The first couples months of 2008 were difficult for me. Since the fog of having a newborn had worn off, I found myself pretty lonely. Although we'd been in Spokane for just over a year, I really hadn't made any friends yet. It was a tough time to get through, but I always had this smiley face around to cheer me up:
Anthony and I took a trip to Olympia for two weeks at the beginning of March. It was so great to see family and friends! While there, I finally came to the realization that Olympia wasn't home anymore. Everyone and everything had changed. In my mind I just expected that everything was how it was when I had left, but it wasn't. I suddenly wasn't homesick anymore, and for the first time I was so glad to return back to Spokane. Spokane finally felt like home!
April and May were busy months! We had our first exchange student (Yuki from Japan) move in with us, Tony got promoted at work and started traveling, and at church we were working with the youth group and teaching English to refugee children from Burma. The warmer weather allowed us to return outdoors and we loved being able to take Anthony to the park and hiking for the first time. We also put grass in our back yard!
June was full of changes. We had to find our dogs new homes due to their never-ending escaping, Yuki moved out, we had to stop serving in the youth group due to Tony's work schedule and the new found mobility of Anthony, and our baby turned 1, now making him a toddler. I also was able to spend another 2 weeks in Olympia with Anthony.
July and August were a blur of summer camp, Tony's family reunion, BBQ's, Tony's birthday, bike rides, and camping trips. Tony and I were fortunate enough to go camping and bike riding in Canada for a weekend to ourselves while my mom watched Anthony. It was a much needed refresher for our marriage!Things began to slow down again in September as the weather began to cool. We also had a new exchange student move in with us (Fivien from Macau). She has been such a fun addition to our family, and has helped me not miss my sisters so much. We were able to take her with us over to Olympia, and show her around Seattle.
October was a challeging month as we made the difficult to decision to start looking for a new church. It was very hard to leave everyone who had become our family, but I really needed some friends... two years is a long time to go without a friend. I am so thankful that everyone was so understanding and has kept us a part of their family. I miss the Karen children terribly and Pastor Eric's amazing messages, but I know God will bless us in following his leading.
November began with another trip back to Olympia. We celebrated an early Thanksgiving with my family, along with Mikaila's Birthday. We also began taking Spanish, partly due to the fact that Tony is Cuban and partly in the hopes that we can use it for missions one day. We have an awesome teacher, Lili, who is here from Columbia student teaching at the community college. The month ended with a visit from Breanna and Tariq, a very early morning which yielded a Kitchen-Aid, an adventure to cut down a Christmas tree, and my 24th birthday.
December came and went quickly. We were blessed with the opportunity to host the Root family twice, and had visits from both of our families. We have made some great new friends, and I have become involved in a Mom's group that I am SO thankful for. It's wonderful to have people to pray with, and talk with others who understand what it's like to be a Mom. I've since been busy attending play dates and dinner gatherings, and am loving every minute of it. We had a wonderful Christmas and New Years with family and friends. Tony and I also celebrated 3 years of marriage with a trip to the beautiful Coeur d'Alene resort.
Like any year, there are always ups and downs. This past year, coupled with the previous one, yielded a lot of hard times. I have learned a lot about myself and what is truly important to me, and once again witnessed God's love, protection, and provision. Thankfully, the year ended on a high note and I'm praying the 2009 will be a year full of them.