Friday, September 26, 2014

eisley eats

she will take all the food. all the time.

conclusions on florida after 2.5 weeks

blue bell is over $7 for a half gallon here. SEVEN dollars. i'll need to be having some serious cravings to shell out that money.

apparently, it rains for at least 20 minutes every single day. usually no more and usually only in little pockets of town at a time.

country music may be more popular here than it is in texas.'s at least a tie.

people here are SO nice. like, SO nice. this is coming from a girl was born and raised in texas, the land of friendly...and it's noticeably more friendly here.

i never really thought of florida has having much to offer in beauty outside of the ocean, of course. (sorry florida) but, i'm starting to feel like i was wrong. the tall tall trees everyone and the lush, green landscape..and the clouds! i am sure gregg is so sick of me pointing out "pretty clouds" every single day, but seriously. they are so beautiful and puffy. oh, and there is water everywhere.

oh, so, we moved.

lots of changes since i last posted. it's been a whirlwhind few months for us, so i will try to back it up a bit.

back in june, gregg started looking at job postings in jacksonville, florida. it was more just out of boredom and as a "maybe one day" sorta thing. moving to jacksonville (where gregg is from and where i lived briefly during our engagement) has always been in the back of our minds as a possibility. the lack of job opportunities and slight difference in pay in the nursing market (as in florida has always paid just a little less than texas), has kept it from being a real possibility. but, when he started casually checking out postings in june we were surprised by the opportunities and pay. i guess having several years of experience makes a difference because it was looking like we could actually afford to move if we wanted to. he sent an email to the human resources contact at a hospital just confirming pay grade and benefits details, but didn't think much of it after that. about a week later is when gregg got really sick and life just kinda came to a stand-still for a few weeks. during that time, he got a response from the HR contact that confirmed that we could actually make that move. we weren't sure what we wanted at that point. we started to pray about it even more.  i just kept asking God to open doors and present opportunities if it was part of His plan. a couple weeks later gregg got a call from a hiring manager in the neuro department of a hospital in downtown jacksonville, fast forward a week and he had done 2 video interviews and then got an offer. this whole time, we had agreed that if we felt God pushing us forward in this direction we would make the move. the pay and benefits from this offer were what we needed and the actual job was one gregg was pretty excited about. so, we we accepted and put our house on the market. it sold in 24 hours, so, as of 3 weeks ago, we now live in jacksonville florida.

sunset in our backyard the last night there

these two were amazing on our drive. seriously, SO good.
this child...not so much.

it wasn't an easy decision. in fact, just looking at these pictures of our house on the morning we left makes me ache a little. we left a really, really good thing in austin. we left a city that we love, family and friends that felt like family. i left this incredibly unique situation of literally being surrounded by friends with kids the same age as mine. but, at the same time, we truly felt we were making the right decision for our family. obviously, there is a lot of emotion that goes along with making a decision to move from a place that has been home for so long, so i really had to pull back from the emotion and look at the practical side of it all. i had to keep reminding myself that just because something is the good and right decision, doesn't mean that it won't be hard at times too.

i'm still reminding myself of that 3 weeks in.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

a good thursday

every now and then the stars align and an outing with the kids goes really well. thursday of this past week was one of those days for me. that doesn't mean there wasn't a time out in the middle of it for not following directions or that eisley didn't lose her mind on the drive home but, overall, it was a win.

i decided to take the kids the wildflower center thursday morning. they recently added a new family garden area which i had heard great things about and the admission for the month of july was free on thursdays. when i realized it was the last thursday of the month, i wanted to make sure we made it over. it's soooo close to our house and i'm really glad we went because the kids loved it. i will definitely be taking them back and i wouldn't even mind paying the entrance fee because it was so fun for them. i think it would be even more enjoyable on a day when it's not 95 degrees and 10000 percent humidity :)

the only other time we have been to the wildflower center was in january when there wasn't really anything in bloom. this time, it was fun for the kids to see the walkways lined with beautiful, colorful flowers. on the way in, abbey stopped, turned to tucker and said "wow, this is beautiful. isn't it tucker?"

i didn't really know what to expect from the family garden. i had heard good things but, honestly, my expectations were pretty minimal. i was pleasantly surprised. the first thing we noticed when walking in was this walk through cave with a waterfall. the kids were SUPER impressed by this.

there is also a water pump with watering cans the kids can fill up and dump into the river over and over again. this was by FAR tucker's favorite thing. the kids can also wade in the river and get completely soaked if you let them :)

there are two different mazes, an area with tree limbs low to the ground for safe climbing and giant pretend bird's nests complete with baby bird eggs inside.

the kids had so much fun that i ended up cancelling something i had planned for later that morning so we could stay longer. next time, i will pack a lunch and plan to stay all morning long...but i'll wait for the fall for that!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

life conclusions

phew. it's been a crazy month for us and it's just half way over.

i feel like most people who are likely to read this already know the story so i'll keep it short. gregg got really sick a few weeks ago. his symptoms were really scary in the beginning. it seemed initially that something was up neurologically. we went to the ER 4 times in less than a week and he was finally admitted on the 4th time. he spent 4 days in the hospital, came home and went back 2 days later for another ER visit. (yeah, 5 ER visits in less than 2 weeks does wonders for your bank account-btw.) in the end, it was determined he had an "unidentifiable virus" that eventually just had to run it's course. those first few days were scary though until that was figured out. i kept fighting thoughts that we may be facing a long road of recovery or a life time of dealing with a neuro issue. it was scary, i cried a lot and we spent a lot of time staring at hospital ceilings.

after it was all over and things were settling down, gregg asked me if i drew any major life conclusions from the two weeks of madness.

this is what i came up with:

-people on house hunters who are looking for a vacation home are super annoying. at least 99% of the time. we did see one couple in savannah who were normal with realistic expectations. but, in general, they are annoying and entitled and pretentious. shut up about the size of the bathroom-you are buying a house on the OCEAN that you will visit a few times a YEAR. shut it woman.

-the older episodes of the office are way more funny and interesting than the newer episodes were. hands down, so much better.

-i love gregg. a lot. i need him a lot. a lot more than i realized 3 weeks ago.

-we have incredible people in our lives. incredible. my parents came to stay at our house for a week to keep the kids while i was back and forth from the hospital. friends took our kids out to do fun things while we couldn't, offered to keep them overnight, brought us food, visited us in the hospital, mowed our lawn, dropped off toys and snacks for the kids. for every person who helped, there were at least 2 others offering help. it was insane and we were blown away and humbled and grateful.

-it takes four ER visits to get me irate with ER staff. the first 3, i was pretty calm and understanding. by the fourth, i was definitely speaking my complaints at a volume loud enough for others to hear. i guess four ER visits in less than a week will do that to a person.

-i am not a deep thinker. shocker.

in the grand scheme of life, our 2 weeks of illness and unknown is so, so small and insignificant. yes, it was real and hard and scary at the time but we are fortunate enough to be among the lucky that only had to deal with it for two weeks. we get to go back to living our regular, healthy lives without much disturbance. i have never been so grateful for our regular life. for evenings in the backyard with crazy kids, shooting annoyed glances at each other over the sibling fighting and humidity. afternoons at the pool taking turns carrying the baby around while the other keeps an eye on the older two. sunday afternoons driving home from church with tired and hungry children, rushing through lunch to just get to naptime already. evenings spent eating ice cream in bed and watching re-runs of New Girl. family dates out to breakfast and to watch the kid's concert at the coffee shop.

our regular life is pretty good.

i'm just grateful. and i hope i stay this way.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eisley's 1st

eisley turned one on the 24th. we had planned a birthday party for her that evening but ended up cancelling it at the last minute, so we spent her actual birthday celebrating as a family. we took a visit to the bounce house that afternoon and she loved throwing herself around the foam pit. seriously, she loved it. we came home and had cupcakes. the next day, my mom, sister and niece and nephew came to visit and we celebrated again, this time with some presents. the big kids were more excited about opening the presents than she was :)

Monday, June 23, 2014

"return, o my soul, to your rest..."

(i wrote this a few days ago, during a long and sleepless night...)

this verse is speaking volumes to me right now. it's one of those times when i feel as though God purposed me to read it at just the right time.

there has been a whirlwind of pain, suffering and loss around me lately. People I love dearly are walking through some of the hardest and darkest times. this past week it sort of all came to a head and i found myself struggling to believe that God even entertains our prayers. i am fighting to push back the lie that He doesn't hear our prayers and cries for help; fighting to shut down the voice that tells me to despair and not even pray because He already has a plan in mind and my prayers won't change it.

tonight i was mindlessly scrolling through pinterest like i do most nights before bed, when i came across a scripture pinned by my cousin. it was psalms 116:2; "because He has inclined his ear to me, therefore i will call on Him as long as i live." as i read it, i got this image in my head. lately tucker is doing this new thing when he is asking for something he isn't sure he is going to get. he tilts his head to the side and speaks in this small, quiet voice.."mommy, please can i have some cookies? please?" usually, i can't hear him when he uses this voice. i have to stop what i'm doing, get down on my knee, put my face close to his and to ask him to repeat himself.

that's what i felt like God was doing when i read this verse. it felt like God was taking my face in His hands, turning me towards Him and saying "see, haven't I told you that I hear you? that your heart cries matter me to me? do not doubt me, I am constant. I am never changing and I cannot lie." i opened up my bible to read the whole passage and saw this scripture that i had highlighted years ago in verse 7 "return o my soul to your rest, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you." it was then, as i started to repeat these verses out loud, that i was able to see so clearly that the urge to question God's regard for our prayers was a lie from satan. I know it can sound "crazy Christiany" to talk about satan lying to us, but the thing is, he does. he does and if we pretend that he doesn't we are putting ourselves in a dangerous place.

of course God has heard my prayers and the prayers of those dear to me over the past few months. of course He inclines His ear to listen to us. tonight i felt Him directing me to His words of truth. reminding me that my soul and heart can find rest Him. He has dealt bountifully with me. He has given me life, breath and an eternal hope.