We’re Going Home

Right now, it’s 82 degrees outside with 46% humidity. A little more humidity, and I would call it the perfect day. (Not southern humidity, mind you.)

I’m sitting with our patio door wide open, letting the apartment fill with heat, because I. Love. This. Weather. These are the days that make the long, windy winters worthwhile. These are the days making you forget what it’s like in January. These are the days we spend months longing for.

In a few hours, Hubs will come home and I’ll have long since shut the patio door and turned on the AC so everyone can stay cool and content, but for now, this is my time, and this is how I like it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was not so cool and collected. I was not so grateful or blissful, or even one ounce of happy. Continue reading “We’re Going Home”

What I Learned On Our Family Trip

We hadn’t been back to Wyoming in three years, and the closer it came time to leave, the more anxious I became. The last time I was in Wyoming, I was pregnant with Harlynn. She was healthy and alive, and we eagerly awaited her arrival. This trip back without her was tougher on me than I anticipated as we prepared to hit the road.

The morning of our departure, as is standard in our marriage, Hubs and I got into a huge fight. It’s like satan says, “They’re about to be trapped in a car for 12 hours together, so let’s make sure it derails first thing.” It’s a traveling tradition. We can’t start a trip without jumping at each other’s throats. One day I hope to buck that tradition.

After almost 12 hours and almost as many pit stops, we reached our destination: my parents’ home. And no one was there to let us in. The lights were off, the doors were locked, and we were stranded on their front lawn. I called my sister and asked if she could come let us in.

It turns out my parents hadn’t been murdered as I suspected – why else would they have a dark home with locked doors when they knew their second-favorite child was on her way with family in tow? They had gotten hung up at the motorcycle store getting their new helmets taken care of. You know, normal parenting stuff.

We settled in for our stay and it was pretty much nothing at all like I expected. Here are a few lessons I learned from our recent trek home:

1. You can never go home again.

In my mind’s eye, everything in Wyoming is supposed to be exactly as we left it December 31st, 2005 – the day we drove away and moved to North Dakota. In reality, almost nothing is the same. My high school is torn down and is now a lawn. The gymnasium I was the mascot in, cheering our sports teams to victory, is all but a distant memory. The choir room I practiced in for years and the auditorium I performed in – demolished and forgotten. I didn’t even recognize the block I spent so much time on from my 8th through 12th-grade years.

My friends all have lives completely different from what they were 10 years ago. Their kids are half grown, their jobs are different, and it isn’t the same group we left behind. For my mind and memory, it was a little hard to reconcile. If they’ve changed and grown in life, so have I. Or at least I hope I have. But how? I have no idea. When I go back home, I still think I’m the hot-to-trot fun-loving moron I was all those years ago. But I’m not. I’m older, thicker, and a little fuddy-duddier. I’ve lived a lot of life in those 10 years since we’ve moved away, and so has everyone else.

My town, my people, and my familiar comforts of home have all changed.

2. Yellowstone is still my favorite place on earth.

Yet, I was incredibly saddened and disappointed on our trip there. I’ve been going to Yellowstone frequently for the last 22 years. I’m used to seeing hundreds, if not thousands of bison and elk. Antelope, coyotes, pelicans – all of them were a familiar sight on our trips through the park. The wildlife observed was less than minimum this trip. From thousands of bison to two. TWO. Hundreds of elk to less than a handful.

I don’t know why (wolves) the wildlife has completely disappeared (wolves) and I have no place or expertise (wolves) to try to figure it out (wolves). I CAN tell you the park is still gorgeous, the geysers are still mesmerizing, and the landscape is still pristine. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t heartbroken for how little wildlife we observed and for no apparent reason (wolves).

We did get a picture of all of us and Harlynn-bear in front of the Yellowstone sign, which in itself was well worth the trip.

3. It’s possible to do too much in too little time.

We overdid it. Three of us wound up with fevers the day before we were supposed to head back home. I knew something wasn’t right when I felt my eyes burning from the inside of my skull, but I tried to attribute it to being tired. Turns out I had a fever. So did Little Miss and Little Man.

It prevented us from a night with friends, which was a bummer. The plus side was we got one more helping of our hometown pizza. Not really comparable, but considering the circumstances, still a perk.

With all the miles we covered, all the activities we participated in, and all the naps we skipped, we ran ourselves ragged. The trip home was a quiet one, with the feverish souls trying to get some rest. As much of a bummer as it was to end up sick at the tail end of our trip, I still think I’d do it all again.


I love going home, but it’s a different place than it once was. I’m not sure when we’ll be able to make the trip back again but I hope to make as many or more memories as we did on this trip. Heart Mountain still puts a little giddy-up in my step when I see it. The valley still takes my breath away. As different as it is, feels, and looks, it’s still home.

You can take a girl out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl. Wyoming is a little bit of heaven on earth. As beautiful as it is, I can’t imagine what Harlynn’s waiting to show us on the other side.

God bless you, Wyoming.

Working From Home: The Best & Worst of Both Worlds

When I became pregnant with Little Miss, I agonized over ways I could quit my job to stay home with her. The truth is, it wasn’t affordable. We were in debt up to our ears, and needed my income (and then some) to make sure our monthly expenses were covered. For four years I prayed nightly for the opportunity to work from home.

When I was pregnant with Little Man, I had a Divine appointment of sorts, that led me to working part-time, from home, for some friends of ours. The four years from the first utterance of my plea to stay home had given us time to significantly pay down debt, and live on less. Even though that job didn’t pan out long-term, God had already set a plan in motion. I’ve been working from home for 15 months now, and He has absolutely been faithful in all the details.

It is something I wanted. It is something I still want. It is something I thank God for everyday.

But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

WORKING

There are many times I, and others, have fallen prey to the “I work part time, from home. I now have a lot of extra time.” mentality. The truth is, I have no extra time at all. Working from home doesn’t allow for set times of each day to be and stay focused on work. There are meals to cook. Groceries to buy. Rooms to clean. Toilets to scrub. Laundry to wash. Dry. Fold. Put away. (Shudder) There are kids to feed. They want to be played with.To be held. To snuggle. They want to throw blocks in my face and drool on my one exposed area of skin. They want to play games and read books and wrestle and help. Lord, they want to “help” with everything.

I have friends who assume, as I probably would if I didn’t know better, that I can just uproot and meet for coffee or lunch or shopping trips. After all, if I can make time in my day for a dentist appointment, I obviously have the same flexibility for everything else everyone else wants to do. I only work part-time after all. It’s not like I’m in an office 8-5 every day.

So what’s the big deal?

I’m only working part time. But it takes me twice as long to get the work done some days. I work part of this hour, part of that hour, part of the kids’ nap times, part of my breakfast, part of the evening, part of bed time… There are a lot of parts to working part-time.

I don’t remember the last time I finished a cup of home-brewed coffee while it was still hot. Sometimes on the weekend, Hubs will get us a special latte and he’ll look at me with minor disgust when mine is sucked dry in 10 minutes. I don’t get to do the whole “savor the flavor” thing anymore. I chug my coffee. I’ve lost half my taste buds as a result.

I’ve answered conference calls while simultaneously wiping the post-nasty-duty bottom of my son. I’ve missed door buzzes from the UPS man or the FEDEx guy, because my phone is just out of arm’s reach and I can’t leave Mr. Adventure on the changing table to answer it.

I’ve run the dishwasher with seven things in it, because five of those seven were the only bottles we have, and they were all dirty at the same time. I’ve run the dishwasher twice in one day because I had that many dishes I’d allowed to pile up next to the sink.

I’ve sat in the shower and cried because it was the only thirty seconds I have to myself in a day. If I don’t have a child on me, I’m in a webinar, or a web meeting, or on a joint call. Even this extrovert needs her space once in a while.

I’ve looked at the clock and thought, “HOW IS IT ALREADY TIME FOR DINNER?!” and all of the meat is still in the freezer and no one wants tuna. Again.

Today, my beloved son has cried nearly incessantly. It doesn’t matter that I’m trying to write sales copy that was due a week ago. He wants his mama, and he hates my keyboard and the attention it requires of me.

No, it isn’t easy. Not by a long shot. It isn’t glamorous by any means. I can spend all the time in the world getting ready for my day with hair and makeup and perky business clothes. By dinner time, I’m wearing meal remnants of three people, I’ve got hair falling out or into various areas not defined by the elastic ponytail band, I’ve got Tammy Faye Baker mascara happening, either because I’m crying, or children are crying on my face.

Not every day is like this. Thank the Lord above. Working from home, however, can really be the worst of both worlds. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I have an opportunity to spend precious time with my kids, and exercise my creative side from the comfort of my home. I love my children more than anything. I also happen to love the work I’m doing more than I’ve ever loved a job before. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be, and exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Therefore, I really have the best of both the working mom and the stay at home worlds.

Most importantly, I thank God for both. Even on my worst days, He is my best refuge.