Monthly Archives: September 2015

We Have Big News!!!

Okay, can I just, say something crazy? I love crazy. 

Brian has accepted a new job that will have us relocating in 2-3 months. Say, WHAT?!

Can I say something even crazier? No! … okay fine… what’s crazier than you moving?

His new job is in Naples, Italy…

Great Griffin Italian AvventuraLet’s start with a little story… about two years ago Brian approached me with a question: What do you think about living abroad? 

WHAT?! Why would we want to do that? I guess it would depend on where, right?

That was the beginning of a long conversation. At the time, Brian reasoned that he could have a broader scope of experience at his job if he were willing to relocate. This would make him more competitive in the long run as he considered his career. We wouldn’t just want to move around the States if both our families are here in Southern California, but would we consider an adventure abroad? His job has locations all around the world if we were willing to relocate for a little bit… then he would get great experience and our family could have a grand adventure.

But, are we really adventurous people? Sure we like to have fun and try new things. We enjoy meeting new people and building community… but do we have it in us to move our family to another country… on another continent (for crying out loud neither of us have stepped off this continent before)?!

The more we talked about it the more we agreed it would be an opportunity we wouldn’t want to miss- if it presented itself. But Brian hadn’t even applied for a job and God would have to open a whole lot of doors for something like this to happen. So we prayed and Brian applied. He actually made it pretty far in a selection process for a job in Rota, Spain which we were really excited about because we heard it is a favorable location and some of us speak Spanish (Marghee is fluent and our older kids go to a Spanish immersion school here in San Diego).

But in 2013 our government shut-down and a hiring freeze went out. So all was lost in that application process and that door was closed for us.

At the time we were bummed. But the truth was we weren’t done growing our family and we had concerns about having a baby while we were abroad without much support. So it all worked out. When the hiring freeze was lifted Brian actually switched agency’s here in San Diego and we welcomed Lorelei to the family in July 2014.

At the end of 2014 Brian approached me with several opportunities for work abroad again. The hiring freeze was over, our concerns about having a baby abroad were no longer an issue and our kids were still young enough to consider moving away and moving back without affecting their middle and high school years. But, would we apply again?

All the excitement and fears came flooding back into our minds as we considered the opportunities. So we prayed and Brian applied for several jobs in January 2015… remembering that just like before a lot of doors would have to open in order for us to go. We trusted that if this was not the Lords will for our family he would close one of the 52,479 doors along the way and we would stay in San Diego.

A half a year went by and we had not heard anything.

Crazy!

But then a tentative offer came from a position in Naples, Italy. Italy?! Well tentative meant a lot of hoops to jump through and more doors to open or close before an official offer could come.

More waiting.

Almost two months later Brian received and official job offer from the office in Naples. It wasn’t the timing we wanted but the offer was on the table. After months of praying, too many pro’s and con’s lists to keep count, gathering wisdom from those who have moved their families and taken advantages of opportunities like these… it was time to make a decision.

And so we’ve decided… we’re moving to Italy!

What does this mean?

  • We’re moving for Brian’s job to somewhere in/near Naples, Italy.
  • The timeline for moving is not set in stone and depends on a lot of variables (mostly paperwork)… but we are probably looking at moving in the next 2-3 months.
  • It is a three year tour. That’s basically like #brbsandiego.
  • I will not be working at SMCC as the Young Marrieds Coordinator once we leave… though I reserve the right to stalk our ministry page and comment on all the fun things you will do while we are gone.
  • We will not be selling our home in El Cajon. We plan to rent.
  • Our kids have started the school year here because we don’t have a moving date yet and we don’t know exactly how long it will take.
  • Our families are supportive… although, of course both set of grandparents are sad we’ll be so far away.
  • You have three years to plan and execute a European Vacation! If you are anywhere in Europe within the next three years let us know and we will do our best to visit with you (or) you can flat out plan to come visit us… Italy has lots of amazing destinations to visit.

Are we excited?!

Ultimately, yes! However, the reality of the move right now is more overwhelming than exciting because it will happen quicker than we had hoped and we don’t have much control of the timeline. But in the end we think it will be a grand adventure for our family and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Here is a short list of some of the pro’s:

  • They will take care of packing us up to move.
  • They will ship our stuff for us and store whatever we don’t send here in the San Diego as part of the move.
  • They will ship one of our cars.
  • We don’t have to know where we will live when we arrive. We will be put in temporary housing for up to 60 days while we find a home with the option to extend up to an extra 60 days if we need it.
  • We have a housing allowance that includes utilities. Translation… they pay for our housing and utilities while we are in Italy.
  • If we rent our home here in San Diego then we essentially get to save a mortgage payment each month we are away. That means a sweet savings nest and money for traveling.
  • Speaking of traveling… we get to live and travel and experience Europe like we would never have the opportunity to do with our whole family.
  • We will have the opportunity to be immersed in another culture. Think people, sights, food, language, history etc. What an amazing opportunity for all of us to broaden our view of the world and of God’s creation.

Here is a short list of some of the cons:

  • We are going to miss YOU! There is just no way around that. Our family, friends, church community and support system is in Southern California. It is pretty much all we’ve known and for sure all our children have known and we are going to miss it tremendously. We are so very blessed by you and your support of our family.

Immediate prayer requests…

We want to acknowledge that this move could take a serious toll on our marriage and family. We would love to be covered in prayer while we are away. We know the Lord will not leave nor forsake us and we want his hedge of protection on our family. We’ll be losing a significant support system we’ve established for our family here in San Diego and at first Brian and I will only have each other to rely on to establish our family of six in another country.

Here are some specifics you can pray for us as well:

  • That our relationships with the Lord and with each other would grow stronger than ever as we go through this amazing adventure together.
  • That in the process of moving we would be diligent to finish strong in all the things we are involved in here in San Diego.
  • That we would not overlook anything important that we need to get done to help our family transition successfully.
  • That our final time here with family, friends and jobs will be fruitful and affirming.
  • That Brian’s Prius, which we will not be shipping to Italy, sells so we can recoup that expense we made earlier this year and that we would find a loaner car to get us by if needed.
  • That the Lord would continue to place people in our paths to help our move to Italy be as smooth as possible.
  • That the Lord prepare our hearts to be a light for his kingdom in Italy.
  • That the Lord would go before us and set aside the perfect home for our family in Italy and that we would feel at peace and safe there (be it on base or off base).
  • That we would find a church family when we settle in Italy.
  • That we would find great friends that will welcome us like family when we settle in Italy.

Thank you for taking the time to read about our crazy news! If you have any questions about the process we’re going through we would love to hear them because your questions may be good ones we should be considering. We’ll take any prayer and encouragement we can get as well because there are some days we are sooo excited about the move and other days where we freak out and ask why are we doing this again?! Haha! This is going to be a {fun} roller coaster ride for sure.

Summer Bucket Lists… but THIS is Summer.

For several years the Great Griffins have been all about the Summer Bucket List!!! Because really they are only the best ever. It’s a fun list of all the things you want to do over Summer vacation while the kids are out of school. At the heart of every list was simply the goal of being intentional with our time. That way when school starts in the Fall we wouldn’t feel like where did Summer go?

Each year has been different. Our first bucket list had 100 items to check off. Our second only had 25 (five for each person in our family- at the time). Our third had only one item and that was “to have a baby.” Probably the easiest and hardest so far. The lists have changed every year, just like our family.

So when it came to talk about the Summer Bucket List for this year, I asked the kids what do we really want to make sure we do this Summer. And overall this is what I heard:

Have fun as a family. 

Play with our friends. 

Play in the water (a lot). 

#done

I can manage that.

That is really what it came down to… what could our family manage to do while being intentional with our time. So this year, that is what we planned on doing. And you know what? We’ve done all these things before.

The only difference is that this year we didn’t need a hundred items to check off… or twenty five… or one. If I am being honest, I just can’t. I can’t have another list… not right now anyway. I need the path of least resistance- not a mountain of checklists to climb.

Although we’ve been a family of four for a year, we are still in transition. And that is okay. It is okay to say no to the lists we once loved. To just breathe and enjoy. We’re only just starting to count on sleeping through the night for crying out loud… not to mention any names- Lolo!

So that is what we embraced for this Summer making sure we made time for family, friends and the pool. And I love my pictures this year. They aren’t all staged near signs of what we’ve done or where we’ve been (not that there is anything wrong with those… I live for those too), but they are mostly just of our life. So…

…THIS is Summer 2015!

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But really this is who would be home for Summer. Love my noodles.

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Blessed to witness the Baby Dedication of so many of our friends.

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Dropped off Eliann for her Night at the Museum Girl Scout Award for Cookie Sales.

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Checked out the San Diego Fair with good friends and ate everything!

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Happy Fathers Day to Brian.

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Eliann attended Indian Hills Camp.

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Played at the Gonzales Ranch- the boys learned to drive and Eliann collected eggs.

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Celebrated Marghee’s 2nd Annual 27th Birthday.

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Then celebrated her birthday again with a party that of course involved 23 teams.

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We hosted the Boom Boom Ballards for Fourth of July.

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Marghee spent some of her birthday gift with friends.

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We played and laughed a lot… I think someone farted here.

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We cried too. Something about Old Maid and not wanting to eat the one pea.

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We went out on a literally “hot” date.

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We had the best sleepover EVER.

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We celebrated and danced around the kitchen with friends.

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We survived attending and volunteering at Summer Blast.

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We celebrated Lorelei’s First Birthday.

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We played at home… a lot.

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We dress up like cows for Cow Appreciation Day at Chick Fil A.

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Lorelei was up to all kinds of shenanigans.

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We ran errands.

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We did things regular things we love to do… library, movies and the gym.

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We had friends over to play.

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We played soccer.

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Eliann went to Girls Scout Resident Camp- CSI Winnaka with her friend Ella.

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We caught up with good friends.

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We hosted a Marriage Workshop with the Pellicane’s.

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Pierce did swim lessons.

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Eliann’s Girl Scout troop went to Surf Camp.

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We got sick and missed the Marriage Getaway. #fail Thank God Brian’s parents took the kids.

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Marghee’s parents came down to help us get better too.

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Lita stayed to play.

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We celebrated a silly anniversary.

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We camped at the San Diego Metro KOA with Brian’s parents.

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We went to the Colorado River in Arizona.

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That’s a wrap! Goodbye Summer 2015… hello Fall!