Friday, October 3, 2014

Home is Where the Heart Is

What is a home?  A home is defined as a dwelling-place used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family or household.  A home for me has always brought a sense of security.  It is a place filled with memories and special moments that have occurred there.  Home is a place to invite people into the lives of the ones who live there.  It is a place to rest.
Well, our little family has been in many "homes" this past summer.  We enjoyed visiting Papa & Grandma Jones' home in Nebraska this summer, along with 7 young cousins, aunts, uncles, and grand parents.  We made special memories in a temporary home on the Oregon coast with Jared's family, followed by a few days at Papa & Nana Christiansons' home in Washington.  We then returned to Texas, to spend our last two weeks in our home, or what we have known as home for the past 4 years, before we completed the sale and started the construction on our new home.  But, we never made it "home."  While we were enjoying a beautiful day at the Oregon beach, our home in Texas "sprung a leak."  One of the water heaters in the attic busted and poured water through the attic, onto the 2nd floor, collapsed the kitchen ceiling, and flooded the first floor of our house.
Here are some pictures of our home.

The "Broken House", as the kids call it!

At one point there were over 30 fans trying to dry up the water

These pictures are what we saw 5 days after the leak was detected by our neighbor.  So thankful that our friend was checking on our cat!  This could have been so much worse! We are also thankful for insurance and all of the water restoration companies who have been working hard the past two and a half months to make this destruction back into a home for our new buyers.
Our sweet kids have been troupers through this whole experience.  While mommy has struggled with leaving our home in such  circumstances and never getting to "say good-bye" to the precious memories that have been made in this house, the kids haven't missed a beat!  They fully enjoyed the extended vacation and three weeks in a hotel before we moved into a rental house. 

Dress up/Swim time?

They loved breakfast in the many choices!

We were able to move into a rental house in mid-August and plan on staying here until our house is built....which hasn't started yet since we had to put it on hold until things got under control.
The buyers have stuck with us as we have re-built our house.  While it has complicated the process immensely, Jared has been meeting with the buyers and has let them pick out new finishes, wall color, kitchen appliances, etc. While we were preparing to sell our house months ago, we prayed that the new family to live in our house would be blessed.  Although this was a difficult season for us, I believe the new family is extremely blessed with a new remodeled home!  We plan on closing on the house next week, and Jared will have a huge burden lifted off his back and will no longer be receiving daily distractions from insurance adjusters, the house contractor, and the buyers!

What I've realized is that while a home does hold sentimental value and memories, it is just a temporary building.  Our real home in heaven is perfect and the ultimate place to rest in God's mercy and love. (and is non-destructible!)  I know it's an old cheesy clique, but my home here on earth is where my heart is- with my wonderful husband and children that the Lord has entrusted me with.  It may be a messy home, but it's home!

Here are some pictures from our travels this summer!

Nebraska for 4th of July:


More cousins!
Uncle Zach & Grandma on the Wake boards
My parents getting baptized in the lake!

So thankful that we could be there for this!

Oregon Beach:

Cousins checking our Uncle Andrew's crab collection

Dancing at Cousin Linsley's wedding in central WA

Here is one of the last memories that was captured at our house before we left on vacation:


Friday, July 18, 2014

I Don't Want to Grow Up!

"I won't grow up.
Not a penny will I pinch.
I will never grow a mustache,
Or a fraction of an inch.
'Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up!"

After attending a Peter Pan musical in May, my children who are obsessed with birthdays all of a sudden decided that they didn't want to grow up either.  Kai was especially touched by that song and will often tell me with tears in his eyes that he doesn't want to get bigger, but always wants to be a kid.  While some days the thought that this season (having 3 loud & spirited preschoolers in the house) is just a season and does not last forever gives me comfort, but deep down I feel the same way.  Growing up and maturing are good things, but they bring a sense of loss and sadness also.  I remember sitting at the nursery door of our Tulsa house after putting the twins to bed when they were babies and just feeling overwhelmed by love and wishing that I could freeze time.  I knew that the stage of development that they were in would not last forever and I wanted to capture all that I could.  Although the toddler/preschool age is definitely not in my natural "sweet spot" as a mother, I want to appreciate all of the uniqueness that it brings and not wish away this time, as challenging as it may be!
I have quite a bit to catch up on, so I'll start with Easter pictures!

Evidence that they truly are not ready to grow up, which is fine by me!

Isaac is finally friends with the Easter Bunny!
Making resurrection rolls before Easter

We don't get many family pics here is one!

My parents came to visit the end of May for Kai and Julia's 5th birthday party.  We decided to have a casual "Ice Cream Social" at the neighborhood clubhouse and end with swimming.  There was a lot of other fun games that I had prepared for, but nothing ever goes quite as planned!  I am promising myself not to mess with birthday parties next year.  Maybe we could do a fun family adventure instead (one that does not include hours of wasted time on planning)!   Do you think they will notice? ha!

Home made ice cream & toppings!

Kai's preschool friends

 We also signed the twins up for their first organized sport.  I should have known from my short career, that soccer was probably not going to stick!  Julia spent most of the time picking up dead grass and stuffing it into her pockets.  She did not like to be aggressive (did not like the Mad Dog  or "mean puppy" drills her coach had them perform), although she has no trouble with this at home!  My parents made it to their first and last games and did see Julia score two goals (first 2 and last 2!) at her last game.  Kai enjoyed playing also.  He had difficulty keeping up with all of the running, but put forth a lot of effort!  The league that we joined (Upwards Sports) focused not only on learning the sport, but also on character building.  Every practice included a devotional time with a Bible verse.  Kai loved applying the sportsmanship lessons and was the first to help someone up if they fell down...even if they didn't want help getting up!

Uncle Zach came for a visit also.  Love him!

 With the end of Spring, also came the end of preschool.  The kids all loved their teachers and classmates, but were looking forward to summer.  Isaac had a great first year of "school" and will go again next fall 2 days a week.  For all of the mischief that he gets in at home, he was very obedient for his teacher...unless she was being too kind to say anything!

I love this Mother's Day card the preschool teachers made ;)

Julia "graduated" preschool, although she will graduate again next year!  After a lot of prayer we have decided to enroll the twins in a year of Pre-K and delay their start to Kindergarten by a year.  They just turned 5 in May (original due date was end of July), and we really believe another year of preschool and time at home will benefit them both.

Julia & Ms. Kelly

Singing praise songs :)

Kai flourished in the PPCD (preschool program for kids with disabilities) preschool through the public school this past year.  He loved his friends, teachers, and mommy loved that he was receiving speech, physical, and occupational therapy during the half day program.  We will miss his buddies and teachers greatly next year.  Since Kai turned 5 in May, he no longer is eligible for this service.  He will join Julia & Isaac at the church preschool for a year of Pre-K in the fall.  The public school will tell us in September if there is enough funds for him to continue his speech therapy sessions at the school as a drop-in service.

Last Day of School, May 2014

 Here's the comparison to the first day of school.  They actually don't look very different to me.  Maybe it's true..."They won't grow up!" 

1st Day of School, August 2013

Well, there's the recap of Spring!  I will have to wait until we get another free moment to update on Summer.  We finally are under contract on our house after being on the market for almost 6 months!  Our new house won't be completed until next Spring.  There is a lot to do in the next few months including finding a rental house and packing everything up.  I better get busy.... :)