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    Dear Zianne (Three Years)

    Dear Zianne,

    I sit here on the eve of your third birthday, slightly exhausted yet overjoyed. In the past month, I have started a new job, we moved to a new house, and I spend my days and my nights running after you and your now-very-mobile younger sister.

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    In my slightly frazzled state, I am trying to think back to this time a year ago… when you turned two. You’ve always been big for your age and extra articulate, even back then, but in the past year you transitioned from the remnant of baby to a full-fledged little girl. You run around on long legs, use terms like “arabesque” and “plié” when you dance, and you love coffee dates and trips to Target. You’ve memorized a million books and love to spell out words you see on the page.Sometimes you remind me so much of myself, it’s startling. You are incredibly verbal, you love school, you are extroverted, confident, and animated. Sometimes when we are talking, just the two of us, you’ll put your face right in mine, eyes wide, and start speaking in a serious, emphatic whisper. I don’t think you do this with anyone else. It’s like a secret language between two firstborn daughters who love to communicate deeply.

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    I don’t worry about many things in parenting, but one thing I fear from time to time is that we will grow apart as you get older. I don’t let myself dwell on it often, but I do hope our similarities strengthen our bond as you grow up instead of driving us apart.

    But as with most things in parenting, I simply have to trust the Lord with what our future relationship holds. I know this to be true: God made me to be your mom, and He wove together our many similarities as well as our distinct differences. And I know something else… I love you now, and I will love you then – when you are five, fifteen, thirty-five, fifty. Even when you are old and I am much older, I will whisper to you, “You’re my girl,” and I hope you will always whisper in return, “I’m your girl, mom.”

    Love you forever,

    Mom

     

     

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    We’re moving to…

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    A year ago this week, Micah had his final interview for a potential position in  Orange County. It was on a Friday. On Monday, they called and told him he got the job. We packed up our things in a whirlwind and moved to California with an air mattress and some suitcases. A few weeks later, we sold our AZ home and brought the rest of our belongings.

    It’s hard to believe we’ve been in California for almost a year now. Like most memories in adulthood, the year feels like it’s flown by, yet the months unfold in my mind, hazy and distant, as if we’ve actually lived here forever.

    Now we are off on our next adventure (don’t worry, we are saying in California!)…

    We are moving the beach!

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    We are going to live in a furnished vacation rental property that sits directly on the beach for the next nine months. Why? How? To make a long story short, we are ready to buy a home, but we are leery of the extra crazy OC market. We were fine with renting for another year, but rent prices are also outrageous, and we were unfortunately looking for a place in the spring time when inventory was low and everyone was trying to move, which meant a hike in prices whether renting or buying and bidding wars, etc. Not ideal.

    We finally found a house to rent in a neighborhood we love. It was spacious, fairly new, and had a great fenced-in backyard. We walked out of the house, and Micah looked at me and said, “I like it. It’s the best one we’ve seen. But I feel like I could rent a house like that anywhere. In any city. In any state, if we ever move anywhere else. What I can’t do anywhere else is live at the beach.” It was an idea we had talked about before. We know that many of the summer vacation rentals in Newport Beach do long-term leases over the winter months when tourism is slow.

    We decided to pursue it…

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    There were some twists and turns to finding a rental that would work for our family, but I am happy to report that it all worked out.

    We are moving to Newport Beach this weekend and we will live there until June!

    We are just finishing up packing our stuff into storage. I’ve been selling items all summer long, knowing that we only want to store what we really, really want to keep. I mean, if we don’t need it for nine months, do we really need it at all? This adventure is already teaching us so much about living small and simple.

    There will be huge benefits to living by the beach (ocean views, walks down the boardwalk, short commutes to work) and inconveniences as well (no yard, street parking, shared laundry, and sand always trying to creep into our house). I am ready to embrace it all for the next nine months. I am so excited to do my quiet time each morning while looking out the window at God’s roaring, powerful sea. I’m excited for after-dinner walks down the boardwalk and occasionally stopping for a treat at the donut or ice cream shop. I am excited for sunsets. Every night. And we are so excited to host friends and family as often as we can. Our house is small, but it sleeps eight, so consider this the first of many invitations to come visit – for the day, for the night, for the whole weekend. We would love to share a bit of our beach adventure with you.

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