Saturday, May 30, 2009

Let there be Grass!

We finally have some green in our yard!! After days of hard work, 45 tons of rock and 45 tons of topsoil, and backbreaking work, we have a yard with grass! There is still more rock to be moved, and a fence to be put up, but good progress has been made. Here a few pictures of the transformation of our yard.
Here are some before pictures.

This is the front yard.

The backyard before the garage was built.

After the garage was built this past January.

The backyard before all the work.

These pictures are of the workers. Hubby ran the Bobcat and was the foreman for all the rock and dirt work. He had to go back to work, so the kids laid the sod. Obi was the man in charge and he did a great job managing his workers. It was a team project.

And there was a fair amount of goofing off, too!I had some help in the house with the baby and in preparing food for the hard workers.

Here is Luke rocking the baby to sleep.

And the girls frosting a cake to feed all the workers.

And the backyard finished product.

And the front yard. It still needs the edging put around the border.

We had semi cloudy days every day they worked, so it didn't get too hot. And we didn't have any injuries to anybody. Both major answers to prayer. Now on to the fence!

How it all began.... the move that is Part 3

We finally moved into our house on election day. We got our house unpacked and started settling in. It has been a long and lonely almost 8 months. We have met some very nice people, attended Community Bible Study, and the five older kids loved Awana, but it still feels like we are visitors here. I know it takes a while to feel like you belong in a new place. Someone told me it can take up to 2 years to fully settle into a new place. That sounds like forever right now.

All of the kids have struggled with this move, well not the baby! Hubby has struggled with his new job not being as great as he thought it would be. And I have just struggled against God for his plan for us. I KNOW that we are supposed to be here. I KNOW he has a plan for us. But sometimes this feels like a punishment. And I just want to go home. But, there isn't really a home there anymore, either. I know that I am blessed to have a husband who loves me and works hard to support his family, six healthy and wonderful children, the privilege of staying home and homeschooling our children, and a place to live. So there isn't an ending to this story of our move. Just where we are now, a year after it all started. And God isn't finished with us yet. And he is faithful. Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How it all began.... the move that is Part 2

In order to put our house on the market, we had to get the roof replaced from the hail, get the basement flooring replaced/cleaned, repair the trim and sheet rock, paint the entire basement, and move some of our furniture back down there, and declutter the rest of the house. Plus, hubby had numerous smaller projects that needed to be completed as well. It was a very stressful time. Oh, and we also needed to have a baby in with all of that!

One of the bigger concerns was the financial costs for the move. God provided for all of the details. The job offer was very good, and there was an unbelievable relocation package. There was an allotment for repairing and staging the house, which covered the basement carpet and our deductible for the roof. The housing market wasn't that good at the time, but there was a bonus if we were able to sell the house in the first 60 days and we got an offer on day 59. No joke! The company would pay for an apartment for hubby for up to 2 months (they ended up paying for 3 months), would pay for him to make 2 trips home per month, fly me down for a house hunting trip, pay for professional movers, realtor fees selling our home and buying a new one, and a hotel stay for the move. It was truly too good to be true, and without it we could have never made the move. Every financial concern that we had was provided for.

The other major concern was the emotional impact of the move on our family. We were losing our entire support system, family, friends, church. Moving to a new place where we knew no one. It was very hard on the kids and me to do all of this work to get our house ready to sell when we didn't want to move. I prayed and prayed telling God all my concerns: my parents don't have the means or resources to be able to come visit us, my dad was 77 years old, once we left there would be no place for us to stay (who has room for a family of 8) to visit, and selling our house that God had given us? (More on our house in a future post) God didn't give me any answers to any of these questions, but that we were to move.

It was decided that hubby would start his job Aug. 12. This meant that the baby would be born at home before the move. There had been talk of him starting his job mid-July and then trying to be home for the birth. So, the Aug. date was a relief, but the due date was Aug. 5, so not a lot of wiggle room on that. The kids and I would stay with the house until it sold and hubby would go on and start his job. The thought of being a single mom with six kids, one a newborn, and having our house on the market was very intimidating. Keeping the house in perfect condition to show at a few hours notice is not my idea of living!

I had a secret fear that the baby would die when he was born. (Padme and I both almost died when she was born.) I had a hard time buying baby supplies and actually opening them. I guess I thought that way I could return them if I needed to. Once he was safely born I felt this enormous sense of relief. Hubby left when he was 12 days old to start his job. Our house had been for sale for 2 weeks and we hadn't had any lookers.

After our house had been on the market for a month we were getting a bit worried. We agreed to an open house and then had another showing later that same week. Still nothing. The next week our realtor called in the afternoon, right in the middle of our schoolwork, and said that there was someone sitting in our driveway who wanted to look at our house. My worst fear come true! I told her to give us 5 minutes, we did a super quick tidy and went to the backyard while they looked at the house. And guess what, they are the ones who bought our house! But, they only gave us a 2 week closing!!!! And we did not have a new house picked out yet! But the nice thing was that God limited our house showings to a two week period, so although I felt like I always had to have the house ready to show, it was a short time that people were actually coming and looking at it. I was very grateful for that!

We got the offer on the house on a Sun. afternoon, we countered Mon morning, accepted their counter offer Tues morning, I flew with the baby to meet hubby for house shopping Thurs, we looked at houses Fri and Sat and put in an offer Sat, and I flew home Sun. With movers coming on Wed. It was fast and furious and felt out of control.

We couldn't move into our new house for a month after we moved, so we stayed with 6 kids, 3 dogs, and a hedgehog in a two bedroom apartment. We literally had kids sleeping in closets to fit us all in. Leia still thinks fondly of that time. I thought it was better than living in our Suburban. There wasn't even a place for us all to sit and eat dinner together, or watch a movie without multiple kids on the floor. After that, moving into our house seemed like a luxury!

Monday, May 25, 2009

How it all began.... the move that is Part 1

My hubby is a dreamer, a visionary, a bit of the grass- is-always-greener-somewhere-else type of guy. I am a steady, don't change things, practical kind of person. See the problem already? Anyways, hubby was always looking for different jobs within his company. He liked his job, but there might be something better out there. He had applied to several jobs and nothing had come of it. So, in April of last year, he casually mentioned that he had applied for a job in Colorado. OK, not too worried. Then while having a meeting at my house to plan our next homeschool co-op, he calls and says that they want him to come for an interview. Uh, oh. A bit worried. We figure out a way to combine a planned vacation to Denver with his interview. At this point I wasn't praying that God would show us his will for our family. I was begging him to close doors as fast as possible and let us stay at home.

So off we go on a combo vacation/job interview:five kids, hubby, and me, 7 months pregnant. The kids and I were not happy about the interview part, but excited to go on vacation. We go first to his interview, spend two days there, now here, and then spend a day at Focus on the Family as we are huge Adventures in Odyssey fans, and then on to Denver. We went to the Denver Zoo one year ago today and had a nice day. As we were leaving, we got a phone call from home saying our basement was flooded. We couldn't even comprehend what had happened. We lived on a hill and had never had any problems with water in our basement. And we were having a seven year draught! So we cancelled the rest of our vacation and returned home the next day. It was a sad trip home as the kids were so disappointed to miss out on our vacation, and hubby and I were DREADING what we would find when we got there.

When we got home, it was even worse than we thought. The guys got busy with a shop vac and moving things and trying to salvage as much as possible. The smell of wet carpet was almost overpowering. We talked to our insurance company and found out that the didn't cover any water damage. Nothing... We didn't know what we were going to do. The next day we borrowed two of the boys friends, so hubby and four teenage boys had three shop vacs going, got a sump pump installed, and moved furniture, bookcases, game tables, toys, playhouses, and all the other stuff we had in our basement. It was a mess. And they figured they got out 500 gallons of water out of there. Couldn't believe it. Hubby took up the carpet, took off the trim, punched holes in the sheet rock in order to save as much as possible. We had a dehumidifier going plus multiple fans blowing down there. It became a matter of time waiting to see how things would dry out and see what was ruined and what could be saved. And we were still waiting to hear about the job.

Two weeks later the two oldest boys went off with the church youth group on a week long bike trip. While they were gone, hubby got the job offer, and we got a severe hail storm. Since all of our basement furniture and other items were stored in the garage, our Suburban was sitting in the driveway. A perfect target for the hail. So, we needed body work on the Suburban and a new roof. And, we now had to get our house ready to sell. We didn't even know if that was possible! And when did they want him to start, could we even sell our house, and where would our baby be born???? Oh, the stress of it all. And, the kids and I did NOT want to move.

Where we were living was both hubby and my hometown. We had moved away for college and grad school and moved back when our oldest was 10 months old. I had no desire to live anywhere else. We had a wonderful life there. My parents and a brother and sister and their families live there, hubby has two sisters that live in the area, we went to the church that I had grown up in, we had a great homeschool group we were a part of that included a co-op that my children thought was the best thing in the world, and we had wonderful friends. And we were living in our house that we had built that I dearly loved. We had a full life with family, friends and support. But God began showing us detail by detail that he did have for us to move, and although everything seemed like a wreck, he would take care of the details one by one.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Padme painted her fingernails and toenails herself. It is kind of hard to see, but it is really coated on. I tried to help, but she thought I didn't put enough polish on!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Free Friday Family Fun

This past Friday night we went to the fairgrounds to watch my hubby's co-worker barrel race with her horse. It was free, so we figured we should check it out. We were supposed to be there at 5:00. So, we hustled through a few errands and met my hubby and were there at 4:45. (One thing about our move, we are now early for almost everything. Before we were always a few minutes late!) Anyways, they were doing team roping when we got there so we settled in to watch for a few minutes before the barrel racing started. After all, we were early! Well, apparently they were running a bit over schedule and we kept watching and watching and watching....

The lady we came to watch came by with her horse, Flash, and gave each of the girls a good long ride with her while she was warming up her horse. They were both thrilled, especially Leia, who is almost 8 and thoroughly in love with horses. She thinks we should have one, since we actually do have room on our lot and it is zoned for horses. She is working on her daddy on that one. We will see if she does better at that than I did. I was sure we had room in our backyard for a horse when I was a kid. (We lived in town, and our yard was barely big enough for a big dog, but that didn't make any difference to me. I still remember asking my dad for one!) I didn't have my camera with me, so unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of them getting their rides.

Time seemed to be dragging on. Finally, at 7:00 the team ropers were done, but first, they had to take a tractor around and around the arena to rake the dirt, and a water truck came out to water the dirt down. Then the barrel racing was about to begin. The announcer said there would be 49 exhibition runs before the "real racing" started. We were thinking this would actually go fairly fast because the horses are running, after all. And I was reminding myself that this was FREE!! But, apparently, exhibitions are very different. These horses were trotting, and one little girl actually walked her horse through the entire pattern! Fortunately, Leia was enthralled with all of it, but the boys were getting fidgety, baby was getting crabby, and Padme was ready for bed. Along the way they stopped several times to bring the tractor out and rake the arena again. When the real deal finally started, we were excited to get on with it! SO, then they announced that they would be raking the arena after every 5 riders! Ugh..... We couldn't believe it! Somewhere along the line we got a bit silly and we began clapping for the tractor. We joked about his time, and if we should get out there and help him along. It made a very long night more fun. And somehow it didn't seem so long anymore.

Flash and rider finally went, they knocked over a barrel, so no time! We couldn't believe it! All this time and NO TIME! It was 9:15, baby was about out for the night, and it was getting cold and spitting rain, so we packed up and headed for home. We found out later that it went for another 2 hours.

So, all in all, a fun night, FREE entertainment, and Leia got her fill of looking at horses. Next time, we will leave the boys at home, though.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

9 month pictures

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Little Pilgrim's Progress

I am late getting this posted. It has been a bit crazy around here, with a cold making the rounds through the family making everyone miserable, especially the baby, who felt lousy and only momma could console him.

Anyways..... Leia and I went to the book club where Little Pilgrim's Progress was the subject. I have to admit, I didn't really want to read this book. We had tried to read several different versions of the book and we could never get very far into it before giving up. And it didn't seem like a very good book for little girls to read! Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. I read this book to the four oldest kids and we all loved it. It was written as though Christian, the main character, was a little boy and it was very understandable to the kids. And talk about a book that has applications to real life! We had great discussions about it and it made us really think about God and his loving care for us. Leia actually liked the second half of the book the best where Christiana is the main character. It was interesting how no one's journey was the same, how the characters worked together to help each other and others, and the King's servants helped them when they needed outside help. This was both Leia and my favorite book so far!

At the meeting, the hostess had different stations for the girls to go around to and gather materials to design a Christian t-shirt. They went to the bank, the library, the craft store and then to the art studio. Kind of like the different places the characters visited in the book. After the craft, which Leia loved (she is very crafty, unlike her mom), they had snacks and time for playing. Overall, a big hit for fun and fellowship.

The picture is of Leia wearing her shirt that she decorated. It says God with fabric scraps and she has a belt of truth at her waist.