sweet

A pre-dawn wake up call from the littlest one made for groggy beginnings. We somehow convinced both kids to stay in bed with us until almost 6:30 and then it was a flurry of bottle prep and cold pop tart eating in front of the end of Imagination Movers. With Connor fed I elected myself the breakfast fetcher, tossed on some yoga pants, a sweatshirt, pulled my hair back into a lackluster pony and hit the road. I went back roads toward Dunkies and instead pulled into the charming bagel shop, ordered up two egg sandwiches and two hot drinks. The place was bustling at 7:15. Fathers and husbands balancing bags of bagels with coffee carriers. A little family with kids still in pjs, loveys in hand, pranced in. The were sweet, they were happy, they looked just like us. I did my own balancing act at the car door, looking around as I got in, wondering if this was really home, if this was really my life. All those months of living in the same town and it has never felt quite like this, because this was permanent, this was real. That little yuppie lilly white family just like us... yeah, screw diversity. Being here never felt so right. I meandered on my way, on my quest to find the quicker back way, wondering these things aloud and in my head, is this really my life? I slowed for a turkey to cross the road and then watched a deer bound across the road ahead, scanning the brush for it's partner. A deer is never alone is it? I slowed to crawl as I passed by her and her friend, they watched me quivering, unsure, and I smiled at their pure white tails as they gazelle leaped away toward some other backyard and hopefully out of harms way. I turned into our neighborhood just a stone's throw from the deer crossing, passed by the houses of the new neighbors' bells we'll ring tonight and pulled into our driveway - our never felt so right home.

etched

We went grocery shopping, just her and I, to fill a cart with things that would be in the cupboards of our new house. That first trip, the one that you aren’t sure what you have at home, the one where you need to buy jarred minced garlic and ketchup, it’s exciting – it’s expensive – it’s lonnngg. Halfway through the store my little scanner helper asked when we were going to the new house. I made the error in telling her that the groceries we were buying were going to the new house, that WE were going to the new house, that WE were going to stay the night in the new house and live there forever and ever and ever. My little helper went from scanner queen to “are we done yet, Mommy?”


We drove the back roads to the house, around twisty 20 mph curves and hills, and arrived there just us two. Steve had gone back to his parents to load the car up again to overflowing. My parents were on their way. Connor was sleeping at Kiki’s.

She bolted through the garage and up the stairs. The house smelled of new paint and a turning page. It smelled like promise and hope and sugared cookies. I got down on my knees in front of her, looked into her brilliant chocolate eyes, held her hands tightly and told her we were home. This was her home. It was all hers. It would always be there for her, just like I would. I told her to go and see her room, her own wonderful “Robin’s Nest” colored room.

I have a photo of her racing down the hall in my mind, I have the sound of her excited squeal of preschool joy etched on my heart. I have the wet memory of that solitary tear that rolled down my cheek and onto the wooden floor at my feet.

measure


Kerry got this sign for me this past Mother's Day. Could there be a more perfect statement to describe how we feel about the ""official" move tomorrow. I didn't know in May exactly where it might hang someday, but I knew it would be close to here. I never would have imagined it would be right around the corner, but it is, a white split level house a four minute ride away. This sign will find a new home somewhere where we can see it everyday and be reminded of its truth - to count among our many blessings that we are here. Home.

It's been a ride, feeling longer and windier at some times than others. There were some real lows when the house fell through, when there were no showings at the house, when it felt like we were caught in some neverending inbetween. Never once over the past 7 months did we feel that we had outworn our welcome. Not once did we feel that we had better sell or find a house soon because things never got even a tiny bit icy. Sure, we forced a lot of reality tv on Steve's parents, but we found joy in our evenings spent with them in their family room talking about the house in CT, countless potential houses to purchase, the kids, potential jobs, life.

If we had known in March that it would have taken this long to get ourselves out of one house and into another, I would do it all again so long as we could have still had the gracious offer of sharing Steve's parents' home for all these months. We never could have done it long distance and all of the other countless options we could have come up with cope through the transition just would not have created the positive day to day we were so fortunate to experience. There were always extra hands, someone to step in when we needed it. Getting used to life without all that help is going to be hard, but that is not the only thing we will miss.

Modern Family is funnier with four watchers than two. Having someone agree that my husband texts with Marc an obscene amount felt gratifying. I enjoyed having more than just one other adult to cook for, even if it did hit the sleds when I went back to work. I actually kept a list of "things I learned while living with my mother-in-law." I briefly considering putting that list in place of this post, but I don't think learning how to properly set the table can compete with the actual experience of sharing this space with two amazing, adoring, always ready to go above and beyond role models for life, love and parenthood.

Thanks for all the talks, for all the support, the positivity, the love for our babies, and for being right that it WOULD happen, that it WOULD all work itself out. We're planning a special dinner for them, but how can you ever thank anyone properly for this? I suspect they might feel properly "thanked" when I note that I would do the same for one or both of my children, that keeping family together not just in spirit but in geography is paramount, that 7 months is but a sliver of time in a lifetime, and that those 7 months while at time challenging are a gift in disguise, an opportunity.

Kiki has everything she needs in her kitchen to make a gourmet meal or a perfect batch of funfetti cupcakes. Everything save one small thing. I didn't buy the cadillac because I know she doesn't need it. She measures with her eye; a dash of this, a smidge of that. She puts together a meal sans recipe and tweaks it over time. I hope she'll consider it a part of her kitchen, if only just a reminder that while we could measure the time we spent here together, it would be impossible to quantify the memories, the joys, the enlightenment of this most special and cherished time together.

Eagles!

A beautiful day for football

Packing paper and ibuprofen


We're getting there. Spent some time tonight doing the breakables kiddie free. The dining room and sideboard are all unpacked and we lost just a few minor things- not bad for nearly 7 months in storage and transit. Some of is have been under the weather this week- Connor had a bug last Wednesday until yesterdayish. His bum is so sad, but getting better. I pushed through a terrible creeping illness on tuesday that led to me driving home feeling like I was under the influence. Temp of 101.7. I walked right past my babies and husband and mil to crawl under the covers where I slept for 12 hours. My fever rose and broke several times the next day and I slept and slept and slept. We are getting better. Slowly. We'll be moved in this weekend. It is starting to feel and look like home.

Out

Rock of ages (awesome), karaoke bar (boys singing white snake)

7 random things

In the midst of the move you aren't getting much news and substance from me so THANK YOU to Colleen for tagging me for a 7 random things post.

1. When I was little I truly believed I could be anything I wanted to be. I took it to heart when a grown up reminded me that I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up as long as I could dream it... and in my dream I was going to be a tree.

2. When I sat in the back of the class in fifth grade and realized I couldn't see the blackboard, I was afraid to tell anyone because my father's airline was on strike and glasses surely were expensive.

3. My brother and I found a nest of baby birds that had fallen on the sidewalk (I believe from being ripped out from under the air conditioner) and tried to nurse them back to health. They didn't make it.

4. Brett and I spent an entire summer playing pitch and spades with our next door neighbors. We were such expert players that we took on and beat the best pitch players we had ever met - my grandfather and great uncle. We literally played every.single.day.

5. In college I often ate just pretzels for dinner.

6. I met my would be in laws with an eyebrow ring.

7. When I was a little girl playing with friends I always renamed myself either Stephanie (which is funny now that I am married to a Steven) OR Anastasia.

What lies ahead



All of this is going on a UHaul Thursday night in preparation for the move on Friday. Let's not forget the enormous Pod with all the furniture that will be arriving on Saturday morning. We've got a lot of back breaking work ahead of us and we couldn't be more excited. It's been a stressful week. Tempers are short. Anxiety is at peak level. Spontaneity is not tolerated.

I got the dreaded phone call from daycare today that Connor had fallen victim to the latest ailment making its way around school. "Two ridiculous poops in 30 minutes, one more and he would have to be picked up." The third strike never came, but the grand poop total for the entire day came to FIVE. 5! He was happy as a clam, just pooping his brains out.

Today's note from Miss Jenn:

"Connor was trying to do pull-ups on the cribs today! He was crawling and playing underneath them, the he would try to pull up to a stand and they would start to roll. He was hanging on for dear life! =) Have a nice night!"

I'd say his days in the infant day are numbered. What a menace! What an adorable, curious ball of anxiety inducing wonderful.

My mind is already racing forward to the brick mantle in the family room, the STAIRS, the spindles on the railing from the main level to the lower level. There are endless corners for him to explore in the new house and limitless things for me to panic over.

One more day until we turn the page...

Six is for candy

Today marks our Sixth Wedding Anniversary. With the assistance of my brother, Uncle Bubba, we enjoyed an absolutely amazing dinner last night that began with Philly Cheese Steak Spring Rolls and Ended with Banana Bread Pudding. Amazing. I'm sure my $12 Syrah Sangria helped me enjoy what was already an incredible meal. In my old age I noticed my heels slipping on the wood floor as we walked in, allowing me opportunity to walk slowly with poise to the exit despite my good to the last drop cocktail. With age comes wisdom and spice drops.

With the house purchase looming we agreed not to get each other a gift, but Steve picked up some spice drops and sour patch kids to mark the traditional 6th anniversary gift of Candy. We had already agreed to find a fabulous set of iron fireplace tools, the modern gift once the crazy settles down and we have lazy Sundays again. Lazy pajama Sundays that begin with Dunkin and Home Improvement, ease their way into football, and work up to fire and and a glass of wine with 60 Minutes. My God, we've completely gone soft haven't we?

We used the motivation of a day off when daycare is uncharacteristically open to get all the boxes out of Kiki and Papa's basement today, leaving Monday open for an early movie and lunch. As we talked through it we ended up with the following schedule of events: drop kids off at usual time (caro is a creature of habit and we HAVE to get there before the room fills up too much and becomes socially overwhelming to her), go directly to the grocery store, drop of groceries and make a 10:05 movie for the ???? price of 6.00, hit the all you can eat breadstick, salad, and soup lunch at olive garden, head home and throw the jimmy buffs into the oven. (thanks amanda for one of our favorite recipees!) So while you may be enjoying Columbus Day with a sale or sleeping in, we are pretending to be AARP cardholders for the day.

We have a few moving tasks to take care of on our day off, but we are feeling ahead of the game with the closing looming just 4 days away. FOUR days.

When we got married 6 years ago and the expanse of time lay ahead of us marked decidedly with a question mark, in our grandest dreams we would have a girl and a boy and be living in precisely the town we are going to live in. It seemed like an impossibility then and yet here we are, taking the roundabout way to our ideal, but attaining the seemingly unattainable nonetheless. The best decision I have ever made in life was to meet this adorable blue eyed quiet boy at the Parish Cafe. Knowing him has made all the difference. I am lucky, oh so lucky, and six years later, it feels just the same as it did the night I walked into that bar and sidled up to the cute BC kid that would become my husband. 

measurements

We went over to "the white house" tonight for a brief adventure with a measuring tape. Caroline came with us and ran right to her room at the end of the hall, full of light and excitement and my god, it was amazing. It was every reason we did this - all of this - the move to CT, the life we built, the move home - the risk we took to leave it all behind - all wrapped up in that little girl's absolute delight by her new house. The house that will become her home. The home she will grow up in. Home.

I've talked about it a lot. Maybe too much. I don't think I can talk about it enough. We looked around the house that isn't quite ours tonight and we could see the future. Sure, that future needs love and elbow grease, but we've got a lifetime to put our hearts into it and make it our palace.

I can see her mixing up some eggs at her kitchen in the family room. I can see Connor perfecting his teetering walk down the hallway. There is such excitement, such anxiety, such hope.

We pass papers in one week.

Halloween Snippet

It is the first year we have had to think of two children for Halloween. Caroline announced awhile ago that she wanted to be "Buzz Buzz Light Year To the Rescue" and she has stuck to this plan since. If you ask, it's Buzz. so Buzz it is! Connor has an adorable little Bat costume courtesy of his cousins, but I think the chunk may not be able to squeeze his fleshy thighs into the suit come end of October. We quickly coordinated the costumes and ordered a Toy Story Halloween, one buzz and one toy alien.

I just had to call India a la that new show "outsourced" to find out when exactly they think they might ship out that little alien costume because "where's my stuff?" shows no ship date whatsoever and my agent could not in fact be any more precise. I canceled and ordered elsewhere. Seems like we will see lots of little green alien toys out and about on October 31st... they might not however have a real Buzz Buzz to go with them house to house like our Connor will.

Caroline's costume came in the mail the other night and wow, was she ever excited to slip it on. In what has become a classic in this house, I put her shin guards on upside down... much like how I still cannot set the table properly NOR can I put her shoes on the correct feet. Once we got the shin guards on properly she went to the mirror to bask in her Buzzness, only to be utterly disappointed that her costume did not work. She pressed one of the buttons on her chest and looked up at me sadly when it did not work. When we informed her that SHE would have to do the talking and say "to infinity and beyond!" she wanted out of that broken costume. Girlfriend better get it together and learn the lines before trick or treat or mommy better get online and find some sound files to steal for her.

Our little pair of Toy Story characters... reminds me of a certain sister and brother who went out one year as an orange toothbrush and a tube of Crest. It was awesome, MORE awesome that my mother had made both outfits completely from scratch on her sewing machine. I wish I could do that... maybe next year.

stall

We have entered the danger zone.

Connor has been moving more and more, leaning a bit further, reaching with all his might, pulling himself up on EVERYTHING in sight. I plunked him on the floor Sunday afternoon to pick out his and my clothes for the week and there he went. Gone in a flash.

In an instant he left his babydom behind in the dust as he crawled toward the door, determined, seeking danger, pulling on an electrical cord, climbing a box with slippy feetie pjs, moving ever closer to the hallway - home of The Stairway.

We've been watching and waiting and both willing him to stall development of this skill set and encouraging him to "come to Mommy booboo!" You want to watch these milestones, to be present for them, but you will them away because surely your teeny tiny just arrived yesterday baby could not possibly be making his first literal leap toward independence?

With Caroline I could not wait for her to reach each new stage. Crawling. Self Feeding. Walking. Talking. With Connor I refer back to this blog - what was she doing? Should he be ______? What was she eating? I refer back and I watch him with the eyes of a lightly seasoned mother, knowing that time will slip faster and faster as we move along this chronology. I know what awaits him in the general sense. I have the same enthusiasm for his accomplishments, but there is a twinge of sadness that accompanies each new phase. I leaped for joy - My BRILLIANT daughter could feed herself a cheerio without choking! Let me tell everyone I know, strangers at the grocery store, people I walked by on the street. I would smile proudly, my amazing baby girl.

Each new moment of brilliance with Connor is a celebration, but also a loss: the last time I will watch one of my little people connect the dots

...on how to loosen that pesky leg and crawl to reach whatever is attracting his attention - ohhh the brick hearth - exciting and DANGEROUS

...and stop just staring at that tiny piece of bread on his high chair tray to actually try to pick it up and get it into his mouth

... to pull himself to standing

... to leap seemingly into nothingness from whatever piece of furniture he is cruising

... to understand that if he wants to get anywhere in a room, to any dangerous item in his sight line, he need only use his own body to propel himself towards in, in multiple crawls... whatever he sees is his and his alone to break

Connor is crawling. He didn't skip it afterall, but it is clear he won't be satisfied with crawling for very long. I am proud. I am thrilled for him. I want to steal him away from time and keep him still for just a moment more.

The "Con Man"

You would think that we had never done this before. If you saw us at the community hospital last night at 10:30pm holding a baby in our arms you would think, that poor little baby, I hope he is ok and my those parents look so calm... until you got close enough to see that little boy was FLIRTING with the nurses, smiling ear to ear, delighting in the attention.

All day Sunday we monitored the little guy. Connor was rosy cheeked, pulling his ears, upset each time we laid him on his back to change his diaper. This was not our first rodeo. We knew it was probably ears and we knew we would have to push through the tough night because the pediatrician was not open on Sunday. We knew it would mean a sick visit to have the ears checked on Monday. Then the screaming reached a new high. and then it was completely unresponsive to the drugs we had loaded his little body up with. I said it was enough and we were going to the hospital... for an ear infection. If anyone else even made a move to take him from me, he whined and grabbed onto me panicked and I started to worry it might be something more and who can handle seeing real honest to goodness tears fall from your sweet baby's eyes? So we made our way to the hospital annddd cue the smiley baby. The Con Man.

NO ear infection. NO teeth.

Diagnosis: "Normal Baby." Seriously, that is what it says on our discharge paperwork. Normal baby.

The admissions person manning the ER check in desk made some comment about "Look Who's Talking" the movie and we went with it for a bit. "Wait till I tell the kids at school that I got to go for a car ride at 10PM!" or "So THIS is what Mommy and Daddy do when I go to bed." It was comical and then it wasn't because if it wasn't the ears and it wasn't teeth (and trust me, it wasn't teeth because I had felt around those gums no fewer than 20 times on Sunday) WHAT WAS IT???? Gas? A sore belly? Really? NO EAR INFECTION???

Can't wait to get that bill in the mail. Can't wait to tell him this story when he is about 16. Can't say enough prayers that this is the one and only late night drive to the ER Steve and I will have to experience as parents.

recently

my son has started to look more and more like a little boy... and what color exactly ARE these amazing eyes?