Saturday, June 27, 2009

Settling In

Nathan and Grace arrived in Oklahoma last Saturday afternoon, so they've been "home" for a week now. Mama and Granny drove them up from Louisiana and then stayed for several days to visit and to see our new home.

We all went to church on Sunday morning, and Nathan finally met the son of friends we made when we were here in May. His name is Ben, and they were in the same Sunday school class. Gracie went to her own class, and when I picked her up the teacher smiled and said, "She would have done so much better if she wasn't so shy!" Apparently Grace led the class in several songs and jumped right in with the lesson.

We went out for lunch at a local Mexican restaurant for Father's Day, and then relaxed the rest of the day. Monday morning Trevor went to work, and the rest of us took the kids to Kansas to see the site of the cabin that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in the book "Little House on the Prairie". We all enjoyed the trip and Mama got the rest of the pictures and information that she needed for the talk she is giving on Little House in Europe this summer.

We found an incredible park as we were driving home, and took the kids there to play Monday night. They loved it, and I think it's going to be a favorite place to spend time.

Mama and Granny left Tuesday morning, and the kids and I went to the Tulsa Zoo. It was ridiculously hot (the temperatures have been as high as 107), so we only stayed a few hours but Nathan and Grace had a great time. We rode the train and the merry-go-round, and the kids rode a camel. After growing up with the Houston Zoo, this one was much smaller with fewer exhibits, but it was still very nice with the added benefit of being only 10 minutes from our house.

My new friend Tracy called that afternoon to see if we wanted to go swimming, so we spent a few hours cooling off in the pool. Nathan and Grace played with their new friends Ben and Lily and had a great time.

Wednesday I took them to the new pediatrician for well child visits (yay, no shots!) and then to enroll them in school. It's hard to believe that Gracie is going to be in Kindergarten and Nathan in 3rd grade. We spend the rest of the day running errands and trying to stay cool.

Thursday I took them to the on site daycare at my new job to take a tour and to fill out the necessary paperwork. It is a beautiful facility and the kids will have the opportunity to swim and go on field trips this summer. After the tour, we went down to the Oklahoma Aquarium. Just like the zoo, it was much smaller than its Houston and New Orleans counterparts, but still very nice and more importantly, indoors. The heat is insane and we take any opportunity to stay inside!

Yesterday we mostly stayed at home and relaxed. The kids played the Wii and computer games while I did some organizing and final unpacking. This house has very little storage and no bookshelves which makes it difficult to find places for all our books. Most of them are still in boxes in our bedroom while we decided what kind of system we want to purchase to house them. Our old house had custom, built-in bookshelves that were completely filled and so it's going to be a challenge to find a home for all our books.

All in all we are settling in very well. I am quickly learning my way around the area and Nathan and Grace are already meeting new friends at church and in the neighborhood. Although I would prefer to stay home with the kids full time, I'm still excited about starting my new job Monday. The house is feeling more and more like home every day, and we are already getting involved with our Sunday school class. We have a fellowship tonight, and already have plans for the 4th of July weekend.

God has provided a comfortable home, good jobs and friendly people to welcome us to the area. The transition from known to unknown has been surprisingly easy, and it's been abundantly clear that God has paved the way for us, and for that I am grateful.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Am Loved

So they all went away from the little log house. The shutters were over the windows, so the little house could not see them go. It stayed there inside the log fence, behind the two big oak trees that in the summertime had made green roofs for Mary and Laura to play under. And that was the last of the little house.

Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie

This is one of my favorite lines from all of the Little House books, and it was exactly what I was feeling when we pulled out of the driveway to begin our trip to Oklahoma. It felt as though I was leaving a family member behind, and I could barely see to say goodbye through my tears.

As I did a final walk through of the house, taking pictures of the empty rooms and one more of the familiar fireplace I couldn't help but cry. Tears welled in my eyes as I recalled memories in each room, and said goodbye to each one. Trevor met me in the kitchen and held me as he prayed over me, and said a prayer of thankgiving for the many years we had been able to call it home. The house where Nathan started his first day of Kindergarten and where Gracie learned how to walk.

The tears continued to fall as we said goodbye to his family, but slowly they stopped the further we got down the road. As I drove, I began to look forward to getting to Tulsa and to getting the new house in order. I thought about my new job and all of the friends that we had already made, and I felt better. I thought about all the people who care about me and who have been faithful to offer prayers on my behalf over the last several months, and I felt even better than before. I thought about how richly I have been blessed by God in so many ways that can never be named or put on a list.

I am loved.

My geographical location might change over the years, and I may have to say goodbye over and over again to those I love but one thing will never change: I am loved.

My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're Here

I'm at Trevor's office right now checking email and editing accounts online because our internet is not up and working yet at the house. It's been kind of nice not feeling like I constantly need to be checking stuff online, but at the same time I miss the convenience of having it readily available.

At any rate, we safely made it to Oklahoma on Sunday. The movers came Friday to pack the house, and then Saturday to load it on to the semi. We left about an hour after the truck did (that's a story for another time), and drove until we got just past Dallas. We stopped for the night and then finished the trip Sunday morning.

The movers came Monday morning and had the entire house unloaded by noon. We finally stopped them from unpacking boxes because we were out of room for storing everything, and piles of stuff were accumulating on the floors. We worked hard all day Monday and got a good bit done, and then I finished pretty much all of the rooms except for the master bedroom and both bathrooms. The challenge has been finding a place for everything, because we downsized a good bit and this house doesn't have nearly the storage that we had before.

I've been in Tulsa today doing drug testing and benefits orientation for my new job, so I decided to stop in and see Trevor for a few minutes on the way home. It's been kind of fun pretending that we are married without children, but we are really starting to miss Nathan and Grace. Mama has them in Louisiana with her and she will be driving them up to us on Saturday. Granny E is coming with them, and I am excited about showing them around our new town.

So, I need to finish up my interneting and get back to the house so I can finish up the rest of the the unpacking. As soon as we get the internet hooked up at the house, I'll be a little more regular with my posting. Until then, expect delays.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One More Day

The movers come to pack the house tomorrow. Tomorrow. Just to be clear, that's tomorrow. As in one more day in our home. One more day to walk slowly through the rooms and hear echos of laughter, tears, fighting, conversations and love. One more day to look out of my bedroom window into the back yard and see the rising sun send shafts of light through the leaves of the twin pecan trees. One more day to sit out on the deck with a beverage in one hand and the phone in the other as I chat with a loved one and swing.

One more day.

But I'm also one day closer to a new life with my husband and children. One more day until we have a brand new house in which to create memories of laughter, tears, fighting, conversations and love. One day closer to joining a new church and making new friends who will soon be old ones. One day closer to settling in the place that God has chosen for us.

One more day.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tying Up the Loose Ends

This has been a week filled with farewells and final moments. We had Gracie's birthday party last Saturday, which allowed us to say goodbye to our friends. It's been a long time since we were all together...Kenneth and Kellye, Chris and Ali, Mike and Heather...with all of the kids running around under foot and having a great time. We enjoyed visiting with everyone and being able to open our home one last time before the move.

Then Friday my friends from work took me out after work for lunch and to hang out. We went to Chuy's (mmmmmm) around 1pm and didn't leave until almost five! They gave me an incredibly generous gift card that enabled me to purchase a Kindle 2 from Amazon. I can't wait to get it next week!!! It was so much fun to be with these women that I have come to love and respect. It's not often that we are given the opportunity to work with a group of people with whom we can also be friends. These women that work closely with every day...Mary Ann, Linda, Sam, Mary, Gayle, Janet and Chanda...make getting up in the morning worth it. I never dread going to work and I am constantly laughing and being encouraged while I am there.

These women have seen me through my pregnancy with Grace and her birth, the deaths of Gramps and Uncle Tellius, and all the ups and downs life has thrown at me in between. They have been faithful to tell me when to mind my own business, and when I have stuff stuck in my teeth after lunch. I count each one as my friend, and know that no matter how far away I may move that they will always be there for me. I've never been so sad to leave a job, knowing that I'll probably never be able to recreate that sort of perfect workplace chemistry in my lifetime. But it was good while it lasted, and I have the best memories of them to pull out from time to time and revisit when I am homesick.

Then Saturday we had 22 of Trevor's colleagues over for a party so he could say goodbye to them. It was sort of a joke because the name of the party was "Let's All Experience Trevor's Daily Commute". For those of you familiar with the Houston area, we live about 45 miles east of Houston, and Trevor works at the Beltway and 290.


If he were making that commute during rush hour (oh I laugh at the singular usage of that word), it would be about an hour and a half one way. As it is, he leaves the house each morning at 5:15 am to avoid all of that, and so that he can get off early enough to pick Gracie up from the church in the evening. So all of his friends made the journey and they were all appropriately appalled at how long it took.

We had a really good time playing games and eating. Three friends stayed until about 9:30 pm because we were out on the deck with a box of Trivial Pursuit cards just asking the questions. The entire thing went off without a hitch, and I was able to meet Trevor's boss from Russia, who did not speak a lick of English. Trevor taught the kids to say "hello" in Russian, and I think it pleased him that they tried.

So, today we dismantled the swing set. We knew that we couldn't take that massive thing with us to Oklahoma, and so we decided to give it to Will and Charly so that Nick and Alex could enjoy it. Once it was out of the yard there was just this big, empty space out there between the two pecan trees. The place where our kids spent hours swinging, climbing and imagining the day away was suddenly gone. I didn't think that it would bother me, but it did. Just like seeing our fireplace without it's mantle feels like a little death. (Amber took it home with her to Louisiana...Gramps made it when the fireplace was built, and she wanted to use it over her fireplace)

The last straw was when I ran out to the store for a few groceries later in the afternoon, and then dissolved into tears as I approached our driveway. I've known for a long time that we were leaving, but seeing the house sitting there expectantly waiting for me to come home was more than I could bear. I just sat in my car and cried for a few minutes. I've been pushing all of this down as I've made plans and kept moving forward, but now that planning is over and all that's left to do is say goodbye.

It's turning out to be harder than I thought.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


As much as I try to stop time, it just keeps moving forward. Gracie turned five this past Monday, and as she blew out the candles and made her wish I couldn't help feeling a little sad. My tiny little baby is growing up and she will never stop. There are so many things that I find endearing about her personality, so I decided to compare her with the actual definitions for grace in the dictionary.


1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion. She's too much like her mother! We've never met a change in floor color that we couldn't trip over.
2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement. Most definitely. She can charm the pants off of most anyone who meets her.
3. A sense of fitness or propriety. Again...nope. She runs around in her underwear for the most part, and doesn't care who sees her.
4. a. A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill. She wants nothing more than to help others. It's so sweet to see this part of her personality grow and flourish.
b. Mercy; clemency. We're still working on this one. Take away one of her lizards or dolls and her wrath will fall swiftly and terribly.
5. a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
c. An excellence or power granted by God. I pray daily that she will be covered by His grace and come to know Him in a personal, saving way at an early age.
6. A short prayer of blessing or thanksgiving said before or after a meal. Her favorite one right now is: God our Father, once again thank you for our blessings. Amen (Did I mention that it is sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping"?)
7. Grace used with His, Her, or Your as a title and form of address for a duke, duchess, or archbishop. Sometime I think that she thinks that she is royalty!

I love that little girl so much, and I am so proud of the person she is becoming as each year passes by. She makes me laugh (and sometimes cry), and I am so blessed to be her mother. Happy Birthday Grace!