Our Move to Illinois

When I originally started writing this I was sitting in our last place, surrounded by boxes with our six week old daughter laying next to me on a blanket. It was our home for the last 15 months. Even with as busy as we were and how much we worked, we had so many memories there. It had become home. I won’t lie and say that I haven’t shed a fair amount of tears not just over leaving friends, but also over leaving our apartment. I definitely have a harder time with transitions and change then Phil does (thankfully, transitioning into parenthood was pretty easy for me so far, with all the other changes coming up). But it also may also be due in part to, the fact that this was my seventh move in five years-and that all my previous moves have been in the same state.

Even before that it was back and forth between school, various homes between mom and dad and other places that I stayed for short periods of time. I am in no way trying to complain, but it has been a lot. I will be so excited in a few years when we can fully settle down in a place of our own. At the same time, I cannot even express how grateful I am to God for our new home for the time being. Not to mention, getting to be so close to Phil’s parents and some of his siblings (I already love them, but am so excited to have more time with them). I know God will continue to challenge and teach me, but I have already learned so much through those difficult, unknowing, and in-between times.

1.) To quote the cliche saying “Home is where the heart is”; God has been teaching me how to make a home no matter where I am because He always goes with me. He has given me my better half, who has made the last few moves with me. And now we also have our beautiful daughter, to build our home with. It’s about our love towards each other and God that makes our home, not the actual location.

2.) These few years have been a huge reminder to me, that we are all just sojourners in this world. Even if we buy a home, decorate it, and live in it for the next thirty years, it is not permanent. God has used my moves to remind me that, my real home is not here and I need to remember not to get too attached to material possessions. And who knows….if we some day head out on to the mission field, this may just be preparation of what is to come.

3.) Over and over, God has shown me his WAYS are not our ways.  Things often don’t go as I have planned; and I have been reminded that what I think is best in the moment, is not what God KNOWS is best in the long run. He will ALWAYS provide for me (us). Sometimes it isn’t the way I have expected, but God never leaves me to drown. He always provides a way.

4.) One of the biggest blessings has been discovering how many people care for me (and Phil) and have given up space and privacy in order to bless us. I am SO thankful for every family that I have gotten to live with over the last few years. THANK YOU for allowing me to become part of your family for a short while. And now again, we are so grateful to Phil’s family for providing a home and childcare as Phil goes back to school. We will probably never be able to repay all of you…but it is my (and Phil’s) hope that someday we can pay it forward to other college students or couples.

5.)Being on the move a lot, has made minimalism seem more attractive….every time I move I end up purging a bunch of unnecessary stuff (by the trashbag). There is nothing wrong with having stuff, but it has definitely helped me to see what things are necessities to me, versus options.  Although, with this move we have by far the most stuff we’ve ever had-my goodness, babies need so many things (plus that closet full of diapers we brought along)!

Right now our apartment (or the Villa as we call it) is still under construction so we are staying in the main house with Phil’s family. We will make a “mini-move” across the driveway, in the fall when the villa is finished. As I sit in our current bedroom and dream of the memories to come, I am so thankful for what God has allowed me to go through. Because yes it has been tough at times, but it has allowed me to feel so much for others who have been in similar and worse situations. It has made me so much for thankful for our new space and reminds me not to take my blessings for granted. Homes are not just places for our things and a place to rest our heads at night…they are meant to be LIVED in and used to BLESS others.


The First Month

I can’t believe we already have a one month old! Time has flown so quickly and I’ve already cried a little, while holding Isabel and realizing how big she has already grown since the first time I held her. I try to take advantage of every second I have cuddling her or feeding her, of her little smiles, and how she stares into my face as I talk to her. In some ways quarantine has been a blessing; there are less distractions and more time to just savor the moments with our precious daughter. Isabel loves to sleep and cuddle and she enjoys bath time, her pacifier, and staring up at the wooden baby gym that her Uncle Chad built her. She already fills our lives with so much light and joy; she is truly a gift from God.

6619E251-DF53-4C56-8977-DE5431A22C97The transition home was a bit difficult, as we were already sleep deprived and Isabel started to struggle with feeding. We barely slept the first night and I ended up pumping and we spoon fed her to try and get some milk into her before leaving for her doctor appointment. That afternoon we were able to get a telahealth appointment with an amazing lactation consultant. Each feeding after that got easier and now she is pretty much a pro. We were also very blessed that my mom had been working from home and was able to come spend 10 days with us, so we were able to get caught up on some sleep as well. Isabel goes anywhere between 4-5 hours between feedings at night and does pretty well sleeping in her bassinet in our room. Just over the last week or so she has started to spend more time awake during the day and loves interacting and trying to talk with us. Phil has been working 3-4 days a week and while we do well on our own, we love having Daddy here.

The name is Isabel means God is bountiful. What an appropriate reminder and encouragement for the time that we are currently living in. I still find myself in awe, that God chose Phil and me to be her parents. After my eventful pregnancy and delivery, the last month has been rather peaceful. And we are so grateful for that. But it doesn’t mean that it also hasn’t been extremely difficult in other ways. Isabel’s first month in our world is not something Phil and I could have imagined or dreamed up on our own. I thought by now that my whole family would have the opportunity to meet and cuddle her, that we would have friends over, and that we get to take Isabel to church at least once. I hate that Isabel hasn’t met her village and while we are surrounded by an amazing community, “social distancing” has made this time feel so lonely at times.

9788462A-CBCA-4BF7-B107-D9BFD17B6787What makes this time even more difficult for us, is that in about two weeks (Memorial day weekend) we are moving to Illinois; over 800 miles away from where we live now. There will be many people that we won’t get to say goodbye to and many people who will not get to meet Isa for quite awhile longer. I long for her Great-grandparents to hold her, to make memories with friends and family, and to hug our loved ones goodbye. I wonder when things will ever change, when thing will start to get back to “normal”. This is definitely not an ideal time to be moving. It is sometimes difficult to look forward to our new adventure when we do not even know what that will look like right now. 

I know that there are so many other families in our position right now; many may be feeling even more alone in this. I see you Momma, I feel for you…the isolation and the loneliness, all the while adjusting to having a newborn around. Postpartum is no joke-especially in this difficult time. Please know that you aren’t alone. If it feels like too much to handle, reach out-don’t feel like you need to also be alone emotionally. Cherish those baby cuddles and sweet smiles; take advantage of every moment you have with your little one. Each time I look at Isabel, I am reminded that everything is going to be okay. I am reminded of how bountiful the love of God is for me, for my family, and for each one of us. So as I watch my sleeping baby curled up next to me, I take comfort in each wonderful moment that God has already given us and look forwards to each moment to come.