Monday, May 18, 2015

Where Are We Now?

The simple answer is that we are in Florida!  I remember as a kid I always thought it would be a dream come to true to live by the beach!  Well guess what?  Dreams DO come true!

The hows and whats of how that move came about can only be described in the following scripture verse:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

When I began staying home with our children after our twins were born we knew our home, in one of the most expensive areas of the country,  would be a tough thing to keep.  We knew that cutting our income in half would require lifestyle adjustments and perhaps the downsizing of our home.  Downsizing sounds funny when your family is up-sizing quickly.  14 short months after the birth of our twins we welcomed baby number four, a baby girl we now refer to as “Big Jules”.  A few weeks after her birth this blog was born with THIS post.

Life with 4 kids age 2 ½ and under was crazy, difficult and SUCH A BLESSING!  I look back and feel like maybe I had things together way more than I do now after having 4 years of experience as a SAHM! 

Fast forward almost a year and with the sale of our home we moved a little farther away from the hustle and bustle of the DC area.  It was a BEAUTIFUL 1800s home we were able to rent fairly cheaply.  It did not turn out in the way we thought it would though.  We moved out in less than 6 months.  That was a tough time of uncertainty in our lives.  You can read about that in a series of blog posts found here

J’s parents were gracious enough to allow us to live with them for 5 months while we decided what the next step would be for our family.  Although we didn't understand it at the time, the “dream home” debacle ended up opening up our minds to the opportunity to follow our dream of moving to Florida.

A little rewind to our reasoning into why…REALLY…Florida?  Every land locked kid (I’m originally from Ohio)… that grows up going on even 1 vacation to the beach...dreams of one day living there.  How can you hate that fresh ocean breeze?  Fast forward past those family vacations and into adulthood.  Shortly after getting married we traveled down to Florida for a week to stay with some of J’s family who lived in a small town about a 15 minute drive to the beach. 
This town was the epitome of that sleepy southern coastal town.  The slower pace of life and kindness of the people reminded me of my hometown in Ohio.  The people were laid back, down to earth and spoke with that sweet southern drawl you hear in the movies.  The beach was NOT lined with high rise hotels and cheesy beach shops with overpriced souvenirs.  Instead, it was lined with beach cottages and larger homes with only a sprinkling of bed and breakfasts and small hotels.  The south end boasted of private beaches of the Ritz Carlton and Omni.  My husband had been visiting for years with his family and it was love at first sight for me.  J and I enjoyed that vacation and talked about what a great place it would be to raise children.
Shortly after moving in with our in-laws we began to consider the very real possibility of a move to that town in Florida.  We soon found out J would be allowed to keep his job with his company and work out of a home office.  We knew Florida was where we had eventually dreamed of ending up and with the benefits some family close by and a much cheaper cost of living than what we were used to outside of Washington DC, we went for it.  Making a definitive decision was important because the school years were fast approaching and we wanted to be settled prior to that time.  We found a rental home and a preschool for our oldest son with ease.

In February we moved from our country home to Justin’s parents and on July 1st of that same year we were moving into our rental home in Florida.

We've since moved into our permanent home, found an amazing church home and made fabulous friends.  Our family has settled into the southern life seamlessly and we are so very grateful.  As I’m writing this story I am reminded once again how God works out things in our lives in ways we cannot even begin to fathom.  I am so grateful! 

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Life a Little Further Down the Road

It’s been awhile.  

Just over 2 years to be exact.  In that time there have been growing kids, multiple moves, new adventures and new friends.  Some days it feels like a lifetime other days I literally feel like I blinked. 

My kids were ages 3, 2 & 1 at that time.  4 toddlers!  I literally have trouble remembering what my life was truly like back then!  

Now, at 5, 4 & 3 many logistical things like going places by myself with the kids or getting them all dressed are so much easier!  They understand they need to hold hands and watch for cars.  They can dress themselves!  (CAN I GET AN AMEN?!?!?!)  Things like discipline and all of them talking loudly at one time are more difficult.  Some days I think I’d trade those days of lining all 4 of them up to change diapers and put pj's on and being awoken in the middle of the night for the newer challenges of the whiny voices, strong willed defiance and lots of differing opinions on every evening’s dinner. 

What I've come to understand is that each season comes with fresh blessings as well as fresh challenges.  I also understand that as I become accustomed to one season another is fresh on its heels.  God has grown and challenged me.  God has put me in my place.  God has blessed my ever lovin’ socks off. 

Here’s to an older version of The Houtz House Party.    

Here’s to continuing to record this story of ours so that J and I are able to look back and be reminded of the moments of our lives that seem to move faster and faster with each step. 

But most of all, here's to little boys who NEVER outgrow those plaid ties.  

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Friday, March 22, 2013

So Long

I've been putting off this post.

I have been pretty quiet around here.  I've typed these same words a time or two in the past few months.  The truth is I've been quiet because this mommy blog season might be coming to an end.  My online presence has been less and less and initially I was scared to let it go but I’m ok with that now. 

I have changed so much since I began this journey with this post in 2012.  I never knew just by sharing who I was I’d find a group of friends who shared my struggles, my heart & my faith.  I've become more confident, more accepting, happier and more free.  I've become more creative and more thoughtful.  I've grown into a bolder woman for all that I believe and stand for.  At 32 I like who I am. 

I rediscovered my love for writing and found a voice.

I will never be the same because of Sarah, Christina, Brooke & Britt.  I love each of you so very much.

I'm grateful for Andi for encouraging me to get started in the first place.

As I say goodbye for now to The Houtz House Party I bid you all very best wishes, prayers and love as you continue writing your story.

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