Friday, June 15, 2018

A Very Cool Little Story

In December of 2015, our family drove from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Olmsted Falls, Ohio to visit our families. We drove through NM, TX, OK, MO, IL, IN, and OH. 

Yesterday, I was on my way to run an errand when I drove over bridge that led to the exit for Highway 70. It was then that this thought dawned on me:

Highway 70 is the road we drove on to get from Indiana to Ohio before we connected with highway 71.  This means that two and a half years ago, our family, unbeknownst to us drove right by the exit that we would become our home in 2018. We were passing by the town that I could cry tears of joy upon receiving the news that Bob had gotten the Indy job. We were passing by the exit where we would settle down after two years of hard, hard times. 

How cool is that? 

Who knew that in order to get from happiness in New Mexico to happiness in Indiana we would have to take a curved road through Oregon? 

I am finding that life is full of really surprising and neat connections. Realizations like this make me feel that God truly is watching out for me. That I truly am not alone in this universe. 

Stories like this give me tingles up my spine. They are so, so cool. 


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Look At Our New House & How We Are Doing

I'm back!!!

So...this is what happiness feels like? It's been so long since I have felt this content. Since New Mexico to be exact. I LOVE being here right now. We live kinda out in the country kinda not. We are about a 5-10 minutes drive from l-e-g-i-t  country. I love it. I live in a development with friendly neighbors. I love it. I live in the the Midwest where people are warm, welcoming, friendly, happy people. I love it. Bob made fun of me because during the first couple of days we were here I would walk into a store and people would be so damn friendly I would tear up. Like friendly for no other reason than to be friendly. Just thinking about the friendly people here makes me tear up. I love it.

I live in a place where the preferred method of transportation is a pickup truck. I freaking love it! I have only seen one Mercedes and two BMW's since moving here three weeks ago. I love it! I am so glad that we moved to this town. We thought, briefly, about moving to the Northeast portion of Indy, and after doing some research I realized it was the "well-to-do" part of the city - and I wanted nothing to do with that. We drove up to one of those towns to do some shopping at my beloved Ikea and I am SOOOOOO glad I listened to my gut about not living in that area because the vibe (not so much at Ikea, but at a restaurant we had lunch at) was stuck up. It was like a mini NW Portland. There was a woman with her cardigan wrapped around her neck with her little tennis skirt on who spoke to a server with such contempt and rudeness that I wanted to punch her in the freaking face. Now, I know what you might be thinking - how do you she lived in said town? I don't, but the vibe there just wreaked of people like her and  I've lived that life once and H-A-T-E-D it. So....when I see that a good portion of the population where I am (and the surrounding small towns) are Ford/Chevy truck driving, middle class, hard-working, regular people it makes me breath a sigh of relief.

Dude! I live in an area where the majority of the roads don't have names other than 'county road 950'. How cool is that?! I love it. The fact that I live in such a rural area that it is 'county road this and county road that' is amazing!!!

I haven't been stuck in traffic at all! I can go to the store/park/school and not have to worry about bumper to bumper stopped traffic. I can actually go the speed limit on a regular basis.

I live in a place where the neighbors invite you over for a cookout on Saturday night. And where another neighbor upon hearing that we had a high school aged son who played soccer brought over all of the contact information for the coach as well as club information just in case we hadn't gotten to that yet.

I live in the good 'ole Midwest. Hell, yes!

I was so scared that I would never feel at home again somewhere after leaving New Mexico. I was so scared that I would feel everywhere the way I felt about living in Portland. Thank God that this is not the case. (Now, don't get me wrong. If Bob ever had the chance to move back to Las Cruces I would buy a plane ticket down there faster than you can say, 'Go'. New Mexico is where my heart is, BUT living in Indiana is exactly where I need to be right now. I am happy to be here.)

Our home is pretty neat too. When we first got here one of the agents from the rental company met us here to give us the keys and do a walk through of the house. The house was disgusting when we got here. It was filthy. The cabinets had a plastic coating on them that was peeling and cracked. They looked awful. Instead of using the same color on the walls to patch wall decorations the rental company repair people used a different color, so in most of the rooms in the house the walls were two tone. I was pissed. And the woman knew it. I was so embarrassed for them that this is how they choose to do business. (And its a far cry from the pictures they used to advertise the house on-line.) It's a good thing I hadn't walk through the house prior to renting it because I wouldn't have chosen this house based on how dirty it was. It was awful. Bob was amazing about the whole thing though and kept me from losing my mind. He matched the paint at Lowe's and got to work fixing the walls. I spent the better part of three days scrubbing every part of the house down. Andy cleaned the carpets for us. We did some yard work by mulching, planting grass and flowers, and weeding. With all of our spit and grit our home looks good. (I even pealed all of that plastic junk off of the cabinets. I just couldn't stand it.  I plan on painting them white. The rental company will end up thanking me.)

The kids are all adjusting well. Josh just started soccer yesterday. He loves it. The kids were friendly to him and he was just as shocked as I was walking around in the stores those first few days. Sarah does miss Sky View very much, but is looking forward to attending the Indiana School for the Blind on either a part time or full time basis. (Details to come in the next week or so as we hammer out the last bits of the plan.) Elizabeth has met a nice girl down the street. She has the same exact birthday as Elizabeth. Her mom is a school teacher for a local elementary school. Andy is settling in slowly. He has asked for a little bit of time before he goes and gets another part time job. He misses the mountains of the west. Bob is liking his new job. I am happy that he is under good leadership once again. I know that he will do well and excel in this position just as he has in every position he has held with his current employer. He likes having his own house again with his own yard. So does Lily. She is very content here. Moose wasn't too sure about this place at first, but has since warmed up to it. We let him outside in the backyard where he chases bugs and balls.

We looked into several different towns before choosing Camby. We looked at a bunch of different houses on line. So many that we thought we were going to go crazy. In the end we settled for this one. It is 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. It is 3100 square feet - which I know I said I would never live in a big house again, but I also never thought I would live this close to my family again. I knew that we would need a bigger house since we would only be about 5 hours away from family/friends, and boy was I right. My sister, brother-in-law and their 4 kiddos came for the weekend and it was so nice to have the extra space. The kids were all able to play and weren't under foot. (Plus, to be honest with you, I think the rental company lied size. I don't think this house is really that big. Our house in New Mexico was around that size and it seemed much larger than this one.)

Here are some pics of our house:

Well, these aren't of the house, but sunflowers are my favorite flower, so what the heck why not post a picture of some?

Backyard

Backyard

Living room view from the back door. 

Living room view from the opposite side. 


School room/ office


View from the front door. 

New Mexico representing! 

Eat in kitchen/dining room.

View from the opposite side. 

See what I mean about the cabinets? The white cabinets above the stove already had their plastic peeled and painted. 

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. These are two of my favorite pictures as they are of one of my most sacred placed in all this world: Soledad Canyon. 





I wonder where Moose is?

Our bedroom. We don't usually take the master bedroom because don't have a need for it. The boys/girls have a bigger need for it, so we almost always give it to them. 



This is Josh's room. Clean lines/minimal furniture/ just the basics. He is a super neat and organized kiddo. 

Add caption

This is our loft space. We aren't sure what we want to do with it yet, so it is pretty bare. 

And this is Andy's room. God love him. Cannot throw anything away like ever because you just never know when you might need something. 

He isn't finished putting his things away as you can see...he will have that all done by Friday. I have no idea where he is going to put the rest of that stuff, but that is why God invented doors. I can just shut his and his chaos disappears. 


This is about 1/3 of the master closet. The girls changed it into a playroom for themselves. 



Girls bathroom with soaking tub - just like at their Aunt Julie's.

Elizabeth's side of the room. 

Sarah's side of the room. 


View from the doorway. 


Front of the house. 




There is a half bath on the first floor, another full bath on the second floor, and the laundry room that I did not know you. You'll have to swing by the house for a visit to see those!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

05.09.18 Last Thoughts From Portland


  • Bob's car was picked up today to be shipped (nearly) cross country. For some reason it really started to sink in that we are moving. 
  • Andy turned 18 a few days ago. I plan to write about that once we get settled. 
  • I turned 39 a couple of days ago and had one of the best birthdays ever. I spent it at the beach on a sunny warm day. My parents, kids, and Bobby were with me. The tide was low and I saw the coolest things. 
  • I was coming home from dropping my parents off at the airport yesterday stuck in traffic when I thought about how much more congested the traffic has gotten towards the Portland/Hillsboro area. It made me feel a bit sad for people who commute in that parking lot traffic day in and day out, and I wondered how much of their life is spent in a car sitting on a highway? It made me feel so grateful that we are leaving. 
  • I visited Mt. St. Helen's with my parents and family over the weekend. It was beautiful. I love Washington. I feel peace when I am in that state. It seems unpretentious which is so unlike the Portland part of Oregon. You couldn't pay me enough money to live here again. But Washington? Yeah, I think I would give living there a try - as long as it was not the Seattle area. I have heard that they have something called the 'Seattle freeze' up there which is the way they treat newcomers. I am sure that this is not always the case, but if they have created a phrase for such a thing I imagine that it is the case much of the time - which is such a shame. 
  • I am so thankful for the ocean. It saved my sanity. Really. There were so many times when I thought I was going to lose it - I would head out to the coast for the day and just sit there for hours on end as the tide ebbed and flowed. 
  • As much as I loved the ocean I am not sure I am going to miss it. I appreciated the value that it had while I lived here, but in the grand scope of things the Pacific Ocean is not really all that inviting. Which is weird that I feel such gratitude for it, I know. 
  • Bobby and I are heading to our favorite restaurant tonight. McMenimans Rock Creek Tavern (see here). It is an old barn that was refurbished. It is what I had envisioned the Pacific Northwest  to be like. It is a warm, cozy place nestled among pine trees on the edge of farmland. It is picture perfect. Thomas Kincaidish - if you will. I always love going there - more for the ambiance - than the actual food. Besides the ocean, this place was where Bob and I would go just to try and figure life out. 
  • I am nervous about how many white people are in Indiana. I am nervous about living in a homogeneous state. I was nervous about that here, but thankfully, we ended up living in an area that had large Indian and Asian populations, so it wasn't just a bunch of white people. Living with diversity is important to me. In fact, it is one of the most important things about where I want to live long term. I am a better person - and my kids are much better people - because we have lived in different parts of the country with different cultures. 
  • Josh got his braces removed today. He had them on for 18 months.
  • Sarah is going to Skyview for the last time tomorrow. She is super, super, sad. We have already begun to make tentative plans for Bob, Andy, and Sarah to come out here next June for them to visit. 
  • I think Skyview will always be a part of her life. This makes me happy. 
  • I am excited to meet my new tribe in the next few months.
  • I am excited for the kids to make friends.
  • I am excited to build a new life together. 
  • I am excited to see our new house. 
  • I am excited to set up our house and to spread out again as the house in Indianapolis is twice the size of the one we are currently in. 
  • I am excited to paint and to create a home - not just a house. 
  • We already have visitors lined up. My parents, my sister and her family, and my other "son" all are penciled in to come within the first few weeks of living in Indiana. I am so excited. 
  • I am super excited to make this cross country trip with Bobby. I have a feeling it is going to be beautiful. 
  • The movers are coming between 8-9 am to pack up our house tomorrow and will then load the truck on Friday. 
  • The kids leave tomorrow night.
  • Bob and I are leaving on Friday, but will only be driving a couple of hours. The bulk of our trip will be made Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
  • Our new home is 2300ish miles away. 
  • I always knew this day would come, but never thought it would come - if that makes any sense. 
  • I never thought I would be so excited to move back to the Midwest again. 
  • While I am not sure how long we will be in Indy I do anticipate being longer than we have lived in the last 2 states. 
  • While I think we will be settling down for a bit, I don't think this will be our last move. This makes the adventurous spirit in me very happy. There is still too much of this great country to see/explore/live in. 
  • Since May of 2014 - 4 years - we have lived in 4 states: Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, and now Indiana. That is a lot of states in a short amount of time. We are all ready for a break. 
  • I am so grateful that Bob has the employer he does. 
  • Bob feels about living in the Pacific Northwest the way I feel about living in the Southwest. I feel bad for him because I know much this move may hurt. 
  • Bob will never realize how much this move means to me. He made this decision for the kids and I. If it hadn't been for us - he would still happily be working in his current position until the next promotion opened up. 
  • At the same time, I am so excited for this new/old job for him. This umbrella that he will be under is manned by great people who really care about him and his career. I am thrilled (as is he) that he is going back to where he came from. 
  • I am so looking forward to this new beginning. 

The next time I write will be from Camby, Indiana. I am not sure how long it will take to get our stuff. I am imagining anywhere from 10-20 days from Friday. I will write again as soon as I can!

I am so excited for this next chapter of life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Our Travel Route to Indiana

As I mentioned before Bob and I are driving our animals to our destination. We are looking forward to the (almost) cross country trip. We haven't been alone over night since we left Ohio for New Mexico and the time alone together is just what we need. We are the kind of couple where the more time we spend together the better we get along.

We have booked our trip in a way that will allow us to spend as much time out west as possible. We are traveling through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and then Indiana. Our first stop will be in Missoula, Montana. I am sooooo excited for this destination. After that, we will be stopping in Rapid City, South Dakota. Then we are on to Sioux City, Iowa. Our last leg of the trip will land us in Camby, Indiana - Our new home.

While moving to Indianapolis is absolutely the right move for us right now I would be lying if I told you that I am not sad about leaving the west. I do not know a single person who has ever moved out here (not Portland per se, but the west in general),  and not loved it. There is a freedom that you feel when you live out here - a wildness even - that just becomes a part of you. Of the people who I know that have lived out west and had to move to another part of the country all of them have shared with me or Bobby that someday they hope to return out here. I feel the exact same way.

So, this trip across the country will be a farewell (for now) tour. It will be nice for just the two of us to full enjoy our surroundings sans kiddos. I have a feeling the next time we come back out here our family will look a bit different as our boys are getting ready to head to college/careers in the next couple of years, and will most likely be on their own.

I leave here with a grateful heart. I feel a deep sense of gratitude towards Bob's employer for allowing us to lead the life we do. My kids are better people because of the experiences we have had - even when it has been brutally hard. Bob and I are hands down better people because of where we have been these last 3.5 years. My eyes have been opened to so many different things that I never, ever would have been able to see/know/understand had we stayed in Ohio. I have learned so much about our country and its people by living in such vast and different parts of America - things that you just cannot learn by vacationing there.

I am ready though - to head back to the Midwest. I am ready to recoup and regroup. I need to take some time to gather myself again and to gather the kids back together. I need to strengthen my marriage and our family. And maybe after some time has gone by, and with Bob's employer's blessing, we will be ready to hit the road once again. We are still so young, Bob and I, and I am looking forward to all that the rest of our lives has in store for us.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

05.02.18


Some thoughts:
  • Three years ago today we brought Sammy home. We miss him every day and still talk about him frequently even though it has almost been a year since his death. I really wish we got to spend more than just two years and three months with him. That dog really was a blessing and made such a huge impact on our lives. What a joy he was. 
  • The kids and I are done homeschooling for this school year. I think it is fair to say it was our hardest year, but I know that they learned more than I feel like they did. They always do.
  • I am going to wait to decide on the homeschooling/public schooling thing. I know that the right decision will present itself at the right time. I had been reaching out to others to get their opinion on what to do, but decided not to do that anymore. Some people say to put them in public school - others say to keep them home. In the end, it doesn't really matter what other people think./say anyway, so why am I asking? I guess I was looking for someone to show me what I already knew inside, but I have found that that isn't usually the way life works. The answer will present itself when it is supposed to present itself. 
  • 8 more days until the kids leave. 
  • 10 more days until we leave. (Bob wants to leave on Saturday, not Friday.)
  • My parents are coming tomorrow for a visit. I am thankful that they are coming. I really felt my parents love while we have been gone these past 3.5 years. They were the only people who visited us regularly.  Their visits meant so much to Bob and I because it meant a lot to our kids. My mom made a promise to my kids that she would visit them twice a year because that is what her job/finances allowed. And she did that. She visited us a total 8 times in 3.5 years with my dad trailing a close second with 7 visits. Now that we are moving closer, they will take priority in our lives because they made us a priority while we were away. A lot has happened in 3.5 years. My kids are no longer little. In a few days, I will have an 18 year old son in the house. I am thankful that my parents had the foresight to realize that they could never get the time back while we were away and chose to stay connected in my kids lives. Bob and I are so thankful to have them in our lives. Their steady and continual presence in our lives has meant the world to us. Their visits were so needed and provided something for us all to look forward to. We were desperate for familiar faces while we lived in Oregon. They provided just that. 
  • Josh's "brother from another mother" is coming to visit us in June. I cannot wait. It will be his first visit since we have moved away from Ohio, and I am like a child on Christmas Eve. I cannot wait to see him, and have him in my home once again. I love that boy so much. Josh and Andy are even more excited - if that is possible.
  • I think my sister and her family are coming to visit over Memorial Day weekend. I have missed my nieces and nephews so much. I am so glad that I get to be a bigger part of their lives now. 
  • For several months this past winter ( actually 5 months, but who's counting?) we were lead to believe that we were moving to Boise, ID. I was so excited. So excited. But it obviously didn't work out. And I am even more excited that it didn't. Moving to Indiana is exactly where we are meant to be at this time in our lives. I know I keep mentioning that, but when you have felt so lost for so long, and you (finally!) feel like you know where you are meant to be - it is one of the best feelings in the world. It feels so good!!!!
  • My brother and sister-in-law are only going to be 3 hours away from us. Bobby has already started planning weekend get-togethers with them in his mind. I cannot wait to steal some time with my nephew as we moved away the year before he was born. 
  • The kids and I had a great day today. We got some lunch to go and spent several hours with the dog at a local park. Just talking and soaking up the sun. It reminded me of what a homeschooling day used to look like when they were little. Just the four of us (and the dog) having a good day. Enjoying each other's company. I needed this kind of day with them. They needed it too. 
  • We have a house all ready for us in Indy. Our move in date is 05/15. I will share pictures with you all once we get there. It is a big house. I said I'd never live in a big house again, so I feel like a hypocrite, but I am hoping for more family/friends to visit and so the extra space is important to me. Plus, I am planning on the kids and I actually make friends in the area where we will be living, so I want to be able to comfortably entertain them all. 
  • I am feeling about moving to Indy the way I did when we moved to Cruces. I will always love Cruces and will always be thankful for the wonderful people we met and places visited. I have a good feeling that I will walk away from Indy with a similar experience. It is just a hunch. But I have learned to trust my hunches. They haven't let me down before. 
  • In just a few short days Andy is going to be 18. 18?! Where the hell did time go? And in a few weeks, Josh is going to turn 16! I can remember looking towards the future and thinking how cool life was going to be when the boys were 18 and 16. And now we are here. I am both so excited and so sad. My kids are growing up - and that is such a good thing - but it also means that a big part of my life is changing too. I am so lucky to be their mom. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Homeschool/Public School - That Is The Question Right Now

I have been homeschooling my kiddos for a total of 7 years. This particular go around I have been doing so for 5 years. I have homeschooled in places where the community is great, and I have homeschooled in places where the homeschooling community was not so great.

I have also experienced the public school system for a total of 5 years. Just as with homeschooling I have had some amazing and wonderful experiences, and I have also had some not so good experiences.

We could go round and round about which is better homeschooling or public schooling, and I could easily argue on both sides of the fence. I don't think one size fits all in this category. There are better fits for different families. Sometimes both worlds fit different families for different seasons of life.

And that is where we are at right now. Which option is a better option for our family at this stage in our life? It is a big decision to make, and one that will not be made quickly or lightly. I plan on meeting with the local school district once we get settled to see what our actual options are. Some school districts will allow children to attend public school part time. Some only allow full time attendance. Sarah has the right under federal law to be tested and placed on an IEP as a homeschooler, but the local school has the right to decide whether or not they are going to require her attendance at their school on a full time basis to provide those services. (Not all school districts require this. Some school districts will allow a homeschooled child to receive IEP services while still being homeschooled.)

And what is better for each of my children as individuals? What is better for us as a family? What are our goals educational goals as parents for our children? Which option will help our kids achieve this goal?

I swing back and forth each day between the thoughts of:

"Yes, they are definitely going back to public school."  to "No, we will just keep homeschooling."

I can tell you this: right now I am just plain tired out from homeschooling. I don't want to do it anymore. But will I feel differently after a summer break? I don't know. And here's the thing - there will be things that will tire me out from sending them to public school too. Right now, I just want someone else to educate my children. I want someone else to come up with the lesson plans, activities, and book work. I want someone else to test them to see if they are learning what the state/federal government deems they should be learning.  I want them to have access to a wide variety of different kids that I don't have to coordinate their exposure to.

But on the flip side, do I really want my kids to be in a learning environment that is geared so much so towards federal/state testing? Do I really want my kids to be in school 6-7 hours a day only to come home with homework on top of that? Do I really want my kids to be in an environment focused so much on electronic learning? And while, exposure to all different kinds of kids and families with different rules and different values is great - I have to take the good with the bad. We are a pretty conservative family when it comes to rules and values.  Are we ready for that as a family? And what about two weeks into school and the shininess of school has worn off on those that would like to go back do I really want to deal with kids complaining about how they wished they were homeschooled again?

There is no perfect solution. There are good and bad things about both options, and as trivial as some of the things I may have mentioned above may be - they must all be considered. (As well as a million other pros and cons to both options that I did not even mention above.)

I wish there was an easy answer. I wish I knew in my heart which way was the right way for us. But I don't. And I am not sure I will for a while. Which doesn't sit well with me.

Monday, April 30, 2018

April's Reading List

I didn't read a lot in March. In fact, I am not sure that I finished even one book, but I sure made up for that in April.

Sarah and I read:



Sarah and I are currently reading: 

Great book so far!


Here are the books I read in the month of April:
A close friend recommended this book, and although I think we have different book preferences this is definitely one that we share. It was unlike most of the books I read, but was a good one. I would venture to say that this is a book I would read again. 
Loved this book. This is the second book I have read by Jeannette Walls. Her stories captivate me. No doubt I will read this one again. 
This book was recommended to me by a friend from high school. I definitely finished it with many a page highlighted. And although I am not sure I will read it again in its entirety I will certainly re-read the highlighted sections. 
This book is beloved by a cherished Las Cruces homeschooling mama I met. It was upon her recommendation that I read this book, and while I did get something out of it it definitely wasn't on my favorites list. 
This is another re-read. Cannot go wrong with Michael Pollan. Ever. 

This is the second time I have read through this book, and it did not disappoint. I love this book, and will most likely read it again in the future.


My current read:

Holy Cow! Loving this book. It caught my eye when I was in Powell's Book Store this weekend. Will re-read it for sure when I am done. It is so, so good.