Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Making it!

These are all the photos that I have from our two weeks in Minnesota so far.  Ian's taken many more and I'm thankful for that.  It's been a full amazing HARD time and we are so happy.

Our belongings arrive from Oak Park next week.  I am so looking forward to settling into our new home.  The girls, Ainsley in particular, have been struggling off and on with missing home and as comfortable and lovely and amazing as my parents home is, I know we're all craving our space.  I can't wait to set up the kids rooms and arrange things and make it ours.  It's one of the best things about moving.  It's almost here!

Ian seems to be settling well into work, looking forward to the bit of time that will be shaved off of his commute at our new address, but enjoying it still.

I am anticipating having so little to worry and think about and how grand that will feel.  I am constantly feeling like I'm forgetting something and soon enough I'll get to just melt into our new place and my favorite time of year and it's going to be so amazing!

Right now my groove involves a lot of driving and trying to remember where things are amongst seemingly endless bags and suitcases.  My parents are handling the chaos that we've brought remarkably well.  I feel like running around screaming AHHH!!!!! most of the time.  BUT!  The girls are doing great in school.  The end of last week was challenging for Ainsley but I think we're either over that hump or seeing the light a bit or something because today was the best drop off we've had and we have four holiday days in front of us to get our bearings again.  Moving is hard, parenting is hard, those two together is  quite a bit for us all!

I'm thankful for so many things this year, not having to drive 7+ hours to celebrate with family is definitely high on that list! ;o).  I'm excited to share our new home with everyone soon and wish you all a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Craving, Pausing.

This morning we woke up to steady hard rain.  Ian was up with the birds and had to come get me on his way out.  I've turned into quite the sleeping beauty lately and today the kids all joined me.  It was wonderful, until I realized that it meant go time big time with Ian gone to work and my mom and dad up at the cabin.  It was my first morning getting all three ready for school and out to the car and walking in to drop off the still a bit reticent girls then across town a bit for Felix's first day of preschool at his new school.  Phew.
We made it!

Now I sit after all of that and a few quick errands sipping on coffee calculating how much time I have before I need to motivate to tidy a bit more before I have to get Felix.  Today life almost feels normal.

I've found through bursts of excitement and angst these past weeks I am so craving normal.  During a particularly acute attack of panic over all the change my dad suggested envisioning a Christmas Tree, all decorated and glowing, calm and joyful.  The tree of course representing a time in the not so distant future when we will be in our new house with our belongings, the girls and Felix with more weeks of school under their belts.  A time when we'll all be sinking in a bit more into this new life here.

This stepping stone period at my parents has been lovely.  We are getting so much help and support while having time to wrap up the things that need doing and get our toes wet in our new rhythms.  I have been enjoying being in the kitchen again though I won't lie and say it's been easy.  I'm struggling to think of things to make and having a hard time motivating to do much more than the bare minimum.  It's been a big few weeks and I'm trying to cut myself some slack but I wish it were easier to jump back in.

Thursday, November 12, 2015


We're here, we made it!  I arrived with my mom and the kids a few days ago.  We were greeted by an eager missing us (and us missing him!) daddy.  and Pop, of course Pop.  For the past 8 years we've come here to vacation, to escape from our semi-urban life and relax. Now we are here for good and there is much to do and it's so different, and so entirely wonderful.

I was hoping upon arriving that all things would fall into place and I would just melt and relax and breathe a little.  I have a bit but am off and on very anxious about all the change, how it's all going to feel, how final things will pan out.  Then STOP.  We're so incredibly fortunate and as hard as it's been to wait for all of this it's here and it's more than I could have imagined and better than it would have been even months ago.

For instance, I dropped the girls off at their new school this morning.  Even last year I doubt Ainsley would have been able to make it out the door.  My big girl walked right in, beamed when she saw her desk with her name proudly displayed, excited to read two girls' names next to hers.  New friends!
And Louise, she's doing great.  A bit more clingy and weepy than usual but brave and happy and doing it.  I couldn't be prouder.
Even Felix has new things to enjoy.  Ian had veterans day off so we both dropped the girls off at school and took Felix to his new preschool to walk around.  He seems very excited for his new school and I so thankful we found such a wonderful place for him to spent the next three years.

Now Ian is back at work and I'm giving myself a day "off" to just relax and be normal for a bit.  We close on our new house Friday and move in 2.5 short weeks later.  We walked through again last night and if possible I love it even more.  We're not going to go nuts getting new things to fill up the space but there are a few things I'm very excited to get and spending most of my free time scouring for deals and finding those things.
It was so fun being with my mom as she saw the house for the first time.  There's nothing like a mom helping you envision your space and your life there to help really put the icing on the cake.

The kids are all SO excited for their new rooms.  For now they all seem to be very excited to have their own spaces so we'll go with it.  I'm excited to help them make their rooms their own.  The girls are old enough to have their own ideas and visions.  It's an exciting time! (have I used that word too much?!)
Felix is up napping off a tiny fever.  I hope he's better soon.  I head off to pick the girls up from school in a bit after putting come chicken in the oven.  My mom and I are alternating cooking nights (to be fair she's cooking way more than I am) still I'm excited to cook again without the worry of messing up our kitchen for showings or having to find things I've already packed.  It's making me that much more excited to cook in our new kitchen soon!

Ian took some great photos of the kids at school yesterday that I hope to be able to share soon.  For now picture us lounging at my parents, me driving around getting things done and taking the girls to and fro and loving this transition back to Minnesota.
We're home!

Friday, November 6, 2015

One Last Time

I've imagined leaving this place almost since we arrived.  I remember starting this blog, writing about looking at homes in Minnesota and whether we should buy a house or not because DUH! we won't be here long!  I was a bit checked out before I even got here.

I've told countless people that I feel like I just got my groove here in the past two years.  I was able to shed my homesickness just enough to really open up to this place and I truly fell a bit in love.
I love being able to walk just about anywhere we want.  I am going to miss walking to the bakery for bread each week so much and our little adorable amazing library just over the bridge too.  I am going to miss our giant park and filed just up the street and the pool in the summer, oh the pool.  I am going to miss walking to pick the girls up from school (and I'm SO thankful I don't have to do that anymore at the same time).  I am going to miss walking out our front door and having 10 friends right there all at once.  I am going to miss dinners and weekend breakfasts with neighbors, the farmers market, the Botanic Gardens.  I'm going to miss my quiet Saturday mornings while Ian takes the kids downtown.  I'm going to miss hearing about those adventures too.

And the people, our friends, of course.  When you don't have family close the friends you make become even more important.  Our friends, neighbors, meant everything to us here.  We hope to keep in good touch.  We know we'll never find just what we found here.

Now that the day is here I feel calm and panic too if that's possible.  There are so many things that I didn't get to do one last time.  There just wasn't any spare moment this week.  I resent a bit that our last days here were so hurried and flurried.  Though! We've lived life full here.  We've soaked it all up and the memories we've made will be lasting and good.  I'm excited to look back on our time here and remember so many wonderful things.  The girls are already filled with anecdotes to tell their new friends.

It's our last night in this house. These walls where we brought toddling Ainsley into and jaundiced smiling Louise home from the hospital and where Felix was born just upstairs.  It's where I've averaged 22 hours a day (I'm sure of it) inside with my children, playing, crafting, dancing, singing, learning, squabbling, snuggling.

The more I process this move the less sentimental I become.  I know these walls and streets and places don't hold our memories, we do.

Oak Park, you were more than I ever could have imagined.  It's been grand.  I'm ready and excited for what's next.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Final Countdown

Felix woke up before 5 AGAIN today.  Ainsley was close behind. Ian says he's been up crazy early too in MN so perhaps it's just all this newness and excitement and angst.  We're all feeling it!

The kids have actually been doing so so well.  I am floored by how well Felix is doing, basically spending his days in the house watching me pack or being toted around to countless tiny inane errands (though he did love watching the machine at the hardware store make our new keys).  He is so very helpful and sweet. 

Ainsley is really blowing me away as well. She is probably 98% excited, very little worry or sadness from her so far.  I'm expecting sadness Friday as we say goodbye to their school but she is also so very excited for Minnesota.  She is old enough that she can power through a bit more and more fully understands everything.  I know on the other side she is going to be very nervous for her new school and teacher and friends but we're taking it a step at a time.  So far so good!

Poor Louise is the one struggling the most. She's been on a roller coaster of emotion and I'm sad to admit I'm nearing the end of my patience with her frequent outbursts.  I know it's because her emotions are just amplified versions of my own.  Yesterday it was even worse because we were getting flu shots after school and she was so terrified.  She was brave despite it all though and now I'm hoping after a VERY good cry, that we are over the hump.  
I'm coming to school Friday to read a book to each of the girls classes, then it's Felix's last musikgarten class, cleaning out food and garbage from the house one last time and packing up the van.  It's coming so fast, ah!!!

I'm doing well, nervous about getting it all done and the house selling before we have to move our furniture out at the end of the month, but hopeful and trusting that it's all going to go well.  I am getting very excited myself.  Now that the end of the packing and cleaning and house showing is near I can finally start to imagine what it's going to look like.  
I am really excited to be at my parents for three weeks.  I think it's going to be a good transitions for us all.  It's where we always stay when we're in MN so it's familiar to the kids and very comfortable and fun.
I'm so excited for Thanksgiving there and the first snowfall and driving the girls to their new school and taking them to dance and shopping at new grocery stores and cooking big fall family meals again.  I think I'm officially sick of take out, just in time!

I asked the kids to help me think of some meals to make while we're staying with my parents, Ainsley and Felix said nothing and Louise suggested mashed potato french fries, so I think I'm on my own there.  Lots of slow long cooked delicious things for sure.

Of course I'm excited for our new house, our new family life in Minnesota.  Ian is loving his new job and I am so thankful for that.  To hear his happy relieved voice on the phone has really gotten me through these last trying days of parenting on my own and packing and readying.
I'm even letting myself think about Christmas a bit.  Planning gifts for the kids and imagining how our first holiday in our new home will look.  We've always had a big birthday brunch at my parents house for Ainsley's birthday on Christmas Eve and this year we can do it at our house!  It may seem like a small thing, but to take the hassle of travel out of our lives a bit and just be there, it's going to change our lives.

The girls are both most excited for their new rooms.  While we were hoping to keep the girls together they are pretty set on their own spaces and I'm leaning towards letting them try it out.  There is a bright white and light green bedroom that Ainsley has fallen in love with and a lilac room that Louise loves.  There is even a room with a blue wall for Felix and while it feels silly to spread the kids all out I am thankful that we can do it and brainstorming ways to make their rooms guest friendly when we do need them to bunk up together.  (a daybed with a trundle for Ainsley, a double bed for Louise?)  The good news about being so cheap with furniture for so long is that I don't mind revamping a bit.  And the girls will be so very delighted.

I am so excited to get there and start sharing our new life with you all.  It's funny that I started this blog to keep family and friends in Minnesota abreast of our Chicago adventures and now I can keep it going to stay in touch with friends in Oak Park.
Just three more days.  Positive thoughts please that I can get it all done!  I'm feeling the pressure big time!