Monday, January 5, 2015

year of Immanuel

In a nutshell, 2014 could be summed up as uncertain. We went into the year uncertain of whether or not we'd be able to sell our house. We went through the process of selling the house and all the uncertainty that comes with that. Then we moved into my in-laws with an uncertainty of how long we would be there before a house would show up on the market that we loved and could afford. Looking to 2015, there is still so much uncertainty; however, I am confident and thankful for the evidence of God with us. 

This Christmas I kept hearing songs and seeing reminders that God is Immanuel, that God is with us. And so, I've been mulling over it, thinking about it, and thankful for it.  I've taken some time to look back on all that uncertainty of 2014 and seen so clearly that God was right there with us in those things. When we were uncertain about losing money to sell our house, God was with us. We found out later that our neighbors weren't able to sell their house and another house is just now selling for 40k less than we sold ours for. We were uncertain about moving in with Aaron's parents, but God was with us. My kids have had the joy of spending hours with their Grammie and Pop and their Great Grand pop. We have been able to save and recoup the costs of selling our house. We were here to walk through a cancer diagnosis with my mother in law and provide distraction, noise, joy and hopefully a little help too. 

Looking back I can see with clarity that in my uncertainty, God was with us. I'm so thankful for a God who walks so closely beside me. A God who is so personal and loving and kind in all things. This year I am keeping my focus on Immanuel. I am not going to focus on the things that I still don't know - like where we will live and how soon we will find it. I don't know and for now I'm at peace with that. I don't know what this year will bring in the face of cancer and my mother in law, but there one thing I do know --- He is with us. This year in the good and the bad, I will remember that. I will remember in the heartache and in the joy, that He will walk alongside me in it. I am so grateful.

via Hand Lettering Co

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

a very windle christmas card

May your Christmas be wild and fun and full of joy  - from our family to yours. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

fall exploring

This fall we've been really intentional about spending time outside exploring. We've spent many afternoons taking walks in the woods with Grammy and exploring the fields and woods around our house. We spent a fall weekend with Mimi and Pop at the cottage in search of trails, bald eagles, and big trees. This fall I've been reminded of how very much I love being outside. Most weekdays I wake up with the sun and watch it rise over the farm. It's the best. One morning, Everett came with me. I hope Everett and Graham will have a love for the outdoors. I hope we can cultivate a sense of adventure and a love of nature in our kids. I hope that amazing creation points them straight to the God who made it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

sayonara summer uniform

As I type this it's raining out and somewhere around 65 degrees. Lame. Fall is here and, as much as I love it, I'm sad to put away summer clothes. Mainly, I'm sad to put away the boy's cutoffs.

It all started last summer when I was looking for summer shorts for Everett. I don't know what it is about little boys shorts, but they stink. Everything I found had 16,000 pockets, was too large, too long, or too big. So, I did the only thing I could thing of, which was go to Goodwill. I picked out 2 pair of jeans for like 2 bucks each and cut them off at the knee. And thus, my cutoff obsession began.

This spring I didn't need to go to Goodwill, instead Everett wore holes in 4 of his pants. It was even easier than the year before, because I only needed to cut off the back side of his jeans. I cut off a pair of Graham's jeans and may have cut off a few of mine too. Aaron started looking around and asking what in the world I was doing. No jeans were safe. ;) If you saw my kids this summer, you would've seen them in cutoffs. The kings of cutoffs perhaps, they didn't really have a choice.

I've learned a few things from cutting off jeans. First, choose skinny or straight jeans or your kid looks like a pirate. Second, mark where you want to cut the pants or you may cut daisy dukes for your 2 year old. Lastly, don't cut all of the pants of a certain size or you will have no pants for the next kid. Life lessons people, life lessons.

So long cutoffs. We will miss you. Until next year that is...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

two years of the Graham man

I don't even know where to start. This boy of ours. He is so much wrapped up into such a little thing. I liken Graham (and really my kids in general) to a volcano. It's like they lay dormant for the first year of life and then year two they explode. Graham did just that.

This year Graham has been wild, fun, hard, adorable, ornery, sweet, cuddly and crazy. He has had me wanting to just kiss and squeeze him to death and moments later wanting to sell him on craigslist. And then, he looks at me with this sweet face and I am kissing and squeezing him again. It's a vicious cycle. But that face, oh that face. I just melt every time I look at him.

Graham man,
You are making me a better mama. You're teaching me how to have patience and to pray more than I ever thought possible. You have the sweetest face and the sweetest voice. You love to do what Everett does and then often like to do your own thing. You are curious and strong willed. You love keys and balls and hats. You love holding my hand and, man, I love holding yours. You always want to be working and doing jobs.  You seem happiest when you're helping mama. You wander off and don't mind if anyone follows. You look like your daddy and eat like him too. You only use about 10 words, but always know what you want and how to get it. Life is busy and full and better because of you.

Happy 2 years my sweet baby. I'm madly in love with you, even and especially on hard days.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

so long sweet summer

We had such a fun summer --- so full of family and friends and fun stuff.
Living on Stern Farm with Grammy and Pop. Feeding the horses. Learning how to swim. Riding bikes at Great Pops. Fishing with Pop pop Anderson. Exploring the burgh with Mimi and Pop. A trip to Canada. Learning how to ride a two wheeler. A trip to the cottage. Playing at the pond. Afternoons with cousins at the pool. Catching fireflies. Laying in the hammock. Afternoons at the Youngs. Eating dinner by the pool. Trips to the library. Cousin sleepovers. Picnics in the park. Ice cream dates with the Tulleners. Catching toads. Having a yard to play in and explore. Campfires and s'mores. Saying good bye to the Lusbys. Kennywood with the Anderson fam. Graham's little left arm run. Helping in Great pop's nursery. Getting a niece! Jumping off the diving board. Going to the Steelers/Eagles game. An afternoon of pony riding.

Summer, you will be missed. You were one of the best yet.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

eight years

Life is half as hard and twice as good with you Aaron. Eight years ago marks the best, happiest, and wisest decision to date. I'm so glad you're mine. Here's to eighty more!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

6 years of Marley dog

6 years ago, I was dying to have a dog. We had just moved into our house the month before and I was determined to convince Aaron how great a dog would be.  I was also trying to convince him to get a bigger dog. He grew up with dachshunds and I grew up with German Shepherds. We decided on a beagle mix (who knows why) and I found one advertised at a local animal rescue. We made our way to LaMancha Animal Rescue and fell in love with Marley. He was the cutest little puppy. We also thought he was a she, but it turned out fine. hah. (Read the story here)

I loved the name Marley and Aaron agreed. We didn't really know what we were getting into. Marley was the CRAZIEST puppy! He had more energy than any dog I've ever seen. I ran with him, walked with him, and even bought an attachment for my bike that he could run along with me. We spent countless hours training him. We have multiple funny stories with him... like the time he jumped out of our car and ran into Walmart. Thankfully he didn't get any further than the Auntie Anne's pretzel shop in the front of the store. Or the time Aaron went for a run with him and forgot a poop bag. Of course Marley decided to poop right in front of someones house who was home and watching, so Aaron took off his sock and cleaned up the poop with it. Run = over. Also, he threw out his sock. hahaha

At about 1.5 Marley started to slow down the crazy. We brought Kai home, and then Everett, and then Graham. He's slowly become our crotchety old man-dog. He likes to sleep all day on our bed. He loves the boys because they are constantly dropping their food for him. I am hands down his favorite human. He's my favorite dog, most days.  He's a good companion. He lets Everett take him for walks. I'm still so glad we rescued him. 

Happy 6 years my Marley dog. Here's to many more!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

bring on the adventure

"Uncertainty brings fear, but it also brings adventure.” 

As of 1 week ago, we are homeless. Not in the sense that we have no where to stay, but just simply that we don't own a home anymore. It was 1.5 years of praying, working, decorating, cleaning, stressing, and simplifying that led up to selling the house. It was a day that went smoothly, but one that I'd never like to repeat. At the age of 24, when we purchased the home, we were under the impression that you always make a profit when you sell your house. Not true anymore. It was a good lesson and also a really hard lesson to learn. We probably didn't understand the enormity of taking on a mortgage payment.  The repercussions came slow and steady throughout living there--- things like needing to work when I wanted to be home with Everett and not being able to move for over a year after we wanted to and using a large chunk of our savings to sell the house--- were consequences that we had to deal with. It feels good to put it behind us, like a weight lifted. And, we also feel better about buying a house second time around. We won't rush or make decisions based on anything but what's best for our family. It's a good feeling. 

There is some uncertainty from here on out. We are unsure of where our next house will be or if we'll find it or be able to buy it anytime soon. If we've learned anything though, it is to wait patiently on what God has for us. And waiting is hard to do. We live in a world of instant gratification where waiting for the internet to load is an annoyance, let alone finding a house. But, if we've learned anything from buying our first house, it's that waiting is worth it. Waiting longer to save, longer to find the right house, waiting to find the house God has for us is worth it.

For now, we're staying at Aaron's parents. We're incredibly grateful for somewhere to stay in the in between. We're living in 2 rooms, so it'll be an adventure, but, the Lord really has a sense of humor. I have been praying for a yard for my boys and dogs for the last 2 years. Aaron's parents live on 60 acres of awesome with a pool and pond, fields and woods. We've already loved walking out our back door into a beautiful yard. As always, I'm amazed at the way the Lord provides for us and how often it looks different and better than I planned.

Here's to a summer of adventuring and a house that will be worth the wait!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

moving on from morgantown

Two weeks from today, we go to settlement on our house --- our sweet little townhouse in Morgantown that we've lived in for 6 years. Aaron and I bought this house when we were 24. We both worked full time and had been married a little over a year and a half when we bought it. Previous to that, we lived in a tiny apartment and decided buying a house was the next thing to do. I was tired of living in such cramped quarters and wanted a dog. Aaron was happy to oblige. There was so much buzz about it being a great time to buy and we felt like we better buy before the market went back up.  It was 2008. After buying our house, the market did a nose dive. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It was okay though. In the next 6 years,  we rescued 2 dogs, had Everett, I quit my job and got a better one, had Graham, and Aaron got a new job. We did a lot of living in this little house, a lot of growing, and are leaving with a much fuller car and much fuller hearts.

We moved to Morgantown so that we could be close to the turnpike for Aaron's job, but it was further from all of our friends and family in the area. We've spent the last 6 years driving 30 minutes for church and playdates and Windle family gatherings. My kids became pros at car naps and transfers. Our cars put way too many miles on them. We found things to love about Morgantown though. I will miss the Amish farm stands and Shady Maple's breakfast buffet. I'll miss being so close to the turnpike and, subsequently, closer to my parents. I'll miss the view out my back deck. I'll miss neighbors and friends in the area. It's a bittersweet move, but an exciting one. We're so looking forward to being closer to our church community, our friends and Aaron's family. We're looking forward to a yard for our kids and dogs to play in. We're looking forward to finding a home to raise our kids in and make lots of new memories.

It's funny to think how much life has changed in 6 years. I can't wait for all the adventures to come in our next place. Now, back to packing.