...and the nomads press on...
Yes, Bella and I are about to wrap up our time in California! I cannot believe how quickly time moves when you are traveling and being showered with support from family and friends. Since the love of my life left in May, about twenty more "loving lives" filled our hearts in his place. Here's a small list of those amazing friends and family:
Last Days in Norfolk:
I must give a HUGE shout out right now to my mother in law Carol Earls. First, what daughter/mother-in-law duo could handle being together for over two months?? Well, we can! It's official, Carol is a saint. She left Rod (Poppa Earls) to come be with us in May as Josh departed. She was a shoulder to cry on/with on MANY occasions. She is selfless, loving, godly, and practical and I love all of those things about her. I love her because she's got many of Josh's qualities (or visa-verca). So, thank you Carol for giving Bella and I your time and love. You helped us get through the beginning stages of this deployment (which at times were emotional for me) and we couldn't have done it without you.
Oh, and for a bit of time there, we had a lonely Air Force "doctor-to-be" staying with us (Carol and I) in Norfolk-Nate Kinder. The poor boy was away from his beautiful wife doing medical studies in and needed a place to stay. He was also there when Josh left and was a great addition to our odd (post Josh) home. He got to see many crazy Earls antics and I'm surprised he didn't try to escape:) He was great to have around--and Bella just adored him!
My buddy Renee (old college roomie) and her dog/son Joey came out to stay with me right after Josh left as well. Her visits always bring me right back to college. Me and that Canadian have a long history that I love re-living when she visits! Love her.
Next leg, California...
Murrieta and Balboa Island:
After arriving in California, Bella and I settled in for a week then packed up for Southern California (my childhood home). We stayed with my wonderful brother John and his amazing wife Brandon (and my cute niece Hannah-banana). There home in Murrieta is so comfy and Bella and felt extremely welcome and well cared for! Kiki and Ricki (and Candace) flew out and my older sister Jen drove up and it was a good old fashioned Koole family vaca! We did, of course, miss Katie and Andy though:( We hit up some Disney and Wild Animal Park and just had a blessed time together. I love my family. We live hard, play hard, and laugh hardest! We also drove up to Jen's place and spent some time with her in Balboa Island! I wish so badly that my older siblings were closer, I can't get enough of them. We have lived apart for a long time but, I cannot believe how alike we all are!?
I also got to visit some old buddies in southern CA namely the Heidts (Amber/Philip/Violet)...Thank you for opening your home to Bella and I, we adore you all and cherished the time we spent with you. Amber Heidt, who was one my college roommates, is like my twin and bosom buddy! Laura, thanks for spending the day with me--cannot believe we have remained friends since first grade. Oh and my long time buds-Daniela, Katie, and Yvette...what a fun time together--this will have to be a tradition!
Most of our time in CA was spent at Rod and Carol's place in Merced. Bella was literally showered with love here and I am so thankful for it! Poppa Rod, who spent most of his time teaching Bella to "wrastle" was a great male presence for Bella. We also got to spend quality time with aunt Jaimee and cousin Caleb (who Bella thinks is so funny) and aunt Jessica (and her dog/daughter Lily). The aunts are amazing and love little Bells so much. I am thankful to have such great sister-in-laws who make me laugh daily with their crazy voices and movie quotes. Our time in Merced was also full of Earls and Leach relatives. I love hanging out with Josh's family -- they love him and are so proud of his service in the military. He misses them and I'm sure wishes he could have been here too! Bella and I got to meet lots of new friends here in Merced. The women at Rod/Carol's church are simply wonderful. I believe we made some fast friends here who we can now keep in touch with over time! Oh and lastly, we visited an old co-worker of mine, Tracie Littlejohn who has four boys under the age of five! She is an inspiration and I loved seeing her!
Well, that is a tiny recap of this leg of our journey. It makes me excited to move forward onto the next leg because it means that we are one step closer to seeing Josh. Michigan, here we come. I am so pumped to see family and high school friends there! Thank goodness we packed winter clothes because we will be going from extreme hot to extreme cold here soon! Kiki, Ricki, Candace, Katie, and Andy, here we come!!!