Thursday, July 10, 2014

The 4th of July tradition continues...

I can't believe my daughter starts second grade in three weeks. This summer is just too short.  After spending five days with my parents, we met up with my mom at the lake house and spent a gorgeous Fourth of July weekend fishing and enjoying the water. We have spent the last 4 or 5 Fourth of July's here and it has certainly become a tradition. Now that we live closer we hope to get up their several times a year now instead of once or twice.
Our daughter caught three fish this holiday weekend and that doesn't include one that almost pulled her off the dock and then snapped her line and swam off because it was so big.  We also enjoyed a beautiful fireworks display over the lake and watching many houses all around the lake set off fireworks as well.

Our daughter is home for a week and then off she goes again to South Carolina. She is a traveling girl! We are grateful to the wonderful grandparents she gets to spend time with this summer. I never had grandmother's to spend time with when I was a kid so I am more than happy to turn half her summer over to them.

She's in love with this dress grandma got her

My annual photo of my husband and my daughter on the dock 

So glad my dad put this bench out on the dock this year. So peaceful to sit out there.

Quite scary! This hot air balloon came so close to crashing into the water. 

Sitting on the dock watching the fireworks.

Her first time in a paddle boat and she loved it!

Her second fish that she has ever caught all by herself.

Sunrise over the lake.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Settled, Summer, and Smiles

We have made it through the first two months in our new city.  We are settled in and enjoying a peaceful summer. Our first summer in almost three years that we can enjoy without constantly keeping the house clean for showings. I cannot describe the joyous feeling of having dirty floors for a few days.  Seriously, when you clean like a freak constantly for two years it feels damn good to take a break and enjoy life.

Although, this summer I will be finding myself alone quite a bit.  My daughter is gone this week visiting my parents. In a couple of weeks she leaves me again to go with her aunt and other grandma to visit her cousins in South Carolina.  She will be gone for 9 days. I have never been away from her for that long so this should be interesting and make me a nervous wreck.  Maybe I should be more concerned for the sanity of my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for having to be in a car with her for 11 hours...one way.

This is also the shortest summer vacation ever.  Her last day was June 5th and she starts second grade July 31st. Squeezing in summer activities and lots of pool time is keeping us very busy.

Bubble fun at grandma and grandpa's

Posing for me at grandma and grandpa's
Love spending time with friends in the pool

Days spent at the neighborhood pool behind our house

Beautiful day spent in Chicago

Top of the ferris wheel in Chicago! What a view! 

Come into Chicago at least once a year and finally ride the ferris wheel. All smiles!
Weather in Chicago could not have been more gorgeous
Exhausted on the train after a fun filled day at Navy Pier and shopping in Chicago



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Boxes, boxes and more boxes

Took two loads of this truck to get it done
The boxes are unpacked. Pictures are hung. First week of school accomplished tear free. Whew! Now we can breathe. Two years of waiting and we have finally arrived in our new city.  My daughter is so strong and I can only hope she stays that way. The first day of school was a piece of cake and she seemed genuinely excited. My husband was like a giddy little child when it only took him 15 minutes to get home instead of over an hour.
This has been bittersweet.  We lived in our last town for 7 years. We met some wonderful people and were near family.  Our last town was small, comfortable.  We got to know all the people who worked in the places where we shopped. We had our church community and friends.

We have moved to a town three times the size of our last.  We have no family near us.  Just like so many other situations in life there are positives and negatives to each scenario.  My husband has a better commute so we see him more.  I had to get new shoes yesterday and instead of having to drive 30-40 minutes to a decent shoe store, I had a huge choice of where to go right here.  We went out to dinner this past weekend and had probably no fewer than 30 places to chose from instead of our normal 4-5.  We are closer to my parents which makes me so excited. Weekend visits with them will be so much easier.
Our daughter is in love with the fact that there is a huge playground right behind our house, a neighborhood pool, and trails. Kids here even ride their bikes or walk to school which is only on the other side of the neighborhood.

I wish I could say we are through with moving. However, we are in a temporary house. Believe me, if it took you two and a half years to sell your first house and then two years to sell your second, you would NOT be in a big hurry to jump into the realty game so soon. We need to familiarize ourselves with this area again (yes, we used to live in this area when we had our first house).  So now that we are getting settled, it is on to scoping out houses or lots to build!  I have one more move in me....I think.  Our daughter laughed the other day when we told her this was the fourth house she has lived in....and she is only seven years old. sigh. Thank goodness for little girls with a sense of humor.

My advice? Never move.
Last day of school in our old town 



Getting unpacked

Nice view from our back patio

Monday, April 21, 2014

Grieving...I need a 'how to manual'

My daughter enjoying beautiful flowers at a local trail
Grieving. I am no good at it. I have no idea how to process these strange emotions. I would say grief has been limited in my life.  My grandfather, an uncle, a family friend, a couple more relatives I was never very close to round out my experience with grief.  However, I am not grieving a person at this point in my life. The concept might sound silly to most and some might even say it is outrageous to call what I am going through grieving. It is not my intention to insult someone who may have actually lost a loved one.

Through this whole moving process we have purged a lot of items.  The less we have to move the better. The other day I went into our basement to bring up more boxes of stuff we had stored down there. Holiday decorations, genealogy items, our daughter's toys- no big deal.  Tucked away high on a shelf I had about three plastic tubs full of baby clothes and toys. Seems everyone lately is telling me to get rid of it all.  Sounds easy, right? Take the boxes, throw them in the car, drive them to Goodwill, hand them over with a smile to the man who has seen way too much of me lately, drive away. Simple. No, not really.

I sifted through the boxes to pull out any little items I wanted as keepsakes. I promised myself only a few items as I pulled everything out. However, my pile of keepsakes got larger and the tears gained momentum. This was not going well.  I grabbed everything and threw it all back into the tubs, slammed the lids on and stormed upstairs.  I couldn't do it.  It is silly, I know.  We could always buy new baby clothes and toys.  What if we had another and it was a boy? We would need new stuff anyway.  That is not the point. Purging all the baby items is an admission. An admission that the family I had dreamed I would have was probably not going to happen. I had to face the truth that it is time to let go.  Seven years is a long time to pray that we would be able to once again open all those boxes and joyfully put all those clothes into the nursery. Then I consider how our daughter would be the luckiest girl in the world to have ALL the attention of mom and dad.

Photo by Jennifer Bergman
After a few days I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and went in the basement again. I put on blinders. I lugged those boxes upstairs, out the door and to my car.  I drove like a zombie to Goodwill. As I pulled up I took a deep breath, did put on that smile and handed the boxes over to the man that has seen too much of me.  I pretended something else was in those boxes...anything. Maybe pots and pans, clothes, or books that someone else could enjoy.

I have realized something else.  Something I know I have heard before.  Grieving is a process. I think I am somewhere in the middle.  I saw two little babies recently born in our family yesterday at Easter. No, I did not hold them.  However, I was able to go up to them and take a peek...with a smile. I walked away without a single tear welling up in my eyes.  That, my friends, is progress.  Seems so incredibly small to most people, but to me it is a huge step toward the end of grieving and the beginning of acceptance of what God has intended for my life. I have to live by the motto, "Things happen for a reason".  This phrase has been proven time and time again in my life.

This move can now provide a new start.  A fresh prospective on what life will hold for just the three of us. Here's to new adventures!








Monday, April 7, 2014

Uh oh...THAT day has arrived!

The day has arrived. Two years in the making. The moment when my husband and I looked at each other and said, "Oh S%#*!! This is real now!".  Our house in pending---almost two years to the day that we originally put it on the market.  When you sit around for two years waiting for a sale you get complacent. You start to think it will never happen.  Then the offer comes in and your head starts going in a million different directions. Just on the surface: How in the hell are we going to move all this stuff? Who can help us? Can we take the dogs with us to our temporary housing?  Will our daughter adjust to a new school? What will it be like to make new friends again? Will we even find temporary housing? Will the closing go through? UGH! So much to think about but yet we are doing what is best for our family.

Word of advice: Don't move unless absolutely necessary.  It sucks. The little details are the most stressing of all.  Switching banks, finding new doctors, getting our daughter into new activities, joining a new church. Enough to throw anyone into a panic attack.  I have been through this many, many times before with our many moves but it never gets easier.

You would think we would be used to this by now.  This will be our fifth home in our 12 year marriage. We have never been in one home longer than 4 years.  Let's just say we never feel settled. We have made a promise that our next home (after temporary housing) will be our last. I don't think anyone can ever get used to moving.

This life transition is bittersweet.  We have met some very incredible people in our little town. Over the years this small town has felt too small at times.  Everyone knowing everyone else's business. Obvious cliques exist like high school days.  Above all that, however, is a safe, small town full of pride.  I can go for a walk anywhere in this town and tell you who lives in what house. That comfortable, safe feeling is what I will miss most of all.

I know the best part is yet to come though. My husband will go from a 1 hour 20 minute commute one way to 15 minutes one way. We will also shave off over an hour drive to get to my parents.

The next couple of months will be crazy but well worth it in the end.  Life has been quite an adventure since my husband and I got married and the loops and turns keep coming.  Who wants a boring, straight-laced life anyway?!

.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

9 Things I Learned From A Facebook Hiatus

I have had my issues with Facebook for a long time. I was reluctant to join in the first place nearly three years ago. I caved.  I do not live near my family and thought it was a great way to keep in touch. I also have this passion for genealogy so I knew I could use it to get information and connect with distant relatives.

However, I have seen this change in Facebook that has rubbed me the wrong way- being fake and posting crap.  I understand now why they say teenagers are fleeing Facebook and not using it nearly as much as they did a couple of years ago.

After Christmas, upon hearing of yet another pregnancy within my circle of family/friends that should never have happened, I decided I desperately needed a break from social media.  Struggling with infertility also makes me flee from anything pregnancy related. Go ahead, call me selfish but unless you have been in my shoes- do not judge. I decided to quit Facebook (at least temporarily).  Here is what I discovered in my time just before quitting and during my hiatus:

1.  I do not care where you are at every minute of the day.  Seriously, do we all need to know that you are going the grocery store. You got back and are now cooking dinner. That evening you are watching television.  You went the bathroom and are now going to bed.  Do we all need to know these details? Maybe you should just have 24/7 podcast.  I think you want someone to stalk you. Oh, and if your house gets robbed I will know exactly why.

2. You are fake and/or are making us believe you have a perfect life. Ok, some of you are not doing this on purpose. However, I take issue with you when you make people assume things on Facebook that are not the whole truth.  Example, you show off pictures of your new car and talk it up. Only problem is the people close to you know it is not really all your car or someone else bought it for you. When you only show the great and never the bad, people have a hard time relating to you.

3. The only time you post anything is when you are either traveling or have just bought something. Be humble. Do not make your ONLY posts be when you are vacation or bought something. There is more to your life, show it or stay off of social media.

4. You are only on Facebook to play games. There are too many 'friends' I have on Facebook that I want to delete because I do not connect with them anyway. They are only on there to play games and that is all that shows up in my news feed. I then block you from showing up in my news feed and that kind of defeats the purpose of Facebook, right?

5. I do not need your political agenda shoved down my throat. (sigh), then there are those that use Facebook to be on their soapbox 24/7.  Free speech...hey, I get that. Go ahead. As for me? Delete, delete, delete.

6. I did not miss a damn thing.  I did log back on this week.  Know what I discovered? Not one damn interesting thing. What did I miss? Nothing.  I read this, "blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda." The world went around and around without Facebook in my life and I still didn't miss a beat.

7. My family talked to me more. Yes, seriously. I kid you not. I talked more with my mom on the phone because I wasn't on Facebook and didn't already know what was going on with family. More family members or friends would email or call and say, "oh, since you are not on Facebook I should tell you...." Still, none of it was earth shattering, but real conversation took place!

8. In my mind it is not fair if I share and you don't. If I am an active participant on Facebook, but 60% of my 'friends' never participate on Facebook and only have a profile and just look occasionally,

then what is the point of keeping my account? If I joined Facebook to keep up with family or connect with distant relatives but they NEVER post anything than what is the point of me using Facebook either? Just to be able to message them? I can use email, write a letter, or use the phone.

9. I realized I am a happier person WITHOUT Facebook. Once off Facebook, I do not care so much about what other people are doing. I focus on myself. We went to visit my parents and for most of the visit my phone sat untouched and at least 20 feet away from me.  In the evenings my phone sits in the kitchen while we are in the living enjoying family time.  I do not get down in the dumps because someone is on vacation and plastering it all over Facebook while I wallow that I desperately need one. I don't question others decisions and ideas anymore. I only question my own.


After a week or so of no Facebook I noticed that I did not miss it. If I go back it will be on my terms and changes will be made. Live your life, not someone else's.





Monday, January 13, 2014

"These little earthquakes"....

"ooh, these little earthquakes. Here we go again. Doesn't take much to rip us into pieces." - Tori Amos



The first 12 days of 2014 better not be an indication of how the rest of the year will be.  The outcomes are good, but having anxiety so early in the year is enough to want me to have 2013 back if only for a moment. A call to return after a mammogram is enough to break even the strongest of souls.  Yes, I am young. 34. Most women don't worry about mammograms so young.  I have no choice but to worry.  My grandmother passed away from breast cancer and my mother is in remission.  I have had my fair share of health issues and have been poked and prodded enough to last a lifetime, but 'spots' on a mammogram can bring you to your knees.  This was my first mammogram and no one bothered to tell me that about 50% of women get called back for a follow up.  That doesn't change the fear.  In the end- all is good. Whew. Walking on air is the only way to describe the way I walked out of that hospital last week.

My dad has already been in and out of the hospital this year. We had crazy weather that resulted in my husband and daughter being home from work/school for three days. Welcome cabin fever! Our neighbors have sold their house which has been on the market just as long as us. Gives us hope, but at the same time so disappointed it wasn't us with the 'pending' on our sign.

It is only January 12th. Strap in. Those little earthquakes are waiting.

I am also experimenting with something that I truly believe is changing my life, my outlook, my attitude, and my priorities.  I am giving it a bit more time before I discuss.  Soon.....

                                                   Happy New Year!