Saturday, December 20, 2014

Beginning Life in Washington...still working towards Portland

 Yes, we are moving to Portland although we are currently living in Washington. We're muuuuch closer than we were in Chicago but not quite there. For now, we are enjoying life here. Yet another season of transition. Yet another chance to embrace the simplicity of living life in the present, not looking to the past or the future for happiness but finding contentment in the now. A challenge but I've had much practice at this point:) I look forward to the day when I can unpack all our stuff, get settled and such but that day has been far off for so long now that what's the difference in pushing it back again? Both physically and mentally. For now, we take each day's troubles as they come.

The above picture is on the drive from Washington into Portland. It's a 2 hour drive we have gotten quite used to, Matt more so than me as he works closer to Portland and does more driving. When he's not working, we have been splitting time between Olympia and Portland but have put off looking for a place to live until his work situation changes.

We are living next door to the church where Matt grew up, in a house that they are so graciously letting us (cheaply) live in. We're still in a basement like our last living arrangement but upgraded; this time with our own kitchen and bathroom and you know, natural light coming in to wake up's the little things. It is just enough space to be comfortable and we have been so graciously welcomed in by the other 2 tenants (I suppose the fact that one of them is my brother in law who is glad to spend some quality time with his niece helps). We have made ourselves a little community, both with people that frequent our house, our close-by family plus old and new friends. We have kept busy hanging out with others, exploring new parks and play spaces, taking walks and visiting downtown Olympia and other surrounding areas. The great benefit to living in the Olympia area for now: many family and friends close by to spend time with. Lucia is loving much more time with Grandma Debbie, Grandpa Mark, Uncle Jeff and all the new friends she is making.

Lucia is enjoying life in general, as usual. She likes being outside, exploring new things, jumping on Uncle Jeff's bed, running laps around our house and (lucky for me) she has been sleeping in ever since we got here. Oh, and she has also been liking cooking shows lately (my favorite) and asks to see them instead of kids shows (yes!). Matt asks her when she'll start liking football and she says, "I don't like that!" Sorry Matt, maybe some day. She has been incredibly adaptable to the one million new things we have subjected her too and she has seemed to enjoy the whole process. Once in a while, she'll ask about her Chicago cousins or say "remember when Sonja said ____ ?" but she's taking not seeing them in stride. She is a very talkative little girl with many new little phrases and words we are loving these days. Some of my favorites are how she says garbage (gaw-bage), randomly says 'I love you, Mama" and is very good with pleases/thank yous/excuse mes and hurried sorry, sorry, sorrys. We are also loving some her new little habits and mannerisms like how she gives Matt and I a double hug out of nowhere before bed saying to us "you're a boy, you're a girl, I'm a girl....let's hug!", likes to do 'shows' and 'cool tricks', chews gum for a long time but takes it out when chewing other food, memorizes her books after reading them for about a week and chooses certain songs on the radio that she likes apparently way more than others ('no, not THAT one. Go back please!'). Things we don't love: her tendency to open up the fridge and take items out to try (the worst of which was when she cracked an egg on the floor, smearing her hands in it to taste it, so we're just glad she doesn't have salmonella), her insistence on washing her hands a lot/putting on lotion/lip gloss all the time and her sometimes resistance to using the potty. But you know, if that's the worst then we have a pretty good kid. And we love her. She is still very tall. People always assume she is older than she is when meeting her. It'll be interesting to see just how tall she ends up being. Probably taller than her short mama.

Some pics from the last month or so...
 Here's the view out of our window into the front yard.

And the back yard.

 And the view from the kitchen seat where I like to read in the mornings. I love that things stay green here even in the winter!

Even with some sun sometimes. I have to remind myself that I would have to drive somewhere to get this view in Chicago. Pretty lucky to look out to it for now.

 Here's a bit of the inside of our place.

 And part of another side. Lucia has noticed that this spot works as a great stage for her shows (when the fire is not going).

Having fun at a children's museum in Tacoma.

 My cousin Anne, Pete and Sommar only live 25 minutes away! Maybe the closest we have ever lived to each other. It has been fun to spend some time with them.

 One of favorite spots to go...Mark's cousin's house on the Puget Sound. I love their updated log cabin house and beautiful view. Plus the cottage next to their house on their property and the tiny house next to it are for rent on airbnb so you can go there too if you want! Check it out here and here.

 Lucia loved frolicking around there.

 We celebrated an early Thanksgiving with one side of our family at Matt's aunt and uncle's house. The drive is a beautiful one...a bit different than what I'm used to in the Chicago area.

Lucia had fun playing with her 2nd cousin, Beau.

 I couldn't get a good picture though cause they were non-stop running around.

Then we continued on in a ferry to Seattle so Matt could go to a Seahawks game and I could hang out with some friends.

And a great day with friends it was! With a beautiful view too.

 We even got to take in the night version of that beautiful view from the roof of our friend's apartment.

I tried to get a good pic of Lucia with the space needle in the back was it proved impossible with Lucia moving around so much.

 But then I got some awesome ones like this one.

 And this crazy eyes one, ha!

 Apparently Lucia's not afraid of heights. She wanted to be as close to the window as possible.

 One of our favorite spots in Olympia, this park by the harbor close to downtown. Lucia loves it too, no matter how her face looks.


 Celebrating Thanksgiving with more family. Lucia is practicing her football skills with Jeff. And the guys are all watching football. Lots of football.

 Trying to take a picture with her cousin Maggie but Lucia is not really cooperating.

 Some more Sommar time. We got to hang out with them all day the day after Thanksgiving. So fun!

 Lucia was not enthused when we put our Christmas tree in the back seat with her.

 Running around in our back yard on a sunny day. If you're feeling like Lucia A) is wearing pink a lot and B) is wearing this skirt a lot, you are correct. She loves to pick out her own clothes and usually picks pink clothes plus a skirt everyday. It is definitely a struggle to get her to wear tights/pants with those skirts but we make it work.

At a nearby park

 If you can tell from this pic, the ground is almost always wet here. And usually the playground equipment but that doesn't stop us! 50 degrees feels like a dream in December to this Chicagoan so if it's not raining, we usually go to a park.

This is as close as Lucia would get to Santa. He is about 50 feet away. But at least she waved to him.

 Celebrating Lucia day with some cinnamon roles

 My dad was here for a day last week! We went for a walk.

I love the eerie moss covered trees here.

 Just a broken bridge, no biggie for this guy

 Then Christine came the next day to stay overnight! We had much fun with her.

 Matt and his brother Jeff

 And the whole Johnson clan

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