Friday, November 30, 2012

Why Laundry Is Like Rabbits

*Multiplication.  Laundry has, in my house at least, an astounding rate of multiplication.  Many times I leave a shirt and a pair of pants alone together in a room and return several hours later to find that they have somehow added to their number a pair of underwear and several mismatched socks.  Left alone for more than a day, they can easily quadruple their numbers.

*Prevalence.  Laundry is always showing up everywhere.  I find socks hiding under the kitchen table and shirts stuffed in the toy bins.  Blankets love to hide in faraway corners.  There is seemingly nowhere that laundry cannot be found.

*Resistance.  Laundry can never be fully eradicated.  Even when I think I have thoroughly scoured the house and turned up every piece of laundry.  Even when I carefully transport all items to the washer while watching for dropped socks.  After all is washed, folded and put away, I settle down onto the couch for a well-deserved break, reach for the remote, and feel the familiar knit of a sock under my fingertips, and I sigh... 

Because:  Laundry is like rabbits.  (but not as cute)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Small Trip On A Snowy Day

It is snowing today.  The sky is grey and you can’t even see the base of the mountains because of the low-lying clouds and falling snow.  I had to make a quick trip with the kids out to the bank and the post office.  It was snowing pretty steadily when we left home, and as we drove through town I caught a whiff of wood smoke and saw bundled up kids walking home from school.  It made me think about hot chocolate and fireplaces and coming in from outside with a frozen nose and hands.  

The atmosphere at the bank was friendly and relaxed, as it usually is at our bank.  The two tellers were in no hurry at all even as more people came in and lined up.  One customer carried in a tiny puppy just to show it off (totally normal at our bank – people are in there with dogs and puppies more often than you might believe).  As I waited for the teller to finish with my deposit, I found myself contemplating whether western bankers would be able to keep a job at an eastern bank or if they’d be let go because they were too slow at processing transactions.  Not that I mind waiting at all – it’s just an observation based on my experiences with both.  In addition to the customary lollipop (which people out here seem to call “suckers” – I am going to have to get used to that), the bank was also offering up cookies today.  The kids each got an M&M cookie from the tray and we made our way back out into the cold.

 Just as soon as it became our turn in line at the post office, my daughter dropped what was left of the cookie she was holding on the floor.  I grabbed it up before she could, intending to trash it.  Of course she instantly started screaming.  Please don’t judge me because I gave it back to her.  I did brush it off a little first.  (I wonder what the lady who was standing behind us in line thought…)  Anyway, we finished our business and got out of there.  (B.U. – If you’re reading this, the key is in the mail now!)  When we got to the car, the cookie was still in hand and looking pretty much untouched since its fall.  Maybe I should have taken it from her then and just endured the protests.  But I did not.  

I found myself contemplating relaxed bank tellers and dropped cookies as I drove us home.  Maybe I was a little too deep in thought, because I stopped at an intersection totally out of habit and not because I had a stop sign.  The SUV going the other direction did have a stop sign and was waiting there dutifully for me to figure out what I was doing.  I muttered something to myself about her having a stop sign and me not having one as I waved her on through, thinking that she was the one not paying attention.  Then was the “DUH” moment when I realized that yes, I was the one WITHOUT the stop sign and SHE was the one WITH the stop sign.  (Wait, didn’t I already say that?  Oops.)  I paid a little more attention to what I was doing after that, even as I felt rather sheepish and found myself contemplating the dumb mistakes that distracted drivers can make.  Oh well.

Since my last post I have finally unpacked the last of the boxes and I have gotten some pictures up on the walls.  To me, having my pictures up on the walls is what makes a place feel like home.  I have heard some say that putting their curtains up does it for them, but for me it is the pictures.  Blank walls just feel very impersonal.  So, that’s it then.  We’re all moved in.  Of course, there are still some areas that need organizing, and we need to find some sort of bed that we can use for guests, but by and large it is done.  

A couple weeks ago we were invited to visit some friends of ours who have been living and working on a ranch out of town.  It was a rather cool and snowy day, so the views weren’t what they could have been, but I wanted to share some of the pictures I took anyway. 
These few were taken on the drive up there…

They live decently far back into the mountains in bear country.  We didn’t see any bears the day we were up there, but they had recently had a pretty close encounter with a 350-lb. grizzly.  Of course, the guys were shooting guns and blowing stuff up while we were there (don’t worry, only rotten pumpkins and dead trees were harmed), which may have hurt our chances a bit.  Apparently, exploding pumpkins are actually quite funny, as evidenced by the gales of laughter coming from our son and his friend (who were safely tucked away in the cab of the truck with the dog).  

After our rather explosive field trip we said hello to the horses and had a quick tour of the barn.  Then we headed inside for a delicious dinner of elk steaks and mashed potatoes.  Here are a few more pictures I took outside their house.  The mountain just behind their place was nearly obscured by the clouds/snow, but you can see a little bit of it.

And finally, a note on an 18-month-old’s creative ingenuity.  Since we moved into the apartment, I bought some plastic place mats for the kids.  Our daughter very quickly learned something interesting about her place mat.  If she wants something on the table that is out of reach, she will push her place mat underneath it and pull it towards her until she can reach it.  Even if this takes multiple tries she does not give up.  She is very persistent.  What this also means is that pretty much nothing on the table is out of her reach, even if she is strapped into her booster seat.  I can’t turn my back on her for a minute or she’ll have pulled my plate over and be eating my food.  Kids - they keep you on your toes, that’s for sure!

But, as you can see from the above, I also do a pretty good job of keeping myself on my toes.
Or off of them.  Whatever.  : )

 “God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’” 
- Job 37: 5-6 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Made It!

Well, it has been quite a while since the last time I wrote a post.  This is due in part to the fact that we don’t have internet service at home yet.  But, mostly it is just because moving is hard work and I'm still recovering!
It has been a little over a month now since we packed up, pulled out of the drive and began our journey.  I should begin by saying a BIG THANK YOU to all those who were able to come over and help us out by packing, cleaning or watching the kids (while we packed and cleaned).  We really appreciated all of the help!  A special note of thanks goes to R.S. – who shall henceforth be known as “Master Packer”.  We would have had to leave a lot more things behind if it hadn’t been for your amazing skill in packing the moving truck!  And of course I can’t leave out our families, who were a big help and support to us during this time of transition also.

We spent a long day packing the truck and cleaning the house on a Saturday in late September.  Sunday was a hard day, spent saying our good-byes to family and friends.  Sunday night we slept on the floor in our empty house.  (And it was finally starting to feel like, “Yes, this IS really happening…”).  When we got up on Monday morning we ate breakfast, did a little touch-up cleaning and packed the last-minute stuff in the van and the cab of the truck.  Hubby’s grandparents met us there at the house.  (They had called us a week or two before we were planning to leave and offered to drive out with us.  We couldn’t turn them down!)  We rolled out a little later than we had planned, but with four long days of travel ahead of us I doubt that hour really made much difference.  :)  There were a couple last minute stops at the bank, post office and grocery store before we could finally hit the highway, and then… we were off!

We pulled out in a minivan and a 20-foot moving truck towing a car hauler trailer with our SUV on it.  Four adults, two kids and a dog.  Four days on the road.  We have never taken that long to drive that distance before, and by day three it was starting to feel like we were never going to get there…  Every time we stopped it seemed to take so long.  A "simple" gas-and-potty stop could take over a half an hour till it was all said and done, and meals were worse.  

All in all, though, I cannot complain.  Everything went so smoothly.  We had no mishaps or mechanical issues with any of the vehicles.  (Well, one tiny mishap when the mirror of the moving truck brushed into one of those tall orange pylons they put up at construction areas… but that’s it.)  Thanks to all of those who had our trip covered in prayer!

Now, while we were driving, we still did not know exactly where we were going.  Of course we knew the town we were going to, but we had still not found a place to live.  On our way out, we found out about the possibility of a house that a friend of ours had coming open for rent.  It wasn’t ideal, but we figured it would work temporarily, so we made plans that way.  It wasn’t available until over two weeks after we arrived, so some other friends of ours offered for us to move in with them for the time being.  We also made a call to a friend of ours who has some warehouse space, to see if we could store our things there for a couple weeks (and that worked out as well).  The house we would be renting was 25 miles away from Hubby’s job, it was small (2 bedroom) and it was for sale (so we would really need to be ready to move at a moment’s notice if they got an offer on it).

After we got to C-Town we moved our things off the truck and into the warehouse.  We returned the truck (thankfully the broken mirror was covered by our insurance).  We got settled in at our friends place.  We took Hubby’s grandparents to the airport after they had a day to do some sightseeing.  Then we all got colds and the dog stuck her nose in a wasp nest.  Hmph.

A day or two later, after further consideration, we decided to call our friend and back out of the house deal.  We did the calculations and found that it was going to cost us far too much in fuel for Hubby to travel that distance back and forth to work every day.  So, we started searching for something else much closer to Hubby’s work.  We ended up finding a reasonably priced three bedroom apartment just a few doors down from Hubby’s work.  After we applied for it, it took about a week and a half before we were approved and could move in.    

We moved into our apartment in early to mid October.  It is pretty nice – ground floor, three bedrooms, 1000 sq.ft., big windows, clean.  There is enough space for us, but we do still have quite a few things in storage (mostly all stuff that we would ordinarily store in a garage or shed).  Our son was insistent that he wanted to share a room with his sister, which we agreed to.  The third bedroom is a large room, and is now part office, part storage room and part guest bedroom (anyone wanna come visit?).  This arrangement is actually working out really well, and it makes it feel like we have a lot more space.  I am still not used to apartment living.  It still unnerves me to hear someone walking around upstairs, although I am slowly getting used to it.  It sure is an adjustment to get used to hearing other people at all hours of the day and night.  Our building only has three other apartments in it, so it is not a lot of noise.  We mostly just hear the guy upstairs.  It is just interesting… usually if you get up to use the bathroom at 4am, you don’t have to think about waking your neighbors up – but there has been more than once that I have found myself awake in the middle of the night because I heard some noise from upstairs.  I guess eventually I’ll stop hearing it.  Although today he was vacuuming and it was so loud you would have thought he was IN our apartment!  Also, something about it makes me feel like I’m living in a hotel.  I’m sure going to be eager to move into a house whenever that time comes!  As far as location goes, we are in a nice spot.  Hubby walks to work every day.  We have two nice parks where the kids can play outside within a short walk from our door.  There is also easy access to two different sets of hiking/walking trails right in our neighborhood, and we are within walking distance of downtown.  And, of course, we have some pretty nice mountain views right outside our door.  

Perhaps the biggest downside to our place is the fact that it is “no pets”.  As I mentioned before, we did bring our dog with us.  We’ve had her for six years now, and we were just sure that we’d be able to find a place where we could keep her.  We really tried.  There is really not much at all available here that is pet-friendly.  Our son was really sad that we were going to be moving into a place where we couldn’t keep her with us (like, tears-sad), which made us feel even worse about it.  We have some good friends who are allowing us to keep her at their place (in their outdoor kennel) for the time being.  We’ll have to see what happens with that.  We don’t look forward to moving again anytime soon, but if we were able to find a place that is dog-friendly after our lease is up on this place….  If we end up staying here for much over a year, though, we will probably try to find her a new home.

Hubby started his job just a few days after we arrived and it has been going great.  He is enjoying his job and he likes the people that he works with.  We are going to need some additional income to be able to meet budget, though, so please be praying for that. 

We are attending the same church that we worked with after we first got married.  We have enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Hubby has preached twice so far, filling in for the pastor while he’s out of town.  At this point, we do not have any official position at the church.  Hubby just helps out as requested with prayer, communion, preaching, etc.  He has also started playing on the worship team.

One exciting thing that happened recently was a (very) unplanned visit from my brother and sister-in-law.  They were actually out doing a tour of the southwest (Arizona and Utah, mostly) for a vacation.  Then Hurricane Sandy hit and they ended up stuck in Las Vegas when their flight was cancelled.  The next flight they got wasn’t until almost a week later.  We offered that they could come and stay with us, but it was a long drive and they were considering going out to California to see Yosemite, so we were quite surprised when they called on Monday morning and said they were headed our way!  They arrived very late on Monday night and stayed for two days before leaving on Thursday morning.  We were very happy to have them!  We all really enjoyed having them here and were sad to see them go.  We hope their next visit can be a little longer! 

Hubby’s parents are planning to come out in mid-December, and his sister wants to come in January or February.  So we are eagerly anticipating their visits!

Well, what can I say to sum this post up?  I guess I’ll just say this:  It is good to be here.  That doesn’t mean that it is always easy to be away from our family and friends back East (it isn’t).  That doesn’t mean that we don’t have any difficulties in our lives right now (we do).  It certainly doesn’t mean that things are perfect here (they aren’t).  It is good to be here because we know this is where we are supposed to be.  This feels like home.  God led us here and He isn’t going to let us down.  We will do our best to walk forward with courage, to stand tall, and to be faithful in what God has called us to.  And as always, we appreciate your prayer support.

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does."
-James 1: 22-25