If you are reading this then you already know…I have started a blog. Up until about a year ago I had never considered the possibility. But then again, everything has changed and I guess I have changed with it.
In October of 2013, I took a job back in my hometown. This uprooted my family and caused us to live with my parents for almost eight months. Yes, my husband of more than six years and my two young sons who were nine months and 2 years old at the time, all living with my parents. They say during the first year of your child’s life you are not to make any major changes. I didn’t listen.
When we discovered we were pregnant with our youngest, my husband and I took a long, hard look at our finances and schedules. Our current babysitting arrangement wasn’t going to work with two babies and we really didn’t want to go the daycare route. Nothing against daycare, but we had toured some shady places and the only places we could afford were shady. Realizing that sending two kids to daycare full-time would be costly, we crunched the numbers and found that my husband wouldn’t be bringing much more home after paying for all of that childcare. Why work 40+ hours a week only to be away from your kids and have the majority of your paycheck go to someone else to care of said children??? Yeah, it didn’t make sense to us either.
At the time, I had a great job at a local hospital and carried our health insurance. After a ton of prayer and organization, we decided that my husband would stay home with the kids after my maternity leave and I would go back to work. Believe me when I say that this was a difficult decision. I have always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. I know it’s not glamorous and I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from my job outside of the home, but at the end of the day I know there is no more important work this side of eternity than raising children to have their own relationship with God and be responsible, respectful members of society. I wanted and still want to be at home, but my husband has been doing an amazing job. Our sons adore him and he takes such great care of them.
As you can imagine, it was not easy to go back to work, but I knew the boys would be loved intensely by their dad. My job had me rotating shifts and on call. It would have been a lot to deal with even if I didn’t have kids, but since I had two little ones, I felt particularly stressed and run-down. I used to pump breast milk in the bathroom of my department at work, keep it in my on-the-go cooler in my office, run home during my break to nurse the baby and give my husband the pumped bottles, and then rush back to work for the rest of the day. It was taxing, to say the least. I was worried that I would never get to be on a set daylight shift, or that it wouldn’t be for a long time. My husband and I agreed that I should casually start looking for another position. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the work I was doing but there was no question that my family came first and I felt like I wasn’t able to put them first on a consistent basis.
During my job search, I really had no intention of looking outside of the area where we were living. We liked it there and had bought our house only three years earlier. Plus, with an infant and a toddler, the last thing we wanted to do was move.
Fast forward a few months.
I had talked to a friend of mine from high school who worked in the HR department of my hometown hospital. I mentioned that I was searching for another position and my husband and I had talked about the possibility of moving (we really didn’t think it would happen). She brought to my attention a position that had just opened up and I applied. I didn’t hear anything for two months and then I got a call one afternoon asking me to come and interview. Just so we’re clear, I had applied to approximately 30+ jobs in our area and had not heard a single thing. I applied to one job back home and got an interview. It’s pretty easy to see where I’m going with this – I was offered the job and accepted it.
At this point, I think we were still riding high on the fact that I would be all daylight hours, no on-call, have my own office, and be back in my hometown. Then reality set in and we had to get a realtor, sell our house, find a new house, and stay sane. We would have to reconfigure our budget and our entire lives. I don’t want to say that we had ‘buyer’s remorse’ but there were definitely times (and there still are) where we looked at each other and wondered if we jumped the gun.
Within three weeks of accepting the job, I worked my last day and our house was on the market. One job ended on a Friday and my new one began on Monday. We moved in with my parents that weekend due to the fact that my hometown was an hour and fifteen minutes from our house. We couldn’t afford the gas for that kind of daily trip and we didn’t want to be apart, so it did make sense. Thankfully, our house sold within a few weeks and we closed in January. However, we were not having any luck finding a new home. While I loved my new job, I was feeling homesick. I never expected to feel this way. I knew there would be things that I would miss; I just didn’t think I would miss people and places so intensely!
Right around the time we sold our home, we found two homes that we loved. Our realtor did some research and one had extensive flood damage from a burst pipe and the other had never flooded but required flood insurance that would cost about $200 a month. Obviously, we kept looking.
By month five in my parent’s basement, my sister came to me and said that a parent of one of the students at her school was renovating a house that sounded promising. It was a three bedroom, two bathroom home with a garage. At this point, we would have lived in a van down by the river. I did a drive-by one day after work and saw that the house was bright yellow, and by bright yellow I mean this was the shade of the sun. Never one to judge a book by its cover (except I do that all the time), I got out of my car and peaked in the windows. The place appeared to be gutted so I couldn’t really get a sense of what it looked like. My sister gave me the sellers contact info and we began emailing back and forth. When a little more progress had been made, we arranged a time to go and see the place. Basically, we wanted to get a feel for the layout and see if it had potential. The first time we saw it, the house was still in the bare-bones stage. But, we felt that it had more to offer so I kept emailing even while we looked at other places.
We kept looking at these homes that we felt were way over-priced and completely outdated. Our previous home had been flipped before we bought it so things were modern and nothing needed to be done to the inside. Now we were seeing homes that featured an awful lot of wood paneling and pastel colored bathrooms. It was a disaster. I couldn’t shake the feeling that we had given up so much and I felt really guilty. Even though my husband and I had made the decision to move together, it still felt like the weight of the decision was on my shoulders. After all, my job was the reason we moved.
A few more weeks had passed and we went back to look at what we affectionately came to call ‘the Big Bird house.’ This bright yellow beauty continued to make progress and we liked what we were seeing. We discussed some things with the sellers and felt like we were getting somewhere. A few more weeks passed and the house was finished. It was amazing! We negotiated for what seemed like years until we could agree on the terms, but our offer was finally accepted. The bank process was incredibly bumpy, but we closed the end of May after almost eight months living in my parents’ basement and moved just in time to enjoy summer in our new backyard.
The past year has been rough and caused me to grow in more ways than I probably currently realize. No matter what was going on, I kept finding myself repeat the same phrase over and over ‘give me strength, Lord, give me strength.’ I prayed constantly. Throughout all of this, there were great moments of hilarity that I hope to share. I learned so much about family and what it means to sacrifice. Even on our worst days I felt like God would give us a reason to smile and laugh. That’s what I hope that I can do with this blog – give people a chance throughout their week to smile and laugh.
To keep me from losing my mind during all of this, my boys provided me with some hysterical stories. Friends have encouraged me to take the plunge and start a blog to document the craziness. Now that we are settled into our new home, it felt like the right time. I feel anxious about this new endeavor, but mostly just excited! I hope you keep coming back to visit and I promise not to make each post so serious!