I took more than a year off of blogging. Not on purpose. It's been a whirlwind few years, and things are quite different.
A week before Christmas 2012 Jake's bosses asked us if we would consider relocating, as they were working on expanding. We were blindsided. Kaysville, we had thought, was to be our permanent home. Sure, I causally had dreamt of living in the country with plenty of land for our children to explore. But I fully intended to stay where I was. A trip to the temple and some earnest prayers confirmed what we already had felt: this move would be good for us.
So here we are, one year later and settled in our new home in Smithfield, Utah. (I use the term loosely...we're still eating on a folding table and our walls are bare.)
Right now I am in the playroom with the youngest three, the ones I used to refer to as 'the babies'. They're not babies anymore. Just last night, I bundled up all 5 kids and they played in the snow until dark. I had cooked dinner in the quiet house and thought back to the frenzied days of freezer meals and crying babies and no sleep and constant mess.
Now Luke runs into the playroom with a blanket on his head' 'oohing' like a ghost. He runs without caution, and immediately trips over a pile of toys, falls down and laughs. Minutes later he falls again, but this time somehow Olivia was at fault so he screams and kicks his feet. Siblings.
Isabelle brings me her Tangled Rapunzel dress. "On." She's talking more and more everyday. She has preschool and speech therapy 4 days a week here, and it shows. She watches Rapunzel almost daily, but jumps up and down and squeals each time I relent to yet another showing.
My grandma says that Olivia has an old soul. She is kind and happy and communicates her feelings with a maturity that is well beyond her years. She fills my days with words like 'I always wanted a mom like you!'. Now she runs up to me, bonking me with the toy in her hand. When I jump and yell 'ouch', she is instantly in tears. I pick her up and she wraps her arms around me, whispering 'mommy I would never hurt you'.
I have grown to appreciate days like this: no pressing tasks pulling at my attention. This much slower lifestyle is a stark contrast to our past years. It peaked last summer as I prepared to list our home instead of playing with the kids. I made an honest effort to organize and dejunk, but nothing could have really prepared me for selling our house. My days and nights were an endless cycle of cleaning, crying and anxiety attacks once we listed it in August. We drove in circles around our neighborhood in our pjs while complete strangers went through our closets, and opened heaven only knows which drawers. By the time it sold in October I was a wreck. My doctor prescribed Xanax, the first anti-anxiety medication I've had to use despite the fact that I've battled it on and off for years.
Change is always hard for me, but most of the changes to our lifestyle recently have been welcomed. Olivia is potty trained, so I only have 2 in diapers. They entertain themselves with toys for long periods of time, feed themselves and sleep through the night. I've started reading again (my favorite pastime), the house is usually suitable for drop-in visitors (we kept the door locked for 2 years) and the bags under my eyes are lightening up.
This is a great place to raise a family, and I have no doubts that we will be happy here. But I miss my friends and shopping at familiar stores and living close to family. I am excited for our future, but leaving our old home while simultaneously leaving the 'baby days' was like lemon juice in a paper cut. That was where I brought new babies home, sat on the back porch and chatted with friends while our small children ran through the yards, and where I grew up as a mom. It's hard to picture what this new phase will look like, but here we are, so bring it on!