The People Make the Place


Caleb’s remarkably good drawing of Elephant and Piggy, of the Mo Willems books. Elephant says, “I’m scared.”

I thought this picture was perfect for that nervous, excited but sad, feeling that you get, just as you are about to move. We are four weeks out from the longest distance, most emotional move we’ve ever made.  This will be our 8th move. However, this is the very first move where our little boys are old enough to really get it.  We’ve been in the area for 5 years and in this house for 3.  We had NEVER lived in the same house for three years before! Saying good-bye is going to hurt this time.


the boys, 2 years ago

this yearDaniel and JD, last week



Anyone who has done even a little bit of moving around will tell you that the people are what make the place.  If you have an amazing community of friends, you can weather Siberia together and be perfectly happy.  If you’re living with a crooked bunch of questionable folks–Paradise itself will not be habitable.

So if people make the place, then this little D.C. suburban neighborhood has been a little piece of Eden for our family. We live on a street where the parents all socialize over our chain link fences, while we pull weeds (only don’t look too closely at my neglected gardens…), our children run from one house to the other giggling and carrying on, and I know when one of my kids stray, one of my neighbors will step in!! We have a neighborhood school, a park, and a pool.  Our kids all play on the same basketball, soccer, baseball, and swim teams.  Some of us even go to the same churches. It’s like a small town, in an urban area.


I made them wash the car–they loved it! I’m doing that more often.



Look, Mom! A slug! Oooo, Mom, are you scared??



“If I flick it (the slug) off, can I immediately go inside and wash my hands? Ew!  I touched it!  I touched it!!”



Joshua and Caleb both started kindergarten here. Daniel took his first steps here. JD was born here!  Geesh, I’m going to miss this place!

The people here are AWESOME, and that has just made all the difference. We have so many friends, we have so much in common, and they are all solid families with homes that I know I can safely send my children to.  I am just so thankful to have been a part of this!!!

Ok, you will notice I’m wearing the same outfit in a lot of these.  I had a little farewell lunch with some of my closest friends from our community this week.  These women, plus a whole bunch that are not pictured, are ALL incredible, and I can’t tell you how much I have learned from these gals. These are the “Park Moms” that got me through the birth of baby #4. They brought me meals, chauffeured my older boys, helped me with Daniel, and best of all–they were just there!! I will forever be a better person, just for knowing these wonderful women.

“17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

DCFriends DCFriendsCollage


Also, in defense of Betsy and me, we were pregnant in a few of those last photos!!

I’ve always felt like God put us here to provide a safe little nursery for our children to spend their youngest years. Do you know how you start your tomato plants inside so they get a solid start on life? While the weather is still too cold for them, you keep them warm and safe in doors. Once they are hardy, and the frosts are over, you take them out into the elements and plant them in the dirt.

Does moving out west mean that I am taking them out and putting them in the dirt now??  What if they aren’t ready??  Will we find another community like this one?? Ah, the timeless worries of a parent! Let’s hope I will find another nursery for them. They are all still so little. I mean, JD isn’t even walking yet.

I trust that we will be just fine.

I just remind myself, when I start to worry, “God will provide.” Where he leads, I will follow. He hasn’t failed us yet.


matthew 6


So we say thank you one more time to our amazing friends, and not good-bye, because a.) we’re not gone quite yet, but also b.) we will see you again. And we press on towards the future, knowing that God is with us wherever we go.


  • Alan

    Great post. It will be the toughest move yet.

  • Such a beautiful scripture. We moved last year from one of those lean over the fence and talk to your neighbor places. It was a hard thing to leave so many friends but it has been such an exciting new adventure in our lives and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I pray you will find a great group of friends in your new home!

  • Maureen

    April – what a beautiful post. I teared up reading about your little tomatoes. Just beautiful.

  • donna Stephens

    Such a heartwarming post…very touching. I can only imagine how hard it will be to leave and relocate. But we know that God knows what your future holds and will take loving care of your family. We love you and will be there to help in any way we are needed. We are already excited about your visits thru here inJune. April, you and some of your friends HAVE to go see MOMS NIGHT OUT before you leave!

  • donna Stephens

    Great artwork, Caleb!

  • donna Stephens

    Having fun playing Scramble with Joshua!

    • I’m glad. When I saw how many games he had open with you, I made him start sending play invites to others as well because I didn’t want to wear you down with Joshua Scramble games. Thank you so much for playing with him!! He LOVES it.

  • McMom

    I feel sad for y’all like it’s us moving or something. You guys do have some really great friends there. What fun it will be to go back for a visit! Also, Caleb looks ever so mischievous in that photo!!!

    • Thank you for sympathizing with us, Amy!! I thought of you all week because I’d just commented about how my germ-acquainted baby has been so healthy….and then he had an ear infection on Monday, and J and C were sick all week. Drat. Drat. Drat. Jinxed myself. Also, Caleb is so mischievous! And adorable!

  • Luckily they can keep up with your adorable family via your blog. BTW- You are one beautiful mama in all of those pictures. You rock it girl! Good luck with this move, Praying all goes well as moving with littles can be challenging.

  • Catching up on some blog reading… You just killed me!! So sad!! I hope this next move is the BEST one yet!

    • Ha! It is sad, isn’t it! It will be great, though. I mean where we’re headed is supposed to be one of the most amazing places in the U.S. Perfect weather, very few insects, and they say the people are even laid back. Sounds amazing.

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