Traditions

One week from Christmas Day! 

Which means we've been doing the Christmas things for about three and a half weeks now, and again this year I feel like the traditions are a bit fluid. I mean, we always wait until after Thanksgiving to put up the tree, but this year on the Sunday after turkey day I let the kids handle the bulk of hanging the ornaments and ribbon. Mainly because I couldn't keep up with them. They swarm. And grab. And I can hardly say, "gentlllllllle!" before they're back for another one. And also because they were so obsessed with doing it all. 

Henry exclaimed, "You're a lot nicer this year letting us decorate the tree!"

lololollllllllllll

He was full of cheer while we were decorating and had lots of good Henry-isms in regards to what a good mom I was like asking, "did you and Daddy get married because you knew how good each other would be at being our parents?". I mean whaaaa? 
Kind of, but so profound. 
And also, piiiiile it on, Ham.

I decided to let the good times roll this holiday season because check out his outfit in our annual Santa photo this year. Too-small boots he refuses to give up and shoves his feet in, sweat pants, red thermal long sleeve tee and red cardigan sweater. 
It's tucked in. 
Also he likes to part his hair in the middle.

Andrew and I were dying when we saw this outfit, and here I go again laughing out loud because it's so ridiculous next to those sweet girls in their best Christmas plaid, but that's kind of what makes it awesome.

We have yet to make any Christmas cookies yet, and our stockings have been hung with care for approximately two weeks until Andrew took them down again to cut more limestone rock in our den. Because living through renovations.

We have lights on half of the front of our house because SURPRISE! our new house has more roof line than the old, and we cannot seem to find the same C9 big bulb white lights to save our life so we have yet to turn on our half-lit house. 

A tradition we have followed this year - I LOST MY RINGS AGAIN. 

They have since been found, but it was reminiscent of last year when I turned the house upside down for days, this year I had clients scouring their land for my band, and having a perma-sick feeling in my stomach until the missing band turned up at the bottom of one of the ornament tubs under a pile of discarded tissue paper. I hadn't even noticed it fell off while we raced to decorate the tree with as many ornament clusters as possible multiple days earlier.

All this to say, every year I have these ideas of how our Christmas prep is going to go, and every year I'm like, huh. It's a lot of normal, every day life with a bit of extra thrown in here and there. Is that so bad? The kids are off in a couple of days for Christmas break, and I'm sure we'll throw in some extra baking and Christmas movies then. And I'll try really hard for Henry to ditch the sweats in exchange for some plaid of his own for Christmas Eve mass. But friends and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about how we remember our own mothers making our own childhoods so good and magical and special. So many crafts, so many goodies, so many thoughtful gestures that we remember to this day. 

And perhaps they did. Or maybe childhood is magical on its own because you remember the good over the bad.

I think that needs to be my new holiday tradition. Laughing about the things that drive me crazy and celebrating the good, through the normal every day life.

Merry Christmas early, friends!



The Twitch

I haven't been shooting as much at home as I did before we moved. Probably for more than one reason, but the one that comes to mind most is that I'm not in our space yet. We're here, we've been moved in for five months now. We're unpacked...except for those last few boxes in the basement that are a hodge podge of things we haven't needed yet and could potentially have gotten rid of before we moved. 

And yes, the space is technically ours. But we haven't made it ours yet. Just within the last couple of weeks have we started shuffling around furniture, mainly beds in the kids' rooms to their "official" spots so I could start hanging frames on the walls. Hooray! Pretty things coming up and out of the basement to see and enjoy again.

We're about to dig into the main living space and I've got inspiration coming out of my ears, but then I look at reality around me and there's so. much. to. do.

So when the kids were playing outside as we typically do once we get back from the bike ride home from school, and the light was dancing around juuuuust right, 
I finally got that twitch back. 

It didn't hurt that everyone was actually for once in a million moons getting along, 
and that is not an exaggeration.

And, as I keep reminding myself, by the time we get this house just right, 
I'll probably want to re-do it again, 
and no one will be around for me to make pictures of except for Andrew. 
He's just not as cute sitting on the swing.


Here's to doing what we love. 

Regardless.


So Long Summer

It's decidedly cooler today, the first day after Labor Day - the send-off to summer. It's a welcome change hearing the breeze slightly blow through the backdoor, and summer 2017 was difficult to say the least, but even so, there's something about that season that has always had my heart, that makes me sad to see it officially go once more.
 
The heat, the water, the long days, the summer nights, t-ballers in jerseys and hats to big, beer on the back patio, the smell of sunscreen, the break from schedules, the chance to get lost in adventure and make-believe and pretend, morning walks, afternoons at the pool.

Popsicles for snacks, ice cream for dessert, the grill hot almost every night. Camps and family vacation, sleepovers at grandparents', and movies in the backyard. 
 
Both so much childhood innocence and growth exists in those delicious, swift months sandwiched between the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.
 
I was beyond ready for routine and structure and ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN to begin a couple of weeks ago, and you couldn't pay me to go back 
and relive the summer of 2017. 

But even so...the nostalgia for this season remains.  

There's something about the freedom of summer that can't be matched.

So long summer. You were hard and had the soundtrack of ear-piercing shrieks and sobs, but even so, I'll look back on you and think, but we had some good times too. And since we can't (and won't) go back, I'll take those with me.

The School Lunch Menu

I cried looking at the August lunch calendar on Wednesday.
(How's that for equal parts of honesty and embarrassment?  Andrew may have weighted embarrassment a little heavier when I told him that night. 
Always keeping me humble, that one.)

Henry is starting kindergarten in less than three weeks, and as much as I have loooooooonged for this day at many, many times over the last several years, it's hitting me harder than I thought it would.  It feels like he's leaving for college tomorrow (Manhattan clearly, where else would he go?), not starting kindergarten.

He's ready (for kindergarten, that is),
and I know it's the right place and right time for him.

And while some of you have been having the #bestsummerever, we've been over here literally #survivingsummer or #tryingtomakeittobedtime or just even trying to #hideinmybathroomandtakedeepbreaths ALONE which never happens because my kids have a radar for when I try to potty in solitude. 
(Also helpful in the humility department.)

BUT.
 How is my first baby old enough to be eating school lunch in a lunch room with school friends instead of at my kitchen table having peanut butter and jellies
for the 1,000th time?

It's the start.
The beginning of the school years where he spends more of his waking hours away than at home.  And while this tired mama is like, oh my gosh, yasssssss, a break!!, this tired mama is also mourning the end of these first years when we could stay in our jammies until 10am if we wanted to and naptime dictated our schedule and Daniel Tiger provided many life lessons, and I didn't have to think about bullies or homework and now I'm ordering kindergarten uniform pants and filling out final registration paperwork and praying that he's both brave and kind to others and others to him, and wondering have we loved him hard enough, and does he know that, and will he be lonely or scared, and will he make friends, and, and, and, AND.

This is what they're supposed to do...grow up?  Can we find a happy medium where I don't have to play referee and both cruise entertainment director every waking moment of every day, but where he stays sweet and innocent and giggles and build forts in every room of the house even though it drives me crazy?  

To finding ways to enjoy our last bit of summer (and also survive), and to giving them both roots and wings, and to maybe scheduling some lunchroom visits. 
Because the school menu looks way better than mine.

Our Last Night on Rockwood

We moved! 
Nearly two months ago and it's taken almost that entire time to feel settled. 
At least for me.  Don't ask Andrew because he's still mourning our first house and our old neighborhood and our beloved neighbors and being able to walk down the street to the pool and waving at familiar faces as he leaves for work in the morning.  It's bad.  I'm pretty sure he drives through there every day.  Because it's on his way to work and because he has a hard time with change.

Truth be told, so do I, but in different ways.  

I am loooooooooooving our space x1000.
I don't feel like we're on top of each other ALL THE DAY LONG anymore!  The layout makes so much more sense for our family of five, and I daydream all the time about paint and flooring and fixtures and all the things that get discussed on Fixer Upper every darn episode.  (One of these days we'll have our own #demoday, 
but I'll make sure Andrew wears a shirt.) 

Change is hard for me because of displacement and not having my familiar things around me and my familiar routine and overall just the disruption that comes with change.  And also dealing with the kids dealing with change.  Because it turns out they didn't want to sit quietly while I unpacked boxes.  Also the Jack and Jill bathroom makes a great secret hallway to sneak into the girls' room during naps and bedtime and naps and bedtime and naps and bedtime and naps and bedtime.  Kind of like today.

Our move was a short one (in distance), just a hop over the main road into the adjacent neighborhood, but now when we go for walks in the morning and see others out doing the same Henry asks if they're our neighbors because in our old 'hood we would stop and talk to everyone because we knew everyone.  We're starting to get a few hellos and the "wow! you've sure got your hands full" comments are rolling in as we parade by with Ham on his bike, Franklin on leash and the girls in the double jogger.  And we've found not one, but two Little Libraries the kiddos convince me to stop at nearly every day.  There are going to be countless things that we'll miss about our first home, but so many other things to look forward to and love in our second.

--

We took a stroll around the block the night before we moved like we had done hundreds of times before, and sat on the floor for dinner around a box of pizza that night the same way we had when Andrew and I moved in almost eight years ago.  Except this time, instead of just a couple not married for even a year yet, it was the five of us soaking up the last moments in the space that saw fights, make ups, first steps, holidays, seasons change, jobs change, paint colors change, us change, 
and a family made.  

Rockwood, you were good to us.

So, so, so good.

Moving Forward

Our living room is completely covered in packing paper and boxes...some not yet filled, but most taped up and stacked along the wall, waiting to be moved.

We're about a week out from moving, and the easy stuff has long since been boxed up.  Now we're into the odd shaped items, the too-big items, the things that we still might need, but will have to put away eventually.  I'm quickly realizing we use only use a small portion of things most of the time.  The rest could sit in boxes for months and we probably wouldn't miss it.  And I'm not a collector of stuff and frequently purge
and still feel this way.

But life continues on, even though the current state of our house
is making me feel very displaced and unsettled.  

We still run to and from preschool, swimming lessons, dance class and rehearsals, t-ball practice, the grocery store, etc.  We're trying to keep the kids' day-to-day very consistent, as everything else feels anything but. 

When this year started, I felt so unsure about so many things, and after finding peace in the midst of the craziness of selling our house, there's clear direction in all of it. 
We're moving this month, the kids are enrolled in a new school for this fall,
and I just took Henry to kindergarten round up this morning. 

They asked who was attending round up for the first time with a kindergartner, and probably about half the hands went up.  And then the next set of hands went up for those attending kindergarten round up for the last time with a kindergartner....waaaaaahhhhh!  I can't even think about it. 
I know how this time thing works. 

We'll get busy with t-ball, and dance, and school recitals, and play dates, and swimming lessons, bedtimes, and class projects, and I'm going to wake up one May Friday morning not too long from now and be taking June to her own kindergarten round up and cry in the second row because wasn't I just here in the second row with her letting her empty my purse to keep her entertained since she tagged along to Henry's round up? 

Please let these babies always want to kiss my hand and make really hilarious observations like, "mommy, you look so pretty tonight, but you not very pretty in the mornings," when my eyes can barely open at 6:15am.  Oh Henry, my charmer.  I think kindergarten is going to be fun for you.
--

To finding calm in the chaos, peace in the unsure, humor in the day-to-day, and adventure in the unknown.
Cheers!  Have a marg!  It's Friday, Cinco de Mayo,
and they sure help make the packing more fun.