We spent 11 days at the beach near Tillamook while the kitchen was being gutted and the house was being repainted. We came back to a really nice looking house (well, underneath the towers of boxes). Dean was out there for the first half. He tried unsuccessfully to telecommute but it didn't work so well, so we brought him home on Sunday. So it was just me and the kids from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon. PHEW! I returned with a renewed appreciation for all that my dear husband does. We had some fun outings - Oceanbay Spit (the kids' favorite!), Starbucks (yes, the 4 kids and I actually sat and sipped "special drinks" for 30 minutes... twice! and very novel since we don't usually buy that sort of thing), the Air Museum, the Fred Meyer with childcare (loved that!), Cape Meares (where we stayed; my new favorite area), Whalen Island (miles of mudflats), the lighthouse, the other nearby capes... It was fun. Here are some pictures...
We filled up two trailer dumps with stuff from the remodeling and stuff we got rid of. Many vanloads have gone to Good Will. I have a friend who sells things on Craigslist for people and we've kept her very busy (but Craigslist is kind of slow). There's still decluttering to do. I'd say we've gotten rid of about 80% of the extraneous "stuff." It feels really good. We'd love our stuff to fit easily into the equivalent of a 2-bedroom apartment. Less to move!
No job news yet. Right now we're discussing what to do with the house. We're leaning towards putting it on the market next month. If it sells we can move to a rental. And if Dean gets a job, we're GONE! Even if he never (ch"v) gets a job, we can't continue living this far from shul (and community). So regardless, we need to move.
Other than that, we've very happily returned to a normal learning schedule. Amirah has absolutely fallen in love with Dick and Jane. She drags the book everywhere and reads it to the bunny we are bunnysitting. There are many great 19th-century/early-20th-century reading books, many downloadable for free. I'm exploring them now, and researching and finalizing the next steps of our learning journey. Amirah and I have started ancient history. It's been fascinating. I'm looking forward to having a better relationship to history than I did in my past! So far we've studied ancient Mesopotamia and pre-pharoah (and pre-Avraham) Egypt. We'll soak in that a bit longer before moving on. Our other studies are going very well too, but that has been the recent highlight. We are absolutely loving this lifestyle. And it's definitely a lifestyle! It creeps into the corners of every aspect of our life. Truly lovely.
We're also getting ready for pesach, which involves a top-to-bottom cleaning of the house (well, a cleaning on steroids, that is; "cleaning" just doesn't do it justice!). Since we had to pack up everything a few weeks ago, we're well ahead of the game. I'm just putting together pesach menus, and getting my annual list out of what needs to be done in the kitchen. We also have to get rid of all the chametz (pasta, breads, cakes, etc.) so I'm planning to use those all up.
Better go figure out what we're eating for shabbat so I can start cooking tomorrow. Life is really good. Dean said it was kind of like a rollercoaster, but I countered that on a rollercoaster you always know where you'll end up. I think we're on a spaceship, and who knows where the next port will be? :)