Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dear Paulding, Please Don't Apologize

Whenever you move, one of the common questions you get is, "Where did you move from?"  To keep things simple, Ian and I usually answer, "Denver".  Some times people will chuckle when they hear our answer and a lot of times people will ask, "Why would you move here!?!?"

And in some ways I get it.  As far as I know, Paulding, Ohio is not a vacation destination for the masses.  It is not know for its great weather or lack of insects.  No one has "Native" bumper stickers to claim their pride in being born here.

Image result for native colorado
photo via Google Image Search

And yet Ian and I would pick Paulding over Denver.  I guess the biggest reason is we feel that God called us here and has a plan and a purpose for us here.  But there is something else - something that is hard to put into words.

When we go to Susie's Bakery, she knows my kid.  She will give him a donut hole or show him how her clock moves.  If she has time, she will come out from behind the counter and visit for a bit.

When you go to the grocery store, you may just bump into someone you know.  It is not a mass sea of strangers doing their own thing at their own pace.  The cashier will give the receipt to Samuel because she knows he likes to hold it (and then shred it in the backseat).

And then there is this:

There is something so beautiful and magnificent about fields of corn or wheat (or even soy beans).  To see the cycle each year of planting, growing, and harvesting is powerful to me.  Whenever we were in Korea or Denver I would always wonder, "How tall is the corn now?  Does it look good?"  I want my kid to know that food we eat started as seeds and had to be planted and cared for and prayed for and harvested.

It just doesn't magically appear in the grocery store.  Some years are good and some years are not.

The meat we eat comes from cows and chickens and pigs and turkeys.  Cows are big and they have a specific smell.  Chickens are little dinosaurs and pigs are mean.  It takes work to bring food to us.

So folks of Paulding, be proud and don't apologize.  Ian and I choose to live here.  We are excited for our child to grow up here.  It is something that we say to each other often.   

We don't have to live here, we get to.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Samuel Cary - 13 months

Well, I have decided to try to document the second year of Samuel's life.  I have no idea how this will go, but I at least have to give it a try (it is alarming to me how poor my memory has become)

Social: The kid thinks he is a 6 year old. We tagged along with Daddy to a hospital visit in Fort Wayne and checked out a new park.  He was content in the baby area of the park for about 20 seconds before he decided that he needed to be in the big kid area.  He thinks he can go do whatever he sees 9 year olds running around doing.  Once Samuel can walk, he is going to be unstoppable.

Diet: Anything he can get into his mouth. Samuel's favorite foods are yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and anything on Dad's plate.  I found some fruit and veggie melts at the store this past month and Samuel loves those too.  He is in a spherical and ellipsoid food stage.  I think it started with the hard boiled eggs.  If you ask him where the eggs are, he knows which shelf in the fridge. He will pick his own hard boiled egg out in the morning and crack it on the counter (he could probably half peel it too, but it makes too much of a mess and I don't have the patience). He likes cutie/mandarin oranges as well.  He has tried to crack them as well, but it does not work, so he usually gives up and just starts eating the whole thing (peel included - until I catch him and pick orange peel out of his mouth).

Clothes: In between 12 and 18 month clothes.  We got you a pair of Fergshark flip flops in 3T this month.  

Momma's Favorites: When we walk from the living room to Samuel's bedroom for nap time, he has started to pat my arm.  It is cute and I think he is imitating that I rub his back. It is also fun to plan something that Samuel will like to do (go to the park) and then see the happiness on his face when we arrive.

Crying: You cry (scream) when something does not go your way - so that would be 194 times a day.

Sleep: Oh sleep. Samuel will sleep through the night and take two naps a day. We'll just leave it at that.

Baby Likes: Eating, keys (and pressing the lock/unlock buttons to make the cars beep), the park, emptying the dishwasher, emptying the laundry basket, the tv remote (and all technology), Susie's Bakery, ROCKS, WATER, pushing things while walking behind them, GOING OUTSIDE (this may be Sam's most favorite thing in the world!) TAKING A BATH (this may be Samuel's second most favorite thing in the world).  Samuel is excellent at pointing out trucks, birds (specifically robins), squirrels, and anything he deems "tractor" (aka lawn mowers).  He can't talk so I just assume that he knows the difference between trucks and tractors.

Baby Dislikes: Coming inside, riding in the car for more than 5 minutes, the jogging stroller, diaper changes

Milestones: Technically, Samuel spent about 6 hours in Michigan when he was 3 months old, so I don't know if that counts or not.  This past weekend, we tagged along with Dad to Presbytery in Ann Arbor and got a full 24 hours in, so now it counts for sure!

Samuel is doing better at drinking out of a sippy cup. (And by that I mean, it takes him 3 days to drink one sippy)

I feel like Samuel has started to understand a lot more in the past month.  He understand sequences (put on shoes before going outside or he thinks if Dad is not home then he is at church... which is true most of the time).  He also understands commands ("put your shoes on"  "take this to the laundry room" "put your paci in your crib") now it is just a matter of him following the commands.

He can put the cap on his food pouches.  He knows how to put it on and he knows that it needs to be twisted to go on securely.  I love seeing his intense look of concentration when he is mastering a skill.

Two funny stories from this past month:

On a rainy day, we decided to visit the library.  The kids' section of the library is so fun!  Samuel crawled around and explored the duplos table, the hand puppets, and some big stuffed animals.  He, of course, had zero interest in the books.  At one point he crawled over to a table, pulled himself up, and started for the stuffed animal sitting on the other end.  The next thing I know, my kid is BITING the table.  I told him, "No".  He did it again.  I took him over to the diaper bag and gave him his paci (which he usually only gets at nap time and in the car).  He started to wiggle so I put him down. He crawled right back over to the table, pulled himself up, took his paci out, and started biting on the table again.  I was mortified but tried to keep it together (note: there were no other people in the library so I knew the librarians could hear everything I was saying).  I told him, "You can stop chewing on the table, or we can go home."  I will let you guess what choice he went with (we went home).

Samuel comes along with whatever I need to do each day. I needed to work on something for children's church at the church so Samuel came with me.  He likes to pull the books off the shelf of the library at church.  I told him, "No, we only books off the shelf at home." He did it a few more times (of course when I set him down next to his toys, he has zero interest and just crawls back to the book shelves). Finally I slapped his hand (not hard) and told him, "No" and gave up and went home.
The next day we went back and he headed right for the books. I said, "Samuel" and gave him the look.  He looked back at me, hit himself on the hand, and started pulling books off the shelf.  
The next week we were over at the church again and the same thing happened!  He now just hits himself on the hand and starts unloading the shelves.  

Monday, May 7, 2018

Eric's Ice Cream Factory {2018 Summer Blog Project}

I decided that I needed a summer project.  Being new to northwest Ohio, I am not familiar with the area ice cream venues.  So Ian and I are going to visit different ice cream sites and give a rating / review of each.

There was a car dealership across the road so Samuel thought our seats were the best ever - life does not get better than ice cream and watching cars

First up, Eric's Ice Cream Factory. There are several in the area - we visited one in Defiance.  I have to say that I was really impressed!  They had 24 (I think?) different flavors of homemade ice cream (they had soft serve, but who has soft serve when there is another option?)


  1. nice employees
  2. reasonable price
  3. generous serving
  4. wide variety of flavors 
  5. the location we went to had indoor and outdoor seating (and the outdoor seating area was clean)
  6. they had highchairs
  7. they had little tasting spoons (this is a big deal to me as it helps me eat my ice cream slower)
  8. the are "real food" items available as well
  9. they are open late if Ian and I want to go after we put Samuel to bed

  1. distance - it would be nice if it was in Paulding (I have a feeling that this will be a negative for all places we try this summer - deep sadness)

Being a good Ohio citizen, I had tried the Buckeye Ice Cream.  Ian had "the bomb" which was vanilla ice cream with brownie batter and caramel.  Both were so good (I think the Buckeye was better).  Samuel was indecisive and wanted to eat all of both.

I am glad that we gave Eric's a try. I now have high expectations for the other ice places in the area.  I can see a lot of summer date nights involving Eric's Ice Cream Factory.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Samuel Cary - 12 months

Well, I have decided to try to document the second year of Samuel's life.  I have no idea how this will go, but I at least have to give it a try (it is alarming to me how poor my memory has become)

Weight: 21 lbs 4 oz

Height: 29.25 inches
Head: over 18 inches

Health: Overall, Samuel has been pretty healthy.  I did have a scare in early April when I discovered a rash all over his stomach, chest, and back.  It resolved.  I am not sure what brought it on. We tried to stick to 1-ingredient food for a few days.

Social: Samuel likes to watch big kids.  He does okay in the nursery at church, but is happiest when he can see Mom or Dad.

Diet: Anything he can get into his mouth. Samuel's favorite foods are yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and anything on Dad's plate.  

Clothes: Samuel is still wearing (and filling out) 12 month clothing. I think he has been wearing some 12 month onesies since he was 4 months old.  He will definitely be in 12 month pants for awhile yet (I am hoping it warms up enough that we do not have to worry about pants soon!)  12 month clothing is the first size Samuel has not grown through super fast and I am ready for some new clothes for him.

Momma's Favorites: There was one day when Samuel woke up super early and ended up nursing back to sleep after a bit.  I held him while he napped and really enjoyed it. Everyone told me when he was little to savor holding a napping baby.  I get it now. 

Crying: You cry when something does not go your way - so that would be 78 times a day.

Sleep: Oh sleep.  I could write a book on it. Samuel will sleep through the night and take two naps a day. A perfect day would be waking up around 6, napping from 8:30-10am and 1-2pm, and down for the night around 6:15ish.  Usually he wakes up early for the day or one of his naps.  But it is so much better than the first 9 months of his life that I try to be grateful.

Baby Likes: Food, emptying the dishwasher, pushing things while walking behind them, GOING OUTSIDE (this may be Sam's most favorite thing in the world!)

Milestones: We switched Samuel to a "big boy" carseat (thanks Papa G and Mama G!) It was great to be able to click you in and out when the weather was cold, but now that it is warming up (and you weigh a ton!) it is nice to just carry you.

The poem included in Samuel's one year birthday card from Great-Grandpa Schaudt:
"You're a very special little boy
who's loved in every way...
for bringing joy and laughter
to each and every day.
So happy and so full of fun
and such a good boy too
you make the world a nicer place
with everything you do.
So now that your 1st Birthday's here
may all your dreams come true...
for no-one else deserves them more 
than a special boy like you."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Favorite Things about Living in a Small Town {in the Midwest}

I have been listing off ideas in my brain for a few months of the positives of moving back to a small town.  All of my experiences with small towns are in the Midwest, so I don't know if small towns out of the Midwest are the same or not.  In no particular order:

Positives of Small Town Life

  • I don't need my GPS to get many places.  I think I used my GPS to get to the grocery store for the first month we lived in Littleton.  And I used my GPS all the time to get anywhere out of the ordinary.  I think I used my GPS for half a day around Paulding and then maybe a week or two to get around Defiance and Van Wert.  There are still times I need to pull it out, but for the most part, I can think of a place and drive there and not need elaborate directions.
  • The cost of living is lower.  I am a fairly frugal person so saving money is a big perk for me.  I LOVE that I can get a latte for less than four dollars and that it taste better than my more-than-five-dollar Starbucks.  THE MIDWEST HAS ALDI.  And now it is cool to go to Aldi (unlike when I was a kid and I was so embarrassed that my mom shopped at Aldi).  Our car insurance dropped over $125 per month.  Our rent for a two bedroom house is about half of what our one bedroom apartment was in Englewood.  
  • People are friendly.  People acknowledge other people by smiling and saying, "Hi" even if they don't know each other. Strangers will stop and talk to Samuel in stores and try to coax a smile out of him. 
    • Related: People are kind.  Receptionists are so much more helpful on the phone (in my opinion).  We are on our third doctor for Samuel (2 in Denver due to insurance changes) and then 1 here.  Instead of handing you a bunch of papers to try to fill out while entertaining an infant, the nurses here ask questions and fill out paperwork for you.  And offer Samuel flavored tongue depressors to play with while asking you questions.  Is it efficient? Probably not, but it is nice.
  • People do not drive crazy.
  • There are possibly six stoplights in our whole entire town.  I drove through 30 to get to work every day in Denver.
  • Folks tend to be more conservative. I am conservative. It is draining to be around liberals who belittle conservatives.  You are welcomed to have an opinion as long as you are open minded to other people having different opinions and being respectful of their opinions.
  • Specific to life in Ohio: You can always count on having something flavored "buckeye".  My new favorite latte is a buckeye latte.  My favorite cupcake is also a buckeye.  The rest of America needs to jump on the chocolate + peanut butter bandwagon.  I would suggest the rest of the world needs to jump on the bandwagon but the rest of the world views Americans to be cray-cray for our love of peanut butter, much less peanut butter + chocolate. 
  • The Midwest understands how to plow roads AND embraces said understanding. I will take plowed roads with tax payer's salt on them and thus the ensuing potholes over driving in Denver's unplowed streets any day.
Samuel is thankful that we have our own yard with leaves that he can eat any time he wants.
One positive of moving out of Colorado - every time I have smelled skunk, I have seen a skunk (usually dead on the road).  After smelling a whole lotta weed over the last four or five years, I will take the skunks.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thankfuls 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!  Ever since I have been a little girl I have been making a list of 100 things I am thankful for each year on (or close to) Thanksgiving Day.  The tradition was started by my mom on a car ride out to Iowa to visit family for Thanksgiving and has continued.

Thankfuls for 2017 (in no particular order):
1. God - faithful, kind, compassionate, sovereign
2. Wheelchairs
3. My wife (said by Ian)
5. Coffee
6. a job
7. leftovers!
8. Samuel Cary
8.5 Coach P and Heather
9. My husband (said by Alissa)
10. naps

From Samuel:
11. Corn Toothbrush (and all chew toys in general)
12. Wind Chimes
13. Boxes that one can sit in
14. End of Nap time
15. Sitting on Dad/ Grandpa's shoulders
16. People (repeatedly) picking up what I have dropped
17. Tylenol for teething
18. warm hats for cold walks
19. pacis (and blessed silence - added by Samuel's Mom)
20. Halloween is only once a year
21. the Jumparoo - thanks to Uncle Dan and Aunt Sara

22. car rides and walks that put Samuel to sleep
23. police and firefighters
24. craft beer
25. dishwashers
26. water bottles
27. restaurants to go to when you don't feel like cooking
28. disposable diapers
29. gyms
30. dreadmills for cold days or dark nights
31. fitbit
32. community that embraces (and celebrates) us like family
33. witnessing the joy and delight brought to grandparents by Samuel
34. Christmas music
35. all the people who have helped, encouraged, and supported us as we have moved
36. catalogs that come in the mail
37. friends that listen with their hearts
38. the Bible
39. drive throughs
40. DQ Blizzards
41. Target
42. Costco (costco diapers - see #28)
43. Vista being family
44. good co workers
45. health insurance
46. taking the Fit in to get a new turn signal and getting the air conditioner fixed by surprise
47. sweet potato souffle
48. epidurals
49. caesarean section for when things do not go as planned
50. smart phones
51. Chick fil A 
52. doughnuts (and students who came to doughnuts and derivatives)
53. Calc 3 MIT Lectures on youtube
54. bouncy seats, swings, boxes, high chairs, strollers, and other things that contain Samuel
55. times that we communicate clearly
56. deodorant
58. Mom forums
59. Necklaces that Samuel can safely on
60. misletoe
61. air conditioning
62. stevia
63. decaffeinated beverages
64. La Croix
65. Coke
66. special egg rolls
67. soccer
68. cross country and track
69. dogs (said by Ian)
70. books
71. trees
72. flowers
73. wreaths
74. crisp morning air
75. smooth running trails
76. sea salt dark chocolate
77. white noise maker
78. wood burning fireplaces
79. magic eraser
80. foot rubs
81. ponytail holders
82. real cream for coffee
83. moving company
84. Hadley Rose and the Donkey
85. technology that keep us in touch with family and friends
86. shoes
87. the fact that no one can stay awake forever
88. gum
89. we survived seminary
90. wine
91. cinnamon rolls
92. the Babylon Bee
93. eggs
94. slippers
95. bacon
96. paper snowflakes
97. those that welcome us with open arms
98. magic the gathering (said by Ian)
99. scented candles
100. Grandpa and Kathryn

Monday, June 5, 2017

seven years

Today is our SEVEN year wedding anniversary - wootwoot! I thought I would share seven things I love about Ian (in no particular order).

1. Ian points us to Jesus and the Gospel. 
He is so faithful in this. We have friends that say, "Everything is negotiable... except us and Jesus." Ian has adopted this for us as well. I can get caught up in superficial things, but Ian stays focused on eternity.

2. Ian knows me better than I know myself.
There are times that I am externally processing my life and Ian will say something and I am like, "Boom! Yes! How do you know me better than I know myself?" or we will play, "Guess what Alissa is thinking right now?" And he can guess 100% of the time (even when I think I am thinking crazy weird not related to what we are doing thoughts).

3. Ian believes in me, encourages me to be brave, and chase my dreams.
Sometimes I am asked to take on big projects and I lack the self-confidence that I can do it. Or sometimes I lack the courage to do small things (like talk to people). Ian reminds me of what I have already accomplished, who I am (You are Alissa Ferguson, you work hard, and you can do it.) and what others have said to me.  Some of my proudest accomplishment I would never have attempted if it was not for Ian cheering me on.

4. Ian can make me laugh even when I have zero desire to find humor in a situation.
I don't know how he does it.  I can go from fuming angry to cracking up (and calmer) in moments when Ian reframes our situations. He also cracks himself up, which is good because I do not make him laugh often enough.

5. Ian is patient with me.
I am not very patient with myself (and sometimes others). I want everyone to have the same unreasonably high expectations that I do. I have said this many times, but it is still true - I am so glad I am not married to me.  It is good that I am married to Ian.

6. Ian speaks truth into my life.
Worry Kills.
Expectations are meant to be broken.
You need a pedicure.

Just a few of the truth bombs that Ian has dropped in my life in the last few months.

7. Ian still sees life as an adventure.
I probably would have lost the adventure mindset somewhere along the way (when we moved back to America) but Ian still reminds me that we are in adventure mode and that we are on an adventure because we are changing the world.

seven years later
Bonus: He buys me ice cream. And he rubs my feet. Some said it would not last after we got married - it has. He is my favorite and my bestie.