Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Recap of the Last Week: The deck, a memorial, and departure to Costa Rica

I was hoping to do another post earlier this week, but time just keeps getting away from me.  It’s been a busy week.  So this might be a little long. And the formatting is off - too tired to fix it.
Last Sunday: First, after we returned home from the Bergs’ cabin last weekend we did some serious deck maintenance during Kate’s nap.  We cleaned, scrubbed, and power washed it to prep it for re-staining (or painting, as you will see).  We went up to Lowe’s on Sunday evening and picked out some “stain”.  (We wanted to make sure it would cover all the various shades of wood, so we chose opaque – not exactly a first choice).  We even got to painting some of it on that night.

Monday: It rained.  Of course.  On the new paint/stain.  It didn’t matter though - it stuck thankfully. Here's a picture of our awesome July weather we've been having more often than I'd like. 

Tuesday: We drove down to Vancouver for a memorial service for a friend’s dad who died recently from Lymphoma.  We’ve known our friend since high school (he was Joe’s best friend back in the day) and his parents were known for their hospitality and having “the-door’s-always-open” type of home.  A lot of us in high school spent quite a bit of time at their house, so we knew our friend’s dad better than most dads.  He died too young and too early, leaving behind grieving friends and family.  Needless to say, it was an emotional day. 

On the bright side, we were able to see some of our high school friends, also at the service, whom we haven’t seen in quite awhile.  I don’t know why we don’t go down to Vancouver more often because these friends are special.  There’s something to say about history with friends.  We’ve known all of them since junior high or before.  (For those of you who don’t know, Joe and I met at Wy’East Junior High. Yep, when were 12).  So for both of us, it’s awesome to sit around a table with a group of people who you’ve known forever.  It makes me wish I lived there.  Oh – and one more thing about our high school friends.  I was struck after catching up with a few of them at how grounded, successful, and truly remarkable each person has become as an adult.  You don’t find that every day with the friends you went to high school with.  So even though we met under sad circumstances, it was great to reconnect with good friends.

We drove home that same night and got home at midnight.
James and Nat
Joe (looking at Eryn), Scott, and Zach.  Went to elementary with Zach and he used to drive me to high school every day since I had no car!
Katie (Zach's wife, expecting baby #1), Eryn (expecting baby #3), me, Nat

Wednesday: Don’t remember much.  Oh, kind of important: it was our ten- year anniversary.  Seriously, I wrote that first sentence in all sincerity.  The week is already blurring together, and it shows you that our priorities are a little upside down lately. But Joe and I did carve out some time to talk and exchange cards and gifts.  Can you believe it? Ten years! 
Thursday: Kate went to our wonderful babysitter’s house and I stained, I mean painted, the deck.  It turned out okay, but there are these weird purple/red undertones.  And there’s nothing like the look of painted wood.  Oh well.  Do your best.  Forget the rest.  (For all you P90X-ers out there).
Fernando on the back deck - just had to put this on here because he's such a dork.
Me multi-tasking: eating cereal and hammering down nails.  Thank goodness the weather turned around, btw.
Dawson and the new deck paint.  We still have to paint all the railings and that hideous "privacy" fence that was there for the hot tub.  That's the project for this week.
Friday: Joe packed for Costa Rica, I got ready for my mom to come, don’t remember the rest.
Saturday: My mom arrived.  She watched Kate while Joe and I went out for an anniversary date in the afternoon.  We enjoyed restaurant hopping at three different spots on old Ballard Ave. (Oh how I’ll miss Ballard).  Then Joe left with his team from First Pres to go to Costa Rica.  Here is a picture of all of our bags in the church van (ok, they are not all ours – there were probably 8-10 that were donations for Abraham Project; we took 7).

The bags.
Sunday: Here we are again.  A new week.  Joe, team, and bags all made it safe and sound to Costa Rica on a red-eye flight last night.  I will take the same flight next Saturday.  I will post some pictures from Joe’s trip as soon as he emails some.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Time for play in the midst of packing…

 Even though we are busy doing home improvement projects and packing up our house, we are trying to enjoy our last few months here in Seattle as much as possible, playing outside when the weather cooperates and hanging out with good friends as much as possible.  With a two year-old in the house we are forced to take time out from our to-do list and actually get outside and enjoy life.  Kate provides us with plenty of pleasurable diversions.
This past week, we were lucky enough to have some sunshine and Kate and I headed out to the “cark” or park as the rest of us call it.  I especially love going to Golden Gardens, which is right on the Puget Sound, because there is a tiny park for Kate to play at and then we can head to the beach and play in the sand, seaweed and wonderful smelling salt water.  In the midst of packing our giant-sized REI duffle bags last week, it was a perfect break for me and most enjoyable for K.

Then we were invited to spend the weekend with our dear friends the Bergs at their “cabin” in Cle Elum.  We don’t see them as much as we’d like, but Tina and Robbie have been friends of ours for years.  They’ve walked with us through some hard times, and they’re the type of friends where everything just clicks and is easy.  We have a ton in common and our conversations can be fun and light or quite serious and deep.  So we were blessed to spend two days with them and their two boys, Asher and Isaac.  The added bonus was of course we were away from the city and away from our getting-ready-to-move agenda.  Great friends + cool log cabin in the woods = a perfect get-away.  Thank you Bergs for your hospitality and friendship!!  Here are a few pictures (forgot to actually take one of the “cabin” which is really a very lovely house made out of logs).
Tina and baby Isaac on the deck.
Asher helping his dad on the 4-wheeler.
Yes, we did go 4-wheeling... Kate was obsessed!
The dads took the big kids out while Tina and I got to visit...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Packing Up

We have started to pack.  What a process!  We’ve been purging and downsizing for months but it’s amazing how much STUFF we still have.  And only a few things will actually be taken down to Costa Rica, since we plan on buying mostly everything there.  (Too expensive/stupid to ship furniture, etc.)

For the most part we see this as an opportunity to start fresh and seriously get rid of clutter our lives, but from my perspective at least, there is actually a lot of stuff I own that I actually like and use. (Joe is a totally different story.  Like most men, he could care less about décor and sentimental keepsakes).  I don’t want to haul loads of c-r-a-p down to CR, but I DO want wherever I live down there to feel somewhat like home.  I kind of compare it to moving off to college.  You can only take a few mementos to decorate your dorm room, but each one means something and makes that small space feel a little like home.  So that’s my goal.  A few things that will represent us as a family and make my space feel familiar and homey.  Oh and many more practical things that we just have to have.  Like clothes, and shoes, and… our coffee grinder. 

The plan to get our baggage there: Use the 33 high schoolers Joe is taking down in a week to the Project as mules. (No, we're not taking 33 bags, but we could.  We'll have the teens take just 7-8 for us.) That means the majority of our belongings must be packed by next Saturday, July 30th. In October, we’ll only be allowed two bags each without paying the airlines the extravagant $150 per extra bag, so I’ve been strategizing what exactly to “ship” now and what I absolutely must keep here until October.  Whatever that is must fit into no more than 6 bags total!! So needless to say, I'm thankful for these 33 kids and will be taking advantage!

We plan on either storing or selling/donating the rest.  Another huge purge involved there, because there really is no point storing some things if you’re not going to use them again for 3-5 years.  Goal: get better at getting rid of stuff.

But for now, we pack what we for sure want or need in CR (or are trying not to repurchase there), and in a large duffle bag or box it goes!

Giant duffle from REI.  Yes, we're bringing some stuffed animals... and a couple rugs... and some baskets... I'm kind of a container freak.  I need my baskets.
The books that made the cut.  Including A Severe Mercy, Jane Eyre, and On The Road.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hot Tub Ejection!

Did I mention that for the four years we have lived in this house we've had a big, ugly hot tub embedded in half of our big, ugly deck?  It came with the house.  We had every intention of removing it - four years ago - but sometimes these projects take time.  But it's funny how little time it actually takes once you get around to finally doing it.  So we (well, Joe) finally tackled this fun project this weekend.  Hot tub ejected, new decking in place!  One more thing marked off our list!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself)

It’s time to move on to a much lighter note from the last several posts (Night Waking stuff).  Now that many of the variables that were keeping our date of departure at bay have resolved themselves (Kate’s speech, insurance, etc.) we have finally decided on a date to move!  Drum roll please…..
October 1st! (-ish)
This feels extremely exciting after months of wanting a date but just not being able to nail one down (a lesson in waiting and being patient – enough for another post…), but it’s also extremely crazy because that means we are, well, actually movingSoon.
Which puts us in major crunch-time mode.  The first order of business is getting our house ready to rent.  So the game plan for July is go crazy on D.I.Y. projects.  These include:
1)   Paint new porch stairs
2)   Sand, prime, and paint front porch
3)   Refinish back deck
4)   Paint lots of miscellaneous things inside (rooms, trim, etc)
5)   Refinish giant hole/patch in front room ceiling (it’s been there for 3 yrs after the ceiling fell out randomly while we were on vacation)
6)   Many more things, including a few we probably aren’t even aware of

We currently are working on the front porch.  Here are a few pictures of that, and the other upcoming projects.
 The new front steps that Joe's brother Andy constructed for us all the way back in January.  The siding is painted now, but we still need to paint the rises and do some touch ups.

The front porch.  Many good summer nights have been spent out here.  This is half-way through the project: puttied and sanded, but not yet painted.on

The patch in our ceiling, right as you walk in the front door.  It was down to just the lath for at least a year after it happened; we finally drywalled it, but never finish sanding or painting it!

The big, but ugly, back deck... with Dawson hanging out.

Night-Waking Worry #3: Fertility Fears

Your mind plays tricks at you at times – especially at night.  So my “fertility fears” is really just my mind running away with itself at 2 a.m.  And for the record, I want to say that I don’t want this to sound like some big sob story – what I am writing about was a tough thing to experience, my own little crisis at the time, but people go through way worse and I know it.
So my past worries about needing to be insured when I’m pregnant again can quickly morph into an even scarier thought: What if I can’t even have another baby?  I can pretty quickly brush this one off, knowing that we are so blessed to have Kate already, and that this is completely out of my control. Still though, I want Kate to have a sibling and I do have some logical reason to worry.  We started trying way back in October, hoping and planning to have a second child before we moved to Costa Rica.  (Kate was in the NICU/hospital for a week when she was born, so we thought it would be best to have a second baby in the U.S., just in case).  It took us three months to get pregnant – not too bad.  But then, as many of you know, I miscarried in mid-January at 7 weeks.  It turned out that it wasn’t just a miscarriage though – it was an ectopic pregnancy.  (A pregnancy not in the uterus.)  So when most miscarriages take a couple weeks to resolve themselves, mine took two months. In those two months, I went to the ER 1 time, saw my doctor 8 times, had 1 painful shot of methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug, used also to resolve ectopics), had my blood drawn 9 times, had 4 ultrasounds, and shed lots of tears. 
I moved through the emotional and physical pain and came out on the other side, stronger for it.  God’s peace is profound, and truly, I felt His presence throughout it all.  People often speak of how struggles bring you closer to God, and this experience was again a reminder of how true this is. 
So even though in the middle of the night the “what if” questions can really get my mind going, ultimately I trust in God’s plan for our future family, whatever that may look like.  That’s not to say that if for some reason I cannot get pregnant again it won’t be difficult, but I know I can rely on God’s comfort, love, and faithfulness, regardless of life’s circumstances.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.  Psalm 57:10
P.S. Thanks to all of you that were there for me during that time – prayers, phone calls, emails, a listening ear – your friendship is invaluable.  In August, Joe and I will be meeting a Costa Rican ob-gyn and take a tour of the hospital in San Jose. You can continue to pray that God’s peace and wisdom would surround us through this process.