I thought about doing the ever popular "Best of 2016" post today, but as I looked back at the year's posts, it's clear that our move this summer dominated the year and the blog.
We've had major cross country moves before, but none has changed our lives more than our move across town this past summer. And none have stretched us and eventually blessed us more either. We've learned so much about patience, trust, faith, and community...and we still have so much to share with you! (catch the full story of how we came to our forever home right here).
In fact the past two years have been quite eventful!
2015 was incredibly hard, although lined with many and grace-filled moments, as we navigated unfamiliar waters with a very colicky newborn. One who missed the memo on the colic clearing up at the magical 3 month mark. It was my most exhausting and trying year as a mother, but looking back I still see so much good.
The same can be said for 2016. What a whirlwind of a year! We were asked to leap and we did. We thought a soft landing was right on the other side, but it turned out that we spent a lot of time free falling in mid-air while we waited on God's hand to unfold. But when it did, we were stunned by His goodness once again.
It wasn't just that moving to this house cut our commute/car time by literal hours...or even that it placed us right in the heart of our community. We've lived in 9 homes in our 10 years of marriage. It's the contract nature of James' work. And with that came an element of uncertainty.
We never really knew how long we would be in one place. James' work has brought us to many places we've enjoyed, but they were all far from family or didn't feel like the right place to raise our brood for the long haul. I never felt that I could really settle in our previous homes, because we didn't know what the future held...but who does?
I would muster forced attempts to live in the now and "settle in" regardless of a potential move, but I have felt unsettled in my heart for many years. I have longed for the comfort and assurance of a forever home. For myself, for James, and for our children.
When James' job unexpectedly moved us to Ohio, God answered a prayer that we had barely even whispered. This area had so much of what we've always wanted for our family. And when we moved to this house he delivered so many hidden desires for a slower pace, 4 seasons, interesting places to visit nearby, a quiet street, a house with a kitchen sink overlooking the backyard, the school/church a short walk from home. And community.
I don't want to sound like a broken record but this community...I could just cry. I didn't even know if communities like this still existed. Where neighbors acted....neighborly, the kids bounce between houses playing in the yards, dinners are shared with no pre-planning, moms sip coffee together in toy strewn houses, the garden's fruit is exchanged in bounty, as are meals and flowers in times of strain and grief. Our children will grow up with lifelong friends, and with an older generation that is passing on their wisdom, humor, and love. Is it perfect? No. Because we're a community made up of imperfect people and life isn't always roses. But, it is a gift.
Sometimes I wonder....what if we think this is our forever home and then we end up moving again? The truth is, that could totally happen. But that's a thought from a place of fear. We've made a conscious decision to put our roots down here. Which means we now have the freedom to say no to opportunities that would uproot our family once again. We also trust that if we did ever move, that God would make it abundantly clear and provide the means to do it.
Sometimes we don't get a choice and life chooses for us...other times we get a say. We're thankful we were able to make this choice our family and couldn't be more grateful for this home. I finally feel like I can breath here....that time isn't slipping away while we wait and wonder about what's next.
So what does that mean for 2017?
After a year or two filled with change and uncertainty, it feels like 2017 is a year to dive into how to be the best stewards of what we've been given....including our home, family, time, faith, finances, relationships. It's going to be a year for rolling up the sleeves. Doing some of the less than glamorous work, but the stuff that feels so rewarding once it's done - to finally go through moving boxes that have followed us unopened through the past 5 moves, to continue the work of purging and ridding ourselves of excess in order to live more freely, and maybe to actually get some pictures up on the walls #whydoesittakemesolong
The blog has definitely reflected the shifting nature of our family life over the past couple years and now that we have a fairly consistent napping toddler vs. constant screamer, I'm looking forward to devoting more time to this space!
I've always loved working on our home and encouraging those of you that have been bit by the home-bug too. We also love sharing those things that have helped make our daily life as a family of six a little easier. Here's where I see us heading in the coming year....
Thanks to the sale of our old house, we knocked out some big home projects when we first moved in. So while we're letting the budget recover, I'm turning my attention to some of the smaller projects around the house. The kids' rooms are 75% done and Liv's nursery hasn't really been touched. I'm determined to be a better finisher. I'm great at knocking out 80% of the job and then dragging my feet on those finishing details. Maybe we can work on that together - I'm thinking about a monthly series on hanging meaningful art throughout the house.
There's a lot of paneling and trim still begging for paint, and if you've been following along on IG you know that we're finally addressing the entry flooring that was damaged by a water leak. Which of course has my wheels spinning on an entry/stairway makeover #someonecomeholdJames
And hey, how about that mudroom? #bueller? She's so close to done! Hopefully, I'll have her finished, photographed, and posted by the end of the month. How lame is it that I'm sad I didn't get to throw some garland up in that room for Christmas? #nextyear
Some of the home management systems we had in place at the old house transferred here seamlessly, and others are warranting a total overhaul. We're still very much in that phase of figuring out what stuff worked for the old house but doesn't work here - that goes for furniture and systems.
It's also been about 3 years since I purged my closet and went down to a 30ish piece wardrobe. Still my most pinned post of all time! As a person who is perpetually cold, I had to make some adjustments living in a place with real winters, but for the most part I've been able to stick with that system. I'm planning some follow up posts along those lines (including kids clothes) if that's something that you guys would be interested in.
I'm sure we'll throw in a few recipes that manage to please all 6 resident Crinions, and maybe a few thoughts on faith/motherhood as they come. Let me know if there's anything particular you would like to see us cover here!
I hope you all are going into the new year feeling hopeful. I'm so grateful for each and every one of you that stops by here. Your presence and sweet comments over the years mean the world to me - thanks for sticking with us!