Sunday, May 20, 2018

House Hunting

We went on a full day trip to look at the new construction homes this weekend.  It was a long day, but I did enjoy seeing the homes we had perused online in person.  Surprisingly, one of the builders we had liked online looked awful in person.  Compared to other builders, these homes were not built with the same quality at all, but their prices were just as high as the other higher quality homes.

Some homes were beautifully built, but crammed into tiny lots with itty bitty backyards.  Most were had small bedrooms with the majority of the square footage in the living areas.  We learned a lot about what we really want and need in a home and which features in a home really were important to us.  As usual, most of the ones we loved were a little out of our comfort zone financially so we aren't putting our hopes in getting a new build home.  We haven't scheduled a next time for househunting, but we will go see existing homes next time.

At home, we've finished up our enrichment program for homeschool and just have two weeks left of curriculum to finish at home.  I've put it all in the hands of our girls.  I explained how many days of school we have left and what they need to accomplish in that time.  It's been refreshing to see them take that information and become motivated to push for finishing early rather than procrastinating.  Next year they will be 5th and 7th graders.  Old enough to be more independent with their workload and old enough to make me feel like my time with them is fleeting.

I'm hoping that we can be moved and settled into our new home before school starts next year.  Everything for starting the home search has fallen into place in better ways than we had hoped for.  Now we are praying for God's timing and guidance for buying and selling.  God has been generous and gracious to us and I am continually motivated to remind myself to keep close to Him.  I know my own tendency to start out with God and get comfortable or excited and move out on my own power without Him.  So my prayer and goal is to keep my heart willing and seeking His will for our family.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Taking Time to be Me

Every week is new with new challenges and new things to be excited about. 

With the house selling/hunting we are continuing to work on checking off items on the to-do list.  Today we dropped off our little dude and spent the day working on the house.  I deep cleaned my kitchen cabinets and the top of the cabinets too -somewhere I haven't seen probably since we first moved in!  It was one of my biggest tasks to accomplish and took most of the day.  I also packed four more boxes from my cabinets too.  Being ready to sell feels a lot closer...just waiting on the preapproval for the new loan still...we shall see what news that brings.

On a more personal note, it was a rough week emotionally.  Having so many things on my plate got to me.  I seem to have a self-preservation instinct.  I handle things and handle things and push through even when it isn't easy...and then I hit a point where I simply shut down.  I stop caring about making the effort for the hard stuff and I have a few nights of feeling sad until I can work through it and figure out what it is that is bugging me.

This time it was mostly about 'adulting' on my own for a long period of time.  My hubby's been sick and because of his illness, I've been working on getting things done all on my own.  He helps when and how he can and feels awful that he can't do the things he wishes his body would let him do.  I don't mind the responsibilities; at times I just get overwhelmed and tired.  I don't have a lot of free time.  I am, and will increasingly be, his caregiver.  Granted, he is very self-sufficient right now and mostly I only help his health by cooking him healthy food and nagging him about making wise (realistic) choices about what he can physically do. 

His recent illness has been more than a lot for both of us.  It has forced him to stop taking his arthritis medication so his immune system can help fight the new illness, and that has caused him an increase in pain and decreased mobility due to it.  He bought himself a cane with his birthday money...he isn't even 40 yet and he has been walking with a cane.  He doesn't always need it, but when his body is hurting, the cane is very helpful to him.  He loves it.  Me...it's the idea of it that gets to me.  He knows that his later years in life will most likely be shorter and with increased disability.  I understand that, but don't want to spend time concerned with what might be, and take my learned-approach of dealing with what comes our way as things happen in life.

It was also the long duration of time that we've been unable to have our normal together-time.  His pain forces him to spend evenings on the heating pad in his ergonomic computer chair.  Zoning into his computer games enables him to temporarily not think about how much pain he is in.  It's a medication-free way to cope with pain.  So I've been missing the physical closeness, the adult conversations (I'm home with kids all day), and wasn't communicating with him because I didn't want to add to his struggles with dealing with being forced to be away from his family.  He doesn't enjoy these times either.

I went to mid-week church service and enjoyed the quiet kid-free time and positive message.  I planned more lunches that I am looking forward to rather than simply planning meals that cater to the budget or to other nutritional needs.  I spent more time watching my tv show on my phone when I had a quiet moment from the kids, and I spent more time praying and reading my bible.  Basically I took some time out to focus on my own wants and needs.  I give so much (and give willingly and cheerfully), but I need to refresh and refill my own cup too.

Thankfully, we had an appointment to go and his mom was watching the kids for us.  Our appointment ended early and we were able to go out to lunch, just us.  It was like going on a date -something we haven't done in a while.  We talked and enjoyed being on our own as adults and not parenting at the same time.  I was able to share some of my struggles in a way that didn't  emphasize any negativity.  What a difference communication makes! 

It will still take time for his illness to heal, but I'm feeling better.  We are also going to take a day to look at some homes with the realtor soon.  I'm excited for that!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Waiting with God

We've been busy as expected.  We met with a local realtor about selling the house and also a realtor local to our desired new home area.  We signed a contract with the second realtor for both selling and buying because she gave us a good discount for combining services.  We haven't heard back from the lender yet about pre-approval for a new home loan, so we're waiting for God's timing on that one and whatever results it may bring.

After signing the contract with the realtor, I felt very overwhelmed.  It took me a while, but after spending some time talking to God about it and hashing out all the feelings, facts, and happenings going on, I think we figured out why. 

I was feeling a bit rushed to get the house ready to sell and a bit overwhelmed with how daunting a task it seems when I think of my busy days at home with three children living regular life, trying to finish our final weeks of school, and also trying to prepare the house for moving/selling/and somehow living 'normally' in the transition of the two. 

God reminded me that I'm not required to meet any other person's deadlines.  Just signing the contract doesn't require us to sell, it doesn't require us to list by a particular date either.  It was just one more step forward.  We have some minor work to do around our home for maintenance and fix-ups.  I also have decluttering and cleaning left to do.  One step at a time...a reminder for myself, too...one step with our hearts and minds geared towards God's will and not letting things rush us into stepping out on our own without Him.

We have one more day of "school" with our enrichment program next week, and about three weeks of homeschooling to finish up.  My goal is to try and do 2-hours a day of working on the house and the rest of the time working on finishing school and living as normal a life as possible for the next week and then my hubby and I will reassess where we're at and go from there.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Waiting for speed to pick up...

Getting ready to move feels like slowly climbing a big hill on a bicycle and as soon as we reach a certain point, we'll start the downhill portion and once we get rolling, it's going to pick up speed and take us on a wild ride.

We contacted a realtor this week and will be setting up a preliminary appointment to look at what our house might be worth, what we should or shouldn't fix up, and how the selling process might go.  A lot hinges on this first big step.

If it all goes well, we'll make appointments with mortgage loan officers and start the process to get preapproved for a new home loan; contact a realtor from our desired area to move to and look at what the process of buying looks like. 

Then I believe life will become chaotic as we go through the active part of the journey to move.  I'm nervous about it, excited about the potential, and looking forward to settling back into a more normal lifestyle again after everything is all said and done. 

We dropped the kids off with family today and spent the day working on the house and packing.  I've packed almost all of my fragile items and a good majority of our non-essentials.  I'm constantly amazed at the amount of STUFF we own.  Despite the numerous trips to the thrift store donation station even!

We're also in our last month of homeschooling.  We have the flexibility to delay things until later in the summer if needed, but I'm hoping we can finish most things before the moving process gets crazy. Only God knows and I pray for His guidance as we take each next step!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Horses

Riding lessons are going well.  After the first day, all doubts were banished and both girls couldn't wait for the next week's lesson!  They tack their horse each lesson to prepare it for riding.  They learn about horses in history and the equipment they are using for their horses.  They spend time riding their horse and for the most part, they are in control of their own horse the whole lesson when riding.  The teacher takes four kiddos on horses at a time and teaches in the moment as they learn inside a large stable arena. 

This week they learned to trot and sit properly while trotting.  My oldest's horse was very interested and actually started loping, which brought a huge smile to my daughter's face.  I really appreciate that their teacher trusts them with the horses and didn't try to stop the horse, she watched to see how my daughter handled the situation first...and she did beautifully!

At the end of each riding lesson they have  a bible lesson and the teacher hands out a week's worth of daily devotions and a memory verse for them to work on.  It's really neat.  We have to drive quite a ways to get there, but for the lower cost and the awesome quality of the lessons, I'm very happy we were able to give the girls these lessons.

Our little man does super too.  He sits in his big stroller and points at all the "neighs" and loves on the four dogs that come and check him out.  He has a blast watching the horses.  He also enjoys snacking during the lessons on his gluten free cereal and dried fruit.  The first week he was nervous when he got close to the horses and saw how big they really are, but this last time he loved me helping him to pet the horses' noses.

I am pretty tired out after a long day of driving and keeping my little guy busy, but it is all worth it!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Each Next Step

When life is overwhelming and when the future is unknown...you just keep taking the next step!  We have committed to continue to take the next step towards moving until God closes the door.

I keep on chipping away at packing up the house, little by little, room by room.  Our need for boxes was wonderfully solved with two huge truckloads of boxes from my father-in-law who works at a warehouse!  God is so good.  So far, He seems to be leading us towards moving. 

We've done some painting and tons of decluttering.  I've taken so many loads to the thrift store...and yes, I know I could probably make some money with a yard sale, but I don't want the stress of managing that kind of a project and am perfectly at ease dropping my items off for someone else to have. :)

My hubby's job has been so very positive in his desire to move.  They have told him they would find a place for him wherever he decides to live (meaning office space...a rare commodity for his company!).  They have also talked to a manager of the new building they are putting up in the town we are looking to move to about the potential of him being there and the manager was excited!

Then, we were surprised to learn that they had reviewed the market research of what people in his position make on average and gave his team a raise out of the blue!  Whatever God is doing, He continues providing as we take each step.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Busy Easter Weekend!

He is Risen!  That is the highlight of the day today - Happy Easter & Happy Resurrection Day!

We enjoyed an intimate family morning watching service online and enjoying an egg hunt in the backyard.  It was chilly, but not chilly enough to force us indoors.  It was fun to see our Little Guy collect eggs, he didn't really get it, but he enjoys putting things into containers and dumping them, so it was right up his alley.  He really loved tasting jelly beans for the first time!  Our girls enjoyed their candies and we watched our new movie -The Last Jedi- as a family over dinner.

Our big surprise for the girls didn't get quite the response we had expected.  We used some of our Christmas money to purchase horse riding lessons for a month.  Our youngest daughter wasn't excited.  She says she enjoys riding horses, but she's done that before.  Our oldest is more excited and looking forward to it more.  We shall see how it goes.  I think they will enjoy it more than they think they will.

My hubby and I were DIY Weekend Warriors again this weekend.  We painted our bathroom ceiling and patched up some holes from our old cabinet that we then replaced with a simple glass shelf and hand towel rod.  It really makes our small bathroom look more finished and larger.  Then today I spent the afternoon packing up more boxes and reorganizing some of the toys into our daughter's room.  As I pack up I'm working on keeping things "show" worthy and still livable.

My hubby wants to contact a realtor in the next few weeks to see what they think our home might sell for and what improvements are worth investing in to get the best price for our home.  It's too unknown to have a solid confidence in how I feel about it all.  I'm just taking each step as it comes along and preparing in the most practical ways that I know how.  The more I pack up, the more it feels real that we might move. 

The biggest challenge is finding boxes to pack with.  Buying them is crazy expensive and I don't have a job where I can find lots of boxes like I did when we were younger and moving apartments every other year.  Craigslist has shown the most promise, and of course when I order from Sam's Club or Amazon, I get some good boxes.  Diaper boxes are also a wonderful size!