Ashley, Jack and I were settling in nicely with Mary, Joe, and the kids. No one could replace our parents, but Mary and Joe did a great job of making us feel at home with them.
In order to help Mary and Joe out, Ashley and I would take turns helping with bedtime for the boys, among other things. With Jack and Kyle both being three and Jake being five, bedtime was typically pretty hectic. We would start by having them get in their PJs, brush their teeth, then lay down to read a book. Seemed simple enough, right? WRONG!
I am not quite sure what it is about bedtime, and young boys, but IT WAS CRAZY EVERY NIGHT! After about an hour of trying to calm them down, we finally got them to all lay down and read a book with us. After reading a book, we would give them each a back scratch, a kiss and tell them good night. They did not actually fall asleep until about 30 minutes AFTER we left the room. Typically we could hear the boys all whispering and laughing right after we put them down, so we would have to stand outside of their bedroom door, listening for them to go to sleep. Occasionally, we would have to open the door and tell them all to be quiet. It was quite a process every night, but this was our new normal. Complete chaos was the best way to describe our new life.
As we slowly eased into our this new way of living, and try to make everything go back to normal, we came to the realization that the house we were in was not the right fit for us. On Easter night, my very pregnant Aunt Mary, and my uncle, were out taking a walk, when they stumbled upon some of our neighbors. They got to talking with them, and it turns out that our neighbors were getting ready to sell their home. My aunt and uncle just looked at each other in astonishment, because they could not believe their luck.
They ended up buying the home from them, and we moved in to that house on June 6th, 2009. This house was perfect for our family. It was in the same neighborhood, about 4 houses down from our old house, with three bedrooms upstairs, the master on the main level, a bedroom in the basement, and a spot to create an additional bedroom.
When my Aunt Mary told me the full story later of how they came about finding the house, it reminded me of when Mary and Joseph were searching for a place to have baby Jesus. I know that God was working in our lives more than we realized, and this was just another reminder of that.
We finally were all moved into the home, and began to settle into our new lives. Lauren was born shortly after moving into the new house, on June 28th 2009. She was exactly what our family needed to feel complete and whole again. She brought so much joy to our lives, and was the glue that our family needed to hold us together during this transition period.
So this was our new normal; a crazy, loving, group of 6 children, and two parents that loved us more and more each day. We had no idea what our lives held in the future, but we had each other, and that was what was most important.