November 12, 2014

Doing What Works

Life is going too fast.  I thought I moved for a slower pace, but so far it's anything but.  The morning begins with breakfast for five and doesn't stop from there.  There's working online, cleaning, feeding the kids again, getting them down for naps, cleaning again, homeschooling, maybe a trip to the store, feeding them again, then it's dinner time.  Then a quick bath, book or show, and bedtime.  They eat.  A lot.  And make a lot of messes.  As I mentioned before, we are staying with my sister-in-law and her family.  It's a crazy, loud, chaotic, fun mess.  And it's going by so fast.  I think I have this real fear of losing time.  Everyone says don't blink because your kids will be grown up.  My struggle is between wanting to savor every moment and feeling like there's just not enough time to savor it.  I know our living situation is so unusual right now, things will return to normal when we are more settled.  I hope.

Instagram cropped leaves on a fall day

This was the brightest, most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen.  If you look close you can even see a double.  Phone cameras just don't do it justice.

When we moved, I knew flexibility was going to be key to making this work.  And boy was I right!  We are doing things I don't necessarily like, but, right now, they're necessary.  Things that are working for us right now:

*Watching too much tv.  This is something I fight against, and put so much effort into getting our tv watching minimal and under control while we lived in California.  Now, in order to get anything done, the kids are being entertained my Mickey and Rescuebots.  It's not something I like, but it is working for now.
*Breastfeeding through the night.  Asher is almost 14 months.  Instead of weaning, we've been increasing to get him to sleep at night.  Even with nursing, he's still been awake.  A lot.  So, breastfeeding into toddlerhood is working for us.
*Sleeping separately.  Mike has been sleeping in the trailer so he can get a good night sleep before work, since Asher has been up so much at night.  
*Unhealthy eating.  This one kills me.  With so many people in one house, different foods are available than what I may usually buy.  And I don't have my own supplies to properly prepare foods.  Plus, willpower has been reduced with lack of sleep.  

I'm writing those down to remind myself that those are temporary ways we are adapting to life for now, but I will not allow them to become long-term lifestyle changes.  For now, we are doing what works.  

Playing in the leaves.  Getting dirty and not caring.  This works.

This big one year old is still not walking.  His sis walked when 
she was 14 months, and he seems to be following in her footsteps.

Another change that's been hard to handle is the change I've seen in my oldest son.  He has always had such a loving heart and sweet spirit, particularly towards his brother and sister.  Since we've moved here, he's developed a little boy attitude.  He is struggling daily with showing love, and it's hard for me to accept or know what to do because he's never been this way.  His daily prayer is "God please help me with my attitude and take away my pride."  

I think that's my daily prayer too.

I can't believe my first baby turned 5.  A five year old.  No longer a pre-schooler.  
I'll love you forever
I'l like you for always
As long as I'm living
My baby you'll be

We celebrated at this fun bounce house place with trampolines, 
bounce houses and slides, and foam pits

This is my favorite picture ever.  He always gives a 
super cheesy fake smile, but this one is genuine.

I painted Pax this garage for his Rescuebots!  He loves it and plays with it daily!

Group shot!

Halloween was one of those very hard days, full of tears and heartache.  The kids looked SO ADORABLE!  And one saw.  No one cared.  At home, we always had plans with cousins and grandparents and friends, where everyone oo-ed and aw-ed over their cuteness.  We drove to Costco to see Daddy, and I was reminded of how many people would have been loving on the kids if we had been at the Costco at home.  We have been shown so much love by the people there, and we've lived life together over the last 15 years, even if it's been sporadic. one knew us.  No one loved on the kids.  No one cared.  I know it won't always be this way, but it's hard not to compare a life overflowing with people to a life with very few.  

This girl.  She brings non-stop joy to my life.  She's my best friend and I adore being around her.
And because I can't pick just one to showcase her's seven more 

This dress was mine.  I wore it to Disneyland when I was two, and 
legend has it Mickey and Minnie followed me around and loved it!

I was so shy though; I didn't have her spunk!

But the very next day, we went to the home of some extended family to press apples and make cider.  The day was so fun, and was just what I imagined it to be like here.  We drove to a huge cattle ranch and pressed what seemed like thousands of apples, freshly picked from nearby orchards and wild trees. The antique presser was run by the men, while the women peeled and sorted apples.  And the juice. Oh my goodness.  So good!  My brother-in-law's step-mother (confusing!) was the host, and she is a wealth of knowledge.  Not only has she been making her own lotions, lips balms, soaps, etc for many years and cooking healthy foods from their farms and garden, but she was homesteading before homesteading was cool.  We talked GMOs, sustainable living, how to make your own everything.  And she's going to write a cookbook abut how to properly prepare your food.  I can't wait!  Thankful for another light in the darkness.  

Last night the freezing weather came, and left us this morning with frozen water and red noses.  And just like fall is slowly rolling out and winter is rolling in, life goes on.  Before we know it, spring will be here, bringing new life and beauty in it's wake.  

November 3, 2014


Wow!  I can't believe it's been six weeks since we arrived in Idaho!  I've been wanting to update but our computer is in our bedroom, and there is usually one or two kids asleep at all times!  I decided to power through it, and as I type Asher is asleep in the Pack N Play and Cambria is watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on the iPad behind me on the bed.

So far....Idaho is exactly as I thought it would be.  Beautiful, great weather, many things to do...but lacking my favorite people to do them with.  The struggle is between enjoying where I live but missing the very people who make where I live a place called home.  

To summarize the first six weeks, just so I can remember:

The night before we left California, our friends and family came to help us move.  Our house was filled with loud, screaming children having the time of their lives and making lasting memories, and adults who were holding back tears (some not so efficiently) as we saw them making memories for the last time in a long time.  These friends....gah.  Not only did they stuff our car and our Uhaul so full, making sure every last picture frame and bowl and jar of sauerkraut fit, but they came over the following day and cleaned everything while we were on the road, and have even cut our grass while our house is in escrow.  I know all too well that friends like these are to be cherished and held tightly in our hearts, no matter where we are.

This was our going-away/early birthday party for our boys.

Look at all these kids.  What a difference five years makes!

Grandpa was holding them tight.

My mom made the long trip with us with 3 kids, 3 adults, 2 cats, and 2 dogs.  (Our third cat was killed by a coyote shortly before moving day and found by our poor sweet neighbor who cleaned it all up so we wouldn't have to see her like that).  The trip took a very long time with all the kids, animals, and the Uhaul, but it was thankfully uneventful.

Pit stop!  (And we did NOT eat at that McDonald's!)

Birthday boy showing off his belly.

We arrived in Idaho on Asher's first birthday. Mike's sister, Auntie Mary, had balloons and cupcakes for a small party.  Mike's sister and her family have graciously allowed my large family to stay with them as we get settled and figure out where we will live.  Our living situation is working out so well.  It's making me rethink the need for a large house...just kidding!

We are staying in a 12x11 room with Mike and I on the full bed, Pax and Bri on the floor with blankets, and Asher in the Pack N Play.  We have a cubby bookshelf doubling as a dresser and a small tv stand doubling as computer desk. This room is directly off the laundry room, which they have allowed us to use too!  We have another bookshelf out there for bathroom stuff and school books, and a rod to hang clothes across one wall.  They even gave us one whole cupboard in the kitchen!  It has been an organizational challenge, and I have to daily put everything away and re-organize so our small areas stay livable.  But, it's been totally doable!  I just can't express my gratefulness enough.  I know that taking on a family of five with three small, loud children is a grand task and to be gracious throughout is truly divine.

This barn is my favorite.  Be prepared for it to be in all my pictures.

The first week after we arrived my mom was here, so we didn't get much organizing done, but rather drove around and explored a few tourist places.  I dare say my mom wasn't too impressed with our town, as she is not much for farming.  I think her favorite areas were in the city and along the Boise River, where the hustle and bustle is similar to So Cal. It is nice knowing those places are only a short drive away.

It was sad when my mom left.  Not knowing for sure when I would see her or anyone else was daunting.  I held it together when she left but woke up sad and overwhelmed the following day.

Since that time, I have had many such times.  Times when the pain of not having my family and friends close by is overwhelming and I can't hold back the tears.  I am SO grateful for the family here taking us in as their own.  It gives me hope that the pain won't always be so deep.

Busy day here.  Tutus are always appropriate, especially with Brother's Fireman rainboots.

A few weeks after we arrived there was a small party with some of my brother-in-law's family so we could spend some time with them.  They are the nicest, sweetest people.  But me?  I sent this text to my BFF:
                     "Jeremy's family is here and they are all so sweet and nice.
                      Everyone is having a great time and I'm sitting in the laundry
                      room in the dark crying and texting you."

It was so bittersweet, seeing these new awesome people that are in our lives, but knowing the old awesome people were not there.  It's so daunting, the thought of starting over.  Getting friendships to the point where you can be real, where you know what the other is thinking, where you have inside jokes....that takes time and effort.  Coming to a new place, it can seem like forever before that's a possibility, especially when the friendships here are already established.

I feel like I'm learning a hard lesson about the value of relationships.  You can live in the most beautiful place that is everything you want it to be, but life is best enjoyed within the context of community.  

The reason this guy is in fewer pictures is because he's usually on the photographer's back.

I look back to a time about 10 years ago when I had no community and no deep friendships, and it didn't bother me.  I have learned so much since then about living life with others and what joy it can bring.  It's scary, because it can also bring heartache and pain.  But the joy?  Oh, it's worth the risk.

It's easy to cling to what we know and not allow change to happen to us.  Change can also bring heartache and pain.  Trust me, I know.  But it's possible, even probable, that it could be the very best thing.  As I wrote about before, Jesus makes me brave.  And if He's the One initiating the change, we can trust the joy will come after the mourning.