Our house sold after about six weeks on the market which took up a scramble of activity amid school wrap up.
A distracted mom amid the mess, left a three year old alone too many times to mourn the loss of her friends by tatooing them on her arms.
And sometimes when boxes were being packed and junk sorted to disposed of, she would move things from pile to pile and prepare for "parties" with snacks, games and beading activities.
But friends never came.
We were thrown the very nicest of going a way parties.
And were overwhelmed by the numbers of friends who showed up to say goodbye.
Then tried our hardest to hold our tears as we hugged each and every best friend.
In the meantime, the house began to look like this:
I was fine until all was emptied and small discoveries uncovered themselves.
The movers arrived.
And long after they had gone and I'd sent the family on up to our hotel, I stood in the yard hearing the echoes of nine years that turned a house into a home.
The swing my dad had hung in the tree for us.
The driveway of a million bike rides.
A garden full of success and failure.
Chickens that had ridden in doll strollers.
A pet cemetery where friends were buried.
Snow storms and trails traversed.
A home where we had worked together. Played together. Watched sunsets. Brought home babies and so much more.
Eliza did her best to hold us all together but I think she was working her last bit of magic as well.
We drove to the end of our road and stood for a minute in the field of a million picnics.
We talked of all before us and snapped a picture or two, so as not to forget the moment and remember all the goodness of this place.
And then moved forward.
For quite a while now, our kitchen table has been covered with this:
Along with miles and miles of planning.
A year ago, Newel and I looked up and realized that we were sitting on the verge of family change.
Celia would build friendships keeping her in school year round, taking her off on internships, or leading in other paths.
Christian faces college and mission, followed very quickly behind by Annie and so on. Faster than we could hold on to, we would never get any of this back.
So, we decided to block off this summer to travel Europe for it's nine weeks and just be.
More friends sent us off on our grand adventure with an excellent dinner party.
Our scramble to pack included the division of suitcases for a nine week journey across an entire continent.
Finally, house sold and with a sigh of relief, we left our interim hotel for our journey.
Grant gave his best "german boy" impression.
And Janie, of course, ran for the bathroom at the last minute. But nevertheless ... we were on our way.