Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

San Diego Reflections

It has now been almost 3 weeks since the Swift family made the big move up to Portland, Oregon. I can honestly say it's been a complete whirlwind of transition and change. Even though we've already had a few (to be expected) emotional ups and downs, we know and are trusting that God is good and He is with us - paving a new way of life for us up here.
Even though just removed, I am overwhelmed when I reflect on our experience in San Diego. God has been so faithful to us, teaching and molding us through our time and relationships there.
We were surrounded by so many relationships that touched our hearts, helped us grow, and stood by us through many of life's changes: the Studes, the Jungs, the Heinrichs, the Meshots, the Lehmans, the Yates, the Jacksons (plural), all of my growth group ladies, our Rock Bible study group, and countless others who we don't forget.
So much of our history was knit together in San Diego, around these dear friends. It's the place where we both went to school, we spent most of our dating years, met and groomed lifelong friends, grew together from newlyweds into a (more) mature marriage, had our first baby and made countless "young family" memories with our daughter. Most importantly, it's where Jeremy and I both feel God has worked on our hearts and tried to grow us the most so far. Yes, San Diego holds so much that is precious to our hearts.
In light of all the blessings that came out of our time there... Jeremy and I have grown more and more to desire what God wants for us. I don't want to over-spiritualize our decision to move up here, but we do feel God's hand of peace over us that this is what's right for us, for now.
We are already soaking up the sweet aroma of having family so close to us... We are enjoying conversations, experiences and many meals that don't have to be packed into a single weekend - leaving us more exhausted than anything else. We have so many hopes for stronger relationships and more memories with our parents and siblings, finding a church we can grown in and give back to, new experiences with cold weather sports and being open to new friendships that God will bring our way.
Right now is just the hard part... we still feel the aching of not having our friends near by and of not having our family "normal" and all the things we miss... yet, we are in a place of waiting and looking forward with anticipation for God to reveal new directions for us.
Thanks to Katie Eaton and the book she gave me, I am quickly learning a simple lesson: to not compare our new circumstances with our old ones. To let our past as a family in San Diego just be... sweet, sweet memories; and let our future together in the Northwest just come...
Thank you to all of our family and friends who have supported us, loved us and walked with us through this chapter of change. You have left us with a sweet taste of what Christ's love for us really encompasses...

~ Much love, Jeremy, Audi, Harper and baby boy Swift

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Picture Update - Last Weeks in San Diego

I am finally up in Oregon after a long week of packing, awaiting my husband's arrival at my parents' house, as he and his dad are driving our cars up from San Diego. I wish I could reflect more on the past few weeks, but feel too emotionally drained to write anything that's too deep from the heart right now... so I decided to just share some pictures that hightlight some sweet moments. I'm sad to say that we don't have many pictures with our friends as I broke our camera while I was at SeaWorld having a "mommy & Harper day"... we have those memories in our hearts though!
Dada and Harper sharing a "good night" book session. Sweet times... as we savor having just one kid for a bit longer.
We were so excited to celebrate our friends Eric and Katey Yates getting married in July. Their wedding was so much fun and she couldn't have been more gorgeous!
Kara, Jordan and I waiting to take in the ceremony and see our handsome guys! These girls have meant so much to me - I love you ladies!
Me and my love! I'm so blessed to live life with this man...
Eric getting in some snuggle time with Harper and Annika in the early morning after the wedding fesivities. The Jung's have been constants for us and we are so thankful for friends we can just be with... We love you guys!
Rhiannon, Carter, Harper and I at SeaWorld... You two are so dear to Harper and my hearts... I will cherish all the memories we shared with our kiddos!
It's our Harper-bug... taking a picture at the San Diego zoo. Jeremy has called her that since day 1 so it seemed appropriate.
Jeremy and I intentionally spent a Saturday just taking Harper in... We took her to our favorite breakfast spot - the Cantina. As we ate, we remenisced our favorite memories with her... bringing her into our bed in the early am when she was an infant, the countless moments we saw her budding personality as she got older, taking her on all her crazy 1st year trips (Oregon, Utah, Hawaii, all over Europe, etc.), taking her to the pumpin patch in Julienne, daddy playing chase with her constantly, all her snuggle times... we could go on and on.
The same day we spent time with Harper, we shared our first family popcorn eating session... Harper loves it and it's these simple moments that I live for.
Like our family day, I took my last "free day" in San Diego to spend time with just Harper. We went to SeaWorld for the day and had a blast. We saw all the animals that she loves, shared lunch together, jumped around the "tumble area" in the Elmo section, played in the sand pit, got to give Bert and Ernie high-fives and get her picture taken with Elmo! It was the perfect day with my girl.
Here is Harper spotting the polar bear... she even growled when she saw him!
Harper and I spent a special morning at the park celebrating her friend Carter turning 2! We did it in style with a sprinkle doughnut for the birthday boy, coffees for the mom's and his "Buzz lightyear" themed presents ;)
Carter, happily eating his doughnut, and his sweet mommy and my friend Rhiannon. We love this memory with you two!
Carter said a "special" thank you to Harper for his gifts... I LOVE this picture, while Jeremy can't quite bring himself to looking at it (signs of the future?).
Harper had her last day of swimming lessons right before our big move. Mimi, Auntie Kara and Dada all got to watch her skills in the water... then we all went to breakfast downtown... a great morning!
While our house was turned completely upside-down with the move... Mimi was a genius and set up Harper's little splash pool on the porch so she could have some fun, yet still be near us while we worked. Thank you Mimi and Auntie Kara for ALL that you did for our family during the move... we truely could have NEVER done it without your hard work, love and support!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Letting Go and Embracing the Future

Our impending move to Oregon is right around the corner, and I have found myself feeling very sentimental recently... blame it on being pregnant if you will, but I think it has more to do with realizing the blessings in my life. Yes, in San Diego, there are countless friends and relationships I am sad to leave, family rituals and traditions I am reluctant to let go of, and have a general heavy heart as I think of closing the chapter on this place where we've begun our family... but all of these things have made our lives richer, sweeter. Jeremy and I have shared a few conversations about our memories dating here, being newlyweds here, and having our first baby here. Yes... sweet, sweet memories.

I am especially sentimental when I think of Harper... and the fact that our time with JUST her is ending in a handful of weeks when we welcome her little brother. I felt this same way about not wanting to let go of life just being Jeremy and I, right before Harper was born. So much joy has followed Harper entering into our lives, and I know we'll feel the same overwhelming joy when our little boy joins us. Nonetheless, it has made me pause, in the midst of our busy routine, and just hug her and tell her I love her once more... because I can't stop time and she's growing up way too fast.
I know in this moment she doesn't comprehend all the change in front of us, but I do... and I want to cherish every minute I have with just my girl. Tears fill my eyes as I write - because of the love she has brought into our lives... and (it may sound funny to some) the simple fact that as a stay-at-home mom... she has been my little girlfriend. All the frustrations of discovering a dirty diaper just as I buckle her in the car-seat, cleaning up spilled milk on my carpet, or nights of interrupted sleep fade away when held next to the brightness of her spirit, the sweet little kisses she gives me, or the way she says "mama" when she really needs me.

No amount of words on a page can express the love a mother has for her child... it is a deep love that makes my heart ache when I think of having to "let go" of this chapter to fully embrace the gift of the future. Never before have I wanted so badly to freeze time and never so badly have I wanted to express something that I know won't be fully understood until Harper has kids of her own someday...
So for now, I am kissing and hugging her more, soaking up all the little moments with her, and continually thanking God for the incredible blessing of being a parent.