Saturday, April 23, 2011

So much to say, so little brain left

I have 3 million things I want to write about tonight.  The incredible week at Sandbridge in the beach house with Tom and Candy.  Steve dressing like the Easter Bunny to surprise the kids: Quite possibly one of the BEST memories of my life.  So many things. 

I think it's so much, I don't know where to start.  Plus, my brain is still hungover from Spring Break mode, and not really ready to create coherent thoughts.

So instead, I'll document this memory from today:

Steve was studying for his final in our bedroom, deep in concentration.  Simone came in and wanted to play/chat/snuggle/chat and then chat some more.  Steve said: "Can Daddy have a bit of space to study?" 

Simone started crying her heartbroken, sweet cry. 

Steve: "Simone, Daddy is really sorry he made you sad.  What do you need right now?"

And in this gulping, tear-filled voice she cried: "Loooove!"  But it came out as "Wuuuuuub." 

Jack and I heard it from the other room, looked over at each other, and said in unison: "Oh, cute!" 

She can drive me batty some times, but goodness-gracious-me she is SWEET.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Full heart, tired feet.

This has been a fabulous but exhausting week.  Every night, I've collapsed into bed with a content heart and broken-down feet.   So much goodness...but so much, period. 

  • I just submitted my final project for the graduate class I'm taking.  I enjoyed the class more than I was expecting... but goodness gracious, it's nice to be done.
  • 80 bags of love and food from the MOPS mamas, packed up for the homeless and working-poor children of the CBC program.  Tuesday night, I was up at VBUMC until about 9pm packing bags for the kids.  I was bone-tired, but giddy.  That project brought me so much joy.
  • Thinking my next 8 weeks of in-classroom teaching were canceled, and then learning I've got TWO courses for the next 8 weeks.  It was going to be nice to be done, actually, but now I'm excited to have a bit longer.  The salary for 2 more months will be lovely, of course... but also, I really appreciate the face-to-face time with students.  When I'm all online, it loses a bit of the luster.
  • A really awesome farewell to my current students this morning.  I loved this group.  I felt like we really bonded and had an amazing semester.  The dynamics of a class change every time, and this might have been one of my favorites of the entire decade of teaching.
  •  It's Spring Break now.  As of tonight, when I submitted a bazillion grades, final papers, and my own school project.
  • Amazing weather.
  • In-laws coming into town tomorrow, and we're spending all week at a beach house in Sandbridge.  I'll be glad to have some extra hands (and extra energy) surrounding my children.
  • Steve brought me Qdoba when he got home from his class tonight.  Love comes in very odd but very powerful ways these days.  I'm really grateful to have this man in my life. 
  • The butterflies in the habitat emerged from the chrysalises today.  A freakin' miracle.  It really is.  Not just that we managed to do the process right, but also that those butterflies were literally just caterpillars. I know, I's kindergarten science.  But still a miracle.
  • Simone and Andrew are fighting like banshees.  I do not like my 2-year-olds when they're teething molars.  And I don't like that she takes it out on him.  And I don't like that his coping mechanisms in retaliating aren't always that great.  I think they need a trial separation.
  • Getting ALL my work done before spending our Spring Break in Sandbridge.  I need a vacation after getting ready for this vacation.  My eyes are bloodshot.  I probably shouldn't be typing more. I'm sick of the computer.  But this puts my brain to rest at night, so I can curl up in bed with an empty mind.
  • Days packed to full capacity.  Even good things in abundance just feel like too much sometimes.  I'm ready for a break.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life according to Jack

Jack was asking about my sunless tanner.  When I explained it was to darken my skin, he said: "Why? Don't you like your skin light?"

"Um, I don't know.  I guess I just like a change sometimes."

Jack: "Y'know, everyone is perfect just the way they are.  Even if they don't think they're perfect, they still are."

I can't believe how many life-truths I learn from my 6-year-old.

In other (unrelated) news about skin tone, my 2-year-old asked (without segue or context): "Why can't our doctor be a Sudanese person?"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Raindrops on roses..."

Just go back from camping.  Thunderstorms like crazy.  And you know how I know our family is meant to be hard-core campers?  We still loved it!

I curled up in my sleeping bag, listening to the rain fall on our tent, and it just felt awesome to be in that moment with my family.  Dry, thankfully.  Our tent is officially rainproof. But just totally absorbing nature...even if it meant a crazy loud thunderstorm and dripping wet outdoors.

I am thankful I packed rain-boots for all my Littles.  Now I just need them for myself...

What we learned this weekend:

- We love camping, even if it rains the whole time.

- Of the entire Raleigh-Durham area, Chapel Hill rocked our world most.

- Emergency-versions of ponchos are terrible.  I came home and bought "real" ponchos on Amazon.

- There's a healthy, eco-friendly fast food place called EVOS that I want to stalk.  Great fries. 

- We love, love, love, love, love college towns.  If they have a big enough college, that is.  Love them.   The moment we got near UNC Chapel Hill, we felt this vibe emanating from the town.  I could definitely live there.  Explains why we love Madison too.  It had a very similar vibe.  If it were warmer, Steve would have already moved us to Madison.

- We thought there'd be a clear winner between Hampton Roads and the Research Triangle, but there wasn't.  We could be happy both places.  That's a good feeling.  Maybe we could be at peace nearly any place.  Except cold places.  We hate those places. 

I have rambled enough. I have homework today.  Probably explains this post.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Um, thanks...I love you too.

I scooped up Andrew (4) and gave him a big hug. "Andrew, I love you so much.  Every day, I am so grateful that I get to be your mom.  Thanks for being part of my life.  You're a great kid."

Andrew: "Can I have a turkey sandwich?"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Some serious contemplation in the bathroom

Jack, 6.5y, coming out of the bathroom with his pants around his ankles:

"Mom!  I think I finally figured out which came first... the chicken or the egg."

"Oh yeah?"

"It was just a cell, floating in the ocean."

And then he turned around and went back in the bathroom.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Next life phase: Ready or not, here we go...

I'm starting to pack for our move.  Out of the vacation rental in for two months...then to Williamsburg for the school year.  I love moving. Clearing things out, filling bags with outgrown clothes, cloth diapers we've (thankfully) moved out of using, odds and ends that seem to breed in the corners of our rooms.

We thought this was going to be a little hiccup in our trajectory...just a one year move to Williamsburg for Steve to finish off his accounting Masters at William and Mary.  And yes, that's happening.  But then, his advisor told him to think about where he wanted to do his internship in January 2012, since things happen quickly with interviews.  And where you do your internship tends to be where you work.


We love it here and there are so many great things about Virginia Beach.  But we've shifted some of our rubrics since we chose this four years ago. 

Back to the drawing board?

My first choice, four years ago, was Raleigh, North Carolina.  My rubrics:  Number of museums in the area, better winters (than Chicago), schooling options when you're off-the-grid (how many co-ops?), progressive community, blah blah blah.  I could go on, but I probably already lost you.

Steve cared about the ocean, warmer weather, cost of living, and the school district.  He got a job at the Math Academy in Virginia Beach, which made the decision even easier.  But now that he's going to finish off his CPA degree...well, that changes things.

I lost Raleigh because of the ocean.  Steve cared more about the ocean than I did about any of my rubrics...and truthfully, I could find what I needed in Virginia Beach.  But now we've lived between one-to-four blocks from it for the last four years, and we're debating how big of a variable that is.  It is a variable, but how much?

With Raleigh-Durham, I'm in love with the fact that Duke has the PhD in neuro-economics.  I want to throw up with joy just thinking about it.  :)  I want to sit in the department office and stalk the professors, soaking up the joy of it all just by osmosis.  I have no idea when it will make sense in my life to finish off my degree, but I love knowing it's sitting right there.  Waiting for my life to settle down a wee bit.

Next weekend, we're visiting Raleigh to check it out.  I'm already packing for the weekend.  Putting books and items we don't need into boxes, wondering about storage units while we travel this summer.  Once I know the next phase is around the corner, I feel such excitement about moving towards it.  Not running from the old phase, just loving the novelty of what's ahead. 

Virginia Beach or Raleigh, we're not sure.  And I don't need to know yet.  I'm just loving the adventure about knowing we can open either door in our life, and it will work out just the way it's supposed to work.

I agree with Harold

Harold Kushner: “Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”

Oh, Andrew...what *did* we do before you arrived?

Andrew, looking sad over breakfast:  "Mommy, I had a dream last night that you died."

"I'm really sorry to hear that.  That must have been scary."

"Yes.  Jack was a giant cheese monster.  And he thought you were cheese.  So he ate you."

And in perhaps my worst mothering moment ever, I burst out laughing.


In completely unrelated (and yet...still very "Andrew") news:  I took him to Trader Joe's last night, and told him he could pick any snack he wanted.

He picked two hot-house cucumbers.

For the record, the same child chose Oreos at the Snack Shack about 4 hours earlier, so he's not all veggie-goodness.  But still...cucumbers?  Really?

Goodness gracious, I love this crazy little dude.