Autumn Cold

So many of my favorite things about fall can't be captured in pictures. Some, like the autumn leaves, of course can. But some of the best things just can't be captured that way: cool fall breezes, warm sweaters, rich foods, the smell of leaves and burning campfires.

I left work early today. Gwen gave me our first cold of the season, and today was the day when it hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed to be at home wrapped up in a sweater with a warm mug of tea, relaxing with the dog and watching a movie. I think that's the greatest injustice about summer colds, you can't enjoy any of the little things that could possibly make you feel better: wrapping yourself up in something warm and drinking something hot. 

That's exactly what I'm doing right now. The doors thrown open to capture the cool breeze, I have my warm PJs on, and I'm drinking my favorite cold relief drink: hot water with lemon, ginger, and honey. 

We have a nice weekend ahead, not too much stuff but what we are doing is fun. In an hour my family will be home, and I will get everything started with dinner and the evening routine, before going to bed early. But for now I'm just going to sit and relax and enjoy the fall cold remedies. 


on this day

I worked from home yesterday, and it was pretty wonderful. I can't even described how much I missed those days in August... even though the reason I missed them was because I only worked a single Friday.

Yesterday's was especially lovely since the cool Autumn weather has continued, and I spent the first half of it in PJs, and the second half (post-lunch time shower) in yoga clothes and a lovely soft, warm hoodie. I worked while listening to the elementary school kids scream and yell and laugh outside at recess, and thought about the fact that Gwen would be there next Fall*.

I made myself mugs of steaming hot peppermint tea, forced the dog to snuggle with me when she came in from laying in the sun, and forced myself to slow down and breath it all in. I ran an errand in the morning, washed some dishes at lunch, but otherwise didn't get done all the things I had hoped to do. Thank goodness. I needed that, truly.

I'm still overwhelmed by life, and how much is going on, and how much of what is going on that I have very little control over; but I'm feeling better about it too. I'm focusing on an image of next fall: us snapping a picture of Gwen on our new front porch on the first day of school. I know that some how, some way, we will get there.

For now, work continues relentlessly, and the weekends fill at alarming rates. And we will enjoy it all.

* I'm filing this post, The Beginning of Big Kid School (Dooce), away here because it really struck me, and I want to have it on hand for next year. I hope Gwen will have no growing pains when she transitions to Kindergarten, but I want these suggestions available to me if she does.


telling Gwen

My stomach was getting bigger and it was becoming obvious to everyone else that I was pregnant, so by the time Cape Cod rolled around, I knew it was time to talk to Gwen about the surrogacy. I was already in my 2nd trimester and everything was looking good. We wanted to wait until we were secure in the pregnancy, and also minimize the time that my 4 year old, who hasn't quite mastered the calendar or the linear passage of time, had to ask the same questions over and over and over again. But we obviously wanted to be the ones to tell her, and not have it be a slip by someone else. Plus my belly was getting to the stage of being slightly an obstacle and I needed to be able to tell her why she couldn't bounce on it like a trampoline.

I wasn't sure what to expect. She had finally seemed to come around to the idea that we weren't going to be giving her a brother or sister, and had now settled on being excited for one day having her own babies, so I didn't know how this particular news would affect that. I also knew though, that we have a really caring girl on our hands. She loves to help others, she loves to give back.

So we armed ourselves with a book (there's a book for everything now!), and one day in Cape Cod, she and I found a quiet spot to read it. She really enjoyed the book. We read it twice. Then I talked to her for a bit about how mommy was doing was the mama kangaroo was doing in the book. That there was a little baby in my belly that I was growing until it was ready for the family who couldn't have it on their own. She was fine with it all. Actually pretty indifferent to it, at first. The only question she really had was, "What are their [the parents] names?" Which she replied to my answer with, "I don't like that, lets call them the Bouncing-Hopsalots [the kangaroo family in the book]!" Had to laugh about that, and that's what we've called them ever since!

Since then Gwen has had some more questions (including, the fun one, how does the baby get out of your belly...), and we've answered them all to the best of our ability. She happily answers, "What's in Mama's belly?" with "A baby!" And answers, "Who's baby is it?" with "The Bouncing-Hopsalots baby!" She's told her teachers at school all about the baby we're not keeping, and has become happy about the whole situation.

She did show off how that smart brain of hers works by asking me, "When you are done growing this baby, can you grow a baby for me?" (Aka. You won't have a brother or sister for me, but maybe you'll grow me my own baby!)  We put the cabosh on that one, gently but firmly, with the reassurance that when she was an adult she could grow her own babies. She took it well.

So that was that! I continue to be impressed with Gwen's compassionate and giving nature, as well as her understanding of adult situations. We'll continue to answer any questions she has, and have these talks many times over the course of the next few months. But this Mama was pretty pleased with her girl!!


house hunting, trouble concentrating, and other random Monday missives

I wish I could get it together, to get it together on Mondays. Lately I just can't seem to though. Its a week from the official start of Autumn, and it feels 100% like Autumn already, and that is making me happy. But our house search is leaving me frustrated, and work is overwhelming. So Mondays lately, are too much for me.

Our weekend was nice, though busy, and too fast. Saturday we went to visit 7 houses! Gwen was great until the last place, it had just been too much for her at that point. We found one we like, but don't think we can swing it pricewise (its out of our range, and our realtor had added it at the last minute because it just came on the market). Even that house wasn't perfect, it was a ranch, which isn't my favorite and the kitchen was small, the bathroom needed a little TLC too. But the finished basement was AMAZING, and the bedrooms were a great size.  ::sigh::  I was feeling pretty discouraged about the whole house hunting thing after that. It feels like we're never going to find something that both fits our needs, and doesn't need big work, within our price range. Bahh.

We looked at probably 40 houses before we found the one we're in now, so I understand that it takes time. We were just hoping it would be a little easier this go around. We've already looked at a dozen.

Anyway, the rest of the day we spent getting ready for the yard sale.

Sunday was Yard Sale day. We started moving everything out and getting it all organized about an hour beforehand, and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I wish I had taken a picture of how much stuff was out there! Or before/after pictures of our basement, because the difference is astounding. Gwen and I headed off to a birthday party for one of her best school friends, while Trav manned the sale. We got back in time to help him finish it off. We had on the signs that it ended at 2, and Trav posted a message to freecycle that people could come by and take what they wanted for free at 3:30. So we basically just let it run until 3, then pulled the few things we didn't just want to give away, and put up a giant sign that said FREE. We didn't make a ton, but enough to feel good about it, and got rid of most of the stuff, which was amazing! Our basement is so much emptier!!! I'm really glad we did it.

We used some of our earnings to get some Thai for dinner. Decluttering never tasted so good.

This morning came way too fast and we are all tired. I did find another house yesterday that apparently just came on the market, so we are going to go see that this weekend. Fingers crossed that this is a good one. Or that I win the lottery this week so that money isn't an issue anymore!

Other random things:

- I kind of want to set the NFL on fire lately (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here). Don't worry, just figuratively...  no combating violence with more violence.  ::sigh::

- I didn't write about 9/11, 13 years later. There are so many beautiful posts about it out there, stunning memorials, and it still gets to me just as strongly how people's lives were impacted by it. Personally, I just can't keep hashing it out every year though. I will always remember. How in the hell could I forget. I'm just not going to write about it.

- Between Ebola, Enterovirus, ISIS, and the above... I pretty much can't handle the news lately.

So that's my Monday post. Sorry it isn't more upbeat!!