Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for May, 2005

Diaper Confessions

26th May 2005

Diaper Confessions

Alright, it’s time I confessed. You may think I’m terribly weird, and that’s fine. But believe it or not, we’ve been using cloth diapers with Analise since she was about a month old. I’m sure you’re thinking any or all of these: “Cloth Diapers? Gross laundry! What a hassle with pins! Ug – disposables are so easy, what are they thinking?!?” I do understand, as I thought it was a bit too “green”-minded at first. But let me tell you our experience…

At our childbirth class in California, we practiced diapering dolls. The teacher only had a couple disposables, but she also had a couple cloth diapers and covers. She told us a bit about them, and Brian thought they were super easy to use. The thought of using cloth diapers had NEVER occurred to us, and it seemed so old-fashioned. But these diapers were NOT what we had imagined, and there were no pins. She shared with us many of the advantage: cotton – not chemicals – next to baby’s skin, many cloth diapered babies potty-train earlier, and others. She also told us about a diaper service that would drop off clean diapers each week, and pick up and pick up the dirty diapers. So no laundry! The diaper service provided prefold diapers, that you simply fold in thirds, and lay into a velcro diaper cover – no pins! It’s honestly about as easy as a disposable to put on, and it looks nearly identical. Cost-wise, it would be about equivalent to using disposables and maybe even a bit cheaper. To us, the thought of not creating hundreds of pounds of diaper waste to add to landfills was very positive. And, I love the feel of a super cushy cloth diaper butt:)

We found the diaper service to be great, and we used it until December. When we were moving to Alabama and there wasn’t a service available, we decided we’d try laundering on our own and continuing with Cloth diapering. Could we do it???

I had heard of some great diapers on the internet called… DEFINITELY not the cloth diapers you imagine. There is an outer waterproof layer (with great color choices!), and an inner fleece layer. There’s a pocket to stuff an insert in between the two layers. The liquid goes right through the fleece, keeping the baby soft and dry, and the insert absorbs the liquid. Honestly, if you’d feel one of these versus a disposable diaper, you’d choose to put fleece against your butt – or your baby’s – too!

Ok, so that sounds easy enough… but you’re asking, “what about laundry? And poop? And what do you do when you’re not at home?” Well, I’ll spare too many details, but here’s the basics:

  • After you take off the dirty diaper, you shake out the insert into the diaper pail (a waterproof bag with a zipper keeps any smell inside) and toss the diaper into the pail as well. To wash, dump the diapers and toss in the bag. We wash diapers about every other night, with a simple cold-hot-cold cycle with a little detergent (too much causes buildup and smell) and tea trea oil for disinfecting, and line dry the diapers overnight. SUPER easy! If I’m short on time and out of diapers, I can toss them in the dryer on air dry.
  • I’ll admit, dealing with poop isn’t fun, but it’s not much different than with a disposable. Simply shake it off into the toilet, and put the diaper in the pail.
  • When we go out, I simply make sure there’s an extra diaper or two and a plastic bag in the diaper bag. If Analise needs a change, I put the wet/dirty diaper in a little plastic bag and toss it in the diaper pail when we get home.
  • I have to say, we’ve loved this. Brian will go to any length to avoid using a disposable diaper. Analise tends to start looking rashy after even a couple hours in one. They’re very cute, they have several snaps so they can fit from 15-25pounds, and we honestly save money doing this. Though Fuzzi Bunz are about $13-14 each, and it costs a bit to start using them, in the long run, we’re not buying a package of diapers every couple weeks (or every week? I’m not sure even how long one would last!), AND there’s no last minute-middle of the night mad dashes to get more diapers. If I get lazy and haven’t washed diapers soon enough so that we’re out, we have a stash of prefolds and covers like we used in California. These are an even cheaper option, but we prefer the fleece of Fuzzi Bunz. You’d be amazed at how dry the fleece keeps a baby’s bum… sometimes when I change her, I can’t even tell Analise is wet! Above- Analise likes to help me take care of the clean diaper laundry.

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Lots of stuff!

24th May 2005

Ok, I’m a little behind! Sorry about that. I just reveled in a leisurely weekend, and this week has started out busy! Today was our first visit to the zoo. Unfortunately, we forgot the battery to the camera. Analise enjoyed the kids more than the animals:) We’ll be back – we bought a year membership.

Brian’s wrapped up the semester at Samford, so I’ll have him around here more often. He’s got a few committments at Samford, but he can set his own schedule and take time off as needed, since his faculty appointment is technically only Aug-May. It’s nice to have him around and have our life settled down a bit!

A few other random things from the past week…

We all managed to get over our flu bug. Brian was VERY dehydrated, and he felt the effects of it all weekend. Unfortunately, after our home church gathering on Wednesday night just before we got sick, 4 other people got sick on Thursday and Friday! Those little bugs sure can travel…

You look beautiful tonight
The little things make me love my husband so much. After a long day of feeling tired and trying to get the house in order after being sick, Analise and I picked Brian up from Samford and went out for dinner. Over dinner, he said, “You really look beautiful tonight”. Aw. My heart just melted. My hair’s frizzy, I’m wearing the same unexciting clothes because nothing fits my soft little post-baby belly, and I’ve just felt so NOT beautiful lately. I love him:)

Analise had her first dip in the backyard baby pool this weekend (above). There was only a tiny bit of water, but she loved splashing. I think she was impressed with taking a bath in the backyard! (Ok, a moment of truth about this picture: Analise has quite a gap between her front teeth. I looked it up online, and it’s very normal – and good – at this age, as it means there’s plenty of room for her other teeth to come in. But it’s so noticable, especially in this picture. I feel terribly to think this, but she looks a bit like a little country bumpkin! I could use some comforting comments that she’s still just as cute as ever!)

Since Analise was about 6 months old, we’ve been talking about using sign language. It’s been shown recently that children as young as 6 months can communicate with signs before they have the capacity for spoken language. Because she’s always interested in ceiling fans, we’ve only been diligent enough to use the sign for “fan” – which involves pointing upward, and moving your finger in a circle, like the ceiling fan. Sunday she put her hand up and moved it in a definite circle while looking at the fan! We were very impressed:) We’ve been motivated to use more signs in our communication with her. If you’re interested, here’s a great link to an online sign language dictionary that includes video clips of each sign: Born 2 Sign

Not Quite a Step…
She’s so close… She wants us to let her walk (while holding her hands) EVERYWHERE we go, and she’ll barely hold on at times. You can even see her thinking about taking a step as she stands. Any day now… I promise, you’ll hear about it!

I wish…
…my daughter knew how to put herself to sleep like she did in the early days before she learned how to roll over, sit up, stand up and wait for me at the side of the crib. She fights sleep so hard these days, and yet she’s so tired (which makes ME so tired!). *SIGH*

…my daughter knew how look at books one at a time, and put them back before getting out a new one:). She’s quite the little bookworm, but she likes to take all the books off the shelf and sit among them while picking them out from around her on the floor.

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Down for the count

20th May 2005

This is the blog Brian started last night:

“Let me preface this blog by saying that right now Kristine and I are competing to see who has the highest temperature and worst feeling tummy. Kristine’s temp is 100.6, but mine is at least 106. I’m sure Kristine will end up finishing this blog, since I feel far worse than she does.”

Well, I – Kristine – am finishing the blog a day later. Analise’s stomach bug found Brian and I both early Thursday morning. I got sick first, and as he was taking care of me, I was thinking, “I’m so glad Brian’s not sick…” Three hours later, he ran for the bathroom, and it was my turn to shakily wipe his brow and clean up. What a pair we were. Ag. I’ll spare you the details, except to say that it’s REALLY hard to both be sick and have a baby to take care of. Analise was a trooper, though, and she played by herself while Brian and I slept on the couch most of the day. Unfortunately for Brian, in the midst of his worst feeling moments, the secretary from the CS department at Samford called to tell him that the grades for the seniors in his class absolutely had to be submitted ASAP so that they could graduate this Saturday. So I got him settled in bed with a bucket, some juice, the laptop and a pile of pillows, and he managed to get it done.

Ok, I’m wiped out from just trying to get the house picked up and the huge pile of laundry… gonna go rest.

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The Toone Family Photo

17th May 2005

Well, after a rough start to the day (see previous blog), we came away from the family photo looking pretty good. Here we are!

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Exasperations and Observations

17th May 2005

It’s just been one of those days…
Last night, Analise fell asleep in my arms at 7:30. So I put her to bed, and didn’t go check on her until about 10:30 (we’ve stopped using the baby monitor). I found her half-sititng up, asleep, bed and pajamas soaking wet. The smell of sour milk gave it away… my poor baby had thrown up and I hadn’t even noticed. I feel like a lousy mom. I got her up and onto the changing table, and she unloaded all over me. Poor girl. Got her set up in bed on a mound of towels with Brian while I cleaned things up and started THE LAUNDRY PILE (including sheets, mattress pad, towels, crib bumpers and crib sheet – at 11pm at night, you realize how silly those pretty crib things are!). So the night was very restless, and poor Analise tried to throw up about every 3 hours. I gave her sips of water, but in the morning she awoke in a bright and cheerful mood, so I thought I’d nurse her for a minute or two. Bad idea… she fell asleep next to me, but threw it all up again 10 minutes later. Too much for her tummy. So now THE LAUNDRY PILE includes sheets, towels and pillowcases from our bed, as well as the featherbed cover. *sigh*
So the day has been spent snuggling a sleepy baby who doesn’t want to sleep by herself (which does mean I’ve gotten several little naps with her) and doing THE LAUNDRY PILE (that was supplemented by the laundry of the past week). Analise is in quite a good mood and hasn’t thrown up since this morning, thankfully.
To add to all this, I haven’t had time for a shower until just now (2:30pm), the toilet is leaking (adding numerous soaking wet towels to tHE LAUNDRY PILE), and we have a family picture tonight at 6pm. *sigh* All in all, though, it could be worse: Analise could still be throwing up, the toilet could have over flowed, my washer could be broken… the list goes on:) Counting my blessings!

I had a whole bunch of random thoughts this past weekend I thought I’d share – some funny, some sweet, some intriguing. Feel free to post your comments!

What a man I have…
Last thursday evening, Brian was at a computer science department bbq. Analise was out with Grandma Beverly, and I was at a sewing class. He shared with me later that as with most coversations, the topic turned to parenting, etc. Brian and the other two professors shared anecdotal stories about diapers, babies and kids. Brian rode home with two students, and on the way home, one of them said, “you just bubble over with love for your wife and daughter.” What a sweet compliment to know my husband’s love for Analise and I shows so much!

A little recognition goes a long way
This weekend Brian was home both days! WOOHOO! It was just wonderful to have someone share in the busyness of Analise. So as he was working on the laptop (see previous blog!), I put him in charge of Analise while I did things around the house that I’ve not been able to do all week. I got loads done! But after about 45 minutes, Brian came to find me with a slightly exasperated look on his face and a smiley Analise in his arms. “I don’t know how you get anything done all week!” he said! Ah, validation. I kissed him:) I finally feel like someone realizes that though I have a super good baby, she’s just busy enough to keep you from being able to get anything accomplished for more than about 10 minutes.

Later in the day, Brian changed a poopy diaper. (A little background: Brian changed the majority of the “blowout” poopy diapers until Analise was 6 months old, while I was working. While babies are breastfed, their poo hardly smells, and just looks like mustard. Since then, though, the job has been 95% mine. And in that time, Analise has started eating real food, which has made the poo quite a bit worse.) So after finding such a terrible, foul mess in the diaper, Brian kept repeating over and over how amazing I was for having to deal with them on a daily basis. All in the day’s work of a mom…

God loves a cheerful giver
In general, Brian and I are pretty diligent about tithing to God’s work, both through church and various ministries. Last fall, Brian made an online one-time donation to a ministry he’s been impressed with. Last month, we noticed a charge on our credit card statement to this ministry. Interesting, since we hadn’t given to them in several months. We looked at previous statements to find in amazement we’ve been giving to them monthly since last fall! Interesting! That has brought us to a minor dilemma. Shall we call them to cancel the monthly gift or not? It’s not exactly in our budget… though it appears that God has placed it in our budget. Brian’s a little confused as to how this fits into the “cheerful giver” category. Does “absent-minded giver” fit into that category? What would you do?

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Beautiful Alabama – Part II

14th May 2005

You may remember I started to post a few days ago some pictures of beautiful Alabama from my bike rides. Well, I finished that one up so you can see those pictures here:

Beautiful Alabama – Cycling Viewpoint.

And here are some more pictures from my bike. These are pictures from my commute up and over Shades Mountain every day. I am so fortunate to have such a cool commute! Before I show you the pictures, click on the link below for a larger version of a relief map showing my commute to work. Our house is at the very bottom of the map. Samford is at the very top. The mountain near the top is Shades Mountain. Sometimes I detour to the high point near the top on my way to or from work.

Click on map for larger version.

First, here’s a view of Samford University from atop Shades Mountain. The circled building,
Russell Hall, is where I work.

The Vulcan with downtown Birmingham just visible in the gap in Red Mountain.

The Vulcan is a statue in Birmingham that is the largest cast iron statue in the world … and the second largest statue of any kind in America — second only to the Statue of Liberty.

Looking off Shades Mountain down into Shades Valley. Montclair, the hospital
where I was born, is visible prominently on Red Mountain in the distance.

The Cahaba Valley with Double Oak mountain in the distance looking southward
off Shades Mountain

Here’s a good view of Mount Royal Towers where my grandma lives.

Here’s a view on top of Shades Mountain looking just up the road at the highest point.

Smyre Road is a beautiful descent off Shades Mountain towards Samford.
Here’s one of the many s-curves on the descent.

Another s-curve on Smyre Road.

Looking down at the top of the descent.

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The night before finals…

13th May 2005

Do you remember the craziness of the night before finals in college? You were up late, reading/studying/memorizing/trying to catch up on what you hadn’t learned thus far, frantically trying to prepare for THE BIG TEST the next day(s). And remember the sigh of relief after the last final of your last semester of college? *sigh*, I do.

Tonight’s the night before finals at Samford University. Who of you had ever imagined that professors might be up late (or all night) creating the final? Such is the life of Professor Toone:) He’s been super busy this past week wrapping up assignments, helping students with projects, preparing last classes and catching up on grading. So here we are the night before finals, he’s hard at work getting ready for them. I hope his students put in as much time preparing for them as he has! Just 8 days til the end of our first semester – woohoo!

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A Mother’s Musings

11th May 2005

Here are a couple pictures of active Analise while she was playing in the Romper Room at church one Wednesday evening. She’s quite the climber! She was playing peek-a-boo with Grandpa in the photo above, and below she was working hard to get over the rainbow arch.

Mother’s Day Musings

We celebrated my first official Mother’s Day this weekend. Life’s been really busy around our house lately… Brian’s wrapping up the semester, and he was gone Friday-Saturday for a bike race in Tennessee (more later!). We’ve been busy helping get the new church ready for the kick-off this past Sunday, so it’s seemed like life’s just been racing by and we’ve hardly had any time together as a family. Sunday was a somewhat quieter day, though. Brian’s grandma, his mom, Beverly, and his brother, Matthew, joined us for lunch at our house. It’s wonderful to share the blessing of our house with others! We had a great lunch, and Analise was her usual entertaining self. Brian went for a bike ride with a friend from church, and I got a free dinner from Maui Tacos when he came home.

Now you’re probably wondering…”If you’ve not spent much time together, why in the world would he go off biking on Mother’s Day?” I’ll admit, when he told me he was going riding on our way home from church, I was sharply disappointed. I’ve been really jealous for my husband’s time recently, probably mostly because… well, I don’t know:)… maybe because he’s my husband? He quickly realized I was unhappy, while I quickly realized that his guy times, especially with other guys from church, are as vital to him as time with me. He offered to not go, but we decided that we’d still have the evening together. He had a great ride, and though it seemed like just another afternoon at home with Analise and the house to take care of, I’m really glad he went.

While he was gone, I had some thoughts on being a mother. It really is a new identity that supercedes all your other identities. It’s a good thing, definitely. At times, I wish parenting could be more 50/50 (or even just closer to it!), but when it all comes down to it, mom will take care of it. I was up until 11:30 on Saturday night making all the lunch preparations for Sunday, cleaning up, etc. Brian had fallen asleep on the couch (notably, he’d ridden 100 miles and climbed 2 mountains on his bike, so it wasn’t laziness!). Sunday morning was crazy getting out the door for church, where I almost missed both services because no one came to relieve me in child care (I did manage to find a replacement and enjoyed the service immensely!). I think I changed all the diapers for the day. And finding myself at home on Mother’s Day afternoon, just another day hanging with my sweet girl and picking up the house was a bit of a bummer… but then I realized, “Hey – I get to be a mom. What a great gift!” Analise laughed at her Noah’s Ark animals, climbed all over me, giggled and drooled as we played on the floor and fell asleep curled up on my lap. I’m a mom. It’s only me who truly felt the pain of bringing her into this world, it’s me she reaches for when she’s tired, it’s me who knows exactly how to soothe her to sleep, and it’s her mom she’ll run to when she’s hurt. The good and the bad all come together to make it exactly what it is, and it’s worth it.

Ok, I think that’s enough deep thoughts for tonight. Thanks for hanging in… I’ll post Brian’s biking story tomorrow!

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Yeah for Mothers!

6th May 2005

First, some Analise fluff… in her new rocking chair.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!

It’s my first Mother’s Day as a mother myself. In fact, I’m now a stay-at-home-mom, and it’s been a bit of an adjustment to this new job. It’s wonderful to be home with my sweet girl, but at times, I do miss interacting with people and the challenges of working in an office or overseas. I have been learning alot about perspective and convincing myself that staying at home and raising my daughter is the most important thing I can be doing with my life right now.

Anyway, I’ll compose something more verbose another day, but I wanted to share this fun article that I found this week. Pass this onto your favorite stay-at-home mom. I have to add that the working mom’s I know qualify as SuperMom’s in my eyes! Working at home or out of the home, mom’s are priceless!

Stay-At-Home Moms Deserve High Pay, Analysis Shows

By Jessica Wohl
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The old adage that “a mother’s work is never done” remains as true now as ever. Today’s stay-at-home Moms are learning what their predecessors always knew — they’d be making a lot of money doing their job outside the home.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, an informal study conducted by Web site shows that stay-at-home moms would earn an average of $131,471 annually, including overtime, if they received a paycheck.

A sampling of the 5.4 million stay-at-home mothers were asked to come up with job titles that fit a general description of their daily routines.

The titles — which reflected the most time-consuming parts of their day — include day-care center teacher, van driver, housekeeper, cook, chief executive officer, nurse and general maintenance worker, the survey showed.

Of course, a stay-at-home parent does not work typical office hours. The hypothetical median salary is based on a 100-hour work week and assumes caring for at least two children of school age.

“The importance of this calculation or this estimate is just calling attention to the fact that being a stay-at-home mom is not a cop out, it’s not the woman’s way out of the workforce and it’s not a job of no value,” said Bill Coleman, senior vice president of compensation at “There is a lot of value there, and some would say it’s even priceless.”, which tracks what jobs pay, suggested that the annual base pay for a 40-hour stay-at-home mom’s workweek would be $43,461. Mothers would earn an additional $88,009 a year for 60 hours of overtime each week.

“I think I should definitely make that much,” said Joanna Butti, who stays at home to care for her twin boys. “It’s a hard job.”

Coleman said feedback on the figure was mixed. Some felt mothers deserved more, some less. In general, though, many were pleased to see a figure above $100,000.

“Stay-at-home moms are enthusiastic and upbeat about their jobs, they didn’t seem to need external validation,” Coleman told Reuters. “They were also happy that they were getting attention, and that somebody was out there telling the world that what they do is valuable, and perhaps more valuable than one would expect.”

Mothers said you cannot attach a figure to the time spent with their kids.

“I’m giving 150 percent of myself to them many hours a day,” said Debra Miley, who stays home with two-year old daughter Olivia and four-month old son Gregory. “You cannot attach a dollar value to the time that you spend nurturing your child if you’re lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom.”

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Building Relationships and Moving On

3rd May 2005

(I’ll post a couple cute pictures from the weekend first, and the long-winded details of our great weekend will be below.)

Panama City Beach, FL

This past weekend, Brian, Analise and I, along with Brian’s parents, went to Panama City Beach, FL for a conference put on by our church, Lakeside Baptist. We had a wonderful time! Brian’s parents babysat so we were really able to be fully involved in everything. The weather, unfortunately, wasn’t what you’d like for a beach trip. We did get to take Analise to the beach on Saturday morning, though it was windy and cool. She liked the feel of the sand, and she was captivated by the sea gulls (and of that, we couldn’t get a smile for any pictures).

The Treasure Within Conference

The first highlight was dinner at the Saltwater Grill – awesome food and great time getting to know two young couples that we’re going to be spending a lot of time with (more later). The worship was excellent, and the sessions were taught by the young adult pastor, Chris Harris. He’s got a gift of speaking truth that really cuts to the heart, and he’s very passionate. It’s really contagious. We spent some good time that evening getting to know several couples that we’ve not known from Lakeside. (Sidenote: Brian grew up in this church, but he’s been away for 10 years. His parents still attend there, and they are very involved. Everyone knows them and Brian, and so we’ve returned to a place where everybody knows our name, but we have to figure out who they are!)

There was a lot planned for Saturday, including an afternoon of fun and activities on the beach. Unfortunately, we had to move our fun indoors. A few guys decided they wouldn’t be deterred by the wind/rain/thunder/lightning and headed to the beach for volleyball. (what were they thinking?!??) Brian’s never one to let rain spoil his plans, and he convinced me to join them. (what were WE thinking?!?) After an hour of diving for balls and nearly blinded by sand, I stumbled back to our room looking very much like a drowned rat. That evening we had dinner with another two couples, who we’ve not met before. These two couples both have children, and it was comical how the conversation kept coming back to kid antics and moments only parents can really appreciate (for one example that was shared, SEE HERE).

Prayer Experience
Saturday evening was one of the most special times of the weekend. We had a “prayer experience” in which the women spent time praying aloud as a group for our husbands, while they gathered around us listening. Then we alternated, and the men prayed for the women. With close to 30 couples there, many of whom we don’t know or only know a bit, it was an intimate glimpse into the lives around us, and an awesome time of appreciating who they are and how God is moving in their relationships. It was like listening in on a phone call between them and God. It was a special time to hear the prayers of our own spouse, as well. Though Brian and I pray together, it’s more for “things” and this prayer time was a very tender time of hearing a heart-to-heart conversation thanking God and appreciating the one He’s given us. We had time with our spouse one-on-one to talk and remind ourselves why we chose each other. It was a sweet time of remembrance, and it really blessed us to see how God has grown us each individually since that time 3 years ago. We also had a time of communion on the beach in the dark windy evening. The rain had subsided and it was a beautiful time to share the Lord’s supper surrounded by the majesty of God in the waves crashing on the beach.
The evening concluded with some great praise and worship time and fun how-well-do-you-know-your-spouse games. It was a long, fun, full day.

Moving on…
One hard part of the weekend is that it’s going to be harder to continue some of the relationships we started this weekend. Brian and I have been praying about where to settle as a family for our church home. Chris and Kathy Harris, who led the retreat this weekend, are leaving Lakeside to start a new church. It’s growing out of an overwhelming college/young adult group with Isaiah 26:8 at its heart: “Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your law, we wait for you; your name and your renown are the desire of our hearts.” They’re going to use small groups of individuals/couples to bring connection to the church body, like the home group ministry that we were a part of in California. We’re really excited at what God’s doing, and we’re really looking forward to being a part of this new ministry bringing Him glory. It has been a hard decision, though, as Lakeside is a wonderful church, and we’ve loved everyone we’ve gotten to know. We’re hoping – and planning – to continue to get to know some of the people that we met this weekend, though we might not see them at Lakeside on a weekly basis.

So if you’re still with me after all that:)… you’ll probably be hearing much more about Clearwater Community Church as our first service will be this coming Sunday. If you think of it, pray that God would be glorified in these new beginnings. We’re excited to embark upon this new adventure with him as a family!

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