Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review

I normally don't do these "answer questions" things, but 2012 has been so awesome that I wanted to think back and remember it all for a minute. So here goes.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Went to Iceland! (Still excited about that almost a year later).  Hiked on a glacier, floated in a volcanic hot spring. Drank schnapps made from moss (SO gross).  Ziplined over a forest in Quebec.  

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, did not keep resolutions. Even though I didn't make many. Might make one for 2013. I heard something on the radio about making resolutions tied into relationships. Like not saying you want to lose weight, but signing up for a race to raise money for a cause you care about and training.  That I can see me doing. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A friend at church.  I don't think anyone else, but I'm not a huge fan of babies and so it wouldn't have been particularly memorable.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, praise God!
5. What countries did you visit?
Iceland! (Again, still excited).  Canada (BC, Ontario and Quebec).  US (Virginia, Oregon, Washington, California)
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you didn't have in 2012?
Patience with my children. Particularly with Ethan
7. What dates from 2012 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
February 25- our 6th wedding anniversary. We spent the majority of it in Iceland and then flew back to Seattle that evening, so the day was 30 something hours long. Kind of cool. August 20th- the day I started grad school again. And my new job, that same day. Whee!
8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I got an A in Constitutional Law while packing to move, and juggling the travel job and the kids. 
9. What was your biggest failure?
I got fatter instead of thinner. Sigh.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fell over in the bathroom one night and banged up my nose and cheek. But nothing major.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I would say our new house, but technically I don't own it (yet- long, long story).  Love my Keurig, but got that for the review blog... Can't think of anything off the top of my head.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Daniel. My goodness am I blessed with him. He works insane hours, comes home, puts the kids to bed without ANY complaint or comment. He supported me mentally and financially and never batted an eye when I told him that I wanted to work at a company that doesn't pay me and also go back to grad school on our own dime.  He is patient and thinks my craziness is funny and hasn't once threatened to have me locked up.  I could NEVER pull off even a fraction of the things that I do without him as a partner.  He is amazing.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Pretty much just my own :)
14. Where did most your money go?
Target. And tuition for Vivian's preschool and my grad school. We've written some large checks this year. 
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Disneyland- there is something in the air there! And our new house.  Between the time we offered on it and moved in, I drove by pretty much every day. Or looked at the virtual tour online. I have issues.
16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
"It's gonna be a good life, a good good life!" It was on the Disneyland commercial and after we went to Disneyland, Ethan was obsessed with the song.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a) Happier (and better medicated)
b) Fatter. Again, sigh.
c) I honestly don't know.  This house buying thing has been complicated and money has been moving around between our accounts and investment accounts and accounts for the other properties and I have no idea.  Probably about the same as last year.  

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercise
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Yell at my kids when they were just being loud little kids and not really harming anything
20. How did you spend Christmas?
  Church, dim sum, driving back home to Seattle.  This was the most non-Christmas year ever. 
21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
With our new house. Maintained other loves as they were :)
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Big Bang Theory
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't have the attention span to hate people. I lose interest and wander off.
24. What was the best book you read?
Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper. LOVE her books.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't really listen to music. Which is funny, because I'm very musical.  But I prefer podcasts and NPR.
26. What did you want and get?
This new house. Although I didn't know I wanted it until I saw it. We weren't even planning to move.
27. What did you want and not get?
I generally get pretty much everything I want :)
28. What was your favorite film of 2012?
Nothing really stands out... but I don't watch a lot of movies. Again, short attention span.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
35.  Still having a hard time believing I'm that old.  I totally did not remember my birthday, but then I went and looked at my blog entry and remembered that I spent the morning at the doctor with Ethan and his suddenly non-functional hip.  SUCH a weird illness.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I'd gotten my butt in gear and out to exercise more.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2012?
Chubby Seattle mom.
32. What kept you sane?
God and Daniel

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I do not discuss politics on my blog- but would be happy to talk about them in person! I'm pretty apolitical (even though I'm studying law and public policy in grad school), but there are some things that I cared about this year.
34. Who did you miss?
I tend to not miss people much. I'm a pretty out-of-sight, out-of-mind person, and I communicate with people all around the world on Facebook all the time. I do miss my best friend though- haven't seen her since my wedding and we haven't met each others' kids.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
I really didn't meet many people- did make one new friend who is insanely outgoing and friendly and she's a fun new person to have as a friend.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
 God is faithful, even when things are crazy!
37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"a good, good life"! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

I think I might be a grown up now.

I bought a laundry basket last week and am suddenly feeling grown up.  I also purchased an ironing board. It seemed like a grown up thing to do, even if it's unlikely that I will ever use it. We'd rather be wrinkled than iron :)

Fairly settled in the new house now. Right now I'm supposed to be in the basement helping Daniel organize the random stuff we threw in there, but it's cold in the basement and warm up here in the kitchen. So I left and came up where it was warm. Honestly, that's been one of the biggest adjustments for me in this new house- I'm cold all the time. Our old condo never got cold- rarely got below 70 even in the winter and we never turned on the heat in the 6 1/2 years we lived there.  Now we're in this townhouse with lots of floors and windows (good ones, but still) and it is cold in here.  I'm using the heat nervously- I have no idea what to expect from our first electric bill!

We had a nice Christmas.  We drove up to Vancouver, hung out with his parents for an hour or so, then went out for dinner sans kiddos.  The next morning we slept late, and went out for dim sum, which took several hours. Back  to his parents' house where I let the kids open some presents, then out for Christmas Eve dinner with the extended family- again for several hours.  Christmas morning was church, and then off to another dim sum restaurant with most of the same relatives. 45 hours in Canada- 4 eating out experiences. 

Daniel's parents are coming down with his brother and sister-in-law on Monday, so they can stay at the condo and watch the fireworks. It'll be weird for us to not be able to just step outside and watch the fireworks on the Space Needle. It was fun to be a part of city life and stand in the street with everyone from the bar and restaurants and watch the new year come in.  But it'll also be great to celebrate in our new home.  Probably by going to sleep at 10 PM. :)

In school news- got Ethan's kindergarten assignment info this week. My baby is going to Kindergarten next year! And my other baby the year after that! (Secretly very excited!)  And my school is gearing up again- just printed out my first week's assignments for my class that starts next Monday- getting to study International Human Rights this term- so looking forward to it! Need to get my brain working again though- it's definitely been on vacation this month.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday

Friday was a hard day for me, as it was for everyone in the world who had access to the news, I'm pretty sure.  I spent all day waiting to hear about the fate of a friend's nephew and cried on my keyboard when the worst was revealed to have happened.  Still praying hard for comfort for everyone involved. I know it's going to be a long healing process.

Saturday we got up early and went back to the condo to pack up all the many things that were still there, then some friends showed up to help us move the rest of the boxes and furniture.  Daniel, in typical compulsive fashion, stayed up until 3 AM building our new bed. 

Yesterday is just a blur of tiredness and running around the city to church and to buy cookware that I can use on my induction stove and swim lessons and unpacking boxes and home fellowship and grocery shopping and tiredness.

Today I am determined to get as many things unpacked and put away as possible. I can do it!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Whining. And other miscellaneous stuff.

I wasn't going to brag all over the internet, then I realized that I share virtually everything all over the internet and why would I stop now. I got an A in my grad school class! I decided I could brag because this A is due to two things.  1) Daniel is amazing and supportive and could not have been more helpful and gracious and patient with me this semester. He did whatever it took to help me succeed.  I am grateful and blessed. 2) I actually worked hard. I've never really done that in a class before.  In high school and college, I was able to get decent grades with relatively little effort. And in my last round of grad school, we pretty much always passed. I have no idea what my grades were, but I didn't really enjoy most of the classes and just of endured them.

This time though I loved the study material. And using my brain. And having to think outside the box.  Loved, loved, loved it. And this was a class that I just took because it was on my list of classes for this program and nothing more interesting was available this term.  Next semester I get to take a class that's actually something I'm already interested in. Even better!

In other news, still loving the new house. It's great to have rooms to put things in! We're not jammed in anymore! And when the kids are getting too crazy, I can send them to a different floor! I can still hear them, but they aren't touching me all the time!

It's weird to look out the window and not see people though.  Living on a busy city street, there were people to watch pretty much 24/7.  I knew about the lives of people I never met. Like the people who had the giant dog and lived down the street. They walked to the coffee shop every day and I saw the man wait outside with the seriously enormous dog while the woman got coffee.  I watched this for years. And then this last month- she had a tiny baby strapped to her! I was so excited that I called Daniel and he knew exactly who I was talking about.  And these are people we never met. 

It worked the other way around too.  One day a gentleman walked by us while we waited for Ethan's bus and he stopped to tell me how entertaining he finds Vivian when we're outside, because she's always dancing and leaping and being silly.  He apparently could see us from his home up the street. 

But now there are just trees and squirrels.  Fortunately though, I'm going to have the car a lot more, so that will help.

*Here comes the whiny part.  I warned you.

I have been sick since last Friday night.  Thanks to Miss Germy germ. It's just a cold, but it's a rough one. And I'm sleeping on the couch with Vivian (our beds aren't moved yet) and spending every day moving boxes and unpacking.  And I've been keeping up. Last night, Daniel told me that he was going to swing by the condo and just pick up our little pantry cupboard. That was it. He wasn't going to move anything else and he was going to be home in time for us to have dinner and get the kids to bed on time.

I should have known better and I probably would have done the same thing because I am JUST compulsive as he is.  But I still was so unhappy when he finally got home at 8 PM (traffic was bad, and that did factor in. A bit.) with a car load of the kids' toys and other miscellaneous things. Which the kids immediately dumped everywhere while we were busy unloading the car.  And they did not get to bed on time. 

I know that everything has to move soon, but I feel awful and I just wanted one day to enjoy what I've accomplished so far.  We're hiring a van on Saturday and we can move everything that's left then. We did not need that car load last night.  I just want to lie on the couch and cough.

You are probably saying "why don't you just not deal with the boxes and stuff that he brought last night?" For the same reason that Daniel couldn't help building our new entertainment center last night from 10 PM-1AM. We have a serious inability to leave things undone.  Even though I'm whining, I probably would have brought the car load and stayed up building the entertainment center too.

I am SO buying myself something sparkly when we go to Target this morning.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Skipping Christmas

When I was packing up all of our boxes and bins, I deliberately packed the Christmas stuff separately so that I could easily identify it and decorate our new house. I was dreaming of how pretty it would look.

Yeah, I'm SO not doing that.  :)  Now that we're in and I'm knee deep in boxes (another load comes tonight with Daniel after work!), I just want to unpack and get things in the right place and get my regular decor up so that I can rearrange things obsessively.  I just want to settle.  Christmas decorations be damned.

We're not having Christmas here anyway, so it doesn't matter. And Ethan made his grandparents buy him a tree so that he could have one at their house. 

I moved the cats here yesterday and they seem to be settling in okay.  Totally confused about all of the floors, since all they've really ever known is our 3-room condo.  Our crazy cat hid in the under the stairs storage area for the first night, and now she's taken up residence behind the kids' bookshelf. But honestly, she's really annoying, so I don't mind her hiding. Our good cat has mostly been sleeping on the bunk bed that Ethan's using, since all of his stuff is there and familiar. But she comes out to explore every now and then.

In other news, my professor still hasn't posted our final grades, so I'm spending every minute when I'm not unpacking on the worth task of obsessively checking the website. 

In other other news, it's 3:45 here and rainy and almost dark.  You win, Seattle.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Things to adjust to

This house is making me feel like a grown-up, for some reason. Maybe because we met the people that we bought it from and they are retired and definitely grown ups?  I don't know.  It just is.

Daniel is a saint and spent the whole day yesterday going back and forth between the condo and here and unloading piles of stuff in the cold and drizzle.  I can't imagine how happy he was to go to work today. We still have stuff left at the condo, but we're making pretty good progress. Today I get to go pick up the cats, which will be nice.

This place is definitely different from our old condo.  In many ways.
1) There are trees. We had a few trees near our old place, but they were city trees. These are wild, tall trees.  There was a squirrel right outside our window when the kids were eating breakfast and they were thrilled to watch it run around.

2) Stairs.  Oh, the stairs.  This place is a townhouse with 4 half levels.  So there are three flights of stairs. And since everything is still in disarray, we are going up and down them a lot.  I need to get in shape to live in this house.

3) We actually have to run the heat and it's still cold.  We never ever turned on the heat in the condo because it was always so stinking warm in there. So this is a novel idea for us.

4) The house has hardwood floors and lots of openings in walls, so it's a very loud house. I was worried about what the kids would get up to when they weren't always in the same room with me. As it turns out, I can hear them from almost anywhere.  I feel like a spy :)

5) This house is fabulous. Our condo was not. The end.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

In case he hadn't noticed that I was crazy

I woke up this morning on the wrong side of a strange bed. We moved enough stuff yesterday to make it feasible to live in the new house. And at bedtime we set up air mattresses for us and for the kids and then... Ethan (in typical special needs kid fashion) freaked out because he wasn't sleeping "up above".  So then we all trekked down to the basement with our sheets and the few blankets that I'd remembered to pack and slept on the bunk beds in there.  I started out the night on the outside of the bed, but at some point  woke up and got in bed with us (shocker) and Daniel shifted me to the inside of the bed.  So I was a little confused when I woke up.

And then I couldn't see a clock or reach my iPod and I cannot sleep if I don't know what time it is. Seriously, that's a thing for me.  I actually was a participant in a sleep study when I was in grad school (round 1) and all I remember of that is not being able to fall asleep because I couldn't see a clock. I'm that crazy. True story.

Anyway, so this morning I shifted and sniffed and Daniel eventually woke up to go to the bathroom and then I just happened to ask him what time it was. And he informed me that it was 6:45 and then I got up. Even though it was dark. Because it is always dark in Seattle in the winter.

So I got the key to the house on Friday night. And since I was meeting the realtor here, we decided to bring a car load of stuff over at the same time.  So it was 5 PM on Friday night and I drove over to the house and tried to pull into the driveway. Only to discover that the driveway a) was at a weird angle on a crazy steep hill (I knew about the crazy hill, but not the weird angle) and b) was lined with sharp rocks.  I discovered that with the front of my car. So there I was in the pitch dark (always dark in Seattle in the winter!) with a car full of stuff, unable to see out the back mirror, trying to figure out how to get untangled from the rock and how to get into the driveway.

I eventually got off the rock and went to the bottom of the crazy hill that our house is on and called Daniel and panicked. He suggested parking up on a nearby street and walking down, which I tried to do and then that got complicated too, so then I drove DOWN the crazy hill and discovered that it was simple to get into the driveway that way. When I called Daniel back and mentioned that I'd figured things out, he helpfully said "oh yeah. the driveway is impossible from the bottom of the hill. I always turn around and come in from up above." And that is why he can't be upset with me about all the scratches and dented panels on our car, because HE KNEW about the driveway and the rocks and didn't think to mention it to me when I was driving to the house in the dark with a car load of kids and boxes.

Oh, and then I woke up Saturday morning (still at the old house) and rolled over and picked up my iPod (yes, that's the first thing I do! Addict!) and discovered that Comcast had cut off our cable, even though Daniel had called them back on Friday to change the cable moving date from Saturday to Sunday, and I didn't really need cable except for the internet. To take my final exam. Which was only 40% of my grade.  Thankfully Daniel realized that he had a perfectly good office at work with internet, so we traipsed over there and I shut myself in his office and took the exam. And it was kind of great because it was quiet and I wasn't distracted by cats or boxes.

After my final (I don't know how I did yet), we went to IKEA and then back to the condo to pack more bins and load up more boxes and then came back to the new house and unloaded and built furniture and collapsed onto our air mattresses and then we're back to the beginning of this rambling blog post.

I'm pretty tired. And Vivian and I both have a cold, which is not awesome but we're sick in our new house at least!

Oh my goodness. We're in our new house!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I may cry with relief when I get the key tomorrow

This has been, hands down, the craziest 6 weeks of my life. And one of the most stressful, but not in a bad way, necessarily.  I am greatly looking forward to being done with my semester when I click the "submit answers" button on my final exam on Saturday morning.  But I loved the class and it was great to use my brain again and learn and do well (at least so far- lots of my grade to be determined Saturday!). And I'm uber excited about the new house. Although its going to take us all week to get moved, since we're moving things ourselves.  We bought a new bed and they sold us the couch that was in the house, so we're not moving much furniture, so it worked okay to do it this way. And we're only going a few miles, so making lots of trips is doable. Slow and steady, slow and steady.

The loan went through at 5:30 last night. The paperwork got done at 1 PM today and we signed at 2:30. Not cutting it close or anything. Getting a loan these days is awful. So much paperwork- it's totally insane.

Tomorrow we wait for the recording number (again, I have no idea what that means) and then at 5 or so, our realtor will give me the key. She's also a friend of mine and knows I'm anxious to move.  And she's anxious for me to move so that I stop freaking out and sending stressed out messages to her on Facebook. She earned her commission on this one, let me tell you. 

I'm moving! Tomorrow! And all weekend! But I'm moving!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hurry up and wait

Everything about this move has been hurry up and wait. We had to put in an offer right away, then wait on the counter. Then we had to move quickly to accept and even more quickly on the inspection. Then more waiting. Then a flurry of mortgage documents and more waiting.  We've been in underwriting for days now and yesterday I had to write a two-paragraph essay detailing why we want to move.  They are NOT messing around with mortgages these days, people. We're supposed to be closing on Thursday and my BIL and SIL are coming tomorrow night to be here for signing (they're on the title) and we don't actually know when the appointment is.  Maybe in 46 hours? I DO NOT KNOW.

I've told the transportation department to have the bus pick up Ethan at the new house on Monday, so hopefully we can be in by then. Or else I'll be hanging out in the driveway with him, because I am not going to mess things up by trying to explain something else to them.  Anytime a message gets across correctly to the school district, you stick with that. 

We're now surrounded by even more boxes, and I think I've gotten to the point where I'm done packing and everything that's left can go in suitcases and bins and we can dump those out at the new place and repeat the process.  That's the good part of only moving a few miles and not having a real timeframe for moving (other than I'm off for break starting Saturday afternoon and I need us to get settled before classes pick up again in January).

I am just so ready to move now. I'm ready to be able to have friends over again, without fear of their kids being crushed by falling boxes.  I'm ready to know where to have things sent and where I'm going to be living.  I'm ready for our new start!  (Can you tell that patience is not my strong point?)

I have to go. The kids are eyeing the tallest pile of boxes and saying something about being hang gliders. This cannot end well...

Friday, November 30, 2012

I am having nightmares about boxes

So my professor finally let us know when the final is, and as it turns out, he's opening it on Friday night and closing it Saturday night, so instead of moving next Saturday, I'm taking a final exam.  I don't know when I'm moving. Maybe Friday? I HAVE NO IDEA. And Daniel refuses to plan anything until the underwriting (I don't know what that means) comes through. Today or Monday. So I'm living in limbo still.

And today it's raining and I have a headache and the kids are fighting like crazy and I want to press reset on today. 

But in good news, I have an episode of Glee to watch and I have Trader Joe's Butter Chicken (YUM!) for lunch and those are all happy things. And I think I'll go look at the virtual tour of my new house again.  That also makes me smile.  I may get through today.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Being very grateful for caffeine

We're moving next week. Either 9, 10 or 11 days from now.  We're waiting to hear when the exact closing date will be and I'm waiting to hear from my professor re: the details of the final exam and essay. After closing and my final, we're off to the new house. We're not taking much of our furniture, so thought we could move without professionals, but then the boxes started piling up and the closets are still completely full (where is this stuff coming from? and where am I going to put it in our closet-less house!?) and we decided that we did in fact need professional help. Not that we've scheduled that or anything.

If you need me, I'll be hiding under the covers on my bed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful

Daniel and I were telling our church home fellowship group on Sunday night that this has been one of the best years of our lives, in terms of overall awesomeness.

1)  We didn't have to spend more than 4 hours at Children's Hospital this year. Total. 

2) Ethan turned some corner and started eating and dropped a lot of his little quirks and learned to run in a straight line and all of a sudden started soaking up all sorts of information.  We got to really see what a bright, funny little boy he is.

3) Vivian. Oh my goodness, Vivian at 3 is hysterical. She thinks she's my substitute and tries to take over Mommy duty as often as possible.  She puts on shows in our living room and spins and bows and wears great outfits with fluffy skirts and crazy hair. 

4) We got to travel this year.  Daniel and I travel exceptionally well together.  And we got to celebrate our anniversary in Iceland and go to Disneyland and  explore Whidbey Island. And I got to travel even more on my own.

5) My job.  It's been interesting and pays nothing, but is so much fun. I love finding out what's out there and encouraging families to travel.

6) And school! I'm using my brain again and I'm not doing half bad at it and it's challenging and overwhelming at times and still so fabulous.

7) Daniel's doctor seems to finally have his meds balanced pretty well. There are a lot of them, but the side effects seem to be getting under control and for the first time he's not hurting constantly. 

8) Daniel's job is less crazy lately than it has been in a long time.  We're so thankful for a good boss and a good company and that Daniel doesn't hate what he does. 

9) I'm grateful for Daniel in general.  We may not have the most blazingly passionate relationship (especially since neither of us are terribly emotional people), but we love being together and we are great friends and partners there's no one else I'd rather be walking this crazy road of life with.

10) We're moving to an adorable new house in just over two weeks. And every challenge or bump in the road to moving to this house has been resolved in an amazing way that has just heaped blessings on us.

I can't wait to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family tomorrow and share our year of blessing and hear how God has worked in their lives this year.  I love this holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wide open spaces

We suddenly have a lot of empty space in our condo. We sold our dining room table last night. It was such an awkward situation. A lovely young couple came to look at it and they liked it.  Or rather, he really liked it and she sort of liked it and we were all standing in the living room together while they decided.  And they bought it and then we all stood around some more while Daniel found his tools and took off the legs and my kids thought it was great to have new friends in the living room and brought out all their toys and made them play catch and it was so weird.  Oh, and then after Daniel got back from helping them take the table to their car, I mentioned that the female half of the couple didn't like the table as much as the male half and Daniel just sort of looked at me blankly. He does not read people particularly well. :)

We also have lots of empty cupboards.  We had one full cupboard of old programming books that Daniel hasn't looked at in 6 years. He got rid of some of them but took most to work. Which is fine, they are not my problem if they are at work.

My favorite part of cleaning out cupboards though was getting to read Daniel's high school yearbooks.  He's still friends with the guys he was friends with in high school, but when I met them (we married when Daniel was almost 38), they were all professionals in their late 30s. With wives and pre-teen/teenage kids.  They had houses and cars and acted like adults when we would get together. So reading what they wrote in Daniel's yearbook when they were 17 is pretty funny. My personal favorite is a two-page comment complete with dirty jokes and innuendo from the guy that grew up to be a doctor. Specifically Daniel's mother's doctor. I am so taking the yearbooks the next time we all get together.

If something falls through with the move, at least we have lots of space here! But that's not going to happen. I am moving in three weeks.  Otherwise I might go insane.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Awesome

You know what is great about moving? Keeping up with normal housecleaning chores is pointless. Nothing is where it belongs anyway. Let the chaos rule!

This is not at all how we normally function. Daniel and I are both neat freaks and our condo is small, so we keep it very tidy to maintain our sanity.  I may not (okay, almost always don't) have dinner ready when Daniel gets home, but the kids' stuff is always put away.  Not because he asks me to do that or anything, it's just how I try to show him love.  He might prefer that I actually remember to cook dinner occasionally though...

Anyway, my condo is a DISASTER right now.  Unfortunately my not-cleaning attitude is spreading to unrelated things like doing the laundry or washing dishes.  I need to work on that. Especially since my in-laws are coming Sunday to see the new house and will presumably want to be able to sit on the couch or chairs, and they're currently overflowing with piles of stuff.

I've taken to stalking our new house.  Fortunately I don't have the car much lately so I can't go every day. But when I can, I do.  Under the guise of "just checking to see how far away the new house is from the library" or the play cafe or I-5 or our current condo or a grocery store or whatever.  We need to move before I go completely insane. SO READY TO GO!

In other news, we're selling our dining room table and bed. Great furniture that was very expensive when Daniel bought it. Going for bargain prices! If you know anyone in Seattle who needs furniture, let me know! 


Monday, November 5, 2012

Ready

After church yesterday we took a giant load of stuff to Goodwill and the pile has reformed next to the door, thanks to a few hours of frantic purging on my part yesterday. Daniel and the kids keep watching me with suspicion and fear in their eyes while they hover over their beloved toys and clothing.  NINE jackets, Daniel. NINE.  Seriously.

I've never moved with kids before. Actually, I've never moved with anyone before, really. When Daniel and I got married, he sold his 3-bedroom house and put his stuff into storage and moved in with me to our studio condo in Seattle while we looked for another place. Then when we moved here, we moved my stuff from the studio (not much) and took his out of storage. So I've never dealt with an "our stuff" situation, much less "kid stuff". 

Fortunately, we always planned to get rid of our furniture when we moved next and the place is coming with some furniture, since it's pretty specific to the house and the sellers don't want it.  Oh, and we discovered this week that it's their vacation home, so now the lack of closets makes sense. Still, we'll make it work. I'm thrilled with the excuse to get rid of things. This month is "use it up" month, so we're having some very interesting meals with the miscellaneous things in the cupboards :)

I'm so ready to go all of a sudden.  I have loved and adored this condo. I loved living where I could walk to Seattle Center and to the grocery store. I was able to interact with other humans or watch people out the window.  I'm pretty sure that's all that kept me sane. I loved going to festivals and museums with the kids.  I loved taking the monorail into the city and playing or shopping there when I needed a change of scenery. And I loved our tiny condo- I could see the kids wherever they were and we are a close family by default- we never can get away from each other!

But I'm READY TO GO. I'm ready to not shush the kids every time they go down the hall or know that my neighbors hear me yelling (which I rarely do, of course :) ).  I'm tired of living across the street from a bar and getting the car out of our tiny parking space. I'm tired of waiting for the board (which I'm on, ironically) to get the storage units built or the lobby remodeled. Both of which are happening in the next few months, of course. And I'm tired of making my bed in the morning while 6 people sitting in front of the coffee shop watch me. 

I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else for these past 6 1/2 years and I will be sad to leave the home where we started our married life and brought our kids to when they came home from the hospital.  I will miss some of our neighbors and the people at the grocery store and my blue and orange walls. 

But still. I'm ready for a new adventure.  One more month.

Ooh, the kids are distracted! Off to search their room for things to add to my pile...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Five crazy days

Last weekend I made the comment to Daniel and his friend who was visiting that I have lived in this condo longer than I've ever lived in one home in my entire life.  Just over six years.  My previous record was in Knoxville TN, where I lived in the same house from the time I was 12 until I had to move to live with church friends for a month before college, since my parents moved away and left me. They did that again a few years later. I eventually got the message :)

So, since I've lived here for a record length of time, that means it was clearly time for insane real estate week.  We first saw the potential new property on Sunday late afternoon. The inspection is today at 4.  In the space of 5 days we saw it, got our realtor out, put in an offer, accepted their counteroffer and now inspection is scheduled.

My brother-in-law, who will actually be the one owning the house, is stuck on a miserable cruise in Europe where they have high winds and haven't been able to actually make any of their stops at port. So he's stuck on the boat with limited communication with us, hoping we aren't nuts, because we'll be pretty much done with the process by the time he gets back.

That's kind of how decent properties are going around here these days. FAST.  Hopefully it'll be good news for us when its time to sell this condo.

Of course, this is all dependent on the outcome of the inspection today.  That always has the potential to be a game changer.

So, I've spent the past few days channeling my nervous energy into cleaning closets. I'm a minimalist and generally a very tidy person, but there's a big difference between "do we have space for this in our tiny home" and "do I want to pay to move this and where the heck is it going to go in my new closet-less house".  This means relentless purging. And a lot of bugging my husband about why on earth he owns 9 jackets, many of which I would not be willing to seen in public with him if he was wearing them.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We are possibly suffering from temporary insanity

As I speak, offer papers are going in on a house.  EEEKKK!  Since we both liked it so much on Sunday, we met with our realtor yesterday and went through the house again.  And even though it hadn't suddenly grown closets or bathtubs, we still loved it and put in an offer.  Wait, what's that? There are no closets or bathtubs?  Yes. And the fridge is currently a mini fridge. 

I told you we've lost our minds.  We currently live in 900 square feet with no storage, but we have pretty good closet space. This new house has no bathtubs, one small closet in one of the bedrooms and no full sized fridge.  So we'd have to 1) get rid of a lot of stuff, 2) buy a fridge (there is space for one) and  3) get rid of more stuff. Oh and 4) teach our kids to take showers.

I'm okay with those things, actually. The kids love showers when they take them at swim lessons and while we went through the house again last night, they went from bathroom to bathroom, pretending to take showers.  And I hate stuff.

Everyone in our family thinks we need a bigger place, and we do need separate bedrooms for the kids in a few years, and that's a possibility at this new place.  But we don't actually want a traditional yard (this house has paving stones in the front yard) and we like living in a small space. 

Oh, and we absolutely adore this property, for all its quirks.

So, we'll see what happens.  Not expecting to hear back for a couple of days. And if it doesn't work out, that's a lot less stress on my future- no packing and moving! But if it does work out, it's going to be quite the adventure ahead of us....

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's 9 AM and my kids are still asleep

I just peeked in at my kids and they're sound asleep. At 9 AM. And Vivian is in her own bed, where she's been all night.  From Friday afternoon through the weekend, they got along and played nicely together. WHAT IS GOING ON IN MY HOUSE?  Who are these children?  I'm thinking alien abduction/pod people...

Daniel left me alone at home with Vivian on Saturday to go to a car museum with his best friend.  They took Ethan along. And our car.  Which meant I had to entertain myself close to home. Which of course meant that I had to go downtown and shop. It's always entertaining shopping with Vivian- the girl has lots of opinions. At one point I was trying on a dress and didn't love it. But Vivian did, and she cried (loudly) about me not wanting to buy it. For about 5 minutes, until I put back the dress I did like and picked up another one (same style that I had liked) in a color closer to the one she preferred. I'm so looking forward to her teenage years if she's like this at 3.

Yesterday I went to my second open house. We're sort of looking for a new place- Daniel's brother is interested in investing and we'd rent it from him and live in it.  If nothing works out, fine- we're okay with where we are.  I normally try to avoid seeing potential properties because I tend to fall in love with them and am not really capable of being rational about the whole process. It's Daniel's hobby to look at real estate and he knows what he's doing, so I leave it up to him. And Ethan- he's becoming something of an expert as well. But I really liked the pictures of the property we saw yesterday, so went along to the open house. And, as expected, fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, so did everyone else that was there at the open house, so I don't have much hope. 

However, it was amusing to see people be amused by the kids as they walked around and checked out closets and made comments about the size of rooms and what features they weren't seeing.  Little real estate moguls in the making.

In other news, my university is closed today for the hurricane. Given that I'm thousands of miles away, this doesn't affect me much.  Praying for everyone on the east coast to stay safe. My parents are way inland and are still getting high winds. My brother and his wife are in the big snow zone. Should be an interesting week for all of them. Hope it all passes quickly.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Not awesome

This week has not been awesome.  Mostly because on Saturday night I fell in the bathroom and hit my face on an open cupboard.  Yes, I'm that coordinated.  Might I recommend not running into cupboards with your face?  It hurts.  For a long time. And it's really hard to avoid using your face.  I told Daniel that I wanted a better story than falling over to explain the bruise on my face, but neither of us thought I could believably claim to have been in a bar fight or something.

It's also not been an awesome week because it's grey and drizzly and I had nothing planned this week other than studying and work. Rookie mistake, I know.  Last week was grey, but I had multiple play dates planned, so I managed.  Fortunately we ended up with last minute plans for tomorrow, so there's hope.

In other news, after the professor adjusted our mid-term grades (I do NOT understand grading on the curve, but appreciate it!), I ended up having done really well. So that makes me happy.  And we're down to like 4 or 5 weeks left of class. Even though I'm really enjoying the class, I'm definitely looking forward to winter break!

Oh, and in other other news, I voted on Tuesday.  So now I can ignore everything related to the election. Happy dance!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reading

I was an early reader and I honestly think that reading quickly (I don't read line by line, I do something else that I can't entirely explain, but it works) was the biggest reason I was good at my old job. I love reading and would happily go to bed and read a book rather than watch TV.  Almost always.  Reading opens up so many new worlds. Daniel doesn't read, other than work emails and real estate profiles. EVER. I am baffled by this. 

I'm anxious to pass on my love of reading to the kids. I have shelves full of books that I loved when I was younger and can't wait to pass them on to Ethan and Vivian. It's taking a little longer than I'd hoped- Ethan is just not "getting" the alphabet. He can sing it just fine, but cannot identify more than a handful of letters. We're not sure if he is just messing with us (possible), or if he's just too busy crashing things and jumping off things to learn (also very possible) or if there's something else going on.  His teachers are keeping their eyes open and so are we, hoping to figure out what's up before he hits kindergarten.

But there's new pressure on him- Miss Vivian has decided that she wants to read.  And when Vivian decides she wants to do something, that's pretty much the end of the story. This is the child who potty trained herself in three days.  Yesterday we were sitting and playing with a letter puzzle. And she looked at the puzzle and then at me and said "C, O, W. Cow." And I was shocked- that's the first time a kid of mine has spelled a word.  Ethan kind of looked at her and at his puzzle and then went back to pretending the letters were football players and smashing them into each other. She's been the one to motivate him into finally doing most of the things he was delayed with doing, so hopefully it'll work again in this case.

Hats off to teachers- I try to do letter games with the kids but get so frustrated with the same blank stares and explaining the same thing over and over. I do not have the patience! Very blessed to have great teachers at both kids' preschools.

In other news, we have a playdate today but don't have to be there until 11. So I, of course, woke up at 4:45. And I can't even go jogging, because Daniel has to leave early today.  So not right...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thoughts on perfectionism

I've been mentally beating myself up since Saturday afternoon about my mid-term grade.  Logically, I know that I can't be expected to ace my tests- there is a ton of material in this class, and I am doing the class while working and taking care of the kids. I know that.  And I'm mostly proud of myself.  Or at least the logical part of me is.

Then there's the other part of me.  I'm a little confused regarding grades.  When I was growing up, the perspective on grades in my house was "why didn't you get an A?" As an adult, I know that what was really being said was "did you try your best?", but that's not how it came across.  I do tend toward laziness and doing things "well enough", so I probably needed that motivation.  And I did pretty well in school. My (younger) brother was super motivated on his own and that plus the motivation in our home resulted in him graduating from high school with a perfect GPA and a perfect score on the SAT. But it never really bothered me. By that point I had realized that if I could get decent grades with very little effort, why bother?

And that's been how I've operated in life.  I am a perfectionist in that I want to do things well, so I actively avoid things that might be challenging.   When I find something that I do well, especially if it's something that comes easily to me, I stick with it and excel at it.

But I'm having trouble for some reason with this.  I think that I feel a little torn- that the grade I made on my midterm could also be applied to my parenting skills lately. Says the voice in my head:  Am I doing my absolute best? Am I trying my hardest? 

I want to do well in grad school because I love it and I want to do well with the kids because I love them and I love the travel site too. I LOVE all these challenges and am the happiest I've been in ages, but that little part of my brain still wants me to be perfect at all of it and I need to accept that I'm going to mess up on all fronts.  I've just never been in a situation before where I feel like I'm trying my hardest and NOT excelling.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Whoo hoo- fall break!

I've been putting off my midterm for a few days, since I had to take it online and all at once (uninterrupted) which meant I had to wait for the kiddos to be occupied. Daniel took them to work today, so it was time to stop procrastinating and get it over with.

So I survived the test- didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but I think I can honestly say I did as well as I could have. I studied as much as I could and knew where to find things (it was an open book test), so I guess I need to stop beating myself up about it and move on. To celebrating Fall Break! Whoo hoo! I don't have to read for class for like 5 whole days! Am very excited!!

In other news, it's finally fall here in Seattle. After several weeks of gorgeous 70+ degree days, the rain returned yesterday. We had 80 something days of dry weather- great summer! It's time for fall though- I'm ready for the cooler weather and fall activities.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This week, my kids ate almost an entire jar of peanut butter

My kids ate almost an entire jar of peanut butter this week. And not even on sandwiches, since neither of them can actually take peanut butter to school.  But that's not the exceptional thing, the exceptional thing is that my KIDS. Plural. Ate the peanut butter.

If you're my Facebook friend, this is old news.  But tough - you have to hear it again.   Because after 3 years and 5 months of fighting with Ethan over every. single. calorie.... he's eating.  He's actually been eating for about a month now, but at first we thought it was a fluke. But then he kept eating. And he started saying he was hungry (he's never done that), and asking to try bites of our food (ditto) and wanting snacks constantly. He's eating new foods and loving them.

He's also wearing colors other than yellow and branching out of his comfort zone in lots of different ways.  We're not sure what happened other than it being an answer to prayers, but it's made a huge difference in our world.

He's still got the feeding tube and is still getting feeds through that every other day or so.  Because he's 5 and weighs 33 pounds.  We still need to get some weight on him. But I'm hopeful that we can start introducing super high-calorie foods to him and wont have to rely on the feeding pump too much longer. That would be a dream.

In other news, I have about 50,000,000 pages left to review for my midterm, which I'm taking Saturday afternoon. Yesterday I let the kids play in their room alone while I studied and I knew it was going to end badly (especially when they were quiet and or playing nicely together).  It looked like a toy store threw up on their room when I finally ventured in. But whatever. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One thing

I'm home with one kid this morning. Vivian is at school and Daniel's at work and Ethan's watching Blue's Clues and I'm contemplating my to-do list for the day.  And my to-do list is making me smile, because I'm only focusing on one of the two things I've been juggling lately.  For the past 8 weeks, it's been so crazy busy with the travel site and with my class.  I thought I was handling it well. I thrive on busyness and stress! I can do it all (except remembering to cook dinner. Or fold the laundry. Why do we have to eat dinner every day! And where does all that laundry keep coming from!).

And then I had to go in to my doctor last week for a regular check up. I've had a minor heart issue and high blood pressure since I was 21.  I have had high blood pressure when I was thin and when I was heavy.  Exercise helps a bit, so I try to keep that up. But my blood pressure is very sensitive to stress, and as much as I'm loving life lately, there is a lot of stress right now.  And when the nurse took my blood pressure last Tuesday, she actually shrieked a little bit when she saw the numbers.  Let's just say they were all in the triple digits. In case you're not familiar with blood pressure readings, that's bad.

So...that's not going to work for long...

Since my appointment I've been trying to juggle less and focus more. There's always going to be something I "could" be doing.  But that doesn't mean I have to.  This week I'm not going to worry about what's coming up on the travel site, I'm going to just study for my midterm. Next week when grad school is on fall break (hurray!!! hurray!!!) I can do more travel site work.  I just have to keep telling myself to focus on ONE thing. I don't have to do it all right away. Some of the work can wait and be done later! (This is a revolutionary idea for me, really).

My blood pressure is much better this week- I think giving myself permission to stop occasionally and put things on tomorrow's to-do list, or even next week's to-do list is having a big effect on my stress level.  Who knew!

Monday, October 1, 2012

"I'm good at my job! I'm really good at my job!"

I started to write a blog post on Friday morning, but it was really dull and essentially was me just talking about how happy I am to be unpacked for the first time in a month.  I'm sure you're all sad to have missed five paragraphs on that topic.  Recap of September: completely insane, exhausting and fabulous.  And now I'm going to have to not eat for the entire month of October because a grand total of ONE pair of pants still fits, and we're getting out of skirt season with the cooler weather.

Anyhoo.  Have been thinking a lot about a conversation that I had with a friend at the zoo on Friday.  She's recently returned to her part-time job, and she was telling me about her mood after work one day, when she realized that she a) loves her job and b) is good at it.  And she walked in the door and said to her husband (forgive me if I misquote, dear friend) "I'm good at my job! I'm really good at my job!" The thing is, this friend of mine is one of the best moms I know. She never seems to get upset about things her kids do and she's patient and plays with her kids and teaches them other languages and to read and she's also one of the most reliable friends I have and I could talk about how fabulous she is for the rest of this post. But the thing is, those things are all well and good, but they get overlooked on a daily basis in this gig as a mom.  It's that whole "lack of validation" thing. 

I really could relate to her statement, because I've been feeling very much the same way lately. I'm on week 7 of juggling my travel job and grad school and I am loving both.  Occasionally the professor will say something like "astute observation" and I'm walking on cloud 9 all day.  I love my kids and my husband and they will always be my primary responsibility, but it is awfully nice to be doing something else and have other people think I'm doing it well. Especially since my kids seem to be in a competition lately to see who can be the loudest/push each other's buttons the most/hit harder/make bigger messes.  Not getting as much validation from my child-rearing skills lately. 

That being said, my house? SUCH A MESS.  I have my mid-term exam next week and then there will be a massive cleaning/organizing binge going on here during my fall break.  That thought makes me insanely happy!

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's a rainy Friday- and my sweetie pie's birthday!

Today is my darling husband's birthday. I know lots of bloggers write lists like "on your 33rd birthday, here are 33 things that are great about you".  But Daniel turned 45 today and I simply don't have that kind of spare time :)  I'll say though, that it wouldn't be difficult to come up with 45 things that are great about him.

The kids and I ran out of energy yesterday by mid-afternoon and spent the evening watching a Star Trek: The Next Generation movie (I'm trying to corrupt them when they're young) and Backyardigans.  Today it's raining and I'm not so secretly very happy about that. No pressure to go outside and enjoy the sunshine! I see lots of unproductive behavior in our future today.

Daniel's off to Canada on Sunday morning, so I'll be home alone with the kids until Monday night. It's been a while since I solo parented for that long (spoiled!) so that should be interesting.

And in other news, I have a mid-term test coming up for my Con. Law class. This means that I have been spending lots of time organizing the kids' room and my closet and things like that. When I was in grad school last time, I redecorated my uncle's entire house (with his permission). They would know that I had a project due or test to study for when they came home and found me peeling wallpaper off the walls :) I'm very productive when I'm procrastinating!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One kid

Since the kids have non-overlapping preschool schedules (my free time home alone on Tues/Thurs is down to 35 minute now, but I'm still relishing every moment...), I'm home alone with one kid or the other fairly often. I'm used to being home alone with Vivian- it's been reality during the school year since Ethan started preschool back a couple of years ago.

But I haven't spent any large amount of time alone with Ethan since he was 21 months old (when Vivian was born).  And I'm so thrilled to have this time now- he's such a different kid when Vivian isn't home! Normally when the two of them are together, they're racing or wrestling or just generally trying to out-loud the other.  I'm sure the neighbors lie in their beds at night trying to come up with ideas for how to get us to move. Far away.  They love each other, but that doesn't translate to nice, quiet playtime when they're together.

It's fun getting to know Ethan as an individual and see the darling little 5-year-old person that he's become. He asks me questions and we have discussions about things like "where to build lots of new stadiums so that we can have the Olympics in Seattle (he decided that it would be best to just put the new stadiums on top of existing buildings since the roads and the water weren't practical for building stadiums)" and "why do they keep talking about sin all the time in the Buck Denver DVDs?" and, of course, "is Lightning McQueen the fastest race car ever?" and "did the Mariners win today?"  We actually play games and he follows the rules and we read books all the way through (these things do NOT happen when both kids are around). 

And it's cute to hear him ask what I think Vivian's doing at school- it's kind of weird for both of us that Vivian has a life that doesn't involve Mommy or Ethan.  We're used to being the center of her world. 

I love this kid.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The first day of school, 45 minutes of solitude, and the contents of my brain

Ethan had his first day of preschool yesterday- the bus actually showed up early on both ends (he's still on the bus WAY too long for a 5-year-old), and apparently school went well. Before he left, we took the obligatory photos:


They look pretty much the same as in last week's photos for Vivian's first day of school, but whatever :)  

My parents left this morning right after we walked Vivian up to school. Much weeping and sadness all around.  Their departure also meant that I had to deal with the kids' schedules on my own for the first time.  I honestly had a moment yesterday when Vivian was out with my parents and I couldn't exactly remember where Ethan was (he was at school). Daniel and I joked that I need to make a chart like an "in the office/out of the office" board to keep track of which kid is where.

Currently, Ethan leaves for school just after noon and I leave to walk up the (insanely steep) hill to Vivian's school at 12:50. This means that I have 45 minutes of solitude at home, two days per week. It's likely to shrink after they get Ethan's bus schedule improved, but I'm relishing every minute while it lasts.  It's especially precious after the last month of really fun and really fabulous gatherings and visits and trips and family reunions. They've been fun, but my introvert side needs to recharge a bit. 

Daniel got to go on a press trip with me this weekend, which served two functions. 1) We got to be together on a fun trip and 2) he got to see that what I do, while super fun and pretty much the best out-of-the-home job ever, is definitely not vacation.  It's fun work, but it's still work. It's nice to have him know that. Easier to leave that way when I need to go. 

And still juggling lots of balls in the air at once. I'm loving my constitutional law class- it's challenging and interesting and educational and I really am so glad I picked this class. And I love Trekaroo and doing all the many projects that I'm working on for them. However, I'm pretty sure my brain looks like the news ticker in Times Square- there's always something scrolling in the background, always something that needs to be done. Currently the ball that's gotten dropped is the kids' bedroom. It's massively out of control. Thankfully fall break for grad school is just a few weeks off, and I plan to deal with the disaster then. Until then, we are just happy to have the ability to close their bedroom door :) 

Anyhoo, that's what's going on in sunny Seattle. Can't complain- it's a busy life, but a good one!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The first day of preschool (finally!)

Vivian's real first day of preschool should have been last Thursday, but we had planned a big family beach trip back before we knew she'd be going to school on Thursdays. Then her next first day would have been Tuesday, but she decided to catch her brother's nasty virus over the weekend and was still sick. But finally the day came! My kids are NOT morning people, so getting her up and ready this morning was a bit challenging. We made it though, and even had time for some photos before school:

We climbed the giant hill to her school, then realized we were too early, so went halfway back down and played at the park for a bit. Then back up the hill to drop Vivian off. Seriously, she took off her shoes, went in and that was it.  She had to be forced to come back to hug and kiss us goodbye.

Vivian's always been my clingy kid- the one with separation anxiety. She's brave and outgoing when her brother is around, but on her own she's always been shy. Apparently not anymore. She's so excited to be a big girl and go to school. She's been asking about it for over a year now.  I hadn't planned to put her in preschool at 3 (mostly because it's expensive and I am cheap) but I think we made the right decision.

My baby is growing up!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

I haven't got the foggiest idea what day it is

So, I don't have any idea what day it is.  Seriously. I traveled Thursday-Saturday of last week, then we had Labor Day, then my family went to the beach Wednesday-Friday and I'm now completely confused. 

But the trips have been worth the confusion. My press trip to Oregon was fabulous and then have been having a great week with the family.  We went to the beach this week with four generations of family. They're all crazy, but they're my family and I love them. 

My parents stayed down in Oregon one extra night, so Daniel and I got to go out with his best friend for dinner last night before heading back to Seattle.  Then today was an odd combination of a movie screening, a memorial service, sushi lunch, running errands and waiting for the kids to come home. 

Today's memorial service was lovely and uplifting, but I'm still a little down, nonetheless. It was for a friend's dad, who was the same age as Daniel's parents. Daniel's brother's wife's dad passed away yesterday (and in Chinese culture that's a close relative of ours), so we'll be heading north for his memorial service sometime soon.  And spending time with my grandmother and her twin sister this week reminded me that they're aging. Don't like this trend.

In other news, I need a nap.  Too much going on lately.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In which I realize that I actually survived this summer

I was telling a friend the other day on Twitter that I've had a headache pretty much every day since Ethan got out of school. I love him, but BOY IS HE LOUD!!! And when he's loud, Vivian has to try to match/beat the loudness and it's not a good thing.  The days certainly have been very long this summer.

But then yesterday I was at the park with a friend and we were talking about how long the days were and she asked what I had going on for the next 20 days until Ethan goes back to school (19 days now!) and I said that today was full of playdates and outings and shopping and then I'm off tomorrow on a press trip and then my parents show up Monday and we're off on a family beach trip and then Vivian starts school and then Ethan starts school the day before my parents leave.... and I realized that yesterday was the last day that I had to figure out how to entertain the kids until bedtime.

I SURVIVED! I'm not on my own with the kids again after tonight, and we are busy, busy, busy today!!!!

Big smiles from me :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

In which I am a secret not-Asian, but sort-of-Asian person

I went to a baby shower on Saturday. I only knew three people there- the honoree, the hostess and one other attendee. I know all three of those people from church. Both the honoree and the hostess are Asian, as were all of the other guests except for my one other church friend who was there (2 were Indian at the party, the other 16 or so were Asian, of varying types).

I'm almost never in a situation in which people have no idea that I have any association with an Asian family. Either it's a situation like I keep getting into with work or my travel job, in which everyone communicates with me online and sees my name before me and assumes I'm Chinese and then is confused when they meet me in person. When I worked as a scientist, I was constantly getting invites to join the Chinese chapter of our professional organization.

Or people meet me and I have the kids with me (particularly if it's Vivian in tow) and they assume that she's mixed and that my husband is Asian. Except for those few people who still ask where I adopted her from.

Or, in the simplest situation, I meet people when I'm with Daniel and it's all immediately obvious.

But yesterday I was only introduced by my first name and I wasn't with my husband or kids.  So people kept explaining the Asian foods at the baby shower to me. Or other Asian-related stuff. And I sort of just laughed inwardly and thanked them and didn't say anything.  Eventually a few people did find out, when we started sharing about the joys of red envelopes (one of the best things about being in an Asian family is the tradition of giving gifts of cash in red envelopes for many occasions- love it!).

It's a weird in-between world- to have people assume I'm Asian when they meet me online or think my daughter is adopted when they just see her and I together or to assume I have no clue about Asian customs when I'm in a situation without any of my Chinese people in tow.

Nothing about this was bad, just kind of weird and unexpected!

On another note- tomorrow is week 2 of insanity and I get to add in traveling to the things I'm juggling. Should be interesting!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The best week in a long time

Monday night Daniel came home to find me lying on the living room floor, glass of wine in hand, watching whatever happened to be on the channel that was on the TV when I pressed the power button. I had spent the day watching training videos for work and taking the intro to the library class for school and reading legal opinions and my other course material for the week. I had woken up at 4:30 that morning and not stopped moving all day. 
Monday was rough and I was totally overwhelmed. Then came Tuesday and it wasn't too stressful because I'd gotten so much done on Monday. And the week continued and I participated in class discussions and the professor seemed to not think I was too idiotic with my thoughts and I was enjoying what I was reading and it did not suck.
And I'm finding ways to fit things in.  And having the "I hate to relax" personality that I do, it's actually helping me get more done. 

I realize that I'm only 4 days into things and next week I am traveling for the travel site (alone! Whoo hoo!) and will have to do school while on the road. But it's okay. 

I'm kind of having a blast :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The last day

I am feeling an overwhelming need to cram the reading of lots of trashy books into my evening (I read fast) because today is THE LAST DAY. Tomorrow is the beginning of my 20th year of formal education (why I am I still so dumb and clueless most of the time with that much school behind me?) and today I also got the (slightly overwhelming) training materials for my work with Trekaroo.  (The greatest family travel site out there- seriously! I don't get paid for my job, so I can say that with no conflict of interest!)

But, in other, less stressful news, I ordered a pretty school year organizer on Amazon and bought pretty folders and files at Target and a super gorgeous file box at the Container Store.  So I am clearly focusing on the essentials and I am ready!

We spent the weekend at more birthday parties and hanging out with Daniel's best friend and eating lots of restaurant food and stuff like that. But today I FINALLY made it to lap swim time at the pool. I haven't swum for exercise in almost 20 year and boy is it tiring! But I love any aerobic activity in which I do not sweat (I despise sweating) so I think I will stick with it. Although I've totally forgotten how to side breathe and spent all my time doing butterfly or breaststroke and not sticking my head in the water. But still, it was exercise and I need that, so that's a win still.

Oh, and the sun finally went away most of the weekend and Ethan and I spent all of our time gazing at the cloudy sky and saying things like "look at the pretty weather!" and "it's so nice when the sun isn't out!" We have issues.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My princess

We are in self-imposed post-parties/gatherings/classes quarantine here at home.  SO many birthday parties this month.  TV is apparently very dull in November. The kids are currently playing some sort of game that involves hitting things with their plastic golf clubs.  The cats are safe in the bedroom with me, so I'm not overly concerned.

Ethan's party went well, and I only had to take an extra half dose of my antidepressant/anti anxiety medicines to go.  Also, I shut myself in my bedroom for an hour and a half before the party, which helped.  Everyone had a blast and the party was fun and well run by the amazing people at The Little Gym and the kids ate cupcakes and Ethan loved all his presents.  A successful party!

Vivian's been cracking us up even more than usual lately. She is in full on princess mode.  At Ethan's party, when the teachers were asking everyone their names, she introduced herself this way. "My name is Vivian, and I AM A PRINCESS."  She's not let me wear pants in weeks (princesses apparently do not wear pants) and this morning scolded me for wearing a dress in the wrong shade of pink. She then went to my closet and picked out a new outfit for me and instructed me to put it on.

The funny thing about this is that one of my earliest memories is of living in a tiny house in Pasadena, CA and having a fight with my mom about skirts versus pants. I did not want to wear pants ever, and she thought I should.  I still prefer skirts, but it's funny to be having this same battle 30+ years later with a different opponent in a similarly tiny home.

T-minus 7 days until grad school and the other job start. Whimper.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five!

Today my baby turns five. Five!

So far he's celebrated by opening a present, fighting with his sister, having Happy Birthday sung to him at Tot Bop, playing on the playground, going to Fred Meyer and eating sushi. Busy morning! And this afternoon we go to his friend's birthday party (which is confusing as heck to a 5 year old- to go to someone else's party on HIS birthday). :)  Ethan's party is tomorrow and I have only a vague idea of who is coming or what will be going on, but I'm fine with that.

Ethan's pretty excited about being five and will show anyone who listens that he's a whole handful old now. He doesn't think he's grown up yet though, because you apparently have to go to kindergarten to be a grown up, and he has one more year before that.

He's a funny kid with lots of ideas about how to do things and how fast yellow cars can go and whether the Mariners are the best team ever.  He's sweet and loving and has never met a stranger- everyone is a best friend in Ethan's world.

Ethan made me a mom five years ago and he's blessed my life every day since. Happy birthday, my love!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Deep breath

Grad school starts in 17 days now.  I'm only enrolled in one class this fall since the kids wont ever be out of the house at the same time (Ethan goes to preschool 4 days/week in the PM and Vivian two days/week in the AM) and they say to estimate 9 hours/week of reading/work per class.  And I thought 9 hours/week was manageable.

And then in June I got asked to travel for a family travel site I've been contributing to for years and now I have two more trips lined up for the near future. And yesterday I talked to the people and have now committed to working with them in an more official (but unpaid) position. That requires 10-15 hours/week. But, it will give us a chance to do local travel as a family, and with the expense of grad school, there isn't going to be any money to travel for a couple of years. So if we ever want to leave the house, this is a good thing.

I suddenly have the equivalent of a part time job, and my kids are still going to be home. I was telling my parents that I'm going to be living the life that I could probably manage easily two years from now when they're both in school. Except I'm doing it two years earlier than I should.

Still, the opportunities are too good to pass up and I think I can do it. I actually thrive on being busy (or at least I used to, and hopefully it's in there somewhere!). And I have a ridiculously supportive husband who is behind all of this.

I am having mini panic attacks though, just because this is all unknown (I hate the unknown) and it's all happening at once. I have clearly lost my mind.

Philippians 4:13- "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (I printed this out and stuck it on my door). 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In which I went outside for an extended period of time and did not die

I'm home now. In case you noticed I was gone. We've been camping for the past three days. My dad says it's not camping because we stayed in a cabin and not a tent, but it was a rustic cabin and in a state park and we had to use the same bathrooms as people with tents, so I say it's camping.

I'm sunburned and puffy from too much salt and am feeling a little allergic, but we had a great trip and it was all worth it.

The campground that we chose was a couple of hours from here and required a ferry ride! And driving! And the second day we were there we ventured into the nearby National Park where we made friends with a lot of deer and saw some of the most spectacular scenery that I've ever seen in my life.

My city kids got to run around barefoot outside and throw rocks into water and climb the side of mountains and do all sorts of other fun things that they never get to do.  I still am not a fan of nature myself, but I know the kids need it, so we will probably continue doing this version of camping in the future. Not soon though. I intend to lock myself in my condo in the city for at least the next two weeks. 














Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My archnemesis

I'd like you all to meet my archnemesis.

Her name is Yellow Kitty, but we pretty much just call her Wo-Kitty.  She has a sister cat, named Purple Kitty.  Ethan's "babies" are Monkey and Froggie.  We clearly excel at naming things.  Our real cats only have names because they came with them.  Really, it's a miracle that Ethan and Vivian have real names.

But I digress.  I HATE Wo-Kitty.  Wo-Kitty is the bane of my existence. Because Vivian cannot function without her.  She believes that sans-Wo-Kitty, she cannot suck her thumb. And if she can't suck her thumb, she is a very unhappy person. As are all the people around her.  One of the few instructions I gave my parents before we went to Iceland in February was to not lose Wo-Kitty under any circumstances. And if they did, to know that their lives were over.

Here's the thing. Vivian loves Wo-Kitty and wants her constantly, but she also loses her. CONSTANTLY.  If Wo-Kitty goes on a walk with us, I have to spend the whole time checking for her, because Vivian will just be walking along and see a flower or a dog or something and drop her on the sidewalk.  I've had to backtrack so many times to find Wo-Kitty.

It's even worse at home. Vivian will be having a quiet time and then will pop up and run off to do something and Wo-Kitty will get lost somewhere along the way.  And even though my condo is microscopic, we never seem to be able to find her quickly.  Particularly interesting spots where she has been found include behind the picture frame on my nightstand, behind the bathroom door and in the snack cupboard. I have lost DAYS of my life looking for this thing.  Yet I keep doing it, because Vivian adores her.  The life of a mom.

In other news, I decided to try swimming as exercise, since I keep injuring myself with all other forms of exercise.  Which meant I needed a different suit, as the one I have is more of a lounging suit. Which meant the kids and I had to go shopping yesterday.  And let me tell you, shopping for a bathing suit with a 3 year old and a 4 year old in the changing room with you... quite the experience. 

And in other, other news, we found a park close to our home! Still up the hill a bit, but not as far as the other one and it is fabulous and has great play equipment. Oh, and this view.
Not too shabby, eh?


Monday, July 23, 2012

I don't know how to take care of you

This is definitely one of those blog posts that I desperately need to write and might hit the publish button but might take back in the light of day tomorrow.(Note, I've been sitting on this one for 4 months now, and things haven't gotten any less confusing)

I remember being pregnant with Ethan, sitting in a borrowed office at my company's headquarters in Boston, while you worked from our hotel room. And I remember you calling me to say that you'd just had a phone call from your doctor, saying she thought you had Rheumatoid Arthritis, based on some test results and symptoms. But it is a hard thing to diagnose, so she wasn't completely sure. I remember sitting and giving up on my work and researching RA (easy for a Toxicologist with lots of access to medical databases to do) and feeling overwhelmed.

And then we weren't sure again for a while, but two years ago it became abundantly clear to your new doctor and your specialist that you had RA. And slowly our cabinet began filling up with more and more drugs as you tried to manage the pain.

God, Daniel- I cannot live without you.  You are my best friend and the hands-down best thing that ever happened to me.  You ground me, you support me, you make it possible for me to simultaneously be a stay-at-home mom and chase my dreams of standing up for other kids. You are the best thing that ever happened to me.

You are an amazing dad and are possibly the most amazing husband ever. But you SUCK at telling me what you need. You hurt all the time and never complain, which is tough for a vocal/diva/my needs rule the universe woman to deal with. When I have problems, the whole world knows. When you hurt, it takes an act of God to drag it out of you.

You scared me tonight by suddenly turning grey and hurting while we walked around Target. And asking me to drive home and then willingly going to bed before the kids did... I don't know what to think. When a strong person admits to hurting- that is scary.

Taking care of you involves lots of stepping outside of myself and pushing you for answers and information and I do NOT excel at these things.  I'm not your mother, I'm your wife, but I apparently need to find some middle ground between those roles in order to take care of things now.

I've never loved anyone as much as I love you.  God brought us together and I believe He's in control, but sometimes your RA plus Ethan's feeding tube and other issues just wear me out.  Lifting our family up in prayer tonight.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Doubt

I was randomly awake for a long time in the middle of the night, then overslept this morning and we missed the kids' dance/music class. Drat. And this makes me feel bad, because Daniel took the bus to work so that we could have the car for the class. And taking the bus to work is a 90 minute endeavour and it was pouring rain this morning (hurray for summer!).

I feel like I've been barely accomplishing anything lately. The kids just have SO much energy and just never stop moving or talking or yelling or whatever.  When evening rolls around and Daniel gets home from work, I generally barricade myself in our bedroom. 

And grad school starts a month from today.  I have no clue how I'm going to manage that, when I'm barely getting the basic stuff done around the house.  I'm going to have to be intelligent and put thought into things and since I'm pretty sure I currently have the IQ and attention span of a hamster, I'm terrified.  God better have this one figured out, because I haven't got a clue.

Did I mention that it's raining today?  Not helping with the energy/motivation stuff. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week 2- Operation "Largely ignore my children"

We're on week 2, day 2 of my summer project. And as I type this, the kids are sitting and playing with play dough together. And they have been for 45 minutes, without fighting, which is some sort of record for them.  Yesterday was tough, since they'd had mommy and daddy-attention pretty much non-stop from Friday morning to Sunday evening. So transitioning back to life where Mommy expected them to entertain themselves was rough on all of us. But today is going much better.

While they've been playing, I've been secretly going through their room and getting rid of stuff that they've outgrown or that they never play with. I generally remove the toys in question, stick them in the hall closet for a few weeks and wait to see if anyone notices. No one ever does. Then it's off to Goodwill or to the church nursery or on to friends with the toys in question. I'm being especially ruthless this week because Ethan's turning 5 this year and that means a birthday party (we only do them for 1st and 5th birthdays) and that means new toys. So I need to make space.

In other news, there is absolutely no other news. We have stuff going on the last part of the week (hurray!) but not the first part. And I'm feeling restless.  I need to find more stuff to clean and organize.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My goals for the summer

Now that summer has finally started, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in the next two months (whoo hoo! 2 months until Vivian starts school!). 

It's a given that I'm going to continue reading with them and working on them learning their alphabet (identifying letters, not reciting the alphabet). Because for some incomprehensible reason, Ethan still can't identify letters. Even though he's had tons of books and apps and games and TV shows and two years of preschool, he claims not to know any letters.  I started reading when I was 3 and I know that reading quickly and having good comprehension have been the basis of most of my successes in school and jobs, so literacy is extremely important to me.  Still, I'm not beating myself up over this. They'll both be in the hands of professionals again this fall, so I'm just trying to naturally include lots of books and reading in our lives.

My main goals have more to do with independence and learning to entertain themselves.  Both kids are totally capable of doing  most everything for themselves, but at least every other day someone is lying at my feet, sobbing that he/she doesn't know how to take off his/her shirt/nightgown/socks.  Which is a load of baloney and if ignored, somehow the clothing magically manages to get on aforementioned kid.  My goal for the summer is to continue working on confidence and developing skills and reducing the "youuuuuuuuu dooooo itttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" drama fits.

My other major goal is for these kids to learn to entertain themselves, without TV, for more than 2 minutes.  I don't even are if they're fighting while they play, as long as they're doing it in their room and not at my feet.  They're developmentally the same age and actually do like to play together, they have a room full of toys and games that they know how to use, and they do not need Mommy to play with them every single second.  They tend to not believe me when I tell them this, but it's true. Yes, I'm still going to spend time with them and play and read with them as much as possible, but there are times when Mommy has to get things done.  Like check Facebook or blog :)  Oh, and then there's the whole grad school that Mommy starts in 6 weeks... 

Keeping my fingers crossed for the summer...







Monday, July 9, 2012

Playing catch up

The last wedding-related activity for me was dropping a friend off at the airport this morning, so now all the festivities are done and it's time for catching up with real life. I'm currently doing laundry and torturing my kids by not letting them watch another movie (I'm so mean- I'm forcing them to play with toys! In their toy-stuffed bedroom!)

The wedding yesterday was amazing and as close to perfect as you could get. My best friend was gorgeous, the groom was adoring and sweet and everyone had a blast.  I'm uploading photos and wishing my arms didn't look quite so large and pale, but otherwise everything was perfect :) As expected, Vivian did melt down several minutes into the ceremony, when Daniel wouldn't let her come up to me, but he had planned ahead and sat at the back of the room, so was able to make a getaway and the cries of "I want my Mommmmmmmmyyyyyyyyy!!" disappeared quickly..

And now it's time for summer! All of our classes and activities start this week, and I have several people that I need to schedule playdates with. The sun is shining- let's get moving!


Friday, July 6, 2012

I am apparently the least social person ever

We're in the midst of a super-happy week here- my best friend/aunt (don't ask, my family is super-complicated with the relationships, and no, she's not old even though she's my aunt, she's only 3 years older than me and there is also an aunt 9 months older than me). And I am exhausted.  Because I apparently am incapable of being around people. Even ones I have known my entire life. And tomorrow a friend arrives for the wedding who is staying with us until Monday! And the festivities are JUST BEGINNING!

Yesterday we had a fun 4th of July party at my aunt's fiance's house, which is in a town that I never go to (except for the big fair, every 5 years or so) and I don't know how to drive to, so therefore it doesn't really exist.  Even our GPS had no idea where we were going. Which affirms my opinion that it doesn't exist. And there were an insane amount of fireworks. Seriously, we're talking professional quality fireworks, but set off in the street! Next to houses! Are these people insane?! And it all was have been great and beautiful, but I'm a mom and spent my entire time huddling over my kids and hoping not to become newspaper article feature. And then we escaped from the suburbs and went back to the city and I was eventually okay. I should note, everything else about the gathering was fun.

And today we had the bachelorette brunch and I ate so much great food that I am terrified about zipping into my bridesmaid's dress on Sunday. Thank goodness for shapewear.

Speaking of shapewear, this is another thing that my husband is unable to understand. "What is that?" "What does it do?" "Where does the stuff go?"  It's seriously hard being fat and married to a skinny person.




Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day! And belated Happy Canada Day!

Summer is here! Summer is here! We're finally in the great part of the year in Seattle- the part of the year where the forecast (right on schedule!) contains sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. Love!

We're enjoying a lazy 4th of July morning- then off to the first of many days of pre-wedding and wedding festivities this evening. (My best friend is getting married on Sunday). 

I hope everyone is having a great Independence Day! Here are my annual dress-my-kids-up-in-patriotic-clothing photos!

Happy Canada Day!

And Happy 4th of July!

In typical fashion, a hug turned into a tackle