Saturday, September 5, 2015

Two weeks

Not many pics, but the time after having our baby and actually getting in the car and driving to Utah was two weeks.

So while I was trying to juggle, heal, nurse and take care of a newborn and life with three other kids (one who happened to be 2 and wasn't very thrilled with the new addition), we also had Mike leave for most of that time (thankfully his mom flew out and helped juggle!), coordinating all things moving - which was also the window of time we found out our house wasn't going to be done when we thought.  So I was packing for 2 months of 'temporary living' and shipping boxes via UPS.  With a newborn.  Oh, and there were all kinds of paperwork things and registering the kids for school, and getting them to start when I needed them to start (not when the school wanted them to start - but that's a whole different post).  And then figuring out where our 'stuff' was going to be stored since we weren't moving in when we thought.  And finishing up the final say on all the home choices - yes, it was our choice to finish building a spec home, and it did add a lot of pressure in a short period of time, but we feel like we've ended up where we need to be.  Oh, and not sleeping.  Ever.  Turns out you can't take those 'new baby naps' when people are in your home - inspections for the home sale, realtors dropping by to finalize paperwork, movers coming in to do their thing.  Yes.  So grateful for the many hands and 'jobs' people took on to get this thing in motion.  But man, it was a lot in a two week time period.

I cried.  A lot.  Because when you're a new mom, those hormones are crazy anyway.  And you're tired.  And overwhelmed as it is.  

But more than crying, I prayed.  All the time.  Prayed that things would work out how they needed to.  Prayed constantly that I'd be able to drive to the store without nodding off.  That my kids would adjust okay, and if they weren't adjusting, that I'd know what to do.  Endless prayers.

And you know what?  The Lord was with me.  Often.  In the smallest of ways.  And most often through others - who would stop by and pick up the kiddos.  Or would call with dinner.  I have tears as I type and think of the many small and numerous ways we were lifted and strengthened.  Because there's no way we could have juggled this alone.

 Hard to tell, but she spent some serious time on the counter.  It was the ONLY place I could set her down and keep her alive (anyone with a jealous/unhappy two year old and newborn can relate).  And all things baby were boxed up.  So that was a little weird too.  Instead of prepping a room, and having what we needed, it was all about eliminating everything but the absolute essentials.

 This happened many times as Mike was pulled back and forth from the end of May until the end of July.  But the kids would usually set him a spot at the dinner table.  I thought it was pretty clever.
 Yes!  I remembered to take a pic of her first bath...

 Quick, stop and enjoy the baby for a minute!
 This image ALWAYS makes me teary eyed.  Anytime I see the moving truck driving away to the 'new chapter' while I'm still standing in the 'old chapter.'
Such a sweet big sister!
The beds were taken a part a few days before we actually moved.  This was REALLY hard for this gal, and she couldn't sleep at night.  During the day - with all the people and noise in the house, I found her a couple times, asleep on the floor of her 'old room' (the room she had before the baby came), as if she was grasping for anything that felt comfortable.

And our last photo in the house!!  Our two year old embraces many of the emotions we all feel with change - not wanting it to happen!  And my two big kids were being so incredibly brave.  Grateful for the hubby and what a level head he maintained in all of this.

Checked into our hotel, and of course HAD to go to our favorite local bbq for our last dinner in Nebraska!

I think this is the only pic I took of our car trip to Utah.  It was rough with a newborn.  A little stressful as we were getting calls about our home being pushed back even more.  And windy for those bikes we were pulling behind us.  All of the above made the drive much slower than usual - we had planned to stop and stay overnight and break it into two days, which definitely helped.
And of course, I was a ball of emotions.  So much change at once, as we were driving away, I was thinking of all those I hadn't had a chance to connect with, and anxious about all the change ahead.  And did I mention I had a lot of hormones?!  It was a little crazy.  So grateful for the two big kids and the hubby who were SO positive!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Closing one Chapter

And this is the post, that was next on my list, that I couldn't seem to get to for so long.  Looking back, I realize that it took me a good six months to actually move.  This may sound silly, but for those who have made BIG moves in their life, and those who have added change - like a new job, a new baby, and new dynamics for all of their kids, will understand the feelings that come with each one of those. I realized, how in experiencing all of those at the same time (nothing like ripping of a band-aid), as much as I was grateful to learn, grow and be where we are today, I needed time to allow myself to mentally 'move.'  Sure, physically it had happened ages ago, but I mentally needed to allow myself to build up our 'new home' and 'new life' before I spent time looking back on what was.

I think that fear of change is most often what holds us back.  Stepping into the unknown - even if it's a 'good' unknown is hard.  And I write today sharing I only came out of it with the Lord's help.  He guided me, directed me into a path I never would have seen for myself.  He knew what our family needs, and knows where our family needs to be.  I'm now grateful for all of these memories below.  Instead of feeling sad that I'm not still living them, I'm so grateful for the broader perspective we've been given.

At the end of the day, I truly feel so much of our time here is to learn, grow and serve.  Each of us has a unique path unlike anyone else's.  And that's okay.

So on with the post...

As our time in Nebraska was drawing to a close, I really wanted to capture some of the 'little things' I loved so much about this wonderful place.  Definitely didn't get them all, but a few highlights!

1.  The cornfields, the farms, the heart of America.  The feeling of openness and vastness of this beautiful country we live in.  Mike's bike rides - uninterrupted by any traffic or stoplight for miles.  The American flag waving off of a farmhouse.  The sunflowers.  Absolutely breathtaking!

2.  The drains.  I know, kinda funny, but until moving here, I'd never seen drains so BIG and uncovered.  I used to tease that one of my little ones would fall off their bike and just slide right into one.
3.  The storms.
4. The dancing clouds as the storms would roll in.  Majestic.  Such gratitude for the Creator and all that we have to enjoy and learn from.
5.  One of our favorite Omaha 'destinations' was the train museum.  I LOVED the history behind it.  But the art deco interior of the refinished station - beautiful.  Loved to look up!
6.  When you move from somewhere else, things that seem 'typical' to locals seem so odd.  Example: in the distance is a golf cart.  Used for picking up and taking kids to school, and around the neighborhood.  Note:  No golf course close by (well, not within 'golf cart' distance).  These 'golf carts' were often decorated with a favorite sports team - of course, the Huskers.  And no photo, but garages were so different here.  They were truly an extension of the home.  I still can't figure out where people stored things like lawn mowers and gasoline, but garages often had wall mounted TVs larger than one we'd ever have in our home!  They were constantly 'lived in' through out the weekend - chairs, food, you name it!  Some even installed projectors to watch 'the big game' from their garage!

No photo, but this ties in with the schools in general.  One of the hardest things for me to leave - as the education was some of the best in the country!  When we left, the high school our kiddos 'would' have attended was rated in the top 5 in the entire country.  That's crazy.  Looking back, and with a year under our belt, I'm okay with our choice to follow in the path that we were meant to go.  Schools here, while different, are still a positive, engaging, and learning environment for our kiddos, and I'm grateful for that!
7.  If you haven't guessed.  The storms.  This was a hail storm that literally sounded and felt as if the sky was falling.  We were LUCKY to only have hail this big.  The storm was HUGE, and one small town ended up with GRAPEFRUIT sized hail from this storm.  The damage was unbelievable.
8.  The lightning and the color of the sky.
9.  And those dancing clouds.  Spending our last 'summer' in the midwest, I took any chance I could to sit outside and take in the view of a storm rolling in.  Better than anything else you'd find on a screen.  And these photos don't give it justice!

10.  The playset, and our backyard.  Sure, I know - those are all replaceable, but this yard had unbelievable memories for our family.  Many hours were spent back here - on this particular set.  It hurt my heart to leave it.  And that shade you see?  We planted those trees knowing what they'd bring in future years.  It was tough to leave those memories!
11.  Probably my favorite road.  Ever.  The Old Lincoln Highway.  The ORIGINAL road.  Brick, bumpy and right next to the train track.  We'd detour our way home from the library just to have the excuse to take the 'bumpy' road.  I often drove it and thought about the history behind this stretch of road.

12.  The tornado sirens.  Loud.  Still remember moving in, and finding out when the 'monthly test' happens - of course it was a different 'monthly test' time from MN, so the first time hearing it, I'd always think "really?!"
13.  A little ice cream joint in downtown Elkhorn.  We loved it.  And our last night (spent in a hotel), we were SO tired from the newborn, the packing, the cleaning, and coordinating, but Mike was a champ and drove over one last time and picked this up for us.
14.  These two really forged a special friendship as they entered a fun age during our time in NE.  Looking forward to seeing it continue!
15.  Less love about the house, but more for the story behind it.  The neighbors, and kindness, and sense of community we felt.  I remember when we first put our home up for sale, our builder actually called both Mike and I.  I was expected some comment about trying to sell a home in a market where he's still building homes or something, but he had nothing but kindness.  Genuinely sad we were leaving, he told us how he'd "hoped he would have built our family another home!"
16.  Okay, fine, enough with the clouds right?!  This one appeared as we were loading up to take Max to his mountain biking club he was on.  These ones swirled UPWARD and built countless layers upon one another.  We stood in our driveway and watched it unfold.  Even our neighbors (the locals) all stopped to watch.  It was breathtaking!!

17.  You can't tell by the photo, but it was HOT and MUGGY.  I miss the feeling of the heat!
 18.  The bugs.  Specifically this one.  The sounds at night with #17!
 19.  The people.  Man.  Can't say enough about the people there.  We were told when we moved to Omaha - "Nebraska would be a great place to live, but maybe not the most exciting place to visit." With time, we understood that - sure we found fun things to do, but there are definitely other places in the country that have more of the 'adventure' appeal.  But as a place to raise a family?  Grateful to have met SO many amazing people (only a few shown!)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Our family of 6

Our first pic as a family of 6!  

 I snapped this one because we kept losing Tayler as we were waiting for the 'okay' to leave the hospital.  I kept thinking we'd never keep track of them all!!
 Seriously the TEENIST thing ever!!
 The kids were SO excited for me to come home and see all the decorations.  Our walls were pretty bare (as I'd already pulled so much down for the move), so this meant SO much to walk into a home that still felt (a little!) like ours.

 And they put them everywhere!!