Wednesday, February 1, 2017

a very very late Christmas post.

Times to write are few and far between. When the house is finally quiet and I find a minute to myself, I'm usually so tired trying formulate a cohesive thought seems impossible. I finally finished writing about our holidays and when I hit publish some technological mystery occurred and I lost it all. I have a real love hate with the computer, and technology in general. The simpler life beckons me. But, writing here seems to win, regardless of the downsides, due to convenience. One place where I can tell our family's story's, add pictures, and use that to create a book keeps me coming back. In the past I've tried other methods, but they ended up not working well. I think I'm still on the hunt for the best way to record our comings and goings. My mom kept baby books, journals, and photo albums. It was a lot of work and I'm thankful that she did it. Especially, since she's gone, I recognize the importance of writing for our children.

I probably won't recount with as much detail as before, but I will jot down some of the highlights from our first holidays in Kentucky. For Thanksgiving my Dad, Mom, Grandma, and sister all flew in for a week. My older sister lives here and she hosted them, since our home is still a construction zone. She also graciously hosted our Thanksgiving feast. Grandma kept us busy shopping antique stores. She wanted to help us get our homes in order since things feel in a bit of disarray from the move. The kids soaked up all the Nana and Granddad time and brought them to all of their events throughout the week. Abigail also loved playing with the kids and getting some much needed sister time. We weren't ready to say goodbye when the time came. It's been so hard living away from them and to have to say goodbye and not know the next time we would see them was painful, especially for the kids. The tears came strong and hard and I tried my best to comfort the kids, but I'm realizing this is just something I have to walk through with them. There is no way around the pain. I often feel helpless, but those are the times I am reminded to keep going to God in prayer. I've also never loved FaceTime more, sometimes I really do love technology.

We knew we wouldn't be traveling for Christmas, since this is some of Caleb's busiest times at work. It was the first time we haven't spent it with our families and I was a little sad, but I was also excited for our first Christmas just us. I worked hard thinking of ways to fill some of the void the kids were feeling and to create our own new family traditions.

We went to Franklin, Tennessee for their Charles Dickens Christmas Festival. It was fun getting away with the kids and exploring a new city. It was a quick trip and we look forward to going back. We found the cutest donut shop and the kids were pretty excited. The donuts were huge though and I don't think anyone could finish theirs. We also ran into Santa. We've never made a big deal out of Santa Claus, but the kids were happy to take a picture with him and get a candy cane.

Cutting down our own Christmas Tree was a highlight. We hadn't done that with the kids yet, so it was special to start that this year. I grew up going to the mountains and cutting down a tree. Those are some of my favorite memories, hiking through the snow searching for the perfect tree, sledding down some incredibly steep hills, and being with my family. I would love to take the kids to the woods someday, but this tree farm did the trick this year. 

Caleb did end up with a pretty full schedule around Christmas, but he did have a long weekend, which I wasn't expecting, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. We filled it with Christmas cookies, hot chocolate, sleeping under the tree, popcorn and a movie, reading, and my favorite, was our Sunday morning Church service. Christmas falling on a Sunday changed our day a bit, but we liked it.
I told the kids my Christmas wish was for a picture of all four of them. They didn't complain as I shot away, but I can't say they stayed completed still and adding a baby in the mix wasn't easy. We got a couple though, and even the not so perfect ones I love. 

This year had me reflecting on what makes Christmas feel like Christmas. It was like starting from scratch, what kind of traditions do we want for our family? What kind of memories will we create with our kids that they will have for a lifetime? How do I foster a love for the best things about this seasons in my kids?  It was hard knowing how homesick they were, while I was feeling the exact same way. Vanessa, who hasn't been emotional at all about the move, started crying when I turned on Christmas music for the first time. She said it reminded her of Idaho and she didn't want me to play any music we listened to in Idaho. I wondered for a moment if we could just forgo the holidays this year. 

Being in a new place, where nothing is familiar, relationships that haven't developed yet, the house being a construction zone, and raw emotions from missing loved ones, made this Christmas rooted much more in what I know to be true about this season, than the warm, fuzzy, feelings that surround the holidays. It was good for me to have so much stripped away and be left there. I'm learning that in seasons of trial, there is no way through, but to just walk. It's a day at a time, one foot in front of the other. It reminds me of one of the books the kids love me to read to them, We're Going On a Bear Hunt. The family has to walk through many different kinds of terrain, and at the beginning of each new thing they are faced with they say, "We can't go over it.We can't go under it. Oh, no! We've got to go through it!' That's what this season since we moved has felt like. But there's something happening when we as a family walk the road together. In the middle it's easy to loose sight of what's it, but in moments of reflection, you can see the work God is doing. 

We walked through the weeks leading up to Christmas weekend, and there were many tears, but it ended up being a wonderful Christmas. Maybe one of our favorites so far. God was kind and gracious and knit our hearts together. He was enough. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

to California

We took a rather long detour on your way to Tucky, by way of Southern California. I knew that making it back to the west coast wasn't in the near future for us, so I asked Caleb if we could please visit California before we moved to see our family. The drive across country is the same distance starting from Southern California or Boise, so it really only added a day of driving for us. We had a two week gap between when Caleb ended one job and started the next which gave us plenty of time to see our family and make it to Kentucky.

We spent the first couple days my sisters in Santa Clarita and then headed to Bakersfield to see Caleb's family. We surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland and had a wonderful time there. I know, Disneyland is way too crowed and way too expensive, and I think a day in nature with my family is almost always better than a day at a theme park, but I was excited to share it with my kids. My parents took my sisters and I to Disney before my mom died and it's one of the few memories I have with my mom outside of a hospital so I think I'll always have soft spot for it. All my sisters and I love it there. This trip only Debbie and Abigail couldn't make it and they were missed! But we made the most of it and Yiayia and Papa made the trip down to go with us too! Taking Everly wasn't the easiest and I ended up going home early with her, but knowing the kids had such a great time was good enough for me.

The girls highlight was seeing the princesses. They loved it. I was also surprised that Vanessa has a bit of a daredevil in her and she enjoyed the fast big rides. Although, she didn't like Splash Mountain I felt terrible taking her on it, until I found out the only reason she was crying uncontrollably was because she got a little wet. I even put a sweater over her so she wouldn't get too wet, but she felt the water and that was enough to put her into hysterics. Elijah was thrilled going on the rides with his cousin and all things Star Wars was his favorite. He was even picked as the Rebel Spy during Star Tours and had his face on the big screen. He'll remember that forever. 

After our fun filled day I woke up and our plans changed a bit. I wasn't feeling great and I was having a hard time keeping my left eye shut. Katie came in the room and with one look thought I should go to Urgent Care. I saw a doctor who spoke very broken English and told me I had facial palsy and it would never go away. I was in shock. First of all, I didn't have a clue what facial palsy was. And second, in the time I waited it had only gotten worse. I couldn't close my eye at all and I lost control of the left side of my mouth. I started to cry and he abrubtly left the room. I went out to my car to call Caleb and tell him the news. Caleb said not to worry, (he never worries about anything) and we'd get a second opinion. After spending the day on the phone talking to a number of different doctors offices and trying to get into someone I finally connect with a doctor who gave my a more hopeful diagnosis. He said I had Bells Palsy, but the chances of it being permanent were extremely small. He explained the virus to me and wrote out some prescriptions. It limited me a lot over the next couple weeks and was terrible timing for moving across country, but I'm much better now. I still have some side affects, but the more time that passes the better it gets.  

From there we spent a couple days in Bakersfield. It was short, but we got to see all our family, including Caleb's sister and brother in law who were home on furlough. The cousins played like they had never been apart and Everly was passed around and kissed on the whole time. I'm thankful that even though it was busy and short we had the time together. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Our move to Kentucky felt (actually still does feel) like such a whirlwind. Although, the talk of moving had come up and we knew there was a potential for a job change, it didn't seem real. It felt like a far of, never going to actually happen, conversation. So, when Caleb was offered a job at Southern Seminary, the same day Everly was born, it shocked me a bit. I'm actually still in shock. But here we are and even though we were a bit surprised by it all God was not. This was part of his plan for our family all along. That's so comforting. 

Between Everly being born and Caleb not having time off at his old job before we moved, we weren't able to come to Kentucky to look for a house before we moved. My parents very graciously offered to come look for us. I really don't know what we would have done if they hadn't come. So much of this move and our new house was made possible because of their selflessness and generosity. We are incredibly thankful for such wonderful parents! They flew to Louisville and looked for three straight days, but didn't find anything. My dad knew how important some land was to Caleb and didn't want to give up looking until he found it. I didn't want to be too far away from Caleb's work and those two desires made finding a home pretty challenging. When they boarded the plane to come home and we had no options for a place to live I really wondered what we were going to do. God has always provide amazing homes for us with incredible stories of how we got there and I knew this would be the same, but I was anxious for us to have some answers. Well, when my parents landed they stopped by a place to eat on their way home and my dad pulled up his computer to look and see if anything popped up while they flew home. It was right then that he found the house. They drove right over to showed us the house they thought we should get. After spending three days looking for homes, they had a good feel for where we might want to live. It wasn't too far from work and had a gorgeous big yard. My parents said that the location was ideal and we weren't going to find anything like it. 

When I saw pictures of the house my heart sank a little. It was a real fixer upper. We were moving across the country, starting a new job, and had a baby. I really didn't know about taking on this house. But when Caleb asked me what I thought, I knew there wasn't even a question. We were going to get it. My feelings were all over the place, but God gave me a peace and I knew this was where we were supposed to be. We only saw the few pictures online, had no idea of the lay out, and knew there were a number of things that needed work, but we put our offer in and it was accepted. 

Now here we are and there are days I want to cry, and do cry, cause there is so much work. I'm exhausted, but it's our home and we are so excited about making it our own. The kids love it and I haven't ever doubted this is exactly where God wants us. We are taking on projects and the first major one is the Master Bedroom and bath. We've already painted almost every room in the house, pulled up some carpet and done a lot of cleaning. It's helped make the place more livable while we start taking on the bigger projects one at a time. I love a good before and after and I love see what people do with their homes, so I thought I would invite you all to follow us while we take on our own fixer upper. 

Our focus during this process will be to create a home that is centered on glorifying God in all we do. We hope the home we created is a joy to our children and each other and a place that will be used for serving and blessing others. We want to enjoy the process and not just long for the result. Of course we will be working with a budget and that will influence much of our decision process. We also want to update the home without completely changing the feel of the home. 

Here is the major reason we bought this house....the land.

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