Tuesday, April 30, 2013

many a mile

there's a tmbg song called "813 mile car trip."  i thought of that song quite a bit as we drove across the country.

according to google maps, the distance from woodland, ca to reston, va is approximately 2,745 miles.  there were a whole lot of mountains, windmills, djinn sightings, and replayings of jim weiss' recording of good luck, duck during those miles.  not a single instance of singing about bottles of beer on the wall, but plenty of justin roberts and domestic science club to fill in between

we didn't exactly go the direct route, however.  steve looked at the gps we used along the way and said it logged us in at roughly 5,200 miles.  seriously?  i think i need to check that number, but that will have to wait until another time when i feel like looking up all the details.

what i can say is that i am ever so happy to be released from the confines of our travel minivan, however luxurious it was, and from sleeping in hotels, even if the holiday inn express beds were extra comfy and their child-thrilling 3d pancake printer welcomed us at breakfast time.

i am amidst the chaos of books (the things i unpacked first), toys (unpacked in between books), and half-unpacked boxes of just about everything else, but boy, i am happyer to be home.

read about our travel adventure starting here

Saturday, April 27, 2013

a year later, still happyer at home, in a new location

a headache in my sleep woke me in the very wee hours, but it's okay.

it's my first early morning in our new space.  all is quiet, except for familiar sounds of the bunny downstairs enjoying her nocturnal activities of chewing and tossing her new paper towel roll.  there are the occasional noises of air mattresses being moved upon as various family members groggily arise and make their way towards an unfamiliar bathroom, the light in which we left on like a beacon.  i noticed the floorboards and stairs creaking as i came down.  i am not disturbed by this, strangely. at least i know i will not run into anything in the dark, as we have yet to unload the truck and move in our furniture.

there are so many things i want to write about, but i have promised myself they will come in time.  right now i am pleased that i have a quite moment to myself to look at email and catch up with friends on facebook and let my faithful blog readers know that i am back.  re-entry into the blogosphere is a little rough, but i'm basically intact and i am giving myself time to get us settled in our physical space before i attend more fully to my virtual space.

april has been a particularly busy month for us. finally getting around to serious packing of household items, anticipating steve's arrival to get us ready for our cross-country move, diana's star testing, stealing as many moments to share with friends as we could possibly dare, knowing they would be our last with them before our departure.

on the ides of april, we waved goodbye to our belongings as they were driven away in a truck, tidied up the woodland, ca space where the kids and i lived for the past year, then loaded up people and animals and final minutiae into a rental minivan and started our travel adventure.

after ten days of driving with plenty of stops along the way, our family arrived in our new location of reston, va.  we did it.  we survived - nay, dare i say it, thrived - during the trip from sea to shining sea.

i also recognized the first anniversary of my blog creation.  no big fanfare or special post.  just me noticing and smiling to myself, pleased at what i have done, excited to continue.

a thoughtful friend sent me an email in the midst of all this. she said that i came to her mind, making my home where i am, calm and welcoming, even in a minivan on the road.  it brought tears to my eyes.  she knows what i strive to do, looks past my many missteps, sees what i do accomplish, and reminds me in an ever-so-gentle way that, even when all i can see is my failures, i still am successful in providing a sense of home to my family, wherever we are. i cherish her sentiments and am strengthened by them.

so, here i am, a year later, in a new space, still happyer at home, because i make it and take it with me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

who knew?

diana has always been my go-to gal when it comes to trying a new craft or an art project or something in the kitchen.  ander, not so much, at least not until recently.

i didn't think we'd dye any eggs here, given that i have been focusing so much on putting things, like everything in my kitchen, into boxes.  fortunately, a friend wanted to make sure we wouldn't miss our chance and invited us over to her place with a large outside area just perfect for our work.  ander could hardly wait to get started!  who knew? #1

this was far from our neat and tidy indoor activities from prior years.  and more fun than i had expected.

diana likes to follow the directions on the back of the box to mix specialty colors (she's also excellent as following recipes for jelly bellies to obtain an optimal taste experience).

ander went with his gut and churned out precisely the colors he wanted, evidenced by his remarking, "isn't that GORGEOUS?" as he pulled each egg from its murky bath.  who knew? #2

like his new haircut?

using clear plastic cups allowed the kids to see what was going on inside. they are washable & reuseable.

we went through the first dozen in about what seemed like 30 seconds.  thank goodness for a second batch started almost immediately.

it takes time, though, to boil eggs, and the troops were getting restless, so i suggested painting on the concrete with the leftover colored concoctions.

it turned into dripping splatter designs, dipping toes (or entire feet) into the colors to dye them, watching the liquid spread out on the concrete and trying to dam it up.  pouring colored water on paper towels and paper.  splashing in the spray from the outside faucet and in the residual puddles to clean off.  who knew? #3

and every single egg turned out to be precisely the correct color.  who knew? #4

all these colors from a standard box of four food dyes found in any grocery section. in person, the dark blue looks like the night sky with little pinpricks of white stars speckled throughout.

it gets better, though.  we brought a dozen to the farmer's market/picnic in the park, where we taught our friends about the cracking of the eggs, at least the way we did it growing up in my family.

i didn't realize how much fun ander would have with it.  i fully expected him to be upset that the eggshells broke, regardless of whose egg it was.  but he wasn't.  he was curious, and amused, and came back again and again to do more.  who knew? #5

and both he and diana sat and peeled the eggshells, bit by bit.  not that they eat the eggs, mind you, i take care of that myself, but they loved working quietly amongst the noisy crowd of picnickers to remove the shells.  diana examined the membrane without being grossed out by its texture.  both children painstakingly removed the tiny particles of shell (they were fresh eggs, so they didn't peel easily or in one continuous piece, like i can sometimes accomplish with older eggs.  that's a fun experiment in and of itself.), feeling the sharp ends, dropping the shards neatly into a waiting container.  they asked, so i agreed, to peel the rest of the cracked eggs in order to continue the experience.  ander was so proud to show my an absolutely smooth, squishy egg, even opening it up to reveal the brilliant yellow yolk inside and feeling it between his fingertips.  diana said she loved it and even volunteered to peel hard-boiled eggs when i want to make egg salad.  who knew? #6.

so, i think, despite the fact that i am up to my eyeballs in packing boxes, i am going to get some more eggs and boil them and color them with my children.  they have the interest now, why ask them to wait for my convenience?  is it really that difficult to release myself from my tension about preparing for this move?  it might be, and maybe that makes it all the more important that i do.  who knew? #7