Our last day in NJ

Today we said goodbye to the place we have called home for the last 3 1/2 years. I could care less about leaving the house, but it is always such a final moment when it happens. That moment when you walk around and look at each room one by one. The memories from the last few years come flooding back. Some make me smile and some make me sad. Like when we had just moved in and Mckenzie colored on the walls. Abby never did anything like that so I was shocked when Mckenzie did. Until then, I somehow felt like our family was immune from such childhood antics. Mckenzie is one of a kind and I wouldn't change her for anything. She adds a liveliness to our family that is matched by no other. To this day, she likes to write on places she shouldn't. Her dresser, her bookshelf, the walls in her closet. You name it, she likes to write on it. Well, not paper. She doesn't care for that much ;) Mckenzie has gone from a toddler to a kindergartener in this house. Surgery and pneumonia and first birthday parties with friends and countless play dates and Dad's Night at school. Trying out gymnastics and learning to dance and saying goodbye to her beloved pacifier. She has passed so many developmental milestones and has really come into her own. We brought her to this house and she depended on us for everything. Leaving here, she is able to do so many things on her own.

019 Mckenzie

Abby has grown into quite a remarkable young lady. She was so afraid of starting preschool here in NJ and at the end, she didn't want to leave to go to kindergarten because she loved it so much. I remember those first few weeks where she cried every day at drop off (I may have cried once or twice too). It was so hard, but she made some really good friends. Kids she is still friends with today. This house is where she learned to read and where she made great friends.  I remember the day this past school year she ran off the bus and burst into the house to announce that she was now a Level L reader. The pride in her face was so rewarding for me and I will never forget that. Or the broken front door that she had to burst through. That thing was a pain in the butt to open and close. And in the winter, I had to stuff junk mail in the huge crack to help keep the cold air out. Here is the place she outgrew Dora the Explorer and Laurie Berkener, opting for Jessie and SpongeBob instead. She learned to ride a two wheel bike on the street in front of our house. It wasn't easy for her, but once she got it, man, she never looked back! She learned to swim here too. Not from the swim lessons I put both girls in, but from splashing around with her friends. She lost her first tooth here and saw her first Broadway show and rode a bus to school for the first time and danced on stage for the first of many times to come. So many firsts and a few lasts as well. Like not sucking her thumb anymore. That was a really big challenge for her but she did it. And not needing a light on to sleep at night. She has really grown up here.

025 Abby Ally

And Cooper. Well, he didn't get to spend too many nights in NJ, but he and I did get to spend many of them awake together. That crappy front door is the one we walked through when we brought him home for the first time. And I remember pacing the floor for nine hours one day because he just wanted to be walked. He didn't get many firsts here. But he did learn to roll over and discovered his hands and his voice here. And he smiled here for the first time. A big beautiful smile that made all those long nights and sleepy mornings worth every minute of is. But most of his firsts will be in our new home and I look forward to those.
058 Barb Cooper
Scott and I even had a few firsts here. Broadway shows and running 10 miles. I learned how to use a big girl camera and I can see how my photography has improved from when we moved here until now. Scott completed his first half marathon and is working towards being able to run a full!
048 Scott Abby Cooper Mckenzie

038 MCkenzie Abby Cooper Scott Barb

We have made so many good friends here. Everywhere we have lived, we have met some wonderful people. But here, I was shocked at how many wonderful friends I made. Friends that I would call family. Living away from family is always hard, but here, I always knew in my heart there would be someone available to help out in a moments notice if the need arose. And that put my mind at ease. It was hard raising two kids and at the end three, when Scott was away. But, I always had a friend just a phone call away. Someone to watch the girls or shuttle them around to activities or bring me Children's Tylenol because I was out and Mckenzie was still running a fever or to rescue me from a nasty dead mouse in the cupboard or bring me milk because I just didn't want to take Cooper to the store in the rain or listening to me vent time after time. I could go on and on about the generosity of my friends because they are so kind and wonderful. I hope each and every one of my friends knows how special they are to me. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing women and their children and I will forever hold you in my heart.
028 Sarah, Emily, Jessica, Natalie, Charlie, Erin, Abby, Nate, Ava, Mckenzie Liam, Ava, Ally Claire, Emma, Carlo

So see ya later Jersey! Thanks for all the wonderful memories :)

033 goodbye NJ

003 Abby Mckenzie

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