Friday, July 30, 2010

The boy blew my cover(ing)

My in-laws are visiting for 17 DAYS. Not that I'm counting or anything, but we're only on day 4. (Lord, help me...)

In preparation for their visit, which only happens every couple of years, I went nuts on our house -- organizing, cleaning, sprucing things up. It was absolutely exhausting, but I'm really pleased with how things look right now. Our sun porch, which is also our entryway, used to be a dumping ground for everything we couldn't fit in the house. It's where we had the trash can, recycling, extra pots and pans, our second fridge, R's bike, all of our shoes, outside toys, etc. It was a mess. So I cleaned it all up, threw out a bunch of stuff, brought all the kitchenware back into the kitchen, and even created a little place to sit and put on shoes. The porch needs a coat of paint and a new rug (and a new ceiling and light fixture and...), but it looks 1000 times better than it did. It's open and airy and clean now, and when you enter our house, it actually looks inviting. Yay!

In the living room, I organized 90% of the Lego sets and put them in bins, updated my mantlescape with new framed photos and artwork, and put gifts from the in-laws on display. The coffee table is still covered in Legos, but since it's really the only place for R to play and spread out, that's fine with me.

For the kitchen, I picked up two new tablecloths and a few sets of cloth napkins. We've been using cloth napkins as much as possible recently to save paper, but usually we just use plain white ones. I turn them inside out and refold them repeatedly so we can use them several times before I wash them. (Is that gross?) But, with company here, I wanted to have something nicer. We're not tablecloth people normally, except for major holidays. Okay, really, just on Thanksgiving. Our kitchen table is beat up and nicked and has white rings on it, and we don't mind at all. I like furniture that looks well-loved and used. But A's family is a lot more formal. They use the nice china and tablecloths and crystal every time they entertain.

So, on Wednesday evening after all my preparations, we had A's parents over for dinner. We had a really nice visit and dinner together. (The next night was another matter, but I digress...) Here's what I learned, though: Never to try to pretend that you live differently than you actually do. Because after I had set the table for dinner, R wandered through the kitchen and exclaimed in earshot of my mother-in-law, "Wow, Mommy! What is this thing on the table? It's so nice! Where did you get it? It looks so special! I really like the covering! Look at these fancy napkins!"

What could I do but laugh? I love my sweet little man. Even when he totally rats me out. :-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New possibilities and more

I was talking to someone about the recent positive changes in my relationship with A, and she said that because I was open to changes there, I'll probably start seeing new opportunities cropping up all around me soon.

Boy, was that the truth!

I was feeling unfulfilled and bored at work. Now, I've got several new opportunities in front of me at my company that have me feeling energized and excited again.

I was feeling overwhelmed and isolated because of R's sensory issues. Then, I found a Yahoo group and other SI parents' blogs. And, while I've been thinking about starting a second blog just to write about our journey with R's issues and his therapy, just reading about the severity of other children's SI issues made me realize that R's are really not that big a deal. I feel so badly for other families' struggles with this, but at the same time, I'm so thankful that our struggle is pretty minimal by comparison. It put everything in perspective and made it feel manageable again.

There have even been lots of little things. A great deal through work for joining a local gym came up, so my friend and I agreed to join and force each other to go. We started this week, and I loved it! Then, I noticed a neighbor throwing out a bunch of stuff one day, and I snagged a sweet little side table. It was dark green and needed some sanding, but I've since painted it white (it's drying from the last coat now), and it will look so nice... somewhere in my house. :-)

So, you know that saying, "When God closes a door, He opens a window"? In my case, He's throwing open windows all over. And, moving in some new furniture. :-)

I wonder what other new possibilities He's got in store...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sure, crickets are nice...

On Friday night, I got together with six women who were my closest friends from elementary school. I drove to my hometown 45 miles away to meet up with everyone at the house of one friend who still lives there.

It was a really nice night. We reminisced and laughed about the past, shared information and updates about people we grew up with, and told our stories about our jobs, kids, spouses, families. I was so impressed by how confident, smart, and accomplished each woman was.

Everyone seemed to be generally at ease with their lives and choices, but each person (myself included!) also seemed a teensy bit jealous of a different life. The stay-at-home moms lamented the loss of their careers and lack of independence financially, the working-outside-the-home moms wished they could have more time with their kids. Nearly everyone admitted they don't do enough other stuff outside of work or parenting (except for one friend who works out all the time and does 100-mile charity bike rides with her husband!).

And, I couldn't help admiring the hosting friend's house and yard - so much bigger and more updated than mine. Our hometown is a lot more affordable than where I live. Her kids have a lot more room to move inside and outside. Her neighborhood was SO quiet, with just crickets chirping and birds singing at night, with an occasional car passing by.

As I drove home late on Friday night, I wondered if I had made the right choices. Maybe I should have returned to my hometown to raise my family? We could have bought a bigger house with more land, could have been nearer the ocean, could have taken the commuter rail to work. Maybe even if my family wasn't there (although maybe some of them would have stuck around longer or permanently), running into high school friends and their parents on a regular basis would have felt more like home.

But then I drove up to this:

(Photo from
And this:
(Photo from Ignite Boston!)
And this:
Every time I come home to Boston after being away (even, apparently, for a few hours), I feel so happy and peaceful inside. It's home to me.

And, even though I don't live in the city proper anymore (I'm just a few miles outside), the city is still a huge part of my life. Of course, I work there, but it's more than that. It's the subway and the museums and the Common and the shopping and restaurants, and it's the culture and diversity and "metropolitan-ness" I love. And, I'm glad it's part of R's life, too. Yes, we have a small house and a relatively small yard, but we can be in the city in about 10 minutes. Or, we can hop on the bus and ride the T to get pretty much wherever we want. (And, when you have a boy who was obsessed with trains as a toddler, riding the subway is an exciting adventure in itself!) And, we do. We'll decide spur of the moment to go to the Museum of Science or to Castle Island or to the Boston 4th of July fireworks. (On the 4th, we decided at 9:15 to go to the fireworks that were starting at 10:30. We drove for 15 minutes, parked in a $7 garage, walked two blocks, and had the most perfect view of the Boston skyline from the Cambridge side of the Charles River. We were smack in front of the fireworks barge and surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people. It was WONDERFUL!)

So, yes the grass can be greener in the suburbs. But the city is a whole lot more sparkly. :-)