Monday, June 1, 2015

Fits and Starts

Fits and starts. That seems to be how blogging has been for me lately. I have so many thoughts and so much to share. Like I've said so often before, I'm almost constantly blogging in my head. It's actually sitting down to do it that is the challenge.

So, I thought I'd write a post sharing a whole bunch of what we've been up to these past many weeks. It's been a difficult past 10 months or so for many reasons, some personal, but I'll share as I feel so moved. Here goes . . .

1. After months of extreme frustration in dealing with plumbers, contractors, subcontractors, insurance agents, claim agents, the repairs on the farmhouse are finally done. Yep, just got done this past week and the crap all started in February, so that gives you an idea how that's been. We've lowered the price twice on our farmhouse. Most recently, we pulled the listing altogether and relisted it at an even lower price, so it is now listed thousands below what we paid for it 8 years ago. I can't begin to tell you what a humongous bummer that is. At this point, we're antsy to sell and move on, but I can't help but look at that and think in terms of upcoming college costs with worry (like we're losing a semester's worth of money and who can afford to do that?!?). I have always heard that real estate is a great investment and that homes appreciate. This doesn't seem to be the case for us right now. It's extremely discouraging. We've been looking forward to our first experience being on the seller's side of the table and getting a check. We'll get one, but it will not represent a gain; it will represent a loss.

2. College costs. Something that is on my mind and in the news a lot. Our kids are 15 and 12. College is around the corner. They're starting college soon and we ourselves continue to carry student loans of our own. It's frightening, truth be told. Sometimes life seems so scary.

3. We've been dealing with some personal issues that we've not shared with many people. We're actively getting help, but the process is nothing short of grueling. It's another thing that costs in terms of time, energy, and money, but it's also incredibly needed. The flip side of this is that what we're doing is helping and so good for us.

4. Both of our cars have been at the mechanic's more times than I care to admit. I feel like we drive in with one problem and drive out with another. It's frustrating. We're entering year 18 with our Saturn this fall. It often doesn't start and when it does, it emits so much blue smoke and weird smell that I'm amazed it passes emissions (though we're told that's not the problem). This past week, our mechanic told us straight up that it's time to get a new car. We have known that for a while, but it's one of those things we don't feel we can address until the house sells and, well, reference #1.

5. It's been months of feeling like "the hits keep coming." Hit after hit after hit. We feel like we're due for a win. Right? Right?!?

6. All that being said, I can't help but be amazed at my life. Even amid the stress, we're healthy, happy, and have so many great things going for us. Even on the tough days (and there have been many of those), I can usually see that.

7. I'm busier than I've ever been. With what? Our kids and homeschooling. The older they get, the more involved it all is. It's fun and challenging and amazing. It's also a TON of work. The mental energy alone that goes into it . . . I have no words. 

8. We've been branching out and meeting new people and it's been fabulous. We live in an area that is beautiful and has a lovely pace of life. However, many of the people can be very closed off and they aren't always particularly interested in meeting new people. Many of them have extended family all around them and the desire to make new friends isn't always that strong. We have our homeschool group which has been our community for years and it's great, but we've wanted to expand beyond it as well, especially with our kids getting older. I'm happy to report that we've connected with a bunch of new people in the past month or so of our initial efforts to reach out. It's like the universe is responding to what we're putting out there, because the other day on a lunch date, our waitress talked with us for a long time and wrote down her contact information on our receipt and asked us to find her online and connect, so we did.

9. The kids are great. I'm so immensely proud of them that I sometimes feel like I could burst. They are both kind, thoughtful, and conscientious people and I love, love, love spending time with them and getting to know them better every day. They are two of my favorite people and I often shake my head when I think about how lucky I am that I get to be their mom. I feel I learn more from them than they do from me. While all stages are fun and great, I'm especially enjoying seeing their transition from kids to adults. The world is so lucky to have these two in it. Really. I have very specific instances in mind right now as I type this of recent interactions they've had where they've been assertive, strong, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, intelligent, funny, wise, considerate . . . the list goes on and on. They stand up for what's right even when no one is looking. They share openly with us and know they are safe to do so. They are good friends. They are conscientious citizens. They are truly remarkable and amazing people.

Okay, how about some pictures from the past 3 months?

Well, I started looking at pictures and quickly got overwhelmed (paring down and choosing is not my strong suit), so I'll try to do some posts soon that have pictures in them. For now, here are a few from the past couple of weeks:

These adorable twins LOVE Kate:

Playing games with friends:

Out to dinner with the Gillons and the Martins
(it's the only recent picture I could find with our whole family in it):

I'm hoping to post more posts in the next few days. We'll see. I'm feeling incredibly scattered these days and usually writing helps. That being said, I'm not convinced this post helped. Better luck tomorrow?


Emily Foley said...

Don't even get me started on the housing stuff. At least you're LIVING IN YOUR OWN HOUSE! I'm yelling that (not AT you, promise) because I'm so jealous I feel sick sometimes. I'm having a particularly hard time right now with where we live and I'm just aching to get into our own house, out of a trailer, to place with a fenced yard and grass and a place for my children to play. I am so sick of living in this stupid trailer with the dirt and weeds surrounding me. I know how awful it is to not have a house sell when you desperately need to, and I hope so badly for your sake (and ours! heh) that it will finally sell so you can have that off your shoulders. It's awful to have a place sit empty, I'm so so sorry.

I'm loving you in dresses, I particularly love that striped one! Seems so different from your jeans and white v-neck. :)

#3--hope everything's okay. Glad you're getting the help you need!

Our cars are the same way. Dave's car barely even runs anymore and for now it's okay but if he has to start working out in Window Rock again we're going to have to buy a new one, and a car payment is the last thing we need. Plus our van has 145k miles on it and I worry that it won't last forever, but luckily it seems to be running fine for now.

Those twins are so cute! I can't imagine twins. It's hard enough having ONE baby.

Jimmy said...

#1 Did you consider renting your farm house out? I fell into being a landlord and it's been a good experience for me. My rentals are my solution to your #2.

#3 I'm glad it's turning out well, whatever it is.

#4 I have a hard time selling things. I don't know why. Anyway, we have a 15 passenger van that is old, ugly, a gas hog, uncomfortable, and not really useful to us anymore, but it starts up every time and that fact alone makes it worth more than the $500 or so I could get from selling it. I hate car problems!

#6, 7, and 9--You do have great kids! A great family! You are rich in the things that matter most!

And thanks for sharing your post. Bummer that other worries distract from the overall great life you and your family have built!

Boquinha said...

Oh Emily, I so hope you guys can get your own house again soon! I imagine it's cramped with 4 kids in the trailer, too. :( It'd be awesome if you guys could move here and buy our farmhouse. Win-win. It's huge and empty! Over 3000 square feet and a beautiful, fenced-in yard that we miss. Surely there are jobs out here for Dave?

I'm loving the dresses, too! Mark bought me a few for the summer and I'm so glad. I hate clothes shopping and he has better taste than I do, so score!

Jimmy, we are seriously considering renting it out. That's how we became landlords with our townhouse and that's been a great experience for us as well. We just weren't as keen on renting out an old farmhouse. :/ But yeah, we might.

#4 - me, too.

And thank you. You are so right. I love hearing from you guys. Thank you.

Dr. Mark said...

I'd comment specifically, but then again, talking about numbers 1 through 9 has dominated our every conversation lately. So, why don't I just say, "What a well-written, honest post about life lately, stresses and all." I agree with you about the kids. We hit the jackpot.

Boquinha said...