July 25, 2018 – We Bought a House!

After two and a half years of living in the park, we were finally granted permission to move out! We found a little house close to the high school that was perfect for our family, and we closed on July 25. It was such a smooth process that we kept waiting for something to go wrong, but we were lucky and did not run into any major issues.

Our little house!

It had been a long time since we had owned our own home, so we were all looking forward to having a little place to call our own again. As soon as we closed, we immediately started painting. It is an older house (1948) so there was a lot that needed to be freshened up, and a LOT of paneling. The kids all have their own rooms now, so they all picked out the colors they wanted and could not wait to get started! After eight years of sharing a room, they were excited to decorate a space all their own.

This was a hard room to paint…

I think perhaps Nathan’s room was the hardest. He had to paint over really dark blue paint on some walls, and dark paneling on others. We went through a lot of primer, and it took us longer than we had planned, but eventually we had a fresh coat of pain in the whole room. Nathan picked a light blue for his walls with white above the paneling and on the ceiling.

Nathan’s room!

Liam’s room is the exact opposite layout from Nathan’s. He also had really dark paneling, but the painted walls were not nearly so dark, so they were much easier to cover. He picked a light gray for his walls and it turned out really nice. He also chose to go with white above the paneling and on the ceiling.

Liam’s room

Primer on the paneling

His room does not seem quite complete yet. He would like to get a desk, and he would also like a regular bed now that he has enough space. I have been keeping my eyes open for both of these items, so pretty soon hopefully he will be able to finish his room the way he would like. I will have to update his picture when that happens.

Liam’s slightly messy room ūüôā

Catheryn’s room was all paneling, but it was lighter than the boys’ rooms were so it did not take as much primer. She has the only room with carpet, though, so we did have to be a little more careful with that.

Taping off her carpet.

She chose a light green for her walls with white trim. She has a lot of things that have been is boxes for a long time, so she was really excited to get everything out. Her walls are full, but they fit her perfectly, and she absolutely loves her new room.

Catheryn’s room

After the kids’ room were finished, I started painting the rest of the house. Everything now has a fresh coat of paint except for our room, which I will work on as soon as we figure out how to set it up. It is definitely feeling like home!

We have been in our house for a little over a month now and everyone loves it. Liam walks to school now that he is in high school, and he comes home for lunch almost every day. (Shocker, I know!) Picking the twins up is super easy this year, too! I am so grateful we had the opportunity to buy a house.

Another perk of moving out of the canyon is better internet! Hopefully now I will be able to stay a little more up to date. I think for the next couple of weeks I will simply be playing catch up, though!  A lot has happened in the last month!

Photography 101: Home

Day 1…

I love how many interpretations there are for the word home. Some consider it to be a place, others a feeling, to some it is a person. How can such a small word mean so many different things?

I think sometimes I get¬†‘home’ confused with¬†‘where one is from.¬†I do not know where I am from. I am from a little bit of everywhere. Not one specific place. No single location. But I have no doubts that I am home. At the end of the day, everyone will be here together. Talking about our days. Petting the dog. Eating dinner. Tripping over each other.

I may not know where I am from, and I may have absolutely no idea where I am going, but I do know that I am right where I am meant to be. This is where my heart is. This is home.      

"Home"

“Home”

A Day at Home

While we all enjoy¬†seeing¬†where the¬†open road will take us, sometimes it is nice to just stay home.¬†We have been exploring for the last few weekends, so¬†we decided that a¬†couple of days at home¬†were in order, not to mention that there were several things on the “to-do” list that needed tending to.

First act of business: clean the turtle tank. I¬†don’t know if you have ever tackled a 20 gallon fish tank or not, but it is not an easy task. They are big and heavy and slippery and, well, heavy. Throw in an RV bathtub and it¬†becomes quite the challenge. And while I¬†was inside, sweating like¬†a little piggy, wrestling¬†a tank that weighs almost as much as I do, Flash was at the spa, a¬†little car wash for aquatic turtles. The twins, armed with a spray bottle and tooth-brush, polished her until she was as¬†shiny as a¬†new penny.

I think she is quite appreciative of her clean tank. She is swimming around like a little champ and “talking” up a storm. Her favorite hobby is begging for food, always begging.¬†And I, being the sucker that I am, always fall for¬†her little tricks and cannot¬†pass by without tossing her a¬†tasty little¬†tidbit.

She is grateful for the fresh water and I am grateful that I have a full two months before it will become necessary for me to, once again, tackle the turtle tank.

Second act of business: macaroni and cheese. While this may not sound like a necessity, I assure you that it most definitely was. Several years ago, Rob and I made some positively sinful macaroni with a crumbly top too good for words. Many times this macaroni and cheese has been the topic of conversation, but we had never gotten around to making it again. It was time to change that.

Rob and William made it together, outside, in the dutch oven, while sharing a cup of coffee. You want to talk about a boy feeling bigger than life, William most definitely was. He cherishes each and every moment he gets to spend with his dad, sans siblings. Their cheesy macaroni turned out perfectly, and the two of them enjoyed some quality time together.

Third order of business: simply be. No requirements. No expectations. No exceptions. While William spent most of his time with Rob, feeling like the coolest of the cool, the twins had their own thing going on. I love watching them play, especially when they are not paying attention to the fact that I am watching them. Their innocence melts every ounce of me. I am always amazed at just how much those two are willing to do for each other. They may have their moments, but their love for each other is unmistakable.

And so, with full bellies and happy hearts, we watched the sun set on another beautiful fall day. What they say about home is most definitely true: there is no place like it.

At Ones Own Pace

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.”¬† ~Bill Beattie

Back when William was entering kindergarten, Rob tried convincing me that I should home school him. While it may have been a good idea, I wasn’t up for it at the time. It’s no¬†excuse, but I was just coming off five of the hardest years of my life, and I didn’t have the patience or desire to add homeschooling to my list of things to do. So, like a majority of parents do, I sent him off to school.¬†

Living 2o miles from the school, I didn’t make my way out there very often. So I stayed home, tending the twins and the farm and assuming school was the perfect place for my¬†son to learn.

When we moved back to Montana, it was time for the twins to start school as well, so I took a job as a Teacher’s Aide. With everyone in school, and me gainfully employed where I could see my kids from time to time during the day, I was content with how things were going.

But then something began to change.

I started to doubt myself and my decisions.

We had William repeat 1st grade because his old school was not nearly as advanced as the new one, and he had had¬†some struggles as it was. Rather than risk him missing out on important learning blocks, we opted to have him repeat the grade. While I¬†was convinced that we made the right decision, he still wasn’t thriving the way I had hoped.¬†

I watched Nathan struggle in every aspect of school. He was so far behind all of his classmates that he was put into extra reading and math classes. They started him in speech in hopes that it would help with his learning. He had a wonderful teacher, and I think she was exactly what he needed, but still, he fell further and further behind.

Catheryn was the only one who seemed to fit perfectly into the square mold that is public school. She was learning at a nice level and had a good relationship with her teacher and her peers.

As the year went on, I began questioning whether Rob had been right from the get-go. I began having very strong feelings about homeschooling my kids. So much had changed in two short years. But then, perhaps I was just ready for summer vacation. Maybe I needed a break from all the kids at school and would feel differently once fall rolled around again.

I didn’t.

The kids went back to school after the summer and I went back to work, but I never fully embraced it. I counted down the days from day 1. I told myself to give it some time, but as the school year went on, I became more and more confident in my decision.

Suddenly, I didn’t doubt my abilities quite so much. I became aware that I, too, was capable of teaching my children.

After watching Nathan struggle for another year, and William never quite find his place, I knew in my heart that I was fully willing, able and ready to teach my kids at home. Rob and I discussed it with the kids many times, and they were just as ready as we were.

So, at the end of the school year, the kids and I said good-bye to public school. The best way for our kids to thrive and succeed is to allow them to learn at their own pace, in their own time. At home, they will be able to do just that.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Nomads. Wanderers. Vagabonds. I don’t know exactly¬†what we are, but we never seem to be in one place for very long. I’m¬†not sure¬†if we are¬†looking for something in particular, or if we simply get bored and crave a change of scenery. Either way, we are of the restless variety. We have¬†made quite a few moves¬†in the last ten years, and I am sure there will be more before we are done.¬†

When I saw that this week’s photo challenge theme was “home,” I wasn’t sure which direction to go with it. We rent a home in this state and own one in another.¬†Basically, we are in limbo. Both houses are ours in a way, and yet, neither of them are.

It was¬†Rob who reminded me that “home is where you hang your hat.” While doing a little research on this particular saying, I came across this¬†entry on¬†Wiktionary:

1.¬†Rather than feeling nostalgic or sentimental, one should simply accept any place where one happens to reside as one’s home.

Fair enough. This is where we reside. This is where Rob hangs his hat. This is home.

"Home"

Home Is Where My Heart Is

I was lucky enough to be able to stay home while all my kids were little. They never went to daycare or to a babysitter. They were always home with me, and I liked it that way. It was far from easy, but it was something that I was glad to be able to do.

I enjoyed it for more reasons than simply not having to go to work. I liked having dinner ready when Rob came home. I liked having the house clean¬†so that we didn’t have to worry about it in the evenings. I liked making sure the laundry was done so we were never searching for clean clothes. I enjoyed being able to¬†have a relaxing evening at home with my family, knowing everything had been taken care of.

Last fall,¬†all¬†of the kids went to school together, and I lost my “day job.” It suddenly became necessary for me to work, so I¬†became an aide at the school. It has its benefits. I only work during school hours, so I don’t have to worry about finding a babysitter. I also get to see the kids¬†from time to time during the day, I know their friends and teachers and I always hear firsthand about upcoming events. In actuality, it is the perfect job for me.

But I miss home. I miss having the house cleaned and the laundry folded and the dishes done. I miss having dinner ready and the table set. I miss our quiet evenings at home. Now we spend our evenings doing all the things that I should have already done.   

Most parents don’t look forward to summer break. I cannot wait. Staying home with the kids and playing at the park or going on an adventure is much less stressful than trying to get all four of us out the door on time every morning. It is much more relaxed. Peaceful. Perhaps I miss the freedom most of all.

We all do what we have to do. Sometimes it is enjoyable, sometimes not. But I have learned that no matter how much you know something is necessary, or how perfectly it may seem to fit, the head and the heart do not always agree. My head goes to work with me everyday, but my heart stays home.