What Really Matters

It’s so easy to get caught up in the not-so-outstanding things happening around us. The past few weeks would be what I would describe as difficult. However, while I definitely had moments when I sobbed, grimaced, and complained…I always felt so very thankful. No matter what we faced I was grateful for all the challenges because they were a reminder of what was most important. I am astonished at my amazing husband who is always my rock. Whether it’s dealing with my obsessive need for perfection or my oh so dramatic response to an unfavorable event, Ryan loves me, comforts me, listens to me, makes me laugh, and even humors me when I know I must be right. I have such a special girl who brings out the best in me. Lauren defines for me true innocence, unharnessed joy, and unconditional love. Today was the perfect day to wake up knowing that the majority of the work on the house was complete. It was a wonderful day to give thanks for the blessings that perhaps on any other Thanksgiving might be mentioned, but perhaps their true magnitude would remain unrecognized. I am delighted to have a home which includes a working kitchen.  I am relieved to have insurance to bear most of the financial burden from the past few weeks.  I am thankful for a healthy family.  And I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to reflect on what is really important in my life. Today didn’t end up as originally planned with a large family gathering in our new home with tons of food and lots of laughter; however, it will be a Thanksgiving to remember. Today I am most thankful for my family. The people that contribute to who I am, the ones who keep me grounded and sometimes drive me crazy, the individuals who love me and accept me for exactly who I am and help me aspire to be more. And while I didn’t get to share the day with all of them, they were all in my heart, holding an extra special place. Without all of them – a working kitchen really doesn’t matter much.

To see a few pictures from our Thanksgiving this year, click here.


Helping Hand

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Unfortunately, the dishwasher is not working so we are doing dishes “the old-fashioned way.” LP was super excited by all the bubbles and volunteered to help. I’m glad to have a little helper because the idea of washing every single dish, cup, bowl, glass, container, piece of flatware, dilly-whopper and whatchamacallit seems extremely daunting. We will get the kitchen back together – someday – and everything will be shiny clean!


All Better

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For the most part, the kitchen is done…just a few minor projects to complete and then lots of unpacking and moving back in!

After 23 days of eating out, we were overjoyed to cook at home tonight!  Per Lauren’s request, pigs in blankets and broccoli, cheese rice.
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Twinkle Toes

Lauren had her first dance recital tonight.  She was excited and a little nervous.  As her turned approached, we started towards the stage.  However, I miscalculated how difficult it would be to find a path and it took a little bit longer than expected to get there.  We finally got there just in time for LP’s class to enter.  Realizing that my frantic behavior of trying to get her to the stage on time might not have helped her nerves, I gave her a big, comforting hug and said, “Have fun…”  I should have stopped there but continued, “…and make sure to watch Ms. Casey.”  Well, at least she listens to me.  Afterwards she was all smiles and super excited about performing.  We couldn’t have been more proud of her!  Check out the video of her dancing, click here.

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And for more pictures of our little ballerina, click here.


The Kitchen Table

LP is actually eating breakfast at the kitchen table…however the table is in our bedroom along with the rest of the dining room and kitchen. Oh, expect for my dishes which are in the master closet.  An Adventure!

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Still Clicking

A lot is happening at our house. Our normal routine hasn’t been a part of our lives for a couple of weeks now and I don’t foresee it returning for at least a couple more. There is chaos and commotion, fun times and stressful situations. The simplest things, like cutting up fruit for breakfast or a snack are very difficult without countertops in the kitchen.  And it’s down right impossible when to can’t seem to located which box of the many stacked in my bedroom hold the cutting boards and knives . Our breakfast usually consists of some type of granola bar and pre-cut fruit from the grocery store. Lunch and dinner are always out. While so much in our lives is far from normal, one constant remains. We are all together at dinner, eating at a table…not our table in our home, but together. It’s nice to have this family time, to reconnect, recharge, and escape the pandemonium happening in our home.

Today I am proud to say I upheld another family practice, our monthly photo shoot – and only a couple of days late, too! Did anyone really doubt I’d miss that?! It was nice to get out of the house for a bit, even if it was just walking around the neighborhood. Lauren has wanted to learn how to climb a tree and we found the perfect one to start on. She was ecstatic! Our house is a mess. Our lives are eventful. And this smiling face is a ray of sunshine that can brighten any dark day.  To see more pictures from today, click here. p1190207-1-large.JPG
Simply unable to find a piece of paper and pencil in our house, I didn’t do much journaling this month of the random things Lauren said, however, there is one thing she proclaimed the other day that stuck in my head that made me first laugh and then reflect. “I’m a unihorse!” While she didn’t get the name quite right, the metaphor was so appropriate. When I think of a unicorn, I see a mystical, beautiful creature. I’m amazed that something so unusual looking does not conger up feelings of fright or darkness but instead childlike fantasy and peaceful optimism. When I look into the eyes of Lauren, I see my unihorse!


One Strange Day

Lately, strange would be a good way to describe our lives. It is not unusual to have at least two workers in our house at any given time…and many times a lot more. In an attempt to escape all the commotion involved in tearing out, drying out and rebuilding our kitchen and study we spend most of our days barricaded upstairs. However, there are times I must go down into the work zone. In doing so, Lauren always chooses to follow me, staying very close and repeating, “There are too many people here. I’m afraid I’m going to lose you.” I understand Lauren feeling a little unsettled. I’m trying my best to remain calm and carefree, but must admit the experience has been disruptive and a little stressful for me, too. And leave it to a four year old to always pick up on all of these queues. This morning was no exception. I had a plan to try to lessen the strain this experience is having on both Lauren and me by spending the day at the book store and park while several strangers were at our home making lots of noise as they reinstalled the wood floors. However, as we rushed around trying to finish breakfast and get our teeth brushed, the door bell rang. I opened the front door to find several men looking at me, none of whom spoke English. I tried to communicate to them that they were early and that they needed to return in a couple of hours after I dropped LP off at school, but I was just greeted with blank stares. It wasn’t until Hailey came up and translated with a bark that they retreated to the drive way. As I tried to calculate in my mind where the miscommunication happened, trying to figure out who to call and what to say, my frustration about the situation elevated to an all time high when recapping the events to Ryan over the phone. Then I looked at Lauren who seemed quite concerned. That’s when I realized this was nothing to get upset about. Little eyes were watching and little ears were listening on how to deal with adversity. So, I informed her that it looked like the workers were going to start early on the floors. We needed to gather up all our stuff for the day and load it and Hailey into the car. Then I smiled. Lauren smiled back at me and said, “I think this is going to be one strange day.” From the mouth of babes! Indeed it was a strange, exhausting day. But, while Hailey napped in the car, we enjoyed an afternoon filled with reading book after book after book. And then when we finally returned home after playing in the park, the ugly concrete slab was covered again with wood! As my mom always likes to remind me, this too shall pass.


Star Light, Star Bright…

“…first star I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might, get the wish I wish tonight!  I wish for a cat and a ferret.  I wish for a baby.  And I wish that everyday was either Christmas or Halloween. One day can be Halloween, the next day Christmas, then Halloween, and then Christmas…everyday!”

She’s got high aspirations.  Ryan is allergic to cats.  I don’t think I could live with a ferret.  A baby?  Well, maybe some day but we keep telling her not until after she’s finished college.  And there is really nothing I can  do about rearranging the holidays.


Night Time Confessions

In the middle of the night last night, Lauren yelled down to me,
“Mom, is tomorrow Christmas?”
I responded with a very sleepy, “No.”
Seemingly content with my answer, LP said,
“Well, we need to make pumpkin and apple pies sometime soon!” and then went right back to sleep.
I wish it was that easy for me, too.