Thursday, September 30, 2010

The family meal table

As we were picking out the floor plan for our new home, we had to think about what was most important to our family.  Some families want a large living room so they can all crowd around their huge flat screen TV to watch the big game.  We have a 13 inch TV/VCR combo.  :)
Some couples want a private master suite.  Our bedroom almost always has a nursing baby and a few little visitors during the night.

We wanted our kitchen to be the center of our home.  I'm not a gourmet chef, but I loving cooking for my family.  When I walked though our new kitchen for the first time, I realized that our kitchen table is not going to match it at all.  I found myself drooling over the Pottery Barn website.  Hey, a girl can dream.

Our first kitchen table was a $5 yard sale find...small, dark, round and laminate-over-particle board.  Then our neighbor gave us 3 chairs she had trash picked.  They were light pine and half painted white.  My parents gave us another random green chair.  This was our first house and I tried to make it feel like home.  I covered it with a table cloth and a seasonal centerpiece and most people didn't notice that the chairs didn't match the table or each other.  Or maybe they were just being nice.

Then I had kids and now we can't get through a meal without a spill.  Goodbye tablecloth, and the centerpieces were replaced with a basket of napkins.  Then one Christmas we were given a new table from our in-laws.  It is a light pine color with a white tile top.  It even came with matching chairs!  But, it seated four and our family was growing.  We found a rustic, old bench at a thrift store.  It needs to be refinished, but I think that adds to the charm.  We hid it behind the table and can squeeze 4 kids on it.

Our kitchen table has served us well.  It has hosted Thanksgiving dinners and PB&J lunches.  It's held science experiments and art projects.  It's where we've studied the Word of God and gathered in prayer.

It's not really my style, it's got a few cracks and scratches and stray crayon marks, but it's where we meet daily to be a family.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Unless the Lord builds a house they labor in vain." ~ Psalm 127:1

7 Years ago we started on a journey that we thought would only take a few months.  This journey has taken up most of our marriage and is all our children have ever known.  My mother-in-law lives on acres of wooded property and had always dreamed of sharing it with her boys.  While her sons were growing the laws were changing and restrictions were put on her land.  Her sons married and moved on.

We had been married a little over a year, with a new baby and renting a cramped one bedroom cottage.  Money was tight, we were completely unprepared for real life and found ourselves losing hope of ever getting out of this hole.   I had done some research and found a loophole in the land restrictions.  My curiosity grew as I realized we fit all the requirements for the grandfather clause.  We prayed and felt such peace and excitement that we decided to pursue it.

We knew that we would have to apply for subdivision approval and there would be many fees along the way.  We moved in with my parents thinking it would be a few months and we could save up the money we needed.  Our temporary living arrangement turned into a year and a half.

There were delays and disappointments, piles of bills for engineers and surveyors, tractor rentals and soil testing.  We were trying to do a major subdivision to turn one lot into four, and ultimately had to hire a lawyer to get us through all the red tape. 

Over the years we have tried to be patient, but we never put our life on hold.  We moved into a small house during my 2nd pregnancy, again thinking it was temporary, and have brought 4 babies home here.  As our family grew, this little house has become smaller and we have had to be creative to make it fit our needs.

I've learned a huge lesson in patience and contentment through these years.  I know that God had His perfect timing through it all.  Our needs and wants in a home have changed so much since we started this journey.  I know we weren't ready then.

Yesterday, our modular home was finally delivered to our lot.  It is not yet set on the foundation, but it's our home.  As we walked through it, I could picture the kids helping me cook in our new kitchen.  I could imagine where we would put our Christmas tree, but mostly I saw a new life for us.  A life full of new excitement after years of waiting.

I am still in shock.  It doesn't seem real that it is actually happening.  We've talked and prayed and dreamed for so long and now it is hear.  I know this is not the end of our journey.  It is just the beginning of a whole new adventure.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"How do you do it?"

   I have 5 children age 7 and under.  I get asked his question every time I leave my house.  I may look like I have it altogether as I walk into the pediatrician's office with a sleeping baby in her car seat, a toddler on my hip and 3 more holding hands and filing in behind me. 

   The truth is:  I'm freaking out on the inside.  I know that at any moment that sweet little baby will want her milk NOW, the toddler is staking out his escape route and the older ones will need to use the bathroom...right after we left the bathroom...for the 3rd time.  In the midst of my own crazy life I have strangers reminding me that I have a lot of children because I some how must have missed that.  Then the questions start...

I don't do it all.  At the moment there are Cheerio landmines all over my kitchen floor and laundry left to stink in the washer.  My oldest didn't do his math today and I haven't even thought about dinner.  Some days are better than others.

Having a larger family, I've found that we need to live our life a little bit differently than the average sized family.  And I am constantly trying to find what works for us.  It's a work in progress, but I think that's why I'm here, to share my little bits of wisdom that I've learned along the way, to make this crazy life just a little less...crazy.  I'm striving for simplicity in all things.
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