Saturday, January 30, 2010


The kitchen redo is done (well 95%), the curtains and pictures have been hung, many nights have been spent learning the creeks and moans of our new house. I love our house. I have said this before and will say it again. I just can't shake the part of me that wishes that our
first home could be at "home", in Minnesota.

Let me start by proclaiming how lucky I am. Ian found a school relatively close to "home"*. He could have ended up in numerous places around the country but he didn't, he ended up here. Still I
think I mistook Chicago for being more similar to Minnesota than it is. Minnesota nice had never occurred to me before living here and smiling at strangers on a walk and having them look you up and down as if to say "what the heck does she want?" instead of responding with a grin.

I am a person who very much needs to feel at home*. I left Indiana because it did not feel like home. Conversely I knew I had to go to St. Olaf because the whole campus felt like home. All of our apartments and now house in Oak Park have eventually felt like home and while parts of Oak Park feel like home, most of the area does
not. I feel out of place wherever I go, and very alone.

I'm realizing that the most important parts of home are not the
decorations, furniture or paint colors, but the people. I took for granted that I had so many wonderful people in my life and now, while still a phone call away, they are not nearly as close as I need them.

Sure I would love to have someone to watch Ainsley for an hour so I could go work out or go grocery shopping without her trying to jump out of the cart. But mostly, I just want companionship. Adult
companionship. I have found some great people here but our meetings are so few and far between. And when I really need someone, like the time both Ian and I were struck with terrible stomach flu, I feel uncomfortable calling the few friends I have.

I feel like it would be easier to make new friends if I had the comfort and security of having good friends and family close already. I am now that desperate mom searching for any 2 minute connection, like a 45 year old on speed dating. The truth is, while those 2 minute connections at the library or park are satisfying for the moment they don't come close to satiating my need for true companionship. I miss those effortless relationships with old friends. I miss being able to pop home for dinners or just to say hi.

I feel stuck right now like finding good friends here is going to be so hard. Like everyone already has their "posse" set up and I am the
only one alone for the ride. I know tomorrow, or maybe Monday, will be better. I just wish someone would go ahead and invent teleportation and make my life a whole lot more bearable.

*"home" as in Minnesota, home as in the figurative feeling of home.

To end on a happier note, here are some recent photos of 13 month old Ainsley and the house.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

After nearly two months of moving, renovating, decorating, shopping, wrapping, planning, travelling, and celebrating I finally feel ready, and excited to re-enter the "real world".

It's bizarre to think that my version of the real world keeps changing. In childhood it was my parents home, dance parties before bed and weekends playing with friends. In college it was a dorm room shared with friends and a glass of wine before bed. In marriage it's been numerous apartments, grocery shopping, trips to the farmers markets and resale shops. Living in a house, our home, now gives me a new constant that I haven't had in a very long time. It feels GOOD!

I LOVE our new house. More every morning when I wake up, more every time I come back from an errand, more with each new crack I find in the 85 year old plaster walls. True love.

The kitchen renovation is 95% complete thanks almost entirely to my amazingly talented Uncle, dad, and family members. It looks so great. I'll post some pictures once we get the backsplash up (the last 5%). I finally put paintings up and photos on ledges. Even though a few rooms will still get painted I couldn't wait any longer. It's really starting to come together.

Ainsley is as kantankerous as ever. She did amazingly well on our almost 2 week trip to MN for Christmas, her birthday, and baptism. It was quite the trip.

I cannot believe that my baby is one year old. I kept telling people that I finally realize why mom's have this urge to re-live the birth of their child at their birthdays. While it's of course their day it's yours too. I sat there on Christmas Eve (Ainsley's birthday) watching her smash cake in her face and rip open presents with a huge grin on her face remembering her birth one year ago. Not in the traumatic, pain ridden way. No, I remembered meeting my daughter for the first time. Watching her emerge in the tub and be swiftly and gently placed on my bare chest. The midwife counting her fingers and toes. Somehow moving to the bed and feeding her for the first time. Sleeping with her nestled between Ian and I in the queen sized bed. All of those months of anticipation, and weeks of worry on bedrest, culminating in these perfect moments. The moments that Ian and I truly became a family. It was just the most amazing time of my life.

Even when I've had the roughest day with Ainsley, those days when she will not nap, or eat, or sit down for 1 second, I miss her when she goes to sleep. I want to sneak upstairs and nudge her awake just to kiss her soft baby cheek one more time and hear her heartwarming laugh. I want Ian to turn on his crazy old timey music one more time and watch her bob up and down and sway side to side, dancing. I want to chase her around the dining room table listening to her squeal with delight as I almost catch her, but not quite. I want to watch her babble into the phone for hours on end talking to who knows about who knows what. I want to grab her and hold her for the 2 seconds that she'll let me before squirming away, only to run back up to me with her arms outstretched. She's growing up so fast.

I don't know that I will ever get over how definitive Ainsley's personality has been since birth. I truly feel that she is this whole little person just slowly unveiling her intentions and self as she sees fit. I have been blessed to be chosen to be here to watch her learn and grow and love her almost to death. I'm tearing up just thinking about my love and pride for that little girl.

Tomorrow when I'm not feeling so sentimental I'll tell you about how she ran around the library today screaming in happiness, taking books away from 2 year olds and grabbing their faces. Now that's my girl.