NOT an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

Two years ago this week, we moved to Tennessee. We were bursting with excitement! and anticipation! because we were just coming off of what has come to be dubbed “our really!! really!! really!! bad year”.

Clean slate.
Fresh start.

We had previously put all of our things into storage, except clothing, some books and toys and an air mattress. Long story short, we had had to move in with my in-laws while we got back on our feet. So, when we moved to Tennessee, that was all we had with us. We moved here with a job for Sean and that was it. Not even a place to live. We like livin’ on the edge.

We stayed with my grandmother, who lives two hours away, and then drove to Nashville each day to look for an apartment. As if a 4 hour round trip wasn’t expensive enough, we were doing it together, but in two separate trucks. In an act that had to have been a final remnant of our really!! really!! really!! bad year, my car had broken down right before we moved and we couldn’t afford to fix it. Because the kids couldn’t stay with my 92 year old grandmother she would have run them ragged, they were lucky enough to be escorted around Middle Tennessee for hours and hours at a time.

We had put a lot of prayer into our apartment search – we weren’t even familiar with the area and didn’t know what was where. In fact, the last time I had been to Nashville was a trip to Opryland way back in the 70s and the only time Sean had been was when he came for his interview, 2 weeks before.

Like I said, we like livin’ on the edge were coming off of a really!! really!! really!! bad year.

Our biggest issue, aside from cost, was, if we could move into it rightthisveryminute because we are living out of our trucks with three kids. We did find a place, and it has suited us fine. Granted, we don’t have a yard, but it really is comfortable. In fact, when I hear people who have fewer kids than us (we now have four) complaining about running out of room in their big homes, I get a bit confused…

Oh, right… I was telling you a story about our move…

We had to move in that weekend so that Sean could start his job the following Tuesday.

This was how things looked for the first month we lived in Tennessee:

<<air mattress over here              tv over here >>

So so so so easy to keep clean. Seriously – want a clean house? Get rid of your stuff.

Sean was finally able to get back to Maryland to move our things the beginning of March. In fact, I wrote about my excitement in my very first blog post. We didn’t waste any time getting our umbilical cord to the world computer set back up.

From that point on, I have fought a losing battle. Dirt and clutter:730 days – Karla: 0.

When I do get it straightened, it takes about 8 minutes for it to look like this:

That’s me on the couch – resigned to a life of clutter

the only clean spot in my house

When I get frustrated about it, I have to stop and remember where we were, and from where we’ve come. The clutter and the mess mean that we have been blessed with our children, a roof over our head and stuff.

Though don’t think I don’t fantasize about this once in awhile:


  1. I know what you mean about the clutter and “Stuff”. I always feel like I’m about to trip over something or find strange things in strange places. I LOVE it when my house is clean, neat and tidy, but with two (not four like you . . . I couldn’t even imagine) kids with an appreciation for all the space we have in our home, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that right now, my house is not going to be as clean, neat and tidy as I’d like it. But you know what? I’d rather have the noise of my boys than the hollow echo of clean.

  2. Lysa TerKeurst says

    Too funny. I feel your pain sista! Obviously we are living the same life with the same clutter and now I’m wondering if we have the same messy kids! Smiles. But I think mine are older which makes their messes even more—um—shall we say— delightful???

    Smiling with messes and all.

  3. ooooooo kimmy, that last line is awesome!!

  4. Boys=mess=love!

  5. We’re coming off a really really really bad year, too. We deserved it, though, because we made some really really really foolish decisions.

    I totally hear you on how those experiences clarify what is really important.

  6. i need a permanent sticky note attached to my hand while shopping-“stuff is overrated. clutter is not cool!”

  7. Lois Grebowski says

    I have an adult toddler… last year this time I had power tools in my condo living room. Plus laundry all over the place…

    Today? Not much has changed. We just got back from a vacation…laundry all over. At least no tools…LOL

    Why do housework if it gets imemdiately undone. It’s wasted effort…bwahahahahaha!

  8. Great post. I feel like we are in the middle of a bad situation.(We made some bad choices and now we have to fix them). Right now I am in a funk but your post reminded what is really important and that I need to appreciate what I have. Thanks.

  9. Missy @ It's Almost Naptime says

    Re: kid evidence everywhere –

    Once at a MOPS meeting I remember hearing an older woman say that, she knows the mess and the fingerprints drive us crazy now. But when her grandkids come to visit, if they leave a little handprint on her window, she won’t wash it off for weeks because she loves looking at it. So her point was, one day we will miss the little handprints – we will be where she is in a blink of an eye.

    Wow, I needed that reminder!

  10. Lovely post – I remember once moving to a new rental place and it was just so lovely and EMPTY without all of our junk.

  11. Corey~living and loving says

    What a lovely post. I enjoyed it very much. I fight the clutter in my house as well. sigh….but most days…I just don’t want to take up my time cleaning. There is so many other things in life.

    have a great weekend.

  12. Dear friend, whenever I begin to panic about my current situation, I remember your moving story and I remind God. I feel like you are virtually ‘holding my hand’ as you are praying for us. {{}}

    This is truly a LOL post! Thank you :-)

  13. Ah, the ol’ little lego on the carpet that will gouge out mom’s feet. I know that one oh so well.

  14. A Cup of Joy says

    I’ve given you an award. Stop by my blog to pick it up.

  15. Loved reading this -thanks for the perspective.

    With three boys – cleaning is always an uphill battle. When I get frustrated I just remind myself they are only going to be small for awhile. I need to enjoy them and not focus on the clutter- someday I will long for messes.

  16. I obviously stumbled across your blog from P31…congrats! How God-led is that?

    I was so suprised to see that you moved to Nashville from MD…I live in PA. Although we are not serious about a Nashville move, my hubby is in music and is traveling there next weekend…I can’t imagine moving. That was never in MY plan. Praise God though that He doesn’t follow MY plans!

    So do you like Nashville? My hubby is sooo excited to visit!

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