Friday, January 1, 2010

Year in Review

It has been a while since I posted anything on the blog, but with the beginning of a new year, I thought it would be worthwhile to update you on the whoseits and whatsits of the Joneses.

Our exodus from Pullman, WA took place in December last year in the midst of an epic snowstorm. We loaded up everything we owned and unloaded our stuff into a Salem, OR storage unit in preparation for living with Luke's mom on our return.

From mid-January to mid-May we made our way around the world with Abi and Lily in tow. It was a completely unexplainable event and I am amazed at how much our family changed during that time. Today I was packing up outgrown clothing which included a stack of teeny little shirts labeled "Semester at Sea","Vietnam", and "Thailand". The impact on Abi is unbelievable - she seems to have such an openness to people of every shape and form.  Every now and then she surprises us with a memory from the ship or our travels.  While it isn't always fun to travel with toddlers, I must say it is entertaining to relieve your travels through the eyes of a four-year old.

May and June were quite chaotic as Luke accepted a job in Charlottesville, VA with Semester at Sea and we purchased our first home long distance. In the midst of it all we were able to enjoy a "extended visit" with Luke's mom while we lived with her for almost two months! Abi and Lily got to play with their cousins more than they have ever been able to. That time was the closest we have ever lived to any of our family and there are definately perks! We were able to celebrate several birthdays together and make lots of memories.

In July it was time to move. This time the contents of our life traveled on the back of an ABF trailer and overall they arrived in Charlottesville unaffected. We arrived in Charlottesville at the beginning of July and signed the contract on our home on July 8th. My mom came out to help us move in and was incredibly helpful. Abi also spent a week with her at Vacation Bible School when we came to look at houses. We could have never done it without her!

Since then, we have been relatively still and life has settled into a predictable little pattern. I was not prepared for the grief I would experience after our move - while we were on the ship it seemed like we would be going "back" to all the friends we have made over 7 years in Pullman. Once we arrived in Charlottesville, the finality of our decision really struck me. I had no idea how important our community was in Pullman - the first month in Charlottesville felt like life on another planet! After spending soooo much time in an environment where I was constantly introducing myself to students on the ship, people around the world, and family friends in Oregon, I just didn't have the energy to really get out and meet people in Charlottesville.

I was blessed to meet the wife of one of Luke's co-workers within the first month we were here. She has been an incredible friend to me! Along with a few people from the ship that also live here in Charlottesville, she has helped our family find a church, connected me to a great women's Bible study, and provided friendship and "insider-information" on Charlottesville.

Another blessing: we arrived in Charlottesville during the most beautiful time of the year and I was able to spend a lot of time with the kids in area parks. We enjoy the weather here so much! (Except for the 12 inches of snow right before Christmas...where did that come from?!)

Shortly after arriving I took a job as a waitress to help with expenses a little bit. This job has been an incredible source of stories, laughter, friendship, and money of course. I hadn't waited tables since 2001, and after a rocky start I came to fall in love with the job and my difficult boss:) It was a great way to get out of the house and meet people that I would have never known otherwise. At the end of September I was also hired as a Data Analyst at an area agency on aging for 30 hours a week. This is also a great job with flexible hours and great co-workers too. I was working both jobs until this week, when I am giving up the waitress stint. I am sad to lose the income and the stories, but we will gain family Saturdays and free time in the process which will be more than worth it.

Luke is getting settled in at Semester at Sea, figuring out what his responsibilities are and planning several events. Through his work he was able to provide two friends from his YWAM days an opportunity to sail with the ship as interport lecturers. Bulelani sailed in the fall from Ghana to Cape Town. He had a life changing experience and is now intending to pursue a college education at Stellenbosch University. Luzuko will sail from Maritius to Cape Town this spring. We hope the experience is equally rewarding to him and look forward to supporting both in their future endeavors. They are incredibly inspiring young South Africans that have a strong desire to change the world.

Abi and Lily have been attending a day care since I started working during the day in September. Abi really enjoys school and will turn FIVE in July and start Kindergarten this fall. She is not at all a toddler anymore and I just can't get past it. Her little blonde curls keep growing and growing along with her attitude:) She LOVES her new house and Charlottesville, and has finally adjusted after what was a year filled with many transitions.

Lily is turning two in March and is very much growing into a toddler. Daycare has been a more difficult transition for her, as she has enjoyed our company throughout the year. At 10 months old she grew quite used to a lifestyle that included the companionship of BOTH parents the majority of the time. Luke beginning a job was especially difficult for her because I don't think she remembered a time when "DaDa" hadn't been available all day long. Just as she was getting used to that change, I started her in daycare. She is finally adjusting too, but still cries most mornings when I drop her off.

Our Christmas was sort of an homage to the previous year.  Luke's mom joined us for the festivities.  We were supposed to go to Williamsburg to be with Luke's aunt and uncle and some cousins, but the day before we were planning to leave another record-setting snow fall occured - this time in Charlottesville, VA.  Our plans were cancelled and Luke's mom was stranded just an hour away for two days due to the unnexpected snowfall. However, she made it out for the week of Christmas and we had a really great, though snow-bound, time.  While I wasn't completely excited about the snow, I have to say that a record snowfall provided a start to 2009 which turned out to be a pretty amazing year.  I am hopeful that our snow this year is a reflection of another wonderful year to come!


Tracy said...

Hey, so glad you are back...I have missed your posts! I can't wait to see the pictures too. Glad you are enjoying VA. I totally understand how hard it is to move across country and leave your friends and family behind. It is very hard to start over somewhere and make new friends, but it sounds like you are doing well. Keep us posted!

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