Friday, September 30, 2016

A Family Update

It's been awhile.  Our kids have grown up a lot these past couple of years, and lots of changes have taken place.  There have been lots of ups and downs.  Though we love all of our children very much, we know that as they enter adulthood, they are free to make their own choices.  Some of their choices have made us smile, while others continue to put us through trial.

Many of our adult children are not living at home anymore.  Adam, Rachel, Caleb, Julia, Anna, and Galina are off pursuing their own lives.  We keep in touch with all them, some more than others.  A few are in college, one is off doing missions, a few are off "being adults", and one is married and expecting their first child.  

As far as going into more detail... well I won't.  At the same time, I do not want to appear disingenuous by ignoring the questions and evading the obvious that they are hardly mentioned on this blog anymore.  Simply, we want to focus on happenings going on in our home and those that we are invited to be a part of.  

Those are the things I will continue to share on this blog.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Infer what you wish.  Or don't.  It's up to you.  Those closest to us know what our family and home represent... who we are.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Big Move

We picked up moving trucks on Friday, September 2.  We spent the whole day loading them.  We even hired two movers to help us.  By 9pm we had every square inch of 
the three 26 foot trucks filled.

We were all bone tired and asleep by midnight.  Our alarms were set for 5am.
1500 miles over three days, that was our plan.
John, Thomas, and my Mom each drove a Penske.  Galina drove our Expedition while I drove our 15 passenger van.  Each time we stopped it usually took 45 minutes to fill up, go to the bathroom, and grab a snack.  Though we talked to our bank, our cards were constantly flagged because of our large fuel purchases out of state.  We often had to show our ID and call the bank right there and then. It was frustrating and often caused more delay, but we managed.
When we finally arrived at the motel of our new hometown John realized that during our last fuel stop, the gas attendant had failed to give him back his license.    
Talk about stress!  We had an appointment to sign escrow papers in the morning and John didn't have identification.  That is when I remembered where our passports were packed in a desk drawer. 
But which truck?
After much deduction we narrowed it down to what we thought was the right truck but soon realized that the desk was packed at the front.
In the motel parking lot, while the town appeared to still be be asleep, two men rummaged through a moving truck with flash lights.
John and Thomas spent two hours squeezing their way through to the buried desk at the front of the truck when they got really quiet.  
At one point my Mom and I thought they had passed out from heat and lack of oxygen.

At that moment I laid hands on the front of the truck and began praying.
Praying they were okay.  
Praying they would find the passports.
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Just then, my Mom saw them making their way out...

with the right passport in hand!

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An hour later we did our walk-thru and then signed papers at the title company.
It wasn't long before we had the keys to our new home!
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Before unpacking

After unpacking



Which Home Did We Pick?

There were three homes that I really liked.  

1.  A one story home on 56 gorgeous acres.  It had majestic oaks, stocked ponds, and a couple of barns.  Each of the five bedrooms had their own private bathroom.  The layout of the home was awesome!  It was the most expensive property out of the three but with no stairs and all the acreage we thought it was worth it.


2.  A two story home on a little over 2 acres in a lovely little town.  A huge pantry, pool and deck, with a lovely private master bedroom balcony made this home stick out.  Lots of charm with a wrap around porch.


3. The smallest of the three homes this property still seemed to be the best value with a little over 6 acres, a pool, and stocked pond.  Nice landscaped yard with a white picket fence.   


In the end we chose House #2.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Why Texas?

Image result for texas star
Since I could remember I have always wanted to live somewhere green.  
Somewhere with lots of trees.
A place where my kids could climb trees... maybe have a tire swing.
Someplace less busy.
Out of the city.
Maybe on some land.
With some chickens.
A place where my kids could run around, be loud, and enjoy nature.
Oh and did I mention, cheaper?  Much cheaper?
A dream?
Maybe.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
But maybe not.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Over the summer Galina and I flew out to Texas for a three day house hunt.
Our real estate agent and friend who had sold us our last home in California had moved out to Texas a few years ago.  He was more than willing to take us on a tour to see all the homes I was interested in.
As I found homes on the internet that called out to me,  he inquired about them.
It was a crazy storm of emails for many weeks going back and forth.  
Many of the homes I felt a real connection with ended up not being available for some reason or another.  By the time we were on a plane heading out to Texas, I knew our road trip would include nineteen houses in fifteen different cities all in East Texas.

Of course Galina and I had to visit my Mom and Sister, and my Mom was coming on the road trip with us, so we started out in the Dallas area.
Early the next morning our real estate agent friend picked us up to begin this whirlwind house hunt.  Steve, was an amazing guide/driver/agent.  He never rushed us through a property and even accommodated us when we found a new property to look at while on the road.  
Here are the cities we visited.

Sulphur Springs
New Boston
Maud
Atlanta
Grand Saline
Canton
Lindale
Kilgore
LaRue
Whitehouse
Jacksonville
Fairfield
Streetman
Duncanville
Fort Worth

An 800 mile circle!

I must say that everywhere we drove in Texas was gorgeous, and each time we drove up to a new house, I thought this will be the one.
However, it was obvious, sometimes right as we walked in the front door, that the home 
wasn't the one.

We looked at homes on fifty acres.  Some were fixer-uppers.  Some were Winchester Mystery Houses.  Some did not have a good layout.  One had an indoor pool.  

A few I absolutely loved, but they were not practical for our family, needing a ton of work.
When all was said and done, there were only three houses that I could really see our family living in...


Thursday, September 15, 2016

News to Share!


Last week we moved to Texas!
What?
Where?
Why?
Once we are a bit more settled, I'll share more.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Young, In Love, and Now Engaged

These two are engaged!  We are very happy for them!  Their story is so sweet.  Thankful these two have allowed us to be a part of their journey.












Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lots of Birthdays!!!!

This weekend we celebrated lots of birthdays! Paul turned 16! Caleb turned 20! And Uncle Jack and Aunt Tanya have birthdays in August too!
Uncle Jack and Julia 
  BTW, Julia leaves for Guatemala in a few days for a three month stint at Hope for Home.
Gail and Sveta
Gail is our good friend that we met at church.  She is awesome to play Mexican Train with.
Anastasia and Uncle Jack
Playing Rummikub with Sandy and Gail
We had a full house of family and friends!

Ryan and Matthew (the boys' friends) came over for the day.
Annalyn with her boyfriend JJ and William
We sang happy birthday and then watched...  

Paul,
then Caleb, 
then Uncle Jack, 
and finally Aunt Tanya blow out their candles.
Next, was opening presents.








William with Grandma and Anastasia
Alex.. I mean Thor building Legos
Three generations
Happy birthday to four amazing people!  Thanks for giving us four awesome reasons to celebrate!