Eighth time’s the charm

It’s over. The money’s in the bank. The fat lady has sung.

photo

After more than three months under contract and seven – yes, SEVEN – missed closing dates, we finally completed the sale of our former home. There were plenty of times we doubted it would actually happen, but patience paid off, and we are again the owners of one lovely home. Perhaps now, we can actually finish furnishing it.

We’re home

We survived the move! One week in our new house, and we’re still bleary-eyed, bruised up and generally exhausted but feeling a little closer to settled each day.

It was an epic day, that Moving Day. We hired professional movers, who did a wonderful job handling our stuff but underestimated the job by about six hours and half a truckload. It made for a very long day for all of us.  Jon pitched in to help unload the truck here at the new house on the first run while I tried to clean around the stuff still left at the old one. The movers arrived for round two at about 8:30 p.m. At 10 p.m., I said my final good-byes to our little house on Holloway Court, mopped myself out the front door and made the trek south to the piles of boxes waiting at the new house. Jon had done a remarkable job getting the kids to bed and the bedroom to as cozy a state as possible. (Of course, there was also the incident where he locked us out of the house before I’d stepped foot inside and had to kick open the back door to get us back in…) We finally fell into bed exhausted at midnight, a pattern that has continued for the past week. I am certain we would not have survived without the generous help of so many family and friends.

I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect, but there’s nothing like the labor of cleaning and arranging a home to foster the necessary bonding. I’ve had bouts of homesickness for the familiarity of the old house, and depression creeps in when I look at how much work still lies ahead. The cure, I’ve discovered, is simply stepping into the back yard for a few moments. Lying in the hammock, staring up at the leaves above me, watching the dozens of fireflies that magically appear at dusk, glancing over at the deer wandering through the woods just up the hill… It’s impossible not to fall in love all over again.

There has been a steady procession of wildlife through our yard since we moved in. A doe and two fawns make frequent visits, and flocks of 20-plus turkey have paraded right by our deck and windows. Five horned buck hung out on the lawn for a while a few days ago. It is beyond our wildest hopes, and those joys have made the transition easier for us all.

The truth is this house feels remarkably comfortable and has since we first saw it. It’s not especially fancy – at least not by Brentwood standards – but it feels like us. I look out the window from our bedroom as I type, down the quiet cul de sac across to the wooded hills surrounding us, and I know: I am home.

10502165_10152994093674745_8246957014594614986_n

 

This house we love

Here it is, our last full day in this house. I’m tempted to feel it’s still not real, but the mountains of boxes and the eerie echo assure me it’s happening. Tomorrow at 8 a.m., the movers will ring the doorbell, and all our earthly possessions will transfer from this home to a new one.

We moved into this house nine years ago, three years married, in our mid-twenties and secretly sure we were just playing at adulthood. We put a lot into making this house a home. A lot of life happened under this roof. Here Jon cooked romantic anniversary dinners, enjoyed on fine china in the days of just the two of us. Here is where I crumpled to the floor the day before my 30th birthday, when I learned I wasn’t yet going to be a mom. Here is where I took the calls that said, yes, after years of struggle, I really was going to be a mom and a mom again. Here is where we rang in so many New Years at home, sharing that hopeful kiss as the ball dropped miles away. Here is where we brought home our son, our firstborn. Here I sat on the couch, cradling his tiny body and trying to fathom this new life, for him and for me. Here is where our precious daughter drew her first breaths and where we finally brought her back home again, eight days later, to meet her brother. Here we began knitting together the fabric of our family of four. Here we shared countless meals and hours of good conversation with family and dear friends, some of whom now live half a world away. Ugly fights and heartfelt apologies, lovemaking, and so much laughter. So many hours of the everyday, the nitty-gritty, the monotony and joy of life has happened in this place, under this roof.

Really, I thought this parting would be harder. Perhaps God knew I needed the months it took for all the pieces of this move to fall into place. No question, He knew just the new house to get me excited enough to open my hands and let loose this first home I’ve grown to love. Tomorrow, I will take time to walk through each room and say good-bye. I’ll probably shed some tears, especially over that mural in Corin’s room (which, by the way, has a new addition).

IMG_0890

IMG_0891

 

I’m ready, though. I’m ready for the next thing. I’m ready for our new house and the many years of memories (and I do mean many) that await us there. We make this move now as 30-something adults, a lot of marriage and life under our belts and confident in all that has led us here. We make the move as a family, trusting in a God who brought us this far and will carry us through all that lies ahead. So yes, there is sadness and nostalgia, but mostly, there is joy and anticipation. (Well, okay, at the moment, it’s buried under a lot of sheer exhaustion.)

But time to get on with my day. For all this talk about good-byes, my house still looks a lot like this:

IMG_0901

Closing Day!

IMG_0859

It was a big day in the Sharp family.

IMG_0842

IMG_0837

IMG_0849

IMG_0850

 

These kids have taken to our new property like fish to water. Watching them run and play in our little corner of the outdoors puts something right in my soul that I hadn’t realized was out of alignment. We have a LOT of work to do over the next 2 1/2 weeks, but moving day can’t come soon enough.

Not bad for Friday the 13th

We close on our new house on Monday. As in the very next business day after today. We will celebrate with lighter hearts now that – as of a few hours ago – we also have a new contract on our house. I think the buyers need this house as badly as we need to sell it. They have been living in an apartment with their five children.

Our official move date is July 3. We have not done nearly enough packing. These next few weeks are going to be something. I’m pretty sure my gray hairs are multiplying.

 

“Life in the fast lane”

That tune is running through my head as I type.

It’s a crazy time around here. We had a contract on our house. It fell through a month in. We had a contract on a new house. It fell through, too. Now we have a contract on another new house, which is a story in itself. It’s on three acres. I will undoubtedly be writing a soliloquy to our new home once it’s, you know, actually ours. That should be sometime around June 16. Our current home is on the market again, and I am slightly antsy but mostly calm about getting it sold, because God has reminded me that He can do anything.

I am really tired, because having to whip your house into spotless condition before walking out the door every day is totally exhausting. I knew there was a reason I didn’t bother with such things before. Also, I pick toys up, move on to the next room, and turn around to find the room I just cleaned looking like Godzilla came through. That’s actually what Corin calls Lina: “Little Godzilla.” He may have picked that up from me.

Also, I have over the past two weeks been visited by randomly appearing patches of poison ivy. The old ones don’t go away, and new ones keep popping up. (That’s what I get for finally clearing the poison ivy off the stump in the back yard.) I took myself yesterday to The Little Clinic at our local Kroger, where I was prescribed an antibiotic ointment and a pack of steroids, which could cause “jitteriness, irritability, increased appetite and trouble sleeping.” Incidentally, those are also the exact side effects of selling a home and buying a new one.

My kids are as infuriating and amazing as ever, and growing faster than I can fathom. Lina is making big strides with her communication. It’s hard for me to be patient on that one, but there is such joy when she is hungry and signs, “eat,” or wants to repeat a game with daddy and signs, “more.” She’s cruising with increasing proficiency and has even made strides toward drinking from a cup. Corin is beginning, with some help, to read simple words and sentences. He’s gotten pretty good on his balance bike. He’s 40 inches tall, which I know because we marked it on the laundry room wall – another spot I’ll be awfully sad to leave behind in our move. He’s going through intermittent clingy stages, which is why I’m currently typing as he hangs on my back and tries to smear my glasses.

Our barely-controlled chaos will likely progress to full-on chaos as soon as this house sells and the real packing begins, but we’re taking it one day at a time and feeling very thankful for the opportunities opening up for us. Count on this: As soon as we get moved and settled in, you’ll be welcome to come visit and let your kids run wild with ours in the woods. Related: Anyone have tips for non-toxic tick prevention?

10013520_10152846904349745_6113499706427455767_n

one of my favorite things about spring

10337702_10152833785899745_685885369050328262_n

rainy day view

10269352_10152820549709745_3909928685757326155_n

blueberry pancakes for breakfast

I CAN hear you now!

I haven’t said a whole lot here about our move. Maybe that’s odd, given it’s the biggest thing happening in our lives right now. It’s a little tricky to know what to say, though, because circumstances seem to change on a daily – sometimes almost hourly – basis. The bottom line is that nothing about our plan to move has been simple. It was a difficult decision to make, and now that the ball is rolling, it’s a bumpy ride. I won’t drag you through the minutia and mini-dramas; I subject my parents and a few close friends to that and hope they still love me when it’s over. Suffice it to say we currently have no idea exactly what lies ahead. We made the decision this week to walk away from the house we were contracted to buy due to growing concerns about the property, and we are facing some challenges in the sale of our home, as well. We continue to pray to the only One who knows all ends and trust we’ll come out of this where He wants us to be.

I have a suspicion I’m being allowed another growth opportunity, because a state of limbo is my very least favorite place to be. I do not like uncertainty. I want to make plans, take action, forge ahead. I am getting a lot of practice at doing the exact opposite: sitting back, waiting patiently (ahem), allowing circumstances to unfold. It does not come naturally. I realize in times like this that for all my talk about faith through the unexpected, it’s still an area where I struggle. I trust that God is going to work all this out. I really do. I just wish He’d give me a peek ahead so I don’t have to do all this waiting and wondering! 

Meanwhile, life moves on in other areas. Lina was a very sick girl for a lot of this week but is on the mend, thanks to good old amoxicillin. (We suspect scarlet fever. Add that to the list of scary-sounding diseases I used to think were obsolete.)

10299946_10152786418069745_4121184889696720349_n

Poor, sick baby fell asleep on the dirty laundry.

 

And then, today, Lina had an audiologist appointment. (I realize I’ve buried the lede here…) Because of her early diagnosis of conductive hearing loss, she goes in for periodic hearing tests and checks on her bone anchored hearing aid. The booth hearing tests they use can be problematic for young kids. They hadn’t gotten great results from her previously, because she wasn’t fully participating in the test. I had low expectations for today’s appointment. Imagine my surprise when Lina turned immediately in response to nearly every noise the audiologist played through speakers, over a range of frequencies and volumes. Girl tested at normal hearing, without her hearing aid! They will repeat the test in three months, and if the results are similar, they will remove the conductive hearing loss diagnosis. It was pretty exciting news, and a huge relief for me. I’ve struggled with a lot of guilt over how little use Lina gets from her hearing aid, thanks to her refusal to leave it on her head. I can now silence the guilt gremlins and know that my baby girl is likely hearing me just fine.

In a week of plentiful challenges, I’m so grateful for the win on this one.