Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Story of Watertown, NY - Part IV

This is finally the last post in the "series" about our journey to Watertown, NY!

The rest of our time in Watertown...

Wednesday, January 29: we met once more with Becky (and the rest of her family) for breakfast and a little touring of Watertown. That day we went to the Christian school that her (and other kids from the church) attend, the mall (where I got to walk around and visited one-on-one with Becky),  Nik got to see Black River (the river that runs through town) and some more of downtown. It was really fun hanging out with people that we knew, in a new place and talking about our possible future there!

After lunch we went to check out a parsonage that the church owns (where we will live). They were in the process of updating/remodeling so it was under some construction but we still were able to see the bulk of the house. It is an old home, built in the early 1900s and it is very different from what we are used to…but I really like it and think it will be very homey and comfortable! I took some pictures of the inside, mainly for us to reference back to as we think through the move and where stuff needs to go (but they are not really worthy to show…like I would have to explain every single picture for you to understand what you are looking at) - so you will have to wait on some inside pics until once we move in!

But I did make Nik take this quick picture as we were driving away from the house -

It’s hard to tell, but there is a large front porch, and a sidewalk.

And here is a picture that we took looking out from a window upstairs to the back -

So this is the detached two-car garage. You can see the fence around it…that is our back yard - it’s a little bigger on the right side. But the thing I want you to see from this picture is the church. Right behind the garage you see a big field. and then between the trees, directly above the neighbors fort, you can see a steeple if you look really hard…that is the church! So we are in a neighborhood, behind the church. But the field is the church’s property…so we could literally walk to church (when the weather is a bit nicer!). And then on the other side of the church, is Thompson Park.

After a very quick look at the parsonage, we headed to the pastors house where Jaxen laid down for a nap and Nik and Pastor Chad  went back to the church and had some one-on-one time. They met most of the afternoon. 

Then Wednesday night was another big night for us! They held a church-wide pizza dinner for anyone who wanted to come out and meet us. Really, what happened was we got our pizza first, ate a little bit and then were handed a microphone for us to share a bit about ourselves. This made me extremely nervous. Being in a large group and just talking to a big room is not that much fun. I'm way better when I can talk in a smaller group...but I did it. Nik, however, was not nervous at all! 

The way they did this was, at each table, there were cards and pens. Anyone who wanted to ask a question could write their question on a card, and then pass it to the front - where someone was reviewing them and asking the questions. Everyone wanted to know what kind of questions were asked. It's really hard to remember all of them but they ranged from "where were you born", "do you like pie", "favorite scripture verse", "favorite cartoon character" to "what are you passionate about". It was actually tough to be put on the spot and give an answer immediately. And not be able to explain it very much. Tough for me, anyway....but you all know I'm a bit long-winded! Ha! 

After the question time, everyone was dismissed for service. The youth praise band played and sang some songs and then Nik was up! He preached a message to them and then the Pastor closed in prayer. We had a chance to visit with some people after that and then the church board went into a meeting. 

While they met, Nik and I had the opportunity to hang out with the teens and play some games. It was nice to interact with them. I think there was probably around 25....not positive though, it was a little hectic! We played games until it was time for everyone to go home. Nik stayed around and met with a men's group that plays basketball every Wednesday night after church. I don't think he played well...he was a bit tired, but it was still nice for him to hang out awhile. 

After all that was over....we went back to the Pastor’s house and helped them set their house back up after the fresh carpet was laid! There were quite a few members from the church there to help as well. It was pretty fun hanging out with everyone in a casual setting like that. 

Once everyone was gone all the adults sat down in the living room and visited more. Finally, about 11pm, the pastor told us the results from the board meeting. We were wondering...But it took awhile to say bye to everyone and get time to ourselves.

As you know, the results were a job offer for Nik! They told us they wanted to offer us the job, and then handed us an envelope that included the pay package and a few more details.

Obviously, we were up late that night - talking, praying and reviewing the week. We decided that we did not want to give a decision right away…we wanted a few days. We wanted to make sure that we were not caught up in the excitement or emotion of it all and wanted to make sure that we had a clear understanding of the direction the Lord was leading us.

Thursday, January 30: Around 8am we were packed and on the road headed back to Syracuse to board a plane home. The weather was fine going back…I did ask everyone there to pray us home though. I told them there was no way we could get stuck in NY! We had a lot to do when we got home (like Upward, and Nik preaching on Sunday). Their prayers worked and we made it home safe and sound!

On the plane ride home…Jaxen was the best and the worst traveler. It was seriously bad at a couple of points. I may or may not have been crying on the plane. But when you have had lack of sleep multiple days and are mentally and physically exhausted and your toddler is being a terror…crying just seemed like the best solution.

It did not help that Jaxen had no time to run around a play the whole day we traveled. He went from car, to plane (not a long wait) to plane (with no wait) and was just done being cooped up! But we got through it. I’m pretty sure we were the topic of many complaints that came from people aboard the plane that day. But that is okay. I did the best I could do, under the circumstances!

We arrived home later that afternoon and we were all so glad to be back in our home and in our beds!


Thank you so much for bearing with me as I wrote out this (entirely too long) story of our journey to Watertown, NY! I will do my very best to keep you updated from here on out!

We move in just 2 weeks!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Our Last Upwards Season

Friday night we gathered in the gym and celebrated our last season of Upward Basketball and Cheerleading. 

This was our 6th season. For the past 6 years, every Saturday in January and February has been dedicated to this ministry. It has been fun! It is a lot of hard work, but there is so much enjoyment that has come from it as well. 

Nik was honored at this Awards Night. He is very much loved here and in this league. Most of those that are a part of this league do not attend our church. He has built some great relationships with people and has made a big impact on them. And Friday night he was given an award. It is the White Star Award. I was given this award last year, and it is so cool that he was honored with this award this year!

And now it is over….and we are almost caught up. Nik has a few loose ends to tie up this week, but that’s about it. I wanted to take a lot of pictures of Nik with some of his favorite people from the league on Saturday - coaches, refs, parents…but I didn’t take a single picture! I was too busy working in the concession all day! I did capture this one picture on Friday night -

It is us with Emilie! This was her first year to coach, and she did a great job! It was fun to have her around during this season. I will miss this girl, as well as many others next year.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Story of Watertown, NY - Part III

More from our time in Watertown, NY, for the interview…

Tuesday, January 28: We were allowed to sleep in a bit after our very long day on Monday. So we got a late start! Our day started with breakfast at the hotel and visiting with our friend, Becky! I was so excited to see her and catch up. Soon after breakfast we were off with Pastor Chad and Misty. They took us to the church and showed us around.

The church (actually the whole town) looked like a Christmas Village! Everything was covered in snow, and I thought it was beautiful! The church is located on a large patch of land, across the street from an amazing park. A really great location.

We saw everything in the church…and we learned that they use every space in that church for something. Often times, one room is used for multiple things throughout the week. And that is good...there is a lot going on there!

We met some of the staff and volunteers who were working that day. We also got a chance to see the Tuesday morning mom/child play group that they host. And we got to spend a bit more time with the staff over lunch at a  Greek food place! I am still trying to remember everyones name and what they do! Many of the staff are part-time employees who do other jobs on the side. But they were all so very sweet and sincere. I like that. And they all took really well to Jaxen. They did everything they could to make Jaxen comfortable.

That afternoon we went back to the hotel so Jaxen could take a nap. While he was napping one of the pastor’s kids stayed in the hotel room with him and played with him once he woke up.

Side note: The pastor and his wife have 3 children (teenagers) and they are all wonderful and loved on Jaxen the entire time! Any time they were with us, they immediately took Jaxen and entertained him so we could concentrate on whatever we were doing. They walked with him in restaurants, played with him in the church or hotel, watched movies with him at their house…you name it, they did it! And I am so thankful to them for that! By the time we left, Jaxen had made some great new friends!

While Jaxen was upstairs napping, the adults (Nik, Chad, Misty and myself) sat in the lobby, sipping on hot tea or coffee, watching the snow fall outside, talking. This was the time we asked/answered questions more on a personal level. It was serious conversation but a really good time of sharing with each other. The pastor and his wife are very thoughtful. They are so kind and open, which made it easy to open up to them and share about our life, struggles and our ministry experiences.

That conversation lasted all afternoon - we actually had to cut our time mid-conversation so we could get ready for dinner and our official interview that evening with the church board.

So Nik and I ran upstairs, changed clothes and got Jaxen ready before heading out again. We shared a fantastic dinner (Italian food) with the Pastor Chad, Misty and our friends Jim and Becky. Although dinner was really good and we were in the company of some great friends, the interview was on our minds. We did not eat much that evening. I don't think we were super nervous (well, maybe I was...) just more anxious and ready to have that part of the trip over!

At 7pm we were at the church and met with the church board. It was actually pretty bad weather that night, and not everyone could make it in. Luckily, they had enough board members there for us to go ahead and interview. Because not everyone was in attendance it made for a more personal setting. Which was nice! (On Wednesday, we were able to meet with some of the board members who did not make it).

During the interview Pastor Chad asked each of us to share a little about ourselves and our testimony. I made Nik go first, and then I followed. Each person on the church board was really nice and once we started talking, I was not nervous. I don’t think Nik was nervous at all, actually. But that’s just him. Things like that stress me out! After we shared all we could think of to share, the pastor opened up for a time of questions from the board. I don’t remember many of the questions that were asked…but I do know that none of them threw me off! So overall, I guess it went good!

Side note: My throat was really dry the entire time we were up there, and in the middle of the interview my throat was so dry (from talking) that I started coughing and could not stop! It was really bad, actually. I left the room and someone helped me find some water. It took a few minutes for me to get my composure back!

After the interview, we went to the Pastor’s house and helped them re-arrange their furniture upstairs for the new carpet they were getting the next day. Pretty random, but it was fun to jump right in and help out however we could! Afterward, we went back to the hotel. It was late, and I'm pretty sure we hit the sack as soon as we could. We were all exhausted. The stress of the travel, and the anxiety of the interview and the excitement of everything else was very overwhelming. In a good way....but overwhelming!

Next up...Wednesday & Thursday....

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Sign

This is the reason I have not blogged much…or finished telling you the Watertown, NY story…

Our house is finally “For Sale”! It won’t be officially listed until Monday…but everything has been done to get to this point.

We have worked non-stop for the past week and one of these days, I will show you some pictures of our updated house!

Now it’s time for us to get ready for the Upward Award Celebration (Friday) and the last Upward game (Saturday)!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Story of Watertown, NY - Part II

You all have been so patient with me about posting the rest of our Watertown Story. Ever since we found out we were moving, we have been working every spare moment we have on getting our house ready to put on the market. This weekend was exhausting as we had workers here all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They are not done yet…but soon. And also on Saturday, I had visitors - Thank you Jessica, Brennen, Lindsey, Shawn and your kiddos for coming to see us! I really had the best time with you guys. It meant a lot that you stopped in.


When we were looking at a date to go interview at the church in Watertown, NY - the options were slim! Between my work being in the middle of moving and Nik being in the middle of Upward…we knew we had to wait until at least the end of January, if not even February. It worked out for us to go the last week in January (side note: this date was one week shy of the date we interviewed in Temple, 6 years ago!).

Our interview week looked something like this:

Monday, January 27: We woke up at 3:30 to get ready for a very long day! By 4:15 Jaxen was in his car seat and we were on the road to the airport. Jaxen did really well for being yanked out of his crib so early and was in a great mood by the time we got into the airport to our departure gate. He even did really well standing in all the lines and going through security.

A family photo before boarding our first plane

Jaxen, hanging out like a champ in the airport

Before I continue with our story…I thought I would share with you what I learned from traveling with a toddler…

1. Read everything you can about what you can/cannot bring (then follow what you read!).

2. I found it very helpful to tell everyone I came in contact with (who was working) that I was traveling with a toddler and that it was my first time and if they could tell me what to do to make this easier on all of us (ex: at security - instead of taking off shoes and coats and everything else, I asked ahead of time and found out I did not need to take anything off of Jaxen and that we had to walk through a different security area).

3. You can bring food and liquids in the diaper bag to make the trip a bit more successful (they will have to test everything at security, but it was not a big deal). And I’m so glad we did! At first I thought I would just buy stuff there, because it was easier. But I’m so glad I changed my mind because the juice and milk and snacks really helped Jaxen through the lines and especially on the airplane before we ever took off and before they served us beverages.

4. Make sure you arrive early for the little bit longer security detail of a baby/toddlers food and drinks.

5. Let your child run and be a bit wild before you put them on the plane! We were able to do this going, but not coming back and there was a huge difference. And it does not matter what people in the airport think…I promise you that they would rather deal with it in the airport than on the plane!

6. Make sure they are drinking something as the pressure changes from taking off or landing - it helps with their ears.

7. Be polite to those sitting around you…they will likely be polite back (especially if your child is not acting in the best manner!).

8. Don’t be afraid to change a diaper on a plane. I did it during turbulence (at a time when they were telling everyone to get back to your seats and put your seatbelt on - I was chaining a diaper, trying to keep both Jaxen and I steady!) Just ask where exactly the changing station is located as you board the plane. I made the mistake once of not asking first, and ended up changing his diaper as I sat on the closed-potty-lid and Jaxen stood in front of me. I’ll save you the details!

I think those are the biggest things I learned while traveling with a toddler! Continuing on…

Monday still, January 27: We had a layover in Washington, DC before we boarded another plane to NY. Jaxen did really, really well on the planes that day. Our first flight was almost 4 hours and the second flight was about 1 1/2 hours.

Jaxen was really busy exploring everything 
(or just maybe playing under the seats!)

And as we were landing from the first flight he finally fell asleep!

He slept just like this for most of the second flight.

We arrived in Syracuse, NY around 1:20 that afternoon.

The view from the plane

The plane landing on the runway with snow and ice

Pastor Chad and his wife, Misty, were there to meet us and drive us back to Watertown. The plan was to see a little bit of Syracuse before we headed north - but the snow was so bad many of the roads were being closed. So we headed straight back and it was a good thing we did, because we drove about 20 mph and barely had visibility in places!

This was actually the interstate we were driving on - pretty crazy!

We finally arrived (safely) to Watertown and we checked into our hotel and then headed out for dinner with the pastor and his family. We had a wonderful meal (of pizza) while we got to know each other. One interesting thing we learned that night was that their family is all vegetarians! I wasn’t really sure what to do when I heard that news. You know, because meat is such an important part in my daily food intake, and all! But we got past that (grin) and I feel we talked all night!

We finally got back to the hotel around 8:30 and we all got ready for bed! Of course, it took Jaxen awhile to go to sleep (new place) and Nik and I tossed and turned all night. We were so tired, but the excitement and nerves kept us up!

This blog is long enough for now…so the interview story will continue another day!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Today I took a few minutes to make valentines for the kids in Jaxen’s class at Mothers Day Out. They will exchange valentines on Thursday. I totally went to Pinterest for some ideas. I found the easiest idea and re-created it! There was not too much thought that went into it, and it was super easy - just what I needed this week.

Without further ado…

The cards…”I’m wild for about you, valentine!"

Inside each bag, I put frosted animal crackers.

Staple the card to the bag, and wa-la!

Since we are on the subject of valentines…I was working with Jaxen today to “love” on his animals. Instead of throwing them, hitting them, stepping on them….you know, the normal boy thing. He was getting it down pretty well until Nik came home. I was trying to show Nik how Jaxen was hugging on the animals and it did not work. Back to normal!

But I have proof! Kind of. The following pics are of Jaxen “loving” on his animals. He is actually holding them close, patting their back (just like I do with him)!

Valentines for Nik and I this year (and actually, probably Jaxen too) is new flooring and a new paint job in our current home. Exciting huh? It might actually be if we were going to be here to enjoy it! But this is all in the name of SELLING our home. Which we are neck deep in - trying to list it on the market. 

More of our Watertown Story coming later this week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Story of Watertown, NY - Part I

The news is out…

We are moving to Watertown, NY, where Nik has accepted a position at Life Church of the Nazarene as an Associate Pastor.

We have known about this for awhile, but needed to share with our church family before we put it out as public knowledge. Our families knew and I’m sure they have had a hard time keeping it secret. I have had a hard time keeping it secret!

FYI - that is why I have not been posting many blogs…Our life right now consists of getting ready to move and not much else!

So here is the official story of all of this happening. Obviously, I am not sharing every single detail. For one, that would be really hard to do, and two, somethings are just too private for the blog. But I love having an official story (like the birth story, or the story of us moving to Temple) because it is fun to look back on, it’s nice to reference dates and there are some details that I will forget over the years.

Also - through this story, you need to know… God has ordained this long ago. Even as I write this, Nik came to me and shared one way in particular of God’s provision for us moving to NY. Something small, that we never thought much about, but it is now evident that God was in the details even before we ever knew what was coming! Isn’t that the great thing about God? His provision. Life throws us curve balls that we never expect, but nothing is a curve ball for God!

And you also need to know that this is not easy. Yes we are excited. Yes it is a really good thing. But that does not make it easy. I have always said that leaving NM to come to TX was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I remember the way I felt as we drove off, out of the town, out of the county, and out of the state. I cried almost the whole trip. There will probably be a replay of those moments when we leave here. What we are leaving behind to move (literally) across the country is great. And it will be hard to leave. Our jobs, church, friends, town, and even family (even though they are not in the same town). The distance is far. And we feel it too.

But…we are ready. And it is exciting!

And I’m sure you’re ready for some details after all that rambling I just did! Here you go -

This past July (2013) we started to feel a sense of “release” from our current church. That is kind of a hard thing to explain unless you have felt it before. But not knowing exactly what that meant, what we were feeling, or what God had in store for us - we started praying. Both of us. We just really felt that God was working in us, preparing us for something a bit different.

At one point in the fall, Nik saw a job opening for a youth pastor and submitted a resume to that church. And almost as immediately as he did…it did not feel right. But we prayed about it, and after one conversation with that pastor, we knew that was not where God was leading.

So we kept doing what we were doing, and praying for God’s direction in our lives.

In November, the Pastor of our church informed us that he was taking another position at a church in Washington.

That same week, I received a phone call from my friend, Becky (who moved to Watertown, NY, about 1 1/2 years ago). She commented about our Pastor leaving and then she said "Well, you know, you could always come here and work...our church is looking for someone.” I actually laughed it off but told Nik about it later that night and he had the same reaction.

The next day, I get a text from her that they really were looking for a person to come on staff at her church. She was not kidding. I texted back and asked about the type of position they were trying to fill. She replied that they were not looking for a certain position, just the right person who would fit in with their church and who could use their gifts to minister. When I told Nik what she said, he was very intrigued with that.

I received one more text from her about the position the next day. All in all - We really knew nothing of the position, or the church, but we were curious and wanted to know more. Nik was not sure whether or not to call and talk to the pastor - so we decided that we were each going to pray about it over the weekend and not talk to each other about it until Monday morning. Monday morning came, and we both felt God leading that Nik needed to make the phone call.

So Nik called the pastor and had a very brief conversation (literally 5 minutes) with him and then followed up that phone call with an email that included Nik’s resume and a couple of his sermons.

Sometime in mid-December the pastor told Nik he wanted to have a more extensive conversation with him. So they scheduled a time. During that conversation, the pastor asked Nik just a few questions and was more interested in hearing about the calling that God placed on his life to serve and what his passions were in ministry, than even what he was currently doing. I’m sure Nik shared a lot of information with him about his current role at the church, and even what he had done in the past - but it meant a lot to Nik that this pastor was interested in his gifts and passions versus the programs he could implement in a youth group.

Nik also had the chance to ask the pastor what areas in the church he was looking for help. The end result was…the places the pastor felt he could use an additional staff person were all areas that Nik had experience or gifts and passions for.  When Nik hung up the phone from that conversation, he was excited. I think just excited about the possibility of what God might be doing through this situation.

Things at our church were going well for him. We were not looking to leave due to conflict or anything else. But the excitement that grew over the weeks as we were praying about this and the way we saw God working in this situation - it was evident that He was opening up some doors. After some time of prayer, Nik and I agreed that we were going to walk through those open doors and pray that God would close them if this was not His will for our life at this time.

At one point - I even wondered if God was just seeing if we would be faithful to what he was asking. Not saying I didn’t think God was leading us to NY - but it was so surreal for awhile that I wondered if God was asking us to be faithful to his leading…even if it meant it might not work out. Nik and I talked about it not working out - and as long as we knew that it was God closing the doors, we would be okay with it.

But obviously…it worked out!

We kept following God’s leading and the week of January 6 (2014), the interview was scheduled for January 27-30….

The Story of Watertown, NY - Part II 
“The Interview” up next….

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Can you Guess?!

So did you guess what town this is…

or at least, where it is located?


Watertown is a city in the state of New York and in Jefferson County. It is situated approximately 20 miles south of the Thousand Islands;  72 miles northeast of Syracuse, New York; and 31 miles south of the Ontario border. And is near the US Army Post, Fort Drum.
Named after the many falls located on the Black River, the city developed early in the 19th century as a manufacturing center. It is the smallest city to have a park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the celebrated landscape architect who created Central Park in New York City.
The city is known as the birthplace of the Five and dime, the safety pin, and is the home of Little Trees air fresheners. It manufactured the first portable steam engine. It has the longest continually operating county fair in the United States and holds the Red and Black football franchise, the oldest surviving semi-professional team in the United States.



Why am I posting about this town?

Because we will be moving there soon!!!

The story to come...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Jaxen Pictures

Yesterday I took Jaxen outside for just a few minutes to get some fresh air. It has been too cold for him to play long outside and he is dying to be outdoors. I thought his outfit was pretty cute, so I tried to sit him on a chair so I could take pictures. Did. Not. Work. Devastated.

Happy again! And happy to play with the water hose, mulch, dead grass, leaves… so I took a few pictures of him to share. I know it’s been awhile since you have seen many Jaxen pictures!

Do you see his adorable new boots? I love them. Like, I want him to wear them everyday!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dentist Story

I know I have been a terrible blogger. Maybe no one is even checking this blog anymore except my family. But that is okay. One day I will get back in the groove!

I do have much to share with everyone...I just have to find the time to actually share it! So check back next week.

So for get a dental story. I'm sure there are many more exciting things I could write about. But that is it for today!

Read on.

Today I went to the dentist. Yuck. First...let me recap a little of my dental history for you. This past summer I had my bottom wisdom teeth pulled. Then I had dry sockets. Then I had infections. Then because of the difficulity of pulling those wisdom teeth, I ended up needing a root canal. Then a crown put on. Well, I (obviously) ran out of money because nothing in the dental world is cheap. So I waited to get my crown until the new year. Now we are up to date!

So I went in today to get my temporary crown, and get fitted for a permanent one. While they were trying to do this, they were having some major problems. Long story short...they ended up doing a procedure where they (cut out / burned off) got rid of some of the tissue and (possibly? maybe...not really sure) some of my gums around my tooth. I don't even know if that makes sense, but there was excess from my wisdom teeth surgery that was in the way of putting on my crown. So they had to do extra stuff (that of course, cost extra money). I am very very sore and tender. But hopefully they took care of everything and I just have to go back the first of March to get my actual crown put on my tooth. Like I told Nik...I have basically become the "worst case scenario” kind of person.

On a lighter note:

Jaxen has discovered the guitar! This is how he spent his Monday. And I’m not even exaggerating. All day long, Jaxen lugged this guitar around the house, playing for me. In his pajamas. It was a pretty sweet day. However, when he went to bed that night, the guitar got put back away. For now.

At some point in the last couple of weeks, I caught Emilie and Jaxen having a cute moment putting together a puzzle. But come to find out…it wasn’t a really cute moment after all. Jaxen was actually un-doing the puzzle and putting all the pieces elsewhere. He is so destructive!