Sunday, October 25, 2009

Duly Noted:

Berit and Marta have been playing this game they made up entirely on their own for a couple of weeks now. Berit grabs either her or Marta's blankie, hands Marta one end and then pulls her around and around the circle that runs through our kitchen, entryway and living room. They sing "Mary Had A Little Lamb," and that's the name of the game, too. They. Crack. Up.

Berit has also been doing this clever little trick that I feel she learned from my mom, but I'll have no confirmation on this because my MOM DOESN'T READ MY BLOG. (Yes, I could just ask but it suits me better to point this out in public.) When she wants to surprise us (as in, every 20 minutes or less), she says, "OK, think about halloween." (Or dinner, or outside, or the dog, or whatever she comes up with.) She's DISTRACTING US while also giving us something to pass our time while waiting for her. It's very Mike Myers/Coffee Talk: "I'm going to eat this cheesecake; I'll give you a subject: ladybugs and their fondness for lightbulb swarming during house showings. Discuss."

Friday, October 23, 2009

As Fast As We Can Go In Slow Motion

Well, it's official: We've sold our house. Moments after our counter offer was accepted I was completely sure we had done the wrong thing, and now that we've found a rental, a house plan and are getting things rolling for building our next home, I'm feeling pretty sane about it all. It doesn't hurt that the rental home is one of Trevor's clients' homes, all cozy on Walloon Lake with its many thousand square feet in which to stretch out. Granted, it is furnished as thought it's the resting place for all those model boats and leather loveseats lawyers get rid of when they retire and we have no idea where we're going to fit the kids' stuff, but looking out over the lake for the next few seasons will probably make up for it.

We'll spend the weekend packing and on Monday I'm headed over to pack up the owners' clothing and more rare, er, model boats, and to clean the house in preparation for two kids under four and a dog. I'm bursting out of my seams, I'm so excited to get over there alone to clean and assess the next seven or eight months.

We have about two weeks to get comfortably moved in, as we close on Nov. 16 but let's not forget about DEER CAMP which must be attended the weekend before and on various days throughout the following week. We're headed downstate for a weekend in early Novemeber, and I'm scheduled to take Berit on a little trip down to Ohio to visit my relatives there the weekend after, so even though we have until Nov. 23 to actually leave the house, we technically don't have very many days to move. We have ALOT TO DO.

Conversely, with the past few days of pure rain and wind and with the swine flu breathing down our necks quite literally, we've been cooped up going absolutely stir crazy. After several school districts around us closed due to the flu and after one of Berit's classmates came to school sick, we decided to pull B from school for the rest of this week and possibly Monday as well. So many parents did this that the preschool closed itself until today, and next week will implement serious germ-fighting measures. All the right things to do, but I'll tell you what, it's making us all a little bonkers. With the rain pouring and wind blowing so outside is miserable, and with our whole purpose for getting out of school being to keep the kids away from germs therefore limiting our adventuring around town and to the usual hangouts to NOWHERE, the kids are seriously going bananas. Today I took them for ice cream and they reacted like they had been stuck in a closet for the past three days. On the way home, determined to get them fresh air without getting poured on, I rode for a few miles with the windows down and they gulped at the wind with glee.

I have to wonder if these kinds of days are healthy themselves. I know we're keeping the kids away from germs, but they are truly grumpy and crazy and don't know what to do with themselves. On a typical day during down time they can muster up independent play pretty well, but when the entire day revolves around the living room, the basement and their bedrooms, they forget what to do and wander around yelling nonsensical noises, stripping off their clothes and sweeping entire shelves clear of toys for the sole purpose of sweeping entire shelves clear of toys. This morning Marta was screaming to "go bye-bye" at 7:30.

When we're cooped up I'm always shocked at how long the days are. Whenever I check the clock, thinking that thank God Trevor will be home soon, I realize that it's NOT EVEN TWO O'CLOCK YET. It's days like this that I think it might be a good idea to enroll Marta in daycare twice a week, just for a change of scenery. But I guess we'd have pulled her out, too, so boo on that thought.

Anyway, we're probably going off the radar for a couple of weeks here, to pack up our house and put it somewhere (with the excess boats, maybe?), and before we know it I'll be posting from the new house.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


>> We interrupt this blog to sell our house (check), find a rental (OMG), move immediately and build another house. We will be back shortly. <<

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PhotoBooth Montage

Marta is absolutely obsessed with PhotoBooth, and whenever Trevor or I open the computer she runs at a full tilt toward us yelling, "SEE MARTA, SEE MARTA!" So we pull her onto our laps and she says, "TAKE A PICTURE, TAKE A PICTURE!" As you can see, we do.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life in the Slow Lane

Today was one of those glorious fall days, even if it was pretty brisk. The sun shone through the trees in all the right crannies, between the remaining leaves making laser beams of light fall into our yard.

Marta and I spent the morning traipsing around downtown, doing whatever she wanted to do (namely run on wet grass and fall constantly). When we climbed down from the gazebo (which my kids believe is their personal rocket ship to song and dance stardom) she stood back from it and said, "Mama, that's so beautiful."

We picked Berit up from school and for the first time checked books out from the school's library -- Blueberries For Sal, People, I Love You the Purplest and My Little Ducklings. When Berit spies us at pick-up time, she bounds forward and gives me a hug, then showers love onto Marta, as if she hasn't seen her in years and can't stop kissing her. Marta always, always looks at her and lazily says, "Hi Bewwit," with suspicious eyes. Still, sweet.

Marta has also taken to calling Berit "B-B-Lo," which is something B used to call herself and now we use it from time to time. Berit has a dozen nicknames, and Marta has added her favorite with "Berry." It's so cute to see them being friendly finally, after nearly two years of Marta's existence.

This afternoon was a great example of their friendship, and I ran in the house to grab the video camera to document their tumbles in the huge pile of leaves I raked, to be very quintessentially fall-ish. Berit pushed Marta on the tire swing (Marta is infinitely bored by this) and I pulled out a thick wooden slide whistle and monkey-shaped shaker I had planned to put in their Christmas stockings and we played parade.

Berit is completely obsessed with a Barbie movie I picked up at a secondhand store in Caledonia after the run on Saturday, and now we have to play the storyline all day long, weaving it into grocery shopping and making peanut butter balls.

Halloween is right around the corner, and since our girls don't yet realize that they can find costumes at a store, they're going as princesses with costumes from our dress-up bin. We had a fun halloween party last year for the kids and their friends, and people keep asking if we're planning another one. We would love to; I would love to plan one, but we are in a black hole of waiting on this offer we're supposed to be getting on the house, and a halloween party would be tough to pull off with any moving that might be going on. We've secured a rental, it seems, right on Walloon Lake, and we've gotten started planning our house that we think we're going to build. Of course, whenever we plan something elaborate like this, the plans fall through completely and we're left wondering what we were thinking in the first place. At the very least, finding another place to live when we've still got our house feels like a major jinx.

I was working on a closing line for this wandering tale when Trevor began talking about inane things to indicate that it was his turn on the computer, and my vibe is shot. But I think you get the idea -- fall. House. Girls. Good.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

They're Totally Best Friends

Berit loves this little goof we sometimes do with her, where I hold her and say, "She's my girl!" and Trevor says, "No, she's MY girl" while grabbing her and running from me. It's all very Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson to him, I think.

Anyway, this afternoon after I came home from running and Marta was being particularly cuddly with me, Berit came over and sat on my lap for some love. Marta wasn't into sharing motherly affection and when Trevor picked up on it, he came over and did a little "Hey, Berit's MY girl" to sort of take the focus off of Marta trying to push Berit into another dimension. I said, "No, she's MY girl!" and he said, "She's MY girl!" and Marta, in her loudest voice to-date, screamed, "BERIT IS DADDY'S GIRL!" and pushed her off my lap.

This Smile Isn't A Cheesy Pose. This Is How Happy She Actually Is For School Every Day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Books Before Bed

Tonight, as with two nights ago, Berit read me Where The Wild Things Are. She read it to me, in all its memorized glory. Because she never wants to be imperfect at anything, it was especially fabulous to see her loving the challenge of getting every word just right.

Not to be outdone, Marta read me Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs, Little Lamb and But Not The Hippopotamus. In character.

Where In The World Are We? Cleaning Our House.

About a month ago I was planning a trip down to my parents' house, and I was talking to my mom about our weekend. My mom's the Ultimate Planner of All Time. I'm not capitalizing that to be bloggy about it; I think she might have an actual banner or sash or trophy with this title captured on it. At least, she should.

So we were chatting about how to best make use of our time, and I said something like, "Marta will need a nap from about 11-1." And she said, "Well, is that for sure?" And I said, "Yes, she'll definitely need a nap." And she said, "Are you sure it'll be from 11-1? She won't run late, will she?"

Trevor and I giggled for at least a week after that, any time one of us (ME) would say something like, "We'll be there at 3," because we have little kids and really, your very best plan is only tentative until your youngest child is probably 7 or 8. (Parents of 7- and 8-year-olds, feel free to correct me, but you may also keep me naively in the dark until we reach that stage and learn for ourselves.)

I feel an awful lot like my mom when it comes to our house. (And many, many other things involving organization, planning and list-writing. Also brainstorming, grammar, full-service gas stations, keeping tissues in every coat pocket and shopping.) We've had it on the market for awhile now, and while in the beginning we had at least one or two showings a week, the economy took a huge dive the day we were supposed to get an offer and suddenly no one was looking anymore. So it wasn't so scary to have that sign in our yard. But now, with a showing literally every other day, and every other showing is a second showing or a third showing, and with our Realtor telling us that we're at the "top" of no fewer than four couples' "lists" and with an offer expected any day now, I'm feeling the need to run out on the lawn and rip the sign down.

I know this is not news to you, faithful readers. I love our house. It serves us well. I can run three miles and never leave my beautiful neighborhood. My kids aren't confined to sidewalks. I could go on and on, and if you'd like to remember all of my reasons for loving our house, please review my recent posts. (Basement playroom! Don't forget about the playroom!)

Yes, we do want to progress to our land downtown. In order to do this, we need to rent a house while we build, and here is where the wrench is thrown. If I knew we'd have a great rental, I'd be OK. But I don't. And you can't have gone through the past year of SHOWINGS! and NO SHOWINGS. and SHOWINGS! and expect to go search every rental in town possibly wasting your time and the time of the other home owners.

Also a big bummer is the lack of "Rental MLS" on the Internet. I can look at houses for sale all day online and get an idea for what's out there, but when it comes to renting, I'm stuck with a few questionable ads in the paper.

I am happy about the showings and the positive feedback we're getting on the house. But I'm nervous because I can't foresee the future -- I don't know when Marta's going to nap, you know? And there's no way I can know this. I can't research it, can't ask people about it, can't watch a show about it (ha! As if I even know how to work my TV outside of making Dora work).

If you are in fact a faithful reader I do apologize, because you're probably so tired of hearing me blog about this. "Seriously, are you still upset about selling your house THAT YOU WANT TO SELL?" Yes, and my skin is oddly overly dry. These are my major concerns.

I remember when we bought this house, and when we were at the title company I thought I would throw up. I couldn't believe we were leaving our little first home and moving onto a family home that we'd have a family in and be a family of more than just the two of us. The implications were overwhelming.

I think they're overwhelming me again. I've never built a house before. I'm married to a non-frugal person who will want only the fanciest pantsiest stuff in his house (you might remember my week-long shock over his $250 jeans). I have two kids, and we're probably going to have more sooner rather than later. We have no house to move into, no place for our stuff, and no certain plan.

But we turned out pretty well here. We grew into this house and grew out of it (cue: annual garage sale). We fit perfectly again and more and more families moved onto the block. We put in landscaping, built a deck and showed our neighbors that we can be a little shameless when it comes to letting our dog wander. I think we can do it all again.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Marta Speaks

"Snunk" skunk

"Jumpoline" trampoline

"Polka-dots" coconut

"Blow-de-lions" the dandelions that have turned fuzzy