10.19.2010

We've Moved!

Since we're now 4 Leonards instead of three, we've moved to a new blog address:

http://4leonards.blogspot.com

If you subscribe to our posts here, please re-subscribe at the 4Leonards blog.  If you read this through an RSS reader, please update that too.

This site will remain up but I will no longer post new stuff here. Thanks!

Time for Another Visit from the Tooth Fairy!

Another tooth gone! That makes 3 baby teeth lost and all three have been on the bottom. She also has a molar coming in.

Now that you're up-to-date on the status of Kait's teeth, you can proceed with your day.
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10.14.2010

The Pumpkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch last night - same one we go to each year. And we had so much fun, as usual! Kaitlyn slid on the slides, rode the rides, and flew up high in the sky! Check out the video below. We also got a couple pumpkins and pet a baby goat in the petting zoo.



video

8.07.2010

Our New Home

We're pretty much settled in now, so I thought I'd share some photos of our new home for friends and family who haven't come to visit yet. 

Here's the living room, dining room, and office area:




The kitchen:


Check out the storage in this pantry!


Off the kitchen, we have a half bath and laundry closet with stackable full-size washer & dryer. (The washer & dryer we had before was not full-size and we could hardly fit anything in it so this set is so awesome!)


The front door and view up the stairs from the door:




Kait's bathroom upstairs:


Christian's room:




Kaitlyn's room:




Linen cabinet in the hall...more storage!!


Our bedroom still needs a little work (we have a box to unpack, pictures/decor to put up, etc.) but hey, at least I made the bed for the photo... :)




Our master has an attached bath with vanity (but the vanity didn't make it into the photo).


We're so happy here - now we just need our little man to arrive and our house will be a home! Give me a call/email if you'd like to stop in to say hello. We'd love to have you!

7.01.2010

In just one month...

...so much has changed.  The Lord patiently - yet persistently - teaches me I can trust Him and He is in control.  I am so thankful.

Right after Micah lost his job on May 24th, we applied for unemployment.  Together, we waged a massive (and, for me, frantic) job search.  In under two weeks, Micah had a full-time job.  In less than 4 weeks, he had another full-time job.  He had gotten only unemployment check.  It was amazing.

But he didn't get those jobs because we're awesome job hunters.  He got those jobs because God wanted to show us how He would work in this situation.  Our efforts were not futile, but we needed to see that God was in this and taking care of us.  Micah applied online and in-person to no less than a dozen organizations in those first 2 weeks of unemployment.  None of those jobs panned out.  The jobs that did prove promising were the ones he was eventually hired for.  And both jobs came through separate people Micah was in Bible studies with.

He first started working at a local construction/restoration company called Integrity.  Shortly after starting there, however, he was contacted by a district manager at Target regarding a job opening at a store about 20 minutes from our home.  As Micah continued to go through the steps of the hiring process with Target, we saw time after time that God was opening doors that no man could close.  It was undeniably a "God-thing" and Micah was soon giving his notice at Integrity and accepting a position at Target.  He is currently in the process of training to be a Store Facilities Technician.

We feel so incredibly blessed that Micah was able to find employment so quickly.  We know this is far from the norm but also are well-aware that our God is bigger than any "down economy" or "hopeless job market."  Micah is now gainfully employed, making more than he was making at his previous job.

It reminds me of this verse in Psalm 115: Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.

My boss jokes that we prayed too hard because Micah got two jobs so quickly.  :)  It's true though, that prayer works.  Thank you to all our family and friends who were on their knees on our behalf.  The Lord hears the prayers of the righteous. (Prov. 15:29)

One more thing...

For those of you that know me well, I am a DIE-HARD fan of Target.  So the cherry on top of this whole situation is that we get an employee discount at Target now!!  WAHOO!!!  Manufacturer's coupons stacked with Target coupons PLUS a 10% (soon to be 15%) discount?!  Oh yes, I am one happy girl.

5.25.2010

When the going gets tough, the tough make a list

What I Don't Know:

  • The date of Christian's arrival in relation to our move & Kait's first day of school
  • When I'll be able to go to the hair salon again
  • When Micah will find a new job
  • How our bills will get paid next month
  • Who Ali will end up choosing on The Bachelorette (hopefully not the guy with the hair or the weatherman)
  • What we're having for dinner next Thursday
What I Do Know:
  • My God:
  • My husband will do whatever it takes to provide for our family. He is a good man.
  • We have an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING group of friends and family that will rally around us in time of need.  No joke - it's completely overwhelming.
  • My husband doesn't mind my nappy hair...so if salon visits are out of the question, it's OK.
  • I am still incredibly in love with the man I married 8 years ago today.
  • Dinner this Thursday will consist of sloppy joes, corn on the cob, and baked beans. 
  • I need to plant myself at the feet of the Lord.  It's what He's calling me to do.  He's tried whispering it but I've been drowning out His voice with my desire for control, my desire for circumstantial comfort, and my desire for "stuff."  
  • Everything will be just fine.

5.23.2010

More of the same, mostly

Some may think that our life is pretty boring.  For the most part, there's nothing super-exciting or new going on.  But I love the "mundane-ness" of our life.  It allows for more "let's make today SPECIAL" days.  Like yesterday...

In the morning, Micah went to men's Bible study and then took the car in for a much-needed oil change.  While he did that, Kait and I went grocery shopping (I've been meal-planning so I knew exactly what we needed for the week! Go me!).  We got home and had our picnic lunch ready just as Micah returned home.  Since the weather wasn't ideal, we picnicked indoors.  We had sandwiches, cantaloupe, and chips on a blanket int he living room and we watched Charlotte's Web.  Later, Kait and Micah went to the shop (the wood shop where Micah works) so Micah could finish up a project.  That gave me some time to relax and read on my Kindle.  (I adore my new Kindle.)  The rest of the day went like this: 3 loads of laundry, Kait helping to prepare dinner (beef enchiladas and rice), a quick visit to Grandma and Papa's house, and a [really dumb horror] movie for Micah and I after Kait was in bed.

Nothing special....but I loved that we could spend the day as a family.

In other news...

  • We're moving to a 3-bedroom townhome (in our same apartment complex) at the end of July!  YAY!
  • Kait and I went on her kindergarten class field trip to a farm at the end of April.  Here are a couple photos:

Kait in the "maze" made of tall hedges.


Kait and her friend Erica eating oranges we hand-picked from the trees on the farm.
  • I'm now 7 months pregnant!  Visit our blog at the4thleonard.blogspot.com for more on the pregnancy.
  • We have a vacation planned for this summer - a trip to Clear Lake in Northern California with our dear friends the Hays family.  We chose this location because it's a half-way point between our home and theirs (in Marysville, Washington) and my parents have allowed us to use their timeshare there!

4.12.2010

Nicole's New Job

This past week was my first full week at my new job as part-time bookkeeper for the US office of KarmelSonix.  My journey from full-time to part-time work has been amazing - miraculous even! - and I wanted to share the story with those of you who have not heard it yet.  WARNING: This story is a bit lengthy. :)

Back in June 2009, I knew I wanted to stop working full-time soon.  Kaitlyn would be starting kindergarten in August, which would put her in school for only 3 hours per day.  Aside from the cost of after-school care, I didn't want to keep having other people watch my girl.  From the time I started working for Lewis Retail Centers in August 2006, Kaitlyn had been in preschool/daycare from 7:30am until 5:30pm Monday through Friday.  That's 10 hours each day!!  I hated to face that fact and actually felt quite a bit of guilt about it.

So with kindergarten rolling around, I knew something had to change but didn't know how we could work it out financially - or even practically.  Who would hire me for only 3 hours per day?  And if I couldn't get work outside the home, I would have to do something from home... and jobs were scarce as it was.  But I felt the Lord urging me to trust in Him and let Him lead.  I started responding to Craigslist ads for telecommuting (work from home) jobs and put a message out on Facebook to my friends, letting them know I was looking for work I could do from home.

An acquaintance from my church contacted me with a job offer shortly thereafter.  She had been telecommuting for a company that was building a 1-800-DENTIST type of website.  My friend was going to go on maternity leave and thought I could replace her.  I would be assisting the assistant to the Marketing Director.  I would be responsible for admin work, communication with dentists, internet research, and some website stuff - all things I could do with no problem.  So I spoke with the assistant and she agreed to give me the amount of pay I needed.  I was hired!  They pay wasn't great, but it was the minimum amount I figured we could get by on.  The job required 5 hours of work per day, but I could do it all from home.  I was excited, yet terrified.  I kept thinking, Lord, this is NUTS!  I was going to quit a secure, full-time, well-paying job to work part-time from home where my job security was tenuous and my pay was barely a fraction of what Lewis was paying me.

But Micah and I knew what our priorities were: Kaitlyn, getting pregnant again, and keeping my sanity. We also were very aware of the Lord speaking - He was opening doors and lighting the way and I knew it would be foolish not to follow.  

I gave my two-weeks' notice at Lewis and started my new job in July 2009.  It worked out fine but I realized how difficult it was to have a 6-year-old at home while I'm trying to work.  My job required me to be at the computer for 5 hours and Kaitlyn needed my attention.  I began to wonder if I had made a mistake.

Surprisingly, though, Lewis called me and offered me a job again - they wanted to work around my availability.  What?!  Again I say, this is NUTS!  Part-time work at the Lewis corporate office was unprecedented!  But I can say with conviction that the Lord provides and makes a way where there seems to be no way.  I was allowed to come back to Lewis working only 3 hours per day (the time Kait was at school) with any school holidays off.  I kept my same hourly rate and we were able to keep our monthly discount on our apartment (a perk for Lewis employees who live in Lewis-owned apartment complexes).  I started at Lewis again the same day Kaitlyn started kindergarten, August 10.

This new position at Lewis came with a stipulation, though.  It was temporary; my boss could only guarantee my position through the end of the December.  Of course, this would normally cause me a whole lot of anxiety and freaking out... but the Lord gave me an amazing peace over the situation.  When people asked what we would do after December, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "I don't know."  The Lord protects, He provides, and He is faithful.  I knew that and was hanging onto it.

When December rolled around, my "contract" was extended and I was permitted to stay at Lewis until the end of March 2010.  This was great news, but now there was more to consider.  I was pregnant and summer break was going to begin at the end of May, which would mean Kaitlyn would no longer be occupied at school during the 3 hours I was working.  My new goal was to get my Lewis job extended through the end of May and then, once again, we'd have to rely on the Lord to provide something, somehow, somewhere.

During the winter season, Micah and I were attending a growth group on Thursdays.  At one of our meetings, I shared my prayer request and our situation.  One of the guys in our growth group (his name is Micah too) works for KarmelSonix, which is owned by another gentleman at our church named Larry.  I was unaware of this, but one day I got a message from Larry's wife saying that she heard I was looking for work and that KarmelSonix needed a bookkeeper.  I responded enthusiastically and sent an email and my resume to Larry.  His response blew me away.  He was OK with the pay rate I was asking for, he was willing to work around my hours of availability, and he even had no problem with me bringing Kaitlyn (or later, the new baby) to work with me.  I know....This is NUTS!!!

I still get so overwhelmed thinking about how incredible this story is... How undeniable it is that God's hand was in it.  The timing of each and every step was perfect.  All throughout my transition from one job to another, we never struggled financially - there was always a steady stream of income coming in from somewhere.  God used people around me to make things happen and it was clear that it was His doing, not my own.

So a few weeks ago, I went to my boss at Lewis and told her that I didn't need the extension through May because I had this new job offer.  Even while quitting, I was amazed.  My boss said that whenever I am ready to work full-time again - even if it's 3 years down the road - to call her.  She gave me a hug, wished me well, and sent me on my way with a lovely farewell gift and some cash.  You'd think I'd get used to the Lord knocking my socks off, but I am still in awe.

It's now April and I've just begun week 2 of my new position at KarmelSonix.  I love this job.  Larry and Micah are amazing guys to work with.  I enjoy my duties as bookkeeper.  I respect the company, its mission, & product line of medical devices. 

The company, based in Israel, is Jewish so there was a ceremony recently to affix a mezuzah to the doorpost of our office suite.  The mezuzah serves as a reminder of God's presence and duty to fulfill His commandments.  It is a small wooden case that holds parchment on which is written Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Deuteronomy 11:13-21.  The ceremony happened to be held during Passover and two Jewish rabbis came out to lead the ceremony.  The CEO of KarmelSonix and his wife, both from Israel, were also in attendance.  We even had the mayor of Rancho Cucamonga there!  After the mezuzah was affixed, we had fellowship and shared matzah, kosher grape juice, and fresh fruit.  It was a wonderful experience.

So here I am...perhaps at the end of my job-transitioning journey.  I am satisfied and thankful, but am always ready to move again if the Lord call me to do so.  It's a good lesson to learn, don't you think?  Go when He says go and stay put when He says to stay put.  (Reminds me of God's call to Abraham in Genesis 12.)  Maybe the moral of the story should be, Who says God can't work through Facebook?  He can, for sure, but I think the real bottom line is this:  You will NEVER be disappointed with your life if you allow Christ to lead you.  His will is perfect, His ways are best, and His plan is better than anything you could have ever come up with on your own.  God is good...all the time!