Thankfulness & Prayer

This November has been a challenging one for my family. It’s difficult to be in a thankful mindset when nothing seems to be working out the way we wanted. We have now been in TX for almost 4 months and I haven’t been able to find a job. It’s been really stressful. I have applied to dozens and interviewed for 5 of those jobs. I just heard yesterday from the most recent – they chose a different candidate. It can be incredibly discouraging when you thought you had a really good resume (10 years office experience, half in the medical field and half in higher education) and yet no one will hire you.

So in the midst of this situation and our savings drying up, we are struggling to be thankful. It’s a hard lesson to learn and to teach. I sat in a bible study last week and found myself identifying with this passage from Exodus:

So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” Exodus 5:22-23

When we made the decision to move here, it was based on a lot of time and prayer. We have been striving to follow God’s path in our lives. And we both felt led to this community, to this university. It was not a decision made lightly. So now, when things are not turning out how we hoped, we find ourselves questioning everything. But as Moses points out in that passage, just because you’re doing God’s will doesn’t mean life gets easier. In fact, it may just end up more difficult! And as someone pointed out in our bible study, no where in the Bible does it say life will get easier when you follow God’s direction.

So we are learning thankfulness in a new way this year. We’re learning to be thankful for things we’ve taken for granted. The money to pay our bills, the kindness of family and friends, the abundance of warm weather so we don’t have to run our heat yet.We’re thankful for each other. We’re thankful for friends to spend this holiday with – and thankful for the food stamps we received so that we can purchase food to eat. I’m thankful that the stress of our finances has not caused a rift in my marriage. I’m praying that my children will learn from this situation as much as we are and will develop a stronger sense of gratitude.

And throughout all of this, we will continue to pray for God’s guidance.

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Settling In.. sort of

So we’ve been in Texas now for one month! It’s crazy really. In some ways, nothing has changed and it others everything is completely different!

We’re still adjusting to daily schedules. Hubby is working on getting settled at school and hopefully he’ll be starting his AmeriCorp stuff soon. He’s a little annoyed at the lack of info he’s getting but he has a meeting tomorrow that should shed some light on things! He has 2 full days of class and then nothing the rest of the week so he’s anxious to be busier! Finally got his desk all set up in our bedroom and the homework has started to eat up his time in the evenings. So, typical student living. Something we’re used to!

Theo is doing good at school – and we’re very proud! The school has a color chart for behavior and Theo has been at Green or above for the most part. He’s only had 2 yellow days. We’re hoping that he keeps it up! Tomorrow night there is a meeting for Cub Scouts and we’re planning to attend. Hubby and I think it would be a good thing for him – help him make new friends and get out of the house doing fun things! Not to mention learning new skills. He tells me he has new friends at school but he can’t remember their names… lol. Goofy kid.

Adeline has a cold. After only 5 days in public school Theo started with a very runny nose. And now the baby and I have it! Yea for school! So in addition to being super crabby because of teething, she’s congested and has a runny nose too. So much fun. In better news, she has shown some signs of walking! The other day she took about 6 steps all on her own without any encouragement. When we try to get her to walk tho she just sits down. Stubborn child. Always wants to do everything at her own pace! I have a feeling that she’ll be off running soon though. And then we’ll have our hands full. We’re also working on talking. She’s a tad behind there but we’re not concerned. She babbles nonstop so its only a matter of time before she starts using words.

I am still looking for work. It’s becoming a bit of a stressor for us. Paying bills when there isn’t any money coming in can be depressing. We’re still avoiding the credit card for as long as possible. Hopefully I’ll get a call soon from one of the dozens of jobs I’ve applied to. In the meantime, I’m looking at opportunities to make money from home. If anyone wants to share some lucrative ventures please feel free! And please say a prayer for us that our financial situation turns around soon. We should start getting the stipend from AmeriCorp next month so that will help a little. But its only once a month and not very much. (Apparently enough to disqualify daddy and mommy for medicaid tho… health insurance is expensive!)

You’d think with all this free time I’d have finished all the unpacking but alas it is a slow process. With the crabby 1 year old who is refusing naps longer than 45 minutes I’ve been busy! But I do plan to put some extra effort into it. I want to get the pictures hung up and my room unpacked. I am missing my things being easily accessible. We had hoped to purchase a few additional items for the house but currently its just not feasible. So I’m trying to organize our storage as neatly as possible, without any of the needed shelving. The garage is a nightmare. Definitely needs sorted quickly. Soon. I hope.

The Big Move

Well, we’ve been in TX now for about 3 weeks. Things I have learned:

  • Dry heat is just a miserable as humid heat.
  • Rain is extremely uncommon and the water doesn’t absorb as quickly into the ground as it did in Iowa. So when it does rain, there’s always puddles everywhere. Lots of puddles.
  • Someone needs to open another walk-in hair salon. Seriously. They all seem to have ridiculously long waits all the time.
  • Lizards are now part of my daily life.
  • We need to figure out a sitter ASAP because mama needs a break. Really hot weather = lots of indoor time!

Our move was a little hectic. The drive went okay, have a few close calls with the trailer but it all worked out. The major problem was having no electricity when we got here. Apparently the company we chose needed a copy of an ID but we were unaware. So it took a couple days to sort that out – as we arrived late Saturday night and no one was open on Sunday. But by 10am on Monday we had power and moved out of the hotel and into our house! Hubby’s dad and my dad both came down and helped us unload and set up furniture. It was hard saying bye to family. It is a little lonely living this far away from everyone… but that’s what Skype is for right?!

So far, we have only finished a couple rooms. The kitchen and Theo’s bedroom. I finally finished unpacking boxes in Addy’s room but she needs a couple furniture items to complete the set up. And those probably won’t be purchased for a little while. Our bedroom is still a disaster. Hoping to make some major progress this weekend before Hubs and Theo start school on Monday! The living room is mostly done but I haven’t unpacked any breakables or hung any pictures yet. I need to work on how I want to hang everything. New house, new walls, new layout!Β As soon as the house is more in order, I will post pictures.

Currently, hubby is in Denver for a training session. He’ll be doing some work with AmeriCorps during the school year that required training. He flies back today (he’s been gone since Tuesday) and we can’t wait to see him! It has been a little crazy here with two kids on my own.. especially when you consider that one just get her 12 month shots this week and is super cranky! So yes, definitely ready for Dad to come home and help out.

Last night we went to Theo’s new school and met his teacher. He is super excited! His new teacher seems really nice and his school is less than a block from the house. He’s been asking everyday since we got here if its time to start school yet. The kid is pumped. We went out and bought some school supplies and new shoes. Last year he wore a size 1. He is now at the end of a size 3 so we went with a 4. That’s right, he went up 3 shoe sizes over the summer! I feel a growth spurt coming on…

On our way out of the school someone handed me a flyer for cub scouts. I’m actually seriously considering this as I think it would be really good for Theo. Get him out of the house more, make lots of new friends outside of his classroom, and get him involved in lots of great activities like camping and fishing that he loves to do! I think it would be really good for him so we’re probably going to look into it more. Sign up is in a couple weeks so we have time to decide!

Last weekend we tried out a new church. Overall, we liked it. Very similar to our church back home – Gospel based, big on fellowship and community involvement, small groups that meet weekly. We haven’t been to a small group meeting yet but we did get invited. With Hubs outta town and Addy constantly crying, I felt it wasn’t the best time to explore on my own! But hopefully next week we’ll have the opportunity! I’m looking forward to connecting with more people and building new friendships.

I’m definitely having to adjust to a lot of things – like no more Aldi 😦 But on the whole, things are going well! Now I just need to find a job! Please send prayers that this happens quickly! We’re running low on our savings. Good thing Jonathan will be starting school and we will hopefully be getting a small refund to help replenish some of that money. The last thing we want to do is start using credit cards.

I hope to keep updating more often as life progresses. I know everyone is looking forward to many, many pictures and I promise to take and post some! I still need to take Addy’s one year photos – bought the dress and just haven’t had great weather. But soon!! I promise πŸ™‚

Texas Roadtrip

Well ladies and gents, it is official – we have a house!

Last week, hubby and I climbed into our minivan and drove a very long 13 hours down to Abilene, TX. It’s technically only a 12 hour drive but we stopped a few times. It was very interesting watching all the scenery change as we got closer to our destination. Definitely going to have to get used to somethings – like a lack of speed limit signs.. and road signs in general. Except the ice signs. Plenty of those, warning that bridges may ice over in cold weather. This is something we live with in Iowa but apparently its not common in Texas. And wow do they drive fast down there!Β The fields were different too. I’m used to my corn and soybean fields but not in TX. It’s cotton and shrubbery, everywhere! They have these shrubs that look like trees but are small. Kind of weird. All sorts of changes for us to adapt to!

The town is definitely smaller than what we’re used to but it did have the majority of stores that we shop at. Walmart, Target, BB&B, BestBuy, a decent mall, and a few movie theaters.. No Aldi though and that’s my main grocery store so that’s a bummer. We’ll have to make some adjustments but we should be okay. Food selection is a lot more limited. Lots of Mexican, BBQ and steak.. not so much on the variety. I’ve been told there is one good Chinese place but we didn’t try it out so not sure how good it is. We tried a Tex Mex place and I gotta admit, it wasn’t as good as what I’ve had in Iowa! Next time I’ll try authentic instead. Or maybe a classier joint? One steak house we drove by had a sign out front – they deliver! Steak delivery, only in Texas. On another sad note, there is no Panera. I’m very disappointed about that one. I love Panera – awesome sandwiches and soups and omg those bagels! I guess I’ll have to get my fill before we go. And every time we come back to visit. And anytime we go to Fort Worth or Dallas. Lol.

We spent about an hour our first morning looking at houses. We saw 5 altogether and ended up getting our 2nd choice (the first got rented before we made up our mind – they move quick down there!). We’re pretty excited about it – its bigger than our current place and the master has its own bath and huge walk in closet. Theo and Addy will have their own rooms with lots of space and also big closets. There’s a bonus room in the garage – perfect for Daddy’s workout equipment! We were super disappointed about losing our favorite house but this one is actually saving us money with cheaper rent and its right down the street from the elementary school. So really, its a great house. And the backyard is huge – and flat! Hubby has been mowing the hill in our current yard for two years, he’s thrilled that he won’t be doing it anymore! Our new landlord agreed to us getting a temporary style above ground pool too – can’t wait for that one! The yard has a nice privacy fence so it’ll be a great addition for us and the kids with the nice warm Texas weather. Did I mention it’s hot in Texas??

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The front of our new house!

We did a little shopping while we were down there. Got hubby to try on a pair of cowboy boots and a hat. Not a bad look on him if I do say so myself.

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We considered buying the boots.. but decided to wait until we’re moved and settled. Lots of expenses coming our way, not the best time for extra purchases! But I will say, I loved the boots I tried on! I’ve never thought about buying them before but they were so cute! There’s a regional fair and rodeo in September so I’ll probably be heading back to the store for those boots before then.

We drove back after only 2 days in Abilene – it was a short trip! Got back just in time to pick Addy up from Nana’s house and go home and sleep! We celebrated the 4th with family and had a really awesome weekend just relaxing. It was much needed after all that driving, trust me. Still kind of recuperating – it’s been a long week, despite only having 4 work days. I have less than 2 weeks at my job and we move in 3! Still a lot of packing to do at home and I have a lot of last minute stuff at work so these next few weeks will be stressful. But once it’s all over we can work on settling into our new life in TEXAS!

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Happy 4th of July!

here comes summer!

These past few weeks have been insanely busy at our house!

First, I threw my first every garage sale – and made about $250! Not bad. I plan on having another soon. Trying my best to de-clutter as much as possible before we move. I did discover a few things though. It wasn’t work taking work off on Friday – I hardly had anyone show up and only made $20. Saturday was a killer though and there were people coming from the time I set up till we put everything away! And labeling every item with a price is a pain. Easier to put out signs with group prices (like books $1, DVDs $2, all baby clothes $.50, etc). Some items needed individual prices still but that was easier than labeling every single thing. I put out signs but I think my postings on FB got much more attention than the signs did. Our garage is currently taken up by tables and clothing hangers. It’ll be good to be done with it all but I haven’t signed off yet. Whatever we can’t sell is being donated so trying to sell as much as possible!

The day after my garage sale ended, hubby graduated. Seriously, I was trying to kill myself! Two day garage sale and then a grad party. Honestly, I’m not sure what I was thinking but it worked out. It was exciting to go and watch him accept his *empty* diploma (they mail it out to you later). Such a huge accomplishment for him! Couldn’t be more proud πŸ™‚ and now its grad school prep time plus moving! Of course, he’s still wrapping his head around that fact that he is DONE with his undergrad. It’s surreal.

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It is impossible to get a nice photo of everyone looking!
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Caught this pic of Addy clapping for Daddy!

After that, Theo graduated from kindergarten. I cannot believe he’s going into 1st grade and will be 7 at the end of the summer! What happened to the adorable little toddler I had? It was a cute little ceremony. The kids all wore caps and gowns and got a little tassel to take home. They sang a few songs and then got a diploma and a new adventure Bible! Back in the classroom the teachers had gifts laid out for each kid – a little water pail with a shovel that had all kinds of goodies inside! I am truly going to miss this school and the wonderful teacher’s he has had. There were lots of hugs and tears as we left, everyone wishing us well in Texas. Also! Theo has lost 4 teeth! We had to pull 2 to make room for the adult teeth, poor kid had a rough time eating with no teeth on the bottom for a few days. I tried to get a picture of this but he always wraps his lips in so it doesn’t work so well. Β He’s now at his dad’s for the summer – 8 whole weeks away! I miss him already.

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Theo and his awesome teacher Mrs. Carlson
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Awe, they love each other!

Adeline turned 10 months yesterday. She is sort of crawling, pulls herself up anywhere she can, and walks while holding on to things. I think she’ll be walking before her 1st birthday! She has 4 teeth – 2 on top and 2 on bottom. She loves to chew with them and to grab the spoon when we feed her. She is a little resistant to solids, still loving the purees. Trying to transition her to more table food but its a slow process. And she has a tiny stomach! She has thrown up a number of times from eating too much. Sigh. It’s a joy. But overall she is still a happy baby and we adore her. She says “dada” but no “mama” yet. Little stinker. Big talker. Very loud. I think she may out-talk her brother some day. Ha. That’ll be fun!

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She looks so quiet.. its a trick!

I have something every weekend on my summer calendar. It’s gonna be crazy! And we’re getting ready for a trip down to TX to house hunt in about 4 weeks. Not gonna lie, its a little stressful. But we still have lots of time to go so I’m trying not to worry too much. Hubby and I are really looking forward to our trip down. It’ll be exciting to find a place and to get a feel for the city. And Nana is watching the baby for us so we’ll be kid free for 4 whole days (2 of which will be spent in the car)!

Lots and lots going on and so much to do! It’s a busy summer!

New Endeavors

Hello all!

I know, I am way behind in keeping this poor blog up to date. I think I forgot just how much work a baby can be! Addy is just about ready to start crawling – eck! She is 9 months old and just a doll. We LOVE her so much! Her giggles, her nonstop chattering (seriously, she is a talker!), and her adorable smiles just make our day. Come on, look at these faces – don’t you just wanna kiss her little chubby cheeks??

Theo is enthralled by her – always wants to hold her and play with her. And she just lights up when he’s around! Those two are gonna be close. (And me being such a bad mommy, I don’t have very many pictures of them together! Gonna have to work on that more…)

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So in addition to taking care of two constantly on the go kids and getting ready for our big move at the end of July, I’ve also started a new Etsy business! (I know, I’m crazy) I am making printable cards for birthdays, weddings, showers, etc. So far, I’ve been doing custom orders for some of the mom’s in my mommy group on Facebook. I’m trying to take anything I make custom and post it in my store as well. This has not worked out super great yet – I only have one listing lol. But I’m excited about it – and hubby is excited for any extra money it brings in! So please feel free to check out my store –Β Paper Lilies by Alicia!

This weekend is already looking a little crazy. We’re having a garage sale Friday and Saturday and then hubby is graduating on Sunday! So yea, I’m really stretching myself thin trying to prep for all of this! And *gasp* I’m buying decorations from the party store for the grad party. I just don’t have time! Oh well. I’ll make it up to him in the future. His grad school graduating party will be over the top. I’m hoping to take lots of pictures on Sunday. It might be one of the last big family get together’s we have before the move. And hopefully we can get some family photos done too since everyone will be all dressed up!

We’ve got less than 3 months left until the big move. The garage sale is step one of getting ready. I’m in big time de-clutter mode! Whatever we don’t sell is getting donated. We’ve outgrown our 1100 sqft home so we definitely have too much stuff! I’ve sorted toys, baby clothes, kitchen items, movies, books, etc and we have some furniture items that are leaving as well. Once this phase is over it’ll be time to start packing non-essentials. I’ve always hated living out of boxes so I will definitely be happy when it comes time to unpack! Hubby and I just booked a hotel for a trip down to do some house hunting. We’re excited to find a place – it’ll definitely be big item off the check list! And hopefully we’ll have some time to check out the town while we’re down there. Pretty soon it’ll be “Texas here we come!!”

 

 

 

Baby Pictures!

I am in love with my daughter. These past few months have been amazing. She is so darn cute I can’t take it! And her smile is soo sweet πŸ™‚ so I just had to share some of my favorite pictures – hard to capture because she is fascinated by the camera or my phone! (These are in no particular order – just a random collection)