Pre-Christmas Slow & Words.

Compelled, urged by a force to come, sit, meditate, think, pray, be, listen, tell. Pictures and stories that need to be told, need to be spoken into the madness, but have no form. They are the ocean, a wave rushing to the sand, only to be pulled back without ever reaching the shore. Surge forward again, closer, pulled back again to sea. Finally they are here, the water mingling with sand, foam racing up the beach to tell the story of the sea.

The house is asleep. I am supposed to be asleep, but need to sit and write, to pour out these feelings that have been swirling lately. Lit by a Christmas tree, the house is dark with a warm glow. I don’t even really know what I have come to say. Just that I needed to be back, here, writing, telling, recording, sharing. This is not going to be an attempt to catch you up on the rest of the trip that I so miserably failed at properly recording, nor a detailed description of the past six months of life that I haven’t written about. Maybe one day, but tonight no.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and I always tend to get nostalgic and contemplative around big holidays, birthdays, etc. That may be cliche, but there is probably a legitimate reason for it. This year especially I have been longing for peace, and it has been a fight to try to hold onto it (which seems counteractive to fight for peace?). Because we celebrate every other year in Springfield, I have been wanting our Christmases here to be slower, not jam packed with a crazy schedule. Slow, with time for crafts, Christmas movies, walks in nature and the snow, baking cookies, reading books, and creating memories that I can only hope will be etched in our girls’ minds and hearts. It seems like a fight though, because when I make a decision for slow and say no so something, something behind my back slips onto my plate and I somehow have agreed to too much. Which can result in the normal frayed and frazzled behaviour. On top of this, the girls (mainly Juniper) have been sick on and off for the past couple months, and the past couple weeks, Matt has had a cough and I have had a cough that has developed into pneumonia. I’m starting to cough less (thank you, visit to the ER and modern medicine), but my body is still weary from fighting the sick. A few weeks ago, I also developed an ulcer on my eye, and have had to be on medication. On the home front, we have been trying to get Juniper used to sleeping in her crib more so she isn’t in our bed all night, waking us up and us waking her up. With a change like this for a determined little soul it can be hard, with tears of frustration. And with those tears come less sleep for everyone involved (Juniper, me, and Matt). These things in and of themselves are not big deals, but when they come all at once, it wears me down and I have felt spent, emotionally and physically. I have found myself wanting to be knocked out cold by some 48 hour something that required me to be in bed and sleeping for days straight, but that is not the case.

But even though these little bits that can wear, I have also felt immensely blessed. The relationships I have in my sweet little family are overwhelmingly good. Being with my girls, seeing more of who they are each day, how they are growing, learning, and thriving has been such a blessing to witness. My relationship with Matt has been good and sweet; loving with and living with my best friend is one of the greatest gifts I have been given. We have a precious, loving, feisty team here, and I am in love with each of them.

I am most certain there are a bazillion more words I could say, but it is well past midnight, and I need sleep, because we are having people over for breakfast in the morning, and who knows what little soul may need snuggles in the middle of the night.

Here are a few photos that warm my heart.

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Travels. San Diego, Oceanside, & Huntington Beach.

The amount of attempts I’ve made in trying to take time to write, but then falling into bed tired or finding something else to do is countless. Let’s just say, loads? 🙂 Though I suppose it’s perfectly effective to be spending time with my family and exploring, then resting rather than staying up late typing. Let’s see what has happened since Vegas . . .

Menifee, CA. We spent a couple days parked outside my great aunt and uncle’s house, and it was such a blessing to hang out with them! They played with the kids, we visited, and it was so lovely to be around family, especially since we haven’t seen them in years!

Next stop, San Diego, CA. We stayed in San Diego for 8 days! The longest we stayed anywhere our whole trip. It was so great to be based out of one place to explore the city. We stayed with my Memaw’s best friend growing up, whom we had never met! But they were so lovely and hospitable, spending time with the kids, picking oranges from their tree and feeding the chickens in the morning. And the city was so lovely! Out of all the places we’ve visited so far, this has been our favourite; we kept seeing more of the city, then commenting to each other, “Yes, we could definitely live here.”

And the San Diego Zoo was incredible!!! We spent the whole day there, open to close! The girls were troopers, but they were so excited to see all the animals!

The folks who allowed us to stay in the driveway were so lovely; Thanks Barbra and Lyle! 🙂

Next stop was Oceanside to visit Matts second cousin, and Huntington Beach to camp and see Matt’s great uncle and aunt. We also took a couple days just to rest, do laundry, shower, and just have a day of not doing much. With as hard as we have been going, it was such a welcome break! We love adventuring and being in new places, but it is a constant thing. If we were home, we would do maybe one or two things a week, then have the rest of our days to do our routine of life. But the way we have been going, we have gotten up, eaten breakfast, then explored all day, lunching and napping on the go! Simply being still was a welcome, gentle exhale.

So there you go, a whack load of pictures and memories, unedited and imperfect, but perfect for us. xo

Sporadic Creative Burst . . . & Some Family Photos.

Actually, if I’m going to be honest with you, this isn’t even a creative burst. It’s a moment when the house is quiet except for the gentle up-down of my baby’s breath as she nurses in her sleep. Mabel is napping in her crib and Matt is resting on the couch, because after a morning family ride up the gondola to play in some snow and watch Santa from afar, we all need some rest. I, however, have a rough time sleeping in the middle of the day, especially when all I can see around me are unfinished projects and deadlines. I wish I could just stick Juniper (the baby-oh ya, forgot to mention, we had a baby 🙂 ) in the ergo and go for it, but I know little Miss takes better naps lying on her side, so I’m here. The projects around me include packing boxes, packing bags for our Christmas vacation as well as our Maui trip AND our camping trip, deep cleaning the corners to get ready for movers, finish using all our groceries and pack away non-perishables, etc. There are so many things, and here I am googling “what do to when stuck under a nursing babe.” So I figured if I was able to wiggle one hand free while she continues to nurse I could write, which I haven’t done much of the past few months.

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We have been busy in the weirdest, craziest ways! After our summer camping trip to the interior and Salt Spring in the June/July, we came home where Matt upped his hours at work and continued doing house renovations. Parents came to visit for a couple months, and we had a baby girl! Matt continued to work 6-7 days a week while coming to reno, resting in small moments when there was little left of him. But we knew if we wanted o travel next year, this is what would have to be done. So now we are in the final home stretch of crazy before our travel, which is just over a week away! Where are we going? Here’s a rough timeline . . .

Dec 11-Jan14: Springfield for Christmas (FAMILYTIME LIKE WHOA!!!)

Jan14-Jan17: Squamish to drop our winter clothes & grab our beach clothes . . .

Jan17-March19: Maui!!! Staying at the YWAM base where Matt and I met. Bringing the girls there is going to be so surreal and wonderful.

March19-first week of April: Squamish to celebrate Mabel’s second birthday, see family, and pack up our trailer . . .

April: Head south with our little camper! We bought a 14′ fibreglass 1979 beachcomber trailer (which we’ve affectionately named Ethel Beavers), and we are heading south to properly skip the rest of winter and the silly rainy spring. From here on out things get a bit fuzzy, but we know we want to be in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, etc and only head back north through the National Parks when he weather cooperates and warms up. 🙂

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So needless to say (Even though I’ve already said it?!) we’ve been busy! I hope to write more after our first flight is taken off and I can breathe a little bit more, as well as have some time to reflect. Since Juniper was born, I feel like our main goals have been to get the house ready for renters, pack, purge, as well as heal from having a baby, and I haven’t don’t much reflecting on this new season our family is coming into. A season where Mabel isn’t our baby, but a full-blown toddler who has stolen our hearts with her sense of humour, adventure, and wide vocabulary. A season where I can again savour the small moments of having a small baby, and the wonder and innocence she is. A season where I can again look at my amazing husband, a man who works tirelessly for our family, and spend some time together as friends, lovers, adventure-buddies, partners, playmates, and most importantly, as a brother in Christ. Focusing on what God has in store for us will be amazing!

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Anyway, enough words. Here are a few family photos that my brother took when he visited us a while ago. Thanks Evan! I’m in love with them!

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