Thursday, October 31, 2013

Accidental voyeurism

Living in an apartment lends itself to this accidental voyeurism that happens on a daily basis.  The non-sexual kind, of course. (Although the people that lived above me in my first apartment would have been a true voyeur's dream!  I mean, really, who has sex at 4am on a Tuesday night?)  Existing in such close proximity to others can give you a glimpse into their lives that makes them feel like less than a stranger... for better or worse.  Simply walking out of my apartment I can hear who is having a good laugh, a loud discussion, or who's losing their s#* because their kids aren't ready on time.  My olfactory sense tells me who is eating Italian or Indian or who just burned something.  Then there is the mail room.  The days when a ton of packages are in there waiting to be picked up.  While you may not know what is inside, it's interesting to see who is buying from where.  Ok, so that may not be "accidental" when I check those out.  In my defense, as I was walking to my door the other day I saw a neighbor down the hall who informed me that I had a package waiting for me downstairs, so I'm not the only one!  What a difference, though, from our lives a few months ago. Back in August I could have been dancing around a bonfire naked and no one would have know.  Now, everyone is well aware when I've burnt breakfast or my kids are running late!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Gift of time

The move has been as good as one would expect. For some reason I really miss the chickens. I was not too attached to them but I liked their chicken sounds and I really loved having fresh eggs as well as something to give all of our food scraps to. We all miss playing in the pool and on trampoline. We miss our friends. A lot. We just keep reminding ourselves that they aren't too far away.

Laurel has a great group of girls in her class and around our street that she loves to get together. She has been taking a fashion class and dance at school that are both right up her alley! Cadence is really enjoying her preschool class and loves taking walks down the street to see the progress on our house. Sierra? Well, it's middle school. She has had her ups and downs, but definitely more ups lately. Sierra is just trying to find her happy place and I think she is getting there. She comes home from school most days pretty content and is enjoying the open art studio time and writing club that she recently discovered. Both of the older girls are becoming involved in the church youth groups too. They love having the independence to go down to the coffee shop or ride bikes around the neighborhood.

From 2007 until 2010 Brad was in grad school. He lived apart from us for almost a year total. When he was home he was studying. Constantly. He was home, but not present. I would watch my friends go hiking and to festival on the weekends with their whole families in tow. Swim meets were a family event. Not for us. I felt like a single parent for those three years. When he graduated I had hoped that things would change. But, we bought the farm. Soon, our lives were filled with projects. Not small ones either. Barn building, garden assembling, wooded path creating. Most of the days that Brad and I had off together consisted of him working outside while I covered the kids activities. It was still not the vision that I had wanted but we still had a little more family time than when he was in grad school.

Our decision to move wasn't easy. There have been some tears but there are a lot of things that we have loved about moving out here. These ease of having schools, libraries, hiking trails, and restaurants so close by has been awesome! Going to the school twice in one day is no problem. Running to the library to grab a book on hold is a breeze. The people around here are so friendly and inviting and the sidewalks make visiting friends and going for walks much easier than any place else that we have lived. But one of the best things about moving out here is that we have time. There aren't barns to build or trees to be cut down. We have spent more "family time" together over the past two months than we have in many years put together. It's not even "big" family outings.  Simply taking Cadence to the university to walk around and have lunch.  Taking the girls on short walks and hikes.  Just spending time together.  I can see a difference in the way that the girls interact with Brad. It's a wonderful feeling to assume that if I plan to do something with the kids that Brad will be part of it. For the past 5 or 6 years I generally assumed that it would be just the girls and I, that Brad would be busy with something else. It feels like this is the way that our life is supposed to be. The way our family is supposed to be. The chickens and the pool have got nothing on this gift of time that we have been given. For that I am grateful.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wine vs. Whine

It's interesting how two words that sounds exactly alike can conjure completely different feelings when I think about them. For example:

Wine - relaxing, enjoyable, letting go
Whine - tension, frustration, rocking in a corner (maybe with a glass of wine!)

Cadence was on a big whining kick for quite a while, probably in response to the chaos and stress of packing, moving, etc.  She had gotten much better, until Brad and I made a horrible mistake.  We talked about how much "better" she had been and how she had been whining a lot less.  Note to self: don't jinx a good thing by discussing it!  I hate these phases because it makes me incredibly sad when I'm not enjoying my time with the girls.  I know I'm not going to relish every single day, but I don't like when I am counting down the minutes to bedtime day after day.  I decided to talk to Cadence about it.

Me: Do you like to spend time with Mommy?
C: Yes.
Me: Do you like to spend time with me when I am happy and silly and we have lots of fun?
C:  Yes.
Me:  Do you like to spend time with me when I'm grumpy and frustrated and yell?

(Here is where Cadence didn't follow my intended text!)
She is supposed to say "no" and then we'd talk about how much more fun it is to be with someone who is happy, not whining, etc.  Instead she said:

C:  Yes.
Me: You do?  Why?
C:  Because I like to make you happy.

Wow.  I kind of suck right now.  I think I need some wine!