Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Familiar faces

I knew I would know people.


And yet, unless you've done it, it is impossible to describe the feeling when you know that it is literally impossible to run into anyone you know.




Well, not forever.

People sound incredulous.  "Of course, you're going to meet people!"  No, no, you don't understand.  Logically I know that I will meet people.  Logically I know that my children will make new friends.  Logically I know someday I will look back and say "Gee, remember when we didn't know one human being in this entire city?!"  It is the nonlogical side where the emotions live.

So it doesn't surprise me that my children feel the way they do.  They don't know anyone at school.  And everyone in their classes has been in together since at least September, maybe have been in the same school since kindergarten, or preschool.  Like my kids had been.

And then, only a few weeks after starting at their new school, we went to the public playground .... and there was a girl from Ashley's class.  And Ashley ran around the playground with the girl.  And the girl's mom and I exchanged phone numbers for a playdate.  And then there was a boy from Aidan's class.  And he and Aidan played together, and the boy nicely came over to say goodbye before he left.

I turned around, and there was a woman I knew from church.  I had been introduced to her at our new church, and she had already been so kind, had given me her phone number, had said she and her husband would like to have us all over for dinner.  And, after seeing two students from school, and seeing the woman from church, my brain said to my emotions "See? You will meet people. Your children will meet people."

I am getting to know our neighbors, and they have been so friendly!  It has also felt like a special gift to get to know the senior citizen couple, Ed and Anne, down the street, who came and welcomed us the first day, gave us a map of the area, highlighted with all the stores and necessary landmarks, give me interesting newspaper articles, call me in for a visit with my dog when I'm out walking.  They offered to help, and one day when my daughter was sick with flu, and the pediatric nurse suggested popsicles, I called my neighbor and within only a few minutes Ed delivered them to my doorstep.  For a mom with a sick child, and the nearest family several states away, this kindness meant so much.  Anne offered to come over and help me unpack all the enormous boxes containing the contents of our china cabinet. 

The previous owner of the house had wanted to talk with us.  She is 87 years old, retired in Florida, and she and her husband had been friends with Ed and Anne since moving into this house in the 1970s.  She was warm and caring and told me I "could not know how much it meant to her to be able to talk with me." They were the only owners of this home before us.  I had already felt a very good vibe in this home, and her welcome made me feel even better about living here now.  We inherited a large globe, which had spent years in the family room, and the kids were fascinated by all the red dots, indicating all the places she and her husband had visited, in the U.S. and around the world.

Our lab has already had two playdates with the lab next door.  We are meeting children on the block, and there are two teenage babysitters living across the street.

So far, so good.

That happy smile means the world to me.

Ashley and I saw this tshirt
and had to get it for Aidan!
He loves it!
Marshmallows relaxing in a cup of hot cocoa!

A very happy St. Patty's Day!

Such a dreamy day!

The kids and I are still positively giddy to have Daddy home with us! Reunited! Together again! And so glad for it!

After 3 long months of him living at a corporate apartment in Boston, and us living in our home in New Jersey, and him often not able to come home on weekends, because he was working, or looking at houses for us in MA, or working AND looking for houses for us in MA..... we missed him tons.  Too much.  Awful bad.

As hard as this transition to a new life here has been for my children, I think it is not as hard as it was having their father away from them.  We are used to Craig being home. All the time.  I was well aware that I was spoiled, we were spoiled, that Craig was able to walk in the door from work every night at 5:00 pm.  This enabled him to attend every sports practice, and every other school activity, in the evenings.  I know a lot of girlfriends whose husbands walked in the door only in time to tuck their kids into bed.  And I've heard from these girlfriends how hard this is for them, how hard it is for the dads, how hard it is for the children.  Craig only had business travel once or twice a year, to conferences.

So, as a result, we are very very very glad to have him home with us.  In the evenings.  On weekends.  We love us our Daddy, big time.

We've been in our new home, altogether for a month now. 4 weeks.  I'm a big decorating-for-the-holidays gal.  I love to decorate the house, and its windows, and any other possible surface!, with each and every holiday that comes during throughout the year.  We had our St. Patrick's Day decorations out, and it felt nice, and homey, now to be in our new home, and to decorate for the first holiday since we moved in.

The windows looking out to the wonderful trees had leprechauns and shamrocks.

St. Patrick's Day morning I awoke to this note, which melted my heart.

My sweet daughter had learned this expression from her first grade teacher the day before.  How is it that time flies like this?  How is it that she can write, write words, on a note, and communicate her thoughts to me, like this?  And with drawings?  A leprechaun, shamrocks and a pot of gold.  My big girl.  Learning, and growing, and getting bigger everyday.

The four of us (all FOUR of us! Hooray again!) went out for breakfast on St. Patrick's Day morning, a Saturday.  It was the first time we went out for breakfast since moving into our new house, and it felt to me like a neat milestone.  My heart leapt with happiness to see my handsome man holding hands with our two beloveds.  I count my blessings every single day.

My little lad and lassie were dressed in green.  Ashley wore the shamrock necklace I got for her last year.  We get our Irish from my beloved late Grama Aggie's side, so it always makes me smile to remember her on this day each year.

Cocoa with whipped cream!

Our darling
Chi Chi
with shamrocks on her head.

My two St. Patrick's Day girls.

I loved this shamrock font
that her first grade teacher used.
And the "O'Correll"
that her preschool teachers had also done.
Melts me.
 After our dinner at home of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, we took our first family walk around our new neighborhood.  2 parents with 2 dogs on leashes, 2 kids on their bikes.  The kids were squealing with glee.  To be released from winter cold indoors life, to be out on their bikes on a warm spring evening, and probably, I'm guessing, to be feeling more comfortable in their new home, new life.  The sun was setting as we walked home.  Our new next door neighbors waved at us from their dinner table.

And I was grateful.

Springtime and new beginnings

Okay, so here, apparently, is the thing?.... I want to write. But it is all happening so faaaaaast. So I think I will wait until I have time to write? But then zoooom it all happens so faaaaast.  And weeks go by.

So I'm gonna do some catching up.  Not literary genius.  Just writing.  To friends.  Who wanna know.  And who love us, and support us, and wow, I couldn't live without ya'll!! smiley face!! (are you allowed to put a smiley face in a blog?!  Hey, wait! That is exactly the thinking that stops me from writing in the first place! It is MY blog!  I can put smiley faces, or write the words "smiley faces," as often as I like!  And now I'm deciding, in this fit of enthusiasm, that if I ever publish a book (giggle, laugh, sigh), I will demand unlimited use of smiley faces! :-)  (um, yeah, cuz that's how the publishing world works, Liz, you get to demand stuff, before you've even written a word?!  Yes, that's my next goal. Write a word.)

It is the first day of Spring!!!!

The birds are singing!

Spring is springing!

Listening to my 7 yr old in bathtub singing some random song of her own creation.  While birds singing.  In my yard.  The yard filled with trees.  While my Black Lab lays by my side.  I deep sigh.  Soaking it all in.  

I think we are feeling more settled.  If I sound vague, it is because it is like sedimentary silt, like in the bottom of a pond, it feels uncertain, it can be changed and stirred up at any time.  I know it is all "a process."  I know it will take "a long time."  People keep telling me it will take a "long" time.  How long is a long time? 

Aidan talks about a girl at his school that he is now friends with.  She "doesn't have any friends, just like me."  Oy.  That is hard for a mom to hear.  Although of course it is normal.  I guess. I can't know "normal" is because, although I changed schools myself, I haven't been a parent of a school age child who moved to new school in a new state before.

I will do all I can to help them make new friends, friends to play with, friends to make it feel more "normal" to be here, in this new place, in this new home, in this new life.  I have class lists with home phone numbers, and will set up playdates.  We have signed them up for baseball and softball.  (At Ashley's age it was called teenerball in our old town.  Sigh.  Tired sigh.  So many changes.  So much different.  It tires the brain.  It tires me to even list it all.  Hence the not writing blog posts. Tiredness equals not writing.  'Cuz then I might just write "It's hard. They're sad. I'm tired.")

The hard-ness, the difficulty, the sadness for my heart for my children, probably reached its peak when Aidan said to me "I wish it were all a dream."  The move.  So, like in a dream, he could wake up from it, and it would never have happened.

Oh.  My.  Goodness. 

That was a hard thing for a mom to hear.

But, like all pioneers, we keep on truckin'.  (yes, I am mixing Laura Ingalls Wilder and the 1970s anaologies there.  This represents my childhood era.)

Ashley came upon a new type of flower blooming in our yard yesterday morning, and ran full speed into house to tell me.  We looked at those blooms, and all the other green shoots awaiting display of what type they are, and she exclaimed "I love this house!"

Well, that's a start.

This is the new flower Ashley saw in our yard,
and then ran to tell me!

We are (im)patiently
waiting to see what these will be?
(and I must remove all the sticks, etc, on top of them!)

The Day Before The First Day of Spring!
Just before this photo
she had exclaimed
"I love this house!"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

As the sun comes up

So here I am 24 hrs after that last post.

24 hrs?!  That seems like 12 days ago.  Or 12 eons ago.

I am tired.  So tired that when right now, at 6:00 am, I saw that tonight is PTA meeting night, I literally thought "Oh dear, I cannot imagine myself being able to have clean hair and drive down the street for that...."  TWELVE hours from now!! hahahaha!

Oh, speaking of that laughter, have I told you that I have a new crazy laugh?  Oh yes, not crazy like funny, but crazy like a person who has gone cuckoo?  Ashley complains when I try and talk during this laugh, because she cannot understand what I'm saying.  My guess is that this laugh was born of all the stress and surreality (yes, I just created a word?! did I?! should I stop and google it?!  No, I'm too tired to do that.) of the past 6 months.

One of my favorite blog writers, Alice Bradley, writes a column called "Write Anyway," and when I read it right now, I thought this applies to me, especially during this time of my life.  I have wanted to try and write.... no, "Do or do not, there is no try".... Craig likes to quote Yoda to me.  Often. ...... I wanted to write daily, on this blog, to get back in the habit of writing, to wake up my writing muscle, "Hello, wake up!  You've been dormant too long!"  But then I'm too tired.  I will wait until I am not so tired.  Hey, you know what?! Write anyway!  (besides, when you are not too tired will be when you are 112, and rocking in a rocking chair, and sipping iced tea, and that is a long time from now.)

I got up at 5:30 am.  Do not be impressed.  I went to sleep at 9:00 pm.  This is quite late for me, since I've been going to sleep at 8:30 pm.  Like, yes, moments after my children climb into bed.  Like, yeah, me closing my eyes while they are still adjusting their blankies and stuffed animals. 

I am sitting in our new family room.  New to us.  It is amazing to watch, through these large windows, the day go from black to lighter to sun shining through.  I might start doing this routine every morning.  With Dakota snoozing by my side, like he is now.  But don't quote me.  I still have sleep in my eyes.  Great thing about writing, no worries about you having to endure my morning coffee breath. hee hee.

Aidan's alarm clock went off.  It still strikes me as so darling that his 9 yr old self chooses to set an alarm clock, chooses to wake up early, on purpose, on schooldays.  He began this last fall, when third grade began, he was age 8 then.  He likes to have time, as he says, to do all of his own stuff without me hurrying him.  I can see that he likes to get all the "work" out of the way, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, so that he then has a solid chunk of time to do what he wants to do, to enjoy that, before the schoolday begins.  (That is probably two words.  I am making it one word.  No one is allowed to correct grammar on my blog. hee hee)  And he is often disappointed to find me up and awake already, because, I think, he'd like to experience this new independence all on his own, without any parent around, awake, and interfering.

See, I'm writing.  Absolutely nothing of importance, zero content, but still, writing.

Oh, that's right.  24 hrs since yesterday morning.  Ashley got better as the day went on yesterday.  Just like everything in life, after it's over, one can say "Of course it all worked out fine."  In the morning she ate toast, and drank Gatorade, and then drank gingerale, and stayed home from school, was weak and had a headache, kept on drinking to rehydrate... and by the end of the evening she was laughing it up with her brother.

We'll see how today goes, back to school.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flu and worry

I thought she was coughing.

I woke up and heard Ashley, but when I walked into her room, I saw it wasn't coughing, it was throwing up.

My kids have thrown up so few times in their little lives, I think it might be twice.  I have girlfriends who have the whole routine down pat, putting out blankets and sheets and towels, their little ones throw up often during cold and flu season. 


Since I didn't have any knowledge about what the right things were to do, I called my girlfriend on her cell, at 7:30 in the morning.  She answered.  This is the great thing about having awesome, helpful, caring, understanding girlfriends.  They answer the cell phone at 7:30 in the morning, even when they are tending to their own brood and heading out the door to work, to answer your questions about barfing and ginger ale.


When you live in a new town, and your nearest family members are thousands of miles away, you will forever be grateful to the lovely senior citizen neighbors who were home on a Monday morning, and offered help, and drove to the grocery store upon request, and delivered popsicles to your door in a matter of minutes.

Oh, my baby girl.  How I hate hate hate seeing you sick.  I don't want my blog posts of late to all sound like life events are only happening to me, woe is me, I'm so different, any of that.... not at all.  I know we all go through universal experiences.  I think the ones lately that have thrown me are those I haven't experienced before.  Like moving to a new unknown state (both literally and figuratively?) with young children.  And like watching my youngest throw up, when I haven't before.

She couldn't keep anything down.  I spoke with the pediatric nurse.  She told me to watch urine output, that if my daughter were to go 12 hours without peeing she should go to the hospital for hydration.  Fortunately after the morning, she was keeping down sips of water.  And then at night two saltine crackers and Gatorade.

During the day, my tendency to worry arose.  I can't help but think that other mothers' brains tell them "This is the flu.  This is normal.  This will pass easily.  This is cold and flu season."  My brain, however, worries and frets and fears, and jumps to things like "What if?!"  I think my worry is added to by the fact that Ashley has several times experienced a dizzy sensation.  When we saw a pediatric neurologist, she came up with what I believe is the answer: these events usually happened either during an illness, or during summer, and both situations could be when Ashley was dehydrated.  Yesterday during her throwing up and not being able to keep down even sips of ginger ale, or little bit of popsicle, she felt dizzy.  Fortunately the sips of just-water stayed down the rest of the afternoon.  The dizzy episode added to my worry.

Here I am the next morning.  She is sleeping, she slept through the night.  Her head and body felt warm/hot yesterday, so I am assuming a flu bug.  The pediatric nurse said they are seeing a lot of this going around.  My girlfriend in Arizona told me she knows a mom and a 4 month old who are sick with it right now.  Somehow hearing that other people are dealing with it also makes me feel more calm.  And then that feels odd, to feel comforted by others being sick also?  Sigh.  I overthink.  And then I overworry.  And then I overfear.

We will see how she is today.  I will continue to wash loads of sicked-on items.  My husband is now home with a headache, I hope he is not getting sick too.  But him being home means I won't have to drag the sick child out in the car with me to take the other child to school, as I had to do yesterday, resulting in sick child getting sick in the car.

March sucks.

Spring, hurry up.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I know we will all be fine.

I know this is a transition.

For now, though, we are feeling what we feel.

That is my phrase I always say to myself, and share with my girlfriends, when I am, or they are, going through something: "Feel what you feel."  Maybe I got this from reading about Zen Buddhism, the whole "be where you are" type philosophy.

And, as a mother, even though I know it is
will improve
will change
not a crisis

..... it is still hard on my heart.  Very hard on my heart.

"I want to go back to my old school."

"Are we even ever going to visit my old school?"

"I have no friends at school."

As their mother I made a life for them.  A stable, consistent life.  We went to preschool, next door to grammar school.  We made friends, who we then knew in grammar school.  The younger child saw the older child experience grammar school, then began there herself.  We made friends in that school.  We made connections at the library, at the pool, at sports activities, at children's choir and family activities at our church.

Children thrive on consistency, experts say.  I liked that for my children.  I felt it was one of the reasons why they seemed calm, happy, well-adjusted.

And then that all changed with a move.  Well, not really.  That's an exaggeration.  I know that the calm they feel also goes with us wherever we go as a family.  They still seem calm, happy and well-adjusted.  But it is still a lot.  A lot of change.  A lot of not knowing.  A lot of unfamiliar.  A lot of being strangers in a strange land.

I think the usual upsets my children experience on a day-to-basis at school seem exacerbated when experienced in a new setting.  And my reaction to them is much more protective.  7 yr old Ashley got into the car her second week at the new school, and promptly burst into tears because girls had told her about a ghost with a knife.  It could be just that she reached the finish line of the safety of the car with her mother, and could let it all out, the new, the different, the uncertainty.  But why are first grade girls talking about a ghost with a knife?!  Sigh.

Everyone keeps reassuring me it will all be fine in time.  I keep responding that I have no doubt of that, I am not saying that, I am just "feeling what I feel" today.  Knowing it will all change someday does not help one bit today.  Well, maybe it does.  Maybe if I thought this is how we would all feel forever, it would feel much worse.  Yes, probably so.

And it is not all sturm und drang.

The kids are also
exploring the new backyard
making snow angels
having snowball fights

All is well overall.  Just getting used to a lot of new.