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Archive for the ‘moving’ Category

goodbyes and such

I notice on my google reader that I am not the only writer I know who is posting less frequently. One dear friend has said good-bye to her blog & others have not said so, but it is clear the posts are just not being pumped out at the same rate by most of us.

It may be that facebook or twitter are changing things – there are easier formats for the quick updates, the sharing of photos. It may be the branding & marketing of blogs has thinned the crowds. Maybe those of us with older kids have run out of time to share as much about them as we used to. Isaac, for example, is 11. He is lovely, but just not as constantly hysterical as he once was. This is for the best. People should not continue to misspeak in hilarious ways unless they plan to make a living at it. Perhaps, like many others I know, I’m starting to feel the need to transfer the ownership of his stories over to him.

I’ve made some changes myself. I have a work site & plan to consolidate all the birth blogging over there in the coming months. I will always have a link here for you, but everything feeds through reader, or Facebook, or Twitter, so I am often left with the feeling that people might be getting the notification 3 or 4 times for one post.

School’s out for summer. The kids are all mine. They are addicted to routine and schedules and plans & I plan to break the habit. They need poetry and homemade play houses, surprises and spontaneity mixed in with their little ingrained habit of bedtimes and reading times, snack times and planned stay home days. I’m not saying good-bye to this space, just acknowledging that it can’t be all it once was, when I was a stay-at-mother to very small children who swallowed marbles and painted my walls with diaper cream.

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There was finding our new apartment, vacationing in the Adirondack’s, hernia surgery, more time with all my nieces than I’ve ever had before, a raucous week of VBS at our now old-church, moving on the only truly hot weekend of summer….and then one morning, having stayed that hot weekend of the move at my in-laws, sent my older two off to another week of camp, seen my husband off at work, that I found myself being packed up with three year old in tow, by my mother-in-law, who blog nickname shall be The Laundry Fairy, to drive to our new place.
And for some reason, even though I’d been planning it for close to a year – or was it 2? – I was bewildered, terrified and completely unsure of its reality. The moment I crossed the town line – I sobbed and sobbed, with Theo five point harnessed in his seat singing along to the butterfly music (Coldplay.) It was a mixture of sadness, relief, built up tension, plain old body tiredness and strange expectancy that held the thought, “and now what?”

I had been armed by the Laundry Fairy with clean laundry and a swiffer. Theo and I had to make the day work. His brothers would be delivered in the early afternoon & somehow I had to make home out what can only be described as a hallway between various tall & dangerous cardboard box towers. Our heat wave continued through that week. Children slept in all the wrong spots at all the wrong times. I called Sarah, which became the college freshman’s equivalent to a nightly call home. We went to the sprinkler park at Look Park and my children became city children, running off with all & sundry to cool off in the intense heat of late the late afternoons.

On cooler days, I taught my children how to walk places: ice cream with Auntie Tricia, the library, the other ice cream, Thorne’s across the street – if only because we can use their potties! La Veracruzana with Sarah and her kids, because it seemed wrong to have Sarah here and not being eating fish tacos with her, the bakery, all the way the 1.2 miles to school and then again to the bakery. We discussed not scootering straight into the street! Discussed may be the wrong word for that. We got “dehydrenated,” along the way (nice try, Henry) and needed to stop for “cookies so I can get more energy for my scooter.” (even better try). Theo has learned to drink water, for I cannot carry a juice fountain in the back of the stroller. We discussed not stopping suddenly on the sidewalk in front of the stroller, mom, dad, each other, the elderly, people with dogs, and generally anyone. We practiced moving to the side of the sidewalk before slowing down or stopping. We wept from someone else got to press the crosswalk button before us – I may have been weeping for other reasons. It was, in fact, a short course in city life. This is a small city, but busy, loud and full.

Cardboard has subsided to items strewn around the apartment….piles waiting to go upstairs, downstairs, tossed out, free-cycled, recycled, composted, tag-saled. Our garbage, compost and recycling are now picked up by bicyclist. Our street is having a tag sale in the morning and block party in the afternoon. We have gotten through the first day of school and now are hoping the kids behave enough tomorrow for us to, you know, interact with our neighbors and make friends. We’ll see.

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There was finding our new apartment, vacationing in the Adirondack’s, hernia surgery, more time with all my nieces than I’ve ever had before, a raucous week of VBS at our now old-church, moving on the only truly hot weekend of summer….and then one morning, having stayed that hot weekend of the move at my in-laws, sent my older two off to another week of camp, seen my husband off at work, that I found myself being packed up with three year old in tow, by my mother-in-law, who blog nickname shall be The Laundry Fairy, to drive to our new place.
And for some reason, even though I’d been planning it for close to a year – or was it 2? – I was bewildered, terrified and completely unsure of its reality. The moment I crossed the town line – I sobbed and sobbed, with Theo five point harnessed in his seat singing along to the butterfly music (Coldplay.) It was a mixture of sadness, relief, built up tension, plain old body tiredness and strange expectancy that held the thought, “and now what?”

I had been armed by the Laundry Fairy with clean laundry and a swiffer. Theo and I had to make the day work. His brothers would be delivered in the early afternoon & somehow I had to make home out what can only be described as a hallway between various tall & dangerous cardboard box towers. Our heat wave continued through that week. Children slept in all the wrong spots at all the wrong times. I called Sarah, which became the college freshman’s equivalent to a nightly call home. We went to the sprinkler park at Look Park and my children became city children, running off with all & sundry to cool off in the intense heat of late the late afternoons.

On cooler days, I taught my children how to walk places: ice cream with Auntie Tricia, the library, the other ice cream, Thorne’s across the street – if only because we can use their potties! La Veracruzana with Sarah and her kids, because it seemed wrong to have Sarah here and not being eating fish tacos with her, the bakery, all the way the 1.2 miles to school and then again to the bakery. We discussed not scootering straight into the street! Discussed may be the wrong word for that. We got “dehydrenated,” along the way (nice try, Henry) and needed to stop for “cookies so I can get more energy for my scooter.” (even better try). Theo has learned to drink water, for I cannot carry a juice fountain in the back of the stroller. We discussed not stopping suddenly on the sidewalk in front of the stroller, mom, dad, each other, the elderly, people with dogs, and generally anyone. We practiced moving to the side of the sidewalk before slowing down or stopping. We wept from someone else got to press the crosswalk button before us – I may have been weeping for other reasons. It was, in fact, a short course in city life. This is a small city, but busy, loud and full.

Cardboard has subsided to items strewn around the apartment….piles waiting to go upstairs, downstairs, tossed out, free-cycled, recycled, composted, tag-saled. Our garbage, compost and recycling are now picked up by bicyclist. Our street is having a tag sale in the morning and block party in the afternoon. We have gotten through the first day of school and now are hoping the kids behave enough tomorrow for us to, you know, interact with our neighbors and make friends. We’ll see.

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We just arrived back from our week in the Adirondack Mountains, this time with my mother, both sisters, 3 of our 4 husbands and all 6 cousins. It was glorious and quickly becoming a fading memory. Tomorrow is the date of my super glamorous hernia surgery, brought to me by 3 over-sized babies. Then at the weekend we start our move to Northampton. On Sunday my sister ran laundry while I packed up the kitchen.
Today we went the playground and I downloaded the pictures, which leads us to my quiz and query:

What are these people doing?





You may know what the games is called if you perchance ran into my mother on any of the mid-atlantic beaches during the later 70s or perhaps the 80s. At the time she was involved in a group that ran vacation bible school on the beaches. I think they still do, but appear not to have a website. It was called CSSM, but I always knew it as Beach Mission. My mom took us nearly every summer when we were young and she did all types of crazy things that creative educators do, but this game may have been the craziest. Were you ever there? Did you ever accidentally run into us at a beach mid-summer and stop on your way to cherry cokes and board walk rides? If not, can you guess what she called this game?

She reffed it again for the first time in a long time. After her divorce, the organization was not very supportive, so her crazy game took a long hiatus. But this summer in the mountains, with 6 grandchildren, the very youngest of whom took it very seriously, it returned from the dark side of the moon.

Please write in your guesses! I’ll be unconscious and or hungry for most of tomorrow & in various states like that, plus cardboard boxes for the rest of the week.

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Yes, I have, a few times. I think I may processed why I am not writing about that more. It is after all pretty big and exciting news. But, at least on this blog & also in my mind, I haven’t had much time to plant here. We are really quite happy (aside from the fact that we are tenants and not owners) in this place & while my heart is tugged more cityward, this small corner of suburbia has been a very lovely respite for us after boarding school drama for three years.
We live in a large and prosperous suburb in one of Connecticut’s many rural valleys (great beauty, poor cell reception.) In a year, we will be gone. The owners of this home will come back to it and we will have moved on to Northampton, but here is where we are:

Took that standing in the brook that runs along the border of this property. Look, see, pretty:

This is downstream; the property line extends about as far as my camera can see.
This is upstream, where it is more shallow and the boys are more frequently allowed to play.

Up the hill from the stream we are learning to grow some of our food. We will do more of that in our next home, but things are thriving or not on our own watch and for two novices, Matt and I are not doing too badly. The iceberg lettuce is a sad story, but the butter crunch is delicious. Also squirrels like to dig up seeds before they have had a chance to do much. I had no idea, can’t they just go back to eating the bird food?

We don’t actually feed that many birds. I am afraid of bears. The elementary school is a mile away and one day Thinker had indoor recess because the black bear was on the playground. Yes, our suburb has bears! Also, wild turkey and woodpeckers that like to make alot of noise during my naptime in the woods, but there is another bird that calls this place home –

Sorry, it is blurry. When we open the deck door he flies away, so Matt took this through the window. It is one of two juvenile red tail hawks that we now see at least weekly.
This hawk is sitting where, you ask?
On that basketball hoop -it’s his crib. The other one likes the spot where the water shoes are right now and will move anything I put there. I’m considering some sort of fee for that.

In the front yard we have some lovely climable trees. It’s where we like to hang out and pretend to be owls. Come over and try it sometime (before we move).

My family came and we had a great time enjoying one another and all that this place has to offer, playgrounds, petting zoos and farm fresh produce, summer camps for preschoolers and shady trees that keep you dry in the hot summer rains.

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I owe you these:

Moving Out: the short series.

My life in my old apartment was hectically busy. This is best represented by this photo taken from the foot of my bed. I will not miss my room being grand central station. Those are two of the 7 doors that were in the master bedroom of our old apartment – yes, 7! Two to closets, one to the porch, one to the bathroom, one to the hallway and one each to each kid’s room. No wonder I almost lost my mind in there. Is it behind door number 3? Also, just imagine, this is my bedroom, please consider the craziness that was the more public parts of our apartment…

And this is Little Bear helping with all the packing….or something.

We will miss the lovely frog that Matt painted on LP’s wall. It was a very friendly frog and had a dragonfly as a friend; I understand they have been painted over, I don’t know what color. I hope they didn’t suffer. Soon LP will have road signs up in his room. I’ll explain later…

Here is the Thinker very helpfully trying to pack the baby…actually I had just cleaned the under the bed drawer out and they had found Sam the alien had been there for ages and ages and “how was your trip, Sam the alien?” Their great-grandmother got him by sending away for

it from the back of a cereal box…they have no idea how rare this behavior is in an adult. I’m sure they think all of us are just sending away for the stuff on the back of the cereal box all the time. That drawer is on wheels. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be letting the baby play in something like that. I’m pretty sure the baby is my third boy, so I forget stuff like that sometimes.

And the final piece in our “on moving out” series, Little Puppy, in a marked change from his usual medium, expresses his feelings about the packing process, particularly the loading up of the Pakrat on the front lawn. Notice both the order (3 square blocks stacked) and the chaos (upside down stool – why is that car there?). The mood is cheerful, whimsical and perhaps even a bit teasing (look grown-ups, why all the fuss? I can turn my world upside down during what’s supposed to be my nap time, why are you stressing about this, how do you say “move”?!) The prominence of the sippy cup speaks to the obvious truth that his needs come first. His younger brother lovey turtle tossed aside, yet still available, yes, okay, we’ll take care of him too.

Coming soon, moving in….

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Because, we’re there, or rather here, our “different new house” as LP has lately dubbed it, followed by “Look, it’s magic.” And it is. Well, it’s getting there. For a week and a half I have given up all but the lightest of reading and really only blog skimmed here and there. I’ve given up sitting and chatting whilst the kiddos napped in favor of turning this big empty space into home and to overcome all objections to change and its stressors. Here’s what I’ve been up against; the sentiments from our smallest family members follow:

Firstly, we don’t really live here. Or we don’t have enough evidence to say that we do or do not live here, as our oldest brother is quite clearly not here and we refuse, flat out, to live someplace he is not. We’d keep him in our overall pockets if we could. (He’s camping, remember? He’s coming back.)

Secondly, what the passy?! this place is huge and we don’t know our way around. For all we know if you, mommy, stand up, we may be lost forever as orphans in the living room while you clickety clack away on your keyboard miles and miles away… (that’d be two rooms away in grown-up speak, plus a small hallway). And don’t even think of going potty unless we’re coming too. And while we are there we’d like to play with the laundry room doors until one of us pinches our fingers.

Thirdly, stairs: we like not all this “I’ll be right back, I’m just getting some laundry.” We’re not entirely sure that you aren’t going to pack up the whole house and move us miles and miles from home again (10 miles, more or less, by the way.) We’d like to climb and un-climb the stairs in the while you carry laundry just in case you are packing again, we need to make sure you don’t forget us like you did last time, oh wait a minute, you didn’t, we just thought you might so we spent lots of time crying about that. We may or may not recover.

So, with herculean effort, I mean, help from my mother, my sister and my in-laws, not to mention my friends, we have started to unravel the mess, returned Thinker to the household and started to find some toys and routines. This morning Thinker went off to day camp to get tired, Little Bear had a rest in his crib and Little Puppy played with toys while I took care of the dishes and tried to coax him onto the potty and read enough blogs to feel a little sad about not going to BlogHer. It’s rainy and now the kids are watching Little Einsteins and eating cheese crackers. The crumbs on the floor are ones we are making. It feels like home.

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