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13 May

From my to-do list:


wash sheets

put away clothes

call jessica

schedule new peds appointments

schedule new ent appointment

note to gwen

note to kate

make beef jerky

kids haircuts


buy stool at marshall’s

william’s 2nd grade expo

what is a 2nd grade expo, you might ask?  well i didn’t know either.  it was from 9:15-10:45.  amelia and i rolled into the parking lot @ 9:10 and were quickly redirected to the church a mile down the road where we were to catch the SHUTTLE to the school.  hmmm.  ok.

amelia was beside herself at the thought of riding on william and zachary’s bus.

i’ve never seen anything like this.

we got to the school and in the gym, all 6 2nd grade classes were there and 6 stations were set up.  we rotated every 10 minutes where we participated in different activities together–tangrams, computer math games, an art project on the life cycle of a butterfly, planting a marigold, reading together and mad libs (parts of speech).  it completely blew my mind.  i didn’t see one kid without at least one parent there (i was told there are 133 2nd graders).  many had 2 parents there.  after the gym, we went to william’s class where he showed us some things he’d been working on this year.  i showed up with 1 kid and left with 4 (all 3 of my own plus i picked one up along the way).

we got shuttled back to the van and had a great day.  somehow i managed to get every single thing accomplished on that list.  it’s a friday the 13th miracle.


house tour, the outside.

11 May

this post will be mostly pictures, so there’s your warning.  spring has FINALLY sprung here in pittsburgh and things are starting to be completely beautiful!


anyway, sarah prodded me to take pics, so this post is for you, sweet sarah.  🙂

view from our back door.  sorry about the work truck.  this tree is 200 years old.  the people who lived here before had an arborist (didn’t know those existed!) check it out and he said it’s completely healthy.  it’s hard to appreciate in pictures.

looking up at the tree.

backyard playground AKA where the kids practically live (when it’s not raining)

the “secret garden” further back in the yard.  on the right side is a really steep hill.

if you click and look really closely, you can see the creek.  the boys have blazed a rough trail to get down there and fortunately it’s not deep or too fast.  but from the secret garden, you can hear the trickle.

the garage we’re going to knock down and rebuild so our cars can fit inside

exterior of the house.

our house is up on a hill, so it’s tough to get a good pic of the front of it.

my favorite part of the yard.

and this is why.

starting to feel normal again.

30 Mar


oh how it seems like it’s been FOREVER since we’ve had a “normal” week.  i’m thinking it’s probably been since last november when we put our house on the market.  and i guess this week won’t really count, but i’m counting it today.

dinner is on the stove.

laundry is washing and drying.

homework is done.

it’s snowing outside and i’m watching the cutest rabbit hop around in the yard.

the kids are happily watching tangled, which was amelia’s first movie theatre movie. [baseball practice was cancelled.]

will is reading.

i sewed kitchen cafe curtains this morning and am enjoying using my new kitchen timer.  simple pleasures.

and life seems a little bit normal.  i’ve craved this moment for a long time now because i’m such a creature of routine.  and i’m savoring the feeling.

will starts work on friday and he’s kicking it off with a 6 day stretch.  and our new routine will seem like old hat in no time, i’m hoping.  he’ll be working more of a shift-like schedule (mostly days with a few nights sprinkled in), longer shifts, but fewer days working overall.  like an entire week less a month than before.  different, but good.

waiting on this rug to be delivered to my front door and the decorating of the mosh pit will commence.

i located my camera the other day so i’ll get to work taking photos of our very unfinished house.  ahhhh, life in progress….

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!

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.

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