Thursday, April 28, 2016

What We Are Working For

For community. For closeness. For more time together and less time in a car. Those are the things we work for.

I wrote the words above just a couple of weeks ago. We had met up with my sister and her family to track down the baby great horned owls at one of my favorite parks, which also happens to be within walking distance to their house and in our dream-for-where-we-are-at-the-time location.

After we saw the owls and the kids played we picked up food to go and while they girls happily ate together so did we and everyone got all snuggled into their pjs before saying our goodbyes. It was such a wonderful few hours and the kind of random get-together we have been dreaming of and that has been one of our strongest motivations for moving, to be able to randomly call up any number of friends in the area we are aiming for and have spontaneous time together rather than having to have everything planned out and have it all feel like such a production, because, for us, this sweet time together was capped with a 40 minute drive each way and though it ended beautifully with pj-clad cousins saying goodbye, that 40 minutes can add a little grime to any occasion.

That night, on a high from such a fulfilling time, I was finally able to let go. To finally not feel any attachment to staying here where we are and feeling all in when it comes to moving forward. I had been waiting for that feeling, knowing it had to come eventually and when it came I felt such relief as I knew we were one step closer but not realizing how true that was at the time.

That all happened on a Saturday and on Sunday we buckled down for more decluttering with a renewed motivation, being able to really taste what we are working toward and as the week started my sister texted me saying a house down the street had a coming soon sign and we kind of laughed thinking, wouldn't that be crazy, ha-ha, not really thinking it was a contender.....buuuttt then we started looking more closely. I drove by and stared out the window. We found out more. Oh, three bedrooms, a covered porch, a nice backyard...hmm..right where we want to be..we know multiple people on the street...could you imagine? But...really? They go so fast...there's probably no way...but let's let our realtor know we are interested? And pictures were sent and pre-approvals were confirmed, a personal letter was written, earnest money was transferred and we had our feet in the door at the very earliest available showing and our offer on the table soon after and while we ate dinner that night some negotiation happened and another call came in and we ended with the winning offer and with a closing date of early June.

Fast. It all happened fast, but also so slowly as this moment has been years in the making. Finally. Finally. Finally. It all lined up. Everything that happened over this past month set us up to be exactly where we should be and it's happening. It's actually happening. Our community is waiting we just have to click in. We have been living as if we lived somewhere else for years but in actuality with most of our closest friends and favorite places kept at a distance and while I think this time has allowed for a lot of growth and I choose to be grateful for those lessons and this time, it will end soon and I am so indescribably thrilled!

My girls. They will thrive. We all will. I'm already planning our first Mama and I date to one of our favorite parks. Already imagining trips to our new library. Already dreaming of cousins running about together on the regular and of friends being able to drop by. Already dreaming of dropping by myself and getting to finally get back to little sneaky treats on peoples doorsteps on a more regular basis. Already planning my garden beds for next Spring. Already imagining a summer full of reconnecting with my ladies all around and E with his best friend that will also now be a short drive from our home. After so many years (going on eight) of having to drive so far to get to anyone or anywhere I want to go, I sat one night on google maps and put in our new address. Typing in any place I could think of wanting to go, I would smile and fill with joy when the answers would pop up. My favorite knitting store? 10 minutes. That friend? Six or seven minutes. Another? 12 minutes. Sister? A short walk. Hmm...the coffee shop I love? 13 minutes. The park we want to walk to all the time? Under a mile. And on and on and on until I got my fill. All the while knowing that even with the longer times of travel it was only because it was on little local roads rather than me having to speed down the highway at 60 miles per hour. That even when I would be 10 minutes from home it could really only be a few miles. Knowing that I will no longer have to spend hours in my car with unhappy children each week makes me feel elated. It all does. All of it. So much elation.

It's happening. At last, it is happening.

And as you can imagine we have been hustling even harder since we received the news those short five days ago. There is so much hustling to be done. So much stuff to get rid of. A current house to sell. Lots of steps and lots of work, but it's all for the greater good and all reaffirming bigger lessons that we need to continue to learn, but more on that later.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Moving Forward by Letting Go

This afternoon I put flames to the page and watched years and years worth of words slowly burn away. For so long the small green suitcase that used to hold them has felt like a heavy boulder on my back, something that would nag at me from time to time to deal with it but that was pretty manageable back there, where I couldn't see it, only noticing from time to time when I had to move it around. I would move it this way or that, sometimes take a couple out to rip out pages I wanted to save, like what I wrote after my grandmother died, the letter to my dad after he died, a few notable moments or nice sentences that I wanted to revisit, but mostly looking at them would make me hurt and when something makes you hurt in such a big way I feel it's good practice to remove it from your life. 

So, at a certain point I stopped looking and a couple days ago while working on the art room I tossed them all into a canvas bag to hold them until they could make it to the fire pit this afternoon. It was a bit bittersweet to see them go, but mostly just sweet as I felt that boulder crumble and knew they wouldn't be hanging around anymore to taunt me or to remind me of the hurt and the confusion. Writing in journals for me is therapy, a way to process my darker times and help to find ways through them. And, just as I wouldn't want to revisit a therapy session over and over again or have them recorded for others to listen in on, I felt much the same about these pages upon pages of writing. Some would argue I should save them so my daughters could learn more about me, and I get that, but not with this, not with these. My daughters will know my stories and hear how we can do hard things, overcome obstacles, not have to let our circumstances define us and on and on, but they don't need to read those, I don't need to read those, nobody on this earth needs to read those. They served their purpose, they got me to where I am, and for that I will always be grateful, but now? Now they have received their viking burial of sorts and I feel so much freer for having sent them on their way. 

I Want to Remember... take my glasses off more often and nuzzle into the faces of my girls. I have often contemplated contacts for this reason alone - more chances for spontaneous nuzzling without glasses in the way.

...I riding around in tiny circles on her tricycle in her birthday suit. That girl and that bike - she's always been so skilled at it and so all about it.

...all the times I catch I saying "us" and "we" lately in reference to her and O. Rather than, "can you read me a book?" it's now sometimes "can you read a book to us?". A little change but a good one.

...completing I's first sewing machine project (a play quilt for her) and her spontaneously turning around to give me little kisses, telling me the time together with her learning and creating was just what she needed to fill her cup.

...I running around pretending to be a skunk and saying she's going to spray me with her "stinky mist" and then pretending to do so many times over the course of a few days.

...O taking off walking everywhere and making the switch from crawling and mostly just how happy she is, like when I had her help carry puzzle pieces back to me one by one and they were just going back and forth together as a team, I with her hand on O's shoulder and guiding her and them coming smiling back toward me. Oh my how sweet and wonderful it was. much I loves her mama mades. Her first three pairs of 'moon pants' are in constant rotation. great it feels to shed all of the extras and to do the hard work to get where we want to be - the reward will be that much sweeter for having done so.

Monday, February 29, 2016

I Want to Remember...

...snuggling on the couch with I while we watched a large flock of birds fill a tree and flutter about before all flying off again.

...seeing I happily play with a new friend together and to remember to find time in the warmer months to set up time for her to have the opportunity to play with more kids she hasn't seen in awhile. slow down, be patient, know that everything will work out as it should if we just stay open and stay focused on what is most important (each other). happy I is when she can help out. Once I loosened up and allowed her to help with an item for O's party she was so grateful and so happy to be involved and I wanted to see her face look like that a million more times. O will take a few steps with a smirk before squatting back down and quickly crawling into my lap with a big grin on her face.

...the dove that came to visit before I went into labor with O and how I suddenly knew everything was going to be okay. 

...a birthday morning spent with my Sue followed by being greeted at home with big smiles and freshly made cupcakes followed by seed planting with my wonderful little sidekick. 

...snuggling with my E while he wound up balls of yarn for me. 

...these warm winter days, sunshine on our cheeks and all of those lovely hawks soaring above us at the park. playfully parent through hard transitions.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What We've Been Up To Mid-February

Our days are as full as ever right now as we continue working on our home and carrying on in our general day to day to-dos with our girls. Work on the house is coming along and big things will be happening before we know it I am sure, but more on that later. Here are some of the things the girls and I have been up to during our weekdays together.

When working on downsizing and organizing the art room - still a ways to go - I decided all of the old unused crayons, many from when E and I were kids ourselves, needed to go and so I broke them all up and the next day we finally did the whole making rainbow crayons out of the pieces thing with some old molds I already had. Was a fun way to use them up but in the end we still really don't need more crayons. I uses her beeswax crayons almost exclusively, along with other art materials, and while she did request to give some to friends (and we did) there are still a lot left that we may donate or pass along elsewhere to spread the rainbow crayon love and to help our downsizing along. This was definitely fun though. 

These past couple of weeks also contained Valentines Day and while we have never been big time celebrators, I upped my game this year as having kiddos makes me want to celebrate just about everything and make it as special as I can. I and O received some crafty valentines from their GG and Grandpa and I had fun putting them together. We then used them to decorate the back door window, along with a few crafty watercolor hearts. 

Early in Valentine's Day week I cut a bunch of hearts out of watercolor paper and I painted them for over two hours, asking for more and more. I kept my scissors cutting, she kept the paint brushing and O mostly crawled around exploring. Once they were dry she chose who she wanted each one to go to and I wrote her messages on the back for her and prepared envelopes and she did the stamping before putting them in the mailbox and flipping up the flag to send them on their way to brighten people's days.

I also finished up our healing cream after having the herbs do their thing in oil for a couple of months and poured ourselves a jar before filling tins with what was left. When I woke up in the morning and saw them she started moving them around and saying who she wanted to give each one to. I love when she thinks of ways to share kindness without prompting so we got out some stickers and she decorated the tops for each of the friends she wanted to give one to and we were finally able to see everyone and pass them out this week. 

O is always on the go and exploring our home. She is so close to walking, having taken a few steps here and there, but not fully taking off just yet. We are all excited to see how excited SHE will be when she puts it all together and can really chase after big sis. 

We never got around to making hand and footprint ornaments and mistle-toes for O back in December so we squeezed that in one day before her bits grew any bigger. 

Lots of healthy food making. It can be a challenge and things aren't exactly how we'd like them to be but we are constantly trying to find a groove and to focus on minimizing sugar especially. One way we've done that is by making our own almond milk. We have been doing so for a couple of months now so it finally feels like part of our routine and not a big deal. We don't use a ton but do like to have it for recipes and our banana, nut butter, raw cacao smoothies we all love. 

Another one I had been wanting to do for awhile and something I really enjoys. We have done this (a pan of baking soda with tinted vinegar squirted on with pipettes) a couple of times on our own and I set it up for a little valentines day playdate the friday before the holiday with purple and red. Always a hit! 

So much time hanging out in our kitchen. Sometimes it seems like we, or at least I, spend more time there then anywhere with all the meal making and dish washing and dance party having. I love when I can sit back and just watch my girls play and explore together. 

Our girls have always been close. Really, I and all the animals are pals and it's such a wonderful thing to see. We've promised her chickens once we move and O is two and she talks about how she will be their mama and care for them and tuck them in at night and on and on. We've told her that if we moved to the country she could have even more animals but she is set on being close to people and so are we, for now, so probably just chickens and that will be plenty for all of us at this stage of our lives. 

And of course so much painting and coloring. I paints for hours each week and I'm so interested to see where this takes her as she grows. Will she always love to paint? Will she move on to other things? Nobody knows, but I don't doubt that she will always be an artist.

And that's that. We are having some pretty full days as we approach O turning one, all of the house projects, and taking care of the day to day life which is plenty on it's own, but we are happy and just loving one another and craving time together. The good thing is that this week is O's birthday and then my own so we have plenty of family time planned to soak one another up.