Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Year 3 - Trials

So our 3rd year of marriage started off in Disneyland - you can't get any better then that! Be forewarned that this year was not like the rest, but it was okay. We did not take how wonderful the first 2 years of marriage were and we really counted our blessings! The third year was full of struggles and trials but one thing we did not expect was how much closer we became through it all. This was a huge year of growth in our relationship with each other.

So year three started out it Disneyland. We were thrilled to see fall come and Peter not have to go back to school although he did have to study for the CPA exam. He started his job at KPMG in the beginning of September and settled into his new job. We eventually got an offer on our condo and after battling that for awhile we did end up accepting it. That was just the beginning of the road with selling that place. We had a very long drawn out closing on the place which complicated the purchase of our new home. We had to be out of the condo right after Thanksgiving because it was supposed to be closing then and that meant us spending long nights and days leading up to this point cleaning and fixing up our dirty, grimy foreclosed new house.

We moved into our new house right after Thanksgiving and decided it was time to add yet another member to our family (I promise this is the last 4 legged member)

Mr Indy joined our family at the beginning December - he was my early Christmas present!

So after lots of complications on the condo selling we FINALLY closed on the condo a few days before New Year's! Paying for two houses and not knowing if the deals were going to go through added just a little stress to our lives, but we finally made it! We also had an awesome snow storm this Christmas!

Bye Bye Condo!!!

Our new home!

The new year was rough. There were several things that made the new year rough for us. Some things that we have shared with people and some things we have kept private. The day before my birthday in March Peter was laid off from his job - Happy Birthday to me!!!
That was more then a little stressful on us and definitely gave us something to pray about constantly. God was very faithful to us and provided a new job within 6 weeks. That is very difficult in this economy and we are still very thankful for that! Peter loves his new job and gets home at decent hours and all in all it has really worked out for the best!!!
In June my grandma passed away and that was not easy to deal with. Peter was a great support through that.
Then of course our journey to parenthood. It has not been an easy path thus far. Since we first decided to start our family we had discussed adoption and even prayed that God would make it known to us if he wanted us to adopt. We had to wait on his will and his timing and we knew it would happen in his timing. Well of course God would wait until we were able to adopt before pressing it on our heart deeply. The week before Peter turned 23 and little did we know we had to be 23 God put that deep desire in our hearts and here we are preparing to be parents. We couldn't be more excited!
Here we are on our 3rd Anniversary praying that God would lead us and he has. We are so pleased to announce that we have our first set of fees ready to be sent in! WOW! We are still in awe of how quickly God has provided for us. We could potentially have a baby about to be born into this world!!! We still have a long ways to go but we know God will lead us and direct us and we are so thankful for all of our friends and family's support! This has truly shown us how many people really care about us and it is amazing!

The 3rd year was anything but easy. We did have some fun and happy times but we also had some really rough times. God was with us and we grew closer to him this past year. Something else totally unexpected was the change in our love for each other. We definitely developed a deeper and more mature love for each other this past year. I know this coming year will hold several challenges and trials of its own but I also have the confidence and knowledge that we can handle anything this year will throw at us. Plus I can already foresee that this year is going to hold some of the very best moments of our lives and I can't wait!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Year 2 - Fun Year of Blessings!

So we left off on our first wedding anniversary at Crater Lake:

We had no idea how awesome our second year of marriage would be. It was a year that was so much fun and we were truly blessed the entire year! The second year started out with Peter hitting school full speed ahead. He was working 30 hours a week plus taking 29 credits a semester. On top of that in the fall he had to deal with numerous job interviews and eventually made the decision to begin his career at KPMG.
Needless to say the fall and spring were VERY busy for Peter but eventually the day we had been waiting for a very long time came: Graduation Day!!! We had both worked so hard to get Peter through school and it was just awesome to see that day come!

A couple days after graduation we flew off to Jamaica to celebrate! Okay, so Disneyland is definitely our place - we love Disneyland but Jamaica was AWESOME! It seriously was the perfect vacation! We just relaxed for a week and ate and swam - it was heaven! Definitely a vacation we will never forget!

One of my most favorite memories in life to date - was the private beach side dinner! It was awesome!

I really can't even put into words how great that trip was for us! It was perfect and something we will treasure forever - although we do hope to go back someday and create more memories in Jamaica!
Not too long after coming home from Jamaica we decided since we did so well with our Chinchillas that we decided to add another member to our family (see, slowly building ourselves up to kids). We fell in love with the 8 week old hairless boxer puppy at the Oregon Dog Rescue. Little Miss Juno came home with us almost a year to the day after we got the chinchilla's. Juno is definitely a unique and adorable little girl and we love her very much!

Before we knew it we were approaching our second anniversary. Right before our anniversary we listed the condo for sale and were ready to move up in the world to a real house and say goodbye to condo life!
For our anniversary we decided to plan a Disneyland vacation on short notice! It was a marathon trip but it was a lot of fun. Disneyland even had one of their biggest earthquakes on our anniversary! Totally screwed up the rides, but it was memorable :)

We took our last picture EVER in the engagement spot :( Our place will still be there, but Disneyland is re-doing the area and so my buddy mickey will be gone!

Yes we were really wet when we took this picture!

Our second year of marriage was absolutely amazing! We couldn't have asked for a better year! I can't think of very many bad things about that year at all. I am so glad that God gave us a really good year together before things got rough - we literally felt the "He gives and takes Away" but we knew we had been blessed in our second year and I think that made it much easier to trust God's plans in the 3rd year.
More to come on that later :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Year 1 - Starting Out

As we are approaching the end of another year of marriage and beginning a new year I thought it would be fun to reminisce about the first few years of marriage! So today we are going to go back to the very beginning of our life together!

July 29th 2006 - After 18 long months of being engaged we were finally married! We couldn't have been more happy to start the journey we had been planning and talking about since literally the 2nd or 3rd week of dating!

After the wedding we flew off to our favorite place in the world - DISNEYLAND! It was the perfect honeymoon for us! We had such a great time together!

We had to get a picture at the place where Peter proposed to me. It was fun to go back there as a married couple and I am sure it is going to be even more fun to return there as the years fly by.

The wedding and honeymoon were great! Then it was time to return back to reality. We had so many people warn us about how rough the first year of marriage was going to be that we were a little nervous to settle into real life. Honestly the first year of marriage was really great. We had our moments but overall I think we made a smooth adjustment!
We came home to a condo full of presents and lots of running around to change over paperwork and make me officially Mrs. Keyser!

The first few months flew by. I continued to work. Peter continued in his junior year of college while working part time. I first started struggling with my arthritis in my back, my dad had his massive heart attack. Good times and bad times, but we always had each other - and mostly we had good times!
Before we knew it we were settling into winter and we celebrated our first Christmas as a family! It was a lot of fun to have our own place and our own decorations (Disney of course)!

The New Year came in and we settled back into school and work. We had our struggles but God was very good to us during that first year as we grew as a couple.
After Peter finished school in the spring we decided to go to DisneyWorld for 2 weeks! We had a really good time testing out the other Disney park, but ours is better ;) We had a lot of new experiences in Disneyworld - lovebugs (yuck!), forrest fires, red ant infestations, a tropical storm, but still had a really great time!

Soon after coming home from our vacation we decided it was time to expand our family. So we got our two baby girls - Callie and Kahlua! We definitely eased our way into parenting as the girls really didn't need to much from us. Fortunately we must not be too bad at this parenting thing as they are now almost 2 1/2 years old!

Before we knew it we were closing in our 1st wedding anniversary! To celebrate Peter bought me a new Jeep Cherokee! The second biggest purchase we had ever made (condo was the biggest)

For our first wedding anniversary we went on a little road trip for a few days. We went to Crater Lake, the Redwood Forrest, and to Gold Beach for a couple nights to relax and celebrate! We had made it through one year of marriage and came out better then we went in! (Always a good thing)

When we think back to that first year we honestly have nothing but good memories! We had a few rough spots but for the most part we had a lot of fun! We discovered that marriage could be everything that we "thought" it would be and that day to day life could be fun when we have each other!

Monday, July 20, 2009

God's plans becoming ours

If you haven't heard yet - we are beginning the process of adopting from Ethiopia! We are so excited to be on this journey! God has faithfully brought his plan for our family into view and we are being obedient to make that happen.

I have always had a heart for adoption and Peter has always been very open to that plan. I have always wanted to have biological children - don't get me wrong but I have also always had a hard time thinking about bringing children into a world with so many orphans.

So I figured I would leave the decision up to God! We have always prayed that God would tell us if he wanted us to adopt. We have always had a feeling that someday he would tell us it was time, not expecting it to be for several more years. Lately God has been nudging me a little more and I have been trying to rationalize that this is not a good time. We are working hard to complete our debt snowball and OUR PLAN was that I would get pregnant and we would work really hard on paying off debt while I was pregnant and we would be set! GOD'S PLAN was not quite that comfortable - if we had to save up $30,000 to just get the baby - there go my hopes of paying off debt so I can stay home and there goes my new fence and splurged vacations. So I pushed it out of my mind basically saying if God wanted it to be - then he would have to speak a little louder!

Ignoring God - yeah that works..............

So then I kept telling God that even if I agreed to it he would NEVER get Peter to agree to adopting right now. No way my husband would spend the money on that right now - we are just plain not ready!

Then came last Sunday. I've still been thinking a lot about adoption but something happened during church that changed everything. The pastor was talking about how much his heart has been hurting for the people of this world and how he was feeling God's pain for this world. I began to wonder how that would feel............... and in that moment I just knew right then that we were meant to adopt soon. During the service I got emotional and anyone who knows me knows that I HATE being emotional around others. Little did I know what my husband sitting next to me was thinking. I have no idea why I was on the verge of tears except that at that moment I was giving up my hopes and plans for God's plans. Peter and I have wanted to have a baby for a long time now and I had to give up my plan and pursue God's. The sadness went away quickly and since then I have been thrilled about God's plan!!!

We left church and I was thinking about how hard it would be to get Peter on board. I don't remember if we were at home or still in the car but I just went for it and told him that I thought it was time to adopt. His response "sure". What? Did he just say what I thought he said? I didn't think he was serious but he was! Little did I know that while God was revealing his plan to me in church he was telling Peter to listen and trust ME!!! God's perfect plan - of course if he told me it was time to adopt he wouldn't overlook my husband!

So we started on the research, and trying to find an agency, and all that technical stuff. We are still really nervous about the money but God has told us he will provide abundantly if we would just take the first step. I don't know how I am going to be able to stay at home when the baby gets here - but God does! All these "things" (new fence, expensive vacations, etc) in life that I thought were really important to me a week ago were so easy to give up when my focus was on the right place.

I have seen a huge transformation in both of our hearts in the past week. We are both completely in love with a baby that we haven't met yet. The emotions we already feel about this little one are so intense and strong - it is already amazing us! I feel so much pain for the mother out there that is going to have to give the biggest sacrifice so our dream can come true. I pray for her constantly. The agency is going to do everything in their power to introduce us to her and get pictures of us for her and pictures of her for the baby - and that way she can say goodbye to the baby. I don't even want to think about how hard that moment will be.

I already dream about this baby - its little giggle, rocking it to sleep, going to baseball games, watching it run through the sprinklers, taking it to Disneyland with us! I wonder if we will get a boy or girl, and what it will look like. Ugh - it's going to be a long process and I gotta be patient. All in God's timing - not mine :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July

Do to the cancellation of the Vancouver Fireworks we did not do our "usual" 4th of July Celebration up at Peter's grandparents house on the Columbia River. Instead, we spent the day in town with my family. The weather was perfect and the food as usual was yummy!

Juno and Indy ready to celebrate Independence Day!!!

We had a BBQ at my grandma Fair's house with all the fixings - hamburgers, ribs, tri-tip. We always look forward to dessert - My grandma makes the BEST apple pie, can't get anymore American then that! We also indulged in strawberry cake and strawberries and ice cream!

My adorable niece Jezzie eating dessert!
The squirrels always come out to visit at grandma's house
My niece Jillian talking to the squirrel!

After the BBQ we wanted to exercise the dogs before the fireworks start going. We take them to our church playground and field to run them every once and awhile!
Down we go!!!

Indy wearing down!

Juno and Peter still running strong!!!

Now she's getting tired!

All tuckered out with daddy!

After the church we went over to my parents house to watch some fireworks. We were totally legal, I promise! We may not look legal with the cop car in the background but I swear we were. My brother just stopped by to watch some of the fireworks before going back out to find some DUI's!!!

The girls ready to watch some fireworks!!

The girls think Peter's the best because he lit off fireworks for them. Apparently they don't understand that grandpa was the one who bought the fun fireworks.

Peter took some pictures of the not so legal ones going off around us!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Green Thumb

Our big project for this spring and summer is trying to make our yard look somewhat appealing. We have a very limited budget so we can't get it exactly the way we would like it to be, but there are plenty of things to do that cost no money to keep us very busy.

The home owner before us did not take care of anything and so we have a yard full of overgrown weeds and bushes to deal with. We decided the best way to go about cleaning up the yard is to just start on one side and slowly work our way around the house. We only get to spend a couple hours out in the yard every other week before our yard debris recycle bin is full and we have to wait another 2 weeks before doing anymore work.

So far we are seeing great improvements with our weed pulling and all of the neighbors have even come over and commented about how nice the house is looking!

We started on the side yard. The gravel in the dog run and front was filled with berry bushes. Peter armed himself with a lot of crossbow and that did the trick!

Much better!!!

Our front flower bed was full of weeds. Peter spend a lot of time digging up thick patches of weeds.

When we first bought the house the whole driveway was lined with "spider catchers" as I call them. Immediately after moving in I made Peter pull them out but we kept the one's in by the front door. I was not a fan of them and so we finally pulled them out!

Bye bye bushes! I listed them on craigslist and within an hour someone came and took them for their yard and made me very happy!!!

I weeded the driveway flower bed. One of the bigger problems with pulling out all the bushes is that it makes our line of grass uneven but we are planning on redoing the yard next summer so there is no need to fret about that this year. (You may be able to see Juno's head sticking out the front door window to say hi!)

When we moved out of the condo I wanted to make sure that I got to keep my Disneyland 50th Anniversary Rose Bush. We brought it with us from the old house and it has just been hanging out in a bucket waiting for me to find the perfect place in our yard for it. Unfortunately I was really slow about finding the right place and so the rose has not done anything this year. My mom assures me that it will come alive now though. My mom also started a Fire and Ice Rose for me a few years ago and so we went and dug it up. I need two more rose bushes but I just found out today that my mom started a rose from my grandma's funeral for me so I will save a spot for that one! I love rose bushes!!! (Again, Juno's head is sticking out the window)

The yard is still definitely a work in progress but we have gotten so much accomplished already and it is fun to see our hard work paying off! We want to "weed" thru the rest of the yard this summer and then in September we want to replace the fence and then we will call it a year! Hopefully next year we will be able to afford to put in a sprinkler system and level and redo the lawn! Fun times :)