Dear Friends and Family,
Happy 2017!!! I hope your holidays held many joyful celebrations and meaningful times with family and friends!
As you probably know the biggest event of our year was the birth of our son. In September of 2015 we discovered that I was four weeks pregnant with a little peanut. We were happily surprised right before Christmas of 2015 to find out that we would be having a beautiful baby boy! By this time last year, I was getting quite big as I entered my third trimester; I stopped my cleaning jobs and started to transition out of my tutoring/babysitting jobs to prepare for his arrival. We met our baby boy for the very first time on May 5th, 2016 when he decided to make his appearance 8 days before his due date!!! Oakley James has brought so much joy to us this year! Andrew and I loved experiencing for the first time having a little life obviously growing inside of me as my belly noticeably grew and watching Oakley’s little movements from within. Now, he keeps us smiling as he is always daringly trying something new, flashing his extremely charming smile at us every time we look his way, and laughing his contagious baby belly laugh. He is a curious, daring, playful, happy 8 month old, though I will say lately he has been a little more on the sad side as he is going through the clingy, I-always-need-mommy-or-daddy stage. 🙂 He is crawling like a pro, standing with the help of any object he can pull himself up to, and getting into everything!
This summer we took it pretty easy as Oakley was still a little squirt, but we enjoyed lots of frisbee golfing, time with family, and a weekend mini vacation near Grand Haven, MI where we got engaged (to say the least, it’s a favorite place of ours now!).
In October, Andrew and I took a week’s vacation to Colorado, the place where we both went to school for a time and where we met as well! We had a wonderful time with friends, each other, hiking, being in the mountains, exploring old favorite places, and watching Oakley enjoy his first vacation. He especially loved the swimming and hiking! Besides Oakley getting a cold right before we left, him finding it a little hard to adjust to a new time schedule, and a little bit of craziness on the plane ride, he did great!
Andrew is still working as a web designer for GM. He works at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, MI. He is enjoying his job and is very thankful for a wonderful boss and work environment; he also enjoys a great view of Canada and the Detroit river from the 30th floor every day! He has been a part of many big projects going on at GM this year, so that has been very exciting for him! This year he was able to have a week off for Oakley’s birth, and worked for two weeks from home after that. It was SO incredible and such a blessing to have him home for those three weeks as we adjusted to life with a new little person as part of our family! I am thankful for the flexibility of Andrew’s job and for the many ways God has provided for us this year through it!
Heading into 2017, Andrew just started seminary at Antioch School of Ministry and Leadership Development. He will be studying a bachelors in theology, alongside his full time job. Thankfully, it is a fully accredited online program through our church, so Andrew can work on school in the evenings and weekends from home! Yay for me! Though we are both very excited for this journey and especially for the end goal (Andrew has a heart especially for church planting, pastoring, and discipleship), we both know how much work it is going to be too. We were very much enjoying our newly married, lots-of-time-together days!!! 🙂 But, as I look into the new year, I know that God is up to some pretty incredible things in our lives, and I know he is going to use everything this year in the ways He so perfectly sees are needed in our hearts and lives. More than staying where I am comfortable, I want God to take us to new places and to be shaped more and more into the people he created and called us to be! He is so good!
As for me, I am blessed to be staying at home as a full time mom! Though in many ways it has been an adjustment for me this year to primarily be at home, I am thankful for the things Jesus has taught me through it and to be able to be there for every step of Oakley’s development. That is so extremely special! I keep myself busy with mommy stuff, cleaning, cooking, tutoring a 5th grader a few hours a week, being involved with kiddo and youth ministries at church, and much more.
Happy New Year from our family to yours!
-Andrew, Susanna, and Oakley
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. -Psalm 16:11