Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hurry up and Move! Part 4

Part 4 of Where I’ve Been

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Our “new” home (we were leaving our new construction home for something decidedly not new)  was turning out to be much more work than we had anticipated. Typical eh? From popcorn ceilings to old carpet it was all getting an overhaul. 

We had approximately a month to pack, renovate and move.

(Starting to feel stressed again and all this happened months ago. Breathe, just breathe and write…)

It didn’t help that we were heading into July and that meant hot. Hot air. Sweating and stress. 
Josh worked on the “new” house, I worked at the “old” one, packing. Packing while caring for our five, keeping them fed & such and trying to keep enough clothes clean for everyone. 

I thought I had done a pretty good job packing here and there but I quickly realized that there was a long way to go. The big stuff wasn’t a problem. The main furniture we took with us was a couch, table & chairs, some shelves, a desk and the bunkbeds. Other than the refrigerator and ping-pong table from the garage, pretty much everything else was “small” stuff. 

That “small stuff” just about did me in.

We are so blessed to have awesome friends and family. I’m not sure how we would have survived the move without them. Throughout that whole month they helped. My mom and dad and sister had been up from Louisiana to help pack earlier and my mom and dad came again for the week and weekend of the move. They kept the children much of the time. Several members of Josh’s family and a close friend helped with popcorn ceiling scraping, painting and flooring. Josh worked fast and furious to get the floor down in the main part of our new home. 

The details of that month run together. It all happened really fast. Even with help and non-stop work, the deadline came too soon. 
I’m not a fan of rushing, stress, hot weather and deadlines. I like order, calm, cool breezes and plenty of time to do things well. 

(Hey, I remember something good about our moving weekend! A nephew was born! My sister-in-law went into labor a month early. Her husband was in Haiti at the time. Little man came into the world early, but did great and dad got rushed home to be there for his son’s second day in the world.)

Josh got the truck Thursday evening. We would have it until Saturday afternoon. The big stuff went on the truck quickly thanks to our awesome people. Then the little stuff started going on. Boxes that had been packed throughout the preceding months had detailed labels. Boxes packed in the last few days had general labels. Several last minute boxes had no label at all (well except for the labels crossed out from previous moves as most of the boxes were used). When we started to run low on boxes, trash bags became suitable packing containers. 

Most of the stuff went into the large shop on our new property, the shop that will be awesome for Josh to use once all the stuff is out. It had to go there because the house just wasn't ready. One bedroom was ready enough and some of the living room. The stuff had to be moved so fast and furious that it was put into the shop however it could fit. Kitchen things, seasonal decorations, clothing, books-all mixed up together in tidy rows.

It happened though. We moved. 

The old house was cleaned and touch-up painted for our renters and we picked up the last few stray items on Monday. Our renters moved in on Tuesday.

And we were in our new home. With one finished enough bedroom.

We lived in the one bedroom, the seven of us, until the end of August. 

One thing I wasn’t prepared for with our rural move was the bugs. And the spiders. Apparently Oklahoma has a lot of spiders. Big hairy and sometimes dangerous spiders. Scorpions too. And they liked all the nice homes we made for them in the shop. All those brown boxes. They started moving in fast. I’m better now, but at that time I discovered that I am apparently mildly arachnophobic. I had heard recently that the Tulsa area is a favorite for brown recluse. The thought that those creatures could hurt my babies was a bit much for me. I’m afraid there was more than one instance of tears in that shop as I tried to make sense of our stuff, trying to find things like spoons and my Bible and underwear. Trying to keep track of the kids while I was moving boxes and killing spiders in the July-August heat. There is a scene in the movie After Earth in which a father (Will Smith) says to his son (Will Smith’s actual son who is playing his son in the movie) “Son, we have landed on a planet where everything has evolved to kill you.”
I felt that way a few times in the shop. 

Towards the end of August Josh’s parents were going on an anniversary trip. The upstairs of their home had become available at the beginning of August thanks to a surprise wedding my brother-in-law ('to be' prior to the wedding) planned for my sister-in-law (that’s an awesome story). My mother-in-law helps take care of a niece and nephew and since she was going to be gone we came to stay and help with her usual responsibilities. We packed some things planning to be there for those two weeks, upstairs in what is the size of a nice little apartment with a living area, two bedrooms, bathroom and even a small frig and microwave. After my in-laws came back from their vacation we decided to stay for a while so Josh could continue working on the house without us in it. It’s difficult to remodel a house when it’s full of people, most of those people being small. So for the next few months life was me homeschooling the kids there at my in-laws (we started our first year of Classical Conversations in August), Josh working the job in the day, then a few evenings out of the week heading out to work on our home. The kids also started karate and the other normal life things continued-church, music lessons, homeschool activities, family stuff, etc. 

Again, fuzzy details. I lost my day planner at some point in the year so some of the details & dates are a little harder to remember. I felt like I had lost my brain when I lost my planner. It was quite a blow. It’s probably still packed in the shop somewhere. 

During that time my husband took something unpleasant-the kid’s end of the house- and turned it into something beautiful. New flooring went down throughout the house. The kitchen went from “ugh” to “I love it!”.    

In October we took a short break from it all and took our kids to Silver Dollar City in Branson. We all needed a vacation. I highly recommend that as a family trip. I hope that’s one of the highlights in their memories among the memories of sharing a bedroom with the whole family for a few weeks or of sleeping on couches at Grandmas (the boys had the couches. They didn't mind.)

Silver Dollar City

There were new things to learn about having a home in the semi-rural. Things like having a furnace that uses propane. We thought the furnace broke. It was during an unseasonable cold (it snowed in November! That is not normal Oklahoma!). The temp in the house dropped to the 40’s during the day. (thankfully we weren’t sleeping there then!) It was so cold the flooring was started to pull apart. Turned out the furnace was fine. We were just out of propane. 

In December we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. My husband planned an amazing surprise overnight get-away for us at the historic Mayo Hotel in Tulsa. He is the absolute best like that. We also made a little trip down to Louisiana for a Christmas celebration with my family. It’s a special treat to be together, all of us. 

We celebrated Christmas morning at Josh’s parents house, where we were still living.
(I love Christmas:)

Between Christmas and New Year's we decided to call the house done enough. Again. It was time to be back in our own space.
We went home. (Again.)

With varying consistency things move forward. The boy’s room is pretty much done. The girls room is getting there. Their bathroom is cute and the most finished part of the house. I love my kitchen. Josh removed some almost completely useless cabinets and is putting a pantry there instead. The flooring is working out great- no carpet! Yay!

I found our spoons. Everyone has plenty of underwear, well except for socks. No one ever seems to have enough socks.
And I found my Bible. I cried a little when I found it, both in relief and joy and some in frustration that it had taken so long to find it.
We were home in time for the February snow. We have watched things turn from brown to spring. We hosted our first get-together Easter Sunday.

There is much left to do, but we are home.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Looking, Part 3

Part 3 of "Where I’ve Been"

We struggled for a while about whether to put an offer on the place or not. But we had looked at so many other properties and nothing else in our target price range seemed to have what this place had. We eventually put in an offer…

which was rejected.

It was a relief in a way because we took that as God’s answer and started looking again.

Looked and prayed.

And kept coming back to the property on the hill.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Waiting, Part 2

Part 2 of "Where I've Been"

Part 1

I get a bit of a shudder inside honestly thinking back over the market months (almost a year's worth). Those were tough, tough months. I was reminded over and over of my desperate need of Jesus in those months, shown how very much I still need to grow, stretched almost beyond what I thought I was really capable of at times. 

I didn’t try to keep the house show-ready 24 hours of every day. I did try to keep it at the point where I could get it show ready in a few hours or less. What would happen though is however long I had to get ready for a showing, that’s how long it took me to get ready. Anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours, somehow it seemed to take right up to the last minute to get all the things put away, the kid's toilet clean and all the dishes in the dishwasher (or in a laundry basket hidden in the garage) and rush everyone out the door. I never quite had it “perfect.”

Dishes in the laundry basket to hide in the garage,
cleaning supplies, paint for touch-ups and -of course-

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Where I've Been, Part 1

Well hello there.

I suppose I ought to tell why this space has been pretty quiet over the majority of the past year or more. Pretty quiet- there is that scrolling feed of pics over there showing little bits of our life through Facebook & Instagram. Only because of that has this space not been almost completely silent and neglected for so many months.

I’ll tell why. 
I started out planning to tell a condensed version, but even “condensed” I’m going to need to break it into more than one post. It is a story after all.

I- my husband and I & our children along with us-have been running after a dream.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this- tends to run hard after one thing at a time. Balance always has been a struggle. I latch onto one thing and want to pour everything into it, give it my all, not satisfied until…hmmmm, well until I’ve got it just about “perfect.” Perfection though is elusive and I end up just having to say “ok, it’s done. For now.” This happens over and over in my life and this past year and a half has been no exception.

The dream, an aspect or stepping stone of our overall dream for our life, that we've been chasing was our move. We have moved to “the country”. I’d call it semi-rural.

Driveway in springtime

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad

My Dad
Who can build a warm fire to heat the house he built for his family.
Who flew big airplanes and served his country.
Who carried mail down dusty, muddy, bumpy roads on a rural mail route.
Who drove a tractor and rode horses even when they weren't quite broke yet and branded cattle and unstuck vehicles and cut the big trees when they fell during the Louisiana storms.
Who came home from the mail route to read a book about something that needed fixing and then went to fix that thing.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Story for Mother's Day

It has been a year since I last posted.

Mother’s Day a whole year ago.

Well, tonight I’m no longer waiting for an opportunity, I’m just jumping in and here we go…

A Mother’s Day Story

Or rather, a Story for Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mommy Resolution #16

to love my children 
by loving my husband.

Art by Joshua, my husband

"Then they [the older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children"
Titus 2:4

{The rose was drawn at the center of a love note, a gift from my husband one Valentine's Day. He knows one of my favorite things is a handwritten note from him.}

This previous post explains a bit more about this resolution.

See previous resolutions here

The Getaway

My husband and I got to get away for a few days. We both needed it. I think the last time we went anywhere just the two of us was our anniversary, December 2009. We really needed a getaway.

I didn’t really have too many expectations for the trip except that I just knew I needed it. I needed a break. I really just focused on getting everything done, the kids packed and over to Grandma’s and us packed and on our way. I didn’t think very much past that point.

I did know one thing though. The trip needed to be about us. We both have plenty of things to pursue: books to read, things to study, think about, write, etc. but without even discussing it, we both kind of mentally laid all that aside. I checked in on Facebook one time. I glanced at my email maybe once. And that was it for social media. No Instagram. No blogging. I even stopped writing in my head.

We just focused on being together. It was like it was before- before the kids. Like it was back when we were newlywed and totally wrapped up in one another.
It was wonderful & just what we needed.

I think I took about 5 pictures. And they were all like this:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mommy Resolution #15

to pray
before I

to pray first,
in all things,
especially before I
"lose it".

Friday, April 26, 2013