Grateful

Having 2 birthdays so close together is interesting in our house.  The birthday celebration for our 7 year old  has come and gone (almost).  He is tucked in bed sleeping off his sugar crash.  The house is quiet once again but I am grateful.  I am grateful that he has such a zest for life.  I am grateful that he laughs at almost everything.  I am grateful that he is not yet old enough to avoid hugs from me.  I am grateful that he was willing to share his day with karate.  I am grateful that we got to celebrate his special day with a few extra friends.  I am grateful that he still likes having stories read at night.  I am grateful that he is mine, no matter how old he gets or where he goes in life, he is mine.  Happy birthday bud!! I am so grateful for you.  Love you!!

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Stuck in the middle

Today is middle day.  Yesterday was one birthday, and tomorrow is another.  But today we are stuck in the middle.  Celebrations continue, friend parties are separate, family parties are shared.  One birthday past but not finished yet because we still need to doze with a few dinos and a few friends next weekend.  Another birthday tomorrow, but he had friends over today. In year’s past, today was always the hardest day.  Stuck in between, one jealous because he has no presents yet, the other upset because she wants to play with her new toys alone.  This middle day is troublesome, but having a party for friends in between is a good solution.  But what to do when middle day lands on Tuesday?

Milestone

Today is a milestone day.  One that I am not even sure she is aware of.  I know she will understand when her own children hit this milestone day.  She will understand the speediness with which time has begun to fly.  She will look to her own child and wonder what happened to the beautiful baby she was and she will wonder what beautiful woman she will become because today is a milestone day.

That first milestone was when she was born.  Her father was ecstatic, I was tired and happy.

Her second milestone was her first birthday.  I remember her sitting in her high chair, loving the attention bestowed upon her, cake smearing her hands.

Her third milestone was turning two and furiously ripping into presents, tossing toys to the floor just to open the next one.

Her fourth milestone was turning three.  This one became lost in the shuffle of her brother coming.  We tried to make it just as special and celebrated a little early, just so she knew she was loved.

Her fifth milestone came at 4.  New traditions began so that each child knew they were special.  HIs birthday is 3 years and 2 days after hers, so family parties would be together from here on out.  Now we have a celebration just the 4 of us on each of their days.  I remember getting sticky hugs and a huge thank you for making the day all about her.

Her sixth milestone came at 5.  Oh My Gosh!! My baby is not a baby!! She is one whole hand today and would proudly proclaim it to the world!!

Her seventh milestone came at 6.  “I get to go to first grade next year” I remember her saying.  Birthday traditions continue to bestow upon her “Today is all about Becca day!” She chose dinner for us that night.

Her eighth milestone came at 7.  This was the year she learned how to ride her bike on two wheels on her birthday.  It was a very warm March and we celebrated outside. She was so proud and I was crying.

Her ninth milestone came at 8.  She wanted to help frost her own cake this year.  I knew it would be a disaster so we compromised and she helped bake cupcakes.

Her tenth milestone came at 9.  This was the year that she made her own cake, from  start to finish with frosting.  I had a watchful eye, but she did it and even helped me  clean up.

Today, my baby, my favorite oldest daughter, my firstborn turns 10.  How is this possible?  I don’t feel any older and yet 10 years have gone by.  10 gloriously wonderful, heartbreakingly difficult, all consuming love for her years have gone by.  This year she chose what she  wanted for her birthday.  This year we went shopping for clothes and I had a glimpse of the young woman she will become, the sassy attitude that she will use to approach life.  She will not understand until she has kids of her own how much I cling to the little reminders of the child she is: “I love you more, I love you most,” reading stories before bed, waking up a little early to have breakfast with me before I leave for work, the full belly laugh I get when I tickle her.  Today my baby turns 10.  Happy birthday Boo! I love you all the way to Pluto and back down to the Earth a million, billion, infinity times!

Not this morning

5:30–Alarm clock rings, I hit snooze. — Not this morning, I forgot to set it.
5:45–Alarm clock rings again, I roll out of bed and walk into the bathroom. — Not this morning, I was still in dreamland only to be rudely awakened by that awful feeling that something was off at 5:53.
6:10–Finally make it into the shower. Don’t judge, I read and meander through the first 20 or so minutes of my day in order to wake up. I am not a morning person. — Still did that this morning because I have to in order to have my brain function on all cylinders.
6:30–Out of the shower, dressed, and drying my hair. — Not this morning, I am behind by about 10 minutes, waiting for Andy Avalos to deliver the weather so I can wear sandals yet again. Yup, above freezing, sandals it is.
6:40–Head downstairs to make my lunch and eat my breakfast my husband cooks for me every morning. — Not this morning, I am running behind. I won’t make it downstairs until 6:45. I might just catch up to my normal schedule if I hurry through making my lunch.
6:45–Making lunch, hearing eggs cooking on the stove, quickly reviewing the schedule for after school. Becca makes her way down the stairs and Jack is sitting on the couch. — Not this morning. Realization strikes. Jack wanted to do his homework with me but left it in dad’s car. CRUD it isn’t done yet!! Quick Jack run out and get it. I have to leave soon.
6:55–Breakfast is served and I have a precious 5 minutes to eat it. Hugs to all the kids (including the furry ones), hop in my car, and leave the driveway by 7 or 7:05. — Not this morning. Jack this is measuring. Let’s finish the math. Why is there a note in here about lying to your teacher. You need to be honest. You are making a diorama at school. What animal did you pick? Don’t lie to your teacher. Make sure you fill in your calendar every day. Is the math done? Write your spelling words. Read you book to me before I go. Poor child is like me in the morning, and was just bombarded with a million questions.
7:10–Already on the road. Turning onto the highway that will take me to work. — Not this morning. This morning had to remind Paul that this is why we do homework at night and that if the weather is nice then someone needs to tell me they still have homework to do. And that someone (insert Paul) needs to make sure the backpack leaves his car and goes into the studio so homework can be completed.
7:15–Hit the first toll booth and should be to work by 7:35. — Not this morning. Get in my car and back out of the driveway. I never did catch up. It is a good thing I leave cushion at the arrival time of my day otherwise I would be really later, instead of just later than I want.
Some days are just like this and hopefully the rest of my day is smoother than the start.

Today

Today I had the opportunity to silently think on different slices while working in the yard.
Those who wrote about the laundry being the bane of your existence–I so agree and share your pain, I have one load in the dryer, one in the washer, and one left to fold. It won’t be done tonight.
Those who wrote about going to the zoo, the movies, or any other outing today–I wish I had gone to, it was the perfect day for it.
Those who wrote about caring for kids–Everyday I understand your worry when they are sick, your concern for their tears, or your joy at seeing them so happy.
Those who wrote a poem–I wish I could be as creative.
You see, I sit here at 10:30 at night finally typing my slice, not because I have nothing to say, but because I have too much to say. I still have the piece in my head about grandma’s gravy. I still have the piece in my head about age being a number. I still have the piece in my head about shoes. I have many ideas rolling around in my head and none of them compare to what occurred today.

Today, I was outside all day. I enjoyed the sun shining on my face. I may even have a sunburn. I pulled weeds and cut down trees, raked debris, and worked on clearing paths at the new house. The yard looks barren and empty–a blank slate just waiting for lilac bushes, or boxwoods, or tulips, or lavender. I don’t have a green thumb but I do alright if the planting is simple. So I pulled weeds and planned where to build a rock wall, and what I want the front of the house to look like. I made fun of my husband, laughed with my kids, talked with my parents and mother-in-law and saw my sister and her family. All while being outside enjoying the sunshine, pulling weeds. And that is why I sit here at 10:30 at night, finally typing my slice. So much to say about other things, yet wanting to remember this day in all its simplicity.

Someday…..

THEN: As I walk through the front door, I am greeted by the closed up musty smell of house. This house has no life, no spark, no joy. Directly in front of me is a closet. After turning left, I am in a sunken family room. There is a dirty, opaque bay window facing the street and another window on the right side wall, toward the rear of the house. Dirty beige carpeting lays on the floor, looking as though a thousand feet have trampled it. There is no color to this room, it is dull, beige, dirty, and cold. On the left side wall, in the middle is an old brick fireplace. It is entirely out of place in this space. To the left of the fireplace is only enough space to slide a folding chair before you reach the back of the closet I saw as I walked in. To the right is a wide wall covered in old, dingy, drywall. In the back left corner is three stairs leading up to what could be considered the main level of the house, where a kitchen, two bedrooms and a bathroom are laid out.

NOW: As I walk through the front door, I am greeted by the smell of exposed wood. Wood that is trying to breathe after being held hostage behind drywall. The closet that used to be there is gone. Instead I can look through the studs directly into the family room. The wall where the fireplace sits is gone. Now I can look through those studs to the different levels of the house. The bottom half shows the basement, the top half shows what was 2 bedrooms and a bath. Toward the back of the house those stairs still exist to enter the kitchen/hallway area, but just like the rest of the room, the only thing still visible are the studs. What is interesting about this back wall is that there are two of them. The previous owners did not attach the walls to either side of the studs. Instead they left the existing 1930 wall, and built a new kitchen wall 1 foot or so off of that when they added on. It will eventually be fixed. The fireplace is still there, but the carpet has been removed. I can hear my feet walking across the plywood floor and feel peace as I imagine what could be….

SOON: As I walk through the front door, I will be greeted by color and warmth. The floor will be made from bamboo with a tiger stripe type pattern through it. The closet that once stood in front of me is gone, along with the fireplace. Instead a wood burning stove will sit in the back right corner. Drywall will be new and fresh but a railing will run the entire length of the left wall and the back wall, broken only by two sets of stairs. One set will lead up to the kitchen, the other will lead up to what will become the living room/dining room (those bedrooms are no more). Earth tones will highlight different wall pieces. A deep red for the partial walls (before you get to the railings) and a lighter neutral tone for the larger walls. The ceiling is gone, replaced with a vaulted one that stretches from one wall, over the railing to the other end of the living room. The ceiling ties the two sections of house together. Exposed wood beams add to the warmth of the room. Everyone is welcome here, everyone has a voice here, everyone can be seen here. This room will hold many birthdays, holidays, parties, and gatherings. This room will give peace, harmony, and shelter. This room will feel happiness, anger, joy, sadness, acceptance, and, above all, love.

Now I just have to get from NOW to SOON—someday.

Right Now

Buried
Trapped
Stuck
Lost
Muck so thick you can’t move your feet
Fog so thick you can’t see the path

Clawing
Searching
Fighting
Clinging
There has to be beauty amongst the trees
There has to be strength from the struggle

Wait
Hope
Pray
Scream
The muck will end
The fog will lift
Beauty will be found
Strength will be awarded

Christmas in October

Anticipation.
I am like a kid at Christmas.
I have planned and plotted.
I have hoped and prayed.
Waiting…waiting…waiting
Will we get it?
Will it be ours?
The wait is killing me.
I want to unwrap my present.
I want to see what’s inside.
I want to know if I am getting my heart’s desire.
Waiting…waiting…waiting
Will we get it?
Will it be ours?
I have done my part, now the closing.
Some head scratching required.
Some demolishing required.
Some assembly definitely required.
Until that final day, I sit here
Waiting…waiting…waiting.
Will we get it?
Will it be ours?
I will know this weekend.
Until then I am like a kid at Christmas.

The Moment

This was “THE ONE!” I don’t know how I know—I JUST DO!!
Our house has been on the market since May. Everyone loves it, no one wants to buy it. My sister-in-law is a realtor and has been sending us “possibilities” every day. I have seen big houses, little houses, scary houses, hoarder houses, little old lady houses, and everything else imaginable. Since the school year began it has been my husband’s task to walk through houses every so often. He goes through the ones that are definite possibilities; most of which he crosses off the list for one infraction or another. But not with “THE ONE!” He has already walked through it, sent some of his own pictures, and made an appointment to come back.
So here I stand in the alcove where the kitchen meets the entry way. With tears in my eyes and no words to express just how right this house feels, I know that I am home. I can see my kids playing in the driveway. I can plan just where the basketball hoop will be. I can see the pictures I will take on those stairs as they get ready to leave for dances or graduations. I can smell cookies baking in the oven, and know that my family will be over for Christmas. And since this house is “THE ONE,” I know that my mother-in-law will be right out that back door, drinking her coffee and being part of my kids lives, just like when my grandma lived with us growing up. This home is suppose to be ours, no not suppose to. This home is meant for us. It has chosen us, as sure as we have chosen it. This home with its missing siding and yellowing walls. This home with its ratty carpeting and burned out kitchen. This home with its ash and soot, burned master bedroom and hole in the roof, mildew in the basement and grime on what windows remain. This house is “THE ONE” and all it will take is a vision, some elbow grease, and a whole lot of TLC. Now we just have to get to the closing.

Summer Changes

I just took a moment and reread my last post. House is still on the market and crazy still exists in my life. However, some changes occurred over the summer that I embrace for all their worth. My kids are another school year older. For me, that means 4th grade and 1st grade. Girl issues begin and boy silliness ensues. Both my kids love school and are excited to return. They get new teachers, new classrooms, new desks, new school supplies, and new shoes. Change has come in the form of bigger sizes for growing bodies. My daughter is almost as tall as me (and loves to rub it in). My son is working on riding his bike and “practices” every time I take out the dog. Big changes have come and will continue to arrive on my doorstep.
I am another summer wiser. I took steps to improve my stress, prioritize my life, and eat healthier. I saw a nutritionist and no longer make excuses for being hungry or not having time to eat. I stop to enjoy the smaller things in life and work hard to grow relationships with those around me.
Summer has a way of changing things, and as the new year starts, those changes trickle over into our classroom. Teachers are excited, looking for more creative ways to set up their classrooms, looking for more information to share with their students, looking for more engaging ways to challenge their students. The bar is higher this year than last year for myself and those around me. Summer has a way of changing you, of giving you a fresh perspective. Embrace it.