Friday, February 28, 2014

Home Sick

I won't lie, the adjustment to our new (to us) house has been hard. We're close enough to our old house that Tommy stayed in the same preschool and we are in the old neighborhood fairly often. Plus every time he sees "our" G on the mountain he asks if we're almost home. (Because it used to mean exactly that.)

But this week, the home sickness had us both in tears.

Because we moved under less-than-desirable circumstances (read: I was crazy mad at our landlord and NOBODY wanted to move) I tried to explain it to a concerned Tommy.

Me: Well, our Landlord gave us a letter that says he wants to live here, so we have to move to a new house.
T: What's a Landlord?
M: He's the guy who is the boss of this house.
T: Our house-boss?
M: Sure. Close enough.

Fast forward to this week on our way home from work
T: "mom, I just want to go to our real home. From our house-boss. Did he said he's all done there now?"
M: "No babe, we can't live there anymore, we have our new house instead."
T: "I really really miss our real house, I don't want to go to our new house anymore."
M: "I miss our old house too, what do you miss about it?"
T: "Riding bikes, playing in the yard, walkin' to school, and 'member those nice guys that lived by us?" (sniffling and crying while he talks)
M: (Sniffling my own self) "So SO many nice guys that lived by us. I miss them too."
T: "Maybe we could visit our old house if we want to."
M: We can't go inside, but we can go drive by and wave to it from the car if you'd like.

So we did. We drove by slowly, waved and wept. We waved to the Carlson's and Ruby's house. We waved to our sledding hill and Maggie Dog. We remembered walking to church and then.....we saw a for sale sign in the front yard.

Tommy asked what the sign said. I told him it was for sale, so someone new can buy our old house. He wants us to buy it. And he nearly had me convinced with his emotional attachment to that neighborhood.

But the flooding in the massage room, the cracks in the foundation, the weird weird weird layout and bedrooms with no closets, the shoddy workmanship on any of the "remodel" work, the yard (oh that yard....) We don't REALLY want to put that kind of money - and labor - into it. But my goodness, that little boy preyed on my emotions and nearly had me convinced we wanted to buy that house today. (future Realtor? He can be very persuasive.) Enough that I got to a computer and looked up the listing. I will say, if I had the money, I would buy the empty lot for the current list price on that house. Because really it's an incredible location.

Primary Photo [click for next photo]

Here's hoping we buy a place soonish and we can enjoy saying "this is our real home" for the last time. At least until he's too old to care. (Does that ever happen?)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


1 year ago I went to the wrong place for my first day of work. It wasn't my fault, but I felt foolish anyway. When I showed up at the right place, my new boss and I talked through some strategies and business ideas. We immediately got along very well.

During the last year we've done a lot of adjusting. 
  • Josh took on more household responsibility and I gave some up. 
  • My boys have adjusted (or are trying to adjust) to seeing less of me. 
  • I spend more time talking to adults than little ones.
  • I cook and clean less.
  • Josh knows more about kids than he ever dreamed he didn't know.
  • We spend much less time with our entire family. 
  • We pay all our bills with significantly fewer financial-emotional breakdowns.
  • We discovered that cereal is a viable dinner option. 
  • I learned how to answer my cell phone without knowing who it is.
  • I got a grown up wardrobe.
  • Josh has new respect for all the stay at home parents in the world.
  • The boys cry to Josh before me when they're injured.
  • I became the pushover.
  • I listen to talk radio.
  • The boys have awesome relationships with their cousins (minus Little John and Ian who are still deciding if they like each other or not...) and the love-fest is continuously melting my heart.
  • I regained confidence in my ability to do things. Like answer my phone and talk to adults. 
  • I'm leaning all kinds of new skills and abilities. Securities laws and limitations, business design and (begrudgingly) Quickbooks. Again. 
To be totally honest, I'm still deciding if it's worth those adjustments. We make a lot of sacrifices, we enjoy a lot of benefits. (Like not losing our house, and being able to pay our bills.) It's hard. Really hard. My kids miss me. I miss them. We want the park instead of the carseat. I want to cook dinner before bedtime. I want to have a pajama day just because I feel like it. I want Tommy to KNOW that I will always be the one to pick him up from school. I want to play with word families with him while Josh plays wrestle-mania with the Little "The Maniac" John. I want Josh's days off to mean family fun days.

But staying home was hard - really hard - too and I wanted a lot of changes then. (like wearing real clothes, being asked a question harder than "what's for lunch", the boys to see Josh more often, a break from them long enough to miss them, and the ability to buy stuff they need.)

I recently read a blog post by someone I truly love and respect, and she took a very firm stand that choosing to be a working mom is not a good choice. I read that post and cried. It hurt, because I'm still deciding what is best for me, and this stance left no room for personal choice. Blanket statements and generalizations implying that it's selfish or irresponsible or harmful to my children, made my heart ache. I retreated to my very favorite (and safest) corner of the internet with the women I trust more than any other women - to both have my back, and tell me when I'm being unreasonable - and I cried to them. They backed me up. Because they love me. The pain of reading those words in that post made me do some soul searching and decide if I really thought I was doing the right thing by working out of the home again. And today, right now, I am sure this is what I needed for 2013. 

I'm honestly thankful for my experiences at work during this last year. I've had some life changing conversations with my boss that had nothing to do with my job. I've gained a new respect and appreciation for not doing it all and slowing down. I've learned to let go of stuff that simply doesn't matter. I'm working on better managing my time. And oddly, my kids have become a higher priority to me. I spend many more quality hours with them and I think about them when I'm gone. Something about absence making the heart grow fonder..... Mostly I appreciate my time with them more. I'm far more willing to snuggle a little longer, sing one more song, read one more story, and watch the ants for one more minute. I'm learning valuable life skills, gaining confidence in what I already knew and rediscovering my priorities in life. I get an enormous amount of satisfaction from doing something that makes me think.

My kids? They know I love them. They are building social relationships with kids their age and learning to interact with adults that aren't me. They get opportunities that they wouldn't get if I was their sole caregiver and the opportunities I normally give them. They are with a person who does love them. Whether she's paid to or not, she is an extraordinary soul who has the ability to love people she didn't give birth to. She also happens to be family, and for that I am extremely grateful.

For me, right now, this is the right choice. An excellent balance of office work and mother work.

So, happy anniversary to me and my job. Who knows if we'll celebrate a 2nd anniversary or not, my time here might be done and I'll be a full time mom again, or I may stay at this office until I retire; but either way, I'll know that I'm making the right choice for me. Because I truly believe that choices which so intimately impact an individual family are choices that can be made only by that family.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

On Feeling Beauty

I've never been one of those universally beautiful people. I don't mean that in a "tell me I'm pretty" way, but in a matter-of-fact some people look like supermodels and I'm not one of them way.

But every now and then I feel beautiful.

This started when someone I love started doing Dressing Your Truth.

But most recently, I got a haircut. And apparently the world ended. I posted this photo on facebook

and had (I'm not exaggerating) 145 likes and 45 extremely generous comments about it. I think that's more than when Thomas was born.

It's kindof a weird feeling because while I seriously love the new do, and these generous comments reinforced that feeling of beauty, it sortof freaked me out. It's a lot of pressure to be attractive! What if I look totally average the next time I see one of those 145 people? (I did.) What if I never learn to do my hair like that any everybody I meet is like "you should consider going back to that one really awesome hair day you had that one time..."? What if I let my hair grow all long and nasty again?


Knowing your potential is stressful. So please, join me in the lowering of expectations so I dare come out in public again?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

I Think I'm So Cool....

I sometimes feel like I get stuff. Tech stuff I mean. I'm totally clueless about life stuff, and people stuff, and other stuff. But tech stuff - I've got that.

Until I bust out Josh's old fitbit, wear it for 3 weeks and CANNOT get the dang thing to sync to my computer. Then I beg my little brother for help, and remember how old I am. Older than current tech, which lands me squarely out of the loop.

I won't lie, I feel this feeling (out of the loop) a lot. I start thinking I understand something, then someone say something that rocks my world and reminds me that I am clueless. Always and forever.


Maybe next year I'll get it better.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Wanna know what's cool about an ant farm?

You have a container full of space gel, and you dump some icky bugs in it, and then before you know see a city. And you're sucked into their lives. You see them do abominable things (playing with dead bodies? Ew!) and watching their little feelers move around their big beady eyes gives you the chills; but you still watch. Fascinated by the whole thing.

So here's the abbreviated version of #amysantfarm

My boss gave me an ant farm for Christmas. I thought it was totally weird, but he was couldn't have been more excited if he was 7 years old and lighting them on fire with a magnifying glass. So...I went with it.

The solid block of space glue

Just add ants
But wait - that ant 2nd from the left is missing his abdomen! World, meet NoBody.

Oooh hard-working ants. Good job little insects. And good morning NoBody (on the Right)

NoBody, you're a party animal, all hanging from the ceiling and stuff.

ants busy doing ant things.
4. NoBody has to have set a record for ant survival with half his being missing.

Enter Buster. (the bully.)

The day NoBody went missing. 

No more pictures from here on out because the star of our show died a horrible death and was torn apart by Buster. His body parts all strewn about the ant farm. It's disgusting and sad. 

The Extras (all the other ants who are unrecognizable) are still just hanging out, doing their ant thing. But ever since NoBody died, they're significantly less interesting. 

But they're still the only thing in this house that improves when left alone. So......

Sunday, February 2, 2014

1, 2, 3, many many many

Little John is at that phase of speech development where every day he says something I didn't know he could say the day before.

Today we looked at a book and started to count the elephants on the page. "wan......toooooo.......freeeee.......manymanymanymanymany" he counted.

He's growing unreasonably quickly. Last week I came home and Josh informed me that Tommy spent a good 30 minutes teaching John how to climb out of his crib. Josh put John back in bed at least 30 times that night.

So the next day, I took the front of the crib off to make it just a regular old bed. John saw what I'd done and cried immediately climbing in and out over the side over and over again. He was pretty mad that I ruined his new trick.

That's the reason one of the grownups stands outside their bedroom door for at least an hour every night. So when they escape we can scare put them back in bed. Bedtime is significantly less fun than it was 2 weeks ago. But even when we try really hard, it's impossible not to laugh when Little John peeks out the door, sees us standing there, and runs fast back to bed giggling like a maniac the whole way. He thinks it's a game, and a dang fun game too. He's sure lucky he's adorable.

Nap time is....well....virtually non-existent. Which I should probably be mourning over, but since I started working a year ago, I haven't experienced one of his nap times in at least that long. So I'm not nearly as sad as Josh and Katy are. Until about 6:59 when he is totally exhausted and completely unreasonable.

Meh, we'll have at least "many many many many many" more nights to work on it.
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