Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We're still here

It's been awhile I see. Funny, it doesn't really seem that long ago that I posted, but the date belies my sentiment! I guess we've been accomplishing a lot, but it seems like we're kind of in the in between. We can't move, but we can't really continue here with life as normal either.

So, we've been trying to do as much of both as possible. Our storage space is nearly packed full, chores to get/keep this house ready for sale are approaching completion, and we're making plans for where everything will go in the new house, etc. We met with the banker yesterday to go over closing documents and I purchased our new homeowners insurance policy. So, we're definitely moving in the direction of actually taking possession of the new place every day.

But, kids have a way of making sure you live in the present. They wake up everyday and insist on as close as possible to the same routines. They need love, care, and attention, no matter what else is going on and meeting their needs keeps us in today pretty well too. So, we're moving along a fine line of staying the same on the surface, but knowing a big change is coming right around the corner.
I'm starting to anticipate and wonder how the kids will really do with the move. Right now Joshua is super-excited about the whole idea and Lydia's clueless, but when it comes time to leave this house behind I'm not sure how that will affect them.

As of Monday we'll be homeowners...of two houses...something I never really wanted to be, but always knew in the back of my mind we'd probably have to be since we're moving with two little kiddos who make it near-impossible to get a house show ready while they're occupying it. However, as we get closer to that point, I've started to have the doubts that I think are pretty common. Did we make the right decision to buy before this house sold? How long will it take to get the right buyer? And of course, should we try to sell it on our own for a bit, or should we cave and get a realtor right away in hopes of significantly shortening the time we own the place?
I don't have answers to these question and it's bringing out my control issues and worrier side. I know it will all resolve itself in the end and that there's probably not any right or wrong answers to a couple of the questions. I'm even quite sure that for us, buying while we had the ability to look as long as we liked and find exactly what we wanted was the right choice. Neither of us are really snap-decision geared people and both would have disliked "having" to buy something just because closing was approaching on this place. So, we wait...
Anyway, not the most interesting post, but I mostly needed to corral my thoughts for myself if no one else. :) Thanks for "listening."

On a less pensive note, my two youngest brothers are here this week and we've really been enjoying the time with them. One bonus to moving is that we should get to see a lot of family in the coming weeks! :)

Other random notes from the last week:
We got our planters filled, and I'm quite happy with the results, I've never really done container plantings before and I thought they turned out quite well!
And, while we were visiting the construction site at James' employer to sate the big vehicles need of our three year old, I was playing with the settings on our camera with MckMama's tips from this post (and failing miserably, you'll note) but I got a picture I love! Worth it... :)

(If you get this in a feed, sorry for the multiple takes...I was watching (corralling) both kids while I wrote and didn't have much chance for a focused proofread, so had to edit for sense a couple of times...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tickle Tickle

Again, just a clip of some family tickle time. This is both of the kids' favorite game right now. :)

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Lydia LOVES the song "the Itsy Bitsy Spider" and for being sixteen-months, I think she does quite well with the motions. You can't really hear her "words" in the clip, but they something like this: "Eeee beeee, DOWN, eeee beee, YAY!!!!! (Clapping)"

The second clip is Joshua singing for her. He's really sweet about this (usually) and has started insisting that James/I can't sing along, he wants to do it for her by himself.

In general they're playing together more and he's pretty sweet, but we definitely still have our moments (days) where they're out to get each other. Or, more accurately, Joshua's out to get Lydia--she still worships the ground he walks on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Free Chocolate Anyone???

If you know me well, you'll know that I love to bargain hunt. Even better if the bargain is actually FREE! Some of you will probably also know that the photo below makes me very excited, and while pregnant, I'm slightly addicted!!! Don't believe me, just ask James...

So imagine my delight when I heard about this promotion. The Mars Candy Company (which makes candy like Snickers, Twix, and M&M's) is having a promotion all summer where they are giving away a free candy bars every Friday. Simply visit their website, and they'll send you a coupon for a free candy bar of your choice. The way I understand it, you can try this every Friday and get up to four free coupons this summer! Tomorrow is a double give away with half a million coupons available, so the perfect day to get started.

I'll have to be on the lookout for this creature though. She roams our house looking for chocolate of all sorts--from her face, do you think she enjoyed it??? Hmmm, maybe I'll just have to hide it and have it once the angels are in bed. My other big question, do I use it for a Snickers or a Twix???
I've been noticing some new visitors, welcome! I love comments, so take this chance to leave me one and introduce yourself, or at least tell us about your chocolate preferences! What's your favorite candy bar??

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This post brought to you by...

Tree Pollen
Pet Dander (which he frequently rubbed in his eyes, due to the aforementioned tree-pollen induced itching...)

Poor little man, he was SO miserable by bedtime last night! But a good night's sleep in his cat/dog free room, some anti-histamines, and a rain last night have put him on the you can see he's my little marshmallow when he bumps into something he's allergic to. (And yes, we've seen an allergist and have an epi-pen, just in case...)

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Invisible Mom

I received this yesterday from a friend in my email and I thought it was pretty sweet. Many days I do feel invisible, spurred on only by a quick "thank you" from my kids, encouragement from my husband, or kind words from a friend. The task often seems endless and thankless. So I can relate on that level. I also remember visiting cathedrals on my trip to Europe during college and being amazed by how complex they are and how long they took to build. What do moms and cathedrals have in common? Read on and be refreshed in your own building adventure.

The Invisible Mom, Author Unknown

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask me a question.
Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously, not.
No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?
Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ...
Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.
I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .
I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:
'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book.

And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
They mdde great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I'll Show you Mine, if you Show Me Yours...

Kelly over at Kelly's Korner hosts a blog carnival on Fridays called "Show us Where you Live." The theme this week is Living rooms, I've had a lot of fun clicking through people's links and seeing where they live--hopefully gaining ideas for future spaces and projects in our new place. The room of choice made me smile. How convenient. :) We just finished decluttering, etc. last night in preparation for putting the house on the market, so I just happen to have a relatively clean room and pictures to boot!

Anyway, there's nothing particularly remarkable about our living space, we're definitely still in the "function-first" stage of decorating and made the decision to upgrade the house instead of upgrading the furniture in the house. All in good time, I guess. So, as you can see we're desperately in need of a new couch(s) and chair(s) or at the very least a nice new slipcover! Probably a slipcover and a move to the playroom when the time comes, that couch is so comfy, I'm going to have a hard time letting it go before it falls apart.

What I love about this room is the high ceilings! It's hard to dust/change lightbulbs/etc. but it makes the room feel much larger. Also a bonus, it's sunken three steps from the rest of the house, so my kids have done stairs like champs much sooner than I think they would have in a house that was all one level OR one with a full flight of stairs. :)

So, we're coming along in getting the house show-ready, just one more room to go. I'm starting to get somewhat saddened by the thought of leaving this house, it's just full of so many great memories--but I know the new place is right for the family as a whole and I really will love it, it's just always hard to say good-bye!

Anyway, hop on over to Kelly's post and show us where you blog!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Packing, in Pictures

Some of my favorite shots from the packing/moving/sorting so far....

Here is a peek at the kids' rooms, they're as clean and organized as they're probably going to get in this house. These are both done and ready to show.

Our first home, I'm excited for the new one, but this house certainly holds a lot of fond memories. It's where we became "real" adults (no longer students) and where we brought both our babies home. We'd like it to go to a "good home" as they say in pet listings--anyone know someone in the Madison area that's in the market for a cute 3 bed, 1 bath? If so, send them our way!

Man I'm going to miss this huge, fenced backyard!

And some random shots of the kiddies and the boxes, which as I mentioned in my previous packing post, they think are the best toys ever!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

Our weekend went quickly from open to jam-packed. As of Friday night we had no plans except readying the house for listing and looking for garden plants at the farmer's market, by Saturday morning we had a mini-family reunion in the works! (We did get our heirloom tomato plants, by the way. Yum!)

James' youngest brother, Jeremy, has spent the semester studying abroad and returned to the US yesterday. We knew his parents and probably his grandpa were going to meet him at the airport, so we thought we'd get a hotel, let Joshua swim and make a night of it. What we didn't expect was that the party would grow and grow and be also able to get hotel rooms in the same hotel. But it all came together quickly and by Saturday evening we were joined by James' parents, his grandpa, his brother and sister-in-law, aunt and uncle and two cousins.

We enjoyed an evening together and in the morning manufactured a nearly-complete Wilson family welcoming committee for a very surprised Jeremy! It was a fun weekend that included the aforementioned hotel activities: chatting, swimming, kid watching, lots of pictures and general catching-up. We also went downtown and walked around (turned out to be a gorgeous day, 70's and sunny with a light breeze), stuffed ourself with Chicago-stlye pizza (I've now eaten at both of the classic places--if you've eaten pizza in downtown Chicago, you'll probably know where I mean) and heard tales from Jeremy's adventures in kosher eating!

Almost exactly 24 hours after our arrival we loaded up, climbed back in the car and made the trek home. We all scattered to our various homes around the midwest as Jeremy finished his trip back to see his sweet fiancee in Mississippi, and by bedtime all was back to normal. But it sure felt like we packed as much as you possibly could into one day--we made the minutes count! What's your favorite spur-of-the-moment or whirlwind trip you've ever taken? James and I seem to have most of our best adventures relatively spontaneously--maybe it's just part of having small children??? It's hard to plan ahead since we have no idea how the day will be going once it rolls around and the more time we have to think about it the more likely we are to do see the negatives. But, it's always fun when it comes together.

I'll put pictures in when I get them. As is usually the case when surrounded by the extended family, everyone else is taking so many photos our cameras don't even come out of the bag!