December 31, 2015

Moving On: End of Year Letter to 2015


When I think about this year, I see myself mostly in a fog, then the euphoric moments I was out of the fog, then when it rolled back in. During one of those out of the fog moments I could see clearly that I've been resisting my own way, possibly and most likely as long as I can remember. Maybe it's out of survival or out of fear or maybe it's just who I am, but today - yes today on the last day of the year - I've accepted that all of it is part of the journey. Even the getting lost along the way (or thinking I was lost) was is part of the path. If I can think on that, things are looking way way up!

At the beginning of this year, I thought we would have sold our house and moved by now. So we didn't, and I can't imagine we won't move next year but what do I know? Someday we'll read this very chapter with perspective and it will all make sense. Right now it doesn't make a lick of sense but we're going with it. I have a few very specific things I could throw myself on the floor about and it would be totally valid and understandable. Sometimes I do, and I have a little cry about the unfairness of it all. And then I move on.

I'm ready to move on from this year and hope to bring my optimistic perspective into the next, the last year of another decade of my life. I feel like 2015 was a lot of pain and digging and working... toward the growth I'll see in 2016. Necessary and productive. Not a bad year after all.

November 4, 2015

full of happy trees

The tiredness brings tears to my eyes. Just a couple good sleeps and I'll be okay, I think. These last couple months of the year are hard for many because they carry the weight of all the months before, and have less light to find the rest of the way out. 

Six times I've driven us up to Seattle since January, seven before the year is over, with even more specialists to see. It's par for the course by now, so many years of this. But I can feel the bitterness settling in and I hate it. I hate that we have to deal with this and hate that I legitimately have something to hate. 

Everything else is mostly good, there's always a bright side. Even those eight-hour drives... this last one was breathtaking- the colors, the rivers, the mountains - it was like we were inside a living Bob Ross painting full of happy trees. We have no clue where we're going to live, still. But there's no point in stressing about it today. That's pretty much a daily reminder to myself.

We got through another month of school, soccer, and everything that happens in between. Family came to visit, Halloween was magical, and I was glad we got to spend it in Bandon. 

Poison Ivy & Harry Potter
Poison Ivy and her pal Harry Potter aka Jack.

September 28, 2015

the window

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Ivy & Aunt Lois, Port Orford

It's never a good sign when your morning begins with a bird hitting the window. Well, I don't know for sure that it's not a good sign, I haven't looked up the meaning of it or anything, but it didn't seem like the best way to wake up and start the week. The bird didn't make it.

Now it's night and an owl is hooting right outside. I wonder if he knows. I did look up owl sounds to find that it's probably a Great Horned Owl.

Well, it's the fourth week of school and homework has kicked in, as well as tap, ballet, and soccer. The older they are, the more work they get... more papers, things to keep track of...  it feels like a lot. We are getting our routine down, though, and mornings are still going pretty great. Now we're perfecting the after-school dealio. I look forward to hearing the contents of their day tumble out as we drive to pick up the next kid, and then home. With each day I'm reminded that their lives are getting bigger without me.

I freely admit that my favorite days are when we can just come home and stay home and there are no tights or shin guards involved. Bonus if I already know what I'm making for dinner.

We're getting there. I actually appreciate the schedule and structure because I just need someone to tell us where to be. I can do that much.

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Texas was a rascal, Aunt Lois loved Cherokee so much she went back to ride him again!

We did so much in the last two weeks that I can't believe it. Having family here is always so special and this time around we didn't waste one moment together. Jeff was off all that time, too, so there's been much to adjust to now that everyone's gone.

We visited low tide, saw seals, saw whales, ate at all our favorite eats in Old Town, we lost a dear pet (my sweet Pepper, the gerbil, the closest to a spirit animal I've ever known aside from my childhood pet cat Morris), we got two new pets (Snowflake and Hazel, the goofiest gerbils ever), we went horseback riding!

Soccer games start this weekend, it's going to be October!, and at some point we're going to have to move. I am loving and giving thanks for every last moment I get to spend with the ocean out my window.

Aunt Lois & Cherokee

September 15, 2015

She is Seven

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Seven seems big. I have been kind of sad about it, but not a bad sad, just a little sweet melancholy mixed with mostly a lot of happy. Seven years of Christmas morning every day with her, such a gift.

Cranberry Festival 2015

Ivy and Autumn

Zebra butterfly sea star, Port of Bandon 2015 Boardwalk Show


Ivy had the ultimate birthday weekend celebration. The Cranberry court on Friday night, riding with the newly crowned queen in the parade on Saturday morning, getting an honor for her artwork on the boardwalk. She had a friend party on Sunday- it was a blast. There were presents and candles and cupcakes (and two cakes today!) She starts dance and soccer this week, and family is arriving tonight for a visit! Life is good!

7th birthday

September 9, 2015

great spirits and so am I

Day two of school has passed and I'm still signing papers. High school syllabuses (syllabi?) are not joking around. Everyone is still in great spirits and so am I.

We were notified that Ivy will be receiving an honor for her artwork at the boardwalk art ceremony after the Cranberry Fest parade this Saturday. It's been a bright spot on my week!

September 8, 2015

First Day of School 2015-2016

First Day of School 2015-2016

Well, first day of school drop off is always a little anticlimactic. Noah & Carter are in the same spot as always since the middle school and high school are right next to each other. Ivy will get out at the same place as Gray now. I parked the car and followed them to their classes (despite Ivy's suggestion that I just not.) I left feeling happy they are settled and also a little bit that's it? 

I got my iced coffee at the drive up and came home to SILENCE. 

The day went by so fast. I decided to stay close to home since it was the first day and all, and you just never know. Before I knew it, it was time to pick them up and now I have a stack of papers to read and sign and everyone is raiding the kitchen. I'm not going to lie, a moment ago I took possibly my first deep breath of the day and felt a great peace. I love having them back home. And I think we're going to have a great year, or a great however long we're here. 


Look at all those happy smiles and new shoes! (l-r) First day of HIGH SCHOOL, fourth, first, & eighth grade! Gray brought an apple for his teacher. Ivy kind of didn't want me to follow her into her class but kindly obliged. Can't wait to hear how it goes!
High school! 4th grade! 1st grade! 8th grade! 


(day ninety one!)


September 7, 2015

Maybe it's what I needed

I think I must have miscounted or numbered a day wrong, but here we are, the night before the first day of school. As I drove home yesterday I had the sinking feeling that I was very unprepared. Everyone has clothes that fit (aside from Gray who I discovered much too late this evening that he has no socks, remedied by older brothers with plenty of socks to spare) and all their supplies, and we found the locker combo we thought we'd misplaced, but I can't shake the thought that I'm forgetting something. It will probably wash away tomorrow when I face an empty house all day long and finally have extended time to think. I'm not forgetting - I just haven't had a moment to put more than a few thoughts together in stillness.

We're ready, though I'm anxious about the morning routine and found my mind go blank at the grocery store while shopping for lunch-packing staples as if I haven't been packing lunches for the past almost ten years. This summer wiped my memory. I'm not saying it's a bad thing because if anything I feel clearer and more awake. Maybe it's what I needed. We lived up every moment this summer, and have no regrets. That's a win.


(days eighty nine & ninety)

September 5, 2015

Notes from the infusion cabana

Notes from the infusion cabana.

The drive up was beautiful and easy until the beast that is Tacoma. I can't even with Tacoma. But soon after there is my friend Seattle shining her toothy grin and it's all worth it and we have arrived. 

Veins can only do so much and get to be uncooperative at times... every few rounds we catch them in a mood. It can set a tone for the rest of the day but we got through it and cleaned up and enjoyed the quiet, dimly lit "cabana" as Gray calls it, in an empty hospital thanks to a Saturday appointment. That meant Starbucks wasn't open on level seven but the vending machines had my favorite Honest just black tea so it was all good and now I have eight dollar coins in change which makes great tooth fairy money.

Just as we were nearing the end a thunderstorm hit. Everyone around these parts gets so excited about rain these days. I was hoping for more of a show as we headed back to the apartment but it cleared up. We made it, are so tired. Sounds like Jeff has had a great time with the other kids. Will be good to get home tomorrow.

PS I wanted to send out a special thanks to our nurses (God bless nurses!) and the nice gal who let me in on I-5 when two lanes closed suddenly (grr Tacoma!!!) 

(day eighty eight)

September 4, 2015

Apartamente

Noah and I made it to Jeff's apartment- the halfway mark to Seattle. We'll finish our journey tomorrow and come back here for one more sleep before going home. I spent most of the day doing laundry and cooking so that no one will starve while I'm gone. Not that they would if I hadn't but I will have a better time away knowing they have good food and also knowing I won't have to cook when I get home. 

Today was the first time in a long time I felt like things (what things I do not know) are aligning and that everything is going to be okay. There's a difference in knowing it and feeling it and today I really felt it.

(Day eighty seven)

September 3, 2015

everything.

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back to school haircuts: check

Tonight I had really wanted to walk down to the sunset but the kids wanted to watch a movie. I'm kind of giving in to whatever they want on these last few days before school starts. The going to bed earlier this week plan never did go into effect but they're going to do just fine next week. These are the days to stay up and sleep late.

We watched Home and there aren't enough words for me to describe how much I loved that movie and the giggles it made come out of my kids. At one point Gray snuggled up with his arm around me. That right there is everything.

(day eighty six)

September 2, 2015

the hum

I do feel lighter today. I hardly slept last night but it wasn't dreadful. Just a fitful sleep and sounds of rain that I was happy about. We had to be up early to get to Ivy and Carter's dentist appointment out of town. It was nice to get home and have the rest of the day to get things humming along. The school supplies are sorted and put in the appropriate backpacks, extras are neatly stored in the closet. The laundry is drying, the dishwasher takes its turn. I actually had the headspace to get Ivy's birthday party scheduled and even started to plan the food. Most of her gifts have now been bought. And I'm truly looking forward to the Seattle drive this weekend. I have been hoarding podcasts to listen to and can't wait to drink up the views along the way. We may not be moving house but we're certainly moving forward and that is a really good thing.

(day eighty five)

September 1, 2015

a happy September

It's raining! This is good. This is a good, good sign for a new month, a happy September. August really did a bang up job at the end there. Yesterday was better than the day before. We still were waiting and confused and frustrated. I had some minor repairs done around the house and they cost way less than we'd planned. We spent some time at the park. Fresh air.

This morning we all headed up to Noah's eye appointment- he is going from part-time glasses to full-time with a much stronger prescription. He picked out a cool new pair. We shopped for school supplies for four kids and new shoes for four kids and then I was done. I had twenty minutes at home until Ivy needed to be at her next event. She's going to be performing on stage for Bandon's Cranberry Festival Coronation ceremony next week (her favorite babysitter ever is a contestant and she gets to be her escort.) I took a little video of their dance practice today. She... loves to dance.

I had just enough time to fix the kids dinner and get things wrapped up with our realtor (we decided to reject the offer and withdraw our house for a month or so to get our ducks in a row- I'm seeing this as a kinder card right now) before I slipped out to book club, glorious book club. It couldn't have come at a better time. I'd actually forgotten that it was tonight with all the chaos as of late and when I remembered it was like a present.

So, happy September, the rain is here! Things are off to a great start.


(day eighty-three, eighty-four)

August 30, 2015

getting a win

I don't purposely let my kids win when we're playing a game but I've for sure wanted them to win sometimes, and maybe played a kinder card on them in Uno than another one I could have played, but usually only when they've had a losing streak and I just know it will lift everyone's spirits- and maybe keep good family time game playing last a little longer-  if they can just get a win.

And sometimes I need a win, too. Man it felt good to finally get a Yahtzee after everyone else kept on getting them game after game. Just now I won several games of Uno in a row with Ivy and Gray because neither of them wanted to play a Draw 4 on me.

I was hoping I would have an answer about our house by tonight but we still don't know what we're going to do, or be able to do. It all feels suddenly very rushed after things had been moving so slow for so long.

It would be great if time could stop or maybe just right itself and let me catch my breath. While we're at it, I want my kid to be healthy and normal for once. Talk about needing a break (for him and the enormous section of my heart and mind that sources the energy to keep him... well... to literally keep him.) I want the cloud of that plus house selling and house buying and then moving life and starting over to just part, even if for a week or two. Let us get started on the new school year without the other stuff creeping in to nip and poke at me.

But this is life and this is reality. People get sick, things happen, we react and deal. And sometimes we fall apart in the middle of it all and then we put ourselves together again, or someone plays a kinder card, or a little of both. We all need a win.

(day eighty-two)

August 29, 2015

Still to come

Well, we got an offer on our house but no place to go. It's a frustrating space to be in. We need to move- that is the logical next step to getting on with our lives. But we want the next place to make it worth leaving here. I think the stress of it all made me physically sick and I hardly slept last night. Today was a good rest day and I think we were hoping for clarity... Still to come. 

In the meantime the crease next to my left eyebrow has moved right in and unpacked all its things. I did bake an apple crisp and peach crisp and it made things a little better. I find comfort in pulling out my Betty Crocker How To Cook Everything cookbook that my mom gave us as a wedding gift almost 16 years ago. It still beats internet recipes any day. 

Some more back to school clothes for the kids arrived today and miraculously we don't need to return anything. I'll finish up with the school supplies and a few odds and ends when we go to Seattle next weekend. Noah got his high school schedule and it's one I wish I could take! He ends his day with two art classes. It's going to be great. I think we are pretty ready. Just a little over a week left. 

(Days eighty & eighty one)

August 27, 2015

We need to rest up

We had two showings today and passed the time at the park with friends. It was a much-needed outside break. I just couldn't wake up all day and did get in a tiny nap when we got home, which seemed to help. We are all going to bed early tonight.

I took some time to go over the calendar for the next few months and can't believe how full the days are getting. We have something every day next week from eye doctor checkups, the dentist, back to school hair cuts, the next trip for Noah and me to Seattle. Thankfully this weekend is empty of commitments. We need to rest up.

(day seventy nine)

August 26, 2015

ANYWAY

Today I was in the car for two hours with a pretty severe headache, anxiety, and my two chattiest children. They were asking me really sweet things, so I powered through.

I was glad to get home and burrow up in our house because everyone in the outside world was just too much. From the guy riding my tail wayyy too close on 101 for the longest time even though he knew there was someone right in front of me and it was a no passing lane AND we passed a mangled guard rail from an accident yesterday as well as a police car attending to another accident, to the lady in the grocery store who rudely maneuvered in front of me and the kids who were waiting patiently for the MAN WITH A SEEING EYE DOG to pick out his eggs with the help of the grocery clerk. She tried to wheel her cart between him and his dog before the employee kindly moved the man aside. So the kids and I go when there was enough room to be polite and head down the aisle we needed. Then here comes that same lady in a hurry and she almost runs down the kids. I wanted to confront her about her horribly rude behavior so much but wanted to just get far away from her more. And I had just been going over manners with the kids minutes before. They were the best behaved humans in the place.

ANYWAY. Home now and enjoying the quiet. We have a showing tomorrow but I am sort of wishing we could just put this house on hold until we get more prospects up there because if we sell this house where in the world would we even go? I'll probably straighten up a few things and then retreat to bed with a book. Everything else is just too much right now.

(day seventy eight)

August 25, 2015

spent

The physical and mental exhaustion I feel after today is indescribable. All four kids are registered for school. The headache/sore fingers from trying to open a locker (later we would be given the correct combination) are just starting to let up. It was so tempting to declare cereal for dinner but I zombie shopped through the grocery store and made a huge and healthy meal and then collapsed for the night. Jeff was supposed to see two super potentially good houses tomorrow but they're now under contract. I'm not discouraged but kind of am, just would be nice to know where we're going to live. I'm spent. And going to bed.

(day seventy seven)

August 24, 2015

the last sips of summer

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I finished knitting a ballet shrug for Ivy today- she chose the most colorful yarn at the shop. It was really fun to knit. Dance starts up next month and she'll get to start tap, too. 

We spent a couple hours at the park and it does kind of feel like we're drinking the last sips of summer here. Tomorrow we will register for school... can't believe it starts in two weeks!!!

(day seventy six)


August 23, 2015

a four-hour game of Yahtzee

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We hamster-sat Buddy's girlfriend Clover

Well the ball is off and rolling and I can't believe the productivity of getting ready for school-ness we have going on now. I think all kids officially have (multiple pairs of!) pants to wear and proper lunch bags and water bottles, thanks to online ordering on Friday. This also prompted me to designate a whole cabinet to lunch containers and gear this year. We are getting organized!

Jeff came home and we got right to the Yahtzee and Uno playing. We continued through the weekend, taking a short break to get the house ready for a showing that didn't happen (rescheduled) and then we came home, made some pizzas, and got to a four-hour game of Yahtzee- we played the whole score sheet, all 6 games at one time. It was fun and we learned a lot but four hours feels longer than four hours.

If someone had looked in our windows this weekend they would see a happy family enjoying each other. That's a great feeling.

This morning I made a big pancake breakfast and then we spent a lot of time looking at houses online. We're still super unsure where we want to live on top of having limited options in the areas we need to be. Do I want a view? Lots of land? Somewhere rural? Or maybe downtown where we can walk everywhere and have a house with character? It will probably come down to just the right house finding us, as it always does, and I do have a feeling it's going to find us soon.

(seventy three, seventy four, seventy five!)

August 20, 2015

some fortune

What does it mean?

Buddy the hamster's noisy wheel woke me up at a quarter 'til five. I couldn't get back to sleep.

I finally began our back to school shopping- two backpacks and one pair of shoes (out of four) purchased. That's about it so far but it feels like a lot. Relieved to at least get a start.

We had a showing at six and I worked on the house all day here and there, it was already pretty okay but I had the lawn service come and I even went out and did the windows. Carter said he had a feeling this could be it. I was so tired by the time we left to go to the Chinese place for dinner. It was so nice to have someone else do the cooking. I was tempted to sit by myself, with the kids at another table because I just needed the quiet and the kids, they like to talk. But I stayed awake and now we have a ton of leftovers for tomorrow and we shall see what comes of all of this. Also what does my fortune even mean?

I am just so tired. But I had a couple peaches that were going to go bad so now I'm waiting for this to be done in the oven. I double checked my calendar for tomorrow and there are zero things on it. Yes.

(day seventy two)

August 19, 2015

thunder for the ocean


I awoke to thunder but it was just the ocean. I wonder when I'll wake up in our new house someday wherever it is and mistake thunder for the ocean.

Today I was very thankful for gluten free pasta, and happy kids. I helped Jeff's parents book their flight to come visit in October. We have a showing tomorrow evening. I'm glad we have the day to get ready for it.

(day seventy one)

August 18, 2015

the tea and cocoa drawer

We have made it to day seventy... which seems like a lot! I hope my kids have good memories of a super relaxing and easy summer. I woke this morning to the noisy garbage truck outside. I swear it gets screechier by the week, and it comes before six! Unacceptable. I couldn't get back to sleep because I had an early dentist appt anyway and might as well stay up.

Every day I organize or clean a new drawer or shelf or cabinet. Today it was the tea and cocoa drawer. It feels very big girl of me to finally have my teas all situated in their own little slots in a container. Can't wait for company to come and see it. I made sugar cookies before bed and let the kids decorate them. The kids had their bath and I combed and de-tangled Ivy's hair while we watched a Draw Me A Story episode. This is one of my favorites of our nightly routine.

I hope I can sleep in a bit tomorrow.

(day seventy)

August 17, 2015

the sunset on the way



Sometimes I can't wait to finish a book because it's so good and I want to return it as soon as possible for the next person in line to read it. Sometimes I can't wait to finish so that I can start reading the next book in my to-read stack. Sometimes it's due the next day and I just need to finish it already and I can also check out the sunset on the way to the library book drop.

We had a nice Monday. We spent some time at the park, watched The Little Mermaid (Kiss The Girl still holds up, one of my faves) and Cupcake Wars.

(day 69)

August 16, 2015

to alone time

Bandon Saturday night
Our view at dinner

I spent all of Friday in the kitchen pretty much preparing food for the weekend. Two different kinds of tacos, two different kinds of chili. Corn bread. I don't have to cook again until tomorrow. So nice.

Saturday morning I went and got my iced coffee and veggies from the CSA as usual. I made a big breakfast and then we had a big Uno tournament. Later on we had a double date with friends to celebrate a birthday and then came back here for cake and ice cream, and to play Yahtzee and more Uno.

This morning I took advantage of having Jeff here for the day and slipped out by myself for some wonderful alone time. I headed up to the thrift store and then on to the grocery store where I shopped slowly and leisurely. The bay was sparkling as I drove by. Egrets were flying under the bridge. The trees were extra green. It was perfect.

Jeff's already back to his place and I've got a new knitting project and a book to read.


(days 66/67/68)

August 13, 2015

my favorite things

Today was very nice. Coffee, library, knitting shop... my favorite things. Then it was my turn for my dental cleaning and that was... good to get over with. It's finally raining (we've had a terrible drought) and there is thunder and lightning, only about the 5th time I've heard it since we've moved. Yes, I keep count because I miss the thunderstorms of the midwest! And my anxiety has been pretty okay today but I still had to google about lightning causing wildfires as we're in high danger. Looks like it's not as common as I thought, so I won't I'll try not to worry tonight.

(day sixty-five of ninety-two days of summer vacation)

August 12, 2015

summer sprite


summer girl

I can see how some parents might worship their children. Their beauty, their light, such perfect creatures, such mesmerizing copies of (the best parts of) ourselves. It keeps coming to me in waves that I'm losing my little partner in a month. I forget that gone are the lunch dates and little naps we'd sometimes sneak in before going to pick up the boys. We crossed the street to the toy store and the back of her hand... it is the softest thing I've ever touched. She took forever to decide on what she wanted that she could also actually afford with her seven dollars. (a coin purse and a tiny bejeweled journal with matching pen) (she is always buying little journals and notebooks) (she is just like me.)

Yesterday we had another showing. These showings are starting to get costly as I get to cleaning and then don't want anyone eating in the kitchen so we leave and end up at Subway because everyone is starving and we have to do something for an hour or so.

There's a huge blanket fort in my living room. My kids are happy/fed/bathed/clean. Today was the first day in a long time that I could literally do nothing but read and really relax and breathe.

(days sixty-three and sixty-four)

August 10, 2015

pretty good shape

I organized the spice cabinet and snack drawer (they were pretty scary) and I can't even tell you how many times I've opened them today to just stand and look at how neat they are right now. We have another showing tomorrow afternoon and thanks to the showing on Sunday we're in pretty good shape. We still have absolutely no leads on where we will actually move to if/when we do sell this house, however.

(day sixty-two)

August 9, 2015

the closer we get


Seagull

Long ago I'd scheduled all four kids for dental cleanings for this past Thursday. So that was exciting. We got through it. We had some extra time before our appointment so we hung out at the park for a bit. This seagull reminded me of my Poppal looking for four-leaf clovers.

After the big trip to the dentist we got dinner and then headed back to Bandon. Jeff came home a day early so that we could go to a blues concert in town. It did not disappoint.

Friday morning we went out for coffee and to walk around Old Town. It was like a bonus Saturday. It was nice. I took Noah for a hair cut. Things were pretty chill. I cooked some pizzas and then left for a much-needed girls night out with friends. We went out to eat at 7 Devils and it was perfect.

Yesterday we taught the kids how to play Yahtzee. Gray and Ivy rolled two Yahtzees each almost every game (and even when we played again today!) I am hoping this counts as summer math review. We make them do all the scoring themselves. We also got out the Uno cards and have been playing non-stop.

We had a showing this morning so we got the house looking all beautiful and neat and took a drive to Port Orford. It was foggy in Bandon, the sun came out as we took the 101 south and then as soon as we drove into Port Orford we were back into the fog. We stopped at our favorite stop (Langlois Market) and ate lunch outside.We headed home to play some more Yahtzee & Uno until it was time for Jeff to take off again for the week. We watched Matilda tonight- Ivy is at exactly the right age to eat every second of that movie up.

We have zero things on the calendar for this whole week and that feels wonderful. We have one month until the kids go back to school and I can already see how these days are flying by the closer we get.

((the) days (are slipping away) 58/59/60/61)

August 5, 2015

little bird

On Monday morning we found out that the showing had been cancelled for the next day, so that was kind of a relief in the way that now we didn't have to clean all day. I still did some general cleaning up and vacuuming, and Ivy reminded me of my promise to get them Dairy Queen a while back. I told her we could go after dinner. So when I checked the mail it was a nice surprise to see that Mimi had sent the kids a DQ gift card. Gray remarked "Now that's convenient!"

Little bird

Yesterday I awoke early from a horrible nightmare about Ivy and within moments she was coming into my room saying that she had a bad dream. I was so happy to have her in my arms. She had a drawing class at the art gallery in the afternoon and that's about all we did. My allergies have been making me feel so off and useless the past week or so, and I've basically just been lying around and reading.



Today was another blah morning and then we met friends after lunch at the school park. Then, just a bit ago a bird flew into our window. I heard it- it happens from time to time with our many windows and usually the bird flies away (especially if it's a black crow), unharmed. But Carter came running to tell me that it was a little bird and his wing looked broken. He couldn't get off his side. I grabbed a kitchen towel and righted him, but just held him loosely as he breathed and calmed down. His wings looked fine but he looked pretty shaken up. We moved him toward the bushes and he didn't seem to want to leave the towel. We prayed for him and spoke words of affirmation about how he was special and going to be okay. I think he could really understand us. I needed to go back inside to finish dinner, so I knelt close and said Little bird, you are such a good bird. If you need anything, just come to our window and let us know. You are going to be okay and you will be able to fly away. And he immediately just took off and flew away. It was the best thing that's happened all week, so far.


(days 55/56/57)

August 2, 2015

seeing the possibilities again

It's August time and even though we have several more weeks of summer vacation, a hint of fall arrived this weekend with cooler temps and another has month passed. Ivy and I headed up to Coos Bay for grocery shopping and new shoes on Saturday morning (there is literally no place in Bandon to buy shoes for her, except maybe the drug store might have flip-flops, but that's all she's been wearing anyway until I could get her proper shoes that don't have flapping soles.) We invited friends over for the day and had quite a spread- a full on veggie feast with grilled portabella & veggie sandwiches, potatoes, and dips. We played Yahtzee and Boggle well into the evening (it was so kind of them to indulge me with Boggle, probably the only game in the world I can totally smoke people at) while watching the Brooks Falls bear cam - we've all become kind of addicted!

Today was an absolutely lazy day. I'm trying to rest up after a few nights of not so great sleep. I read two books this weekend- Everything I Never Told You (loved) and The Girl On The Train (pretty good, I've thought of many different endings for it...)

I thought by now we had gotten into an easy routine with Jeff leaving for the week later in the day but today seemed more sad for me. We knew when we bought this house in a tiny town that it might take some time to sell when the time came, and I think we've been great sports about it. But I'm starting to feel that push, and I know we have to be getting closer to the right people coming along. By the end of the night, after hearing he'd arrived to his apartment safely and was settling in, I started seeing the possibilities again. We do have another showing on Tuesday.


(day fifty-three and fifty-four!)

July 31, 2015

curled up

We went to a puppet show at the library and it was super cheesy but cute with a good message and Gray and Ivy enjoyed it. We played at the park for a long time after it was over and it was nice to chat with friends. It's these moments that I forget that we're moving. I am glad it's not always on my mind and that it doesn't prevent me from being involved while we're still here. And I'm also not hit with sadness after times like these, because for many people here it's not their last stop either. Our paths could cross again someday. If the past three years have taught us anything, you just never know. 

I curled up with a book until Jeff made it home. We snuggled with the kids in our big bed before bedtime and imagined if we just had one room with a big family bed in our next house. It's all we really need. The kids promised they would snuggle with us even when they are in college and come home for the holidays. I'm going to hold them to this.

(day fifty-two)

July 30, 2015

the right thing



I posted this pic on my mom's FB today for her birthday. It was taken eight years ago during her bday celebration in Chicago.

Today was library story time for Ivy and I went to the grocery store- twice- which is not all that unusual for me. I hosted book club here for the first time and only two people showed up- including me.

We read The Turner House (I loved it) and then spent the whole time talking about our news feeds and #BlackLivesMatter and how with each year, each week, it's just more unbelievably heartbreaking. We are ready to do the work and need to figure out just what that work is where we are right now. I feel like everyone has something to say but I've yet to really see anyone say the right thing. And I'm beginning to think there is no right thing to say. We have just got to get to doing and being the right things. How I desperately hope I am raising my kids to keep the blinders off and their hearts open wide for social justice.

(day fifty-one)

July 29, 2015

what I'll do

Somedays the waiting creeps up and hangs out for a while. I feel a bit down, bored, distant, the there's so much to do but you can't start yet feeling. My sleep is a bit off and that means I'm tired and when I'm tired I can't shake it.

I have been thinking about what I'll do when school starts and the kids will be gone all day. I thought I would be so ready for that time in life but I think I'm dreading it, because I'm very not ready. It's hard to imagine because I don't know where I'll be. Literally. I think it will be a good time to learn new skills. I also think, with regret, maybe I should have been learning new skills leading up to this point but I should probably be easy on myself, I've been busy and I have been doing fulfilling, meaningful work. And I guess I have acquired a whole lot of random skills that has gotten me this far.

Anyway. Tonight the kids had bagel bites and veggies for dinner. I felt like I was phoning it in but they were thrilled. And I baked brownies for dessert and mini zucchini muffins for book club tomorrow.

(day fifty)  

July 28, 2015

last minute

Yesterday I had nothing planned and that is exactly what I was looking forward to... then we got a last minute showing request and I was immediately in house cleaning mode. It's been a while since we've had a showing, but we got it done. I took my car back to the shop and walked home. It was a good walk, we've been having gorgeous weather. I read a little before bed until I couldn't keep my eyes open.

This morning I walked back to the shop to get my car when it was ready. Friends came over to hang out most of the day. I am glad it's still only Tuesday but sheesh these past two days have felt like a week. Ivy lost another tooth tonight- you'd think by now I'd be smart enough to have tooth fairy money on hand but I had to use the lawn guy money I did have on hand and got change at the gas station.

(days forty eight & forty nine)

July 26, 2015

the week-end


Friday aka dad day came and everyone was happy to be one big family again. I finished up some more hats. I took my car in to be fixed (needs new brakes) but they will have to do it next week. They said I should be okay with light driving until then. Thankfully I have no desire to go anywhere next week.

Shorty's - Bandon Dunes

Saturday I took my time running errands alone- coffee, picking up our CSA goodies, farmer's market, library. Jeff played catch with the kids, we grilled out for dinner, and then watched Cast Away since Gray has been playing a video game about being stranded on a deserted island and kept asking to watch it. We prepped them a lot for what to expect and I had Ivy chat with me during some things I thought she might not want to see. Before the tooth extraction scene I told her what was going to happen (he's going to remove his tooth and then he falls and goes to sleep for a bit) and she said "so the tooth fairy can come?" I promise she's totally mature enough for this movie but gosh that was precious. They all got teary when Wilson drifts off. Because they are human.

Shorty's - Bandon Dunes

Today we had our big breakfast and then headed out to play Shorty's at Bandon Dunes. It's just 9 holes and I was Gray's caddie. The weather was perfect. We came home and I actually took a little nap, which never happens. And it's time for dad to leave again.


(days 45-46-47)

July 23, 2015

forty-three, forty-four

The past couple days have been quiet and calm at the expense of (or thanks to?) everyone with their own screens and headphones. I don't even mind because it's been a peacefulness we needed. Our movie last night was Muppets Most Wanted (better than I thought it would be) and tonight it looks like it will be a showing of Secret of NIMH. After the movie last night Ivy and Gray were nuzzled up on either side of me and we just went to bed that way. I love their sleeping faces on my chest.

(days forty-three, forty-four)

July 21, 2015

stash & scraps

I have been waking earlier lately and do enjoy a quiet morning before everyone else wakes up. Today I made waffles for the week and then decided to work through knitting up my yarn stash & scraps. I know many people having babies and little hats are perfect. I made a few today while watching The Truman Show and random shows on the dvr. Later I made dinner and chocolate chip cookies. We watched E.T. and the kids loved it. It was better than I remembered. Two nights in a row that they've clapped at the end (last night we watched Song of the Sea- loved!) Then I had a phone date with a friend, feeling bittersweet that I have to actually set appts to chat with friends but I'm glad we did. We are all busy with life, and that's good! But I miss my people, too. 

(day forty two)

July 20, 2015

time is mush

Dinner prep

I can't believe it's been three more days because it feels like time is mush. I'm still resting up from a whole lot of driving last week and am actually stuck at home now until I can get my car fixed. I do not mind at all. We have been doing a whole lot of nothing. Saturday was lazy. Sunday was lazy. Today we started getting the house back in order, a little, and the kids helped with dinner (they insisted!) I thought about making it a movie night but I might not be able to keep my eyes open much longer.

(days thirty-nine, forty, and forty-one!)

July 17, 2015

I must note the "sacred Cheeto"

We made it to Friday!

Tuesday we headed up to Salem as part of our bi-monthly trek to Seattle. So many big thanks to our framily Molly and her parents for taking us in. Wednesday we headed up to the hospital for appointment & infusion- first time I ever had to take all four kids with me. It's a really long day. They were angels. I almost cried in appreciation for the sibling play room. Ivy didn't want to leave because ARTS AND CRAFTS. Bless those volunteers. Makes me want to cry again. They can only stay for two hours so $39 in the gift shop later everyone had something to do in the waiting room until we were done.

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Coach Carter entertains in the infusion room.
We left the hospital around dinner time and headed south to see how far we could get before stopping for a night of swimming and sleeeeeep. Apparently all the hotels were sold out clear down to Olympia, so we finally found one of the last rooms available at a Best Western in Chehalis. It had beds, a pool and a hot tub, pretty much all we required. We checked in and enjoyed the pool room to ourselves until it closed and then again in the morning until we had to check out.

I must note the "sacred Cheeto" in the elevator. A lone crunchy cheeto greeted us when we got there and every time we rode the elevator the kids would check to see if it was still there. And then dare each other to eat it. Gray begged for me to let him eat it. (Nope.) And to my kids great pleasure it was still there when we checked out.

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Thursday we drove back to Salem and crashed with our friends, again. How generous our hosts were!! We ordered pizza, took a lovely stroll around the neighborhood, then headed back for dessert and The Book of Life in their home theater. Loved it. The kids slept in a big tent in the living room. I think they really enjoyed their "vacation" this week.

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We left after we woke up this morning and made it back to the (windy) coast around 1. I started on ALL THE LAUNDRY and the kids requested homemade soup for dinner. I had it grocery shopped, cooked and ready, and even changed into my pjs by 4pm. Now I think it's okay for me to breathe. We made it to the weekend.

(days thirty six, thirty seven, & thirty eight)

July 14, 2015

In the fountains

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We took a day trip up to "city shop" in Salem (and hang with friends at the fountains at the state capitol.) There are definitely some nice homes and hello mountain top views. Jeff met us for an awesome dinner by our gracious hosts. The kids performed a variety show outside and later we had homemade ice cream. So so wonderful. (day thirty five)




quality "time"

Salon cat

As we all sat around our big dining table Sunday morning for blueberry pancakes we realized that since Jeff has been away, our quality family time has greatly increased when he is home on the weekends. It's like a vacation every time, all our meals are family meals around the table. No rushing. We play and hang together. We make the moments count more when we know they are few. So, while it's hard to be apart, we are seeing some good things in it. And we vow to keep this up when we're all under the same roof for good again.

Yesterday I had a hair appointment and enjoyed having my stylist's cat in my lap the whole time. I had brought my knitting, but cats beat knitting. We did another major house clean up because birthday celebrations had boxes and stuff everywhere and I want to be ready in case of a showing anytime soon. The house has never been so easy to clean since we are cleaning all the time. In my head I'm kind of making a vow to keep that up, too.


(days thirty-three & thirty four)

July 11, 2015

that we should just pretend

This morning I was excited to head down to get my first CSA pick up of the summer from a little program the grocery store does with local farmers. Blueberries, corn, and cucumbers were my top picks. I came home and made a big breakfast for the kids and then we had a water balloon and squirt gun fight in the yard. When it was over Jeff announced that we should just pretend that no one got mad and that we all had fun. Everyone was friends again five minutes later.

Jeff and I had an outdoor lunch date in old town. We came home and chilled until it was time to get ready to see our friends in a play. Carter & Ivy opted out of this one earlier this year because we weren't sure of our schedule with moving and all. It was fun for them to be in the audience and to see their friends again.

(day thirty two)

July 10, 2015

birthday boy

Carter, 7/10/02 + 7/10/15

Carter turned 13 today. I showed him the pic from when he was born to see if we could reenact it and he was like, "aww that's me? I'm so little." You were hours old, kid! I can remember it like it was hours ago, too. 

I was up super early to get the LTYM videos ready for our big 2015 release today (they are live now!!!) and also to go get birthday donuts. Even the girl at the coffee drive up was wondering why I was out and about so early. 

We celebrated all day and facetimed with family and then Jeff came home to fire up the grill. We had steaks and mushrooms that tasted like steak. And then an ice cream cake. Two teens in the house now. Life is good! 

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(day thirty-one)

July 9, 2015

just about right



Storytime

We are a third of the way through the summer and I don't know how to feel. In a way I think it's going too fast. But then I remember all four kids will be in school all day this fall and that sounds like something new that I can look forward to and so I guess the pace of summer is going just about right.

For sure I am so so glad it's nowhere close to being over.

Yesterday everyone was on each other's nerves and it seemed the perfect time to take Carter & Gray to the youth center to get away (from Ivy) for a bit. They played basketball and hung out with other kids while we had some quiet time at home. Gray did help me bake some incredibly delicious banana muffins, and we made another batch with mini chocolate chips today. Last night we stayed up late- again- watching Cake Wars and Poor Little Rich Girl. Gray loves cooking shows and Ivy loves black and white movies. We caught a fawn eating my roses just outside my bedroom window! It was an exciting night.

This morning we got up barely in time to get Ivy to library class. But we made it and I picked up a bunch of great books from the book sale.

Today is also Carter's last day of being 12, or in his words, "my last day of being a kid." I have some presents to wrap and an ice cream cake to pick up in the morning. I will be a mom to two teens. The pace of parenthood needs to slow itself down. (days of summer: 29 and 30)




July 7, 2015

woo, today

Wasting time at Bullards.
Killing time at Bullards Beach

We had a showing early this morning - at the time I'm normally just thinking of getting out of bed these days- but I was up before 5 am because I heard a noise and I couldn't get back to sleep. I never did figure out what it was.

The showing went great- sounds potentially promising. This, on the heels of us expanding our search to other towns as long as the schools are great and Jeff's commute is still short(ish). So now there's more options.

Ivy had her first drawing class at the art gallery in Old Town. She loved it, of course. The weather has been unusually warm, so after dinner my friend Jeana came over to power walk the beach. It was perfect.

Tonight the kids are going to bed late... again... because we had to watch Chopped and Gray still begs for some vegetarian or vegan challenges. I hope we see one soon!

(day twenty-eight)

July 6, 2015

(days 25-26-27)

4th of July, Bandon parade

We had an awesome 4th of July with friends. It was a beautiful weekend and we all even got a little sunburned- in Bandon! Our town was packed. We went to the parade, which was more like a few cars and lots of horses and that's about it, but it was still fun, and then had our friends (and a hamster and a tadpole) over right after to spend the whole day just hanging out and eating. We also roasted s'mores and then of course, we went to watch the fireworks over the river.



Sunday we had friends over again - for waffles this time before they headed out for a couple more weeks away. The kids were all done-in from all the socializing and it was a quiet end to the weekend. Ivy slept in her teepee in the living room and Gray snuggled in with me for the night.

Today was back to reality. We have a showing tomorrow morning, so the living room forts had to come down. Stuff had to be cleaned and straightened. Thankfully the kids were cool with a big fruit salad for dinner.

(days 25-26-27)

July 3, 2015

It's a great place to be

Hair cuts

Yesterday dad came home! So, the kids have magnetized themselves to him since and I don't mind at all. We did have a nice talk about where we are right now, and where we aren't, and I feel like I have a better focus now. This in-between time is just not going to do. So, right now I am here. And until that changes, I will have my focus here. We will plan for our summer to be spent here. When we think about school starting in the fall, we will plan to go here. And yes, we're still moving when the house sells, but that is someday. Right now we are here and for this I am very thankful and happy. I like this right now.

Today we went to see Inside Out. We all loved it. I took the boys for hair cuts. We came home and I prepared a ton of food for tomorrow- we're having friends over and will have a feast. I can't wait.

(days twenty-three and twenty-four)

July 1, 2015

July and Day 22

Well, we made it to July. And oh man I am having the hardest time getting my kids to bed. The sun doesn't go down until so late here. I know it's summer but we need sleep. Today we trekked up to Coos Bay to do some shopping to stock the pantry. I realized that I haven't crossed the bridge to leave Bandon in almost three weeks. It's nice to stay here on our little pretend island sometimes. Soon enough we'll be heading back up to Seattle so I'm cherishing all this time out of the car.

Jeff comes home tomorrow night and I can always sense I need to get to the end of my shift with the kids- soccer balls flying through my living room and fighting and "you bit me!" and "no I didn't!" and "then why were your teeth on my arm?" - I made everybody sit together and watch a movie. I put on Nacho Libre and have no idea why they thought it was so funny but glad they did. Then they all bonded over Siri and asking her dumb questions. And finally, they went to bed. (day twenty-two)

June 30, 2015

and it's only a Tuesday

Knitted gifts & a ring sling

I finished all my knitting! And just in time- my life-long friend had her baby at home last night. It was magical. How I wish I could be giving these gifts to her in person.

Today was better! It was good. It actually felt like a day off, and it's only a Tuesday. (day twenty-one)

June 29, 2015

getting better now

After the sunset Monday night.

To say I'm a bit irritable would be an understatement. Yesterday was a good lazy day, though. I made pancakes and it was nice. Just when I've wanted to go down to the beach for sunset the past few days, the big mist rolls in.

Today I slept in and tackled some projects that need finishing. Ivy was sad that the boys wanted alone time and she had no one to hang out with so we decided to watch a movie together and then it ended up that everyone was on my bed watching The Land Before Time while I tried to concentrate on my knitting. I've just felt off the rest of the day and nothing gets my kids working together faster than when I start losing it a bit. Then I lost my finishing needle somewhere in my lap or chair and it's just completely disappeared so I went for a drive and thankfully found some needles that will do at the grocery store. I also got to see a pretty beautiful sky.

Everyone's going to bed earlier tonight in hopes we all are in better moods tomorrow. (days nineteen and twenty)

June 27, 2015

the tooth fairy gets all the credit

Missing: Two front teeth

Yesterday was dad comes home day so everyone was in high spirits. There was a moment when I glanced into the living room as my kids worked together to turn a cardboard box into a hamster mansion and I thought okay now this is a summer childhood and they are going to turn out okay. That right there totally erases all the TV they have watched this week, right.

Ivy lost another tooth. They are dropping like flies. And she literally lost it- her other top front tooth. They were "messing around" and suddenly realized her tooth was missing. We still have not found it. Oh please let it turn up before our next showing.

Today she spent her tooth fairy money on a big-eyed stuffed animal she has been wanting at Rite Aid. And earlier she sweetly mentioned to me how when she went to bed her nightlight wasn't on, but when she woke up, she saw that the tooth fairy must have turned it on for her! That was me. But yeah. I was glad she noticed someone was thinking about her. Pretty adorable.

(day seventeen and eighteen)

June 25, 2015

little fly

foggy sunset

It was a nice, warm day but every time we went down by the water the fog would roll in and my glasses kept fogging up. Ivy had her first class of the library storytime session. I did rest a bit after the house showing but this little fly kept buzzing at the window above the bed and I tried so hard to get him out the patio door across the room but he kept going back to the window. Finally I got him away from it and he flew the complete opposite from the wide open door to my bathroom. Then I was like you're on your own dude. Okay so I did try to get him out of the bathroom for like a minute but he was not getting it.

We facetimed with Mommal and Aunt Diane in Louisiana and it was so good to see their faces. I pulled Ivy's bottom tooth while we were chatting, too. And I just had to go ask Carter if he wanted to be the tooth fairy and he was super excited, has money, and saves me a trip to the store tonight. (day sixteen)



June 24, 2015

or doin' nothing

We pretty much did nothing today. I did not monitor screens. I don't think anyone (but Ivy) opened a book. I guess I'm spent from all the summer doings because right now I'm just tired. Tired of having to get the house ready for showings, tired of this all becoming the same old same old. Tired of house hunting only to find nada. Zip. Tired of having to come up with food for hungry kids. Basically I'm tired and need to slow it down and rest for a bit. I know this. I am hoping after our showing tomorrow maybe I can spend the rest of the day in bed with a book. There's enough in the fridge for Carter's gourmet sandwiches. They can fend for themselves for a day or so. (day fifteen)

June 23, 2015

doin' it right

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Sending letters to friends.


Today the kids practiced addressing envelopes. I was so tired all day, but did finish a knitting project. Ivy read all day. Out loud. After dinner the boys were needing a break from their kid sister so we took a walk, just the girls. It was gorgeous down by the water.

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So far I think we're doing this summer thing right. (day fourteen)


June 22, 2015

'til the batteries run out

day thirteen.

It is Monday but totally felt like a Tuesday. We went to the beach three times- well, I went down at low tide this morning on my way to the store and then tonight Gray and Ivy wanted to go look at the seals at high tide and then back for the sunset. I Periscoped it, if you have that app you can check it out. I'm @babysteph on there but I don't really know how to link it. I think you have to view it on your phone? I'm new.

Seals at Coquille Point
Can you see all the seals on that rock?

My phone died right when we saw horses heading down the beach. Thankfully I had my regular camera.

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horseback on the beach

Riders on the beach


Gray and Ivy love playing in the little beach huts and making a mess in the sand, and I must admit, it's kind of refreshing that they are still at the age where they think it's fun to throw sand. Ivy told me to take a picture of her posing like this:

little mermaid

She's got an eye for these things.

And after their baths they wanted to go back to watch the sunset, so we did.

ivy sunset