top row: park outing after a full day of moving prep (i.e. refrigerator-finding), rainbow on the morning of moving day...God is faithful to His promises, moving vans parked and unloading.
2nd row: the girls with our sweet neighbor friend who had them both wrapped around her finger, kids with the friends in their sandbox, and Katie who was maybe ready to wake from a nap...or maybe not!
3rd row: evening bike ride, doing math on the floor (enjoying carpet again!), and the crazy HEB trip with all five kids on friday afternoon.
It is hard to believe we are actually here, in our old home, living back among our family and old friends, at our old parish, old homeschool group, old dance studio, hanging out with old neighbors.
A lot has changed in three years. I feel like we are a different family now. We have a new family member, our "baby" is now four years old, and the oldest two are no longer "little girls." We are at a different point in our family life, and I know that the opportunity to spend three years away has stretched us and grown us in ways we have yet to understand.
But as it goes, I of course am still struggling with the same things. I still have so much growing to do in so many areas of my life. I knew that coming back "home" wouldn't solve my challenges, but I also knew that my heart had never left. And so in that respect, I feel we are back where we are supposed to be. Moving back into our old house feels natural, even in the way you reach for a light switch in the dark...you know exactly where it is because you are home.
This move has come with its own set of challenges. The back and forth trips, hotel living, indecision about our housing, and ultimately moving to our old house has caused a lot of upheaval and stress in our family. I've been struggling with the seemingly endless tasks relating to moving...address-changing, bills, utilities, unpacking, and the worries about our house selling. There seems to be a new challenge each day with the upkeep of this house. And I'm struggling to stay on top of the grading for the older ones and the school tasks for the younger ones. I really should have just taken a few weeks off of school, or planned an abbreviated schedule, but I just couldn't make myself do it!
Yesterday there was a fiasco with our gas company and we are without hot water for the weekend. It is a very minor issue in the grand scheme, and it is a luxury to even have running water at all. But my mama heart was already so overwhelmed that it just put me over the edge. I had already dealt with my nice farewell gift from Corpus Christi (a red light camera citation), and spoke to a very unpleasant lady about a hospital bill from February. I had taken all five kids to watch a history presentation and then to the grocery store. So it was just too much for me, while attempting to bathe the baby last night, only to discover that our gas didn't get turned on after all!
But Saturday has been a healing day. My parents came out and we all worked together in the house. Almost all of the boxes inside are unpacked and I have a better handle on knowing what is still left in the garage. I got some things up on the walls and did some more painting. The guys did yard work and ran important errands. My mom cleaned and folded about ten loads of laundry. And the kids even helped! The girls watched the baby, baked chocolate chip cookies, and organized the playroom. The boys spent the evening cutting branches in the backyard and burning them in the fire pit. Steven Joseph topped it off by smearing ashes all over his face and body while I was covered in paint, and the water was shut off so Steven could deal with a leaky faucet. Oh the craziness! But it feels like good craziness when I have other adults to share the load.
My biggest lesson from Corpus Christi is the importance of HOME. Today was my parents' parish festival, a local parish festival where many friends would be, Steven wanted to go out to our friends' farm, and it was also the last night of a play where the girls' friends would be performing. And yet we just needed to be HOME. This week there was an option of a field trip and a zoo visit that I turned down. Saying NO to some of those appealing things can often help keep our family life in balance and can allow us to do those things that will help the days run smoother and allow our hearts to heal and grow together. With five kids I just have to prioritize. I hope this coming week brings more stability and peace for our family as we get into our routine, get our house fully unpacked and functional, and just take some time to enjoy the beautiful October weather with our family and friends!
Thanks for hanging around, and hopefully this blog will be showing some more house pictures and fun stuff in the coming months as we settle in, get our other house sold (St. Joseph, pray for us!), and maybe start a few fix-ups, as we also enjoy the beautiful parks and other fun activities here in our new/old HOME. Have a great week, friends!