Saturday, December 19, 2009

Merry Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas!

To all who have checked out our blog for the first time, Welcome! Hope this “note” finds you filled with the joy of the Season and Hope for the New Year. We are blessed to have every one of you in our lives!

I know that for everyone 2009 has been a year of unexpected blessings with twists and turns. Our family was no exception.

In January, we had a special visit from Spencer’s mom and dad along with Grandpa Carlson and one of the girl’s favorite cousins, Drake!

February brought change that none of us had expected. Spencer lost his job so; we hit the road and drove around the Midwest looking for what the Lord might have for us. Within a few weeks we had a clear direction and an offer from Ryan Lawn and Tree in Kansas City.

In March, we had three weeks to pack the house, say good-bye and move states away. In the process we celebrated Haydee’s first birthday and even managed a quick couples retreat in the midst of all the craziness!

The month of April was all about adjustment for everyone in the family. Spencer settled into his job and mommy got lost a lot trying to find places in this big city. Payge and Haydee went to Colorado Springs with mommy to celebrate Meemee’s birthday and Aunt April’s wedding shower.

In May, I got a job with the YMCA teaching swim lessons for the summer, we went to Columbia for Memorial Weekend and “us girls” drove back out to Colorado Springs for the big wedding in which both Payge and Haydee were flower girls and I was the Matron of Honor. Spencer joined us later and was a groomsman for the big day.

After the June wedding, we got back home and I learned how to navigate working outside the home with two little ones; they were real troopers and mommy enjoyed teaching and the community of the Y. We also had a special visit from Grammy and Papau Wicks the guys took in a Royals game and the adult women enjoyed dinner and a movie together.

July was hot, but we had a fun visiting in Iowa with Spencer’s family for the 4th of July and we then drove to North Carolina for Uncle Aaron’s wedding! Phew, it was a looonngg drive, but it was so great to see all of my family again.

August was still full of more work for me and I also got recertified for lifeguarding at the Y. Spencer still liked his job a lot, but it was hard to work so long on those hot days. We got a really deserved and much needed break at the Wicks family vacation in Branson, MO. It by far was one of our most favorite family vacations and the girls had so much fun with their cousins, the pool, a boat day and Silver Dollar City.

In September, the girls and I drove up to Iowa to get canning lessons from Spencer’s mom, go Apple picking, have fun with cousins and make some data transition for Wicks Chiropractic so I could become their new insurance biller!

In October, the girls and I head out to Tennessee to see my parents and sister in their new home. We had stopped there along the way to the wedding back in July, but we only got to sleep there and didn’t get to take in their quaint city of Franklin. It was a special time, but also when my Grandma passed away. So, we headed back to KC and then the next day headed out, with Spencer, to California for the memorial services. It was a special time of celebrating her life and getting to be all together. Spencer also received a promotion and he continues to be so grateful and thrilled with his job, and so are the rest of us!

In November, we got to make another trip to Franklin, TN for Thanksgiving. It was a relaxing and wonderful time. While we were there we got word that Kyle’s (April’s husband) dad had passed away suddenly. It was a heartbreaker for all of us and we headed back to KC only to drive the girls to stay with Spencer’s parents in Iowa so I could drive out to Colorado Springs and be there for the services. It was a short trip, and hard for me to be away from the girls so long, but I was so grateful to be there for my sister.

So, here we are full on in the middle of December, three of our four birthdays this month, and one more trip to Iowa for Christmas with family! I can’t believe all this year has held for us. If you’ve made it until the end of this letter I have to hand it to you; I didn’t know it would be so long!

The girls are growing closer every day, learning how to play imagination together and Haydee, at 21 months, is even potty trained with big sister guiding the way. We miss Colorado, but we have no doubt we are exactly where the Lord has placed us. In this next year, we plan to really plug in and serve at our new church we just love and hopefully we can find some good friends here to share life with.

There’s so much more to share, but if you ever want to read more about this year you can just read my previous posts and get more of the story!

Again, we hope this “note” finds you filled with the joy of the Season and Hope for the New Year we are blessed to have every one of you in our lives!

Monday, December 14, 2009


We loaded back up in the car just a few weeks later to celebrate Thanksgiving in Tennessee,even though our last minute trip with my family was just a few weeks before this. This had already been planned as we take turns with our families each year ; one side gets Christmas, the other gets Thanksgiving. It's hard to have to choose between the two, but I am so grateful both families are at least within a days drive. Our time together was sweet and the girls added plenty of funny moments. One of the days was warm and sunny and we took the opportunity to take some pictures at the neighborhood park. We also got to take in a Civil War candle light ceremony and tour an old historic mansion.
Sadly, the end of our trip was marked by another family loss, something at this time I won't go into. Nonetheless, it is a sharp reminder to not take one day on this earth with our loved ones for granted. Our lives are so richly blessed by the love and health we enjoy, thank you Lord and thanks to each of our friends and family who help make this life full of joy.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happiest Place on Earth

As I mentioned in the last posting my beloved Grandma passed away. We were blessed with the ability to go celebrate her life and say good-bye. My whole family had the opportunity to be together which was unexpected and nice since we had no idea when all of us could be together again. While we were in Sunny Southern California we decided we had to take in Disneyland. Of course this was the girls first time and I don't expect them to remember, but our time there was so special for all of us. To see the wonder through their eyes and all the joys of being a kid was healing for everyone. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but when we got back home and went to the Y where she saw her 'friends" the first thing she said was, "I went to Mickey's House!"

Monday, November 16, 2009


Yesterday morning, when I took Haydee up to take a nap in their room I found Payge singing to herself contently as she was cuddled up with her blankets in the laundry basket.
At the work Harvest Festival, Payge was asked what her name was. She looks at this person squarely and says "P-a-e-g-e- Payge," What is sissy's name? " H-d-e-e- Haydee". I guess we've learned how to spell and I didn't know it!
The last week or so at breakfast, Payge keeps telling me "pretty pink". I didn't catch on until today that with the ends of their pink spoons they were "applying" eye makeup.
Haydee loves to sleep in her ladybug costume, the one they didn't have a chance to wear this year. When she wants to put it on she comes up to me with it in her hand and says "fly?"Then she has to got look in the mirror to see how cute she looks. Bribing sometimes comes in order to get it off before meal time.
This morning I argued with my 2 year old, Payge about "who's fault it was" we both were apologizing, laughing and saying 'no it was my fault!" What a glorious moment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Best Place

Recently, my Grandma decided it was time to leave this old earth and join her husband, loved ones and best of all Jesus in Heaven. She had stayed with us longer than we could have hoped and we were blessed to have her on this earth for 86 years. Its always hard to say goodbye, but I have much joy in the confidence of her being in the best place of all.
As usual, nothing is coincidence and when she passed I was visiting my parents in Tennessee, naturally this dominated our time together, but with two toddlers they kept things entertaining. They are still learning how to stay in their toddler beds at home so, I was wondering how the sleeping arrangements away from home would work. The first nap time wasn't easy, but eventually they slept. Monday afternoon things were gratefully quiet and I worked hard on billing for my father in law. Little did we know they had discovered white-out, a black ink cartridge and permanent marker. Oh my goodness... you can only imagine! Meemee was gracious and took pictures of our two culprits, but mommy had to take lots of deep breaths as we tried to get the white-out off with a stainless steel scrub. Just this morning I was still seeing it on their feet, over three weeks later!
Well, meemee quickly baby-proofed the sleeping quarters, but as you can imagine... The next morning they woke early and I didn't hear them, but meemee did; just a little late. They had found a bag of makeup, mostly foundation and yes, you can imagine the room smelled of Avon makeup with foundation smeared all over their bodies, the carpet and their "beds". Oh, boy. Then later, forgetting that the makeup wasn't totally put away in a safe place Payge was sent to her room for a time out... it was really quiet, too quiet. Ok, finally I learned my lesson. The girls got the queen bed in the safe guest room and I slept in the office on a air mattress. At least I would sleep without fear!!!
I'll have to get pictures from my mom and post them for a good chuckle.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Around the corner

I think I get more excited about fall every year. I don't know what it is, but for as long as I can remember my happiest memories are during the changing of the seasons and in particular during the exit of summer and anticipation of autumn. I know that Missouri has a couple more months before the leaves all have changed and fall to the ground, but the unseasonably cool weather has helped my homesick heart. Truly a "praise the Lord" is in order. I will try to hold onto this when the inevitable "Indian Summer" happens.
My little girl is 18 months today! Can you believe it? She is growing so fast and I've noticed my gaze drifting to any newborn that comes across my path. NOT that I am ready for a third one, but I realize in time you do forget how difficult that first year can be and the longing starts kicking in.
We survived potty training week with great victory! Praise the Lord- and again I mean it. After two failed attempts I kept my expectations low and my grace level high. Payge is so proud of herself and I almost have stopped holding my breath that she will decide this is too much work and want to go back to diapers. When we crossed the potty training bridge I thought we should add the "big girl" bed along with it. Really, we just took a rail off the crib, but you would have thought it was the most exciting thing. Of course, we still are working on her staying in it after the door is closed, but at least she is still not staying up until 10PM and getting up at 6AM. She and Haydee now enjoy more interaction after prayers are prayed and songs are sung; I try not to intervene too often, because I love to see that friendship develop.
Haydee wants to use the big girl potty too, but after a day of trying to make it work, I've decided we need a few more months. Its such a shame really, all that diaper money I could save, but my little girl is just too little! She was practically falling in the toilet and trying to reach the sink to wash her hands was a joke. It would be more work in the end for us parents if we try to push it now, so I am actually going to enjoy changing her diapers knowing that all too soon, she will be using the potty too. Its funny, already I can understand why the youngest in families tend to get babied!
Well, the quiet has ended for the afternoon and now onto making dinner and remembering to enjoy these days because, they do go so fast.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Busy Summer

Well, I can't believe we are almost finished with August, kids are back in school, but the heat is still up around here. It has been a crazy busy, summer, more than I anticipated, but its been full of good memories and still time yet for more to be made.
I started a new job at the Y teaching swim lessons and also worked on getting re-certified for lifeguarding. April got married in June and Aaron got married in July. We went to Iowa for the 4th and , drove to Colorado for the June wedding, North Carolina for the July one. In one weekend I drove to Tulsa and then to Columbia. We had my parents drive through and stay the night as they moved to Tennessee and one week part of Spencer's family came for a visit. To top it all off we took a trip to Branson to spend a week with all of the Wicks clan. Phew! No wonder we haven't really met anyone in town!
I wish I could say the fall and winter was going to be slower, but it looks like between fishing, hunting, canning visits and the Holidays we will be gone once or twice a month. So, its a good thing we have a comfortable mini-van and I'm working that extra job for all the gas!
In the meantime, Spencer is enjoying his job and the promise of a good future with the business and the girls get more fun everyday. Payge and I have attempted potty-training a couple of times, but this week I think we will have success. I've only got some evening classes to teach so I thought I would enjoy a slow week and get'r done! I am praying through every moment and take comfort that millions have gone before me.
The girls and I found a closer park recently and had a blast feeding the ducks in the giant pond and watching Haydee climb up higher on the equipment every time she got a chance. She is such a little daredevil and thinks she can fly. Both girls have loved to swim this summer and I dread going because they also both believe they know how to swim. Last week we had some milder weather and we went to the Deanna Rose petting zoo again and even though I was sad to not have any friends or family to go with me, the girls and I had an awesome day together.
I am, as I do every year, looking very much towards fall and I think this year will be the best yet. With colors only the Midwest can offer and the joy of the heat and humidity gone, I know it will be good.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Saturday Morning at the Park

There aren't many parks close by us, but daddy has been looking out for ones when he drives around the city for work. He's been excited about showing the girls this perfect one, only 15 mins away. We went as early as possible since the day was going to be really hot. We had a great time and enjoyed driving our new mini-van! We both always said we wouldn't ever get a van, but with all our traveling to Iowa, Colorado and now Tennessee it seemed like the best idea. We sold our Altima and paid cash for our sweet '95 Honda Odyssey. It really is the coolest one around!
Last summer, I would tell myself, when days were hard, that next summer will be so much fun with my girls; they'd both be walking and we could play at parks and so many other fun things. I'm so grateful that has become a reality. It really is becoming so much more fun and worth all the trouble of having them so close together. I know that they will always have each other to learn and live life together.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Summer haze

Well, summer in Kansas City has been waaayyy hotter than I ever dreamed. They say it doesn't usually get like this until July/August, but we've already hit triple digits not to mention the same in humidity. Ugh. Enough complaining, I am trying to work on my attitude and remain grateful for the a/c.
I've been a little neglectful on everything lately. The wedding in Colorado and then I came back full steam to a new job teaching swim lessons at the YMCA. I am enjoying it and now being off this week. I'm so grateful that the Lord opened this opportunity. It has forced me to take the girls swimming too and they have loved it. Payge is quite the swimmer, which would not be too much of a surprise since both mommy and daddy always loved the water. Its hard to get her out of the pool now and she's not too happy with me when we go to the Y and she doesn't get to go in. Haydee likes it too, but she's not been feeling very well. I think its two year old molars and believe me its been miserable both night and day. Praise the Lord those will be the last ones... just a little bit longer.
Payge showed great interest in potty training, but I have been unsuccessful in accomplishing much progress so far. My mom bought me a book that she read and used to potty train me, it worked in less than a day- go figure. After I finish reading it and try to find all the tools they recommend, I might try again. I really have been praying about it and so far the Lord has not blessed my efforts. So, I wait and see if she'll be ready to try again soon. Another right of passage in parenting. I can now talk knowingly about the battles of pt.
We haven't loaded many recent pictures, but this one of Haydee is too cute. This is what we call the "papau expression" her sister does it and so do two of her cousins. I see it a lot these days, she is getting more communicative. Especially, when we have time alone if she gets up before Payge, I try to enjoy those quieter moments and let her babble. I try to cuddle her too, but she won't sit still for anything these days. When she is half asleep I try to steal those sacred moments. Ahhh, they do grow up so quickly. Its hard to not wish the hard days away when they are so dang hard, but I am trying to savor the sweet things and remind myself it won't be like this forever.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Half the one and twice the other

I just realized yesterday that the Payge is exactly twice as old as Haydee and Haydee is exactly half as old as Payge! Of course this is because Payge was 14 months when Haydee was born. I still can't believe she was that little! No wonder I've been going nuts. It has been so hard and yet I wouldn't change it for anything. There is no sweeter joy than hearing them playing and laughing together even if its minutes before screams of anger over a toy. It will only getting better.
Haydee is all over the place these days. She won't sit still for a second, especially not for a picture. All the ones we took the other day were blurry, as you can tell. We've been working on her walking, taking long strolls in the backyard area to get some longer distances in. Both girls love being outside. Thankfully, we have a small deck that I can block off to keep them contained for a time, but otherwise not having a fence means they can go for miles.
Norbit, the next door dog is loved by both girls. Whenever they wake up or we come home Payge asks to see "da puppy?" . Thankfully, our landlord/neighbor thinks its great to have the girls go play with Norbit. I just don't appreciate the thick, dark dirt between their deck and ours; not to mention this all requires constant supervision. Oh well, I will certainly have a great farmers tan since the back deck will be my summer home.
The hat represents some of the KC's Royal's newest fans. Its convenient that they are doing quite well! : )

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Home is where the heart is

My brief and crazy trip to Colorado was awesome. We partied and talked as much as we could in such a short time. The time also served purpose as "doggy boot camp" for my sisters puppy and one more opportunity to create flexible children. It is weird being a visitor in the house we used to live in. It has gone back and forth between owners and now it is in it's rightful hands. Even though I could remember the long hours of painting the walls and tired moments staring at the celling, it certainly wasn't our place anymore.
In between all the parties and prep I got a much needed hour or so with a dear friend too and was reminded that good friends can always pick up where you left off, even friendship can grow deeper as you realize what you have in them.
I love Colorado, the mountains, my family, 11 years of growing and great memories. In the back of my mind I was worried I would realize how much I missed it all and would feel miserable going back to Missouri.
The journey back to the airport was a crazy adventure and one event just led to another. The luggage got loaded in the car last minute, gas was needed to make it DIA and then a need to help a sweet spirit. Adam, a special needs friend has been a part of different areas of the Springs since I can remember. At church, Wal-mart, and at the local YMCA. As we were making our way out of town we noticed him walking around with a very bloody face. We immediately dialed 911 and swung around to make sure he was okay. He was confused and we did our best to help him. The firemen had no better luck calming him than us and my dad stayed to try to help until he ran off. Thankfully, as we were filling up the car we could see that the ambulance finally arrived and they were able to sedate him and get him the help he needed. After those delays we hit Denver traffic, but seemed to make it to DIA in time. After trying to say good-bye with as few of tears as possible, we got checked in and ready to head through security. Of course, I made a wrong turn and took the long way to the elevator, which is were I finally realized I left the DVD player in the car. Crap! By this point my parents were a ways away but, because I really needed it, they turned around. To kill time I changed diapers and tried to use the bathroom myself, but everyone else felt the need to use the handicap stalls which also can serve as stroller/mommy bathroom. Oh well. After we got the DVD player I still had 35 mins to get to our gate. One wrong line after the other, no help for a mom with two babies, testing the water in the sippy cup my daughter was drinking (I mean really!) running, sweating, pushing stroller, holding two year old, Terminal C gate 48 the LAST of the LAST! (no joke- see for yourself) I missed it, I missed the plane! I wanted to cry, no, actually, I did cry. I sobbed! In front of the poor airline worker. I know I did my best, I prayed all the way when I thought I might miss it, but nope. The plane had just pushed away and there was nothing they could do. As I stood there miserably, the airline worker took my tickets and said at 3:55 I could get tickets for the 5:55 flight. Ironic. 5:55 was the time I was supposed to be home.
Hmm, I was surprised when that's what I called it, but that is exactly what it has become. More so than ever, I just wanted to be home.
Well, we did it. I was nervous enough about dealing with a one and two year old on an airplane, but we handled the 3 hour additional wait and the flight that took us well into bedtime danger zone. It was as smooth as it could be, certainly moments that tested my patience and opportunities to mold my daughters' wills.
There was nothing like the moment of walking into my husband's arms knowing we had survived it all.
In my time away and through the trials to get back, I realized that I had learned the meaning of "home is where the heart is." I will be okay here, more than okay. I have my husband and my girls. We have a full life and it is a blessing to make memories and adventures in a new place.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Here are a couple pictures from our Easter in Iowa this past weekend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Carousels, Freeways, and $8 well spent

Well, I conquered the 435 today. It wasn't that confusing, not like the 35 or whatever freeway I was supposed to take the other day. Anyway, I made it to JC Penny and the Overland Park Mall on the Kansas side. It was the first mall I've been to here and it was really nice. The photo shoot for Haydee's one year pictures (i know, i am 6 weeks late) went without too much drama. As usual, the photographer was slow on the trigger, but I have come to expect that. Then came time to choose the photos. The girls had been really great at this point and I had been daring and only brought the umbroller this time for Haydee, not the double stroller. Payge has been enjoying being tall enough to push the stroller and since it would only be in and out for pictures....
Well, there was one malfunction after another, first time parents with a one week old, and everyone on their lunch break picking up their pictures of precious ones. So, needless to say we were getting the push off and the girls had already gone through the animal cracker stash I had brought with me. It was supposed to be a quick trip, right?
So, we took a walk. Surely after 15 mins I could hop on a computer and make my photo selection, right? Well, that didn't seem to be long enough, so we decide to find the food court. On the way, there was the sound of a carousel. Little did I know what an impression the one time I had let Payge ride on one at the mall in Columbia last summer had made on her. I guess there was one time at the zoo, then a small one at Lil' Biggs. Anyway, she was thrilled and yelled, "eio, eio!" (this is her word for horse). So, I gave in a put out $4 for us to ride on the carousel, of course after we had to search for the elevator to take us down stairs. I was not going to risk a flimsy stroller and an excited 2 year old down the escalator. It was worth it. Payge chose her "eio" and there was a giant rabbit for Haydee to ride on next to her. I managed to pick them both up, place Payge on her's and then safely put Haydee on the rabbit. Somehow, I got both their seat belts on and away we went. What joy!! It is a memory I will have for a long time. For us right now, that $4 grocery money is precious, but it couldn't have been spent a better way. I was so proud of Payge, she of course wanted to go again, but from the beginning I warned her there would only be one ride. Obediently, we went on to find food- I think she was hungry enough to be ok about saying goodbye to the "eio". Thankfully, there was a Sonic and the trusty $1 menu, which even had a fresh banana choice! Again, $4, but I had three very happy girls who really were ready for lunch. Now, you must understand. I have never taken the girls alone to go eat somewhere. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you don't just take my girls anywhere, alone. Both are always trying to get out of their chairs at home, you can imagine the scene I have been fearful of in public. We did it though, very calmly and without calamity. We each got a burger and shared the banana three ways. Haydee would twist and turn in her seat and laugh at her precarious positions. It was funny really, she is so tiny, those things don't hold her in at all. Payge even got a mint afterwards and was quite thrilled with it all. So, was I!! I sat there smiling to myself, thinking of what I had accomplished. No longer do I have to be afraid to take them out by myself. It was fun!
So, finally it was time to see if the portrait studio was ready for us to pick out the pictures. We made it back, though Payge had to be carried back. Of course, I liked too many pictures and spent too much. Thank the Lord for coupons. Even more to my surprise I managed to find the right parking lot where our car was (thank goodness, Payge is closing in on 30 lbs you know!). You see, as a young kid whenever I went to a mall with my grandma she would get lost and we'd spend what seemed like hours trying to figure out where she had parked. So, I have this phobia whenever I go to a new big, confusing mall. You can understand, right?
We did it. Photos, lunch, "eio's", and the freeways. As a bonus the girls went right down for a nap when we got home. Its a sweet life.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Here are a few pictures of our cozy new home. The layout is great with 3 bedrooms upstairs and an unfinished basement with plenty of room to play. We are really enjoying the wood-burning fireplace on these chilly days. Its great that Spence gets free wood! As you can see we got things on the wall last weekend. It really helped to make it feel like our place. With no painting to do (since we are renting) set up seem to come together easily. Again, I am amazed at what a great place this will be for us right now. We have a guest room all ready, so come and visit!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Getting Settled

Within six hours the truck had been unloaded, the kitchen unpacked and the beds set up. It was a whirlwind of moving after a crazy 6 weeks. The moment Spencer lost his job, I knew things would change; just not this much. We've gotten a lot done in a short amount of time and the new job seems to be going well. The house is great here, more than what I could have hoped for. The Lord put all the pieces together for us, even though it didn't all pan out until the last few days. Both girls are transitioning slowly, but its hard for us to explain it to them or them to understand it all. They now a share a room and besides them waking up too early, I love it. I miss everyone terribly, but family has been so great here, I would feel badly to complain. I just wish I could have everyone I love here with me.
The basement is really only my big project left. Then I can have fun decorating. Its truly incredible how quickly it has come together. Praise the Lord for a generous and helpful KC family!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kansas City here we come!

Last night we had our farewell party and it was a sad reality of what is to come. When I look at what is ahead I am excited, but this saying good-bye part stinks. I know all who have done this before can understand.
We are incredibly grateful for a job and a job that Spencer is really looking forward to. He's been working so hard to provide through different jobs over the years that have been really tough. Its sad that we have to go far for something right now, but we truly believe the Lord is leading the way. I know He won't desert us or take to a place that is miserable, so I believe there will be great things on the other side. The best part of all is we have each other, for now I don't have to say good-bye to my girls and most importantly my husband.
We leave the best friends we have ever had, or even that I have ever had, and I know we will never be able to replace them. A girl scout song that I still remember from 20 plus years ago has gone through my mind as I struggle thinking about making friends in our new home. "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold." We have a treasure of friends here, and I am grateful for all the technology that will help the distance not seem so terrible.
We will be loading up a moving truck by the end of the week and I am working hard to get all the packing done before. We are trying to spend every moment we can with family and friends before we go. After we get settled, I'll be giving updates from Kansas City. Thankfully, I know we'll be back a lot to visit all those who are dear to us.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The BIG 1

Haydee turned one on March 1st. Still so small but becoming so mature. We celebrated with Amy's family and her mom made this amazing Strawberry Shortcake. It was a fun day and we think Haydee enjoyed it too. Thanks for all the gifts!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


My most favorite A.W. Tozer book, "Waiting on God" comes to my mind often in times like this. It's not so much that we are waiting for Him to do something, because He is already working, its waiting for us to "find it" or "see it". So, that is what we are doing.
I guess there was a recent national article or something that discussed those who are unemployed and happy. I'm not sure of the details, but I find that to be our case. We are enjoying this extra time as a family and really taking stalk of all we have. We see this as an opportunity to find something better. I know that before we know it, Spencer will be in a new job and we'll be working through the pains of change and missing these moments. In the meantime, the Lord provides.
Our trip across the Midwest proved to be very fruitful. There are three job possibilities and one in particular seems like a perfect fit for Spencer's career desires and dreams. It's in Kansas City and of course would be a big move for us. We would be closer to all of his family and it's the "closest" possibility as we look to moving away from home.
Today though, he had two interviews here in town and both went really well. We don't have offers, but there is the hope that there will be something worth staying in town for. How amazing to have all these options, especially as so many people in this country can't find work.
For now, we wait and enjoy the simple life!

The Best of Friends

The girls were amazing on all the long drives through Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas.
It melted our hearts when they would reach across the empty space to hold each others hand.
I'm always telling them that they are best friends, what a beautiful moment!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Doors Open, Doors Close

From the moment we prayed together after loosing his job, we have prayed the Lord would quickly open and close doors. He has faithfully led us on this journey and done just that.
Now, we have done what we can do in Columbia and tomorrow we head onto Kansas City. I have a strange sense of anticipation. Maybe its knowing we'll be home after this next stop, or maybe because God is going to do something great. Because Columbia is less than 2 hrs away from KC there are signs everywhere on the freeways that say Kansas City. My heart almost skips a beat when I see them. I guess we'll see what happens!
Spencer met with the companies here in town and he also checked out some options in person while dropping off his resume. So far the winner in town is a father/son tree business that does their job well. They have an incredible reputation with both customers and employees alike. They have a small town mentality of excellence which is great, but also means there is a lack of career growth potential for Spencer. This would probably be something he could do for a couple of years while looking for a city Forester job or something at the University in town (Forestry related). He was honest about that and they understood and still offered a position.
There is also an accelerated Nursing program at MU that interests Spencer, but that would require a few more acts of God and at least one more year before he could walk through that door.
Of course, we couldn't help but look at some houses while we were here and in the same neighborhood as Spencer's brother. Its nice to see what you can get for your money.
So, that's what we have open here and we are grateful to have to opportunity to take the job if the Lord leads. We do feel a slight hesitation, not sure why, but hope our next stop will clarify.
Tomorrow Spencer is going to go back to the first of the companies in KC and work with them a couple of hours. He felt like the company, the one he had a check in his spirit about, is worth saying no to, since there are other better options. We both hope to have enough time there to get some more questions answered before we come home.
Spencer has been working on things in the Springs, but so far there are only temporary positions. One man he has worked with in the past has work for him next week. This is so encouraging for us. While he can't offer anything permanent, we are grateful for however the Lord sees fit to get us to the next step.
Just under two years ago we were looking for a job in the Springs. After a time of great stress he got a job offer. As he was working on the details, another opportunity suddenly presented itself, and that became the perfect place at that time. Even though it didn't end as we had envisioned, it was no doubt a God send for when we needed it.
So, I know anything can happen.
With no phone and possibly no computer access at the next stop, it could be a little while before there is new news.
We'll be home sometime this weekend. Home sweet home.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost in Columbia...

....Missouri that is. Well not really lost, just thankful and slightly overwhelmed with all the options before us. I know we haven't even begun exploring everything that is possible yet.
Our time in Iowa was refreshing. Healing to the soul and spirit. We were well fed and found time to rest, though Spencer is ready for a vacation from all this job searching. He has been faithfully plugging along looking and applying for whatever might make sense.
He had two interviews in Kansas City today. They both went well and he has job opportunities with both. The biggest concern is the amount of work that he would be committing to for however long the Lord would allow him to have the job. Both companies spoke of 10-12 hour work days 6 days of the week. A little more than an average family man cares to spend with his job. The first company though has lots of promise and Spencer felt a real connection. We'll go on to KC mid week and he will spend a day with one of the crews to get a closer perspective.
Tomorrow he has hopes of meeting with two different Tree Care companies in Columbia, MO. One of them he has spoken with last fall and past employees have only very positive things to say about them.
Another option that we've tossed around before is going back to school. Either a Master's in Forestry or doing a Nursing program. Both of course would require a great deal of sacrifice for a time, but there is no time like the present they say. Tyler has been doing research for us and there is an accelerated Nursing program at University of Missouri. In 15 months he could be done and most of the tuition could be covered if you promise to work for the University for a time after you complete your program. He might apply and just see what door opens or closes. Going back to school is in our plan D. We'll see if it moves up on the list depending if it really would make sense and be worth the sacrifice.
Columbia has always been Spencer's first choice to live because his brother Tyler lives here and this is where he spent part of his childhood. I have always been very quick to shut down that idea, but as I come here with an open heart I find myself more receptive to it. Like any place, if I have my husband and my girls, I can go anywhere.
We've made a pros and cons list of all the possibilities and no place is perfect and no place would be horrible. It makes us confident that the Lord will truly show us what is next and best for everyone.
Oddly enough, there are several houses for sale within walking and viewing distance of Tyler and Noelle's. Of course, Jeff and Brady live next door. We could just start a commune!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

Well, we are in Iowa faced with a new adventure we never saw coming! Spencer lost his job on Friday; no reason, no warning. With time on our hands and no job to worry about, we decided to head out and find all the opportunities we could find. So, we left the Springs to see family and find out what the Lord might have for us. The girls were amazing on the long 14 hour drive. We left early Sunday morning and stopped as little as possible. At the breakfast break my wallet fell off the car and we didn't realize it until the lunch stop almost 5 hours later! I freaked out, but Spencer kept his cool. Of course, the Lord had already taken care of it and an older couple were trying to contact us so they could mail it back. I just got it today with all my money and items safe and sound. The Lord is so faithful.
The girls are loving playing with their cousins and getting lots of kisses from Grammy and Papau. Payge loves the clock in their family room and is obsessed with hearing it chime every 15 minutes. Who knows why, but it is really cute. Haydee has been fussy with a slight ear infection, but is sleeping well through the night. Finally! Spencer spends his days emailing, calling companies and filling out applications.
This really has been an awesome time that is bringing our family and marriage closer together. I know we will look back and see how God worked out His perfect plan. I am looking forward to it unfolding, even if its not my first choice.
Until the next bend in the road....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Our little monkey

Its hard to believe our youngest is just five weeks away from turning one! Haydee Joy has truly brought us so much joy, more than I could have imagined. I realize that in trying to survive I haven't done as much to record Haydee's first moments as I desired and vowed to myself at the beginning. O'well.
Haydee hasn't been as much of a talker as Payge was, yet she has quite a lot to say when given the chance. I don't know if it was our recent trip to the zoo or the "frig" monkey from Grammy Wicks that spurred her on, but whenever she sees that thing she makes monkey noises. Its so cute! It sounds a little more like a mix of Santa and an owl, but nonetheless, I get what she is saying. Just a couple of weeks ago, when the weather was unseasonably warm we took a walk to the park. We had done that a lot this summer, but Haydee often slept in the stroller while big sis got to run around. This time, I thought Haydee should get to try the swings. She loved it! Of course, we had to add sounds effects when pushing her so a resounding, "whee!" was added. She must of liked it because when she is happy and playing with me or Payge there is a very clear "whee!" from our little Haydee. Its cute, because she moves her mouth so wide, as to make sure its a loud and clear, "whee!" Ah, the sweet little joys.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pictures of the Weekend

Learning the Art of Good-bye

I've never been good at good-bye's. If the time away is going to be more than a month, I usually cry. I think it’s gotten worse after having a couple of babies, it certainly hasn't gotten better. Well now, I get to experience teaching a two year old "good-bye".
A trick I learned from my mom, in order to speed up the leaving process from something Payge was enjoying (i.e. park, friends house, the Y), was to say a cheerful good-bye to that thing. Little did I realize how quickly she would catch on to this concept. I noticed her doing it every once in awhile when it came time for bed, which encouraged me to reinforce this when needed.
So, when Spencer’s parents, nephew, and grandpa were in town we went to our city zoo. As we walked through the zoo Payge often would say, bye-bye to animals, mostly to the ones she seemed to find most interesting. This was really cute and everyone got quite a kick out of it.
Then came the dreaded good-bye to Papau, Grammy, cousin Drake and Great Grandpa. She and Drake enjoyed hanging out every moment and the first thing she would ask for in the morning, when I’d get her out of her crib, was if her beloved people were downstairs. (She had a unique way of saying all of their names, I think she called Drake “cole” most of the time because that the easiest name of all the cousins.) Then she would run to the stair railing to see if they were indeed awaiting her arrival downstairs.
Of course cute, but I was dreading Monday morning. Well, we actually had to deal with it when waking from a Sunday afternoon nap, because the good-bye process was done half asleep. Thankfully, daddy and sissy were there to help ease the blow, but how do you explain to a two year old how far some family live and that we can only see them for a little while a few times a year? Thankfully, they don’t have much concept of time and they truly live in the moment.
For now, having mommy and sissy there every morning when she gets up makes her very happy. I feel a secret joy in this, especially as I tell my beautiful girls that they are and will be each others best friend.
Today, we picked up Papa H to go to Costco. I think she might be a little sensitive, because when it came time to say good-bye… well there were many tears. At least the Backyardigans CD was handy and helped ease the pain.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Haydee Cam

Around the house

There was no way I could take pictures of the dog and not of Payge. Can you pick out the pre-graduation picture? Cheez


Well we had Sequoia for the last time this month. She will be moving to Germany with her adopted family. The hardest part about giving up such a great dog is the disappointment in your daughters voice when she asks where the puppy is going? As a going away gift we bought her an English-German dictionary. Our hope is that she reads it before she eats it.