Tuesday, May 9, 2017

things I won't miss

We are in the depths of packing and getting ready for our move right now. And when I say "we" I really mean, "I" - Landon is busy busy busy working away to complete his dissertation [!!!!] which leaves me and the boys to get all the other stuff done. So in the mornings and late afternoons the boys and I play and read books and I try to sneak in the occasional play date or little adventure. Play dates have been a little sparse as it seems all of our friends have just had babies added to their families which is wonderful, it just means a time out on the play dates. But, since I know we have such a limited amount of time left here, I have basically forced play dates on all of our friends, some more than others ;) haha.

When the boys nap [or some days just have a quiet time for Emerson] in the afternoons, I get busy and pack all of the things. I've also been using nap time to call and look into all of the furniture, utilities, insurance, and other important things that must be set up/arranged when it comes to moving. Goodness sakes, it seems never ending.

In the midst of my packing efforts and last errands that are having to be run before we move, I've been thinking on things that I'll miss or not miss about our house and town and wanted to take the time to go through a list of both. Today, is a list of things that I will not miss about this place. And some other thoughts in general.


Things I won't miss about Illinois: 

- the fact that we have to drive through the ghetto to get to our house. For real though.

- all of the jaywalkers. all of the time. especially at night. especially the ones who wear black. which is is basically all of them.

- this town in general. It's just so "meh."

- the lack of community.

- our house and it's lack of space.

- not having a bedroom for Oliver.

- living in a two story house.

- the unsettled feel our lives have had the past few years.

- our kitchen.


 - - - - - -


As we're less than a week away from our big move, I've been thinking a lot about our lives the past few years here and while there have been many many sweet spots, I also feel like these years have very much been desert years for me. The other day I was telling someone we were moving to Kansas and she looked at me, her eyes filled with sympathy, and reassured me that God will provide, it will all be okay. I know! He has provided! I am so happy to be moving to Kansas! It's not a bad thing! was all I could think. Being here has been hard. We moved here, away from having a rich community of friends and family that wasn't too far away. And while I'm used to not being near family, not having good friends and that sense of community was hard. Recently one of my friends shared thoughts on community at her church and passed it along to me; as I was listening to her talk about the importance of community my heart hurt for something I knew all too well and missed so very much. We were created for community and to not have it is so lonely. Then a few days later we passed through Louisville and stopped to spend the evening with the sweetest of friends and that time spent with them made my heart overflow. I was refreshed and renewed and was so very thankful for even a few hours with them. Community is so valuable and something I have missed so much.

There aren't many other people I know with husbands working on their PhD while raising a family. I know they're out there, I just don't know them. It's hard. Because even if Landon does have flexibly in his schedule, when he's home, he's not home. He's working on his research and papers and networking. When he's home I feel like I can't just say, "Hey, can you help me with the boys/dinner/cleaning up....?" And if I ever want at break from the day in and day out, it has to be during nap time or after the boys are in bed - and that's not a break, it's just leaving the house when I don't have to chase the boys around anyway. I'm not complaining. I'm just sharing my heart. These past three and a half years have been some of the very hardest for me and at the end of most days I just want to burst from exhaustion. I love my boys and I love my life, but goodness sakes, it seems like more often than not I'm alone in all of this and that is a hard thing indeed.

I know that moving to Kansas isn't going to fix that. I know that it's not going to be instantly better. I know the next few years will be hard ones too as Landon will have to work a lot as he starts his new position. But I do have hope. I have hope that I'm leaving my desert behind me and am moving onto something better. To a place where we find community again, where we can actually spend quality time as a family, as a couple, where I can maybe get a real break every now and then, where I can have a little more help with things.

Hope is carrying me through. Oh, how thankful I am for that hope.




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Monday, April 3, 2017

little gifts [977 - 1000] - one thousand -

Hello and Happy Monday to you! Hopefully you all were able to enjoy your weekend and do a few little fun things and get some good rest in there too.

It's been a minute since I've shared some of the little gifts in my life and I've missed it. While I still see the little gifts, it's different when I take the time to write them down. So here we go, on to sharing a few little gifts . . .


977. non-chipped or peeling finger nails

978. fresh from the dryer socks hugging my toes

979. two little boys, playing contently side by side

980. music playing through the house

981. Peppa Pig that allows me to fix meals in peace - for 10 minutes at least

982. a report from the Nursery that Oliver smiled for them

983. getting Oliver into the specialist ASAP

984. friends bringing boxes to the house

985. being kicked out of the house with the boys for showings and inspections

986. crock pot meals

987. unexpected outings with the family

988. the hubby bringing a cupcake home for me at the end of a long day

989.  stacking books high in boxes

990. boxes packed and labeled, piling higher and higher

991. boys eating their dinners and not crying or screaming for something else

992. Spring colors

993. gray rainy days

994. little friends playing the morning away

995. bath time with two happy boys and no tears

996. celebrating new babies and their mamas

997. friendship with the girl and her little ones who live five minutes away

998. listening to Oliver "reading" "Dooby Dooby Moo"

999. being led around the house by a tiny hand pulling me by my finger this way and that

1000.  - gifts that have blessed me deeper than I can say - one thousand of them in all


One thousand gifts. Some of the very best little gifts I've been given. It feels like a milestone to be here, counting one thousand little gifts in my life. It feels like I've done something great. Counting these little gifts makes my heart thankful so many ways. Even though I've counted up to one thousand, I feel like I'm just getting started.

What are some of the little gifts in your life?





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

house hunting

I'm just going to pick up right where I left off as best I can ;)

The other day I mentioned we went to Kansas for a little trip last month. Landon had some meetings and we needed to look at houses anyway, so we decided to knock them both out at the same time. On Wednesday, once Landon was finished with his meetings and his parents were set up in the hotel rooms with the boys for nap time [because his parents came to help with the boys. bless them], we walked over to our realtor's office, which was just a block down the road from the hotel and our afternoon of house hunting began.

We were working with a husband and wife realtor team and that afternoon we met with the husband, Jim, he was the one I'd been talking with and emailing back and for about a month prior. Before meeting him I had looked at hundreds of houses online, and after picking out some "maybes" Landon looked with me and we talked about which houses we liked, loved, and were just a plain "no." The week before our trip to Kansas I emailed Jim a list with our favorite houses as well as houses we liked and wanted to see. In total, there were about a dozen houses to look at. My only request was to look at all of the houses on the list and look at them in proximity to the others so as to make quick work of the showings as possible. We were only going to be in town for a few days so we needed to be efficient with our time. After going over some paperwork in Jim's office we headed out to look at the houses we had only seen pictures of!


It's one thing to see pictures online of a house, it's another thing completely to walk through the house and get a feel for it. We were able to see about half of the houses that first afternoon and had picked out a few favorites to hold onto for the next day. In some houses we stayed longer than others, but in every house I tried to picture us there as a family and see our daily lives. My Bible study leader had told me when they bought their house it just, "felt like home," and I was kind of going off of what she said. Did this house feel like home? Could it be our forever home? Because my prayer is that the house we pick there, is the one we grow old in. Though we shall see, I suppose. It was a full afternoon of looking at houses and we had a favorite picked out by the end of it! That night Landon had another meeting, so the boys and I ate dinner with his parents and then went back to the hotel to get the boys in bed.

The following morning we met with Leslie, the wife of the team. Our day started bright and early after we had a little breakfast with the boys and then gave kisses good-bye. It was so good to know they were being well taken care of and loved while we were out and about. There happened to be a discovery museum right across the street from our hotel, and Jim had gotten passes for the boys and the grandparents to go see it. With their day planned, we headed off to start looking at more houses. Leslie showed us around town some more and of course took us to see the rest of the houses. There were so many good choices! We kept saying to each other how we didn't know how we were going to decide which house to pick! I was kind of really hoping that one house would just really pop and that would be it. But really, there were a lot of good choices and we felt that a number of them could have been home. So I really started praying about which house would be home. And the more we looked, the more we kept refining our top three list and the more we kept coming back to one house from the night before.


After looking at all of the houses on our list, we asked to go back to what I'll call the brown house, just to see it one more time. As we were looking around again, we just knew that was home. So we made plans with Leslie to break for lunch, go back to the hotel, and then once the boys were up from their nap, go back to the house to let the boys and Landon's parents see it. We got to the brown house a few minutes before Leslie that evening, so we were able to walk around outside for a little bit and meet one of the neighbors who happened to be outside with her twin nearly two year old boys. As it turns out, we have a lot in common - and that's just from chatting for a few minutes. Meeting her gave me hope and even more excitement for the brown house.


The brown house is a ranch style house, with a finished basement [because tornados], with a flat drive [because basketball], on nearly an acre of land -the majority of which is wooded, at the end of a cul-de-sac, towards the end of a neighborhood. It was everything we were only hoping to have in a home. Everything about the brown house was perfect. We absolutely loved the house.

So we decided the brown house was the one. There were two other top contenders, we always tried to keep just three favorites in the running, but the location and lot is what really made us fall in love with this house. This is the house I can see us growing old in, that I can picture the boys bringing their friends home to, celebrating their graduations in, coming home to with their brides, bringing their babies over to play, a house that could be our forever home, that Lord willing, we never have to move from. Gosh, that's a lot for a house to say. But it's the truth.

The brown house felt like home. 


And oh, how I can't wait to make our home in it. While I've never been homeless, I have been rootless, I've moved once every few years since before I can even remember. To settle down and stay in one home for always is my dream. If the Lord will allow it, I would love to always be at home in this house. 

While I'm enjoying our days here and now, making the most of them and trying to fill them with fun things for the boys, I am very much looking forward to moving and settling into our new home. Shoot, Oliver will get to sleep in a bedroom and not the laundry room, what's not to be excited about?! The next few months are going to be unusually crazy and busy, but I think they will be oh so good.

The rest of the story isn't as exciting, we put an offer in, there were a few counters [so nerve wracking!] but in the end, we got the brown house and are so very excited to make it home in just a few very short months!



Thursday, March 9, 2017

a look back at February [part 1]

Hello friends! It has been too long. I didn't realize just how long until a friend pointed it out to me this morning. Anyhow, we have been keeping busy this past month or so and after thinking about it, I decided it was full of things I would really like to remember. Since that's the point of this blog I figured I should share about our little happenings before they're too long gone and forgotten. So, here we go, a little life lately post to give a short update. 

This winter has been so blah. It's been super mild for the most part, which I suppose is nice for most, but I like snow when it's cold and we haven't had much of it at all this year. So it was a nice little surprise when we had a decent snow fall in the beginning of February. I bundled the boys up after nap time and we headed outside for some play time. It may have only lasted ten minutes or less, but it was fun just the same. 


We also made a trip to Kansas. Landon had some meetings he had to attend, and since we knew we'd have to go out there in a month or so anyhow to look at houses, we decided it made the most sense for all of us to go when he had his meetings and just look at houses then. So I spent the week before our travels packing and organizing things to get ready, because it does take a week for me to get us all ready for a long trip like that.

The first two days of our trip we stopped in a town not too far from where we were headed for Landon to attend some meetings. It just so happens, that the little town was the very same one I have my first memories from and some family friends still live there. So while Landon was at meetings all day, I took the boys to a farm I used to play at all the time when I was their age. I hadn't been there in about 12 years, and a lot has changed and developed in the area. It was a fun way to spend the morning and I'm so thankful it worked out for me to see old family friends. We moved from that home when I was about four and apparently I clung to my mom's friend's leg crying to stay with her and not let me go with my family. I guess I didn't want to move? That was the very lady we spent the morning with and it was so nice.  The boys were able to play with toys run around and we didn't feel trapped in a hotel room which was wonderful.

Before we met up with my friend, I needed to grab something at the grocery store and the boys were delighted to find amazing car shopping carts. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bulky to steer around the store as I anticipated. It's the little things ;)


Right around nap time we had to take Landon to another meeting, the boys had slept poorly the night before and I knew they were tired so thankfully they fell asleep in the car while taking him to his meeting. After we dropped him off I just drop the boys around town for a while, looking at this and that. I even stopped by my old house. I wasn't born in Kansas, but it's where I have my very first memories, and this little house was the first one I remember. I sent a picture to my older brother and sister and we had a nice little text chat about how much they loved that house and Kansas and for some reason that was just really special to me. I'm glad I was able to find our house and send them a little memory. 


It just so happened to be Valentine's Day while we were there, so we celebrated in style, eating a picnic lunch in the hotel lobby to save some money. haha. I wouldn't have it any other way though. The boys got a little gift of stickers and coloring books and sunglasses. Big stuff I tell ya.


On Wednesday morning Landon had some meetings scheduled, but thankfully he had been able to reschedule them for the afternoon before because holy goodness sakes. Tuesday night was horrible. Emerson fell asleep after about an hour of whining, Oliver fell asleep after about two hours of fussing and crying. Then two hours later Oliver work up - not to sleep again. He wouldn't sleep in his bed, he wouldn't sleep in our bed, he wouldn't sleep in the chair with me. The boy would not sleep. After about two hours of me trying to get him to go back to sleep I woke Landon up to give it a try. He took turns with me for about an hour and Oliver still would not sleep. So at about three in the morning he called the hotel we were supposed to check in at later that afternoon and asked if we could have a very early check in. They agreed to it, and I have never packed our stuff so fast as I did that night. By the time Landon came back with the luggage cart, our bags were all packed we were ready to go. Thankfully the boys fell right to sleep in the car while we drove the hour to our next and final stop. We checked into the hotel around 5 that morning, in the hotel room we were exhausted but of course the boys were wide awake. Thank goodness for PBS and their sweet little shows. Oliver cuddled and watched/dozed while we lay on the beds to rest for a little while before having breakfast and Emerson was happy to watch the shows too. 


Landon had arranged for a few meetings on Wednesday morning in town, so after eating breakfast and getting ready for the day, the boys and I took Landon to yet another meeting and then we drove around town a little bit and stopped in at two preschools to check them out for Emerson in the Fall. I really just wanted to see the facility and meet the directors of the programs and was happy to be able to do that. I was hoping to visit one more preschool, but we ran out of time that morning, because we had to go meet Landon's parents who graciously agreed to come meet us in Kansas and watch the boys while we looked at houses. And oh, how very thankful were we for them doing that. We could have looked at houses with the boys... but oh my goodness, it would have been one hot mess. SO thankful for his parents coming to entertain the boys while we looked around. 


And I think I'll stop there for today. I have more to share about our trip and about house hunting, but that will need a post all of its own.

Happy Thursday to you all!





Monday, January 30, 2017

little gifts [962 - 976]

Hello and Happy Monday, friends! I hope your weekend was filled with all the good and nice things. Mine was pretty good. Anyhow, I thought I'd start this week with some little gifts . . .


962. snowflakes falling silently

963. balloons floating round the house

964. blue skies

965. watching Emerson give a dog a treat

966. tiny hands and arms reached out in excitement

967. blankets and beanbags

968. cleaning out the basement

969. grocery shopping all alone

970. visits from family

971. Emerson picking out a toy and using his birthday money to get it

972. a tiny tiny climbing into my lap to read

973. building tower after tower

974. baskets of laundry waiting to be folded - and put away

975. finding amazing surprise deals at the store

976. a new day


I'm so thankful for all of these little things, how about you?




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

these are the days

The other night I was fixing dinner [or lunch or maybe I was cleaning up from one of those meals?] and as I looked out into the living room to check on the boys I was overwhelmed with what an absolutely sweet moment it was. The sky was grey and overcast, the wind was howling outside. But inside? Two lamps were lit in the living room, two little boys were playing and reading books, and there was probably a show on in the background. We were warm and cozy and safe. Nobody needed me, they were content in their own little worlds and I was able to get some food ready or cleaned up, which ever it was.


Two minutes later the littlest came toddling into the kitchen, wanting me to hold him, to read with him, and play kitchen with him. A minute later the oldest hollered that he needed something and well, after that our house wasn't as quiet and peaceful. And even though the minutes that followed that peaceful moment were not as calm and were a little more hectic, they were still moments I had with my boys.

Some days the time just seems to tick tock on forever and a day. Some days seem to never end. Some minutes seem to be the longest minutes ever. But they're not. They are fleeting. In the morning when I wake the next day, the boys are one day older - as am I - they are doing some new trick or telling some new joke. They are one day closer to being completely independent of me.

Sure there are times that I cannot wait for those days of independence to come, like when we hang out in the bathroom for 40 minutes waiting for someone to be done on the big potty . . .  or when there are whines of, "but I can't do it!" over and over about something has been done independently countless times before. But I know that all too soon, those same days of wanting to play with me will be gone and I'll be wishing the long trips in the bathroom back again.

Time, you are a cruel one.

So I try to take the bad with the good and I try to make the bad into the good. Because if one thing is true, it's that these are the days that are best gifts of my life.



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Monday, January 16, 2017

little gifts [941 - 961]

Hello! Happy Monday to you! I hope your weekend was warm and cozy and full of everything nice. We stayed pretty close to home this weekend as there was a "huge" winter storm [insert eye roll]. While the weather was pretty bad, it was nothing like the last winter storm we had which wasn't even talked about in anticipation. oy vey. Anyhow. On to other things, like the little gifts in my life from this past week . . .


941. grocery shopping with two little "helpers"

942. the softest t-shirt

943. little hands raised in question of where something is

944. a grin of triumph on the face of the littlest

945. quiet mornings

946. finding pretty paint colors

947. the pride of the little one when he draws his circle pictures

948. a fresh new planner

949. discovering the prettiest of washi tape while grocery shopping

950. an extra blanket on the bed

951. littles actually eating what they're given at meal time [on the rare occurrence of that happening]

952. part planning for a soon to be four year old

953. friendships made through blogging

954. how the littlest builds and builds all of the things

955. how the older one knocks down every.blessed.tower built

956. two sweet and fiercely different little boys making my heart burst on the daily

957. Christmas jammies

958. starting to plan for the next few months

959. hot water scalding my hands to wash dirty dishes clean

960. baby monitors

961. an apologetic pharmacy after a sticky mishap with my prescription  


And those are just some of the little gifts in my life right now. What are some of yours?