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Not the Moment We Were Looking For…

Last night we were in the living room, watching a tv show after the boys had gone to bed. Well, after most of the boys had gone to bed. Chuckles, the 3-year old, is less interested in a regular bedtime than the other kids. We’re stuck in this endless cycle of him napping and then not falling asleep until 10pm (or later). But if he doesn’t nap it triggers his night terrors. Napping + late bedtime it is. 

Anyway, there we were with Chuckles laying on the couch with Sergeant Handsome and he says, “Daddy, what’s your favorite place?”

Being the wonderful parent that he is, Sergeant Handsome replied, “Wherever you are, buddy.”

Now, I thought we seemed primed to create a wonderful warm and fuzzy memory of what a wonderful family we are. So I asked, “Chuckles, what’s YOUR favorite place?”

I was really thinking he would answer, “Wherever Daddy is.” Wouldn’t we just be like something out of a novel? It would be a real Christmas Letter moment (of course that would mean I would have to start writing Christmas letters and sending them out). People would aspire to be our lovey-dovey family. We could be smug in our superior family bond. 

Instead, without hesitation, Chuckles replied, “Toys R Us.”

So much for superior family bond. I guess you can’t beat a giant store full of toys. 

Chuckles

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Building and Breaking Down

I like to build things. I don’t have fancy tools or real skills. What I do have is a table saw, a drill, a few other tools, lots of notebooks, and an active imagination. I’ve mostly built a ton of beds. Since we’ve moved so often we’ve had a lot of furniture lost/broken/not-work-in-a-new-space. As we’ve added boys and moved from home to home, our needs have changed. So I’ve been building beds and bookcases and other such things. 

My favorite was the beds I built in to the boys room in our house in San Antonio. We had a small three-bedroom home and 6 people to fit into it. Don’t get me wrong- I loved that our home was cozy and it was just the right size for us and our needs. But we had to be creative to make that happen. That meant having three boys share a room. 

So at 34 weeks pregnant with Boy#4, I decided it would be a good idea to build in a loft bed with two beds underneath, divided by a bookcase. This picture from our real estate listing is the only decent picture I have of it (WHY did I not take good photos before we moved?!?!?). 

Built-In Bunk Beds from The Half-Hearted Housewife www.halfheartedhousewife.com

There’s a little play/reading space to the left of the mattress on the lofted bed. The boys frequently used it as a place to build with Legos where the littlest guy couldn’t reach them. And the lower beds were constantly forts/tents. What looks like a wall from here actually has ledges on the front where books and treasures were displayed.

I loved these beds so much. There was a lot of changing up of spots. The top bunk was a hot commodity. As we needed different things and everyone’s sleeping habits changed, we swapped everyone around between these beds and the other bedroom with a lone bed in it (sometimes a kid just needs his own space). 

These beds that I love have nothing to do with anything except that I loved them and I built them. And now that we’re yet another new home, we have new space that needs furniture. So over the weekend I decided I would tackle what we’re calling “the playroom.” It’s a room in the new place that’s open to our kitchen and seems like it will work for us as an office/playroom/family space. So I thought I’d build in a desk along one wall and then build some low shelves to go along a second wall for storage of toys and books. 

Sketching out of what I wanted was done, supplies were purchased, work got underway. About halfway through the project things were not going as planned. I should note that this happens every single time I build something. Remember that any plans or instructions are solely in my head. So naturally there are usually some hiccups along the way. My poor husband always has to deal with this point of every project. It usually involves cursing, throwing something, and temporarily giving up on everything. 

Except that this time my frustration with the project not going as planned somehow got conflated in my mind with living here in this new post. I had a minor break down. Many tears were shed while I cried to my husband saying, “I don’t know a single person here. No one will ever see this room but us and I’m the only one that cares what it looks like. I’ll never have friends here and we’ll never have people over. This is such a waste.”

Yikes. Sorry, Sergeant Handsome. It’s hard to balance my project frustrations with my loneliness and my fear that I’ll never make a friend here. It was a tough spot. 

I sucked it up and kept going. I’m still having some technical issues with the shelves but the desk is all in! I have no solution for the loneliness, so I’m just ignoring it for now. It’s probably not the most emotionally evolved way to deal with it, but I’m finding it really overwhelming when I think about it too much. So denial and distraction are it. 

Distressed shelves with copper pipe supports

I stained/whitewashed/distressed the shelves and I’m attempting to use copper pipes as supports. We’ll see how it goes.

We’ve moved so many times that this new-kid-in-school feeling shouldn’t be so distressing. I just feel a little less hopeful about it now. Since the boys are older it’s not exactly easy to meet other people. In the (distant) past I met friends through groups for moms with little ones. I also made friends through blogging/social media, but I am wary about broadcasting my location so I can’t really do that either. It’s left me in a spot where I don’t really know how proceed. 

I’m not really looking for ideas or sympathy or anything. I’m sure it will either resolve itself… or we’ll eventually move again. Ha! 

For the moment I’m mostly just concerned with finishing my dumb project so I can stop stressing about it and can finally unpack the rest of the boys’ toys and books. It’s the little things. 

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Silver Linings

We’re more than a month into our new school year. Three of the four boys are in school. Yes- they have full-day preschool in the public school system here. Score one for the middle-of-nowhere! I wasn’t sure how the transition from homeschooling to public school would go but, happily, it’s been awesome!

The boys love school. LOVE. IT. I’m not sure if I should be offended or not, but I’m going to just focus on them being happy and try not to feel like a failure for homeschooling them before now. I will say, in defense of our decision to homeschool when we were in San Antonio, that this new elementary school is a totally different environment than our old one. It’s fantastic. Every teacher, staff member, and administrator has shown themselves to be caring and enthusiastic. It’s exactly what I want from a school. I mean, I just love it. 

However, it turns out that I’m not that great at the logistics of public school. The making of lunches, setting out of school clothes, signing of papers, finding of shoes at 6:30am… none of that is exactly my strong point. But I’m working on it! It sounds counterintuitive but I swear that sending them to school each day is more actual work than homeschooling. I mean, homeschooling was certainly involved but I didn’t have to worry about getting to school on time or forgetting their lunches or supervising homework. Obviously we were doing work at home but there was a much more laid back vibe to making our way through our agenda for each day. The sense of urgency wasn’t the same. I’m whining, I know. It’s just that none of those things are my strong point. 

There are a few upsides to having all these boys in school. First, they’re incredibly happy. Win. Also, I get to hang out with baby Spike all the time. He’s hilarious and it’s been really fun to get some one-on-one time with him. But another benefit is being able to WORK. 

Is that weird? I like working. I like using my brain and having something that won’t be undone by my kids. So right now I’m doing some freelance stuff and hope to be able to find something more regular (and hopefully full-time) eventually. I’m incredibly lucky to be able to have had all of this time home with my kids and to have the luxury of being able to transition slowly back to (hopefully) full-time work. 

So while I’m still not thrilled with where we are currently living and am worried that I’ll be lonely here without any friends, there are so many good things happening that I really can’t complain about the move. It was, and continues to be, an adjustment for sure, but I’m optimistic that things are looking up. 

And this guy? He’s loving life as the only kid in the house most days. Look at him straight chillin’ while we wait outside of school to pick up his brothers. He’s clearly living the good life. 

Lounging

 

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