I Like It!

Who had the UNDER on the Johnson Five returning “back home” within two years?

I know it’s only been a month, but I’ll have to admit that unless something drastic happens, the UNDER looks like a bad bet.

“Oh you just wait until you have six inches of snow to shovel off your driveway!”

“Wait until the dreaded winter comes along and your commute becomes a crawl.”

“Wait until the new friends you are making get to know you, and start to tire from your goofiness, wannabe expertise in sports, Star Wars, and Boyz II Men. Wait until you get involved in the community and ask them to be a part of something you’re involved in.”

I know, I know, it’s not always going to be Pleasantville or The Truman Show (two movies from the ’90s that more than a couple of people have compared our new little town to), but …

I LIKE IT!

When we left the Sky Valley I assumed there would be some remorse, some non-pizza induced heartache, some restless nights when I laid awake tossing and turning, worried about the goings on in the little town of Sultan, missing the non-responsive attempts to get the family together for a Sunday afternoon BBQ, or miss inviting myself over to my parents’ house to watch sports. I thought the kids might miss asking Lis over and over again if she could text our neighbors to see if their kids could come out and play.

A little over a month into uprooting my family from the west side of Washington to about three miles east of Idaho, the Johnson Five are realizing it that we may really like our new home.

A little over a month into uprooting my family and what’s not to like?

The weather has been nice. Sure the winds pick up quite a bit, and we get the occasional thunderstorm, but overall it’s been clear days and warm nights where the temperatures don’t drop much and we’re able to enjoy a post-dinner walk, bike ride, or football toss in the park.

When we moved here we vowed to take advantage of the perks our new town had to offer, like bike trails, summer events in the park and a close proximity to everything.

IMAG2830

9.4 miles to McDonald’s, makes the McDouble easier to handle.

In the past we weren’t able to jump on our bike and ride that far without driving alongside speeding vehicles on a two-lane highway, or without borrowing a truck to transport our bikes to a trail that we can ride long distance on. In the last two weeks we rode our bikes to Post Falls, Idaho (19 miles round trip) and the Spokane Valley Mall (15 miles round trip), crossing just one major intersection, and leaving directly from our driveway. Sure, we may have committed child abuse by letting Lukas and Lia peddle 34 miles, but it’s all in good fun, and something we couldn’t do where we used to live.

Lia singing "Let It Go" with the Spokane Symphony - and a bunch of random kids.

Lia singing “Let It Go” with the Spokane Symphony – and a bunch of random kids.

Another perk is having three beautiful parks within walking distance from our house. One Sunday we went to church, came home for lunch, went to the lake, came home for dinner, and finished it up with a walk to the park. Minor league baseball is a 15-minute drive from home, and the surprisingly, gorgeous resort town of Coeur d’Alene is just 20 minutes from our home.

The neighbor kids (and there are at least four that are regulars) do the extremely odd thing of knocking on our door to see if the kids can play, and just tonight, I got to walk 15 steps to the neighbors to watch Monday Night Football.

I’m sorry but … hmm, not really.

Remember how I liked getting involved with too many things? Well, I couldn’t let that streak end!

I went to a Relay For Life meeting, spewed my RFL experience and knowledge, and just like that I may be one of the chairs for next year’s event! It’s actually given me a new energy towards my favorite FUN-draiser, as this is an event that had just 11 teams, 10 that were corporate teams, and is in a community that is primed for this event. Can I get a, “What! What!”

I’ve also volunteered to teach the 4th and 5th graders in Sunday School! That’s right church folks, we wanted to tour a few churches to find one that had things we were looking for: a need for service, small groups, young families, youth and a youth program. The first church we visited was, like us, getting a fresh start with a fairly new pastor, very new youth minister and new ideas. We figured this was the perfect time to come in. The church had plenty of young families, a ton of kids, an importance placed on small groups, and, when someone overheard me talking about my past work with the youth, they let me know about the opportunity to help out with Sunday School. Hmm…I think God led us to the right place.

We have since joined a small group, which for Lis and I, being a part of a small group was a turning point in our faith (thanks Plates!), and love it. There are four kids Lukas’ age, six girls Lia’s age, and a boy Levi’s age. It’s awesome (dare I use the word blessing?) to see how excited they all are to attend church and our small group. Levi, usually a chill lil’ fella, continues to smile when he talks about his new friend. He’s never had a friend before. Kinda precious.

Lukas is slowly adapting to school. It’s been kind of a struggle for him as it’s a new school, with new people, but the aforementioned small group kids have welcomed him into their lunch table, and he rides his bike to and from school with a neighbor friend.

IMG_20140902_212319The one down part about this area is that it’s very hard to get into a basketball program. They love their sports (especially basketball), so getting him into a competitive league has been difficult. In that aspect we do miss our Sultan Youth Basketball program.

Lia has entered Kindergarten, and well, as she’s always done, she’s rocking it. She’s so excited to learn, rumor has it she pulls the old paper out of the recycle bin so she can come home and do it again. She’s always been a quick to learn, so we worried that maybe, just maybe, she may be more social than focused. So far, so good. She gets to ride the bus to school, which she was excited about, and has already made a bus buddy.

IMG_20140916_090406As mentioned Levi has made a buddy through our small group. He loves sharing a room with his brother, and having a downstairs where he can escape to, so that nobody knows he’s playing with LEGOs, Ninja Turtles, or dressing Stormtroopers up in doll clothes.

I’m not the only person that admits, “I like it!” Lis is very fond of our new surroundings, loving the fact that she can ride her bike anywhere. Sure it’s a little odd having only Levi around, but we’re both excited that Lia is in school for a couple of hours.

Me? Well thanks for asking. Work is … work. At least I get to interact with humans and not cardboard cutouts of Danica Patrick. TGIF means something again, and I actually look forward to wearing jeans on Friday. My wedding ring fits onto my ring finger for the first time in seven months (dislocated it playing basketball and haven’t been able to slide it over my swollen knuckle), and personally, I feel the happiest I’ve felt in years.

Call me Truman, or call this Pleasantville, either way I like it!

2 thoughts on “I Like It!

  1. I’m so happy for you and your family! We love this side of the mountains and personally the snow is just another one of the great seasons! Looking forward to hearing more.

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  2. Sometimes you just know when priorities & decisions are in the best place! Sounds like you’re there. We couldn’t be happier for y’all! And, won’t the next huge decision be easier?! Keep writing, Kevin — I Like It!

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