July 29, 2014


Our original closing date on our new house was July 25.  Last Friday.  Alas, we have not closed on our new house.

It was pushed to August 1.  One week isn't a big deal . . . unless you're 36 weeks pregnant.  I feel like I'm a ticking time bomb.

And then over the weekend, we found that it might be pushed even farther.  There are a few annoying factors that go into the delays, none of which are in our control.  Let's just say that I wish that each person responsible for the closing of this deal were required to sleep with Claire in this trailer every night.  That would get things moving.

I don't know how many times I've offered the "please help things go smoothly" prayer over the last month.  Probably hundreds.

On Friday night, shortly after learning about the most recent delay, we were driving to return our uhaul as I began to cry and ask God to just push this thing through.  That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks:  I'm not sure God's as worried about the progress of our mortgage as much as He's concerned with the state of my heart.  Maybe none of this is about getting our family into a house before baby #4 comes.  Maybe it's all about learning to trust Him, and know that He's ultimately in control.  Maybe this is about surrender.

Kyle and I stayed in the trailer for the first time Saturday night.  The kids were at my parents.  I woke up around 5:30 and was doing my best to not completely lose it.  By 6:00, I'd decided that I'd better just let it all out while the kids aren't here, and cried for about an hour.  My sobs eventually woke Kyle up and we decided to go for breakfast.  The whole day ended up being kind of a disaster, and the emotion of being at the house for the last time added to it.

I'm trying to hard to just trust God, but when I'm driving around with my 2-year-old AT 4  in the morning so that she won't wake her brothers up in the trailer we're all sharing, all I can do is cry.  But my prayers have changed.  When I worry, I pray that he'll use this to increase my dependance on Him.  When I stress out, I pray for peace.  When I hear about more delays, I pray for patience with our current living situation.  The house will close when the house closes, no matter how much I stress out or worry about it.

July 27, 2014

The nursery

I sat in Claire's room and watched her fall asleep in her crib for the last time on Friday afternoon.  As I did, I cried thinking about the number of times I've watched my kids fall asleep there.  The number of times I've rocked my babies to sleep in there.  The number of hymns I've sung, the number of diapers I've changed, the number of outfits I've changed.

That room was green, with an airplane theme when Jack came home from the hospital.  I so badly wanted the room to be perfect.  I had everything ready.

The planes were still up when Bennett came home, but by the time he was 6ish months old, it was painted light blue and had a rocket/space theme.  I started designing artwork for the walls, but Claire came along before I ever finished it.

For Claire, we painted it gray.  Twice.  The first gray looked too purple.  We used pink and gray as the colors, and again, I have half finished artwork that I would have hung in there.

I remember before Jack was born, sitting in there and wondering what it would be like to rock a baby to sleep.  I've spent hundreds of hours in that room praying for them and dreaming about who they'll be come someday.  It's always been a place for cuddling and caring for whoever happened to be living in that room at the time.

July 24, 2014

The bowling alley

One of the things I don't want to forget about this house is the bowling alley.

This photo is taken from the doorway of our bedroom.  Claire's room is at the very end of the hall and the boys' room is the second door on the right. 

We nicknamed it "the bowling alley" because of the sounds we'd hear out there every morning, especially in the winter when the whole house was still dark.  One or two of them would get out of bed and sprint down the hall to our room. The sound that they would make when they got out of bed reminded us of being at a bowling alley.  They'd get a running start from their doorway and then would crash into our bedroom door to open it . . . rarely turning the knob.  We'd hear a door creak and then, "BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM CRASH!"

The sound wasn't always welcome.  Often we'd groan when we heard the creaking door and the foot steps winding up for the crash, but it's one of those things we've become so familiar with and one of those things I don't want to forget.

July 23, 2014

Shopping with Mama

Claire and I had to run errands in town yesterday, and we honestly had a lot of fun.  It's hard to believe that a couple of months ago, I dreaded going anywhere with her in the car because she would scream the entire time.

Our first stop was at Sam's Club and I got her a soft pretzel for a snack, which was a big deal because her brothers weren't there so she didn't have to share.  Of course, she only ate about 3 bites, but still . . . there was no sharing involved so she was happy.

From there, we went to Walmart.  In general, I avoid Walmart, but it's the easiest place to make purchases at for camp.  I'd been warned by some shoppers at Sam's Club that the air conditioning was out, and it was, but the temperatures weren't as bad as I'd anticipated.

We had a rather long list and Claire was relatively patient while we searched for everything.  She was doing a lot of yelling, so we talked quite a bit about indoor and outdoor voices, but she was pretty set on using her outside voice for everything.

We filled our cart and got in line at check out.  As we waited, I noticed her staring at the back of woman ahead of us.  I looked up at the woman and then looked back at Claire and could just see the wheels turning.  Everything at that point seemed to be moving in slow motion.  Before I could distract her, she laughed and said (in an outside voice, of course), "HA! HA!  I SEE YOUR UNDIES!"  It was in the exact same tone and with the same level of joy in which she hears her brothers tease each other.  Perfect.

Fortunately, the women in front of us had a good sense of humor.  She pulled down her shirt a little in the back and we all laughed . . . my face a little more red than the others.

We had two separate orders on the belt.  I paid for them both, loaded them into the cart and we started toward the exit.  Claire noticed that the large bags of bird seed and the gallon of milk weren't in shopping bags and said (again, in an outside voice), "WE DIDN'T PAY FOR THIS STUFF!"

I assured her that we did and pointed to the receipts that I had let her hold . . . but she's 2 1/2, so if it's not in a bag, it's not paid for.  She continued to yell, "WE DIDN'T PAY FOR THIS STUFF!  WE DIDN'T PAY FOR THIS STUFF!" while I waved the receipts and laughed nervously as bypassers stared, wondering who was telling the truth.  We approached the exit and Claire got very serious and wide-eyed and looked at the greeter and whispered, "WE DIDN'T PAY FOR THIS STUFF!"  He just laughed as I nervously waved my receipts, assuring him that we'd paid for everything in my cart.

I can laugh about it now.  Actually, I was laughing all the way out to the car.  It was mildly embarrassing, and very amusing.  I'll take this kind of thing over screaming and fits any day!

July 20, 2014

Where we're at right now . . .

June/July 2014 has been the most stressful time in my life thus far.  I realize that this makes me pretty fortunate . . . if this is as stressful as it gets, I'll consider myself lucky.  Nonetheless, it's been a lot to handle.  The sentimentality over moving our family out of our home, the pressure of trying to get packed up, the busyness at work, the anxiety about living in a trailer for a few weeks, the uncertainty of when we'll close on our new house, the apprehension about baby #4 . . . it's all catching up with me this morning.  Here's what's going on with us right now:

Musical Houses.  We currently don't own a home, and that's just weird.  We closed on the sale of our house on June 30 and we have to be out by July 30.  We're in contract on a new house in Spring Arbor, and aren't sure of a closing date.  As you can imagine, this is stressful.  I think I'll be able to calm down a little when we have that settled.  We have a trailer set up at camp and are moving over the course of the next two Saturdays.  Once we close, the owners will have 7 days to be out. We'll stay in the trailer until we close on and gain occupancy to our new house.  I've been so nervous about things with the new house falling through.  I really have no reason to think that, but my mind always goes to the worst case scenario.  It's just a gift I have.

The state of our house is like nothing I've ever lived in before.  Boxes everywhere, laundry piled in corners, the kitchen is empty, but we have paper plates, dishes and snacks out on the counter . . . it's a mess. Living in a state of chaos has always stressed me out, but the fact that I can't just go clean up is maddening.  I'm on a no-lift restriction which is a little unrealistic, given that I have a 2 1/2 year old that often ONLY wants Mom.

Getting ready to leave our house has been so emotionally taxing.  We're the only family to ever have lived here and it's all our kids have ever known.  It breaks my heart to think that Claire will have no recollection of this home and Ben's memory will be spotty.  Jack will remember the most, but those memories will start to fade.  This home has been such an important part of our life, and leaving is tearing me apart.

Packing up.  We have a lot of stuff.  I don't know how that happened, but I've decided that from here on out, we'll pretend to get ready to move once every 3 years to help with clutter control.  The craziest thing is the furniture that we managed to get INTO the basement, that we're having trouble getting out now.  We're having to move all of our belongings into 3 storage units until we have occupancy of our house.  So we get to move twice.  Lucky us.

I so badly wish we could afford to higher packers and movers.  That would be lovely.

The Summer.  We are currently in the middle of our busiest time of the entire year.  Right now.  In the middle of a very stressful move.  It's fun how that came together like that, right?  Our patience is so thin and our nerves are fried.  I'm finding myself responding to people, my children included, in ways that I'm not proud of.  Doing our jobs well during a normal summer is a lot of work, but this summer it's even more so.  On top of normal summer stuff, I'm trying to prepare for maternity leave this fall and get all of my late August/September projects done now.

We're also having to think through how things will work at camp with us living about 20 minutes away, instead of 5 minutes away.  I don't think it will affect our actual work day all that much, but it might affect how often we eat meals at camp, or just go there to let the kids run around.  It's just going to be a change in how we operate as a family, and that's hard for me to wrap my head around.

The Baby.  I woke up a couple of mornings ago and said, "I feel WAY more pregnant than I did when I went to sleep last night."  I have 5 1/2 weeks left until my due date, and even though I feel huge, I so badly want to be settled into a home before this little girl arrives; but, all of the golf carts at camp are out of order, so I've been doing a lot of walking and I can just feel her starting to drop.  Never have I wanted a baby to come after her due date like I have with this one.  I haven't been sleeping more than 3 - 4 hours a night, which adds to my lack of patience and energy.  She moved SO much . . . more than the other three . . . but she's slowed down in the last few days.

I had an appointment on Thursday and found out that she's flipped and is no longer head down.  As you can imagine, this has stressed me out.  I'm praying that she gets her little behind back where it belongs before labor starts.

My vision has been getting really blurry and I'm becoming nearsighted.  I know this is a common side effect of pregnancy, but I've never experienced it before.  Just one more thing.

The Kids.  This week I'm realizing how much all of the impending change and uncertainty is affecting them.  They know that their lives are about to change quite a bit . . . not just moving houses, but moving farther away from camp.  I don't think I've thought enough about how they're affected by this.  Plus, they've been getting to bed 2 - 3 hours past bedtime every night.  Lack of sleep is really affecting our entire family right now!

I've not been the model of excellent parenting, and they've been yelled at for little things way more than they should have been.  Last night, in the middle of me giving them instructions for bedtime, Jack asked for a glass of water and I said, "CAN YOU PLEASE THINK OF SOMEONE ELSE FOR JUST ONE MINUTE!"  Let me say this again:  He asked me for a glass of water.  He was just thirsty.  And he's 7-years-old.  

I find myself praying daily that they'll not remember this time all that clearly and that no permanent damage will be done to my relationship with them.  I've done A LOT of apologizing and even more crying in front of them.

After I put the kids to bed, Jack came into our room crying and told me he didn't really want to move.  He feels the same way about change that I do . . . sad.  It's hard, too, because I don't want to get them all pumped up about our new house until we have a closing date. We talked about how the only thing that makes our house special is that we all live here, and that once we're not here, it won't really be all that special anymore.  I only half believed myself.

Praying.  I've been praying so much.  Praying that we close soon and smoothly on our new home.  Praying that my kids won't be damaged by this move.  Praying that I'll be able to sleep in a camper.  Praying that Claire won't flip out when we have to shower in the Field House every day for a few weeks.  Praying that this baby stays put for a little while longer.

Most of all, I'm praying that this will be a good change for our family . . . something that will bring us closer and that God will use for His good and will draw us closer to Him through it.