January 19, 2019

Altus Home

I wanted to document how it is that we ended up buying our home out in the country, right outside the Altus city limits. We are officially in Blair but we still say we live in Altus because other than the locals, nobody knows where the heck Blair is.

The hunt for a house started the day we found out we were going to be stationed in Altus. I was constantly on all of the different websites for homes for rent and sale just looking for the right one. Altus was tough because even though there are so many military families, there just weren't any rentals! It was so frustrating because buying a home was never on our radar because we move every 3ish years. We quickly learned that buying was a must in Altus. 

Rich and I couldn't seem to get on the same page. The homes I liked he didn't like and vise versa. Not that there were a lot to choose from. He kept mentioning a house out in the country and I was absolutely NOT having it! We lived out in the country in Utah and I absolutely hated it. The kids were little and it was a 20-30 minute drive to get to anything. We ended up moving on base after 6 months of loneliness so I had learned my lesson- country life was not for me. So, I shut down his dream of living outside of town really quick. 

2 weeks before it was time to PCS, a new house came on the market. It was in a cul-de-sac, had a huge back yard that overlooked fields and had a big kitchen. It seemed like it checked off every single one of Rich's 'must haves'. We contacted our realtor and she got back to us and encouraged us to make a very competitive offer if we were interested in this house because there were already multiple offers on the table and it was going to go quick! We freaked out. We acted impulsively and put in a ridiculous offer. We got the house. It was the WORST feeling when we heard back that they had accepted our offer. We knew it was a huge mistake. Long story short, we backed out after the inspection. What a huge relief that was.

2 weeks later, we've left Okinawa and we are back on American soil without a car or a place to live. That's not stressful or anything. While visiting family Rich keeps telling his family members about this house he is really interested in out in the country. I was getting so annoyed with him! I even pulled him aside and told him to stop talking about the stinking house in the country because "I'M NOT LIVING THERE!" He apologized and stopped talking about it. 

Fast forward to Rich and I house hunting in Altus.  We looked at dozens of homes. They were all ok and Rich and I agreed that we would be happy in any of them but none of them felt right. One day, while we were out looking at a home he asked me if I would be ok with just driving by that country home? I rolled my eyes and said, "I'm not living there but  yeah, we can drive by." He followed GPS and it took us down a long, bumpy dirt road and I made sure I complained every minute of that bumpy drive. When we got to the home I looked across the street and saw that there is a property with old farm equipment and a couple of old cars and a little trailer. This was my out! I pointed to the "junk yard" across the street and said, "There's my deal breaker right there! I'm not living across from a junk yard!" Rich literally hung his head in defeat and said, "Ugh, you are right." He was so sad! He had been telling me over and over again that he had a really good feeling about this house and in his words he kept saying, "I feel it in my bones" haha! So, driving up to the house and seeing the lot across the street and me shutting down his dream was so devastating. 

The next day, he had to go in for some in processing and while he was talking to another pharmacist a lady walked by. The pharmacist told Rich that the lady that had just walked by was selling a house. Rich asked if she would introduce him and wouldn't you know it? She was the owner of the stinkin' country house! He told her that we had driven by and that I had said no because of the lot across the street. She totally understood but told him that we should go by and see the inside. He said he would talk to me.

So, Rich gets back from in-processing and says to me, "You'll never guess who I met today." When he told me I rolled my eyes so hard. He told me that she had invited us over to see the inside and I was really hesitant but I thought I would humor them since Rich already knew where I stood. We hopped in the car and started driving...down a normal road, past beautiful fields of cotton, that led us straight to their house and only took us 10 minutes! So we don't have to drive down a bumpy dirt road to get to this house! Still doesn't matter. I'm not living in that house...until we pulled into the driveway. I felt something that was undescribable. This feeling of 'this is it, this is home'. I instantly knew that this was the home that was meant for my family. No matter how hard  I tried to deny it, I couldn't deny that feeling. I kept it to myself.  I knew I would tell Rich but I didn't want to tell him until we had walked through the home. 

We walked through the home and it was all perfect. We knew which room would be for each of the kids and we could just see ourselves there. After hanging out with the owners for a bit we headed out. I wish I could remember if it was then that I told Rich about the feeling I had or if it was later. I did tell him at some point and from that moment on there was never a doubt in my mind that this would be our home. Funny thing is that there was a time when Rich doubted! I actually had to convince him that we were making the right decision! 

This is just another one of those experiences in my life that reaffirms to me that Heavenly Father is aware of what we are going through in our lives. Yes, it's just a house and I know we would have been just fine in any of the houses we looked at BUT I know that this is exactly where we are meant to be. In this house, out in the country in the tiny town of Blair, Okahoma, stationed at Altus AFB. This experience has made this move, this transition, the easiest of all of our moves. I needed it and Heavenly Father knew that I needed it and he blessed me with it. Grateful for a Father in Heaven that knows what we need better than we know what we need.

Updates are in order

It has literally been almost a year since my last post. I can't believe how quickly that time has passed and how much has happened! While it is nearly impossible to document everything that has happened in the past 12 months, hitting some highlights is a MUST. We took the trip of a lifetime to Thailand and Cambodia and revisited Korea. We traded in our exotic, tropical island life in Okinawa for a new country home is small town Oklahoma. We are settled in and the kids are thriving. 

Quickly, our here and now...

We are stationed in Altus, Oklahoma. We bought our very first house out in the country in the town of Blair. The kids all go to a tiny school called Navajo where the teachers drive the buses and greet your kids by name every morning. It was tough for Aidan and Maya to adjust to the strict rules and consequences and the more demanding curriculum but they have and are both not hating school any more. That's a lie. Aidan will always hate school, lol!

Aidan's alarm, haha!
 

We got some answers for our medical concerns with Arabella. We would  still like to see a neurologist at the children's hospital to verify some things with her hyper flexible  joints, especially her ankles, but for now she is going to physical therapy to strengthen her ankles. Hopefully she won't fall or twist her ankle nearly as often as she gets stronger.



Eva had surgery to fix her leaking g-tube stoma. Unfortunately, that didn't go as planned. It didn't heal properly and ended up opening up and it has now been a 3+ week of doing wound care and waiting for it to heal up. She missed going to school and playing with her friends for 3 weeks but finally got to the point where she could go back. It is doing much better but she still has at least 2-3 weeks left of healing.

Rich is absolutely loving his job. He is the flight commander of the pharmacy and he has a great team. While we were slightly upset when we got our orders to Altus AFB, there is no doubt that this is where we were meant to be. We are so happy and this pace of life is exactly what we needed. We are still settling in and trying to not let life get the best of us but it has been nice to not have a million distractions. Life is becoming more simple and that is what we all needed at this stage in our lives.

June 14, 2018

March

March was another really awesome month. We started it with another Okuma camping trip.




Awesome full moon.

Rich challenged each kid to walk around our tent in the dark by themselves twice. Maya and Eva did it!

We had planned on staying another night but it started raining which made for a really peaceful night and morning.

Packing up the tent in the rain wasn't so peaceful though, haha! It's all part of the adventure.
Some friends invited me to go to lunch in a treehouse and it was awesome! Getting there was half the fun. I'll tell you what, following google in Okinawa takes you on some serious adventures and down some trail like roads. Here's a little example of a typical google led drive in Oki.

Once we arrived we ordered our taco rice and headed up to our tree house. Eva was loving the little slide.


They used a pulley system to get our food up to us.


Our beautiful view.



After lunch we explored a little and checked out some of the other tree houses.



We did a lot of our usual fun stuff including lots of vending machine drinks...

Cocock's with friends for our cute toe nails...


Park days...



Hachiren Ramen!




School projects


 Kiddie Disco with our Okinawan friends! It was their first time and they absolutely loved it.

And of course, our Baker Sunday Selfie's
 


We've had so many adventures and there is always so much to do in Okinawa that it's hard to say what my absolute favorite things are but I can say that without a doubt, Mari Car was one of my absolute favorite things we've done on island. It was SO MUCH FUN!









Such an awesome and memorable end to a great month!

May 12, 2018

March ~Arabella's Baptism~

March was a really special month. Arabella chose to be baptized and it was made extra special because she got to share it with her best church friend, Erica. She proved to be an incredible little missionary! Erica's dad was hesitant to let her be baptized but Arabella took it upon herself to talk to him and ask him if they could be baptized together. He said yes! She was also sure to invite her neighborhood friends to her baptism and one of them came! 

We had a little photo shoot of Arabella and Erica.




So many friends came to support these girls. It was such a special day! This was the little display table I did for them. I gave each girl one of the shisa so that they could always remember their baptism day and the covenants that they made. I told them that I hope they will call each other years down the road and check on and encourage each other to keep those covenants.


So proud of Arabella! 
 



February

Where has the time gone?!?! Keeping up with life and this blog has felt completely impossible but I guess that just means we are really living, right? When I think of all of the posts I need to write I get overwhelmed. We have done and seen so many incredible things since my last post including traveling to Thailand, Cambodia and back to Korea! Rich and the kids have had so many incredible accomplishments that I've failed to post because I felt like I needed to write about our trips first. I'm changing my ways and I'm going to allow myself to make 'everyday life' posts before life passes me by and the memories fade.

December and January were filled with trips and recovering from trips so I will start in February. We started the month with a day off of school and warm enough weather for our first beach day! We went to Maeda Flats.



We followed our perfect beach day with our favorite Family Mart snacks.


February also marked the beginning of the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Okinawa. We don't have very many sakura in Okinawa but the few that we do have sure are beautiful!


Aidan and Maya tested for their 2nd stripe on their green belt and did such a great job.










We took advantage of the cool weather and spent a weekend camping at Okuma. It was so nice! Cool enough to camp but warm enough to enjoy the beach too. We are going to miss our happy place!







 

Okuma has the most beautifully breathtaking sunsets. Pictures just don't do it justice.







Woke up to Arabella being the best big sister.



We had been looking forward to going whale watching for a really long time and it was finally time for it to happen! We got up early on a crisp morning and boarded the boat along with 3 other families. 



We rode out over lots of waves for about an hour in search of the whales. This was the last picture I took on that day.

 Were whales spotted? Yes, they were! Did I see them? No, no I didn't. The moment the boat stopped I started puking. I puked and puked over and over again for the entire 2 1/2 hours we were out looking for whales. I was joined by Rich, Arabella, Eva and over half of the other passengers. It was the most horrible experience ever! Whale watching was NOT a success for us.

We had a month filled with a lot of our usual happenings like our Baker Sunday Selfie's

  pizza~ice cream~movie night
 
 Hashiren Ramen
 And trips to the banana stand.
 

Then, there are always those exciting moments like getting to hold a snake at church...
 Aidan making the Honor Roll!
 Oh, and of course there's that time when I though Eva had snuck out of the house so my neighborhood friends helped me canvas the neighborhood and encouraged me to stay calm when I wanted to call security forces. Knowing it wasn't like Eva to just take off like that, they encouraged me to check my house one more time. I found her asleep in the tiny area between the washer/dryer and the closet doors. She added a few greys to my growing collection.

What a great month we enjoyed!

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