The Homestead Weekly

The Homestead Weekly, 19 July 2020

We are officially T-minus 12 days away from Moving Day, and things are finally starting to sink in—I am forwarding mail, sending packages to my mom and stepdad’s house (where we’ll be living for the next few months until we find our next house) in case shipping times are delayed, returning things to neighbors, and trying to pack…always trying to pack…

I’ve started unofficially saying goodbye to people, or at least telling them that we’ll miss them and that we’re sad we’re moving away. I am checking real estate sites probably no fewer than a dozen times a day to see if anything new has been posted in our area that would be a good fit (nada, nada, and more nada). Matt keeps trying to sway me towards building our own home (something that I’m railing against, which, in writing that out, makes me realize that I also railed against the idea of this move in general until I finally was forced to accept it and finally embrace it).

But even though the logical part of my brain knows how close the move is and how near we are to closing this chapter of our lives, my daily life still marches on largely unchanged—a constant lineup of diaper changes, filling cups with water and milk for thirsty mouths, washing dishes and prepping meals and folding laundry. We are still basically almost never leaving the house thanks to the pandemic, so we stick to our daily schedule to keep our sanity—breakfast, outside time, getting ready + chore time, lunch, naps + quiet time, dinner prep, family time, bed.

The kids remind me daily to stop and drink it all in and to take delight in the smallest of joys. I made one last grocery trip before the move, and when Mathias saw me come in from the store with two bulging bags full of nectarines, he shrieked in delight, stamped his feet back and forth, and shouted, “I LOVE it! I LOVE it!”

And indeed, despite all the change and the uncertainty swirling all around us, there is so much in this season to love.

In the Kitchen

The name of the game lately is “Let’s Use Up Everything So We Don’t Have to Move It.” All in all, I think we’re doing all right, though since I am one who believes in stocking up and food storage and the like, we are still going to be moving a lot of food. I will say though, that while seeing cans of vegetables and bags of pasta all stacked up on top of each other brings me joy, there’s also a sense of delight–a particular satisfaction–in using up something until the very end and then recycling the package. It’s similar to the satisfaction I feel when I’ve worn a shirt until it has holes, and then I use it as a rag or burpcloth, and then I finally throw it away when it’s no longer become serviceable. In a world with so much needless waste, it feels wholly satisfying–virtuous even–to truly “use it up and wear it out.”

Some food items we’ve managed to use up in the past week: cereal (always), a large jar of peanut butter, a ginormous bag of chocolate chips (mostly used for snacking there near the end, I’ll admit), the rest of a box of pasta (Banza is our favorite gluten-free brand), several packages of frozen meat, a bag of flour, and a bottle of salad dressing. There’s more, but as I see our fridge and cupboards get emptier and emptier, it feels like one gigantic checklist where I’m able to put a nice thick line through each item as we consume it.

Even though we’re now facing the typical July high heat, we’re trying to resurrect our old tradition of eating Friday night’s dinner outside on the back patio. It used to be Friday night was Grill Night, but since Matt and I are now both gluten-free and we always made hamburgers before, well…we’ve only done a couple grill nights this whole summer. But eating al fresco is still a fun way to add a little novelty to our weekly routine, and the kids love it–they squeal with excitement every time, as if we’d just thought up the idea for the first time that day.

On the Menu Last Week: penne alfredo + broccoli, salmon/sweet potato/green bean sheet pan bake, Korean BBQ beef bowls, taco salad, pizza

In the Yard

There is something freeing about knowing that you have a limited, finite amount of time left with your garden and your harvest. Whereas before, we would research and debate endlessly over whether we should try some technique or pest treatment or whatever, now we simply just experiment. After all, we aren’t going to be around here for much longer, anyway—it is all just a giant agriculture lab at this moment.

Our tomato plants are growing wildly, but the fruit is not ripening quickly, nor coming on as thickly as we would have thought, considering the plants’ size. So we try an experiment—water the plants less, so that they are forced to put their energy into the fruits. Has it worked yet? We don’t know. But at any rate, they haven’t died yet either. We have tried spraying our squash bugs with soapy water to try and save the zucchini plant (verdict is still out there, too), and we have been pinching off flowers with wild abandon in the hopes that we’ll get more blooms.

So far, no experiment has failed. Some have even showed promise.

Life is endlessly showing me lately that sometimes I just need to stop Googling, stop debating, and just try. Just play around with it. Just allow for the chance of failure, but also for the chance of success.

We don’t know what last-minute surprises our harvest might bring us over these next twelve days—perhaps a ripe tomato, perhaps not. Perhaps ripe blackberries, perhaps not. But for the moment, we are enjoying armloads of snapdragons (which I am cutting multiple times a week and putting around the house) and snapping off fresh peas every time we pass by the vine. Every time a recipe calls for basil or oregano or parsley or chives, I get it fresh from the garden.

We may not be around to enjoy all the end results, but we have learned to deeply delight in the process anyway.

Blooming this week: snapdragons, daisies, daylilies, columbine, the last of the short-lived Shirley poppies (which were so magical, and so unexpected)

In the Playroom

We are trying to intentionally carve out some solid fun time on a regular basis so that the kids aren’t constantly left to play by themselves while we pack (or watch Disney+ all day). I have, somewhat on accident, come up with a loose schedule for each day to provide some structure for all of us, and to also make sure that this summer isn’t marked only by the work of moving and packing, but also by the unique pleasures of staying at home pretty much all the time. The past week or so, I have caught myself longing for a future day when we can go out to a restaurant together or on a family vacation or to a public pool or amusement park, but there are benefits to spending so much time together at home, too.

I just have to remind myself to look for them sometimes.

Hyrum recently turned 7 months old and is furiously trying to crawl and sit and talk and explore. He puts so much energy and determination into every attempt, and even though he sometimes falls flat on his round little face, he doesn’t cry–he just pops right back up and goes right back to it. Perhaps the fact that we was born so early and had to fight from his very first few hours of life has already endowed him with a sense of tenacity and grit.

He also basically slept through the whole night from about 8 p.m. to almost 6:45 a.m. for four nights in a row, and just like that, I felt like a new person. Perhaps I’m jumping the gun by saying this, but it *appears* that we’ve turned a corner with sleep, and that hopefully we can expect more of this from now on.

Saturday morning we went on a hike in the canyon just up from our house. We left early in the morning, just after breakfast, and we all drank in the cool misty air and the twittering birds and the growing sunflower stalks with all of our might, especially as we knew (or at least, Matt and I knew) that the rest of the day was earmarked for packing up the garage and continuing to attempt the monstrous task of trying to pack up the kitchen.

I carried Mathias on my back for the majority of the way (which freed up my hands to take pictures), but we did decide to let him walk the last little bit back to the car on his own. And I couldn’t believe it—even in his Tevas and down a bit of a steep slope filled with rocks and pebbles, he still managed to only stumble and fall once, and the rest of the time he kept up really quite well with his short two-year-old legs. i kept asking him if he was tired and wanted me to hold him, but he would tell me over and over, “No, Mama. I walk.”

In one last note, Raven surprised me on Monday by sitting down to make a to-do list. I don’t think I’ve formally ever really taught her this concept, though I of course have made my to-do lists and grocery lists and goal lists for years. On Monday morning, she just sat herself down at the table and told me that she wanted to make sure we planned out our day so that we “wouldn’t forget to have fun.”

Indeed.

While most of her list included such practicalities as getting dressed and making her bed, she did make sure to include a family activity that night for Family Home Evening, which we made sure to follow through on.

In the Home

I feel like I’ve started to think like I’m in a constant Tetris game—which pieces will fit in which box? How many items can I effectively cram into each container to best ensure that there is minimal movement?

This week I packed most of the guest room, almost all the decor (not necessarily the wall art, at least not much of it, but the rest), and more of the kitchen. Matt decluttered and trashed a ton of stuff in the garage and got it down to where it’s mostly ready to go, or at least it’s a lot closer than it was. Almost every surface is bare, unless the kids have played for any length of time by it.

I will say that tidying up has gotten about a million times easier—with so little stuff to clutter up the house, it sure is pretty easy to clean. While a part of me would love to keep this level of minimalism going all the time, I do admit that I already miss my easy access to books and all my kitchen supplies being unboxed and the carefully curated decor I’d finally settled on in each of the rooms.

A truly minimalist home such as we are in now is certainly easier, but I’m okay with a little clutter—it makes me feel cozy.

In the Soul

Other than a bit of a stressful start of the week, this last little while has been good. Really good, in fact. Call it the calm before the storm of change is thrust upon us or the forced appreciation for all that we’re about to say goodbye to, but it’s been a sweet past couple of weeks.

Each night in my personal prayers, I pray for peace amidst all the uncertainty, and each day, I am given it. I am at peace despite having literally zero houses come up in our price range or that would be a good fit for our family. I am at peace despite the fact that the company my husband works for still hasn’t given a timeline for when the business will be officially moved down. I am at peace despite the fact that in less than two weeks, I’ll be saying goodbye to the place where I’ve lived for 13 of the past 15 years.

I am constantly reminded to “Ask, and ye shall receive. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” I don’t know how or when, but I just know that things are going to fall into place for us over the next few months. And in the meantime, we’ll just enjoy this opportunity we have to live with family, something we’ll appreciate even more after having such limited contact with ANYONE over the past four months.

We are well.

5 Comments on “The Homestead Weekly, 19 July 2020

  1. I’m so glad your back is well enough to carry Mathias and be able to get out on a hike!
    Also, one of my favorite things to grill is tinfoil dinners. Or rather, one large family-sized tinfoils dinner. Load up the veggies, toss in some frozen meatballs (I like this because they’re pre-cooked and it’s just overall easier), a couple dabs of butter + a splash or two of worschester sauce + salt and pepper to taste. 20 minutes ish on the grill and you have a delicious, easy clean up meal!

    1. My back still can’t handle a long hike with him on my back, but that’s okay since Raven can’t handle long hikes yet, either 🙂

      That tinfoil dinner sounds awesome! I used to get gluten-free meatballs all the time from Sam’s Club, but they stopped stocking them. I’ll have to find something else I like just as much and try that out!

      1. Any hiking is better than no hiking 😉
        Oh that’s right about the Sam’s Club meatballs. That’s a bummer. I had asked my mom to get some for me a month or so ago since I like to have them on hand when Terrell’s mom is here (she has celiac) but she said they didn’t have them anymore.

  2. Oh yay, I’m glad Hyrum is sleeping through the night. It really does make a world of difference, and you feel like a new woman!
    Thinking of you daily and hoping that you find your next home!

    1. Thanks, friend 🙂 It’s easy to get impatient to just find our next house already, but timing-wise, it will actually be better if we find it in a month or two so that we can time the whole thing for when the business moves down, too. We’ll see how it ends up shaking out, though!

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