Autumn Catch Up

You may wonder where I’ve been since February.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe you don’t know where you’ve been since February.

i wonder

Since my February 2014, I’ve packed up 11 years worth of personal belongings, moved said personal belongings to a new house (which is actually an old, historic house), unpacked and organized said belongings into a cohesive, functioning, household – all while still working, mothering, wife-ing, social-life-ing, and generally being alive.

This does not include the unforeseen, and oft aggravating, projects that a new/old house blindsides you with – because, you know, old houses.

Lots of cool things have happened, as well as some not-so-cool, but one thing that is literally cool is the fact that it is now Autumn in New Jersey and that means things like this:

She's growing so fast, we had to capture some prints before she gets too big.

She’s growing so fast, we had to capture some prints before she gets too big.

We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

It's apple picking time!

It’s apple picking time!

So, it is also pie baking time!

So, it is also pie baking time!

I'm getting back to taking cool pictures again.

I’m getting back to taking cool pictures again.

And luckily, my backyard is a great place to get back to my photog hobby.

And luckily, my backyard is a great place to get back to my photog hobby.

Which is good, because I have several lovely trees that I just can't stop photographing.

Which is good, because I have several lovely trees that I just can’t stop photographing.

beyoubravely_logo

And MOPS started up again for the year!

And, most recently, we went pumpkin picking.  Which means that photos of pumpkins and other various gourds will be appearing soon.

And, most recently, we went pumpkin picking. Which means that photos of pumpkins and other various gourds will be appearing soon.

In addition to it being an awesome autumn, summer was full of all sorts of goodness, too.  Lots of trips to the beach, our annual family trip to New Hampshire, and the highlight of my summer:  my sweet little nephew, DJ, was born!  He looks just like my brother.  And my sister-in-law.  It’s funny how one person can look just like, well, two.

And I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but I get starting to feel all the feelings in Autumn and well – that gets me thinking – which then makes me want to blog.

So, I’m back!  Stay tuned… there’s over 800 photos on my phone right now, along with 22 different recipes I want to share, a zillion things to say about learning and education, and copious, gratuitous photos of my new digs that I’m pretty proud of.

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Finding My Place (part deux)

Since the day I decided to venture out on my own and buy a house 11 years ago (and subsequently marry the realtor), I’ve had this deep-rooted desire to sincerely connect with a small town community.  I’m pretty sure it stems from having moved so much as a child, but whatever the case, I’ve always wanted it.  I had this idea that it would be charming to walk downtown to the deli, or bakery, or antique store – and they’d know me by name when I walked in (and naturally, a small bell would chime as the door to their shop opened).  I would feel connected to those people in a very small-town kind of way – the kind of way where they would ask how my husband was doing, if I was going to grow my heirloom tomatoes this year, and if my cat – Leroy – was still afraid of the vacuum.

Of course, at the time, I had no husband, I’ve never grown heirloom tomatoes, and cats are well – cats.

pissed cat

But I still moved into said Small Town and started patronizing the local businesses.  At first, all things were rosy and rainbowed, set against the scenic river backdrop.  My old, tiny home’s walls thick with possibility, promise, and just a little lead paint.  But in time, as I restored my home and attempted to make new connections, the dream of living in “pleasantville” started to fade.  To my dismay, many of the downtown shops I liked so much closed as the real estate market took it’s historic nose dive in 2008.  In addition, I wasn’t always able to find the things I needed downtown and (admittedly) the Big Box Stores started to win when it came to furnishing my home and, well, eating.  But, it was still a small town with nice people, adorable homes, a scenic river, and that charming small-town vibe, complete with 4th of July parades and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies.

And so, we stayed and persevered, and fixed up this little home, and trudged through the toughest financial times we’ve ever faced.

After 11 years here, I’m happy to report that business downtown has been on the uptick recently and real estate is getting better.  At the same time, though, I’ve not connected in the way I really wanted to with my community, and I’m feeling sad about this.  My husband and I have often waxed sentimental over the fact that we’ll miss this place when we move.  Unfortunately, that means leaving my current small town – because there really aren’t any homes for sale in my town right now that will suit our needs.

silly house

And so, in the hope of attempting to atone for the sin of not fully connecting with my current small town, I’m hoping to start over  – I want to truly connect with the next town in which we live.  I’ve been getting excited about what new people, events, places, and adventures I’ll be having soon.  Luckily, we’ve found a great home in a nice, small town (that unfortunately doesn’t offer as much “downtown” as my current town, but it’ll work nonetheless – there is, afterall, an antique store, thrift shop, deli, flower shop, pizza place, quilt store, and watering hole… what else do we need?).

There are a plethora of positive aspects to this move – but there are also some things that make me a little sad.  While I’m ridiculously excited to be making this move, to a new town, where I can fulfill my wish to start over, make new connections, and find my place – all while learning from, and respecting, the place I’m leaving – I realize that I will inevitably miss my current community.

Especially the river.  I’m really going to miss the river.

river

But, when everything pans out with this new house, I’m sure I’ll get distracted by the many new adventures I’ll be having, along with all the DIY/Restoration/Decorating things on the horizon, too… it is, afterall, an old, historic home in need of some love.  Fifteen rooms’ worth of love, to be exact.

All of which will make excellent blog fodder!

Wish me luck.

Fastest 6 Months. Ever.

So, I’m officially in my third trimester.  I find this calculation interesting, and I’ll get back to that later, but let me start by saying this first:  HOLY COW, THAT WAS FAST!

In the beginning, it was amazing to think about what was happening – the fruit comparisons (“this week, your baby is the size of a grape!”) and how MUCH TIME we still had.  Creating a registry, taking childbirth classes, writing our birth plan, setting up the “nursery,” choosing names, and feeling those first wonderful kicks and movements were still in the future.

But now, they are here.  We are in the full-on swing of things, and even though we still have SO much to do, hitting the Third Trimester mark has thrown me for a bit of a loop.

I find the calculation of being in my third trimester interesting.  If you go by “the average” pregnancy being 40 weeks, then yes, at 28 weeks I hit this third trimester stage (I am currently 28 weeks, 3 days, and this is the coolest pregnancy calculation website I’ve seen so far, btw).  However, since most women do not give birth on their due date, and most first-time-moms actually go into spontaneous labor closer to 42 weeks, I suppose you could suggest that I haven’t quite yet hit my third trimester.  Any way you look at it, I am less than 3 months away from my due date and whether I want to realize it or not, January will be here soon.

I’ve often wondered if I’ll be one of those women who starts to get antsy around my due date.  I wonder if a week before my due date I’ll start wiggling around trying to get labor started.  I wonder if a week after my due date I’ll start hanging from chandeliers to get things going.

Since I’m letting nature take it’s course, I’ll probably do neither, but I will most likely start assuming every twinge is the onset of labor sometime around Christmas.  Let’s hope baby stays put until the holidays are well over and done…

And when I post things on Facebook about being in my third trimester, I expect that at least one person will ask me to post pictures of my growing belly.  I would love to, but unless you know me personally and have seen me at least once since I got pregnant – well, I don’t look particularly pregnant.  I guess it’s the way I’m carrying – baby is sitting low and wide and tucked in.  So, I just look like I’ve been hitting the doughnuts a little too hard.

But, in case you’re really curious, here is what I don’t look like:

Hopefully, in a few weeks, that will change.  Eventually, I will post pictures of the real me.  Stay tuned!

 

My Love Affair with Fall

Warning:  this is a completely superfluous blog post about Fall.  There is no real substantive information here, just a little “getaway” from whatever responsibilities you are working on today.  We’ll call it, “Your 5 Minute Autumn Appreciation Break.”

As a kid, Summer was my favorite season, naturally.  It was pure freedom bliss and no one was going to change my mind about that.  It was green grass and slip ‘n’ slides and barbecues and the beach and bike rides and lightning bugs and every other wonderful summer thing.

And then Fall would start to creep in.  I’d notice it right around the end of August when the sun started to shift a little bit in the afternoon sky.  I would overhear mom and dad’s hushed chatter about “back to school shopping” and “new clothes” and ohmygod NOOO!

This wasn’t me. But it’s an accurate depiction of my emotions.

I hated Fall.

And for many years, even into adulthood, Summer was still my favorite season.  Until this year.

I have to say that I’ve fallen out of love with Summer.  Don’t get me wrong, Summer – let’s be friends, ok?  It’s not you, it’s me.  Well, actually, it is sort of you… 

This summer was rough.  It was hot and buggy and I was pregnant (still am, actually) – and pregnancy + excessive heat + many bugs = not a happy Summer.  I spent a great deal of time indoors and that makes me very sad, considering how much I love being outside.  Summer wore out its welcome this year, and I am more than happy to usher in my new love interest:  Fall.

Ah, Fall… how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

1.  Your lovely weather – it’s not hot, not cold, it’s just right.  You require a light sweater in the early mornings and late evenings, but permit sweaterless fashion during the day.  You are so flexible!  I can wear closed or open toe shoes – long pants or capris – long sleeves or sleeveless… did I mention how superfluous this blog entry would be?

 

2.  Your harvest bounty – it’s full of beautiful things like gourds, pumpkins, late tomatoes, apples, cranberries, and pears.  You are a culinary delight, Fall.  You are the only time of year I truly enjoy cooking.

3.  Your artistry – it’s all over the trees, flowers, bushes, and fields.  You paint everything in my favorite colors:  red, orange, yellow, green, purple!  For a crafty, interior-designer-wannabe like me, you are my muse.

4.  The way you make me feel.  Fall, you bring out the lover in me.  You inspire me to take long walks, snuggle on the couch, build bonfires, go camping, light candles.  If I didn’t know any better, Fall, I would think you’re trying to get me into bed.  Oh wait, yes, I enjoy that this time of year, too!  Sleeping is so much better with the windows open.

This has nothing to do with romance or sleeping, I just really like the picture.

5.  I realize I’ve actually loved you for a long time, Fall.  It was just difficult breaking it off with Summer.  He and I have been close for many, many years and it was tough to realize my love affair with him has actually been just a good acquaintanceship.

I know it’s not technically Fall by means of Mother Nature or the calendar, but I can’t help but celebrate.  The weather is changing, kids are back in school, and the smell of cinnamon is everywhere.  I used to wait until my wedding anniversary to decorate for Fall (which is September 25th, in case you want to send a card), but this year, I’m breaking my rule and starting today.  I’m busting out my Fall décor and I’m not looking back!  I will sip Chai tea all day and shamelessly eat as much Ivin’s Spiced Wafers as I want!  I will book my personal calendar with as many Fall-related events and festivals as I possibly can, and I will bake as many apply, pear-ish, pumpkiny, cinnamon’d things I can possibly handle between now and Thanksgiving.

Ah, Fall, I know our affair is fleeting.  I know that in a couple of short months you will turn a cold shoulder to me and I will be forced to rekindle a romance with Winter.  But that’s okay – Winter and I have been cool (ha, get it? cool?) since I discovered skiing and Winter hiking.  Plus, I’ll be preoccupied with my baby.  So, it’s okay, Fall.  You’ll be back.

I have to do homework to have a baby.

So, our first childbirth class was this past Wednesday night and what a lovely experience!  Chris and I have decided to use the Bradley Method for the birth of our child, and we’re pretty stoked.

In a nutshell, the Bradley Method is a husband-coached childbirth method that focuses on a positive, natural birthing experience that gives the mom-and-dad-to-be skills and strategies to overcome pain and anxiety during labor and delivery.

The class was made up of 6 couples, of which I was pleased to learn, we are not the latest due.  Another couple is due January 24th, and another is due February 10th (as compared to our January 8th).  I was also happy to see that I’m not the only lady who isn’t yet sporting a fashionable “bump.”  Out of the 12 people in attendance, 5 are special education teachers – how funny is that?  It’s a special ed class… hah… get it?

Ok… moving on.

The instructor is a sweet young woman, about my age, who has two very young children of her own, and also teaches yoga.  I’m super excited about this because I’ve practiced yoga for the better part of 12 years now and I just know she’s going to throw some yoga stuff into the class.  I love yoga.

We also learned that another couple in the class lives near us, and are also working with the same Midwifery group that we are.  And, and, AND!!!!  The husband is special ed teacher – how excited am I right now?  You tell me:

Our babies are totally gonna be best friends.

I should probably stop.  I’m starting to sound like a stalker…

Anyway, the class concluded with a few exercises that Chris and I (mostly I) have to practice on our own.  We also have to read the workbook, the textbook, answer questions, and track my nutrition.  So, it’s like homework for having a baby.  Who knew?

That’s alright though… one day very soon it will all be totally worth it.