I thought I would love this part of our three month camping at my sister’s beautiful house. I thought that packing 3/4 of our possessions in storage would give me that freedom we all long for. Forced minimalism while we are between houses! I’ll love it! The house will be clean because we have no toys! The shelves will look lovely and bare! I’ll change all my bad house keeping habits because otherwise we will have no clothing to wear as everyone only has so many outfits!

And yet we take ourselves with us, don’t we??

What almost killed me about living with substantially fewer possessions these past few months? I know you’re dying to know. Hardy-har-har.

It wasn’t the volume of our things that made my life chaotic. It’s the number of small children we have.

I thought if I had fewer things, if I had a better system, if I were more disciplined and organized, then I, too, could achieve the minimalist dream.

Guys, even her beautifully remodeled kitchen with white cabinets (my secret dream and not the color in our new house) got so dirty. I mean like what happened here? Who went digging for worms in the garden and then came and opened all the cupboards? Oh, my three year old did. And when six people, one in dipes, mind you, use one bathroom, there is a literal ring of dirt around the inside of the glorious soaking tub.

It’s not me. It’s them. And that is okay.

And the kids had too few toys. Not the loud clangy ones they’ve ignored for years. But the blocks that I forgot a crawling baby would want to gnaw on. The dress up silks my sister dyed for us. That one construction guy hat. I could have been more generous.

And our pots and pans sitch has been a little dire. I thought I would love having to wash the one small pot that makes oatmeal, rice, hot cocoa, and mac & cheese. But instead it means I can’t make two things that need a pot at once. And we all know how much I need my hot cocoa to survive.

This dream of having not too much, having order and cleanliness, being that instagram hashtag, it’s just not for this season of life. And while revering our earthly possessions borders on worship of the material, they aren’t intrinsically bad. It’s actually quite helpful to have enough washcloths when your baby spits, your tot poops, and your 7-going-on-17 needs a bath.

Before you divest yourself of all or most of your possessions (and I’m not saying don’t recycle the one-line-color-this-is-my-art-paper-no-i-wont-add-more-its-finished), think about how does this or that or the other serve my season of life goals?

Instead of the konmari method of whether it sparks joy, ask, do we actually use this?

In a little over a week, most of our projects will be done at the new house and we will wipe it all down, plop our furniture in, unpack the legos (probably the most yearned for toy in storage) and I’ll exhale surrounded by probably too much stuff that’s just enough for us.

I can never really tell my sister enough how much we appreciate her. How her opening her home at this fragile time for us meant our kids didn’t sob every night about their old house. How they loved camping at hers and making it their own (small piles of trash in the yard and coloring on the dressers). How her generous heart never complained a wink at the wet diapers on the hardwood floors and garden plants that wilted from lack of water and attention. She’s a true gem and I can’t wait to clean her beautiful house and restore it to its proper glory under her careful eye!!

Anytime she misses the chaos, she can come across the street and six houses down to get a real deja-vu dose of it. Because I can’t embrace the minimalism I tried out these few months again until another season of life!

I also am sewing like a madwoman because I’m mad, apparently! I have three slots left for my custom size and color linen girl dresses but it closes up on Friday evening. If you’re interested, hop on over to my shop and take a look.

 

They say to give a busy person more to do because it will get done. Am I living walking breathing snorting proof of that right now? Maybe?

We are doing some moderate home renovations on the new house. We are camping with my sister still (who is totally a saint, mind you!!!). We survived the marathon! AA was in the top 50! I’m so proud of him and all his hard work. We had a wonderful #bistreamretreat at the Lodge this past weekend and I’m still soaking up the wonderful moments I got to experience with the team I work with! And just because I like to be busy (?), I’m also offering a new linen dress line.

These babies take a long time to make so at 2pm on Friday, I’m opening up 10 spots available in five colors and seven sizes. When they’re gone, they’re gone! I don’t think I’ll do another round before the holidays, but we’ll see how long these ones take. There will be one listing on my etsy shoppe page with ten quantities. Pick your color, size, and number and check out through etsy (accepts paypal and credit card).

The colors are:

G R A S S

S K Y

S U N

O A T S

F L O W E R

Because I’m all outta wordsmithing!

The sizes are 6-12, 12-18, 18-24, 2T, 3T, 4T.

Watch the shop at 2pm central or see a reminder in my instagram feed! Thanks for the love & support, friends!

What an odd thing, to sit and write the story of our summer, on the brink of closing on our home and opening a new home. What a place to sit. It is a little droopy. It is a little tired. But it’s also filled with a spark of joy.

I began this summer thinking it would be a summer of violin lessons, tennis playing, swimsplashing, and lots of blogging. My list of semi-drafted blog posts is ongoing in my mind. I write while I’m nursing the baby down, sometimes when I’m cleaning the dishes, or doing my physical therapy exercises. I think how I would phrase this or that. I write it all in my head.

I did not think the summer would entail purging, packing, waiting, wondering, and then rejoicing. I thought it be normal.

I’ve sat to write this story several times, interrupted by life, feelings, and uncertainty. I can sit to write it now because our old house has new owners waiting to sign on the dotted line, and we have a new house where we will sign on the dotted line, all inside the next two weeks.

My ancestral home! The home I thought I’d be waked out of. The home we wondered which of our children would want to take over from us. The home that, despite its grand size, couldn’t actually accommodate our intergenerational living.

And that was the crux of it. As my my mom’s arthritis in her hip grew worse and worse, the three flights of stairs to go up & down became more difficult. More of an effort. Nearly impossible to do carrying a baby or helping a toddler.

So we brainstormed all the ways we could modify the house to fit our needs: access to a living area for my parents that didn’t require multiple flights of stairs. We looked into this and priced out that; I was sure there was a solution, refusing to face the idea of selling.

This house had become my life blood and I couldn’t–wouldn’t–detach from it.

Many hours of talking, looking, thinking, mourning, and accepting later, my sweet husband and I arrived at the same conclusion as my parents: sell the house, trust that God would provide the right house, and camp at my sister’s down the street while the house went on the market.

Too many friends had shared their horror stories of driving around all day with their many kids in the car while realtors and potential buyers looked and inspected. I was grateful that my sister offered her home to us without blinking (SORRY FOR THE COLORING ON THE FURNITURE AND BOOGERS ON THE WALL!). Eternally grateful.

Quietly, quickly, very quickly, I poured over our accumulated junk and precious paraphernalia in the attic, closets, basement, cupboards. How did we amass so much . . . stuff?? About six weeks later, the house was wiped down, wiped clean, and out we went.

The bitter sweetest part for me was learning to detach, completely surrendering to God’s plan for our family, and trusting, living out that trust, and letting go of the house. Okay, so that’s lots of parts. I packed boxes for storage at our country home, boxes for goodwill, and boxes for living at my sister’s for an indefinite period of time. Each time I sealed one shut, I thought where will I open this box? 

I would walk through the house before we moved out, speaking to each wall, each nook and cranny I knew from years of wiping them down, and say be good to your new owners, be good to your next family. That shows you how weirdly attached I was to the house! True conversations with the walls!

In a sweep of grace & lots of God shining down on us, we spotted a house “coming soon” across the street and a few houses down from my sister’s house. Our realtor friend got us in to see it around 3:30 in the afternoon, we made an offer by 5:30, and went to sleep having heard it was accepted. Whirl. Wind.

We couldn’t believe it when we walked through: everything we had hankered after, hoped for, and dreamed about, including room for modifications for my parents if/when they want, a laundry shoot, not too much space, not too little, raised bed gardens in back, and a wrap-around porch in front.

The blog has been neglected, but I have been sewing. My creative outlet provided a grounding sanity for me in all this turmoil and transition. I’ll be releasing limited linen dress & jumpsuit lines in the next month. I’ll be finishing some fun bibs soon, and wrapping up the summer with a sale on bonnets. Keep an eye on the shop for updates! My newsletter is the best way to find out when things are coming out and getting a little deal on them. Sign up for that here.

My old faithful sewing machine has chugged through while I’ve processed. It’s a real blessing to create.

I’ll keep you posted as we transition. The kids have had their moments, their sadness, their joy. We’ve had ours. The family overall has been joyful that we faced the reality of the house no longer serving its purpose for full-scaled living and that a wonderful new family will enjoy it. God works in mysterious ways and how all this has flowed together has assured me He is there, listening to our prayers, answering them in ways we cannot even imagine.

New hashtag for the new house: #wholeparentinghome on insta!

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