Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Our Big Move

February brought in sweeping changes for the Martin household. Phillip received two job offers. One in his field and one that wasn't in his field. I'm sure you figured out which job he chose. It all happened so quickly and it was something that he was so proud to be a part of and just happened to be a position that he was missing a lot of experience from. This would be a perfect opportunity to gain wonderful experience, do what he loves to do and get paid! lol It all happened so fast. One minute we were wondering what in the world God had in store for us and the next minute Phillip was employed, we were scheduling a housing trip and planning a move. So we packed up the van and headed up to Tennessee with all three kids and Nana in the back seat running interference and entertaining the kids while we drove.

When we arrived at our destination it was cold and snowing. Our first initial observation of the town (which neither of us had been to) was interesting to say the least. The housing search proved to be depressing and I felt that we were not off to a great start. The second day we met with a second Realtor that was amazing! We told him what we were looking for and a little about ourselves. He pegged our info in the computer and immediately came up with 3 homes that he new we would just love. His father (we'll call Sr.) took us to lunch, prayed with us, introduced us to several people he knew and we were off. We settled on the second house we looked at to rent for a year. Along the way Sr showed us churches, schools, and all the important stuff we would need to know. I like to refer to him as the Mayor. He knew everything about everyone. We signed a lease, packed up the family and headed back home to frantically pack our house.

A frantic week and a half later, the biggest U-Haul you could rent, one trailer pulled behind the truck, my van, my mother-in-law's van headed out leaving behind our Sweet Home Alabama. I have to tell you that this place is my home. It is so true that this place is in your heart and there's no place like Dixie! :) Guess I'm a southern girl at heart.

So we pull up to our new house and there's snow on the ground and dark. The guys are frantically moving all the boxes and stuff in the house, setting beds up and busting there butts. Thank goodness Phillip had the week off before he started his new job. We needed every waking hour to unpack and try and settle in the best we could.

The following Monday Phillip started his new job and I started in to my world of being a stay at home Mom to a miracle group of three. I always prided myself on how I could do it all. Be the ultimate non-stressed Mom. Hummm.....I have been proven wrong. Parenting and mothering a four year old and two four month old twins is hard. Down right hard. Everything to trying to get somewhere at a specific time, putting them in car seats, making sure the diaper bag has everything we'll need while out, actually carrying the heavy suckers downstairs to the van. Whoa doggy! I had no idea what I was in for. Since Phillip had been home with me for five months and we had split duties or he was always there to help me load a car, grab a baby, love on Emma. Without my second half during the day I became overwhelmed. It was dark and gloomy outside, freezing with beautiful snow on the ground. Everything I had every wanted! lol Yes, be careful what you ask for. I always wanted my kids to grow up somewhere that had snow. I set out to not feel sorry for myself and was determined to make friends and no be alone during the day. I got Emma in to gymnastics right away. Two days after we had moved she was already starting. My Mom and I took her to her first class here and it was different to say the least. Soon I realized that we were not in Alabama anymore. Nothing would EVER be the same.

I put on my big girl panties and tried to look at Tennessee in a positive light. Even though this town will be every bit as different as Alabama, it doesn't mean that everything here is bad. So I focused on the positives. Realized that if I stressed my dislikes to much that Emma would pick up on them and carry them along. I'm still practicing that mantra every day I get up and go but it has allowed me to embrace this place a lot easier.

I love Alabama and would move back in a heart beat. But I am determined to make this place my home. A happy home. I would love it if this is the place we raise our kids, Phillip retires from the same company after many many many many good years at! ;) We've had our share of hard times this year and I know I'm looking forward to waving them goodbye!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peaks and Valleys

I hardly have time to think anymore my less update this blog. I keep another blog updated with just pictures so whoever wants to watch the kids grow up can do so without having to endure my ramblings. I can't remember where I left off last so I'll start from the end of September and try and give you a cliff notes version of what's been going on in the Martin's lives.

The end of September, three days after my 30th birthday, Phillip was laid off from his job along with two other managers. I was 30 weeks pregnant and we had no idea what we were going to do. They let him go with only two weeks of severance and about a week left of medical insurance. Thank the Lord that Cobra picked us up. After the huge shock and lots of crying we started calling all of our monthly bill companies and started canceling services. I can not tell you how freeing this all was. At the end of our phone calls Phillip and I looked at each other and we had big grins on our faces. "So this was what David Platt (our preacher) was talking about when he challenged us to live Radical for Christ." Well, I'm sure he meant it in more meaningful ways than cutting the lawn service and pest control but it was a start. This stuff we tied ourselves down to was so unnecessary.

Two weeks later we decided to put our house on the market because how in the world would we be able to pay for it if we didn't have a job? My parents offered their house to us in Jacksonville so we decided to make some drastic decisions and go for it. That Friday I ended up going in to labor with the twins at 32 weeks and had them early the next morning in my 33rd week of pregnancy. Needless to say that was a such a shocking surprise to deliver the babies that early. They immediately went into the NICU and spent the next 3 and 4 weeks in there. Nothing like loosing a job, putting a house on the market, delivering babies early and having them in the NICU for 4 weeks to send someone over the edge. Two weeks after having the house up for sale we had a contract on it. They wanted to low ball us so the deal ended up falling through. Thank goodness.

Meanwhile, Phillip was frantically trying to look for a job in his spare time...(sarcastic) between juggling Emma and our two a day visits to the NICU that took us 45 minutes just to get there one way took up a tremendous amount of time. The Lord spared me majorly in the healing department after their births. Phillip ended up working with a recruiter in his industry that put him through the ringer when it came to hiring him for a particular job up on the DelMarVa peninsula. According to the recruiter Phillip fit the bill to a tee and aced all his testing. He was flown up to the area for a meeting with the Regional Manager, shown around, introduced him to the employees, even looked at a couple of houses. The world was his oyster or so we thought. It came down to the last minute where they were going to fly us both up, wine and dine us, do our housing trip and seal the deal. They choked and backed out leaving us devastated. Needless to say that very same week we got an offer on our house and figured we would have to be moving 14 hours north to the middle of nowhere during Christmas. All in the name of a job. I swore I would not complain and that as long as my babies were home and healthy and we were ALL together that I would move anywhere anytime. So we had our house sold but no job. Hmmm.... what in the world did God have in store for us now?

Meanwhile, Lily Cate had a possible deadly intestinal virus and they had stopped her feedings. I was completely torn up going in and watching my teeny tiny baby laying there helpless and I literally could not do one little thing to help her. I had to trust that God had placed these Doctors in her care and that He would give them the wisdom and knowledge to treat her. Thankfully all her tests started coming back clear a week later and they reintroduced feedings to her. Before we got to bring either one of them home we had to do a 'stay in' where we would sleep up at the hospital and stay there during the day to prove we could take care of our preemie babies. Thank goodness we had my Mom here to take care of Emma while we ran the roads and do our stay in. She gave Emma a since of normalcy and lots of Nana attention while we were sorting our lives out. It was definitely a different experience having both babies in the room with all of their monitors beeping, wires everywhere, nurses walking in and out whenever and trying to do it all. Boy was it overwhelming to say the least. I thought they were crazy when they told us we would have to sleep over. Hello...we already have had one kid that's pretty normal and we managed just fine with her. Ughhh, this is a whole new ballgame. We got to bring Wills home at 3 weeks after he was born and then Lily Cate a week later. Bringing home one baby at a time seemed like a piece of cake! Until we got both of them home. Holy smokes! We had to learn to juggle two babies at the same time. Feedings, schedules, diaper changes, the whole nine yards. This was going to be a lot tougher than I thought.

Another blessing appeared through all this mess. Phillip being home with us was such a HUGE blessing! I don't think I could have done it without him. Being able to split everything up and take turns during the night was so incredibly helpful. We ended up keeping with the schedules that the NICU had the kids on and that was another blessing. They were like clockwork. Soon things began to be normal again and life was settling down.

During this craziness I cannot begin to tell you the amount of blessings friends, family, friends of friends, people we do not even know would bring us meals, send gift cards, money, phone calls, cards. It was absolutely amazing. When we thought we were seeing the bottom of the money pit along came a check. God provided unbelievably for us. He knew our needs and the timing of what needed to be paid when and the money would be there. We were able to keep a roof over our head, the lights and heat on, food in our mouths and the babies never went without formula.

This has no doubt been a life-changing time in our life. We have certainly changed the way we live and strive to be better stewards of our time and money. We don't live as frivolously as we used to, I grocery shop differently, we don't eat out near as often and we save money! We want to serve others as they have served us. We want to be able to stroke a check to someone else in need as others have done for us. This has been a humbling experience, one that I do not care to go through again but it's always when you are at your lowest point that you are closest to the Lord. So if that is what it takes to draw us near then I welcome the valleys as well as the peaks.