Thursday, July 24, 2014

Niagara Falls!

The last full day that my parents were here we headed over to Buffalo, New York and spent the day at Niagara Falls.  It was so much fun!  We had a blast and got absolutely SOAKING wet.  I mean, we were drenched from our head to our toes!




We got wet on the Maid of the Mist boat ride that we took down by the falls, but when we got off, we trekked up the side of the cliff to stand super close to the falls.  And we got drenched.  I mean, we were being pelted so hard by those falls that it was like we were walking through a tsunami. So fun!  We had to buy sweatshirts to warm up afterwards.  We were freezing!



It's still surreal to me that we are this close to all of these amazing sights.  Wow.

I had been to the falls when I was around 9 or 10, so it was super neat to go back as an adult and bring our boys.  They absolutely loved it!  It's the best watching them see new things and places ... which they'll be doing plenty of this year! :)



Levi was enamored with all the stories of the people who have gone over the falls in barrels and whatnot.  We watched a film on the falls and it's history while we were there and both boys were captivated!  Especially when it talked about all the people who have gone over.  Crazy!



I don't think I could ever tire of this sight.  Absolutely incredible!


It was such a wonderful day full of awesome memories!!!


Here's to adventure!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

July 4th.

We worked ourselves to deaths the week we arrived getting unpacked and everything in it's place.  Our townhouse is 3 stories - LOTS OF STAIRS - and we were so sore we could barely walk in the mornings!  We took July 4th as a day to go check out the beaches at Presque Isle, relax, and take in the sights.  We were absolutely blown away by Lake Erie.  It is so very gorgeous!


The boys fell in love instantly and we have gone out there as often as we can since.  It's wonderful.  And literally 3 miles from our house.  Insane!


It was very cool and breezy that day and I had to get down in the sand to warm up! :)



We had such a blast!  It was a wonderful first introduction to our Great Lake!


Even when the waves crashed into our sand castle.



I'm so happy my parents were able to come along and check out the town for the first time with us.  We explored, tried out new restaurants, grocery stores ... I mean, come on.  When you move to a new town the first priority is food.  :)




This was definitely a fourth of July to remember.




Monday, July 14, 2014

The Drive.

My ever so gracious parents packed up and took the two day journey up north with us!  Having the help on the drive was tremendous - my mom and I took the boys in our car, and Husby and my dad took the other.  Mom was an amazing distraction to the kidlings, and made the 18 hours in the car nothing short of a cool breeze!


My husband's parents moved to another state the day after we moved.  We met them early in the morning at the donut shop the day that we left for a farewell breakfast with them and Husby's grandparents.  It was good to see everyone before we left.


The day we left was also our 9 year anniversary!  What a way to start off Year 10 - the biggest adventure yet!


We drove 10 hours that day and stopped in Indianapolis for some sleep.  It was almost midnight and Dad bought my little family a suite so that we could put the kids in another room and not wake them up.  When we walked into the room the "suite" was a basic hotel room with a giant whirpool tub in the middle of it.  One King sized bed for the four of us and one giant tub.  We laughed, and called down for a rollaway bed for the kids so that we could get those tired babies in bed!  They were so exhausted we laid them in the bed until the rollaway came and we laid down beside them.


And the next thing we knew it was morning and we had all slept together in one bed.  Haha!  We were all so exhausted I don't think any of us moved a muscle, but my Dad ended up getting a discount on that room!


We had breakfast at a local joint called Blueberry Hill and it was the most amazing breakfast of life.  Then we drove through the entire state of Ohio and finally hit Pennsylvania.


Once we hit PA, we saw the most beautiful rainbow and we literally drove right under it.  Such a sweet reminder of God's promises in our lives and in the lives of those who know Him.  It was perfect.

We trekked on as quickly as we could straight to Erie.  We didn't want to roll in late, so we pushed through it and arrived around 6pm.  I've never been to Erie before coming here to live, so everything was going to be a complete surprise for me - from the look of the town to the look of our home.  We found something online and blindly rented it, hoping and praying for something nice and in a good part of town.

We couldn't get the key to our townhouse until the next day, so Dad and Husby booked a hotel room here in town.  When we hit town and took the road to our house, my jaw dropped.  It was the most beautiful road covered in the most thick and gorgeous trees ... it reminded me of Victoria, B.C.  Quaint and beautiful and so, so lush with greenery!

I started to get nervous.  We were almost to the house.

From the pictures I could see online, the "backyard" to the townhouses consisted of a tiny little concrete slab.  Coming from such a big and pretty backyard in Oklahoma, this was such a huge concern for me with my boys!  If they can't play outside, they are going to go stir crazy.  I had already scouted out nearby parks because I feared the worst.  I also started researching sand boxes, because I wanted them to have something to do on that little slab!

We continued down the windy road and finally pulled into our house.  There are 12 townhouses in our addition and wouldn't you know ... ours is positioned in the very back corner and is the ONLY one with ANY TYPE OF YARD.  And it's gorgeous!!!  There are trees everywhere, a creek running through below, and even a slope that the boys can sled down in the winter.  I am telling you, every single other house has a concrete slab and that is it.  Some even back up to a busy ROAD (oh my, another huge fear I had!), and ours has a yard!  A YARD!

(The side of our yard)

I was screaming when I saw it.  The boys were running through it as fast as they could, and Husby, my parents and me started snapping pictures of everything.  We were ALL blown AWAY!  I am telling you, God cares about the teeniest, tiniest details.  Oh, my heart was overjoyed!

(The slope!)

(Mom and the boys checking out the creek!)

We finished up checking out the house and then headed for supper and a good nights rest before unloading the moving truck the next day.  When we got to the hotel the lady told my Dad that they had run out of King rooms and that we would be upgraded to the Presidential Suite.

Um.  Okay.

They gave us the room because of the kids, and I am not even kidding you, it was THREE hotel rooms!!!!  It was the biggest thing I had ever seen in my life and the kids were running through that place like they were in a castle!  We died laughing because of the room we had the night before compared to this one.  It was almost the size of our new townhouse!  Haha!  Oh, what fun!  It had a giant whirlpool tub too, two bathrooms, two King sized beds, one Full sized bed, a full kitchen, and 3 TV's.  It was nuts.  NUTS!  The boys had a blast and we ran around eating Dunkin' Donuts and living the good life.

Oh, this trip was one that I will remember always.  We laughed so hard we cried, and we cried so hard we laughed.  My parents stayed for a week to help us unpack and settle and we explored and had some awesome adventures of our own.


Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Hello, from PA!


The journey was a long one, but we are here, settled, and exploring every chance we get!  I have 101 things to update you guys on, but I'll take it one post at a time.  So much has happened in the last couple of weeks!

God has been moving in working in our lives in ways that simply bring me to my knees in awe and thanksgiving.  The love and provision He has poured out on us in this time is incredible.  From the biggest of needs, to the smallest - they've been met.  To HIM Who is able to do abundantly and exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine.  I could not survive this life without Him!

Our last day of church in Tulsa, two days before we moved, we sang Everlasting God.  I wasn't real familiar with the song before we sang it, but it has been on my lips and in my heart ever since.  There hasn't been a day go by since moving that I haven't sang it out in praise.  I've claimed it as my song for the year and I can't sing it without crying ... every single time.

When we were standing in church singing, Levi was standing in front of me and I had my hands on his little shoulders.

"Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord."

The week had been exhausting.  We'd been packing and moving and getting our house sparkly clean every second of the previous days and we were physically and emotionally exhausted.

"You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God, You do not faint, You won't grow weary."

We continued to sing, and I felt Levi's little shoulders start shaking.  I looked down at him and he looked up at me and cried, "I don't want to leave my church".

"You're the defender of the weak, You comfort those in need," we continued to sing.

I sat on the pew and hugged my little son, comforting him as best as I could - knowing God was holding him even tighter.  And holding me, too.

"You lift us up on the wings like eagles.
Our God, You reign forever.
Our hope, our strong deliverer."

How great the promises of our God.  As I sat there emotionally drained on every level, I wanted to cry and say "I give up.  I don't want to do it either.  Just let us stay.  Don't make my kids leave everything and everyone they've ever known.  We love it here.  Just let us stay."  And God whispered to me - trust Me. I will lift you up, give you comfort, deliver you.  Trust Me.  These words, this song ... it's for YOU.

Peace overwhelmed my body.

I could feel my faith increase at that very moment.



The next day, the day before we pulled out of the drive and headed North, our realtor called.  Our house SOLD.

"Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord."

Two days later when we arrived to our townhouse, the very thing I had worried myself sick about before getting here was sovereignly gone before and taken care of.

"You lift us up on the wings like eagles."

My faith has grown leaps and bounds as God continues to show Himself faithful to my family and me. I can not even describe how incredible His ways are, how He proves it time and again, and I can't wait to tell of His goodness as He holds us and keeps us throughout this year.

Isaiah 40:31

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Well friends, we are here and settled in our home up north.  So much has happened in the past couple of weeks that I can't wait to let you all in on when I have more time.  I want to thank you guys for keeping us in your prayers as we made and continue to make this transition and I am eager to keep you up to date on our adventures!  :) 

I'll write soon! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

My Heart - My Home.

I've had this post partly composed on my phone for months now.  But coming to my computer to sit and type it out, I've been putting off.  I want to have it to read back on, but I don't want to write it.  Because when I write it, it becomes real.  And this reality, as great as I know it will be for all four of us, is just hard.  We leave for PA in less than two weeks, which means many goodbyes have been said and are continuing to be said from now until then.  And as we empty our house ... our home ... I know that leaving it will be one of the hardest goodbyes to make.  What a wonderful 7 years we have had on Spruce Street. It will always have our hearts and will forever be a piece of "home".


Though I could never truly capture all the meaning and sentiment these walls hold for us, I wanted to reflect on and celebrate with words some of the precious memories we made here.  Our first home.

Husby and I both called in sick to work one day and went out driving around looking for houses or land to build on.  That is something we never did, call in, but we were under a lot of stress and big changes coming at the time and just needed a time out.  A day off.  To just be together and go exploring.  And so we did, and we ended up out in "God's Country", as Husby always referred to it, and just a few short weeks later, we had a contract signed and a plan drawn up to begin building our very first home together.


It was nothing short of perfect.

We drove out almost every single day after work to see the progress being made on our house.  It was one of the most exciting things I had ever experienced.  We had lived together in a teeny tiny apartment for the first two years of our marriage, so the idea of having an entire house was like a fairy tale.  I was the luckiest girl in the world.

The move in date was just a week before Medical School began.  I had started my job at the school several weeks before, and everything just fell into perfect place at the perfect time.  A true testimony of God's constant provision for Husby and me.  I remember after the first day of medical school, both of us coming home (we rode to and from work/school together - yet another enormous blessing), and falling down together on the couch ... laying next to each other and talking about all that was happening and how seriously tough this road ahead of us was going to be, and him telling me of this relaxation technique he had learned that day, and then both falling asleep and not waking up until 8pm.


We started this entire road of Med School right here.  In this living room.  Together.  And now we've finished it.  Here.  The same place that it started.  Here and together.  What HUGE years this house has seen us through.  The good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the hard and the easy.  This place has been our haven.  A refuge.


I'll never forget the time we came home from work and I was in a mood and I slammed the car door with such vigor and might that the entire garage shook.  Husby told me right then and there that I was never to act that way again.  (And I haven't.)  :)

I look around my living room and I am reminded of our very first Christmas here.  I'd never seen a room so beautiful - lit with the soft glow of the tree and the love that radiated between Husby and me.

There were so many family birthdays celebrated here after going out to eat as a big family. We've hosted holidays - Thanksgiving and every Halloween. I've hosted baby showers for friends and family.  It's been the best little gathering place.


There were unexpected adventures that popped up like the giant ice storm that knocked out most everyone's power except ours and my brother and sister-in-law moved in with us for a week.  And bird getting trapped in our laundry room and giving the evil eye to Husby as he peered in between the french doors, to name a few.

We had two years in this house, just the two of us, and then this house that we came home to after work and relaxed in on the weekends, finally became home as we became a family.


I walk into the master bathroom and I can see the young, overjoyed, weeping little Whitney kneeling on the floor beside the shower as she read her very first positive pregnancy test.  And I look at our bed and I see me gently waking up Husby and telling him he was going to be a Daddy, as we cried and prayed together.

And then I walk into the guest bathroom and I see the shocked, emotional, yet completely overjoyed Whitney a few years later reading yet another positive pregnancy test, as her husband held her in his arms and her tiny little two year old walked in and she told him he was going to be a big brother.


And bringing those precious, perfect little babies home.


The memories of those newborn days.  Those amazing newborn days.  Some of my most favorite days of life.  Family filling our home, my parents staying with us to help us navigate the waters of new parenthood, and abundance of food in the kitchen, and the most content feeling in my heart that I have ever felt.



Staying here - at home with my newborn babies and relishing in those days.  Those moments.  My only care in the world being feeding them, changing them, kissing them and holding them.  Just me and them most of the time.  Bonding.  Figuring one another out.  Growing.  Loving.  Being.


These rooms hold the moments of all of their firsts: rolling over, their first crawls, first steps, first words, first haircut ... they all took place here.  At home.

And as our baby boys are growing, huge milestones have been met here.  Levi learned to ride a bike out in our cul-de-sac, as our neighbors stood out with us cheering and screaming as if he was their own.  Levi's first little neighbor friend lived next door, Maddox.  He called him "Maggots", because he couldn't say it, and little 3 year old Levi was devastated when he moved away.  My children have learned everything they know here - counting, reading, colors, songs ... but not only that, so many life lessons about sharing, being a friend, loving.


We've had countless play dates and dinner parties here.  Friendships were formed and nurtured.  Fun and laughs echo across the rooms.  Life and relationships, enjoyed.

I think of the excitement I had of decorating two nurseries and a big boy room.  Birthday parties that were so carefully thought out coming to life as we filled our home with everyone who loves and cherishes my sons.  Memories.  Such precious memories.



When I stay up late, like I'm doing tonight, and hearing the midnight train blow through town - the eery sound of it's horn both haunting and comforting all at the same time.

Every inch of our front yard and back yard being explored by two little boys, running and screaming and absolutely loving life.  Our yard is such a source of joy for them!



And Levi, growing in such wisdom of the Lord and there in his room asking God to be Lord of his life!

These walls have seen laughter, joy, and an abundance of love.  It's also seen fear, worry, and tears.  It has seen a young couple become parents, and two little boys become brothers.  It's been the safe, peaceful dwelling on this long, winding path we've been journeying, to get to where we want to be.


I know that this is just brick and mortar.  That the "home" is the people in it.  I know it very well.  But, I simply can not leave this place - our sanctuary - without a proper goodbye, and a "thank you" for being the best little house I could have ever dreamed up.


God blessed us with this home, and I pray that the next family will enjoy it as we did - creating new memories for these walls to see, and more laughs to echo ... even in the silence.


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