Sunday, May 05, 2013


Well, I'm writing a blog post, so you know what that means... I have news!  You know when you're in school and getting close to graduating and everyone asks you where you will end up, and you answer "we have no idea, it could literally be anywhere..."?  Well, we finally have a legit answer to that question, which, to be honest, is still a little weird and surreal for me.  But we are so excited for this next chapter of our lives.  And that next chapter will be.... drum roll please....

Johnson City, TN!!  For you geographically-challenged individuals (like me), that is in the north-east corner of TN, about 4 hours east of Nashville, an hour or so east of Knoxville, and close to the borders of Kentucky and North Carolina.  Right near part of the Appalachian Trail. Yeah, it's pretty gorgeous, as you can imagine.

On Wednesday, May 1st, Nate was offered a tenure track professorship at East Tennessee State University, in the bluegrass, old time and country music studies program in the department of appalachian studies.  Got that? ;)  And yes, these things really exist.  Just a little fun fact for you, this is the only school in the world that offers a major in bluegrass music.  And Nate gets to teach there.  He is crazy excited about this opportunity and we know that we have been incredibly blessed.  The job, however, does not begin until August of 2014.  So it's all a little anti-climatic.  Except that it's not, because there is one more small piece of news...

We are leaving NYC in 26 days.

This has all happened very suddenly, as in, the last few days, and it is still kind of a shock to say that.  But I am starting to come to terms with it, and as of today, have started to feel very peaceful about it.  It's all kind of a long and dramatic story, but basically Nate's job situation was quite unbearable, so he quit this week.  We knew this was coming, as he has to get his dissertation finished and needed the time to work on it, we just didn't expect it to happen this soon.  But, he did what we both felt needed to be done and so now we have to leave this amazing (and very expensive) city.  We have come to a point in our NY experience where I don't feel that we are really taking advantage of the city as much as we used to and as much as I'd like to, as it's just so hard to get around with 4 small kids and all.  So while I am very sad to be parting with the city, as I do love it so SO much, what makes me that saddest is to be leaving the people that we have had the privilege of knowing and becoming close to over the last 5 years.  They truly are like family, and it is seriously heart breaking to have to say good bye.  Change is always hard for me, but even more so when I haven't had time to mentally and emotionally prepare.  But like I said, we feel good about our decision, and I am slowly getting to a place where I don't want to break down and cry every time I talk, or even think, about it.

The boys are very excited to be moving on, although they are pretty bummed that we are not moving to TN quite yet.  I told Asher that we would be in WA, close to his cousins for the summer, which made him very happy, and then I went on to say that we would be living in UT for the school year.  He got all excited and asked if we would be doing "suburban living" (no idea where he learned that term...), I said no, we will probably be living in another apartment- and he was VERY upset.  These kids are so ready for more space and a backyard.  I feel so bad for them (and for myself ;) but I figure we can hang on for one more year.  We are very happy to be able to be out west and closer to our families for this next year, before we head back east indefinitely.

So anyway... there is our news.  We are so excited and definitely recognize Heavenly Father's hand in our lives.  We have been so blessed over the last 5 years.  I often feel unworthy of those blessings, but I am so grateful for them nonetheless.

Wish us luck on our next new adventure!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Yes.  This is happening.  I'm writing a blog post.  Let's not dwell on how big a deal this is.

So we got back to NYC last night, just in time to ring in the New Year on the M60 bus from La Guardia airport to our apartment.  It was actually quite fun and memorable.  The best part about it, I was in a good mood and patient with my kids.  That may not sound like a big deal, but seeing as how the first 30 minutes of our trip out of Spokane (yes, that means checking in at the airport and going through security and walking to our gate) was so incredibly trying that I honestly didn't think I would survive mentally... I was just so grateful to be feeling as happy and energized as I did at the end of the long process of getting home.  I was even able to stay positive on our walk home from the bus stop, when Sayer was whining and crying the. entire. time.  Poor thing was exhausted, but still... 

In actuality, those first 30 minutes were the low point for me... Bart slept the entire first leg, and yes, we did have to book it to our connecting gate, which is hard when your 2 1/2 year old insists on pulling his own suitcase at a snailspace, but thankfully one of those little golf cart drivers saved the day and we got there in just a few minutes.  But we were the last people on the plane, and people around us did not seem too happy that a family of 5 would be joining them.  Especially when Bart started losing it.  Thankfully, he pulled himself together for most of the flight.  During this flight, I was so grateful for marriage... it was really interesting to see how Nate and I work together and compliment each other so nicely.  At the beginning of the trip, I was losing it and he was totally calm and together.  During the second leg of the flight, Nate was having a hard time with Bart, and I was the one that was calm and not stressed.  I love that it works out like that so much of the time. 

From this trip we learned: 

- It is not worth the $50 we saved by not checking bags and having each kid pull their own carry-on.  It was so crazy going through security and walking to our gates, getting on and off the planes (and don't forget we had a layover both ways) with so many kids and so many bags.  Ugh.  Awful.  

- We are cheap.  Well, Nate is. ;)  I wanted to take a cab to and from the airport but Nate didn't want to, and let me tell you, SO much stress would have been eliminated if we would have just done that.  It's not worth the time and energy it takes to walk to the bus stop with all our crap, and then wait for the bus in the cold, and then endure 45 minutes on a crowded bus trying to juggle our crap. 

So next time- take cab. Check bags.

- I also decided that it's worth it to move back West just so we don't have to deal with flying with 3, soon to be 4, kids.  It's so expensive and it's such. a. pain.  But we will keep doing it because we miss our families :)

Which leads me to a more positive note, we got to spend Christmas with Nate's family.  It was so great to be with everyone to celebrate, many of which we hadn't seen for about 2 years. To me holidays are about family and being with those that we love so it was a blessing to be able to be there.  The boys had so much fun with their cousins.  They also more than exceeded their quota of movies and Wii time for the entire year.  I feel like they need a media detox.  Oh well.  If they play Wii a ton at grandma's once a year, I can live with that.  We had a lot of fun in WA,  but are so happy to be back in our cozy little apartment, and get back into a routine.  Thank you to the Olsons and Caziers for hosting us and putting up with our noise and craziness.  We love you all!!

I didn't take a ton of great pictures, but here are some from our wonderful Christmas of 2012:
 Flight out to Spokane

 These are so, so good.
 Playing in the little bit of snow

 Fun at the Mobius
 It snowed a little bit more before we left for Pasco to stay with the Caziers.  Spokane is so gorgeous when it snows.
 Barty loved his cousin baby Gwenyth
 Throwing pots with Papa...

 Asher was pretty put out that he was not already a master at the wheel
 Apparently it was loud

 Of course every single one of my kids had to sit in the taxi strollers at the mall
 Lizza made these adorable Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus nativities for each kid.
 Christmas Eve...

 All the gifts arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner!!
 The boys browsing the gifts on Christmas morning

 Waiting for everyone to wake up before we begin opening presents
 Enjoying their loot!

 Snack time with cousins
 It turned out to be a white Christmas after all!  Started snowing around noon and went all night.  It was so pretty!

 Three little snowmen that the boys made the next day.  I thought they were so cute!
 This was a very common sight.  There is no shortage of ipads and iphones in the Olson family
 Asher threw up about 30 seconds after I took this picture.  We had been in the car for about 5 minutes.  Of course no family get together would be complete without some sort of stomach bug getting passed around.  All 3 of my kids got it :/
 New Years Eve on the M60 bus!  Sayer fell asleep about 5 minutes after this picture.  I practically had to drag him off the bus-he was NOT waking up.
 Happy New Year!

 Asher was clearly thrilled about a new year
 One of these boys is a faker
 Barty SO excited to be home!