Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I sure love my village.

Last April, we moved in to the BEST. NEIGHBORHOOD. EVER. 
Englewood Street is where it's at.

When we first walked through this house with our realtor, I was in the back yard with the kids, and from the yard behind us became a voice. "Hey!" It was Rachel. Her and I spoke for a brief moment, and I told her "who knows, maybe we'll be neighbors!" I was so excited when we found out that we had gotten the house, because I already knew one of our neighbors! 

The day we closed on our house, some tattooed dude with earrings walked up our drive way. He came to the door and introduced himself. It was our first encounter with our next-door neighbor. He was super friendly and welcoming, and told us that he had a wife and two kids. 

A few days later, on moving day, we met the neighbors a few houses down, on the corner. They were so cool. We met the two other houses between them and us, two houses also with young kids. Then Matt's dad met our next-door neighbors on the other side, and realizes that they have been friends with his siblings for years. And then there was the sweet lady across the street, who gave us a beautiful vintage push mower. 

With all of that to say, we moved in to a gem of a neighborhood. This summer, everyday, we were playing and hanging with the neighbors. I need milk, a garbage bag or some cooking spray? One of them has it. When one of them needs cilantro or greek yogurt? I got it. We do kid swaps. We share meals. We walk our neighbor's dog. We take care of each other when we're sick. We check in on each other. We watch out for one another. ) We share cheese cake or ice cream after a hard day (or just because its 1pm and  both of our houses are filled with sleeping kids.) We encourage each other through hard times, and rejoice with one another when it all works out. There is a book club (I don't even read the books, but I still get to come along!) We do playdates. We chase each other's kids down before they run in to the street (and they don't judge me when they find that Gabriel has wandered in to their back yard... again... without me knowing. 

It takes a village.

we always mix up gabe and jakey. they are like twins. 
Kira and the boys
safe, sunny streets.

what? you don't have henna parties with your neighbors?
gabriel, found in the neighbor's secret garden. again.


This morning my friend Rachel was over visiting and we were outside enjoying the weather and watching the kiddos play while chatting with my next-door-neighbor. A group of us woman have built up a sweet little community, my next-door neighbor is one of my closest friends already! Another neighbor drove up and let us know that some women from our hood were getting together for a night out next month.  Rachel said there needed to be a reality show about our neighborhood since we are so tightly knit. We decided we would call it "The Ladies of Englewood." I laughed, imagining the "Desperate House Wives of so-and-so County" music playing, us pictured with our families, swerving our hips all sassy with our arms folded across our chests. Dirty kids running around in the background. Bananas and Cheerios from breakfast on the floor. Gabriel constantly going missing and images of me frantically looking for him. Stupid fights with our husbands over chores. Kids having melt downs. Not-fancy dinners and many nights with out baths or teeth brushing. The Ladies of Englewood. I'd sure watch it. 

I'm so grateful for the women in this neighborhood, and their families (and dogs!) too. 

Get out and meet your neighbors! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

trying to keep my wind-whipped waves at bay...

This last week we feel as though we are really being tested and refined in the area of finances. Matt found out he lost a very large snow plowing contract, and I found out, today, that one of the little girls I have been watching will no longer come to my house for care. Tomorrow is her last day. I was crushed. 

When finances are tight, it impacts me heavily. I hate that. I want my faith to be unwavered by things like this. We had a speaker at our church last Sunday that spoke about faith. He talked about how we need to check our history with God when we feel overwhelmed by our circumstances. That's what I am trying to doing now. 

The hard part, is knowing that in the waiting and in the trusting, there are lessons to be learned. It never comes easy. Refinement is painful, man! The outcome is always amazing though, and time after time I have gotten to share the amazing goodness that comes out of our trials. 

Consider it a sheer gift, friends,
 when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 
You know that under pressure,
 your faith-life is forced into the open 
and shows its true colors. 
So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. 
Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, 
not deficient in any way.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, 
pray to the Father. 
He loves to help.
 You’ll get his help,
 and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. 
Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.
 People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

James 1:2-8
The Message

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mom, I'm thanksgiving for you.

Two months since my last post. 
Our computer was broken, 
So I was unable to keep up. 
Hi. I'm back.

It's almost thanksgiving, so let's talk about being thankful. I'm thankful for my family.

 I want to see my boys the way God sees them. And I feel like this is pretty close to how he sees them. 

As tired as I am. As impatient and frustrated as I feel at times, I am so thankful to be the mama of these boys. 

Max is doing well in school, is learning so much, and is becoming friends with Gabriel (finally!) He is like a little wild stallion. He needs a lot of direction and guidance right now. He loves his mama and daddy so much. The other day is tells me "mom? I'm thanksgiving for you."

Gabriel is an emotional TRAIN WRECK these days. He is either SUPER happy and playful, or SUPER devastated, heart broken or upset. So. Much. Drama. He is 2 1/2 and so funny. Everyone he sees lately he tells "me frow up in my bed." The other night he got sick and was throwing up. Of course he was fine the next day, but it is his conversation starter with everyone he greets these days. 

Eli has been battling a cold for a month I feel like. So sad. He is teething and pretty miserable at times, but he always has a smile for me, and pretty much everyone else. He is so sweet. He's such a climber, and has mastered climbing on to our dining room chairs. Oh man, he's fearless.

I'm thankful for my husband. Marriage is SO hard. It's so much work. But when you have an awesome spouse, it makes it so worth it. He's willing to work with me to make things better. He's open to what is on my heart, and listens. He is a hard worker. He provides for our family. He spends his weekends doing house projects and maintenanceHe is helpful around the house. He helps with dishes and clean-up. He is in charge of laundry. He helps with meals. He is an AMAZING father. He loves his boys so much. He plays with legos and cars, he wrestles with them, he tickles them and chases them. He changes poopy diapers. Our boys absolutely adore their daddy. And I do too. He gives me a scheduled break every Monday night (my funday Monday night.) He even releases me to have a 24 hour retreat each month with my BFF Hilary. I got a good man. 

We have a beautiful home, 
great friends and family, 
an awesome and powerful God that loves us
 more than we can even comprehend,
and a life that is truly a miracle.

I feel like this is one of our family verses:

I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places- firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again.
Isaiah 58:11-12 (The Message)

Thanks for reading.