Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Winter In Virginia

When I first moved here back in July, I asked someone, "Does it snow here a lot in the winter?"

Their answer: "No, not really. I think last year it snowed. . . maybe. . . seven times, or so."

I'm sorry. Come again?

Well, if that's the measuring stick for judging snowfall, then no, it doesn't snow here a lot. But let me tell you, from this deep-South, born-in-Shreveport gal, it snows here a lot. A whole lot. In fact, I've lost count of how many times it has snowed.

Most of the time, the snow doesn't stick--which is a mystery to me. I thought if it was below freezing, snow always stuck. Well, no, that's not the case.

Often, the snow will drift down lightly as I'm walking into Bible study. Or cooking dinner. Or coming home from the grocery store. Just a light dusting, flurrying down, dancing along the streets.

As I did with summer and fall, I have found winter in Virginia to be breathtaking. I was so sad when the leaves fell; and yet, their departure unveiled a new beauty. The wrinkles and folds of the mountains--the snow resting on their peaks. It's a beauty I've only ever known in pictures. And now, I look out of my dining room window over five mountain peaks covered in snow.

We've only had a couple big snows, where we can't leave the house. It's wonderful. We stay in our jammies all day, watch way too much television, and venture out (only once, usually) to play in the snow. Nathan doesn't feel the cold. I promise. I've never known another human being who just did not feel the cold. He would play out in the snow for hours. Little brother, on the other hand, lasts until his first fall. Then, there's tears. And sniffles. And pathetic cries and looks that say, "Hey, mom, are you crazy? I'm 13 months old. Take me inside!"

I'm even getting used to driving in the snow!

A little.

Okay, only a very little.

I am ready for spring to come warm us up. It does get very, very cold here in the winter. There have even been several days where it has been colder here than where my sister lives--in Anchorage, Alaska! Yike-a-rooskies, folks. Put on your mittens.

Maybe it's the beauty of the snow. Maybe it's the majesty of the white mountains. Maybe it's this slower pace--this quieter life--that I've found here in Virginia. I'm not sure which.

But it's magical here. In winter. In the bitterly cold. I'm so very happy God has put us here for residency.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Sweetest Letter

Today, Nathan wrote some letters to send to his uncle who is currently serving overseas. (By letters, I mean alphabetical letters.) He then dictated a letter for me to write. It's absolutely too precious and hilarious and Nathan-ish not to share on here, so that I can remember it forever.

Dear Uncle _______,

I will send this to you. These are my letters: N-A-T-H-A-N. It's snowing outside. I will be right back.

After Halloween, it was Christmas. I got a Batmobile and that sword. I'm learning about Halloween and Christmas at school. My friends are Alex C., and Jacob, Caleb, and Isaiah--he has a weird name. He weirds me out.

I miss you and I love you. Have seen any bats, Uncle ______? Vampire bats drink blood, and fruit bats eat fruit. Brown bats eat mosquitoes and moths. And bats fly and they have teeth.



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Lazy Day

I was exhausted before my feet ever hit the floor this morning. It was one of those we're-going-to-be-in-sweats-all-day, the-house-probably-won't-stay-clean sort of days.

It. was. glorious.

This afternoon, Nathan and I sat on the front porch while Jack napped. I drank coffee, Nathan drank orange juice, and we talked. About bats. About volcanoes. About lava. About Hawaii. About school. About our favorite colors.

And then Jack woke up, and we decided to play outside until it was time for supper. Tricycle, new Lightning McQueen scooter, chalk, plastic golf clubs, baseballs, the whole shebang.

It was a fun time with my boys. I can't even believe how grown up they look in these pictures. Slow down, babies.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas 2013

On December 18th, we drove alllll the way to Little Rock to spend Christmas with my family. The stressful factors of doing Christmas in another state aside, we had a splendid Christmas surrounded with so many people whom we love.

My mother spent hours cooking and baking her amazing-as-always (don't-want-to-think-about-the-calories) food. And we played games, laughed at jokes, watched movies, ran errands, reminisced, and enjoyed being with each other.

The hubbs and I even got away for a couple of evenings. We went to the capitol building to see the beautiful Christmas decor. I think the Arkansas State Capitol is magnificent at Christmas time. When I lived here, I went to go see the decorations every year.

On Christmas Eve, after much demanding by my three year old that Santa did NOT want cookies this year but rather cupcakes, we got busy baking. I'm guessing that since there were only some crumbs left over on Christmas morning, that Nathan was right! Santa wanted cupcakes!

Christmas morning was magical. Nathan's pure excitement. The smell of breakfast casserole in the oven. All of us sitting around the Christmas tree. 

Now that we're all scattered all over the place--literally--I really cherished my family being around for Christmas more than I ever have.

A blessed Christmas 2013! No doubt about it!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I'm going to be honest with you. 2013 was not my favorite year. 

There. I said it. I put it out there. 

2013, see ya sucka'.

While there was the preciousness of Jack's first year of life (and oh, it was so, so precious), the joy of Scott's medical school graduation, the excitement of my sister getting married, the excitement of my husband's first paycheck, and the wonderful surprise of my job getting approved for long distance, there was also some other not-so-awesome stuff.

I am an optimist. If you read my blog, you know this to be true (maybe annoyingly true). But I do think that we learn from stressful situations, tear-filled nights, arguments, and loss. 

Moving thirteen hours away from my family? Not easy. Moving into a nasty apartment with a neighbor who constantly screamed at us to be quiet and our stuff all in boxes and my husband working two months of nights and me not knowing a single person? Not fun. A family member being carjacked and attacked one month after I'd moved away? Devastating and scary. Four of my friends having babies while I was away and couldn't help them and couldn't hold their sweet little ones? Big bummer. Being in Little Rock with my sons while my husband set up our new life in Virginia and being apart for nearly two months? Really difficult. A family member leaving to go to a dangerous country and fight for the freedoms we appreciate? A constant worry for my family. 

[My computer just sent me a random message that an error occurred. I'll take is as a sign that you get the point.]

2013 was a year of unexpected change. It was a year of growth. Mainly it was a year that left me looking like that picture above (minus the makeup and the neat-looking hair). It's been hectic. Insanely hectic. And exhausting--emotionally and physically exhausting. While I love the fact that my husband is finally in residency and doing what he loves, of course it's no secret that lots of the burdens of parenting and running a house fall on my shoulders. [Side note, Baby Ryan #3 will be making his/her appearance in FELLOWSHIP, people. That's in like five years, for you non-medical peeps.] 

My hope for 2014 is that it's a little bit calmer. A little bit less stressful. I'm glad my boys are getting to ages where each month seems easier than the last. I'm glad we're settled in our new home that I love. I'm glad we've got friends. I'm glad we have a church and a life group that we adore. I'm glad that my husband is loving his job. 

So there. I've been candid. 2013 was a year to remember. Maybe I'll laugh about all the craziness years from now. But for today, this first day of 2014, I'm glad to see a new year on the calendar. I'm glad to close that chapter of crazy. 

So, here's to 2014! I'm welcoming you with open arms (NOT criss-crossed arms), baby! :)