The Big Announcement!!!

How do you talk about the awesome things that are coming without the talking about the the things that have shaped you? There's no easy way to do it. I think it becomes even harder when the place you come from has so much value. It does. Where you come from matters. The story changes though when there is a large difference between where you are coming from and where you are going to. But let me back up, because no story is simple..

For the purposes of this post, our story started in 2008 when we found out Autumn was pregnant. It continues later that year when Autumn went through an amazing process called child birth that many have gone through. I won't pretend it was any more special than any other birth, but it was very special to us! Having child is certainly one of the most memorable events that people go through and it was no different for us. Our beautiful little Trinity came and charmed us with her winning smile.

Fast forward nine more months and I am walking across the parking lot that separated my work from the hospital, wondering if I am going to outlive my child. I know it happens, but I don't know how a person recovers from that. As it turned out, on that Friday afternoon in late August, Trinity would not wake up properly from her nap. As the story goes, and it has been well documented here on this blog, it was then that Trinity would suffer an anoxic brain injury. What happened? God only knows, literally. But she would live through it, through six weeks of blindness (brain related, not eye related) and ultimately end up a healthy and happy little girl, full of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Fast forward six more years and, while she is still brimming with sugar and spice, learning and academics have begun to be a noticeable struggle. She is a hard worker and rarely complains, but it's obvious that school is beginning to move faster than she is able. She appears to be able to learn what is being taught, but often fails to retain it long term, meaning that she has to relearn things repeatedly. As parents we don't know what to do.

On a recommendation from a friend we enrolled Trin at a learning center in Portland for two months in the spring and summer of last year and it changed everything. Maybe it was the learning tools and techniques that she was being taught, maybe it was 20 hours of one on one instruction every week, maybe it was neither and maybe it was both. The cause is not what matters, but the changes did matter. All of a sudden Trin was just more aware. She was curious about things, she chatted about things, she was just a little bit, well, more. She was still our Trin and she wasn't suddenly able to put all of her struggles behind her, but something certainly was different. Ultimately I think that what this time gave us was hope that we could give Trinity the best opportunity to lead the fullest life possible.

Fast forward another year, give or take, and I am living with the kids in Bozeman. Autumn has been working her tail in both Minnesota and Montana, seeing what could be the best fit. The kids are both thriving in school and both have had great experiences with extracurricular activities and are starting to form valuable friendships. But we're struggling with Montana. Bozeman has been a great transition and gave us a peak into what is possible for Trinity. The big surprise is also how good it has been for Teagan! But still we struggle. I wanted to like Bozeman; I think that part of me even wanted Bozeman to be THE PLACE where we end up. And yet, we have struggled to see how that happens.

My running joke is that if Bend and Baker City had a baby, it would look a lot like Bozeman. It has flavors of both places. But I think that for me the problem lies in what it doesn't have that both of those other places do have: the lifestyle of Baker City and the Economy of Bend. It's growing fast, but jobs just have not kept pace with the overall cost of living. And then there's Minnesota.

You were waiting for this part, weren't you? You've been reading this monologue, hoping that somewhere, earlier rather than later, there is a snippet about where the heck we're going to be next year. And here it is: Minnesota. I could say Minneapolis, but we will not be in the city proper. We'll be a bit east of there. And then there's the why, which is actually really easy for me to write about.

First thing is that Minnesota as a state has a highly rated education system and I can already see that from the school visits and many conversations I have had with districts surrounding the city. The resources appear to be really good. This fact bodes well for both of our kids, which Autumn and I are extremely excited about.

The second attraction is jobs. The Mineapolis metro area has a solid economy with, you guessed it, jobs! Autumn has been working there for almost six months now and is very happy with her job there. I have been recently interviewing out there and guess what? I got a job! I have to be honest that it feels strange to have real employment after the last couple of years. It's not to say that I haven't enjoyed the real estate work that I have been doing, but I don't think I ever intended to try it full time. The hours just don't mesh with parenting very well and that's always been a focus. I admire those who pull this off!

The third piece is housing. Minneapolis has actual inventory to choose from! It's more expensive than Baker City, but pretty even (maybe even a bit lower priced per square foot) with Bozeman. It has been fun to look and check out what's possible there! In fact, we have an offer in on a house as we speak, Nothing final, but things are moving in the right direction.

Number four (and I'll admit this one surprised me a bit, although maybe it shouldn't have): Healthcare resources. Trin's teachers brought up the possibility of some visual processing issues and thought there was a chance she could benefit from some vision therapy. In the process of evaluation, we were connected to Ophthalmologist in Minnesota so that we could (if needed) continue any services that Trin might start here in Bozeman. Well, in the process of contacting these referred providers, we actually stumbled upon a pediatric brain injury program. I should really highlight, bold or capitalize that because I didn't even know that those existed! It means that Trin could go to one place and have access to just about any specialist related to brain injuries that you can think of. Comprehensive care! Autumn and I are pretty excited to think that there are people out there that have been dealing with brain injuries and can help guide through Trin's care. I can't tell you how excited we are to see what this can mean for Trin!

So that's really it. We're going to Minnesota. It feels really good to know that we'll be together as a family again in a couple of months. The best part for me, and I know Autumn feels similarly, is that this all happened in a manner that has been counter intuitive. Throughout this process Autumn and I have both done a lot of research. We've made a lot of phone calls. We have done a lot of praying. Heck, we've even spread our family halfway across the country. But what we haven't done is force things or try to make any one situation work.The hardest part has been not jumping the gun. I think that part is a bit easier for me than Autumn, with her being the A type of the two of us. But at times it has been hard to just sit and wait. But boy has it been worth it.

We've been getting questions about where we're going for the better part of a year now and I think that our path has been hard on many people in our lives. Let me tell you this: things just got a little more simple. The distance won't make things easier, but at least no one has to guess anymore. You're welcome!!!


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