The Feelings

In recent weeks I find myself getting so emotional about such random things.  I'm feeling all the feels for commercials, articles, video clips on you tube.  You name it and i'm feeling it.  The more sentimental the more I feel.  

I have never been an overly emotional person.  In fact I thought I had a heart of ice because I could barely feel things.  There have been personal situations that did get to the core of me but those things were super personal to me like my grandparent's funerals, my kids all starting kindergarten, when my boys each graduated from elementary school.  But really that's it.  

However, I'm feeling things so much more and it's a bit strange for me. 

As we settle into our forever home I know I have changed.  I have grown.  I have matured.  I'm embracing this life.  I'm savoring the moments with my kids, especially as I watch my boys pull away and become teenagers.  I want these moments to count.  As a result of this I"m thinking that as I watch the commercials, videos and read the stories I am relating more as a mother.  As a mother with children who are excited about growing up and striking out on their own.  

As a mother I want this for them but I also want to keep them close for as long as I can.  I struggle with these feelings.  This struggle adds to the emotions I feel for everything I watch and see.  I'm turning into a cryer.  And that's ok.  I cry because my family is growing up.  As they should.  And when they all do it'll be time for my and T to rekindle our alone time.  To make our empty nest years the best years.  To grow old and sip ice tea on the deck together, while we hold hands.  

I feel the feelings with intensity.

I never thought I would be the person who felt all the emotions.  Who cried out of love.  Who cried out of happiness.  Who cried just to cry in order to let it all out.  The cry is always followed up with a smile.  A smile that reminds me that all the feelings are genuine and warranted.  

I will continue to feel it all.  To hold my kids close for as long as I can.  To envelope them in my arms even when they want to pull away.  To keep their warmth close to my heart on days they want to stay in there rooms and talk on the phone.  I see myself in those moments and can only imagine how my own mother felt.  

But the feelings.  All the feelings.  It swells my heart.


Don't Wait. Do All The Things! Part 1.

I'm one of those people that function on minimal planning.  I get the big loose outline of what to do, 1 or 2 must do bullet points and then I like to fill in all the blanks on the fly.  I want to believe I'm a "fly by the seat of my pants" person and maybe I truly, 100% was before kids, but with kids maybe i'm more 85-90%.  I'd say with three kids 13yrs and younger that's pretty spontaneous.  And that's just me.  My other half is maybe 40% spontaneous.  He is more of the risk manager, the planner, the adult.  With him there's always a reason why we can't do something or can't do it right now, or maybe we plan for it in x amount of time.  To that I always sigh and give a good eye roll.  I'm practical about things but he's practicaler (yeah, yeah, I know its not a word).

I believe when an opportunity presents itself you should take it.  You make it work.  You live and explore that experience before it passes you by.  I believe that life should be lived to its fullest by doing and seeing as much as you can.  Im not a total dreamer and I know that for some finances is the biggest obstacle, a lot of times it is for us.  However, if there is something you want bad enough you save and do whatever you have to do to make it happen.  We are thrifty people and we know how to travel and live frugal if need be.  We do it all the time.  Scrimp here to splurge there.  Scrimp with A so B can totally happen. You do what you need to do.  Sometimes T doesn't see it the same way and we have this conversation all the time.  Me trying to convince him and He trying to rationalize with me.  

The kids are growing up.  I want to be able to provide these opportunities for them while they are still young and we can do all these things together as a family of 5.  Before I know it i'll have young men ready to finish high school and strike out on their own and a teenage daughter who may not want to be spending so much time with us.  I want them to be able to do that with these experiences and memories under their belt.  I want to share my sense of adventure and my love of learning about other cultures with them.  I want them to be able to be adults that are open minded and to be well rounded and to be the best humans they can possibly be.  Exploring as a family will give them that foundation.

It's a struggle some times because I truly believe that life experience speaks volumes.  Seeing and doing and living and experiencing can trump book learning.  I won't go into the struggles about taking time off of school because if you are in the public school system, anywhere, you know what I mean.  I'm all for missing days if it means you will be seeing, touching and walking through the Colosseum rather then looking at pictures in a book and reading about it.  Read about it, go ahead, learn all there is to learn about it because knowledge is power, right?  But if you can go there and see it with your own two eyes, by all means do it.  And that right there, is what I want my kids to do.  I want them to have a huge sense of adventure.  I want them to want to see things in the world and go there and live it.  You see, T wants that too but he wants to rationalize the travel, and be super realistic about it.  So do I.  But the way we each go about doing that are on two different paths.  Or at least it has been. 

I found this article this summer and it pretty much sums up everything I have been explaining to T.  It really backed my years long case on just doing it!  So I sent him the article.  He read it, we discussed and he totally got.  HE FUCKING GOT IT!  All the elation and all the happiness hit me in that exact moment!  My years of going on about, "cmon we just have to do it.  The kids are young and flexible and they need to see the world."  

So now we are at the crossroads of where to go now.  Oh yes, we ARE taking the trip.  We ARE making it happen.  We have plotted the final destination and are working backwards to plot the entire trip.  We don't say "if we go to..." we now say "when we go to...."  Passports are current and waiting to be stamped.  To think it took a blog post, by another mother to make my husband see what i've been talking about for so long.  Sometimes people need that.  They need that extra layer of reassurance or urgency for it to sink in.  Im not complaining, trust me.  I'm glad he now understands and gets it.  

Like I said before, if you want it you make it happen.  You do what you have to do to make it work.  And that is exactly what we are doing.  We have started building the path to doing all the things.  It's planning, a little bit of my way and a little bit of his way.  The long game is planned the short game will be a lot more open.  Like I said we have the same general idea but how we get there is different.  We plot the main points and everything in between will be much more spontaneous.  Keep it fresh, keep it loose, nothing ruins a good time more then to many rules!  

But living our best life is the priority and we really are on the path to that. 

I'll keep you up to date on the plans.


The Boys

My boys.  Affectionately refereed to as Big Red and Donx.  Both of my boys are now in middle school.  Big Red is 13 and in 7th grade and Donx is 11 (12 in a month) and is in 6th grade.  They are both amazing and so different.

My boys.  They don't have the closest relationship, in fact, unless they have no other choice they usually won't hang out together.  I've heard this is how it is with siblings and later in life, usually as grown ass adults, do they have a close brotherly relationship.  That's how it was for my husband and my brother-in-law.  

My boys.  They are so happy that when we moved into our house that they were finally able to have their very own bedrooms.  Sometime in 2016 did they finally reach the phase of wanting their own privacy.  While living in Seattle one of them moved out of their shared room and moved into the living room, making the couch their permanent bed.

My boys.  They are so very different.  Big Red is not one for a lot of friends.  He has many acquaintances and will talk to any classmate but as for friends he has a few really great friends and he feels that in his life, right now, that is all he needs.  He's cultivated a wonderful friendship with, i'll call him, Skyscraper, whom he met in the 3rd grade.  They talk every night, typically over their video game.  It's actually super cool that he's been able to continuously cultivate this friendship first being at separate middle schools in Seattle and now living 38 miles away.  Big Red is in introvert.  He has a very dry and very funny sense of humor.  Big Red loves to ready books, his favorite seem to be those of a dystopian state.  He is currently re-reading 1984.  Big Red really loves video games and seems to prefer PC gaming over consoles, although that in no way means he doesn't play xbox or playstation, because he does. Big Red is very sensitive, and cuddly, and emotional and best of all he's very empathetic which I so love about him and I feel could teach me a thing or two.  Big Red doesn't purposefully do things to hurt his siblings or others or say things to purposefully upset or hurt me.  When a subject interests him he goes in full force but when it doesn't he checks out and does the absolute bare minimum.  Big Red is on the shorter side for his age but what he lacks in height he makes up for in his vast knowledge.  He is one of the most interesting kids I know and he is my first baby and he made me a mom!

Donx.  Oh Donx, what can I say about him.  Donx is incredibly social, sooooo incredibly social.  It doesn't matter where we are he makes friends.  He seamlessly transitioned into his middle school making friends outta of the gate.  Donx has always been an extrovert.  But being an extrovert also gets him in trouble.  He's not afraid to speak up at school but he also doesn't know when to calm down when around his friends.  Donx runs on a 15 when he's with friends, which is great when he can be out of the house doing things burning off energy.  Donx is one smart cookie.  Always has been.  He was in advanced classes in elementary school.  His middle school doesn't offer an advanced learning program and we're seeing how he is coasting a bit this year since much of the work is unchallenging for him, but we have decided to let it slide this year.  Donx is outgoing and will sign up for things.  He's a signer upper.  He signed up for track when the school year started.  He also signed up for Ukulele lessons.  He is fiercely independent and has absolutely no problem going off on his own, to shop, to meet friends, or to just cruise around.  He is a great problem solver but doesn't always make the best choices.  He is a little bit of a follower which makes me worry greatly for him as he gets older and because he looks a lot older than he is.  Donx is taller then me, which may not be saying a lot since i'm only 5'3".  At the start of the school year Donx was 5'4".  Donx looks very mature and holds himself like an older teenager.  Donx is often mistaken for a 14 or 15 year old and he seems to have many female friends.  Donx is in full tween mode.  Always on the phone with girls and always texting them.  The girls do seem to like him.  Call me biased but he is turning into one handsome dude.  Donx was a strong willed baby and is now a strong willed tween.  

My boys.  They make me laugh everyday.  They also make me frustrated everyday, definitely more so one over the other.  My boys are so helpful when i'm home alone with all the kiddos.  My boys are not to old to tell me they love me, every single day.  They let me cuddle them and they cuddle back.  They offer me hugs every morning when they wake up and when they leave for school.  They may be in 6th and 7th grade but they still allow me to walk with them and to wait for the school bus.  They allow me to brush their hair when its crazy or to help with buttoning shirts because they are frustrated or lazy.  They allow me to still be their mom and do all the mom fussing.  I'll take it.  Every little bit of it.  I know there will come a day, with absolutely no warning, that they will not allow me to fuss over them anymore.

These boys of mine are growing up so quickly.  I hold them close to me whenever I can.  If I can spend 20 minutes alone with them doing something anything that allows us to laugh or talk i'll do it.  With the availability of the world literally in their pocket at all times- when they want to spend time with me, i'll take it no questions asked.  Time is flying by and if I could slow the clock down I would.



That gorgeousness up there was taken this morning at 945am.  This is what mid-October looks like in my backyard.  Today is perfection.  50 degrees and full sunshine!  You really can't get much better for this time of year.  

Normally i'm all in a hurry after training.  In a hurry to get in my second breakfast, go through my email and start ticking things off my daily list.  Not today.  I got back in the house, looked out my window and literally gasped.  I changed, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed straight for our outside bed to soak up some rays.  It felt so good to be outside.  The sun on my face, feeling the warmth, and being able to have a few moments to reflect on everything going on in my life.

Owning this home, with this beautiful view really makes me feel grateful for all that we have accomplished in our lives.  T and I have worked hard for everything we have.  Although I no longer have a career out of the home I do my share running the house and running the day-to-day of my kids life.  T works hard to keep the wheels oiled for all of this.  For that I am so grateful for him and everything he does for us.  

I don't take any of this for granted.  Actually I don't take any of what I have or experienced for granted.  **need to be careful here before I spiral off on a tagent**

T and I had a dream of what we wanted down the road in our life together.  To reach that dream sooner then expected has been astounding to us.  Somedays it feels like we somehow inserted ourselves into our dream and are waiting to get back to reality.  But most days I realize its all real and that dreams can come true.  We have more dreams on our list waiting to become reality, and that I am so excited for.  These dreams are passions and as I've mentioned before that is a priority for me, to do things I am passionate about.  Focus on it and make it happen, there's no time for "later" in my book.  

Dream big.  Dream huge.  Work hard.  Focus on the ultimate goal and do what you need to do.  If you want something make it happen.  It may take 1 year, 3 years, 10 years but you can make your dream a reality.  We've made one come true and look forward to making more come true.  


Game Nights

Ticket To Ride for Family Game Night

It's been almost a year that we instituted Family Game Night.  We all look forward to it as a family and we all participate.  Our days, weeks and lives are all individually busy.  We have our own daily responsibilities, we all want to have our own personal time to do the things we want to do and sometimes spending time together as a family is challenging.  Challenging in both finding the time and finding something we all, collectively want to do.  

Family Game Night has solved that.  We have fun together doing it.  Even if there are little spats or breakdowns we all ultimately enjoy it.  The kids expect it.  Our game night is always on a Sunday evening.  We try to start it around 430pm and normally have a game selected ahead of time.  It's one of the few times we all eat together and we do it while we are playing.  Most times we play one, longish game, but once in awhile we'll play a few quicker games.  We have also had times where we had planned to play one game but by the time it was over nobody wanted game night to end so we'll play another, quick, game.

Because Crash is only 7 we had a hard time playing games that she understood but now she is up to speed on all the games we play even if the box says the game is 8+ years or older.  We took our time teaching her to play games we enjoyed, at first we had her partner with either T or I and sometimes Big Red.  Allowing her to take the lead and guiding her through strategy.  Now she gets it, occasionally she asks for help in best strategizing but we are no longer forced to have her pair up with someone or forced to play simpler games like Trouble.

Some of our favorite games are:

Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride
Sushi Go

We have some other games that we play but we play the above the most.  I'm totally open to suggestions if anyone has some.

On game nights we typically do pretty simple dinners.  I don't want to spend a ton of time cooking, and I aim for a one pot.  We also eat dinner game side so it can't be to complicated or messy because we don't want food on the game board.  Like I said the kids and us adults love it and enjoy it.  

When we have other plans on a Sunday, such as a mid-afternoon birthday party we will typically plan to have dinner ready before we leave our house and no matter how great of time we're having at the party we will aim to leave so we are home no later then 5-530 so we can have game night.  We've also had instances where T had someplace to be on a Sunday evening so we had game night in the late afternoon and then he left.  Like I said, this is one of the few nights a week we all have carved out to spend as a family and we always make it happen.

As our kids get older and the boys, being teens, want to spend more time with their friends it is truly important to T and I to make sure we get in this family time.  Nothing is more heartwarming then having this time to laugh, ugly cry and enjoy these moments with my kids and my husband.

Family Game Night has been one of the best things we've incorporated into our family!  If you aren't already doing this, do it.  Do it ASAP.


Future Days - Thanksgiving Planning

i know, i know, its not even Halloween and i'm bringing up Thanksgiving.  Well, there is no planning needed for Halloween.  My boys are at an age that they don't know if they want to dress up and my littlest can't even make up her mind and will probably dress up as whatever, on a whim.  So there.

Thanksgiving.  Once again we will be traveling East.  Both for Thanksgiving and for a family wedding.  Unlike previous years, though, we will be staying with family, have some downtime where we are not staying with family and then will need to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights to be near wedding events.  I'm both excited and a little bit worried because we have never spent a dime on lodging when traveling East since we've always had the convenience of staying with family.  But we will be exiting that environment so my future sister-in-law and brother-in-law can have the week to prepare for their big day.  I don't blame them to want that privacy, I wouldn't want the extra stress of 5 extra people (3 of them being children) staying in my home while I wrap up final preparations.  

We have about 4 days of nothing planned and were going to take the kids to NYC but nixed the plan and decided to save the money for a family vacation in the spring/summer.  Instead we will stay with a close friend in VA.  She has 2 kids and our kids get along pretty well.  Unfortunately i'll also need to rent a car so we can go back and forth to DC to take the kids out to do things.  I'm looking forward to hanging out with my friend since this is the only time of year that I get to see her.  But i'll take it because once a year is a lot in the bigger scheme of things.  I mean I have friends I only see once every couple of years and they are closer to me then Jen is.

Anyway, I feel a little bit overwhelmed planning our trip.  We'll be gone for 2 weeks and outside of the wedding and Thanksgiving I don't know what we'll be doing.  We've been to DC a couple of times and quite honestly we've done all the major attractions and museums.  I'll need to uncover some hidden gems and some awesome parks to hold my kiddos attention.


I Am Rising Yet We Could Have Risen Together

I think it's funny when someone criticizes or questions until exhaustion something you believe in and that is 100% working for you only to see them get on board with your process years later.

Hrrrrmmmpppffff....wouldn't it have been easier if you got on board years ago and we could have lifted each other up?

I think so. And I think we would have enjoyed doing it together.

Because now, i laugh at what I see and can't even get on board with your process in any serious manner.  Especially when your process to get their has been filled with "schemes" and false truths.

Fall is Here

List 057

I love Fall.  Fall is so beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest.  The changing of the leaves, the crisp air that begins to roll in and the beginning of the gray and rain that we are so well known for.  Besides that I love that I get to unpack my jackets, sweaters, beanies and light scarves.  I love layering and getting cozi in my sweaters.  I love that I can wear boots again and can cuddle up in the evening with steaming tea and blankets with a fire blazing in the background.  

Granted I love summers, I didn't used to.  But when you live in an environment where it feels like you are living in a constant state of gray and wet you can really appreciate some warm weather!  

However, back to Fall.

Fall is that time of year when I get to wear all my favorite things without having to throw on a bulky coat over it all.  I can wear a myriad of jackets and sweaters, i can wear dresses with tights and besides wearing boots we do have a sprinkling of days and nights where one can still wear an open toe sandal.  

Plus fall also has the pretty leaves, and all the homey cinnamon and nutmeg flavors.  I'm not going to mention the pumpkin flavored items because, outside of breads and muffins, i'm not a fan.

But fall for me is leather jackets, black jeans, fingerless gloves, maybe a lightweight scarf.  Oh fall....you are the best.