Sunday, October 16, 2016

In Texas


I got caught up. Just for a minute.

It's the weirdest feeling. In fact, I barely remembered how to load pictures and edit in Lightroom.

It's been so long since I've used this laptop for anything personal that I seem to have no idea what I'm doing. But nonetheless, here are some pictures.

Just so you know we're still alive and kicking. In Texas.

Friday, June 17, 2016

366 Project: Week Twenty-Four

We have been back in the States for a week now, and it has already been a wild ride. Car broke down. Renters won't leave. Baby doesn't sleep. To say we're in survival mode is an understatement. We're trying to figure out how we'll get to Texas in a few short weeks. Where we'll live once we arrive. What (specific) jobs we'll have when we get there. How we'll sell our house. When we'll work on it. When the renters will be ousted by the sheriff. All of this with little sleep and a kid who is struggling with all of the changes in his life. It ain't pretty. Nonetheless, here's a recap...

162/366: The "luggage shuffle" took us nearly an hour, but we made it to the bus stop with all 12 bags and 4 backpacks with 6 minutes to spare! And except for our grouchy bus driver who assumed we had other options for getting all of our bags to the airport, this was been one of the easiest airport trips ever. Our check-in was easier than ever, and we had plenty of time to run around and get energy out since our flight was delayed an hour. It was a pretty good flight, too, since we took off at bedtime and the kids slept for most of it!

163/366: Of course, we re-lived the 10th, which meant we had time for dinner with my family before we headed to Eric's mom's on the 11th. The drive was pretty stressful in our car that was barely running and without working phones, but we made it, and we enjoyed the blue skies!

164/366: Good riddance to this thing. It served its purpose by getting us and all of our stuff around last summer, but now it's time to go.

165/366: Poor Cade went much of the year with tennis shoes that were falling apart. It was bad. And embarrassing. We were all pretty excited to get the kids some new shoes!

166/366: This kid is still barely sleeping. Not sleeping by himself. Not napping well. Screaming when we try to put him down. Waking for hours in the middle of the night. So, it's been important to keep him moving outside in the evenings to get him a little closer to a reasonable bedtime. Especially if it means I have to go to bed with him. I'll be glad when this phase is over!

167/366: Eric, Reece, and I spent a long day driving up north to get Dad's truck so that we have something to drive for awhile. The day was full of extreme ups (a fun lunch and afternoon with Travis and Tasha!) and downs (showing up at our house to discover we're locked out). It ended with a drive (by myself!) under cotton candy clouds that I couldn't keep my eyes off and another night cuddled up with my toddler (who no longer sleeps unless he's touching me). Every day has its challenges, but we survived another one.

168/366: Thursday morning was spent stressing about my interview, only to find out that they were going to have to re-schedule. As it turned out, I was able to just take a call from the department head while everyone else headed down to Tolmie Beach. It was a good conversation, and now, aside from trying to get rid of the Expedition, we have a couple of days to relax before really getting to work on Monday. So, an afternoon at the beach was the perfect way to unwind. Followed by a growler from the local brewery, of course!

This week, we're fitting in some family time, as well as getting to work on the outside of the house, so some fun followed by a lot of work! We will certainly appreciate your continued prayers as we deal with everything!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

366 Project: Week Twenty-Three

Okay, this is going to be a short one because, well, in less than 24 hours we will be on a plane...moving to another country. Our passport country, but still. And, I won't get any sleep tomorrow night with a toddler strapped to my chest and two bigger children to deal with, so I need to sleep well tonight!

155/366: Our end-of-school picnic. Shauna said we should get a picture together, and I'm so glad she did, because she may have been the only person that I took a picture with. Whoops. Best laid plans.

156/366: A shot of one of the local grocery stores with all of their produce outside on the street. I'm trying to remember the things that seemed strange at the beginning!

157/366: Day one of Japan! We literally walked right into a parade and festival when we went to find our hotel, so we strolled through that for a few hours before getting dinner at the brewery in the harbor just behind our capsule hotel. Pretty much couldn't have asked for a better day.

158/366: We packed it in on day two of our #Tokyotripfor2. Starbucks at Shibuya Crossing, Meiji Shrine, sushi and shopping in Harajuku, followed by the Tokyo skyline view and dinner in Shinjuku. Almost 19,000 steps and 9 miles. The girl was passed out by 9:00 again!

159/366: The day's original plans were thwarted by rain after our trip to Tokyo Tower and Zojoji Temple. We made do with lunch and shopping before heading to the airport for our return trip home.'ll read the details of our trip!

160/366: The kids got in a few hours with our friends and neighbors at the playground before they left for the airport. It was a heart-wrenching final goodbye for them.

161/366: We spent our final day in Korea packing, cleaning, shutting off phones, and closing accounts. Then, we spent our evening strolling through our old beloved neighborhood and eating at our favorite Korean restaurant. It's hard to believe that our time in Korea has come to an end. The past five years have been been full of ups and downs, challenges and victories, and have changed us in more ways than we can count. I'm so thankful that God brought us to this place and these people for this time. Tomorrow, we return to 'Murica, and I'm excited and terrified at the same time.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

366 Project: Week Twenty-Two

There are no words at this point in this particular week. We're all tired. Emotionally and physically. And so...

148/366: We began (ended?) our week with a little "reunion" dinner with our original Lost group. Remember how we had dinner and watched Lost with this group our first two years here? Well, since then, we've done a terrible job of all getting together at the same time in the same place. They've all been over for dinner a couple of times this year, but we decided we needed to have them all over at the same time one last time.

149/366: Saturday night was the YISS Mom's annual "goodbye" get-together. It has evolved over the years from coffee shops to brunch to dessert. These evenings are always emotionally draining, but so needed on the road to ending well. I've spent years fearing my time on this "stage" (it's so awkward to sit and cry while a room full of women tell you why they will miss you!), but I survived the spotlight--exhaustaed but relieved. It's so hard to imagine not seeing some of them regularly. Expat bonds run deep, which makes this life a great one but such a hard one come June.

150/366: Sunday was our last Sunday at church because Kennedy and I will be in Japan this coming Sunday. Again, it's a little awkward because our church has a long tradition of praying for those who are leaving on their last Sunday in Korea. But again, we survived, and then did all of the small talk afterwards at the church picnic. After the picnic, Eric and Cade were off to a goodbye party while Kennedy, Reece, and I headed home and worked on notes for friends. Gah. So many emotions all the time.

151/366: Monday was Cade's end-of-year class party. As a classroom teacher who enjoys structure and organization, the elementary classroom party drives me mad. So much chaos. So much noise. So many kids with nothing to do. But, I've never been willing to be the one to organize these things, so props to the mom who is. And mad props to the elementary teacher who puts up with it! I was happy to show up late and leave early! (And of course, there's another one coming!)

152/366: I spent the morning watching Cade receive his Honor Code award and Kennedy play with her classmates at the 3rd grade class party. All while chasing a toddler, of course. Even after spending all morning at school, Reece was a trooper and waited until we got home (actually in the apartment this time, as opposed to the two previous days) to fall asleep in his crib. It was a busy week for him!

153/366: The last day of school was a roller coaster of emotions: elation at the end of another great school year and the start of summer, broken-hearted as goodbyes began in earnest to classmates and students, and then a whole lot of laughter as we ended the night with dinner and noraebang with great friends. This transition has been so much more physically and emotionally exhausting than I ever could have expected, but I'm so grateful for the fact that it means we've built unforgettable relationships in our time here. Here's to #endingwell and #startingstrong.

154/366: I feel an obligation to include a shot of Reece because you haven't seen or heard much about him recently. I'm spending the moments that I'm not packing with my pinky in his mouth as those canines make their way through. He has been talking a lot more ("more" being his new favorite), but not eating or sleeping well this week with those teeth bothering him. I had a feeling that they would start to rear their pearly heads just as we started getting ready to board another plane. It just seems to happen that way!

And now that the obligatory weekly blog post is done, I'm going to relax for a bit before I fall fast asleep because this week has been utterly exhausting and tomorrow is the mother-of-all goodbyes--the last gathering before everyone takes off for the summer--which means a whole lot more tears are coming. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

366 Project: Week Twenty-One

Well, I have 10 days until I need to have our entire lives packed into a number (still undetermined, thanks to difficult airlines) of suitcases and bins. We got rid of some big things this week, which helps me feel like I'm making some progress, though I'm not. Today is my first day of the week to actually be home to get some packing done, and here I sit blogging. I'd better get this done, so I can get back to work!

141/366: Of course I got some shots of the girl actually singing in her concert, but the shots I got of her and her friend, Ella, were way more fun. Our Friday night was a little crazy with Kennedy's concert and the 8th Grade Gala. Our friend got hurt playing basketball, so his whole family was in for the night, and they let us borrow their car to get to school and back. That was a huge help with everything going on, but we were actually pretty lucky because at least our events were on campus and none of us had to spend the night!

142/366: Kennedy's first swim meet was on Saturday, which meant the two of us spent most of the day there. It was actually a lot of fun, and of course, we were so proud of her! I have lots more pictures to share, so hopefully I'll get around to that at some point.

143/366: On Sunday, we took our down day seriously. With such a busy week finally behind us, we spent Sunday working on getting some packing done and spending time as a family. The weather was beautiful and the clear skies are greatly missed at this point.

144/366: Yet another last on Monday, this being one that I'm going to miss more than words can say. The monthly YISS Moms' outings have always been one of my favorites. I've gone through several stages of them over the past 5 years (the '13-'14 school year being the only year I couldn't participate at all). Our first year here, I brought both kids when my school schedule allowed it (rarely). My second year, I just brought Cade, again when my schedule allowed (more frequently). The past two years, I've just had Reece while the older two have been in school, and even though he hasn't always benefited, it's always good for me to get out of the house and hang with other women. The group has morphed significantly over the years, too--different moms and different kids (in fact, only one of these kids was born when we arrived!). I'm not even going to start on how much I've loved doing life with these ladies and their kids, but I will say that it's hard to imagine a future without seeing them on a regular basis.

145/366: Tuesday was a bit rough. I went on Kennedy's last field trip--it wasn't a great one. The trip to school in the pouring down rain was a little tough once I discovered that there were about 10 other people also waiting for taxis at our intersection. I headed for the bus--which of course was packed--so I arrived at my stop at the same time I was supposed to be in the school lobby. Thankfully, I was only about 5 minutes behind schedule, but then my lunch bag ripped in the middle of the street (a paper Starbucks bag does not make a good lunch bag when it's raining!). A friend was there to help me rescue the contents the first time, but the second time around, I had no help and was walking up a steep hill, so most of my lunch contents were lost down the road. The field trip itself ended up being all in Korean, so I had no idea what was going on most of the time (nor did about half the kids), and Reece was not loving it. In the afternoon, I was home long enough to clean up the house and prep dinner for the babysitter and then I was off to meet Eric for the SIP dinner in Itaewon. Thankfully, the day ended much better than it started, but these were two lasts that I won't miss!

146/366: Wednesday was much more relaxed as I didn't have to go to school until the afternoon to watch Cade's last swim lesson. He's made such huge leaps in the last two years in the pool. When he started, he would crouch in the corner of the pool, pretty much hating the water. He's not quite swimming across the pool yet, but he's making progress! After swim, I went to my last Zumba class; I'm going to miss looking like a crazy person dancing with those ladies!

147/366: This week has been kind of depressing, I'll admit. Part of it is bad news from home, part of it is being so close yet still so far away from the end. But, I think a big part of it is this nasty air that we've had. Sure, last week was hot--about 90 degrees every day, but I'll take multiple showers every day over 80 degrees with stagnant hazy air. It's still hot, but now we don't even have cool evening breezes, and if we did, we couldn't open the windows. I'm SO ready to be done with the nasty air!

And now, I must get back to work! This stuff isn't going to pack itself!
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