Thursday, October 27, 2016

On the Move Again

Hello family,

Our Phoenix house is sold and we are officially homeless!  I am happy to see the equity in our bank.  Kendra is sad to see her dream house sold.  We're working through it and looking forward to stability and a more permanent residence by the end of this year.

We had a 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Bellevue, but we just moved into a 3 bedroom apartment in Redmond.  From the big city to the suburbs in one afternoon!  Because our household belongings are still in storage we only had a few carloads of our personal stuff to move from one furnished space into another furnished space.   We moved twice in 30 days!  that's a record I don't wish to break ever again in my life.

I'm also still car-less, which means i get to ride the bus each day for an hour each way to work.  It's an odd feeling to have our equity sitting in our bank account as I live in an apartment and ride a bus to work.  It's temporary though so I'm perfectly content in the transition.

The twins are adjusting very well and I'm really proud of them for the way they are going with the flow.  We've been on so many adventures since we moved to Seattle that I gave up on trying to recapture the details in the blog.  I'll hit a few highlights though and start fresh.

The Marymoor dog park is becoming a regular destination for the Webbs and Max.  It's a massive dog park where Max sniffs and average of 50 butts per trip.  no kidding.  They even have a pet cemetery!  (creepy)

Our trip to the Twin Falls turned out to be a 3 mile each-way hike through a single track trail in the forest.  The scenery was outstanding and the falls were grand. 

Easton and Layla pointed out every mushroom and slug along the path.  Their boots were covered in mud along with Max's entire body.  Us Arizonans didn't think to bring trash bags or blankets or all weather floor mats for the car.  Lessons learned!

Our housemate Alaysha joins us for most of our adventures since she is between jobs and open to almost every kind of crazy idea we come up with. 

Life in Bellevue was a 30 day sample of big city life.  We walked everywhere, including Chick-Fil-A across the bridge.  It was a short time there, but I know the twins will never forget it.

Easton is still a momma's boy just like always.  Seeing the two of them rest and cuddle is one of the most heart-warming things I've ever seen.  I never get tired of it.

This is a typical scene where Easton is watching the construction crew across the street.  His paper airplane in hand as he observes and asks a hundred question that I can't answer.  The 15 story crane was given the name "Cranky the Crane" because he remembers that from his Thomas the Train days.  It's amazing what memories exist in the mind of an eight year old.

One special night, the construction crew outside was hammering, sawing, drilling, and pouring...  at 11:00pm.  The bright lights and loud noises were so extreme that the twins were wide awake until the crew shut it down around midnight.  Luckily there weren't too many late nights of construction, but I won't miss this aspect of downtown living.

The fall colors all over town are amazing.  every car ride, every hike, every lunch date...  The piles of leaves and colorful trees and misty rain are seasonal queues that winter is coming.  When I walk out of my office door I look outside and see this scene.  It's a pleasant peaceful scene in the midst of crazy corporate life.

Nothing says "fall is here" like a trip to the pumpkin patch.  We went with Jason and April's family to Bob's pumpkin patch outside of town.  They had a corn maze with a story along the way. 

Easton asked if they could wonder through the corn rows away from the maze path.  I said, "why not?" and away they went.  The giggles and excitement of running through a corn field are reminders of how simple life and happiness can be.

and then there is the apple cannon...  This massive steel contraption is a hydraulic launcher of apples.  Easton and Layla both shot five apples each into a huge field.  I've never seen one of these, but it was the highlight of my trip. 

Kendra and I went out a few times in the evening after the twins went to bed.  Our light saber umbrella and warm coats allowed for lots of hugs and closeness as we walked the city streets.  Everything we needed was within walking distance for the first time in our married life.  Just like every city and area, there are good and bad aspects.  The close proximity of church, grocery, restaurants, and stores was a great benefit of being downtown. 

Our friends are only about 30 minutes away, but we don't get to see them as much as we hoped.  We didn't have expectations, but there was certainly a desire to get together regularly with them since they are our only friends.  I'm not sure how things will change when we move closer to them, but for now we are grateful for every connection of friendship.  We went out for dinner and hang out one evening as a couple date.  We always have a good time together and you can tell Kendra is like a happy puppy. 

One of the unintended consequences of our move is that the twins will have FOUR Third grade classrooms.  They started at their school in Phoenix, then we moved to Seattle.  They homeschooled at the classroom of Kendra for a month.  Now they are at the Redmond school as we camp out in corporate housing.  In eight weeks we'll be moving again, hopefully into a more permanent housing situation and that'll be the fourth third grade classroom for them.  It's been a rough transition, but i'm really proud of them and Kendra for working through things little by little. It's coming together, but the transition is difficult.

Never a dull moment with this crew around!  Christmas is our goal to be settled and take a breather by just focusing on finding our groove. 

See you soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Settling in Seattle

Howdy family,

I'm almost caught up almost with posts, but after two weeks on the new job I'm already reminiscing about the month-long paid sabbatical from work.  Even though the move was crazy busy before and after our arrival in Seattle, we had lots of family time together.

Exploration is a part of everyday life.  I think, "hey i can take the kids to the park!"  Then I remember I have no idea where any parks are or what they are like.  so we get in the car, do some phone searching and give it a try.  I found this place that has a saucer shaped plate suspended by four ropes.  The twins swung on this for several minutes.

The close up shot shows their expression much more clearly. happy!

This is one of my favorite moments.  It's completely boring and amazing at the same time.  It's boring because nothing special is happening.  Just two kids running with a dog while their mom watches. the amazing part is that if you had told me a year ago I would be hiking with Kendra I would have had a tough time believing that were possible since she was still in a back brace.  If you had told me we would be doing that in Seattle I would have laughed.  Yet, here is my family wondering around a park on a perfect, sunny day in Seattle.  Amazing.

Easton and Layla are becoming more expressive all the time and I like how silly they can be.  Easton is getting more animated with his funny noises and made up songs.  Layla is able to express a wide range of emotion, sometime acting and sometimes just because she's a girl and has the need to do that.

The twins and I took an extra long trail by ourselves while Kendra went back to the playground.  This is a fun moment for me because the sun is shing and the forest of trees is our background.  I know these days won't last in the gloomy state of Washington, but we wrung out every last drop of family fun during my time off work.

Layla had her daddy date as I described in the previous blog post.  Easton waited not-so-patiently for his.  When I asked what he wanted to do, his answer was swift and consistent.  He asked to go through the Boeing factory tour again.  We did roughly the same trip we did during our visit in July, but this time he talked me into buying him a lego knock-off version of the 787 dreamliner.  There are 4 or 5 massive planes that carry the pieces of the 787 to the factory from around the world.  Three of those monsters called "dreamlifters" were resting on the tarmac as seen behind Easton in this picture.

The runway behind us in this next picture was busy on the day we visited.  We sat on the grass and watched planes take off and land for a long time.  He said it was the best daddy date ever, but he says that almost every time we go out.  I'll take it as a compliment anyway.

We had just arrived in town and Layla was already being invited to a birthday party.  She went to a kid's painting store in a local mall for the occasion.  She painted this gem of a drawing

Kendra with her bestie, April and Layla with her bestie, Layla.  They get along well and I'm happy Kendra has a good friend here in Seattle to be around.

I searched on Google maps for the closest church to us.  turns out it is Doxa church in Bellevue.  The church formula is as monotonous as every other church in America, but they believe the way we do and have a good group of people gathering each week.  That's enough for us to engage temporarily while we enjoy corporate housing.

Layla is seeing trees with color for the first time in her life.  We've traveled around the country during the fall season before, but now she is experiencing the change right before her eyes.  day by day the colors of the trees get brighter and more extreme.  the leaves fall in piles and the brisk air is noticeably different than the trip we took in the summer time.  She said, "look!  the tree is the same color as my shirt!"

Every single thing is different in our lives as compared to a month ago, but that makes the foundation stand out even that much more.  Who we are, how we love, what we value, and what we believe are all marked with a highlighter pen because it's the only thing we have to hang onto during this roller coaster of change.

It's been a great ride so far and I'm glad we chose to move to Seattle.  I am more and more convinced  this was the right move.

See you soon!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Washingtonian Webbs

Well, welcome, Webbs web wanders, we are the Washington Webbs now.

Week won...  I mean week one is in the books and i consider our move to be successful on all accounts except for Kendra's emotional well being.  She's grieving the selling of our Phoenix house and feeling the effects of living in temporary housing with lots of uncertainty about our future residence.  Will we buy or rent?  what town will we live in?  how many bedrooms will it have?  how long of a drive will it be to our friends in Mukilteo?  It's all up in the air.  Everyone deals with uncertainty differently and Kendra is working through it one day at a time.

Before leaving Phoenix, our house was packed and loaded into a semi so we had no place to sleep.  The relocation package included 5 nights stay at a hotel and a rental car.  We chose the Arizona Grand resort because it was still 106 degrees every day and the best way to beat the heat is in the pool.  a really big pool... and a water slide. and a lazy river.

We ate well, slept well, and relaxed like royalty.  On the Monday of our departure we packed up everything we need until the semi arrives with our stuff.  That amounted to one wife, two kids, one dog, seven suit cases, and four backpacks.

The one way flight to Seattle was blessedly uneventful even for Max.  The twins did so well to manage the excitement while maintaining a sense of manners.

We loaded up the rental car and drive directly to REI.  Tthe Arizona Webbs had no need for hats or coats, but the Washington Webbs desperately needed to get our gear to stay warm.

We all tried on hats and gear, most of which the twins had never owned before.  Easton and I tried on these super fuzzy hats, but we didn't feel the need to purchase them... yet.

We arrived in the big city of Bellevue with no idea what our temporary abode would be like.  We opened the door to a two bedroom apartment on the third floor of a high rise in downtown Bellevue.  We were fortunate to have the entire first week be full of sunshine and perfect temperatures.  Our first task was to get a feel for our surroundings so I took the twins and we went for their first city hike.

On another day we walked from our front door to Lake Washington.  We are not on the water front, but it's only a few short minutes to the yacht club, which we will never be a part of.  

One of our best days so far was our adventure to West Seattle.  An area called Pike Place where fish get thrown around in the market place and the oldest Starbucks in the world still serves their famous coffee.  Alaysha went with us this trip.  we are glad to have her living in our house and sharing in the adventures.

Besides the space needle, there is another icon of the area called the Great Wheel.  It's a ferris wheel on a pier that takes you out of the water and up over the city.  The price to ride around 4 rotations is outrageously expensive, but we did it anyways for the experience together.

Easton and Layla shared a seat with me.  Easton pointed out every known landmark several times.  He is very observant when he chooses.

Alaysha, Kendra and Max shared the other side of the compartment.  Layla just jumped in because she loves to be in pictures.  :)

On our second day in Seattle Layla mentioned how we haven't had a daddy date in a few weeks.  I gladly agreed that we need to do something about that.  I asked what she wanted to do and she said "fancy dinner and rock climbing!"  I'm not sure where that came from, but I discovered a rock gym close by.  Then I found a semi-fancy italian restaurant and planned our night.  We ate at Angelo's in our dress clothes.

Then changed clothes at the rock gym for the second half of our evening out.  She did amazing at climbing.  She was a superstar there because we were climbing routes normally reserved for the adults.  The other climbers cheered her on and were very friendly.

She did some bouldering where she climbed up only a few feet without ropes and then climbed across the wall.  It's hard to see the angle, but this is an inverted wall requiring serious strength to hang on as she scales the side.

At the bottom of the climb i laid down on the ground, which pulled her up in the air.  She swung back and forth doing superhero poses as if she were flying around.  We had one of the best daddy dates ever and I'm glad we went.

During my last week off work we spent every day exploring.  One day we went to a park to play on the playground and go for a hike.  These two are so silly and fun.  I gave them freedom to be silly and this is the resulting picture.  check out the woods and scenery!  This is like a whole new planet compared to Arizona.

This is the picture I was going for though:  trees and the three of us with the sun on our faces.  I'm grateful for the sabbatical and time off work so we can adjust to our new reality together.

We are officially here and I am loving it more every day!

See you soon.