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week one. check.

27 Mar

well we survived our first week of living up North!  at first the weather was warm and sunny, but it quickly deteriorated to a monsoon, a crazy hailstorm and then snow and low temps in the teens.

our house is pretty well unpacked.  some things have found a home, some have not.  the kitchen is done and i actually cooked 3 meals in a row this week!  that’s a pretty good string, especially considering i hadn’t cooked 3 meals in a row in a couple of months.  [it doesn’t matter that one meal consisted entirely of IKEA food–swedish meatballs, gravy and potato pancakes–right?  RIGHT??  EVERYONE loved it.]

the move went very smoothly.  it was chaotic that day and we literally swam through a sea of boxes and paper for a couple of days, but now we have a nice, tall, flat stack of boxes 4 feet high on our front porch.  only a couple of things were broken and it was mostly stuff that i had packed for the big red boxes.

school is going well for the boys.  we kinda feel like we’re living in the twilight zone, 

or rather pleasantville, because this little nook of pittsburgh seems so perfect.  we walked into the school on their first day and when we were introduced, multiple people exclaimed, “oh! the owens boys are here!”  their teachers already had their desk prepared with supplies labeled with their names. every single person who we met was so very nice to us.

the next day, i walked the boys to the bus stop, which is just down the hill from our house.  about 15 kids and 8 or 9 parents were there, all chit chatting and drinking their coffee.  a 5th grade girl shouted, “bus alert!” and all of the kids lined up rather orderly.  they filed on the bus and as the bus started to pull away, every single parent waved and shouted “good bye! have a great day! love you!”  i left with that whole twilight zone feeling again. crazy.

neighbors continue to walk over with muffins and phone numbers and it’s just. so. nice.

let’s see…..other things….

  • our house leans.  i mean REALLY leans.  i guess after 102 years, a house is bound to settle.  every single room sorta sinks in around the edges.  shims have become will’s best friend for stabilizing furniture.  a game of marbles is just not possible here.
  • the tire swing and playground outside entertain our kids for hours.
  • our bedroom feels like what i imagine an igloo to feel like.
  • i love having laundry in the basement.  it helps that we have a laundry chute. i went to ikea and got several bins to have an organized system.  when i find my camera, i’ll take a picture and show you cuz it’s THAT awesome.
  • stinkbugs are the PA version of palmetto bugs.
  • thanks to MB, i’m now sleeping soundly.  this house is quite loud.  and i’m a light sleeper.
  • i convinced will to have our giant picnic table that was on our porch in the old house as our new dining room table. and once the stuff gets cleared off the top, it will be delicious. i love it there.
  • doors don’t close in this house. but the kids don’t understand that, so they insist on slamming the doors shut. every. single. time. and they don’t close so they slam them again. and again. and again.
  • the different minerals in the water here have done a number on maggie’s digestive system.
  • baseball practices start this week.  woot woot!


and with that, i better run. we’re visiting our first church this morning.  i need to find the cutest smocked dress and biggest hairbow for amelia to wear.  happy sunday!


Getting settled.

20 Mar


Well today was the big day. We were finally able to make the long-awaited move into the “new” house. We were quite the entourage leaving the hotel. 2 cart loads of stuff, 3 kids & Will’s grandfather’s desk chair later, we headed to the house. (Took the chair inside so it wouldn’t get rained on.)  On the way out of the hotel we were surrounded with people who treated Maggie like she was a celebrity. One guy took a photo of the kids, Maggie & me (weird). My favorite was when 2 sweet Japanese girls took photos of themselves with Maggie.

I dare you to top that.

We got our new Mosh Pit couch from IKEA & will had no trouble assembling it. Have I mentioned he’s my hero?? Within 15 minutes of pulling into the driveway, a sweet 2nd grade neighbor Jillian had William scootering around the neighborhood. She knocked on nearly every door in the hood introducing him to kids. Sweetest. Thing. Ever.

We’ve met more neighbors today than we ever did on our old street. Jillian’s dad helped Will get the couch inside. Other neighbors brought us their air mattresses to sleep on, muffins for the morning & our first Terrible Towel. (They’re fellow Southerners, so we’ll have plenty to chat about.)

We had a giant stack of mail waiting for us–cards, letters, and even a Pennsylvania welcome package from our favorite Pennsylvania neighbors.

I’m so overwhelmed by love, grace, and acceptance right now I could never ever communicate it adequately. Yall rock my world. You know who you are.

Tomorrow the boys start school & the movers arrive with our stuff. It’s exciting & daunting getting the house situated.

Well I better run. House is eerily quiet. We’re going to snuggle up on our new sofa bed!


17 Mar


Our closing got delayed until noon tomorrow. We’re actually grateful it didn’t get delayed longer than that. While our hotel room is great, we started getting a little stir crazy. So far we’ve …

  • Spent the entire day at the Carnegie Science Museum and watching Hubble on IMAX. (We even got the super duper membership so all of our visitors can check out all of the Carnegie Museums for FREE!)  We left with Zachary announcing he will be an astronaut when he grows up.  Heck, now I want to be an astronaut when I grow up.


  • Visited and climbed on a giant statue honoring Mister Rogers.  Sadly, the kids have no idea who he is. 😦  I think I’ll add some old episodes to our Netflix list.




  • Spent hours at Fun Buy the Pound, playing with Legos, Playmobil & pretty much everything you can think of.


And now I think we’re about to take the kids to the pool.  Dinner tonight is popcorn and poptarts.  There’s no more free dinner or beer.  I really think Zachary is going to turn into a pizza.  No more corn dogs, chicken nuggets or pizza.  Ahhhh!!!!!


Please pray that everything goes as scheduled for the closing tomorrow at 12.  We won’t actually get to sleep in the house until Saturday, but that is A-OK with me.  I have a nice, big, cozy bed with lots of pillows here in the hotel.  Our movers won’t deliver our stuff until Monday, so I’m enjoying the bed while I have one!




Happy birthday to my sweet friend, Allison!!!  Love you!

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

15 Mar


Well we’ve made it up to Pittsburgh. Despite a very dreary, rainy day & windy, mountainy roads, our trip was completely uneventful. Thank you, sweet Jesus!

Will Owens is my hero & booked up a super great suite. I’m talking penthouse suite, people!! 2 separate bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen & this beautiful view! Our hotel even had a complimentary calzone dinner & free beer! [We love free beer.] Pennsylvania has been good to us so far!

I think we’re checking out a cool sports science museum tomorrow & just relaxing. We’ve got a busy few days after that.

If you think of it, please pray that our closing goes smoothly. Will has been crazy awesome in the way he’s handled the purchase process. He has definitely done everything humanly possible to make this as seamless as possible. We’re scheduled to close @ 930am Thursday.

Thank you all for your prayers, cards, gifts, texts, phone calls & overwhelming love. We love you!!

no turning back now.

11 Mar

well, there is no turning back now.  80% of our house is completely packed in boxes.  the big red boxes have been redelivered.  a team of guys are going extreme makover: yard edition on our yard at this very moment.  packing will be finished later this afternoon.  the loading of “The Mayflower” (as William calls it) will be today and Monday.  amelia’s last day of playschool was today.  the boys’ last day of school is monday.  we’re staying at will’s dad’s house monday night and hitting the road Tuesday morning.

our dear friends hoyt and sarah hosted a beautiful farewell party last night at their home.  sarah, jeannie and allison made some delicious treats and everyone signed a different page in this beautiful book.   it was such a bittersweet night after a really, really hard day.  fortunately i had already lost my “emotional marbles” bright and early in the day, so i was emotionally spent by the time the evening had rolled around.  it was wonderful to relax, laugh, have a couple of [not bud light] beers and be together.  we’re all looking forward to a giant playdate at the park tomorrow for our family friends.  william is most excited about playing baseball with his friends, so if you’re coming tomorrow, please bring your glove!!

the surrealness of it all is definitely gone.  reality has hit.  this is happening.  and it’s happening right now.  saying goodbye is waaaaay harder than i anticipated, but in a way i’m thankful it’s hard.  that just means we truly, genuinely have people we love and who love us right back.  we’re 100% confident God is taking us to Pittsburgh, but leaving is hard. allison and i beat the living snot out of a boxing bag yesterday after kettlebells.  i mean, that bag is huuurting today, probably almost as much as my knuckles hurt.  it felt so good beating that bag. (side note: the boxing gloves i had on completely matched my workout clothes and i looked like a cuter version of rocky. end side note.)  i laughed, cursed, and cried while i hit it, and i loved it so much i’m considering getting a bag for our basement.

i have the best friends a girl could ever ask for.  yall, they are THE best.  we all had the you-better-not-stop-talking-to-me-or-i’ll-track-you-down-and-go-kettlebell-on-your-butt talk.  and i love them.  that is all.

so as i sit here and watch the guys in the backyard make it look beautiful and the guy packing up our entire bedroom, i can’t help but feel confident that ” he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 1:6)  i am trusting that God is doing something great in our family and in each of us and i’m excited.  allison reminded me yesterday that God didn’t create us to be comfortable.  it’s during the discomfort that we trust Him and seek Him.  He’s brought us this far, so there’s not a doubt in my mind that He’ll take care of us from here to Pittsburgh and beyond.

a good day.

3 Mar

this week has been hard.  really, really tough.  really, really sad.  we’ve officially started saying our real goodbyes and are tying up loose ends from morning until night.  it’s exhausting, physically and emotionally.

so indulge me and let me tell you about my wonderful day yesterday.

my friend gwen and i had planned on spending the morning together, as we have for the last few months.  we had planned on going for a really long run, but i just didn’t have it in me.  fortunately allison called 2 minutes before gwen and i met up and told me about a matilda jane trunk show.  i hadn’t ever been to one and i really wanted to check it out.

so gwen hopped in the car and we went to the trunk show.  fun, fun, adorable clothes.  i got amelia a cute dress and matching skirts for both of us:

oh so cute.  so then gwen and i tightened up our running shoes and headed out for a great run on a beautiful morning.

great conversation.  i love that girl.  a whole lot.

we finished up and got back to the van.  gwen needed water, so we headed down to the gas station on the corner.  as she’s got out of the car she pulled out a big ol’ bag of doritos.  oh how i love doritos.  and gwen loves them just as much.  she headed into the gas station to get water and returned with a bottle of water and 2-12 oz. cans of bud light.

oh yes she did.

and at 11am on a thursday morning, we found a corner of a park far, far away from any kiddies, pulled out my reusable grocery bags, sat down and ate doritos and drank beer.  and it was good.

so very good.

it was just what i needed and i suspect it was just what she needed too.


i picked amelia up from mother’s day out and met up with my sweet friend Mary Beth at Groucho’s and put a hurtin’ on an STP sandwich.  mb is awesome.  she is one of the most real, tell it like it is people i know and i love that about her.  and she loves jesus a whole, whole, lot.


in the afternoon i was able to take some sweet photos of allison’s kids mac and lawson.  one day i’ll actually have a minute to look at them, but that may not be for a few days or weeks.  i seriously cannot remember when my life has ever been this nonstop.


we capped off the day with a great dinner with some friends at pawley’s front porch.  and by the time i pulled the covers up, i was asleep.


we’ve got a great few days up ahead–william turns 8 this weekend!

charleston for a day.

26 Feb

visiting charleston has been on our SC bucket list for a while now, so yesterday we surprised the kids by taking them out of school and heading down to will’s old stomping grounds for the day.

it completely poured the entire trip down and the entire morning.  but no worries, thanks to our handy Droids.  we spent the morning at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry.  what a great place!!!  it’s much more hands-on, creative play than EdVenture here in Columbia.  the kids painted pictures in the art room, ran through a room that looked like a medieval castle, played for an hour in the water room and on and on and on.  check it out:


i’m serious–it was crazy awesome.  no loud music, no TVs screaming at you, no flashy stuff–we will absolutely go back there next time we visit charleston this summer (BEACH WEEK, BABY!).


we decided on hominy grill for lunch, which is our favorite restaurant in charleston.  allow me to gloat and tell you the deliciousness we ate:  she crab soup with sherry, okra & shrimp beignets with salsa & cilantro-lime sour cream, fried green tomato blt w/ ancho chile lime mayonnaise, southern fried chicken breast with country ham gravy, collard greens cooked to perfection, and biscuits.  oh hominy, how i love thee.  i know charleston is a food mecca, but i just can’t tear myself away long enough to experiment with new restaurants.


after lunch, we headed down by the waterfront and took a nice long walk around battery park.  if you’ve never been to charleston, it’s lined with houses like these:



the kids loved running loose around such a beautiful park, climbing on old cannons and cannonballs, statues, monuments, etc.  it’s one of my very favorite places on earth.  i’m not kidding.  i took a bunch of pictures, which you can see in the slideshow below.

finally, we headed over to the citadel, will’s alma mater.  we dropped some cash in the gift shop (gotta represent up north!!) and walked around campus for a bit.  the cadets put on a parade every friday afternoon and i’ve waited a long time to make the time to go to one (other than on homecoming weekend, when it’s super crowded).  we’d love it if the boys went to the citadel, but we’ll know for sure in 10 years, i guess.

gotta run!  enjoy the slideshow (there’s about 20 pics)!!

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