Monday, September 26, 2016

Last days in Phoenix

Greetings family,

The 4 Webbs reside in Seattle now.  I'm just way behind on posting because we moved our whole lives in the past month.  I have aspirations of blogging again soon, but with work starting in one week I will be buried in corporate life from now til Christmas.  I've been working on this post for weeks just a little at a time.  I take lots of pictures every day, but my evenings are filled with so many other

Layla will miss ice skating at the Ice Den with her friends and instructors.  They made such an impact on her and helped her improve

Alaysha was into figure skating when she was younger and achieved a higher level than Layla is right now.  She was kind enough to take Layla on the ice for some girl time and learning.  I told them to give me a "diva look" and this is the result. I think they nailed it.

Not to be outdone, I jumped in with Layla to take a picture of us being weird.  She is more than willing to be cheesy and strange for a good laugh.  I don't even know what look we were going for, but of the few pictures I'm in, almost all of them are with a boring smile.  so here's this one for the books.

Fortune cookies are not something we promote or believe in around the Webb house.  My life is not dictated or guided by a cookie.  Even so, Layla pulled this one out and it was amazingly accurate considering we are moving to Seattle!  It says, "A fun short trip is in your near future.  Make the most of it."  Our one-way plane ride to Seattle was 3 short hours and we made the most of it.

Of all the things we had to wrap up in Phoenix, medical and dental was one of the not-so-fun stuff.  I had to get filling replaced because some decay started underneath it.  I asked the dentist if he would do a better job this time so I don't have this problem again in the future.  I was serious, but he thought I was joking.  So I laughed along with him.

Ouma and Oupa visited for a few days (way too few) and their presence made the transition and emotional trauma much more tolerable.  Ouma stayed a few days after Oupa went back to work.  Easton is an "ouma's boy" to the max.  Any time she is stationary and he's around, he'll be found cuddled up next to her

Ouma made a new friend this trip: Max.  In addition to the 4 Webbs, he became a hero to Max also.  for a guy who isn't a "dog guy", Oupa sure knows how to make one feel at home.  Oupa's downtime is spent on his Kindle reading books.  Max's downtime is spent on Oupa.  It works out well for everyone.

This is Casey Cuppy nailing the for sale sign into our front yard.  It was a milestone for me because it was one of the "this is getting real" moments.   As a friend of Stephanie's he came highly recommended and I was glad to find a real estate agent who can move a the speed of the 4 Webbs.  Five days on the market led to three offers in one day and a bidding war of sorts.  Exactly as Oupa prayed and predicted! 

Aunt Joanie sent us the perfect Seattle gift: 4 umbrellas for 4 Webbs.  Layla's arrived first and she was thrilled to find a pink see-through version. 

Mine is a battery operated light saber.  Oh wait, that's Easton's...  We'll share it. 

Layla and Easton both are doing very well with the separation process and embracing the new.  Layla was invited to a classmate's princess birthday party.  Even though everyone knew we were leaving in a week, she still chose to hang out with her friends and have a ball.  It was a Disney Frozen themed party so of course, she went as Anna.

And we also continued to cherish the last bits of spending time with our friends, like Stephanie.  As our kitchen was packed and meals at home became difficult, she was gracious enough to let us into her house and share meals together.  

The local trampoline jump center was revamped to include a course like the American Ninja TV show.  Easton and Layla ran up the curved wall and grabbed the lower (kid friendly) railing.  They pulled themselves up on top and cheered for each other as if they won the competition in front of a live studio audience. 

The occasion for going to the jump place was to spend one final afternoon with Zander and Joya.  Their parents were friends of our once upon a time before we left church.  They grew up together in the church since they were three.  Part of the collateral damage for our abrupt departure from church was their friendship.  They still hung out, but not nearly as often.  I'm grateful for their memories and experiences with church kids.  Definitely makes a difference.

I took one final picture outside and although they said goodbye and "I'll see you soon!" I mumbled under my breath (probably not).  Kids are resilient and making new friends will be easy for them in Seattle.  Even so, there's something special about being around people who have known you for years.

I have dozens of pictures from our last few weeks in Phoenix, but not many of them will make it to the blog.  We are a week into our Seattle experience and I could write a post every single day for the next month and never cover all of the adventures...  I almost don't know where to start, but luckily I will have time to start because we no other responsibilities in our new environment other than caring for each other and finding our new groove. 

See you soon!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Tatooine to Endor

Greetings family!

I took a picture that represents so much about our current place in life.  In front of my car was a dust storm rolling into Phoenix.  My rearview mirror showed the sun breaking through the clouds.  There was a moment of great contrast between what was behind me, beside me, and in front of me.  Something is about to change in the weather and we are at the same moment in the life of the 4 Webbs.

The way Kendra explained it to the twins is by saying, "Think of it as moving from Tatooine to Endor".  They instantly got it and understand that's what we are doing. 

This week we flew to Seattle…  again… for the third time in two months.  This time was for a house hunting trip as we prepare to move our family to Seattle.  The pace of this transition is like riding a rocket, but we are managing very well.  When an opportunity arises, there are those who miss it due to hesitation and those who catch it and hang on tight.  To me, the phrase, “Carpe Diem” doesn’t mean “jump on every possibility that comes by”.  It means, “be wise and patient while waiting for the right time to jump.”  Anyway, we took the twins out of school for a week-long expense-paid vacation so that we can survey the neighborhoods and figure out where we will live.

Kendra suggested I let the twins draw with markers on our suitcase.  Doing so makes our suitcase stand out to avoid being mistaken for someone else’s luggage.  It’s also a good way to keep Easton and Layla’s creative juices flowing and have some fun.  I’d be surprised if any other suitcase on the carousel has a Mosasaurus dinosaur and fairies. 

We researched over 200 houses in four days, but also took time to hike and explore.  Wild blackberries are plentiful this time of year so we stopped frequently to eat free snacks along the way.

The scenery is drastically different from our nature hikes in the desert.  The flowing streams and lush wooded areas are beautiful in a completely different way when compared to the rocky terrain of Phoenix. 

We visited the ocean at least once a day because there is so much coastline to explore.  Easton got his fill of trains too since many tracks follow the coastline through the city.  I placed two pennies on the track, but after the train went by we couldn’t find them.  I always wondered what would happen, but I’ll have to find out some other time when I can tape the pennies down on the track…

Layla enjoyed her time with Kendra even more than usual.  We relaxed and played much of our trip here even though we had things to take care of.  Layla invited me to climb around on the shoreline boulders.  I agreed, as I always do, when she offered to include me in her world.  Kendra spent that time looking through the binoculars at the ferry pulling into the dock.  Easton’s questions never stop, but putting him in a foreign environment leads to ten times more questions than normal. 

There are sculptures and art all along the shoreline.  We stopped at one interesting bronze sculpture where it was obviously available for kids to play on it.  We convinced the twins to pose for the photo opportunity.  The thing I notice most is the similarity between Kendra in the picture above and Layla in the picture below.  Like mother, like daughter...

This odd statue of a family of walruses turned into a chance to climb around and make walrus noises.  One of my favorite pictures from the trip because these weeks of my sabbatical and our vacation have created some wonderful, relaxing moments where we just enjoy each other and our surroundings. 

Walks on the beaches were common in the first few days of our trip because the temperature was perfect and the sun was shining.  We did more exploring in this week of house hunting than we have in Phoenix in the past year. 

One evening Kendra wanted to rest so I took the twins out for dinner.  They requested pizza and I recommended eating it on the beach.  ten minutes to pizza, two minutes to the beach, and viola!  seagulls, salty air, and an amazing sunset over the Puget Sound.

We also had dessert.  every single day.  twice.  We are on the corporate dime for this trip so dining out was an adventure in trying new places and dishes.  We found an ice cream shop where we could walk down to the beachfront and watch the ferry boats go in and out of the dock.  Hours of entertainment for Easton.  Layla was more interested in dancing around on the shoreline...

Our trip was filled with new places and experiences, but there's always a need to go shopping at a local supermarket.  We needed pencils for the twins to do homework since their teacher was kind enough to send a homework packet.  Too bad I wasn't smart enough to get a pencil sharpener!  Oh well, we can do homework when we get back home.

This will be the 4 Webbs cover photo for the blog soon, if I can get it to fit.  It represents our togetherness in the adventures that await us. 

There was a moment in our driving all over the city where we saw a park.  Eight-year-olds have no desire to drive around in neighborhoods so this was a good consequence for their good choices of going with the flow as we navigated the highways.  The park included a swing set with four swings and since there are 4 Webbs we swung as a family.  This is how we walk the path we are on.  resting, watching, enjoying the journey and the atmosphere around us.  This time next month we will be in Seattle as residence.  Let the real adventures begin.

See you soon!