Hello, Country Life!

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On November 19th, 2012 we got the keys to our new house and made the big move! Well, it was just the first of many loads we decided to make with Dave’s uncle’s big trailer. We ended up doing the whole move with that trailer, except for the few extremely heavy items we had the professionals deal with. But on that day, there was just David and his mom, the dog and all the kids in the Expedition, towing the big trailer full of the items I had packed in the day before, which I deemed necessary for me to sustain life with the kids until Dave could make it back with more stuff in a few days. I was driving in the smaller vehicle, and got there before him, in order to videotape the Expedition arriving to the property. That was such an exciting moment!!!  All of our hard work, stress and patience was leading up to this!  Then the kids got out and saw the house and the land for the first time. They were a bit overwhelmed!  But happy!

After we all went for a family walk with Django (our yellow lab puppy) around the property, we went inside and showed the kids all around the empty house. They loved it! What a high!  I would say that this moving day ranked among the greatest days of our life as a family.

Then we unloaded the trailer, and just worked til after dark. Our wonderful neighbor Gloria (whose parents were the ones who built the house) came by to visit and brought us some fresh from the oven pumpkin cupcakes. What a great neighbor!!

After it was all unpacked, Dave went out and brought home Chinese take-out and a few groceries. Then we opened up some champagne (the one bottle I had brought home from my trip to France last June) and celebrated! I don’t have a ton of pics because we were so busy working. But here are a few from that momentous day, and a few other moving days following that one as well:

Our first night in the house, getting ready for dinner:

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Here is Dave, getting ready to pop the champagne:

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My beloved and I:

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Me and my girls:

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My sweet and helpful Mother-in-Law Sandy with baby Ben:

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Here is the trailer moving the next load in a few days later:

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The kids helped us carry in stuff:

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Our living room:

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Our dining room/kitchen area:

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Here’s the master bedroom, where David’s dad helped move in the giant bedframe and put it back together for us! How marvelous to sleep in our own bed again:

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In the finished walkout basement, there is a carpeted space that will be the older girls’ bedroom. David will be putting up a wall, door and closet. There is already a window in there:

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Here is the walkout basement door:

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Here is the long hard-floor open area in the basement. Down that direction there is a guest room, a full bath, and a full kitchen. Can’t wait to have get-togethers down here and do my food preserving too:

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My basement kitchen:

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Well, that’s all for now. Since these pics were taken, we’ve unpacked quite a bit and are starting to make the place shine a little. David is off work for the month of January, during which time we’ll get tons of stuff done around here, including finishing the girls’ room. I’ll document that stuff soon. Please stop by again to check out our progress! :)

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The Long Good-bye

Our old home

Our old home

For more than 7 years, we called our old house HOME. We had that house built back when we were pregnant with our first child, and when we moved in she was only 3 months old.  We then had 4 more children before deciding it was time to move on and begin fulfilling our dream of living in the country. But in order to say hello to a new life and dreams fulfilled, we must be willing to say good-bye to what was. And so it was that after weeks and weeks of list-making, organizing, packing up, and making multiple trips to the new house with boxes and furniture, we went to our old house, all packed up and empty, and said our final good-bye as a family.

Wow. Talk about bittersweet.

For awhile the kids ran excitedly around the house, while David and I gathered up the last random things lying around that we needed to take with us, took out the trash from the move, and took pics of the house one last time. Then it was time to say good-bye.

We called all the kids into the empty kitchen/dining room area, where we had shared so much of our family life. We stood in a circle, held hands and prayed. We thanked God for the blessing that the house was for us all these years, for all the wonderful memories that it held for us, and thanked Him that another family would now be able to enjoy it and make memories of their own in it.  And then, we all turned to go.

As we pulled out of the driveway, I asked the kids if they were glad that we came back one last time. They all shouted YES! Except Abby. She said, through her sudden tears, “Well, kind of glad and kind of not.” When asked to elaborate, she answered, “Well…kind of glad because when we were here last all of our stuff was in it, so it was hard to imagine someone else living here. So I’m glad because it doesn’t look like OUR house anymore, and it’s easier to say good-bye then.  But kind of not glad, because when we were here last time we hadn’t even seen our new house yet, so there was that excitement to look forward to. Now we are leaving our old house, and we’ve already been to the new house, so it’s like there’s nothing to look forward to now!” And with that, she burst into tears while trying frantically to wipe them away. My big girl. I am so thankful for such an articulate child who is sensitive enough to really FEEL things deeply, and I am thankful that she usually feels safe enough to share her feelings. I hope that is always true.  I assured her that what she felt was totally ok and normal, and that I sort of felt the same way too. But that of course we had plenty of things to look forward to in our new house and property! But when you are feeling melancholy about something, there is usually nothing that can cheer you up, so I just let her have her sad feelings, and I had mine as well.

So that was that. We said good-bye to the house that was our home. Now it belongs to another family. And they will call it their home.  And slowly this new house will start to feel like our home too.  In fact, I think it has already begun to take on that indefinable “home” quality.  But not so fast. First let’s say good-bye one last time. Prolong the inevitable. The agony. The melancholy. Then we can move on. Really.

Good-bye Family Room -

Our old Family Room

Our old Family Room

With your flashy red wall, obscenely large wall-mounted television, beautiful fireplace and carpet that used to be cream colored (as only parents of exactly zero children at the time they chose the carpet color would pick) but is now what can only be described as mottled. So many family movie nights. So many at-home-date-nights. So many bible studies. Cold nights warming by the fire with hot chocolate.

Good-bye beautiful Finished Basement -

Our old Finished Basement

Our old Finished Basement

With your wall-to-wall built-in bookcases and desk, fireplace (because it was SO COLD down there in the winter!), home school area of most families’ dreams, toy bins, exercise machine collecting dust lately, and nice living room area, guest room and extra bath. Without you and your ability to store thousands of toys, books, games, and art supplies, we would have been buried alive upstairs long ago in all of our children’s stuff.

Good-bye Nursery -

The Nursery

The Nursery

Where I rocked 5 babies to sleep countless times. (Sob). Also, let’s not forget – when we finally had a boy (after 4 girls!), David re-did this whole room, and did not allow me in it until it was all finished, chair rail and all. Whatta man.

Good-bye Girls Room -

The Girls' Room

The Girls’ Room

Where my princesses laughed, talked, told stories, were read to, went through millions of changes of outfits, and occasionally even slept.

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The "Bug-Out" Bathroom

The “Bug-Out” Bathroom

Where my creative and talented husband drew and painted all those bugs FREEHAND on the walls to match the cute bug theme on all the bathroom stuff. Impressive, ain’t he?

Good-bye Master Bedroom -

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Where all the magic happened. ‘Nuff said.

Good-bye Master Bathroom -

Master Bathroom

Master Bathroom

Oh how I loved you, master bathroom.  With more ceramic tile than you could shake a rug at, and that wonderful corner soaking tub. And you were bigger than many people’s bedrooms. But your see-through glass shower walls and door… well, there are few times in my marriage that I will admit to my husband that he “told me so.” But I give him full credit for this one. “Bad idea” he said, back when I suggested it. “Oh but honey, it will look so good! And I’ll take responsibility for keeping it clean!” Yes, darling, I can admit it. You were right. I am pleased as punch that there are only shower curtains in our new house – no shower doors whatsoever!

And last but not least…Good-bye Kitchen and Dining Room –

Kitchen and Dining Room area

Kitchen and Dining Room area

Here is where we spent most of the last 7+ years. I know I certainly did. Cooking, baking, cleaning, serving meals, setting tables, laughing, praying, fellowshipping with others, doing school, doing art projects, coloring, puzzles, playing games…you name it, it probably happened in this room.

So much love. So much life. So much time. Invested here – into our marriage, into our family, into the little ones who will be gone too soon.  This room is where we did most of our living in this home. And it was in this room that we said good-bye, and God bless.

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings.  Our cup runneth over.

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And still we wait…

So now it has been almost 8 weeks since my first post. The one where I wrote, “We are supposed to close on our new house on 26 acres in a couple of weeks, and should be moving to it within the next 2-6 weeks…”

God really must laugh when we say we are going to do this or that in a certain amount of time!

We hit a few snags in the purchase of the new house, leading us to linger in agony through the mortgage underwriting process for almost 7 weeks.  Those were tense weeks. Ever been in a situation where you were given hope that “This is it!” every so often, only to have your hopes dashed every time? That was how this was for us. They kept resubmitting our file to underwriting for final approval, we would wait 1-2 days, then hear about “Just one more thing…” that the underwriters needed.  This went on…and on…and on.  We finally got a tentative closing date, but by the time it got to be 2 days before that closing date we still had not gotten final approval. We had become so jaded by then, we didn’t really hold out any hope of it happening on the proposed closing date. We were getting desperate.

We had started to wonder if maybe…just maybe…God didn’t really want us to have our dream house on our dream land.  The one where I had mentally moved all our furniture into already. The one I had in mind when I created several Pinterest boards on organization, storage and gardening.  To lose the house now would be devastating.  But at the same time, we also believe that our great God, the same One who created the universe and keeps it all in motion, is intimately involved in our lives, and has a plan for us that is greater than the one we could dream up for ourselves. That is the plan I want for my life. Not the one I make up in my mind, together with my husband.

I have heard it said before, “Our choices would be God’s choices…if only we had all the information.” God has all the information. And I want to trust Him that He knows best, and if this house was not part of His plans for us, then I didn’t want it.  So that day, 2 days before the proposed closing date, I told the children I was going upstairs to pray by myself for a few minutes.  I got down on my knees, and begged God. I thanked Him for all the blessings He has given us – our current home, our children, each other, and our relationship with Him. And I begged Him NOT to let us have this house if it was not in His will. I asked Him to move His hand over the situation – and to give us an answer once and for all. I asked Him if it was in His will for us to have this house, that He would move mountains for us to have it, and not to delay the situation any further. And I put it, finally and firmly, in His capable hands. When I got up off that floor, I felt like I had finally let it go.

I don’t know what took me so long. I guess I’m a slow learner.

So I went about my business, figuring that we probably wouldn’t be getting that house. And it was ok. Life would go on.  The next day, when we figured surely by now there was no hope at all…we got the phone call. We got the final approval! We really couldn’t believe it! The very next day we would finally be closing on our dream house in the country! But even as we arranged to take the dog to the kennel for the day and got a babysitter lined up (it’s no easy task to find a spontaneous babysitter for hours at a time for the next day when you have 5 young children!), we really didn’t fully believe it was true. Even as we left my wonderful friend Laurie’s house, where my children were thrilled to be spending the next few hours with her kids, and headed to the bank to withdraw a shockingly large amount of money from our bank account (*sob*), I called the mortgage broker to make sure that the closing was still moving forward. She was shocked at the question, only 15 minutes before the closing was due to begin. “Of course!”, was her reply. As if nothing had held up the show all this time. As if this were just another day, another deal. Not to us. To us, it was our life, moving forward. The answer we had hoped for, dreamed of, prayed for.

The closing was actually kind of anticlimactic.  No champagne was popped. No party music to do a victory dance to. Everyone was periodically checking their cell phones as we signed away our lives for the next 15 years, and made our dreams become a reality. I was secretly hoping for one of those great photo ops where we held the keys for our new house, but no such opportunity arose. The seller still had not closed on her new home yet, and we were informed that even once she did she needed to do some work on it before moving out of our new house. So before we left that stark title company conference room (which was inexplicably lined with travel posters from all corners of the world), we knew the seller would quite probably be taking all of her 30 days before moving out.

But it was ok. We had our house! Our dreams were coming true!

Afterwards, we did what any normal people would do in our situation. We had lunch at Applebee’s and went tractor shopping. Woo-hoo! :)

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Almost home!

This is my first post on my blog “Simple. Abundant. Life.”  I’m excited to be able to share our family’s adventures in life as we move from the suburbs to the country!  We are supposed to close on our new house on 26 acres in a couple of weeks, and should be moving to it within the next 2-6 weeks, depending on how long the seller decides to stay (she can stay up to 30 days).  We are so very excited to be starting this new phase of our lives.  Things should be getting very hectic but exciting over the coming months, as we close on our new home, move, sell our current home, unpack & settle into life in the country. We will have so many things to get used to, such as: A half-mile driveway, buying & using a tractor, being pretty far from the nearest convenience store or grocery, not having neighborhood pals across the street from our house, homeschooling with nature all around us, climbing trees, building tree houses, putting up hammocks…the list could go on and on!  There are so many things that we don’t even know that we don’t know!

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