Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Or does it? It seems like time flies, no matter what! As I shared in my previous post, last summer was full of house projects in preparation for listing our house. Because of the extreme stress and large amount of work last summer, my husband and I decided we were going to take a much slower pace this year.

Yup. As school let out, my kiddos and I sat down to create our “SUMMER BUCKET LIST”. (Who came up with this idea?!) We listed things like ‘creek walking’ ‘beach trip’, ‘visit Gma’ (that’s 4 hours, round trip) and one kiddo even added ‘kiss a frog’. It’s August, school starts in a few shorts weeks (two maybe? I’m trying to not keep track), and we’ve crossed off a small handful of our items; ‘kiss a frog’ is actually marked off. I’m not upset, I’m not stressed thinking about how we’re going to make it all fit in. It is what it is.

I’ve enjoyed taking the kids swimming with their great grandmother (the one we bought 211 from).

Swimming with my extended family.

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Playing at the park with friends.

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Isn’t that what summer is all about?

We still have some time ahead of us and hopefully we’ll get a minor league baseball game in. Maybe we’ll get to the aquarium with friends or even embrace one more camping trip. What I know is that this summer we’ve enjoyed being a family. We’ve enjoyed playing in our yard, on the balcony and in the toy room. We’ve survived ‘work days’ where massive amounts of chores get done and my kids (unbeknownst to them) are learning life skills so they can one day manage their own homes.

School starts in a few weeks, so while the time continues to fly by, I’ll enjoy not being busy… or maybe being busy. I’ll enjoy not pushing my kids so we can make sure every item on our bucket list gets marked off. I’ll embrace watching them play in the backyard while I lounge in my hammock with a good book and a cool drink. Because those are the types of memories I want our summers to be filled with.

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From 47 to 211

A long awaited journey has finally come to pass. On April 9th, my family of 6 took the exhausted trek down the street to our new home. It’s true. We moved from 47 to 211 and yet it feels a world away. Our home was a quaint 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home with an eat-in kitchen, and 1100 sq ft to make it all work in. All four kids were in the same room; two bunk beds and 3 dressers did the trick but as they grew and their clothing measurements increased the drawers were started to get cramped. I did my best to keep the minimum or closer it to it than ever before but nothing seemed to be working. Their shoes were no longer fitting in the allotted space and the girls dresses were starting to drag on the shelf below them (were the hanging clothes of a sibling lived).

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Nearly a year ago, my husbands grandparents approached us about purchasing their home; a desire we had had for years but have never spoken to anyone outside our four walls. With nearly 2000 sq ft, the 4 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom, finished basement and attic house included a dining room and office (that we always expected to use as a toy/play room). More than enough space for the 6 of us to stretch out a bit while still enjoying each others company.  As the summer approached, we set to work knocking off items on our To Do list (replace roof, paint exterior, re-caulk bathtub, etc.). We called in the troops and had a major work party one Saturday in August and by the end of September we were finally ready to list our house.  Our first showing wasn’t until October 15th but after that, we had consistent showings, nearly 3 every week. In January we accepted an offer and went into negotiating the perfect price for us and the buyer.

 

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Unfortunately, the buyers were a bit out of their price range and we were unable to come to an agreement and let the contract dissolve. Back on the market, we continued to have showings a regular pace. The constant pressure to keep a house that was only a few steps away from being ‘show ready’ was beginning to take it tolls and I was starting to loose faith in what we were doing. Throughout this entire process, my husband has maintained his enrollment in seminary, starting and completing a single class in a month. He, too, was becoming worn down by the constant pressure to sell our house.  His grandparents had been very gracious in holding their house for us but were getting to a point that they would need to list their home if we were not able to sell ours in order to buy theirs.  My heart was starting to sink.

Then, it happened. My brother-in-law asked to talk to us. He came with the proposition of renting our house until they had time to get some things in order so they could then purchase our home. After talking to the grandparents, it came out that grandma had has a dream about someone renting our house, while we rented 211 until our house could be purchased. To us, this was a clear answer that we were doing what we were supposed to do and that God had not forgotten us and things were not falling a part but, in fact, coming together! With the signing of a few papers, we moved into 211, leaving 47 open for my brother-in-law and his wife to move in.

As we get settled into our new home, the girls are enjoying being able to walk to and from school by themselves. My son and I are enjoying the walk to his preschool and I’m loving the opportunities that are to come with having a house that is now more appropriately sized for not just my family but for our family to have guests over (and not just when the weather is nice)!

Over the next few weeks and months, I hope to share our progress in moving in and then as we start to make more drastic steps to making this our home, not the grandparents house. There is much painting to be done, carpet to get rid of and a yard to cultivate and enjoy as well as a garden to tend to and hopefully, harvest!

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What’s Your Favorite…?

“You’re afraid of not fitting in; of what others will think of you. Not sure of what and who you are, you see something you like in someone else and try it on for a while. But, it never sticks because it’s not who you are.”   ~Flora

Aren’t those words so true? It’s NOT who you are.  I have struggled my whole life with this. I have never really known what it is that I like. My answer to ‘what is your favorite…’ was always that I don’t have any favorites. In recent years, I’ve given a consorted effort to seeing what my favorites are- they’re a part of who I am!  Yet, even now, as I’m in my mid-thirties, I struggle with this. I’m plagued by not knowing what I want and how and who I want to be (or actually AM). A friend of mine has been showing how she’s embracing her true style (mostly in her home decorating) and I’m baffled. HOW does she do that? She knows exactly what she likes and hunts down items that bring that style into her home. On my side, I see her embracing her style and think to myself, ‘oooh. I like that. I should try that. How can I make my house look like that?’ and so on.  I realize it’s not fair to myself. It’s not fair to her! Her style is uniquely her, not me. In my head, I know it’s fine enough to use her style to INSPIRE me but not to mimic completely. Somehow though, I get caught up in trying to embrace someone else’s something and drift away from any work I’m accomplished in embracing my own self.

I know a few of my favorites:

Staring at the stars

night-sky-stars
Mint Chocolate (anything)

AutumnAutumn leaves
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Raspberries

Pink (just about anything)
Classic clothing (cardigans and khaki’s, boatneck tops and dresses, diamond stud earrings and pearl necklaces, etc.)
classic fashion

Chipmunks and Penguins (and I love seeing groundhogs here and there)

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But, those aren’t what plague me. I have lost sight of my hobbies- or maybe I haven’t lost sight but have let go of those activities I THOUGHT were me. I used to do ceramics and jewelry making, dancing and singing, baking, reading and even the physical activities like exercising and soccer, stretching and yoga. I used to LOVE doing all of those and yet none of them bring my any joy anymore.

I want to not worry about what people think of me. I want to walk confidently into a room knowing just who I am and just what I am. To be free to cast any (assumed) judgement aside and embrace living in the here and now… that would be something, wouldn’t it?

My hope, as I embark on finding who I am, is that over the next few months is to try new activities, be adventurous and open to new things- foods, hobbies, clothing styles, and more. I want to really assess what brings me joy, what makes me feel alive and then find ways to regularly bring those into my life.

Since first beginning this post, and saving it as a draft for quite some time, I’ve come to realization that I deeply and immensely enjoy DOING.  I enjoy helping others by physically doing things for them. I love volunteering my time and helping in more tangible ways. It brings me joy to coordinate volunteer opportunities and to collect donates when a crisis occurs. I’m learning to accept that sitting to knit or jewelry make is not going to bring me joy in my current phase of life.

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As much as I love volunteering, I’m finding that I’m not quite fulfilled. I’m eager for something more and I know I won’t rest until I’ve found out what it is. That’s where the trying new things and being open to new adventures will come into play. I’m ready to find out who I am, to love her dearly and embrace her fully.

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