Monday, December 31, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Reflecting on 2018

New Year's Eve is an opportunity to look back on the year and see what transpired over the past year, what's changed, what's evolved, what were successes, what were failures (or maybe just 'not yets')... what made 2018 the year it was. Tomorrow, for me, is about planning for the new year.

2018, thankfully, was a far sight better than 2017. 2017 was The Year of Urgent Care, The Year of Massive Change, The Year I Became Chrysalis Goo, and The Year We Redefined What Our Life Would Be. So, a hard year, a year of tremendous loss, but also a year of reconstituting and recovering.

2018 started with us knowing exactly where we stood on the family front, and looking to see what we could do with this new and exciting opportunity to embrace what is and let go of what was not.

- January was rough, with the whole fatty liver thing making PCOS obviously a lifelong issue, and being told I "only" needed to lose 15-20 pounds.
- But, I did end up losing 12 pounds over the year and have maintained that loss. Which is great.
- I took up tap dancing, and although I am decidedly NOT a prodigy, I enjoy it and can't wait to get back to it in January as the move made both that and Buti Yoga near impossible to get to.
- We did new things -- more concerts out at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, a Bug Dinner, taking advantage of the art museum
- I wrote more, but didn't submit anything. File that under "not yet"
- I read a whopping 86 books. Less than 2016, which was 105, and the same as 2017 exactly. I think 2016 was a year of not doing as many things, and needing to escape a whole lot. I plan to do a separate post with my favorite books of the year. (To be fair, more than a few were for work, books my kids were reading so I could have meaningful conferences, so I wasn't reading 86 War and Peace-sized tomes.
- I hosted book club at our old house, which I had never felt I could do before we got all our new furniture and rearranged everything.
- I wrote 80 posts by the time this one goes up, my lowest since 2014 when I was in the 70s. I blame the move and a particularly challenging school year, but still not too shabby.
- I received my National Board certification, technically in December 2017, but it went into effect in 2018 and I have had it a whole year! I will say it is also nice to get the extra stipend, too.
- Bryce passed his Qualification Exam with flying colors and became an official PhD student/candidate.
- I tutored over the summer for the first time, and didn't hate it! It gave the summer structure, and gave me extra cash, and still allowed me to do all kinds of fun things on my own time.
- We decided to move after spending the summer evaluating the possibility of an addition/garage project.
- Moving took up much of the time between early September to now -- we had NO IDEA just how chaotic that process would be, to sell our existing home of 15 years (well, 12 for me) and move into a new house -- SO MUCH CLEANING AND ORGANIZING AND PURGING.
- But, the good news is that my annual "get the house organized and clean for the new year" craziness is going to be INCREDIBLY EASY this year. :)

That's a pretty damn good year, if I do say so myself!

I wish for you all the happiness in the world for 2019, and peace, and good health, and more of what makes you feel fulfilled.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Ones that might actually be micro in nature? Go here and enjoy!

Friday, December 28, 2018

House of Broken Dreams, Home of New Dreams

Moving turned out to be far more emotionally taxing than I'd anticipated. It wasn't just the office with books that reminded me of loss, it was the whole idea of leaving this house where we'd had such high hopes for one kind of life, and had all of those hopes dashed one after another.

I got particularly sad when the closing on our "old" house was pushed up, presumably so the family could spend Christmas in their new house. This was a family who we saw going in for one of the showings from our neighbor's house, and their youngest is a little towheaded boy. With curly hair. A highly energetic, adorable stab to the heart by way of my uterus. I was so very excited to get into our new house, to start this new life in earnest, in a house where all the memories were yet to be made and there weren't any hard moments to sneak up on us, but I couldn't help but feel down about the fact that some other family, with a child that looked very much like what I imagined our biological child might have looked like, was going to have the Christmas we'd always hoped for in our old house. That they were going to live the alternate reality we couldn't make happen, and their rooms would be full of the beautiful chaos we'd wanted so badly.

I was kind of a disaster for a few days, quick to tear up, and just bummed about that one last loss.

But then, once we got settled into our new home, a home of new life and new dreams, that loss just sort of...evaporated.

We had a beautiful Christmas in our new home. We have spent untold hours unpacking and organizing and arranging and rearranging, and the house already looks like our home. It FELT like our home from the very beginning. It was weird, actually.

I don't feel creeped out in this home at all. I can walk the halls in the dark and not feel scared. It is surrounded by woods, and I am not fearful at all. I feel...happy. Settled. Content. Amazed at our good fortune to have found this house and snagged it for ourselves.

I feel as though we were haunted by the pain of our losses, of the dreams that couldn't be realized, in our old house. It's like there was a veil of sadness over everything. More than once we felt like the house didn't want us to have children, which sounds kookoocrazypants but it was a very real feeling. My office was steeped in sadness and loss -- it went from Bryce's exwife's son's room when he was small, to a guest room, to a guest room I redecorated to be happy and beachy, to a room we knew was going to be a nursery, to an actual nursery, and then to my office, but with board books under the chaise lounge and the lovebird decals still up from the nursery wall set. A new and glorious space, yes, but also one with a definite feel of something was lost here.

We loved our old home, our old cozy little hobbit house. But it wasn't until we settled into this new space that we realized how free we feel in this one. How perfect it is for us. How we have nothing but new dreams to pursue here, and some have already been realized.

What we see in this house are the positives of our relatively new childfree life, and not the negatives. We can embrace what is and let go of what isn't. There's no room that was meant for a child here. This house is actually not too terribly child friendly, which I think is why it took a bit to sell and we didn't have to fight anyone for it. There's plenty of room for books, and delicious meals, and a fire, and sitting out on a deck and listening to birds and watching the sunset.

And there's room for something I've always wanted and is now a reality -- a dream realized that never could have happened in our old house -- that was my last Christmas present from Bryce.

We are now the proud owners of a PING PONG TABLE! And a room with ceilings high enough and a large enough space to fit it (as long as we fold it up against the wall or wheel it into the closet when we're done). 

It's a good life. It's a good move, starting fresh somewhere else that is clearly manufactured for our life now, and not the dreams that died.

My wall of books in my new office -- I'm going to put my diplomas and National Board Certification on the wall in that top middle cubby box and feel all fancy! 

View of my office from the door -- it's actually smaller in square footage than my old one, but has full height ceilings and feels very spacious (but also cozy and hobbit like in a good way). I got that quilt on the chaise from Bryce, it's BOOKSHELVES! Amazing.

More books! Bryce has a wall of built in bookshelves in his office, so his fancy giant bookcase is shared out in the hall.

EVEN MORE BOOKS! And the fireplace. And the cat. And a sneak peek into the dining room/kitchen.

Sunset view from the deck out back. 

I feel like we are truly living a dream right now.

Monday, December 24, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Lost in Boxes

We are officially moved, and officially sold our old home, and are settling into this beautiful new space.

Unfortunately, some key items have been temporarily lost (jeez I hope it's temporary!!!) in the shuffle.

Mainly, my laptop chargers.

I don't enjoy phone blogging, and I desperately want to get the zillion posts I have rattling around in my brain out and catch up on reading, but alas. I am powerless. Literally.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday if you celebrate, and I am hoping for a Christmas miracle... May the charger fairy bring the power back to my sad laptop!

Ahhh, love this spot

Pretty birdie, snow

Fortunate beyond measure. We didn't have time to get a tree, so the tiny one is it!

Merry Christmas from our mugs to yours!

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Moving Memories

A big fat huzzah to the fact that we are officially, OFFICIALLY moving next week! The movers come Monday, and we got the clear to move this past Tuesday, so we have been frantically packing up what seems like literal tons of books and trying to get as much stuff as possible over to the new house before the movers come and charge us money to do us that favor.

Packing up has been a mixed bag. It is so very exciting to be on to a new adventure, to be going to a house that is all new to us and just waiting to have new memories made within its walls. But packing things has brought up an awful lot of sadness for me, sadness that I'm hoping to shed as we move from this house to the new one.

My office was a place of quiet remembrance this weekend, as I packed up all my books and realized just how many picture books I have that I really have no use for. I have the ones from my own childhood, and ones from when I worked for Scholastic, and ones I use in my classroom, and ones that I just bought and loved for myself because the art is beautiful. Those all made it over.

But then there's the sad ones. The ones that were clearly meant for a child who didn't come. The ones that have nameplates from my shower with notes from the people who gifted them to us, addressed to our nonexistent baby, declaring love for this amorphous being in the ether who didn't materialize, imagining storytimes snuggled up in a cozy blanket together that just will never be.

That was a heavy shelf, let me tell you.

I am finding that I am okay with saying goodbye to some of these books, even though I feel horribly guilty (my best friend assures me that I don't have to feel guilty, but I do). I really don't want them in the new house. I want the new house to be free of little bombs of devastation hidden in bookshelves or tubs in a closet. I want the books I bring over to have meaning for me, not for a sad reminder of what did not come to pass. I don't need books or other physical items as reminders of what is deeply entwined within me.

And so I am putting together boxes to donate, and refusing to shelve books that have no value to me, for me. They will be better honored in the hands of some other tiny child, one who exists and isn't a ghost. It's better to have books that are used and enjoyed by someone, rather than moldering like dusty relics of our grief. They don't belong in this new space.

It's just so, so hard to feel all this so acutely, and so I hope by dealing with these things before we are fully settled I can start fresh in a new home that is filled with light and music and books and the joy of our new life together.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: House Update

I feel like it has been forever since I've had the opportunity to update this space -- moving is proving to be a much longer process than we'd thought it would be (go figure).

The good news is, WE CLOSED ON THE NEW HOUSE! Last Tuesday we sat at a conference room table and signed document after document after document. And when it was over, we were handed keys and the next part of our life could get moving right away. Imagine that. It was the best day of massive signing yet!

The annoying news is we don't have a closing date for the sales of our house yet, and without a mortgage commitment letter from the buyers' bank, we can't hire movers. We can't move big things, because we have to be ready to put the house back on the market if they mortgage falls through, and although I like to think that won't happen, we need to just-in-case this one.

However, we've gone over to the new house almost daily, internet is set up, some music is set up, and we've moved all the stuff in our upstairs crawlspaces and back little room storage area (as well as some books) into the house.

I love going there. It feels like home already, all welcoming and cozy despite having no furniture and all white walls... Soon, soon we'll be all settled in!

Toasting to the first day in the house as owners!

The view out the kitchen window... We don't own it all, but it's lovely how wild it is!

The seller left us a welcome home kit! Such a thoughtful gesture that was so appreciated.

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