"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Survival By Teamwork

Last week was HARD!

It was a lot harder than I expected.
Partially because of the pitfalls of camper living, which I will post about later.
Partially because I have not packed up all of our stuff and moved it since January of 1998.
We did move twice after that, but on each of those moves I just loaded a room at a time into my big vehicles and unpacked as I went.  It was simple AND easy to stay organized - which I love!

Packing everything and deciding whether it went into the moving trailer or the trailer to bring to the campers was chaos!

Trying to cram the needs, and some wants, of 7 people into 2 campers should earn me some sort of an award.

 And packing ALL of the stuff into the moving trailer should earn Chad and Jamison some sort of an award!  My guys were simply amazing! 
 Eventually they had all our stuff loaded into this trailer, waiting to be hauled away.

 I claim not to be a "stuff lover" but it was HARD for me  to say good-bye to this house.
It was my baby, so to speak.  When we built it, I knew just how I wanted it arranged, and Chad made it happen.  The main level was everything I had hoped and dreamed.

I was very spoiled as we built this home - it was what I wanted, where I wanted, how I wanted.
 Chad and I did SO much work on this home.
I stained every board in the place, and with the help of friends painted every wall.
That was a FUN day!
Reed helped lay the laminate floors, for hours and hours and hours.
Dave S. helped Chad tile the fireplace, which gave him wings to tile so much more.
Brian hung all our bathroom mirrors and tiolet paper holders.
Chad surprised me with a fireplace in our bedroom for my birthday one year, build with his own hands.
Dad and Uncle Chuck spent time sheetrocking.
My grandpa hung blinds.

I could go on and on.

But I won't.

I will say, thank you friends!
Thank you for all the work you did on our home, all the time, energy, and love you poured into it.
I loved everything you did, and thought of you each time I dusted or changed a roll of TP.

 I could also gush on and on about all the memories.

Leaving the swingset behind, oh that was so sad!
Playing with my babies and my day care kids in our backyard was so precious to me.

Also, Good Friday Wine, Thanksgiving for 40, and Christmas for 50, Joshua's homecoming, so many birthdays...
Life in out Fountainblue house was rich.
I am grateful for each memory that I AM BRINGING WITH ME.

I am bringing them with me.
I know they are not contained within a building, but instead hidden in my heart.
I just needed to give myself a few moments to savor them as I walked through our empty home.

Next post will be all about the pitfalls of learning to live in a camper.
Living in a camper is not quite the same as camping in one!

But as proof that my sense of humor and adventure is returning,
I bought this bottle of wine to toast our home closing and camping adventures last night.
I have this weird tradition of buying wine for the bottle.
I like to buy wine to celebrate big events and I like name of the wine to be somehow significant.

I will admit to laughing out loud when I found this bottle yesterday!
So, last night Chad and I drank "Sommerau (summer to me) Castle" as we toasted a home sale completed and a summer that will be spent adventurously living in a camper castle.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Our Young Missionary

I am so far behind!

In so many aspects of life - work, laundry, bill paying, etc...

It has been among the busiest, craziest weeks of my life, and at some point I will catch up on all that!

First though, I must share just a tiny bit about where our Sierra-girl was this week.
 Last Saturday, in between handing "custody" of Chad's swordfish to the Ault's and packing a moving trailer, we sent Sierra and Tishina off on their very first mission adventure.

(Chad decided he should be in the farewelle photo, too.)

 They traveled to Colorado with a group from our church to attend a mission experience set up specifically for pre-teens.  My dad went with as the boys chaperone.  One of my BFFs , who also happens to be our church's Children's Ministry Coordinator, Ashlee went with to watch over our girls.

Their mission was to serve the community of Loveland, CO in any way asked.

I attended a similar trip with Krissy and Jamison a couple of years ago, and it was awesome!  I am so excited that Sierra had the same opportunity.

 They are loaded up and ready to serve!

I was so thankful Ashlee was with my Sierra. Trips like these are BIG, life changing and life challenging experiences.  I was beyond thankful that there was a woman with that I trusted totally to shepherd my daughter through.  (I was happy her Grandpa was there too, of course!  He is a trooper.  He served these kids all year, and he took a week off from his job to attend this trip with them.  Very cool!)
That was the last have seen of our girl!

However, she has emailed and texted and called many times.

Her first email made me cry.
Proud, happy, awe-struck tears.

"Dear Mom and Dad,
Hey!!! I miss you SOOOOOOOOO much!!! I am having ALOT of fun here!  In each group we all haev a job.  I really felt God calling me to be the devotion leader. So thats what I asked for and luckily nobody else wanted it so I just asked and they said sounds good! I really enjoy getting to do daily devotions for my crew I also enjoy getting to pray for them, the day, the kids we served today, and our traveling!  I miss you and love you see you soon!


The rest of the week was filled with highs and lows.
However, I have no doubt that God was with her, teaching her, and using her.

Tomorrow she returns!
I am hoping she will blog about her trip.

If not, I needed to take a moment out of this craziness, and celebrate her heart.  Sierra's beautiful, brave heart that chooses to serve her Jesus.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Packing Up!


That is what these last days have been filled with.
Total, complete craziness!

The moving truck came Friday morning, and I have not stopped moving since then.

Packing, loading, hauling, and filling the trailer went amazingly well.
We (Chad, Krissy, Jamison, and I) loaded ALL our stuff into the trailer.
I had no idea how strong, tough, and determined my teenagers are.

I am truly in awe.

Jamison hauled furniture all day long.
Even the REALLY HEAVY stuff, and never complained once.

Krissy did whatever we asked.
Cleaned, ran errands, packed, hauled.

I told Chad that what most excites me in this building process is NOT the house.
We are leaving a beautiful home.
And I love our neighborhood.

Will I love the next house, YES.
BUT, what I see as the biggest advantage to this crazy process is the character I see being built in our kids.  The amount of work the 7 of us can do is absolutely amazing.  Having "big" kids has kind of snuck up on me.  All of the sudden, we can accomplish more because of our kids - rather than having them slow us down a bit.  I can not tell you how much I appreciate and admire the help our kids have provided.  They have risen to the challenge, and I am beyond proud.

as of tonight (Monday)
everything is loaded except the mattresses.
2 rooms are cleaned.

That leaves 3.5 bathrooms,
5 bedrooms,
2 refrigerators,
1 stove,
the laundry room,
the mud room
and the great room to clean.

It is funny,
you think you are clean...
until you move.


While I have been cleaning like a crazy.
Chad has been working on campers.

He has repaired water lines, replaced a water heater.
We thought we were good to go.


I went there yesterday to figure out where to put all our clothing,
and the air conditioner was not working.
No A/C on a camper parked on asphalt is NOT good.
It was 91* in the camper.

Then I went into the kids' camper.
The fridge was not working.

(insert scream)

So Chad spent this evening changing the a/c unit on our camper.
I am thankful they had one in town.
Not thankful about the cost.
Chad has chosen not to share that with me just yet.
Yet, it is cheaper than rent...

The fridge situation is still on his to-do list.
Camper fridges are pricey.
We could just put a dorm fridge in.
But since we will have to have a fridge in it to sell it, we may as well enjoy it.

It will be an interesting week!

One funny story thought:
We had planned on sleeping in the campers last night, so I had packed most everything except the food.  My brain could not process packing food, getting clothes put away for 7 was as much as I could process.  When we got to the steamy camper, our plans quickly changed.  We unpacked and went back to the house to sleep.

When we got home, Krissy wanted a drink.
I told her there was lemonade in the fridge.
She grabbed the lemonade, but could not find a cup.
Yeah, I packed them all.

Thankfully, we found some pint size jars.

Then Joshua wanted a bedtime snack.
I told him we had his favorite - nutella and peanut butter sandwiches.
He was thrilled.

I soon discovered I had packed all the knives,
I made his sandwich with my fingers.

Yeah, gross!

Oh, we laughed!
We are embracing this crazy adventure with as much gratitude and humor as possible.

Pray for us this week.
There is much to do!

Also, pray for Sierra.
She is in CO for a mission trip.
She send me the sweetest email today.
I will share it soon.

She is a treasure.
She inspires me.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Her Camper Prayer

Being married to Chad for the last (almost) 18 years has been FULL of adventures.

He seems to LOVE adventure.
I prefer safety.
It ends up being a beautiful balance.

Of ALL the adventures Chad has ever convinced me to join him on NONE have made me as nervous as moving into campers with our 5 children and Golden Retriever for an undisclosed amount of time.  NONE!  It is not the butterflies in your stomach kind of nervous like before you try something really scary, like jumping from an airplane.  It is more like the are we really doing this kind of nervous, but I am nervous non-the-less. 

Sierra is our most sentimental child.  She has been dreading the move the most - at least verbally.   In a conversation one day, Krissy helped us both so much!  Sierra was going on and on about how sad it is to leave so many memories behind.  I was listening quietly, thinking about how I had become all teary the night before over the thought of leaving the kids' swingset behind.  Krissy had finally had enough.  She wisely told us both - in her black and white kind of way - that we were NOT leaving any memories behind!  We were leaving STUFF behind.  The memories are all stored in our minds and hearts and they are easy to move!  Her wisdom helped us both so much!

The other thing that has totally inspired me is Sierra's prayer.

Sierra has been praying, and has asked others to pray that our time in the campers will be a time that God uses to bring our family closer together than ever before.

Isn't that beautiful?
And wise beyond her years?

So now, every time I begin to wonder how we are going to do it,
I echo Sierra's prayer.

I ask God to use this time to bring our family closer than ever before.
And the what-if's just do not seem terribly important any more.

 Here is my 12.5 year old inspiration showing off her bedroom-to-be.

She will sleep on the bottom bunk, and store all her stuff on the top one.

Some people have asked how we can do all "this" (the build, the move, the camper living, the work schedule) with 5 kids.  In all reality we could not do it without them!  Their help is what makes this all possible. 

Pictured above is the downsize I am thrilled about!

Chad has Jamison's (or maybe my) Jeep done!
I am so loving cruising around in it!
So loving!

I am thankful tonight for the blessings that God pours in to fill the cracks and hold us together in the midst of crazy!  So thankful.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Worst is Over (of the packing that is)

We got A LOT done this weekend.

The teen camper is clean, clean, clean.  (Which was a very big accomplishment in and of itself! YUCK!  Those sellers should be embarrassed!)

We also got the worst of the packing out of the way.

We moved all Chad's stuff from the garage.

 I know I keep saying it, but our kids rock!
They worked so hard this weekend, once again never complaining.

We had the majority of the Chad's "garage stuff" packed into the trailer in no time.

And then it was time to load THIS:
 The dreaded gun safe.

I know everyone has something they dread moving.
For us, it is Chad's gun safe.

It weighs about 1000 lbs unloaded.
 Good thing the man had a plan.

He lifted up one corner, and had Jamison shove old broom handles under it to act as rollers.

 Then Jamison slowly pushed it forward.
Chad guided it.
Krissy kept putting the sticks under it.
(as the safe moved forward it rolled off the sticks and they needed to be replaced)
 Eventually they got the safe to the edge of the little shop in our garage.
Which just happens to be up three stairs.

Yeah, really.

Thank God for the tractor.
 Chad's plan was to push the safe onto the forks.

The problem was that the broom stick rollers could not be used, unless we wanted to to roll right off the forks.  So the kids pushed.

Can you tell I was a bit in awe of the proces?
 It was more than Krissy and Jay could push on their own, so
Chad climbed over the safe and back into the room to help.

It still makes me laugh a bit.
He looked so funny scaling the safe.
 They pushed and pushed, until it was far enough on the forks to use a come-along.

Slowly, so slowly, that massive safe was pulled into place.
 As you can see by the look on Chad's face, it was a bit intense -
 but in all reality,it was not too terrible either.

In 45 minutes or less we had that heavy beast out of the garage and on the flatbed trailer.
 Here is the big stuff all loaded up, ready to go into storage.


The rest of the packing will feel so simple after this!
 One funny note today...
all of the taller Dietrichs were very busy unloading the trailers.
Joshua and Brenna were happily riding scooter in the empty parking lot.
Joshua was having a bit too much fun to stop and go potty.
I did not have any other clothes with for him.
So while his jeans dried in the sun, he rode scooter in his unders and cowboy boots.
He looked so funny!
(You will have to take my word for it.  No photos of that embarrassing moment because I am such a nice mom.  Now my teens are really rolling their eyes!)
This is the final accomplishment of the weekend!

The campers are set up and ready for me to move into!  I am so thankful my husband worked on this so early.  My mind is much more peaceful being able to move and organize things a bit at a time.  He knows me so well, and he chose to work on this early just to keep me happy.

It worked!
I am thrilled!

I hope you had a more rest-filled weekend than we did!  My body is tired, but my heart is peaceful.

11 days until we are full time campers!
I think I am going to be ready!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Construction Update: Fully Framed!

I am feeling SO OPTIMISTIC as this week comes to a close.
 All of the walls on the main level of the new house are fully framed!

And for the first time, I can say I am really going to love it!

I have always liked this house.
But, I really struggled to love it.

Our current house was "my baby."
I found the layout for the kitchen, living room, and dining room - and I fell in love.  Chad designed the rest of the house around those rooms.  To this day, there are very few things I would change about them.  I really wanted to design another house around these rooms I love.

Chad thought it was time to move on.  I agreed in my head, but my heart was very slow to follow.  Until yesterday when I walked around this new home, I wished it were built more like what I know and love.  As this week progressed, Chad asked the framers to make a couple of minor changes, and last night, I finally walked through this house and could see it and feel it as our family's home.

We are both quite relieved!
 The highlight of the week is the STAIRS!

No more climbing a ladder up to the second level!
 The steps were completed on Wednesday and since I work late on Wednesdays I did not see them right away.  Joshua was SO EXCITED to show me the steps.  He was so cute!
 The upper level is also fully framed!

Usually the guys would set the rafters before building all the interior walls, but because the rafters were delayed they built the walls this week.  I am so thankful that they are doing everything they can to keep this project rolling!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the upper level.

It is just very me.
Simple, with lots of bedrooms (4)s, 2 bathrooms, a cozy lofted family room, and a big unfinished area to house "the triplets", my treadmill, and a whole lot of Christmas decorations.  It is exactly what I wanted.
This is my final reason to rejoice today!

Chad found a second camper for us! 
It was absolutely, positively filthy!  It truly took me 6 hours to clean it.  There were years worth of fly poop on the ceiling, bugs in the window ledges, mouse droppings under the couch, and opening the toilet made me gasp.

BUT after 6 hours of really hard work, it looks superior!
The three oldest kids will live in it, while Chad, Joshua, Brenna, and I will live right next door.
We will be living quite comfortably.  Chad had a second camper outlet put in at the shop, so both campers will have AC.  There is also a way to hook into the septic so we will have full sewer.  Quarters will be cramped compared to what we are used to, and showers will have to be short and sweet.  However all things we will be living in high style.

14 days from today we will spend our first night in the campers!

I am truly embracing the adventure!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Picture Worth 1000 Words

When most you of you see the picture above, you think, "Oh! That is so sweet!" And then you go on with your day.

When I SAW the above picture taking place, it MADE MY WEEK, maybe even my month.

You see Chad has worked so hard, and waited so patiently for that simple nap to happen.

Adoption is HARD.  Much of the hard is glossed over so as not to sound whiny or discouraged or doubting of God's call.  But it is HARD.

For Chad, the hard came in Joshua being afraid to be too close to him.  He loved playing with Daddy, but he would not get too close or too comfortable.

If Joshua was in our bed, he would make sure he was not touching Daddy.

If Daddy tried to pick him up without his shirt on, Joshua would cringe. He would say he was "scared!"

When Daddy would try to give Joshua a hug or a kiss with even the slightest amount of stubble, Joshua would totally withdraw (as in freak out).

When Daddy would try to cuddle with Joshua and watch a DVD or read a book, Joshua would insist on personal space.

Hugs with Daddy were short and stiff.

While I experienced much hard and true attachment took time between Joshua and myself, I was never rejected the same way that Chad was.  I was fortunate in that Joshua was willing to be held and comforted by me.  He may have whispered some odd things like "mommy can I please go home with that nice lady" while cuddling into my hip (I wish that were a joke) - but he was always OK with being on my hip.  His willingness to be touched and soothed by me made my attachment to him easy.

I am in awe at the grace, love, patience, time, and space Chad gifted our son with in these past two years.  Joshua's rejection was painful sometimes and annoying other times, but Chad refused to give up.  He continued patiently and lovingly interacting with our son.

Ever so slowly, ever so slowly trust was built.  Hugs lasted longer.  Watching TV on Daddy's lap was OK.

And today, he climbed on top of Daddy, stuck his thumb in his mouth, and fell fast asleep on his Daddy's chest.

Adoption is HARD - but it is THE BEST HARD we have ever experienced.

I am so proud of Joshua's Daddy's dedication, persistence, and love. 

I am so thankful for healing, even when it happens ever so slowly.

I am thankful that I witnessed this miracle on my couch today.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Construction Update: Insulating Main Level

It was an exciting construction week!

 The main floor exterior walls were sheeted.
 The majority of the second level was framed.

It is really fun to see the house take shape - literally!
 Here are Krissy and Joshua checking out the view from JG's bedroom window.

Today our family worked hard at insulating the exterior walls on the main level.

Spray foam is (arguably) the best insulating product available right now.  Spray foam is also expensive.  So my smart, handsome, and always-researching husband found a "next best thing."  We are calling it "poor man's spray foam!"
 Step one was moving the pallets of insulation closer to the house.
 Step two was lunch!
The process was tedious and time consuming - but simple!

Chad cut the 1.5 in foam board insulation into strips that would fit between the 2X6 studs.
 Then the kids and I took over.
 Each piece of insulation needed to be stapled into place.
Krissy, Jay, and Sierra all took turns running the air powered stapler.

 Next all the cracks needed to be filled with spray foam so that there will be no air gaps or drafts.

It also makes the walls super strong.
 We worked a long time on this HOT day.

We are both proud of the excellent attitudes each of the kids had.
We are also thankful for all the work we got done!
 My parents delivered supper.
It was totally appreciated!
 Not long after supper, we were ready for clean-up.

Once again, the kids all pitched in.

And here is a peak at the pretty pink product!

We put in 8 hours of labor, but we got all the walls on the main floor done!
Beleive it or not, in 8 hours of hot, boring labor - we heard almost NO complaining from our kids.  I am so proud of them!

I will end with a photo of the first sunset I witnessed from the new house.

One night Chad and I snuck out to check on the house after the littlest two were in bed, and I caught a glimpse of this.  Many moons from now, when all the work is completed, it will be a lovely place to live!