So back when I was looking at homes in Florida it became very apparent to me that I wasn’t going to get a lot of the things I was used to. Things like new homes. There just weren’t any! IF there was any new building going on it was for apartments and condos (building up). That wasn’t going to work for a family of 6. There were lots of things I had to get used to like the adobe tile that everyone seemed to have and love. That’s what we had in this house before we moved in and we ended up ripping it out and replacing it before we moved in. There were also things like the kind of grass that they have out there. It’s hard, thick grass that can cut you if you walk on it barefoot and there’s the fact that chiggers thrive in that kind of grass. There were the storm shutters and the fact that doors open outward (for hurricane purposes). So instead of pulling your door into your house to open it you push it out and hope that you don’t hit your visitors in the process. There’s the screened in yards and the peeling paint, due to salt water, and so many other things that just took getting used to.
There are so many things you need to get used to and you need to adjust your thinking especially coming from a place that tears down buildings if they’re older than 40 years. It slowly became obvious that I would be lucky to find a place that was 10 years old, where my husband didn’t have to commute more than 45 minutes. The more I looked at houses the more my list of “wants” disappeared and even my list of “needs” were slowly whittled away. One such thing was a laundry room. Right now I have a laundry hallway. You walk straight from the garage into the house making it impossible to have anything out in the open in terms of laundry baskets and sorters and whatever else you might consider putting in there. I had hoped that that would change with the move. A very common thing I found was that the laundry room was in the garage. I didn’t like that idea one bit but the more I looked at houses the more I realised I didn’t have an option.
I remember going back to the Williams’ place where we were staying after a long day of looking at houses. I decided to vent a little to Keren and see what she thought of some of my concerns. She had just recently moved to Florida I think by way of Oregon/ Washington area. Her and her husband had done a similar thing to what we were going through in that her husband had moved to Florida while she stayed back and packed up and sold their house. They were seperated for nine months! She had so much compassion for what I was going through and was exactly who I needed to talk to.
We talked about anything and everything, kids, church, callings, schools, jobs, motherhood, etc. It was such a wonderful and reassuring time. I’d like to say that I had always been 100% okay with this move but I’m ashamed to say that a little part of me had been very nervous. It’s not to say that I didn’t support my husband, which I did and still do because he is an incredible man who leads our family in complete righteousness and always does everything with his Heavenly Father in mind but it was a big move to make and I felt sort of left behind. It was a little different than that last two times that we had done a move this big and with our family seperated.
(**start of a very long tangent**) The first time I was pregnant with Benjamin and I was living in California while Jared moved to Vegas for three months to study and prep for the Nevada Bar. It was excruciating but looking back on everything it was a piece of cake especially compared to the second time.
The second time we were living in Pennsylvania when Jared got a job offer to start three days from the offer date, in Las Vegas. Joseph was only a couple months old and still nursing with Benjamin just barely three and Emma 18 months. I couldn’t get the house ready (convert attic to bedroom for resale value) with three little ones so we prayerfully decided to have Emma go west with Jared while I stayed with the two boys. Joseph was still nursing and so couldn’t be seperated and Benjamin could offer a lot of help while Emma still needed a lot of help. I thought living three months without my husband was hard but this was a million times harder because I was also being seperated from my baby girl. When she left she couldn’t/wouldn’t speak a word and by the time we were reunited she was talking a bunch. I missed so much in that two month period but I also gained something infinately more precious during that time. I learned what I truly cherished in this life because after 8 weeks of living alone with two little ones and no family close by I learned how important the gospel really is. I was never completely alone and there were so many times that I felt him holding him and carrying me forward. When my pipes froze and caused my basement to flood and my amazing home teachers came over for hours to help clean up for the open house the next morning I knew how important it was to do your calling! And after they left and I was tidying up and got locked out of my house in the dead of winter for several hours and my neighbors finally came to my rescue I knew what it was like to be a good neighbor. It was after that horrible weekend that I somewhat gave up. I had a long talk with my dad who arranged for him to do some work back east and he planned to come and pack up as much as my car would take and drive me and the boys to Vegas. Out of everything that we grabbed from the house was suitcases full of clothes and one box of toys. Everything else stayed and we survived with nothing more than that for 18 months before the house sold and we moved everything west. My respect for the pioneers grew so much in that time having a small insight to what they had gone through. It wasn’t the walking across the plains but it was leaving all your possessions or being seperated from your family for long periods of time. When our little family was finally reunited I remember Jared telling me that this is what it must feel like for those family members on the other side of the veil and when they are reunited with their loved ones.
So, as you can see, we were no stranger to this type of trial. It seems that with each time we were asked to do this it stretched us a little more which helped prepare me for this last time. This time, even though I had four children instead of 2, I was with family. It was Jared’s turn to stretch himself and rely on his ward family and friends across the country from his family. We were blessed with free Virgin America airline tickets so Jared did actually travel back and forth quite a bit. But there were the things like missing Emma’s dance recital (something he took really hard) and being seperated from the kids for Father’s Day that really made it difficult for the both of us. All I could do was hunker down and go about things as if nothing were different. The kids were in school, they had their extracurricular activities, church and callings, all on top of keeping the house organized and packed. It wasn’t easy but we got through it just fine.
(**back to the story**) So, one of the big holdbacks with some of the houses we were looking at was the laundry room, or the lack thereof. I loved everything else about the houses it was just the fact that the washer and dryer would have had to be put in the garage. The garages were so much larger than here in Vegas but I didn’t like the idea, mostly because it was foreign to me. I asked Keren how she felt about her laundry room being outside and she was able to open my eyes to some of the positives about having it out there. 1) The heat all stays outside. And for an area where there’s plenty of heat and humidity you don’t need any extra inside. 2) Usually if the laundry is in the house it’s just in a closet which you can use for food storage or pantry (which was exactly the case on several of the other homes that we looked at). 3) She said it was too hard to keep things in the laundry room especially when all 11 of her children were at home. Now she only had one at home so it’s not so bad. I comiserated with her on the landry with small children even though I couldn’t begin to imagine laundry for 11! She then proceeded to tell me about her organizational trick to keeping on top of her laundry and giving her children some responsibility when it came to that department. We went out to her garage and she showed me her bin system and how everything came straight out of the dryer, was folded and put into so-and-so’s bin where they’d be responsible to make sure it gets up to their room and put away. I was beyond thrilled to see and hear that it had been a success for 20+ years with her kids and I immediatly started thinking how I could impliment that in my home.
I got home and began searching for the perfect basket that my little kids could carry up and down the stairs without spilling. I found these awesome, stackable baskets at WalMart for just under $6. I bought four of them in different colors (Benjamin and Joseph both wanted blue so Benjamin got the blue with white handles and Joseph got the white with blue handles). Now, months later, my laundry days run seamlessly. It used to be that when it was laundry time I’d throw the dry clothes on my bed or on the family room couch, fold them up and then nag and nag for the kids to take their stuff up. There would be so many trips that they’d have to take up and then I’d go upstairs and find half of them shoved in corners because they hadn’t stayed folded during the journey up to their rooms. The baskets make it so that everything stays folded, they empty it and then put any empty hangers that might be in their closets in the baskets and bring them back down. It’s been months and I don’t have a single criticism about it. Even my little three year old enjoys taking his laundry up!
I have enjoyed making my house a home again! There are many wonderful things about moving and finding a new house but there is something to be said about stability and not moving around every two years. This is the longest we’ve ever living in one place (4 1/2 years now) and I love it even more than the first time I moved in. Of course there are times when I get bored or tired of looking at the same thing but that’s what’s so amazing about homeownership, you can change it up anytime you feel like it!