The BIG Move and Job

Oh yes, this is a HUUUGE move for us. It is involving a cross-country drive by Brad, cargo ships, selling most of our belongings, getting a storage unit, spending over a month away from each other, packing up shipping pallets here in Eugene, a drive to California, and looong flights. Where are we headed??

:::::::::::::::::: DRUM-ROLL ::::::::::::::::::::

:::::::::::::::::::: AND MORE DRUMS ::::::::::::::::::::

:::::::::::::::::::: MAYBE A TRUMPET ::::::::::::::::::::

We will be moving to ST CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS!! 
For reals, no jokes here. This is a very very bittersweet move for us. The Pacific Northwest/Oregon has absolutely captured our hearts and I am heartbroken that we are leaving our dream. Buuuut we're headed to a (small) island in the Caribbean, so it's trading a dream for a paradise. Not too shabby. Brad and I were both rather surprised that we had hardly any interest from companies here in Oregon, and also Washington. As well as other places, but we really wanted to stay here. It was pretty frustrating. Actually, that sentence completely underplays just how frustrating it was... but you get the idea. During this whole ordeal, there were lots of prayers said with us just asking to please know whether to stay or go, according to where is best for our family, where Brad will enjoy his job, where we're needed, and where we'll be happy. Never in a million years would the USVI have crossed my mind. Never. Nor Brad's.
Some thoughts and what not about the move and new life we are starting-

- I am so sad to leave Eugene. To leave the boys' school, to not have Jack get the same kindergarten teacher as the other two boys (she's so amazing!). In fact, ALL their teachers have been so great and loved our boys, it hurts to leave them. 
- I am sad to leave all the friends we've made here. We came here over 6 1/2 years ago. We have never lived in one city for that long our whole marriage. Mind you, we've moved three times here and been in three different wards for our church... but the same city!! The people here are so awesome and unique. I'll miss so much!
- again, we're sad to leave the PNW in general. Brad is not happy he didn't get to climb more mountains, though he did try and got thwarted by the weather almost every time. Won't miss that! We love the easy and never-ending nature here. We have a whole Oregon Bucket list that we barely skimmed the surface of. Guess we'll have to come back one day to finish it ;)
- on the other hand, where we're headed ALSO has tons of nature to explore... it's a freaking island! Though it is a small island, I am sure we will be busy exploring the terrain and enjoying the waters.
- we are still not sure if we will be buying or renting. Since the USVI is a territory, things work differently there. If someone could just tell me where to move exactly, a whole bunch of stress will be solved. I hate this part...
- we are technically out of the hurricane territory. The last time there was major destruction was 1989. They have been affected by other hurricanes, but it's mostly the West End and part of the South Shore.
- we will be homeschooling! I am actually quite excited for this. Nervous, but excited. I've always wanted a reason to homeschool, and this is it! Apparently a lot of families there homeschool and so there is a great support system. Wish me luck... and give  me any and all tips and resources!
- Brad starts work in two weeks and we will be staying to try to finish the school year and sell our house. Sooo here until June for the rest of us? So sad. Longest we'll be away from each other and we're already hating it.
- Brad enjoyed meeting the people he will be working with and is looking forward to what the future holds. He is also already planning on getting a surfboard and using it often. The fish is ready to have constant beach access!
- the boys are SO SO SO SO SO excited. Almost every time it's raining (which is basically always right now and we are so. over. it), Gavin lets us know how much he wishes he was on the island.
- St. Croix is the largest of the three US Virgin Islands. They just reopened the ferry from St. Croix to St. Thomas so that'll be a trip in the future!
- There is an island off of St. Croix that is one of the top five snorkeling/scuba diving destinations in the world- Buck Island. Three different types of sea turtles lay their eggs there. It isn't often, but dolphins have been known to be seen (and swam with! holy freaking cow!). Humpback whales pass in the winter for their migration. I am so excited!!

There is just so much more to say, I might have to randomly pop on here and say some more. This has exceeded long-winded (sorry! but thanks for reading!). I am still deciding if I want to start a separate blog or just keep our adventures on here... decisions, decisions. ALSO, please visit! We don't care how much you know us, or when the last time we talked to one another... come visit! We'd love to show you around (once we see some of it ourselves) and have friends come experience the beautiful Caribbean with us. 

Now I need to get back to my to-do list and packing... the worst... 


A Great Day

Before I begin, in case anyone is wondering... no job yet. Keep the prayers comin'! Or job openings...

Christmas is always interesting around here due to a certain birthday just a few days after. This year was EXTRA special because Jimmer not only had a birthday three days after the big holiday, he had a baptism on New Year's Eve. It was pretty awesome.

My parents and my brother Craig's family came from out of state for Christmas, his birthday, and the baptism. All happened in one week, so why not! Two days before, Brad's parents came and then the day of, my sister and her husband came down from Corvallis for the big day. Usually the Stake (a large set boundary of members in our church, divided into what we call 'wards') has a designated Baptism Day on the first Saturday of the month. Well... that wasn't until January 6th. Ain't gonna work. We were able to have a special joined baptism with a family from the ward we had previously been in a week earlier, thank goodness. I was really impressed with how seriously James took the decision to be baptized (though he didn't always show it that day, but hey... eight-year olds). We really wanted to make sure HE wanted to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and not just because it was what we do. This year with him has really cemented with me that seven-turning-eight really is a special age. Kids are so much aware of what THEY want and not just what Mom and Dad tell them. James really came into his own this year (along with LOTS of us butting heads because of this) and realizing he wants what he wants. It was great and frustrating all at the same time (the ultimate tagline for parenting, amiright??). His baptism was perfect and it was just an amazingly special day.

*disclaimer- pardon the out of focus and oddly lit pictures that are below. I am really, really trying to figure out our DSLR that we got a couple years ago better and am still not great at it. I was a bit disappointed with how not-so-great they turned out... but, hey, we got pictures and I am going to be grateful for that! And start working on my photog skills BEFORE big events...*

I made him go out in the cold to take pictures. He wasn't thrilled, but he cooperated and we got a few
 The birthday! 
 Star Wars toy and the game Blink (awesome game for kids)
 Lego Death Trooper
 Cake time! This year all he wanted was a green and orange cake... whatever floats your birthday boat, kid
 After cake, we went to have his baptism interview with our Bishop (the leader in our ward who oversees the needs of the ward members)
 Baptism Day


Thank You (yes, you!)

Do you ever find yourself realizing how boring and normal your life is? How our lives are just a general basic routine for the most part. And man, wouldn't it be great to have something exciting happen?! Let me tell you- No... no, it wouldn't. Because "something exciting" is usually not of the good variety. It is usually a trial or tragedy that just plain sucks to have going on and you long for the days of  the not-so-boring-now-that-you-think-of-it life you had before. I think the next time I find myself feeling ungrateful, I'll be sure to send us on a little adventure to sate the need for excitement because we have some of the non-good excitement happening around here and I'll take the no-drama life just about now.
Almost two months ago (election night, to be exact...), Brad unfortunately lost his job. I don't believe the internet is a place to divulge much more than that (though if you are curious, I will give more details... just not for the public eye), but I will say it was a toooooootal blindside. And just in time for the holidays, too. We immediately took action to make sure our family is taken care of, but our lives are definitely changed. Though Brad hasn't had as many call backs for positions as we'd like (ugh, holidays), we have had other blessings that has made this hard time not seem all that hard. And I wanted to take this time to say THANK YOU to all of you wonderful people (even if you don't read this). 
THANK YOU to my parents, for making sure our kids had a Christmas. And for offering help immediately, even though all I needed was to cry to my mom and dad.
THANK YOU to my in-laws, who give without asking and love our family.
THANK YOU to siblings, who prayed for us, checked in on us and supported us. We appreciate it more than you know. 
THANK YOU to someone close for your gift. I hope you know who you are. Because it touched my heart and helped us so much.
THANK YOU to a certain family, who came by one night with a gift for us. A gift with the best coupons ever- tickets to go see Rogue One since we didn't know if we could spare the money just yet, babysitting/kids night, and an at home pizza and movie night complete with coupons and extra cash. My nerd heart just burst with your generosity and this act of kindness will stay with my family and I forever.
THANK YOU to another friend, who took me to go see Fantastic Beasts. Not a great time for a nerd to not have income! It was the best and YOU are the best. 
THANK YOU to all our friends, who have listened to us vent or just been there to help distract us. You have lifted and encouraged us and helped us not feel so alone.
THANK YOU to those who reached out when I cryptically asked for prayers on Facebook and Instagram. Being the curious person I am, it kind of went against my grain to not just lay it all out and not have secrecy. But it didn't feel appropriate at the time and I thank those that personally made sure all was well.
THANK YOU to those who offered thoughts and prayers without knowing what was going on. I have felt every single one. I have, I really have. You have made our lives so much lighter and brighter.
So just THANK YOU to all of you in our lives. You've made this much easier to bear.
We are hopeful something will happen sooner than later. We are hoping to stay where we are, but understand we need to do what is best for our family. And if that means a move, well then... I will sadly but with hope go where Heavenly Father wants us to go. I gotta say, this has been a completely humbling experience. It has brought us closer together and increased our dependence on Heavenly Father and our Savior. I'd call that a win... it will be in the end, I know. Every trial can be made a blessing. Things will work out... pretty sure that is our mantra at the moment. It's crazy to not have a solid grasp on our future, but this really is for the best and I am excited to see where it all leads. 


Dance A Jig

We introduced the boys to Riverdance over the weekend and it is a hit. After we were finished watching a few videos, the boys busted out their Celtic moves and started dancing all over. It was hilariously cute. So tonight, for part of our Family Night, we had them perform again to catch it on video. Though, unfortunately, Gavin was unable to participate due to nerves. He was nervous he wouldn't know what to do (without trying first) and therefore had a bit of a breakdown. James and Jack on the other hand went for it and it was awesome. 

James has now decided he wants to be a dancer when he grows up for his job. The boys were disappointed while watching that they couldn't do what the dancers were doing and we had to explain to them that those people had to practice dancing all day to be able to be on that stage and perform, and that it was their job to do that. So dancing is in our future? We'll see how long that lasts...

And here are some awesome stills of Jack-Jack dancing. Pure joy on his face, I tell you. Now I know what to do at night when I need their energy gone!


A Visit With the Dentist

I wouldn't normally post something so mundane as going to the dentist. But it actually was a pretty good experience and my kids were rock stars. Plus, they're stinkin' adorable.
 Gavin trying to watch Jack's movie choice. It was hilarious watching him trying to get a good angle
All three of them have "perfect" teeth and no cavities! Woot! Gavin technically has the most perfect teeth, which is actually a problem. His baby teeth are so perfect now that when his adult teeth come in (which are about double the size), his mouth will be crowded. I'll be scheduling an appointment with the orthodontist soon because apparently he can get a retainer to start spacing his baby teeth so it isn't as bad when the adult teeth come in. How cool is that?! Like, I am amazed at what they can do with teeth! He'll still need braces down the road, but this will help it not be for as long. Having personally (and gratefully) been down the braces road myself, that is definitely a good thing. 
On a different note, apparently one of James's molars hasn't popped up all the way. Straaaange... so the dentist said they'll be watching it for the next year or two and if it doesn't fully emerge, we'll have to talk to an oral surgeon about it. Let's hope it doesn't come down to that... eesh. I also asked about his baby teeth. James lost his two front bottom teeth in July and October (i think...) and nothing since. Not even a little wiggle from any of the others. Apparently that's super normal, especially for boys. Bring on the waiting game!  


More Family Photos

The first Saturday of our Christmas break, we were able to have our second photo session. Wahoo! I loved our first session... but I might love this one more. I'll try to limit my favorites, but there are lots...
Ummm... someone needs to tell my boys to stop growing up and being so handsome. Pronto
 The Mr and Mrs ♥
I absolutely ADORE this photo
Gavinator loves having his picture taken
This. Is. James. Personality captured perfectly right here
I am excited to get these pictures up in our home, where we can see them all the time. It is a special thing when photos truly capture your family and I think these did just that :)