Friday, September 28, 2018

Muffin tin baby play

I don't know if annnnyone is out there, after I neglected my blog for **cough, cough** 4 YEARS. But I'm writing anyway,  to record activities, memories, outings.
Quick update:
Moved back from Texas , to Arkansas. Found great location, right on a creek. Had triplets. YES, triplets.
Then Belle graduated high school. Boys are still busy with Tae Kwon Do,  mowing jobs, church activities. Babies are 8 months old now, and so much fun! Today we played with balls in old muffin tins.

I'm trying to get creative with their play, so none of us get bored. A broad range of activities is great for everyone. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moving Plans

Well, it looks like we have some official plans now. We'll be moving back to Arkansas this summer. I've known, tentatively, for about a month now. I was waiting to tell people until I could come to terms with it. ;)
Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and family. I love the beauty of the Ozarks....the hills, rivers, caves. I adore all that! I grew up hiking in those woods, canoeing those waters.

However, it was my dream to move farther south. I know eternal summer isn't for everyone, but I'm pretty dang happy with it. And I love the beach. Love. Plus, we had started to make great friends in our last city, and joined a wonderful homeschool group. I was hoping our plan would be to move back to that city, as soon as we were able.

The things is, Fred is just not happy here. It doesn't feel like home to him. Growing up, I had traveled quite a bit and moved across the country....but Fred spent his entire life in Northwest Arkansas, and being uprooted has been very hard for him. Couple that with the cultural differences I mentioned before, and Fred is ready to haul it all back "home." I get that. Really I do. I've been lonely, too.

He tried this for me, and I can't express my appreciation. When we leave Texas, in June, I'll have had almost a year to live my dream near the coast. An extended summer-y vacation. And, if nothing else, it has brought us closer together. We came here knowing NO ONE. We did everything together, tried new things, explored, made friends, got involved.

We also missed an unusually cold and long Arkansas winter. Perhaps that's why God set this whole thing in motion. ;)

Still. Guys, I was HERE on Monday. On the pier, overlooking the bay at South Padre Island. 
Just a regular Girls Night out. 
I'm going to miss that, fiercely. 

 Sunsets over the ocean are something I don't take for granted. 

Okay, yada yada. It's going to be hard for me.
But Fred brought me here, because my heart desired it. His heart desires to go back, and I will follow him. We'll return to our gorgeous hills and cliffs, caverns and caves, rivers....things that are hard, if not impossible, to find around here. We'll return to our friends and family, who I have also missed, fiercely. The beauty is that we can really be happy either place! We'll continue to travel and explore, wherever we're planted! So, while part of me feels sad about leaving, I am truly also excited about returning to our wonderful area in the beauty of Arkansas!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Long Version, living dreams even with shadows

Here's the real catcher-upper for y'all. We moved to Texas last summer. You know that. Tiny little house with not enough space, no dishwasher, no dryer. Old school all the way. We enjoyed the town, but knew the housing was a VERY temporary situation. And then the roof started to leak. I mean, rivers of water coming directly into the house. Our landlord, a wonderful single mom, fixed the roof, with my help. 
And then we discovered mold. 
She tried cutting the section of wall out, which only revealed more mold inside the walls. At that point, we asked to be released from our lease. We had paid the first several months in advance. We had helped repair anything that needed fixing. But mold was out of our league, and she didn't have the resources to fix the problem either. The house really shouldn't have been offered for rent in the first place, but I understand that sometimes people are simply trying to survive. Our landlord was very apologetic, very understanding, and immediately released us from our 6-month lease. She is a kind and wonderful mother and a sweet friend. I hope and pray that she gets the help she needs to repair her own home and also her rental house. She was trying, hard.
At that point, we decided to move closer to my husband's job. We scoured Craigslist and facebook and the paper; all the usual housing haunts. And came across a great one-- comfortable 4 bedroom, 2 bath, brick home in a gated community within our price range. And it would cut my husband's commute by more then half! We jumped at it, and we got it. In December, we moved to a much smaller town, closer to Fred's job, but much farther from my beloved beach.
Okay, and here things get sticky. We were pretty much out of money, after moving twice within 4 months. Plus, Christmas. We did a totally giftless Christmas, out of absolute necessity. Food and bills.... or presents? Well, the choice is obvious. The kids had presents to open, sent from grandparents, but ours came later, in January. 
My husband began to get depressed. We didn't really know anyone at all. He wasn't being treated kindly or fairly at work. (For example, our Christmas ham was given to someone else, because my husband was on duty when they were being given out. It was supposed to be held for us, but no such luck. And, at the time, we could have really used that ham, by golly!!) 
He was homesick and lonely. And I was lonely. I mean, really REALLY lonely. In our last city, I had joined a homeschool group, gotten involved, made friends in the area. We left all that. The kids left the friends they had just made. Moving twice within a few months is hard, y'all.
There are also cultural differences here, that we are growing accustomed to. People greet each other differently, play somewhat differently, and in general parent very differently. We are the minority, by far, and many people do not speak English at all, which definitely adds to our feeling of isolation.
Okay, so there's your background. Now couple that with a temporary lack of medical insurance, while my husband switched companies. I went from having my regular anti-anxiety meds, to needing to taper off completely. For awhile, that was okay. After all, my main issue is SAD, and I figured that it would be less of an issue in a warm, sunny subtropical climate. For the first time, in as long as I can remember, the winter alone was not bringing me to my knees. I was lonely, but functioning okay. 
However, by February, I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I could not seem to think straight and was crying over stupid stuff. I was snapping at Fred, and he was snapping back. 
I feel awkward admitting to other Christians that I have a problem with depression because, after all, the joy of the Lord is our strength. 
By the end of March, I had stopped exercising and doing art. I didn't want to go out. Why bother? I didn't know anyone anyway. I was going through the motions with school, but the joy had slowly seeped out.
My husband realized at that point, I think, that I wasn't going to help myself. He told me we were going to the walk-in clinic. I didn't want to shower and get ready. He simply said, "Fine. You can just go like that." And we did.
The doctor explained it this way… If a diabetic decided to stop taking her medication, what would happen? Then, how can I deprive myself of what my body needs and expect a different result? Kudos to the doctor. She was wonderful, understanding, kind. 
Why do I suffer from chronic depression that needs to be treated with medication? I have no idea. I don’t think we will ever know what factors cause some people to be more prone. I know I need medication. I am no longer fighting that. I accept that. I'm more "Me" with it, than without. It's who I am, just as my very low blood pressure and curved spine are ME.
The thing is, depression happens to good people, to great moms, and sometimes, we just need some help. Even in the middle of living dreams, and having the greatest kids ever. :)
We're working on the other issues, too. While we enjoy the house we're in now, and we're very thankful for it, neither of us are happy in this teeny town of nothingness. Fred misses his family, in a big way, and doesn't feel like Texas is our home. I, on the other hand, love being this far south and LOVE the ocean. I miss our last city and the friends and homeschool group we had joined there. One way or the other, we will be moving again. Our options are open. Fred and I are praying about what's best for us. We're flexible, We're both willing to do whatever God wants us to do; whatever is in our family's best interest. We're both feeling happy again, with the plan to simply follow God and make this a mutual decision.

Monday, March 31, 2014


I haven't spent much time around the computer lately, but last night I felt the urge to look up some old pictures. Then I spent a solid hour reminiscing through their toddler pictures and reading all the "funny things they say" tag through this blog. Makes my heart so happy!! And inspires me to blog more, if only for my own benefit. This is a journal that I'll never misplace!
This is Oli's birthday week! My baby will be 7 on Friday! Today we are headed to the beach for Day 1. We've waited a month to head back to the sea, allowing time for the Winter Texans & spring breakers to enjoy it and then take off! It's a good 10 degrees cooler by the beach, so we're looking at mid-70s there today. Great for sand play and hiking by the shore, but still too cool to get in the water.
Oliver is still as funny as he always was. The other day, I served fish sandwiches on sesame seed buns. A minute later, I hear him holler, "Mom! I have sandwich seeds!! Can we plant them?"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Still here, for now!

Hi!! ((echo))
We're still here, living in deep south Texas. And I've become invisible, sorry. ;) When we moved in December, it took me quite awhile to actually get cable/internet set up in our new home, so I all but abandoned facebook and other online networking.
Not a lot has changed. We're enjoying our beautiful southern winter & early spring. It was about 90 degrees here yesterday, which I consider nearly perfect.
Sunshine, soccer, bicycle rides. The perfect Saturday.
We've avoided the beach like the plague this month, with all the spring breakers in the area. But soon the Winter Texans and spring breakers will be moving along, and we'll have beautiful beaches to ourselves from April- June.
We've had a chance to see more of the world. Passports, check. We added Mexico to the list of places we've been. Far far different from our trip to Canada!!
I do miss my hills and canyons, caves, and cliffs. There's such beauty all over this world. In this chapter, we're enjoying the beaches and birding centers.
Honestly, though, this move has been a particular struggle for my husband. The culture is very different. The climate isn't as agreeable to him as it is to me. The general area isn't as clean and friendly as what we're used to. This isn't home. And we don't plan to stay in this city much longer.
We have big changes coming up this summer. Life is such a balance, of going where you're called, making the best choices for your family, year by year.  We've moved more in the last year than in the previous 16 years combined. It's been a challenge but also an adventure. It's been a time of enormous growth for relationship.
Prayers please, as we continue to settle wherever we're meant to be, and as I work on following my husband's lead. I'm not naturally good at following, and definitely need supernatural strength for it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Up in the air

Oh, y'all. I'm having a stressful moment. We're so up in the air right now. Boxes are packed all around me, making a little read-to-move igloo. And I just don't know what's going to happen. Wasn't I just in this waiting game a few months ago? Shouldn't I have learned to relax. Trust. Not stress out. Man, that's so hard.
Our rental place now has served it's purpose, and we're moving on by the end of the month. We just don't know WHERE for sure!
Our landlords here have been amazing. For crying out loud, she just brought over chocolate cupcakes, for Fred's birthday tomorrow! {{heart}} They are so.very.sweet.
But we've been dealing with a lot of problems with our place. And, despite their best attempts to remedy the situation, it's going to require some intensive work, due to water and mold damage. They have released us from our lease, and we're all packed up.
Now. The where.
Fred is working 40 minutes from here, and it would make a world of difference for him, if we can shorten that commute. We're working on getting a house that's only about 5 minutes from his route, but we won't find out until sometimes this next week if it's ours. The wait!!! Ahhh!
Did I mention that his birthday is tomorrow, and Christmas is 10 days away? And my home is in boxes. {deep breath} It's the uncertainty that pains me.
And, also, I miss my color! I was just over at Sara's Art House, oohing and aahing over the color and happiness. Oh-- I miss my packed-up color happiness, my craft supplies, my pom poms for little hands to play with, my bright dishes!
Pray for us? For a home soon. For answers and security. We love it here in the Rio Grande Valley. The people have been amazing to us. The weather is fantastic. We just need our place. :) Thank you!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Merry Little (early) Coastal Christmas

The kids and I are excited about Christmas on the coast, y'all!!
It's our new theme.

When we moved, we sold or gave away about half of what we owned. We simply didn't have room to bring it all. That included our Christmas tree and much of our d├ęcor. (Yes, that was hard.) I think there's still a box of stuff in my grandfather's garage, too....including our stockings. Need to get those!
Thankfully, we found adorable mini trees at the 99 cent store! And a large white tree at Goodwill for a whooping 10 bucks. We bought two packages of ornaments, also from the 99 cent store, and gathered the rest along the coast. Proof that you can decorate on a budget! ;)

Wanting to stick to our coastal theme, but not spend a fortune ordering a bazillion cards, we decided to make them. Time to get creative!
 This is what we came up with:
Seas and Greetings!
 Four little elves helped me draw, cut, and glue.
There you have it. Family-made and coastal themed!
The best part is that everyone could contribute.
(plus, glitter- and sequin-use, which is a given.)