Thursday, February 13, 2014

Am I Still In Maine?!

With the snow we just got dumped on us, it sure feels like we're back in Maine. I thought we moved South! More on the snow in a bit...

Well, here I am…once again, late. But this is probably the first time I’ve been able to sit and catch up the blog without bursting into tears. As you may know, my parents came for a visit over Christmas. We enjoyed their visit immensely, but the homesickness since their departure, combined with some of the usual stresses of the “job” were a little overwhelming for awhile. I think I’ve got it together now, so alas, I can update you on the last 6 weeks or so.

As usual, visits with loved ones go by much too quickly. We had three days off during my parents’ stay and, thanks to our amazing co-workers and supervisor, we even got Christmas Eve and Christmas day off to spend with them. We were able to spend Christmas with both mine and Jason’s family – the first time in all the years we’ve been together. That was a nice treat. We spent most of our time with them just around the Ranch or other local sites. Because of all the time they spent driving to and from Virginia, we didn’t want to have them in the car for most of their time here. As my dad is an Andy Griffith fan, we did spend a day in Mt. Airy (Mayberry) NC, which is only 30 minutes from us. Wouldn’t you know, the day we went, pretty much everything was closed. Sad day. It was still nice just being with family!
While they were here, they got to meet a few of the boys, but most of the boys were able to have home visits over the Christmas break. Perhaps next time they come they will get to meet all the boys. Part of what has helped the homesickness subside is knowing that they’ve already planned and booked their next trip! Let the countdown begin!

Things in the home have been busy as usual. We had one resident leave and are preparing for another one to arrive in about a week. This is our first experience welcoming a new resident and seeing how the dynamics change within the home, which they inevitably will. We’ve had basketball practices twice a week and games every weekend since two of our boys have joined a local rec league. I’ve been enjoying getting an education in basketball. What warms my heart the most is after the game, when the boys want to tell me all about the plays and what they did/didn’t do, as if I know exactly what they’re talking about. I usually don’t have a clue, so I’ll ask questions. What I love most is that they want to tell me about it, even though they know I don’t know much! But I’m learning and am starting to get really into the games. Another of our boys is in JROTC and again, I don’t have much clue what all the drills are or the PT they have to do, but I love that he likes to talk about it with us at the end of the day. I guess you could say the same about any of them and their hobbies/interests. I don’t understand a lot about them (and they know that, I think) but I try to listen and chat about it as best I can. I’m just glad they want to tell me about it. Any chance they want to talk about the things that interest them, I’m going to do my best to stop and listen and engage. The same is true for my girls. I want all of them to know that even if I don’t know what they’re talking about, if it interests them, it interests me, too. Our new favorite time of the day is bed time because we’ve started praying with them before they go to sleep. This usually gets more of a response from them than praise & prayer time after dinner each night. They like to chat and are willing to be a little more open about what they would like prayer for.

We’ve also had a lot of snow days around here. And unlike in Maine, it’s not because we have a lot of snow. In fact, as I write, there is none on the ground. The kids attended a grand total of 9 days out of the whole month of January! While this Yankee can’t seem to wrap her mind around how quickly they cancel school around here, I will say that winter weather is a completely different ball game. Because we’re in the mountains and the school the kids attend is a county school (and covers a large area) it can be snowing in one town and not in ours, so school is delayed or cancelled. And the roads aren’t great because they don’t have the tools we do up in Winter Wonderland. So, it can be pesky to drive. It’s been a unique winter, for sure. But I’m not complaining about the lack of “devil’s dandruff” as I recently heard it called. J Having them home for so many days at a time kept things interesting. It has provided many more opportunities for me to learn flexibility.

One weekend at the beginning of the month, we had the opportunity to visit Massanutten (a ski resort) with another couple here. We didn’t do a whole lot, but it was really nice to not only recharge, but also spend some time getting to know them better. We really are tremendously blessed to work alongside such great people. It was also amusing to me to go to a ski resort and only see snow on the ski trails. I’m used to the entire mountain being covered. Obviously the snow was man made, but it just gave me a chuckle to see little strips of snow on an otherwise bare mountain.

While we don’t have much snow here, over in West Virginia they have quite a bit. And we made the annual trek to WinterPlace for a day of snow tubing. It snowed the entire day and it was cold, but the kids had a blast. I never did make it down the hill, but our girls enjoyed eating the white stuff, as you can see.

Shortly after our snow tubing adventure, the stomach flu hit our family. Thankfully Jason and I took the brunt of it. Our littlest got sick once, but was fine after that. And it didn’t spread to the rest of the house. It was a miserable 24 hours. I’ve never seen Jason that sick in all the years we’ve been together. I do not wish to repeat that again anytime soon! Since then we’ve continued to be busy. Jason took the boys bowling last weekend. Evy, who is turning into a Daddy’s Girl more and more every day, wanted to tag along, too. She was a good sport and did a good job on their late night adventure. She asks to tag along with him a lot these days, something that my heart finds bittersweet. I love that she loves her daddy, but I do miss her wanting to stick with me. More than anything, I am so grateful she (and Na-Na) have the opportunity to be with their daddy so much. It is such a change from the way life was in Maine and the girls are so much happier in that regard.

Something new we’ve started is having lunch with them at school. It gives us a chance to get some time with them individually and make connections at the school. We just started it last week, so we’ve only had a chance to take one of the boys, but it’s definitely something we want to continue. It’s nothing big or fancy, just another chance to build relationships. Of course, the only way we’ll get to keep doing that is if the weather cooperates and there is school.

As I write this, we are snowed in from the big Blizzard of 2014. We got over a foot of snow - not sure of the official total. The kids got out of school early yesterday and have today off. From the looks of it, they won’t be going back until spring! J We had a blast having a snowball fight today and running through the snow. Here's some evidence of our fun:

The girls and I put a couple bowls on the back deck to catch the snow and we made snow ice cream last night. That’s always a treat! One which, oddly enough, I learned from my Southern husband!

And speaking of my Southern husband, we just celebrated 6 years of “togetherness” (not marriage.) Six years ago, our adventure began at a similar ministry in Vermont. I never would have guessed at the ups and downs God would bring us though (with many more to come, I’m sure!) but I am so grateful for the one He gave me to walk beside me on this incredible journey. I am beyond blessed.

We appreciate all of you that take the time to read this rambling account of our life here. I wish I could update more often or be better at remembering all the funny, crazy details. But know that we appreciate you, your interest, your prayers and your encouragement! You are a blessing to our family and to the boys!

For His Glory,

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing about how you are doing down there. Keep up the blogs :) <3