Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Unplanned Party

Photo Credit

Today I threw a party.

It wasn't planned.

Actually...I didn't even want to throw it.

This party had zero streamers. No cake. No presents.

It had one attendee.


What kind of lame party is that?

The pitiful kind.


Today...I threw myself a pity party.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has days that make you want to throw up your hands in surrender. To grab any white napkin, tea towel, diaper or white pair of underpants from the laundry basket and wave that thing around.

I just gave up.

It could have been my pre-teen's refusal to follow my instructions for the umpteenth time about going to bed at a decent time and thus falling asleep on the couch at her sister's OT appointment. Which led to her not finishing her work for the day. Which led to her having to do it when we got home. Which led to her being bored and somehow turning, "don't let your backside leave this seat at the table" into "hey...I'll just go and watch this tv show with my brothers for a minute...or thirty.

It could have been that.

Or it could have been my precocious second-born's freak out at the counselor's office today. And while I'm grateful it happened in this safe environment, it left me saddened and mentally and emotionally exhausted.

That could have definitely done it.

Or maybe it was walking out of that office feeling defeated to realize that my third born child, the Rule Keeper, had not kept his word about finishing his math work while I was dealing with the above-mentioned issue.

At that point, I was near tears and had to swallow back that primal scream that we moms know so well, "Why won't ANYONE listen to me?!?!?!?"

As we moved from appointment to appointment and location to location, things went from bad to worse until I felt so out of control, sorts, options and sanity.

I felt very sorry for myself and could have played a party soundtrack of melancholy songs as I fixed something on our church's Facebook page per request by my pastor/father (and thus not even noticing when my eldest backside left her seat to migrate into the tv room), all the while watching the clock and dreading the dinner prep and cooking that was looming ahead of me.

I could have thrown up streamers of frustration as I prepped and cooked said dinner only to have three out of four kids come see what I was making and then sneak off to try to scarf down cereal, fruit snacks, and leftovers because they informed me that they didn't like what I was making (and by the way, not liking tacos is pretty much Un-American in my book).

Cleaning up from the non-desired dinner didn't help my mood. Likewise, working with my procrastinating student on her persuasive essay that is due tomorrow that she did not do when she was snoozing on the couch this afternoon and that she was "not in the mood for" was not my favorite moment.

Even my husband's attempts to have me read our nightly advent reading and put today's Jesse Tree ornament on the tree couldn't break me out of my funk. I took a pass because I couldn't bear to see my four blessings tune out the hope of Christmas and squabble on the rug during the reading and fight over who got to put on the ornament. I just couldn't do it.

So he did it. And they piped down and listened and asked introspective questions and the five of them had a warm fuzzy Christmas moment while I silently fumed and printed out paperwork for our educational coordinator meeting tomorrow.

Foiled again.

And just now, I shut this laptop cover and walked towards my bedroom to call it a day and just crawl into bed to start afresh tomorrow. But then I passed by the laundry room and saw the clothes I had put in the washing machine earlier were done and needed to be put in the dryer. But there was already stuff in the dryer that needed to be taken care of...

And by then...my lip had started to quiver.

It was my pity party and I could cry if I wanted to....

But instead, I pulled clothes out of the dryer and hung them up. And folded pants and put them in laundry baskets. And turned leggings outside in and brushed the clump of autumn leaves off them that went through both washer and dryer.

And I thought about a terrible rotten no good day that didn't offer much in terms of happiness or accomplishment. These days are not my favorite type of days. They are no one's favorite days. They are grey days of blah and blech. There are no surprise gifts or high fives or emails just to say hi and I love you, no greeting cards in the mail, no snuggles from children just because.

These are the days that make me know the depth of my own pitifulness. My self-absorption. My fickle heart.

And these are the days when I remember how much I desperately need a Savior -- someone to save me from my own sadness and wallowing and despair.

This year I'm observing Advent. I'm reading through special readings from my Mosaic Bible and Ann Voskamp's, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift that make me think long and hard about what this season is about. I'm not talking about Christmas. I'm talking about the BEFORE Christmas season of bustle, and rudeness, and people stealing other peoples stuff, and families squabbling, and children lying, and my own sense of failure.

Advent: the arrival of a notable person, thing or event

The wistful and sometimes mournful Christmas songs we hear serve to drive the point home.

This world is suffering. Dying daily. It is groaning out its need of someone to rescue us from ourselves.

We are waiting. Longing. Hoping.

 And no song expresses this hopeful anguish quite like O Come, O Come Emmanuel. And verse three is especially fitting for a day like today.

O Come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheerour spirits by thine advent heredisperse the gloomy clouds of nightand death's dark shadows put to flightRejoice, Rejoice!  Emmanuel......shall come to thee, O Israel!

I'm a captive of my own hubris. My own lack of planning. My own failed attempts to be and do it all.

O come Emmanuel....

...and ransom captive...Heather Hilscher

And I'm so grateful that in this season of Advent, that the miracle has already come. It's here. And I don't have to wait for December 25th or some magical day for hope to be fulfilled. It's done already.

And so the only thing that is left to do is raise up my trembling hands and mascara-smudged eyes and simply ask for what Emmanuel has given to this world and to me.


I choose to breathe it all in and exhale it out to those around me. I didn't do a good job of it today. But tomorrow is another day to give out what has been so freely lavished upon us.

And if that isn't a good reason for a party, then I don't know what is.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In Due Time

It's been awhile since I last posted. I have intended to put fingers to keys many times, but honestly there has been so much going on, I haven't had any additional time.

When I last left off, we were sanding, staining and sealing floors like crazy. We finished just in time to let the floors cure for the three days required before we had movers come and help maneuver boxes and furniture from our garages into the house.

That was a week we never want to repeat again. Rylie had to work that week at a summer camp he had signed up for in the Spring before we knew what this summer would entail. Unfortunately, it also happened when we were under the gun to get the floors finished. So, he would come home, eat dinner and then get to work with me trying to stain and seal. Fortunately, I was able to do a lot of the sealing on my own (just me and my paint brush) during the day.

We have the long hallway to finish still. I spilled sealant on the hallway, and even thought I thought I had cleaned it up, you could see it when we applied the stain. So Rylie resanded those places and we will most likely stain the hallway and seal it this week. And then we'll be done with floors...for now. (I'm trying to figure out how to break it to him that I am thinking the carpet in the living room/dining area needs to go.)

But we have time...plenty of time. And that is what I am trying to remember as the list of projects continues to grow. There are not too many things that are mission critical, but there are a lot of aesthetic changes that I would like to make. Unfortunately, you need green rectangles of paper to fund all of these changes and so I have been trying to talk myself down and give myself the freedom and permission to take things slowly...and save for for things.

I am gradually getting organized and ready to live in the house (rather than camp out). Thanks to the dynamic duo of organization, a.k.a. Suzanne and Pam, my pantry is now beautifully organized. It was such a relief to have that all in place.


Well folks, I wrote that in August and had every intent of chronicling the process of moving and settling in....but life happened.

Or, if I'm more honest, I got really, really overwhelmed by it all.

I'm not sure how I missed the fact that moving is a HUGE undertaking when I was doing all this dreaming about expanding our territory. And moving out of a house you've had for 13 years out to the country is not for the faint of heart.

The truth is that it is the beginning of December and we literally just finished staining and sealing the hallway last week -- a mere three months after I was confident it would get done.

Why? There was (and is) always something that needs to be done.

Coupled with visits from out of town relatives, soccer season, school starting for Rylie as a teacher and us as a homeschool family and adding in birthdays and other life events, we've had something every weekend. Several somethings, actually.

Many times, it's felt like two steps forward, one step back. After getting everything in the kitchen put away at the beginning of this month, I had to pull it all out again due to a moth infestation. I won't lie. That was painful. But I was able to purge a bit more and put things back in places that worked a bit better. Silver linings abound.

Such as the two gallon freezer bags filled with shelled walnuts from our walnut tree. That was a little diversion that took several weeks of gathering, cracking, shelling, cleaning and sorting.

Also, a learning curve of not waiting too long to get the nuts into the freezer bags or you have to throw a good amount away due to mold.

As mentioned, some projects in the house (and out) have been put on hold while we have done these other things....like converting an old egg storage building (this was once a chicken farm) into a chicken house and putting five chickens in it...

...then adding in five more from my sister's family and adding a chicken run outside.

We added a dog to our family. Kira is a McNab Shepherd/Border Collie mix.

And we couldn't pass up the opportunity to add goats to the farm. Cashew and Peanut seem to love their new digs and all the yummy leaves.

We finally dug ourselves out of our three-car garage and got some organization going in there. We moved seasonal items down to the cellar. Rylie and the kids worked on pruning citrus trees and removing old fruit.

And yesterday, I made some changes in our Mud Room that will make it easier for me to do laundry and keep that room organized and tidy. Although I had hoped for a custom-built Ana White laundry basket cabinet, I saw the potential in this piece of furniture I bought for the house but haven't been able to find a home for. 

Although the chicken wire doors are super cute, they don't work with the laundry baskets. So, I figured out that they would make great wall decor.

Eventually, we are going to put in a utility sink and add a counter top across the washer and dryer for folding purposes. And I have some clothing bars coming from IKEA that will help give me additional places to hang up clothes out of the dryer (something I found to be important when doing laundry for six).

Rylie also put up the "Fintorp" from IKEA that we used for desk organization in our old house.  We are using it in the kitchen now for cooking utensils and other important cooking items, which has relieved the clutter on the stove and provided more surface space. 

This makes cooking on a stove that is across the room from the sink and counter a lot easier.

I won't lie. There have been days I've lain in bed far longer than I should have paralyzed with the realization of all the things that have needed my attention. There are still more boxes than I would like piled in the enclosed porch room (a.k.a. "Peacock Room). 

Thankfully we hosted Thanksgiving for my family at our house -- which caused a frenzy of getting everything cleaned off and moved elsewhere. It was a dream come true to set the table for all 14 of us and have plenty of room for everyone to do their thing.

The big roll of paper we bought for moving came in handy as a in impromptu tablecloth that I personalized.

The negative part of me keeps pointing out that even with boxes unpacked and places found for items, there is still work to be done patching hairline cracks in the wall (the joys of an old farmhouse) and painting to be done. There is one carpeted area that has been destroyed by moving in, kids who don't like wearing shoes outdoors and pets. That beautiful wainscoting really needs to be cleaned and polished, and on and on.

But I'm trying to let that go with the knowledge that there will always be something else that needs to be done. But I can keep working at it and enjoy how far we have come. 

We just had solar panels put on (and are waiting for the inspection so we can turn them on). And although it pains me to mar our farmhouse aesthetic, our bank account will thank us (did I mention the $650 electric bill we had our first full month here?).

Future plans also call for a horseshoe pit, a tree swing or two and perhaps even a zip line from a tree fort. There is definitely a claw foot installation requiring a slight (okay more than slight) bathroom renovation in our near future. All of it will happen in due time.

Or when it happens...like this little guy who showed up the week of Thanksgiving underneath the trampoline while the kids were bouncing. He had Parvo, but has made a full recovery and a great companion for Kira.

It may not be happening according to "The Plan" or how we think things should happen. Nonetheless, I am enjoying the happy sounds of my children jumping on the trampoline and exploring our 2.3 acres. I smile every time my 9-year-old wakes up and tears out of the house towards the chicken house with great anticipation of finding an egg or two.

And would you believe that that first egg (laid by one of my sister's chickens) was not lovingly put into the egg basket that started this entire Dream Saga Series of posts. There was too much excitement to think of such photo ops. But I did eventually see that basket hanging and felt God remind me of all that He has done to get us to where we are. And eventually it did get used for its intended purpose.

We may not be perfectly settled, but we are here. 

And that is enough.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dream Saga Series: In the Fullness of Time

Timing is everything.

That phrase is something I've heard my entire life and after the last few months, I firmly believe it. 

For those who are following along with our journey to our "new, old farmhouse," it's been quite the ride, which you can read about here.

This last week or so has been a flurry of getting keys, driving out to the farmhouse from my parent's house (about 1/2 hour each way) and dropping off things, ripping out carpet and finding beautiful hardwood floors...

Our buried treasure under old carpet (some 70+ years!)

...which then required hours of pulling up carpet, levering up tack board and approximately 1000 carpet staples, and then yesterday, my husband used a drum sander on about 3/4 of the 1200 sq. ft. of flooring we have to do.

What was in the closet...so we had an inkling of what could be.

Before we can refinish, we had to pull up lots of tack strip and staples. Lots.

The machine Rylie was attached to for 36 hours.

I had to beg him to pose for this photo. At this point, he hated everything.

But, let me back up a bit. That first day after got the keys on a Friday night, we drove out here and it was magical.

The kids got right in the pool....and stayed there all day. The water slide was an instant hit, and I think they finally got out reluctantly six hours after they got in. It was such a joy to be working around the house and hear their shrieks of delight.

Seeing the joy on my son's face as he rode his bike around our long oblong driveway warmed my heart. This was something he was not able to do at our old house without me sitting outside and waving down cars that shot down the street like they were in a drag race.

That day, we put up our mailbox...

There was no existing mailbox on the property when we bought it.

I picked all of this (and some not shown) one morning.

...picked a bevy of fruit to take back with us and pinched ourselves multiple times. It was actually real. This amazing property was ours. Ours.

So while Rylie worked at a summer camp that first week, the kids and I came out every day. My mom helped me pull up and replace shelf paper and unpack a few kitchen boxes.

My mom hates putting down shelf paper, but she loves me more!

There are myriad of projects to be done and I found myself forgetting to eat and blinking and realizing it was 7 p.m. and the kids needed dinner. 

We planned to keep driving back and forth until the floors were finished...until we got out here last Thursday and found that someone has stolen our pool sweep and several other items out of the pool area. It felt like such a violation and an assassination attempt on our dream.

I called the police station, who then called the Sheriff's office (apparently we are county, not city....good to know), who took an hour to respond but were very nice. The good news is that there haven't been any reports on this property or street of theft or crime. But the bad news is that we were now without a very expensive pool sweep that the previous owner had left for us and I now had a creeped out feeling that someone had been watching us and knew the one day that we didn't drive out to the house and choose that one to come and liberate us of our stuff.

Stuff is not so important. But feeling safe is priceless. We decided that we needed to begin staying the night out here. So, my hubby drove out that night and stayed over and drove into work the next day. And I brought out clothes and toiletries and stayed with the boys the following night. (The girls had plans "in town" overnight with friends and Rylie was staying at my parent's house by the storage unit since he had to be up and over there early to unload it into a moving truck with some help from friends.)

I will admit that last Friday night wasn't my best night of sleep. I heard every noise -- every creak, every howl, every drip. And I was a bit worried. 

You see someone had stolen something from me -- and it wasn't someone in human form. It was the enemy trying to steal my joy. After that first restless night, I decided I wouldn't allow him to do that and that I would not be living in fear.

So, the next day (Saturday), I set up a tent inside the house for the boys to have a magical play/sleep area and I got to work. Our "moving crew" arrived and in about an hour, they completely unloaded the rental truck full of our stuff from storage and our POD into our garages (due to the floors being torn up inside.) The breakfast burritos that I found and purchased were consumed and given a thumbs up. They wished us well. They drove away and...we got to work. 

The washer and dryer were moved in and the refrigerator was hooked up. The kitchen table was brought in and set up and I let out a cheer when I unearthed my coffee pot and put it in its new rightful place (this blog is powered by that coffee pot, FYI).

That evening we were treated to a gorgeous painted sky and I got to see and hear the sounds of joy coming from my boys and their dad as they played on the lawn.

 (It can be difficult to see the splendor of the sun going down when you are surrounded by other houses.)

Sunday dawned and our plans to sand the floor seemed a bit ambitious after all of that moving the day before. So we went to church, grabbed some things at Costco, spent way too long in Lowe's, grabbed our cats from my sister's house (her family has been cat-sitting for three + weeks!), grabbed some things from my mom's house and headed home. It felt so good to say that.

Due to youth group outings and slumber parties, that Sunday night was the first night we all stayed out here and even though we were all in the same two rooms, it felt great to have all my "chickens under one roof."

Sleeping in a tent makes everything more fun!

A quality blow up mattress is well-worth the price!

Swimming all day makes for good sleep at night.

Through it all, we have had a steady stream of friends who have come out to see us, which I completely love. You see, I enjoy having people over and feeding them and chatting about life and whipping up dessert concoctions on a whim. I love hostessing. However, our old house didn't lend itself so well to that. Part of my dream for a country house was to offer a place of peace and rest to friends and family. "To slow time down," as Ann Voskamp would say.

On Monday, I had two amazing friends, Suzanne and Pam, drive out and work in my mud room to get old shelf paper up and out and put down new paper. They organized all my laundry and cleaning products in the cabinets too. To be able to walk in a do a load of laundry without tripping over boxes and bins was a gift.

The fruits of their labor. I got to reap the harvest!

Awhile later, another friend, Debbie, and her family came out to see the house, swim and stay for dinner. After falling in love with farm life after visiting Trevino Farms with the kids, we spent a lot of last year driving out to the Kimzey Ranch for horseback riding lessons for my daughter. I credit those hours with helping seal the deal of our desire to make this "country life" move. So, it was great to be able to show them around and see the appreciation and joy for us in their eyes.

That night, I cooked my first meal on my amazing "looks old, but is really new" stove. (Spaghetti and garlic bread).

This Elmira stove came from Canada and has convection capabilities. I'm in love.

We also walked down the country lane and Debbie pointed out some wild watermelons growing on a corner of our property. I was stunned. Just when I thought we couldn't possibly have more fruit out here, we find watermelons growing???

What is a summer without watermelon?

And there were five of them growing away and getting bigger each day. Today I realized there were more plants out there that were starting to flower. So it's possible we might just have a bumper crop of watermelon for all my hostessing needs.

And as we walked and talked, I thought about God's timing and how I am starting to see the big picture of the Grand Landscape of what He is doing our life as a family and in my own heart.

Has it been a bit of a bummer that all six of us are sleeping in the living room? Maybe a tiny bit, but when you have lived out of a tent trailer and had iffy running water issues for two weeks at the same time, and then upgraded to two bedrooms at your parent's house and running hot water, having a blow up mattress, pop-up trundle bed, camp bed and mattresses seems like luxury. Couple that with THREE bathrooms with ample hot, running water and you have yourself what feels like a day spa!

Is it inconvenient when you try to put on your make-up on a Sunday morning for church only to realize that you have left it at your parent's house? It can be -- but not as much as I would have thought after living almost make-up free for the entire last month as we sweated moving our stuff out of our house and into storage, camping out of the tent trailer, and then moving stuff out to our new house. When you do that, slapping on some powder and scrounging up some third-tier eye makeup feels a bit decadent.

Is it a bummer to have the $500+ pool sweep left for you by the previous owner stolen out of the pool? Yes, it is. But when you've never had a pool before and therefore are thrilled to pieces with even owning one, the notion of getting a good long hose, pole, and vacuum head and using some sweat equity seems like a good way for your youth-group-aged daughter to earn some money for upcoming events.

And yes, we are not paying for a gardener out here, but the small circle of grass that we have was easily mowed in about 15 minutes and I actually enjoyed the entire process (and yes, I accidentally left it out all night, and no it didn't get stolen!).

Looking back, I can see how the last month has been instrumental in removing us out of everyday city life and giving us a stripped-down basic version of how we are living currently. Had I left our comfortable suburban house and moved out here to live the way we are living now (albeit temporarily), it would have been a difficult transition. But, after the last month, having our own place and space feels like heaven and if we have to camp out in one room together while we do a few projects, so be it.

On Sunday, the sermon was about the Sabbath and how God designed a day of rest for us -- knowing we desperately need moments to pause from the madness and recharge. As my pastor father was sharing, I was so grateful to realize that our move to the country has been a decision to move towards that rest. Yes, there will be a good amount of work to be done to maintain the property. I have no illusions about that. 

But I am so excited for the day that my hammock is no longer buried by boxes and can be set up and I can lay in that thing and read and drink lemonade. Even sitting here at the table on my front porch and hearing the birds chirp, the hummingbirds buzzing as they look for food, and the sound of the pool pump running, all of that is causing my shoulders to relax and my breathing to deepen.

When the altar call was given to make a decision towards embracing rest, I didn't feel the need to respond. Because I've already responded -- gladly and whole-heartedly.

God has ordained this summer and this time of transition in our lives. And I couldn't have written the story better if I tried.

His Grand Timeline is more incredible than I could ever ask or think.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When It All Sounds Good in Theory....Part Deux

Last time I left off, we were on the road to Portland to see Rylie's brother and family. However, there was one little problem. Or a lot of them. Lice. Infestation 2014 up in their business. Given the choice to delay our trip up and avoid exposing ourselves to it, we opted to switch our visits around and instead drive the hour to Cave Junction and stay with Rylie's dad for a few days.

Which was a good call because by then, I was headed to Sickville fast. When we pulled out from Michelle's, I got in the very back seat with a pillow and a blanket and passed out. I woke up when we arrived at my father-in-law's place and pulled it together enough to help get the trailer set up (faster the second time around), and then go into town with everyone for Wild River's taco pizza goodness.

However, half a box of tissues later, I was ready for bed and when the morning of July 4th dawned the next day, I "independently" realized that I couldn't get out of bed. Literally.

I spent all of the day sweating and shivering on the bed in the tent trailer with a fever that wouldn't stop. That was not a fun day. Most of it is a blur beyond bathroom trips and gulps of water and life saving cranberry juice.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law was having water issues at his house. As in, there wasn't any. Fortunately, there was some after dinner and while everyone else drove off in search of a fireworks show, I got to lay my weary bones in some hot water and enjoyed what felt like the best hot bath ever.

Thankfully that day in bed did the trick and the next day, I felt well enough to drive up to the Oregon Caves with my family (plus, my back rebelled against any more laying down at that point). We had lunch and then took a tour through the cave. This was the first time that *all* of us have been able to go on the tour. In year's past, one of us has always waited outside with some toddler or infant. We had a great time and the kids even became junior rangers and got honorary badges.

We had one more day at Grandpa Kurt's house and the kids enjoyed hearing him play guitar and drawing with him. It had been too long since we were able to make the trip up.

One of us had the bright idea to ask him to come along with us to Portland to see family. One of us is brilliant -- just sayin'. To our delight, he came with us.

Adding to that delight was an unexpected bonus of seeing friends from home who were also on the I-5 in their minivan coming south from Seattle as we were headed north to Portland. We pulled off the road at Carl's Jr. and hung out for a bit with the Tacchino family before heading on to our destinations.

And not too long after, we were in Portland. Because 5 hours in the car is nothing when you've spent 13 in one day. We were so excited to see our family and their new house. The cousins immediately started playing and exploring their "wildnerness backyard."

We set up the trusty tent trailer (getting better still) and had to laugh that although the kids started out sleeping inside the house, they ended up trickling back into the trailer. I guess all that togetherness really *does* make a difference.

We spent some fun days in Portland. We ate together and laughed a lot. We went to Powell's Bookstore and got some books for this  book-lovin' family.

We went to the coolest science museum called The OMSI.

I even got to sneak off to IKEA with my sister-in-law and do some scouting out for items for the farmhouse.

Great kitchen island idea from IKEA

I also got some good tips from her on how to refinish hardwood floors which has proven to be invaluable (more about that in future blog posts).

All too soon, our time in Portland came to an end and we drove back down to Cave Junction and dropped grandpa off at his house and then headed off to one of our favorite places, Ashland, OR. We had secured a great campsite outside of the city by the lake, set up the tent trailer and then headed to Lithia Park -- our super fun place.

There is a play ground at this park, but the kids prefer to play in the river

And boulder hop down the river too

After playing until the sun went down, we grabbed dinner and then headed "home" to the tent trailer where our neighbors had thoughtfully put up a huge screen and speakers and were watching "Pirates of the Carriberan". The kids clambored into their PJs and immediately laid down to watch the show...and eventually drifted off to sleep.

The next day after hitting up Rylie's old work place, Shop n' Kart, we loaded up on groceries and made the 9 hour trip down to our campsite in Yosemite. We pulled in late -- around 10 p.m. -- and go that tent trailer set up with lightning speed.

We spent four wonderful days in Yosemite Valley (another favorite place). We swam, we ate ice cream, we rode the shuttle bus, we played in the rain, and we drove up to Glacier Point.

My kids made the trek up the Mist Trail to Vernal Falls like champs (they were literally running and jumping off rocks) and they even wanted to go further up to Nevada Falls. It was a serious hike with an elevation gain of 1900 feet, a swim in the top of the waterfall, and then a bonus summer rain shower on the descent.

Going up the mist trail with Vernal Falls in the background

They loved seeing a waterfall up close

And then it was time to head home and after two weeks, and a lot of dirt under fingernails and in crannies, we were ready to sleep in real beds and have a long hot soak in the bath tub.

Again....after 9 and 13 hour driving days, 2.5 hours is a snap. We got home in what seemed like record time. We drug our tired, camp-fire smelling bodies inside and collapsed (after that long, hot bath of course).

And then...began the countdown for closing on our house. We signed our papers at Starbucks and I looked up and saw this...

And after a few close calls and glitches, we got our keys Friday evening.

And then, the real fun began.

Stay tuned for more posts about owning a farmhouse and getting it ready to move in (yes, we are still at my parent's house -- bless them!)