Archive | February, 2012

Cashing In

26 Feb

I looked south out of my kitchen window while making dinner and was happy to see blue skies peeking out between puffy clouds. I dashed to the north facing window above the stairs and saw the same.

Time: 5:15 PM Dinner: Almost in the oven.

When the Oregon coast hands over a big fat check made out to you in the amount of sunset run with the memo perfect weather, you cash that bad boy in. Immediately.

I took Hank, but he wasn’t feeling it. So we goofed around on the beach and I put him back in the car. You can lead a newf to the water but you can’t make him run or swim.  Drinking is a different story. He will always drink.

I, on the other hand, was totally feeling it.

I ran feeling the creaks and groans of tight hips and knees. I stopped and stretched. I haven’t done much running since we went on vacation. I started again and found a comfortable rhythm, legs loosened – my mind following.

My thoughts went back to my sad Friday and afterwards I replayed the week in my mind with the final thought: maybe I’m renting to own.

I’m not ready to abandon my East coast roots. I like it back east. If I’m being completely honest, I’d move back there tomorrow if I could. It’s a big part of who I am, a part I can’t always completely explain to people that have never lived there. It’s where I breathe my sigh of relief, where everything just feels right.

But if we are being completely honest then I must also confess the other part of this renting to own life I have. Sometimes I feel guilty when I feel like I’m moving on, each day growing more distant from our life in Virginia, however natural it may be. Their life goes on, so does yours. You still care about each other, but you are not each other’s every day. And it can be gutwrenching, but it gets easier.

Much like a tenant, I have realized that there are people I can count on to make it easier to be here, to fix things – my playdate friends, my without kids friends, my book club, the (gasp) potential babysitter. They all do things without realizing how much it means and they make me oh so happy here – like helping a long day at home go a little faster or drinking a glass of wine and talking about things other than children, making me laugh so much at our once a month dinners I feel like I’m back with my old friends or just letting Ryan and I have a little break.

I reached the turnaround and stopped, taking stock of what I owned, what I wanted to own, and what I rented. It was hard to sort it all out. So I didn’t bother.

Instead I watched the sun set, while sprinting back to the start. I was tired when I reached the end. Instead of rushing home like I always do, I laid down right there on the sand – its cool dampness soothing my tired muscles.

I walked the last few feet, past a bottle. It didn’t belong there so I picked it up and threw it away.  Part of renting to own is gradually taking over that ownership.

I’m going to work on writing my own check, made out to Oregon in the amount of an indeterminate number of happy years signed Sarah.

Time: 6:11 Dinner: Served.

Owning It

24 Feb

I talk about being far from home a lot because it’s hard. My life is peppered with homesickness. Sometimes my life is seasoned perfectly. I barely notice that I am away, I’m filled with new or comforting flavors. But sometimes my homesickness hits me like an overly spiced dish that lingers on and on, the only remedy – time.

The internal struggle I feel between here and there, now and then is one that I am working on. It has nothing to do with the place I’m in or the people I’ve met. It is only a result of the circumstances that have happened, a path that we chose, and my personality.

So I do my best to march on and keep my head up. You can’t back up in life. You can only move forward.

A toddler teaches this best.  So when I feel the heat of homesickness rushing through my soul, I look to Abigail to pull me through.

This is the only home she knows and she owns it. Sit knee to knee with her and you will see exactly what I mean.

“Touch. Touch.” She tells me as she shows me her shovel. Dig deep, get messy, feel something. So small, so wise.

The beach today was humming with people, many who are in town for the Seafood and Wine Festival. I liked it. They are here to enjoy our home, my home, too.

“Duck. Duck.” Abigail calls to an approaching sea gull and four adults walk by. Pointing to the sea she tells them “Water, Oh-shen” as if it’s an insider secret. Proud as can be. Owning it.

I’m doing the best I can and when my sister and cousin arrive in two weeks I’ll be as proud as a peacock to show off my little coastal town. I do love it here. But I also love it somewhere else and that’s okay.

Sea salt and pepper are quite the combination. I’m lucky to have both in my heart and one day, maybe sooner than I think, I will discover that my life is perfectly balanced between the two.

Until then, I’m working hard at chasing the homesickness away with the help of one fearless toddler.

Shoo. Fly! (And the period is intentional.)

Perspective

20 Feb

Perspective.

We are in charge of our own.

So day after day, meal after meal, meltdown after meltdown, dish after dish, laundry after laundry, sweep after sweep it is me who can control how I feel about it.

Yes, it can be mundane, and that’s just part of being a grown-up. I allow myself to feel those moments of blah-ness. When I do, I accept those feelings as valid and normal. Then I try and move on trying to change my perspective. Maybe instead it’s day after day, hug after hug, game after game, giggle after giggle, adventure after adventure.

There are many things I do as a stay at home mom that I find completely gratifying. Not because anyone knows that I do them or says what a great job I’ve done – like making what Abigail considers to be the world’s best sweet potato fries.

But there are many things I do that I don’t particularly find rewarding – like keeping the toys organized or the laundry put away – that I just want someone to notice and say, WOW! Way to go, Mama!

But the reality is, it’s up to me to fine tune my perspective.

I’ve been guilty of looking at a situation and thinking,
“I wish I had time to do that.” or “It would be so much easier if…” or “They are so lucky.”

When in fact, I’m so lucky. I wanted to be able to stay home with Abigail and we are fortunate to be in a position where we could make that happen. Yes, there are things about this job that make me frustrated. I have to accomplish tasks I’m not super excited about. And sometimes it can be a little lonely. But, no job is perfect.

So perspective.

I get to keep my laundry going all day if I need to. I can go grocery shopping whenever it suits me.

But best of all, I get hug after hug, meal after meal, meltdown after meltdown, game after game, sweep after sweep, giggle after giggle, dish after dish, adventure after adventure…day after day after day.

Perspective Bonus?  Ryan lacks perspective about how many chocolate chip cookies have been swiped by the end of the day.  Or he lets me believe he does…xo.

Abigail’s Favorite Sweet Potatoes

1 large sweet potato, cut into fries

1 tsp olive oil

dash of salt and pepper

dash of red curry powder

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground coriander

Mix all ingredients in a  bowl.  Bake in a single layer for 20 – 30 mins (until soft) at 425.

C’est l’amour

18 Feb

I haven’t been to a lot of faraway places — places that require long plane rides and crossing oceans and time zones. I want to say that is the reason why this trip was so special, but that wouldn’t be giving credit where credit was due. It was all because of Paris. Paris is special.

It was never that high on my list of places to see. Not that I didn’t want to go there, I did! I think I just had some other places I thought would be more interesting. Paris seemed a little cliche to me, maybe. But, darn it, it cast its magical spell all around me and my heart was beyond smitten.

I’ve been to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Portland, Denver, and D.C. I don’t claim to be an authority on big city travel, but I do love it. It’s faster, flashier, busier — each city has its own flavor and things to experience, but in the end it’s just another big city. You sightsee, shop, eat, take public transportation, people watch, and if you’re lucky, see a performance. 

We did those things in Paris. It could have felt like another big city but it didn’t. Paris is a place all its own.

It’s beautiful and charming, elegant and chic.

It’s busy, but relaxed — a place you are expected to linger over dinner or your cafe creme.

And the fact that I had no idea what people were saying around me or to me most of the time added to the allure.

“Je ne comprends pa.”

Although I think everyone should say “bonsoir” and “bon appetit.”

Dinners with friends are so much more magical when you are greeted with a bonsoir and are instructed to bon appetit.

The cherry on top of the Paris sundae? Experiencing it all with our dear friends who so generously hosted us and acted as tour guides and pseudo-translators.

It’s hard for me to put into words how I felt about seeing one of my favorite people in the world, 6 months pregnant. I miss her so very much. But with friends who have taken up permanent residence in your heart as Jimmy and Ashley have with us, it’s easy to be apart because when you are together it is as if nothing changes.

Ashley and I still talk a thousand miles per hour every waking minute about every detail of our lives. And sometimes without explaining anything she understands me perfectly.

Paris.

It will always be the place Ryan and I got to escape from toddlerhood for a brief moment and just be two again. It will also be the place where I got to see our dear friends start to become three.

A place all its own. C’est l’amour.

Sprinkles

14 Feb

I’m still here.  It’s been longer than I intended it to be but Ryan’s mom was here to visit and take the role of “Super Nanny” so Ryan and I could make the trip to Paris.  Paris!  And London…and I still can’t believe we went and returned.  I need to write about it and I will.

But for today I’ll keep it simple and relevant.

I believe last year I called it “quieter” in my post.

Valentine’s Day 2011.

Valentine’s Day 2012

It hasn’t been quieter or even quiet this year.

Two terribly terrific two-year-olds and sugar cookies and a few tantrums.

But mostly love and a little bit of sharing.

And yes, it’s kind of a corny, commercial holiday.  But what’s wrong with that, really?  Maybe in this crazy rush of a world we live in we need a little reminder to do something special out of love — like letting your children eat sprinkles from a shaker right before instead of lunch.

Because apparently in the world of a two-year old more sprinkles = more love.

They are right you know — the two-year olds.

Sprinkles of kindness, generosity, gratefulness to family, friends, strangers really do = more love.

In fact, don’t even sweep them up.  Let the dogs take care of them.  Sprinkles and dogs.  And I think it could be a wonderful world.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

And To My Three Valentines:

 ” And I wish you all the love in the world.  But most of all I wish it from myself.”

“And I love you, I love you, I love you.  Like never before.”