Monday, October 20, 2014

Day Twenty: On Repeat

I'm going to explore my future here as a professional broken record. Bear with me.

Today I got stuck on the phone with AT&T for 45 minutes only to get kicked off the phone right before I could pay our bill--but while I was listening to really bad hold music, I saw a hummingbird (and the ocean)!

Today, in spite of two colour catchers (two!), I somehow dyed an entire load of laundry purple--but at least we now have some new cleaning rags and most of the laundry is done. Ish. Okay, there's still a load in the dryer. Fine, be that way.

Today, I had culture shock by going to a real grocery store with a real produce section for the first time in years--but our fridge is full of wonderful fresh goodness (even if our wallets are a little bit lighter).

Today, one of the toilets clogged and I discovered it after I'd already loaded the twins into the stroller and sent the kids out to the garage. It was mass chaos by the time I got out there--but at least our toilet is clean now. Relatively.

Today, Bee refused to swing--but she laughed hysterically going down the slide. 

Tiny growled and screamed--but apologized so very politely (with snuggles). 

Bruiser bullied his sister--but demonstrated some killer eye-crossing while trying to look at his sippy and drink at the same time.

Littles had a mini-meltdown--but finished his first day of homeschooling with success, happiness, and an impromptu outdoor science lesson. 

And the point, dear friends, is this: with every life change, whether the big or the small, there are good things and bad. 

But always, always, always, we get to choose what we pay attention to. 

I'm not saying sweep all the bad things under the rug--I miss the spray nozzle from our old kitchen and being squadron-less feels weird and why do friendships take so long to deepen?!?--but while we acknowledge the bad, we choose to focus on the good.

At the end of today, I'm going to just say over and over again: hummingbird, clean (and purple!) laundry, beautiful fruits and veggies, unclogged toilet, pudgy legs on the slide, little boy snuggles, cross-eyed baby, monarch butterfly and day one of homeschooling done! 

More of the good stuff

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day Nineteen: Some Sunday Silliness

On the first day of unpacking, the movers gave to me…

...a decimated front door wreath!

On the second day of unpacking, the movers gave to me…

...a moldy bag of onions and a decimated front door wreath!

On the third day of unpacking, the movers gave to me…

…a chipped mosaic table, a moldy bag of onions, and a decimated front door wreath!

On the fourth day of unpacking, the movers gave to me…

…lots of dust to sweep up, a chipped mosaic table, a moldy bag of onions, and a decimated front door wreath!

On the fifth day of unpacking, the movers came on back…

…picked up the empty boxes and told me to stay hydrated because we were having an 80 degree heat wave (whoo!) and something-something-something and a decimated front door wreath!

Now wait until after Thanksgiving to do any more Christmas carol related singing!

What are you looking at?
Our regularly scheduled program will return tomorrow. Aren't you glad you came by the blog today?

They aren't all this ridiculous.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day Eighteen: Home

I've been raiding our local library, and this week enjoyed Kate DiCamillo's Flora & Ulysses. It was a sweet and quirky book, and it got me thinking more about home…and what home means, especially when we're between places and relationships and jobs. Especially, perhaps, when we're between different versions of ourselves.

I don't want to write about the book (but I loved it, and you will too). I just want to say this, to those of us in between right now:

It's okay to feel unmoored and lost and nameless in this time. It's okay. Who you are right now is okay.

Because what if "home" was not so much a place or a relationship or a job but a sense of being, a knowing of ourselves and our place in the world?

And what if, instead of rushing through the between to get to the other side, to get to "settled" and "stable" and "comfortable", we accepted that this time is moving us from one version of ourselves to the next?

What if we let "home" develop within us as we wait for this new self to blossom into fruition?

What if we allowed ourselves the grace to hold on to those who are "home" to us, the ones who know our hearts, the ones who call us by name? What if we held on without apology, acknowledging our need for them?

What if we were honest? About the good and the bad, acknowledging that someone else may be in the between right now and need our words to speak into their lives from our place of uprootedness to theirs?

Because it's okay. It's okay to not feel ourselves yet. We are in the between times. In many ways, we are, right now, the between itself. Between houses. Between friends. Between stages in our lives. Between jobs. Between churches.

Between the ending of something and the beginning of something else.

Between the introduction and the first chapter.

Between knowing who we were and knowing who we're becoming.

It's okay.

As we are in the between, may we find those who are home to us, even if they are half a world away, and invite them into the changing space that we occupy and let them love us and let them be between with us so that no matter how long it takes, this in between, this rearranging of soul and space and spirit, we rest in the home that they are for us.

Because at the heart of the matter, we all just want to be called by name and we all want to go home.

And the secret is: we're already on the way home, no matter how long it takes, and Someone knows your name.

Keep reading?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Day Seventeen: Leaving or Left

There are two kinds of people in this world: the kind who leave and the kind who get left. Certainly, at one point or another, we've all worn both titles, but in general, we identify more as one or the other.

I'm the kind who gets left.

I say this, naturally, on the day my parents fly back around the world and on the Man's first weekend trip out of town (we made it a whole month here!). And before you think that I'm acting sorry for myself (always a possibility), let me just say that I got to sit on the front porch with the boys after we tucked the twins in, and we watched the twilight shimmer on the sea while we ate M&Ms and enjoyed our pterodactyl jack-o-lantern.

Okay, okay, I admit, I did have a few moments of feeling sorry for myself. You see, even after a lifetime of primarily being the kind who gets left--growing up in language school city, watching my sisters leave for boarding school and then college, repeatedly sending my family members back overseas, deployments, TDYs, and random out of town trips--I still don't enjoy it.

While it's never fun to say goodbye, when you're the one leaving, at least you have something to look forward to. But when you're the one being left? All there is left is the absence of someone that you love.

The last couple of months, I've identified as "the kind who leaves". In a lot of ways, it's been kind of fun. It was an adventure. There were exciting life experiences on the horizon. But today, I'm back to feeling like "the kind who gets left."

You know what, though? I can feel sorry for myself or I can eat M&Ms on the darkening porch with some adorable children and an awesome pumpkin (and then make said awesome children run up and down the stairs multiple times moving my tablecloths from the linen closet to the kitchen).

And perhaps more importantly, I can brand myself forever as "the kind who gets left" or I can rename myself as "the kind whose Jesus never leaves her or forsakes her".

I think I'll take the M&Ms and Jesus.

Pick me!
Pick me!
Pick me!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day Sixteen: The Nesting Place

It has been one month exactly since we moved in to our new home. When I say "moved in", I don't mean "since the movers brought all of our stuff", but rather, one month since we unpacked the pets, the kids, our suitcases, and some mattresses that we brought in the trailer. The movers arrived a couple days later.

You know what got accidentally left at the Navy Lodge though? The stack of books that I'd been reading during the move. Seriously. And when I called after everything was unpacked and I realized what I'd done, the Lodge informed me there was nothing to be found. Sure there wasn't…

Before I lost the book.

Among said books was Myquillin Smith's The Nesting Place, which was my moving gift to myself. I'm really sad to not have it on display in our new home because the pictures were beautiful, but thankfully I'd read all the way through the book and taken a few notes so that I could put into practice the encouragement she provided.

Okay, true confession: I may have cried (just a little) when I discovered that this book (and my collection of Peter Wimsey stories and my copy of The Hardest Thing To Do by Penelope Wilcock) didn't make it. I just thought I should be honest before I continued.

Reading The Nesting Place during our move was really great timing on my part. It helped me think through our household goods while I was away from them, and then when they were returned to me, I could approach them in different ways, having thought through more thoroughly what the Man and I wanted our home to feel like. Myquillin Smith had lots of practical suggestions and jumping off points to help engage your creativity, and I've seen how her writing has affected my take on our home this time around (contrasts! focal points! white space!).

I know I've mentioned this before, but when I'm in transition, it's nice to hold onto the idea that I can revamp certain areas of my life that I think could use a little work. My home is one of these areas. Since we moved, I finally bought a lampshade for the standing lamp that's been shade-less for over a year. Thanks, Myquillin Smith. I couldn't have done it without you. Next stop, finally replacing the shedding, fringed throw pillows on the couch.

So, if you're struggling with how you want your home to feel or what you want it to look like, get the book. Not only will it challenge and encourage you aesthetically, but it might just help you see "home" in an whole different light.

Incidentally, after yesterday's post, I had a friend tell me how clean my house looked. Sweeter words have never been said, but the truth is I'm just following the Nester's advise and clearing some spaces. Also, I cleaned the house before I took those pictures because I'm vain. Vain but honest!

more of this series

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Day Fifteen: Come for a Tour?

Welcome to the house tour! Part of the fun of moving is seeing all your stuff in a new house that you haven't grimed up with all your gunk! So, come on in (virtually) and enjoy it with me.

This is our yellow house on the hill looking out over the ocean. Our wind chimes make it feel like home and our Security Forces flag reminds us of our roots…and reminds the Man of the purpose behind all his hours of studying.

The Little Man wants to show you our hoard (or horde) of gourds again. There were a few pinecones added in this week. Also, is that kid handsome or what?

Here's the master bedroom, complete with a vase of roses compliments of the Man who buys me flowers after I've spent all day at the E.R. with one of our children. Do not fear. There was no repeat E.R. visit. These pictures were taken early last week.

The Trig-dog deeply desired his presence to be felt in our bedroom. Even though he typically sleeps with the boys these days.

If you go through that door, you'll find yourself in our bathroom. When you visit, I'd advise you to not take Bruiser with you. Also, two sinks. We have graduated to awesomeness.

Here we are in the boys' room. I thought I got a better shot than this one which includes a well-dressed but still pajamaed Tiny. I promise I do dress my children occasionally. There is a super awesome Toot and Puddle poster above their dresser and a Barney Fife tintype above Tiny's head, but you can't really see them because Phone Pictures. Such joy and happiness.

Littles and Trigger are reading books together on Tiny's bunk. This could quite possibly be the epitome of coziness.

Moving next door, here's the twins' dresser, which has been turned into a bookshelf by necessity (remember, one of the bookshelves died en route).

Here's Bee's bed. At the time, there was a pile of bedding in her crib because she'd been sleeping in the guest room, but now there's actually a sheet on the mattress and a sweet baby curled up asleep with her lovey. I moved the twins back in together when my parents arrived…and it's been wonderful. I'm not saying they haven't woken each other up once or twice, but Bee tends to sleep through Bruiser fairly well, and Bruiser is adapting to Bee, and I think it's making them better sleepers.

Note that Bee's crib does not have a bedskirt on it. I have the material, but I'm still working on a friend whose sewing skills I can mooch off of. I believe in my ability to make moochable friends.

Bruiser's crib and the most important piece of furniture in their room. Beds are optional but books are forever. Incidentally, that lamp seems to have petered out during the move, so it's there for decorative and completely impractical purposes.

Coming downstairs (we'll go back upstairs later for the guest room, study, and guest bathroom, but the stairs are good exercise and I don't want you to get bored sitting too long), we'll start in the dining room, because eating is awesome. Note flowers from the Man, and Littles too, incidentally. I think it was a joint project. And the super hero cape because sometimes you need a speedy exit from the table.

The other wall in the dining area. The Man maintains that's an awful place for our salt and pepper shakers, but I think it gets the job done. Of course, none of our dinner guests have been able to find said salt and pepper shakers, which could mean that he's right, but see how decorative?

Directly next to the dining/kitchen area is an empty space that Littles refers to as the "homeschool room." "Homeschool"…you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

This bookshelf did make it, thankfully. Otherwise I'd be building furniture out of books. Which might not be that bad of an idea.

And our piano, which has yet to be retuned. I might tune it after the next move. Also, note the houseplant. It is going to figure in its own post later in the month. So long as it cooperates.

Oswald interrupts this program so that you can admire his awesomeness.

Moving on. Here's the kitchen. And the stack of sippies that define my life. 

And here we are in the living room! Incidentally, out those windows: the ocean. Well, I mean, over a couple hills, but you can see the ocean! Sorry about all the exclamation points.

Littles wanted to be in the picture. Here he's modeling how comfortable our couch is.

Last shot of the living room. I know you were desperate to figure out where we put the TV.

And here's a lovely shot of the downstairs half bath. For some odd reason, I look pregnant in this picture. Don't get your hopes up. I'm not.

Oh, oh, this will be fun! Here's the Man's study. Although I helped hang pictures, this room is all the Man. 

He hung our diplomas to make us feel awesome and intellectual.

Here's Little pretending to be his dad. So studious.

And hanging on the wall beside the desk, THIS:

I have yet to make that dead rodent a Security Forces beret. In the meantime, he continues to bare his little rodent teeth in defiance. You can shoot him and stuff him, but he'll spend the rest of your life grimacing at you in retaliation.

Here's the hall bathroom. Polka dots are fun.

And my favourite part of the hall bathroom, four hooded towels all in a row. Cue the collective, "Awwww."

Finally, the piece de resistance, our guest room where you (YES, YOU!) can stay when you come visit.

Out those windows, the Pacific Ocean. Also, please note the stacks of books on each nightstand available for your reading pleasure. And please do not note the wrinkled bed skirt. Last time, my husband's great aunt (literally and figuratively) ironed it for me, and she hasn't visited yet to iron all my bedding. (Come on, Aunt Beth! Doesn't that sound like so much fun? Forget the beach, come do my ironing!)

Okay, last picture, this tiny little nook is my favourite part of the house. It holds the Man's great grandmother's sewing machine and my great grandmother's antique chair. Now that Bee has moved back to the nursery, I'm planning to use it for a writing desk. Or just sit there and enjoy the view.

And that, dear reader, is an overly extensive tour of our house. I promise never to do this to you again. At least, not until the next time we move.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day Fourteen: Leaving Space

Sometimes life is just very full. And we need to leave a little space around the edges to breathe.

I come up against the practicality of this concept every time the Man and I hang pictures. I like a lot of space. He likes a little. We compromise and generally end up with something aesthetically pleasing.

Incidentally, his tendency away from space seems to only apply to picture hanging.

With this move, I've been exploring the idea of leaving social white space, as well. Because sometimes I get so caught up in being a friend and making new friends and providing friends for the kids, that before I know it, our family's down time is pressed out at the edges. Yes, I've jumped in to making friends now that we're here and settled, but I'm trying to provide some space around the edges too.

Space to explore our new home as a family.

Space to be quiet and not talk so much.

Space to be the kids' friend instead of always providing play mates just their age.

Space, even, to feel a little uncomfortable in my own skin because there's no one to distract me from myself.

Space to force me towards Jesus.

That's all I'm writing about today, the need to allow ourselves space when we are in moments of change. Tomorrow, I'm going to start the photo "tour" of our house, if you'd like to join. Lots of badly taken phone photos so you can see what our new place looks like!

For now, I'd like to share with you my favourite picture I've taken this week. I'm very proud of the fact that I took it on my phone. Pat me on the back and tell me I did a good job.

Legos and Christmas lights. That's how we roll. Consider this your teaser for the house tour.

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