Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Late on Friday night I got a call from my Mom. "We are just 4 hours away from Austin, come stay with us this weekend!" How could I say "No" the first time since our move that we could have a halfway meeting? I couldn't. At 4am the next morning I discovered it was more like 5 1/2 hours that I would be driving, but I had already said we'd be there...it would just be a little later and more time in the car with the kidlings. Thank goodness we left so early, I could not imagine driving so far with the kids in the middle of the day. It would have taken 8 hours with all of the bathroom breaks that would have made necessary. I was not a happy camper by the time we arrived. I was tired and smelled of coffee and Sonic sweet potato tots. Mom's attempts at making me feel better about the drive did not work. "This is halfway between Long Beach and Austin" (THEY did not leave from Long Beach, that is where my grandparents live) and "You used to drive this far to go to IKEA" (yes, with weeks of planning and obsessing) were not working, in fact they were making it worse. Honestly, it wasn't that bad. It would have been easier if I had planned ahead and psyched myself up for a long ride. It was a matter of going that far on a whim that made it a bit difficult. (Cute side note: while we drove Elvis cried and cried that we needed to go back home. He kept saying we need to go back to town, we don't know the way back. He was convinced I didn't know how to get back to Austin because he sure didn't. So sad and so sweet.) All that being said, it was worth the difficulty. We had a wonderful 2 days with Honey and Nana! Neither of the kids knew where we were going, so the looks of excitement on their faces when they realized who we were there to visit were priceless! We had a great time at the ball park watching Becca play, catching up on all the latest happenings, and seeing other friends. The drive back was much easier, I think, because I knew what to expect. Though, since we have been back I have been suffering from an extreme bought of cabin fever. While Alex goes to work and has interaction with adults (creative adults, no less) other than me, I sit at home unpacking and interacting with our children. When Al gets home he can barely get a word in edgewise because he is the first person who can communicate on a level I have been longing for for hours and hours. This is phase five of the stress of moving. First it is packing up your life, taking stock of all the crap you have accumulated. Second is the realization that you will be leaving your friends, family, and support system. Third is the actual moving. Fourth is unpacking, similar to the first stage in its catalyst like nature in that you want to throw everything you own out with the trash and live a minimalist lifestyle so as to never have to deal with the mountains of stuff again. Fifth comes the actualization of leaving your family, friends, and support system. I would like to move past the stress of moving and graduate to the joys of new friendships and the formation of a support system. Now please! I'm going a bit nuts here. Alex asked me last night (with a little bit of a permission here), "could you please just take it easy on yourself and just play and have fun with the kids?" I will admit that I have been on a tear to get our house in not just working order but perfect order. I may just be being too hard on myself?
Thursday, March 15, 2012
On his way home, Alex read my previous blog post. He is so amazing, he reads my blog! Not only that, but he stopped by Hobby Lobby and bought the fabric I left behind. He navigated all the way to the back of the store and explained the whole situation to the old ladies at the cutting table. I'm sure they had done some talking about me back there this afternoon (I should know, I used to work at a fabric store). That made it all the more difficult when the fabric we had picked out and Alex had so lovingly brought home did not go at all with the fabric I had previously purchased. I took it back this evening after dinner with a bit of guilt and no kids (another great gift: half an hour with no little voices in my head...I mean, no little kids constantly talking in my ear). I explained to Al that I would have brought it back if I had gotten it and it was the AMAZING gesture that counted. He understood. Hey, after I shed tears due to his amazing show of love, how could he not understand? My oh my, that was the sweetest thing he has done in recent memory! It was better than flowers, better than chocolate, and better than random kind words. I love my husband. Since I know he reads this I can say it here...ALEX AUSTIN, YOU ARE THE MOST AMAZING AND I AM A LUCKY GIRL TO HAVE YOU! xoxo
Honestly, sometimes I feel like my kids are seeing past my super mommy facade to view the self conscious wallflower 12 year old that would do just about anything to get someone to like her...they see right through it! The "you aren't my mommy anymore"s and the "you are despicable"s, as much as I try to ignore them, get to me sometimes. I have tried my own way of dealing with mean things my kids say in a moment of anger. We all say awful things we really mean in the moment but have no weight on our true feelings overall. Sometimes it is just too much. We went out for our library's weekly story time (they have 9 story times...awesome...but we only go to one because it is the same book all week long with a craft to follow), lunch out and an errand. Our errand consisted of us buying fabric for Ruby's new duvet cover because I severely underestimated how much we need yesterday. Of course while the lady cut our 4.25 yards of fabric Elvis just HAD to go to the bathroom. We left the fabric behind with all intentions of picking it up after our pitstop. After a 20 minute bathroom visit (you know those visits where you keep asking "are you done?") our way back to the fabric department had way too many distractions. Ruby first wanted to look at the girly room wall decor. We didn't pick anything up. The next thing caught my eye. We stopped at the poster prints since I have been on an all out mission to turn this apartment into a home complete with strategic placement of art and photos on the walls. I need something for the kitchen, and bathroom, and hallway, and... You get the point. While I perused the prints I was met with a barrage of anger filled exclamations from my five year old...only to be repeated by my three year old. The last straw was when they began to throw a bouncy ball at my butt, or so I thought that was the last straw. As I lead them out of the store without their loot and minus the bouncy ball, Ruby SPIT on me. THAT was the last straw. I bought nothing and took them directly out of the store. This is how I used to do things, but I've gotten soft. I had to keep myself from getting supplies to finish the projects I had started because those projects Ruby would benefit from and she deserved no benefits at that moment. I really want to finish the lantern I've planned on for months, but who is that lantern for? Ruby. I really want to finish the duvet, but who is it for? The girl that spit on me in public, no less. I know she shouldn't have done it anywhere, but we have made a great distinction between public and private with our kids. Let's admit it...it is worse for the victim and more deviously satisfying for the aggressor in PUBLIC! It felt good to follow my own advice, but now I'm home wishing I had my materials to finish my projects. I've had other mommy's ask me, "but what if what you need to take away from your kid is something you want too?" I guess we all have to make the decision what will be more valuable in the long run? Teaching your little one the right lesson or getting something you want? You'll teach them a lesson either way so it might as well be one that shapes a person you actually want to be around in the future.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Moving so far away from the place we've called home for five years (ah-hem...the longest I've lived in one place since Madison in high school) has had its, shall we say, interesting moments. We chose our current location based on Great Schools ratings and access to public transportation. Let me say, we lucked out. This place is extremely beautiful! It's proximity to Austin is fantastic: close enough (and on the light rail line) to go in whenever to experience everything ATX has to offer and far enough away to avoid any of the drama we have tired of. I have anything and everything I could possibly need within a mile or two. You name it, we've got it. The area reminds me of the fictional town of Agrestic from one of my favorite shows, Weeds. All the ticky tacky little houses all the same, someone always jogging on the beautifully manicured trail, nice cars, smiling faces, and not a bit of litter...anywhere. That is, except for an exceptional radius around our downstairs neighbor's patio (we have a small area of nature preserve that our apartment faces...it is free from debris except for right in front of our apartment). Let me say, they are the exception! Every other apartment here, save the questionable patio decor choices, is well taken care of and clean. I swear, our second day here there was a used tampon applicator in the flower bed in front of their patio! They don't seem to be able to shut their front door without slamming the crap out of it, they let their children (there seems to be at least 4) run wild unattended at all hours (the 5 year old was out at midnight last night and the one just a bit older was, at 10:30 last night, throwing a ball using our door as a backstop), and a few days ago I am sure they got an eviction notice. Their little one Ruby's age, was sitting outside the door holding it when we left to run errands. She asked me to read it to her. I just couldn't, especially because she thought it was from "the skate park(?)". I can't help but wonder when in the world they will be gone. I feel bad for them, so bad that I have to keep myself from taking the little ones into my home and feed them dinner. Every time we come in contact with the kids they seem starved for attention, or at least positive attention. For a number of days they would endlessly knock and ring the door bell (at the same time) shouting "it's me," each time asking if my kids could come out and play. After explaining that they are not allowed to play outside without me, I was met with the look of "woman, are you insane?" The knocking has stopped, I think they've realized that Ruby and Elvis won't be having the run of the place like they do. I know I won't be able to choose their friends an where they go forever, but at 5 and 3 I think it is acceptable that I do so now. I let them talk and hang out when I'm around (this tends to be limited to walking to and from the car, mail or trash compactor) but I am not going to be the adult tag along to the shenanigans of the gang of kids downstairs. I just don't think I have the wherewithal to take them on right now, so all I can do is pray for them and make sure to keep my interactions with them as positive as possible. Lead by example, maybe? It is such a confusing situation. I find myself angry at the adults and wanting to shy away from the kids because they are just so needy. On top of it all, they are heavy smokers (the adults, not the kids i hope!) rendering our patio unusable in tandem. I love apartment living, but sometimes it really comes down to your neighbors to shape your experience. I try to be a good neighbor and hope I am.
On a more hilarious note. At Whole Foods on Saturday we saw Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet. He and his comrades from Engine 2 in Austin are known as the "Vegan Firefighters". His book is amazing and has been life changing for so many people and he is super inspiring. When Alex pointed him out shopping with his kids I was super excited....then I took a look at what was in my basket. Now, I had tons of fresh veggies, vegan "meat" crumbles, sprouted grain bread, Quorn, balsamic vinegar, Daiya (vegan cheese sub) and.....the off limits to E2 lovers...a gallon of 2% milk (which only the kids drink, I comfort myself...but there is an entire section in his book dedicated to the idea that veganism is great for kids), low fat sour cream (hey, at least it is low fat, yes?), a big ole tub of strawberry yogurt (to make homemade popsicles), and a giant pack of cheddar cheese slices. For goodness sake, we spotted him while we were at the Candy Island buying Ruby a milk chocolate covered marshmallow (which she shared with us all, it was the size of a BIG cupcake). In our copy of the E2 book Rip wrote a note to Alex, "Plant strong! Drop the cheese and lose the roll! Go, Alex, go!" I just wanted to hide. I know we eat healthier than most, but how in the world can I approach this man (who I really wanted to meet) with my basket full of what I know he sees as toxic. I can't say to him how much I enjoyed his book and how I really believe in what he has to say when I am not following his advice and my beliefs...all because I LOVE CHEESE! I do, it tears up my insides, but I LOVE CHEESE! I did the only thing a sane but slightly insane person would do...I ran. I ran as Alex laughed. It was priceless.
Also, I have been sucked into Pinterest! I know, some of you are saying to yourselves, "FINALLY!" It has been amazing in helping me get our house in order. It is like obsessive listing with visual aides and I LOVE IT!
Friday, March 9, 2012
I haven't gotten back to blogging like I've promised myself and all of you. I really wanted to, I swear! We have just had the strangest year of our lives that was tied up with a move across state lines. Alex got a job at the flagship Whole Foods Market, and just in time. We had to be out of the house we were at by the end of February and the store wanted him to start work on March first. Thank goodness we found an apartment before he even interviewed! We knew our timeline was completely wacky so we decided to spend the money for the application fees "just in case". Thank goodness we did. Everything with this move just worked out so well, it was nothing short of divine! We are all so excited to be in a new town that seems to really suit us that the great distance between us and those we love hasn't really hit us yet. Every day is getting less and less like vacation, though. There are a lot of changes going around with the Austin family. Al's new job (an awesome one, might I add), Ruby will be staying home until she starts Kindergarden in the fall (which means I will be back to homeschooling for a few months...Elvis could use the learnin' too), and I have decided to go back to school (probably not until we establish residency, though...it takes one year). In my efforts to get my nerd on, I've decided that I will relaunch my photography efforts to raise money for school. I'm currently working on some more modern fresh branding that will hopefully help me in ATX...my current look is pretty dated.
Keep it Awesome!