Does anyone else feel like summer has flown by way too quickly? I keep closing my eyes and clicking my heels and saying “I want a few more weeks of summer… a few more weeks of summer…” At the same time, my usually well behaved kids are practically swinging from the chandeliers at this point so I guess it’s time to go back to school. 😉
I hadn’t planned on taking a blog break this summer, but each time I sat down to work my kids would approach and ask me to read a book with them, or if we could go to the pool, or showed me their latest LEGO creation and asked me to pretty please play with them… which of course made it tough to open the laptop back up. My whole point in working from home was so I had the flexibility to be with the kids when they were home and work when they were at school. They’re maturing at a rate I can’t comprehend so thanks for your grace and understanding as I closed the laptop and opened my arms to my family instead. Even as I type this, I have a cutie pie by my elbow reading along and asking questions about what I’m writing. At ages 7 and 9, time is traveling at warp speed and the more I try to cling to their ‘littleness’ the more it disappears!
This year has been such a rollercoaster of change and transition. It’s hard to believe that one year ago I was headed down to North Carolina with a carload of stuff and two disgruntled and heartbroken kiddos sitting in the backseat. The more I tried to get them to love their new home state the more I failed. This about sums up that first month:
Taking a leap of faith by moving to a new place just to try something new without knowing a single person is scary to say the least. Not knowing anyone in the area, I had to jump in with both feet and try my best. Last week as I was fielding texts from four different friends as we got ready to meet another friend at the pool I had to stop and laugh when I realized that a year ago I hadn’t yet met any of them. Not that making friends has been easy– it hasn’t– but I’ve opened my heart and said ‘yes’ to new experiences and in return have met such a fun group of people… and hope to meet more friends and make even deeper connections as we continue to put down roots.
Even while strawberry picking under Carolina blue skies, my daughter makes sure to let everyone know exactly where she’s from, though. Just in case you couldn’t tell, SHE LOVES THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AND DON’T TRY TO SAY OTHERWISE.
The adjustment period was rough, particularly before school started last summer. My kids were mad at me for tearing them away from all they knew and loved, and in an effort to sway them I dragged them around those first few weeks trying to ‘sell’ North Carolina. Being a newbie to the area, I scouted out the BEST playgrounds and couldn’t figure out why they were all empty until my kids tried playing in the sweltering heat and lasted all of 5 minutes. We tried hiking and ended up in urgent care due to bites from aggressive insects (and we were using bug spray with DEET! Those bugs did not give a you-know-what!) The helpful nurse said “y’all are fresh meat, honey.” We ended last summer exhausted, hot, and quite worse for the wear. I felt like I’d failed.
Like it or not, we gradually learned to deal with the local critters.
This is their ‘mom it’s hot and you won’t stop telling us to watch out for Copperheads’ smile.
Another thing I underestimated– after fifteen years in one place, my service professionals and doctors were like family to me. Finding new doctors to replace those that we loved is TOUGH! Suddenly we needed new doctors, specialists, hair dressers, mechanics, restaurants, dry cleaners, dentists and more. Plus, we moved twice… once to the apartment, and again into our house. Changing our address so many times put our mail in a tailspin. Case in point- last week we got a letter postdated March. And it was a card with a gift. EEEEEK! With all those changes, paperwork became another full time job (in addition to my other full time job of dealing with the builders and also my actual other full time jobs, blogging and Young Living!)
When you have zero free time, things you love slip away. I feel like an awful friend, sister, daughter, niece, aunt and neighbor. I’m hoping to make up for that this year without those added tasks on my plate.
We found respite from stress and guilt in the beauty of this gorgeous place, though.
Traffic jam, Outer Banks style:
One of the ways we tried to acclimate the kids was starting new sports and activities. This little ninja is now a GREEN BELT, and also tried a season of basketball while her brother enjoyed a few seasons of soccer.
Poking around and finding hidden treasures has been a blast. We went mining in the mountains…
… and I’ve discovered new sources for treasures and decorating finds all over the state. #heavenly
One of the most challenging parts of this past year was our house building process– it was horrible. We went into it with innocent hearts and lots of hope, and came out crawling on the other side. We are still waiting for things from pre-closing to get completed, which is why I haven’t shared our story yet. The uncertainty of not knowing when we’d move into our house (or even IF we’d move in, we were *thisclose* to walking away from it a month from closing) was gut wrenching for all four of us. The stress impacted me physically as well, I’m just coming out of that after side effects from all the anxiety. People warned me it’s hard, and I thought “but it’s such a blessing to be able to build! It can’t be that hard!”
However, once you involve your family and your hopes and dreams and entire reason for moving gets dashed, it’s a blow to the heart. Truly, it was a full-time job to monitor the builder, deal with their mistakes (again and again and again), rearrange plans as our projected closing date came and went, live out of boxes for nine months, figure out why our house failed inspection nine times, deal with locking in a mortgage rate when you can’t even get a firm closing date, communicating it all with our (amazing) realtor, crying big fat tears as you walk in your backyard that looks nothing like what they said it would and realize your kids won’t have the yard you were promised or privacy because the trees were cut down and the drainage creates a river running through it every time it rains… SO. MUCH. STRESS.
One of my kids drew this picture of me around that time. She was not lying.
After we moved, sometimes I’d come into my daughter’s room to find her like this, asleep at the window where she was watching the trucks. Construction is noisy at 6AM.
In the middle of all of this, I wrote a book. Probably not the best timing, but who says no to Simon and Schuster?! No one! That was a stressor I took on myself and take full responsibility for accepting into my life, but when someone offers you a dream on a platter you take it. The research, writing, photography, and most of the editing is finished (whew!) so now just some minor editing and then publishing. For a few months this was my daily position, but looking back it’s so so worth it!
Even though we’ve had some rocky moments we’re embracing the times that are pure magic. Like butterflies who visit us while we eat dinner outside.
Last year right after we moved, I asked the kids what they thought of North Carolina and they both gave me a solid two thumbs down. Now when I ask, they give me a 3/4 (dare I say 7/8?) of the way thumbs up, which is SO MUCH PROGRESS my friends.
After one year, it’s starting to sort of feel like home here. Visits from family and friends and putting our guest room to good use makes it feel legit. We’ve found “our” restaurant and favorite shops. Don’t underestimate how great it feels when you finally find the perfect pedicure spot (the one that serves mimosas!) and an OB/GYN you want to hug. There’s been many bumps in the road but that’s how life goes. I’m taking solace in the crepe myrtles and magnolias, beaches and mountains, streams and waterfalls. North Carolina is a gorgeous state, and we are so happy to call her home… even if my kids won’t 100% admit it yet. I’ll take 92% admission that NC is amazing and call it a day.
As the saying goes, a ship in harbor is safe… but that’s not what ships are for. I hope in another year we can look back and say that sailing our ship was the right decision. At the very least, the kids have learned incredibly poignant life lessons whether they know it yet or not. Staying in the same place with the safe routine is comforting, but reaching for something better should be worth it. And so far, it’s SO worth it. To be continued… 😉