Friday, December 30, 2016

I Want to Remember...

...conversations with Iz..Me: "What kinds of things do you think you'll want to do when you're bigger?" Her: "Eat more salt in the summer." Ha! I know which book she got that from.

...having at home ice cream cones for the first time and Iz leaning over offering O little licks while sitting together at their little picnic table. not shut myself down from others when I am having a hard time.

...that it will all continue to work out as it should, as it has, as it will, as it always does.

Those above from seven or so months ago....and now some more...

...the way O said, "my baby? my baby?" with excitement after seeing Iz open hers on Christmas and her joy at seeing her own when she unwrapped it.

...all of the times Iz will sit and just swap kisses with me over and over again while we soak each other up. Days can sometimes be hard, but those moments easily wipe the hard parts of the day from my memory.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Dreams Creeping In With Their Bittersweet Ways

Snowing and Sewing
Just last week I was musing on how it is hard to find time for self care as a mother, but just as soon as I did, things shifted. Isn't that how it typically goes? O started throwing out phrases like, "Daddy read!" and "My bed!" and when asked if she wanted to have milk on the couch and to then join Daddy and Sis for reading time and to sleep in her bed in there, she gave us a big, "YES!" and there has been no looking back. Now, nearly a week later I am getting used to having more hours of free time in the house and more time to take care of myself and home responsibilities. She still wakes up for milk once in the night and then in the early hours of the morning, but this is a big shift for us. One that is welcome even if it's a bit bittersweet as she's also started helping herself to the potty a few times a day and talking more and more and wanting to sit without a booster at the table and just generally growing up very quickly as she prepares to turn two in February. As we've decided to not welcome anymore children into our family at this time, this feels like an even bigger shift than the first time as we enter into this next phase.

This next phase. This coming year. We are thrilled to have it before us with no big changes to be expected. No saying goodbye to beloved pets, no leaving jobs, no starting jobs, no having babies, no selling or buying houses. Just a good ol' regular year settling into our new home and that is just what we plan to do - to settle in and build on our dream for this home while seeing what it feels like to just BE together. We will start with building our big garden, a sandbox, compost bins and a playhouse and then build from there in the years to come. We will also continue making changes to reduce our waste and to live more and more frugally, while focusing on our time as a family out in nature above all else. This all feels right and it all feels really exciting. 

And the other day? We received our first dusting of snow and while E and the girls went out to explore and start a fire in the pit, I stayed in puttering around my sewing space and planning out some projects to come. When we first looked at this house I laughed at the idealizing of it all as I stood there with E and our realtor and dreamed aloud about sitting back there sewing while the girls played out back and it's quite a treat to see some of that unfolding in small doses, and with the holidays and these busy first months in our new home about to be behind us and a sleeping baby and new year on the horizon I am excited to get back to my fabric bins and create all of the things that have been on my mind waiting to come out as we made it through those times that were busy by necessity, but draining too. Now we move away from that and back to filling up our cups with the things that make us feel most like us. Mmmmmm. It's so good to be here and only going to get better as we continue to help our hopes for our lives unfold.  

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Taking Care of Me So I Can Take Care of The Rest

My favorite way to spend time as a family.
Pretty view at my craniosacral therapist's office.
Self care. Not such an easy thing to come by as a mom of small kids, but something I need to prioritize more than ever. A few months ago I discovered my health scares and concerns all tied into having a condition called Silent Reflux. It sounds fairly innocent but can be pretty dangerous if left to wreak havoc on your esophagus and that scares me, especially after some of the problems I've had with it. When you've struggled with something that you discover can turn into a very severe condition it shakes you up a bit. Things started to improve when I made changes, they got so much better, but then I slipped and slid and didn't keep it as a priority and it's at a really bad place again. 

Priority is the important word here. Being a stay at home mom and homeschooling family means that there aren't any daytime hours for me to hustle and plan and squeeze in some fitness by myself. It means a lot of juggling and just making it work, at least right now, at these young ages. That leaves me with those couple of hours at night to squeeze in whatever needs my attention after the girls are in bed and that often means picking and choosing between self care, projects, simplifying, settling into our new home, socializing, writing, budgeting, food prep, and you get it. There are a lot of things calling for my attention but none of those things will be getting my attention if there is no me, so for now, me. 

That's how it needs to be at least. Structure and schedules don't come naturally to me, but I do thrive on them, so that might have to mean planning my days and nights out a little more for now and just making it all happen so that I can be the best version of myself and live a long full life in my best health. When I feel like this I feel exhausted, my stomach is messy, I stumble over words reading to my girls due to my hoarse and cloggy throat, my energy is low, anxiety is high, I feel bloated and gunky all around and I'm definitely not getting enough sleep. I noticed these things changed drastically when I made changes before and I need to remember to honor myself enough to keep those changes in place once they start helping again so I don't end up back here. I deserve that and my family deserves that. 

So, now to plan out meals, find a new planner for 2017 as my big scratched up 2016 one is almost through, follow the silent reflux food rules and keep a food diary for awhile to figure out my worst triggers - I already know spicy, chocolate and tomato based products do me in and bring the congestion back, find a way to get more exercise in and just do all that needs doing while knowing it will all be worth it. This is going to be another big year of growth and change as we recalibrate in a new place and keep steering our family life in our preferred direction and that means me being my best self in order to make that happen. 

There are new gardens to build, settling in to be done, art to make and tiny little hands to hold in my own while we explore the world together. Let that last one be my biggest motivation. 


Over There

I've been over here from time to time:

Scratchity scratch that. As much as I love fresh slates I really like this old one. It's going to take me some time to tinker around with old posts and clear the drafts and republish old drafts after editing them to my new likings (for a bit more anonymity) but I'm sticking around because nothing makes me feel all the feels like reading through these old words here from way back when and having them all in one place. Please bare with me as I get it all aligned.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Looking to Nature for Fulfillment

E showing O a plant while she piggy-backed it on our adventures.
Iz squishing mud and looking for prints along a lake.

We always always always bring carriers for them both so we can continue our adventures even when things get tricky.

Elk scat! And later goose and raccoon too. This gal loves trying to track animals and was pretty excited about her finds.

Comparing at the local World Bird Sanctuary. Just about there!

Iz's favoritte resident a the bird sanctuary. This bald eagle gal had an injury to her left leg that didn't heal properly at another sanctuary so she can't fully support herself on it. Iz was very entranced by her.
A huge part of our recent move was to allow for us to spend more time in nature. We were actually a bit of a wild card as we flip flopped between going more rural and being close to friends and conveniences and ultimately decided on the closeness and community, but keeping in mind the proximity to some of our favorite nature areas and trails. It's important to us to teach our daughters to look toward nature for entertainment and fulfillment and in order to do so we've committed to getting out together as often as we can.

Some adventures are easier than others and at these ages of four and one and a half there are unique challenges, but there is nothing like setting them free to lead the way and explore in whichever way feels right to them and by pushing through those challenges rather than avoiding them, I hope we are teaching them that they can do hard things and that it's always worth the effort while nurturing an appreciation and love for nature. And on my end? I can deal with discontent out on the trails better than I can in the living room just about any day and I never once look back and wish we would have just stayed home and nothing clears my head and grounds me back down more than simply being outside.

Even with all of the hubbub of moving and settling in we have gotten out way more often now simply because we now can. Now we can find a place to explore and just be gone a few hours rather than each and every trip having to be a full day adventure. We like those too, and look forward to plenty of them, but with where we are at right now, this is exactly what we need and we look forward to moving forward while honoring our commitment to our family to get out every weekend we possibly can and every day the girls and I possibly can throughout the week.

There's nothing that makes me feel more connected with my people and with myself than breathing deep and easy in wide open spaces. It makes all of the effort we are putting forth feel worth it. Nothing we could ever buy them could compete with the look on Iz's face as she tracks elk tracks and scat and later sees them atop a hill. Nothing competes with her and I throwing leaves in water and racing across a bridge to watch them come out the other side. Nothing competes with watching O take in all of the different textures and sights for the first time or seeing them splashing in huge puddles with smiles on their faces. Nothing. Not anything. This is what we need most.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Settling in and Regrouping to Move Forward

Iz kicking back for lunch during last weekend's adventuring.

So much has happened in the last what is it...five months or so? Now, at last, I am ready to revisit this space and continue our story as we continue to settle in and regroup to move forward. 

We spent our first night of sleep in our new home back in June and since then we have been pretty busy while we sold our old home, evicted surprise bats from our new home's attic, built a fence around the backyard and rebuilt a swing set for our girls and so many other things that happen with such a big transition that while it has been nearly four months now, we are still getting our bearings a bit and it will be awhile longer until we will call ourselves settled. We are home, we are happy and we are so grateful in every particle of our beings, but settled? Well, that's going to take awhile. 

These last few months we have done what we needed to get ourselves here and to make things safe and comfortable for us while letting go of paying attention to our finances for a bit as bats and fence building and the general needs that come with a move kept popping up, along with way too many calls for take out as we scrambled trying to make it all fit together, but we are as committed as ever to get back to it now and finally feel like we are in a place to do so. I mean, we finally have our baby solidly back in cloth diapers now after many failed attempts since arriving, so I take that as a good sign that if we are capable of taking that on than we are now capable of moving forward in other ways as well. Silly, but definitely a good gauge for me!

And moving forward to what? To zero debt. To intentional frugality. To filling our lives full of fulfilling experiences. To not wasting our resources. To living a life that fills our hearts and that allows us to follow them. 

It's a bit of a bumpy transition to reign things in again, but in so many ways this is where I thrive. I like having boundaries and I am familiar with making do and I will write more about all of this over the next weeks, months and years as we travel this path and share our growth. 

For now, we are happy to be in a place where we are through that huge transition and to a place where we have a new goal to work toward and surpass. All the while we are soaking it up. All of the reasons we wanted to be here have not disappointed us, one of the main reasons being to be closer to places we could easily get to for hiking and exploring as a family. Now that the fence building has mostly wrapped up our weekends have a little more breathing room, and so do we as we hit the trails and open fields. Definitely more on that later as we continue to move forward. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Something Brand New

We are still plugging away at our master list, still lining things up to sell our current home in the best possible condition we can make it before we move on to our new home in less than two weeks. We close on the new place in five days and will be sleeping there in twelve and we are so ready to be at that point.

Items have been leaving our house quickly and in abundance. The loads to the thrift shop are less frequent these days as we do the fine tuning, but one did go this past week and another is currently accumulating in E's car. Our curb also regularly looks like a free sale where everything must go, allowing us to remove eight large items quickly in the past twenty-four hours alone. A few things make their way out via craiglist sales, putting a bit of useful money in our pockets as we prepare to own two homes for a stretch and while we do need that cash we are getting closer to the finish line so whatever doesn't sell soon is making it's way out to the curb as well to surprise someone with something they might need. It feels good to get to that place of detachment and letting go.

Seeing how much we are getting rid of is still shocking to me. Yes, I know how it accumulated over time, but it's still so completely shocking as I see the quantity of it all and think back on all of the loads and pick ups and sales and trash and recycling that has left our home in the past month alone. Never will we get to this place again, but I will choose to be grateful for the experience, for this knowledge and insight we have gained. But yes, NEVER again. 

Meanwhile my health is suffering and I am antsy to have more time for self care in hopes of healing my body and allowing it to the have rest it needs while providing myself and my family with better nutrition. With the stress, lack of sleep and decreased nutrition my body is revolting and screaming at me to pay attention. So, for now I do what I can and try to hang in there just a little longer while allowing myself to do some non-house related things when I can, during those times E is working on the things he has to do himself. This week that meant lots of letters to friends to fill up my cup and sewing a sun dress for my oldest daughter which filled me up all over.

Knowing more of that creative time is on the horizon, not much further along, helps pull me through. I can see my new creative space now, I can envision it and imagine all of the time I will spend there making wonderful things and filling my heart. Not much longer. Not much at all.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Tying Up Loose Ends

Right now we are in a place of tying up loose ends. We are two weeks out from closing on our new home and three weeks out from our first night of sleep there and about three weeks out from listing our current house as well. With the market as it is around here right now it's nice that we were able to buy before selling to be sure we secured a house that we love, but that also means we need to get this one listed as quickly as we can to not have more overlap than we can help and that means tying up a lot of loose ends and continuing to do the work needed to make this house shine and to give it the love we wish we could have over the past many years but weren't in a position to. We are realizing more and more how much of it we could have done previously, all of the smaller very low or no costs items on the list, but we have lived, we have learned and now it's crunch time and we are crunching hard.

We still aren't sleeping much but every time I cross an item off our master list I feel that much closer to the goal and the big break we are going to take after the initial settling in. Tonight that means E wrapping up some things in the basement and me making curtains for the basement windows and our plan for meals and groceries for the week between baby wake ups. So many lessons in all of this, this huge change we are experiencing right now and not enough time to process it all, but at the root of it all I am just so grateful for everything we are going through, for although it is intensely challenging right now, we are learning something and growing in some way from every single bit of it. 

I am also grateful to have had the forethought to start some of my tomato babies in pots so we could bring them along to the new place. With those and my basil planter and our potato bags we will still be able to have our little mini garden for the rest of the summer and since we will still own this home for a bit we can also harvest what we can as we come to check in on things here. Being without a garden for the year was really sad for me to imagine so I just carried on as if we were going to stay, but with planting a little less, and then adapting once we knew we were leaving and it turns out we aren't going to be without a garden at all, it's just going to look much different than it has in previous years or will in the future - a bit hodge podge but it will do the trick!

It's all good and will all work out as it should and while there is still much tying to be done, each day it becomes a little less and before we know it we'll be sitting in our new home amazed at how quickly we made it happen and embracing the change we have been anticipating for so long.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The End in Sight

We have been working so hard for so long and we are finally seeing the end in sight. While there are many more nights of work ahead and things to go through and areas to clean, in just a few weeks it will all be completed in one way or another and that thought is one of the biggest motivators as we trudge forward through the work every single night and every weekend day. It's coming and soon. Our hard work is finally coming to fruition and soon I will have more time to put all of the energy I have been directing toward this transition toward something else and I feel so excited at that reality.

Soon. Soon I can settle into a new space and let go of the last bits of things we find we don't need or don't work in that space. I can start the groups I am wanting to. I can write every night if I choose and I can do the same for sewing and knitting. I can have time to prepare food at night rather than scrambling every day to get food on the table and manage it all. I can work toward reducing our waste in all the ways I am dreaming of. We can make a plan for our new yard and start putting it into action. We can gain back time as a family, taking walks, relaxing, being together as us four rather than one of us with the kids while another completes housework.

We are almost to the finish line. We are almost to that life-changing transition we have dreamed about for so long. Sure, there are loose ends that will take time to tie up. Sure, it will take time to settle in. Sure, there's the whole moving an entire house and four people and three pets and some plants part, but again, that will happen one way or another. Mostly there is excitement and anticipation and so much good to come and I am looking forward to documenting much of that here as it does.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Relief With Release

As we prepare to go through selling our home and moving into our new one we are going through every crevice of every room - each closet, drawer, shelf, nook and cranny and as we do we are taking everything out and choosing to keep only the things we love or that are regularly used and needed. In doing so we find most areas are cut down by around 50% and we are amazed every single time, amazed at the fact that there is so much extra and also amazed that we are then able to live with a functional space with a small amount of effort and upkeep. 

Releasing those extras always leaves me feeling a huge sense of relief, realizing that hard work is complete and that I will get to live in my home in a way that is less stressful. The rewards are so large that when I realize there is another nook I can get at I feel almost giddy, knowing that I am about to get that wonderful feeling. 

Those nooks are becoming fewer and farther between as we make our way through, but tonight I attacked the kitchen one final time and came out with the equivalent of 4 paper grocery bags full of things that were either put into the giveaway pile, set aside for family, recycled or put into the trash. This after having already done a quick sweep a couple of months ago, getting rid of the obvious extras at that time and already having purged and organized the pantry last week. It's amazing, the knowledge that we can really make do, and happily, with so much less, and I know that we will let even more go as we settle into our new place and have an even clearer idea of what we will need. Plus, there are a few boxes of things E wants to sort and sell on Ebay once we are settled since we don't have the time to do so now in the hustle, and I have a tote of photos and negatives I still need to minimize and find a solution for, but again, need a little more time before I can sit and cut, scan, organize all of that, but you better believe I am itching to do so the first chance I get and through that process we will find our way to having even less in our home. There are also some items we want to find a better less space-sucking and more functional alternative for in the future but we have chosen to keep certain things (some camping gear more specifically) that we already have and can make do with until we make those decisions.

As for the items we are getting rid of, much has gone to a thrift store due to the fact that we need to get it all gone and out of our way quickly, some specific items have gone to family or friends who need or want them and a few things we are choosing to sell. It's too bad we haven't had time to do that with more things, but I think we struck a nice balance in deciding when it was worth our time to sell and when it was time to just get it the heck out of here. I do like this selling business though and this weekend I am going to be adding a few hundred much needed dollars to our fence-for-the-new-house-fund by selling some pyrex, newborn cloth diapers and an infant car seat and my awesome mom is going to take a handful of items with her to try to sell on a buy/sell/trade site for us as a way to help while we hustle to get everything finished up around here in the next couple of weeks. All of that added to the items in the garage we hope to sell (a large heater, some bikes, some various tools) should get us to my $1,000 from sold randomness goal and closer to having that fence up so our pooches and kids can safely run wild in our beautiful new space. 

Now...what cranny can I empty out next?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Moving On and Sizing Down

E and O at the new place during inspections. Smaller space, someone else's stuff, lots of potential for adding our own greatness.

We are a family of four, there's me, my husband and our two young girls, plus our brood of three furry-four-leggers. Currently we live in a three bedroom and two and a half bathroom home, around 1,200 square feet plus a relatively finished basement. We have more room than we really need and while we make use of our spaces we have often found all seven of us all piled on top each other in ten square feet or so of this space at a time and laughed about how it seems we don't need much space at all if we are always going to end up like that.

Well, we are about to have a bit less space and to try it on for size and we are really excited about the change. We'll lose a bathroom and some square footage of upstairs living space but the basement is still partially finished to leave room for E to work (he works from home) and for a family room area which I consider a nice perk when living in a state that is no stranger to tornados. These spaces, office and family room, are one in the same, without a separate office space as he has now.  This will take some readjusting in how we use the space at certain parts of the day, but we are definitely capable of doing such.

We will still have three bedrooms upstairs but the third has the only backdoor off of it so feels more like a family room kind of space. That works well for us though as we have always planned on the girls sharing a room and plan on continuing to keep our third room as our family art room with our art/craft tables and supplies. This room? So perfect for that. My idealizing mind pictures me sitting at my art table sewing while looking out one of the many windows at my girls running around out back as they grow. That's probably a few years off yet, but our dreams are what give us fuel, right?

Our bedroom will be smaller but that's perfect. All we have in it is a bed and a dresser now and a small nightstand for our youngest's sound machine and our clock and all of that will fit perfectly, leaving little room for things to build up. That being the thing I'm most excited about - the lack of room to allow things to build up. After digging ourselves out of the excess that has accumulated in our current home, it is encouraging to know that won't be able to happen. One, it won't happen because we've felt how hard it is to do this minimizing, how time consuming and life sucking and we know we want to spend our time on more important things than doing that again and two, without room for things to pile up as much we will have to tend to them as needed and get them out of our way which will help us in maintaining a minimized home.

Some people have been surprised when we've told them about moving to a smaller home. I understand that. Most people in our stage of life, with a growing family, would be looking to size up, but that sounds absolutely overwhelming to me. The last thing I want is more space. More space outside? Yes! Please! And we will be gaining that. But inside? Nah. I'll be happy to have only one toilet to clean on a regular basis, a smaller but more functional kitchen to work in, a smaller space that will allow me to more easily make things feel cozy and defined in a way that I've been craving but unable to make work in our current set-up.

Will it maybe sting a bit at first, to lose that extra space? Yeah, probably in certain ways, but not really. It will be a challenge having to reconfigure and to make hard choices, but we are doing much of that decision making now and I am so looking forward to the challenge. I'm so antsy to get there and get started, to continue our journey in simplifying in a new space and to settle into a more minimized home while we continue to regularly challenge ourselves to let go and to find more ways to reduce our waste, waste of objects, energy, time and resources. This all ties in so well to where I am in my mind and my heart right now and in a way where I have always been and to be fair it's not like we're moving into a 600 square foot home on wheels, we are still going to be living in a modest but comfortable home with a one car garage, a small shed and a spacious yard and porches, it's just less than we have now and that's still an adjustment, but one we are looking forward to with a huge load of excitement.

We're moving where we are to be close to our community of friends, to be close to the nature areas we love, to make trips to the farmers markets and our preferred grocery stores and local shops for essentials significantly more convenient. We could spend what we are on this house in a different area and get twice the amount of space, but even thinking of doing so makes me sad as we would be missing out on all of that good stuff that we have already been missing for such a long time.

This feels exciting. This feels right. This feels a bit challenging in the best ways and it's all good. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

And it Continues

All of that and many more loads like that and so many things with free signs on the curb or curb alerted through craigslist and a craigslist car sale and so many more items to list for sale. That is what our lives look like right now.

The first load or two feels refreshing, the third feels like a nice load off, the fourth, fifth, sixth and so on start to feel a bit embarrassing and overwhelming as we ask ourselves how we got to the point where we have so much extra. Knowing us I don't think you would expect to find us in this position. We generally live a pretty simple life, we don't want much and we are the last people you will find at a shopping mall on a weekend, yet here we are.

So, how does this happen? Differently for everyone I'd say and for us there are many factors. E has lived in this house for 13 years and I have been in it with him for 8 of those and a big part of the extra being allowed to accumulate is that we have more space than we need. Our house is just at around 1,200 square feet, not large by most peoples measures, but comfortable and spacious for the four of us and our three pets and with the addition of an oversized garage the size of a small house itself, well...things have plenty of room to be pushed to the side to be dealt with later or held on to "just in case", but life gets busy and without setting aside intentional time for the dealing it just never happens and neither do the just in case moments, for even if there is something held on to just in case, when that time comes it's easy to forget the item ever existed and hard to find the item even if you do have it.

And so the story goes, my mom moves house and I take anything of interest or that used to be mine and tuck it away to look at later, the family farm is lost and I take on whatever we can scrape out of that might be of interest and stick it in the garage to deal with later, my dad passes away and more comes along and on and on. That matched with my own life's accumulation, E's accumulation and the items we've accumulated together many pets and two children later has left us drowning in just too much stuff.

And now, we dig ourselves out. We started this process long ago, sorting through things here or there, but in the past few months with our plans to move house we have been purging in a pretty huge way and the rewards have already been enormous. Each time a room is complete and feels minimized and functional it makes me feel calm and capable of functioning better throughout the day and with it being in such a simplified state it is no trouble at all to maintain it in that state. That has been the biggest difference I have seen between general decluttering and such a huge surge of minimizing, the maintaining. With less stuff in general it is just so much easier to live our day to day lives in our space and so much less time is wasted.

There is plenty left to do but we are nearing the current finish line with just a few small areas in our home to poke through before tackling the garage and listing all of the extras for sale before moving forward. This work is exhausting on both physical and emotional levels but it will all be worth it. Feeling the weight of it all, holding each item in our hands, having to haul it all off, seeing it all and being fully engrossed in the process, all of that is important as I know it will keep us from ever getting to this place again where we have to spend our precious hours dealing with stuff rather than snuggling up together or pursuing all of the things that tug at our hearts.

We know that having less will open our world to so much more in the areas that matter most. Adventures with our girls rather than our weekends eaten up by this process. Nights reading and crafting and dreaming and being rather than buried in bags and boxes. Sunshine on our cheeks, dirt on our hands, smiles on our faces and a simple happy life with our people. That is what we are working for.

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 Iz while we watched a large flock of birds fill a tree and flutter about before all flying off again.

...seeing Iz 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 Iz 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. Iz 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. Iz 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 Iz 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 Iz 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. Iz 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.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Want to Remember...

...her tiny warm hand wrapped around my thumb as I walked her to sleep.

...everyone gathered around to enjoy the chocolate covered strawberries I made and gobbling them up with smiles. sisters girls and my oldest happily playing in her room together for a long stretch and the reminder that things do change with time.

...O nursing as I rested against the drawers on the kitchen floor, rubber spatula in her hand, dinner simmering on the stove, Iz peeling garlic up on her helper stool.

...Iz insisting she wanted to make meat balls and me being so confused and reminding her how we don't eat animals and all that jazz and her looking at me like "duh mom" until she said "with the meat in the white bag" and me realizing she was talking about the almond nut meat leftovers from making our latest batch of almond milk. My bad.

...holding and rocking Iz while I walked her around and helped her decompress from an emotional overload and then sitting snuggled so close on the couch as she finished her lunch and we read a big pile of books. A good reminder that the times she is most "acting out" are the times she is most in need of connection.

...O smiling up at me with her cutest little smirk and taking three steps forward before squatting back down. Each day she adds a couple more and I bet by her birthday (in just eight days) we will have a full fledged walker. hard E always works to not only provide for our family but to get the house fixed up so we can try to move forward. good it feels to shed the extras and feel the weight of it all being released slowly but surely.

...sweet handmade valentines from the ones I love most and Iz cluing me in to their existence and hiding place long before the giving.