08 January 2015

cheers!


Let's pretend this is our little family toasting the new year.  In reality, Noble insisted upon toasting our Sammyversary (oh, that's right--you don't know.  Noble decided that HE should get to name this house, and we couldn't get him to understand that we didn't TRY to name the last one "the little green house," it just happened.  So he thought for about .5 milliseconds and said, "Sammy.  The house's name is Sammy."  So now when we say, "let's go home," or "...something about the new house..," Noble will say, "You should just say, 'Sammy.'"  Sigh.)

Anywho, we moved in on November 2.  So Noble has deemed the 2nd of every month our Sammyversary.  We toasted with root beer, I think, on December 2nd, and this month we got fancy with the sparkling apple juice we never drank last New Year's Eve.  So, a toast, to Sammy.


And also, a toast to a year that's off to a great start.  In the past two months, we've had more company than we had in the last year or more at our old house.  We've had friends and family over for meals, and Kayci had two sleepovers during the break.   One of the things we were most excited about when we thought about moving:  a bigger dining room, with a table to seat more than just our family comfortably.  And we've got it--our friends with 5 kids came over one night, and it was such a blessing to all sit at the same table (we didn't even have to add any of the extra chairs!).  I love--we love--having company, and it's wonderful to have places for people to BE.  We had over 20 for Thanksgiving, and the weather was gorgeous so we had seating outside.  There are no pictures of that day, apparently, or many of the other days since we've moved in...neither James nor I have taken many pictures.  I don't know if it's because we're too busy or too busy living in the moment...I suspect more of the former but we'd like to think it's the latter.  :)

So here's to Sammy.  And to 2015.  And to living intentionally, and joyfully, in close fellowship with each other and the people we love.  Cheers!

24 November 2014

Intentional & Essential

Those would be the two words I am AIMING for as we create systems in our new home.  (I love, love, love it, btw!)  I'm not hitting the target every time, but I'm trying.  And there's something to that, no?  

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to speak to the Bellville MOPS group about organization.  Oh, they were lovely, y'all.  So fun, so wonderful, so Christ-centered...they made me want to have another baby (or find one, as my kids would say) just so I can join them.  It took me 3 weeks to follow up, but here's what I sent them this morning:

This is what I really feel called to share with y'all--I'm not thinking we all need to be minimalists, and I do not qualify as one, either. But I do like a LOT of what Joshua Becker posts. His writing (and links) make me think about living more intentionally, and I think that's always a good thing. I think if I were to adopt any "ist" or "ism" officially, I'd want to be an "essentionalist." And "intentionalist." But since there aren't any Facebook groups for those things, Becoming Minimalist will do!
I love having this come across my Facebook feed, where it's so easy to get caught up in the "more is more" mentality of our culture. https://www.facebook.com/becomingminimalist
This is the blog--I love his weekend posts, and look forward to hanging out with a cup of coffee and my thoughts. http://www.becomingminimalist.com
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and as we head into a time of year that can be busy and crazy and waaaaaaayyyyy too focused on "stuff" and keeping up with the moms on Pinterest, I invite you to join me in taking some time this week to think and pray about what we want Advent to look like this year.
I know I want to have less to do--so as a family, we chose a one-night trip to Marble Falls instead of our usual weekend to Marble Falls AND a trip to Santa's Wonderland. At church, we decided NOT to do a Christmas program or weekly ornament crafts, but instead to focus on an Advent curriculum based on a book families can use at home to go through Advent. I've already started shopping for teacher gifts--and I'm thinking 12 days of small, $1 type things for Noble's teacher and 1 $5 gift each for Kayci's teachers. I've purchased the ornament for our Bible Study ornament exchange on the 10th (crazy--I usually stress the day of!). (Lest you start thinking I'm on top of things, I haven't actually figured out how Noble's leaving school TODAY...so there's that. I'm still me.) I'm determined to be less ME and more intentional this holiday season, friends. Sure, I'll probably blow it, but I figure if I start out and I visualize a season of peace and focus, maybe, just maybe, we'll hit the mark some days. And those other days? Well, there's grace for that. And there's grace for you, too, lovelies.
Blessings to you, sweet friends, and big hugs. Kristi

16 October 2014

More.




Most days it feels like time is racing by.

I accept that one morning, we'll wake up and there won't be that expectant time while we wait to hear feet hit the floor in the next room. Those feet will be tucked into bed at college, or in a first apartment. Sigh. Suddenly, 18 years doesn't feel like long enough to teach and show them everything they need to be servants of God in this worldly world.

James took off Monday to hang with the kids since I had to work. There's been a lot of that lately--kind of the storm before the calm. But back to them...the weather was gorgeous Monday evening, so they went to the park to play. They ran into our favorite friends and got some bonus together time. The pictures James & Heather texted are just priceless, like this one. When I saw this, it made me think about how time is racing, and what I want for those beautiful children. I pray they will have more.

More happiness.
More love.
More joy.
More fun.
More contentment.
More laughter.
More success.
More satisfaction.
More excitement.
More wisdom.
More strength.
More faith.
More hope.

And I pray that they have enough.

Just enough sorrow, and just enough pain, to make them truly appreciate all of the above.

09 October 2014

Where you go, I'll go...

I love Thursday mornings.  Usually...usually, not always, Daddyboy goes to Bible Study, the kids wake up and hurry to get around so we can run to the donut store on the way to school, and then I drop them off and go have a breakfast date with my Boy.  I love our Thursday morning dates.  

This morning we met at Big Daddy's for our favorite breakfast tacos, then spent a few minutes sitting on the tailgate of his truck eating and talking about our days.  And whatnot.  ;)

Yes, that's a beer truck.  Romantical, no?  


Marriage is hard work.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is a damn liar.  But it's worth it to do the work.  It's always worth it.  

Every morning, we do 3 things without fail:  he makes us coffee, we hug at some point, and we ask each other and the kids, "what does your day look like?" 

And this is my day today...my least favorite kind of day, the stuck at the computer working all day kind of day.  So I escaped from my desk and came into the living room.   At least I can listen to bad tv while I work.  :) 

11 September 2014

Used to be...

The other day, Noble and I were laying on the couch watching "Mom's Night Out."  The main character had a freak out when her family trashed their house and she admitted her clean freak tendencies.  Noble looked at me and smiled, "you USED to be like that."

My first response, that I'm not proud of?  I was like, what?  Is this kid saying I don't like things clean?  But I realized, he said it totally without judgment.  Don't you just love kids?

That was cool, that he accepted me both as I was and as I am.

And you know what else is cool?  That our kids know who we are, that they know our stories.  They know where we come from and where we hope to go.  They KNOW us.

Isn't that all any of us wants, to know and be known?  To be accepted?

What a blessing, all from a simple statement and a smile.

PS--this made me think about my favorite workshop to present back in the day...I dug this out of the closet!  Those are transparencies, people...





01 September 2014

A tale of two houses...okay, three. Technically four if you count the little green house...


I would be remiss if I didn't stop and write down what's in my head this weekend.  It's Labor Day, and this year that coincides with the opening of dove season.  Happy September, y'all!  We've had a great weekend with Ronny's family here and Timmy's family came up on Saturday, too.  It's been a good mix of productive (finally got our DVDs catalogued and have about 120 ready to go OUT THE DOOR!) and lazy, with lots of family time.

Oh, and we closed on our house Friday.

Yup.

It feels...pretty awesome.  It will be at least a month before we can start moving in, but with everything else going on, that's okay by me.  We're so blessed to have a landlord like Amy, who's willing to roll with whatever we need.  Let me say it again:  this lady has blessed us in ways she'll never understand, by sharing this little green house with us these past 8 years plus.  Leaving the little green house is absolutely the only hard thing about this process.

Our tale starts with our decision last winter to start looking into our options--did we want to live in town, out of town, build, buy, big, small, new old...and how much house could we really afford without affecting our quality of life?  (Read:  eating out.  Buying clothes when the kids need 'em.  Starbucks.  Man, I sound like a douche for that last one, but it's the truth.)  So we started looking in February.  James and I searched for rural properties first, and spent a few lunch hours driving around to see what it felt like, how long the drive was, etc.  Well, it didn't feel right, I know that.  And the more we thought about what living out would mean at this point in our lives, giving up lunch together, limiting my volunteer time at the kids' schools, etc., well, it just didn't work.  But in the searching, one day I came across a listing for a house in town that appealed to me.  And the closer I looked, I realized I'd BEEN in the house before several years ago.  It belonged to a local architect and I wanted my Boy to check it out, like, yesterday.  So we went, one Friday evening.  Granted, we didn't have a down payment, yet, but we figured if it was meant to be, the finances would work out.  And we loved the house, although we had reservations about the location.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but once we started thinking about the house we wanted to buy now as a "right now" home, until the kids are out of school, it made it easier to think about what's most important.  What's important to us:  room to entertain, but not so much room that we live separate lives, rooms enough for everyone to have their own space, but not so spread out that everyone can go to their separate corners, room for James to work, space for all of us to be creative, a great yard for entertaining and living, and it needed to be pretty close to the places we spend most of our time.  That house, and a bungalow that we'd looked at when we moved here originally, were the only two homes we looked at in February.  And Elizabeth's house is the only one that felt right.

So we handed it over to God, and we quit looking.  It felt like He'd answered our questions about where, and the clear answer was:  in town.  We felt like we had a good idea of budget and what we needed to save for a down payment, and we figured it would take us until about December 2014 to save up.  And we waited.  And before too long, it was obvious that God was moving, and way faster than we ever expected.  At the beginning of May, we had the down payment (okay, okay, James earned the down payment by working crazy hard at all of the opportunities God threw his way).  That same week, Elizabeth's house sold to another family.  And it was okay...we immediately knew that it wasn't our house, and God had gently closed that door for us.  And truly, I haven't looked back until I started this post because it doesn't seem right to talk about this process without mentioning the house that started it all, for real.

We kept our eyes open, and in mid-June we looked at a house that had TONS of potential.  Like, I could SEE the before and afters being posted on a blog somewhere.  Great price, great lot...meh location, but I figured to get a great house on a great lot we had to compromise somewhere, right?  Visions of new plumbing and designing a kitchen and moving rooms and walls danced in my head.  Yes, I was temporarily insane.  But where the old Kristi would have plowed on and made it happen and lived to regret it, I knew to keep myself in check and remember that God was in control.  We were very grown up and consulted experts and all signs pointed to...this house needed much, much more cash than we could ever hope to put into it.  And truly, I was more interested in the house itself and the possibilities (oh, the possibilities!) and the story than I was the life we would live there.  Because you know, the life we would have lived there would have revolved around renovating and figuring out what to do with the awesome lot that had zero landscaping and no fence and...needed lots of work.  It was pretty easy to face the truth:  that house wasn't our house.  So we left for vacation and I gave myself a vacation from house-hunting.

And then we got back, and I looked at new listings and there were a couple of promising ones.  When we were looking at one (that we hated, btw), we ran into a lady who mentioned that she owned the home across the street and was looking to sell it, and she also owned a home around the corner that she MIGHT sell.  She invited us to look at either or both, and we politely thanked her and went on our way to our listing appointments.  Dead end, dead end.  So we went back and took a risk and pulled into her driveway.  I immediately realized that I'd been in that driveway before.  A friend of mine lived there before this family, and I had dropped her off after Bunco or something.  I'd never been IN the house before, but I'd been in that friend's new house and it was lovely.  So I hoped that would be the case with this house, as well.  And when we walked in, that was pretty much it...I felt like I was home.  And James felt the same way.  The kids weren't such an easy sell, as this house only has 2 bedrooms and they wanted their own rooms already.  But it felt right, so we went home and wrote up an offer.  Twenty four hours later, give or take, we had a contract.  That's how it happens here, sometimes--and now we're one of the lucky few who can say we got a great deal on a great house that wasn't even for sale.  This is God's math:  the house payment is almost exactly equal to our rent.  Which means I don't feel guilty for that Iced Caramel Macchiato I had this morning.

It will be a year before we can add the master suite, but that's okay--truth be told, I don't think the kids are ready to sleep apart yet, anyway.  And that will give us time to figure out what we really want/need, and to save $$ for the addition.  Can you tell we're really against being house poor?  I don't want a beautiful home and an ugly attitude...and I want the life we already have, just in a slightly bigger space.  (And trust me, it's only slightly bigger...I think people think we're a little nuts for buying such a small 2/1, but we've learned we're small house people.  We'll be thrilled when it's  a 3/2, but we're pretty happy in the meantime, too!)  The house is great as-is, but we've budgeted $$ for painting the interior (after all these years of taupe, I long for white walls!) and will do a couple of small things before we move in.  But really, we could move in the same day they move out.  If you've been house hunting in Brenham before, you know what a rarity that is.  It's a great house, y'all. And it's a great lot.  When I think about it, I don't think about how the house looks as much as how it feels...and it feels like a place where we're going to have a great life...pretty much like we do now, but with enough room to have friends over for dinner.  And a yard where kids can go and play.  And a patio where James and I can enjoy our coffee.  And a space where he can work, uninterrupted and without me moving his stuff (maybe).

I love this house, and the idea that it's about to be our home.  I hope you'll be able to join us at our table one day soon...I can't wait!



25 July 2014

Declittering

We have a contract on a house we love, on a lot we love, in a neighborhood we love. But, these things aren't over til they're over, so while I hope to be moving in 6-8 weeks, that may not be the case.

You know what? After so long of living in limbo, I finally got fed up and got moving. So we're decluttering (or declittering, as my phone keeps autocorrecting) and paring down and preparing to move only the things that are necessary or loved or both.

While this is one more thing in an already crowded schedule, it's a very satisfying thing because I've needed to do it for so long!

Yesterday we sold our dining room set. We've already bought a new (possibly 100 year old) table...but we don't have chairs, yet. That's something we need to work on--the irony of all of the wood chairs I've collected over the years that we've shared with friends. Sigh. It was satisfying to do a belated spring cleaning on the table...now this morning I have to find a temporary home for all of my scrapbooks & Noble's candy science stuff.


I am giving my heat press and all of the vinyl to a sweet friend who will use it and love it. I don't have time or the love for it that I did before...honestly, once I got going with it I realized that silk screening is what makes my heart sing, but I don't have the time or space for that. Maybe someday, but for today, it feels good to release these things.

They say that sometimes you have to give up good things for better things. That's in the back of my mind as I picture this next year...I picture saying no more, so I can say yes to what matters most.

This is my quiet time view today...projects for this morning
on my work table, unfinished journaling because I can't concentrate, stuff that needs to go to other people and some that just needs a new home after yesterday's decluttering frenzy.

It feels good, this letting go.




It feels good to picture our new home all simple and clean, with only the most important things out and about. I did what I promised I'd never do again...I quit working on the little green house once I decided a move was in order. Furniture shopping this week has been so freeing, and so fun...and so easy because I know exactly what I want! :) Ahem, we. What we want.

I've got to get to work, but I felt like I needed to take a minute and document where I am right now. It's been 16 days since we made an offer on this home and started the process, but in so many ways it feels like it's been months and months. And then in other ways, it feels like the blink of an eye! Time is funny that way, isn't it?