Sunday, October 11, 2015

something good happened.

I'm going to get back to blogging here a little more often than once every four months. I like to share goodness online publicly, not just on my private social media accounts.

Well, if you know me and/or my little family you know we had a big change recently!

At the beginning of July, my husband had been working at a retail store for three years and a shop manager for one of those years. It wasn't as great as we had thought it would be, and he had been very down for a few months (real depression but also just hard stuff that I'm not going into detail about). . . . Then something good happened. Okay, most things were already good, especially from my perspective. This is us honoring the fact that we had met TWENTY years earlier:

And that same week my sister let me be in the room when her third baby was born! It was the first time I had seen a human birth in person:

Those were in February, just before the most difficult months. Then we enjoyed two of D's other siblings' weddings in May and July. (His brother who is four years younger than him got married last September, so all three weddings were within less than a year. Now all but the youngest are married).

But this was extra good for D and me, and such a relief long-term. Here it is: he got an email congratulating him because the Army was considering him for an AGR position -- Active Guard and Reserve. He's been in the United States Army Reserve since before we got married. Almost everyone in a Reserve unit works two days a month and two or more weeks in the summer, but a few soldiers need to run and plan things full time. We didn't want to get our hopes up about the position (the salary would be much higher), but he felt like it was really going to happen.

A month later, on August 4th, he got the orders! On August 21st, movers boxed and took almost all of our possessions ("household goods "). That was different and kind nice, especially that the Army paid for it. That week we also had going-away parties: a Watermelon Party for our kids and their friends, and an adults-only party with our family and close friends plus our oldest girl. We spent August 26th and 27th driving a total of 750 miles to our destination, with our whole family and suitcases in a PT cruiser, which is not a big vehicle.

We used exactly ten hotel nights, of the ten that the Army reimburses, while he worked short days and we looked for a home to rent. (We saw the outside of over 30 homes, and the inside of  few. I think we signed the papers for our home on September 3rd. We started living in it on September 6th.) Here are photos of the girls doing laundry with me in the hotel, but usually it was my husband who did it. I can't remember why.

And a fun picture from the day we left the hotel:

We started living in this townhouse the day before Labor Day . . . and finally received our first paycheck besides travel pay on September 15th, and our household goods back on September 21st. We had been using air mattresses after our hotel living ended, so we were excited to have our own beds back. Oh, and we bought a nice futon since our other couch had to go to the landfill. Another exciting thing was being able to use our real dishes and have more than one pan.

This has been such a huge blessing for my husband's mental health, for our finances, etc. "Better than [we] deserve" as Dave Ramsey says. We've already started to pay off our credit card debt, more than just ten dollars above the minimum payment. It is a career, which he has wanted for years, and it's easier and more suitable for him than the retail store was.

We had thought that we would be in our previous place (our 7th home; a condo we moved to a while after I made this list) for at least two years. It was only one year, but that's okay because we like our 8th home too. We're probably going to need to move every three to five years as long as he's AGR. "Come what may, and love it," right? :-) This townhouse is perfect for us: nobody living below (or above) us! a garage! our own little fenced backyard! the church is close enough to walk to, and so are some places to shop! The neighbors are nice, the layout is better, and it's a lot newer. We have an end unit, and we have almost never heard the neighbors who are to the east; even then I barely could hear their child crying or whatever.

The other change I'm grateful for is that we decided to do a trial year of homeschool. I was interested in doing it for over a year and last year was too soon for us. This August, I found out about a homeschooling conference (an LDS one) happening in our new city starting just the day after we would arrive. The mom I talked to who had organized it let D and me, and the kids, come for free. We attended it for a couple hours Friday night and longer on Saturday. Yeah, the kids got bored, but a corner with toys, coloring stuff, and other children was helpful. Anyway, we had had a few short "practice days" of school before moving, and then started to really do it with a routine and curriculum on September 8th. I'm so thankful for my husband unpacking and assembling our things while I was teaching -- the Army gives you ten days off to get settled. I'm glad that we started even when not having Internet yet was a challenge. We had to be in my closet to use the connection from the church, on our tablet and/or my phone. So then it got much better with our own Internet, and our computer back. I love teaching our kids and not having them gone from 8:30-3:15! It has been fun to learn/relearn some things along with them. They have more time to be creative . . . I like everything about it. The Family School is excellent. Another family in the townhouses homeschools too, and we have had one play date with their boys so far after the day she came over to meet us. It's funny that we met through a facebook group instead of the little neighborhood. They attend a different Christian church. During the play date I was home by myself, which is always nice. . . .

When we had been going to our new ward for a couple of weeks both S and L got invited to birthday parties on the same day. This picture shows the ballerina that L decorated at Avery's party.