The Catch-up Post

It’s been so long, and so many things have happened in the months since I was faithfully blogging…I don’t really know where to begin.  It has been a stormy, up-and-down time, a beautiful time, a sad time.  In the end, we are more blessed than I could have imagined and this time sweating in the furnace of refinement  is surely producing something stronger in our family, something good.
Our family is still tipping between five children and three, depending on the day and the week.  We are trusting God with that, He has a plan.  His grace has astounded me, I am a person who loves to have a road map in front of me and craves the security of a good, solid plan.  That is why I know it is Him, not me, who has given me peace with living in uncertainty!  When the babies are with us, I have joy in the crazy-busy, always going, flowing-over-with-love reality that comes with five kids, two of them under two.  When they are not here, I have joy in the cozy, quiet, simple, established ease of a family with three older children.  I am amazed at the love, grace, and flexibility of my husband and children, who have stepped in with nothing but love.  Prayers for the boys and their mother are very much needed.
Three months ago, in the midst of homeschool and babies and…everything else…we moved from the Displaced Farmhouse to a suburb about half an hour from The City.  This blessing was made possible by my father, who sold the house that had been in our family for some thirty years and gave us money for the down payment on a new, larger home.  I cannot begin to describe my father’s generosity, he has blessed me more in my life than I could even begin to describe.

Maybe I will write some time about the moving process, the house hunting, the ups and downs.  Right now, I’ll just say that we love our new house, it is beautiful and open and there is enough space for everyone, and then some.  We are adjusting to some major differences…since moving to The City, we had always lived in one particular area…not far from the heart of the city itself, in an older area that had a lot of large trees and older homes.  There were many positives, the proximity to the city and all it has to offer, the beautiful trees and charming homes, the old parks and a certain hip funkiness that older, city-type areas have.  We’ve never lived in a suburb.  Our farmhouse was a throwback to a bygone time, a little oasis in the city where, when our six-foot gates were closed, we had our own little world of towering trees, established shrubs, a cottage across the driveway that was a mini version of the “big house” (with wonderful renters who have become like family), and a small orchard of fruit trees.  Our home was built in 1930 and had all the charm of that era, distressed wood floors (the dog and the kids added to that feature) and a general feeling of cozy homey-ness that is pretty tough to duplicate.  
But it was small, very small.  And it was, despite being located in a busy and very populated area, isolated.  The kids could not walk or ride their bikes in the neighborhood due to the busy streets, we never really got to know our neighbors (who were largely renters, coming and going) and we were a half-hour from almost all of their friends.  Hubby commuted half an hour both ways to work, and we commuted the same distance nearly every day of the week for church, band practice, more band practice, small groups, and seeing friends.  We spent more time in the car than I’d like to remember.
Our  new house is….New.  Clean.  Well planned out.  Convenient. I will have to give you a tour soon, this photo doesn’t really give you a good idea of what it’s like. The yard is nice, although it’s not comparable to our old yard. We have a glorious homeschool room!  And we are learning what it is to live in a neighborhood…the kids live close to friends and we have a variety of children in and out all day long, which we love!  There are parks nearby and we are adjusting to the fact that the kids can go out on their own a bit, ride their bikes on the sidewalks along quiet streets, walk to the park just across the way. We are five minutes away from church and hubby’s work, and we have much more time now that we are not driving all over the place every day.  It’s going to take a little while for us to adjust and for this to feel like home, but it is lovely and safe and quiet and we are so blessed to be here.  As things settle and we add our own touches to it, this house will feel more and more like home.
There is much, much going on.  Hubby’s band was part of an album recorded live last month, which was an amazing experience.  Eldest’s band has been coming along nicely, and had a very successful performance at the Scout-O-Rama in the Spring.  Hubby, as the “grown up in charge” of the youth band, has enjoyed getting to to work with the boy and his friends and we have all been blessed by being a part of it.  
 
I have somehow managed to do a little work on the novel I wasn’t writing, but am considering writing now. No poetry has happened lately, but maybe that will change soon.
We have about 2 months of homeschool to make up, as we missed most of December due to the babies and Christmas, and half of March through half of April was lost in moving.  But I feel like we’ve all grown closer through this year of change, trials, and testing…and we have become stronger as individuals and as a family.  God’s on the move here, He’s got this covered, and I am ready to slow down and enjoy the blessings with which we have been graced.
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Summer may actually be here…

This may be the first morning in over half a year that I have had….no plans.

So I am going to sit, in the warm Summer morning, swing quietly on the porch swing, and let the cool breeze play over me.  And it is going to be amazing.

To celebrate, I’m making myself a tall glass of iced tea with a just a hint of sweetness and a touch of mint.

Do you have a moment?  Make a glass, put your feet up, and celebrate with me.

Mint infused simple syrup:

-Several sprigs fresh mint
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup water

Put sugar, water, and mint in a sauce pan, whisk together, and bring to a boil. Boil until it forms a syrup, remove mint and keep in a closed container in the fridge to use as needed.

Make your favorite iced tea (I used green tea…decaffeinated, because goodness knows I don’t need the caffeine).  Add as much or as little syrup as you’d like…I added a few teaspoons.  Toss in a sprig of mint, and relax!