"I hear these are helpful with a newborn around." Jake handed Gerard a package of diapers at our front door as I was resting with Adelaide upstairs. She was maybe a week or two old and Jake lived just around the corner from us. The 2012-2013 school year was his first at Norwalk Middle School and we knew him to be a Luther College alumni (like Gerard) and after that gift of diapers (and humor!) we slowly got to know this dear family. 

We can see their house from our kids' bedroom windows, and now, as they're preparing to move, I'm kicking myself that we didn't move to get to know them more quickly. Jake + Carrie are salt of the earth people, able to help when you're in a bind, provide company when your spouses are at games, show choir events, or conferences, and give a listening ear when you're having a rough day. Spur-of-the-moment kayak lessons, late night walks to have some Mama Time, play dates at the park down the street, bringing over dinner after surgery or a baby's arrival-Carrie was invaluable to have nearby and the way they graciously took care of Laidy when we delivered Lochlyn gave me the hospital stay and recovery experience I needed.

So, when I came to their front door a few weeks ago with hydrangeas in a vase, I said, "I hear these are helpful when staging a house to sell." And Carrie & I shared a few tears. I really could go on and on about how wonderful it has been to have these dear friends close by, but then I'd need to grab an entire box of kleenex, so I'll digress and show you some of the cutest photos ever as my gift to them for everything they've done for us. It's a drop in the ocean in comparison, but it's a start:

Clarence + Leonard have rehearsed performances for Laidy's viewing pleasure, so we started with Clarence and his guitar. Leonard joined in as did their dog, Sammy: 

After a few at their house, we went down to the lake down the street where the boys have played so many hours either at the playground, the beach or they've hosted friends at the gazebo. So. Many. Memories.

We ran back up to their house so we could document their time in this spot the last 5 years before our time was done: 

Jake, Carrie, Clarence, + Leonard: There really are no words for how dear you've become to our family. We've been so blessed by you, just in who you are, watching how you parent (you've shown me how to be an adventurous Mommy to a boy!), and naturally love on people showing Christ so well to us. Thank you for serving our family and being with us these past 5 years! 

You will be so, so dearly missed, 

Carrie, Gerard, Laidy + Lochlyn

PS You can view more of our time together HERE.