Month: October 2013

Change

“Sometimes…I wander about in this house that Nathan and I renewed, that is now aged and worn by our life in it. How many steps, wearing the thresholds? I look at it all again. Sometimes it fills to the brim with sorrow, which signifies the joy that has been here, and the love. It is entirely a gift.” Wendell Berry Hannah Coulter

First of all, I need to apologize if I know you in person and this is the first you are hearing of our news.  Although there was a great amount of thought put into it, once the ball started rolling, it rolled fast.

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We’re moving.

But our journey involves a little bit of a story.

I like to think it starts this July, when we found ourselves in California with my family, enjoying a little vacation.

Bea was a brand new babe and we were soaking up all of the family time we had as the thick of summer was upon us.  As much joy as we had, something felt off.  Our future was uncertain.  It had been a whole year since our summer of disappointment, but our job luck had not turned around for the better.  Behind closed doors, we lamented  that N had not had any job interviews up until this point.  A year prior, he’d already had about half a dozen under him.  It was July, time was running out for things to change, even though we felt as though we were more than ready for them to.

One of the things I enjoy about our family vacations is that we always read a book before our trip, chosen each time by a different member of the family.  This time my dad had chosen The Pursuit of God. (Tozer).  One sunny afternoon we were sitting outside discussing it and my dad suggested that we share prayer requests and subsequently pray over each other.  N and I shared what was on our heart: for God to open doors, to show us the next step (whatever it was we were READY to follow, we just needed Him to show us).  They prayed and my dad ended by saying that he felt we were on the brink of a big change.  I felt it too. I prayed for clarity.

Not long after we returned home, N received a call for an interview.  The first one all summer!  We were reserved but allowed ourselves some excitement.  He got the call on a Monday and scheduled an interview for that Friday.  On the Thursday night before, they called to tell him they were cancelling the interview: they’d already chosen their candidate.

Well that was quite strange, but laughable because it seemed to fit right in with all of the previous job interview experiences he’d had thus far.  The doors always closed but for reasons always unpredictable and sometimes just bizarre!  Another week would go by before he would get another interview lined up.  The strange thing about this next one was that before he even had the chance to interview for it, he was offered a job at another location!

Yep, it happened that fast.  We were over the moon excited!  The next job, the next direction, a step into our future.  We finally had a clear picture of where to go next.  The only hang-up about this job was the commute.  It was at least an hour drive one way.  In fact, he almost didn’t apply for it, but at the last minute changed his mind because he had some strong connections there.

We knew the commute would be daunting, but we were determined to make it work.  “We can do anything for a year.”, we told ourselves.  At the end of a year we would reevaluate.

God had begun preparing my heart for the next change long before I even realized it.  At some point that summer, we had discussed moving out of state in order for N to pursue his doctorate in another location.  In thinking about an out of state move, I began to process what I would have to leave behind.  I grieved over the loss of our church, our small group, my play group, my friends, N’s family here, MG’s school, MOPS, book club, the ease of our location, heck, even the hospital where Bea was born.  I grieved and then  made peace with each loss.  Some were easy, others more difficult.  Included in these thoughts were all of the things I would sell or give away before that  move and I began readying my house for a giant purge.

It was in that way that God prepared me for a not-as-grand-but-still-big change that was coming.  I had made peace with leaving those things behind so when God began stirring our hearts again, I was already on the other side of this process rather than starting from the very beginning.

As it turns out, an hour commute is pretty brutal.  Especially when you leave in the early dark and don’t get home until 5:30-6.  The initial start up was a rude awakening for all of us and we all felt the effects, even MG & Bea.  So while we gritted our teeth and determined to bear it, I also continued searching for our next house.  I tried everything to find something that would put us just a little bit closer to his job but still allow us to stay a part of the communities we’ve been involved with.  However, whether it was time, money, or location, something was always hindering us.

Then like a fresh wind of change, my parents suggested something new.  Why not sell our house and rent (temporarily) near N’s job until we know where we are going to end up long term.  The plan felt right for so many reasons: we would be free of the burden of a house, we would save money, we would be free to make an offer on our next house when the timing was absolutely right and we’d know exactly how much money we had to work with.  AND most importantly, we’d get our family back.

A few searches was all it took to land us on our next home.  It is perfect for us in so many ways.  The best one being that is in an area that is familiar and dear to us. It is a much, much shorter commute to work, and still not far enough away from our communities that we have to close all doors permanently.

And after 3 years without, I even have a little art studio.  That is probably my favorite part.

Not long after finding this house, we put our house up for sale and within 48 hours we received an offer that we couldn’t didn’t want to refuse.

So we are (temporarily) moving. Into a rental, into a lovely little community not too terribly far away from “home”.

It may be a little unconventional.  We may be a little crazy.  But we are so excited.

This next little adventure of ours will involve: some paring down, some simplifying and living with less, a shared “sister” room, a time to re-live some memories and create new ones, a chance to live burden (mortgage) free for a few months, the ability to step away and decide what we truly want AND need in our next house.  A moment of clarity.

Our life there already feels peaceful in so many little ways.  I cannot wait for it to fully begin.

N accepted this job offer on July 22, the day I wrote this post.  I could sense it then.  That this would be a year that would stretch and grow us, that we were about to walk down a new and uncharted, but wildly exciting path. But if you had told me then, a mere three months ago, what we’d actually be doing, I WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED YOU!  Funny how God works sometimes :).

As you can tell, the story cannot possibly end here.  For now, we will be living life in our rental for the forseeable next few months, but my realtor.com app has still been getting quite the workout as I try to figure out where to land my family permanently. Some days I chose a suburban tradamer with walk-in closets and a master suite.  Other days, I chose a re-habbed 1890’s farm house on 2.5 acres.  For now, that is possibly one of the more fun parts of this journey: not knowing how it ends.

But you can be sure I will fill you in when I know.  Stay tuned,

 

BLOGtober: A moment in your day

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This.

This is the moment in my day I look forward to every single day.  It comes like clockwork in the exact middle of the day and is as ritualistic as afternoon tea.  No matter what the morning brings, whether calm or crazy, it is an afternoon gift of peace.

Bea and I sit together and rock.  She with her eyes closed.  I listen for Big Sis to either fall asleep or create some imaginary world that is only visible during afternoon quiet time.

I catch up on emails, Facebook, Instagram, blogs…in that order.  Most of my blog posts are written with my left arm cradling her and my right single-handedly pecking at the keyboard.

When the paci has dropped out of her mouth, her limbs are still, and her breathing is relaxed, it is time to transition her into the crib.  Usually that is when my moment of peace is broken and I become once again productive.  But not always.  Sometimes a hot bath or a long nap wins.

Our afternoon ritual keeps me centered.  We both breathe deeply during this time and is nice to be forced to sit and be still for a minute or thirty.

That has been her best gift to me.

 

Next up in BLOGtober was supposed to be: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill.   But apparently I have no secrets and have already covered that one here.  So I’ll skip ahead to: what do you miss? (a person, a thing, a place, a time of your life…)

Month Five

Guess who is five months old today?

 

It’s me!

 

 

Yep, Baby Bea is speeding through these months and I can not believe it’s already been five!  As N and I were reflecting on this last night I told him, “there’s not one thing I would change about her.”  And it’s true.  I literally cannot think of a single thing that is frustrating, annoying, or difficult that she does.  God must have known that I would need such a mellow, easy going babe for my second because that’s exactly what I got.  I think we’ll keep her 🙂

 

Here are the views we have most often seen this month:

 

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She is finally interested in toys and spends about 90% of her waking hours on her belly.  Putting a few toys in front of her keeps her entertained for the longest.

 

Hands in mouth.  Always.

Sitting up with a little help (Big Sis is always there with a willing hand/chokehold).  Also tested out the Bumbo this month and she will sit for a few…especially if sister is doing something entertaining.

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These fingers!  They are grasping EVERYTHING they can reach.  Watch out if you try to hold her while you eat: I’ve had multiple plates/silverware/bowls flung onto the floor.  She is deft!

 

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She finally has enough (thick, gorgeous) hair to hold just a clip!  So fun!  But I also discovered “girlie glue” this month and watch out because I am about to devote an entire post to it.  Total game changer.

 

Though perhaps not at first glance, she is a big fan of the Beco.  Once again, even more so  if sis is doing something entertaining.

Bea has also been so fun and giggly.  She has this amazing ticklish spot right in the folds of her neck.  Gets her every time.

She has tested and approved the Jumping Jane.  MG thinks it is Bea’s personal swing and likes to “push” and “spin” her in it.  So cute!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOuFW7R3Lak&feature=youtube_gdata%5D

Sleep has been a breeze this month.  I usually rock her to sleep but sometimes she wakes up when I lay her down in her crib.  In those times, I’ve experimented a bit with “crying it out” because I’m not exaggerating when I say she doesn’t cry.  She usually lets out a few grunty protests and then eventually finds her thumb and nods back off.

She is wonderful.

 

Life with Two {part three}

 

Assuming you have a relatively “easy” second child, it is amazing how quickly you look up and they are sleeping through the night, are on a fairly systematic schedule, and you don’t even remember how you got here. You do, however, remember agonizing for the three months that your first child didn’t sleep through the night because you were in a black hole then and you never knew when it would end.  You do remember reading and re-reading book after book, searching for the perfect schedule, wondering why the math never added up on how many hours of sleep they should be getting per day.  You do remember googling every symptom and following advice after advice, rather than listening to your own God-given intuition .  It is amazing how {some} babes will thrive when you let them.

Having two children is downright empowering.  I can’t believe how much I paralyzed myself over indecision and fears with one.  Somehow, having another has not only taken those away, but replaced them with an amazing sense of confidence.

This is the first time I’ve felt this way since Bea came along, but I wish I could freeze time right now.  The girls are at such a lovely stage and life is so much fun.  MG is responsible and independent, but also thoughtful and playful.  The independent part makes life so much easier.  She can put her own shoes on, get in/out of her car seat, do simple chores, wash her hands, follow a routine, and clean up her toys.  Bea is mellow and easy.  She will sleep on the go, held or on her own.  Will put herself to sleep if need be, and will wait patently to eat.  Strap her in the stroller or Beco and she will either sleep or watch big sis run around.  If you are nervous to have two because you think life will get harder,  I’m living proof that it actually may not.  And really, it might just get easier.  And definitely more fun.

Speaking of fun, here are some pics we took yesterday at the pumpkin patch : IMG_3705 IMG_3706

And speaking of independent, MG was quite sure she didn’t want to ride the “pumpkin train” without me, but she did however jump at the chance to do the inflatable caterpillar obstacle course (not once but twice) and THIS:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RUxfStGFvU&feature=youtube_gdata%5D

(I had to pry her away)

I’m quite sure that age three is when the toys get more fun, the imaginations get more full, the play times get more independent, the helping hand gets more confident and enthusiastic.  Two was not so much my favorite, but I think 3 is going to be a blast!

And finally, there is something that a penny can still buy these days:

 

Pure joy.

 

Grandmother

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Last night my mom’s mom (known mostly to us as Grandmother) passed away peacefully in her sleep after a brief battle with sepsis.

Although we lost her in body last night, we lost her in spirit years ago as she suffered from dementia in the last years of her life.  We are thankful she is finally at rest from the confusion and frustration it brings and has been made whole in the presence of our LORD along with my Papa, her son, daughter-in-law, brothers and sisters, and the rest of those who have gone before her.

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As is the case in most families, there tends to be a more lenient set of grandparents.  She was my more permissive grandma and most memories at her house include: eating pizza and sprite for dinner, staying up late to watch reruns of Mr. Ed, building forts under the table,  playing hide-and-go seek (with very adventurous hiding locations encouraged), filling up on numerous fat-free snacks, going for long walks in their hilly neighborhood, grilling shish-kabobs and good steaks, roller-blading for hours in the unfinished basement, super-competitive games of pick-up-sticks (she always won), homemade hair permanents in her bathroom, and always a shopping trip to the Dollar Tree on her dollar.

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To that end, I am quite sure that she passed down to me a love for shopping, fat-free frozen yogurt, and good soaps.  It is in those things she will be always remembered.

There comes…a longing to never travel again except on foot.” Wendell Berry

We love you, Grandmother!  Your travels are done now, you are resting peacefully at Home.  Wait for us there and we will see you again soon,