Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm a Mother

What do you do?

Any of you other stay-at-home (or mostly stay-at-home) Mamas struggle with this from time to time? The question of: "What do you do?" You know, for like, a living? Lately as I've been meeting new neighbors in the hood, I've found myself shying away from this. One time I even found myself answering, "Well, I taught high school for 5 years. Special education... Taught a ninth grade English class for students with learning disabilities. And after I had our son I decided..." What?! First of all, the question was, what DO you do. Currently. Present tense. Not did. Do. If I asked someone that question and they started giving me their resume, I'd raise a brow.

So I think I need to practice it more: I'm a Mother. I'm a Mother. I'm a MOTHER and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. Sure I work part-time for Brookside, but I am first and foremost a Mother. Around about 90% of the time, want-to-miss-out-on-as-little-as-humanly-possible-in-my-precious-babies'-lives-Mother. God created this desire in me and put the gifts there too (thank you Jesus for access to your unending patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, whatever I need, when I need it, through your Spirit). I was made for this and I embrace it with all that I have. I'm a Mother. And I'm proud of that. Dammit.


Friday, August 26, 2011

The Big Move

Still praisin' God for this one folks...
So. The big move. The long awaited move. The move that happened in God's perfect timing and provided more than we could have ever hoped for. Yes I'm an optimist. But I am not exaggerating here. We scored big. In every way. Selling and buying a home all in a week's time may seem maddening, but it wasn't. Hectic yes. Stressful at times, very. But it was amazing to see it all come together, so very smoothly, like it was meant to be this way. In this timing. In HIS timing. 3 summers of having our home on the market was long for us. But I would do it all over again before I would ever consider taking matters into our own hands, like it was tempting to do (taking a huge loss for a sale, renting it out, etc). Sometimes you just gotta sit tight and keep the faith. And keep praying. Over, and over, and over... Draw near to Him, and he will draw near to you.

I wanted to share some moving advice for anyone who might need it, now or in the future. I think these things were helpful. They might have taken a little bit of time during the packing process, but they paid off tremendously in the long run. Here we go:

1. Gather supplies (obvious, but I'll explain a few of the items suggested below)
Boxes (ask friends who recently moved, hit up the dumpster area behind stores, call grocery stores in advance and see what they have, search Craigslist and then re-post them when you're done!), packaging tape, black permanent markers, construction paper, red duct tape, Scotch tape, pens, a mini notebook and whatever else you might fancy.
2. Have a landing place for your supplies
There's nothing more annoying than searching for the packaging tape every 5 minutes.
Where's the packaging tape? I thought you had it. No, you had it last. Didn't you? I dunno. It's gotta be here somewhere...
We chose the top of a bookshelf in the most central part of the house to keep putting all of our supplies back onto. A basket that you can carry every thing from room to room in is a good idea too.

3. Color code
This was the single most helpful thing I did. It was helpful to the folks who helped us move-in and it was helpful to us because each box was placed in the room it needed to be in.
Think through the rooms in your new home. Try to get an idea of what you want to go where. Then, choose a color for each room. As you pack boxes, pack them according to the room they go in. For example, every time I packed a decorative time (except the ones in bedrooms) I made sure the box was labeled brown, for living room. Simply cut or tear off a square of colored construction paper and tape it to the appropriate box. Voila.

This is the poster I made on foam board that sat outside the door as movers carried boxes into the house. If there was a pink swatch of paper on the box, they knew they were headed to Millie's room. Red, playroom and so on.

4. Number and list. List and number.
Keep a small notebook handy to list each item that goes into the box. I reserved a few pages in the notebook for each room. Then I would give each box a number, beginning with 101. Here's what a page in my notebook would look like:

101- utensils, measuring cups, measuring spoons, cutting boards
102- glass bakeware
103- kiddie cups, bowls, etc.; plastic cups, straws, water bottles

Then on another page:
Guest room- purple
101- scrap fabric, card making supplies, pens and markers
102- bed linens and pillows
103- books (You can really get specific and put certain genres together. We didn't...)

Get the idea? Each box had the color square on top and was also labeled with a number on top and then the number on the side as well. This makes finding items a breeze. Just find it on the list and that will lead you to the exact box it's in. No guesswork required.

5. The red duct tape
Think through what you'll want to unpack first. Tape these boxes in red duct tape. That way when you see a pile of boxes, you just go for those first. It's especially nice if someone is helping you unpack, then they know where to start without a question. *Hint- many of the things you pack last (toiletries and the like) are going to be the boxes you want to open first.
6. Recruit and Reward
I think emailed just about anyone we knew who lived in the area and asked for their help. Friends, co-workers, neighbors, you name it. I just gave them a time and a place and asked for any amount of time they could contribute. A little over 20 people showed up throughout the evening. The girls and I headed to the new house to clean while the guys loaded up. This was my favorite part of the whole thing-just watching the masses descend upon us. It was so fun to see which face would pop up next and grab a box. The new neighbors all commented on how many people helped us and how fast it went. Yeah, we know some amazing people. Couldn't do without them.
And as it was nearing the end of the hottest spell of the summer, we had plenty of bottles of water and Gatorade on ice available. And some granola bars too. We would have provided a meal afterward, but we moved from about 6:00pm-8:30pm. Instead, at a later date, we invited everyone out to a local ice cream joint for treats on us.
Special shout-out to all of our moving buddies. You guys were AMAZING. We loved having you be the ones to grace our home for the first time. Sweaty bodies and all. And love to the Alts who housed us for the night when we were in transition. Extra love to Nana and Mimi for doing the hardest work of all and caring for the kiddos. 3 words: Peace Of Mind.
And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the date for our House Warming Open House... We've got a lot to celebrate!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Birthday Redeemed

In the last post, you heard that Asher's big bday numero dos started out pretty shaky. Well, after the marathon nap he took, he was a new man. Got that icky stuff out of his system, got some good rest, and the bday boy was in full force. Ben had taken the afternoon off and we originally planned to do the Zoo, but it got too late for that. Sooooooo, I heard about this hot air balloon festival in Findlay and we decided to give it a try. We packed some dinner and headed out. Turns out the festival was held at a park with this pretty sweet playground. Fort Findlay anyone? The evening wasn't too hot and the timing was just right. We got there, walked down the fair-like strip, fed the kids dinner in the stroller and made our way to the playground amidst hot air baloons slowly inflating. We wrapped things up giving us enough time to hit up the famous Dietch's for ice cream before bedtime melt downs set in. Then, the coolest part was when we left the ice cream place. All of the hot air balloons that were inflating when we were at the park had finished blowing up and were floating above us when we came outside. We just stood there in awe. Have you ever seen a hot air balloon floating just a few hundred feet above you? It is SO cool! And there were like, I dunno, 20 or 30 balloons at once. It was beautiful! I snapped some pics but I don't think they do justice. It's one of those things that I would love to do, but would be terrified to do at the same time. I mean, just floating through the air in a basket? What? So so cool. Definitley would do this again.

Friday, August 12, 2011

AJM- 2 Years and Counting...




The arrival of August 12th, 2011 means that Asher is 2 years old. Ben and I couldn't wait to celebrate this day with him now that he is more aware of special occasions, gifts and the like. We stayed up late assembling the car table I found on clearance at Meijer. I hung the Birthday banner and topped off the arrangement with some boons. When Asher awoke we explained to him about this very special day.
There's a special surprise for you downstairs buddy.
Sa prize? Down stairs?
Yep, do you wanna go see it?
Ben had a the video camera ready. I couldn't wait to see his expression. What would he say? Would he give a WOW or a Coooool ? Or how about just whining and a mini-tantrum when I put him down? Didn't see that one coming.

Turns out the little man has the birthday barfies. Yep. He barfed. What an ugly word to say and read now that I look at it... Anyway, our best guess is its the rain water he guzzled out of the water table the other night. He had a few, GOOD swigs of the standing water that's probably infested with all kinds of yuckies. I remember thinking to myself, Well, if he gets sick, we know why... Gross. Poor kiddo.

Nevertheless, here's the Bday scene that was waiting for him this morning:

On the up-side, Asher wanted to go back to bed and Millie's down for her morning nap which is why I am sitting here blogging. I'll need to make a post about the big move and share some helpful hints about the moving process. Check back soon!