Monday, November 28, 2011

...Until We Don't

Over the summer and early fall, I took on this wonderful mantra:
"We Live Here!"
It was a way to celebrate both the place we live - the mountains, lakes, beautiful weather, places to explore - and the community in this place - friends that get us, welcoming attitude, the love of outdoors, willingness to explore, access to nature, and all the events planned with families in mind.

Each Friday in September, as we gathered with friends to hike around one of our high dessert beauties, I would turn to Michelle and marvel, "We Live Here!" Watching our kids splash in Sparks Lake with the Three Sisters rising in the background... "We Live Here!"  Sitting on the shore of Todd Lake while our kids hunt for frogs and tadpoles... "We Live Here!" Sitting outside Jackson's Corner with dear friends, pints of beer in hand, watching the boys play with their friends in their play area... "We Live Here!"  Checking in at the public pool, the one with twisty slides, water play structures, and zero-entry wading pool, waving at the friends who were already gathered and layering on the sunscreen... "We Live Here!"  Enjoying our end of summer party/graduation at the boys' school, with all the kids showing off the river they had built in the backyard, adults drinking home-brew beer, all eyes beaming at the two kids who have grown from toddlers to kindergarteners in this magical place..."We Live Here!"

Needless to say, we have come to LOVE Bend, Oregon.
The problem is, Bend, Oregon is suffering (along with the rest of the country). We know so many people, including numerous friends and co-workers, who have lost jobs and are still struggling to find a comperable position in town.  While August and September were filled with marvel at this amazing place we live, October brought the news that Scott's position is ending in Bend and my office would soon be closing. Ironically (amazingly, shockingly, coincidentally??) we received these two pieces of news within one 24-hour period.

We suddenly found ourselves in a very common position... and in a very uncommon position at the same time.  You see, Scott's job is ending in Bend, but he's been offered a transfer into a fantastic position in the Portland office. My office is closing, but I was given the option of working from home, or transferring to one of our other offices... two of which are located in suburbs of Portland.  So, after much gnashing of teeth, tears, and discernment (okay, how much discernment was really needed, given the situation??), we faced the music and are trying to get ourselves moved to Portland in January.

We are terribly sad to be leaving Bend.  The place, the people, the community.

We know Portland is an amazing City, and we recognize the amazing luck to both have jobs in the same place; a place that is not Cincinnati or Fresno, or Nebraska; a place that we would have been #1 on our list of places to move if we found ourselves jobless and out of options in Bend; a place that fits our lifestyle and values; a place that puts us 3 hours closer to family in Seattle and only 3 hours away from spending weekends in Bend.  Really, there are only two downsides to moving to Portland:
#1. We have to move
#2. Portland is not Bend.

This is the chaos that has been consuming our lives for the last 6 weeks.  How to move our family, choose a neighborhood , figure out a place to live (infinitely harder than we anticipated), find a childcare that comes remotely close Bloom, rent our house here... all the while dealing with my standard end of the year crazy at work and Scott's temp schedule of being in Portland a few days/week. Oh, and it's the holiday season. Awesome.  Stress Level = High. Faith Level = Tested. Hope Level = Wavering. Knowledge that everything will turn out for the best in the end = Solid.  Best Quote I heard this month: "Everything will work out for good in the end. If it's not good, it's not the end."

We Live Here!... Until We Don't.

Friday, November 25, 2011

If It's Not Broken

We are not super creative or crafty around these parts.  When Josh's birthday rolled around, I was quite tempted to roll his celebration in with the group party we do for all of our playgroup friends that have fall birthdays... all 8 of 'em!  In the end, I really wanted Josh to have a party that was for HIS friends.  Granted, his friends are all the younger siblings of our playgroup, but it was fun to plan a party that would be just for

Now, I've done one 2-year old party before, and it was a great success, so rather that break out a new set of tricks, we did a full repeat of this party from July 2009. The kids decorated their own t-shirts, played with every toy in our house, and then stuffed cupcakes with sprinkles.  To customize the party for Josh, we did dog-themed plates and cupcakes, but it was a wonderfully simple party.
The most amazing party of the party was how QUIET it felt.  Two years ago, nine 2-year olds felt like total chaos around my house. This year, eight 2-year olds weren't quite sure what to do without their older siblings creating chaos.  They decorated, played, shared, and snacked without any incident and barely any noise.  Without the older siblings running the show, it was serene, almost zen-like... until we broke out the sugar. =)

Josh's Friends: Gavin, Zoe, Pilar, Calvin, Jet, Miles, Ian
Love those cupcake faces!

On a separate note: Why does my 4 year old refuse to take a normal picture? I know this is a standard phase, but it sure would be nice to have a smiling face on record one of these days.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Summer Camping

As the snow is starting to fall and winter is making itself known, I have enjoyed looking back at some of our late summer activities.  Our summer was way too short this year, and by Labor Day, we were really kicking ourselves for not getting out there, exploring, and getting the kids under the trees more in July and August.  Thankfully, our September adventures included some great Friday hikes with our play group to soak in the trees and mountains.

As a family, we rallied for two different camping adventures.  Thanks to great friends that found campsites and allowed us to tag along.  Over Labor Day, Andrew and Sarah introduced us to dispersed camping.  We definitely need our own table to do it ourselves, but they had all the supplies and the perfect campsite at Davis Lake. Will taught Owen all about building fairy houses out of found bark and Josh loved hanging out with his buddy Zoe.  Even Hudson and Sophie managed to co-exist (a miracle for either of those dogs), and Scott and I always enjoy our time with Sarah and Andrew.  For that adventure, Josh didn't even have his own sleeping bag, but he cozied up in a HUGE pile of blankets.  While the cold didn't bother him, he was pretty scared of the corner of the tent in the dark, but a 2AM reshuffling of positions allowed us all to sleep in past 7AM.  Success!

Camping adventure #2 was with the Staleys and the Donnelly's out on the McKenzie.  We were the only ones tenting it, and the kids LOVED exploring the camper van and Mini Winnie.  We had the campground almost all to ourselves, which allowed the kids some serious bike time. Josh also got his own sleeping bag, and I found invested in a much plusher sleeping mat, which made for happier campers all around come morning.

All the adults got in some time on the bike too (though admittedly, I spent more time frustrated on the side of the trail than actually pedaling the bike). We finished that trip off with a stop at Belknap Hot Springs, which would have been more fun if Josh was out of diapers, so we ALL could have gone in the pool.  But a fall drive home over McKenzie Pass was also a great way to say good-bye to summer in true Central Oregon style.

I had to steal pictures from Michelle's Blog. What a fun group of kiddos!


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Halloween 2011

Happy Halloween from our Royal King and Red Devil!

The new blogger interface is driving me crazy, so you'll just have to take my word for it that I wrote a lovely, witty post with captioned pictures do document our Halloween Fun.  It's there, in cyberspace somewhere... but just not here on our blog!

In short, our Halloween Festivities included:
-Two trips to the pumpkin patch - one with preschool and one with our friend group.  With our friends, both my boys managed to get lost at different times. Thankfully, we had enough people with us to track them down.  While 6-8 of us were looking for Josh in the playground and hay maze (where I had just sent him down a slide), Elaine and Elizabeth noticed him wandering through the picnic area and snagged him before he wandered into the parking lot.  Geez! No fear in that kid.

- The kids got their costumes from the costume swap and Owen helped me bedazzle all aspects of his king costume with jewels. Lots of purple and gold to honor our Huskies!

 We spent an afternoon tasting beer and carving pumpkins with the Mowreys at the Wiaters. So fun to have friends with matching age kids... and we have lots of 'em!  These families make a unique match because all three dads are brewing their own beer.  We're certainly not going to be short of excuses to spend weekends in Bend next year!

The Donnelly's hosted us all for Halloween again this year. Food, Friends, Kids, Costumes, and Candy make for an evening of chaos, but it's all worth it to spend time with these dear families.  This year, Scott kept pace with the 4 year old bunch running from house to house.  I hung back with Josh, who was wary of being out in the dark amid the costumes.  He warmed up to trick-or-treating (literally), once we stopped back a the house for a hat and leggings... and one he unwrapped and devoured that first piece of candy.  Definietly added a new word: CANDY! to the vocabulary.  After our warm-up, we caught up with Michelle and Calvin and Jett, who were moving at Josh's pace and much more enthusiastic about knocking on doors.  Pretty much nothing cuter than a trio of two foot tall trick-or-treaters!

Our whole group before they were off to the races:

Owen the King and Lily the Princess: