Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Goodbye Virginia

As I am typing this blog entry, we are somewhere in Ohio already on our cross country journey during our move from Virginia to Colorado.  Joel and I have now been married for 13 years. In that time frame we have had 4 kids born in 3 different states, and are now journeying to state #5 to have lived in and our 8th move. Yes we are veterans to this life but it never gets easier, especially when you have to watch your kids go through the pain on different levels every time. We have done our best to capture moments over the past few weeks and jam pack those days with quality friend time!

The moments started with our annual trip to Busch Gardens. It is free for military in the summers and we always take advantage of this! We also bring along "cousin Alyson" to help mange having kids running in every different direction.
 Jesse and cousin Alyson on the swings

 Josie is definitely not getting her license anytime soon!

 Anna's favorite ride is the swings. Since she nearly had a heart attack on the roller coasters last year, we didn't push the issue this year. We just kept riding the swings!

Asher is our roller coaster junkie! He rode every single one in the park 
(and a few he rode multiple times!)

We had farewell parties with Hawaii military friends, church friends, the swim team friends, and our neighborhood gang. The tears never seemed to end! I am just sitting here struggling with which pictures to post because there are so many dear moments.

Me and a few of my best running girlfriends. In a period of 6 months, my running gals have come to mean so much to me. They even surprised me with a girls farewell night out! This was my last run with the group...a beautiful 11 mile trail run. I cried the whole way home.

Joel with Graham Boutz, Jeff Beers, and Russell Foxworth-dear Hawaii friends. DC has been an amazing opportunity to reconnect with this group of friends. Funny how the military separates you but always brings you back together again! We had a blast hanging out a the base pool at this farewell. We had a diving competition and the girls worked together to perform a synchronized swimming show for the adults. Then the kids clung to each other at the end.

 Anna had one last sleep over with her best neighborhood (and swim team) gang: Ava, her, Jillian, Maddie, and Katie

 Jesse being silly with his swim team friends Jackson and Chance. They were doing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle poses. Jesse had a great first year on summer swim. He won his first blue ribbon which sent him squealing and running laps around the pool. He won it in the 25 breast stroke-all the other kid his age DQ'd! He also won the end of the year "Coach's Award" for his ability to always make the coaches laugh and hard work. He went to the moon and back when they awarded it to him at the end of the year banquet.

 Our summer swim team, the Ashburn Village Aqua Jets, has been such a blessing to us during our time in Virginia! We all made such amazing friends, felt like a part of our community, and watched our kids grow in joy and confidence. Our last swim meat was Divisional's where Asher's group won the most points in our Division in their age group of 9-10 year old boys. This group has also been his best friends over our 2.5 years here. This last meet was just another day for him to be with his friends. In his last race, the 100 IM, he won his heat and dropped time and qualified as an All Star-the joy on his face is a moment I will bottle up and keep forever.

Josie with our dear neighbor's daughter Heather Stone. The Stone family was...well, there are no words. Their 2 daughters are like members of our family. We were quite a spectacle to watch as we said goodbye each other-a mass of sobbing and tears. We can only pray that our new neighbors will be half as amazing as the Stone's!

Joel's last day in his Air Force uniform-bittersweet.

 And we are off! 
We were a little unsure there would be room for the kids.

Finn found his space!

Goodbyes are so hard. It has killed us to watch each kid walk through it in their own way. Although we are sad, we are so excited to see what blessings the Lord has in store for us as we go on this journey together. We have spent time praying for that space carved out for us in Colorado, a space with good neighbors, a friend for everyone, a running community, a church, great school experiences, a place to plant our feet and grow roots.

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