Monday, June 28, 2010

In Brief

It's summer, and while I could say that the slow internet at the in-laws' house is why I've not blogged, it's really just that we're having fun away from the computer. But in the interest of journaling our lives for our children, and in the interest of the printed copy of the past year's posts that I'll be working on over the next few weeks, here's a list of what's been happening with our little group of four-and-a-dog:

Berit's enrolled in Highland Dance and Yoga on Tuesdays, both completely wearing her out but also bringing much fun and joy. We've signed up for nature walks with the conservancy on Wednesdays and following those there are concerts in the park for kids, so we pack a lunch and the girls dance and wiggle and we all celebrate living in bright, happy Petoskey during the summer.

Berit starts violin lessons next month, for 15 minutes at a time. They're on Saturdays and while I'm really happy she wants to learn violin, I'm most excited for the enforced family time they'll bring. We only see Trevor for minutes each day lately, and on Saturdays we'll all go to town together, have a lesson and then picnic in the park. Maybe we'll check on the progress of the house, browse the shops and stop for an ice cream. In the past I'd make plans like this and they wouldn't work out for one reason or another, or only part of the time, but these plans don't worry me because it's summer and Petoskey is covered in sprinkles and fairy dust in the summer, so even if the plans aren't perfect our Saturdays will still be fabulous.

Small jobs for Trevor lately. No new builds in the longest time, but lots of regular work that keeps him busy and keeps me home with the girls. Fingers are crossed for a new build soon! I continue to work with Wayne County's Start Early, Finish Strong newsletter, Traverse Magazine and the occasional Country Lines article, all of which keep me writing. Also have a few projects I like to play with when I have time. In my head I'm working on two little books, one for each of the girls, that will tell the story of their births. Berit, and in copycat fashion (always) Marta, are fascinated by their birth stories. So before I get any further from those days, I'm going to write the stories in kid language, with a bit of fantasy and fun thrown in to dissuade any of those ... technical questions.

Ah, the house. Oh, the house. How we long for the house. The demo is complete and we now have a new walkway from the kitchen to the library. The kitchen, originally a maid's kitchen, was completely separated from the living space of the house, and had only the back stair up to the second floor, the back door to outside and the heavy, swinging door into the dining room for exits. Absolutely no way to see or even hear the kids while cooking or cleaning. So Trevor put a lovely walkway in to make another path through the house, and during the finishing phase he'll use the large space on either side to create built-in cabinetry and shelving. I can't tell you how I'm looking forward to filling those spaces with treasures! Teapots? Cookbooks? The family china that has recently been handed down? When I think about it my body actually feels full of exclamation points.

We are moving more slowly on the house than we (ahem, *we*) had anticipated. Hoping to be in by fall. PRAYING to be in by fall. In the meantime we're still living with Trevor's parents, who are continuously gracious in sharing their home with us. I know they must get frustrated -- of course, we don't do things the same way, and we are loud and constantly there, and there are all of those things that come with living together when you had been so used to living apart -- and I get frustrated, too. But every morning the girls wake up and are thrilled to go downstairs to their grandparents, who in turn make hot breakfasts and give lots of hugs and offer to take them on walks, and Trevor and I know that this is the best possible place for our family. They will always have -- if not exactly remember -- the summer they lived with Mimi and Grandpa, and I truly believe it will be special to them forever.

And by the way, every other day or so I walk into the laundry room because I haven't had time to switch my clothes from the washer to the dryer, and I'll find my laundry clean and folded. And when I can't quite get to the dishes after a meal, I'll come down later and see that they're magically washed (and not even in the dishwasher, because I never put the kids' stuff in there and my mother-in-law knows this and takes the time to hand-wash them for us). And when Trevor works late and it's time for baths, I have extra hands and I never have to ask for help. Ever.

Trevor loves summer more than anyone. He loves to play more than any grown-up I know. He wants to skate, to swim and bike, to hike with his kids. And yet we are blessed, blessed to have work that keeps him busy all day and all evening. He goes from one job to a meeting to a chamber event, down to the playhouse that Erwin, his dad, is building in stunning and adorable ways. Trevor is never idle. And when he has 20 minutes he spends every last one doing puzzles, dancing and reading with the girls.

I am writing. I'm adventuring. I'm playing and cleaning up. I am living on Walloon Lake with my girls for the summer, in a house filled with fun and love and music. I'm trying not to get in the way, to be a living part of a family house that I'm not really suited for. I think I'm catching on. I'm getting my braces off next month. I've signed up for a half-marathon and am running slowly but consistently, most recently doing a five-miler that turned out to actually be six, and I felt great the whole time. I'm carrying the rear portion of the dog, who threw out his back (again) and is cheerfully dragging himself around. I'm realizing that I'm still mourning the loss of both of my grandparents, who both died very recently, even though I thought I was tougher than this. I'm constantly grieving for my mother's loss of both her parents and at the same time am avoiding talking about it with her, not purposely. I'm happy and one second from tears practically all the time, because the girls are so fun, so exciting, so big and so little.

Insert big sigh here. We are technically 10 to 12 months away from bringing home a baby. However, two children were very close to meeting our requested status (healthy babies, with exceptions for unknowns like smoking during pregnancy) and we considered adopting them. We read their full files -- something we'd never done before -- and learned things about them like what their rooms looked like, what made them happy and sad, how they were comforted and what their deliveries were like. It was terrible to say no. But we don't have a home yet. We can't yet. We can't expect our biological children and the new baby to adapt to this situation, and to that situation. It's just not right, yet.

The playhouse excitement continues. Erwin has spent every hour of every dry day for weeks crafting the cutest little cottage you ever did see, and we are all hoping to sell lots of tickets and really start something. We are frustrated because both times we were scheduled to show the house during kids' concerts in the park, it rained and we couldn't. So the house hasn't moved from the polebarn, and we've only sold a handful of tickets with it there. Erwin would love help from Trevor, who would love to help but is so busy with work that he is barely there, and you can imagine how this makes both guys feel. I think they had hoped to bond over this project in their father-son/buddy-buddy way. Anyway, the end result is still fantastic, and this first time out continues to be a learning experience for us all. We're hoping that the parades will really help get the buzz going. We're trying to be realistic that this year will be the one that teaches us how to make the build successful in years to come. But to be truthful, we all want so much to make an impact NOW. Slow and steady, needs to be our mantra. It's really a dream house, and a dream project. Everything about it is just plain great.

Did I leave anything out? I can't think. On to work, to the for-pay stuff, with hopefully enough time afterward to work on some fun stuff. It's summer. Everything is fun stuff.

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