Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Fall!

Hi Friends!

Well, it's been awhile since our last update, but that's because moving into a new house in a new town with new jobs and new EVERYTHING takes up time!! We are really enjoying NWA, and all there is to do here. We had a wonderful housewarming party a few weeks ago, with 40 visitors! All of Pippi's daycare teachers came, some of my family, folks from each of our jobs, and church friends and neighbors. It was really fun.

Jason is thoroughly loving working at Trike Youth Theatre. It keeps him very busy, but in his free time he is performing quite a bit, too. Just this weekend his kids from Trike performed at a children's event at the local library, then Jason performed with his improv team 3 times down on Dickson street. His kids did their version of "Where the Wild Things Are" was really great! Pippi and I went down for the day and participated in lots of the events at the library. All the activities were based around different children's books. Pippi got to help build a house of straw, sticks, and bricks like the 3 little pigs, build a story board about "The sun, the moon, and the silver baboon", and of course watch Jason's team and their play. She did not like that Jason was up in front of everyone talking and introducing his kids, and she ended up in his arms with him as he spoke!

Jason is also involved in a company called "Ceramic Cow Productions" and will be doing a Halloween show in which he is the romantic lead character. He has 5 performances at the end of the month. Also, he volunteers with the first ever Fayetteville Film Festival, which takes up quite a bit of his time. The festival is in the first week of November. Needless to say, between all of this, Pippi and I see Jason very little at the moment!

After work each day, though, Pippi love to take neighborhood bikerides or walks. We love the playground just a few houses down. We have now met 8 of our neighbors, mostly young families like us, who also play outside a lot. Pippi is currently obsessed with pumpkins, and just tonight I took her to a lovely pumpkin patch to pick her own for the front porch. She got a wagon ride around the patch, and must have said "pumpkin" about 50 times as she pointed to them all. It was super cute.

I am still working at the hospital, but not sure it's really for me. I am looking around for a different job now, so prayers would be appreciated! I love my coworkers, though, and we have a good time together. I have started volunteering at church with Keypoint Kids, the 0-5 year old classes during the services. I have met a lot of the other volunteers and mothers at church through this, and it's nice to be serving again. Jason and I are planning to join a Life Group called "30 Rock" with others our age starting in November, and look forward to that.

Pippi has just been moved to the 2-year-old class at daycare, even though she is 4 months away from 2. They got 2 new 1-year-olds and needed to bump someone up to the next class, and Pippi was the most ready. She loves her new class and teacher and made the adjustment very well. The funny thing is, her vocabulary has increased sooo much in her first week! The older kids talk so much more, and she is picking it all up so quickly. She is even learning her letters, and pointed out an "E" on my t-shirt last week!

So that is most of what is going on with us. We hope to have some of you visiting us whenever you can! Now that we have a spare room, we want to fill it up with friends! Be sure and check out our blogsite for some photos of us, and don't forget to update us on your lives, too!

Sending all our love to each of you, and thanking you for your thoughts and prayers. They are what helped us make it through this transition back "home".

In Christ,
Jason, Sarah, and Pippi

Thursday, August 06, 2009

New Home and More!

I am endeavoring to write an email that will catch all of you up on the last 2 months of our lives. The difficulty is that so much has happened. But, I’ll do my best:

Arko Challenge

Many of you may be familiar with a little tradition we call the Arko Challenge. It began with me (Jason) and my friend David James back in the early 2000s. We have been away for the last few years, but some friends have continued the tradition. So this year, we ventured out to Sarah’s aunt and uncle’s cabin with a group of friends and we spent the weekend. It was a blast! We went swimming in the nearby creek, went for an (unplanned) hike in the woods, and we ate…oh boy, did we eat! We had so much fun and it was great to reconnect with old friends.

July 4th and New House

Then, our much-anticipated move into our new house happened on July 4th weekend! We were just about sick to death of looking at our suitcases after 4 months of living out of them. We just want to say that we couldn’t have made it to our new home here in the US without Ashley Hagler’s generous spirit and hospitality…she allowed us to live in her spare rooms and completely take over her house for 3 months. She never once complained…we’re pretty sure she must be a saint! Both sets of parents, plus Brett and Paula spent the entire July 4th weekend helping us move in. It was such a blessing, and super fun to have everyone around. We adore our new home, a 3-bedroom house in Springdale. It’s a great neighborhood, lots of young families like us. We have a huge backyard with lots of potential (can’t wait for a garden next year!) and great big trees to shade our house. It’s a perfect location for us, just 10 minutes from Sarah’s work, 2 minutes from Pippi’s daycare, and right by I-540 for me to jump on the highway to get to work in Bentonville. We absolutely love it, and have a spare room just waiting for visitors!!

Anniversary, Birthday, and a Wedding

July was also a busy month for us for celebrations…Sarah and I made it to our 7-year anniversary, Sarah turned 30, and we took a trip to Ohio to be in a wedding for our great friends Liz Dally and Rob Green. For our anniversary, we got a babysitter and went to see the new Harry Potter movie, something we’d both wanted to see. For Sarah’s b-day we spent the weekend in Little Rock with all the Suels, and spent Saturday at Wild River Country. We had an awesome picnic at the park with friends and family and since Sarah wanted a day out she could spend with Pippi, she got it! Pippi loves the water, and must have gone down the little “ducky” slide about 50 times, screaming with laughter every time! So cute. Then at the end of July we flew up to Bowling Green for Liz and Rob’s wedding. Sarah was a bridesmaid and I did a reading in the ceremony. It was a great time for meeting up with our friends in BG as usual, but it always makes us sad to leave there. The Dally’s have always been our “family”, and it was a good time to reconnect with everyone.

To sum up: We have been busy. We love our new house. We love our family and friends.

Thanks for keeping up with us and we hope to have more to share with you soon!

Jason, Sarah, and Pippi

Friday, May 29, 2009

Settling In

Hi-de-ho Neighbors,

It’s time for another update from the Amazing Suelfam! I know you are excited, so sit back and relax…you’re in good hands. I can’t remember the last email we sent out, but I will try to update you as best as I am able.

We have finally fallen back into a routine here in Northwest Arkansas…I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly is more comfortable. We are still living out of suitcases and at our friend Ashley’s house, but both our jobs have kicked in now and with Pippi settling into her daycare…it seems like we have jumped right back into the rat race.

My work is good. As I have stated before (and probably will have to say again) I am working as an Actor/Teacher for Trike Theatre this summer. My work consists of Teaching drama classes around NWA and acting in a production of “The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe.” There is a small, but very professional and committed team of us at Trike and we are really excited to see what the future holds.

Sarah’s job at the inpatient rehab ward in Springdale is going well now, too. She had a rough start, being thrown in to treat patients with very little training, but she has figured most of it out now. It is very fast-paced, something she is not used to. Everyone at her work is very nice and helpful, so even though it’s not her choice of work setting, the friendliness makes it bearable.

Pippi is growing like a weed! She enjoys her daycare now (after about 2 weeks of crying!) and her teacher Ms. Gala is great. She is in a class of only three 1-year-olds, so gets lots of attention. She brings home art projects and they have tons of activites: last week she went on a “bug safari” in the backyard and this Friday is “hat day”. Things like that are so cute, and we’re glad she is learning as well as playing. She now has 5 teeth (finally!), still LOVES the bath and water, and is completely obsessed with dogs. We took her to the St. Louis zoo a couple of weeks ago and she waved at all the animals saying “Hi Doggy!” even if it was a bear or tiger or zebra. It was a great day.

It looks like we will be moving into our new house in Johnson (Springdale) around the July 4th weekend! We are super excited to have our own place, and especially this house. Our friends Kevin and Christa will be our new neighbors, which is a Godsend. And the new house is about a 2 minute drive from the daycare, and less than 10 minutes from Sarah’s job. The location is perfect. We really just CAN’T WAIT! So if you have a truck, can paint a bedroom, or just want to help unload boxes with us that weekend, get in touch! ☺

We spent Memorial Day in Tulsa, OK. It was a lot of fun. We went to the Aquarium and Pippi loved it. We also went on a few walks and to a local park.

Hopefully, the next time you hear from us we will be one step closer to moving in to our house. We would love to hear from you if you have time to send us an email.

Love to you all,
Jason, Sarah, and Pippi

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy Easter, etc.

Happy Belated Easter from the Suels!

As you can tell, Pippi had big fun in her pretty Easter dress "hunting" eggs (actually just picking them up). She will now hunt them all over the house, after we put them inside shoes, under the couch, or in the corner. We will point to them, she will then "find" them, be sooo proud of herself, clap for herself, then refuse to let them go or put them in her basket. It's so cute. And hours of entertainment!

Well, after spending several weeks with our families, we have now made it up to Fayetteville. We have all moved into Ashley's house, a great friend who hasn't batted an eye that we have basically overtaken her house! We are really enjoying exploring our new hometown and surroundings. Everyone in our new jobs have been so welcoming. I haven't started yet, but went up to the hospital to say hello and meet everyone. They were upset that it was still going to be a few weeks before I started! Jason, however, has already started part-time. Kassie, his boss, is really nice. She even invited us all to her house for a playdate with her 2 small children. She is excited to have Jason here, and has thrown him in quickly! He taught his first classes alone on Saturday already.

Like I said before, we spent several weeks with our families. Here are a couple of pictures of Pippi enjoying herself there! I found her with the toilet paper like this one day, and it was after she had dropped her toy in the toilet! And the other picture is her and her cousin, Annzley (Melissa's youngest), at Playtime Pizza driving their little car together! Pippi even had her hands in the right places--we were cracking up!

We will keep you all updated as we house-hunt and begin our new lives here. Please keep us and our families in your prayers as we are still transitioning. It will be a couple more months before we can close on a house, which means living out of our suitcases in someone else's house till then! Plus, all the stresses of making grown-up decisions about our lives!! Please continue to pray for Jason's family, too, as their lives move on after Melissa's death.

Please keep in touch all of you, and keep us updated!
Sending all our love in Christ,
Jason, Sarah, and PIppi

Friday, March 20, 2009

The BIG move and other stuff.

Wow, friends…so much to update you on!

I don’t really know where to begin. Maybe in order of BIGGEST news to smallest…although, none of this news is small news.

First off, after spending 3 and ½ years in England, seeing 18 countries in our time there, and having our first child, we have officially moved back to the USA. We had planned to move back in April, but after my sister died (see last email), we decided to move back a month early to help/spend time with family. We are in the middle of doing that now.

We first had to fly to Bowling Green, Ohio in order to get all of our stuff. That’s right, some great friends of ours…the Dally’s…let us keep our stuff in their barn for over 3 years. We spent just less than a week in Ohio, got to see some old friends and make some new ones, and then we loaded up our moving truck and headed to Arkansas. I should mention that we had tremendous help with the move. Our friend David Manning actually drove up form Arkansas on Wednesday and then turned right back around and drove Sarah and Pippi in his car the next day. And, don’t worry about me being in a big old moving truck by myself, cause I had company, too. Mr. Patrick Peringer and I split time at the wheel of that truck…it was a blast!

Along the way, we stopped and spent the night in St. Louis, MO with another great friend of ours, Brian Rhame. Rhame had arranged for us to spend the night in a mansion…that’s right, a mansion. He told me not to ask any questions ;) The 2.2 million dollar home was built in 1904 for the World’s Fair. One night there was just amazing, and fun. Thanks, Brian!

The next day we drove to Arkansas, and after spending some time with Sarah’s family we are now here with my (Jason’s) family. We are both excited to announce, I guess, to some of you that we will be moving to the North West Arkansas area around the beginning of April. Sarah starts work at Northwest Medical Center in Springdale at the end of April. I have 2 jobs lined up. The one that will take up the most of my time will be at Tricycle Youth Theatre. I will be working there as an instructor/teacher. I also have the prospect of doing creative arts at a church there called Keypoint Church. My job(s) should start in May.

Right now, we are considering jumping on the property ladder, so that has had it’s challenges and we are still unsure of where to live up there. For the first few weeks-ish, we will be living with a friend, Ashley Hagler, who has been a great friend to us during this move!

So, that is the mega-huge news!

Now some other news, that we haven’t had the opportunity to share with you yet. At the end of January we celebrated Pippi’s first birthday! We had a joint birthday party with our friends Ben and Chloe who had Isaac just a few day’s after Pippi. The theme was a ‘Jungle Party.’ It was great fun. I have included some photos (on our blog) for you to look at. Because of Pippi’s allergies she had a milkless, eggless, butterless, chocolate cake…she enjoyed it all the same, though.

And, in February, the aforementioned Ashley Hagler and her friend Shannon Ott came to England for a few days. We met them in London. Ashley has been to see us 3 times now, more than most, and each time we love spending time with her. This time was particularly memorable because London had the most snow they’ve had for the last 20 years. So, we made a day of walking around the big city of London and playing in the snow. It was a lot of fun to see those big buildings surrounded by mounds of white fluff.

Finally, just a thank you for all who prayed and kept us in your thoughts during this difficult time. I am mentioning, of course, about the death of my sister Melissa. No one ever wants to let go. But sometimes, we have to. However, the stories we have shared of her life somehow make her seem like she is still here with us. Thank you all for your concern, emails, cards, and love…I don’t think we could have made it though such a difficult time without you.

Now, don’t cut us out of your life just because our travels in Europe have ended for the moment. We have a great country here in the US to explore. And, might I add, Pippi is the best traveler ever, so I don’t think we will be stopping any time soon!

England friends, thanks for sharing your lives with us. We hope to hear from you often. And, Hotel-Suel in the USA is always open to you!

American friends, thanks for welcoming us back with open arms. We hope to see you all in due time.

Jason, Sarah, and Pippi

Pics: standing outside the St. Louis mansion. 2 pictures of our welcome back party at the dallys. snowy London.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My sweet sister.

Hello Family and Friends,

It is with heavy hearts that we write to you to let you all know that my sister, Melissa Lauren (Suel) Pennington has passed away. Many of you will be aware of the situation, but for those who don’t know, here is the update.

Melissa went to the doctor last week complaining of stomach problems. The doctor said that she needed to have her gallbladder removed. When they went to do the surgery her heart stopped. She had an enlarged heart and it was weak. The doctor had no prior knowledge of a heart condition. They were able to revive her, but because she was without oxygen to the brain for 7-8 minutes, she was in a coma.

He comatose state got progressively worse until on Saturday, 21 February, she was brain dead. Her organs were donated and then she physically died sometime after that.

What does this mean for us? Well most of you know that we had already made plans to move to NW Arkansas in April. Sarah has work starting in April and I have work starting in May. But, we have now decided to move our departure date up and move back to Arkansas in March to help pick up the pieces after Melissa’s death.

So presently, I (Jason) am flying home to be with the family during the funeral. I will then fly back to England for a week and all of us will fly back to the States shortly after that. We are planning to fly to Ohio first, collect all of our stuff that is still up there, and then drive it across the country to our new home in Arkansas.

Obviously, this plan presents many challenges. Not the least of which is the fact that I will be traveling alone to the funeral while Sarah and Pippi try to do what needs to be done to close out our lives here in England.

Please pray for us. We are struggling through this difficult time. I promise to write with better news as soon as we have some. We haven’t even told you all about Pippi’s 1st birthday party yet.

Thanks all,

Jason, Sarah, and Pippi Suel

PS: If any of you want to support my family and me by coming to any of Melissa’s services, please do. The services aren’t finalized yet, but it looks like visitation will be at Proctor Funeral Home in Camden, AR on Tuesday (possibly), with a service at Fairview United Methodist Church in Camden to follow on Wednesday. She is being buried next to my 19 year old cousin, Rachel, in Jacksonville, AR possibly on Thursday. This is all speculation, because it is yet to be determined. I’m sure that if you are interested you could contact Proctor or Fairview United Methodist Church to confirm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Christmas and More!

Hello Everyone,

This is a seriously delayed email. We have been meaning to write to you all and tell you how Pippi’s first Christmas went, but cool things kept happening, so we delayed writing it. But, we can’t wait any longer, so here we go:

Christmas was amazingly fantastic. Pippi seemed to hit another gear. She was cute and adorable before, but she located another degree of cuteness over the holiday season. We spent Christmas with Jez and Claire and her family. It was so great to see Pippi being the center of attention and not letting anyone down. You will just have to check out our blog for some awesome pics. She enjoyed helping to unwrap the gifts. Although, the toy that Santa left her (a cute penguin that walks around) made her cry. She is used to it now, but at first, she wasn’t so into it. Thank you to everyone who helped to make her first Christmas special. We were overwhelmed with gifts and cards. Thanks so much!

New Year was another good time spent with a fun group of people at Claire and Jez’s new home. We had fondue and stayed up to watch the fireworks and shoot some off ourselves.

In January our very special friend John Sebestyen was here! It was a totally spur of the moment kind of thing. The University he works for asked him to go as a chaperone with a group of students. They spent some time in London and some time in Paris. We were able to hang out with him for a whole day, which was really good. He has now been here to see us twice!

Pippi’s first birthday is this week, January 21st, and we are planning all kinds of fun. Her first birthday party will be Saturday. Pippi and Isaac (another baby from church born a few days after Pip), will be celebrating with a Jungle Party! Sarah has been busily preparing decorations and games, etc. for the festive celebration. It should be a lot of fun and we will include pics from that in our next email!

Pippi is growing up so fast, and we are loving every minute! She is sleeping and eating very well now, 2 things that took her awhile to figure out. Her eczema is completely cleared up, now that we use a pretty intense regime of lotions and creams and oils daily. Her food allergies don’t bother her that much, as long as we are careful. Her first birthday cake recipe is called “Milkless, eggless, butterless chocolate cake”! I hope the word “tasteless” doesn’t fit in there, but as she’s never had chocolate before, she’ll probably love it! ☺ She still doesn’t have any teeth coming, and she’s not quite walking yet. She walks along the furniture and crawls up our legs every chance she gets. We were going to get her a new forward-facing carseat for Christmas, as we figured she’d be 20 pounds by her 11 months. The last time we’d weighed her she wasn’t even 9 months old and she was 17 pounds 4 oz. So we assumed that in over 2 months, she’d be 20 pounds for sure. However, when we had her weighed, she was 17 pounds 8 oz!! So we’ve still got awhile till she gets that new carseat, the little squirt!

Things are moving forward with us moving home! At long last, we have made some contacts. Please pray for us in the coming months! We’ll fill you all in as we know more!

Lots of love,
Jason, Sarah, and Pippi