Saturday, November 30, 2013

Week One on the New Job

Monday was our first day official day on the job. We are now one week in. No kids, but lots of work has been done.

To begin with, we've had the usual training items (which for a houseparenting position encompasses a little bit of everything from menus, school schedules, using epi pens, picking up groceries and household supplies, appropriately recording medications, and documenting the lives of the children).

While trying to wrap our minds around the specific idiosyncrasies of the function of this particular campus (I've been watching a lot of Big Bang Theory lately--I think it's affecting my large word usage), we've also been pouring hours into cleaning up our cottage.

At this point, our apartment is looking quite nice. Not perfect, but comfortable and cozy. What I'm referring to is the rest of the cottage, where the children live and we spend the rest of our days while working. This used to be a boys cottage, and has been empty for the last half a year or so. The design of the cottage is great, but Harley Davidson helped finance the redecoration of it a number of years ago. And therefore, the decor is....Harley Davidson. Well, "was" Harley Davidson. After a week of hard work, it's much more girly and less motorcycley. Additionally, we had to get the Christmas decorations up as well.

One of the best experiences of this week was having nearly all the houseparents on campus come over one day and help clean the cottage from top to bottom, decorate, move furniture around, etc. Without this help, we would still be scrubbing the toilets at this point. It was such a blessing.

On top of all this, Baby Q decided to develop a nice case of croup, requiring me to hunt down the Urgent Care in town, fight with our old insurance, and have several very worried nights.

Additionally, we bought tickets to fly to Texas for our week off in December, so we can spend some time with some beloved family. Haven't told Blueberry yet that she's going to get to see the Cousins again, but as they've been a frequent topic of conversation since we saw them this summer, I imagine she'll be pretty pleased.

Oh yeah, and it was Thanksgiving this week. I nearly forgot that part. Bit of an unconventional Thanksgiving for us this year, but pleasant nonetheless.

One day of rest and Monday we get the first of our new childrens. Yay!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Living in Small Spaces

The last few years have been a lesson in downsizing. One way to really get some impetuous to downsize is, apparently, to just move to smaller dwellings. Moving from Missouri to Arkansas was somewhat of a downsizing process. Moving from Arkansas to North Carolina has absolutely been a downsizing process.

We left quite a few pieces of furniture in Arkansas and got rid of a large amount of excess "stuff" before we left. 

I sit in my new living room with a sense of satisfaction that the house is decently well set up (still some work here and there, but primarily it is as it shall be--including pictures on the walls!). 900 square feet for four people required quite a level of finagling, but I am pleased with the end result. Now, having said that, I do have a pile of things to sort through and determine what to do with them. Fortunately there is a room in the main cottage that I can use as a staging area for now, which has been a huge benefit.

One of the adventures in all of this has been determining the best way to tidily situate our belongings. Our apartments are very much designed as a square. A combined living room/kitchen/dining area. Two doors lead off to two bedrooms with decent walk-in closets. From those rooms are two more doors which lead to a nice-sized bathroom. In all, an almost perfect square.

Thinking outside the box has been the largest key to all of this. One of my favorites is my "office in a chest". I have a large cedar chest that has been the home of various items over the years. The latest design is for all office supplies, including holding our printer inside! When needed, lift the lid, plug it in, and viola. Otherwise, it is tidily out of the way.

We are now living in the land of recycling. Fortunately, it's not one of those majorly complicated recycling systems, but it still requires the use of two garbage cans. Now I don't have room for two cans in our house. At all. So just outside our kitchen door--which is an outside door--is a second garbage can, perfect for the temporary holding of recyclable items.

This is the view of our living room and kitchen from the inside doorway to the apartments. The two light wood carts are rolling islands we brought with us from Arkansas. They have been my saving grace with this kitchen as the entirely of our kitchen counter-space is a fridge, one foot wide counter, double-sink, and oven. One of the islands I will actually roll in front of the oven and back out as needed. Huge space saver.

 I've gotten inventive, as well, with storage, For example, the green cabinet in the living room contains our games but also has a shelf devoted to snacks, etc.

Our new table is a high-top, and we've utilized the space under the chairs for a few items like the kitchen stool! 

My spices are now kept entirely on the wall. Two spice shelves and then we bought two magnetic storage strips upon which I have placed the rest of the spices. I've used old baby food jars for many of my spices, and the metallic lids of the jars are perfect for holding them up! Still need to put labels on the bottom of the jars.

My favorite space saver came, mostly, from Ikea. We've put into storage the majority of our dinner plates,etc and pulled out a smaller basic set. On our wall, then, is the space to hold all our plates, mugs, utensils, napkins, salt/pepper shakers, etc. 

So, just a glimpse of our new little home in all it's coziness.

I have not mentioned here my favorite design of it all--the large windows that are in almost every room. Pretty views, beautiful light. It keeps me very happy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hmmm.....When Life Doesn't Go as Expected

It's been awhile since I've posted. In looking back over my blog, my last post was about the concept of contentment and trust in the Lord. And then my world went crazy and has since been put back together again. In North Carolina.

Did I mention we moved this last month? Because, yes we did.

I feel rather like God said, "Be content and trust in let me kick you in the rear and move you on to somewhere new. All during which I expect you to apply these lessons in contentment and trust."

Sigh. And so in the past month:
  • I've hit a low point in dealing with a certain child
  • Lost all trust  and a great deal of respect several times over for my then administrators
  • Found myself in yet another swirling whirldwind of God moving in our lives quickly and decisively including getting hired for a job without ever formally interviewing, visiting where we would be moving to, or even meeting our new boss in person until we had already been settling in for a few weeks!
  • Started packing before having a place to go
  • Said farewell to some good friends
  • Dealt with Turtle and Kitty Cat moving to another cottage with only one day's notice (not a happy move for any of us)
  • Gained a new girl a few days before we left
  • Said goodbye to all our girls
  • Packed up my house
  • Carved pumpkins (Baby Q ate some of his--Blue got bored and we wound up drawing a face on hers)
  • Gotten physicals and TB tests--the day we were leaving Hot Springs 
  • Met three new babies of good friends
  • Said farewell to our beautiful Calista as she went to live with another family (we can't have a dog here and she would not have done well with the long move)
  • Traveled to Springfield--twice in the span of three weeks
  • Driven a car (with Baby Q in the back seat) while Chris drove a van with all our worldly goods (and one Blueberry who was thrilled with driving with her daddy) from Arkansas to North Carolina via Missouri
  • Acquired one ticket for expired tags
  • Reunited with a wonderful family and ex-co-workers, now current co-workers
  • Worked on unpacking into our 900 square foot house--still in the process of downsizing
  • Rejoiced in living somewhere with windows--lots of windows
  • Got a new driver's license
  • Renewed our car tags (ahem)
  • Visited Hillery and family who now live only 3.5 hours away
  • Driven through gorgeous scenery of fall in the mountains
  • Worried over a very hot, very sick little boy who turned out to have caught a case of Roseola before leaving Hot Springs
  • Visited and fallen in love with Ikea (even better than I ever imagined)
  • Met a whole bunch of new people/co-workers
  • Watched my son start pulling up and standing on everything and then start creeping along while standing
  • Watched my daughter grow another inch and suddenly become Miss Independence
  • And got to go on a date and watched Ender's Game
 It's been hectic. And yet in all of this, I feel more peace and calmness than I have for quite awhile. Funny how God works, isn't it?

One Year Ago Today

On this day, one year ago, we completely changed our lives. We drove away from jobs and home and loved ones to a new adventure of the very m...