Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Goodbyes

I'm a see you soon person.  I despise the word goodbye and everything involved with it.  I never want to be dramatic and goodbye feels dramatic.  I hate change (as a general rule) and goodbye is loaded with change.  Like I said we had/have very dear friends in Wisconsin, my family is in Illinois, and the rest of the people closest to our hearts are east of there.  This was not a haphazard decision.  It was thought out meticulously.  We definitely knew we needed to go, but that did not make saying goodbye any easier.  As a mom, my heart breaks a little every day for Lily who left behind that kind of friend that you could spend every second with and not get sick of.  She talks about her almost daily and I pray for God to bring someone into each of their lives to meet that need.  Andy had great guy friends that he did hockey, kayaking, trips... with.  I had great Godly women that made my life richer in every way.  The coolest part was that they were mainly couples, when does that happen that you love the wife and the husband?!?!  Did I mention the wonderful 19 year-old girl that lived with us and loves our kids as her own.  Did I mention the best neighbors in the world?  You get the idea,  BLESSED!!!  This is why I say, 'see you soon.'  You can't put value on people and the way they make your days better just by knowing them.  God is good and we needed to come to this camp and be here!  God is faithful, and has placed amazing people in our lives here too.  I can't wait for Heaven where it will be the best and biggest reunion with no end in sight either!  So instead of goodbye we can say, 'see you soon.'

*I seriously went through our photo library to find pictures of everyone we love, and I'm so sorry if you're not pictured.  You know who you are(=

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ridge's Birth Story

As soon as we made the cross country trip to move out here(I was 7 months pregnant) my energy took a nose dive.  I didn't feel like taking my normal walks and I lost my appetite.  I'm not sure why, but that's what happened.  So when week 38 rolled around I was beyond ready to have the baby in my arms, more than ever before !  Andy had sensed that I would go early so my mom flew out a week early.  There were lots of wildfires in our area which led to camp being done a week early too.  All these were green lights for me to commence natural labor inducers(=  I called my friend here in town and asked her to make me a delicious castor oil smoothie.  I knew that if it wasn't time for baby to come out it wouldn't matter what I did.  So the next morning (Thursday, Aug 14th) I bought some bananas and dark chocolate and headed to her house.  She did the lowest amount of castor oil, raw milk, dark choc, bananas, and instant coffee, delicious(;   We hung out for a little bit then I headed home.  Things 'kicked in' around 11, but with castor oil it's hard to tell what's what...  I laid down with the boys and could just feel contractions rolling in every 10 min or so.  With labor I always doubt it's the real thing.  I'm just waiting for things to completely stall out.  They didn't! Around 3 I took a little hike with River around the property.  By 4 I called the local Dr. and asked if he could check and confirm that this was the real thing.  He let me come in at 4:45 and said it seemed like early labor.  Our hospital ended up being an hour and a half away so I needed to be sure this was the real deal.  I called Andy after and said, 'Let's feed the kids, get things situated and then head up to the hospital.  This was the pic I took right before we left.

We got to the hospital around 8:30 and my labor had intensified over that mountain road.  At that point I was having to breathe through contractions and they were coming every 2-3 minutes.  My midwife took a nap from 10:30-12:30 while we walked the halls, watched the late show with Jimmy Fallon while I bounced on the yoga ball.  Don't get me wrong it was uncomfortable, but still not 'I'm going to die pain.'  She came in at 12:30, broke my water and that's when you envy everyone else in the room.  They're all calm and your just trying to find a position to stay sane in.  At 1:30 ish am I could tell it was time to push.  I knew he was sunny-side up from having back labor.   This adds a bit of trickiness to pushing, but I basically decided he would be born by 2 by shear will if nothing else.  That small window of time is awful and amazing all at the same time.  Nothing like knowing you're about to meet the newest member of your family.  By some miracle he was born right at 2!  I spent Friday to Sunday in the hospital, awesome!  He seems to be calm, but let's you know needs. For some reason I'm co-sleeping which I've never done before, but I think we're going to get tough this weekend and move him to the bassinet, fingers crossed!  Ridge Allen is a sweet addition rounding us out to a family of 7!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My baby boy is 5

Seriously, I feel too fragile for this passing of time! How can it be 2 years since this.  Here we are, River turning 5.  Today he is rafting down the river with his dad and sisters.  Life is good for this guy!  If you want to take a trip down memory lane with me, his birth story is here.
A friend yesterday said, 'he's going to be a heartbreaker.'  I agree, he's adorable, mellow and strong... The perfect storm of manliness(; We prayed for him this morning, that he'll love God, people and nature.  So far, so good.  Happy Birthday Buddy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Going back a bit Part 3

That next morning, April 16th we left early!!!  We were full of excitement, questions, and the thought that everything could change quickly.  We were picked up that afternoon and drove to Mount Hermon in Santa Cruz,CA.  Mount Hermon is impressive, it just is.  They do everything to exceed your expectations.  Andy had interviews all afternoon.  I decided I would nap a half hour to rest from the jet lag and then explore.  3 hours later I was still in bed.  That night we went out with a couple that had worked for Kidder and gave us the lowdown on the past 5-10 years.  It was overwhelming and exciting to hear about the possibilities that laid in what they described as, ' the most beautiful place.'  We came back to our room and Andy immediately crashed from an exhausting process of all day interviews and info.  We got up really early the next morning (still on Wisconsin time) and took a hike.  We talked and prayed and prepared for our drive to Kidder.  It was a 6 hour drive with the person who was interviewing us and would potentially be Andy's boss, not intimidating at all...  They talked while I tried to disappear from the process.  When we drove into Kidder to say our hearts where taken back is an understatement.  It truly is a breathtaking spot.  Apple orchards with horses in them, with mountains and streams as the back drop.  I think now a little of us fell in love right then.  Who wouldn't want to raise their kids in that kind of place?
 That night we had dinner with all the  full-time staff of Kidder.  It was wonderful, even though we were being interviewed.   The office manager made a dinner on par with Thanksgiving and we saw in each of the staff a complete commitment to serving God thru camp ministry.  It was very special and that night we fell in love with the people that were working year-round to serve this camp.  The next couple of days were filled with interviews as well as meeting people who we would do life with.  God knew I needed to see how real, day to day life would look, and by the end of the weekend I had captured a vision.  On our last day there we had decided this was a 'yes' for our family.   If the job was extended, we would take it!  We came back to Kidder after lunch and Lisa said, 'Let's go look at your house.'  Wait, does this mean we got the job.  It did!  Earlier in the weekend Lisa had shown us a house that Mount Hermon owned, but would be willing to sell.  It was right next to camp, which I loved for the sake of being involved, but was a farmette on 5 acres.  This is where God went way beyond what needed to happen and just blessed us above our expectations.  It was a great house that needed  tlc... lots of tlc!  But before the Camp, and the move, and the house there would be almost 2 months of packing and telling many people that we had done life with closely, goodbye.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Going back a bit Part 2

So we waited... and we would call... and we continued to be lead toward Kidder Creek.  In February or March we found out we were 1 of 3 candidates remaining and they would want to do a face to face interview.  Things were picking up, and getting real!  By March we kept our calendars completely open in case they said, 'this weekend.'  It was hard to be living fully in Wisconsin with so much going on in California, but I feel we did.  We loved LGYC and it was easy for Andy to continue the work he felt called to and passionate about!   I was having all the 'girl' thoughts.  Will this other place be a good fit for our family?  Where will I deliver this baby?  How rural is rural?  We found out we would be flying out April 16th.  I wanted to have a reveal party to before we left with all the people we loved the most in Wisconsin.  Thanks to friends bringing almost all the treats we made it happen the night before we left.

                  It's a boy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Maybe I should go back a bit...Part 1

This past 6 months have been the most transitional 6 months in my entire life.  To just brush past them and not document this whole experience would be a shame.  So where do I start...  When Andy and I set out on our journey together (April of 2000 is when we began dating), adventure was in our hearts, travel was in our shoes and the love of God and people tied it all together.
 We road tripped everywhere, hung out with friends anywhere and took every opportunity to have fun or an adventure.  Fast forward a few years we have Lily in 2004 and realize... we need $$$$.  Ok, so we love camping ministry, but seasonal jobs aren't cutting it anymore.  Enter life in Lake Geneva, WI.  We found a great Christian Camp where Andy would work full time, and gain experience.  Lake Geneva Youth Camp was an incredible 10 year journey.  The friends and connections we made there are irreplaceable.  It's where we brought 3 of our 5 children home to.
  It's where Andy and I grew up and grew together, so to speak.  It's something so close to my heart that I actually have a hard time writing about it.  The love and community there made us better and equipped us to be fully used by God.  Precious. Not to mention that I believe a huge part of our community was formed in the last couple years there. Anyway  it was an extremely sweet and formative time!  And then something happened.  Andy saw a post for a job at a wilderness camp in California.  If you know us, more so if you know Andy you know his heart is wilderness ministry.  Rafting, snowboarding, biking... you name it he does it and loves it.  I'm a community girl, show me who will be my people and then I'll consider it.  So he submitted his application and the games began so to speak.  This was probably October or Nov. of 2013.  A month would pass. we would assume they chose someone else, call to check and be told, 'no, you made it to the next interviewing process.'   Seriously this happened probably 6 times.  We were content in Wisconsin, but knew that our hearts longed for a wilderness camp ministry.  December rolled around and we found out baby # 5 was on their way.  So yes we wanted to go, but to find a camp that could support our growing family would also be a challenge.  At this point I think we both thought it sounded great, but what were the chances?

I'm going to use this space...

Until I can get my blogging act together this will be my space to share.  I'll be posting on instagram too.  Ridge's birth story is a good starting point once again.  See you here for now.