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11.26.2013

a fall post

November is almost gone, but I have pictures from October to share!

For our Harvest Halloween party, 
we dressed up as Little Fashion-Blind Riding Hood 
and The Big Plaid Wolf. 
I had to be on the lookout all night for This Guy.



Autumnal scenes.



I love fall.


This Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for:
  • Good jobs for me and for Philip
  • A house shared with people we love!
  • The gift of seeing both of our families during this holiday season
  • That the first year of teaching doesn't last forever
  • Hope for the future
Happy Thanksgiving!

5.05.2013

a (non) announcement.

I am almost 30, and I am not a mother. Philip and I have been married for almost 4 years, and we are NOT PREGNANT.

And I'm okay with that.

I kinda wish the rest of the world would get over it.

In the past year, I've been asked several times whether or not I have kids, how old I am, when I'm going to have kids...but the most troublesome question is Are you pregnant?

Yesterday, I got together with a few friends who I hadn't seen in awhile, and one of them thought I might be pregnant based on what people had said to her at church. Apparently there's a rumor going around. This friend was not trying to be hurtful, she was just curious. Which made me wonder, Why are people asking if I'm pregnant?

My mind raced on the way home from that visit. Did I look pregnant? I acknowledge that I don't have the metabolism I used to, and Wally (yep, I named my gut--and Philip's is named Bernie, if you're curious--) has become a little more noticeable and a little more prominent. Did people look at me and think I looked pregnant? Should I stop wearing that really cute (maternity-esque?) shirt I found at the Missoula Goodwill last month that has an empire waist and covers up my slightly-larger-than-I'd-like belly?

Maybe that was it, maybe it wasn't. If I didn't look pregnant, why would people be talking about me that way? Did they confuse me with someone else? Or is there some rule that states that people can only be married for a year or two, and then they have to have kids? Maybe the rule is that a young teacher who is married and under thirty should be trying to have babies, because isn't that the stereotype for women who become teachers? We love children, so naturally we should want to have our own as soon as possible? (By the way, I already have 104 kids. I don't feel the need to have any more right now. And while I love my students dearly, I also really really appreciate their parents who take them back at 3:15. Thank you, parents!)

Maybe I'm a little touchy about the subject. Many of my friends and relatives have had babies within the last couple of years. It didn't really bother me until people who had been married for a shorter time than we have started having kids. Why should that bother me? Not sure. Maybe I feel defensive and am creating the need to validate my own life decisions. I do feel at times like everyone in the entire world is pregnant and there must be something wrong with me because I am not.

Gossip has always really bothered me. Not that I haven't engaged in any of it myself. But there came a point where I was incredibly sensitive to the way people talked about others in their absence. I didn't find it fun, healthy, or loving at all. I guess I figured that people grew out of that after a certain age. Apparently not. And I don't think these people (whose names I don't know, by the way--I had no desire to know where my friend heard this rumor from) meant to be unkind or insensitive. But what they did was insensitive. Because honestly, it's none of their business. This is between me, Philip, and God. Sorry, people.

What if I was really happy with my career and wasn't ready to set it aside for motherhood?
What if my husband and I disagreed about the timing of having kids?
What if we're wisely waiting until I'm not the sole breadwinner in the family? 
What if we desperately wanted a baby and couldn't get pregnant?
What if we just didn't want to be parents because we felt God had called us to a different life?

And you know what? It's not really your right to know which of the above (if any) apply to my specific situation. There may be a small circle of trusted people I share that with, or maybe I'll choose to keep that between me and Philip. There are so many more constructive things you could be doing to build God's kingdom than to be idly wondering when that young English teacher at LC is going to have a baby.

Maybe you are someone who has innocently asked another person about the state of another woman's womb. Maybe you're just curious. Maybe you like sharing exciting news with other people. Or maybe you just need to mind your own business. And I mean that in the gentle reproving sort of way, not the angry-judgmental way (although that's how I felt yesterday, if I'm being honest).

So until I announce to you personally (or let's be honest, through Facebook) that I'm pregnant, don't assume. Don't speculate.
Don't question.
Just wait.

And then be joyful with me if and when I share the news. 


12.31.2012

2012: A Year in Review

I refuse to begin this post by saying "It's been awhile", so I'm just going to dive in and post 1-2 pictures from each month of 2012.


January
 Philip & I took the ferry to Friday Harbor to relax after a crazy few months.


February
 Hiking the Fragrance Lake trail


March
Seattle Aquarium with friends Nick & Larissa 



April
 We left our beautiful waterview apartment to rent a house with Nate & Kendra






Ophy loves her freedom at our new house!





        Philip prepares our garden


May

 A typical weekend night at our house...



June
 Annual roadtrip to California





Trip to Iowa to say goodbye to our amazing childhood home...






   Al & I made the quick trip together...



July

 Picnic at Lake Padden with friends Conor & Laura

 Philip's cousin's wedding in Seattle


August

 The whole De Jong clan came to Washington for a week!




September








     First day of school             


           






        Artist Point, Mount Baker

October

We hosted a Harvest/Halloween party at our place


 Seed catalogue model, Bellatrix Lestrange, farmer, guy from Memento


November

 Philip and I hosted Thanksgiving for dear friends


December

Birthday dinner in California


Well, there it is: 2012 in a nutshell. I am looking forward to all that next year will bring! Happy New Year!

7.06.2012

mourning

two things have always been certain when i've returned to sioux center for a visit. first, that i'd be staying with mom and dad. second, that i'd go to covenant and get some sort of welcoming side comment from pastor herm.

tomorrow i leave for iowa. this trip will be different than any other. i'm helping mom and dad pack up for their move. and pastor herm won't be at the pulpit on sunday.

wow. i've said that so many times, but in the past 3 days, it's really begun to hit me. how could two foundations of my life be changing at the same time?

one realization i've come to is that i need to mourn. i've been pretending like all is fine; this is part of life; change needs to happen. but to mourn is to say that my childhood home, that my pastor, has been a significant part of my life. to mourn is to say that these are special. that they have helped shape and refine this jumbled-up mess that is me.

on this early morning in june, i'm trying to pin my thoughts down about my home.

tonight i dreamed i was saying goodbye to the house. walking from room to room, reliving memories. but the dream's edges were softened. it didn't hurt. so when i woke up, it all was really sinking in, my chest squeezed tight, the lump that's been hanging out in my throat for the last week ready to choke me.

after this week, i'll never drive south on highway 75 and turn left on 4th street. i won't go all the way down to the end and turn into the driveway we built when i was nine. i won't climb the steps and go through the back door and then the other back door (all good midwest homes need a heat-trapping back entry...) i won't walk on the beautiful hardwood floors that squeak, climb the creaking stairs, or sleep in my old yellow bedroom with the white wall-to-wall-cupboards-instead-of-a-closet that Dad built for me when i was young. and the kids that take over my room will never know the pain and torture of removing multiple layers of wallpaper. they'll never see the orange flowers that were covered up by my lavendar bows.

even though my playdays are long over, i won't go up into trav's-old-room-turned-playroom-turned-guest-room and pull out the dress up clothes and bepa's old costume jewelry. i won't tear down the spiral staircase, skipping the last few stairs and swinging between the bars to crash on the dining room floor. i won't run away from Al or Trav by taking the main staircase instead of the spiral staircase. i won't play catch with Dad in the backyard or make a fort under the old pine tree. 

i won't pull the christmas candles out of the china closet drawer or help Mom set up the nativity scene in the built-in shelf on the china closet. i won't peek out my bedroom window and see the Dordt sign or see my neighbors i know well walking down the wide streets. i won't check the orange glow of the streetlight to see for the hundredth time if it's snowing yet. i won't ever rake the leaves of the dozen or so trees our family planted in the yard over the last 26 1/2 years (i remember them being tiny--when did they get so tall?)

i won't play with the ringer on the door of the front porch or open the laundry chute that's been closed off that used to house our upstairs phone with the long, twisting cord. i won't get to see our house hit 100 years old in 2014 (at least not from the inside). i won't open the attic door with fear that a bat will come flying out. and i won't ever walk in the living room and see Dad and Mom sitting in their recliners, watching the 10:00 news.

Mom and Dad's new house will never be home to me. i can say, "home is wherever they are" (and there's truth to that, too)...but yet, it's not. i've realized in the past few years how shaping place really is. 

last night, philip and i talked about the new creation. will place matter then? or will the new creation be a wonderful combination of every place we loved here? someday, i will have a Home that is much more home than 351 4th Ave in Sioux Center. until then, i'll be missing this one.

Edit: I've now returned from Iowa, from saying goodbye to my childhood home. It was good and sad all at the same time. I'm sure it won't be real until my next visit.

Also, I noticed that I can no longer see the Dordt sign from my bedroom window. We planted pine trees 20ish years ago, and they've grown so tall as to hide the sign from view.
 My bedroom
 Living room with beautiful built-ins
 Built-in china closet
 The best pine-tree fort ever (50+ year old tree)
 Spiral staircase
 Traditional pose
Goodbye, old girl.

5.21.2012

one month

 Our bedroom
 Family room
The small part of our backyard

We have now lived in our new place for a month...and it's never a dull moment around here. In fact, Philip just dashed past me to see the raccoon that was chilling by our compost!  We've settled in well, had a couple of "family meetings," and have worked out lots of details. We enjoy 4-5 dinners together per week (taking turns cooking, which means we can put more effort into the nights we cook!) and watch TV and play games together. We have our separate private time, of course, but the co-housing situation has been going really well. I'm enjoying living with Nate & Kendra. In my opinion, it's been the best of both worlds: marriage and roommates.

Hooray!

4.01.2012

movin' on

it's official. we're moving. in three weeks. across town to a rented house with another couple. after several months of discussing co-housing and the savings it will afford and good challenges it will present, the four of us have decided to move in together. our house sits on a triple lot with plenty of room for a garden. there are four bedrooms (two for each of us), two bathrooms (one for each), and two living rooms (both of which we'll share).

things i will miss:
  • our apartment. we love it. it's in a great neighborhood with great views and a wonderful set-up. i love the huge windows, the light, the white walls and light carpet, even the silly appliances that make lots of noise. 
  • our neighborhood. we're right on a walking trail, two blocks from two different parks, two blocks from the church where my choir practices, two blocks from the neighborhood coffee shop, a ten-minute walk to great restaurants, 15-minute walk to the marina...
  • the level of privacy we have now.
things i look forward to:
  • meals around the table together!
  • not having to worry about driving home after hanging out together
  • being able to live in a house with a yard and garage
  • saving money!
  • learning to maintain relationships on different levels (marriage and friendships)
  • growing in those relationships!
  • a slightly shorter commute
  • getting rid of stuff we've never used in our 2 1/2 years here (moving is great for purging...)
so, during my spring break this week, i will likely be packing some things up. i've already gone through some cupboards and thrown away stuff and put things in a box for goodwill. 

not only are we moving, but my parents called yesterday to say that they sold their house after having it on and off the market for about 4 years. i'm excited for them, since this has been on their hearts and minds for awhile, but i'm also sad. this is the only house i remember living in--the house i grew up in. it's nearly 100 years old, it has a lot of quirks and character, and my parents (and we kids, on occasion) have put lots of work into making it beautiful. i most likely will not see it again before dad and mom move, so i'm glad we got out to iowa for christmas. i'm also grateful that i've made a home here in bellingham and don't feel that iowa is my only home.

my grandparents will also be moving. they've both had many health issues in the past few years and especially the last month (grandma has diabetes and recently had a stroke; grandpa has parkinson's and recently broke his hip). they're both doing relatively well, but are in different care facilities in different towns. soon they'll move into a care facility together. today they were able to see each other and celebrate grandpa's 85th birthday--a huge blessing.

things are changing.

3.13.2012

the ides of march (well, almost)

sick again. not so fun. i feel like i should be getting to work on the end-of-the-year planning (since we're dangerously close to the fourth quarter. where did this year go??)

it looks like we're moving, possibly at the end of this month. more on that when the official word comes. i'm excited about the future, but very sad to be leaving our fantastic apartment. i can't imagine loving another place more (but Lord, i'm prepared to be wrong...hint, hint.)

flying to california next week with 40ish 8th grade students. hopefully my need to be responsible will override my anxiety about flying. i've been reminded recently that we are to come before the Lord boldly with our requests. my most recent bold request is that i love flying rather than dread it.

also, i've become very dependent on my husband. what a great thing! except when i leave for four days and miss him terribly (never mind that we spent months and months apart when we were first dating. i cannot imagine doing that now.)

ophy is a lazy cat. we're good company today.