06 April, 2011

Please join me...

...at my hew home:


You'll find a few familiar posts when you get there.  Make sure you update your link to follow me, because I won't be posting in this blog any more.  I look forward to seeing you over there!

Are you ready?  OK, go check it out!!

See you there!

02 April, 2011

Spring cleaning

This weekend is our full out spring cleaning weekend.  Top to bottom, the house is getting a good scrubbing.  Day one is nearly complete, and I have to admit, we all participated, and we all had a good time.

With a clean and (fairly) orderly upstairs, somehow the planets are aligned and all is right.  This is borderline exciting!  Really!  I am excited to have done this, to look at my bedroom and not see inches of dust, mounds of clutter, and an unmade bed.

The kids' rooms actually have floor space.  Who knew?

The bathroom is shiny once again.  

All the floors are vacuumed and cleaned, surfaces are all dusted, we can see out the windows again.  It's almost a thrill.

With some furniture moved in each of the kids' rooms, the kids are excited, too!

Honestly, this is one of the things I look forward to after the first of the year.  The day we turn the house upside down, find tiny Legos and spider rings behind book cases and long lost dolls under beds, wipe the grime of winter off the walls and mirrors and floors, and basque in the illusion of order that is the result of one day spent cleaning the house.

Life is just so exciting in our house.  How sad is it that cleaning is something that brings us a thrill?  Who cares, I'll take it!!

01 April, 2011

One year later

In January of 2010, I made a new friend.  She coached me, encouraged me, listened to me, and helped me let myself be me.  In January of last year, I was struggling to find the happiness I'd worked so hard, and so long to build in my life.  It was right there in front of me, I could see it, I just wasn't feeling it.

I ventured away from the comfort of my home and family which I'd immersed myself in for several years.  I hesitantly took her advice and took time for myself.  I left the house alone.  I had no idea where to go, what to do, no money to consider many options.  I was terrified .

I don't consider myself a loner or an introvert, yet the thought of leaving the house to do something alone, without my husband, children, or a friend was nearly paralyzing.  I agonized over what to do with myself, I surfed the web for "free things to do in {my city}", I nearly cried when I learned that the library didn't open early on Sundays, and then again when I realized I only had $5 in my purse.  What in the world am I supposed to do with myself?  What does it mean to focus on yourself?  What does it mean to do things for yourself, by yourself?

Most moms can relate to the idea of putting themselves last.  I figured, OK, I'll give it a try.  I headed to a local coffee shop and brought a book I'd borrowed from a friend.  How much more alone can you get than sitting with a book in a busy coffee shop, surrounded by people who aren't alone?  Reluctantly, I took the book, went to the coffee shop, and sat and tried to read.  I took in much of the book, but was entirely preoccupied by my surroundings.  I purchased a coffee, which was a feat in and of itself.  It took me a while to get comfortable ordering a coffee, but I did it.  Eventually, I would save some money during the week and even get myself something small to eat.  I people watched.  I took notes.  I wrote down what I was seeing, hearing, doing, thinking, feeling.  I filled pages in a single visit to the coffee shop.  Oh, and I read some, too.

Eventually, going out for my Sunday morning time alone was something I looked forward to.  By spring, I didn't even hesitate.  I got a new book, read, took notes, people watched, had coffee.  By summer, I felt like a new person.  I'd found a new coffee shop, gotten a laptop, and started this blog.  I got all  my digital pictures uploaded, sorted, and organized.  My husband and I had found a new balance at home with the house and the kids, and I was beginning to enjoy being home.  The kids and I planted seeds, we all did a big spring cleaning project, and we all worked outside in the yard once the weather was good enough.

Summer came along, slowly as it does around here, and I started running.  Slowly.  After being talked into doing a local race, I caught the bug and couldn't stop.  I replaced my morning coffee shop times with morning runs.  I had no idea where I was going, and sometimes I didn't get very far, but I ran.  I ran on my own.  Something I would never have done just a few months prior.

We took a family vacation.  A real vacation.  The "do next to nothing and like it" kind of vacation.  It was awesome.  And I didn't feel guilty.

I signed up for lots of races.  And I ran them.  Faster, and faster, and faster.

I sent my oldest off to kindergarten, and started spending days with my youngest.  I saw my friend, who started all of this, less frequently.  Her words of encouragement stayed with me, though, and I put her advice into practice as the months went by.

We took in a mother cat and her five babies, and cared for all of them.  We helped her raise her babies, and enjoyed the tenderness of those tiny babies and watched them grow.  Those babies changed a lot of things in this house, not the least of which was our hearts.  There's nothing like watching a mother cat and her babies.  And there's also nothing like watching those babies wreaking havoc in a house.  Just ask my Christmas tree.

We spent the holidays with family, as it should be, and we successfully showered our family with love and appropriate tangible gifts, and accepted the same with pleasure.  That's what the holidays are all about, isn't it?

The new year finally arrived and we enjoyed the first day surrounded by good friends and neighbors.  It is a new year, not just a different year.

With the holiday madness behind us, we reclaimed the non-Christmas home and tried to be positive about January.  We made it through January, only to be welcomed into February with a record setting blizzard.

I kept running.  Even ran more.

My husband and I started going out together, just the two of us.  Just as I had been unsure of what to do with myself last January, we looked at each other not having a clue what to do, out, alone, together.  But we finally did it.  And loved it.

My youngest, now potty trained, turned four and stopped napping, forever changing the landscape of our days.  He is amazing.

It's now (supposedly) spring again, and we've seen robins, tulips peeking, and the breezes are a bit warmer when they blow.  And I am still running.

In March this year, I saw my friend for the last time.  It was bittersweet, but I knew it was coming.  She helped me so much, and I'm now using the tools she showed me to see that happiness I couldn't see just one year ago.  It was time, I knew it, and I'm OK with it.  The tools she showed me were there the whole time, she just helped me find them.

I started this blog as an outlet, as my first earnest entry into the world of blogging.  It helped me sort my thoughts, and if nothing else, helped me see myself, and actually somewhat enjoy what I saw.  I grew a lot in the last year.  I changed a lot in the last year.  And now, it's time for my online self, persona, blog, to change.

It's time for this blog to grow up a bit.  To find a direction.  To get a new name.  I will be moving this blog to a new home.  Not too much will change, but, the name most certainly will.

I will be blogging with new confidence.  That's the only clue I'll give you for now with regard to the change.  Stay tuned.  I'll post the new name and location in the next few days.

Until then.......

A nice evening with a book and some wine...

Kiss the last child good night.  
Go downstairs and find your book.  
Pour a nice glass of wine, grab a blanket, and spent two minutes situating yourself on the couch with said book and glass of wine.

Open your book, enter the story and feel the words pouring from the page, feel luxurious as you enjoy time with a book for the first time in recent memory.

{pitter patter of little feet entering the room}
"Mommy, I'm scared".

Emerge from the comfort of the couch, put down the wine and book, return child to bed.  Rub her back, kiss her forehead, leave her room.

Go back to the couch, sit, sip, cover, open, read...

{step, step, step...}
"Mommy, the cats are bothering me".

Return child to bed.  Tuck her in, stroke her hair, kiss her forehead, leave the room.

Sit, sip, cover, open, read....

{thud, thud, thud....}
"Mommy, I need another hug, I can't sleep...".

Silently return child to bed.  Tuck in, kiss forehead, warn of negative impact of leaving the room one more time.  Leave the room.

Sit, sip, cover, open......

Cat jumps onto coffee table.  Cat leaves a nice 'gift' on the table and your magazines.  

Get up, clean up the 'gift', clean the table.

Return to couch.  Yawn.  Look at the clock.  Open the book.  Read...

Wake up one hour later on the couch, go upstairs to your own bed, try again tomorrow.

03 March, 2011

Fred's fourth

Acted cranky
Got over it

Went out to lunch with Mommy

Frosted his birthday cake with his sister

Don't forget the sprinkles!

Birthday dinner and dessert.....

...at Rainforest Cafe!!

Birthday cake!

Cake, presents, and Skype with his Nani.  No better way to round out the day.

My baby is four

There really aren't words to describe the feeling when your child reaches a milestone or birthday.  I'll just say that my two children have been the light of my life, and seeing my son develop and grow has been an amazing journey.  He and his sister are so different in so many ways, but also so much the same.  Ethel loves her little brother to pieces, and spent much of the week drawing him some great pictures.  The first thing she did today was wish him happy birthday and wrap her arms around him, and kissed the top of his head.  Then she rushed downstairs to get the pictures and presented them to him with a big "Happy birthday!".  It was the sweetest thing.  She remembers small bits of that weekend in the hospital when she first saw him, first held him, and spent hours hiding in the tiny cabinets in the room.  She amazes me each and every day.

I'm one!
I'm two!
I'm three!
I'm four!  I'm the birthday boy!
My first gifts today, pictures from my sister.  She's my favorite.

04 February, 2011

Blizzard-O-Rama, 2011

Call it what you will, make up funny terms to describe it.  No matter how you slice it, it was a blizzard.

31 January, the calm before the storm

...and a little later that evening...about 8:45PM

Morning - 1 February - a couple inches, no biggie!

...about 5PM Tuesday...whipping winds, blowing snow...

Tuesday evening, about 6 or 7PM

...about 9PM...

...Tuesday 10PM...

Good morning Wednesday!

Wasn't there a table and chairs out there?

Frozen tundra - back yard.

Look, Mommy, it's as tall as us!

I think it will be a while before we see the front doors

Daddy worked hard to clear the snow

Whew, a cleared driveway.