July 30, 2012

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

It feels like I'm moving backwards with all the house stuff. August is just about here and I don't know where the kids will go to school. I work in one room an entire day and emerge to find the kids have left another room + the kitchen in shambles. All the laundry and dishes and snuggling and cooking and bedtime stories still need to be done on top of packing up our entire lives.

And I don't want help. I mean, I want it, but I don't. I need the kids here even if they are un-doing all my doing. My anxiety threat level is green and low when they are with me and in times like these, we need to keep it that way. It's my house and my things and my mess and I know where stuff goes.

I'm a drawer-emptier. First I'm a filler- with anything and everything and then when it won't close anymore I dump the whole thing into a box or a bag and then put it in the basement for, I don't know when? Times like now? Where I'm forced to sort through old magazines and expired coupons and report cards mixed with really important documents and photos and the MAC Twig lipstick (and lip liner) I wore when we got married. I'm pretty sure if you could open up my head you'd see the same thing.

So I've been sifting and boxing and throwing away. In the mornings I check the houses for sale online, make the kids breakfast, do a Goodwill drop off or Freecycle post, bag up and box more stuff. I'll take a break to eat lunch while I watch Netflix (no Olympics here without TV unless we watch at Mommal's) - I just started watching Parks & Recreation. Then back to the boxes, then dinner, dishes, boxes/snuggling time/boxes, and then when I just about can't keep my eyes open any longer I'll lie in bed to read- getting through The Age of Miracles: A Novel right now (I just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird and wish it never ended) -and it's never as long as I'd like and I always hope to sneak in more pages the following day but find the cycle very much the same. But I know I'm getting closer- each box is one more step to our new house, wherever it may be, I can just see it waiting for us, though, and in my mind it is kind and patient.

-just write 

July 29, 2012

A Fair To Remember

Porter County Fair 2012

We weren't going to go to the fair, but we never miss and it was the last day and the weather finally cooled off. And I had to have my bucket of Dr. Vegetables and Gray ate an entire elephant ear all to himself and Carter entertained on stage.


Porter County Fair 2012

Ivy & Noah at the fair

Porter County Fair 2012

Porter County Fair 2012

The goldfish bowl toss was only $2 for 15 tries and so we came home with five fish and as of this morning... "Mom, do you think this one is just still sleeping?" then there were four three.

July 28, 2012

So we did.

splash pad

There is something therapeutic about boxes. Emptying a room into many boxes. Filling my car with boxes, it's one of the most peaceful projects. Walk over to the box, pick it up, carry it to the car. Repeat. I can do this, simple tasks right now are what all my mind can handle.

In between storage unit drop-offs we passed the splash pad- a place I thought we'd be almost all summer and have yet to really partake- and Ivy insisted we stopped. So we did. 

A toddler there with her dad kept coming up to me saying "Mama." That was a little weird.

In the midst of all the craziness, I'm still making my videos for Mommalogues. And I still really love this job and hope it sticks (got any burning questions you'd like to see us answer?)

July 27, 2012

Summer O' Twelve

I wonder what they will remember about this summer. I hear the bullfrogs outside their window as I check on them in their beds. What will we hear at our next house?

Will they remember the time their mom only wore long maxi dresses day in day out, either the black one, brown one, or purple one, the packing tape rrrRRRing across another box, feet padding down and up the stairs all day long.

Was it exciting? Thrilling? This unknown? With just weeks before the start of school and no idea just where school would be. They won't know it for many years that the look on my face was worry, about school and the house and really wanting it to be The House - more grand than she could imagine - while gently assuring "I'm happy as long as we're together, wherever we are."

Just what will they remember about that brief time this place was actually clean, and dad was gone already and mom remained unhinged until the weekend and he would put her back together?

July 25, 2012

The Hard Parts

I looked up from my book to see Gray fidgeting from side to side "Um, excuse me, Mom? I just wanted to say that I changed my mind and I don't want to be a paleontologist anymore I'm gonna be a ninja, okay?" and I gave him an approving nod and you could see he was relieved and happy and off to play.

Today Mommal looked at Ivy with such sad eyes, "She's growing up and we can't stop it, Steph. She's growing and I won't be able to see it." It was the first time I allowed the hard parts of our move to pierce me. I held back tears in the kidney doctor's office. It was just us girls and Ivy was busy about the small patient room. I wanted to cry but I didn't.

I get anxious when I think about time, and especially when I think about my grandmother thinking about time. And I'm not sure there's any way to make it out like the good guy on this move. It will forever look like I left them. How can I want to go so much but at the same time be wrecked at what I leave behind?

July 24, 2012

What Dreams May Come

Dreaming of him

I found her asleep like this. She is me and I am her. This morning Ivy hugged the little Eiffel Tower and said she was dreaming of him. No one tell her he's really a she.

I already have plans for her pink Parisian room. On the top of a closet shelf we found pencil drawings of the  Champs-Élysées and La Tour Eiffel from our honeymoon in Paris, an old map of the city, and photographs I purchased on ebay a long time ago with the vision of putting them up in this house. We never did. So on to the next. In our little girl's room. 

July 23, 2012

Things I Found (In My Mailbox) While Packing: Volume 2

be awesome

I hope she doesn't mind me calling her out but it was a so-much appreciated gesture. Love. And thank you.

Things I Found While Packing: Volume 1

July 21, 2012

Litmus Test

Ivy, moving

We're TV-free but still like movies. While putting together a lasagna in the kitchen. Ivy and I watched Matilda on my laptop.

"Mom, does Matilda's dad love her?"

"Well, honey, I think he probably loves her, a little bit, but he's not a very nice person. And he doesn't know how special she is."

"You know how special I am!"

I sure do and if ever there was a defining moment that I felt like a good mom, it was then.

PS When you're moving it's not so weird to take pictures on furniture outdoors. (Ivy's crown hand-made by Erika aka Inspired Mama.)

July 20, 2012

Little Boxes

I came downstairs to find the kids cutting our moving boxes and using up all my (newly bought) packing tape to make little bedrooms and while I was especially irritated that they were using our precious resources I was also relieved that they were finally doing something creative other than moping around on the couches like frail children because they couldn't watch TV. Seriously at one point they couldn't keep their heads up.

Our house still isn't for sale yet. In a perfect land, it would have gone as planned: fix it up over time here and there so that we could sell it next year. Not, like, next week. But that's what we have to do, so I just hope the people who come through here get that and don't judge. We love this house and we've definitely lived in it to the fullest- a baby was even born up in here. We'll probably leave that part out of the description.

July 18, 2012

What Do The Kids Think About Moving?

(While, as of this moment, we do not have a specific house to live in yet, the kids have an idea of what they expect- firepit, a pink room for Ivy, etc and we plan to accommodate.)

July 17, 2012

Rules for my boys

All My Sons

As my boys get older and inch up taller past my shoulder, I have a rule that they have to give me a hug every morning and every night before bed, and whenever I want one in between even when they're sixteen. I sometimes make them repeat that. At church, I see the son put his arm around his mother during the service and I take notes. I want that, too. When they are teenagers and when they are thirty.

July 16, 2012

Card Carrying Member

Caffe Gelato, North Canton

I forgot to mention that the first time we drove to Canton, just less than two weeks ago, we turned on the radio to see what kind of stations they had as we got closer to the city. Landing on this*, at that very point in the song, the very moment we were getting off on our exit.

I'm a sign person. It was a sign.

I already have a favorite coffee place and even have a couple punches on the loyalty card. (The first two times we were there I didn't know they had one.)

We were back this weekend to house hunt. There are two houses that have our hearts. One is 1920's style and the other is 1950's and they breathe their eras from floor to ceiling. To keep from falling apart over worry and want, I know our house will find its way to us so in the meantime, I'm getting this house ready to find its new family.

*Coldplay Clocks: "Home, home, where I wanted to go; Home, home, where I wanted to go; Home, home, where I wanted to go (You are); Home, home, where I wanted to go (You are)."

July 13, 2012

Canton, Ohio

Downtown Canton Arts

So, all of this happened so very fast and unexpected. Jeff was recruited by another company- they asked him what he thought about Canton, Ohio. We were all, where is Canton, Ohio?

While he was interviewing last week, I stayed back in the hotel for a while and watched the visitor's channel, on a loop, several times. There's just so many things to do- it's a city with events and art and life without being too large or too much. And it's close to Cleveland, a whole other place for us to discover. I decided to get out of bed and go for a walk. I went straight to the Arts District.

And it started to feel like home.

Downtown Canton Arts

Downtown Canton Arts

Downtown Canton, OH Arts District

Downtown Canton, OH Arts District

Downtown Canton Arts

Downtown Canton Arts
I can't wait for First Fridays.

Downtown Canton, OH Arts District
I have a thing about public art. I think it's awesome.

Downtown Canton Arts

There's something exciting to me about the thought of our little (big) family and it being just us and finding a new place to love and letting it love us back.

I stood in Henry's popcorn shop and chatted with him for a while. I was on a high from walking the city and meeting a lot of friendly people and I just felt this feeling so big and I bursted, "Henry, I hope he gets the job! I really want to live here." I can't wait to go back and tell him the good news.

Downtown Canton, OH Arts District
Jeff is now the Ad Director at The Repository.

Downtown Canton, OH Arts District

Downtown Canton, OH Arts District

We were in the car on our way home when Jeff got the call. They offered him the job and he accepted. It just seems like one of those falling into place moments in life. And that is a wonderful thing.

Now...? He has to be out there next weekend. The plan is to get an apartment in North Canton so that we can get the kids in school on time next month. In the meantime, I'm here getting this place ready to to sell. One little box at a time stacking dangerously on top of my writing deadlines and video and usual house and mom of four workload.

Last night I finally hit my wall and stormed out of the house and went to Culver's and self-medicated with a burger and a coke in the parking lot. It helped. I'm ready to get back into the groove today. So many good things await.

Canton, here we come.

July 12, 2012

Here ---> There

love bug

I could write about the time I was still potty-training my three year old while on the phone with a dumpster rental and trying to figure out how I'm going to get this house clean and packed and ready to sell and sold before school starts. But even I don't want to read about that.

We are moving to Canton, Ohio. It's six hours east of where we live now. I do have a story to go with it, even pictures!, but also, see above.  I'll get there. We are so excited, it was so sudden and unexpected and I'm totally along for the ride.

July 10, 2012

Things I Found While Packing: Volume 1


So, yeah. We're moving. Soon. Out of state. More to come. 

P.S. I am so happy!

July 8, 2012

On Pause

Being open online is difficult when you are keeping secrets. I could go on saying something beautifully vague, but then that's annoying. I want to share the whole picture, because it's a good one. So, I'm in waiting until then.

And maybe this is a lesson, I'm rediscovering the value of moments with a few special people instead of the whole world - who isn't even really listening anyway. I've been in this deep sleep, plugging my energy into a physical and emotional and mental distraction with so very little return. Yes, it makes me feel special except for when it makes me feel incredibly unspecial.

This isn't an I'm leaving Twitter or Facebook rant, but it's something I'm sorting through. I enjoy blogging and social media and think it does have worth. Just not as much as I've previously believed. It's all relative.

I just didn't want there to be one more day of not writing here, but I can't yet write what I want to say. And despite this eerie and melancholy preamble, it's going to be a very happy story.

July 4, 2012

July FOUR: Swimsuit Edition


I thought it would be a good time to check in with the kids and ask them what they want to do when they grow up.

Noah: "I don't know." (Kicks dirt, gets kinda grumpy about it.) (He's 11.)
Carter: "A professional baseball player."
Gray: "PALEONTOLOGIST." And at the amount of dinosaur books we read, he can be one really soon.
Ivy: "Do dishes. Or be a dancer I guess. And artist."

There you have it. How do you celebrate the 4th of July? It's so hot here that we are missing the parade today, but we will be having an awesome cookout and fireworks tonight! 

Happy fourth!

I used to take photos of my kids on the first of every month, now it's on the fourth. Four for four. (Here's July 2010 and July 2011.) You can see all past monthly photos here.  

July 3, 2012



Carter turns ten next week. I will have two kids in the double digits. It's incredible.

When I asked if I could take his photo, Ivy screeched for us to WAIT! while she got out of her pjs to get in the picture, too. That's why her shirt is on backwards.

Most of the clothes my kids wear are thrifted or hand-me-downs, but when I'm shopping resale I have my favorites, like American Apparel, Boden, Gap, etc. I just started shopping Thred Up - an online consignment shop. They gave me a store credit to pick out a few things (including the American Apparel shirt Carter's wearing above) and I was super impressed. I'll definitely be browsing their racks again. Use code TU10 for 10% off your first purchase if you'd like to check them out, too (and I noticed they have a code on the site for $10 off your order today if that's a better deal for you.)

They love each other, a lot.

July 1, 2012

to be invisible


I felt a wave of irritability flow over me and usually at its heels is sad times, but I kind of had a chat with it - like the man I passed on my way home today, he stepped out his front door and looked at the sky and it appeared they had a conversation. The sky replied and he nodded his head and went back in. It seems what I am feeling isn't that I want to run away or be by myself, but I would like to be invisible. In this particular moment I really want to be about the house and with my kids and free to observe and watch and just be nearby but I don't want them to see me - touch me - need me - ask me anything. 

I have a crumpled page of quotes from a magazine hung on the side of my fridge. "Solitude feeds the soul, but that doesn't mean you have to go it alone." I'm still trying to figure out what that means for me.


Sometimes I just need for no one to know I'm here.