Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy Easter

We had a great time celebrating Easter this year with family!  Thankfully, the sun came out and we hunted eggs outside in the fact, it was so hot here, the chocolate inside our eggs melted.  Who would have thought?

We attended church on Saturday night, but I played for all three weekend services.  It was a busy, but fun weekend celebrating Jesus' ressurrection! this isn't that great of a picture, and technically it was taken on Palm Sunday, but I always love how thrilled the kids are to receive their palm branches each year.  When we asked Olivia what she was supposed to say when she waved her palm branch, she told us, "They said we were supposed to shout 'HOSANNA,' but I don't think that's a real word because nobody ever says that word anymore or its not really in our language, so I'm just going to say, 'YAY! JESUS!'"

Awwwww....Pretty much perfection.

And back to reality.

Perfection, again.

Real life.  Raw.  Crazy.  Real.  Life.

Springtime in California

A couple weeks before our big move, Ben and I headed to sunny California for 5 days.  Crazy?  Yes.  But, Ben had to attend a conference for work in San Jose and we had already reserved plane tickets back in December to San Francisco in anticipation of a get away for just the two of us.  With my mom's encouragement (and continued offer to watch our kids), we decided to keep our plans. 

We arrived to the warm breeze and beautiful setting sun in San Francisco on a Monday evening.  The next day, after the best latte I've ever had, we explored the city. 

After our first lunch at this California gem....

.....we made our way to San Jose the long way, along the coast (I could totally get used to highways along the ocean!).   Of course we had to make a stop at Half Moon Bay Beach.  It was simply breathtaking and even though the water was ice cold, the warm sand felt like heaven to our cold, MN toes.

After our stroll along the beach, we headed through the mountains in search of the great coastal California Redwoods.  Although the drive was long, winding, and at times crazy (tons of switchbacks and barely enough room for 1 car!), we were not disappointed when we arrived.  No words can describe the enormity of those trees.  Simply amazing.

The rest of our time was spent in San Jose where we had our first experience with Thai food (mostly positive!), ate gourmet pizza outside, caught a movie in a high-rise, and visited the Winchester Mystery House. 

While Ben attended his conference, I enjoyed time by the pool and local rose garden where I actually completed reading four books! 

We had a great time away and it was just what we needed before coming back to the snow, cold, and TONS of boxes waiting to be moved! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The BIG Move!

A lot of crazy has happened over the past two months while I have seemingly abandoned my blog.  Although there are numerous factors contributing to my absence, the first (and notably biggest)reason......We bought a house:

There is a long and amazing story testifying to God's direction and miraculous providence surrounding the purchase of our new home that I hope to share someday soon, but for now, I'll just cover the high points.....

Basically after the great flood of 2013, we had no intention of taking on any more house responsibility, especially in the form of a rather substantial move, anytime soon.  Although moving had always been part of our bigger picture plan (like...maybe in 3-5 years), it was not within our short term plan.  While January offered us a much needed break from the craziness that took up most of our November and December, with the advent of February also came clear direction from God that the time to move was indeed NOW! 

While everything didn't quite make sense to us at the time, less than a week later, we put in an offer on our new home contingent upon the sale of our previous home (that wasn't even on the market yet).  We tidied up our previous home, set the table beautifully, and waited for God to perform a miracle. 

The house sold in 10 days...10 very long days, but 10 days nonetheless.  It was within those 10 days that God revealed Himself to us in very tangible ways as we continued to seek His direction (sometimes in admirable ways and sometimes in oh-my-goodness-what-in-the-world-is-happening-I-don't-understand-this freaking out sort of ways).  Our house sold in 10 days during the worst part of the year (February in MN means lots of snow and lots of cold), without an open house (we had an open house that was not very well attended and although the offer came in the same day as the open house, it was from a couple who had requested a showing on the same day that we experienced about 10 inches of snow...basically, God didn't need an open house to sell our house), and with a realtor who was not only dealing with a loss in her family, but also foot surgery that landed her on bed rest for several days (she was an amazing realtor....but, her circumstances at the time provided further evidence that God alone was orchestrating this move).

After we accepted the offer on our previous home, the contingency on our new home was lifted, all the papers were signed, and closing dates were orchestrated, we began the daunting task of packing up all of our belongings.  It is simply insane how much stuff you acquire over the course of 8.5 years (granted, we did have a familial expansion by three people and a dog)! 

We made sure to do a lot of our favorite things one last time:

We said our goodbyes to teachers and friends:

Then, before we knew it, it was time to pack up the U-Haul:

Saying goodbye is never easy, and leaving the home where we started and essentially completed our family proved emotional at times.  So many good and wonderful memories were made within those four cozy walls of our first home.

We've been keeping busy at our new house for the past 3.5 weeks...mostly unpacking and organizing (and yes, for those of you that know me, hanging pictures and decorating).  The kids have adjusted well to their new school and are making fast friends with their classmates.  They love riding the bus to school every day and I'm constantly aware (and in awe) of how much extra time I have on my hands now that I'm not spending over 2 hours in the car every day.  Olivia and I are also finishing out the BSF year at a new class that is closer to our new home.  Pretty much, being closer to church and family and just about everything has simplified our lives in a thousand ways! 

Simply put, the past two months have been nothing short of miraculous as we've experienced God move in extraordinary ways for our family.  We are so excited to see what He has for us to accomplish for Him in our new neighborhood, school, and community!