Anatomy of a Move



Yup, I totally made that last word up.  

So it's been over a month now since that big truck took all of our things back, and we've been a little busy in the in-between time.  

After the boxes left we went to settle in to our hotel for a fun and relaxing week...we thought.  The first day we walked to the park and played, but by the second day the boys started to come down with something ugly.  We spent the rest of the week in the hotel with oils, prayers, and sick children.  It was nothing short of a miracle that we made it onto the plane.

Thankfully we did in fact make it onto our scheduled flight.  We made it with ten suitcases, nine carry-on's, two strollers, and two car seats.  We had two flights over a fourteen hour period, a four hour layover, and two little girls who got airsick as our first flight landed.  We have no desire to do that again anytime in the near future.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by some amazing new friends, a few vans to take all of us, and all of our stuff to our new place.  (The view from my window is even more beautiful than that picture shows.)  About a week later we were lucky to receive the first thousand pounds of our things from home, and now we just wait for the rest to arrive.  Hopefully in another two or three weeks...

Moving really isn't new to us, but I have to admit this one has been the hardest by far.  Grocery shopping for seven while jet lagged, and realizing at the same time that the language barrier is significantly greater than anyone warned you about is, shall we say, trying.

We are all slowly adjusting...  I'm afraid I'm the slowest, but each day I'm making progress and as I look back at the moments I've captured I'm able to see a lot more of the good than I've actually felt on a day to day basis.

We are looking forward to seeing more of this beautiful place and sharing it with you, and we're also looking forward to not moving again for a few years!


All Wrapped Up

It's hard to believe it's been a month since my last big update.  I'm not sure where the time's gone, but I'm thankful I captured some pictures along the way, otherwise it may all have been lost to the flurry of activity.  So here are the highlights.
 The three biggest children helped perform the Christmas story at church.
 We said see you later to our van.  It's currently on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, and we're hopeful for a reunion in early February.  The rental we've had for a month now is nicer than our van, and the kids have made several requests to switch them out.  LOL!
 We had a very nasty round of the stomach flu that happened to overlap with some out of town training for daddy.  (Seriously, three small children waking up at the exact same time to be sick, not fun!!!!)  Shortly before daddy left one of his friends from work dropped off the most amazing treats, which of course no one could eat.  Luckily he wrapped it in this amazing tissue paper and we could make some snowflakes to brighten our window while we convalesced.
 By the night daddy was coming home we were well enough to make cookies.  We read Jingle, The Christmas Clown by Tomie dePoala and then made the recipe in the back.  A HUGE thank you to my inspiring friend who posted about her family baking day.  It encouraged me to bake, and gave me the idea to put parchment under each work area, so clean up took me less than five minutes.  Which was necessary, because there was this...
 little guy to keep an eye on, along with...
 his sweet little sister.
 Pappy and Grandma through everyone an amazing science birthday party, so that I didn't have anything to pack, clean, or organize.  The kids, their friends, and cousins, had a great time!
 We went to the U.S. Botanic Gardens to see the train display, and the amazing decorations.  Reykja dear, this fairy house is for you. ;)
 And Tamara my friend, the family shot is for you.  The model of the Capitol is made entirely out of plant material!
 As was this cool train that the kiddos enjoyed immensely.
 During that same outing I took the three older children ice skating at the NGA Sculpture Garden Ice Rink.  It's always been on my list of things to do, and it was so fun to skate through the art with my sweet children.  E, and S impressed me because within 30 minutes they were both off of the wall and skating on their own.
 We met friends at the D.C. Temple to say our last goodbyes and enjoy the beautiful lights.
 In the Visitor's Center they had GORGEOUS Christmas trees!  I had to post this one with all of the flags, since our flag is right there at the top in the middle.  Can you see it?!
 All of that brought us to Christmas, and one last celebration for the year.
 Because just a few days later the tree was down, and everything we owned was put into boxes by the most amazing moving crew we've ever had.
 And that's it, all wrapped up and driving away on the very last day of 2015.  

It's hard to believe how much has changed in the last year, but it seems like the whole year has gone by as fast as December.  I'm grateful for the many friends who have encouraged me to come back to this space and start recording again.  I'm looking forward to "seeing you" again when we get to Montenegro.


Night Lights

Shortly after my last post we went on a family outing to do one of our favorite things...look at Christmas lights.  We were lucky enough to combine the lights with a trip to one of our favorite places...the zoo!  

 The zoo has a gingerbread habitat contest every year, and we're were amazed by the creations people had made. Their creativity and skill was really inspiring!

 In addition to the beautiful lights we also enjoyed a ride on the carousel, some snow-less tubing, and a short trip on a train through the farm animal area.

Our new home country doesn't have a zoo, so it seemed like it was worth documenting our last visit, even if the only wildlife we saw was made out of lights!


Full Up

I wish this picture did justice to what I actually saw, but it pretty much sums up the last month.  Every time I've felt like the darkness and fog are going to surround me, suddenly there's this light glowing through it all.  It's breathtakingly amazing!  (If you had actually been on my porch with me that night you would have an seen the most unbelievable purple shining through the extremely dense fog.)  Here are a few of my captured blessings from the month.

The month has been full of outings, including two date nights with my amazing husband!  On our second date we were able to go see new "Wonder" exhibit at the Renwick Gallery, followed by a short walk to the National Christmas Tree, that had been lit about an hour earlier!
After a few very exhausting days around Thanksgiving a wonderful friend surprised me by leaving this beautiful bouquet on my doorstep to cheer me. 
 This little girl fell in love with a beautiful nightgown that was shared with her by a much older cousin.  She's my very own old fashioned dress up doll.

We've been full of treats, including some special deliveries from Australia, Cookie Monster, and my personal favorite, our very own gingerbread turkey.  I was even inspired to create in my kitchen and make yummy apple nachos.  Creating in the kitchen is on of my favorite things, and after a batch of really discouraging days, it felt so good to create.  My kiddos were over the moon to help me make it, and then stick there fingers in and enjoy it!

 Our yard was FULL up with leaves, and then one Saturday we were blessed to have about fifteen people from church descend on our yard with leaf blowers, rakes, and bags.  By the time they finished there were close to 50 bags full of leaves.  They accomplished more in 45 minutes than we could have done on our own in four hours.  When I asked if we could help they told me to go in and rest instead.  What a blessing!  
 We've also been full of celebrations.  Of course we had Thanksgiving, but my favorite celebration for the month has been the life of this precious angel!  I don't remember what life was like without her.  It's certainly brighter with her. 
We've also had full dumpsters as we continue to eliminate the unnecessary, and the tissues from wiping eyes at early goodbyes, and some other hard moments.  Thanks to a very wonderful and dear friend the heavens have been filled with prayers, and my gratitude list is getting fuller as I choose to slow down and focus on all of these blessings.

I hope your days are full of the good things too!


Where We've Been and Where We're Going...

Shall we do a quick catch up?  Since my last post we've...

 had a joyful Christmas season...
and the baptism of this beautiful girl! 
We've taken tons of fun field trips, like this one to the Monocacy National Battlefield, 
or this one to our house.  Yup, we're still working on it. 
We've spent lots of time with family, 
and ran a 5k together.  I did a Couch to 5k program, and my family joined me on my color run.  SO FUN!! 
We started our summer off with an indoor reading pool party. 
Then enjoyed some more field trips, like this one at the National Zoo in DC,  
or this one to one of our library's summer reading programs.   
The rest of our summer was spent swimming, playing, and visiting our local parks.  This was our first family mini-golf experience. 
We started our school year off with some more field trips.  We went to the local Piscataway Museum, 
and apple picking. 
We've done some arts and crafts.  (That's a pig nose, elephant trunk, and mole nose in case you couldn't quite guess.) 
Everyone was really excited to gather firewood for our camping trip.  Luckily that huge branch missed the house when it fell down, but it sure kept us warm at our camp fire! 
We went to the pumpkin patch with Grandma and Grandpa on the coldest day of the year.  (It's a tradition!) 
Normally we avoid trick or treating like the plague, but we made an exception this year to go downtown to Embassy Row.  One word, AMAZING!!!  
Oh, and we even carved those pumpkins we picked from the patch.

I think that about hits the high points...except for the one that explains my noticeable absence.  About two years ago, you know, when it felt like our lives were being completely upended, because they were; well during that time hubby and I got some pretty strong inspiration about what was coming next for our family.  We kept it to ourselves and a few very close friends who prayed and waited with us, and now we're ready to share.  

Just after baby J was born last autumn our lives became a whirlwind.  There was an six hour job interview, clearances, a wait list, an official offer, and then finally a bid list.  After 18 months of waiting with no real progress, all of that happening in 6 months was mind boggling, literally and figuratively!

So, where exactly are we going?

Well, we're going to Montenegro!!

And we're really excited!!

In the three months since we've found out there have been medical clearances, customs forms, passports, lots of training for Steve, and plenty of lessons in Serbian.  

In the next two months there will be immunization, movers, hotel stays, and a fourteen hour flight.

Through all of it there's also absolutely been the hand of the Lord.  We are so thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of the State Department, and to represent our country in many other lands.  This is right where God wants us, and we couldn't be happier!!

P.S.  I'm still working on how exactly to journal our journey, but this change has definitely inspired me to do a better job of recording our experiences.  In theory I'll be doing that here, but I may also do it privately to better protect our little family.  I'll keep you posted.


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