December 23, 2013

I'm Home for Christmas


It doesn't look like Christmas here. Oh, there are colorful lights and a zillion presents under the tree, but it feels like fall, and really kind of like we are floating in time.

Things are good, though. So good! Here we wear sweaters instead of coats and are far away from anything that resembles hustle and bustle. My nerves, they are happy.



Santa came for a visit on a boat, of course. A little different than his snowy arrival 
last year, but enchanting all the same.



We have no plans during winter break. My hope is that it just involves a lot of doing nothing. Also my kids are getting only throw pillows next Christmas. It's all they ever play with.




This holiday we've attended a tea party and I'm in a book club with people who make really good book club food. If you want to know for sure how I'm coming along with making friends... I have a friend who will drive 2-and-a-half hours one way with me to buy a hamster. He's living in my closet until Christmas morning.


Meet Jon Hammy.


Every day as the sun starts to sink lower into the ocean I go through the house and turn on all the lamps. I love lamp(s). And then every night before bed, I treasure the movement as I pad from room to room, to switch them off. Each one, click.

Home.

Merry Christmas xoxo




November 28, 2013

A Time To Give Thanks


Oregon

It was one year ago that we learned about the opportunity to move to the other side of the earth out here. I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard. We had just moved a state over like five seconds ago and I thought things were great! Surely that would hold us for a couple years or so, right? What is with this crazy talk about moving to some teeny tiny town in Oregon?

All our parents came for Thanksgiving and I made Jeff promise not to bring it up - I didn't want to upset my Mom and also, I thought there was no way no how that anything would come of this ridiculous idea.

Our life on the Oregon Coast


I underestimated my husband (how can he take such a risk!) and our children (how could they possibly survive moving schools again?) and our circumstances  — we still had a house for sale in Indiana and we had just signed a rental lease while we were house hunting in Ohio. I was scared.

I cried my heart out. I cried my face puffy.

It was a Saturday when I finally agreed to book a flight with Jeff to see what this was all about. Apparently he wasn't going to quit bringing it up. That night we got the winning offer on our house in Indiana. Suddenly life started to look a whole lot different. We were really going to do this. I literally went from searching homes for sale online in "Ohio" to "Oregon" in the matter of hours.

I found our house on Craigslist, a quarter mile from the Pacific Ocean. It's the only thing I've ever bought on Craigslist. I've loved every home I've ever lived in, but this one is a dream. I can hear the ocean from my couch as I type and as I lay my head down at night. We can see the bluest of blue waters from our windows.

This is our first Thanksgiving apart from our family, but we aren't sad and we aren't lonely. It's actually a really special time for us.

We are good here. We are really really good.

I am so thankful. I am on my knees heart on the floor thankful.

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I can make my home anywhere. I fall in love with a place easy and become a big fan hard and fast. But this place has fallen in love with us. I can feel it in the people, in the friends, in our successes, in the spectacular sunrise over the mountains and the magnificent sunset into the sea.

I joke that I was practically brought here against my will and now I never want to leave. But if this whole thing has taught me anything, it's that who knows where you'll be in a year  — or in our case a matter of months.

Live what is in front of you right now, give thanks, and enjoy the view.

Our life on the Oregon Coast










November 1, 2013

Sharing Time

Today I had an out of body experience. I was looking at myself driving down the 101, crazy cartoon lady hair, watching the clock as I hurried two gerbils to Sharing Time in Gray's classroom.

So many things. Aside from the crazy and the gerbils, we live less than two miles from basically anywhere in our entire town- and literally with only one stoplight in my normal path-  but I am still running late. People adjust. I've adjusted.

It wasn't a defining moment, and left very little imprint on my day. It was as if it was just part of the norm, as you do. Moving the minutes from one to the next. Here to there. What's one gerbil cage added to the list?

It was quite comical how short Sharing Time was compared to all that was required to get the gerbils there to be shared: I cleaned their cage and activity ball, drove them to school, signed in, applied my name tag, walked down to the class. Gray was pretty much like "here's my gerbils" and then went back to his seat. I'm seriously only exaggerating a smidge. I walked them back to the office, signed out, then took them home.

Then I felt a little guilty, like maybe I should have prepared him to speak in front of the class. He could have had some snappy facts about gerbils other than this one's black and they like to eat seeds. But he was happy nonetheless.

On the way I did see my first flooded cranberry bog and farmers wading through the harvest. And felt pleased that I'd piloted all four kids safely into Friday, we made it to the weekend, where all our time during the week is really being pushed toward, isn't it.

I am so happy we are all home and then am suddenly overcome with the life or death need for the house to just be quiet so that I can read my book.











October 27, 2013

Contents May Shift In Transit

Our house was on a tilt- Noah was at a friend's birthday party for the evening and we were unbalanced in his absence. I could feel the furniture ready to slide to the other side of the room, and the kids would run in and say they thought they heard him in the kitchen. Is he back? When will he be done? Those four are one unit.

But we are noticing the shifting. We'll have a teenager in a few months. He is stretching up and out, developing a life outside of ours. And then it's time for me to pick him up. He texts me and I drive in the dark and all is righted, for now.


October 8, 2013

Spot of Time

Sunset, low tide

We have a table and chairs. We sit around it and the six of us have plenty of room and our hands meet together at the perfect distance when we pray. I finally found all my fall stuff in a box marked Christmas and I filled a grocery cart full of pumpkins for the front porch. Now it's starting to become my house. Though sometimes I still look out all these windows and walk these floors and see the new furniture and it feels like I'm in somebody else's house. The pumpkins bring me back.

This beautiful place where we live, so alluring to photograph you'd think I'd take a zillion pictures and sometimes I try, but so often it just does not translate. I'm not sure if it's my camera or my peace of mind, but I think if I can't capture it exactly then I ... don't. 

And I face this with my words. I think in the past what I've written was true, but writing about it shined up my life, what really happened. At the time it made me feel better, less crazy, happier. Saved me. I don't know how long this will last, but it seems I've arrived at a spot of time where the days move easier without the need to write myself a lifeline. Am I on pause or moving forward? Drifting along? Not sure. I'm just going to go with it. 

September 16, 2013

Do Soccer Socks Go Over or Under the Shin Guards?

Soccer
Soccer socks go over the shin guards, FYI.

When I was in high school, the Student Council had a rollerblade-a-thon or something like that through our town. I didn't have any rollerblades nor had I ever rollerbladed before but I asked for a pair and on that Saturday morning put them on and stumble-rolled my way along the really really long trail. I don't remember falling but I do remember thinking I was going to die and/or my legs were going to break off my body.

I am a jumper-in to things. Friendships, activities, volunteering, parenting, things that seem easy in my mind but later turn out to be, well, not easy. I can buy the gear, write the check, sign my name and I'll show up! I assume things will fall into place after that, you know? Why not wing it? How hard can it be? It's all good.

So, today I found myself googling about soccer socks and shin guards before Ivy's very first practice. She did great despite my inadequate knowledge of the any sport. She was on the field when I realized I'd never even mentioned you're not supposed to touch the ball with your hands. But my mini me figured it out just fine, and actually was pretty great.

Later tonight she was riding her new bike - I swear when we saw it in the store she went right up to it and got on like she knew what she was doing. I also think I could give her the keys to my car and she'd expect to just "know" how to drive it. She's five. - So, she went down her first big hill. And she picked up some speed and she fell. I was all "that was a great fall!" because it was. She fell well, to the side, and with a flourish. It didn't keep her from going down the next hill. And she didn't fall that time.


::just write::

September 9, 2013

Dilly Dally

With children, a clean empty room just cannot be. They must- and will -fill it with something.

They are gatherers and worker bees. Must make piles of things. Collections, best left where you like to walk.

We cleared out our dining room of all its books and random stuff that wandered and sat there to make room for our new table and chairs, due any day now. I thought if we prepared its place it would come to us sooner. I wait patiently. The children have filled it with all the pillows off their beds.

Growing up, we had one place to eat dinner in our house. The kitchen table. And maybe on special or home-from-school-sick occasion, a real TV tray in the living room. Here we have the kitchen bar, breakfast nook, and dining room. I don't know where I'm going with this, but I was just thinking about our new home and how perfect I want to make each room and am trying to remember to adjust my focus to make each space live-able. And for all these places we have to sit down and eat we better be having people over. An empty house just can not be.

In the meantime I wait patiently.


::just write::








September 3, 2013

Ready.

thanks

The kids were awake and off to their first day of school this morning like it was no big whoop. As if summer was a freeze frame, someone un-pushed pause, we open up to our bookmarks and life resumes.

Last night we celebrated and gave thanks on our walk, to our first summer living by the sea. This magical place that picked our family and brought us here. 

Ivy's not yet five, so she'll start kindergarten next year. Again it's just me and my girl. She might go to Montessori or maybe I'll just keep her here with me. We'll do lots of art-ing and whatever else we can get ourselves into. I might even start checking my email again, and change the sheets, things like that. 


August 26, 2013

These new days

Evening stroll.
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The kids still have another week until school starts and that makes me so thankful mostly because I'm still putting off sorting through the bags of school supplies over in the corner. So many.

My kids did not read all the books I had thought they would read during summer vacation. We did not walk to the beach for every sunset, and the xBox was probably on more than off. Now that I look back, I wonder just what exactly did we do the past two and a half months... but isn't that a summertime in childhood well spent? I'm going to say yes to that and move right along into a happy and productive rest of this year.

Within minutes of turning off all devices the other day, forts went up in the living room (and are still there). They used every blanket in the house and we have no place to sit now but you can crawl through some really cool tunnels. Whew, my kids aren't broken. I'm not worried.

So, we don't have a barn cat but we have had a fawn, skunk, turkey, and quail in our yard. One time there was a cat on our back patio but he ran off before I could offer him anything. And it's becoming normal to see whale spouts or sea lions swimming by when we go down to the water. That's pretty cool.

Tonight, besides this cheery sky and weather, I'm glad that I was so kind to myself to make enough dinner yesterday to have leftovers today. It's the little things.

*That photo is one I also posted on Instagram- where I seem to be more at peace than any other place online these days. I enjoy taking pictures of our life here.


just write

August 23, 2013

Histoire

Pink

I was thinking about all the times I've burned the butter, or some other fail, and how writing it out always made me feel better. It quieted the hum, gave it closure. Move on.

I was thinking about it last night because, in fact, I did not burn the butter. I made a delicious soup - still adjusting to the August temperature here of sixty degrees and for the life of me I could not get warm enough - and it was uneventful. But it was, because it was good. For some reason that is less likely to go down in my history, although I have a knowing that my kids will be more likely to remember when their favorite dinners tasted good. At least that is my hope.

Pink






August 15, 2013

Sand In My Lint Trap

Coquille River Lighthouse

We brought more beach home with us this week than all the months we've lived here combined. I've already given up on my poor car - it's in a constant state of sand.


Bullards Beach w/ Friends


Bullards Beach w/ Friends


With each turn of laundry I shake the lint trap over a wastebasket. More beach. But how can I complain? (I did crawl into bed last night and stretched my hands against the cool sheets and under my pillow and more beach, in my bed.)


Fairy Village
fairy village

Last night Ivy said "Mom, fairies aren't actually real." And I was like, how do you know? She replied, "they just aren't." Again I asked how she knew for sure. "I read it in a book." Then she rolled over and went to sleep. She's four! And yes they are so real.


Devil's Kitchen

We said goodbye to our friends this morning, and felt full from a good time spent together. I'm a little jealous at the sights they will see on their journey home, and I turn my eyes to school supply lists and earlier bed times in the coming weeks. But you never know with us what surprises might be waiting around the corner, or wave, or sand hill.

These are the days when life is good, and we live it up.

August 12, 2013

Friends!

Coquille Point, friends

Love's family is here! It's our first time having friends visit us way far away on the coast. The kids are in their glory, and so am I.

We went tide-pooling, had lunch at our house, overtook the neighborhood by bikes and skateboards and scooters and then went out for fish & chips for dinner, and an ice cream walk through Old Town Bandon. Oh, and then we drove to the jetty and saw whales! Absolutely perfect day. 

Friends In Town


Friends In Town


Friends In Town


Friends In Town
(they lined themselves up by age)



August 5, 2013

I Am In This Picture


Saturday night we were at an event at the CAM and the presenter was celebrated maritime artist John Stobart. He shared delightful stories about many of his incredible paintings and other artists he admired. He touched on the necessity to create in a way that people meet you when they experience your art, whatever your art might be.

And not one of his pieces that he shared was a portrait of himself, literally, but there was no doubt it was him.

I am in every picture I take. I am the reason these photos even exist. Just because you can't see my face doesn't mean that I am not there. I felt the moment, captured it, I was there. That is me. The mom is in the picture. Of course I want my kids to have photographic evidence of their mother through the years, and they do, and will.

They also have all my words, a more accurate reflection of me than any photo could ever be.

Four heads


July 24, 2013

County Fair

Coos County Fairgrounds

All my life I've gone to the same county fair every summer, usually with my mom and there's always fried vegetables and elephant ears involved. Our new county is over three times bigger than our old one, but only a third of the population. This is Oregon. And it is beautiful.

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Motorcycle Ride


We parked our car by way of a person on horseback, with mountains of trees surrounding the fairgrounds. The most beautiful skies I've ever seen have been here. Last night was no exception. I'll maybe forgive them for not having elephant ears. Everyone was in line for scones. SCONES. Who knew.

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July 22, 2013

The Neighborhood

The other day I confiscated all the iPods, iPhones, and xBox controllers. I put them on a shelf in a closet and then took a nap while my kids rested with books and their imaginations. I awoke to them laughing and playing so sweetly that I had to go see for myself. They had found their old Nintendo ds(es) however do you type those plurally anyway and so, I wasn't happy and was all OUTSIDE NOW.

Our outside

Our neighborhood is light on the neighbor part. We are one of only two houses on this side of the street, and the rest to the east is just empty lots and trees and wildflowers. Leaving us with beautiful views and empty streets to walk and ride. 

Our outside


And to the west, well, is the ocean.

Our outside

And there's also an Inn, with a water front restaurant and vending machines when the kids want to get candy, and across that a hotel on the beach where a friend works and we stop to say hi to her and her dog, and take the best path down to the sea. 

When I was their age I lived on Juniper Road and took my first ride on a ten speed in the driveway across the street. It was downhill and I could barely reach the pedals. 

When I was their age I lived on Pryor Road and walked with my brother to the corner video store with the circle tags on hooks and VHS tapes in clear plastic cases.

When I was their age I rode my bike by myself all over the place without my mother in sight. 


July 16, 2013

Bookmarks

Swim Lessons

The kids have private swimming lessons this week. It's one of those parenting things that I feel like I should have done way long ago and am finally getting around to, kind of like dental appointments and changing the sheets. If you drive thirty minutes inland it almost feels like summer... almost! The kids say the pool is super warm, though.

On the beautiful and winding drive today I had some very deep thoughts about life and bookmarks and moving on and moving bookmarks.  It all was really great in my head, maybe a little Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and anyway what's important is that I get it. 

And as of today I can no longer say that I've never been stung by a bee in my whole life. Ouch.


July 12, 2013

Ça Va

We've been here long enough to see new places built- a house in the neighborhood (still for sale), the new creamery, even long enough to see friends move away, and things torn down- the rundown hotel on Beach Loop, each time we pass a new hole, walls jagged and crumbled. Flowers appear in my yard that I didn't know about, because I haven't been here long enough, and suddenly there's blooms on the big green shrub on our back patio. One day green, the next morning all white. Every morning the weather is new- we came in the middle of winter, each day better than the next.

So, we're settling in. It's been not even six months since arriving, and actually not even a month since this house became officially ours. Still the new smell, but it also doesn't smell like other people's houses. It's us.

I love having a reason to buy new things. It's like I have permission to spend money- probably why I like grocery shopping and when the kids grow too big for their shoes. We didn't bring our dining table with us because I knew I wanted a new one, and this house calls for a big round instead of square, and so we've gone this long without a proper table. We are having a set custom made for us by a man in Old Town- sounds so ooh la la and it kind of is to me. But honestly it's nice to keep it local, and it was the better price anyway. And he delivers. We also need nightstands, and cozy reading area furniture, a big mirror for over the couch, and an artsy table and chairs for the kitchen nook. There's a fantastic used furniture store just up the street but I've never seen it open, just peeked in the windows. I've been told you have to leave a note in their door and they'll call and open up the shop for you, but I left my note a couple weeks ago and haven't heard back. I see there's other notes piling up when I drive by.

It still feels like we're "away" - from family, and sometimes real life. This weekend we have the market, another birthday party, and are going to see friends perform in a play. I don't ever remember waking up anywhere else so happy, so easy, and so free.

July 5, 2013

And Upward

Ivy and the Redwoods

We celebrated our first 4th of July here by driving to California with Jeff's parents to see the Redwoods. It was a gorgeous drive along the ocean and we made it home in time to see the fireworks over our beautiful town with our new friends.

I came home with a smile in my heart... knowing I've not only found home, I've also found my people.

Fireworks over Old Town Bandon

July 1, 2013

maritime

Jeff's parents are visiting for a couple weeks and we have been living like vacationers in our little tourist town. We showed them low tide and high tide, went tide pooling in Port Orford and ate hot dogs with sweet mustard at the Langlois Market. We saw seals and I'm hoping they'll get to see some whales, too, before they go. We ate fresh fish on the water, and walked down to the beach at sunset. We've gone antiquing and get iced coffee in Old Town Bandon almost every day. And we take naps with books in the afternoons.

The backdrop of this new life has become almost normal, looking through these pictures I catch my breath as this is my here and now. It picked us, or was chosen for us. Maybe a whole lot of both. 

Tide Pooling- Port Orford, OR


Tide Pooling- Port Orford, OR

Sunset- Bandon, Oregon with the fam

Three Amigos

Sunset- Bandon, Oregon

June 24, 2013

This End Up

Up

We bought the house.

It was like six months ago I was sitting on my couch in Ohio fretting about literally where in the world we were going to live and I found it on Craigslist. True story. I had never even seen it in person but traveled all this way and it really was our dream home.

I've been waiting until it was official to unpack the rest of our boxes, a pile of broken down ones still stacked high in case we needed them again. A limbo that was irritating but manageable. Shallow breaths now let out long, and deep in. I'm thankful we had a place to live and knew well enough we could make a home out of any where.

Some of our boxes were packed in Indiana, some from our short time in Ohio. Here on the coast I donate too-small high-wedged shoes I bought on Belmont in Chicago when I was eighteen and I am a bee carrying the pollen across the country.

There is a peace I've found, I don't know if it's the ocean down the street or all the green or this house with more windows than walls, that's probably it, but music sounds better here, old things feel new. I feel lighter, like I forgot I was still carrying whatever I was carrying mindlessly from room to room and I finally put it down .

These new people make it easy to be friends and even easier to be alone if I need it. And I can tell my story, any version, however much or how little, but it will always be true and me, with the same beginning, where it all started, lines upon lines in my palms.





just write

May 12, 2013

Backstage

Backstage

Friday night was Northwest Indiana's third annual Listen To Your Mother show and I was backstage... 2,300 miles away at Ivy's ballet recital.

It was surreal. There was a curtain, and lights, and applause, and in so many ways it all felt so right and complete. I knew I was where I was supposed to be.

Love presented a new cast with new stories to a full house. My mom was in the audience and then woke up early the next morning to fly here. She brought me the program and I feel a different kind of proud, I am not sure what it is. I am in awe, and just so thankful it continues on.

We are nearing the close of all twenty-four shows this season (p.s. see us on NBC Nightly News!) and I've already got my heart hoping to set sail a Listen To Your Mother here by the ocean someday, when the time is right.

Today my belly is full of a good Mother's Day. To have all my children and my mom here, I want for absolutely nothing more.

May 5, 2013

Little Mermaid

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We watched the Little Mermaid for the first time together and when it was over 


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she put on her mermaid skirt and grabbed her pail

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and we walked down to the ocean.

Because we could

because she wants to be a mermaid and a teenager and thinks someday she will be both

and she wishes it was now

so I tell her she can be a mermaid when she closes her eyes,

you can dream you are anything, anyplace

anytime.


I always will.