Long Time No See

It has been ages since I sat down to write a blog post. Why bother when it’s so easy to upload photos to Facebook? Who has time amid the hustle and bustle of uprooting a family? How can I put on a happy face and write about good times when it seems like they are few and far between? That last one seems pretty negative, but I have had my fair share of Debbie Downer days. Nevertheless, I have MANY excuses. But this morning I looked at the old blog posts. The ones with so many cute anecdotes and adorable pictures of my adorable children. The ones that captured amazing moments for our family. The ones that were just plain, everyday ramblings. If I can spend ten minutes checking the blogs of friends (and ten minutes is being more than conservative!), surely I can rattle off a few musings about our joys and sorrows. So, I’ll do a quick recap of the past SIX (6!!!) months, then I’ll try to do my best to update on a regular basis from here on out.

August: After careful consideration over the summer, we decided to move our family to Portland. August was spent packing and preparing to downsize, playing with friends and saying goodbye to Las Vegas. It was our home for over nine years, so it was a bit tough to leave, but we got to spend one last HOT summer there.

September: Time for the big move! We loaded up TWO enormous U-Haul trucks (James will have to post about THAT circus) and our minivan to make the long drive to Reno, through the Mt. Shasta area and up I-5 to our new home: Grandma Thompson’s old house in Northeast Portland. My cousin, John, flew down from Portland to help. Along with Derick and our friend Jake F. we loaded the trucks and hit the road only eight hours later than we expected. James drove in the lead with Tommy riding shotgun, I followed right behind him with Annalise and our betta fish, Rhino, by my side, and John followed in our Odyssey minivan (isn’t that every 19-year-old’s dream car?) with our dog, Kaya, along for the ride. Leaving later than we planned left us too tired to make it all the way to our reserved hotel room in Reno, so we slept in the trucks at a rest area. Only less comfortable than it was classy, trust me. We finally arrived in Portland around 3:00am Saturday, September 5. In true Portland form, it was POURING down rain. We pried out the air mattress and sleeping bags then the four of us huddled and cuddled until morning on the floor of our new home. The rest of the weekend we unloaded, unpacked and got settled as best we could. This home is very cozy (approximately 1100 sq. ft. on the main level) and quite a change from our big ol’ house in Las Vegas (3500 sq. ft.). But it was great to have a place to land, especially one so familiar to me. Tommy started school the week after we arrived. James studied for and obtained his Oregon Real Estate license. He started working for a group in the Clackamas area shortly thereafter.

October: Our nephew, Jaxon, arrived October 12 in Redondo Beach, CA and his birth gave us our first true taste of how hard it would be to live so far from the Wedewer side. The boxes slowly but surely disappeared from the main level of our new home, and even though the basement and garage were full to the brim, James managed to carve out room for his home office downstairs. Tommy adjusted very well to his new class and made many new friends, as well as enjoyed getting to know our friends’ children better. We discovered the joy of having a huge yard with huge trees. The sycamore in our front yard brought dozens of squirrels into view each day, and thousands of leaves gradually fell on the lawn. We worked in the yard and gave the home’s only bathroom a fresh coat of paint. We shuffled items in the garage and found a ton of old canning supplies of Grandma’s, which I hope to put to good use in a climate ripe for gardening. We found a great church to call home, St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, in Southeast Portland. October 29 Annalise turned two years old. How did THAT happen so fast? Halloween was fun for Cinderella and the Pirate, with a party at school, a party at Henry’s house and trick-or-treating up and down our block.

November: We rounded out Halloween weekend with Annalise’s 2nd birthday party on the first of the month. Family and good friends joined us on a gorgeous autumn day to celebrate. If the weather hadn’t been fantastic I don’t know how we would have managed all the guests who came, but our prayers were answered and the sun shone warmly that day. Honored guests included Great Grandma Roser, Grandpa Rick and Grandma Renee, along with Aunt Cynthia, Aunt Denise & Uncle Joe. We enjoyed a “tea party” of sorts and had all the cake and Capri Suns we could handle. James bought Annalise some pretty pink roses and we decorated with balloons around the house and yard. Grandma’s Franciscan Desert Rose dishes framed the party hinting toward a garden tea of pink and green…at least that’s what I was going for.

November 8 was a sad day for the Thompsons, as Grandma Lucille passed away peacefully that morning. She lived 96 good years and I am *SO* glad we got to spend her last two months near her in Portland. She was a great lady and I miss her every day. Living in her old home has been bittersweet. Mostly, it’s been a great comfort to look around and remember her. Sometimes it’s tough because I can’t be in the kitchen without thinking of all the meals she made for us over the years, or in the living room without hearing the drone of the evening news she watched religiously. But the morning I received the call about her passing, I was overwhelmed with sadness, but all I heard were the giggles of her great grandchildren, playing happily on the floor. She would’ve loved that.

Thanksgiving was a great celebration this year…not a lot of pressure to cook a feast, as we enjoyed the big meal with my mom’s side of the family at Aunt Denise & Uncle Joe’s house, but I made a turkey anyway so we’d have lots of leftovers. It was our first big holiday away from Las Vegas, and it was hard to be away from James’ side of the family, but we enjoyed forming new traditions with our kids and it was so nice to spend the holiday in Portland for the first time in ten years.

December: Oh, the holidays! Decking the halls in a new home is always and adventure, as one can never be sure what will fit where, and how much is too much. How we’ve amassed 12 enormous bins of Christmas decor in only 7.5 years of marriage I do not know! We opted for a fresh Christmas tree, our first, which we purchased at a lot near our house and perched on top of our dining room table for lack of any other floor space. What’s funny is from the street it looked like we had a HUGE tree in the window. We decorated only with our favorite ornaments and enjoyed the fragrance of a real tree (I sneezed my way through the month, but its charm more than made up for it). Aunt Michele came down from Juneau and stayed with us over the holidays. Tommy’s acting debut came on Christmas Eve, as he joined his Sunday School classmates in our parish’s Nativity Mass. He was the cutest little lamb ever. We spent Christmas Eve at Aunt Cynthia’s and Christmas Day we made a ham at home, joined by Grandpa Rick, Grandma Peggy and Aunt Michele. James and I busied ourselves in the days leading up to Christmas and we cleared out major space in the basement for the kids to have a play room. They loved that “Santa” had given them so much square footage in which to play on rainy days. Santa, my butt!

January: Together we cut snowflakes from paper and hung them in the living room window. Tommy loves “scissoring” things and thank goodness paper is his favorite medium. Annalise started taking a group class through Portland Parks & Recreation and she loves to go to her “dancing class” each week. Tommy started a soccer class through the same agency, but with only four students enrolled they had to discontinue the session after two weeks. He was bummed. The kids spent a weekend at Grandpa Rick’s farm and played in the garden with Grandma Peggy. Tommy helped feed the chickens and collect their eggs, but he didn’t care for the big turkeys chasing him around the yard. Kaya’s health is waning, but her discomfort seems to come and go. One minute she’s a creaky old lady that can barely stand up, the next she’s spry as a puppy bounding through the yard after squirrels and the invading neighborhood cats.

So, that’s as brief as I can get to summarize the past six months. Looking back, I guess we were pretty busy! Now, back to documenting the everyday joys and adventures. I’ve missed that.

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