Friday, July 27, 2012

Adjusting & Second Impressions catch everyone up on our little adventure:

We moved away from Flagstaff on July 1st in order for Jeremy to pursue more education--namely, another Master's degree in hopes of preparing him for a future PhD (yikes!). He enrolled as a student in classes at Talbot (Biola's graduate school) and we moved back to the house in which I grew up...oh, and yes, my parents still live there/here. The name of our town in Placentia, so I mostly tell people that we live in Orange County because people in Arizona get hung up on the name and then might make sick jokes about afterbirth and the like. (It's pronounced "Plah-sen-cha", people!)

Here's how it's been feeling to be living back home with my parents...

 Of course there's been a little bit of this:

But sometimes I feel like this:

And I definitely struggle with feeling like this:

My mom was wondering what I tell my friends when they ask how it's going here. I told her that most of them have stories of their own because almost everyone my age I have talked to has lived with their parents or their in-laws at some point recently. So maybe my parents are feeling a little like this:

Living in Southern California does have its perks... 

Old college roommates come to visit (oh, and that's my parent's house in background):

And then there's this awesome place called The Beach:

And because everything is Bigger! and Flashier! in Southern California, my kids got to go to a "Back to the Future"-themed VBS with a Dolorian that lit up and lightning and smoke and a clock tower and all sorts of sound effects.

But the fun was still mostly in the friends and the songs and the fun classes.

VBS Junkies
On the last day, Evan was on the verge of tears and said to me: "We didn't get to go to the real future.  We just stayed in class.  I want to go home!" 

Orange County has no lack of events (which means no lack of crowds) so we've been to museums, the movies, restaurants, and even the county fair.

The kids were captivated by the 100-year-old ring master and his magic birds.  I was just hoping he didn't keel over and die in front of us.
Other perks of Orange County are:

--walking around on smooth sidewalks barefoot!
--not needing to put on lotion every day
--going for a run in my old neighborhood=a fun trip down memory lane (otherwise known as The Tour of Houses I Once Toilet-Papered)
--Grandma and Crampaw are here=lots of attention and a garage full of woodworking tools

Orange County also has some quirks:

--my hair is all weird and frizzy and frumpy and halfway curly and I don't know what to do with it
--I literally have to sign a waiver comparable with a driver's license application in its thoroughness to take my child to the bathroom at the public library.  The bathroom that has a locked door and is right behind the librarian's desk and is only a one-seater anyway.

--people all seem in a rush to get everywhere...mostly it seems that they are always in a rush to get stuck in traffic
--don't even get me started on the 4th of July seat-saving explains why I have line stress and parade stress and a deep-rooted seat-saving anxiety disorder.  Let's just say there was lots of caution tapes and stakes and territorial sideways glances.
-- --Some people here still seem to think (as I once did) that the OC is the center of the universe.  There was actually a quote in the newspaper about how many Olympians are from the OC that said:  "This tiny nation of Orange County boasts more Olympic medalists than most other countries..."
--We often feel like hillbillies in the big city.  I went to Taco Tuesday the other night in what I thought was my fancy t-shirt and was completely underdressed.

But I should stop making fun because there are lots of good and normal people here (though I sat at Starbucks the other day listening to two girls discuss their rise to fame through avenues such as America's Next Top Model and The Bachelor, and my old high school friend recently won a lot of money on Deal or No can just DO that kind of stuff here and it makes me smile).

Fun in grandma's living cute little revolutionaries playing Les Mis at their barricade

But if I'm honest with you, our big adventure to CA that so many friends were excited about for us has been starting to feel a little like this:

Jeremy's first class was cancelled due to low enrollment and getting a job has been much harder than we thought. Things are expensive and the kids are a little stressed out...even Evan's invisible friend Jacob sadly moved away and Evan says he will never see him again (yes, it's very ironic).  It's been humbling, to say the least.

Jeremy randomly heard this song on a free song sampler I downloaded and it is uncanny in how it fits our situation (from his prospective).  He even went to 3 different universities over 5 years! Here are some of the words:

Well the show must go on though I 
don't know what I am supposed 
To do now that the spotlight is on me 
there's a room full of people 
And they're starin' at me oh 
they've been waitin' on a sequel but,
 Ahh, I don't really know my next move yet
My next move could be very jeopardizing 
I put it all on the line like the horizon 
And these fears can be very paralyzing 
But I won't let 'em take my eyes off the prize and 
Even if I crash and burn I'll wake up tomorrow with a lesson learned 
I don't think they understand me 
I understand see 'cause most of the 
Time I don't even understand me 
it doesn't make sense and for that 
Reason it's hard to make dollars and that's why 
I went through 5 Years of college at three different schools see 
I never knew my next Move but lookin' back I can see my steps were ordered 
I know the Author wrote a good end to my story

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I just uploaded pictures from my camera onto my computer and there were some from Flagstaff on felt like when you see a photo of someone who has passed away and you feel sad and happy at the same time.  So here's my goodbye to Flagstaff...

We had one last Day O' Fun (an old college tradition) and managed to squeeze in a trip to the creek (while trying to sell our car and make it to our goodbye party on time).

Goodbye red rocks and natural waterslides
Goodbye kid-sized cliff jumping

Goodbye stick

(I'm sure they have sticks in California, but he was pretty attached to this one and wanted to bring it with him)

Goodbye blue skies with puffy white clouds and amazing summer rainstorms (hello Sam the Bodybuilder)
Our official goodbye party at church...we felt so loved and thankful!

 Evan gives our empty house a hug on our last morning in Flagstaff.

We worked hard the last day, and also squeezed in a goodbye with a saint who is spending her last days on this earth sharing God's love with others as she succumbs to a brain tumor.  We were blessed.  Goodbye, Janet.

Friends came and helped us clean and paint didn't match, but we ended on a sweet note with a party in Joe and Christy's backyard.  They put up white lights and played Owl City on Pandora just for me.  It was really special.

Goodbye sweet little Karli who is a miraculous blessing from God and will be a great big sister to another little miracle in 7 months or so...
Actually, 3 friends announced "surprise" pregnancies to me during our last week in Flag...hey ladies, if me leaving is what it takes to help you have another baby, I'm happy to help!

Goodbye to sweet friends, old and new, with bonds I don't know if I will find again

The kids had been begging to have a sleepover, and they accidentally got one on our last night in town. We stayed with Joe and Christy and the kids chose to sleep on the floor together while Christy and I talked and the guys (along with some other husbands) went back to our house and painted trim, cleaned carpets, and mopped floors with Jeremy until the wee hours of the morning. Did I mention what good friends we have in Flagstaff? 

On the morning we left, we stopped downtown one last time to get coffee at the most "Flagstaffy" place in town.

Goodbye naked man bathing in a coffee mug
Goodbye downtown with all your history and bricks and movies on the square and the best 4th of July parade in the world.
Goodbye freight trains, passing noisily through town (on average) every 15 minutes and making you late for hair appointments but also giving you a good excuse for tardiness in any situation

Goodbye beautiful scenery and nature to explore...magnificent peaks to ride mountain bikes on in the summer...
...and to snowboard on in the winter
Goodbye lakes and creeks where little boys lost their crocs and into which thousands of pebbles were collectively thrown

Goodbye beautiful fall leaves and vibrant starry skies.  

Goodbye Buffalo Park (where 70 pounds were lost), Bushmaster Park, The Rolling-Down-Hill, the tractor in front of Granny's Closet, Mural Joe's murals, the soccer fields at Coco, the Aquaplex, Little America and its 50 cent ice cream cones, the bumpy-dirty-yucky-dusty-dirt road that takes us to our friends' house, the rock wall by Target, our favorite thrift stores and all the other landmarks we love.
Goodbye Flagstaff Christian Fellowship where we spent so much time doing work that didn't feel like work and where our kids have memories in every hallway. 

Goodbye flowers in the backyard garden, a labor of love for 5 summers. 

And goodbye house on Schevene where our kids grew and learned to be friends and fought imaginary foes and families came to dinner and seasons came and went and lots of love was shared. Goodbye house. 
But most of all, goodbye friends. We will miss you so.

Here's how we came, 6 years ago...
And here's how we left, a real family...leaving a place I imagine will always feel like our hometown.

*** On a less serious note, if you haven't visited Flagstaff, you totally should!