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I’ve taken a long break from writing and shouldn’t have. I don’t know if I needed it, but I need to get back into it. We’ve been in PA now 4.5 months. Things I’ve noticed in that time:

>It’s beautiful up here. Truly. We live literally minutes from Presque Isle State Park which connects out to Lake Erie. It is beautiful. Abby and I went for a night hike back before Halloween that was awesome!

>People are nice. Whoever said yankees are bad or rude obviously never met a Pennsylvanian in their life. Our neighbors, Paul and Gail made homemade Halloween packs for each of the kids. Other folks are just nice too.

Food here, though different than in the South, is still delicious. Greek sauce, and homemade little donut shops along with tons of ethnic foods from all kinds of diverse populations like Russian, Italian, Greek and others have been awesome.

Being able to turn left on red has it’s advantages. It’s nice to have that option, especially in downtown.

Snow is wonderful. We got 13″ in one day this week. And guess what? The world didn’t stop, schools stay open and there’s no mad rush to the market! They’re calling for up to 18″ more this week! YES!!!

Fresh foods-liked baked goods and butchered meat are wonderful. My local baker knows me. By name. That’s bad.

These are just a few things I’ve noticed. Nature up here is different too. My kids are able to see deer, groundhogs, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, and a ton more wildlife in our yard! Out on the Isle there’s even more like flocks of wild turkeys and coyotes. After the night hike Abby and I took, we literally were able to drive up to 3 deer. Docile and timid as can be.

I’ll admit I had reservations and apprehensions about moving here. Change can be and is scary. But it’s been rewarding.

Abby has met and become great friends with a bunch of girls. She’s excelling in school unlike ever before. And, she joined a basketball team that won the local championship!

Katie has made friends at church and the preschool she attends two days a week. She’s also learning a ton.

And Jeb, well he’s Jeb. Growing up and showing me new things daily.

Phyllis has a great new career which is what brought us here in the first place. She has found a place that values her wisdom, strengths, skills and subject matter knowledge. As well, she’s made great friends there too. I believe that she is happy career-wise for the first time in a LONG time.

And me, I’m at peace. I can go outside at night and see the stars. I watched a deer walk 15 feet from my driveway yesterday through my yard. I’ve got a family of deer that use our back pasture to play. I get to see my kids grow up in a place that values education and the environment both. The kids play in our treehouse and on the swings. Sure, there are NC things I miss. But, we’re making new memories here!

Seeing everyone else happy makes me happy. Adjusting has been rough and I’ve had my moments. Mixed emotions of fear, anger, disgust and happyness. But today, watching my kids build a snowman and seeing them sled along with my wife made me realize it’s not about me. It’s all about them and what I can and should be doing to make their lives better.