Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trip to "Florida"

Let me begin by saying this: We did not go to Florida.

We, in fact, went to Gulf Shores, Alabama. But Nathan, whose precious teacher last year was from Florida (and thus had Florida Week at school), insisted that we take a beach vacation to Florida.

Thus, Gulf Shores became Florida.

In case you're wondering if taking a beach trip without your husband (working nights--couldn't get off--boo), and with a four year old and a one year old is relaxing, I can assure you (as can the rest of my family), it is not.

Jack screamed the whole way to "Florida" and then the whole way to Virginia. I think we were tempted to pull into Best Buy and spend $119.00 on noise-canceling headphones ("How does she know the exact price?" you're asking yourself. . . ).

But did we have fun?

Oh yes, we did!

We went out to eat (and played Pass Jack Around And See If You Can Keep Him Happy For More Than Sixty Seconds). We stayed up late every night playing Apples to Apples and eating copious amounts of peanut M&Ms. We somehow managed to avoid sunburns all around. And the boys? They were in heaven! They're both little fish, really.

The way it worked out, I actually got to spend some quality one-on-one time with both of my sweet boys. With Nathan, we went to the famous (cliche?) "Shark Store," and picked out some goodies. We also went crab hunting (I'm significantly less terrified of this activity than I was in high school. #perksofbeingaboymom).

And one evening, after Nathan literally fell asleep in the middle of dinner, Jack and I went out on the beach. I wanted to take him out for a peaceful walk, or to play in the sand, or to search for shells. Jack wanted to dive head first into the ocean. He actually did. We both ended up soaking wet--in regular clothes, mind you--with me wrangling him, screaming, the entire walk back to the beach house. But, alas, the pictures look really peaceful, don't they?

On the way back to Virginia, amidst the screaming and wailing and gnashing of tee--okay you get the point--Nathan said, "Mom, thanks so much for taking us to Florida." He was covered in his milkshake that he'd spilled, and I was about to rip my ears off, but I smiled back at him and said, "You're welcome, sugar."

My momma always tells me, "Even though they're little, they'll still remember. You're planting seeds of love and adventure, and those are character building."

Okay, momma, you're usually right about everything. Really, though.

So, yay for our trip to Florida! While I shudder at the thought of having a one year old near any body of water ever again, we're taking a family vacation to Cape Cod in less than a month. :)

Thanks for the memories, Florida. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

One Year

I'm good with dates. I remember the most random dates that you'd never think in a million years that a person would remember.

July 14, 2013. Car, packed. Children, in the car. Husband, waiting in Virginia. Fourteen hours of a road trip with a six month old whom I was nursing, my momma who was helping me be strong, and a three year old. At first, I was excited. I hadn't seen my husband in six weeks! I was ready to close the Little Rock/medical school chapter and open the Roanoke/residency chapter. I was ready. And then, we entered Virginia. My heart started racing, my hands started sweating, I got a sick feeling in my stomach. What was I thinking? I've never even seen this place, and now we have to live here for five years!

I will forever and always look back on July 14, 2014-September 13, 2014 as two of the hardest months of my life. If you know me at all, though, I admitted that to no one other than my momma. I knew I needed to just get through those months. I needed the boys' MDO/preschool to start, I needed to find a house, I needed to feel settled and have a sense of routine. Desperately.

And in September, peace came. Thank God, peace came.

I started unpacking boxes, we found a church, I was learning the names and faces of the other doctors who worked with my husband, I enjoyed the weather, I had a few friends' numbers in my cell. I was starting to balance working from home.


I can't describe the past year with a better word.

Let me back-track and tell you something: It frustrated the devil out of my husband that I wouldn't research all of the places he was interviewing for residency positions. I kept coming back to the same thing, that I knew with a concrete, God-given certainty: God's plan would prevail. God would put us exactly where we needed to be.

I never doubted that for a moment, friends.

There is something freeing in living somewhere I'm not from. We've loved trying new restaurants, meeting new people, and being pushed--hell, shoved--out of our comfort zone.

God has given me a joy here in Roanoke, and He has taught me what I'm capable of when I rely on Him. I read on Facebook the other day someone had written that they had "my hardest mom day yet!" It involved a sick kid--long story short, her mom came over. WOW. That sounds really hard.

. . . because my husband works six days a week, 80 hours a week, and I've had to deal with two puking kids and myself puking and a husband who can't be home until 8:00 PM. And my mom lives a thousand miles away.

And while I loved being in Little Rock and having my family close by, I have a new strength I never would have had.

And what do I think about residency?

It's too easy to complain. It's too easy to bemoan the fact that "you don't understand what it's like!" It's too easy to go on and on about how no one understands the FIFTEEN year road we're traveling.

Nope. Not. Gunna. Do. It.

I think the first year of residency has made my marriage stronger. It's made me stronger. I've learned new skills, like mowing the lawn and weed whacking and charging the battery in the Lightning McQueen scooter. I've learned that my God is at my side every moment of every day. I've learned that there's something to be said for joining a new Bible study, walking into something where you know not one soul, getting out of the house, putting a smile on your face, and saying, "I WILL have a fun day!" I will rejoice in the day--not always, but I'll try to every day.

I genuinely love our life here. It was like God and I climbed up into the attic and took out all the old, dusty boxes. We went through them together. We tossed out the junk. We got rid of the cobwebs. And, that word again: peace. I have it here. I've taken up running, and lost 23 pounds. I've learned that my happiness doesn't depend on people, and I don't need to ask so-and-so where she's putting her kids in soccer or baseball to make up my own damn mind about it. I've learned that I actually love having a career. I now work full time from home for the organization I worked for when I lived in Little Rock, and I've taken on new, more challenging responsibilities and roles. I've learned that at 7:00 when both of my children are in bed (I'm dead serious), I can work, watch t.v., hang out with my husband, and not worry about one thousand little things. I've learned that neighbors can be nice, and can genuinely care about one another. I've learned that no one needs to understand the unique residency life I lead, because God understands. And that's so totally 100% perfect with me. I've learned that the most important thing I do all day is give my attention and my love and my energy to my sons. To talk to them about Jesus. To talk to them about the things of life that get lost in the hectic pace I lived in Arkansas. I've learned that where my husband and my children are, THAT is home.

Can I believe it's been a year?

Yes, I can. I've felt every day of it.

We're blessed here, and we're blooming. Trust God in whatever it is you're struggling with today. His plans are not our plans--His ways are not our ways. But, they're good. They're soul-stretching. They're best.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Virginia Countryside

The Virginia countryside is synonymous with "A little slice of heaven."

Last weekend, our friends invited us to their cottage, which happens to be situated on the most gorgeous piece of land you can even imagine. We went for a walk, played in the creek, grilled out, and laughed and chatted while the boys played in the dirt. It was so much fun!



Little Boys

I love these two more than they'll ever know. They wrestle each other all day to the chorus of "Boys, stop! Stop hitting each other! Share! Get off your brother!" and on and on. But oh my mercy, do they adore each other. And do I adore them.

The Fishers Came To Town

This week, the Fishers came for a short visit! I was so excited, Scott was so excited, and the boys were so excited! We had a great time. The kiddos ran around chasing each other, they stayed up late catching fireflies in the front yard and eating popsicles, and we all soaked up getting to see each other for a short while. It was heavenly! Thank you Jesus for wonderful friends!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A New Bike

While Nathan got plenty of Octonaut toys, pirate toys, and Batman toys for his birthday, his big present from us was a new bike! It is his very first bike, and he love, love, loves it!