Monday, April 30, 2012

Old Forge & Game Night

The weekend after Easter we decided we needed we wanted to go exploring. We weren't sure how far we wanted to go but finally decided to go and check out Old Forge on Saturday because it was only about an hour away. Like most touristy towns in the Adirondacks, Old Forge is pretty dead off-season. One thing that we wanted to do while we were there was check out the Goodsell Museum. There is an exhibit there until October called "Medicine Up North" that we thought sounded interesting. The museum was in an old house that was donated to the historical society and was pretty fun to explore with interesting things from the north country. There was a woman there who gave us a lot of the history of the house and told us extra information about the different exhibits. The doll house that they have there is pretty fun to see was the girls' favorite thing. They change the decorations in the doll house for the season (there were lots of Easter decorations when we saw it) so if you make it to check out the museum be sure to check out the seasonal decorations. :)

While in Old Forge of course we had to go to the Old Forge Hardware, "The Adirondacks' Most General Store," which was fun to explore.

The kids posing with a big stuffed moose in Old Forge Hardware

A big moose outside the Life is Good store
On Saturday we also went on two walks around our block, one before and one after dinner. The earlier one we invited some friends from down the street to come on with us. We invited them to come on a walk with us again on Sunday afternoon and then, since they also just eat popcorn for supper on Sunday nights, invited them over for popcorn and games.
We had a great time playing Whoonu
The younger 3 girls had been "playing school" while the rest of us were eating lots of popcorn and playing Whoonu then, when we went to find out what some strange sounds were, we found them sliding down the stairs on a tarp - creative silliness.
sliding down the stairs
Our first full weekend home in Lowville was fun. I'm thankful for a chance to explore and fun with new friends.

Exploring Art and Literacy

Our paintings :)
One area that my Maas Academy is weak in is art. I was excited a couple of months ago when I got the Lowville Library's monthly email that announced that they had a free art and literacy class at the library. We stopped by the library on the way home from somewhere a week and a half ago and the librarian told me that I should take the kids downstairs and have them check out the class. We went down and I stuck around because the librarian had indicated that I was supposed to. The teacher said that I could stay but I would have to participate if I stayed. They were studying Paul Cezanne that week and we got to paint still life. We don't paint often because it is a mess to clean up after but it was fun to paint at the library. There was space for them so I signed the kids up for the Wednesday class.

This past week the kids got to do portraits in Rembrandt's style with the subjects in funny costumes. (I didn't get a picture of their portraits, maybe next week!)

I am thankful for a fun art class for the kids!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Get These Books - while they are free!

I have mentioned loving getting free books for my Kindle app on my blog before. Today there are two books for free on there that I have read and loved and want to recommend that others get them while they are free (I never know how long books will stay free on Kindle so get them now!!)

1. And Then I Had Kids: Encouragement for Mothers of Young Children
by Susan Alexander Yates
This is a great book. I think that it would make a great mom's study. There are so many things that changed after I had kids, especially my perspective of things. It looks like it is an updated edition from the one that I have but I remember this book being really helpful to me. Looking at amazon I see that she now has a book "And Then I Had Teenagers." I may have to check that one out as that day is drawing nearer all the time!
but...  Raising Kids with Character that Lasts by the same author is 

2. Coffee Shop Conversations: Making the Most of Spiritual Small Talk
by Dale & Jonalyn Fincher
I didn't necessarily agree with everything in this book but it really helped me to think differently about conversations that I have with people who have different beliefs than I do. I appreciated a lot of their ideas and think that it is definitely worth a read, especially if you want to have respectful conversations with people who think differently than you do.

There may be other great free books out there but these are two that I saw tonight that I recommend :)

I love my Kindle app and I am so thankful for all the great books I've gotten on it, most of them free, from Amazon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

 Do you remember that old prank phone call from when we were kids? The caller would ask, "Is your refrigerator running?" You would reply, "yes" and then the caller would promptly reply, "Then you'd better run and catch it."

Well, yesterday, the answer for me would have been "no." When we first moved into this apartment I threw a few condiments and other random food that we hadn't eaten before leaving Syracuse into the fridge and a gentleman who was helping us move in told me that I should probably check to make sure that the fridge was working. I opened the door and saw that the light was on. It wasn't super cold in there but I figured that it had just been plugged in or something and wasn't concerned. I was more concerned with getting everything moved into our new home. The next morning we opened the fridge and it still wasn't cold - uh oh. Turning it up didn't help and we realized that we hadn't heard it run since moving in. We pulled it out, made sure it was plugged in, plugged it into a different outlet, etc and it still didn't turn on. Finally, Glenn turned it all the way down then turned it up and we heard the compressor kick in - yay!

Well, last night, we ate late and then the kids asked for ice cream before bed. Normally I would have said, "no" because that is just about always my first response. Instead I said, "sure." They pulled the ice cream out and it was completely melted - oh no! Glenn asked if I had noticed and said, "Maybe that is why the milk tasted a little funny tonight." We stuck a thermometer in the fridge and it said 60 degrees. Not good. (And our power didn't even go out yesterday like some people's did here in NY since we didn't have the heavy snow to take out power lines.) On playing with the dial we were able to coax the compressor to start working again sluggishly but I'm not sure if I can trust it.

Glenn recommended that I call Lynn to see if she had space in her fridge for some of our stuff since she had reprimanded me for not using her washer last week. She said that she did so we emptied our fridge and freezer. We plugged in the chest freezer in the basement and threw the freezer stuff that hadn't thawed yet in there, started cooking up some of the raw meat that had thawed, ran some of our fridge stuff over to Dan and Lynn's house, came home, bagged up the cooked meat and threw it in the chest freezer, and went to bed much later than I had planned.

On reflecting last night I was reminded of the biography of Joy Ridderhof that we read earlier this year. She said, "Are you rejoicing? Remember, the hard things make good rejoicing practice." This is definitely not one of the harder things that we've ever gone through but it is still an opportunity to practice so here is a short list of things that I came up with to be thankful for:
* I said "yes" to ice cream which helped us find out that we had a problem (not sure when I would have found out other wise as I don't really pay that much attention, just assume that things are cold.)
* Dan and Lynn made space in their fridge for some of our fridge stuff
* We have the chest freezer that Grandma & Grandpa Reynolds bought us back when they visited us we lived in Houghton (which we are still SO thankful for!) and it cools VERY quickly (it was 20 degrees in there before finally I went to bed last night)
* We didn't make the trip up to Aldi that I had considered doing yesterday since Glenn had left the van at home. I am, unfortunately, a hoarder in all areas, including food, so we could have had a lot more stuff that I would have been looking for places for!
* The fridge seems to be working again since what was left of our milk that Glenn had put in the fridge top freezer was frozen this morning. We'll have to keep an eye and an ear out for it though.
* I took an opportunity to ask for help (I hate asking for help. Asking for help implies that I need help which implies that I am not perfect... Stinking pride.)

I think we'll still need to contact the landlord. Not sure if the fridge is her responsibility, since it came with the place, or ours. Buying a fridge is not high on my list of things to do since all the rentals we've ever lived in have come with one (besides our very first apartment) but I'm trusting God either way.

So... is your refrigerator running? You better go check ;)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Be Not Blind to the Shining of His Face

Today Joni Eareckson Tada read this poem by Amy Carmichael on the radio and I liked it so I thought I'd post it here.

Be Not Blind to the Shining of His Face
Amy Carmichael

Far in the future lieth a fear;
Like a long, low, mist of gray,
Gathering to fall in dreary rain;
Thus doth thy heart within thee complain.
And even now thou art afraid, for round thy dwelling
The flying winds are ever telling
Of the fear that lieth gray
Like a gloom of brooding mist upon the way.

But The Lord is always kind;
Be not blind, be not blind To the shining of His face,
To the comforts of His grace.
Hath He ever failed thee yet?
Never, never.  Wherefore fret?
O fret not thyself, nor let They heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.

Near, by thy footfall, springeth a joy, Like a new-blown little flower
Growing for thee, to make thee glad.
Let thy countenance be no more sad,
But wake the voice of joy and health within thy dwelling,
And let thy tongue be ever telling,
Not of fear that lieth gray, But of little flowers beside the way.

For the Lord is always kind,
Be not blind, be not blind To the shining of His face,
To the comforts of His grace.
He hath never failed thee yet.
Never will His love forget.
O fret not thyself, nor let Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Seeing the Unseen

This weekend Glenn has been on call. He has been gone quite a bit and I have missed him. This is the first of many weekends like this that he will have in the future. I am very thankful for many things: that he won't be on call every weekend, that he is not in the military or some other job that makes him be gone from home often and for long periods of time, but, most of all, that I have him.

You see, this week my facebook newsfeed has been filled with announcements of deaths. Some famous like Dick Clark and Chuck Colson, some not so well known but heroes to me: Mary Lou Brownell, a missionary for 27 years in East Pakistan/ Bangladesh, and Ross Shadrick, a fellow student at TTU and missionary to Peru.

It's Ross's death that shook me. The other 3 were in their 80s. Ross was not yet 30. He and his wife Barbie had been missionaries in Peru for just over a year. He died after going into a diabetic coma and reading the message that his wife put out on facebook just made me sob. Ever since I heard the news I've struggled with, "why?" and at the same time I've been asking God to work through Ross's death to bring glory to God, bring people to a saving faith in Jesus, and cause people to want to step out in faith and serve Him both here and overseas.

My Aunt Joy and Uncle Jerry came up to visit us and some other friends that they know in the area. We ate pizza with them last night then they invited us to come to the church that they would attend when they came up here for camp years ago with them this morning. The kids and I went and I felt like the message was just for me. It was talking about seeing the unseen, walking by faith and not by sight. The pastor talked about the side view mirror and how it gives you a distorted view of reality and how you can't drive based exactly on what you see there. Too often we operate based on a distorted view of reality, without faith that God is in control, working all things for His glory. We looked at Hebrews 11:13-16
 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
 This passage has always been one I have loved but I really liked looking at it today again. These heroes of the faith understood that they were just passing through, this world was not their home. They had not seen the fulfillment of the promises that God had made to them but they were as sure of those promises as if they had seen them. They had their eyes fixed on eternity.

Later we looked at Mark 4:35-40. 
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”  Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.  And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Jesus wasn't bothered with what was naturally seen - the storm. After calming the storm He challenged them on their response to the physical - fear - they didn't trust the One who was in the boat with them, the One who controls everything. How often do I react like them? I think, "Hey, God, You are missing something here," "This can not be Your plan," "This is too hard and I'm scared." He sees what I can not and I need to keep learning to trust Him. I loved this quote that was shared today:
“I prayed for faith and thought that some day it would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith didn’t seem to come. One day I read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” I had up to this time, closed my Bible and prayed for faith. Now I opened my Bible and began to study and faith has been growing ever since.” -D.L. Moody
God really challenged me that when my faith is small, when my faith is challenged I need to keep reading the Bible and seeking Him.
 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Ross is seeing that unseen eternal. He lived his life for God's glory and I don't know why God called him home so young but I do know that God is in control and that He is going to work it out for His glory. His "light and momentary troubles" are over. Like his dad said, "I praise the Lord my son is in Heaven by his confession and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ the eternal Son of the Father,and I can look forward to seeing him again in eternity! I sorrow, but not as others which have no hope."

Other stories have come to mind that I've heard over the past few months: the missionary pilot in Indonesia who died in a plane crash, the pastor's wife and mom of two little boys in Canada who died of cancer, the doctor who was just starting out at his new job in Florida that died in a helicopter crash on a transplant mission, Nathan, who is recovering but may never be the same again after his stroke. I don't know all that God is doing/ has done through all of these circumstances and I may never know but I can trust God and know that He has a plan and I've been praying again for these families today.

Today, at church, we spent some time in prayer for the family of a man from Lowville whose boat capsized in Lake Ontario yesterday morning. He is still missing. The pastor told us that last night, as they were calling off the search for darkness, he and some others from the church were praying with the man's family and at the close of the prayer time the man's dad started singing praises. Naturally, looking with my own eyes at the circumstances, that would not be my response to my son being lost in Lake Ontario but I am certain that his eyes were fixed on what is unseen, the eternal, that God is still in control and at work, that this world is not our home. How I long for praise and faith to always be my first response in difficulty.

Lord, I thank You that You see the unseen, the eternal. Please help me to fix my eyes on You and to trust You. Lord, I pray for these families that are suffering right now, struggling with loss. Thank You that our trials here are light and momentary and that they are instruments in Your hand for Your glory. Please help me to respond in faith and in praise in all things, knowing and trusting You and Your character. Thank You for giving us Your Word and that reading it causes my faith to grow. Thank You also that this world is not my home, I'm just passing through. May I use my time here for Your glory.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Together

It's Friday again. The word for this week is:



  One thing that I am so thankful for through all of our moves is that when I move I bring my 5 favorite people with me. In these 18 addresses that we've had over the last almost 13 years we've always been together. Our moves are not as difficult as they could be because we move together. I don't have to show up in a new town by myself.  I'm so grateful that, so far, it has always been the 6 of us and God. (Of course the first few moves there were less than 6 of us.)

We've had some difficult times this week. Friendships never look the same where ever you move. There have been tears and heartache. It's hard to watch my kids suffer. I am so thankful that we bring friends where ever we move. Life is so much better when lived... together.


 Want to write for 5 minutes too? Here's the prompt for this week:
"Around here we write for five minutes flat on Fridays.
We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. So we take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids.
On Fridays we write with gusto, unselfconscious and flat out.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on: Together"

The kids' Five Minute Fridays

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Something Old, Something New

We haven't done laundry since we moved to Lowville because there was no washer in the basement. There are hook-ups and we have been hounding Craigslist for a washer but, with the soldiers just recently returning to Fort Drum, washers have been going quickly. (Yes, there are laundromats here, but I haven't made the time to go and I am stubborn.) We did a couple of loads of laundry at Grandma and Grandpa's house when we were in Waterloo for Easter but it was getting pretty desperate around here as far as laundry goes and it was made worse by the fact that Abigail threw up this morning after a pretty bad headache (which was completely better after vomiting). We had already decided that we were just going to buy a new washer since we weren't finding one on Craigslist.

After the research we've done the last couple of weeks we decided, if we were going to buy a new one, to buy a Speed Queen because it is quality, it's mechanical, has great warranties, and is made in the USA. They are only sold through local, small businesses. We decided to buy it from Zehr Electric which I heard about during our playdate yesterday and is owned by a pastor. I don't think that I've ever owned a new appliance. (For that matter we never really buy anything new, except food and underwear.) I think even all of the appliances my parents ever owned were from that used appliance place in town. This washer should last us for the rest of the time that we have kids at home, minimum, Lord willing. We're not going to bother to buy a dryer because God dries our laundry pretty quickly on our big Amish drying rack or on lines outside in nice weather.

We decided to drive out 812 to Croghan to pay for the washer and just because it's fun to explore the area (which reminds me, I'll have to blog about Saturday's adventures soon). On our way to the store we went a little too far and had to turn around but saw a fun old bridge by Croghan Island Mill that we just had  to walk across. (Quick google search tells me that the sawmill there is one of the last ones in NY (if it's still in operation) entirely powered by water, pretty neat!) We walked across a couple of bridges, watched the water flow, tried to play Pooh Sticks, and saw the skins of some dead fish here by where the picture was taken. Croghan looks like a fun little town, there's a few places I'd like to go back and explore there sometime in the future.
On the way home we made a couple of stops. The first one was a little thrift store where we picked up a few items including a baseball glove, a colander, a sifter, an old iron, and a quilt all for less than $4 total. The second stop was Nolt's Country Store. It's a cute little Mennonite store. It reminds me of the old Sauder's Store when it was in the original location behind the farm house when I was little. It'll be a good place to buy my bulk items since I won't be able to make my monthly trips to Waterloo to visit my grandparents quite as regularly because we are now 3 hours away instead of 1 :(.
my 75 cent quilt from the thrift store, it's a bit thread-bare in spots but it is still fun!
We almost didn't beat Nathan to our house when he came to deliver and set up our washer. He got it set up quickly and made sure it was working then was on his way and I started a load of whites. (Glenn was almost out of t-shirts and the kids are always running out of socks!)
Our new washer in our basement
Thanks, God, for a fun day, for a new washing machine (and the financial resources to purchase it), and for the fun purchases at the thrift store, especially the quilt. We are so blessed!

Friday, April 13, 2012

What's your definition of home?

Everytime we move I wonder when where I'm living is going to feel like I'm home. It always takes a different amount of time and it is always a different trigger that says, "I'm home."

This afternoon there was a knock on our door. Two girls from down the street were there (one of whom helped haul our boxes in that first day). They wondered if our kids could use someone to play with. They played outside for a while and met some kids from a couple doors down then came in and had nerf gun wars all over the house. Dinner time came and they went home but were invited to come for our walk with us after dinner.

After dinner we walked over to pick them (and their brother and other sister) up and, after chatting for a while with their parents, we took them with us on our walk. I don't think that they realized that we were going to walk all the way around our block, not theirs. They were astounded that we were going to walk all the way up the hill to WalMart. "Cars have a hard time making it up that hill." (The should see the hill on Westmoreland that we used to walk.) I, for some reason, hadn't ever really realized that it was a hill there because every time I've walked around the block we've gone the other way and I never realized that we were going downhill. Anyway, we did walk all the way around the block and had a good time with them. After the walk they came over to our house and watched Monsters vs Aliens with us.

It was fun and kind of felt like home to have extra kids in our house today. I don't know that Lowville completely feels like home yet but it is fun to get to know new people and I'm thankful that my kids are making friends.

Five Minute Friday: Good-Bye

I'm back to write for five minutes flat on a Friday.

"Want to play Five Minute Friday? It’s easy peasy!

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt- no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Meet & encourage someone who linked up before you.
OK, are you ready? Give us your best five minutes on:"

Good bye...


Oh, boy.  You should have seen the tears well up in eyes after I was asked, "What's the 5 minute Friday word for today, mom?"  I often make my kids do 5 minute Friday with me. Not sure if they are up to it today.

Good-bye. I have said that word more times that I would ever want to count. I've also missed opportunities to say it as well.

Moving as often as we have has enabled me lots of practice saying, "good-bye." Sometimes so much practice that I don't want to ever say, "Hello."

I didn't get to say good-bye when we left Tennessee. After mom got sick and it was decided that we were supposed to move to NY to help out the family Glenn drove back down by himself, got a lot of help from our awesome Sunday School class to pack up our stuff, and came home.

We prolonged our saying "good-bye" when we left Houghton by returning often during those first weeks because church was "on the way" to or from somewhere.

On arriving in Rochester I didn't want to say "hello." I intended NOT to make friends while we were living there because we were only going to be living there for a year while waiting to get into medical school. (OK - timer ended but I'm going to keep writing so this is going to be more than 5 minutes - don't shoot ;) My plan didn't work out since we were soon invited to a small group at church and made many friends at what is now Northridge Church. We also ended up being there for 2 years, not one. Good-byes happened there when our group multiplied but that just meant that we had the opportunity to make more friends that lived closer to us and we still often saw our friends from our old small group at church.

Moving to Syracuse meant saying "good-bye" to those Rochester friends. I was kind of excited moving to Syracuse and the prospect of making friends because we were going to be there 3-4 years. Friendships looked different in Syracuse than I planned. Not bad. Just different. I made good friends there. We made friends with neighbors, something we had never really done before. We also made friends with many homeschool families. Then, 2 weeks ago, we had to say "good-bye" again.

Now we're in Lowville for 9-10 months. Having a definite "we're outta here" date would normally keep me from wanting to make friends BUT.... over the last few months God has used many of the writers at (in)courage in my heart that have been writing about how important it is to have friends in real life (including Ann's post from yesterday). Facebook friends are great but they are not enough. So, even though "good-byes" are inevitable and soon, I am going to try to make friends because friendships are important.

One of the doctors Glenn is working with gave me the email addresses of some women who homeschool in the area and also invited me to come to a Bible study with her. I went on Tuesday night and got to meet a couple of the women who homeschool. The Bible study is one of those hard ones where they ask you difficult questions like: How is your relationship with your husband going? How are things going with your kids? Are you spending time reading the Bible and praying? What temptations are you dealing with lately and how are you doing with them? Ouch. I haven't been asked questions like that in a while. I think that it will be a good thing and I think that I'll make friends. I was also given the email address of another homeschooler who directed me to 2 others who live here in town, one of which called me whose oldest is an 11 year old boy and I am meeting up with on Monday for a playdate. (My kids are tentatively excited because they have been "soooo lonely" but their poor hearts have walls around them too because of so many good-byes.)

"Hellos" are difficult and "good-byes" are painful but relationships are worth it. I know that God has a reason for having us here in Lowville for this season. I pray that we make the most of the time He gives us here for His honor and glory, until the next time of good-byes when we get to start the cycle all over again.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I'm Giving Myself a Break

Written last week, before we got internet so just posting now.

I was really feeling guilty earlier this week because we didn't do any school last week because we were packing up our apartment and I couldn't do both, and we haven't done any school this week because we've been unpacking and it's been Glenn's spring break. I started thinking... "oh no!! We'll never finish our school work for this year!!" I always err to the extreme. Freak out is often my middle name, unfortunately.

Thankfully, yesterday (Wednesday), as I was trying to get our school/ dining room set up and talking with God about my frustrations, He reminded me of Fillmore. Sometime while we were living in Houghton Fillmore schools changed their spring break from 2 weeks in the spring back to back to one week in February and one week around Easter like I had growing up in Waterloo. This upset a lot of people who really liked the two week chunk off because they could go on family trips, ect. I'm so thankful for that reminder because it was freeing - other people have taken 2 weeks off in a row for spring break in the past. Silly. I know.

We didn't take a February break because I knew our move was coming up and Glenn didn't have one. One thing that I love about homeschooling is that we can take breaks when Glenn's free (like this week) or when we need them (like last week). I am required to do a certain number of hours/ days of school with the kids but I'm not required to follow the school calendar. If I was Lowville School's spring break is, in fact, this week so no one around here is expecting the kids to have school this week anyway.

Thanks God for the freedom to homeschool and to make our own schedule. Thanks for the opportunity to take a break last week and this week. Please help us to enjoy the rest of it for your honor and glory.

We've started school back up this week and I've still had to give myself a bit of a break because we still haven't figured out exactly how the house is going to be set up and my stations are not set up yet so we've had a bit lighter week than I would have liked but we are still pretty close to on schedule for the year. I got my paperwork in to the school district today so I am officially, legally homeschooling again. Only 1 quarter left of this year - hard to believe!!

A Walk Around the Block

Last night (Friday) we decided to take a walk around the block after supper. It's definitely different from a walk around the block in our neighborhood in Syracuse (where the only thing of note was the Women's Info Center).

It took us about 40 minutes to walk the 2 miles around the block and here are some of the things we passed:
- Tops grocery store
- McDonalds
- Loyds of Lowville - a diner we're supposed to check out
- Kinney Drug Store
- a huge cow with sunglasses (Lady LaWinDa Milkzalot) that the kids pretended to milk
Milking LaWinDa Milkzalot
- a cheese shop offering 75 varieties of cheeses
- AMF plant (where I think I've heard all the bowling pins made in the US are made. We'll have to confirm that with our neighbor who works there. I'd love to get a factory tour as well.)
- a phone booth
- Kraft foods plant (I've heard that if you buy Kraft cream cheese east of the Mississippi it comes from that plant. Another fact I'll have to confirm. Another place I'd love a factory tour of.)
- Dunkin Donuts
- Subway
- a veternary clinic
- a laudrymat
- a couple car parts stores
- a Welcome to Lowville sign with ~7 churches advertised
- WalMart
That was the first ~1/2 mi then we turned left where the sidewalk ends and walked past some more things of note:
- a sign indicating we were entering the village of Lowville
- a couple of cow pastures one of which had 2 fire hydrants in it which we thought was kind of strange - our suggested reason for why was that maybe cows catch fire around here, the cows in the other one looked at us with curiosity, I'm not sure that many people walk around our block (on trip #2 around the block on Saturday night the cows caught sight of us and followed us all the way to the end of the fence, occasionally running to catch up - haha)
cows following us on Saturday night
- the former military housing where we thought we might live
- Tractor Supply
- a hill with a path on it that Abigail was so excited about she ran up it
- a couple of old cemeteries
- Then back onto S State where we passed the Ford dealership on our way home.

That was a lot of things I've never passed on a walk around the block before. So much exploring yet to do in this town :)

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Things to get used to

There are always some things that I have to get used to when I move to a new place. Each home is set up different so I need to figure out new homes for our stuff (even the three different cookie cutter flats we lived in in Syracuse had little differences which made setting them up interesting.) While we were waiting for our Chinese food on Sunday we had the kids draw a layout of the first floor to try to figure out where things should go. We don't have it completely figured out but we're getting there.

Each town or city has had different amenities and different layouts so I've had to learn to navigate them and learn where the fun stuff is.There are a few things about where we're living that I'll have to get used to. Here is my list so far:

1. Carpet
We have had hardwoods in every home we've lived in for the last 5 years. We owned a reject vacuum cleaner that we curbed on our way out of Syracuse because it didn't do the greatest job on hard wood floors, and I'm sure that it wouldn't have done well on carpet. So... a vacuum will need to be early on our shopping list soon. Carpet grosses me out because I don't know what has been on it before I moved in. The kids are super excited about it though, especially the carpet on the stairs.
2. Electric stove
For most of our marriage we've lived in places with gas stoves. We had an electric stove growing up but it does change how I cook a bit.
3. Library limits
At Petit, our local library in Syracuse, there was a 50 book limit. Since I homeschool and I was there all the time they often let me go over that limit. Today I went to get a library card from the library here because we got mail addressed to me and I found out that for the first little while that I have a library card I'll only be able to check out 2 books at a time. On hearing that my book loving heart sunk. 2 books?? :( After a while, when I've been proven trustworthy, I'll be able to check out up to maybe 10 books and the kids might be able to get cards to check out 1-2 books each. It's ok. The library's just over 1/2 mile from our house so we can go often. I'm glad that we kept a lot of our personal kids books though. I checked out 2 today (that we just might go and exchange tomorrow). I'll get my trustworthy library patron badge soon hopefully ;)
4. Closed at 5
We went out late  yesterday afternoon and tried to stop at a couple of places. They were closed though, unfortunately, because it was after 5. I guess that's life in a small town :)
5. More expensive food
There's a Tops and a Stewarts less than 1/2 mile from our house but food is definitely more expensive here. (I'm used to Aldi and Wegmans in Syracuse.) Milk there was $1.99/ gallon. Here milk is $3.29 at Tops and $2.79 at Stewarts. I'm thinking I'm going to have to increase our food budget while living here. There is an Aldi about 15 miles away. I was super spoiled living only 1 mile from Aldi in Syracuse. Tops had some great sales on some staples yesterday though, so I'm grateful.
6. Basketball in the backyard
The family that lives in the other half of our duplex has 2 boys and a girl - 16, 14, & 11. They have a basketball hoop out back that they said we could use and left their basketballs out for us to play with as well. That sure has been fun.
7. Busy street
We live on S State St which is the main drag through Lowville (we walk through 3 stop lights on our way to the library, so it's not that tiny of a town.) The first couple of days that we lived here the girls were constantly watching the cars go by and counting semis. "Mom, I counted 73 semis today!" Who cares about unpacking when you can count semis?? :) We've also seen a couple of horse and buggies as well :)
8. Bright sunlight
Living on the first floor surrounded by houses for the past almost 3 years I've almost forgotten what sunshine was. Not really, but waking up the first morning I was wondering where Nathan and Amanda's house was that had kept our bedroom so nice and dark. I think that our plants are going to like it though (and I do too!)
9. An attic & a basement
These are things that could present a problem to us. We have moved into a place that is smaller than what we had been living in but we still have basement and attic space. One of my goals for this summer is to go through everything that has been placed in either if those places and purge, purge, purge. If our stuff is going into storage when we leave Lowville I want as little of it as possible.
10. Bikes just laying around
Bikes just laying around in Syracuse would have been stolen. We see them everywhere here. That is going to take some getting used to :)

Move Day Update

I have often been exhausted and embarrassed on move days in the past  but this time I was extremely humbled and grateful as well.

On Friday night we got a call from one of our new friends from church, Devon, asking what time we were picking up the truck because he wanted to help Glenn get it. That was a huge blessing and surprise, especially when he found out that we were going to be picking it up at 7am!

Well, at 7am our door bell rang and Glenn and Devon went to get our 26' Uhaul. The kids and I started hauling the locker bins outside while they were gone. Devon (with his magic moving bag), his wife Kate (armed with donuts, bagels & OJ), and his friend Dan (who we'd never met but was a huge help!) were early help. Karl (a friend of Glenn's from Christian Medical Fellowship) and Nick (our small group leader) both were there early and helped load the heavy stuff. As the morning wore on others came by to help including our neighbor from Roosevelt Brad and his kids, Dawn (a friend from small group who did lots of cleaning and making sure rooms were empty) and her son, Emily (a homeschooling friend who hauled a lot of stuff out to the truck and brought donuts & an orchid for us) and her kids. Even the extra kids (including a neighbor girl who came over to play one last time) were a help hauling for part of the day.

It was a long day and as the day went on I noticed a few areas (like our closet!) that hadn't been packed so I spent most of my time inside getting things finished packing (the REALLY yucky stage) while Glenn and a bunch of wonderful people packed the truck. Many hands make light(er) work and I am so grateful for the many hands that God provided!

Nick and Dawn stayed to the end and were a huge blessing. We finally called the landlord at 2:30 to let him know that we were done and to inform him of a couple of things and we were on the road (with the guys in the uhaul and the girls in the van) headed north by a little before 3.

We arrived here in Lowville a little before 5 and found out that the keys were not waiting for us at the hospital (not sure what happened there!) but, thankfully, the neighbor had a key so we were able to go in and check out our new place and look around (figure out who was going to sleep in which bedroom, etc since we'd only ever seen google drive-by pictures of the duplex before). I had an opportunity to be humbled once again as I stepped out the back door and there stood Richard (a sweet, amazingly strong 82 year old man - if I live to be 82 I want to do it as well as he has!!) who looked at me and said, "Well, I guess I'm the first one here." I wasn't sure what he was talking about but I introduced myself and within minutes Anthony (the pastor of the local Baptist church), and two of his daughters were here to help unload along with Dan (one of the doctors that Glenn will be working with). Anthony apologized that there weren't more people to help but many people from their "Baptist Moving Crew" were gone because of spring break. A few minutes later John & Michele (friends of ours from Tennessee Temple who are currently living near Watertown) & their kids came to help unload as well. Lots of stuff went into the basement and then lots of stuff went inside. It was wonderful to have so much help unloading! Being a part of the bucket brigade getting stuff into our new home was fun. I've honestly never seen a bucket brigade work so well! Everything was unloaded sometime before 8 and we headed off to return the truck. (Side note: the main reason we picked Uhaul was bc they had a drop off spot in Lowville, unfortunately, since that location was not open on Sundays, we had to take it all the way to Watertown to return it). John & Michele & crew came with us so we could grab a bite to eat afterwards. After trying, unsuccessfully, to find the Uhaul place for quite a while due to wrong directions we called uhaul and found out there was another drop off place just a stone's throw from the WalMart parking lot we stopped at - PTL. We dropped it off and hit Taco Bell where 12 starving bodies ate at WAY too late at night. (side note: while we were there, besides the many soldiers that were there another family with younger kids came in and Michele and I both thought "What on earth are you doing feeding your children at Taco Bell at this ungodly hour!" LOL) We finally made it home and collapsed on our mattresses at close to 11.

We had 25 people help us on move day ages 2-82, several of whom had never even met us before. It took about 10 hours total of hauling stuff out and hauling stuff in. It's the first time in a long time that we've actually completed a move in one day and I couldn't imagine how sore I would be today or how long it would have taken without all that help. I'm embarrassed to ask for, or even need, help but I am SO GRATEFUL for all the help we got!

Thank You Lord for providing many hands and feet to help us on Saturday! Please bless those people and heal their bodies, help us to remember what You've taught us through them and give us opportunities to be Your hands and feet in the future.

NOTE: I will be adding pictures to this when we get internet at home, I'm posting this at the library :)