Should I Stay or Should I Go

In the past months, we've been really evaluating our state of living, meaning WHERE we live.  It's been five and a half years since we moved out of our hundred year old crafstman bungalow in the middle of a historic neighborhood, ten blocks from church and school, and quite literally right in the middle of the city.  We were close to everything, and while it didn't always seem like it at the time, moving out of town sure made us realize the no-longer-there conveniences quickly.  When we moved, we said we would take it one year at a time.  We also knew that the longer we were here, in our small-town home on an acerage, the more it would become ours. 

Well, it has...become more and more ours, but it has also become increasingly more challenging to be involved in the things that we want to be closer to church and school and friends.  There is a lot of driving back and forth (35 miles/1 hour round trip), a lot of finding something to do with kids in tow for 1-2 hours, the absolute need to be organized with snacks, a change of clothing, water bottles...or the consequent "need" to visit a drive through, run into Target to buy a new pkg of socks or a pair of gym shorts, call a friend to download and print a coupon, or stop by the church and send dancing children in to use the bathroom.  Our big red Suburban is our second home...and there's not much square footage since we added that extra seat!

Thus, the latest conversation that it is time to move back...but not just back anywhere...back to St. Teresa's.  The St. Teresa's parish boundaries stretch through old and new neighborhoods, but we want something close...really close, which means pretty old, and most likely, pretty small.  The old part is of course a wonderful thing and I would be on a cloud to have that character back in my home.  The small part...we could manage I'm sure.  So we've been scouting the neighborhoods, grabbing hold of the local gossip of retirements, failing health, foreclosures, relocations in anticipation of possible homes that will soon be on the market. 

I find myself excited about being so near so many conveniences again, especially friends and church.  The idea of no more interupted afternoon naps to pick up kids from school, no more parking under a shade tree or finding a park to play at for an hour in between school and practice, no more driving to meet friends for morning runs...everything will be in my back yard again.  And then the anxiety hits:  we will have to sell our house, which is just scary, and even more scary is that we will have to keep it clean!  We will have to finish little things left undone because they're not high on our priority list, but they will be to a potential buyer.  We will have to say goodbye to small town summers and quiet, starry nights and chickens and space.  No more football games in the front yard or races around the house or baseball in the back.  Can't I please have my cake and eat it too?? 

And then the comotion of the summer stops and the beautiful fall weather sets in and the grass gets mowed and the windows and doors can stand wide open and the chirps of the crickets and croaks of the toads and whatever you call the noise that the cicada makes are heard and my heart is happy.  I decide almost instantly that I don't want that pressure of being in a "have-to" situation, or feel like I'm not happy...that this is our home.  This is where we live, and commuting is what we do.  We've put a lot of ourselves and a lot of hard work into this house already...we've done it for more than 5 years, what's 15 more??  (Don't get me wrong...if someone knocks on our door and asks if they can buy our house, we'll have a VERY serious pow-wow.)  I looked around at all the things that I like--LOVE--about our home.

Our fire pit...self made over the years. 

It has evolved from a mud-pit leftover from where the previous owners swimming pool sat.  We dug a hole and transferred river rock from the flower beds.  It evolved to something that is now a little more stable and slightly more attractive. 

It used to be the home of my most favorite adirondack chairs until the little tornado came through the night of Amelia's birth, so now we just improvise. 

It has proven to be a wonderful source of social entertainment for our family and for our guests.  We actually use it quite often.

Marshmallow are involved 100% of the time.

And then there is just the fact that things look so nice when everything is mowed and trimmed and put an actual home that someone lives in!  And of course the view is nice too.

Oh, and the trees that we've planted...they're growing...big.
And in focusing on the things that I really like about my home...

our dinner bell, which was left for us by the previous owners.  They were going to take it with them until they saw our enthusiasm about the idea of having one. 

The 1950's Super C tractor that my dad brought for us to blade the winter driveway, cultivate the big garden that we have room for and mow down that pasture now that we don't have a horse.  It was my grandpa's tractor (and I think will be my brother's someday).  We're happy to "store" it for him for the time being. 

And on our pretend farm, we have a barn...a red one, with a hay loft.  It sports a recent addition that is home to our chickens.  (As neighbors started popping up, we had to give our chickens a proper home instead of just letting them run around all over the place.)
While taking care of chickens in the winter has not yet made my list of "fun things to do", gathering the eggs is near the top.

And then there is the inside...finally the wood floors and open walls and the colors that I like and space to spread out...

and a sewing room that has a door that can just be shut when I'm done.

and a family room that has a new attitude, thanks to my brother.  (Still in progress in this picture as I spy the painter's tape still on the wall)

Yes, I have much that I still want to do...the bathrooms, I'm itching to paint my kitchen cabinets, but that's another post.  A deck, flowers, and maybe someday even electricity to the barn.  Things that will take at least another several years to even start, so staying put is ok.  We'll just have to suck it up, continue to be creative with our schedule, and possibly even continue to say "no" to what we just can't find time for.  It will mean more winters that we may not be able to leave our driveway, but more summers that we can entertain under that big blanket of stars that are visible because we don't have all the other city lights to compete with. 

I'm sure we'll continue to have challenges, but until God sends someone knocking on our door, ready to buy our house as-is, we'll just keep on keepin' on.  I think I'll stay.