The Evans Four

blogging about our life as a family

The Annual Christmas Update December 17, 2012

Filed under: babies,christmas,EJ,family,holidays,moving,Owen,work — aarontori @ 3:00 PM

We always seem to have so much to say when we do these posts, so I’ll go ahead and get started on the incredibly long update 🙂

Work:

We are working back at Happy Hill Farm, which has been renamed to North Central Texas Academy at Happy Hill Farm, but it’s NCTA for short. We came out to visit my mom for the 4th of July holiday, (Sidenote: Mom moved back out to Glen Rose and her job at the nursing home when we moved into our CARES apartment back in February. It was a good move for all parties involved and we’re all happier in our current places) and while we were out here, we stopped by to see our friends here at the farm. There were lots of changes going on and we were excited about some of them and intrigued about others. Elizabeth had a great time seeing the kids and our friends and I was feeling very guilty about how Owen wasn’t going to have the same great experience that his sister did. Since my mom was no longer living with us, it was a possibility for us to consider coming back to the school and working with the kids again. On our drive home we were discussing it and decided that since we had our two year agreement with Apartment Life to fulfill, we would revisit the idea of becoming house parents again once our two year end date was closer.

Well, we got back home and just a few short days later, we got a call from our Apartment Life supervisor stating that the new management company at our apartment complex had called and said that the CARES program was against their company policy, since their employees are supposed to be in charge of planning all events and resident retention. They were giving us 60 days to find either a new apartment or a new CARES team placement. We immediately thought that it was sign that we should reapply with Happy Hill. I was a complete and nervous wreck. I really loved my job at ACI; those kids are so precious to me, my coworkers had become my friends, and I just absolutely love the challenge of that work. However, it was taking a toll on me to be away from my sweet family for 10 hours a day. I left before they got up most days and came back just in time to eat dinner with Elizabeth and put her to bed. The commute was just way too much and Aaron basically got no time with me since I was so tired and he just wanted to unwind by playing some Minecraft at the end of the day.

We prayed about it constantly for about 2 weeks. I called my closest friends and my wonderful mentor, Christy. She of course gave me great advice and we submitted a written request to the farm to return to our work as house parents. We were on edge for a few days while we waited on an answer. We finally got it, and they said that there was a position for us. I immediately had a rush of relief and felt like a burden was lifted off me. This was the choice we were supposed to make and this is where we needed to be. Telling my coworkers and the families of my kiddos was tough, but they were all so very sweet and understanding.

We packed up again and with the help of our awesome friends, we moved for the 3rd time in 10 months. This time we moved into the Junior High boys’ house. We have 5 boys; one is in 7th grade and the rest are in 8th, one of whom is from China. There are a lot of things that are different being in a boys house, but most of them are good. One thing we do miss is the elementary 9:00 bedtime 🙂 Our guys are very different from one another and interact with us and the kids in unique ways. They have all grown very fond of Elizabeth and Owen, and the feeling is mutual. Elizabeth absolutely adores the 7th grader. He is always very sweet to both Elizabeth and Owen. They have their moments, but overall they’re good kids and we enjoy them. Aaron is especially liking the fact that he can be more involved and that they like video games so much. We are in the midst of hosting a big Madden football league season with them. The two single guys that work in here on our days off are also playing and they’re all really enjoying it. It’s really sweet to see Aaron practicing and trying to create a strategy when he knows he’s playing one of the boys who are really good. The boys are about to start their semester finals tomorrow. I was helping two of them study for their English exam tonight. It’s good that we can tag team pretty much any of the stuff the guys need whereas with the girls, there was a lot that Aaron couldn’t help them with. We are having our Christmas party with them this Thursday before they go home for the break and I’m looking forward to it.

Kids:

Elizabeth has grown so very much. She’s so smart and can carry on the sweetest conversation. She likes to count and can go all the way to 16. 17-20 get a bit muddled, but she tries. She knows her ABCs, but only in song. We’re working on being able to recognize the letters. She definitely has E for Elizabeth and O for Owen down though. She went through a little spell there right as she was turning two, where she was throwing monstrous tantrums, but thankfully it passed after just a few weeks. She got a big girl bed for her birthday from Aaron’s parents and does an awesome job sleeping in it. She gave her pacis to the paci fairy once she turned two and got a leapfrog tag reader as her surprise big girl gift. She also started preschool two days a week back in August. She goes to a local church’s preschool program 8:30-12:45. Their program is actually 9:30-2:30, but she just couldn’t/wouldn’t nap there so we decided to do the early-bird drop off and just pick her up after their lunchtime before they lay down for their naps. She has been doing much better about naptime at home though and so after the new year, we’re going to try and do regular full days again. Elizabeth is a ballerina and will show you her sweet ballet dance moves if you ask nicely. She loves to sing and dance and her favorite song at the moment is Zaccheus Was a Wee Little Man… It’s so fun to have her sing along with me. She is a good big sister, even if she can be a little rough with Owen. He’s pretty sturdy for a little guy and can dish it out too (most often in the form of pulling sister’s hair).

Owen is fun. He is a ball of energy, always on the go. He is trying hard to start walking already and once he figures that out we are in some serious trouble. I can see him being a climber too, so I’m just preparing myself for lots of worrying/bruise-kissing in the near future. He is in a very mama’s-boy clingy phase, but it’s mostly due to teething pain. He has his bottom two front teeth and one of his top front teeth broke through the gum just today. He is quite tall and skinny, so his onesies are either too big everywhere or a bit snug in length. He loves his big sister and screeches happily anytime she’s near. He also likes to watch The Fresh Beat Band with her. It’s pretty cute to watch them both enthralled by the computer (they watch it on Netflix).

Us:

Aaron and I are really enjoying being back here on the farm. We have weekly Men’s/Women’s Bible study which we’re enjoying having with our coworkers. We are also enjoying having more time to spend together as a couple as well as family time. We’re trying to find something to do together that we both really enjoy that isn’t work/parenting related, but it’s a little tough with two little ones. Mostly we just hang out after all the kids are asleep, sometimes watch a movie on Netflix, and try to enjoy our days off.

Tori:

I am loving that there are so many other moms here with little ones. There were quite a few here before too, but we never got together. Now, a teacher’s wife has started a playgroup on Wednesdays. The kids and I go and they play while we have grownup conversation and lunch all together. It’s really wonderful, and some of us even get together regularly to work out three days a week. I only go twice since Elizabeth goes to preschool on Tuesdays. I take that as my chill out day and Thursday I go to women’s Bible study.

Aaron:

I am enjoying still being a stay-at-home dad but with the added bonus of having my wife around too 🙂 Getting to stay home with the kids when Tori was at work was great, but I could see it was hard on her to be away from us all day, and when she got home we pretty much were both exhausted. Now we are working at finding something we can enjoy together. We’re trying to cook more, seeing as working at NCTA means we eat in the dining center for most meals and we just don’t cook as much anymore. We’re hoping this can be an activity we can share, but usually one of us just ends up taking care of the kids. I’m very happy to be in the middle school boys house. There is just so much more they can do and that I can do with them. They have their challenges, but for the most part I can’t complain 🙂 I’m looking forward to the upcoming break though, and having time that we don’t have any real work responsibilities so we can just relax with our family.

Well, that’s the end of our blog catch-up. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Aaron, Tori, Elizabeth, and Owen

 

The Evans Four March 25, 2012

Filed under: babies,celebration,family,holidays,moving,pregnancy,work — aarontori @ 10:09 PM

Hello Friends and Family!

It has been far too long since we posted (as usual) so there is much to tell.

First off, we’ve moved and begun our journey as a CARES Team for Apartment Life! We moved in at the beginning of February with the help of some very awesome friends we were able to get all of our things packed and moved in a single weekend. We found out that we got the CARES position at 5 on Friday and were completely moved and had the duplex empty and clean by 5 on Sunday! A BIG part of it was thanks to the Lehews loaning us their pickup truck and the tireless efforts and rallying cry of our dear friend, Ryan Crowe.

We moved to Copper Crossing, an apartment community on the border between Benbrook and Fort Worth. It’s very conveniently located and we love the staff. They had a CARES team here previously, but it had been about 10 months or so since the other team had left, which means we’re sort of having to start over again. We’ve had small turnouts for our events so far, but got some ideas from our mentor team and will be adapting our approach in April based on their advice/feedback.

It is so nice to be living in our own place again. We’ve been procrastinating on some things, but for the most part Aaron had everything unpacked and put away within the first couple of days.We still need to buy and hang some curtains for the kids’ room, hang our pictures, organize a few things, and decorate. This is supposed to be my area, but I’ve been too tired/lazy at the end of the day to want to do it.

Elizabeth has her own room (for now) and is loving it. When we moved in we just went ahead and converted her crib to a toddler bed and she’s done an awesome job staying in it at night. Now if we could just make the actual process of going to sleep less of a drawn-out battle we’d be set. She’s officially one and a half, which is so hard to believe. She has 12 teeth (and 4 more breaking through at the moment). She talks constantly, loves to yell out whatever it is that she’s doing at the moment (“I’m running! I’m walking! I’m sitting! I sit next to you!”), and has started to sing just a little bit. We’ve been very slowly and inconsistently working on potty training since Christmas, but she’s really gotten on the bandwagon here recently. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we have a washer and dryer in our apartment now (thanks to Aaron’s parents!) and so we’ve started cloth diapering again. She is going to be the world’s best big sister. She adores her baby brother already and talks to and about him quite a lot. She loves to lift my shirt and give him hugs and kisses.

That brings me to the biggest thing we’ve got going on in our life at the moment: baby watch 2012! We’re expecting our son, Owen Cody Evans, anytime now. We had an ultrasound 3 weeks ago and found out that we’re having a boy. By the doctor’s guess he was about 6 pounds the day of the ultrasound. Elizabeth was only 6 lbs 4 oz when she was born, so it looks like he’s going to be significantly bigger than his sister.

We’ve had our bag packed for the birth center and the carseat installed for a little over a week now. The bassinet is set up in our room, his clothes are ready for him, and now all that’s missing is little baby Owen. His due date is April 5th, but I highly doubt we’re going to have to wait that long.

Stay tuned for the latest news from baby watch 2012!

Here’s a link to our family pictures we had taken last week while we were still just the three musketeers.
Family Photos March 2012

 

PENNSYLVANIA!!! August 23, 2009

Filed under: friends,fun,moving,pennsylvania,restaurants,travels — aarontori @ 10:07 AM

We’re here! We’re hanging out with the Fishes, which is great fun.

The flight was good. I made friends with a lady in the terminal over our shared interest in knitting (which I learned how to do this summer and am about to finish my first scarf). There were some really adorable little kids near us on the plane who were pretty good.

John picked us up from the airport and we came back to the house and saw Laurie, Nana, and Eric (all of whom I was meeting for the first time). We went to dinner at Chili’s where I taught them how to play coasters which is a game where you flip a coaster off the edge of the table and catch it midair and add one more each time. My mom is the rockstar of that game and taught it to me, but I think I may have beaten her best score last night when I got 13. I also tried Yuengling beer which was like a lighter Shiner Bock, very good.

We played outside with their two dogs for a little bit. The yard is nice and big and gorgeous. Then we played Bananagrams and then they taught us how to play 10,000 which is a dice game and lots of fun.

Jason and Dylan got home late (after 11) from working at camp. It was very exciting to finally meet Jason! Dylan’s okay too, I guess 🙂 We stayed up pretty late talking and hanging out in the kitchen.

Conclusion of day one!

 

Living the Nomad Life July 7, 2009

Filed under: denver,friends,fun,moving,travels — aarontori @ 11:52 AM

As of yesterday at 1:30 PM Aaron and I are officially homeless (and unemployed) until August 26th. It was completely intentional so don’t freak out and send money unless you really want to send money in which case we wouldn’t turn it down 🙂

Yesterday began our two-month-long adventure. We will be traveling around and visiting (read: mooching off) our friends and family. We left our “summer home” that we were sitting around 1:30. Aaron headed to DFW airport to pick up my mom’s roommate’s brother who is visiting from Italy. I drove the old beater up to Lawton to leave with my mom since her car was stolen sometime in the very early hours of Friday morning. I got to Lawton about 4:30 and Aaron arrived an hour later. We said our goodbyes and hit the road Denver, Colorado-bound.

We left Lawton at 5:30 expecting it to take 11 hours. We arrived at the home of our friends the Lindbergs at 3:15 AM (mountain time) so we got here 15 minutes earlier than expected. Go us! We visited for just a few minutes and then went to sleep around 3:30 AM (but for us was more like 4:30 since we came from Central time).

We don’t really have any set plans for our stay so far, so if you have any suggestions for what to do in the Denver/Boulder area let us know!

 

All moved in June 1, 2009

Filed under: celebration,family,monday monday,moving,school,work — aarontori @ 4:03 PM

I have a few moments before Tori gets home and we go to her sister’s for dinner (with another of her sisters and her family), so I thought I’d update everyone.

We’re all moved out of our old place in Fort Worth, and are now house sitting for one of my professors for a month while they are out around the country. We’re taking care of their new kittens (Ozzie, Kati, Chewy, and Vanessa) and also taking care of just general things around their house (the yard, fish, plants, etc.). For the next month we will be doing that and working as much as we can to save up for the trip to PA.

Things look pretty good here. I’ve finished my summer course with an A, and am officially done with my undergraduate degree. We’re all settled and taking the opportunity to relax and not have classwork over our heads. That’s about all we have to report right now! It will be a sad month, with lots of saying bye to friends, but we look forward to PA.

 

 
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