Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Goodbye, House.

Our house is empty.
And echo-y.
It took three men eight full hours to load up the house. They were wonderful and everything went smoothly. It just turns out we have a lot of stuff.
It also turns out that I have a hidden talent of estimating how many boxes we'd need to move: I have one box left.
As they moved big furniture out and I got to examine the floors and the dust that was left behind, I realized that our house is fully infested with Polly Pockets (little rubber clothes, dolls, and accessories) and M&Ms. Pretty funny.

We are now in between houses: tomorrow we clean the old house and then Friday is closing day. Saturday the truck from today comes back and unloads into the new house.

I am tired, bone tired, but am so happy that we are moving forward in this process.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jenna's Graduation from Preschool.

It's Official: Jenna is a kindergartner.

It seems impossible, of course, that our baby girl could be hopping on a bus in a few short months to be away from me all day, learning and playing and growing.

But it will happen all the same.

She had a wonderful two years at her preschool, the same one Michaela went to and the same one we'll return to with Alec. She is truly a different kid- more outgoing, more confident, more comfortable in her own skin- than when we started there. What a joy it has been to watch her come into her own.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jenna and the Powdered Donuts.

There is a new love affair going on in our house: Jenna has discovered powdered donuts.

She told me the other day: "Mom, I don't know what the white stuff is on the outside of this donut, but I love it."
So I told her it was sugar.
"Shudar? Mmmmm... no wonder it's delicious. I LOVE shudar."

Jenna was playing outside yesterday and came inside the house, crying. "My feet both fell asleep... can you rub them?"
"Sure," I answered.
"And can you lay me down on the couch?" (whimpering)
"Sure," I answered again.
"And can you bring me a powdered donut?" (whimpering still)
"Is that going to make your feet feel better?" I asked, still doling out the sympathy in buckets.

"No, I'm just hungry and want a snack," Jenna told me very matter-of-factly.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Moving On Up, Part 2

We were supposed to close this Friday on our houses and it has been postponed for a week because we are the second rung on a five-rung ladder of people all switching houses within in our town, all of whom are now occupying said houses, and the fourth-rung-people "won't close on Friday." And because we set a closing date prior to the date listed on our contract, we have no legal recourse to force them to close.


Yesterday, the day this all started at 9am with an innocent phone call from our attorney's paralegal and ended with Dan and I sucking back Miller Lights to dull the disappointment of it all, I had such a mishmash of emotions that by the time I went to bed I was just numb. I had been on the phone and email most of the day, communicating back and forth with our agent, who was wonderful, our attorney, who was less wonderful, and the paralegal, who was trying to keep up with it all. I was tired of feeling disappointed, tired of the letdown, tired of figuring out our new game plan, anxious about how we would live for another week in the chaos, worried about not finding a mover who could accommodate us, and angry- very, very angry- that this was all happening because of someone else's decisions and inability to be ready to move when they had agreed to move. Tell me someone in your family died. Tell me your whole house flooded and you have to clean it before you can vacate the house. Tell me something other than "I won't do it because I'm not ready" when I have been busting my hump for the last three weeks with two kids and an infant to get the house packed up. And I was ready.

I was so ready that last night I had to unpack boxes of plates and cups and glasses. I had to go grocery shopping because my plan of paying the girls quarters for finishing boxes of snacks (total pull: Jenna- 75 cents, Michaela- $1) worked so well that I had no food left in the house. Everything had been planned out on my nice, neat Timeline that was posted on the fridge of who had to be where and when. We had to unpack some clothes and wardrobe boxes so we had room to move around in our bedroom. I made a few desperate-sounding phone calls to the movers I had gotten estimates from, and one of them actually laughed at me when I asked about their availability next week. Yeah, thanks... that's helpful.

Dan asked me a few logistical questions right before we went to bed last night and I finally told him that I couldn't think or talk about it anymore.

But, as with everything, there are a few silver linings: I will now be able to attend Michaela's last soccer game. School will be over by the time we move so I don't have to drive Michaela back and forth to her old school. The girls have three birthday parties over the weekend and now I can bring them to the parties and not be crazed. We can celebrate Father's Day this weekend instead of spending the day unpacking. We have a little more time to tie up loose ends.

We have a few more days in this house, my house, our house, and in a way I feel weirdly like it's a stay of execution. The end is now not as near as I thought. I've now got a few more mornings of waking up in our room. A few more days to see our neighbors. A few more days to look up at our maple trees in the front yard. A few more evenings outside on our deck. A few more days of the familiar, the comfortable, the known.

Michaela has been upset a few nights before collapsing, exhausted, into bed. She cries about leaving this house, leaving her school and moving into a house she's never seen. Though she has seen video of the house, driven by it many times, and heard us explain as much as we can to her, she is still upset about this change. I comforted her as best I could, and told her that I, too, have cried many times to Daddy and to her grandparents, wondering if moving is the right thing to do. I prayed about it and asked for guidance, and came to realize that I don't think God really cares where we live... and that if something was wrong for our family, He'd put up roadblocks. I told Michaela that her dad and I would never do anything that we thought wouldn't be the absolute best thing for her and our family. "You just have to trust me, Michaela," I told her, and she nodded, those huge brown eyes full of tears. Just rip my heart out now: it'd be less gut- wrenching.

Jenna made a beautiful craft at preschool: it's a kite with tissue paper glued on it that looks like stained glass, and a long, pretty ribbon tail with foam bows attached. For some reason, I am very attached to this craft, I think because it signifies something very primal for me: feeling carefree. Feeling grounded. Feeling like my babies and the things they do are the most important thing in my life. The last days and weeks and months have been plagued by worry and crying and anxiety and anger and the unknown and oh-so-much distraction, even though we have had, really, a very smooth process of finding a house and doing all the work to buy it and move into it. I am longing for the day this summer that we are in the new house, settled in, comfortable, feeling like our biggest decision of the day is where to go play together or where to go to grab some ice cream cones.

So last night we moved some more of the boxes into the garage to help alleviate the feeling of suffocation and claustrophobia we had just by being in a dining room and living room filled 3/4 of the way up to the ceiling in boxes. Each room has a pathway, hoarder-style, that winds around the boxes and gets you to the door and the closet, and if you're lucky, the couch or the bed or the sink. That made us feel better. I heard this morning from a moving company who can move us on Wednesday of next week and deliver us to the new house on Saturday. That made us feel better.

It's all getting better; it's all going to be fine.
In the grand scheme of things, this will be a small blip in the process.
Dan and I hatched a plan that on the Saturday we move in, we're going sit on our back upstairs deck that night after we've tucked the kids into their new beds in their new-and separate- rooms, and suck down as many Sam Adams Summer Ales as we want, watching the fireflies and feeling like kings of all we see.
And feeling blessed beyond measure.
We'll be home.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Brownie to Junior Girl Scout

Michaela with Erin; they've been friends since they were three years old!

Michaela with Dana, her Troop Leader

On Monday of this week we attended Michaela's Flying Up Ceremony to go from a Brownie to a Junior Girl Scout. The troop planned the whole ceremony, sang songs, did a reading and then walked over a small wooden bridge to signify becoming a Junior Girl Scout. Overall: adorable.

Michaela has been in this troop for four years now and it is by far her favorite activity. She loves the meetings, loves the troop, loves the crafts and activities and loves the snacks. We are blessed to have two lovely moms, Dana and Joan, run the whole thing and they do an outstanding job.

The troop got to choose whether they would wear green vests or green sashes as Juniors, and apparently this was a Big Decision. "We chose the sashes, Mom," I was told, "because the sashes are COOLER." Turns out they mean in the hot sun it would be better ventilated, not that it's more fashionable than the vest. I see.

We are super proud of Michaela and all the work she did this year to earn all of her patches. On to Juniors!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Persons In Need of (Better) Supervision.

Mom: Michaela, can you come in here?
Michaela: Sure... what's up?
Mom: I'm trying to get those pushpins above Alec's crib out of the wall... can you climb in his crib and reach for them?
Michaela: Sure!
Michaela climbs up into the crib and finds she can't quite reach the pushpins. Lightning quick, she throws her legs on top of the sides of the crib and balances, essentially standing on the crib.
Mom: Oh my gosh, Michaela, be careful!!
Michaela: Don't worry Mom, I've done this HUNDREDS of times. I stand on the crib and put blocks on the fan blades and then Jenna puts the fan on. The blocks go FLYING!! It's awesome. (Pulls out pushpins.) Here you go.
Mom: (dumbfounded.) I think you just wrote my blog post for the day.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Movin' On Up.

Right now, my house looks like a gigantic Chaos Monster came inside, ate up all the pretty things and vomited out boxes and bins and stuff.


So we are possibly two weeks-ish away from moving. We have, despite our best efforts, been unable to get a closing date. I literally got an email from a young-ish girl who works for our lender as the "Coordinator", who I cannot believe lives on the same planet I do, that said, "We maybe can set the date next Wednesday and can shoot for Friday to close if you'd like." Seriously? You think that I am so amazing that I can plan, arrange movers and be ready to move out of my four bedroom house with my three kids, husband and cat in TWO DAYS?
Maybe people roll that way. Maybe I am the unreasonable one, expecting too much notice. I said to Dan this morning: "We can't POSSIBLY be the most anal people who move. " I mean, I know some people who are Real and Serious Planners and I can't see this type of schedule ever flying with them.
What's most frustrating is that these phrases keep getting used: You probably will need this. Things seem to just work out. I'm not sure. Maybe. Tentative.
I just want someone to call us up and say, "Mrs. Libutti, your closing is set for Friday, June 18th at 10am. Come to (insert location here) at 10am. We'll sell your current house first, then have the closing for your new house at 12 noon. Bring (insert amount of money) with you for the closing."
But I don't see that happening anytime soon. Thankfully our wonderful real estate agent talked me down off the ceiling this afternoon and I feel a lot better about the whole situation.
In the meantime, we are packing up our belongings, box by box. Last weekend we spent a delightful- and delightfully HOT- three hours cleaning out our attic, our only storage space in the house which has not been gone through since we moved in ten years ago. Down the stairs came Christmas decorations, luggage, and lots and lots of bins filled with baby girl clothes. Also down the stairs came a few surprises: a set of white dishes I totally forgot we had; a three piece set of a Department 56 Christmas village that Dan's mom gave to me before she passed away; a set of Christmas dishes I thought I had lost in our move to the house; Dan's famous Cheerios box which had been missing for a few years and contains every memento and non-clothing item that he moved up to our apartment when we got married. The victory of the day was that it took longer than Dan thought it would ("It'll only take an hour" he said; "You're on CRACK" I said) but not as long as I thought it would. Our family room has been transformed into a storage area, stacked up to the ceiling. It's Breathtaking.
Then we moved on to Alec's room, where I took apart a room that I had lovingly just assembled 9 months ago. I had a small victory the other day at Lowe's, where I found the paint we used in Alec's room so I can repaint his new room the same color. (Speaking of victories at Lowe's, do you know that Lowe's sells really great moving boxes that are REALLY cheap? Score!!)
Then it was on to the girls' room, which is so cramped and messy and disorganized it makes me slightly hyperventilate every time I go in. Dan and I worked together, organizing stuff into piles, packing and taping and labelling, and carting the boxes downstairs. The room looks empty and a little wistful for the stuff that used to be in there. Michaela hates it and has told me so several times. And I don't blame her.
The pictures are down off the walls, the dining room and living room are packed away with just the furniture and rugs left behind. The kitchen and office and garage and pantry are still on the to-do list. In an effort to reduce the number of snack food/ frozen treats/cereal that we have to move, I offered a quarter to the girls if they finish eating an item and I can throw away the box (actually, throw it in the recycling bin). (How obnoxious of me to point out that I RECYCLE. How NOBLE of me. How AMAZING I am. Bleaaaahhhh.) In typical Michaela fashion, her eyes widened and she said, "How about a dollar??" And Mean Mommy said no, a quarter is more like it.
Because we have a new house to pay for.
Eventually. If we ever get a closing date.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Day 2010.

Michaela marching with her Brownie troop

We had a wonderful Memorial Day.

We hit the parade in the morning and then went to two barbeques and stuffed ourselves silly. We finished the day by swimming at my parents', including Alec's first swim, which he tolerated pretty well. The 90 degree water really helped. It was a pretty much perfect day:
beautiful weather, lots of family and friends, and my sweet nubbins all in red, white and blue.

Michaela in full regalia

At the parade

Waiting for Michaela to march by

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Birthday Reflections.

I turned 36 today.

Certainly not the most exciting number, but since I lose track of how old I am so frequently, it was a pleasant surprise to realize I had been only 35 all this time. I was a little ahead of myself. I have also realized that if you carefully choose most of your friends to be older than you, turning older is really no big deal.

Hey, I'm still in my mid 30's. Sort of.

I had a lovely day. I went out to dinner with Dan and relaxed. I got a new charm for my bracelet with my birthstone on it. I carefully packed away the children's baptism pictures- my most prized possessions in this world-and taped up the box of frames, ready to be hung in a place of honor in our next house. In an incredible stroke of luck and serendipity, I literally stumbled upon a piece of furniture in a store that is a very close replica of a piece of furniture the current owners of our new house have but were (understandably) unwilling to part with. We will very soon be the proud new owners of this piece of furniture and possibly the table and chairs that go with it. Then at the end of the day- right after I gobbled up not one but two pieces of Carvel ice cream cake at my parents'- I found out that a friend of my brother's, whom I have known for many, many years, became the dad to a healthy baby boy today.

I was really touched by how excited Michaela and Jenna were for my birthday; they made it fun. And of course every time I held Alec or kissed him, all I could think of was how he wasn't even around last year on my birthday and what a blessing he is to me. And our family.

I spent most of the day thinking about my blessings and counting each and every one. Some of them twice. It has been a wonderful year, full of growth and real change and the prospect of change. We added to our family, sold our house, and raised our girls for another year. And there were sobering moments, too. A friend of mine- a real peer- was diagnosed with a terrible illness and I worry about her and her family and cannot help but think of how I would feel in her position. There were lots of sleepless nights with a new baby that tested my patience and stamina, and lots of wondering if we are doing the right thing by moving. It was a rich year, a full year, a year of both exhilarating highs and at the same time lots of mundane-ness.

I feel older, wiser, and more ready to be a grown up.
It was a lovely day.