Well, my friends, it has been exactly six weeks since we loaded the van and left Atlanta. In some ways, when I’m missing the friends I left behind, it feels like a lifetime ago. In others, when I’m still trying to find what box we packed that Gwinnett County Library book in, it seems like yesterday. I’ve been asked more times than I can count how we like Sleepy Eye, and are we settling in, and how are the kids doing… and I thought, Hmmmm, maybe a blog post is in order. So, here it is. The answers (and pictures!) you’ve been waiting for, even if you didn’t know it.
How do we like it here in Sleepy Eye? We love, love, love it! Personally, I always felt like a fish out of water living so close to Atlanta. I’m more of a country girl. I like the wide open spaces, the sunset view from my kitchen window, and the chirping crickets. I don’t even mind the “fertilizer days” when the breeze has that special, shall we say, earthy scent. I love that the kids can bike to the library or park, and that when Nathanael and I take a walk together we pass at least a dozen houses of people we know. I love the sound of the church bells that chime hymns at noon and six, and how that reminds me of Faulkton, South Dakota – the small town where Mom grew up. I love the sunflowers that grow wild by the railroad tracks and the trees that look like they’ve been in town longer than anyone else. So, there it is. We love Sleepy Eye!
Are we settling in? I have to say, settling in has never been so much fun because this house if FULL of storage space. There are nooks and crannies everywhere that we couldn’t fill up if we tried, and it’s just as well because they make for great hide-and-seek games. In the basement, there are two big rooms with all kinds of shelves. In fact, for the first time ever there’s room to store all my Christmas stuff in one spot (Joy of joys!). So, my Settling In Strategy has been this: Put it where it belongs, and if we don’t know where that is yet, put it downstairs in the Ping Pong Room. (Because one of the storage rooms has a ping pong table in it. Great for those snowy afternoons, no?) So I think we’re mostly unpacked (except for that library book, wherever it is!) and pretty well settled in. We love the house which has nice, big rooms, lots of closets, and only two bathrooms for me to clean.
How are the kids doing? Most of you know we have been life long homeschoolers up to this point. This year, the five older kids are attending a Christian high school and elementary school. If you told me this a month ago, I never would’ve believed you, but the LORD has opened this door for our family and we have decided to walk through in faith. Luke and Katie are in high school, living away from home in the dorms. I’m planning to visit this week (can’t wait!) but I have every confidence they’re doing well. Katie called just yesterday and told me how much she loves it there. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really worried about them. But sending Hope, Daniel, and Julia off to school was a scary step for me. I’m not really sure why. They were so excited to go. Maybe I was worried that I hadn’t done enough in my years as their teacher. When you home school, you really have to believe in it. And even though I believe in it wholeheartedly, I still felt it was the right thing to send them to the day school. So I suppose I struggled with those conflicting feelings a bit. Still, aside from a few tears (okay, full on wails) over a math lesson, the struggle has been mostly mine. Hope, Daniel, and Julia love their new school, their wonderful teachers, their friends and their schedule. Hope has joined the volleyball team and enjoys learning the ropes, and Daniel has since begged to join soccer. One thing at a time, though, and we’ll try that next year. When six o’clock in the morning rolls around, they hop up to start the day, and when I pick them up from school, they’re never ready to come home.
An added blessing of this arrangement is the time I get to spend with Mark and Noah. I don’t feel rushed with the little ones anymore. There’s time to color and read and take walks together. There’s time for those little things that are so important, like messing around in the kitchen or digging in the dirt together (and by “together” I mean, they dig and I watch. From inside). I’m so grateful that I no longer have to make the little kids wait until I “have time” for them.
Between shuttling kids to school and his busy schedule, I don’t see as much of Nathanael, which makes for a very happy marriage. (My favorite joke.) But seriously, it’s a blessing to see Nathanael bloom where God has transplanted him, and to know he finds joy and meaning in his calling as a pastor.
So, there you have it. The rather chubby skinny on how the Mayhews are doing. Were it not for the heart twinges that come from missing our Georgia friends, life would be just about perfect. And you can’t ask for more than that!
Okay, so I don’t have as many pictures as I thought I did! But hey, I’ve been busy unpacking. I’m sure there will be lots more to post in the future of snow, snow, and more snow!