96 hours

Last week I was sick with strep throat. It slammed into me out of nowhere. Two weeks prior, the kids were each sick. One after the other. I guess I caught it from the kids – could be a long shot… but probably not. Anyhoo. I was super sick. For 96 hours.

We had been traveling nearly non-stop for 4 weeks, when the kids began getting sick. On our last day, Selah (our 5yo) woke up sick and threw up 5 times throughout the day of travel back home. She slept in and out of cars, planes and shuttles. It was hard… but every time she felt a little energy she sang, “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here…”

For 96 hours, this strep throat kicked my butt. I unable to be of any assistance to anyone. My family, my friends, all of society. It sucked. For 96 hours I was basically useless. The kids were worried about me. They would check on me every so often and Selah would sing “Holy Spirit…” over me. I told the kids not to come too close to me. I did not want to pass anything back to them. For 96 hours, I did not hug my kids… but they would blow me sweet kisses from a distance.

For 96 hours I slept thru the day and night. I did not shower. And wow – I stunk. I am grateful for showers. And soap. I did not eat anything except a few crackers and sips of water. I did not leave the house, except for a visit to the Doctor. The kids fended for themselves. They made their own food and their sticky little fingers left jelly, peanut butter and humus on the drawers and counters and they left their dishes in the sink. They tried to be helpful, but I am a control freak about the kitchen. Eventually, the army of ants we had been trying to rid the kitchen of, took over again temporarily.

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The kids played well together and worked hard to get along and entertain themselves. When I finally emerged from the bedroom after 96 hours, the house was a disaster with their toys everywhere. But they did a great job cleaning up! For 96 hours, Adam avoided me. He had much more to do without my help around the house… and keep working his job… and he did not want to chance getting sick!

We were all extra anxious about my being sick because it was intense for those 96 hours. I was worried the kids would catch something again. Or Adam would get strep throat, and our 18th wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii was upcoming!

Thankfully, I recovered. The meds and prayers kicked in and after 96 hours, I was back to normal. Which is unusual, because I’m an unusual person. But I was back to my normal, unusual self 🙂 Just in time for Hawaii… whew. We had a few days to spend family time together and prep for our trip. Monday morning came and the Grandparents were getting settled in to our house to stay with the kids for the week. We were almost out the door to leave for the airport when… Salem threw up.

NOOO!!!!

Confident in the Grandparents ability to bravely handle whatever came their way this week, we loved on Salem and made sure he was okay before we set out for our trip. He was fine with us leaving, and slept off and on thru the day. We checked in when we could as we traveled, and he was fine by the evening. The next day he had an infected splinter in his foot and Dr. Grandpa took good care of him. Soon, all was well and the kids had a great time with their Grandparents, while we spent 96 hours in Hawaii.

After 96 hours of sickness ended my heart was incredibly grateful. It could have been much worse. There is always so much to be thankful for, regardless of our circumstances. The 96 hours we had in Hawaii together were phenomenal. We celebrated 18 years of marriage and family. We started missing the kids and wishing they were with us after 48 hours! More on our adventures in Hawaii later… Now our hearts are full and we are grateful to be home with our family again. In Him, Leslie

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A.L.W.Y.P. (Adults Living With Your Parents)

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Sometimes it happens. Adults need to move back in with their parents. Dear ALWYP, we know how you feel. It’s not easy. You’ve moved back in with your parents after living life on your own – you don’t have to explain. We understand. When we moved from Ohio to Oregon in September, we began our Oregonian lifestyle by living with Adam’s parents… because we’re so cool. It might be hip to be an ALWYP … or … it might not. Either way, that’s what we did… for 7 weeks.

Adam’s parents graciously made room for our family of 5 in their 1,600 square foot house. We crammed ourselves and a lot of our crap into 2 small bedrooms and their garage, while the rest of our belongings spilled over into a friends storage space. It’s very humbling to be an ALWYP. You appreciate your parents opening up their home -again- yet you want to move out ASAP.

So our journey to finding a rental home began… We were looking for homes in the Portland burbs, an area nicknamed the Silicon Forest of the Northwest because many hi-tech and well-known name brand companies such as Intel and Nike are headquartered here. The rental market in this area is nuts. Places turn over fast. We found cookie cutter homes, with identical floor plans, and a 6×8 foot strip of grass for a “backyard”.  We found a place where the management company was showing the house from exactly 2:00-2:10pm, to our family and a “few” others. I mean 20 others showed up to see this house. We weren’t prepared for a brawl over a rental house, so we left. We found a place with “good energy” filled with fumes of incense and marijuana, Catholic altars and a picture of Jesus on every wall. I love Jesus, but…no. We found a place with a strange landlord and so many mirrors thru out the rooms, my hunch was it might have been used for porn movies. aaand… No. We found a place that was smelly and dark and the tenant had so much stuff in the home, we could barely walk thru it. As we toured the home, her two adult sons —ALWYPs— were on their computers glued to the screens playing video games in the living room / bat cave. Umm. No. I was bound to have nightmares if we would’ve rented that house.

After searching several weeks and becoming discouraged we might be ALWYPs, forever… we found a home we loved. With a ginormous backyard, a tree house, a chicken coup, and a hot tub, beautiful hardwood floors, an open living room, a wet bar – turned coffee bar, well taken care of and best of all – very reasonable rent. When we walked into this house we knew – this is the one! As we were leaving, another family was coming to see it. In Oregon, it is first come first serve. The first ones to have their application in have first dibs on renting the house. The landlord didn’t have an application printed, but she emailed one to us. We knew how quickly decent rental houses turned over and we should not waste any time.

We left the house and went to see one more property in Portland we had previously scheduled. As we were rushing around the city, dinner time was quickly approaching. Our plan was to see this last house, go to the church, print the application, turn it in, secure the house and get some dinner! We saw the last property and headed to the church. The printer was out of ink! So we went to the store for ink, grabbed a quick dinner, filled in our applications and headed back to the house. I called the landlord, and she still had not received any other applications. By the time we got back to her house, the other family had already applied……

Ugh. We were SO frustrated. For certain we’d be ALWYP’s forever… we went back to our friends home we were staying in while they were out of town. We were so thankful to be staying at our friends house, in the area we wanted to find a house. Our van was not working and needed new tires and a new battery, so we left it at Adam’s parents house for the week, and we were driving Adam’s car around, while staying at our friends house. Then his car broke down, and thankfully – we were able to borrow their car, while another friend was able to repair Adam’s.

Car-less and Home-less, we slumped down on our friends couch and prayed. We prayed the other applicants would fail their application or background check or credit check or all the other checks … and prayed WE would get this house! A selfish prayer – yes – but we were desperate! The next day, discouraged, Adam went to work and we went to homeschooling. After lunch, we got a call – the other applicants FAILED! Praise Ye the Lord, Hallelujah! The house was ours! I felt a tinge of guilt celebrating their failure and our win, but it passed quickly.

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Our story rages on. We are now moved in and so thankful to have this home. Built in 1949, It’s a quaint 1280 square feet. The floors are slightly slanted and they creak. The heat wasn’t working the first 2 weeks. We’ve had to call the furnace guy, the plumber, the locksmith when the front door knob came off, and fix the disposal. But it’s ours. Next door, they have a rooster, chickens, a dog and peacocks. All of our neighbors are very friendly and have young kids as well. We live conveniently close to everything, and there is a beautiful park within walking distance. We love it!

After living in transition for several months, selling our home in Ohio, moving across the country, living as AWLYP’s for seven weeks, unpacking and setting up house again, we have found a place to dwell and we are home. Thanks for reading and sharing in our story! In Him, Leslie

this old house.

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We closed on our house in Ohio a week ago. We are no longer home owners… Livin’ large without a mortgage… foot loose and fancy free. Or something like that. Seven weeks ago we packed up our old house in Ohio and moved to Oregon. We left our un-sold house with a few random things in our garage, for friends who felt like coming to pick them up. We prayed our house would sell. We left ‘on faith’ knowing God was calling us to GO, to pack our boxes, load the truck and move. People thought we were slightly crazy and perhaps a little irresponsible, walking away from our un-sold home. But we knew what God had asked us to do, and we trusted Him.

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We played the sell-our-house game while moving across the country… we received an offer, gave a counter offer, it was accepted, check. mate. Now the dust has settled, closing papers have been signed, and we have officially sold our first home. We’re rrriiiiich!!! Not really, but that would’ve been cool. Oh well.

Reflecting on the last eight and a half years of the bank owning this old house… memories abound. Bittersweet feelings have engulfed us. We are so thankful for the moments had in this old house… we’ve spent time reminiscing with our kids… so much family time was built in this old house…

Our kitchen ~ We created meals together, inspired by ideas and the desire to try new recipes. We engaged in deep coffee conversations. A space where I spent much of my time, where God met me at the kitchen sink ~ cleaning dishes, enjoying the sunshine pouring thru our cedar windows, He spoke to my heart. Our kitchen was a place to set up “store” and play “cafe”~ an ice skating rink, the girls slipped on their socks and set foot onto the slippery floor, gliding across pretending to be ice skaters.

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Our Dining Room ~ The gathering place, where we nourished and fed our family. A cafe of cozy meals and stories shared around our old table. The dining table served many areas, a place to work on homework, play games, table top ping-pong, Uno and puzzles, play with play dough, or play kitchen.

Our Living Room ~ A dance floor for family dance parties, free to be yourself, to make messes, clean up, relax, take a nap, read stories, share couch cuddles, watch movies. We loved eating ethnic foods on our living room floor, experiencing the dinners of another culture inside our old house. Our living room was a space to worship and learn to play instruments. A jungle gym space to bounce on the couches and climb on the furniture. Explore. Create. Mess up. Clean. Repeat. 

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Our bedrooms, our laundry room, our basement, our deck, our backyard, heck >>> even our bathrooms… The moments we have shared in this old house will forever remain in our hearts ~ Our family grew, our babies grew into kids, our marriage grew deeper. We miss our yard, especially our deck. We loved eating outside, as long as it wasn’t storming and above 30 degrees. Winter, spring, summer or fall we enjoyed this old house. In spite of the work it required, we loved this old house. We will miss this old house and will treasure the stories it has told. But we are ready for the new stories, yet to be written… Our hearts swell with memories, thankfulness and anticipation.

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After 7 weeks of living with our parents, *this weekend* we are moving into our rental house ~ Eeeek!!! Stay tuned for the next story of finding this rental in a crazy housing market. Our story rages on… In Him, Leslie