One Year Ago

The day after Memorial Day last year my hubby and I flew across the country from Michigan to Seattle.

The view out the window of our rental car in Seattle was cloudy, and it sprinkled. Hey! Is that the Space Needle?!

Then we drove 90 miles north and caught our first glimpse of  the town that would become our future home. My first thoughts were, This is the kind of place you visit on vacation. Pinch me, please!

Cloudy, cool and beautiful…

Could this really be our new home?

Then there was a whirlwind day of interviewing and sightseeing before my husband received THE  JOB OFFER. We sat in our hotel room looking at each other, asking ourselves if we were really considering a move across the country. We prayed, listed out all the pros & cons for our family and made our decision. I think it took all of 5 minutes. It was clear to both of us that this was where God was leading us and not just because of the pretty scenery :)

In the morning, we flew back to Michigan to pick up our girls who had been staying with my sister’s family, then we traveled back to Wisconsin. I spent the rest of the summer downsizing, cleaning, and packing while my hubby worked his new job from home and flew out west a couple of times for work  and to scout out places for us to live. This process took much longer than we thought it should, but in then end, God in His perfect timing led us to the perfect place for our family.

The front of our new home.

One year ago today, we ended our cross country roadtrip the 2,000 mile trek with 3 kids, 2 adults, and 2 cats crammed in a car and arrived in our new home. Well, technically, it was Sept. 21st, but I’m counting it as today, because it was also a Wednesday. :)

Our trusty road trip vehicle

One year ago, we arrived at our new home, were greeted happily by all our cul de sac neighbors, and ate Quiznno’s sandwiches using moving boxes for a dining table.  Then we decided to walk the girls over to the church on the corner that also just happened to be hosting their first night of AWANA for the year.

Our girls the day we left our old house in Wisconsin.

A year later!

What a difference a year makes!

We are overwhelmed by God’s blessings.

Give your kids some lemons and watch them make a lemonade stand…

If it’s a warm summer day and the kids start to complain about not having anything to do, you’ll probably scour the internet looking for a fun activity to occupy them. If you read a blog post about how lemonade stands are becoming a commercialized, family affair you’ll probably want to give your kids the opportunity to make an inexpensive one the old-fashioned way: by themselves.

So you’ll google “homemade lemonade” (since you’ve never made it from scratch yourself) and find the perfect recipe for young do-it-yourself-ers. While you’re surfing the net, the kids will find some pieces of posterboard left over in the back of your closet and ask you for a sharpie. You’ll find one in the junk drawer which will remind you that you need to clean and organize your drawers. Meanwhile, the kids will get creative making signs for their lemonade stand without arguing and decide to attach one to the side of the wagon.

When they go to the garage to get the wagon, they’ll notice the wagon is dirty and ask you where the rags are so they can wipe out the dirt. After rescuing your best kitchen dish towels, you won’t be able to remember what you were doing before the interruption. So once the wagon is clean, you’ll load all the kids into the hot car and drive across town to the grocery store to buy lemons, cups and ice. While you are there, you’ll think, “It’s a great day for a cook-out!” and also buy fruit, hot dogs, buns, and all the fixings.

When you get home, you’ll give your kids the lemons and watch carefully as they cut the lemons in half. Then you’ll step back and watch them make lemonade. One girl will do the juicing, one will do the pouring and stirring and another will go pick some mint leaves.

While they are working, you will go to the garage and find the cooler so they can keep the ice and lemonade cold. You’ll notice it’s a little dirty so you’ll want to wipe it clean before giving it to the middle child. When you come back to the kitchen, one girl will be slicing a lemon and putting the pieces into the pitcher and another will be dropping in the mint leaves.

You’ll take a moment to bask in their pride and sense of accomplishment at doing everything without your help, then watch as they load their goods onto the wagon.

You will wave goodbye as they pull the wagon around the curve in the cul de sac and set up their stand on the street corner.

Then you’ll go back into the kitchen, survey the lemon-scented mess and think to yourself, “It’s beautiful.”

But seeing the dirty dishes will remind you that you should probably clean up before making supper. Then you’ll remember that you don’t have to clean up yet since you are going to grill hot dogs. So you’ll decide to sit down and relax for a moment instead.

When you sit down, you’ll think about sending a text to your husband about the lemonade stand but realize that your phone is at the other end of the house. When you get up to find your phone, one of the girls will run in with exciting stories about customers who left “tips,” and how everyone said their lemonade is the “yummiest. ever.”

For some reason, this will make you think about checking the mail. So you will find your mail key and walk to the mailbox. While you are opening your mailbox, you will spy your husband walking home from the bus. You will want to give him the quarters in your pocket so he can go buy some lemonade.

Then you will walk back home and grill supper. The kids will be having so much fun by this time that they won’t want to come home and eat. So you will make them a plate of hot dogs and take it to them. When they see the plate of food, they will be glad to see you.

And when one sister returns the empty plate to the kitchen, you will send her back with ice cream sandwiches for them all.

After another hour, they will probably come home with an empty lemonade pitcher and sparkling eyes as they tell you about their adventure. They will tell you how many people stopped and how they are never going to use a lemonade mix because homemade lemonade tastes way better. When they tell you how much fun they had making and selling lemonade,  and that this has been the “most excellent day ever,” you will be very happy for them. When you find out that they made $24, you and they will be proud.

And chances are, if they’ve had this much fun making lemonade and another warm summer day is on its way, they’ll probably want to do it all over again tomorrow.

Or something like that :)

A Chair, a Child, and Two Jellybeans

This green-gold chair in all its vintage swivel rocking glory holds memories. It used to belong to my grandparents. My brothers, sisters, and all our cousins were warned not to spin in it when we were little. Because it’s not a toy.

It’s a gift.

Today it holds me and Z.

Z.

My independent-keep-on-moving-do-it-myself-never-stop-trying-until-you-figure-it-out baby girl.

She’s growing up way too fast.

I scooped up her four year old body, setting her lightly on my lap. It’s time to learn her Bible verse for Wed. night church. But she’d much rather snuggle. With her eyes and hands scrunched up, she squeezes me tightly.

“Oh, Zhu-zhu. Mommy Zhee-Zhee Wohm.”

This is her nickname for me because I’m almost always warm, especially when she is in a snuggling mood.

Smiling, I ask her for a “‘mooch.”

She gives me several. I return the favor and we giggle.

I read her lesson and look at the verse.

John 15:12.

“Love each other as I have loved you.”

Do you know what that means, Z?

She shakes her head “no.”

I try to think of a way to explain so she will understand. Sometimes the simple answer is the best.

Does Mommy love you? 

She nods “yes.”

Do you love your sisters?

Yes.

Does Mommy want you to love your sisters as much as I love you?

Yes.

That’s how God wants us to love each other. Just like He loves us.

Her nose wrinkles when she smiles, leaning into me.

As we recite the verse together, we seal each word with a “mooch” on the cheek for good measure. And she giggles some more.

I feel her body relaxing against me.

She sighs. “I’m tired.”

I am surprised to hear her say it because she’s usually the last to admit it. I think about taking her to her bed.

When was the last time she fell asleep while I held her? Was she two?

I hum her favorite songs then sing words quietly, moving  the chair back & forth in time to the music. She doesn’t squirm. A squeaky old swiveling chair that rocks can be a pretty awesome thing sometimes.

Her eyelids droop.

I pray her big sisters don’t make any sudden noises.

Her breathing deepens and I feel her weight heavy against me.

As she relaxes, her legs and arms twitch as if to say they aren’t ready for sleeping yet. Her left hand opens slightly and I feel a small something fall onto my leg beneath. Make that two small somethings. Shifting her gently, I feel with my hand between my legs. I hadn’t known she was holding anything. My fingers close on something sticky. I lift my hand to see two jelly beans streaking orange and red across my fingers.  They are covered in sugary wrinkles from being held for a long time in warm, moist little hands.

She sighs in her sleep. A  happy contented sigh that comes from deep inside as I brush the hair away from her forehead with my free hand. I close my eyes and hold these gifts tightly. In one hand, my youngest daughter in all her sleeping beauty. In the other, two sticky jelly beans.

These childhood days will soon be gone.

Will she ever sleep on my lap like this again?

I think about that bedtime a few weeks ago. Her thin cool arms reached for me from the darkness. Slight hands clasped like a delicate necklace in a circle around my neck, pulling my head gently onto her pillow.

“Oh Mommy Zhu-zhu! I want you to stay hee fowevoh!”

As I sit now with my cheek resting on her tousled hair and her warm body against mine in this chair of memories, I feel my answer.

Me too.

Of Life & Ligaments

So…what’ve you been up to for the past couple of months?

Me?

Well, let’s just say this blog has been silent for a couple of months for a variety of reasons.

Because life happens.

Because four out of five family members in our house celebrate their birthdays between the end of January and the end of March. And that’s a lot of birthday treats & party planning.

Thank you Pinterest!

Candles from "somebody's" cake. Don't count them.

What happens when a bunny birthday becomes a Bunny Star Wars birthday.

My sorry attempt at a Tardis cake for the Dr. Who birthday.

Because Daddy worked for 30 hours straight one week and 3 little girls didn’t understand why they didn’t see him for two days. Well, maybe at least one of them isn’t so little anymore as she daily reminds me.

Because “springing ahead” isn’t fun.

Because one of our daughters decided she was ready to be baptized.

Daddy getting ready to baptize "B."

Because all that birthday planning, shopping, baking, homeschooling, enjoying a visit from Grandma who flew 2,000 miles to see us, and a few seasonal colds shared generously left little time for writing. And anyway, who would want to read about all that…ordinary life-stuff?

Or maybe it’s because I have the strange ability to injure the ligaments in two of the fingers on my left hand while trying to get ready for bed quietly so I won’t wake anyone up, but instead whack my hand on the doorknob while changing my shirt and wake up the neighborhood with my howl of pain.

Ligaments. take. forever. to. heal.

At least they do if you’re a dumbo like me & don’t stop using them like you’re supposed to so you end up re-injuring them. Twice. Or was it three times?

Either way. Ouch. But I’ve finally learned my lesson. I think.

Well, at least until the next time I need to lift a bag of groceries or a pot of water & there’s nobody around to help.

Somebody stop me!

On the bright side, the girls are learning to help out more since Mommy can’t do the “heavy lifting.”

But I wouldn’t take advantage of that or anything. Much.

So here I am today, hen-pecking away at the keyboard to let you know that I am alive and mostly well. But I may not post for a few more weeks while I try to let things heal up the way they should.

So, until next time, carry on!

Unless you’re me.

In that case, you shouldn’t be carrying much of anything. :)

Good thing I’m not left-handed, eh?

The Remains of a Snow Man

A photo journal of the life and times of Frosty Bob Peppermint.

Day 1 - So Happy Together

Day 3 - A Little Snow, A Little Ice

Day 4 - The James Brown Tribute

Day 7 - Cyclopse Lost His Hat

Day 8 - He Lost His Mind

Day 9 - Chicken Neck

Day 10 - Snow Sculpture

Day 11 -Melted Snowman

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