Saturday, August 27, 2016

back to school

Since we didn't move in until the last week of July, we didn't get much summer in our new house before school started a couple weeks later.  I started work a week before the kids and we had to call in the Grandmas for back up!
Ga Ga came to watch the kids when I went back to work before she and Papa left for their Alaska cruise.  We eat like royalty when mom is here!  She's always making yummy things for the kids and bringing dinner to make for us!  She'd be a great live-in nanny!
Then the next week Grandma came and got to stay for Back to School night and see the kids school and meet their teachers!  Grandma is the queen of games!  She will play games all day and the kids love it!
They had an ice cream social 2 days before school started.  This was also happening at all the schools in the district so unfortunately since I hadn't moved to their school yet, I had to be at my school and miss this night with them.  I was so sad to miss it!
I caught up with them at the very end and got to meet Kerigan's teacher.
Mrs. Halverson and I clicked right away!  The second she noticed my Stella and Dot earrings... I knew it was a match made in heaven!  Ha!
And what are the chances these two got in the same class?  Look out Kindergarten!
We went out to celebrate with Grandma at Olive Garden!
Then we had one more day before school started.  That next night we did our Kindergarten preparation.  She was supposed to decorate this hand and we were supposed to write a message to her.  They were going to read "The Kissing Hand" the next day.  She wrote "mom" and you probably can't see it but she glued that pink heart in the middle and drew a picture of us in the center.  #ohmyheart
We woke up bright and early for school pictures on the step and their favorite muffins for breakfast on the special plate!
I can't believe I wrote my last first day of "Kindergarten" sign!
She rocked it.  She was so sweet on this morning and she just couldn't wait for school.  I was so proud of her.

She picked rainbows for her backpack this year.
I love this girl so much!
And this boy.  He has my heart.  He didn't want a big photo shoot anymore but let me take a couple.
He's growing up so fast.  Seems like yesterday he was in Kindergarten.

It almost killed me that I wasn't able to walk with my baby to drop her off on her first day of Kindergarten.  But Daddy did great and got lots of pictures for me.
This is blurry but this is Andrew with Mrs. Beaver.  He loved her because of her name!  Ha!  He said he always gets teachers that have fun last names- Mrs. Nichols ("Nickels"), Mrs. Friday, and now Mrs. Beaver!  
Mrs. Halverson emailed this picture to me and I was so thrilled.  I just wanted to sit in the corner and spy on her all day!
This was the whole class picture on the first day!  So cute!  Four of these kids live in our neighborhood!
Daddy took this picture of them and texted it to Avery's mom (she's a teacher too!) and me.  It made my heart so happy that she already had a best friend on her first day of school.
Since I didn't get to drop her off in the morning, I came a little early to pick her up so I could see her in class!  I loved it!
She had a busy day but she loves school!
The awesome Mrs. Halverson!
Andrew let me snap a quick picture at his table.  Since it was the end of the day and the classroom was empty!  Ha!
The fun Mrs. Beaver!
The kids came home to some surprises they had been wanting!  Happy first day!
This was the afternoon of day 2.  This is our route coming home- our neighborhood is right behind the school so they just walk up the soccer field and they are almost home!  It's so awesome!

Here's to a great year!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

meant to be

Eating our cereal amongst tons of boxes on the first morning in our new home! #imsurprisedwefoundbowls.

I gave a little background in my last update but there is more to tell.  

And so here it is... the story of our move...

The truth was, I wasn't particularly happy about it.  I felt like we had just moved, and after 3 years we made awesome friends and were just beginning to love our little town.  I also loved my house.  I kept saying I wish I could have picked it up and moved it here.  Putting it on the market was one of the hardest things I had to do.

But the reason for our move was a pretty simple one, yet difficult, if that makes sense.  For those that don't know, Craig is an Athletic Director.  He started small almost 10 years ago, and basically is working his way up.  This current job offer was one we just couldn't pass up.  It is one of those districts where you want to plant roots.  Build your life.  Retire from.  There were a million reasons to say yes.  But for me, it meant leaving close friends, moving further from family, and starting all over.  But I am not the only one in our little family.  I knew that supporting my husband is what I needed to do.

So we started house hunting.

For some reason, I felt pulled to this house.  It was not my favorite.  There were things about it I wanted to change, when we looked at others that were more updated and move-in ready.  So why did my heart keep coming back to this one?  We knew nothing about the neighborhood other than I knew there was a school super close by.

The sellers were incredible to work with.  Almost too easy.  This is a much larger community than our old one and our agent told us the market moves like crazy.  Houses go on and sell within hours.  I was so nervous when we were looking because we were still waiting to sell ours so I was afraid we would lose everything we saw and liked.  

When we saw this one, it was just okay.  It had pluses and minuses.  Mostly it was just dated and needed a new kitchen (why do we always buy houses that need kitchen updates!?)  but it had a great storage room, a 3 car garage, and several other things we liked.  But we couldn't buy until we sold.

So several days later, when we sold our house, we came back and looked at it again.  It was miraculously still on the market.  We saw a couple other ones I fell in love with and we were minutes away from making an offer on another one when I stopped mid-dial and told Craig we needed to make an offer on this one.  It was more in our price range, but I just felt there was more.  So we made an offer.  And they accepted.  

Then our buyers backed out.  So all the houses went back on the market.
I wasn't that upset, truthfully.  I thought maybe it was a sign that we weren't meant to have the house and again, I wasn't in love with it.  I thought maybe it was an opportunity to find another house in a few weeks if and when we sold again.  We were just getting nervous about where we were going to enroll the kids in school if we didn't sell and buy a house soon.

So a couple weeks later when our house sold the second time, and this one was still available, I just knew.  It was meant to be ours.  The seller was adamant that we were the right buyers.  He was so generous and agreed to a remodel allowance and let us rent for 2 months since he had already moved.  He was so kind to work with.  This way we didn't technically own the house, but we knew where the kids would go to school, and we didn't have to rent something else until our closing.  It worked perfectly.

Then a couple days after we moved, this happened.

And I immediately knew why this was meant to be.
Kerigan had just moved away from the most special little group of friends in the world.  She had formed some incredible bonds with many kids in our old town.  I was most worried about her making this transition than anyone else.

God knew that Kerigan needed this little girl.  She's 5.  And she lives

Then this happened...

This is our backyard.  Three boys live in that house, and 2 of them are twins in 4th grade.  And we soon discovered this is only a small fraction of the boys in our neighborhood.  

And that is why this was all meant to be.

Our backyard is lined with trampolines and play sets.  And kids, footballs, soccer balls, and just lots and lots of kids.  And that school in the backyard?  They all go there.  Sometime I would like to count the number of kids from our neighborhood that attend their school.  I'm going to guess there's close to 30.
So we registered our baby for Kindergarten.  I was so conflicted with this decision right up until almost the last week before school started.  But when we found out there were 7 other kids just in our neighborhood alone that would be starting, we knew she would miss out if she didn't go.  It helped make our decision.  And deep down I know it was the right one.

Then, this happened...

This nice older couple that lives next door has been like a second set of parents to us and grandparents to our kids.  The kids all love them and they said they actually moved to this neighborhood because of all the kids!  They have grandkids who come and play at their house a lot.
One afternoon Judy invited Kerigan to go swimming with her and her granddaughter at the aquatic center.
Kerigan had the best time and just loves Judy.  Then I was chatting one evening with them and they were telling me their daughter was a pediatric nurse in the ICU where Andrew has had all his surgeries (another fun fact, we're in the same city as the hospital now!)  She had a new job now but had been there around the time Andrew had his last open heart surgery.  So they told me her name and I just knew.
This was Amy.  Their daughter.  Just about our favorite nurse of all time.  And she was Andrew's nurse in the PICU when he was 4.  The little girl Kerigan had spent the day at the pool with was Amy's daughter!

Meant to be.

So I haven't mentioned my job much, but I did interview over the summer and got hired for a part time 5th grade position at a school in the district, about 10 minutes from our house.  It was different than the kids school and I was bummed, but I was okay with it.  With so many elementary schools I knew it wouldn't happen that I would end up at the same school as the kids again.  So they helped me unpack all my school stuff and move into my new building.  We were the "Wizards" and they loved this Herkey right inside the door!

Then this happened...

2 nights before school started on back to school night, my principal called me in to tell me that my job had been changed to a full time position.  I was not expecting this, and we didn't have after school child care arranged for the kids because I was going to be home (I worked in the mornings).  They offered me the position, but I declined.  They were going to post for another part time teacher but a couple days later I was called in again to see if I wanted to transfer to another building that was part time, so they could hire a full time replacement.  

Which building do you think it was?
Decision made.

Meant to be.

I get to be with my baby at school!  For her Kindergarten year.  It is just amazing.  And Andrew's classroom is right across the hall.  I am teaching 3rd grade in the afternoons so Andrew just walks home after school and Kerigan comes to my room and hangs out until I leave.  We have the most amazing principal and this school has FUN written all over it!  I am proud to call this our home school and that my kids and I get to be together again is just a dream come true.

So I think it's pretty clear that God had His hand on this one too.  Every time we are moved in a new direction, I know it is all part of His plan. 

We've had fun exploring our new city- there is so much to see and do!
We've fallen in love with Steak & Shake!
And this pizza place is to die for.
A little Fro Yo for the win!
The kids love picking out their own flavors and putting their own candy on top!
We went to Target to get this boy a new bike since all the neighborhood boys basically live on their bikes!
And this girl got a new Frozen scooter.
Which she rides in whatever clothes she is wearing... pj's, dress up clothes, etc.  Who says Dorothy can't ride a scooter?
We've been furniture shopping- Ha!
And Craig finally gave in to my begging for a king sized bed.  I don't think he's regretting it!
And even though we're in Hawkeye country, I still find a Cyclone every once in a while.  And it makes me smile.  And I know eventually it will feel like home.

Because I know that we were brought to the place where we are supposed to be at this time in our lives right now.  

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