Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Day Before School

What a whirlwind summer it has been.  Or...rather...should I ask "It was summer?  When?  How did I  miss it?"

School starts tomorrow.  Classes at the elementary school start at 8AM, which means Kelton and Kaylen will be getting on the school bus at 7:15.  Yes, you read that right.  7:15am.  That is SO not funny.  But that's life in the country...and in the new school district.

For their parts, they are excited, anxious, and nervous.  For my part?  Yeah - exactly the same.  This is a new world we have entered.  New people.  New everything.  It's scary...and exciting.  My anxiety is running high so I can totally understand the mini-explosions the kids seem to be having today.  We know it will be ok but still - it's nerve racking.

But back to summer.  We spent all summer cleaning out, packing up, pulling up old flooring and laying new, painting, etc.  It's been one thing after another after another and it isn't over yet.  We have a lot of my house moved but there is still way too much left to do.  We need to get the swing set over, the washer and dryer, the freezer, the trash compactor.....the garage hasn't been dealt with and there are still plenty more things to box up.  And then there is the cleaning.  I have to say, I am shocked as how much crap gets under things in 10 years.  The massive amount of small toys that were under the computer cabinet, the entertainment center, beds, etc.  It's overwhelming.  Thank God I have a really good friend who is helping me - and keeping me sane.  Ingrid, I don't know what I'd do without you.  :)

I ran some errands today and I noticed the leaves are changing color and starting to fall.  Autumn.  It's crazy.  I had plans to take the kids to the beach for at least a day this summer.  My dream was overnight but at least for a full day.  We didn't make it.  I'm hoping we can go in the coming weeks before it gets too cold to enjoy it.  In my far away dreams, I think of beach vacation rentals from BeachHouse.com and wonder if we could find a good deal to be able to spend a weekend.

I need to get to the beach.  Soon.  I need to re-energize because I am severely lacking energy.  Both Stephanie and I are.  It's been weeks of hard, hard work.  But the payoff is pretty amazing!  We have beautiful bamboo floors in.  A new kitchen floor, fresh paint (inside and out), the roof has been repaired in the few places we needed and there are new gutters to be attached in the coming week.  We have worked hard and made this house into a real home.  Sure - the boys are sharing a room, which neither one will admit to enjoying (but something that the late night whispering and giggling will attest to) and we are still working out kinks in rules, etc. but it is all coming together.

Slowly but surely.  It is all coming together.

And tomorrow, the first day of school, is a whole new beginning for everyone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Yes, Kelton is still around. He is near impossible to get photos of these days so I thought I would upload a few self portraits he has created on my iPad.

He is a silly boy!

New Bike

For the past three weeks I have been telling Kaylen that we would go get a new bicycle for her, as she has long since outgrown the 12inch bike I bought her when she was barely four years old. Today I finally made good on my promise (which took longer than I liked for various reasons. Usually, I act fast when I make a promise to my kids).

Kaylen and I headed out shopping early this afternoon. On the way there, she detailed for me the type of bike she would like. I cautioned her that we might not find one exactly like she wanted so imagine my surprise when we entered the bike row and, within seconds, heard "Mom! This one!"

I admit, it is her to a T. She is one happy camper!

First Day Outfit

It didn't take Kaylen long to figure out what she will be wearing on the first day of school (which is in two short weeks). I have to say, it is perfectly her!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Twelve Days Since My Last Post

I have to apologize for my lack of blog attention.  This whole "moving ten years of your life as well as the children and merging lives with other people" is not as seamless as it feels it should be.  There is so much to be done.

The floors are in the process of being put in.  We (and by "we" I really mean Stephanie) have completed all the bedrooms and, as of yesterday, the hallway and half the living room.  We still have the rest of the living room, the kitchen nook area and the dining room to go.  And then there is laying new vinyl flooring in the kitchen.  We have already painted the rooms that needed painting, the children's bedrooms are mostly moved from the old house to the new (Kelton and Andrew are sharing which presents a whole other issue for space for both of them).  There is still a ton of packing, sorting, deciding what goes into boxes to be stored and what we need to find room for, etc. to do.  This is no where near as "easy" as moving one entire home into a waiting and empty home.  It's tough, difficult and sometimes incredibly painful work.

I am more affected by the moving out of the home I have spent the past ten years building than I thought I would be.  I was working over there yesterday and I was haunted by ghosts of years gone by.  I swear I could hear Kelton's three year old voice echoing down the hall.  I walked by the back slider and I could have sworn they were out playing in all of their 2 and 5 year old glory.  Little ghosts of them are every where.  Ghosts of the family unit I used to have can overwhelm me but mostly it is the day to day memories I have of the children.  Those are mine - all mine - because I was home with them each and every day.

Christmas mornings in the living room.  Birthday parties.  First steps, bringing home Kaylen after her birth.  Moving into the house when Kelton was a small 10 weeks old.  It's all heart stoppingly difficult to let go of.

And yet - I'm excited about the future, too.

It's a very surreal place to be.

Learning the share the day to day with another adult after being on my own for virtually 6.5 years (4 years of law school when I was, let's face it, alone 97% of the time and the 2.5 years since Dakota left) can be both exciting and a challenge.  For her part, Stephanie has been living as the sole adult in a house for 7 plus years so to say we are firmly rooted in our ways is putting it mildly.  We are making it work though.  Step by step. Our love gets us through the tougher times.  And the good times are near perfection.

It will all work out.  I am just so looking forward to being moved and settled.  The chapters closed.  Time to rest a little and not feel so completely overwhelmed and exhausted and like I could fall asleep at the drop of a hat but never really being able to sleep for any length of time.

It's hard.  Leaving the home I built with, and for, my children. I never really thought I would move from that house.  We used to talk to the kids about them going to the middle school up the street...and the high school just down the street.  From the time Kelton was 10 weeks old, that house is where I thought I would watch my children grow up and become adults. I'm not one that dreams of relocating.  Ever.  I grew up in the same house we moved my parents from a few years back.  My parents lived in a total of three places their entire lives, besides their parents home.  My mom didn't move from the house she was raised in until she married my dad.  I don't come from a line of nomads.  We put down roots and stay put.  And I like it that way.

So moving.  It's a very, very big deal for me.  And it's very emotional.  Both the highs and the lows.  And it's often you can find me in a puddle of tears for a while before I pull myself together and move another step forward.

It's not just my own emotions I am dealing with.  Kelton and Kaylen are a bucket of their own emotions which, like mine, run the full spectrum.  Our good days are very good.  Our sad times are deep and sad and hard but together, we are all getting through and moving forward. Tiny step by tiny step.

Nothing is constant but change.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Flooring Is In!

Finally!!!  After weeks of waiting, the flooring has finally arrived.  It feels like Christmas morning.  :)  Stephanie and I sat outside this morning planning out how the next few days are going to go.  We are installing it ourselves (because the price of having someone do it vs doing it ourselves was something crazy like four and a half  times the amount!)

I looked at her, over my steaming cup of coffee this morning,  with a silly grin on my face.  She looked back and said "I am soooooo excited!"  "Me, too!!!!!!!"  I said.  This is more fun than a Christmas gift of all the ipod nano accessories in the world.  :)

I cannot wait to get started putting in the floor.  And once the bedrooms are in, we can start moving the kids bedrooms so we can get them all squared away in their spaces.  And from there - it will be a lot of sweat and work but we will merge the two houses and create our new life.

I cannot wait!!!

Life is....well....crazy

All aboard the Crazy Train!

Seriously, I don't recall a time in recent history where my life has been so insanely crazy.  Crazy enough to knock me right off my rocker.  And I kid you not.  Between living in two places, but not really living anywhere, reconstruction of the "new" house (new flooring, painting, cleaning out, organizing, etc.), the children (all three of them, who at different times (and sometimes the same time) have given me a run for my money sanity-wise), losing my dad (which I admit has flipped me harder than I ever expected it too), losing yet another pet (almost 15 year old cat), and just the overall chaos and stress level, there were a couple days there were I was unable to cope.  As in completely unable to cope.

 There hasn't been time to breathe quietly let alone do things necessary in life such as get term life insurance quotes or new auto insurance quotes.  I completely neglected taking care of myself and certainly was getting nowhere near the amount of sleep and rest I need to keep my brain focused and my pain level tolerable.

I'm trying to change that.  It's a challenge because there are children and chores and, and, and...not to mention an adult relationship that needs to be tended to.  The relationship part is key and while we promised we would not let "us" slide to the back burner, we did and we paid a hefty price for that in the form of a mental collapse on my end.  I think one of the most difficult parts of this transition is going from a place where Stephanie and I had an adult relationship that was, for the most part, separate from our life with the kids.  We had time to just be together and talk and dream.  Once we started staying at the new house mostly full time, the kids took center stage (as they are known to do) and we had to readjust our view of "us".

Challenging does not begin to explain it.

Blending families is a difficult thing to do and unless you have first hand experience, there is no way you can understand it.  And I'm talking first hand experience in the exact situation: kids, in the same age group, on both side. 

But it's good, too.  In all the chaos there is laughter and fun and happy moments.

I just can't wait until we are more settled and there is more laughter, fun and happy moments than stressful ones.

Rings and Commitments

Merging houses, and lives.  It's like marriage without the diamond ring engagement part.  But then, we already have the whole engagement ring thing down and have for a long, long while.  Yes, it's true.  She asked and I said yes.  A very long time ago.  That really shouldn't surprise anyone.  :)

We're waiting to have any sort of ceremony though because eventually we will be able to be legally married.  Until then, we know the depths of our love and commitment and that is good enough for us.  For now.  Because eventually, we will make it legal.

True.  It's "just a piece of paper" but it's a very important piece of paper. 

Come on, Washington State.  Let's get this thing rolling!