Monday, December 23, 2013

preparations for christmas in our new home

We moved to Oregon in June.  When we left Minnesota we sold or gave away or threw away many of our possessions.  This move was to transition us to our eventual ministry in the Philippines and part of that move was going to be that we would live with Jason's parents.  So we downsized our life and it felt good.  We arrived with free agendas and lighter because of fewer things.  It's been so good to reevaluate what is important in life.  After living with the Stampers for only two weeks, however, we learned of Jack's multiple myeloma blood cancer diagnosis.  We enjoyed 3 months of the summer in their home and then moved to our own place.  This decision was to provide Jack a quiet and more stress free and germ free environment that he would need as he goes through the treatments he needs.  Through a lot of searching and even more praying God provided a home for us to rent that is only 4 minutes away from Jason's parents home and our church.  It is a town home and while it could be frustrating to be so close to neighbors we are the end unit and even have a view of Mt. Hood!  We have had a light dusting of snow on two different days here this winter and the kids were so excited to see that!  These Minnesota kids had their snow gear on and were out the door as early as I would let them leave.  They were disappointed that the "snow" wasn't as fun as their Minnesota memories of the deep stuff was. 
 Jason has always told us about Peacock Lane.  This is a street in an old neighborhood in Portland.  Each homeowner signs a contract with the purchase of their home that states they will display Christmas lights.  So we were very excited to finally participate in the opening night after years of hearing about the Stamper tradition. On the first night of the season the cross streets are closed to traffic and you can walk this block and take in the details at your own pace.  The night we went was perfect.  There was a nice layer of thick fog and  it was about 52 degrees.  It was just beautiful and definitely a magical experience for our kids.
 We have really enjoyed having our own space to do school and be creative.  The light in this house is really great too.  I've included this picture as a special thank you to Ms. Mary who gave us so many Christmas decorations and these crafty things for the kids. 
 There are only a handful of Christmas items that we kept from our 11 years of marriage.  There were many boxes of things that had to go.  I hope my Minnesota friends are enjoying some of those things this year.  One of the things I kept is a small handmade ornament from my great grandma.  I remember the Christmas that we went to her old farmhouse and gathered with what felt like 200 cousins (that's not much of an exaggeration) who were running through the barns, cellar, upstairs, and downstairs enjoying familiar sights and smells and lots of laughter.  Great grandma Barker had hand sewn and personalized dozens of gifts and passed them out in large bags to each family.  That was a special Christmas to me and I'll always treasure this.
 The best part about our move to Oregon has been the amount of family time we are enjoying.  We have been able to reestablish some much needed routine with daily reading and training of our kids.  Pictured here, Jason is finishing up book 6 of The Chronicles of Narnia.  Isaac always claims the best seat in the house.
 As you walk through the front door theres a little nook or whatever it is that's been fun to have.  The brown stoneware croc is from my grandma Carol.  The nativity figures were hers as well.  They were on her table every year.  I'm thankful to have them.  I asked my grandpa to make the little stable for them just this year.  Thank you, grandpa!  It's perfect.   
 Sometimes tigers visit the baby Jesus also.  
 I've been surprised by the amount of cards that have found our new home this year. :)  I didn't know if all our friends could keep up with our travels over the past 6 months.  Thank you, friends!
 To the right through our front door is a small bathroom.  Our maps are hung there.  Sort of a little surprise when you sit down. We have only ever had one bathroom and this town home has THREE toilets!  We don't quite know where to go sometimes.  It's such a nice "problem" to have.  
 There are twinkle lights and paper snowflakes in that room also.  It's really a nice little place to be. 
 The one strand of large retro colored lights that I kept from Minnesota are lining the stairway to the second floor where our bedrooms are. 
 There's a corner fireplace in our living room and this home is so cozy at the touch of a button.  A very drastic difference from our Minnesota home with all wood floors and ice on the insides of the windows.  I'm not sure how this transition is roughing us up for our move to the Philippines, but we sure are enjoying it.  Since most of what we kept were functional items, I've decorated with books and school supplies.  It works.  It's our life.



  
 The kids have totally decorated the tree and I love it.  That's the way it has been for years. I love it that they pile on whatever they want- usually made with love and hung with care. 
 We had kept the pictures from Jason's office wall and so those are hanging in our living room.  It was Jason's idea to mount a little magnetic fixture to the bottom edge of each kids frame and then change out art as they create it.  And of course, I kept several of my grandma's quilts and use them here.  
 Isaac has enjoyed painting lately and this is his baby Jesus in a manger.  He painted it for grandpa who is in the hospital for the month of December. 
 Isaac turned four years old two weeks ago.  I can't believe that I have a four year old baby.  He regularly melts me with his, "you are the best mom ever" and it's always accompanied with a big hug. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

deep breath.

I have purposed to begin.  With that beginning again, I'm plagued with all the catching up that I feel like I have to do.  I want to preserve a sort of time line of our journey here and so I'm going to oh-so-slowly attempt to fill in the gaps and take a deep breath and dust off the memories and share them here.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

enjoying the snow

What's a person to do when that's all there is... snow.  I want to have these snow play pictures in our blog books for the record.  Soon enough we will be living FAR away from anything snowy.  (I'll post our "where, when, why, how philippines" soon!)  And these snowy memories will be all we are left with.  In my opinion that is fine, but my kids are truly Minnesotan and they LOVE the stuff.