We are in!

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I’m still here. Actually, no, now I’m HERE. New home.

(This post will be a bit of a photo dump since I promised photos of our move and now have a lot to catch you up on.)

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The move didn’t really seem real to me until I went for a run this morning. I ran the path I used to walk with a double stroller and a four year-old on a tiny bike next to me. It was the same path on which we used to have to stop ten times for bike breaks and to give the little ones more Cheerios. I passed the park where I met my dear friend Amy- the one I knew would be my friend because we were the only two not with perfect manicures or name-brand clothing on.

The run was good: my first in over a week, since it has been too icy and cold to be safe for me to run. But I knew it was time to go because Sam came home last night and hung hooks in the bathroom for our smelly running clothes. My back doesn’t like the packing and unpacking of boxes. So today I ran past all these places that are like old friends: bigger trees, more path, but so familiar.

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Such a circuitous route we took to this house. We moved out of this neighborhood seven years ago because we lived too far from my hospital for me to take call from home. I was spending nights “sleeping” [mostly not] on the couch in the doctor’s lounge if I had a patient in labor. On the long weekends, it was too far to go back and forth multiple times, and I would pump 60 hours of breast milk and keep it in the mini fridge in the doctor’s lounge until I drove home Monday morning. One morning I came home and realized I had left nearly a quart of milk in the fridge. The strew broke the camel’s back, and we started looking for houses closer to the hospital.

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But my group doesn’t attend at that hospital any more. I work at a different hospital. Sam spent a good hour every day (often more) in the car. I was jealous of those hours he spent in the car. I wanted him home. I love his work ethic; I didn’t love his commute. So we sold our house and lived with my parents while our new house (a mile from our first house in Denver) was built.

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The past seven months felt much longer than that, despite the many blessings of living with my parents. We have acquired a lot of bad habits that now I have to undo, such as:

  • SweetP getting up from the dinner table after three bites and coming back later because she’s hungry.
  • Eating crap because I didn’t have room to buy good ingredients in bulk and make our own food.
  • Eating a narrow rotation of food because I didn’t want witnesses [my parents] to the protests when I introduced something new and interesting.
  • Saying Yes to all manner of screen time just to keep the noise level down and the mess contained.

These of course are only the ones I’m not too embarrassed to post here. You can imagine others.

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We’re back in the city. In walking distance of the library. Close enough to the house next door that they will know exactly what I’m yelling at the children as soon as it’s warm enough to open the windows. But we’re so close to Sam’s job. Monday when he left his lunch on the counter, we ran it over to him.

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Our people have come out in droves this week to welcome us back. Even my dear [former- sob!] neighbor and running partner showed up with donuts. We’ve had more visitors here in five days than we had the past seven months. And it’s good.

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Thank you for praying us through the transition. Thank you for your kind comments and prayers and especially for hiding your eye-rolls when I complained about having a warm, dry, safe place to live filled with people who love me. Please know that there is music in my kitchen as I write this post and the sun shining on the chair where I read to the children. I am so grateful.

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In which I make excuses

We’re almost there, friends. We move in 10 days.

It’s close enough that we’re packing boxes (again).

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It’s close enough that I can use it for an excuse for all sorts of things.

  • Sorry, kids, I can’t make homemade bread this week.  We’re moving.
  • Sorry, but I’m not buying another ream of paper so you can print forty pieces of paper, we’re moving.
  • Sorry my bed’s not made, we’re moving.
  • No, you can’t buy that piece of plastic trash that will break in a week—we’re moving.

See?

Good photos may be hard to come by in the next two weeks, but I promise lots of photos of the new house once we’re in.  Thanks for all your prayers for no snow on February 6th.

Daybook: August

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Red: Indian paintbrush. Blue: Fireweed.

Out my window: our neighbor’s vegetable garden is flourishing.  I miss our raspberries.

In the kitchen: my dad and I did some meal planning.  This week for us: fajitas; great green pasta; pork loin medallions with a rub and black beans, avocado, and corn salad; and grilled portabellas.

In the schoolroom: organization.  This week I am printing up our art prints (I get these from Ambleside online), booklists, and organizing our shelves.  Last week I had a few hours with the computer and my books and was able to pull together our first semester’s plan for science, writing, and history.

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I’m reading: Simplicity Parenting, Charlotte Mason’s Original Home Education (Vol 3), and Emma.

On the needles: The red sweater is two rows from coming off the needles (minus sleeves).  I think I am stalling because I’m afraid it won’t fit.

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On my mind: the value of work.  My parents moved into this pretty patio-home community seven years ago, and they have lots of space– but not a lot of work.  Good for them.  Not so good for children who need work.  I want to find some routine jobs each of us can be responsible for, but it’s a delicate balance between seeing work around me and suggesting that my parents haven’t been keeping up.

Grateful for: my parents’ generosity.  A date with Sam & friends.  Regular meetings with the “outreach committee” at church.  While I’m not a big fan of committees (especially if I have to be on them), these meetings are good for reminding me frequently to think about going outside our church body for ministry.  Last week in the mountains: a hike, recovering from my virus, ice skating, flowers, the smell of the mountains.

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Praying for: Mandy.  Joy (Maddie’s mom).  Peace for my children through this transition.  Araceli.  Lisa.  Routine.  Lala.

What Makes a Home?

Our house closed.  It now belongs to someone else.  I thought I would feel weirder about that, but I don’t.  I feel overwhelming relief that this process of house-selling is over.  It exposed so many of my raw nerves– will they think it’s clean enough? What do you mean, they don’t like my paint?  They don’t like roses?– and had me on pins & needles for weeks.

We were very happy there, but it wasn’t the house that made us feel at home. It was the garden… it was small, but it was full of life.

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It was the mornings, when we woke up and came downstairs to bask in the sunshine.

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It was the celebrations we lived there.

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It was the griefs we acknowledged and mourned there.

The applesauce we made there.

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It was the friends and family who shared our lives there.

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It was the baby we brought home to that house.

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It was the messes we made there.

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The runs we ran there…

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And the snow forts we built there.

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So here’s to a new, temporary home with my parents. To a new home in the winter. And here’s to the home we make together with the people God gives us to share our lives.

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July First Daybook

Out my window: the roses are still at it, and the daisies are fat enough that I can see the white heart.  Alas, we will miss them.  I did manage to get the two rose bushes (baptism gifts, one for each of the girls) out and into pots.  Say a little prayer that they survive both moves, will you?

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In the kitchen: I saved some potatoes so I could make eggs & hash… but I all took the cutting boards and knives to my parents’ house.  Hmm.  Also, I scraped all the dried, disgusting food off the crack in the table where it splits around the leaf.  Gross!  But it looks much better now.  The leaf is about 25 shades darker than the rest of the table.  Time to refinish the table.

Packing update: We’re on Stage 6 Tomorrow we will move automatically to Stage 7, whether we’re ready or not.  The buyers will keep our piano, and all the couches and mattresses that the children used as trampolines in the basement have been hauled away.  I’m down to all sorts of little things that don’t intuitively belong in a box together but don’t deserve a box of their own.  For example: poster markers, hello kitty sunglasses, a blank notebook and barbecue skewers.  I have made two dumpster dives for boxes.  Apparently I don’t offer enough patronage to our local liquor store to merit any kindness.  I ask if he has any boxes, and he says, “Yeah, they’re out in the dumpster if you’ve got tape.”

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The children are full of anxiety.  Only Jonah is old enough to remember our last move, and it was exponentially less complicated than this one.  Yesterday, I finally was able to clarify to SweetP’s satisfaction that her special stuffed animal was NOT going in the moving truck, and all her things weren’t going to disappear forever.  A week from now, this move will have some muscle and skin on the bones, and we will see that it’s going to be fine.  It was my New Year’s Resolution to spend more time at my parents’ house, after all.

In the schoolroom: um, what schoolroom?

I’m reading: not much.  Genesis, at least.  The other day Owen was walking around asking for screen time, and I told him to go read a book.  He burst into tears and said, “You packed all the books I like!”  And then we returned all the library books.  Poor guy.

On the needles: Last week I spent an hour at the Lamb Shoppe with a new knitting-friend, and I chose two delicious new wools… I’ve got babies to knit for, remember?
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Grateful for: a dinner with our neighbors last night.  (Soon I will stop calling them my neighbors and call them just our good friends.)  That our plot of land is all marked with sticks that say “Do Not Disturb.”  (We did not disturb them, oh no.)  Another fun swim meet on Saturday.  6 1/2 years in this neighborhood.  It has been good.

Praying for: Mandy.  Maddie & family.  Justine and Jen.  Peace for my children through this transition.  That I will respond to them with grace and kindness instead my own anxiety and impatience to be settled.

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Stages of Moving

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I feel like I’m in some Kublar-Rossesque Stages of Moving experiment.  So far, I think the stages are:

  1. denial.  As in, “Oh, we don’t have that much stuff.  It’s going to be no problem.”
  2. panic.  As in, “Oh my goodness– we have more stuff than someone from Hoarders!  What are we going to do?”
  3. pragmatic optimism.  As in, “Let’s stop panicking and just pack a box every spare minute we have.”
  4. noticing progress.  As in, “Wow, we have no towels to use or dishes to eat on because they’re all packed.”
  5. ready to be done. As in,  “There are no more boxes. Or tape. And we have 6 more rooms to pack.”
  6. desperation.  As in, “Let’s email the buyers to see if they want to keep all the junk in the basement.”
  7. moving day. This is when the movers show up and tell you they need a bigger truck and it’s going to cost you $1500 more.
  8. moving day B.  This is when you look at the new house and realize the couch is too big for the wall you were going to put it on.
  9. the day after.  As in when you look at each other and swear you’re never doing this again as long as you live.
  10. amnesia. As in 3 (or 6 or 24) years later when you decide to move again because you can’t remember the horror of the last time. (This stage reminds me of what happens after childbirth.)

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We are currently in stage 3.  Every spare moment is filled with packing of boxes or secretly throwing things away when the children aren’t looking.  (Pediatric stages are different. Right now, J is in the, “I’m going to miss this piece of Kleenex on which you drew that picture of the cute fruit bat during church in 2001” stage.)

It leaves very little time for making meals, which is why we’ve been eating take out a lot.  And rice and beans.

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It leaves very little time for cleaning up, which is why there is a half-eaten piece of pizza on the counter (10 points for Gryffindor if you can tell me in the comments where it is.)

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So let’s just look at the photos of muffin-making cousins and peonies that I can’t take with me and call it a day, shall we?

In Which God Shows Up Big-Time

As I wrote the title for this post, God gently reminded me that He is forever showing up, only sometimes I don’t notice.

This time I noticed.

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We put our house on the market about 4 weeks ago.  In the back of my mind hovered the debacle of the last time our house was on sale.  100 days, 110 showings. 3 children 5 -and-under.  I was a crazy woman.  Sam was all for putting some firm parameters on our move this time: just till June 1, he said, and then we can stop.  But I had a strong sense that this move is a really good thing for our family: for Sam’s vocation, for opportunities to minister as a family, for schooling as we move forward, for other various and sundry family reasons… so I was ready to keep going to make it happen.

Three weeks ago we put the Stuffies on the Black Bus.  The children have been asking when the bus tour will be done.  Some grumbling was heard.

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Last week, we found a house.  It’s less than a mile from library, grocery store, and multiple parks.  11 minutes (by car) from Sam’s work and my job.  It’s zoned for chickens.  We prayed and slept on it overnight and we both convinced that it was the right house.  The next morning we called to place a contract, and someone else had already put down earnest money.  Sam was crushed.

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My heart wouldn’t let go of that house, and all weekend I prayed about it– for release, if this wasn’t the right house. For provision. For eyes to see the way forward and ears to hear. For faith to hang on, if this was right. Our realtor called to say that the other buyers were scheduled to sign the contract at 3 pm but she would call after just in case.

Tuesday afternoon we had a showing.  They came early (ack!) and were talking on the porch while I was struggling to drag the sandy children out of the sandbox so the realtor could show the house.  While we were at my friend’s house, the realtor called to say that the other buyers hadn’t shown up at the contract signing, and the new house was ours if we wanted it.

Wednesday night, after signing a contract on the new house, she called back to say that we had an offer on this house.  To close July 3.

All this happened the night before the Black Bus was supposed to be done with its 4 week  tour of the world.  And two days before Sam’s mental deadline.

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I’m not a big fan of setting deadlines for God.  (Or for anyone, really.)  But in this case, not only did he give us exactly what we thought we needed and wanted, but he did it in a time frame we could understand.  I am hard-headed, but even I can understand that this sale and move is not happening by my effort, or because I got the floor clean or the bed made.  I am so grateful for God’s provision, and for the gift to see it as such.  Thanks for praying with me in this time, friends!
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