The Duvall's are busting out of New York! Already?? Yes, let us fill you in.
We originally moved to Albany for my job with a local news station, but after Lucia came into the picture I stopped working. That was about a year ago. Despite this, we were really ready to give Albany a fighting chance. Our first order of business when we got here was to find a good church. For us this is vital. We love the Lord, he is first and we know the benefits of being in fellowship with other Christians. So we visited churches...and more churches and more churches and after visiting 13...yes 13...we found one that we liked. We faithfully attended every time we were not out of town but after several months we started to feel like it was not a great fit for us. Now, 13 sounds like an insane amount, but friends our criteria was pretty simple! We wanted a church where there was powerful, spirit-filled worship, and a group of people who were sold out for Jesus ready and willing to live for him and follow the lead of the spirit...and not the lead of people...unfortunately that is very hard to find. Don't get me wrong, we met a lot of nice people, and our few church friends were very kind and wonderful to us, but it just never felt right. So that was strike one for Albany.
Strike two was a simple one...we were too far from my family. The three hour trip, now with a newborn and two very tired parents became unbearable. Lucia is the best thing that has every happened to us...but dang...this girl hates sleep. When we visit family, my mother relives us a night or two and gives us much needed rest. With sweet Lucia here and the plan for more little Duvall's, we knew we needed the support of family.
Strike three, Josh's job. Josh had a great job at a financial firm, with the hopes of taking it over after his boss retired. Yet, after a year of working there he knew it was not the place God wanted him to stay in long-term.
When we moved here we really felt like the Lord wanted us to be here...for so many reasons that were made very clear to us, but now it was time to get-to-stepping. So Josh began to look for a job. We prayed for direction and we prayed for open and closed doors. After several weeks of searching and several interviews Josh found an awesome position with a financial firm in Philadelphia! Josh will fill you in on this...
As many of you know, I recently completed all of the requirements to earn the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation which is the "gold standard" for Financial Advisors in the United States. This isn't the biggest change that has occurred for me though. Getting an offer from Cordasco Financial Network was also a great accomplishment. As a Financial Advisor with CFN, I'll be a member of a small team which helps plan for and manage our clients financial lives, to the tune of half a Billion dollars. On top of this, I'll also be assisting the firm with their marketing and social media efforts, which if you haven't realized already, I really enjoy doing (#makeaplan). Although this is the biggest opportunity in my professional life, I think I am equally if not more excited about the new personal developments as well. Lisa and I will be first-time homeowners and are finally in a position to put down roots and establish our family in a local community and church fellowship.
Ok back to me...Philadelphia fit what we were looking for. A bigger city, much closer to family, close to the beach and many more bible-believing churches. So in the beginning of December Josh accepted the job ...then it was crunch time. The lease on our apartment was ending Dec 31 and we were so tired of renting. We had attempted, at one point, to buy a home in Albany but it just never worked out despite our valiant effort. We thought though, 'hey lets try again around Philadelphia and maybe, just maybe we would find something in time!' We knew we wanted to live in Cherry Hill, NJ, a suburb outside of Philly and we knew the neighborhood we wanted to be in, so we found an awesome realtor and narrowed our search. After two trips down and seeing about 20 homes, we found the house we could see ourselves growing into. So we pulled the trigger and put in an offer...and it was accepted! Fortunately, the seller and original owner of the home agreed to a January 15 closing date so yes, it is all happening very quickly. Everything went well with the inspection, there are just a few things the seller needs to fix so hopefully everything continues to go smoothly!
We are so excited to finally put down some roots and get involved in the community and a church...these are so important for Lucia and she is our priority now. Please friends keep us in prayer as we step into this next chapter of our lives. Pray that God will watch over us during the move, fill our new home with his presence and open opportunities for a church family and neighborhood friends....and of course...whenever you want to come visit...give this girl a call and we could go stomp around the City of Brotherly Love!
Here is a picture of our soon-to-be home! When everything is 100% final I will write another blog and give you a tour...I have big plans for this place =)
Thank you family and friends!
I am going to be honest with you all. When it comes to parenting, I really have no idea what I am doing. I ask a million questions, I Google everything and I am learning through trial and error and thankfully Lucia is still alive, so we are doing something right. But there are many days where I am sitting in the house with Lucia, she is changed and fed and staring around and I find myself thinking "what on earth am I supposed to be doing with this baby?? I do tummy time, I read to her, we dance, I sing to her (she laughs), we play on her play-mat, her jumper...but I find myself bored after a while with the same toys and routine. I try and get out with her a few times a week but that is exhausting...and we have toys around her a lot, but she plays with them for a minute and then drops them and looks at me like...uh whats next lady. Then a conversation will come up and it will go a little something like this... "Lucia are you bored?" Lucia: blank stare...."Yea me too."
So more times than I would like to admit I find myself Googling "what should I be doing with my (insert age) month old?" I know she is just a baby, but I want to keep her senses going and I hate just plopping her on the mat for more than 15-20 minutes. I know the wall entertains her but I get bored and sometimes I know she does too. I get to stay at home with her all day so I want to make these times count.
So in my Googling this week I came across sensory play ideas. If you are not familiar with it... (I wasn't until baby came) sensory play is any activity that stimulates the senses (easy enough): touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. They say ( I use these phantom people to explain to Josh, my parents...everyone...all these things that we should be doing with baby... "They say no food till 6 months...they say there are chemicals in diapers, they say we should give her eye contact all the time ...you get the idea...) So yea...they say stimulating baby's senses helps develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally, physically and creatively. Sounds good to me. So I continued to read on and they started talking about a sensory table. Basically you take a bunch of junk from around the house, glue it to a piece of wood or cardboard and let the baby play with it. Sounds easy enough to me. So lets give this a try.
Here is what Josh and I created.
Basically it was a whole bunch of crap I found around my house. Honestly, I thought Lucia would look at it, give me a blank stare and then move on to stare at something else...but her response was the complete opposite. The second we put it in front of her she started touching everything. She was pulling on the tinsel, running her fingers across the corks...and she had this concentrated look on her face the whole time. It was great.
Lucia also figured out that if she kicked the board it would make noises...so she loved doing that too. Look at those sausages go.
We also created a sensory bottle. We filled an old bottle with glitter and sequins. She LOVES that. Probably even more than her table. I mean look at her face in these two pictures below. I can't even handle it. How cute is that??!! Success.
Lucia is four months old! It is so crazy because four months does not seem like a long time at all, but it feels like she has been here forever. I'll tell you this much, it has been a crazy four month but finally Josh and I are getting much more comfortable with this whole parenting thing.
The first two months were straight scary, the third month a bit more calm and now coming up on month four we are getting into a groove of things. So here is a little update on our sweet baby girl. At her four month check up she was...still big...ha! Her weight clocked in at a whopping 17 lbs 6 oz (95th percentile); height: 26 in (98th percentile); Head circumference 43.5 cm (above 98th percentile). She is big and we love it! Here are some sweet pics from our 4 month photo shoot.
Hello friends! I am Lisa. Lover of Christ and family, a former television reporter, a wife and a mom who strives to live a healthy, toxic free lifestyle.