We made sure to do a few things “one more time”…
Hannah Gray, Tenley, Tuk and I went to Green Lake to walk the lake and play at the playground. This was our spot to go to quite often, especially when we didn’t know anyone, Ethan was gone and could just go and get some fun, outdoor exercise and some interaction with other people in a beautiful spot. We once saw 2 bald eagles there, and it was a fairly urban area.
One more dinner with Bruno’s…
Won and I met one chaotic night at the park right down the street from our house. Ethan had been traveling for the last month and a half, Tenley was still only sleeping a few hours at a time (sometimes only 2) and we were in the midst of a major behavioral battle With HG as she was adjusting to a new place, new sister and Daddy being gone for a week at a time, back to back, to back… I went to the park not having showered in at least a day, tired, lonely and anxious for Ethan to get home. Won jumped in with her two kids to help me with mine and I just knew there was something different about her. Nathan got home from work (they live right next door to the park) and came over to greet his family. From their interactions, I knew they were believers. We discovered that Nathan’s dad went to Ethan’s alma mat, Taylor University in IN, a small Christian school and was on staff with a ministry. Nathan grew up a missionary kid (MK) and met Won at UW. We were instant friends. We spent many afternoons at that park, zoo, aquarium, and at each other’s homes for play dates, meals, birthday celebrations, etc. It makes me tear up to even write this as I miss them so much and our community we had there. Our girls truly love them as do we. They were there for us in the early difficult days as well many happy days before we were really discouraged, challenged and devastated to move. They were such a source of encouragement in ways they have no idea. I loved how on runs or walks, they would just pop by, and a quick dvd exchange for a family movie night was a block away. We miss and love this family so much! They were our first of many blessings in Seattle. God knew exactly what he was doing by putting us in our home, right where it was. We had Bruno’s down the street, and the Y (where I met all my friends locally that ended up doing a bible study together) down the street the other way and we were completely surrounded by an amazing community of friends.
Our sweet friend Zeek. Hannah Gray, Zeek and Zimri were all in swim class before Christmas. After my flu and two sets of stitches, we tried to make it to as many swim classes as possible, but were so thankful to have met two great families. There were a group of girls that all had at least some familiarity with each other and we all had kids close in ages and we started to meet as a Bible study at the Y. Who knew where swim lessons would lead? Zeek’s gentle and fun spirit matched Hannah Gray’s and these guys were great buddies. I was so thankful for his mommy, Lauren, as she quickly became such a dear friend to me. This was our last play date at their house and no, they didn’t start out in their undernare (as HG says). They were playing and decided that they wanted to swim after dinner… Thanks so Zeek, HG loves to “PIDERWEB!”, meaning spiderwebbing people as she plays spiderman. She has a spiderman toothbrush she picked out and I think of Zeek and her other buddy Zimri when I see it…
Shelly was the first friend that I met at the Y was we were picking up our kids at the same time. She reminded me a lot of my sister (4 kids and from Kentucky) and I learned that she and her husband had moved from TN to help plant a church out here. She became an instant friend and encouragement to me. Her 4 kids are precious and treated our girls like additional siblings. She was one of the first to know what we were going through as a family and a friend I was able to confide in as a wife to a husband in ministry. She is full of wisdom and encouragement and I miss her on a regular basis. When my mom had a stroke and got so, so sick in August, Shelly was there for me in huge ways, even just over the phone.
This is what we always called “our beach”. This is Richmond Beach right on the Sound. This was a park that Sarah, my friend from college that was living in Shoreline temporarily, took me to my first weekend in WA. We spent many hours here as a family and especially that first summer we were in town when Ethan was gone. The girls loved the beach and it gave me a chance to relax and take in the scenery and just rest during those first few months that were so, so hard with Ethan being gone just about the entire time. Sometimes, I would just drive through the park or even park and sit as the girls were winding down for the night to watch the sky start to change colors. We saw seals here too which was was super fun.
As a family, we took one more hike into the Cascades to Lake 22. This was a family favorite hike and this was the first time HG actually fell asleep in the pack this year!
We also managed to make a weekend camping trip to the Northern Cascades. We drove through the Cascade Loop and spent the night next to the river and had a great time of seeing a large area I had not made it to and had wanted to our whole time there. We got a little bit of hiking and camping in (both Tenley and Tuk’s first time). We have some great pictures, I just have to find them!
We are so thankful for our time here!