Friday, August 29, 2014

where we've been.

this is for my friend ashley. who we lived with almost all summer and did life with almost everyday. she told me to write, to blog, and to share. i never did. this is for you. thank you for being one of my best friends and for pushing me to write and share my heart. i am so thankful for you.

so here we are. it's been a while. but it is good to back. i have been thinking about writing almost everyday for the past 3 months but never sat down to do it. its funny how i work like that. think about something. something i am passionate about. even write posts in my head at night when i am laying in bed. but for one reason or another they never made it to this page. but today they will. ava has been waking up really early and it frustrates me so much because i know around 3pm she will be exhausted and crabby and if she naps she will never go to bed. but today after asking to her to go back to bed several times and she was not capable of doing so...i decided to get up. the house is quiet. she is playing in her room. i made coffee. texted with a good friend who is in a very similar life change as we are...nice to have people in your corner. even from separate states.

so here i am. living in highland park NJ, in an apt (in a building with all old people. it is funny and they are kind). we are unpacked. it is just the decor and organizing part left. i like our home. we have a great view and the girls love the elevator.

before we head into where we are right now let me quick share about where we have been. we sold our first home very quickly. praise the Lord. we sold a ton of stuff. i even sold our king mattress to the termite inspector. we had a giant garage sale with 3 other families and packed it up and moved. justin had to get to MI for young life camp in june so he left a few days before the girls and i. that was crazy. thank you to those who helped me with the girls, move boxes, clean, donate stuff, cut our lawn, clean out our fridge, and the million tiny things that come with moving out of your house and storing your goods for 3 months while you head to MI for camp and then live with friends for july and then move at some point in august. honestly it was all so crazy that there really wasn't time to process it all. i cant lie and say i don't like stuff or furniture or clothes. because i do. i really enjoying decorating and making a house a home. but i found freedom in the riding ourselves of stuff. even with all we gave away and sold we still have so much. i don't want to miss that. i know we can't take any of it with us but when you spent weeks assembling a truck load of furniture and then you sell it off...i just needed a little second. but now i am over it. it's just stuff.

so packers and movers came (thank you young life) and took our stuff to NJ to store. i then loaded up my van with my bestie laura and our 4 kids and drove to MI to meet our husbands to spend a month at a YL camp. our van was exploding with stuff but considering we had a 4, 2, 1.5, and an 8 week old...our kids are awesome and so is a DVD player. this month is something special. i came into it all worn out and exhausted from the past 6 weeks but am thankful how we were swooped up from the chaos of our lives (our friends were moving to charlotte, nc for yl later this summer as well). i needed that break. to breath. to be present. to think about what had just happened. not in a bury inside kind of way but in a perspective kind of way. change is hard. duh. and we were about to embark on some serious change and i loved that we were taken out of our daily lives and brought to camp where someone prepared our meals, cleaned our rooms, relationships developed, kids played, students heard and started a relationship with jesus, my husband made me laugh, and i got spend a lot of time with other women who are wiser than me. i like that. most of my family made the trip to camp and experience a week of camp. having them see what we do and how funny justin is and how its all for the joy of the Lord is such a gift. thank you for coming and for supporting us as we move and walk in faith and it's scary and unknown. i am grateful you are in it with us. it makes the difference.

after a great month we drove home and pulled into a residence inn in harrisonburg b/c we were homeless by choice. got up at 6am the next morning to take ava to get her tonsils and adenoids removed. i always thought tonsils were like no big deal. i learned that yes surgery wise it isn't anything serious. i know that. but man the drugs they put ava on made her crazy. honestly it was like someone had taken over her body. we had to stay over night in the hospital so made it all seem way more serious and real than it actually was. physically she healed so well but one of the hardest parts was having her stay at minimal to no activity for 2 weeks. note to self...tonsil removal is way easier in the winter when you are stuck inside anyways. she was irritable, mean, inpatient, and bedtime was the worst. on a few nights she told me over and over how much she hated me and hated her life and her friends and i was the worst mom and she was the worst person. it was scary and awful. tonsils were way harder than i had prepared myself for...just an fyi.

we moved in with our friends ashley and greg bellamy. a separate post should be written for them. but considering my writing track record for consistency i wouldn't hold your breathe. but they gave us a home, freedom, food, help, friendship and joy. thank you for taking us in and for so long. for caring and loving our girls. it wasn't always easy...but not because of them. since they are easiest humans to live with on the face of the earth but more for myself. living in harrisonburg. our home. but not having a home so it felt like i was there but wasn't. justin went to yl camp right after we got home from MI with all the high schools in our area. great week for him and leaders and students but for sure the beginning of his transition out as we prepared for our move to NJ later in the summer. it is all so emotional and difficult because you are leaving people and a place that you've grown to love to move to place where no really cares you are there. it's not like when the movers arrived in NJ anyone was like..."oh, we are so happy you are here. heard you sold your house and most of your stuff to come here and start YL. we've never heard of it but i am sure it is great or maybe it's not. we don't really care. oh, you left people you love...sorry about that." now that would have been nice. but instead it is all about faith. the Lord opened this door and brought us here and will not leave us. it may have challenges but i know that life is full of hard stuff. thankful two of our good friend's from Syracuse came down and made our move in weekend even possible. thank you katie and billy truly. i needed you here. not just for ikea assembly but having familiar faces in an unfamiliar place really helped me our first few days. thank you.

but i skipped a little bit. living with your bestie is fun. justin kind of likes his own space and i do too but mostly i like hanging with my friend, ashley whenever i want so that was a perk of living with good friends for almost 6 weeks. wow that is awhile.  but they travelled and we travelled so we weren't on top of each other for days on end. i tried to soak it up with friends and with ashley b/c i knew that friends. the real, deep, special ones don't happen over night. i am thankful that we didn't live in someones basement for the summer (we were offered that i turned it down only b/c i knew that would make me sad and very separate from all our people) but instead shared life with some of our dearest friends. i mean who doesn't want to drink diet coke, watch each of your kids love one another and fight but mostly love, watch hgtv, e, friday night lights, and parenthood at night with your friend on your old white couch that you bought for your bedroom and sat on twice and then sold to your friend because you were moving to a smaller apartment. see i want all those things and i got all those things. thankful for the friendships in harrisonburg. the forever friends. those are the best kind. please come visit.

i didn't want to move to harrisonburg. it was not easy at first. but to think what the Lord provided and did in 3 little years...well that gives me great hope for our new home in NJ. i miss people in harrisonburg and leaders and friends at jmu. i have a heart so of course it is sad. but. but it is getting better here. everyday. i am thankful for my husband and for my girls and for ava and how resilient she is and how she transitioning just fine. i am so grateful. lyles has no clue the difference. praise the lord for that.

before we moved we had our annual vacation to flordia with justin's sister and her family. we changed it up this year and rented a house in seaside fl. before we met up our family spent a couple days in atlanta and we loved that. a little mini vacay before it all really began. seaside was magically. bike rides, great good, pool, ocean, kids playing (loudly) and being with some of our favorite people. i thankful for the summer vacation tradition that justin's dad started. we don't plan to ever stop. i am thankful for a sister like sara. our time together is always real and fun and easy. i love vacation. it wasn't restful and kids got up early and we swam all day but these years of little one's is precious and i don't wanna miss it even though the whole concept of adult conversation is a rarity. it's how it goes with 5 kiddos under 5. thankful for family.

it is hard to recap 3 very full months of our lives. so about a thousand things were missed. but this was a summer of joy and also heartache. trying to stay on the same page with your husband when you don't have a home and are living out of a suitcase and your kids are wild and you are terrified for the future and starting over. but in the midst of arguments or frustration with the kids or mommy guilt about the chaos of it all. i tried to stop and remind myself of truth. it is all ok. we have each other, food, a place to live, clothes, and about a hundred other things we take for granted daily. this time of change was constantly about perspective. a lot of times it felt very #firstworldproblems. meaning things really were not that bad. the Lord is for us and in this with us. that is where my hope is found. it isn't all easy but when is it ever really "easy." this time has been refining for our marriage. who i am as a mother to these 2 girls. i am more present than maybe i have ever been. i don't have anyone to hang out really but them. honestly i love that. i mean i don't always love playing kids stuff like when ava wants to pretend she is dog and i don't feel like it. i dig. i dig deep inside and engage and pretend and explore and take walks, get ice cream, cuddle. it is all a gift. it doesn't always feel that way. but i don't always feel like a lot of things. so i will show up. everyday. as a wife and a mother and a women and a friend. we are not alone. no matter how hard it feels.

more to come this weekend on NJ and what we are up to and how we are adjusting. just wanted to recap our last few months. thanks for stinking in this with us and for praying and supporting us in this new endeavor.

to see our summer in photos check out my instagram feed: @libbyryder