Sunday, October 8, 2017

Moving. Moved. And maybe a bit crazy.

We're official. We've moved to Rapid City, South Dakota.

We left Leavenworth on September 15th --




















And spent a few days in Moscow, visiting with friends and packing our belongings into a giant truck.








































Then, we made the journey to Rapid City (all in one day!) Whew -- I had the subaru with the kids (& bikes!) and with stops we traveled for over 16 hours before arriving...Jason arrived an hour after us.



A very l-o-n-g day, but we were HOME!





































We were greeted by our smoke detector going off at midnight when the steam from showering poured out into the hallway, then the next morning we awakened to the low-battery chirping of yet another smoke detector. Lovely. We were glad that at least it hadn't started in at 2 am and instead let us sleep until 6 am at least :)

Our first breakfast in our new digs --


























We were thankful for the awesome blessing of a young man next door willing to be hired for an hour to help Jason unload --












And then ... came the fun (& maybe crazy??) part -- we left it ALL and got back on the road East to Vermont!! Woo-hoo!

My heart has been aching to return to Vermont for some time now. We have wanted to return to Forest Echo Farm, where we lived and also to see some very special friends ...

Once we found out we'd be moving to S. Dakota, I mentally thought we'd be halfway there and asked Jason to see if he could push back his start date for his new job so that we could make the trip out there. He did. Then I did a little research and found out that Vermont was actually TWICE the distance we would have already driven. Ouch.

But ... we decided "why not?" and went for it. It wasn't always pretty in the car, but overall the kids did really great and we had the pleasure of getting to stay with friends along the way that we hadn't seen in some time. Double blessing. More on our wonderful Vermont week soon!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Turning TWO and {finally} facing forward!

This little sweetie celebrated her two-year birthday yesterday.





































The time is really flying by and I will admit, I'm not ready for her to be two yet. She continues to bring so much joy and laughter into our lives and we are thankful for her every day!

We got to start the day with a little park playdate with some of our Leavenworth friends which was great. We have been so so blessed by the friendly and inclusive community here.













































Since we were having a warm day without too much smoke, we met Jason at Lake Wenatchee when he got off work for a final beach day there --





































Then home to keep the party going -- Mabel loves hot dogs and so, in the spirit of keeping things simple (since we ARE moving out of our condo in 3 days!!!), we just gave her what she loves!

Her favorite toy right now is her owl stuffed animal, so I couldn't resist making an owl-shaped cake for her :)


























Perhaps the most exciting thing about turning two is that she now gets to sit in a forward facing car seat!! Woo-hoo! Because of her small size she looks ridiculously small in Luke's old car seat, but she loves being able to see us and this should be a big help on our upcoming major road trip.



Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Moving again .... to (perhaps) the most random place yet!

That's right, I NEVER imagined we would be relocating to this place when Jason began his permanent job search months ago. Even for us, it's incredibly random ...



image from here

Nicknamed the coyote state, it's the home of the only corn palace and the tallest mountains east of the Rockies ... but is probably most well-known for those Mt. Rushmore faces!

Yes! We are moving to South Dakota!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's pretty much the opposite of where I'd been hoping to live (my idea was somewhere tropical - Hawaii, Guam, PR or overseas). But, it's a reminder that God has a sense of humor :)

Jason's job is also incredibly random -- we've affectionately been calling it the "turkey job" because he'll be working as a Forester for the National Wild Turkey Federation. Gobble gobble! This conservation group seems like a fantastic employer and the job is a great fit for Jason's skills & personality; and best of all, it seems like he will actually like what he is doing! Hurrah! That's what the past three years have been all about. Super thankful for God's provision in this!

Now to all those pesky moving details, like finding a place to live and how to get there with our stuff :)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Lovin' our lazy Leavenworth days

We have been having a GREAT summer in Leavenworth. Thoroughly enjoying {every.single.day} the spectacular scenery all around us along with the unexpected, added bonus of a cool, local community and a really awesome church to attend. We continue to be so so thankful for our summer here.

August has been a busy month ... Jason and I both turned another year older, we traveled to Coeur d'Alene for Jason's interview & spent a couple nights in Spokane to hang out with his family; and now, he's been gone for several days attending interviews in other locations while working longer hours when he is here to make up the lost time. It's busier than we'd like, but we've had a lot of really good outdoor time together as a family and we are delighted that he has interviews to go to :)


























We were excited to find this closed campground which has made a perfect place to ride bikes with the kids. Luke is now on a regular pedal bike and loving it!























































The kids next to some of the local flower baskets (those are some BIG baskets!) and taking an impromptu shower in the draining water (gross!)














































The Wenatchee River is such an awesome crystal clear, green color now!












































With the river's water level receding, a beach has emerged that's within walking distance from our condo. We affectionately call it "mud beach" because there is so much silt mixed in with the sand that the kids always come home filthy; but, we love having this awesome place for them to play!


























Loving watching these silly kids grow up --


























Celebrating aging :)
Jason had the kids help him make me breakfast -- brave man.






























And a trip East for Jason to do an interview & us to get to spend some time with family. Yes, Luke's in that (grumpy photo face) stage ... sigh.






























Something that I have thoroughly enjoyed in Leavenworth is the Little Explorers group that meets each Wednesday in an outdoor location, ready to let the kids run/explore at their own pace. It's been a great way to see the area from people who've lived here longer than us and a perfect connection point with other local moms.

This one was a hike to Hidden Lake near Lake Wenatchee ....












































Afternoons at Lake Wenatchee & Lake Chelan have been awesome!



















































Our church here has been unexpectedly awesome. Having gone through the church hunt before, we had pretty low expectations for our summer church home. Our first try was picked because it was walking distance from our house, started fairly early and had kids activities. Although it is a much more traditional setting than where we'd attended in Moscow, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the teaching & the great staff. Since we're here just for the summer, we decided to end our search at that and we have been so glad we did.

Last week the church held their baptism service and it just seemed to be exactly how baptism services should be. At the river, with all of us celebrating together and then sitting down to a potluck-picnic in a beautiful orchard.












































Leavenworth is going to be a tough place to say goodbye to. It's been an incredible summer and we feel so fortunate to have gotten to live here.






































Friday, August 25, 2017

Watching Jason take a DIVE

For Jason's 39th birthday I had wanted to get him something really, really cool ... as a celebration of the beginning of his last year in his 30's and also partially as a congrats on nearly being done with this mid-life career change endeavor. I had come up with a couple ideas and tried to ask him about them without raising any alarms. What I came up with was this.

Jumping out of a tiny airplane at 11,000 feet in the air. Perfect, right?
























































Getting ready -- his jump buddy, Sonjia has done over 6500 jumps. Whoa.

























































1--Jason's plane. 2-- Jason free falling. 3-- Jason's chute open. And breathe :)



















































































































Coming in to land!
















































































Looking pretty darn happy!! I think my birthday present was a hit --






















Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Looking at the bend in the road

























I was just today thinking about the fact that here we are once again ... with what seems to be an unknown future. We move from Leavenworth on September 17th, but we don't know yet where we'll be moving TO. Kinda tricky.

We know that God has this situation and us in His hands. He has certainly cared for us in the past, taking us to amazing places with wonderful people, so we do not fear as we wait; but, we're definitely feeling very ready to know what will be next. All the what-ifs are starting to feel very exhausting.

What we do know as far as possibilities go is that Jason's applied for jobs all over the US and some across the globe.
He's interviewed for jobs with:
- a conservation group in the Black Hills region of S. Dakota
- a timber company in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
- the US Forest Service's International Division
- and, has one scheduled with his current employer on Monday for a position in Southern Washington

Quite a variety and we feel blessed that he has had these interviews.

Now we wait and see; enjoying the incredibly good life that we have in this moment (while Jason keeps applying for other jobs as they come up).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy Eclipse Day from Leavenworth, Washington!































Although we toyed with the idea of heading south to get a better view of the eclipse, with all the terrible traffic projections for the day we figured we'd be better to just stick close to home and be content with seeing the 90% coverage. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to looking for eclipse glasses, they were WAY over-priced or not available at all, so we created our own eclipse projectors from cereal boxes (which totally did work!) ... then our neighbors had pity on us and gave us a pair of their glasses too!!

A special treat -- Jason had arranged his day so that he could swing by and watch with us which was really great!!



































Saturday, July 29, 2017

Flying solo ... with two kiddos

Earlier this month, the kids & I got to travel to California to visit my family. I'd booked the trip this Spring after Alaska Airlines started running a direct flight from Seattle to San Luis Obispo, thinking that surely I could manage the kids on my own for one 2 1/2 hour flight. I did it, but it was definitely 2 1/2 hours of terror each way as I wondered if/when they would completely rebel against me. Luckily, we didn't have any major incidents and we were able to enjoy a fantastic week in California!!

Mt. Rainer looking glorious in the distance for our 6 am arrival to Seattle's airport. We'd left Leavenworth at 3:30 am. A fun start to the day :)















On the airplane & ready to FLY. 

















First things first upon arrival at my parents -- time to get some energy out! Onto bikes and into swim wear for the wading pool. 





















My Mom hosted an AMAZING tri-tip dinner that same evening, inviting the rest of the local family over also. 




































Everyone had ice cream cones for dessert. YUM. And so fun to have nearly all the cousins together - only Talon was missing this time around.

























We were super excited to connect with the Botts family ... Sarah & her husband Randy befriended Jason & I when we were engaged and living in Atascadero temporarily. We have been thankful for their friendship as we do life together from a distance :) Luke & Mabel had a GREAT time at thei\ park with their 3 kiddos.
































Tuesday morning Luke got his very first haircut by a professional! It was much needed and nice to see the finished product when I wasn't the one doing the cutting :) 



























Mom & I then headed to Avila Beach for a glorious beach day meet up with Ashley and the kids' sweet cousin Emma --




















After our beach time, Bonnie & I loaded the kids into her minivan and headed up to our Aunt Lori's lake cabin at Lake Nacimiento for an overnight.




















































On Thursday, Luke got a tractor ride with Papa (who even let him DRIVE!) while Mabel "helped" Nana with the watering.


































Friday we headed to Cayucos for another beach day -- it wasn't super warm, but was awesome to just BE there with my sis and nephews. Luke even tried boogie boarding for the first time.













































When Saturday arrived, it was really hard to believe that the week was nearly done :( We had a great family day, starting with the Templeton farmer's market, then delicious donuts together at Bonnie's house and off to the beach one last time.
























































Just before leaving for our flight, my Dad got out their go-kart to take Luke for a spin! So much fun!

































And that was that .... time to leave. It's always hard to leave California when I don't know when I'll get to return, but we were all looking forward to seeing Jason.

Some last moments with Nana & Papa --

































And some final favorite shots from a coastal drive my dad & I got to do together on evening (without kids!).


























Time to fly again! A beautiful day coming into Seattle. Mt St Helens & Mt Adams just behind the wing and Mt Ranier just in front. Pretty cool!