Saturday, January 7, 2012

This is why (and a lot of extra)

Remember that time I promised to tell you about why we’re living with my parents?

I’m dreading this.

Because of these reasons- because of others’ speculation. Because of the sheer vulnerability. Because of the fact that it’s all so involved with every single part of my life and family. Because I tell painfully detailed stories. Because every time I think about writing this post my stomach sinks like I’ve just slipped over a hill on a roller coaster. I’m reluctant about stopping long enough to think about everything. Because I never get stage fright until I’m off the stage. Because I’m afraid to commit to things. Because I’d rather just know that people are talking and probably getting the story wrong, than to have people know all the intimate details and STILL talk. Because I’ve received genuine condolences for “our situation” as if someone we love has passed away- when, really, we’re quite excited about this adventure. Because I’ve never had such a hard time with life as I do now. Because I’ve never been so thrilled about life as I am now. Because it seems tacky to blog about money. To name a few...

“Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start...” yeah, maybe if you’re Maria Vontrap... if you’re me- you spend 7 hours deciding where the start actually is, then distract yourself with singing “The circle of life...” and totally forget you were about to “start something” at all and then you end up washing dishes instead. (can you tell I’m stalling?)

Do you remember when I wrote this? Did you wonder what I meant by that or do you know us well enough to know exactly what I was talking about? If you are the latter, your mind would have drifted to a green meadow and a tiny house, to a barn and a few small farm animals grazing on the green. You would have seen a lot of children and a great big vegetable garden. You might have seen several families working, playing and living together on this sunny little plot. You would have seen us. In your minds eye you would have seen the sweat stains and suntanned brows, the bare feet and laugh lines and the perfectly beautiful mess of a self sustaining farm bent on raising pastured animals and children. That’s what I meant.

We’re very idealistic people. Mark refuses to work for the man- been there, done that. He’s set on learning a trade, mostly for our children’s sake. I’m determined to be a stay at home mom- attachment parenting is the route we’ve chosen and I am committed to being available for my children whenever they need me. We live free of credit cards and back up plans- blame it on our inner hippies, I suppose. We won’t do WIC, food stamps or any other governmental aid (with the exception of health insurance...) Really, at this point, I don’t think anyone needs me to spell it out. We’re used to being penniless. Back to that dream I spoke of... we hope to accomplish our goals without ever needing to take a considerable loan. Now how would we do that when it’s only by miraculous circumstances that we’re even able to make ends meet? Yeah. Thanks to the book “Surviving Off- Off Grid” (terrible name for a book and the guy is halfway crazy, so I don’t actually recommend it) we took a good, hard look at our life and decided to make a change. What’s the point of dreaming if you’re never going to work toward it, right? So the gears were set in motion. I figured we would spend the winter tweaking the townhouse (which we rented from my brother) prepping to put it on the market and depending on how soon it was snatched up, we’d be ready to move by the end of spring. But then people started talking, as they always do, and some friends heard of the plan, and (a long story later) we had about 8 weeks to prep the house, pack the house, find a place to live, and move there. While attachment parenting 3 young children. During the busiest season of the year, which also happened to include an out of town family wedding. If it doesn’t sound like much, just compare it to this- most normal days, I can’t even find time to brush my teeth and get dressed before noon. Now go back and read my to-do list. Hectic.

We were having a really hard time finding a cheaper place for us to live in the area. Because that’s really the whole point for us, not to make more money, but to just not have to spend so much. We eventually decided we had 2 options; to move away to somewhere we could afford to live plus have enough left to save for our “someday home” or move in with my parents. Once we all got over the initial shock of even considering such a crazy idea, it really ended up being a no brainer. This is a good fit, if anyone can pull it off, it would be us.

During the whole crazy packing/moving/childrearing/freaking-christmas-party-every-single-day-nonsense, we had some extra stress going on, because the man that Mark was working for kept telling Mark that he had a lot of work lined up for them, but actually, didn’t. It took us about 3 weeks to figure it out, which is when Mark called the old framing crew he used to work with and found out they really needed some extra hands around the worksite. It’s amazing to me that after the move was planned we embarked on the most financially strained 8 weeks of our lives. it’s even more amazing to me that we’re cohabiting with some truly amazing people who love us dearly and we’re able to save a considerable amount of money. Did I mention Mark is now working full time for that framing crew, earning more than he has ever earned before?

Did I mention I was dreading writing this? Silly me. All the anxiety I was feeling was from keeping this story in, not about letting it out! Life is exciting. When you step out on a limb, you risk falling. But safe is boring. Cheers to the adventure.

I’m feeling thankful for things like taking a long shower by myself without worrying about what my kids are doing unattended. Things like a large capacity washing machine and a dad who tries to buy food that his picky daughter might approve of. Things like someone to take a coffee break with in the middle of the day. Sneaking downstairs because I can’t sleep and finding someone to sit and talk with. Things like, time with friends- reconnecting. Singing "Amazing Grace" to a brood of chickens. Wintery walks through crunchy fields and hanging damp mittens by a wood stove. Things like singing "Ring of fire" while building a railway and being told "we're just trying to find Batman's mom!" as an excuse for dumping the toy box we just filled. All the things from my past that make me smile, and all the hope for the future. Thankful for words from the Bible that tell me things like “I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I'll listen...”


  1. I love you guys so much. You're such an inspiration to Joshua and I.

  2. I love this story. I love you and your entire beautiful family. The situation you described to me seems like a great way to live. The best way to live. The way I want to live! Thanks for sharing it. I feel like I'm home when I imagine it! <3