Monday, March 13, 2017

On Moving and New Houses

We've moved a lot during these past eleven years as a Navy family.  This marks move number six and also the first time we've been forced to move even though we weren't actually leaving the area.  It would figure that the first time my husband has ever received orders to stay in one place for multiple tours, our landlords would decide to sell their house.

Luckily we have wonderful friends and family who all descended upon us to make what could have been a very unpleasant situation about as good as an unexpected move across town could be.  The whole process from finding out we needed to move, to securing a new house, to actually moving in was ridiculously fast, even by military move standards.

Three weeks.

Three weeks from notice of the impending sale, to my dad and all of Chris' most muscular friends loading all our various household goods onto a rental truck and unloading them in our new home--including the new piano which I had assured my husband upon acquisition would not be a problem because the military always move us so we wouldn't have to worry about handling it ourselves.  Did I mention we have wonderful friends?

I still haven't really had time to process everything, it all happened so quickly and there was so much that needed to be done.

I loved our old house.  It was by far my favorite house of all our houses.  I loved its character, its swinging door into the kitchen, the sun room full of windows, Margaret's tiny nursery, the gas fireplace that we kept going all winter long, the one random glass doorknob, the low place in the fence where the kids would hop back and forth into the neighbor's yard to play.  It was a "Colonial" whereas our new house is a "Rambler."  I'm not sure what that is exactly, but it sure doesn't have the same historic, charming feel.

I don't want to be unfair to The Rambler, it does have many good points, not least of which is that, unlike our old home, this one has never caught fire, so that's reassuring.  We are in a much quieter area so the kids are able to roam free and ride bikes which they haven't done since we left Florida.    There's an actual garage which was very exciting for Chris.  The house has also been recently flipped so the kitchen and bathrooms are all almost brand new and the basement's been redone too so we have a nice big room to play and do school in.  It's all very new and and bright and clean.  

One of the best things about the new house is that it has been updated--and also the fact that it doesn't smell musty or like cats--which is no small feat in this area and our price range.  But I think the newness of it is also why I don't love it.  I keep thinking about this passage from West With the Night,
"The walls of my house are without memories, or secrets, or laughter.  Not enough of life has been breathed into them--their warmth is artificial, too few hands have turned the window latches, too few feet have tread the thresholds. The boards of the floor, self-conscious as youth or falsely proud as the newly rich, have not yet unlimbered enough to utter a single cordial creak.  In time they will, but not for me." 
Maybe it's the fact that we move so much that I crave a home with history and charm.  A place with quirks and hominess built in since we don't generally have time to make those ourselves.  Of course being perpetual renters means that the quirky homes I love aren't always good choices since they tend to need work and you can't redo a rental kitchen even if it begs you to.  So we compromise and go with the updated house with the lovely kitchen full of pretty finishes that nevertheless makes me crazy because it was obviously designed by a flipper and not someone who actually planned to ever cook in it.

And yes, I realize that I'm complaining because my new house is too nice and new.  I can't help it, I like little cozy old homes, and while I'm sure this little new home will feel more cozy eventually it's not quite there yet.  

Sunday, February 5, 2017


John Michael turned four this week and we celebrated with ice cream and presents on his actual birthday followed by a party on Sunday.  And by "party" I mean we invited over two friends and their siblings plus nearby cousins and served sandwiches and cake and had no games or activities or party favors and then I had to leave abruptly to go look at rental houses that we're interested in.  So all in all, it was pretty successful.

John received some excellent presents including a tool box to hold all of his special treasures which currently include smallish Rescue Bots, Paw Patrol figures and Hot Wheels cars (not Matchbox, they have to have a Hot Wheels logo on them or they're no good, apparently).  He also bought himself a doctor's kit recently with his own money and asked me specifically if he could have a doctor's coat to go with it for his birthday.  When he got the asked for doctor's coat however, he was very upset because it was "too big" for him.  I tried to explain to him that doctor's coats are supposed to be long, all doctor's coats are that long, the definition of a doctor's coat is a long white coat, all to no avail.

I think I might have to hem it.  

He also requested a chocolate cake with chocolate icing which turned out to be not nearly as disappointing as our disaster of a present.    

I could go on about how I can't believe he's already four and how fast time flies by but I won't.
I can't though.  And it really does.

Monday, January 30, 2017

On Being a Mommy Tiger

Someone loves their baby brother a little too hard.  Someone also occasionally turns into a tiger and licks their baby brother clean.  A little tiger mother's job is never done.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

On Making Our Escape

When your town loses its mind, it just makes sense to make a run for it.  In our case, we ran back home to North Carolina where the weather is warm, the atmosphere's calm, and the only people marching are the ones on base.

We visited our families, hit our favorite aquarium, toured a battleship, and spent a glorious day at the beach.

In January.  

And perhaps most importantly, we discovered that humidity and salt water do wonders for Margaret's curls.  I had been afraid that she was losing them, but no--it was just the central heating.  She clearly belongs in the South.  I think we all do really.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

On the Twelve Days of Christmas

We had a very busy Christmas season here.  Unfortunately, Chris had to take off the week before Christmas instead of the week after which kerfuffled my plans, but, I recovered :)

We made gingerbread houses with cousins, took an epic walk to Old Town on my birthday, spread out the gift opening to keep the excitement going, played board games, waged war against an awful cold, read lots of books, drank copious amounts of cocoa, ate the gingerbread houses, managed one play/devour-Christmas-cookies-date, and generally just lazed around.

It was pretty glorious.

Not the cold part--we're still battling that with very limited success, but everything else.  Glorious.

Now the tree is gone, the decorations are safely packed away until next year, the floor is vacuumed, and we're ready to get serious about this new year.  This week marks the beginning of both piano and swim lessons and a return to Cub Scouts and co-op so our pace is about to pick up considerably.

Wish us luck.

I'm going to need it to convince a couple of my children that knowing how to swim is an important life skill and also that it behooves them to just cooperate with said lessons because if they fail them one more time, mommy might lost her mind.  And nobody wants that.
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