July 26, 2009

All About the House . . . finally!

Hey everyone. I'm back! Did ya miss me? This week has really flown by! I can't tell you how many times I've tried to sit down and blog, only to have my attention required elsewhere. I have so many things I want to write about, so much I wish to share with ya'll. A week is a long time in Bloggie World; now that I have the time to sit and type, I hardly know where to start.

I suppose I could start with our house, which is where I left ya'll hanging the last time I really, truly blogged.

We are officially moved in! I say "officially", because all our stuff is out of storage and in our new home. Now I just get to put it all away. Yipee. ;) Actually, after a month of living in someone else's house using someone else's stuff, it's exciting to rip open boxes and see our stuff smiling back at us. It's like getting reacquainted with old friends. And on those days when I feel a zillion miles away from all things familiar, you'd be surprised how comforting a well-worn rocking chair or old coffee mug can be.

By the end of this next week, however, I'm sure I'll wish I were Mary Poppins, able to unpack a room by simply snapping my fingers. Just a spoon full of sugaaaaaarrr. . .


Where was I? Ah yes, the house!

Here's the quick facts:

  • It's a four bedroom/two bath split-level house, totaling around 1700 sq. ft.
  • It has a HUGE fenced back yard :) :) :)
  • We're renting directly from the owners, who are super-nice, wonderful people
  • We weren't looking for a place this large, but the price was right
  • We have a cherry tree in the back and a pear tree in the front :) :)

Now for the story of how we found this place: we didn't.

Short story, right? Ha! *snickers to herself*

My MIL found this place, actually. Right after Whidbey Island Bank hired Jason, we started looking for a house to rent. We sorta knew what we wanted: enclosed backyard, 2-3 bedrooms, decent kitchen, since I cook and bake a lot, etc. Of course, price was a consideration, too. Jason and I spent one whole day looking and found zilch. My MIL and I spent five hours the next looking and found . . . not much. Good houses with no yard. Nice yards with icky houses. Nice houses with nice yards . . . for way too much.

Hot and dejected, we went home (to my in-laws) last Thursday late in the afternoon. I crashed on the couch with some NCIS. My MIL, undeterred, got back on her computer to look some more. She found this house for rent in an ad from the local newspaper. The ad had just come out, so she she wrote down the address and took my FIL to investigate. She called me ten minutes later.

"Nicole, I found it."

"Uhhhh?" (I'm not very articulate in the late afternoon)

"I found it. Your new house. I'm sitting in your backyard right now. You have to come see this! John's coming to get you and Caleb right now."

"Mmmmm, kay." What did I have to lose, right?

I saw the outside of the house and loved it. The owner's daughter came later that night to show us the inside of the house, and I loved it even more. So did Jason. So did Caleb. The rest is history. :)

So now we are all moved in and every day I fall a little more in love with it. The "upstairs" part houses the kitchen, livingroom, dining area, and our two bedrooms. Downstairs, we have a really large den space, which will double as our computer room and a play area for Caleb (Oh, the plans I have for that room!!). Downstairs is also the laundry room (quite possibly my favorite room in the house) and what will eventually become a guest room. I have a lot of plans for that one as well. ;) That leaves us with one room we don't know what to do with, so for the time being, we're using it for storage. The one thing this house doesn't have is a garage, so a storage room isn't a bad idea. We'll see how that evolves.

The Lord has totally blessed us. What else can I say? I'm saying "thank you Lord!" about 50 million times each day.He had this house picked out for us, and His timing was perfect. I don't feel like we deserve such a great house, but I'm certain that if God willed it, He must have plans for us and this place. I know I've over-used this expression by now, but seriously, I keep thinking to myself "We will see what God will do." Because He is just that good. :)

Pictures, my dear people, will be forth-coming. I have some house pictures on my camera, but the camera battery is currently dead. Re-charging it is on my To-Do List, but that list is quite long at the moment. So right after I find my large ziplock bags and handsoap, hang up clothes and wash blankets, unpack DVDs and pillows, I'll find some time for my camera. I promise. :)

Love to you all on this bright, lazy, sunny Sunday evening!

July 21, 2009

You turn your head for five minutes . . .

. . . and your son gets creative. And wet.

A lot can happen in five minutes. Or fifteen.
But you wanna know sum-phin? That bathroom sure is clean now. Oh yes oh yes it is.

July 17, 2009

Now We Shall See What God Will Do, pt. 3

If you haven't read Pt. 1 or Pt. 2 in our saga of unemployment and relocation, you can find them here and here.

Nearly midnight. Can't sleep. I enjoy naps too much. :p My heart is full. My eyes are, too. Full of blessings. Full of missing. Full of wondering.

The Lord is truly gracious. No doubt about it. We don't deserve to be so blessed. Well, maybe Jason does. I know I don't.

Next Saturday we will see the end of this five month chapter of our lives. We will see the page turn, a new heading given, our new life truly begin. Next Saturday, we move into the most beautiful, wonderful house and into a brand new future. More on that later . . .

Five months. I never dreamed Jason would be unemployed so long. I never thought the journey would bring us here, though God dropped plenty of hints along the way. Two months into this adventure, while hopes rose and fell and our path became unclear to us, God gave me Isaiah 30:21:

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"

He knew just when I needed to hear this, and I clung to this promise for many, many weeks. Jason went through job interview after job interview. Our spirits soared while we waited for word, and fell when the companies hired someone else. Still God was faithful; He remained constant even as we doubted, wondered, questioned, and worried.

When Jason came to me with a plan to move to Washington, I knew immediately it was from the Lord. He gave me Psalm 118:23 & 24 as confirmation:

"The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

If those two verses weren't enough, the entire psalm speaks of God's deliverance and protection, how we cry out to Him and how He always, always answers us. In faith, we packed our belongings, loaded a rental truck, and drove 1800 miles north. In faith, we put our stuff into a storage unit, moved in with my in-laws, and waited. After four months of waiting and a long three-day drive, we arrived to hear the Lord say "Wait some more."

Another job fell through, and I began to think we might live in a pop-up trailer forever. Then the Lord gave me Psalm 66:10-12:

"For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."

The very next day, Jason received a phone call offering him a job. He started yesterday. After two days of searching, and through a series of supernatural circumstances, we found an amazing house for an amazing price. I still can't believe it's ours; after five long months of famine, we've truly come to a "place of abundance" and I cry out with the psalmist "Let me tell you what He has done for me!" (Ps. 66:16).

Five months. A very long journey, full of changes both major and minor. A faithful God, who has walked every mile with us. An all-powerful God, who whisperes to me that He has still more plans for our family. Plans I know I couldn't possibly conceive. Just like I couldn't possibly have seen, five months ago, where we would be now.

I don't deserve to be so blessed.

I know ya'll will be anxious to hear about this amazing, wonderful house, and I promise to have pictures and details up soon. But tonight friends, let us ponder and remember what an amazing, wonderful God we serve.

"Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!" Ps. 66:20.

July 15, 2009

After nearly five months . . .

. . . my husband has a job once more! Woohoo!!!! Praise Jesus!!

We get to stay on the island. Thank you, Lord!

We get our own house. Thankyouverymuch, Lord!

We get medical insurance and income again. Oh thank you, God!

July 11, 2009

Two Weeks and Counting

One of the good things about living on an island is that, no matter where you drive, you will eventually find water.

I thought about that while I drove south toward Coupeville today. Caleb and I were on a nap run. He'd had lunch and a diaper change and very little sleep last night. I drove. He chewed on his bear. I played music. He started to doze.

I smiled real big and thanked God in heaven. Turned the car around. Headed back home. The scenery on this island is incredible. Forests run alongside the road. Occasional meadows appear with cattle or horses happily living life in the slow lane. The ocean is never far away. Now and then the road will run down to the coast and chat with the water for a while before dancing back up into the trees. In the distance, the snow-covered Cascades march around like an army mustering for battle. This island is surrounded by beauty. God's handiwork. As I drive, I find myself worshipping the Lord of this creation, who planned and created it all.

Now, over an hour later, Caleb sleeps soundly in Auntie Helen's room. Auntie Helen is in Seattle this weekend, so I've appropriated her room and made it a temporary nursery. What she doesn't know won't hurt her, right? ;)

Adaptation is the name of the game these days. With 8 people living in a three bedroom house and a pop-up trailer, it has to be. It's eat or be eaten around here. Er, I mean, there's too many chefs in the kitchen. Um, no, that's not right. The biggest bird gets the worm? Wait. I've got it!

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." ~ Pro. 15:1

In a house this full, elbows and egos bump often. Expectations go unwittingly unmet, and our laundry often mixes with Grandma's. With a house this full, such things should be expected. And my prayer these days is that I may be gracious and tender, helping where I can with a servant's heart. Wow, that sounds so good when I type it out; wish I were already like that!

The truth is, we are adapting. Even Caleb, who is now at my side night and day because he feels the safest when he's with me. Caleb, who for the first time in his little life, co-sleeps with me and Jason at night. Caleb, who generates more laundry now than ever before. Because of the dirt. And the grass. And the dogs. Ahem.

Adaptation. We're learning.

And not all of it's hard. I've adapted nicely to a backyard and a washer and dryer in the same house! I'm quite spoiled now. I do laundry constantly, both to help out and just for the sheer joy of the convenience . . . yeah, like ya'll are gonna believe that! (Well, Ashleigh might . . . lol). I also cooked for 11 people last night. A first for me!

(Well, ok, if you must know, my MIL had a frozen lasagna in the freezer, I bought pre-made garlic toast at the Commisary, and the only thing I truly made from scratch was the salad . . . which was bagged. I just chopped veggies to add to it. But those 11 people? They ate it! All of it. And everyone was happy and full and lived happily ever after. )

Who are those 11 people? Well, that's another story for another day. Seems family likes to just "drop by whenever" up here. You know, for the weekend. Or the week. I had no idea Jason's extended family was so . . . extended. ;) Or that so many of them lived in WA. But I know now.


(That's the last time I'll say it, I promise).

Now for confessions: Jason does not have a job yet, but the bank he interviewed with on Tuesday? They called back yesterday for his references!!! We are all praying so hard he gets this job (if the Lord wills). As much as we love the Neuhauser clan, we're ready to have our own place. Those of you who have moved out of your parents' house or have your own families, you will understand this.

Confession #2: I do not have pictures to share with you today. But I do have Kleenex. Oh, please don't cry! The Neuhauser Cast of Characters is delayed, but not forgotten. Cross my heart. I need a picture of Grandma when she gets back from Seattle (she went with Helen this weekend). Also, I need a pic of Michael.

Now with those confessions off my chest, I think I'll end this ridiculously long and pointless post. I've had way too much alone time with the computer today. :)

July 6, 2009

Oak Harbor: The First Week

Washington showed its true colors today. After one week and two days, we had our first cloudy/rainy day. We spent the morning at the library and Wal-Mart, then I took Caleb for a long drive to get him to sleep.

Nap times have been an issue lately. Probably has something to do with Caleb's lack of a bedroom.

We had a happy 4th of July; we ate hot dogs, ribs, and hamburgers. We watched fireworks go off all over the Island; the main show didn't start until 10:30 because it doesn't get dark until quite late. And since you can legally shoot off your own fireworks around here, we lived in a war zone until after 1am. Jason said it was like living through a pirate raid. :) Canons and guns and big booms.

Caleb went around saying "Boom!" all night long. It was really cute.

Our life feels like a tight rope walk these days. Everything high up in the air. Jason has a job interview for Whidbey Island Bank tomorrow. I'm praying really really hard that he gets the job. As I did last summer, I'm falling in love with Oak Harbor all over again, and I'd love to make this place our home. We visited a church yesterday, we applied for library cards this morning, and I can get myself around town without getting lost. ;)

Not to mention the Island is gorgeous. :)

So if ya'll could pray really really hard with me, I'd appreciate it.

In the meantime, we keep company with Royal Pains, NCIS, and Burn Notice. (The Neuhausers' shows of choice ;) We also swim in the local lake, the indoor kiddie pool downtown, and stomp through the rain.

Don't get me wrong. I'm missing California a lot. Mostly the people I left behind there. Some days are harder than others. Some days I cry. Some days I get frustrated. Some days I just want to get in my car and drive the 20 hours back to San Diego. But on the whole, we're adjusting. I'm adjusting. And I'm still glad we moved here.

Stay tuned for The Neuhauser Cast of Characters, coming later in the week (with photos!).