love thursday: new beginnings

In college I killed a cactus. I have long assumed that I am probably lacking in the green thumb department, so I was just as surprised as anyone else when I suddenly had the urge to buy a house plant recently. Initially I was going to buy one of those clever hanging plants to display on my balcony, but my husband (love him) suggested I start with a smaller (read: cheaper) plant with the mind set that it would be wiser to kill an inexpensive plant first than a larger investment plant. It made sense – I took no offense to this idea because it’s true. I love that he knows me well enough to realize that this is both an important step for me, but also one that we should step into lightly, making baby steps. A month from now I may have lost all interest in house plants…

Then again, every time I look at this little plant, which we picked up at our local farmers market for just $3, I like it more and more. I bought it with a small amount of apprehension as I know nothing about plants and didn’t know if this one was “a good one” – or how much of a commitment caring for it would be. I wasn’t even sure it was my style. But I took a chance and I have to say I’m pretty smitten with it. I check in on it a couple times a day to make sure it’s handling this heat wave okay, checking for any dead petals or leaves that could be trimmed away. It’s remarkably easy on some levels, this caring for plants thing seems to involve a bit of common sense. Go figure.

In a lot of ways plants and babies are pretty similar. They require a certain amount of love and attention (though babies admittedly require more of it) to grow, but when you do it right the results are stunning. They are ever so delicate and at the same time, tougher than they look. It’s a balancing act. The care and nurturing of them is both new and daunting but also relatively obvious once you figure it out. Keep them alive and help them to flourish. Show them love and watch them grow. Marriage is similar I suppose. It would seem that I’ve entered yet another new relationship where a certain amount of commitment is required to keep it healthy. If that commitment is genuine and well kept up with, things should go well. I can remember looking at motherhood as it approached, hesitantly wondering if I was cut out for this – not having the slightest idea how to care for something so small. Looking at marriage was similar – would I be any good at this being a wife thing? I hope that my houseplant fares as well as my marriage and son have.

I’ve had a lot of new beginnings in the past few years. Several times now I have made commitments to new people, places and things – new ways of living. It’s been impossible at each point to know for certain that things will work out for the best, but that leap of faith has been rewarded each time. Look how far we’ve come. Wonderful husband, darling son, exciting new chapters in our lives together unfolding as we’ve left the comforts of our upbringings and branched out to this new home, this new place, this new life. Soon we’ll stretch ourselves further and become a family of four. There are apprehensions and fears, of course, but if history has shown anything, I’m thinking it will go well.

I cannot wait to meet the newest member of our family. I cannot wait to witness my heart filling to the brim again – to see her face and know my daughter, to learn the art of parenting a second time as I figure out this whole “mother of two” thing. And I wonder, after this, when I have conquered marriage, motherhood, moving, the mothering of two and the caring of my little flower – what new beginning will we reach for next? What will be the next chapter in our lives that will test us in ways we can’t yet imagine?

Moving Diary (Days 5 and 6 – May 23rd & 24th)

Day Five: Clearly We Need To Go Shopping

Our pantry raiding continued Saturday morning as Dan managed to make pancakes sans eggs with a fruit juice “syrup” for breakfast. It was surprisingly better than I’d expect, but it was clearly time to go grocery shopping, so we headed to Copps, the closest grocery store, to attempt to pick up some staples and foods for dinner that week.

I was pretty happy with Copps over all, but disappointed that they had no greek yogurt – we’ll clearly need to look around a bit and figure out the best place to get our Fage fix. We also went to Target and got a tea kettle, something we never needed at our first apartment which had a “boiling water” tap thing. We got a $20 Kitchen Aid tea kettle in red (I get almost all appliances in red, when I can) and I’m pretty happy with it so far. The reviews of this kettle on amazon.com are pretty terrible but I haven’t had any of the complaints mentioned by the (2) reviewers – it pours just fine and the handle has never been too hot to touch, if at all. We’ll see how it holds up over time.

Anyway, we had hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for lunch and continued unpacking. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful as we worked hard unpacking and trying to make it feel like home. Keeping with our BBQ theme for the day we had hamburgers for dinner.

Day Six: Going Out About Town

Sunday morning Dan drove my dad to the airport bright and early (even MM wasn’t awake yet when they left) to fly home. When MM finally woke up I made us oatmeal for breakfast with my new tea kettle. When Dan got back we drove to Babies R Us to get baby proofing things – the new apartment is just different enough cabinet / door wise that we needed new things that we didn’t own yet. We also checked out a couple malls, a local Burlington Coat Factory (for some reason I was convinced they wouldn’t have those here so I was very pleasantly surprised) and a radio shack.

We went to Dairy Queen for lunch to celebrate and use up some old gift certificates. For some reason I’ve never really liked Dairy Queen so I wasn’t expecting much but either DQ’s are different in Wisconsin or I am, because I liked both my lunch and my dessert. I got their blizzard of the month, a Raspberry Truffle and it was oh so good. And of course MM loved his ice cream, too.

Later I took MM to the little playground at the apartment complex. This was actually pretty disappointing – the equipment was a little big for him and in general the whole thing was really run down and not well kept at all. We may use it again but I’m definitely planning to check out the neighborhood parks soon. MM still had a good time playing until I got skeeved out enough to leave – I did take some cute pictures while we were there though.

That night Dan made homemade meatballs and we had that with spaghetti for dinner. He is absolutely in love with our new kitchen and I have to say I am, too. That night we’d finally cleared out enough of the boxes that I was starting to feel “moved in” and we went to bed happy. MM has definitely adjusted well to his new home and although he asks to see his various family members frequently, he seems to be content with things. Who could ask for more?

This concludes “The Moving Diaries” – if you missed the first two installments you can read part one here and part two here.

Moving Diary (Days 3 and 4 – May 21st & 22nd)

Missed the first installment? Click here!

Day Three: Good Bye Brutal Traffic, Hello Wisconsin

We left Ohio at 9am Thursday morning, planning to have a nice easy day on the road and arrive in Wisconsin nice and early. For the most part, all that happened, but we were very happy we’d left so early when we got to Chicago, IL and their brutal traffic. I have no idea if the traffic we endured was normal or if there was a special event or accident happening, but it was pretty much stand still for what at least felt like hours. Luckily we also had the switch from Eastern to Central time to save us another hour off the trip.

That morning my dad and Dan switched cars, as one car has no AC and it was getting pretty hot – so I spent Thursday traveling with MM and my dad instead of Dan and MM – it was nice being able to spend a little quality time with my dad during the trip. We drove through Ohio, Indiana and Illinois that day before arriving in Wisconsin at a little after 4pm central time (5pm eastern).

We decided to drive to the apartment and fill out our paperwork / get our keys that night, rather than waiting for the morning. We got to go and see the actual apartment for the first time that night, which was pretty cool – it has a beautiful kitchen, at least compared to our old apartment and we were pretty pleased with what we saw, except for the rather musty smelling storage units in the basement. After checking out our new home, we got pizza at a little place right across from the apartment complex, which was delicious. There is also a chinese restaurant right next door to the pizza place, which is nice – having both things so close by and in easy walking distance. I also love that the apartment is right on a little suburban street, it makes taking family walks much easier having fairly slow streets with plenty of sidewalk and lots of area to explore. Right up the street is a hub of grocery stores, more restaurants, banks, preschools and more. I love how close by everything is.

We spent the night in a hotel paid for by Dream Company before meeting the moving company at the new apartment the next morning.

Day Four: Moving In

After having leftover pizza for breakfast, we headed to the new apartment to meet the moving company.

Dan picked up milk and donuts at the local grocery store (Copps – anybody heard of them?) to snack on during the move in. There is no Dunkin Donuts in Madison which is very strange, but not necessarily a bad thing – I couldn’t find any other similar “donut places” either. But there are plenty of coffee shops nearby and the donuts from Copps were delicious so on the few rare occasions where we might want them, we will be fine. Honestly we just don’t eat donuts very often.

Moving in seemed to take just as long as moving out – the movers worked for about four hours getting everything off the truck and inside – I was amazed at how much stuff we had, yet again – and got a little worried that everything wouldn’t fit, but our new place has lots of closet storage, etc. to make up for slightly smaller rooms and in the end, things fit perfectly fine. We had lunch at the pizza place again, ordering subs this time, which were fine but nowhere near as good as their pizza. That night we raided our dry food supply in the pantry and made spaghetti with a jar of bruschetta topping to stand in for spaghetti sauce. Definitely interesting. We definitely needed to go grocery shopping.

to be continued…

*update*

Ready for the third and final installment? Click here!

Moving Diary (Days 1 and 2 – May 19th & 20th)

This is the first of three installments which will chronicle our trip from Massachusetts to Wisconsin. There will be pictures and hopefully some stories of interest but I apologize if it gets a little boring  – feel free to skip these posts or just skim through the pictures – I totally wouldn’t blame you. 😛

Day One: The Kind Of Morning That Lasts All Afternoon

Last Tuesday morning we planned to leave for our little trip to Wisconsin shortly after the moving company, who was due to arrive at our apartment for loading at 8am. We showed up about 30 minutes before that with MM to get things ready. Dan’s parents came over to say goodbye one last time, as did my bestie Ange @ Red Knows How with her two girls. Here’s a cute picture of the three kids in our apartment for one last time.

The moving company called shortly after that to tell us they were having problems with their truck and would be an hour late. When they showed up, they were driving a Budget Rental Truck which must mean they were having pretty big problems. I am guessing that the Fates decided to give them the rest of our potential car problems, because after all the issues my car had before our trip, it was smooth sailing the whole way to Wisconsin, car-wise.

Anyway, at 9am they started loading and it ended up taking way longer than either Dan or I had anticipated. They were far more thorough and meticulous than I’d even imagined possible which is clearly a good thing, but they didn’t finish until shortly after 1pm – at which point we grabbed some lunch and headed back to my dad’s house to finish loading our vehicles and leave. I’d assumed we’d be on the road that morning, maybe around 10am – 11 at the latest. Instead we left around 2:30pm – but seeing as the moving company was only one hour late and despite being thorough, they were very efficient – I never saw them lingering, they worked hard the whole four hours – I don’t see how we could possibly have left much earlier than 1pm even if they’d been on time.

So at 2:30 pm we left home for our new home.

Our first stop was at a hotel in Batavia, New York that night. We were lucky and had good traffic – that morning and afternoon our home town was a mess of construction, traffic jams and emergency vehicles but the trip to New York was largely uneventful. It was definitely a relief to leave that traffic behind and I’m hoping the roads in Wisconsin are kinder to us than old New England cities planned around cow paths and ignorance. < / Rant. >

We had dinner at some fancy little dive in New York – I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was like a slightly expensive Steak House kind of place, but more generic than that and not really worth the money. After eating far more dinner than any of us needed we were too full to take advantage of what looked like a really decent dessert menu that I’d failed to notice on the way in – which was kind of sad – I vowed that night to always leave room for any potential desserts on the rest of the trip.

MM did a lot of jumping from car to car that first night, preferring to sit with his grandpa most of the time. In the peace and quiet time that MM’s preference bought us, Dan and I were able to get in some quality time talking about everything from religion and beliefs, what made good marriages work and others fail and a billion other things that I don’t think I could possibly re-conjure here in an eloquent way. It wasn’t even necessarily a new conversation for us, we talk about these things a lot, but it was nice. And meanwhile MM and his grandpa were having some fun conversations of their own. My dad apparently used the drive to try to get MM excited about his new home, by making up cute “songs” about how we were moving to Wisconsin and that in Wisconsin MM would be getting a NEW BED ROOM, Daddy would be getting a NEW JOB and Mommy would be getting a NEW BABY. And with the help of some repetition and silliness, anytime you asked MM what mommy, daddy or himself would be getting in Wisconsin, he’d be able to tell you that. I was so impressed with my dad’s genius – another reminder about how wonderful grandparents can be. I’ve been trying for weeks to get MM ready for this move, but in that one car ride I think my dad made WAY more progress than I had thus far. It was amazing.

That night we arrived at our hotel at 11pm, exhausted but happy, and pretty much went straight to bed.

Day Two: Waterfalls and Cookie Pie Hybrids in Wauseon

Wednesday morning we left our hotel and drove an hour northwest to see Niagara Falls. I’d done a bit of research and managed to find plenty of things to do and see for free in the state park overlooking the falls. Of course, the price of parking there is $10 per car and we had two – so it was really $20 but we didn’t spend any other money there so I was pretty proud. Dan and I both took lots of pictures and it was beautiful. MM loved being able to run around a bit and stretch his legs. I, on the other hand, felt more pregnant than ever most of the trip – it was a lot of walking and I might have over done it a bit. Still, it was definitely an experience that I’m glad to have had.

That night we stopped at Wauseon, Ohio where we had dinner at this great little restaurant called Smith’s Restaurant & Catering. After a nice dinner (I had the chicken parmesan) we all indulged in their dessert menu which was just awesome – with a wide variety of pies, cheesecake and ice cream, we were all able to have something different. I had a tollhouse pie, something I’ve never had before and for some reason never guessed what it would be – basically this is the perfect pie for me, the cookie lover, in that it’s kind of like taking the ingredients of chocolate chip cookies and turning it into a pie – I fully intend to learn to make this myself as it was delicious. If we ever do this road trip again, I want to stop in Wauseon again just so we can go back to Smith’s Restaurant.

That night we were able to get to bed at much more reasonable hour, after watching the American Idol finale (congrats to Kris Allen!).

to be continued…

*update*

For the second installment, click here.

For the third and final installment, click here.

Hello From Wisconsin!

I’m back! I’m crazy swamped with things to catch up on but I’m back! We arrived in Wisconsin, aka Dream State, last Friday as planned but due to all sorts of silliness I haven’t been able to get online until today which means I’ve been basically going crazy for a week now. It was hard enough on the road with no internet, but sitting in your own apartment? Ridiculous.

Anyway – I’m here – it’s awesome – I have pictures and posts planned and all sorts of other online-y stuff I want to do, but that will have to wait because it’s almost dinner time and life calls. But I wanted to check in because I honestly couldn’t wait another minute. I promise you’ll be hearing from me more soon, more about everything, and it will be awesome. Later.

Aloha Friday: We Have Arrived!

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Today is the big day. Or it will be. Right now it’s like two weeks from today and I’m writing this preemptively in this big attempt to be organized and make sure some new content gets put up while I’m away. But as you are reading this we are either moving into our new apartment or have moved in, or will move in as soon as we finish waking up and eating a quick breakfast. We’ve had a long three days on the road and likely have a lot of stories to tell, but they’ll have to wait. So while we’re waiting…

  • Have you ever been on a road trip? With a preschooler? Tell me about your road trip adventures and / or any traveling with children stories. Give me the good stuff – the silly / scary / sweet stories from your adventures on the road.
  • Do you like to travel? How often do you find time to do it? How often would you like to?
  • What’s the best hotel you’ve ever stayed in? The worst?
  • How excited are you that MM and his future baby sister will have their own PLAY ROOM in this new apartment (nevermind it means they’ll be sharing a room – it’s a goooooood thing)? Half as excited as me? Can you feign some enthusiasm? Think he’ll still drag all his toys out into the living room anyway?

Have a great weekend! Next time you hear from me, it might even be a non-scheduled current post!