus and discussed what this year could look like to labor together on campus.

The Fall semester classes began yesterday and the week has been full of welcome back and recruiting activities. On the first day of class we always host spiritual interest survey booths, and yesterday Elisabeth and I went up to visit the booth in front of GSP and Corbin, the two women-only dorms. Below is a picture of Elisabeth helping out!
This weekend we have our welcome back BBQ for all students, and we are praying that new students will feel welcome and that the Navs is a place they can call home for their time at KU.

We are constantly grateful for your love and support of us as we reach out to college students. Have a wonderful fall!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eight months and the end of summer

Elisabeth celebrated her eight month birthday on Sunday and has grown so much this past month! She is crawling (rapidly) all over the place and loves to chase her kitty all around. She would really love to pet her, but we have to explain that Annie is a "look don't touch" cat as she still has her claws and has been known to be a swiper in the past! Nevertheless, Annie provides lots of entertainment for Elisabeth and I think Elisabeth really likes being able to follow her around.

Elisabeth has quite the healthy appetite and has been doing great with new foods. This month we introduced bananas, carrots, oatmeal, peas, and applesauce. I bought her the Jongold variety of apples to make applesauce and they are so delicious! I'm usually indifferent towards apples but these are amazing! Her favorite food is still her cereal which she eats before bedtime.

Her eighth month included another wedding of former students as well as her first trip to the zoo. Her first animals to see were the lions (notice them in the picture below!) She also rode on Daddy's shoulders for the first time and sat in a baby swing at a playground--two big occasions in the life of a child!

The KU Fall semester begins a week from this Thursday and we have our student leader welcome back barbecue on Monday. The summer reading assignment for our leadership team was "The Cross Centered Life" by C.J. Mahaney, which is a mini but mighty book on how to keep the Gospel at the center of everything. I will most likely be re-reading the chapters many times!

Enjoy the remainder of your summer!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Seven Months in the Summer time!

Since we've been married, we've spent every summer at our Summer Training Program in Jacksonville, FL with students and staff from around the country. We really see the value of training programs as they are life-changing for all involved. This summer we were only there for two weeks in the beginning and have been back in Kansas traveling and working on funding and other projects. Jason took a trip to Houston just a few days after we returned from Florida, but the girls stayed behind as we thought it would be too much back-to-back travel for Elisabeth. We missed Dad but were so excited to pick him up from the airport on Father's Day! Elisabeth is so blessed to have an amazing Daddy like Jason. They are big buddies!

We spent a week in Wichita around the 4th of July visiting friends and family, and Elisabeth made her crawling debut at Grandma and Grandpa Kester's the day we left to come back to Lawrence. She's now officially mobile! While in Wichita she also met her Great-Grandma Reba for the first time and also visited Grandpa Pat at his office. He had such a great time showing her off! (See pic below) It was too cute. Elisabeth also made friends with Grandma Donna's sweet kitty, Snow, and fun petting a real cat's fur for the first time! Our cat, Annie, has claws and has been known to have a "cattitude", so we're a little nervous as to how the two "sisters" are going to get along. Elisabeth sure does get excited every time she sees her, though!

This summer has gone by quickly but we marvel at how much we've already done. We are looking forward to having the students return!

PS-Rice cereal update: after a week, Elisabeth became a rice cereal eating champion! We're now ready to move on to mashed bananas!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Six Months Old and Rice Cereal!

Elisabeth turned six months old the day after we returned from Florida, and we celebrated by offering her some tasty organic rice cereal for the first time! We are now on Day Five of solid food training and so far she hasn't really taken to it, but does enjoy spitting out her tongue (cereal included). Day Three of solid food training she was holding on to a spoon and actually stuck it in her mouth the correct way. She looks so cute sitting in her new high chair with her new bib!

Mom and Dad celebrated her six month birthday by visiting Sylas and Maddy's, a local ice cream parlor that makes homemade ice cream with flavors such as "Kansas Twister" and "Rock Chocolate Jayhawk". Yummy! Here Jason and Elisabeth celebrate with a waffle cone!

Our trip to Florida was quick but good, and it was interesting doing life with a baby in a dorm. If we go back for a summer in the future, I've taken lots of mental notes for how to "nest" with a young family in a dorm! It was fun to connect with the staff and students and see the program off to a great start. Elisabeth enjoyed wearing her sun hat, even in the dorm, and playing cards with some KU students.

May you have a wonderful and sunny summer!
The Rosses