Month: November 2013

My Favorite

Thanksgiving (and the four weeks following) is my favorite holiday.

Why?  It kicks off with a to-die-for meal, it is highlighted my MG’s birthday (which is always shortly thereafter), and is culminated by Christmas and all of the festivity in between.

And to be honest, no other holiday really stands a chance because you still have to work through them and I pessimistically find most of them to be overrated……..so take my praise for what you will :).  (and Christmas is great but I always get a little sad when it is over because January is right around the corner.  And speaking of sad, let’s not even talk about New Year’s…….)

Thanksgiving is a time for stories.  I (loosely) consider myself a story-teller and I love to reflect on the joy the LORD has brought into our lives every year.  It is a moment of defined peace and remembrance.

They say having a baby and moving are two of the three most stressful life events one can endure.  Yet, aside from a few intense moments, this year has felt decidedly peaceful.  I like to attribute that to God gently working His plan for our lives.

 

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share with you the things I’m thankful for this year:

-MG & Bea (of course).  My hear is bursting with joy for them

-N.  Shared joy multiplies itself tenfold.  So grateful to have him to share in and contribute to my joy.

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-Our family. Many changes have come our way but our family is constant.  This year has taught me it doesn’t matter where you live as long as you have a pillow to lay your head on that is next to the ones you love.

-Our friends.  The new and the old.  The new friendships are exciting and encouraging.  The old are familiar and comfortable.  We are blessed to have both in a particularly tumultuous year.

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Well thanksgiving lists don’t get much more cliche than that….but it had to be written.  Girls, I hope you are reading this some day after I am gone.  My hope is that you feel my love for you through my writings, but even more importantly, Jesus’s.  I hope you know you are the reason I write.  Love,

P.S. Taking some time off for all of the celebration/bucket listing.  Will be back to share about MG’s birthday next week!

6 months

Half of a year is a long time to be alive….and yet…it has gone all too fast.

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Today is a special day for two reasons: 1) it is Bea’s half birthday and 2) it is MG’s original due date 3 years ago.

This month we have crossed so many milestones:

-sitting up (kinda)

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-solids (she’s tried oatmeal, bananas, avocados, and pumpkin and prefers to feed herself)

-rolling all over, and with purpose

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-getting up on all fours with determination in her voice; rocking and getting into a position to crawl

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-and working on fine motor skills, bringing objects to her mouth with a very definitive grasp

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All of these milestones have proven true what the old wives’ say: less sleep.  When  she wakes in the night it’s not cries of hunger I hear, but talking.  When I go in to check on her, she is usually rolled over with a big smile on her face. Fortunately, nursing usually sends her back to sleep but not before spending a few minutes just smiling at each other in the dark

Speaking of smiling, her social skills are blossoming too.  Anyone who makes eye contact is rewarded with a big gummy smile and perhaps a velocoraptor growl of excitement.

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[vimeo http://vimeo.com/79715993%5D

bea 6 months from Kate Miley on Vimeo.

I could just eat you up, I love you so!

If you decide to sell your house…

If you decide to sell your house,

Maybe you will have to mourn a little before you can go on to experience the wonderful things in your new life to come. Much like welcoming a new child into your family, you will recognizance it as a parallel experience to your second pregnancy. The wait, the exciting promise of fulfillment, the morning sickness, the mourning period, the labor pains, the beautiful birth and the promise of new life.

Much like it did in your second pregnancy, the grief at the end will surprise you. You know that something wonderful is coming but that something is new and unknown.  And it will be hard to imagine because you realize in order to get it, you will have to give up something  in its place.  Something that is already beautiful and wonderful on its own.

Perhaps you will go through a period of great excitement.  You will envision all of your shiny things perfectly positioned in your new house.  They will be arranged to your liking. You will begin packing boxes with care and imagine where the contents will be at rest.

You will uncover treasures.  You will find forgotten pictures, receipts, letters.  They will have been placed there from an earlier time, perhaps so that you  would discover them in this moment and say, “I remember”.  “I remember the life we had here in all its fullness, it was wonderful.”  You will think about the secrets this house holds and you will reminisce and cry and smile.

Maybe you will go through a period of regret. It comes somewhere in between the first packed box and the moving of your bed.  You will question everything about this decision and wonder why you put yourself through this.  “Isn’t this house good enough?” you will ask yourself.  And it will smile back at you all clean and spacious and empty and it will be.

You will put on a brave face for your family because you hope they don’t feel the same way.  The last thing you need is to be the cause of a mutiny.  But eventually it will come out.  All gushing out.  And they won’t feel the same way, at least not now, and they will talk you off the ledge and into the good days to come.  You will feel better.  You will come to the realization that a very important part of your life has been lived there.  One you will go back to often in your mind.  You smile when you think of the sweetness that he been shared there and you will wonder what it will be like to live in a place that has no memories.

Maybe then you will walk through your house and look around at its nakedness.  You will be sad that it is no longer full of your things though it still holds so much of your memory.  You will walk to the nursery and think about how many times that path has been walked before and be sad that you will never be able to do it again no matter how much you may want to for the sake of reliving.   Your girls will never sleep again in this room you so carefully decorated for them. You will not get to sit quietly and rock in it on their first day of kindergarten when all you want to do is go back to the day you brought them home form the hospital.  There is some pain in that stinging but you will work through it.  You will just keep packing boxes and you will probably save that room for last so that it will stay with you the longest.

You will look at the picture in your frames of the candid smiles and you will feel heavy in your heart.  You will ask yourself, “will I ever feel this happy again?”  Which is funny because you are actually really sad.

Perhaps you will wonder if you took enough pictures and recorded enough video.  Because you feel that someday, after the dust has settled, you may want to temporarily return here and you don’t know if that will be entirely possible.

For a while your new house won’t feel like home.  You will continue to forget where you put the oregano and the vanilla. When you fill in your address you won’t be able to remember your new zip code.  When the hot water doesn’t’ work, you will have a wistful longing for your old house.

You will be sad because you will be half here and half there and fully no where.  Your new house, though lovely and great, will lack this and that from your old house.  At first you will miss those things.  You will miss them badly before you realize you’ve forgotten about them and come to love this and that about your new house.  At that time, you will be able to look back on your old house with a fondness.  A soft sigh, a quietness on your heart that reminds you of a sweet life that was once lived there.   In that moment, you will realized you have moved forward.

Though you haven’t fully understood it, your life will go on to greater things.  The place you call home will not be left behind.  It will carry on with you to erupt with more joy and love than you an ever imagine.

But should you ever decide to sell your house, you may feel this way.

Maybe you will, or maybe it’s just me.

I just thought maybe you should know,

New Home: Bucket List

As previously mentioned, I created a bucket list for our new home.  Knowing that our time here is undefined, but could possibly be short, I want to make sure that we make the most of it and leave without any regrets.  Included are some new local things to try, some old memories to recreate, and some experiences that we never got to have when we first lived here.

One of the main reasons we moved here was to get N closer to his job.  It has been wonderful.  He has come home much happier and also gotten a lot more sleep on the front end.  Totally worth it.

However, sometimes we get bogged down with all there is to do.  And how quickly our evenings are consumed by little things(such as setting up an Internet connection).  We find ourselves knee-deep in discontentment.  A good remedy we’ve found for these moments is to have an “experience” or tackle something on our bucket list.  It pulls us out of the daily bog and reminds us why we are here.

One of our first nights, we bundled the girls up and walked them over to campus.  The closer we got, the more palpable our excitement.  We walked past memorable landmarks and off-campus houses and we were both flooded with memories from our time here.

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There is also such a feeling of safety and comfort in that place, even at a dark hour.  (although it did give me chills to see a girl running solo on some back roads and the thought, “was I ever that naive??).

Although I’m sure we looked VERY MUCH out of place with our bright orange double-wide and silly grins, it still feels very much like home.  The students loved seeing our little ones and the girls got so much attention.  MG loved all the new sights and the “castle without walls” AKA bell tower.

We had to explore the library of course as that is where our love blossomed freshmen year :).  N took Bea and the stroller in the elevator up to the top floor while I walked up the stairs with an insistent MG.  I reached the top and looked through the glass, and sure enough, he was waiting for us in his old spot.  The same place I used to visit him under the guise of “studying together” ten years ago.

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“Did you expect to find me anywhere else?” he said when we arrived.

Scattered throughout the library are many pieces of art, both on the wall and installations on the ground.  I’m not sure when the tradition started of the library buying art but noticed most of the pieces are from the early to mid 2000’s.  It was a bit surreal reading the names or actually recognizing the work from those I worked along side for four years.  We also made a stop to see a piece of my own hanging on the lowest level and shocked some girls in the process who had no idea what was going on.  It is an incredible feeling to have something you created hanging in a place full of memory and meaning and know it will be there for a long time.  I’m honored to have my handiwork there but I also view it as a gift given back to me to be able to visit and see a little piece of my heart hanging there.

Also on the list this week we ate a local pizza place that neither of us had experienced in college….much to the locals’ dismay.  They even had gluten free pizza dough which shocked me!!  It was delicious and I’ve decided that I really like walking to dinner.  I think we shall make it a weekly thing.

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All for now,

Saturday

What’s a Saturday if not for

sleeping in?

eating a hearty breakfast?

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(Bea’s first time to try “real” food.  She seemed to like the taste on her fingers but found the texture a little “shudder-worthy”.  We did our own version of Baby-Led-Weaning with MG and plan to do the same with Bea.  The cues that she’s been giving us are getting grabby around food, using her hands to bring objects to her mouth, and she doesn’t always seem completely full after nursing.  I know, just looking at those cheeks makes you think she’s probably half-starved, right?? :))

painting tiny finger and toes “I want PINK, Mommy!”

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crunching through piles of dried leaves while finding a brand new running route (and waving hello to some familiar faces….I love this town!)?

eating hot dogs at a football game (MG and Daddy)?

taking naps and catching up on computer work (Mommy and Bea)?

This is our first full Saturday in our new house and it’s been a while since we’ve had a true “lazy” Saturday.  We’ve got more family time on tap for tonight including a bonfire.  Can’t wait!  Feeling blessed to be settling into our new normal.

Things I’ve learned in this move (part 1)

As I’m sure this will be an ongoing series, I’ll just go ahead and number it: Things I’ve learned in this move Part 1

I’ve been silent on here for about a week now and I think that has more to do with the fact that we just got Internet today and I used up the last of our data plan on Sunday…two weeks ahead of schedule (insert gnashing teeth emoji).

That, and we’ve been busy.  Packing, loading, unpacking, settling.  My mom came in town last week and what a godsend.  She packed (she’s a pro), gave us a date night, and kept MG from getting too caught up in all of the change that was happening.

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Well here we are, not quite a week out and all of the boxes are unpacked (although we are storing a good bit since we are anticipating another move in the near future).  Nothing’s been hung up on the walls, but things are starting to settle.

The girls have transitioned well, God bless ’em.  Poor MG doesn’t handle change very well…but we’ve spent some weekends here previously and that has helped her sleep better as well as respond.

Some other things I’ve learned about moving are:

It’s all very hot and cold.  You have moments of great joy and peace followed by immense frustration and regret.  No matter where you came from, you always miss it, even a little bit.  But then you have these incredible moments that trump all of that and you realize you are doing the right thing…….And then you run out of hot water, (and the cycle continues).  You have to keep holding on to those shiny, ethereal moments in the darker ones.

After living in an “older” home (originally built in the ’20’s), I think my next move will be to a brand new, sparkling, shiny house.  I forgot how weird it is when you are on two separate heating systems and that your regulation size washer and dryer can’t fit next to each other.  I think I sort of romanticized living in an older home and this has been a good wake up call. But it’s really not so bad :)….just funny and laughable…especially since it’s not “our” house.

The girls have a “true” play room here (not just a shared living space) and I love it.  MG has spent many mornings up there entertaining herself and I don’t have the nagging urge to keep it picked up before we leave to go anywhere.  It also has a gorgeous view of a an old, tall tree displaying it’s fall glory and it makes me not so sad that we had to leave this beauty behind:

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Moving (and the after effects) costs far more money and takes far longer time than you ever think it will.  Between the gas money, set-ups and installations, new lamps and other decor to make it feel homey, to eating out in the in between,  I don’t think we will actually save any money this month….but hopefully next?  I’ve  also decided that hiring movers is totally worth the cost.  The next time I see a Uhaul it will be too soon.

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(living in a college town definitely has its perks...free help!)

Some days I find myself dreaming about our next “real” house.  Perhaps a little too much when I look at the carpet or the size of our bedroom.  However, on our first night here, I took the girls out to dinner solo (N was bringing up the SECOND Uhaul load) and there was a very quaint sign hanging on the wall.  I read it after a very long and stressful day of our new adventure and after the fun and newness had most definitely worn off.

It said, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

That has become my new motto here, especially knowing that our days here are numbered. I do not want to wish them away.

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(our new chalkboard wall that makes me smile since we had to leave our old one behind)

In the spirit of that, I created a “bucket list” for our family to check off of things to do in the area.  I also have found myself void of all commitments (for the time being) and feel very much at peace with that.  I’m sure that this small season won’t last long, but I’m feeling really at peace with it while it does.  I’ve really enjoyed sitting down and PLAYING with the girls in the morning and not rushing them off every single day to an engagement.

More, much more, to come,

Goodbyes

“Most people now are looking for ‘a better place,’ which means that a lot of them will end up in a worse one…There is no ‘better place’ than this, not in this world. And it is by the place we’ve got, and our love for it and our keeping of it, that this world is joined to Heaven.” Hannah Coulter

Lasts have always been important to me.  I suppose firsts have too: first steps, first birthdays, first kisses; they’ve all been appropriately celebrated and documented.  But lasts have their place in this life too.  I remember senior year of high school when I became almost obsessive about commemorating.  “This is our LAST PROM EVER!”,  “this is our last lunch table together!!”,  “this is our last time to walk down this hallway to our Spanish class together!!!”  It always came after a brief catch of the breath and a before a collective sigh. It was important. It made those moments tangible and real and worthy of setting apart. I’ve always been about “moments” and somehow saying them aloud has made them all the more memorable.

Life has been filled with a lot of lasts lately.

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Tonight we say goodbye to our first house.  Our home.  The house we grew our family in.  The place where our love magnified and changed.  The kitchen where we communed with family and friends. The place that was built for us and with our comforts in mind.

As we have waded through the daunting process of packing, our eyes and hands and hearts have been full of remembering.  It has been a cathartic process, almost as if our house wants us to remember every last drop of life that was drunk here. Many memories have been evoked in the process: Handwritten letters from deceased grandparents, files and paperwork from my job that is no longer, thank you notes from my little students who are all grown up now, pictures that tell stories of a life long forgotten.  Each one saved, possibly with the hope that someday (this day) we would come across them and have this very moment.  A reminder that our lives have been very full here.

The walls have seen life for only 6.5 years, but oh the stories they could tell:

The outfits anxiously picked out for first days on the job, anniversary dates, baby dedications.

The number of tvs, sofas, rugs, tables, and lamps that have made their way in and out, up and down.

The rooms that were changed and then changed again to make room for the coming little ones.

The hallways that were paced in the wee hours, hoping for the babies to stop crying, the temperatures to go down, the contractions to subside.

The neighbors we met.  The life we shared.

The meals we relished, the cookies we baked, the laundry we cycled.

The sounds of home: of the creak at the top of the stairs, the dishwasher after a pleasing meal, the tick of the clock as I write this.

The way we picked her out 7 years ago and dreamed of all these things.   It was here they came true.

There was a lot of life that was lived here in 6.5 years.   A lot of life.  She was very good to us, we will miss her.  Not for the way she looked but for the way we kept her.  The loved that was shared here and the life that was lived.

It was in this place that our little, created life joined to Heaven.  Becoming itself, a sacred place.

“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” Wendell Berry

Appropriately, trick-or-treating was city-wide moved to tonight due to inclement weather last.  It will be a fitting way to go out: in a blaze of festivity, sugar, and a last goodbye to each of  our neighbors.

Goodbye, dear house, you were as good as can be to us.  We will treasure the memories we have of you and not soon forget the sacred times we shared among your walls,