Thursday, June 30, 2016

Headed on an Adventure!

Daddy got the store in Columbia, and LifeWay paid for our expenses if we wanted to take a house hunting trip. Daddy decided he'd take it; we could look at a few houses, and he could get a better idea of what compromises Mama would be willing to make, should he, very likely, have to continue searching on his own after he started at the store down here. Plus, it would give us a chance to see our family, and introduce Noah, who was only 5 weeks old at this point, to the family members who hadn't been able to meet him yet. We were all very excited about that part of the trip :)!

We had a pretty uneventful trip on the way down to SC. We stopped for Arby's sandwiches (Peter calls these "present sandwiches!,", and loves them!) for lunch, per tradition... and found out that the CD we always listen to on long car rides was missing. We had some very interesting conversations... you try sticking eleven people in a car for six hours, and you really shouldn't be surprised at how random the conversations can get, haha! Once we got closer to our grandparent's, I was texting my Grandpa (welllllll.... first I accidentally texted their home phone... and it went through, somehow. But of course they couldn't see it, haha!) with frequent updates... "Stuck in traffic," (soooooo much traffic!) "but this far away, can't wait to see you", "Just got moving again and still this far away", "looking for Little Ceasars and this far away, see you soon", "Going in to get the pizza's and we'll be there shortly"... finally, I announced, "Pizzas in hand, and we're on our way!", and my Grandpa responded "Now we'll see you soon." Hahaha :).

We had an awesome time :). My grandparents had seen Noah, but my Aunts and Uncle had not, so that was special :). We enjoyed our pizza party, and then some sweet little cupcakes my Aunt had made. Abbi couldn't stop complimenting her homemade frosting, saying it was "sooooo yummy, and didn't make me sick!" (she's never liked confectioner's icing). She had iced them and then made some little pictures with bible references on them that she attached to toothpicks and put on top, and they were so cute! We had an awesome time sharing stories and memories... it's exciting to know that that can be a more frequent thing again! But all too soon, we had to leave to get to our hotel.

I ended up falling asleep in the car, and missed most of the trip (I can never fall asleep in the car unless it's a special trip I wouldn't mind staying awake for... haha!), but I woke up in time to hear Daddy saying, "Right down that road is my store!"

And I looked up and I saw a car dealership, and it was the strangest thing. I have not thought of that car dealership since we moved. I barely even thought about it when we lived here before! But I saw it that night, and I realized, truly, that we were coming home. Even the things that I didn't think I even noticed, are familiar. I instantly wanted to just drive home. It felt wrong to be pulling into that hotel parking lot. We're here, home, and we're staying at a hotel! I realized that I was way more ready to move back than I had thought just six weeks before! We unpacked and headed to bed, tired, and yet excited about what the next day held :).

Friday, June 24, 2016

3 Months Old...

 Talking to Mama :).

He desperately wanted Tori's brownie on Bethi's
birthday, haha :). It was cute!

 Okay, y'all. I don't know what it is about this
outfit. But it is probably the cutest thing on
him I've ever seen. His little hands coming out of the sleeves.
And his dark hair. Those cheeks. Yep, he's a keeper!

 Look at his fluffy hair that won't stay in the wrap, haha!

Baby Cakes is getting so big!!! He hit ten pounds last week, and he definitely tried to laugh, though he can't repeat it yet. The little munchkin also tried to roll over last week (the very first time he was set on the floor!). I wasn't there, but I hear that if he had a little more perseverance he would have made it, because he certainly got close.

Noah hates heat, and loves for his hair to be blown. I came inside a couple weeks ago from working in the yard, and Tori told me, "Noah LOVES when you blow on his hair." I was like "...yeah. I know." She looked at me and asked, "How did we both just randomly find that out?". Lol! It's amazing the silly little things we'll do trying to get a grin or some sort of reaction out of this precious tiny people, haha :). He grins if you purr at him (as I was saying...), and loooooves singing, especially Mama's (unless he's already stressed, I've found. Then he's more likely to give me an answer that I think might be translated as please. shut. up. ;).). He loves Bethi; she can get him to calm down when most of the rest of us have run out of tactics. He looks AWESOME in green and brown... much like Peter :). He still holds his little thumb, signing a "T", just like Bethi did when she was little, it's too cute... and he pulls his own hair all the time like Peter did. Haha :). The poor baby has too much of it to know what to do with it all!

I think it's adorable how much Noah looks like Peter, especially since Josiah looks nothing like them. Tori has dubbed the three little boys our oreo cookie; two chocolate babies, with our lighter-haired, sturdy Siah sandwiched in the middle :). It's hard to believe that this tiny little guy has been with us for three months now. He just fits right in, getting loved to pieces :).

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Like the Tide

I'm sitting in our new bedroom, sipping water from my new graduation cup, eating a Twix bar with my sister, and writing a blog post on my new laptop (a post not at all that I promised was coming, but one that is swirling through my mind so insistently that I know nothing else will come until I have shared my heart), surrounded by papers and pens, notes about our move the past month, things I want to share with you dear readers, my journal with thoughts too random or near to my heart to share with the public, but that I don't want to just be forgotten in the whirlwind dust of the current of events around me, and reminders that this or that project needs done today, this week, this month, this year... oh, and these are the photographs I need to take to catch up in the photography challenge that I signed up for last month (tip; don't jump into an online challenge while you are moving and internet is sporadic for two weeks if you're a perfectionist).

Everything has changed. And at the same time, everything is familiar. I'm likening it to the tide; we lived in South Carolina for the first few years of my life. We moved. We came back. We moved. We're back. It's like we have our clearly defined boundaries of where we belong- even though we leave regularly. It's actually rather humorous. But just the words "back home" make me feel cozy.

For the past several years, I've looked back and thought of the cozy house with the fenced in back yard and the screened in porch that I used to spend hours on almost every day for eight months of the year, and the smell of fresh bread that filled the house so often while I worked on activities that I don't seem to find the time for anymore, and of the routine, loose as it was, that we used to have, and I'd wonder if this chaos WAS our new normal, or if something would change and things would become less heavy again.

Then I excepted what had happened, and figured we'd make it even if it was never "cozy" like it had been. Eventually, I got settled enough that, when the store here opened up, I was scared. Not of coming back, but of moving again. I felt like things would be different enough here from what it was three years ago, that there would be no benefits, just change, neither good or bad. And that didn't feel worth it to get uprooted again for. I actually cried, while the rest of my family planned about this or that that they would do "when" we got back, like it was a done deal. I didn't like where we were any better than the rest of the family, but I'm a rather irrational "keep to the current methods unless an earthquake occurs and makes it impossible, because whatever you change could just make the situation worse, so we might as well stick with something we know we can live with" type of person. Yes, I'm not very good at problem solving because of this.

Then Daddy was told no. And I was like, well, that's that. A move back would have been nice, in so far as it would have put us closer to family and I knew we were moving again sometime, no matter what, so it might as well have been to SC. But it isn't, so we'll continue on.

And then it came back open. And don't ask me what changed my mind, but I was praying so hard that Daddy would get it from the time I first heard it was back open. It still confuses even me.

And he got it. And we found a house. And we moved. And the day we got to SC, my aunts just "randomly" dropped by to welcome us home. And somehow, it doesn't matter that we're not in exactly the same area, or that we'll probably be attending a different church than we were a few years ago, or that things have changed and almost all of our close friends have moved away in the past few years. It feels like home, and it's the strangest thing, coming from all the mess and strangeness of moving.

But at the same time, I don't regret at all our move to Virginia. Since the first time I knew a move was a close serious thing, I have thought to myself in the ever-heartwarming words of Winnie-the-Pooh (as a completely random aside, how did Winnie-the-Pooh by universal consent get A.A. Milne's copyrights? And yet when I think about it, that's what we do to God all the time.), "How lucky (insert; thankful ;) ) I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

We may not have been meant to live, permanently, in Virginia. But we were meant to go there for a time. We were meant to grow. To learn. For God to work just a little more in our hearts, teaching us that he is in control. Giving us opportunities that we wouldn't have had otherwise.

So, yes, I'm so thankful to be back in South Carolina. And I don't miss VA itself much at all.

But every time I think of Miss Mary and Mr. Joe, of the sweet people who worked at Daddy's store, of the family that Tori and I first professionally babysat for, of the wonderful young woman I got to know because I responded to her penpal request in my favorite magazine simply because she was from VA, of the park I would walk to with my family and friends, of the fundraiser I was able to hold for precious Penny, and especially of our church family, and the beautiful closeness and joy we got to experience with the choir members who became such an important part of our lives...

Every time I think of these things, I'm going to be thankful that we were lead away from our "safe place", and taken to the new and unfamiliar. I'm going to be thankful for those people who are still a wonderful part of our life. I'm going to be thankful for all of those beautiful memories that far outweigh the tough. And I'm definitely going to be thankful for the two adorable Virginians we brought back with us ;).

I'm glad to be home. And I'm glad that God is in control. Because my fearful heart would never have chosen this beautiful path. And I'm so glad that I didn't miss out.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Happy Birthday, Emmi Joy!!!

Emmi is six years old today :)!!!

While we're being packed up today and can't do much, we plan on celebrating her birthday later, and we threw a double party for Emmi and her friend Elise when she was here last week, per Emmi's request. It was sweet for them to get to do that together :). They've loved getting to know each other while Katie and I have skyped, but this was the first time that they got to meet each other :). They had a Little Pony themed party, because that's their main topic of conversation when they've talked before, heehee :).

Emmi is a very dramatic little soul, haha :). She lives life very enthusiastically, but has been dubbed our little "Sadness" (incidentally, she's watching Inside Out haha :) ). She just... *is* that character, haha :). Andrew dropped some spaghetti noodles on the floor a couple weeks ago, and Emmi thought it was so funny for some reason. Tori said something about them being "squiglets", and now every time we see spaghetti noodles, someone will say "Squiglets!!!", and Emmi laughs so hard she gets red in the face, haha. She cries at the mere thought of someone leaving, and tells stories like her life depends on it. She uses such heart in everything! She's a strange mix of thinks-of-every-way-something-could-be-dangerous and a complete daredevil. She has become a very good reader this past year, and she and Abbi got their own bibles a couple weeks ago :)! Usually Mama and Daddy wait for their birthday, but the girls were so scared that they wouldn't be able to find the ones that they were eyeing in SC that they let them get them early :).

Happy birthday, Emmi :)!!!

"Coming home."

We love the Road to Avonlea shows. Some of them are really weird, and all of them are rather overly dramatic, but they're fun, haha :). One of the last episodes, Felicity sends a telegram with the words "Coming home" to her family. We laughed so hard when that was all she said, because they needed waaaaay more preparation for what was coming next, haha... but I was fishing for a title for this post that wasn't something long, or something like "An Update", haha :). So, random quotes it  is...

 I haven't blogged much lately, and I apologize to all my blog readers. But time has been getting away from me as we've been so busy. In the past six weeks, we've had three birthdays; taken a trip down to SC; had my best friend and her family here from out of state for five days; I graduated; Mama's Uncle Kevin passed away, and Mama went down to SC to attend his funeral; and Daddy was in SC for a week workig at his new store.

We're headed back to SC!!! So, we are currently spending Emmi's birthday being packed up, haha :).

Earlier this year, one of the SC LifeWay stores opened up, and Daddy put in for a transfer. He didn't get it, and we were kind of disappointed, but knew that the Lord knew what was going on. After Noah was born, Daddy heard that the store hadn't worked out for the guy who HAD gotten the transfer, and it was opened again. Daddy put in for it again... and he was approved!!! Mama has labeled this year "The year of it's not going to work out, oh wait!", haha :). There have been several instances like that this year!

We headed down for our house-hunting trip last month, the day after Peter's birthday. We weren't expecting to find anything, just get an idea of what Daddy should try to aim for as he continued searching himself, but the Lord brought something up while we were there. It was really neat how everything worked out! I've been working on posts about our trip all month, and I'm hoping to get them posted over the next few days, and then (hopefully) share about how our move goes next week :).

Peter was so cute. The movers got here today, and about an hour later he asked me, "Are the people still here?"
"Um, yes. They'll be here a long time. They're helping us move, isn't that nice?"
"Yes. We're going to have to leave our movies..."
"No, they are taking them for us."
Peter looked at me, laughed in amazement, and told me, "That's a lot of movies...". Haha :). It was like that was the straw that broke the camel's back, they are dedicated to even help with the movies... haha! Not sure why that beats the whole room of books, but okay, haha :).