Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Greetings!

We just couldn't pull it together this year to get Christmas cards out on time.
The move has consumed far more time than we imagined,
especially with the extra "holiday" activities mixed in.
We even typed up a little "update" letter (see below), but never got it printed, folded, stuffed in a pretty envelope and mailed to your house in a timely fashion.
So please imagine that you are walking to your mailbox right now,
open it up and find this Christmas card,
sent with love from our family to yours!
Merry Christmas everyone!!

Dear Family & Friends-

Christmas and New Year's greetings from the Lechner family!

The year 2010 has been a wonderfully full year for us! The biggest blessing this year was adding our 3rd precious baby girl, Ava Jean. She was born 10 days late on June 21st and we've absolutely adored having another little girl in the family. Ava has been a beautiful, happy and alert baby...and a perfect addition to our family.

Ava's birth marked the beginning of a roller coaster ride these past six months. When she was just 4 weeks old we sold and closed on our little house (quite abruptly) and moved into a lovely rental home just down the road. We happily lived there during four months of house hunting, until December 4th, when we moved into our new home! Selling our little house and hunting for a new one was a bumpy 16 month saga...and we are so grateful to be getting settled now! The Lord provided in mighty ways, and we ended up in the neighborhood we were hoping for, in a house we love and have room to grow in, with a beautiful fenced backyard. We've been wonderfully blessed. Although we've lived here for two weeks now, there is still much unpacking, painting and settling in to be done. The "settling in" process is a slow one with three kids four and under!

Speaking of the kids, our two big girls are growing up way too fast! Alathea is now 4 years old, and Abigail is 2 years old. They are THE best of friends. They share a room, and since we've been in the new house, Abigail is now in a "big girl bed", which she is quite proud of. While they each have their own bed, they are often found sound asleep, snuggled together in the same bed. Their little friendship is incredibly precious.

Alathea has matured into quite a wonderful, caring big sister. God perfectly crafted her to be the oldest. She's my huge helper and delights to serve her little sisters. She can make Ava smile like no one else. Alathea loves to learn and is starting to learn how to read (prompted on her own). She is our bright and artistic girl. She also loves to color and often spends hours a day doing that, as well as playing dress-up and dancing to loud music with Abigail. Its quite a sight to see!

Abigail is our little fire cracker and fits the mold of the classic two-year-old. She can be little-miss-trouble, but we love her all the more for the vibrant life she adds to the family. She's our funny girl who keeps us laughing, our snuggle bug and our major sweet tooth. She told me today that the three things she loves are "cupcakes, brownies and carousels". She's my momma's girl who still wants to be my baby. But also my girl who completely potty-trained herself this summer on her own initiative. We love all the laughter and life our Abi brings to our family.

Joe & I celebrated 8 wonderful years of marriage this summer! With the purchase of a mini-van in May (the Swagger Wagon), the addition of our 3rd child in June and the purchase of a family-sized home this month...for the first time ever we are starting to feel like grown-ups! Hard for us to believe. Joe still works at CrossWay community church and we consider ourselves amazingly blessed to not only attend such a wonderful church, but to also serve full-time on staff there. Joe still serves with the college ministry and preaching, and his role will be expanding this year to other area's of the church as well.

The Lord has blessed us with a house with plenty of space for visitors. We miss all of our out-of-town family and friends very visit soon!

In His Grace-
Joe & Jeanie
Alathea, Abigail & Ava

Ava Jean
6 months old

Alathea Joy- 4 years old
Abigail Kathleen- 2 years old

(Photo Credit: elisabeth-rose photography, 1st and last picture)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

6 months ago...

(photo credit: elisabeth-rose photography)

6 months ago today this absolutely precious gift was born into our lives.
2010 has been somewhat of a whirlwind, sometimes bumpy and full of changes.
God was incredibly gracious and kind to bless us with this sweet girl...
the perfect gift for this past year.

Ava Jean:
"Ava" means "life" and
"Jean" means "God is gracious"

God has indeed been gracious to bless us with this precious life!!

It is hard to believe that half a year has gone by since Ava was born. I stop many time a day, really any chance I get, to snuggle this sweet girl and soak up her fleeting baby-ness.

Ava is our bright and cheery baby, who loves people and particularly adores her big sisters.
This week she started sitting on her own and is already attempting to scoot.
She's also our little peanut, the smallest of all three girls at this age.
I love how she will lay her head on my shoulder and suck her thumb when she's sleepy.
And I adore her big, toothless, smile.

Happy half-birthday, baby girl.
I love you.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

my little running buddy

Meet my little running buddy.

Whenever I'm not running at 6:30am with my friend Reba,
then my little Ava tags along for the ride to keep me company.

She sure is cute.

And quite the talker!

I love having this sweet girl with me for just about anything.

Sweet girl's typical post-run slumber.

Friday, December 03, 2010

moving day

It's really amazing that this day has finally come. It's been a bumpy 16 months for us as we've been looking for a new house. I still remember the day we both felt confirmation that this was the day to put our much loved little house on the market...and after hustling one week to get it ready to list, it sold the day the sign went in the yard. "Boy, this sure was easy", we thought. Haha. I'm sure in a kind way the Lord must have chuckled at us in that moment.

We've had some crazy twists and turns along the way... the house we wanted to initially buy, went under contract the day before our offer came in. Then we went to build a house...and had to wait because an abandoned gas line used to run on the property we were to build on and it needed to be inspected. A month later it passed inspection, we went to sign the contract and that day the builder, pulte homes, left the neighborhood (the 1st time in the history of this well known company). We move onto house #3...our offer is accepted. But one week before closing we learn our buyers loan was denied in underwriting due to some serious tax fraud. Back to square one.

We list our little home again...something like 40 showings later (no joke, it was A LOT, especially being pregnant with two little kids. just mention the word "showing" to me now and I get chills) we make plans to take the house off the market on April 30th because Ava was due in just 5 weeks. But then in mid-April we got TWO offers, we countered them both, and never heard back from either agent. They would not even return our Realtor's calls. It was totally bizarre. So when April 30th rolled around I breathed a sigh of relief, we get to have this baby in peace! But that morning, one of the realtors called to say her buyer would accept our offer. We had forgotten about the offers that came in two weeks prior! This buyer wanted to make good on the April 30th deadline for 1st time homebuyers $8,000 tax credit. So just 5 weeks before Ava was due, our house went under contract again!

What was supposed to be a May 21st closing date, turned into a crazy 3 months of dealing with a very unqualified 1st time home buyer, and her very lazy realtor and lender (who moved about as fast as box turtles. it was crazy). At the time, in order for the buyer to get the tax credit, she had to settle before June 30th. When that date passed and she wasn't ready for closing, we assumed the deal was done. Fine by me, I had little 7 day-old baby Ava and I was in NO hurry to move. Nesting was in full gear. But Uncle Sam came to the rescue and extended the required closing date, and on the morning of July 21st our realtor gave us a call to say, "we're closing today at 1:30pm". So we closed with about 3 hours notice and had an army of family and friends pack and move our entire house in just 2 days.

Since then we've rented a lovely home from some dear friends so we could take a breath and take our time looking for a new home. We've looked and looked, it seemed like slim pickin' this fall. A few weeks ago Joe looked at a house with our realtor, came home and told me he thought he may have just looked at the house for us. Sure enough, he did. We wrote up an offer the next day, to learn that another offer came in the same day. We just laughed. But in God's kindness, they accepted our offer and we closed this past tuesday, November 30th...exactly one year from the day we were to close and move out of our little house.

Its been quite a journey, and now at the end of it I'm quite convinced that the purpose of the journey was far more about my heart than about finding a house. I'm so grateful for the waiting and times of disappointment. They were painful at times, but brought about so much good. They exposed more sin in my heart than I could have imagined (it was a humbling season). But I have also come to a deeper and sweeter understanding of God as my loving Father and far better grasp what God's love and goodness towards me looks like.

Well, that was a long story! Sorry for those who took the time to read it. I've been reminded of late to "recount the deeds of the Lord"...He has been so good to us these past 16 months.
We're excited about moving tomorrow. Its sweet to see how God provided so much of what we prayed for. We love the house, yard and neighborhood. Maybe I'll get around to posting some pictures soon...but I'm thinking this is going to be a busy few weeks ahead of me!