Sunday, June 24, 2012


It's a funny thing. For me, it's more of a sense than a thing. I have lived in some places for months without them ever quite feeling like home. Other spaces have felt like home before I moved in the first box. And it's not just about shelter. It's about location, too. But mostly it's about people. My  husband and son make any house home on some level. And yet the house we're in now is one of those that has never quite felt right. It's not ours; it doesn't suit our needs; it isn't what we would pick for ourselves. But that is all about to change.
We bought a house last Friday. But we didn't buy just any house. We bought our house.
Our home.
 It felt like home the first time I saw it (almost three months ago now). It was full of outdated Grandma-y decor and really, really bad carpet, but I loved it. We put an offer in almost immediately but, sadly, got out-bid. I was beyond heartbroken but, mostly for my husband's sake, tried to keep my chin up. "There will be other good ones," I told myself.
The next time we went house hunting, I tried hard to keep my ex-realtor Dad's tough-love advice in mind: "You can't have that house. It's gone. Forget about it." But I couldn't. I compared everything to it and was completely underwhelmed by my new options. Justin felt the same but chose to let his practical mind take over. My emotions were, as usual, overshadowing my otherwise logical self.
After a few weeks of that, it was a relief to us both when our realtor called to ask if we wanted to put another offer on the first house, as the other buyers' offer had fallen through. Yes! Yes! Yes! A big, emphatic no-hesitations, "Yes!"
In the nearly six weeks since then, a lot has factored into our level of excitement over the new house: financial worries, leaving my home town, the stress of packing. But through it all, I've never doubted for a moment that this is the house for us. What I did doubt was that the proverbial "they" of the world was actually going to give it to us. The seller was going to back out; the appraiser was going to tank the deal; the bank was going to decide "Just kidding! We don't like your credit score after all."
But none of that happened.
On Friday afternoon, the title company receptionist very unceremoniously handed us a manila folder full of plastic baggies full of keys labeled, "garage and greenhouse," "back door," "front door," and "oddball." We drove out of the parking lot like we were afraid they were going to realize their mistake and take them back.
As we drove into Three Forks, I took in everything around us. The old abandoned train station; the tiny coffee shack for sale; the Chinese restaurant with big red letters.  I turned to Justin and said, "Hey, we live here now."
"Yeah, that's what I was just thinking. Weird."
At the house, Justin swept me up and carried me across the threshold and we giggled and kissed and freaked out and generally relished in it for a minute.
Then we got straight to destroying it.
We tore up carpet in some corner of each bedroom and were ecstatic to find old hardwood floors under most of them. They are going to take some hard lovin to get back to pretty but they are there! I accidentally broke the cat door in the front porch. The second you become homeowners, right? Oh well, we don't have a cat.
We ran around doing funny things like tasting the water from the tap - good! - and testing the garage door openers.
I still can hardly believe it.
It belongs to us.
Tomorrow we start the messy job of tearing it apart a bit. A couple of walls are coming out. The - hardwood! - floors are getting refinished. We have so many plans. Because we can. Because it's our first home.
Drake will crawl there for the first time. He will say his first words. He'll take his first steps.
Next week, the three of us are moving home.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Celebrating Parenthood: Mother's Day/Father's Day Numero Uno

What's not to celebrate when this is your kid? I mean, really?

I could not have asked for a more perfect day for my first Mother's Day. Firstly, every day is a gift with this handsome little man. Secondly, I was lucky enough to celebrate with the whole fam damily, which is a freaking miracle these days. My brother and soon to be sister-in-law just happened to be in town (they live outside of Portland these days) for their good friends' wedding. My brother-in-law was also home - another rare bird - from the oil fields so we were all together for the first time since Christmas.
We all gathered at the Main Momma's house, had delicious food (smoked salmon with capers and cream cheese on a cheddar bagel anyone? mmmmm), drank some mimosas, soaked up the spring rays, and generally just enjoyed the hell out of each other's company. The kiddos played on the grass, Drake had his first taste of pineapple: all good.

Sadly, I couldn't make as big a to do for Father's Day seeing as my hard working hubby has all of about three waking hours with us on Sunday's (and Saturday's for that matter). However, I did wake him up with coffee ready and surprised him with some fun loot. I got him an antique coffee grinder that we can refinish/remount - an intended "first home project" for our new house (yes, we're buying a house! more on this later), a vintage poster of his home town, Franklin, TN as an attempt at a "thank you" for all the things I know he misses and has given up to make a home with us here. Then, of course, I got him some beer and a new pint glass. This is essential.
My Dad joined us for our short, but sweet, Father's Day. (I had actually been lucky enough to spend the earlier part of the day with him - No Sweat breakfast and a down town stroll - but asked him to come over rather than cut the day short). I made banana pancakes like the ones I had seen on (I'm obsessed! She's amazing!) but threw in some little airplanes to celebrate Justin's new undertaking to become a pilot. Hearts and airplanes: those go together, right? We had bacon, white trash mimosas - and even some home made coconut syrup that Dad whipped up! - and brunch was to die for.
Then  Justin was back to business - getting himself ready for work. But for a brief couple of hours, it was so nice to dote on him. I try to make sure he knows every day just how much I appreciate him - how much I see that he does for us all the time - but it was nice to have a day to say, "Hey, you rock at this fatherhood thing and I love the hell out of you for it."

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Little Lion Cub

This is how Nana Amy described Drake and his new-found voice: "Like a little lion cub who's figuring out his roar." Such a cute image to me. Which is fitting. Cuz my son is basically the cutest thing since sliced bread. (Is sliced bread cute? Either way...)
It really is a roar, too. Along side figuring out that he has vocal chords that - whoa! - produce sound! Drake has also discovered a little emotion we like to call "anger." But it's like he's playing with the idea. "I think I'll be mad at you for a minute, Dad. Let me try: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeAGHHH!" (Arch! Flail! Frown!) "How was that?" And then he laughs. Funny kid.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Letters to My Son

My sweet boy,
Just now, I let the door to your bedroom (slash, Daddy’s office and the way to the bathroom) fall closed a little abruptly and I woke you up with a cry. I cringed and scolded myself for being so careless but you sucked your binkie back into your mouth and fell back asleep within a few seconds. Disaster averted.
We’ve been having a rough go of it the last couple of days, you and me. You’ve been a tired and cranky boy who doesn’t want to eat and doesn’t want to sleep. So unlike you. I think you may finally be getting ready to pop out a couple of teeth like you’ve been threatening to do for two months now.
But here is what I want you to know: your “rough” day is another baby’s great day. You are literally the easiest, happiest little boy I have ever met. If you fuss at me for a minute or two before getting to eat, I’m shocked at you. That’s unheard of, my son. You, in all your perfection, are a rarity on this earth.
I’m going to tell you something that maybe some moms would not: your Dad and I were not trying to have kids when I got pregnant with you. Don’t get me wrong! We wanted kids; we just didn’t think we were ready. But God obviously knew what he was doing. Within moments of knowing you were inside me, my greatest fear was that something would happen to you. Within moments of seeing you for the first time, I loved you more than I have ever loved anyone on this earth. Within a few short weeks, I could no longer imagine my life without you. Over the past six months, I’ve almost forgotten what life was like before you.
You are my whole world.
There are so many things that I want for you, my son, but more than anything I want you to know that you are loved and supported. Always and in everything. Sometimes, when I’m sitting with you on the couch or cuddling with you in bed, I get a little heart achey for a second because I know that you won’t remember any of this – these moments that are so special to me will only be known to you through these letters and pictures and stories I tell. But I console myself with the thought that you will come away from it knowing how much I love you. You will emerge into awareness – that magical barrier you cross into memory making years – knowing that I love you. You won’t be able to put your finger on where that knowledge came from originally; you won’t be able to point at the time you first knew it. But you’ll know it. I’m going to make sure of that.
I love you, my handsome.
Always and Forever,

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It happened already

My son is six months old today. 

 Six months old. All I can do is shake my head in disbelief. All the cliche things are true: it literally goes by in the blink of an eye! I've done everything I can to relish the last six months. I stare at him intently and take everything in and beg time to slow down. It doesn't. It speeds on - faster and faster all the time. I just know that I'm gonna sneeze and it'll be his first birthday. It's crazy. And it's hard to cope with sometimes. But it's not sad. Watching my boy grow and flourish and learn and develop is the greatest honor and thrill of my life. And look how handsome this big boy is!

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Morning Nap

Most days, Drake doesn't last very long in the morning - even though he is the one who insists we get up! - before he needs a morning cat nap. They generally aren't very long  - 30 to 45 minutes maybe. It's like he realizes an hour after we got up, "Man, I was so not ready to be out of bed." So he eats and he passes out. And if we're at home when this happens - if we're not out running some errand of Mom's -  he'll pass out in my arms. This is, by far, one of my favorite times. I let him sleep there, even though it means a very unproductive time for me. (I know that if I expect to keep my house clean, I have to do things while my son sleeps.) But I don't care. I can't bear the thought of putting his chunky little body down. I hate the idea of disturbing his sleep and I'm greedy for time spent cuddling with him. I know it won't last long, this period where he wants me to hold him. It will be over before I know it. And even sooner his thunder thighs will go away, and his pudgy little feet. And his huge cheeks and his pouty lips and his puffy hands - all that wonderful "babiness" will leave one day far too soon. And just look at how sweet they are when he's limp in my arms!