I hope your Christmas and New Year holiday was as great as ours.  In fact, ours was quite wonderful.  S came home to stay!  So, here is the story I never felt comfortable stating online during his absence.

We knew we were looking at S’s retirement from the military soon, and we had a house out in CO to sell.  After some prayer and discussion, we decided we wanted to take advantage of the spring and summer selling season, as that is when the majority of the military are moving.  We also decided that since we were moving about 30 animals, we wanted to do it in a way that would cause the least amount of stress for them.  Thus, it was decided we would offer our house for sale early in the year.  If it sold, great, if not, S would continue to stay there.  Either way, the kids and I would move the animals in May so they wouldn’t be transferred in the heat and humidity of summer nor would we be risking a treacherous drive in the winter.  There are hours of backroads and 2-lane highways on our route.

Sean was able to take about a month off to help us get moved and settled a bit, and then he had to return to CO in late June for the summer term.  At that point, he visited when he could, which was once or twice a month.  He would usually fly in for the weekend, and then leave a day or two later.  Quick, but refreshing visits for us all.  I went out to see him once during one of his longer periods away.  Except for the brief visits, we were apart for 7 surprisingly fast months.  We both stayed so incredibly busy that the time rather flew by.  Since we did wind up selling our house before I left, he stayed busy bouncing from house to house in exchange for helping the home-owners with random projects around their homes and farms.  I stayed busy with the kids and running Red Gate.

S finally made it home to stay 3 days before Christmas.  The youngest children are just now beginning to understand that he doesn’t have to leave again.  Technically, he isn’t retired yet.  We saved up a lot of leave time, so all that is added together and he is now on “terminal leave,” where he uses up all that paid leave prior to the actual separation from the Air Force.  His official date of retirement is March 1.  In the mean time, we are on an extended vacation here at Red Gate Farm. We will be heading back to CO as a family for a few days in order to celebrate his retirement with a ceremony and special dinner, and we are looking forward to that.  It will give the kids and I an opportunity to see our friends again one more time.  We also have an appointment scheduled with the boys’ therapist to re-evaluate their development.  In addition to having S home, my parents drove in for Christmas, and S’s mom and brother joined us on Christmas day.  It was the biggest family Christmas we’ve ever had.  VERY cool for our first Christmas truly “home.”

Now, we are working through the rather lengthy project list we created.  S has blessed me by taking over all my farm and outdoor duties, including milking, for a while so I can focus on being wife and mom, and getting my blood sugar levels back under control.  I kinda lost control there for a while due to all the chaos of my life this past year.  I have my own list of projects–mostly paperwork related–that I am working on indoors.   We are hoping to have most of the critical projects completed by spring, so the farm can be up and running the way we’ve dreamed of.  We are actually planning to “go live” as a more formal farm business this year, and will be taking orders for the meat we are raising this year.  That means I have to get permits and proper licenses, which I am working on as well.

So now you know why I’ve been blogging so infrequently lately.  When I said things were a little hectic and crazy, I meant it! Now we are looking forward to getting back into a normal routine.  Whatever that is.

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