Back with a bug


I’m back from vacation so I can tell you now that I was out of town. I try not to mention stuff like that until we’re safely back home for all the obvious reasons but now I have a huge backlog of stuff to share. Not a bad problem to have.

What was bad though, is that a few hours after landing back in Portland, I got hit by a stomach bug that didn’t quit. I tried to be thankful it didn’t happen on the plane but mostly I just felt sorry for myself as I tried to manage the kids on my own and wonder who was going to unpack and get groceries and meet my deadlines.

I am starting to feel better and am thankful to have pictures from our trip because the warm sun, mom’s help, and dad’s bartending already seems a long time ago!

Today I have a lot of catch up work to do, as well as a date with my Lysol. But more soon, promise.

Meanwhile – here’ a link to my column about the toll mothering can take on a woman’s self-worth. It ran while I was gone:—hardy


Sam & Jake @ Niks

I'm a planner-type. So when Matt suggested we take an impromptu vacation a few days later I kind of didn't respond the way he'd hoped. "Uh-uh. Can't." Then I offered up a list of reasons to justify my initial reaction. High on that list was the fact that traveling with two children under the age of 3 sounded as fun as morning sickness.

A few days later, we got the news that a cherished person in our family passed away with little warning. Without question, we made arrangements to head North to the memorial service to honor him and to support family and friends. Since we were packing anyway ... and since Matt was slower than ever before at work ... he brought up the vacation idea again. Fresh on my mind was the reality that life ends when you least expect it. With a few phone calls, a couple good friends stepping up to help water the yard and keep an eye on the house (Thanks Booker, Jackie & Quin) and taking in our darling dog for 10 days (Thanks George & Amy), our bags were packed and we took a 10 day road trip with only a vague idea of our plans. It was crazy awesome.

And, now, I'm delighted to be home. I love our little house, I adore my little family and am thankful for our many blessings. Plus, I can't wait to maybe get some sleep.

ps after aforementioned sleep, I'll post a little diary of our road trip with pictures ... well, after I find my camera, and unpack, and ...

Missing: 500 square feet and other things

My angel babies are napping at the same time (thank you God -- because they were ridiculous between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am) and I'm wandering around the house looking for the other "McQueen papuces" (slipper), the Doc Hudson car, the rice maker, the Furminator, the card I bought for my mom, the book "with Diesel 10, Splatter and Dodge in it" and also, my sanity.

If you're my Facebook friend you know the big joke from move-in day is that if I'm looking for anything I should check Sam's room first. Every other box, it seems, was marked "Sam's room." It dawned on me last night as I was wandering around the new house looking for the missing 500 square feet and an extra bathroom that in all this moving business I forgot to share the link to my June column with you, so here's that:

I'm not sure if I shared that the News-Register agreed to pick up another column of mine: Confessions of a Green Wannabe so I'm super excited about that, too. Okay ... back to my hunting.

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We're officially moved!

 I keep looking around in amazement that we made it happen - with a little lot of help from our family and friends. Also, I'm looking around wondering where all this stuff is supposed to go. I love, love, love this house and visualized us living here every day since the first time I saw it-- but it's just now really sinking in that to move here I gave up: the best neighbors, a sweet little town where the utility clerk is nice, an extremely quiet neighborhood, a pantry, a laundry room and a huge master closet. Oh, and two extra bathrooms.

That list isn't to say I'm not ecstatic to be here, but rather to admit there are some things I'm missing and there are a few challenges ahead of me in terms of how to settle into this new space. I think Matt senses that poaching part, a small, small part of his shop is on our list of things to chat about ... in addition to answering the question: how many wine glasses do we really need?

For now, I'm trying to remember to set smaller goals for myself - so instead of "unpack" it's more like unpack these three boxes before Sam finishes picking up all the packing peanuts with his tongs - his idea.

"Uh-oh, Mama. I make big mess."

"Okay, buddy. Just clean it up."

"I need tongs." I think this is still from when I was pregnant with Jake. This entry explains it.

As far as how everyone is adjusting goes ... let's just say there are super moments, and other less super ones. Finding fennel in the garden - super. Car alarm going off at 3 a.m. - not super. Realizing that probably I should start locking my car doors all the time ... not at all super.

The boys are both doing great with sleeping at night and naps - and by great I mean the usual antics for Sam and nursing-on-demand for Jake, but still - all things considered I'm thankful for that. Lucy Brown on the other hand, seems to be having the hardest time of all. There are a lot more windows for her to see out of, lots more people and cars to see and bark at and nothing is where it is supposed to be. I know just how she feels!

I do need to find the vacuum cleaner before my little guys wake up because those tongs didn't quite get all of the mess picked up.


Grandmaster Flash at the turntable

I'm sure the tickle in my throat is just a reminder to keep laughing as I make my way through this adventure of moving. Surely it has nothing to do with the crap care I'm giving myself while I take care of two sick kids and the details of dealing with utilities, insurance companies and packing as well as -- and this is the biggest challenge -- the normal things like meals, laundry ... life. I say that's the hardest part because while "normal" isn't quite the word I'd use for how we roll, there was a rhythm to our life here and lately it feels like Grandmaster Flash is the DJ here, scratching in the background.

This morning, for instance, after a night of "Sophie's Choice, light" where I went back and forth between the boys' deciding who was more "deserving" of our one humidifier, it was looking like my odds for getting a little blissful morning sleep were pretty good. Just a quick diaper change for Jake and we'd be off to sleep, sweet, sleep. Instead Jake peed all over me, himself, the bed and my one clean towel scoring points in distance, gravity defiance and timing.

'Round here

This time next week we'll be living in our new house. It takes my breath away to write that. One week. Partly it freaks me out because that means someone has to pack all the rest of this crap up before then and also because ... we're moving in one week. There are goodbyes to say, things to do for the last time, and lots of details to wrap up. Maybe this won't be the week I make Jake's birth announcements.

Since I'm up most of the night, it's hard to say if I'd be this sentimental about the whole thing if I had a wee bit more sleep but as it is, at 2 a.m. I started bawling when it hit me that we really are moving. For real. Even though I'm so excited about so much of this next part of our journey, living in Carlton ... our life here, the people we've met and befriended, the place we moved to as a young married couple and are leaving as parents ... well, there's a lot to be sentimental about ... if you're the type. And, of course, I am that type. Plus, I'm a Pisces, so there's that.

Life, I think, is about being able to have a picnic under any circumstances ... today we were set to walk to the park, Sam on his trike, to have a picnic. I got us all packed and dressed and just as we were heading up the street ... more rain. We were going to brave it but it just kept coming down harder and harder and we realized this was not a good idea. Sam, happy to be out of the house with our full attention wasn't into turning around until I convinced him we could have a special picnic in the living room. So we did. And we talked with him some more about the move. He was quiet as he took it all in. Occasionally he said: "Ah. Yes. Our neeeeeeeeeeeew house." But we have no idea which house he's thinking of because there've been a few he's seen and called that since January. It was a strange feeling to talk with him about what he'd like about the new house and what some of his feelings might be. It was one of those times where we look at each other and trip out on the fact that we're the parents here.

The view from here today ... my printer is set up on a folding chair. Drafts of my column are scattered around my desk and I can't staple or paper clip them together because I packed all of my office supplies today. All 3 staplers and all 84,000 paper clips. for inspiration, there's a bouquet of mint from Matt tucked in a recycled applesauce jar, yep - packed the vases too.

Good news ... I got an email saying I got a first place SPJ award for my column but that's all I know so far.

This site made me laugh this weekend: Shit my Kids Ruined and this one inspired me Refurbiture  - be sure to check out her before and afters. To see her work in person, stop by the Saturday Market in McMinnville.

Shifting expectations

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Matt and I ran away from home for a couple days. Which is to say we took a road trip to Walla Walla to return his parents' truck - because they graciously loaned it to us with a trailer so we can load our things up and stop tripping on ... everything.

This also means I took my first five-hour road trip with the kids - alone. We can file that under "what was I thinking?" Which, by the way, is turning into a bulging file ... moving at this particular time is also tucked in there. 

We had a good time visiting with everyone, Sam loved playing with his cousins and Jake enjoyed being put down twice in 4 days.  

Mother's Day wasn't exactly what I had in mind but I'm learning to be more flexible with my expectations. My special day started with me wandering around WalMart in Walla Walla at 5 a.m. looking for a snot sucker and some saline for Jake in hopes of that being the reason he slept for 23 minutes the night before. I also bought myself a couple pairs of pants I liked in a size I don't, but that's a story for another day. My sister-in-law made up for the less-than-super start of the day by taking me to the scrapbook store.

With all the driving, visiting and not sleeping I nearly forgot about what was going on back home ... until I opened the front door and was greeted by piles of boxes, empty and full. And a message that the move-in date we thought we had is now a problem. Again, a story for another day. But soon, friends ... soon.

Directional {and other} challenges

Welcome to Carlton I've been posting my notes on the house hunt and moving in the "Adventures and Travels" category because to me it seems like one of the biggest adventures of all - moving to a whole new place and starting over. 

I've moved enough times to know the drill. {Tacoma→University PlaceGig Harbor→Bellingham→Olalla→Gig Harbor→Back to BellinghamMcMinnville→Garibaldi→Rockaway Beach→Carlton}. And of course, within some of those places I moved a few times, especially in college.

I know that moving means all new people, but you get to take the friendships you made with you, even if you lose the proximity and convenience of those relationships.

Carlton is one of the best places I've lived. The sign on the way into town says "Carlton - a great little town." And it really, really is.

I remember when we first moved here, I was driving to the post office and I passed my friend and real estate broker on the road. He called to say hello and asked where I was off to. "The post office," I answered as I drove down Highway 47.

"Uh...not that way." It took awhile for me to figure my way around town, not that Carlton is so big but more that I get a little turned around and don't retain directional details.

Once I was driving with a friend to a new scrapbook store in Portland and as she was driving I called the store for more specific directions. I listened for awhile before hanging up.

"So?" Christine asked.

"Oh, I don't know, I tuned out when she started with the norths and easts ..."


the way we were

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While I'm super excited {and stressed} about our upcoming move to Newberg I'm also getting nostalgic about leaving this house. The saving grace is that people I really like are going to live here and {hopefully} love our house as much as we did. I know this house isn't for everyone, but it will always be our first home. We've poured our hearts, sweat and the majority of our savings into this farmhouse built in 1898. This will always be the home our babies came home to ... Why wouldn't I go back through some old pictures while I'm overwhelmed with packing and parenting?

This is the first place we lived in where we were allowed to paint. So we did. A lot. For a year people would come over and say, "Hey, it's your house so you can change the cabinets."

But we picked this lovely color combination. And we weren't tripping on anything either. It was the first thing we painted when we moved in and I hated it soon thereafter but we'd moved on to bigger projects and it was only this year that we changed them back to white. Much better.


Back to packing ... though I suppose I'll be tripping down memory lane for awhile.

(Pre) Weekend update

I have so many posts in my head, on scraps of paper and in my drafts file but am having a hard time managing to get anything completed. Anything. Making the bed is about the only thing that I seem to do first thing that gets done and stays done till the end of the day. Besides that it feels like everything else is basically me chasing the proverbial tail.

It did occur to me yesterday that while I was engaged in the pursuit of the perfect house, the fact that I actually have to pack all this stuff up and move escaped me.  I'm moving in six (or so) weeks! I haven't even made my to do lists yet, much less started crossing things off of them. I guess I do have one huge box of bubble wrap. And some books are packed. Sam has a box in his room and packs his books up daily. Then he folds the top in a way that took me the better part of my life to do, you know where you tuck the box flaps into themselves? Yeah, he's got that down pat. When it's time for nap or bedtime, he says: "Let's read a book! I'll go check in my box." And we pretend it's a surprise that he pulls out: "Sally! Mater! McQueen! Doc Hudson!"

Small update on the house situation: appraisal is ordered but hasn't been done yet, to the best of my knowledge. Looks like closing is still set to be around the end of May. Still love, love, love the house.

Dreaming of this in my new entry, luckily I know a guy who happens to be handy with reclaimed timber and is going to have a shop to build it in:


I discovered it on this cool site: