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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Normal Updates

It is time for just some normal "life" updates.  In July, we took a road trip up to Minnesota and Indiana to see both sides of our family.  Here are some random shots.

V-girl and my mom.

We went to the best movie theater I have ever been to.  Ever.  It is this cute, sort of french cobblestone street theme inside.  The seats are super comfy.  The tickets and popcorn are super cheap (compared to the Atlanta area) AND they have a bar where you can order adult beverages and bring them into the movie with you!  It was great.  



D-man met us here, since he rode my with sister, but apparently I didn't take any pictures after he got there.  Oops.


The scene by my mom's new townhouse.  Beautiful, quiet view of the Mississippi River.

I have to laugh after any of our road trips.  I know that we all love babies around here, but when I see my camera after road trips, it is just kid after kid after kid, with baby after baby after baby.  Makes me laugh.





Poor little tiny L-girl was so over us by this point!  Ha!






When we got back it was time for A-girl senior pictures.




I will leave it at that for now and bring you more normal life updates soon!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Finally Settled In

We are in our new house and honestly, we couldn't be happier.  This place has felt like home since the very beginning - even amidst the mess and boxes and the chaos after closing.

We closed a few weeks after we had planned because of the easement title issues that surfaced as part of that whole paperwork stuff that goes with buying/selling property.  We thought we had it all worked out.   We lived with our friends for a little over a week, so our renters could move into our old place.  We closed and were set to take possession at 5:00 the following day.

But, the people we were buying from, the M family, ended up having an issue with when they could take possession of their house.  Someone didn't sign something/didn't pay attention to the dates and so there was a misunderstanding with the homeowners of the home they were moving into.  Did you follow that?  They weren't out of the house when they were supposed to be, nor did they have any intention of hurrying up so the M family could get in.  It was crazy.

So, the M family told us to go ahead and move in as we had planned since most of their stuff was already loaded on the trucks and trailers and what wasn't could just be pushed aside.  So, we did. (Remember 99% of our stuff was already loaded into the basement of the new house since we had to get out early)  I think we all expected that the M family would be on their way in a few hours.  We put our food in the garage fridge/freezer and they kept theirs in the kitchen, since they didn't have anyplace to actually put their food without it going bad.

However, we were all wrong about it being a few hours before they could get into their new house.   It ended up being a few days later.  They were here (they slept at their realtor's house).  We were here.  
The craziest thing was that it didn't even feel that weird around here.  I can't really explain it.  One of my friends was over when the M family was in the backyard, then the garage, and eventually in the kitchen, cleaning their food out of the fridge.  She turned to me at one point and said, "This is weird, isn't it?"  For me, it really wasn't.  As strange as it sounds, we sort of became friends with the people we bought the house from.  We actually like them, and I think the feeling is mutual.

One of the days where we were both sort of co-living in the house, L-girl and their teenage sons got off the school bus together at the end of our new driveway, since their parents were hanging around here waiting for word that they could get into their new house.  It really confused the bus driver.  She thought for sure that L-girl, the new girl,  had made a mistake and was getting off at the wrong stop.

But, we were all weirdly comfortable together.  Rainman and D-man helped them load things into the truck and when they finally were able to get into their new house, D-man and A-man helped them move.  For real.  The M family actually donated their old couch and chair that they didn't need in their new house to D-man for his first apartment at school this year.  


(If this doesn't scream bachelor apartment, nothing does!)

After the final trip of getting them all set in their new house, D-man came home and said, "I really like the M family.  They are just so nice.  I mean, I am even on a first name basis with the grandparents."  I knew what he meant.  We were all comfortable with them.  I was fine with A-man being alone with their family on their final moving days.( D-man was back at school and Rainman was working....and I was busy working here.)  Hard to explain it.  I will just say that it definitely felt like a God thing and that He had brought us together with this other family.   

I have to be honest. I love this house so much that I feel a little bad that the M family had to leave it and doesn't get to live here anymore.  To make myself feel less guilty about loving it so much, I have to believe that they left because they really wanted to leave and move to their new house. You know?

Some of them stopped by the other day to drop off a few things that they had of ours and pick up a few things that they had accidentally left here.  I said how much I loved the house and how it felt like "home" immediately.  Later I kicked myself for saying something so stupid/insensitive in front of the former owners.  This was their home for 10 years.  I just really, really hope that they are having these same kinds of feelings at their new place.

But, oh my word, I love it here.

I was sitting outside after dinner the other night with a few of the kids and Rainman.  I turned to them and said, "I love it here.  I. Love. It. Here."  Then we laughed, because it has been fairly obvious to everyone how I feel.  

It is beautiful.

It is peaceful.

It is quiet.

There are deer.

There are stars galore.

I actually sat outside in my pjs the other night reading for awhile.

I sit outside all the time here.  Sometimes I read.  Sometimes I drink wine.  Sometimes I just sit and look and listen to God's world.

It is fantastic.

Here are some random pictures from our first few weeks here:



First morning visit by a deer.






A-girl and F-girl LOVE this house and being able to run around outside and keep on an eye on the goings on in the backyard, whether it is deer or people playing baseball.



This is A-man and the M family dad playing baseball on one of the days we sort of co-lived in the house.  LOL  


This is my view when I wash dishes now.  My view at our old house was of a wall.



My little girls have opened a library at this house.  They have hours.  They have applications for library cards and actual library cards.  It is cute.  It makes me very happy.

I sent this next picture to D-man after he had moved back to college.




To which his response was "Laaaaaame!  You need to do that the next time I come home and all the other times after that."  

I used to bake all the time.  I used to have a cookie jar filled with cookies.  The last few years it had become only cakes for birthdays and at Christmas time to make our cookies that we hand out to friends when we go caroling.  Baking used to be one of my favorite things to do.  But, at the old house....it just wasn't fun anymore.  I never "felt" like baking.  I only did it when I had to do it.  

Hoping this becomes a regular site again at our house.  (Although my hips, thighs, tummy, and butt, are probably hoping that it isn't!)





To put it simply, I am happy here.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Move, And Then, Another

Ahhhh.....it is happening.

Our move has begun.  Our closing ended up being postponed a few times due to title/land easement problems. Plans had to change.  So, a little over a week ago, thanks to the kindness of the sellers, all of our "stuff" got moved into the basement of our new house.  The eight of us, however, moved into the basement of our ever so generous (or stupid) friends M and S.

Our renters, who are planning to do a lease purchase of our house, moved in a few days ago.  They do not appear to be scam artists or liars.  They just seem like a nice family.  Praise the Lord, and...fingers crossed.

My excitement about getting into the new house is somewhat dampened by the fact that it took us about 2.5 days to get everything out of our house and hauled over to the basement of our new place.  Then we had another day or two cleaning up the old place (that sadly, involved yet ANOTHER dumpster!) Some of you may be interested to note that I did not have really one slightly sad or sentimental feeling about leaving the old house.  Not one.  We shall see if that lasts (I think it is going to)

We are exhausted.  And, now, we have to go and move all our stuff again into its proper spot in the new house.  When we started loading things inside of the basement, we sort of had a plan.  You know, kitchen stuff over here, clothes over here, kids stuff and toys over here, but, boy, oh boy, by the end, we were just shoving stuff wherever we could find a spot and stacking stuff on top of stuff.  Seriously, there is a little path from the door to the stairs and that is it.

There will be no rhyme or reason to how we actually move into the new place, even though I have cute, colored coded labels on my boxes this time.   I have already given myself permission to let it take awhile to get settled.  But, you know and I know that once I am in there, I am just going to want to bang it all out and get it done.  Plus, I am going to need to do crazy things like feed my family and wear clothing.

(First day of school pictures in front of our generous friend's front door)

The public schools down here start classes started yesterday, which meant that A-girl and L-girl had first day of school stuff at our friends house and will come home to our new empty, messy house on Tuesday and then will try to make order of their space AND most importantly find their school clothes.  Oh, yeah, and do their homework too.

Our home school for the past few years has also just basically mirrored the public school calendar. It was just easier for all the kids to be somewhat on the same schedule whether they were learning at home or not.  However, all of my curriculum and school supplies are currently buried in boxes in our new basement.  Who knows how soon I will be able to get to them and find what we need, so school for the three youngest is postponed until further notice, even though we are all (even the students) looking forward to doing school at the new house!

I am starting to let myself get excited for our new home.  But, first, I have to get our friends house clean, do a bunch of sheet/towel laundry and put her home back into order, then we are doing a big grocery and Costco run this afternoon.  (See above note on feeding these people I live with.)  We get possession of the new house at 5:00 today.  Just enough time to put up our beds and hopefully grab a few boxes before heading to bed.

Tomorrow,  I have to be up at 4:30, Rainman has to be up at 5:30, A-girl and L-girl have to be up at 6:30 and D-man has to be up by 7:15 for our various jobs or school.  So, no late night unpacking will be allowed.

I really do have high hopes that once we are in the house, we are all going to be very happy and feel at home (even the reluctant teenagers).  I will share some pictures in the coming weeks so you can see why I love this new house.


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Changes That Didn't Happen

I alluded to some possible upcoming changes in one of my last posts.  One of them was the hopeful move to a new house, which I touched on in my last post about my life being paused.

I think the words I used were something like "potentially awesome and exciting, but nothing I could talk about yet."

But, I can talk about them now.

I am sure most of you know that Rainman and I have always been open to more kids, either biologically or by adoption.  The biological pathway seems to have expired with my advanced age.  LOL (although sometimes it doesn't seem so funny!)  Anyway, we have always said we were open to adoption possibilities, but wouldn't seek them out because of the expense involved in most adoptions. (seriously, it can cost between $20,000 and $50,000)

We have often joked about being totally okay if someone would drop a baby off on our doorstep, you know?

Over the years, we have had discreet inquiries from some of our friends about our willingness to adopt a baby from their young acquaintances.  We have always said an emphatic, "Absolutely!"  But, in the end, none of them have ever actually needed us.

The day we put our house on the market, I got another one of those calls from a friend asking if we would be at all interested in adopting twin little boys.  This time, I did not say my usual, "Absolutely!"  I asked if I could call her back after we talked as a family.  Twins are a bigger commitment from the whole family and would involve buy-in, and sacrifices, from everyone, not just Rainman and I.

The discussions between Rainman and I involved the difficulty of taking on twins in our "older" age and the financial burden of adding two more mouths to feed.

We have been taking care of twins for 2 days a week for friends of ours for the last 2 years or so. It is not like having our own set of twins 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but it gave us a taste of some of the blessings and challenges of dealing with two little people, and two sets of stuff, instead of just one at a time.

Ultimately,  Rainman and I decided that we would say yes, because we couldn't just be pro-life when it was easy, convenient and not scary.  We had a meeting with the kids and explained the phone call I had gotten.  There were various levels of excitement about the possibility of adding twin babies to our family.

Even those that weren't completely 100% excited about the possibility understood our reasons for wanting to say yes.

I called my friend back and said that our answer was, in fact, "Absolutely!"  Then, we waited....and waited.....and waited.

Nothing.

Somehow, this time had felt like it was going to be different.  I thought that the timing of getting the phone call the exact day our house was put on the market couldn't possibly be considered a coincidence.

When we were looking at the new house, we started planning for nursery space and how to baby proof the living areas.  The timing felt like it was meant to be.

I told my friend, that my "mommy switch" had gotten turned on and I couldn't stop thinking about those baby boys.  I knew that they were premature and in the hospital and if was going to be their mommy,  I wanted to be there holding them.  But, she hadn't heard anything more after she had passed along our information and told the family a little about our family.

Still nothing.

As time has passed, it has become clear that we were not needed to be the family of those little boys.  I will admit that even though it sounds crazy, I have grieved and cried that I wasn't going to get to be their mom.

My three youngest have been disappointed alongside me.  They love taking care of our little extras during the week, but were really looking forward to having babies around full time again.  V-girl REALLY wants to be a big sister.

Even though the thought of interrupted sleep and rear facing car seats made me pause a bit, I really wanted to love on those baby boys.

I had pictured our new family starting fresh in the new house on the lake.  But, then the second phone call about the babies never came and the phone call came from the realtor telling us that we had lost the lake house.  I was sad.  Deep down....sad.

Some of my "people" that I had shared the possibility of the adoption with understood, but some thought I should feel relieved that we hadn't adopted those babies.  I understood what they were saying and understood their hearts looking out for me, but, I will still admit to being sad.....whether it made sense or not.

It has been a hard winter/spring for me....mental health-wise.  Again though, I know a LOT of people have had it worse than me, but, it has been a tough one  with regard to maintaining my joy.  If that makes sense?

While all my sadness has been looming (under the surface most of the time) A-man, S-girl and V-girl have become obsessed with a song that plays on Christian radio here in Georgia.  It is a very catchy song and I would sing along to the chorus because I just couldn't help myself.  But, I didn't really listen to the words, if you know what I mean.  But, when I say the kids are obsessed, I mean, they listen to it all the time.  When they are having computer time and playing their various games or taking Sporcle quizzes, I would walk by and hear this song coming out of the speakers...or just hear them singing along to it.  They have figured out how to get the song to play on Spotify and they play it over and over.

So, one day I decided to find the official lyric video and see what exactly we were all singing along to.

I sat there amazed and feeling like God had once again used my kids to bring me blessings and speak to my heart.  I needed to hear this message this winter/spring...and maybe even summer.  I thought maybe you would too....


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Life.....Paused......

I have become one of those infrequent bloggers this year, haven't I?

For the ten of you out there that care, sorry.

It has honestly been so long since I posted, that I had to go back and read my blog to see what I had talked about last time I updated you.

I had told you about accidentally buying a house.

That has changed.  When we were on spring break, we got a call from our realtor that the house we had a contract on, had received another non-contingent offer.    We couldn't remove the contingency from our offer without selling our house.  So, we were done.

I will admit that losing that house definitely put a pall on my enjoyment of our vacation.  Rainman and I though talked things over and decided to just take out a loan and make changes to our house, including putting in a pool that Rainman and the kids have been wanting for the last 4 years (and I will admit that I have also missed having).

When we got home, I went crazy on Pinterest.  I mean, I really let myself dream big.  I pinned design ideas, new cabinet ideas, pools, pool houses, farm tables.  Ooooh, it was fun.  After about a week of dreaming, I mentioned to Rainman that he should call the bank and make sure we could actually get a home improvement loan to do the projects we were interested in doing.  We both sort of chuckled and said something like, "of course they will.....they were going to give us a huge mortgage..."

How naive we were.

The bank said that they could certainly help us out, but we would have to piece together 3 or 4 loans to get to about 50% of what our projected costs were going to be.  We both said, forget that.

That weekend, I headed back over to the MLS listings and started looking again.  One house and its land stood out to me.  The pictures looked pretty good (but we all know how misleading they can be), the price really stood out to me (about $70,000 cheaper than the lake house).  I sent the link to Rainman and asked him if this house "did anything for him".

He said, as expected, "Let's go look at it."

I wanted to look at it as soon as possible, which meant that not all of us could see it.  It was just me, a few of the kids and two of my friends.

As we drove up to the house, I told the kids, "This reminds me of Minnesota."  There were even cows right across the street from the house.  It had a nice, quiet, rural feel.

We walked in and I walked room to room, pointing out things I liked.  It truly just kept getting better and better.  I got to the laundry room and with my realtor and friend standing there, I announced, "I feel like I am going to cry."  Then I sort of did.  LOL

Here are my reasons for being emotional:

  • The laundry room had lockers like I used to have at our Minnesota house 
  • Just about every single thing in this house were things that I had been pinning all week (the cabinets, the beams in the ceiling, the windows, the light airy atmosphere, the layout of the rooms, the storage.
  • I have wanted to have a light blue bedroom for YEARS, but it has never been high on my list of To Do items at my houses, because the main living areas needed my time, money and attention first.  Guess what color the master bedroom is at this house?
Those are just a few of my top reasons.  I texted Rainman and told him he was in trouble because I was in love.  

Eventually, we were all able to go see the house.  We all loved it. 

The only problem is that our house still has not sold.  My realtor was trying to be encouraging and I think tell me it was okay to stay in our current house.  It wasn't a bad house.  She asked me why I wanted to move.  What did I used to love about this house that I had fallen out of love with?

When trying to explain to my realtor my feelings, I had to remember how I felt 4 or so years ago about this house.  I told her that when we first moved to Georgia, we got a really good house.  It was a good house with a great backyard.  But, it was too small for us, it just about every way.  But, still, it was a good house.  Then, we moved to our current house, which was a much better house.  So much space and trees.  (I really love trees).  Better.  But, I have never loved this house.  There were things that I loved (the trees, the porch swing, that there are kids bedrooms near the master, the master on the main level)  But, if I am honest, Rainman and half of the kids had to talk me into this house.  I didn't want this house.  He even did one of his charts showing me the logic of this house. But, I never loved this house.  I didn't hate it.  I saw the definite advantages to this house for a family of our size, but I didn't love it.  I  gave in because they were right, it was definitely a better house for us.

I continued to explain to her that I loved this new house.  I really did.  It felt so much like Minnesota.  The lay out.  The space. The privacy.  I feel like God had closed the door on the lake house, but opened the window on this new house because it was so much more than what I thought I wanted or could have.  Now, looking back, I am kind of embarrassed that I wanted the lake house so badly.  Because even though I really liked the "feel" of the lake house, it had quirks and things that I didn't love and that I knew would need to be changed.  This new house has none of those quirky things.  It is almost a perfect fit.  Does that make sense?

Good.  Better.  Best.

We made an offer that was accepted, and now, we have a pending contract on that house, but still sit here waiting for the right family to want ours.  We have been on the market for about 110 days now.  

It is a frustrating process.  We are not a starter home, which seem to be flying off the market, so there are less people that can afford our house.  We even tried to do a rental/lease purchase, but the first few people who were interested, were scam artists.  I won't go into those details, but it really shakes your view of mankind knowing that these kinds of purposefully deceitful people are out there and out there teaching their children to lie to get what they want.

So, we wait.  Life is still busy.  Kids are still in activities, getting awards, getting jobs.  

But, I honestly feel like my life, in the middle of the swirl, is.....paused.

I don't want to start any projects......because.....what if........

I was even at the point where I didn't even want to take baths, because then I would have to deep clean my tub again.  LOL  I just wanted it to remain pristine for that ever elusive buyer.  Alas, I have given that up and am enjoying my baths again.  I will cross the tub cleaning mountain when I need to.

I don't want the kids to do many crafts or art projects.....because it will make a mess....and what if somebody wants a showing.

Half of our things are already packed.  We don't know where lots of our stuff is because it was packed away months ago thinking that we would be moved by now.  People are starting to get annoyed, with things not being where they "should" be and having to dig through boxes in the basement to try to find them, and with having to keep the house clean(just in case).  In response to my requests for them to get their rooms "show ready" before they leave the house, I get a maddening, "What's the point?"

It has been frustrating, for lack of a better word.  

And, I really do feel.....paused.  I don't even really know what to do about it.  Is this pause just part of life and that is okay?  Should I forge ahead and pretend that I am not waiting to move?  I don't really know how to do that though.  Because, if I do that, things will be messier  (and, of course, that is when someone will want to stop by for a quick showing!) and the brunt of the cleaning/picking up with inevitably fall on me.  That will make me cranky, to say the least.  

I actually told my realtor this last week that my faith is waivering.  I meant it.  It makes me sad.  But, it is what it is. (I also came to the realization that much of being a realtor has nothing to do with the business of selling houses, but, is, in fact, being a sort of psychologist/therapist and holding people's proverbial hands while they freak out on you every other day, right Angela?)

I really want the new house.  I really do.  I love it.  I can picture us there.  Both now and in the future, with grand babies, the future spouses, and when Rainman and I are old.  But, I also remind myself frequently that it is just a house.  Both our current house and the new house.  Just a house.  I can't pin all my happiness on where we live. That would be stupid and wrong.  What matters is that we are all together and healthy and happy.  I know that.  Yet.....I really want to live in that house and unpause our lives.  

I have rambled (whined) enough for today, I think.  I will fill you in on the other "changes" in a future post.





Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Change is Afoot.....Hopefully

We accidentally bought a new house.

Hahahahaha.  I am not kidding.

I blame A-girl.  She had a babysitting job on the other side of our neighborhood.  I was dropping her off and drove through a part of the neighborhood that I didn't even realize existed. Then I saw the "For Sale" sign and made the fatal error of heading home and looking it up on-line.  It was beautiful.  Slightly over budget.  But, wonderful.  I then made my second mistake and sent a link to Rainman in which I said, "If this house would have been on the market when we were looking, I don't think I would have needed to be convinced to go over budget."  Or something like that.  His response?

"I think we should go look at it."

After a little back and forth and me assuring him that wasn't what I had in mind all along.  (It really wasn't!) We called our very patient realtor and she set up a showing.  D-man was even home from school, so all 8 of us were able to take a look.  About halfway through the home, I turned to the realtor and said, "I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure all 8 of us are on the same page about this house"  I wasn't.  We all loved it.  It had lots of stuff that we wanted, plus a few extra things that we didn't even realize that we wanted.  That said, it is not a perfect house.  There are a few things that I wonder how they will actually work once we get in there.  But, when I was telling one of my friends about the new house, I said, "I can't really explain it.  It just feels peaceful, and....right".

We put in an offer contingent on our selling our house and they accepted.  Then I had to figure out how to whip my house into shape and get it on the market.  So, I have been decluttering and filling up dumpsters instead of blogging.  (The question now becomes, why, in the world, were we living with a literal dumpster full of stuff in our home?)

Now, we wait.....for the perfect buyer/family for our house.

There are also some other things swirling around our family.  Some potentially awesome and exciting changes.  But nothing that I can talk about yet.

I am just praying and praying some more about where God will be leading us.  Praying to have faith in God's timing.

I have been trying to get myself to come and blog more.  The problem is that I seem to have turned into a bit of a whiny curmudgeon in my thought processes.  I am not sure you will want to hear how annoying I find people and situations in our lives.  So, instead of subjecting you to that, I have just stayed away from blogging.

I will try to keep you posted more often on things around here....and, if you have a buyer looking south of Atlanta....send them my way!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Oh My Word, I am So Sorry.

For. any of you that care, I am sorry it has been so long since I posted anything on here.

Life just seems to really be clipping along at a fast pace and I seem to be more and more subject to outsiders demands and schedules.

It is actually much worse now that I have older kids, which is ironic because I remember when I had all these little people running around my house and it just felt so....crazy sometimes.  Well, gone are the days where the six kids and I just hung out at home, doing our school work and going on field trips or adventures, at our leisure.  Here are the days where my high schoolers have competing academic and athletic schedules.  I feel bad that my 3 youngest aren't getting a chance to have those quiet days at home like the oldest 3 got.  Now, more than not, they are piling into the van so we can drop off or pick up an older sibling from their stuff.  Sometimes they can bring school along and kill two birds with one stone, but lots of times it just makes our "home" school day horribly hectic and interrupted.  They are NOT getting the kind of education that their older siblings got.  I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing....or if it just is what it is.  It is definitely different.  I am hoping the academic content is at the very least the same, but I am not sure because I am rushing to and fro.

But, I really miss the days when I truly controlled our days.  I have no control now.  I don't like it. Rainman seems to be doing a lot more of the heavy teaching than I am these days.  Which, I guess is both good and bad. He is an incredibly smart and dedicated dad and husband.  But, I am so busy with other stuff, that I am missing that time to just sit on the couch and help them stumble through fractions or history.

So, that is part of my reason for not blogging more.

The other parts are slightly more complicated, and also somewhat related to my older kids.  They are older and have many more opinions now on what pictures are posted of them and what stories are shared with the world.  The words, "Don't put this on your blog!"  have become common around here.  It has become harder and harder to give them their own personal privacy and still share my stories of being their mom.


I have also been in what I will call - mid-life- crisis mode with my internal thought processes.  Lamenting the fact that I am really beyond child bearing years now and no more little babies will be coming into my world (biologically anyway).   There are other mid-life type thought processes happening so, but I will share (whine) about those some other time.

None of this makes for very good blog reading.  No cute pictures go along with a middle aged lady being confused and feeling sorry for herself.  So, here is one from our very first cruise!



Ha!

So, I guess I will say, that I am going to TRY to blog more regularly.  Even if it isn't for you guys, it helps me document our lives and events so I will remember them when I am old!