Finally taking a breath…

I’m totally overwhelmed by how much I’ve neglected to post about on our blog!  Pretty sure the last time I posted was…I don’t remember right now.  Ok, I just looked.  Easter.  As in…April.  I can’t play catch up with all of the small things, but here are a couple of the very big things that happened since then…

We took an amazing trip to Washington DC in May.  It was just a family vacation, and it lasted just a week.  Justin and I both came back feeling horrible about being in Peru…how’s that for honesty?  Not horrible in the sense that we hate it here, or horrible in the sense that we don’t like our work here, but a week in DC was like a teaser.  It was wonderful, and everything we wanted it to be…just not long enough.  We saw my sister, her husband, and my parents.  We tried to do a ton and see a lot (which we did, and it was fun!), but we also tried to do some (ok, i tried to do a lot) shopping for things we wanted and needed for life here in Peru, so that took up some of our time as well.  If mom and dad had not been there a few days, we would never have accomplished everything on my to do list.  Justin is always so wonderful about going along with the things I really want to “get done” while in the States.  Seriously.  Best husband award there!  I think we probably did a good job of splitting time between shopping trips and sightseeing, but it was still hard to have just those few days.  I was hoping to link my facebook photo album of DC here, but I can’t figure it out.  Sorry.  You can got to my facebook page to see it them.  In addition to what you see in the photos, we had a blast just hanging out as a family, talking, eating together, touring my sister’s workplace, praying, and laughing a ton!  As of now, Justin and I are certainly feeling more settled into Peru again, and we’re feeling like life is smoothing over a bit since having moved…and that brings me to our next venture…

We moved.  After returning from DC we were in full swing with looking for a new home.  We knew that God was just calling us to make a change, and we felt that there was a specific neighborhood He was calling us to look in.  So, we had told our landlords of 3 years before we left for DC that we would not be renewing our contract on the house come June 5th this year, and we had also packed about 60% of our house up before our trip as well.  We had looked a few times in this neighborhood (that we now live in!) for places, but we’d only seen “duds” and things that were just not workable for our family up until then.  So, when we got back from our trip we began to look again.  I guess it was about 2 weeks before we had to be out of our house that we finally found a place to move into in this very neighborhood that we felt was right.  It had begun to feel a bit stressful toward the end of our time in our contract with our previous home before we found this place that we live in now, but honestly it was nothing compared to the stress we were about to feel during our moving process.

A few facts about our new place in comparison to our old home:

  • We used to have a huge yard, and now we live on the 2nd floor of an apartment building
  • We used to have an entire roof with a large room on it that we could store things in, and now our storage space is about an 1/8 of that size.
  • The kids’ old rooms were huge and had plenty of room for each of them, and now, while Cailyn’s room is big enough (mostly), Corban’s room is what took the biggest hit (haha).  It’s literally about the size of a small walk-in closet.  Like…small.
  • We used to have a very large activity/school room that was very convenient and easy to use.  Now our activity/school room is about the size of Corban’s room.  I’ve had to be creative to say the least.
  • Our old kitchen was way larger than we needed, and now I can literally stand in the middle of the kitchen and touch nearly everything around me.

Sounds insane, right?!  Well, having said all of that, I do need to add that we actually do love our new place.  Yes, we saw it before we signed a contract (haha), and we were definitely in the market for something smaller than what we previously had.  BUT…I cannot lie and say that it’s been all easy as far as transitioning to this new place has gone.

We got keys to our apartment probably about a week before our other contract was out, and a couple of nights later we were sleeping here.  Unfortunately, Justin had to make sure our entire other home was freshly painted, inside and out as well as clean, not to mention do MULTIPLE things in order to make sure that our new apartment could hold all of our things!  He spent the next week or so going back and forth between our old house and this apartment (about a 15-30 min. drive depending on what time of day and traffic) doing projects.  The kids and I did our best to begin to move in, but being nearly 30 weeks pregnant made things a bit tough.  We also had to install shelving to make our activity room even have a prayer of working out storage wise as well as transform the small bathroom connected to it into a storage closet for all that we’re blessed to have in the way of activity/school resources.  Justin enlisted help from our male teammates to do things like install light fixtures and do electrical work in each room, install kitchen cabinets up top in our kitchen (since it had only lower cabinets), get our storage space door fixed so it would lock (as in…take it off it’s hinges, have some old man solder (yes, i just looked that word up and it’s spelled correctly…who knew?!) a new piece on, and bring it back home), organize everything we eventually needed to store downstairs, decide what we didn’t have room for and shove it all into our guest shower for a garage sale we’ve yet to have (it’s PACKED!), and just generally do a ton of random stuff to make this place work.  Our to-do list is smaller now, but still fairly long.  Now the things we’ve got left are more like “we still need to do this, but we can function without it being done” types of things.  It was all very overwhelming.  We argued a lot, I have to say.  Mostly because he was working his tail off and exhausted and I was sort of having breakdowns about every couple of hours days.  Believe me, I wasn’t having some of my proudest moments.  Despite this, Justin was very gracious, understanding, and he continued to work hard and as fast as he could to make our maze of a walk-way in our new home more of a bare floor.

Now that it’s all happened, I think I’ve come to realize that while we knew the small (very small) space was going to be a big change, we were ready for it.  But, I was not personally ready for the craziness that came once we realized we had WAAAAAYYY more stuff in our other house than would easily fit into our new place.  We had to be creative as well as purchase stand alone storage for areas of our new apartment that were “built-in” in our prior home.  It just took time…well, and a few emotional moments of realizing we had to sell more stuff than we originally thought we would.

So, here is a list of the things that I love about our new place:

  • I don’t have to call from one floor to another floor of the house to get anyone’s attention.
  • When I’m cooking and the kids are watching TV or a movie, I can hear everything that they’re talking (sometimes arguing) about.
  • My kitchen takes me like 15 mintues to completely clean/wipe down after any given meal…as opposed to the sometimes 30 min. or more it would take to clean my other one.
  • I am 10 steps away from the kids in their activity room while cooking dinner (as opposed to a floor away like our house).
  • Our rooms now have short carpet, and vacuuming them is much faster than sweeping the endless amount of floor space we had in our house.
  • I can sweep the entire house, vacuum, dust, and start a load of laundry in probably a 1/4 of the amount of time it took me to do that before (I nearly never attempted to do all of that in one day in our other house…it was just too big).
  • I feel a bit more intimate with my family here…we’re all very close in proximity. 😉
  • I must keep my tone and voice volume in check a little more now with my kids since we’re in an apartment complex and I know our neighbors can hear us at some level.  Is that way too much of a confession?
  • Our rent is cheaper!

I still have emotional moments as we continue to get used to living here.  We are driving way longer and in a lot more traffic to get the kids to school than we did before, so I’m working through some raised driving stress.  Like, I honk my horn and make comments out loud to other drivers a lot more.  I’m working through that…hehe.  I also realized just today that the minute I drive back into our old neighborhood I immediately feel like I’m more “at home” than I do where I’m at now.  This morning I did more in 2 hours over there (near my old house) than I could EVER have done now in our new neighborhood due to traffic and availability of the stores I need.  But, after talking to my mom on skype tonight, I was reminded that I cannot compare the two areas, and with time I know I will find my new niche over here.  I am also learning the ins and outs of having a kitchen with only cold water.  It’s something my teammates lived with for 3 years nearly until they recently moved, and I can say I admire them even more now!

So, in these last couple of months we have definitely been tested in ways that we’ve never experienced before, and I think I can officially say that I had my first significant (like, more than a few moments or days long) bout of culture shock.  Coming back from DC and “secretly” wishing I could have stayed a while longer (or like moved back for a few months even…haha) didn’t make our move and transition to our new home any easier.  But, we have grown in our marriage in ways that have been encouraging, and we are seeing that God continues to sustain us and carry us even when we’re being impatient and probably flat out disobedient with our (I should probably just say “my” instead of lumping my husband in that…haha) attitudes.

In the middle of all of that, our team hosted a medical campaign!  Random info, I know, but ministry life of course never stops.  So, here is a link to our video about it.  Our teammate John Mark has a great gift when it comes to making memories for us all through video! MED CAMPAIGN VIDEO.

If you’re still reading this, bless you.  Just a couple more things.

I am now 34 weeks pregnant.  Here’s proof.

And, finally…We made some new team photos (last month maybe??) recently, and there were some cute ones I thought I’d share:

The next picture is our kids in age order:

(L to R) Sofia F. (7),  Kellan D. (6), Jakob Y. (6), Maddox F. (5), Cailyn T. (5), Parker D. (5 next month), Derek Y. (4), Corban T. (3 next month), Liam F. (2), Kase D. (2), Mack D. (3m), Baby Thompson (due Aug. 20th)

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4 responses to “Finally taking a breath…

  1. Alison, what a fabulous post!! I was so touched and encouraged by your list of pros about living in a smaller space. I’d say I’m so proud of you–but that would sound condescending and that’s not at all what I intend to convey…I ADMIRE you and Justin and your intentionality and faith. Love and praying for you and your sweet (growing) family! (you look AMAZING, by the way!)

  2. Thanks Alison for sharing all the changes you are going through! You guys are doing an amazing job! Love the new family photo too! Sadly it will be out of date in just another month when you have a new family member that everyone wants to see! : ) Can’t wait for baby T to come! We will keep you in our prayers!

  3. Great post, friend! Praying for you as you guys continue to get settled. LOVING your precious little bump and can’t wait for that sweet baby to be here 🙂 Would love to see you again BEFORE then! Let me know if/when you have some time for lunch or a coffee.

    Love you so much!

  4. love seeing Baby T’s growth. you look great!! even though your thoughts aren’t new to me, i appreciate your honesty in your journey. God is faithful and will make something of all of this!! love you so much!! (btw, great family picture)

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