Posted by: Ingrid | August 28, 2014

Ten Months: Adventures in Solids

Dear Lily,

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Or Princess, as I often call you.  Because you are.

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I need to stop regurgitating the contents of my head onto random scraps of paper that I am sure I will remember later.  I am fairly certain I jotted down a whole list of things I wanted to remember about you this month.  On a grocery list, most likely.  And now I can’t find it.  But I don’t even feel like writing this letter today, which means I will feel even less like writing it tomorrow, once my “deadline” has past.  So I am sorry in advance for all the minutiae that I am not going to remember.

Grandpa and Kora came to visit for an overnight.  You liked them both.  I could stand to have them around more often as well!

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In other news, we started cloth diapering about 3 weeks ago.  Not even 24 hours in and you had the worst diaper rash ever which meant we had to return to regular diapers in order to use Desitin.  If this happens again I am feeling pretty done, even with our handy dandy clothes line in the back yard.  Except now that your daddy is teaching environmental ethics I don’t think I can be done.

At your 9 month appointment (2 days shy of 10 months) you weighed 20 pounds 12 ounces and were nearly 30 inches long.  You continue to be delectably large with chunky arms and thighs and neck and cheeks.  You are a solid baby and the rare time I take you out in the Baby Bjorn my back protests loudly.

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Entering this month your sleep was pathetic (and some days it still is).  Then we started solids (and I use “started” loosely) and we have finally eked out a few 7 hour stretches and a couple of 5 and 6’ers.  You were initially reluctant to allow a spoon in your mouth, but finally applesauce got your attention.  You will have nothing to do with any type of baby cereal and baby purees are hit and miss.  I am constantly giving things like mashed up mango or avocado off my plate, or a little carrot soup, or some plain yogurt.  Just trying to hit you with all sorts of flavors in hopes that you will be a better eater than your brothers.  You are adamant in your dislike of bananas but seem to tolerate sweet potatoes mixed with zucchini okay.   If you end up with a tablespoon of food inside of you throughout the entire day I think it’s been a good day.

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The spoon goes in… and then the food dribbles out.  We also pulled out the cheerios a week ago and that, my dear, has been a treat.  The first time you realized that they were supposed to go in your mouth you pursed your lips and delicately plucked a piece in your pincer grip, slowly drawing the cheerio to your mouth.  Then you accidentally turned your hand so that you ended up with a mouthful of fist.  So funny!  But quickly you learned and now they hit the target with increasing success.  Also, we have cheerios all. over. the. floor.

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We got another chair and you love sitting with us at the table, interacting and feeling like a part of things.  Your brothers fight over who gets to sit next to you, except for when you are eating cheerios and then Isaac keeps his distance.  One of your most epic temper tantrum moments (and yes, you have a temper and are not afraid to show it!) occurred at the table.  You squawked your baby disapproval and then tried to gnaw on the table.  I laughed so hard!

Your favorite games seem to be grabbing (things or people), emptying bins, and dropping things when seated at the table.  Sometimes I just wanted to say: It’s called gravity and yes, it works!  Stop.  Dropping.  Toys.

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You are sort of wearing the same few outfits in rotation, partly because the cloth diapers rule out many options, partly because it’s been so hot, and partly because I still have 3-9 month outfits out.  I really hope that I have more clothing for you but I haven’t a clue where it might be!  No way is your cloth diapered behind fitting into 3 month jean shorts.  On Isaac’s birthday we went to the nearby pool and I let you wear a bikini you were given, just because it made me laugh.  This is pretty much the only age I will allow that!

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We are still swaddling you to sleep, even though you break out of it once you wake up.  We swaddled Isaac until 18 months (helped him fall asleep) and Jonathan until about 7.  You seem to need your arms constrained and your legs covered by something in order to sleep.  I have tried to wean you off at nap times with no success (and no naps). You have so far decimated 3 of our expensive muslin swaddling cloths, ripping holes right through, prompting me to think maybe you are the last baby because you now owe us $120 and I don’t know that I want to be this tired for this much longer.  I solved part of the problem by doing your first swaddle around your legs so you couldn’t immediately rip it off.  Kind of like swaddle pants.

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Then the real swaddle goes on top.  Double swaddling a fussing baby in the dark in the middle of the night should be some sort of sport, it really should.

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You aren’t rolling much but you are happier on your stomach than you used to be.  You don’t crawl but you swivel, both sitting up and lying down.  You have discovered that there are things to grab.  You have also discovered that everything can go in your mouth.  You can also scoot backward, unintentionally, which is so SO funny to me because it’s always in the context of you wanting something and then you watch the object get farther and farther away.  You just look so mad that I have to laugh.  You are incredibly flexible, doing the splits and laying your stomach flat on the floor while seated and then chewing on your foot just for fun.

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We do not have a bath in the house and so far we have learned that you do not like showers and you are really too big to bathe in the sink (I tried!).  So maybe you will just be kind of dirty for a while, especially these days where you lose cheerios in your neck rolls.

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You slept terribly for a few days and then popped out your third tooth (top right) sometime mid-August.  Now you like to try your teeth on me and we have these conversations, like today when you leaned your face against my arm and then bit me, just for kicks.

Me:  No biting, Liliana! No!  Do not bite mommy.

Jonathan:  Lee-nana bit you?  I don’t bite you mommy.

Me:  No you don’t.  Thank you Jonathan.

Jonathan:  If I don’t bite you do I get Skittles?

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Probably my favorite thing this month is how you respond to me when I walk through the door after being gone on a long run or grocery shopping.  You giggle and bounce and smile and every little thing about you tells me that you are beyond delighted to see me.  And usually, by that time, I am delighted to see you as well.

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Love,

Mom

 

Posted by: Ingrid | August 20, 2014

Five Years Old (a little late)

Dear Isaac,

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You have been counting down your birthday, day by day, for at least 160 days and then suddenly you turned five.  Hard to believe that we have been parents for that many years.  Having a five year old somehow seems to up the stakes.  I remember being five.  You are watching us all the time, putting together how the world works and how to function in it.  Not that you weren’t before but it all seems so concrete now.   Your appearance five years ago completely changed our life in so many different ways!

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Your excitement, creativity, and energy never cease to amaze (and exhaust) me.  Now that you are entering your sixth year:

-You love numbers and counting and can do basic addition.

-You are really into fairness and justice.  This means that you can stick up for your brother and sister (even when they don’t need it sometimes) and are also totally into telling on your brother, even if you set him up.

-You want to know everything in minutes and hours.  How many hours to California?  How many minutes to the park?  How many minutes to Michigan?

-You are a much less picky eater than you used to be.  Thank heavens.

-You can be so sweet with Jonathan and Liliana until suddenly you stop.

-You are VERY possessive of anything you are playing with or working on.  Trying to work on sharing.

-You love dressing up, which is fun. :-)

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-At the same time you don’t like: nuts, crunchy peanut butter, blueberries, rice, noodles, cheese, potatoes, most veggies, dried fruit, and many cereals.

-You are scared of Cheerios.  I’m not kidding.  It is so weird.

-You have an excellent memory, whether it is used for Bible verses or remembering that I promised you that I would do something with you.  It is especially sharp when you have been promised candy.

-You are incredibly creative with your Legos!  While you and your dad build the things on the boxes, the real fun comes when you start creating all sorts of things; planes, oceans, gardens, wagons, from your imagination.  We have all sorts of Lego things floating around the house and it’s fun to see what you think of next.

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-You get excited over everything.  This can be lots of fun.  It can also be very loud.  It can also work against you when you get over excited and scare people off.

-You seem to have two levels: loud and louder.  I have realized that sometimes people can’t understand your words because you are yelling instead of talking.  And this is after years of “inside voice”.

-You like to jump, swing, and you want to climb things but are still figuring it out.  You are less impetuous than your brother when it comes to flinging yourself off of things, more calculating in where you put your body.

-You are very emotional but you also like to tease.  This translates into endless teasing of people around you with zero tolerance for being teased yourself.  It also means that EVERYTHING that goes wrong (falling down, Legos breaking, frustrations of any kind) is the end of the world.  This can be a little nerve wracking for the rest of us.

-You see the incongruities of the world and are trying to figure out what is funny and not funny.  Trial and error.

-You can be very sweet and helpful, particularly when we are one on one.  Problem being that we are usually one on three.

-We finally pulled out your bike and you learned to ride it with training wheels.  You were so proud of yourself!

-If given markers you prefer to turn them into “people” or “soldiers” and make up a story rather than use them to color or draw, though you are starting to get more into coloring.  And you can color in the lines too!

-So far your “bad word” vocabulary consists of things like calling your brother a “Jelly bean poop butt fart”.  *Cue Jonathan dissolving into tears*.  If you ever heard me decorating birthday cakes you would know that it gets way worse than that.  Sometimes you get creative and will say “stupe” instead of stupid and “shut” instead of shut up.  As if abbreviating could keep you out of trouble!

-You can tell us all about making good choices but often feel like the pleasure of the bad choice outweighs what you know

-You love being read to and love to tell stories before bed.

-You know your ABC’s and sounds but I have yet to officially launch you into literacy.

-You say most things correctly, but you still talking about The “lizard” of Oz, which I think is so funny.  You also will run around with our hangers, proclaiming they are your “bod and arrows” (bow and arrows).

-You want to commandeer my laptop to play computer games during nap time now, which I don’t love.

-You seem to gravitate towards blond girls between the ages of 7 and 18.

-You are sometimes lost in your own world and usually you provide your own sound track music.  And I wonder why it feels like I never get quiet time anymore!

-Your current bedtime prayers sound something like:  Dear God, that you for lions and tigers and bears and wolves-es and foxes and fire and steam and smoke and volcanoes.  Thank you that mom loves me and dad loves me and Liliana loves me and Jonathan loves me and I love me.  And thank you for chocolate and God and Jesus and pizza.  Amen.

Can’t wait to see what this next year brings as we settle into our new home.

Love,

Mom

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Posted by: Ingrid | August 18, 2014

Colorado FAQ: Just so we’re on the same page

I keep getting questions from people now that we have moved and I realize that when people think of us moving to Colorado they picture me cavorting blissfully through the Rocky Mountains, running and hiking and doing crossfit up where the air is thin and it is cool and beautiful.  Recycling in pretty containers provided by the city and shopping for organic produce at Sprouts and Trader Joes.  Much like when we moved from California to Michigan and everyone asked us: Why did you move HERE???  And then I realized that they envisioned us living in Newport Beach with the Pacific glistening outside our window.  At a certain point it wasn’t worth pointing out the fact that we were inland, and a drive to the beach was at least an hour depending on traffic and there was so much cement and so many cars.  How ridiculous it felt to be in a stretch of cars spread across 8 lanes of traffic with no one moving.  How the thought of buying a house or staying at home with a baby was out of the question unless we wanted to tag team with jobs and never see one another.

Lest such misperceptions be perpetuated during this move, here is a handy dandy FAQ so that you, gentle reader, are not misinformed about life on the high plains of Colorado.

Are the mountains amazing?  Well.  Supposedly there are mountains in Colorado.  And they are the Rocky Mountains, so they must be fabulous.  And we have umpteen peaks that are over 14,000 feet.  But here’s a secret: You can’t see a single mountain from where we are.  Not a one.  On our one drive towards the front range a few weeks ago I teared up when the mountains came into view because were really and truly out there.

Anything odd about where you live?  There are 16,000+ people in town and we don’t have a pediatrician.  I think that’s odd.  I found out today that you can’t buy liquor here on Sundays (though presumably you can drink it).  My favorite odd fact is one that I heard before we moved out.  I don’t really want clarification because then it would seem less strange to me, probably.

Husband:  So the place where we’re moving tried to secede from the state of Colorado.

Me:  Um.  You mean like in the 1860’s.

Husband:  Nope.  Like in the last decade.

!!?!?!?!?!!

But you do have a Starbucks right?  Sadly, no.  Closest Starbucks is 45 minutes away inside of Safeway.  We do have a little Bistro with a drive through that makes good coffee and killer desserts though.

Is it pretty?  Town is not pretty.  But when you get out in the farmland and see the lovely little sunflowers growing wild under the huge expanse of sky then I think that the grasslands are very lovely indeed.

Do you have family in town?  Friends?  Nope.  We moved here knowing not a blessed soul.

Have you met any people since you moved?  We have!  The people we have come across have been very kind and funny and interesting.  But relationships take time so we are in the “getting to know people” stage which is much more exhausting and not nearly as comfortable as the “they know all about me and love me anyway” stage.

Does Sterling have a marathon or half marathon?  No.  But if I am willing to drive a couple hours I could run a half or full every month of the year it looks like.  We do seem to have a smattering of 5K’s in town though, which is nice.

How did you survive that first week?  You really want to know?  By making up snarky city mottos (our official motto is “A Colorado Treasure”) and regaling my husband with them whenever I thought of something new.  Survival in sarcasm, my friends.  There may also have been chocolate involved.

How is the weather?  Hot.  It seems like it has been in the 90’s for weeks now.  And despite the fact that everyone says it is dry it has also been very humid (It’s so unusual! Says everyone.)  There are hardly any grey days and hardly any rain (which I miss).  There is lots of sunshine.  Any of my friends who struggle with Seasonal Depression should come to Sterling where it is always sunny.

What is it like training at elevation?  We are not (sob) at elevation.  Only 3900 feet here.  This makes me very sad.

Okay.  But at least you surrounded by people who raise grass fed cattle, buffalo, and organic veggies, right?  If those people are out there I have yet to find them (and yes, I am asking!).  Though we did run across a doctor today who runs marathons and raises grass fed beef.  (See, I really AM asking everyone!)  Also, the nearest Sprouts, Whole Foods, Costco, and Trader Joes is 100 miles away.

How is the sky?  The sky here is FREAKING AMAZING.  Here is a not so good shot from the long run last Saturday.

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Can I visit you?  Yes PLEASE!!! We are currently accepting all visitors. :-)

Posted by: Ingrid | August 9, 2014

4-H 5K Race of the West: When in Sterling

So even though I am not in 5K shape (the last 5K specific training, I am ashamed to admit, was almost 3 months ago), when I saw that there was a 5K offered in August I felt like I needed to sign up if for no other reason than to feel like I am making Sterling more my home and to hopefully meet more runners.

So I signed up, curious as to what I would find race morning.  The 5K was part of the fair that is held here and I guessed that there would be about 100 people.  Wrong.  Apparently 10 of us pre-registered and I would guess that there were 30-40 total.

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I was up at 5:25, after 4 hours of sleep, 1 hour awake with baby-who-stopped-sleeping-as-soon-as-we-moved, and 3 more hours of sleep.  Got myself ready and emerged to a lovely morning sky.  (That is the fair grounds and not my house, in case you are confused.)

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60 degrees at 6 am meant closer to 70 at the 7 am start.  It was 90 degrees here by 11 am.  Fun.

I discovered that not only were there few people running and walking but that it paid to register last minute.  On Active.com you paid the race fee plus processing fee.  Then the price was supposed to go up.  Except the guy running the race kept the price the same for the same day registrants.  I could have saved $3!  Oh well. :-)

The race started at 7, an out and back course that was just a little shy of 3.1 (3.03 on my Garmin).  It went out of the fair grounds, past the fields, and back.  Three things I NEED to start remembering as a runner in Colorado: sun screen, a hat, and sun glasses.  It is so bright here and the sun is out almost every day.  We must be the antithesis of Seattle – our town brochure boasts 333 days of sunshine a year!

I got in a 2.5 mile warm up since I needed to make it to 10 for the day.  Off we went.  I hoped to keep it a little below a 7 minute pace, which I did.  There were 5 or 6 fast guys who took off, then there was me, and then there was the rest of the crowd, though at the start a woman who looked about my age, took off with me.  My Garmin said 4:50 as my adrenalin got the best of me.  She fell back about 1/4 mile in but I was prepared for her to pass me since I was not prepared to run even a 6:30!  My mile splits were sloppy and all over: 6:34, 6:54, 7:03.  First woman and finish time of 20:44 for a 6:50 average.  Not what I wanted for this summer but not bad considering I haven’t trained.

There were awards, I think, for the top 3 finishers, which does nothing for you if you are a woman and men show up to run.  Kind of a bummer.  Also, while I have found a handful (literally) of people to run with, I had another incident at the race today where I asked someone if she ran with people and got a VERY strong negative.  This is the second encounter I’ve had like this and it takes me by surprise.  Seriously, even if you like to run alone you don’t have to be rude about it!  And this from the person who always wanted to run alone in the past.  Oh well.

Got in my 10 mile total and got a fun green t-shirt which I wore to watch the parade.

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Posted by: Ingrid | August 1, 2014

Barely Two Weeks

At the end of my first week in Colorado I wanted to curl up in a ball and disappear.  Now that we have been here a whole 17 days I can look at my list of “accomplishments” and feel like in a short time we have done quite a bit!  Sometimes, in the middle of things in feels like nothing is happening and yet:

-I made bread for the first time here a week ago.

-I’ve made yogurt.

-We have transitioned the boys to sharing a room with success.

-I applied to the local college and go in on Monday to find out how many more years of nursing pre-reqs I have now that we’ve moved to a new state. So far it has taken me 4.5 years (a year and a half longer than it took to get my BA) to make it through 7 classes.  I almost don’t want to know how much additional time I am adding.

-We have Liliana in her own room.

-Most of the boxes have been sorted through, re-packed, or unpacked.

-I have run out of town in each direction (if you run 2 miles in any direction you are out of town).

-I have run with three different people.

-Jonathan decided he was done with diapers and potty trained.  Completely.  Even at nights.

-I have driven once to Denver with three kids in tow.

-I’ve discovered all that I was missing not having a Costco nearby (Almond butter!  Coconut oil in 72 ounce units!  Organic greens!  Chia seeds in bulk!  Good coffee!)  Nearby = within 100 miles, BTW.

-I have visited the nearest Starbucks (45 minutes away, if you are interested).

-I have signed up for 2 running events.

-I found the Resource Center, peppered the poor lady with a zillion questions and found someone who is starting MOPS in the fall, that free yoga and zumba classes are offered, and that there are parenting classes and support groups.

-We found and explored the library and now have library cards. (2 day check out for DVDs but then a 9 day “grace period”.  WHAT?)

-We have explored several of the many little parks in the area.

-I have shopped at two of the grocery places here (Walmart being one of them) :-(

-I have found someone to buy farm fresh eggs from.

-I found out about a farmer’s market and a produce basket co-op and meat market (none of which I have tried yet).

-We have visited two churches.

-I have located all of the kitchen stuff I want out, even though I did have to go through all the boxes twice before finding the remaining coffee and all my cooking oil.  I had conveniently packed it in a bag marked: Piano Books.

-I got our family in with the doctor who was highly recommended (we do not actually have a pediatrician in our town.).

-I got insurance for the kids and am working on our insurance.

-I discovered a local drive through coffee place that is pretty good.

-I figured out where to recycle things and have taken one load of stuff over.

-We have explored both play places in town which are really quite spectacular. (Since when do play places include kid computers?!?)

-We have visited the welcome center where I collected more maps and information than I will ever need.

That is so much for such a short period of time!  I think that with three kids there are just certain things that have to be found (running partners, parks, the library) to keep me from going crazy.  At the same time, even with all that we have in place, the days are lonely.  I have been hard pressed to find other moms with kids anywhere.  Even then, relationships take time.  I miss friends in Michigan.  I miss knowing that there are people I can call at a moment’s notice, when the four walls and three little kids seem to be closing in on me.  I know that I will find that here, eventually, I just wish it was a little more straightforward.

It is really nice though, to be in one place with most of our necessary stuff out.  Moving is hard work!

Posted by: Ingrid | July 28, 2014

9 Months: Yoga Baby

Dear Liliana,

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Or should I call you Lily? You have suddenly become half and half, even from me who wanted the longer name. It is still so cute when Jonathan calls you “Lee-nana”.

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This is just a bizarre month. When you hit 8 months we were about to celebrate Isaac’s birthday early, with friends, in Michigan. Now you are 9 months and we have lived in Colorado two weeks. So basically this month of your life has consisted of frantic packing and moving and then frantic unpacking and adjusting.

You said goodbye to two adopted Grandmas, which was hard.

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You thouroughly enjoyed having your Grandpa around for two weeks though! Imagine my surprise when, on his first night with us, I stumbled out to feed you at 3:00 am and found him holding you! Oh yes, you liked Grandpa very very much.

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Your first two nights in Colorado I thought, truly, that you were going to kill me with lack of sleep. After two days of heavy moving bled into two 4:00 am wake ups you chose the next two nights, ALL NIGHT to either fuss and cry or demand to sleep only when face down on my chest as I lay at an angle not designed for sleeping. It was terrible.

And then you cut your second tooth.

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You are by far our worst teether and sleeper so far. Though you did give me one solid 8.5 hour stretch this month which is definitely the anomaly. Now that we have you squared away in your very own room, it may be time to tackle feeding you. Not that you aren’t adorable when you try to eat my face or when you see me sit down to feed you and immediately gape your mouth open like a little fish. I am just ready for you to need me a little less often at night. Please. So, my little 20.5 pound chubster, it is time to take you off your milk-only diet and see how that goes.  Carrots were on the menu last night and you ate… maybe a 1/4 teaspoon.  You wouldn’t even let the rice cereal near your mouth this morning.

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We also need to work on you sleeping without being double swaddled. You seem unable to sleep without it, but you work your way out of it during the night and then, when I am bleary-eyed with sleep you have these crazy ninja baby skills in which you keep me from re-swaddling you. No fun for me. From there we will move on to using those cloth diapers I still have not taken out.

You are still delightfully chill, particularly when you are with people or held. You love seeing yourself in the mirror and laughing with your brothers and grabbing your toes.

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Your hands still fascinate you and you often look like you are trying to do the hula, only with just your arms. Even as a baby there is just something so precious and feminine about your movements and expressions. Even though you have a giant head and not very much hair.

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And when you break out the high pitched: Da-da-da-DAAA you totally have your Daddy wrapped around your little finger. It is so cute. You are so cute. And I will reiterate that I LOVE having a little girl. When you see new people who talk to you, you do this coy, bury-your-face-in-mom’s-shoulder move, and then peek out and smile. It is just precious!

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You are still very vocal and babble a great deal. You are still not mobile, however. You protest being dressed and undressed and laying on your stomach. Granted, we now have wood floors, which would not be my first pick for rolling on, but still.

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You are NINE months old and you don’t move. It has been very handy during the move, however. I just sit you on your bottom with kitchen utensils and know that you won’t go anywhere or get into anything.

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You are incredibly flexible and walk forward on your hands until your tummy is on the floor. You have crazy turn out too. In short, you have all the flexibility that your runner mom lacks. You can be yoga baby.

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Maybe I can get back on track with picture tacking during month 10. In the meantime, I hear you babbling away in your room, refusing to go down easily for your afternoon nap. Time for a second try.

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Love,

Mom

 

Posted by: Ingrid | July 13, 2014

Chasing the Sun

I really thought that when the Man Road Trip (husband, my dad, two crazy boys, minivan, and 26 foot truck) had begun and I was left alone with Liliana for our last day in Michigan that I would sit here in our old house with many profound things to say.  In the quiet I could wax eloquent about how I am going to miss Michigan or blog about my running friends or several other things on my mind as our time in Michigan draws to a close.  Here is the extent of my profundity today.

Moving is really, really hard.  Hard in an all encompassing mentally and emotionally exhausting way.  Add an extra “really” for each child involved.

I got 4 hours of sleep last night in 3 segments.  I really need more sleep and a baby that doesn’t feel the need to eat 6 times in 11 hours.

Yesterday, thanks to a myriad of people we got our stuff (so much stuff!) loaded onto the truck and the house cleaned.  I am particularly thankful for those few people at the end who kept me from being the only one in a kitchen that took forever to clean.  Now it is a matter of packing the stuff scattered around, brushing off counters, turning off lights, and leaving our house behind.

I finally got a chance, at 8:30 last night, to get out for a little four mile run, the last one from our house.  Our town is small enough that you are hard pressed to eke out four miles unless you loop up and down and around.  So little space and so many memories.  It is strange to think that our time here is over.  I was trying to figure out during my run what I would call these years.  I don’t think that I could say truthfully that these were a “good five years” if by “good” I meant anything remotely easy or all-the-time fun.  They have been challenging and full of joy and sadness and disappointment and wonder and constant change.  I can without reservation say that this has been a good end to these years.  This is a good reason to make a move like this and the people who love us were with us at the end of everything.  It has been a full few weeks saying goodbye amid all the packing and cleaning.

As usual, I have had a song that has defined this time, that I have gravitated to when I am running.  Sara Bareilles’ Chasing the Sun has been on repeat more than a few times.  Despite the fact that my mantra with the boys has been: This is a new adventure!  We get to see new things and meet new people!  It is not necessarily my default outlook.  But it is what I want and it is how I want to go into the next chapter of life.

You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun!
So fill up your lungs and just run
But always be chasing the sun!

All we can do is try
And live like we’re still alive

Onwards and upwards to the Colorado adventure.

 

Posted by: Ingrid | July 9, 2014

My Heart is Full, My Calendar is Blank

Here’s the thing about friendship.  You can plan how to make friends.  You can try to figure out who you want to be friends with.  But in the end, friendship, good solid friendship ends up being something of a delightful surprise, unfurling slowly until you look back and can’t imagine day-to-day life without that person.

My first few years in Michigan I was getting to know people and by the end of two years was fairly confident of who I would be friends with.  One person in particular, was someone I really enjoyed hanging out with.  You can imagine my dismay then, when one of her friends, an interloper, showed up a few times when I was visiting my friend.  Inwardly I fumed.  The audacity!  How dare she cut into my time with friend X?  The nerve.

But then, this interloper and I, both pregnant at the same time, started hanging out.  When two women are miserably pregnant it is nice to be able to sit down and talk through the details while your two toddlers fling trains and blocks at one another in a different room.  Three years later, and I can say, hands down, that this woman is not only a dear and loyal friend but is also funny and sometimes sarcastic to boot.  And I really don’t know that I could be good friends with someone who didn’t do sarcasm (Oddly enough, that sounds like it should be sarcastic, but it’s not.  I am serious.)

I am so used to looking ahead to the next week and calling or texting to try to get something; a play date, park trip, sanity break, on the calendar, but now, when I look ahead to next week, our calendar is blank.  For three years we have played at parks, at each others houses, gardened together, been miserably pregnant (again) together, done cooking and canning projects, gone to the zoo, and allowed our children to wreak havoc on our local McDonald’s play place.

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Having friends when you have kids is tricky.  I have learned already that there are people I would love to hang out with, but if our kids’ personalities or ages don’t mesh, it’s not going to happen.  I have appreciated so much, while raising little children who do not do things I like sometimes or act in ways I approve of, having a steady friend who is there and who still makes time to be with us.  Aside from that, I also appreciate:

-A mutual agreement that coffee is always available to the visiting friend, because coffee is always a necessity.  Coffee, graham crackers, and bananas are all fair game.

-Knowing that either of us can send texts at the witching hour before dinner with some variation of: “If my husband is a minute late coming home, none of my children will be allowed to survive.” and the other will completely understand but not take it seriously because the frustrations of motherhood MUST come with some hyperbole.

-Knowing that the “where is my child going to school” question can be hashed out for two years without coming to an actual conclusion but that the “denim skirt” factor will always be thrown in, just for fun.

-The ability to hang out for several hours without completing a single thought, and often, a single sentence.

-Knowing that usually one of us will be stuck at home because we have bread rising so the playdate has to come to our house.

-Not thinking that the other person is weird for shopping at the Amish store, making bread or yogurt or most things but also not judging when we buy our kids scary chicken nuggets from McDonalds.

-Knowing that you can laugh about funny things, laugh about hard things, and be laughed at, whenever necessary.

And a truly stellar friend will not only agree to come eat tongue tacos at your house with their entire family, they will come even after you post pictures like this on social media.

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I will miss you, my crazy “I want to raise chickens when I’m about to give birth”, gardening, canning, piano playing, conscientious, snow loving, friend.  Take heart, Colorado is only a 17 hour drive.  In the minivan!  With three small children!

Also, you have my vote as “Most Likely to Succeed in Organic Gardening and Chicken Raising while Living in Antarctica”. :-)

Posted by: Ingrid | July 9, 2014

Love the Ones You’re With

When we moved to Michigan, almost five years ago, we moved to a state without family.  Particularly with a 15 day old baby, the lack of family, or anyone familiar, was daunting to say the least.

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How thankful we were, to soon have two women offer not only their friendship and support, but their desire to be adopted grandmas to our two week old son. (Had they know we were going to produce three adorable children in less than five years they may have thought through their offer a bit more!)

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Growing up, I learned to believe that the people who were always going to be there for you were your family members.  Everyone else would let you down but family, family would be there.  Of course, that begs the question; what happens when family dies?  Or isn’t close by?  Or (gasp!) let’s you down?  And in our case there was no family to be had.  But there were women who were willing to look outside their own families and to love us.

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Now, I will be the first to admit that it is delightful knowing that people love me.  But as a mom, I am beyond grateful to have had loving people step in to be there not just for me but for my kids as well.  I would like to think that I am fairly loveable.  At the very least I can take care of all toileting and dressing needs, stay up past 7 pm, and am capable of occasional witty repartee.

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But to have had people come alongside my (always) loud and (often) messy children, who have allowed us to get away, who have given us date nights and parenting advice, lunch breaks when I could go run, coffee breaks and adult conversation, and who are people we could trust our children with has been an enormous blessing.  Especially from both our adopted Grandmas, I have been the recipient of them living out the philosophy that you should love the people you’re with, even if they aren’t tied to you by blood.

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Our “family” in Michigan will be missed tremendously.  They have been with us on our first five years of parenting; through both good and bad times.  Aside from all of the happy and grateful memories I have, I hope with all my heart that I can become someone who sees the people around me and loves them as well as I and my family have been loved.

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Thank you Granny G and Grandma J.  For everything.

Posted by: Ingrid | July 7, 2014

I have a butter problem

I know that sounds funny, but I am dead serious.  I have a butter problem.

Here is the thing about moving cross country – at some point you begin to take stock of the stuff in your house.  Stuff in your house, in your garage, the basement, the freezer, and the fridge.  Because at some point you have to stop buying too much and stocking the pantry.  At some point you have to start letting things run out.  Hence the butter problem.  I am down to roughly three pounds of butter in the fridge and I am feeling really uncomfortable.  If I make a batch of cookies, a few loaves of bread and a pan of granola bars we will be practically down to two pounds,which, as anyone knows, is almost no butter at all.

This, six days pre-move, is the state of our refrigerator and freezer.

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It felt so good this afternoon to consolidate everything to one fridge.  But then I looked at everything and contemplated my almost daily urges to go to the Amish store to stock up on flour (What if there is no Whole Wheat flour in Colorado?  WHAT THEN?).  And maple syrup.  And chia seeds, maple flavoring, and twenty spices that I may need sometime.  I want to be sure that my fridges are stocked and I have options.  Empty spaces in the fridge and only a few butter cubes make me very ill at ease.

I am finding that this translates into other areas as well.  I fought, (and won) a battle with myself, in which I consolidated 3.5 totes of maternity clothes down to 1 and managed to cull 7 garbage bags of baby boy clothes to give to a friend and still have several boxes left.  The crazy part was that many of those clothes had never been worn by me or my children.  They just took up space in drawers and in the closet to make me feel comfortable.  I have options, all is well.

So it’s more than a butter problem, it’s a stuff problem.  And yes, I’m in the baby and kid stage so it is hard to get rid of stuff and yes, maybe there will be another baby which has a 50/50 chance of being one gender or the other, but still.  We have too much stuff, plain and simple.  We have managed to skate the poverty line for two years and we still have a ridiculous amount of stuff in boxes and food that we will no way be able to finish in six days.  It seems absurd.  How do we have so much when so often it feels like we don’t or like there are so many things that would make life better or easier or more fun?

We have been trying to get rid of things, selling or giving them away, to make room, and yet it seems like there is always more.  Part of me wants to hang onto things and the other part of me wants to sell off everything, even our sofa and chairs and just sit on large cushions in our new house.  All stuff must go!  Make way for space!

And the reality is, when we get to Colorado I know I will be on the lookout for 5 and 6T clothes for Isaac.  For a bunk or trundle bed for the boys.  For dressers.  For a lego table.  For 18 month clothes for Liliana.  I will start building up the pantry and filling up the freezer so it feels “safe” again and not like we’re living on the edge of something precarious.

I am hoping though, that I can at least take the time to think through the things; the butter, the books, the too-many baby clothes, and the extra toys.  Why is it so scary when they aren’t there and what am I afraid of finding in the spaces in between?

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