Goodbye Texas, Hello Michigan


So it’s been a while since I’ve had the time to update what’s been going on for our family! Many of you know that we decided back in February that it was time to be around more family {after my baby shower was a complete failure} and that we wanted Bryan to be raised around a big family the way both of us had been raised {and of course the SNOW!! Many people have had their opinions about our decision on that!}

Most of May was spent packing up our, what seemed like a tiny, apartment- I had no

Living room/dining room

idea that a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment could fit so much… Since Tory was working overnight for Sam’s and spent the days- sleeping, I took on the responsibility to pack everything up. I’m pretty sure I had a burst of energy as I packed most of all our stuff up in two days! So for the next month, we had boxes on boxes in every room!

Surprisingly, I wasn’t the one who had the most stuff! It was Bryan! Who knew a baby could have so many different boxes filled with so many different things!


So as I sit on the floor {Bryan is in his bouncer and doesn’t fall asleep without being bounced for a while} this Sunday morning, I can’t help but be grateful and astonished at how much has happened to us the last couple months.

It hasn’t been all sunshines and rainbows though, Tory and I have definitely learned some hard lessons in “adulting” and parenthood. Owning your first house- not easy. Being parents to an infant son- not always easy, but surely rewarding. Moving cross country- not easy. One of us changed jobs and the other is only part-time- not easyfile3-2

With all these hard lessons, we have learned the strength of our relationship and have learned that the love we have for each other and for Bryan will get us through every obstacle thrown our way.


Our sweet little boy is now 4 months old and as aware as they get! He is so curious about the world around him and it’s such a blessing to be able to witness him learning about things. The way his face lights up with the biggest smile when he hears or sees a familiar voice and face, the way he coos {loving the baby talk with him} to himself as he watches cartoons each morning as Tory and I get ready for the day or even the way he cries for a bottle.

Bryan loves watching TV with Daddy

When Bryan hollers…he hollers!! I used to fear that neighbors would hear us and be concerned about what was happening, but I’ve learned to catch it right before he starts hollering now. I can feel him moving at night; as soon as I feel him turning his head back and forth I know that it’s time for Mommy to haul her butt downstairs to heat up his bottle {those 3 minutes are the longest 3 minutes when Bryan is screaming and hollering}. Poor Daddy, though, is still learning when to catch him at that point. But we are getting there!


In the last couple months Bryan has become more aware of his surroundings. He now recognizes when I come home from work and his face just lights up {best feeling in the world}! He could be on the couch watching TV with Daddy, or even his great-grandparents when they’re watching him, and as soon as he hears my voice it’s over people!

Loving his new bouncer/walker

He’s starting to become attached to things. He’s learned to roll over, although, he still has one arm that doesn’t always come out from under him. When he does get both arms out he’s trying very hard now to start crawling-it’s only a matter of time before he’s mobile! He laughed for the first time a couple weeks ago and now when he’s talking to his daddy, he giggles and laughs so much {Tory’s really great at getting him to laugh}.

These first 4 months have been such a life changer with him in our lives and we are just so blessed to be his parents.


Trying so hard to crawl

Daddy is home every night now!!! Yay!!

After 5 years with Sam’s Club, Tory weighed his options and decided that it was best to explore other opportunities that would give him a chance to advance faster and be home with us at night.

We are so happy to have him home every night now {he works 4 am-12:30 pm instead of 9 pm-5:30 am}. He gets to spend more time with Bryan and has so much more time to do things than before.

Coming home to my hometown has been a disadvantage for him since he wasn’t so familiar with the place before we decided to come back here, but he’s made such a big effort to make us a home here. He’s been working really hard to make our house {which needed a lot of TLC when we first moved in} a place that we love being in.

Master bedroom

I’m really hoping that as he becomes more comfortable with Holland and gets to know more people {let’s face it, it’s easier for Tory to make friends than it is for me at times}, he will jump back into things that he used to love doing- like playing softball on the weekends.


Since we’ve been home, I’ve had to learn how to juggle being a mommy and going back to work {it wasn’t something new to Tory, but I’ve had 3 months at home with Bryan}. It was definitely hard to return back to work after being so used to just spending my days with Bryan and making sure that he was taken care of {being a parent is a full-time job..with no breaks}!

Master bedroom

I’m currently working at Hope College’s CASA {Children’s After School Achievement} program teaching 5th graders- who are incoming 6th graders. I forgot how much I loved teaching.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my time at home with Bryan and I miss it a lot, but the last 4 weeks I’ve spent with my students have reminded me why I went into teaching in the first place.

It was a rough start at first- these kids were learning those infamous middle school attitudes {and there are times when those attitudes will surface during class and I have to deal with it}- as soon as they learned that I wasn’t there to make their lives hard, things started to roll smoothly each day. I’ve been able to see these kids thrive in Reading, Writing and Math {ugh, Mrs. S is learning to thrive in Math too- HA}!

Bryan’s room

I’m still hoping to find a job for the 2017-2018 school year, but for now I’m just enjoying my time with these kids while I still have them for the next 2 weeks.

The Swanks: 

We are slowly making our home feel a little bit more like our own place and learning all the ins and outs of being homeowners. This adventure has taken us on a roller coaster ride that at times we were completely prepared for and others we felt like we were walking blindly, but it’s been a ride we are grateful to be a part of.

michiganWe do miss some parts of our life back in Texas- like our best friends and the little apartment we started our life together in- but we are loving the new things we’re experiencing and learning about ourselves in Michigan. Thank you Texas for being the part of our life that helped us come together as a family and helped us learn who we are. Goodbye big city life in Texas and hello small city {I still think of it as a small town} life in Michigan- we’re here and we’re ready for whatever comes our way {next experience: Fall and Winter}!