Homesick

I am homesick.  Homesick for family.  For friends.  For my home…

Since 1999, I have lived in five different cities and eight different moves between those cities.  I’m no stranger to picking up and moving–starting over.  This last time was different, though.  This past July we moved from the Chicago area to the Twin Cities in Minnesota.  5 years may not sound like a long time, but a lot of life happened in those five years.  I started and completed two master’s degrees.  I met a guy, we got married and almost had a baby while we lived there (our son was born 10 days after we moved). I lived in an apartment alongside college students for four years, we bought our first house and made it our home.  Our church became family and relationships with friends deepened.  See what I mean?  A lot of life.

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People told us that we were crazy to move, end jobs, start new ones and have a baby all within the span of two weeks.  I often wish that I could give my 30-year old self advice from my 31-year old self (not to mention my teenage self… but those are stories for another day).

I was telling someone a few weeks ago that I know exactly why we decided to move.  The reasons are still clear and are still good reasons.  I honestly don’t think we made a mistake but I do know that if I was faced with making the same decision again the outcome may be different.  We loved the idea of a full time job with benefits, for me to be home with our son and able to work  part-time.  We wanted Grant to do something he loves, has experience in and is trained for.  Not only good, but great reasons!

What we didn’t realize was just how important it is to have friends and family close by, especially when life completely changes after welcoming a child!  We miss the community we moved away from and the friends that had become family.  (It still holds true that we don’t have family in Illinois, but we didn’t realize that Minnesota would feel so much further away.)

I didn’t realize just how much time I would spend at home and how much our space and the harsh winter would affect me.  How isolating it can be to have a newborn and how important it is to have people around who get what that’s like.  How much I would miss our house and our porch.  I mean, look at this porch!

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I’ve had days where I’ve been thrilled that we’re here too.  Like I said, the reasons we moved were great reasons and they hold true even now.  I adore our son and I love being a mom.  I love that I get to spend so much time with him, to watch him grow and learn new things.  I love that I know his finicky nap routine, his favourite toys and how to make him giggle.  He is an incredible blessing.

I am thrilled that Grant has a great job that he loves and that he gets to work with people that he enjoys.  It is amazing to see him grow in confidence in his gifts and abilities and how much he cares for his students.  I love seeing him as a dad and how much more I love him when I see him care for Will.  Our marriage is good and continues to grow and we’ve been able to spend a lot of time this year as a family, even if that means we have even more ridiculous inside jokes.

I love spending time with good friends who live in the area and reconnecting with friends I’ve been out of touch with.  I also love having the time and space to create and learn new things.

And I have hope.  Hope that a second year will feel more familiar.  Hope that our community here will grow and that friendships will deepen.  And hope that the loneliness and tears will have purpose, that there will be beauty that rises from the painful moments too.

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New Camera Lens

One of the pregnancy and preparing for child birth books that I read (The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy) suggested that the husband get a gift for his wife for going through labour and delivery.  I was skeptical, wondering if I would really feel the need for Grant to buy me a gift (isn’t the baby the best gift after all?).  
It turns out Grant did not need to buy me a gift.  In fact, I had completely forgotten about this idea until one day a week or so ago Grant came into our apartment with his hands behind his back.  I was feeding Will in the rocking chair chattering away about what he and I had done that day and didn’t even notice that Grant was hiding something.  He revealed that he had a camera in his hands with a card taped to the lens.  It took me a minute.  Did Grant get me a camera?  I already have a camera.  That looks like my camera. Oh wait.  The lens is different!  Grant bought me the portrait lens that I had my eye on for a long time.  No, it wasn’t jewelry as the book had suggested he get me, and no it didn’t come moments after our son was born.  This was so much better!  It was unexpected and thoughtful and will help us capture memories of our incredible son.  And the card was a letterpress card from Paper Source that has a tandem bike on the front.  He knows me so well… letterpress cards, beautiful paper, tandem bikes and a sweet note! Looking forward to my next tandem bike ride… possibly a Pie Ride in Santa Rosa over Thanksgiving??  
“I couldn’t have done it without you.”

And now for the task of learning how to use it!

Giant Trees and New Jobs

Keeping up with these photos has proven to be a weakness!  I just don’t think of posting every day, and most days I forget that I even started this.  This probably shows how good I am at keeping New Year’s resolutions, right?  I’m SO good that I even forget to make them!
I think I’ll just pick up where I left off.  Day 12. A Photo of You
This is probably the most recent picture taken of me.  Last week Grant and I used our final Wedding Target Gift Card to purchase a new Christmas Tree.  I have been wanting a full size tree for a long time now and I finally got my wish.  Gosh, it’s good to be married and to have an excuse for these things.  The conversation in the store went something like this:
Katie: “This is the one I wanted!  Do you like it?”
Grant: “It’s beautiful… but looks awfully big.”
Katie: “It’s not that big”
Grant: “I don’t know about that.”
We proceeded to put the HUGE box into our cart.  Once we got home we had nowhere to store the big box, so we just decided to put the tree up (even though it was before thanksgiving).  We had to rearrange a bit of furniture and in the process we realized that we really did get a big tree.  Or maybe I should say that I realized that we had bought a big tree.  Grant was being dramatic about it and I collapsed on the floor laughing about it.  I laughed so hard that I cried.

Needless to say, the tree is big but it is perfect.  That is once we moved the extra chair out our living room.


In other news… GRANT GOT A NEW JOB!

This has been a long process for us, but Grant was offered a part-time position as a Youth Minister at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Warrenville.  We first heard about this position in the summer through our friend Amy (who also works there).  It was a pretty exciting opportunity, but at that point we were not able to think about what we were doing next week, let alone for the next few years.  Grant decided not to pursue it for many reasons.  We have been set on picking up and moving after we finish Grad School and our time in Res Life here at Wheaton with hopes of moving closer to one of our families.  What has happened over the last few months as we have settled into marriage is that we’ve also opened up to different possibilities, ones that even include us staying here in the midwest a little longer.  Then we heard in October from someone else that it was still open.  Suddenly it seemed like perfect timing.
We are both very excited about this opportunity.  I am excited to see Grant do something that he is so gifted at (and yet doesn’t always realize it).  I am excited to be a part of a small church and to build new connections.  I am also excited that we already have friends in that church and that we’re not starting totally from scratch.  At the same time, this transition is bittersweet.  We have both loved and appreciated our church that we’ve been going to for the last three and a half years here.  It has not always been easy, but it has been home for us.

What happens when Grant is sick and Katie is bored…

This weekend was a nice, quiet weekend and was very relaxing.  Unfortunately, we both did not feel great (although Grant got the brunt of the sickness) so we slept, watched movies and read all weekend.  I have a love/hate relationship with these kinds of weekends.  I love having time to rest and relax and it was nice to just spend time at home but at the same time I totally hate feeling bored and I unfortunately become bored really quickly when I am stuck inside!
SO… I made chicken noodle soup (gluten free) and it made enough to feed us all weekend long!  I also tried making Artichoke Parmesan dip from a book called “Delicious Dips” that my good friend Stacey gave to us before our wedding.  I also bought four artichokes because I keep finding recipes for them that look good… but I’m actually not sure if I like artichokes or not yet.  I’ll keep you posted.
On Saturday Grant and I were planning to go apple picking but didn’t end up feeling up for it.  Instead I brought fall into our little abode.  I had a small pumpkin sitting on a table serving as my fall decor and I became inspired to try making something out of it.
The before picture of the pumpkin

The pumpkin after.  (Pumpkin puree was absolutely everywhere in our kitchen.)

Then I was inspired to host “Pumpkin Post-Rounds” since I was on duty all weekend.  Sunday night we had pumpkin seeds, Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and pumpkin cream cheese muffins (like what you’d find at Starbucks this time of year).

Now I’ve gone and made my mouth water again!
I’m not sure if I’m sold on roasting my own pumpkin vs. buying pumpkin in a can.  The canned stuff is definitely less work and less mess, but roasting it myself was pretty fun.  I guess it will all depend on my level of motivation for that pumpkin pie.

Happy Three Month Anniversary!

Today is our three month anniversary… or our 92nd day of marriage.  We know that it is the 92nd day because we tried to return something to target yesterday, our 91st day and thus missing the 90 day return range.  But I digress…

Tonight we splurged and got Chipotle and watched my favourite movie, You’ve Got Mail.  The end to a perfect fall Sunday.  Now I want a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils and scotch tape.

Thanks hon… I love you!