Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our news (no, it's not a new baby)

Two and a half years ago we said our final Pittsburgh good-byes and drove away from our friends' charming, red-brick, four-bedroom house and headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Jonathan was excited about starting in the leasing side of commerical real estate with a growing company.  We had a new house in a nice neighborhood waiting for us.  We craved Lake Michigan, Midwestern accents, and new beginnings.  We planned on retiring there.  Most importantly, both sides of our families were in Michigan so that's where we wanted to be.

But God had other plans.  Within weeks of our move, the economy tumbled even more.  Especially in Michigan.  Especially in the commerical real estate field.  Jonathan's company soon went bankrupt and he spent three months unemployed while searching for the next thing.  Carrigan was on the way so Amalia, Brinnly and I together did some child care gigs.  Our rice and beans budget would have made Dave Ramsey proud.

The next thing did come.  We were blessed with a new, full-time, salaried position for Jonathan that allowed him to be home at nights and  to cover our basic expenses.  It was outside of his field and interest and we knew it was a temporary solution.  It has now been 21 months. He has continued to look for the right fit that entire time. 

And now the next thing has come.  God has answered our prayers and provided Jonathan a wonderful  opportunity with a new department at PNC Bank.  He was specifically recruited for this job and will be working directly with many contacts he knew from his previous position in Pittsburgh. That means we will be moving back to Pittsburgh.  Back to hill landscapes, close neighborhoods, First Trinity, and dear people like the Ryans. Away from our families and our Grand Rapids life that we learned to love, even in the midst of challenges. We have big plans for staying connected to Michigan and even bigger plans of making up for the distance that will be between us and our families.  Both now and long-term. We're not (quite) ready to retire yet, so we've got plenty of time to make those arrangements then.

The transition will be sweet-bitter and we're trusting God again to answer our prayers during that time. The girls will be starting preschool at Redeemer Lutheran, in Oakmont, PA.  A wonderful school that will complement everything they are learning at Our Savior.  Several of our friends are running the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon and we will most likely let ourselves get talked into that too.  Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Ikea will be waiting with open arms to welcome us back., or so we picture.

And that "charming, red-brick, four-bedroom house" of our friends' that we said good-bye in front of years ago?  It's going to be ours, at least for a while.  Our friends are moving nearby and we're renting it until we are in a better place to make more decisions.  The best part about it? Lots of room for visitors.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FIve quick updates

1)  After Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas, we took a quick va-cay to fantastic Milwaukee, WI for New Year's.  As always, the Reinke-Stroh clan spoiled us with lots of good food and even better conversation with lots of kids for entertainment.  Hannah and I even managed a 5K in 50 degree weather and loved it.

2) After coming back to GR, we did our usual family tradition of a special "Twelfth Day of Christmas".  This year, the girls requested a restaurant, specifically one with shrimp.  We were craving some de-tox from so much holiday celebrating so we found a Chinese buffet that included sushi.  Strange, but delish. Mali dubbed it "a walk-around restaurant".

3) We did our final family gifts then too and Carrigan squealed with delight at her oversized candy cane ornament.  We also began officially adding to their snow globe collection since they are really into "collections" of any kind now.

4) Christmas must still be on their minds, since this morning they spent a long time playing "Mary and Joseph".  Poor Carrigan.  The big girls made her be King Herod.  She rebelled by wearing a pink ruffled tutu all day.  I love listening in to their pretend play.  It is an unspoken rule that Brinnly always directs the action and is always the mommy.  Mali surprisingly plays along.

5) the midst of all of this, we've got even bigger news.  After all, it's been over a year and a half since we've had a huge life change.  Stay tuned for the details!