New House!

We are all moved in and finally got our internet hooked up today! As much as I try not to be too techy-internety, it is amazing how hard it is to live without!

We are settling in little by little. We even hung our first thing on the wall yesterday:) One very good sign about this place is that we are rapidly giving away/recyling our boxes. A year ago when we moved, I saved every single box that was salvageable! We all really love it here and can’t wait to show pictures:)

One crazy thing we have done is to put all three kids in the SAME room!! It is a huge room so Eliana has her own cute girly corner and the boys have their stinky boys corner. (Hey, boys really are stinky!!) They all  LOOOOVE it! Eliana so much that it’s hard to get her to go to sleep. But that’s really not a new thing with her…..She was super lonely in her old bedroom and would constantly say, “Mommy, I’m all alone in here with just my elephants and Hoppy and my stuffed animals and no persons!”

We are using the 3rd bedroom as our study/school room! We have some adorable old fashioned school desks that my mom got for the kids and our bookshelves and it is really wonderful. It is so much better than having it in our kitchen!

The layout of our new-to us (but really old!) house is much better than our last place. It has really cool nooks and crannies and built in shelves and cabinets, which I just love. We have adjusted really easily so far to having just one bathroom. That’s right folks, just one bathroom for all five of us! It’s a huge bathroom and has lots of storage and I am thrilled to pieces to not have to clean three bathrooms anymore:)

We are trying to get back into school routines and life routines again. Everything gets thrown so out of whack when you move! This is going to be a good change for us, I think. We are very thankful! Pictures soon!

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Camping! And moving!

 We have been buuuuuusy! When we looked at the calendar at the end of August for this month, we felt really overwhelmed. But here we are….the day before moving day and we are still alive! But first, last weekend we went camping! Ben took his very first earned vacation day last Thursday and we took our long awaited camping trip, which had to be rescheduled because of all the rain this summer.

The boys got to sleep in their very own tent this time. They begged to be allowed to set it up themselves so we let them! They did a really good job:)

The end result! It’s a very cozy tent, made for 2 to sleep side by side with little extra room so as they grow, we will probably have to upgrade. They were so proud of themselves!

My mom and Derek upgraded to a tent with a sunscreened porch:) They also had a hammock, which was a big hit!

Nothing in the world like a good campfire and s’mores!

We didn’t go too far from home but it felt like another place! There was a nice trail to hike so we went on a long walk on Friday.

My stepdad loves to take pictures for possible paintings so I snapped him snapping pictures:)

Samuel with his walking stick! We all found good walking sticks for the weekend:)

Eliana and her daddy!

Love, love this pictures!!

We brought along the kids’ nature journals and had them write observations about flowers, bugs and other things like these deer tracks. Camping is definitely educational!

Everyone hiking. We went with my mom, stepdad, my brother in law and niece. It was a fun crew!

Everyone admiring the scenery!

Eliana is such good buddies with her cousin Evy. They had the best time together!!

The boys were helping to blow up the swimming pool for the girls. It was pretty warm on Friday so it was perfect to cool off for a bit. Can you guess who’s legs and who’s arms those are?? (hint; it’s a trick question!)

Derek took this gorgeous picture!

And here’s Ben fully enjoying his brief vacation:) He took a nice long nap on Friday!

We only stayed 2 days so that we could still have a weekend, too. It was a short and sweet trip! We felt good about our camping skills this time:) Ben and I invested in a double sleeping bag which made sleeping SO much better! Now we don’t have to drag along sheets, blankets, etc and be huddled shivering all night. Definitely recommend one!
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We came back from camping and our whole week has been spent trying to balance school (more on that another time) and getting ready for moving this weekend. It has been CRAZY. As a matter of fact, I have to scram and finish getting ready for our moving help to come in the morning. Ah! Can’t wait! This is going to be a fun place to live!!

Pictures coming soon! (a.k.a. after the internet is installed, which won’t be for another week and a half:)

Our Exciting Life;)

SHE..

a.k.a. Miss Adorable Ray of Sunshine!

gets eaten alive by mosquitos!

They think she is an extra-special tasty treat (which she is, of course) and she reacts so strongly, even to the point of blistering and scarring! Poor baby! It has been a miserably itchy summer for her!

 HE (Mr. Warring-with-staying-small-and-growing-up-all-at-the-same-time)

looks like he came out of a war zone every time he rides his bike! This is only one of the wounds on his body right now! Sheesh.

 SHEgoes wherever she pleases in her ballet costume, even to the park:) And quite frankly, it doesn’t bother me! She is only four once….

We saw this little beauty at the park the other day…

So beautiful!

I am taking full advantage of the fresh summer fruits to make delicious things like this!

Oh yes.

And HE (a.k.a. Mr.-Imagination-Central) has learned how to cook eggs (and so has his brother) and that’s all they want to eat! All day, every day! I need chickens!!

You can see that we are getting ready for school to start very, very soon! I am working so hard to organize this all!!!

We became officially official today!

And we really really need bookshelves!!!

And last but not least….WE are moving again! We are like the king and queen of moving, blech!  As in, in this will be our 10th move since we were married….12 1/2 years ago. We lived in one cute little condo in Ohio as newlyweds. Four months after our I do’s, we moved to Indiana for school and had a cozy apartment for 1 1/2 years. We left that sleazy landlord infested apartment for a teeny little duplex 6 months before we moved to Chicago. And that’s where Samuel was born. When he was 8 weeks old, we moved sigh-unseen to an apartment in Chicago, where our rent immediately doubled. (yea, Chicago). We traded in that apartment for a slightly larger one the floor above after Zakkai was born and there we stayed for a couple of years.
Then once the boys started getting into school, we had to navigate the muddy lottery Chicago school system and move to get into a school. We lasted one year in Ukranian Village, where Eliana was born (and where we braved our first blizzard!) before heading to the Western Suburbs so the boys could go to a good non-Chicago public school. And there we stayed for 3 years until our move back to Ohio and into my grandparent’s basement last summer. We roomed with them for 2 1/2 months before we found our current condo, where we’ll have been for one year at the end of this month. Whew!!! Anyone else tired??
 We are very much hoping and praying that this will be the last move before we can buy a home of our own in the next couple of years. But for now, this is a huge answer to prayer! Not only does it have a fenced-in backyard (oh yea!) and a porch swing (which they said we can paint a fun color!!) but it is a HOUSE (which we have never lived in!!) AND we will be saving over $300 per month from what we pay now. Can I get an Amen?!!
We have 7 weeks to pack up our much-reduced belongings (hooray!), get into a good school routine, start Fall baseball with S, start Awana back up, go camping and then we move!
Who ever said life is boring? Not me!

Apple Picking (part one!)

 If you know me well, you know that apple picking is my absolute favorite fall activity! Well, that and making and consuming all things apple:) Sadly, we have to transfer to a new orchard this year since we are no longer close to our favorite Indiana Orchard (sniff!). The one thing we will miss terribly are the doughnuts.  You can find apples anywhere but pumpkin and apple spice doughnuts? Not so much….

This past Saturday, the kiddos and I went with my mom to her lifelong orchard (actually where I went growing up!) since Ben had to work. I was able to snap a few great pictures of my trio!

Sweet Zakkai! Such a pleaser and sweet-hearted boy!

 

 
 

Our little golden girl:)

Mr Toothless! Who, by the way, lost his other front tooth due to apple eating;) Picture coming soon!

My beautiful Mama!

Everyone has to taste an apple just to make sure they are good for making pies! (and applesauce, apple butter, apple muffins, apple dumplings, etc.)

Cheese!

And I had to get my proof that I was there! I only wish Ben was in the picture:( We will get another chance soon, as our other favorite kind of apple is ready in 2 weeks. How many people get to go apple picking twice?!

And when we got home, our couch was there! Ben and my stepdad went to pick it up and we got to help pull of the wrapping when we got home:) We really didn’t like our other couch and are not quite sure what we were thinking when we bought it all those years ago, aside from the fact that it had a sleeper which came in handy for guests. Little did we know that sleepers are not only ginormous, they weight about a million pounds…
 
We didn’t get the best quality couch and it showed by the time we sold it. We found this one at a discount outlet from a nice furnishing store. It was a good deal and should last a long time! Especially if we keep enforcing our no drink/no food rule:) This is the first nice piece of furniture we have ever bought!
 
It’s been nice to have a real living room the past few days, without 3 or more of us hanging off of our big stuffed chair:)  Hopefully we can get some pictures hung soon and it will all come together. We are really liking it in our little home so far! 

Car Hunting and Trees.

Another week beginning tomorrow, wow! We have been working hard, one day at a time, to get things into shape here and trying to get routines and schedules going again. I am the type that could keep going and going all day because it annoys me to have so many things left undone. Ben is the type that has to plan everything out each day and has a definite limit to what he can accomplish in a day. I guess we balance each other out:)

We are on the hunt for a second car and it’s just about as painful as searching for a home! I forgot what a torturous experience car hunting is. We last went through it when we got our van four years ago in preparation for Miss Eliana joining our family. We swore we’d never go through that again! Ha.

Last weekend we had a strikeout with a car that seemed decent and was a great price. Only to take it to the mechanic and find out that it  needed a new transmission, new front breaks, a timing belt and 3 new tires. Yeah….right.

This weekend we had two duds. The first probably was a great car but was at a really shady dealer. Something was really off with these people and when they couldn’t even give us a carfax report because of supposed password issues but just wanted us to take their word that the car was “perfect” we decided to drive away. The next place was just plain annoying because we wasted a few hours getting the car checked out only to have the manager refuse to deal. The car was a good car, just needed a few things fixed. They must’ve paid too much for it so we said “See ya later, alligator!” The only good thing out of it was that we found a good mechanic and he will inspect the next car for free. I can only pray that the “next” car will be “the” car. It’s been hard to rely on other people to help us get around! I get the car one day a week, thanks to Ben’s mom being sweet enough to take Ben to work on Thursday mornings. I get a lot of errands done in my one car day:)

We are taking life one day at a time, healing and growing healthier as a family following God together. These past few years have been the years of the locusts for us. Absolutely crushing and life-sucking. We have nothing to show for it and absolutely no assurance of any sort of wonderful outcome or easy answers.  Perhaps ever. Nothing comes easily for us (seriously…nothing) but the good part about it all is that is has and is forcing us to depend on Him in an incredibly painfully beautiful way. We have learned/are learning what the most important thing in this life is. Jesus. Anything that comes after that is simply a gift to be thankful for but nothing to be put in His place.

I’d be lying if I said I was learning these lessons graciously. It’s plain ugly sometimes. But I am beginning to appreciate growth, however slow and painful, and that it’s okay if I don’t grow at the same pace as others. Take Ben for instance. He’s like a wild horse sometimes. He’ll jump in with both feet (or all four), even if it isn’t his comfort zone and have to be reigned in. Down, boy, whoaaa! Whereas, I am more timid and need a push. I don’t like to get out of my comfort zone at all. It kind of struck me the other day that it’s okay if I don’t jump in with my two feet blindly. As long as I keep moving, keep growing,  and stay open to being pushed out of my comfort zone.

I want to be a tree like in Jeremiah 17:8. Slow and steady, that’s me!

School and Furniture Re-do’s!

 Week one of crazy change is done! I feel like I am barely hanging on. It has been SO incredibly overwhelming this past week with new schools/preschool, unpacking, trying to get back into a semblance of routines and schedules, hunting for a used car, etc. Yesterday I had to give myself a little grace and remind myself that it’s only been a week and we are adjusting to so much in a short time. I am working hard on getting us into routine so our afternoons and evenings will run a little smoother.

As for school, the kiddos are adjusting really well this week! Last week was pretty tough. There were tears and tummy aches and lots of “I want to move back to Chicago’s” floating around but it started to ease at the end of the week. It has been easier for the boys to go to school this week and they are starting to make a few friends and feel a little more comfortable. We are still trying to figure out the school and what they expect in terms of homework, etc. It will just take time! (breathe, Heidi!)

Here are the kiddos on their first day of school! We were all so tired!

This is Eliana’s cubby at her preschool. She goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and seems to be enjoying it so far. She loves her new Princess Sofia backpack:)

This is E on her first day of school! She almost refused to smile for me but at the last minute she relented:)

Here is the school bus! The boys still aren’t huge fans of riding it but I admit that it makes things much easier to have them go straight to school and come straight home. It’s pretty cute to see their cute faces smiling and waving to us from the window:)

And now for some furniture re-do’s! I got a few small cans of paint and decided to brighten up some of our furniture! Most of our furniture is old, hand-me downs or eclectic. The first to get a makeover was our bed! It was given to us and I’m just not a huge fan of dark brown. My mom’s been trying to convince me to paint it white for a long time but I just wasn’t sure how that would look. I finally gave in…

It took a lot of primer to cover the dark wood!

Here it is white! I actually really like it! It makes the bed fade into the background instead of being a huge focal point.

The spindals were so hard to paint but it was worth it!

Next was a cute little bookshelf that my cousin and I bought at a garage sale back when we lived together. We got it for only $1! It has been repainted a few times and put into different rooms. In Chicago, this was my “pantry” in the basement but now it’s in Eliana’s room!

And now it’s purple! She picked the color (“Magical”) and her dresser will also be painted when I get the chance.

It’s a very pretty pinky-purple color, kind of like her glasses!

I also wanted to add a splash of color into our kitchen/dining room area. We have a kitchen island that was white….

And now it’s blue! It’s actually a blue/slightly aqua color that I just love!

It holds our “Junk drawer” (doesn’t everyone have one?!) and our Tupperware.

We also have a bookshelf in our kitchen for my cookbooks and kid’s dishes. It was white and looking pretty rundown.

But now it’s all spruced up! I haven’t finished putting everything back onto the shelves but I will soon! I just love seeing pretty color in the house after so many years of white, white, white!

This pretty much sums up how tiring this past week has been…;)

Waiting for brothers at the bus stop! I think she looks so much older here. Sniff!

Eliana got a beautiful purple dress from my aunt and she wore it on Sunday to church. She got lots of compliments!

Today my mom and niece picked E and I up and we went to story time at the local library! It was really well done and I am excited to go back. Eliana was hesitant to participate but started doing handmotions to the songs towards the end. It was a nice way to pass part of our morning! (It gets very boring being stuck here with no car!)

That’s it for today. I am still trying to organize enough to take pictures of our place but it’s coming! Now I’m off to make dinner before Awana tonight. Always something!

TGIF

Hey! We made it! We just got internet hooked up a half an hour ago and one of my first stops into the internet world is my good old blog:)

We moved on Monday and were reminded all over again of how much stuff we have. Yuck. We moved a ton of boxes over the weekend by ourselves and weren’t sure how we would find people to help us, as most of our family is “broken.” But God provided again and people came out of the woodworks, including a guy we just met at church a couple of weeks ago!

Not only did we move everything in on Monday, on Tuesday the boys started their new school and Eliana started preschool! It was totally overload for everyone and most of us were exhausted and more emotional than normal. The boys hadn’t slept well our first night here (and so neither did I!) and were just overwhelmed. Thankfully, we all made it through the first day.

We had to find help getting people places this week because of our car situation~one car! We are praying that we can find a cheap second car asap. One answer to prayer is that the boys’ school has a bus that stops right in front of our neighborhood! There are SOO many kids in the neighborhood that they fill up a whole bus so it’s a one-stop bus that goes straight to/from school. It takes us 2 minutes to walk to the bus stop. The boys aren’t thrilled with riding the bus and I do miss walking them to school, like we have the past 3 years but this is so helpful right now.

I have been working very hard the past few days unpacking and trying to make a semblance of a home for us! Pictures coming soon…..:)

For now, we are all looking forward to hanging out together in our new home this weekend. TGIF!