Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January's End

I can hardly believe January is nearing it's end.  This fall was such a whirlwind I was hoping winter would slow down a bit.  Though yesterday Louise was pondering the seasons while we romped out back in the snow.  When will it be summer mama? And we went through the months, counting the 2 more left in winter, 3 in spring and then finally those final june days, the first of summer.  So much can happen between then and now, and firstly there's quite a bit of winter left.  I'm comforted in both those facts today.

There's been a tragedy in my family.  My Uncle unexpectedly died.  He was just a year older than my own dad.  He left behind my aunt, one of the most loving caring amazing women I know, and my two grown male cousins, younger than me by just a bit.

It's really rocked my world.  After a life filled mostly with sunshine and rainbows the reality of the fragility of our time here has hit hard in recent years.  It's woken me up to my own life, helped me learn to let the little things go a bit more.  I'm still far from the model of a mother and wife and human I wish to be, but I'm trying.

It's made we wonder why we all let the little things bother us so much?  I was at the grocery store check out last week and forgot AGAIN about my new chip credit card that I had to insert rather than swipe.  It meant having to redo the transaction and perhaps 45 seconds more of my time.  I laughed as I told the cashier I'd goofed, could she please try that again?  She laughed too then thanked me for not losing my cool like so many others about the new chip cards.  It made me so sad.  I surely lose my cool over unnecessary things, I did it just this morning when Louise was talking in her funny lisp voice so I couldn't understand her and coughing directly into my face over and over.  It doesn't matter!  I have my life and my family and this beautiful new home.  It's not worth spending the energy or anger over chip cards and fake lisps.

Moving has been good in so many ways, and hard in ways I hadn't considered.  I am loving having a fitness club to go to.  Just this morning I went on a non school day for Felix and he played happily for 45 minutes in the child care room while I run my just sub 9 minute miles (and I know they are now because of the treadmill!) I took him the indoor playground just in the basement where he played for approximately 5 minutes before coming to find me to tell me he's tired and wants to go home.  It's so amazing to have that in our lives right now.  IT feels like a new amazing chapter in so many ways!

I'm vowing to re-up my game and document life a bit better.  If anything as these years pass time is speeding up too.  I look at my children and can hardly believe how big they are.  One step at a time right now.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter is Good.

I am officially feeling desperate for a sense of order around here.  Does anyone recall how long it took them after moving to get a system down for things?  Papers, laundry, cleaning, it all seems so up in the air right now!  It's a little thrilling to think we have the chance for a fresh start here, a bit daunting too.  I'm trying to rekindle the things that worked well for us and revamp the things that need changing.  It feels like a lot right now.

I am eager to get the girls more involved in housework.  I need to let go of my tendancy to do things the way I want them done and let them take part.  I think even a weekly rotation of chores is too much to ask right now, so perhaps just a simple chore or two they are responsible for always.  For me bathroom cleaning and dishes are the hardest to motivate for.  Ian usually sets the table and we all help clear.  I'd also love help with dinner some nights.  I used to be so much better about involving the kids and now in our bigger kitchen I need to make good on my promise to get them cooking more.

I've also been struggling with learning tasks with the kids.  Louise is on the cusp of reading more fluently and Ainsley is at the stage where she'd like to be reading chapter books but it's still a bit of work and she tires after a few pages and gets frustrated.  I'm hoping this winter to get their rooms more in order so that quiet reading time up there is more appealing.  Mostly I'm just letting things go for now and giving in to the urge to explore and nest in our new space.

I all but botched my first pair of pants for Felix on the sewing machine this weekend.  I was so confident in my idea that I just blazed ahead and they are the silliest shape imaginable.  I think for now I'll stick to simpler projects that are needed, gators for Montana and a few more knit hats.  I found a great quick pattern that I made for myself and the girls are envious.  Don't mind if I do!

This week cooking feels a bit unfun again.  I have enough in the fridge that I don't want to overdo it, but nothing sounds terribly exciting.  I'm hoping for inspiration while at dance today with the girls so I can jot down some winners.

I went to Target and ran into my sister which is just stupendous.  Put that in the category of "things that would never happen in Oak Park".  In addition to the needs I bought myself a few new things to wear to church.  I know church doesn't care, but I do that I only have a pair of black pants and two "churchy" sweaters.  These pants I found I may never take off.  I've also found a few very comfy blouses that should dress up those black pants nicely.  Yay Christmas money!

This week I'm excited for venturing into potty training with Felix again (perhaps for real this time?), getting organized, delving into making for this house a bit more.  Winter is good for all of these things.

This Week 1/4

This week has been wonderful so far.
For once I was VERY ready for school to start.  The girls were nervous and I had to lift Louise up onto the bus steps to get her to go but they made it and it's been mostly smooth sailing since.  Felix went back to school Monday as well and I very much enjoyed my solo trip to the co-op and a quiet house to make lots of phone calls.  Mondays the girls have dance.  After getting everything ready and meeting them at the bus stop and ushering them to the car and speeding over I realized they have one more week of break.  Louise cried and the rest of us laughed.  We went to the bakery to get some giant cookies and bread and that pretty much made up for it.

Tuesday night I finally made Giada's Roast Chicken and Ian told me to put it on the list.  "You know, mommy used to make food like this all the time when we were newly married."  I guess my standards have slipped.  I will say anytime I can motivate to make something during nap time I don't regret it.  That chicken was dressed with nicely prepared veggies and all ready in the fridge for Ian to pop in the oven as I took Ainsley, with Louise and Felix, to their new pediatrician.  It was nice to come home to a delicious ready meal!

Yesterday was the best yet.  After taking Felix to school I headed straight to a local fitness center I've been hearing about and signed us all up.  The price is so good, even better with health insurance reimbursement, and there's a splash pad and indoor playground for the kids. I'm kind of over the top excited for having this as an option this winter.

When the girls got home from school Ainsley lingered outside to make fairy homes in the snow while Louise and Felix and I made kale chips for snack.  I'd never made them before as kale is the one leafy green I just really don't like.  I will say I liked it much better all crispy roasted and slightly salty, the kids liked it too.  Then Ainsley came in to join us and we tried a new art project, microwave puffy paint.  They LOVED it and it was pretty easy to set up.  They were able to do it all by themselves (Felix too!), microwave and all.  I love independent projects that hold their attention and challenge their creativity! (It's amazing how just giving them circular plates to paint on rather than rectangular paper changes how they use the white space.)  After that I dumped out a bag of pom poms for a few simple activities. Felix loved dropping them from a paper towel tube into a bowl and then they all loved sweeping them across the floor into a square I'd made with tape.

I've been enjoying some quick knitting projects of late.  Gators for the kids and Ian, finally finishing Felix's sweater, some headbands and a new hat for me.  I'm also trying to get my sewing lined up.  Felix needs a new pair of quick change trousers and I may make some for the girls as well.  It's going to start getting COLD!

We've needed to do nothing moving into this house, which has been lovely, but I find it's leaving me antsy to put our stamp on it.  For now I'm excited to make a few new valances for the dining rooms, and eventually the living room, and some for Ainsley's room as well.  I'd never thought to make valances before but all of our bedrooms have simple pull shades and valances and I love them.  It give the windows a bit of interest without blocking too much light. Oh and the LIGHT in this house!  We are situated on a small hill.  The front of the house gets the morning sun and the back gets the evening sun, with the dining room, powder room and kitchen getting light all day long.  I can't even imagine in summer how bright and wonderful it's going to be.  On the few bluebird days we've had it's been glorious.

I've also been couch shopping.  We're one living space short in seating and once we take the Christmas trees out of the living room it's going to feel so bare!  I'm excited to continue to settle in and add our own touches.

Today I am VERY excited to take Felix to the fitness center for the first time.  He can't wait for the splash pad and playground.  I'm excited to try out the nursery and get a little work out in if possible.  I'm really loving not having too much scheduled with the kids.  I love having time afterschool wtih all three to do fun things and play and my mornings with Felix to do more of the same.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

In the New Year

Right this minute I should be filling out health forms to take to our new pediatrician.  I could also be sweeping the kitchen for the 400th time or starting the felt garlands I promised for the kids rooms.  There's always so much to be done, isn't there?

I've waited to be back in Minnesota for so long.  In some darker moments these past two years I felt like being home was the only thing that could help me.  Now I'm here and realizing finally, certainly, that it's always a journey.

Back to school went pretty well for the girls.  They were both reluctant to go, a bit sad when they got home, happy to go again this morning.  It's a process for us all and I'm glad we're in it together.
I miss seeing Ian in the morning.  We've had coffee together every morning since college.  I remember buying that giant chair and a half when we were newly married for the sole purpose of sitting close and drinking coffee.  I'm trying to remind myself that in place of that are many great things, like the possibility of date nights, FINALLY! and more time together as a family in the afternoons.  Still, I'll always remember fondly those weekday coffee sipping mornings.

Today Felix and I ran a few errands.  I needed to get buttons for his sweater that I finished last night.  Poor boy is so confused as to why there are all these strings hanging off of his new sweater.  I just can't finish it fast enough for him!  On a side note, it is so disorienting to be shopping in all new stores, can I just say that.  I don't know where anything is anywhere and it's so flustering to me.  I keep thinking of summer and how by then hopefully I'll have a groove down pat.  It'll happen.

After JoAnn's and TJs I vaguely remembered a Caribou around the corner and took Felix for a hot cocoa date.  We sipped and chatted and I was astounded, again, always, by how big he is.  Just swinging his legs talking to me about school and his little life, slurping on hot cocoa.  Life has felt stressful lately dealing with all this moving and setting up our life here, but moments like that carry me a long long way.

I'm always so sad when Christmas is over, perhaps this year especially.  It felt like such a cushion.  I could just focus on the holiday and Ainsley's 7th birthday and not really deal with all those horrible odds and ends of moving (I have to take the written driving test, AGAIN?!!!)  Oh I just really dislike all of that.  I'm trying to see it as another opportunity to grow and learn and focus on all the good stuff in life.  Making our house a home, being with my family, ALL of my family, reconnecting with old friends, finding a groove to keep in touch with old friends.  This is the stuff of life that matters right?  Not the endless phone calls and checks written and stress induced wake ups.  There's always so much good.

I hope the New Year finds you all well!