Part 3

Here is the final chapter in the baby building saga. It’s not really final because this was written in March 2013 and I didn’t get pregnant with our first child until April 2014. This is the moment that I made the first step toward trusting. You’ll read how I was such an idiot. LOL. You’ll see that I still thought I had control, but you’ll also see that I realized that a house is not a home without a family and I accepted that in order to grow there must be change. I am so thankful now for my kids because even though we could have made so much more progress on the Land if we hadn’t been focused on babies for the last 3 years, whatever we would have built would still be empty. Our progress is slow, but our hearts are full.

 Friday, March 29, 2013

Working things out

It’s official. I want a family. I am just as mercurial about things as Anastasia, but I know what I want and I want to go after it. I know that the decision to have a baby is the right decision because it is natural and wonderful. It is what I am made to do. If I have a true purpose, what is more basic than building a family. I am excited about the idea of beginning to think about conceiving a baby. I know now that I want it, my husband wants it, our family wants it. It feels right. However, mercurial tendencies dominate. So…when?

I feel 90% sure I shouldn’t stop the pills this month. I picked up my next pack today. I have the 7 placebo pills left in my current pack and then i will start the new pack next Sunday the 7th. If I take that full pack, I will run out  and my first day to not take a pill would be May 5th.  I am excited to stop taking the pills. I have been taking them for 10 years. It all started over a bad period, but with the side effects being no-pregnancy, I just continued taking them…indefinitely. The last 2 1/2 years that we have been married, we have been very NO KIDS. I have taken the pills very strictly and seriously. Now, I am glad to begin getting it out of my system. I am anxious to see how it will affect my system. I am pretty certain that I have endometriosis that my pills keep in check. I haven’t had the surgery to check, but my Dr. thinks that is unnecessary unless we are unable to conceive. With endometriosis, it’s likely to be difficult. My mom had a very hard time becoming pregnant. I am afraid of this being the case for us. My pills have kept the endometriosis down, but without them, it may act up making it hard to conceive. The best cure for endometriosis is a pregnancy. The only thing to make it stop is to stop ovulating– which I haven’t really been doing for the last 10 years on pills. I am afraid stuff is screwed up, more screwed up by pills, and then will not work correctly. It seems like we need to get this show on the road, just in case there happen to be some road blocks along the way.

If I take one more pack of pills, it will start my first “normal” cycle day on May 5th. According to my ovulation calculator, I would be good to go May 10th – 15th. After 10 years of pills, I highly doubt that I would become pregnant a week later. If I did, it would be because that’s the baby God wants us to raise. Most everything that I have read says that it will take a couple months for things to return to normal. WebMD says that some women can conceive quickly, and that would be fine…definitely earlier than preferred, but unlikely enough that would be a good date to quit pills. I might be regularizing out by June and another cycle. The next ovulation days would be—if things go immediately normal (DOUBTFUL)—-June 9-14. This is good because I would be unlikely to become pregnant during those dates because we will be in England. Well, we actually might be doing a lot in prep for England because we will be with family — no good alone time from the 11th-22nd. We would just need to be careful, maybe. Remembering that probably not a regular cycle yet. Also, not ideal because I do not want to be pregnant on that trip.  I am dying to go to Amsterdam and party down— a celebration before focusing on baby, and just ultimate EuroTrip!! I can’t do that if I am preggo already. That is a selfish thing and if God sees me pregnant before then, its God’s timing and not mine. I will take it as part of the plan…

BUT REALLY — Here’s getting to what would be ideal.
Pills stopped- return to normalcy begin:
May 5th  FD: 10-15 = Feb Baby
June FD: 9-14  = March Baby
July FD: 9-14 = April Baby
August FD: 8-13 = May Baby
Begin recording temperature each morning–plotting for next cycle: Happy Anniversary!
SEPTEMBER FD 7-12 = JUNE 3rd Baby!!!
Why yes, I would be pregnant all year, but I wouldn’t have to miss hardly any school with maternity leave. I can save all my days up or take off the last couple wasteful weeks of school- HOOORAY!!
This is maybe doable. That is best-case-scenario 4 complete cycles. I have to continue to pray that the endometriosis will not be a problem and that by May- September my system will have straightened out.

I just read on a blog that there are quite a few people who got pregnant within a 1-3 month time frame… I guess we will see beginning in June!

Building the HOMEstead

This is the next chapter in how we decided to start a family. A family that would grow and thrive and someday fill our homestead.  If I could talk to that me, the ME who was so anxious, I would tell me to hang on. At that point in our lives, the Land, the Homestead was just a dream. It wasn’t even something we thought we could accomplish. Getting so wrapped up in your own head and your own plans doesn’t help anything. You just have to trust. And wait.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

WAIT

I have done some thinking since yesterday… Not really a lot of time to give a heavy amount of consideration, but I did get an answer. The word WAIT kept appearing in my mind. I don’t really pray. I have always felt really strange to just think/speak to someone I have never seen. I have a hard time with the intangible. I do really believe in God, but we are not on a level of comfortable relationship. I have never let myself get to that point. I think it’s almost a relationship fear, but also laziness on my part. I don’t remember to keep praying, I don’t like to get up and go to church. I think God helped me yesterday to realize I need to wait just a little longer before really letting myself try and become pregnant.

There are many reasons why it would be inconvenient to be pregnant right now. I know I probably won’t get pregnant quickly, but the timing needs to be right. I would feel more right about the situation if it was the right time. My mom made a mention that the person I am supposed to bring into this world hasn’t come along yet. That’s got to be the truth. If this was the time for me to quit taking the pills and see what happens, I would feel better about it. I definitely want to go for it now. I have reached that point- but what I haven’t reached is the right time. There is a special baby that I am supposed to create with my husband and it is not time for it yet. However, there is the possibility that they have already slipped past! I am going to try to think positively.

At Christmastime when husband and I got misty-eyed over our empty Christmas tree, I said that I wanted to get pregnant NEXT Christmas, which would be December 2013. Right after I said that, I realized that seemed like a long time to wait. That is now 10 months from now. I wouldn’t start even trying until 10 months from now? I need to start trying before then, but not this month.

I need to finish out the school year and be able to make some clear plans in case the pregnancy happens. I also know that time is ticking and I need to get started because there is a large possibility that I will have trouble conceiving. God put the word WAIT into my mind with the side note of, “but not too long”. I feel that I should stop taking birth control pills at the end of my May pack. I should start the process over the summer. That’s really only 3 months from now. I would wait, but not too long.

Now, where do I start planning? My favorite thing in the world is to plan!!! Pay off school credit card, pay off truck, buy new vehicle, finish bedrooms, get living room furniture, finish bathrooms, create kitchen pantry. …Whew, there is a lot to be done. This is perfect. I can’t wait…but I am going to, but not too long! There is a lot that I have to do in a short amount of time 🙂

Family

Homesteading isn’t just about the Land. Look at the word. Homesteading. It’s about creating a home. I want to now share some about our family because without a family, you don’t have a home.   My husband and I have been together for 12 years and married for 7 of those. We just celebrated our 12 year dating-a-versary yesterday, actually. Our children are 2 and 1 and creating them is the greatest accomplishment we will ever have no matter what happens on the homestead. The following set of posts comes from the days before we had children because I want to share so that other people who have hopes and dreams will see that you have to look past the moment that you are in and look at the big picture. Four years ago when trying to decide if we would have kids, I didn’t know the joy they could bring. I could only see myself in that moment and there is no way that I could have imagined that having kids would define my life, not constrict it.  I had to learn to let go and trust that everything would work out. I had to let go of control. If you are in a similar situation, I hope this brings you comfort. If you are reading my blog because you’re interested in our Homesteading journey, hold tight- there will be more about chainsaws and bridge building to come. For now, this is the story of how our house became a home.

 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Uncertainty

My heart has been a little uncertain lately. Mostly because it keeps having conversations with my brain and that usually leads to indecision. I have so much fear in my heart that keeps being fed by my brain. However, I am more and more certain every day of what I feel. I want to start a family.

My brain reminds me of how much I love the way my life is now. I love my job. I love the freedom I have to work and plan and enjoy. I love going to school and spending money on acquiring new knowledge so that I can make more money in the job that I love. I love my husband so much. I love the freedom to just be encased in each other. I love not having anyone to worry about except the two of us. I love my puppy who brings such joy to our lives. I love being young and enjoying extravagance.

It all started at Christmas. Our beautiful tree with nothing under it. It made me see that this life I love so much, this life that is seemingly, overflowingly full, is still not yet full. We have a missing piece.

But the fear! The uncertainty. I have lived so long being against the idea of having a baby. I have felt for so long that I don’t want the life of a “mommy”. I am still not sure that I want my life to change. But I can’t shake the feelings in my heart. I want my life to be full of the things that are important. Is work important? Is money important? How can I shift the way I think to match the way that I feel? Am I being selfish?

I sit and type this realizing that I have so much more that I need to be doing, but I am tired of holding this thoughts and feelings in. I am scared to have this very real conversation. I feel like we have talked and joked about it, but it is getting so real in my heart. Should it be real in life? What does he really think deep in his heart?

I think it is fear of change that is really holding me back from embracing my feelings and moving forward. I want to stop taking my birth control pills. I want to let nature take its course. What if I do get pregnant? What if I don’t? I think that is what I am most scared of. I want to begin my family because there is nothing in this world that I really want more than LOVE. There are so many THINGS that I love. But what I want, and need, and dream of is a LOVE that is so strong that there is not a THING that could break it.

Fear again- What if a baby is not the love I’m looking for? What if we are just fine the way we are now and I mess everything up and lose the love I already have. I love our evenings spent in relaxation. I love our nights spent reveling in the feelings we can share together. How much would a baby change that? No more wild and crazy love? No more long conversations and laughter in the basement?  I just wonder if that is true. Why can’t I know what the future will hold? I am SCARED. So SCARED and I don’t want to be.

Does the fact that this scares the hell out of me mean that I shouldn’t be having these feelings. I am so tired of uncertainty and fear. Do I pray? Do I cry?

How can I find clarity in what is in all actuality the simplest of all actions we do in this life?
Give and Receive LOVE.

Reality calls and I must return. Give me clarity.

 

Chainsaws

We are rough on chainsaws. My husband has always loved cutting with chainsaws, and he’s very good with them. However, he likes to make them give all they’ve got. That makes us go through them at a rapid pace.  Our land is roughly 22 acres. When we started clearing, it was completely wooded- no empty areas except creek bed. The trees are even growing on the creek banks. It is COMPLETELY covered.  The trees are mostly 6″ in diameter at the smallest because some of it was sold for timber 30 years ago—but everything has grown back now and is flourishing. My husband picked a tree, set his saw and began cutting a clearing, and we’ve been moving little by little that way ever since- no machinery. Just a man and his saw. Well…saws.

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We are paycheck-to-paycheck people, so we haven’t been able to invest in a saw that can give as hard as hubby wants it to run. We’ve purchased 3 saws in the last 3 years and only one is left running on its very last limb (limb, chainsaw, cutting trees? get it? ok, sorry lol).

The first saw we bought was a Poulan Pro from Tractor Supply Co. at Christmas time. It was on sale for $99. It was even smaller than this one–> Poulan Pro  It lasted a little while…Not a bad saw at all for doing basic cutting. That saw bit the dust when Hubby used it to rip boards from 12 inch logs to go on the walls of our goat shelter. It basically incinerated itself being used so hard and continuously. Let me throw it out there- we’re not dumb- we know these saws aren’t made to run like I’m describing, but we don’t have the money to get a big, bad beast like we need. RIP Poulan.

The next saw was a reconditioned Homelite from Home Depot. I’m pretty sure it was around $65, but this link will take you to a similar one. Homelite- Home Depot  Once again, great saw, but not the size and stamina that we need. We purchased this one to by my saw- I’m not a big woman, it’s the perfect size for me or for standard work on cutting branches or smaller trees. It has really served us well and that sucker is still puttering a bit, but it has issues with the bar and chain. It was a 14″ to start with also, and Hubby replaced that with an 18″ bar because we simply need a bigger saw.

Last Christmas, we decided to spend $150 on a brand we’d never heard of, but that was as much money as we could spare at the time. We bought a Timberpro that we found on eBay… Timberpro Let’s just say we got the $150 back out of it, but no more.

I say all this because readers have to be thinking we are crazy—how can they be clearing 22 acres essentially by hand and making any progress? The 1983 Husqvarna. My father-in-law bought this saw in 1983. It is the best of all our saws by far. It runs without fail, it starts every time. It tears down trees at the best pace, and it is 34 years old! It is older than we are! That tells you something about the brand. That Husky is our greatest asset and has by far been the best return on a purchase. My father-in-law used that saw from 32 years before he ever passed it on to my husband. It is still going strong and helping our family to grow. We don’t have money to spare. We are doing good to get groceries, pay bills, and barely have any left to save. However, if this homestead dream is going to go forward, we have to buy a new Husqvarna. That is the only way. Those folks know how to make a saw. In a future blog, I’ll upload some videos to compare. Nothing cuts like a Husky.

Sundays

Good Morning

Today is Sunday. At a glance, one would see piles of laundry, random toys, smelly puddles that have dripped from forgotten bottles, and so many smiles. Life is so much more than work. In my thoughts, work isn’t fun. Yes, some work is necessary, and some work can make you happy, but I truly believe in picking what you do.  I don’t want to spend my whole life washing dishes, folding clothes, and mopping up spills. I want to work to achieve.  All the household chores are just parts of life. However, on Sundays…no work, just life.

Sunday is supposed to be the day of rest, right? My husband is welding up our farm truck today. We have a borderline dilapidated Tacoma that we are going to use as our off-road vehicle. Once it is more drivable and sturdy, we are going to be able to use it for hauling materials out to the Land.

We are getting ready to start purchasing materials to build a bridge. We have a beautiful meandering creek that really adds such life to the Land, but the only issue is that it is right at the beginning of the property line. All structures will have to be past the creek, which means we will have to be able to safely drive across. The bridge is going to be an expensive project, but it’s where we have to start to accomplish anything else.

This is what we have done so far in bridgework— just simple foot bridges. It’s time to grow. This was the first one done almost 2 years ago completely by hand and a 4-wheeler.

 

 

Where it all started

We’re going to take a trip back in time now.  To where it all began.

 

The Land. Growing up, anytime my parents mentioned the Land, they were referring to 22 acres of land they owned in southeast Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. It’s entirely wooded and does not have frontage with any roads. The closest border that isn’t trees is formed by the remains of the CSX railroad bed that ran through the area from the mid-1800s until the mid-1900s. It’s nothing but a narrow road to someone who doesn’t know, but if you look closely at the ground, you see that the rocks and gravel are made from coal and iron ore that fell from the train cars over the last century. And if you really look hard, you can find railroad spikes and heavy stone mileage markers off to the side.

From my earliest memories I would listen as my parents talked about what we could do at the Land.  The way they talked about it, I knew there was something magical in it because it felt so peaceful, happy, and hopeful to discuss. I loved and looked forward to any trips we would make over to the Land even though all we would do would just be to walk through the woods.

I must have been two or three years old, and I can remember running down the old railroad bed which makes up the southern border of the land. In my memory, the sun is shining and I’m smiling and laughing with my parents close behind me, nothing but smiles there, also. A part of me thinks this isn’t a memory as much as an imagination that has been talked about so many times it has become a memory. A character in one of my favorite books said that you can remember anything if you try hard enough, whether it happened or not.

Years passed. The Land continued to be nothing but talked about. Hard times hit us, my parents divorced. The Land dream never died, though. I never stopped loving it or wanting to go there and walk around in the pure nature. Instead, the dream simmered sadly below the surface because I know my mother always dreamed of having a home there, watching her kids play along the creek and in between the trees. It represented happiness that could have been, and still could be somehow, someday.

When I got my first real job and real salary, those hard times were still hitting from the left and right. I took up paying the loan on the Land and felt so proud that I had been a part of saving it. It felt like I had inherited the responsibility of continuing the dream and bringing that dream into fruition. The Land was such a magical part of my childhood, I’ve never been able to get my head around letting it go. Financially, it has been a burden to all involved that never should have been. We would all be better off if the payment didn’t exist, but there is a pull between that plot of land and myself that I cannot break. The Land is a part of me and I am a part of it.

Now, it is my turn. I’ve given the Land a real name. It’s not longer just LAND. It is Halcyon. Pure and perfect bliss and happiness.

 

 

 

The Beginning

I’m starting this blog as a way to document our journey. This isn’t the beginning of our journey by a long shot, but it is the beginning of a shift. I am a 30 year old wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and teacher. I have two adorable children. I have a 2(almost 3) year old little girl, and a handful of a little boy who just turned one. I have a hot, hot husband who I can legitimately call my best friend, and I have my dream job. I have so much. I am thankful for so much. We have reached the point in our life where we have attained all the good non-material things that some people only dream of ever having.

The shift is where we are going to start working toward some of our WANTS over needs.  These WANTS are not shallow things either. This blog isn’t going to be about how we cut our budget to afford flashy cars, or freezer meals so that I can have that monthly fashion subscription.

My husband and I have always shared the same dream. From our first date, we have known that someday we would have a homestead of our own, on land of our own and we will have accomplished it on our own.

I’ll tell the full story in a later blog, but we are now beginning the real work on getting what we WANT. Our homestead. Not just a house, not just a home, but a place where the work and hours and sweat and joy and frustration go to us, not to an outside job. We want this homestead to eventually generate our income so that we can live, love, and learn by the values we share and the dreams we know that we are yet to accomplish.

We named our Land (capitalized for a reason that I’ll explain later), The Halcyon Homestead. I am a teacher, but I’ll admit I didn’t even know what the word meant to start. Instead, I searched backward.  I typed in, “a feeling of complete and utter joy and satisfaction.” Halcyon.  That’s what we feel when we are on our land, and that’s the goal of building our homestead. We are such a happy family and we have all those things already. So why keep pushing? Because it’s human nature. We don’t want to live in a box, dependent on technology and trying desperately to keep our kids off the iPad and outside. We want them to grow up totally immersed in nature (but able to come back in to watch a movie at night 😉 It is 2017, after all!).

Our homestead is going to be a place where others can go and feel that perfect happiness.

Land. It is all that really matters. It’s our belief that God created all we ever needed when he gave us the Land, and if we can learn to go back to living from the land, and share that knowledge then we will have given back in a way that we couldn’t just living our daily routine. Society has been skewed from the original plan set out by the Creator. The Halcyon Homestead’s goal is to get back as closely to the original plan as possible while still living in today’s world. Perhaps through our pursuit of Halcyon, my circle of influence can spread and help others reach it as well.