Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hump Day Nuggets

I'm sitting by the fire, drinking wine after a great streak of days.  As usual, I just want to bottle up life just as it is, and simultaneously go back and forth in time.

Life seems to be finally settling.  Have I said that before?  The truth is this first year here has been wonderful, but rocky.  Ainsley still cries about missing her old friends and our house and neighbors, even asking if we can just go back and knock on the door and tell them we changed our mind, can we please have our home back?  My heart breaks because I'm a feeler too.  I know what she's feeling and I hate that I can't make it better.  All I can do is surround her with love and the goodness that's all around us here.  It's just going to take more time than we'd hoped.

We decided to go to the cabin last minute last week.  It's our first MEA in Minnesota after all! (four day weekend for my Oak Park peeps)  It was so incredibly wonderful.  I started a new knitting project after finishing Louise's sweater.  We kept ourselves busy and lazed just enough.  I planned well mostly in that I cooked everything here (chili and  meatballs and potatoes) and just had to heat things up and cook simple things there (TJ's pancake mix and pumpkin rolls are the best!)

'Now we are home and looking forward to Halloween.  We are having a cousin party at our house and trick or treating with new friends and that all feels really good.   This week I've had fun making costumes for the girls.  Felix needed a store bought Iron Man because I knew I couldn't do that justice on my own!

I've been loving the weather, cool and beautiful, a few dark rainy days here and there.  Perfect for fires and knitting and being out and about getting things done.  That's Felix up there giving me the thumbs up for his first bread machine bread of the season (accompanied by Smitten's Beef, Barley and Leek soup - so incredibly good and easy.  He's also a superb yarn winder.  When I ask him to help he runs to get the winder out of the cupboard in the dining room and after I get it set up he does the whole thing.  I love that little guy.  (the red yarn is for a new sweater for Ainsley, Louise wants one in off white because I suggested a neutral might be good, oh that girl!)

Now a complete digression...
I want to share something personal, about mental health.  I hadn't been to a "proper" doctor in years.  I'd seen only midwives since I got pregnant with Ainsley and since we're done with that phase of life it was time to find a doctor here.  I was scheduled for a full workup in September and was so sure they were going to find something catastrophic.  Cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid cancer, some kind of incurable horrible cancer.  But you know what?  I'm completely healthy.  Except, I still have debilitating anxiety and depression.  I'd been on medication from high school until right before I got pregnant with Ainsley.  Then off it since because it wasn't life threatening.

It's been over three years since Felix was born and I've struggled so much.  For some reason as a mom I thought more than ever that I should be able to overcome it on my own.  But I wasn't.  I was miserable most days, but the few good days I'd get every once in a while were enough to convince me that I was going to make it.  Well, I decided to come clean at my exam.  Thankfully they made me take a mental health questionnaire and well, I failed.  I've been on medication for over 4 weeks now and I feel like a new person.  I decided to write about this in case anyone else in in the same boat.  It was so hard for me to admit that I couldn't fix my problems on my own. But here I am, doing so much better.

Ah, so life is settling in.  I pinch myself every day.  I love it here so much.  I wish I could meld Oak Park and here together somehow.  This will be life I think.  Figuring out how to meld it all together, and being thankful for what's right in front of us, all the while.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Biking and Yardwork and Decorating, Oh My!

Ah fall.  It continues to be my favorite.  Just last weekend I went biking on the trail, past the lake, into Excelsior for lunch and baby shower planning.  When I got home I walked in the door and demanded that Ian do the same, bike to the lake that is.  I still pinch myself almost daily that we are here, in this perfect spot, Minnesotans again, all five of us.

Felix and I have been living it up while the girls are in school.  I find I have to keep our plans on the down low or the girls get crazy jealous.  If they do, I simply remind them I had this time with them too when they were little.  They still think it's dramatically unfair.  I hear that, but what's a mama with her last little baby to do?

trike ride around the neighborhood

burley/bike ride to the park

picnic lunch at a park preserve after biking to the library

The Arboretum

Lunch with daddy on his telecommute day

Iron Man!

We've been biking everywhere.  If Felix had his way he'd chug along in that trike all day.  I compromise by doing one lap around the neighborhood and then hitching up the burley for the hilly miles long bike rides to our destinations.  I know I'll always miss the walkability of our old home, but I LOVE all of the biking.

Here are a few measly photos of the house, well more the decorations for fall and our new piano!!!!  I keep promising myself I'll take proper house photos when the house is mostly clean that one day a week that it is, then I never do.  Someday soon.  

I've finally begun to tackle the clean up of the yard for winter.  Bit by bit things are getting cut back and tidied.  I knew that it was going to be a big job and it is, but I love having the sun on my face and my helper Felix by my side and those gorgeous mums popping up everywhere don't hurt one bit.

This week I'm looking forward to the girls' conferences.  I love both of their teachers so much and they both seem to really be finding their groove in school.  I really love my morning alone, exercising and moving at my own pace for a bit.  This week I hope to start some new knitting projects. I finally finished Ruth and Dan's afghan and now I hardly know what to do with myself.  Perhaps finally finish our quilt top?  And of course the girls' costumes need to be made, though after seeing the Wizard of Oz for the first time tonight they're both reconsidering being munchkins instead.  Ha!  We'll see!


I cannot believe that it is already October!  The first month of school flew by.  It was almost one full year ago that I got the call from Ian that we were moving to Minnesota.  In a few short weeks we'll have been here for one full year.  One full year!

It still feels bittersweet at times for us all.  Ainsley was crying again the other day about missing her old school and friends, reminding us that she's going to go to college in Chicago and what are the chicago colleges again? I love imagining my girl all grown up going back to her hometown for college.

Ian and I both miss friends and neighbors a lot (yes all of you!!!!) I find I'm not an adult who jumps in easily to things.  I'm friendly (I hope!) but it takes a lot for me to make a true connection with someone.  I miss the ease with the friends I had there.  It's invigorating and exhausting all at once to have so many new faces here still.

I am so excited to have fall this year.  Last year fall was completely chaotic.  This year we are home.  We have everything in place.  The girls are loving school, after school spanish, dance classes, seeing friends.  Felix is loving preschool, staying after for lunch bunch, his sports camp with his cousin.  I am loving a few mornings a week to myself.  I get to workout at our gym, get errands done quickly and easily.   On Fridays Ian works from home and last week it dawned on us that we could go out to lunch, just us two, so we did.  It's a new phase of life for all of us.  It is so good right now.

After months of being outside in the garden and yard, at parks and on bikes, I'm preparing for the months ahead inside.  Our house feels almost entirely set up.  We got things up on the walls this summer which helped immensely and just yesterday brought home our (new to us) baby grand piano.  In a stroke of complete serendipity my childhood piano teacher was selling hers.  We spend a lot of time every day gathered around the piano, dancing, making music.  It's all I'd hoped it'd be.

I am loving fall cooking and preparing for holidays.  I found a few fun things at our thrift shop to decorate with, and am discovering new favorite recipes and unearthing old stand bys.  I cannot wait for the chicken wild rice soup and beef stew this week.  It's supposed to cool down big time after today.  We've already turned the heat on for a bit and I have a feeling it will go on for good in the next few days.  I can't wait for evening fires and lots of yummy things baking and bubbling away in the kitchen.

I am slowly finding my new groove.  Felix has pretty much stopped napping which has changed my days.  It's the first time in almost 8 years that I can't count on a few hours of time in the afternoon.  I honestly don't mind.  I have my mornings and I am so acutely aware that I have two years left with my boy before he too heads off to full day school.  I'm hanging on with both hands right now.

Today I am thankful for the rain.  I'll get the girls out the backdoor to the bus and Felix and I will hunker down.  Spice playdough? an art project or two? some reading and puzzles and blocks and knowing my guy some sword fights or chasing games around the house.  Then perhaps a nap together (the only way he'll nap) and if I'm lucky a bit of time to myself to finally finish our quilt top or cut out a dress pattern for Louise.  Maybe at least a moment to order my fall project yarn?  We'll see.