Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I feel very blessed today. I am blessed everyday. But today is a day I feel spoiled-blessed. Our frustrating house hunt has come to an end. An "I can't believe how awesome this is" kind of end. I know it seems a week is no time at all to be looking and finding a place to live, but the search has been going on much longer. I like to do lots of searching and lots of research so that I really know what the "market" is and what we can get and where and for how much. All that. In our price range, in the area we need to live since we only have one car, the pickins have been quite slim. I was mostly looking at tiny little townhouses or really (really) junky little houses without yards. I kept looking and wondering how I could do this with 3 little boys who are getting kind of big for "active" playing inside, especially inside something as small as I have been looking at without the option of playing in a yard or something. Well, it was frustrating. Frustrating, but we kept going back to a word Rand felt God had given him at the very beginning of this little part of the journey. "Patience". We have reluctantly said no to a few properties because they just didn't feel right, knowing they would get snatched up if we waited longer than a minute to think about it. They were too far from work, WAY too small, zero yard, too expensive, etc.
After a full day of driving around on Sunday with the whole fam. we came home a little defeated. Brendan asked on Monday during school when we might have our own place. Not knowing what in the world to say I said, "We just need to keep praying about it. We're having a hard time finding a place we can afford, close to Daddy's work, where we will have enough room for all you boys." He suggested we pray right then. I said, "Great idea." He prayed (doesn't usually want to, but did this time). His prayer was precious and went like this...almost verbatim:
Dear God,
Please help us find a house where me and Wyatt and Easton can have lots of fun.
And where Mom and Dad will like being there too.

I gave a big smile because children's prayers always make me smile and I thought it was perfectly perfect and very sweet.

After school I got back on the computer to check out listings and find all the new stuff and start my little process. I found a couple. I sent some emails. I got a couple emails back and I arranged to go look at one with Rand that night. (You have to move FAST on rentals we've learned.....more times than one). Anyway, we drive to it. GREAT location. Great! Perfect actually. Close to absolutely everything. Kids stuff, Rand's job, shopping, church, etc. We drive down this long driveway, through a gate (awesome! it's gated!), onto a 140 acre estate. 140 acres! The house was great. A little small, but good and literally on 140 acres. The owner lives on the property and also 2 other rental homes with tenants who have been there for the last 6 years.

Side note: Did I tell you all that I got rid of my chicken coop because we were moving? Well we were going to put it on craigslist and I got on to see what they were selling for just to get a feel and I found an ad from someone who wanted to trade a canoe for a chicken coop with 3-4 chickens. Rand and I were like, "Hey, let's get a canoe!" And we did. It's pretty much awesome, but we did feel a little silly strapping it to the roof of the mini-van and driving from Phoenix to Olympia not knowing exactly how we were going to use it. My brother-in-law even said, "What are you going to do with a canoe?" "I don't know. Take it to a park or a lake or something and paddle around" Whatever. Anyway, we have a really sweet canoe!

Back to the story....
So we are talking to the lady (who is really cool and just opened an art gallery downtown Oly. by the marina) about the house and the property and she says this: "You can't see it right now because it's dark, but just beyond the backyard here there is a stream and you can canoe in it right down to Black Lake." Rand and I looked at each other with our mouths open. "No way! We have a canoe!!!"

Needless to say we jumped on the opportunity to rent this cute little house on a private 140 acres right in Olympia. And we had a signed deal in just a couple days. I just still can't believe it.

The property has an established orchard with apples, plums, pears, etc. It has a private lake that is fenced that we get to use in the summer with a sandy beach and a dock. It has woods and fields. It has a sport court (tennis and basketball) and a little kids play house/cabin. There is a beautiful pond and a meandering stream. And did I mention 140 acres for all the walking and exploring one could wish for? The road to the home is paved so there is great bike riding for the kids. It is like living on our own private county park. There are lots of birds, owls, deer, otters, eagles, etc. She even said when you are canoeing on the stream beavers will swim next to you and fish jump right out of the water!

It is beyond an answered prayer and we are just dreaming and imagining of all the fun we are going to have there and how perfect it is in every way. God answered our prayers about location and price and size and space for our kids to play. And then went over and above and gave us something that we will LOVE, where we can use our canoe for goodness sakes! I keep telling Brendan, "look how God has answered your prayer! You and your brothers are going to have so much fun, and Mom and Dad are going to like being there too!"

For as fast (and unwanted) as this move has been, God has answered our prayers in such obvious, kind of over the top ways, that we can't even stop and wonder if this is what He wants us to be doing. From the job, to our house getting rented in less than a week, to money concerns, to finding a place to live here, it feels like God has taken all our worries and answered all our pleas and then some. It's the "then some" that has left us speechless through this process over the last month or so and we are so grateful!

We feel very blessed and can't believe we got it. And as my mom said, I can't believe there was even something this good (that we could afford) to be got! Another part of the story though is that the owner had listed it for rent a month ago. It's been available since Nov. 1. She told us it always rents super fast, but this time she hardly had anyone come look at it. She reposted her ad that day, and we showed up. It literally feels like it was just for us!
So we will be unpacking our stuff now and moving in this weekend. And soon, there will be pictures. Lots of pictures!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Transition

If I never have to transition in this way again.....well.....that will be alright. This has been a tough one. And boy did it happen fast or what?! All of a sudden we were packed and loaded and driving down the road. Getting here took forever. We were together (for the first time during a move) because we didn't do the U-haul thing, but we were sick and stressed and it took us 3 days to drive from Phoenix to Shelton. But we made it. We got here on a Saturday and Rand started work on Monday. The guy does not skip a beat, does he?! He got cold sores and the rest of us got the stomach flu....twice. bleh. We've been here just a week and I am house hunting full time. It's hard. We are on a budget...we don't want to be "house poor". We have one car so being close to Rand's job is essential. We have 3 little boys....wonderful mind you, but we've gotten some concerns about that from potential landlords. I would love for them to have space outside, space inside and what not, but our budget is making that option look near impossible.

Anyhoo, we are practicing patience which has been the word of the week while we look and search and look some more...striking out nearly everywhere. But everyday there is something new and at least with renting things can move pretty quickly. We are getting settled in other ways and are ready to plug the kids back into AWANAs and we went to church on Sunday and that was good and I get to go to my old midwives who delivered Wyatt and I am thrilled about that. My parents, while divorced, live within walking distance of each other at the moment and it has been a blessing to send Brendan and Wyatt on their own down to Nana's house for cookies and video games and crafts every afternoon! :) I actually love that.

So that's the scoop. Here we are. Things are good. Trying hard to trust with the house situation. Something will work out, hopefully soon. I know my Dad likes having us here, but we are a pretty big presence! It will be good to have our own space again!

Stay tuned for more developments! :)

BTW, baby #4 is doing just great. I only panick a little when I start doing the math about how much time left. Yikes! I'm 32 weeks!!!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kid Quotes:: Vol. 41

This is my favorite quote from our most recent road trip! :)

Driving somewhere near Grant's Pass

Rand: Hey guys, check it out. It's snowing.

(no response from the back of the van where the 2 older ones are immersed in Nintendo DSi games)

......10 minutes later

Brendan: (literally yelling) OH MY GOSH!!!! LOOOK! IT'S SNOWING!!!!!!!

Rand: Guys. This is a good life lesson. When you take your heads out of the video games, you experience life more fully...

good word, Hon, good word.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Our Last Day (In 2 Places)

Our last day in Wichita was Sunday. It was a lovely warm day. We soaked up the sun and each other as much as we could. I miss them lots.

We drove straight from Wichita to Phoenix. It was 18 hours. That was crazy.

I came home to a very packed up house. Rand is a machine. His new job starts next Monday. We are excited and sad. Right now I'm mostly sad...and feeling very pregnant.

Today my Mom and I packed up most of the rest of everything. The moving truck will be delivered tomorrow and loaded. We will most likely hit the road on Thursday.

Our house rented in 4 days. That is a God thing! Rand's current job is cutting the night calls soon. The new job is there now. That is a God thing, too.

Transition is hard.

I keep shifting my mind to the positive. Rand has a great new job and God continues to provide for us in His perfect timing. I will be back in the Northwest by family and old friends. I will have a baby girl soon. I really love Rand and those 3 little boys of mine. It's a good life.

Rand told me the other day that the word "sacrifice" is made up of 2 words that mean "holy" and "to make". I like that. It makes me want to sacrifice more....or at least be grateful for the sacrifices that come with walking this path.

The computer is probably getting packed away tonight. I'm going to bed early. My body is telling me to stop...or else have a baby tonight. :) I think I'll wait on that one.

Thanks for the support and prayers for us for the next couple weeks while we re-adjust!

Pics from our last day in Kansas....Miss you Lovingfoss'

He means business folks, serious business

So does she......all the time!

And happy 3rd birthday to this "little fire ball" on Sunday. You are precious.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Busy Day in Wichita

It seems like we always try to cram a bunch of stuff in at the end of a trip together. We just hang out for much of the beginning and then we think, "Oh dang. We gotta do some stuff while we're together." Today was that day for me and Rach. We had a pedicure in the morning at her favorite "natural" spa. I have nice new purple toe nail polish that I'm thinking might need a touch up before the baby is born....and someone else is going to have to do it! :) After that we hit the store and got some lunch and came home. In the afternoon we ALL went to one of Rachel's most favorite family hang outs. THE ZOO! If you read her blog you've seen and heard lots of stories about her zoo, but it was awesome to get to go in real life. After dinner her and I went to another of her favorite places...Paint the Town, for art night. We painted pears and I wish I had one of these places in my town. Such a fun thing to do with sisters...or girlfriends...or whatever. We've been playing party farkel at night and going to bed super tired. One more day...which will be spent gathering and packing to leave. :( I hate goodbyes.

The beginning of my pears

my pears. finished....I think...

Rachel's pears

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fossil Hunting

Today Royal (a.k.a. Uncle Bubba) took all the kids except Easton somewhere (somewhere in Kansas? I don't even know where) to dig up fossils. There was a lot of talk the night before about what kind of dinosaur each was expecting to excavate the next day, so I was a tad worried they would be disappointed to learn that it would mainly be shells and such that they would be finding. They seemed to take it all in stride and each came home with their own collection of dirt, rocks and fossils to treasure. I sent my camera with Brendan. I'm told he took 2 pictures then set my camera down on a rock and ran off to dig fossils. :) Uncle Bubba took the rest of the pictures. Royal is currently studying earth environment and physical science at Wichita State and I'm sure the boys (and little girl) got a great education on rocks and all the things they were looking at and digging up. Hooray for hands on learning/field trips! Not to mention fantastic people to visit and play with in Kansas.

one of Brendan's shots

I love this picture with the shadow of Willow's head on the side. :) 

Here's the view from Rachel's back deck. I think it is very nice and very Kansas.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In Wichita

Holy Moly. That's about all I have to say. We are in and my Mom and my three littles.....staying with my sister and her 2 littles. Sounds simple enough, right? Well it is down right nuts. Fun and great, but totally crazy. The three big boys, Brendan, Wyatt and cousin Jayden are 3 peas in a pod and are running at 110% pretty much the whole day. We have a little afternoon break when Jayden goes to school at 12:30 but then it is back on until bedtime once he gets home. It is loud and fast and there is a LOT of food happening. Willow is little Miss attitude and fiestiness and participates with the big boys a bit and doesn't get along with Easton very well at all. Easton whines quite a bit and sticks pretty close to my legs. We have taken Willow to swimming lessons, Jayden to school, gone to the grocery store many, many times, and had every weather you can imagine...including an earthquake. Totally nuts! Fun, but nuts.

I have taken almost NO pictures because it is virtually impossible, but I have a few...gonna try and finish the week a little better!

We were crazy enough to do a balloon, yarn, glue craft with all of them! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Hawk that Survived

I've been sick for the last few days. Isn't being sick and pregnant the worst??? Tylenol just doesn't cut it. At all.
Anyway, I was nursing my sniffles by resting on my bed and all of a sudden.....SLAM! A bird rams into my sliding glass door. I saw it hit and assumed it was a pigeon because there are quite a few pigeons in our yard eating up olives. I got up and looked and sure enough there was a bird...still alive mind you....laying on the ground right in front of my window. Only it wasn't a pigeon. It was a little hawk. Sad! I thought for sure he was a goner. He wasn't moving, his wings were all sprawled out and he was breathing real fast. Well, I hate seeing things suffer like that so I pulled my curtains so that I wouldn't have to see and so that another bird wouldn't meet the same fate. A bit later I went to check on it and it was laying there in the same position only it was breathing real light and it's eyes were closed. Well, then I knew he was dying. I opened my door and startled him and he jumped up and ran off real fast. Startled me! I didn't see where he went, but I notice a little dead dove laying in about the same spot the hawk was. I'm assuming he had captured it or was chasing it or in some way was about to make a meal of that little bird. The dove was most definitely dead. I walked out into my living room and looked out back and there was that little hawk, sitting on my pool fence. Well then I took some pictures and I'm pretty sure that crazy bird survived! Check it out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Grief Continues

I've been thinking about Willie a lot lately. I don't know if it's the time of year, the sad Christmas music playing in the background, or the continued loss that I seem to keep experiencing. My own little family, we try real hard to focus on our abounding blessings, no matter our circumstances. We love each other deeply. We have fun and try our best to be content with what we have and where we must go and all that. We thank God for everything. We are thankful....even in our losses.

Yesterday, my parents sold their lake house. It is not the house I grew up in, but it has been a home of really awesome family gatherings and parties and dinners and holidays for the last 12 years or so. It is all the little kids have known. It is where we all went for Christmas and it was a yearly summer vacation spot. It was big enough to accommodate all of us and our kids and all our gear and it was awesome. Here are just a few of the posts that have accumulated over the last almost 5 years of my humble little blog.

Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010
summer 2010
summer 2009
summer 2009
summer 2008
summer 2007

I have my own life now, but I can't help but feel a significant loss at the closing of this chapter. It represents so much of what I love about life and "family" and even that has been lost.

Today my parents terminated their marriage. They are now officially divorced.

While this is something I have been privately processing and grieving for the last year, today marks a significant day of loss in my life. Perhaps it has no business on my blog. Perhaps it deserves a space to be spoken about.
I go back and forth between real sadness and a renewed focus on my own marriage and family apart from all that, knowing we will make the best of whatever our family looks like now.

I suppose it makes sense that Willie has been on my mind. I wonder what he would make of all this and how as siblings we would bond over the shared loss of things we considered valuable and a part of what makes us "us".

In all, I am constantly reminded to give thanks. God has blessed us immeasurably. I have to look at this path we are on as one that God has set before us and my responsibility is to keep my eyes on Him, the only one who can heal us and redeem us and build something beautiful from ashes.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

There is grief. It continues. But there is great joy in the bigger picture. And I'm grateful for that.

For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5