Wednesday, August 27, 2014 begin to get ready

...or at least get the kids ready for school.

I feel as if I have spent the better part of the last two weeks finding forms, filling out forms, going to doctor appointments, and otherwise just getting the kids ready for school.

Today was no different other than it's all beginning to get real.

They really are going to new schools.  New big schools.
I really am going to have a middle school student!
My youngest is really going to Kindergarten.  All.  Day.  Long.

Please don't worry about them.  They are all doing just fine.

Today we were able to take a tour of the schools and find out where the kids classroom's were located.  There were maps of the school set out for the kids and they were encouraged to go on a Scavenger hunt to find all of the important rooms in the school.  At each of these rooms (The Library, The Music Room, etc...) there was a pack of stickers waiting and the kids could place one on their map.  Even Will enjoyed this activity!

We found Will's name on his locker near his class.  

As you can see, they are doing just fine.  It's me that's going to be crying on the first day of school.  It's me that's going to be holding on to my box of Kleenex as I wave goodbye.

In the mean time, I am enjoying the simple moments.

All of us girls decided to paint our nails this evening...I snapped a photo of these two enjoying the activity side-by-side (a moment that is rare).

Lucky for me, Audrey insisted she paint my nails.  And my do they look pretty.

Last we enjoyed our evening walk.

In case you were wondering...yes, it did take (them) a really long time to get prepared for this event.

But as you can imagine we met lots of new friends along the way.  

Monday, August 25, 2014 share our weekend

...with the Morrow's

There is nothing more comforting than spending time with friends.  Spending time with them while on vacation is even better.  And spending time with them while on vacation at a beach house is the best.

Meghan and Sean invited our family to spend a few days of their block leave with them at her family's beach home in northern MI.  It was a perfect weekend.  The kids played beautifully.  While the adults had time to drink lots of coffee and copious amounts of wine, and sit and talk and talk.  I am not sure I can describe how refreshing the weekend was.

This weekend was exactly what I needed to help me regroup...

I'll show you my weekend of including watching, playing, and enjoying the little moments.

(Be patient...there are a lot of pictures.  These are some darn cute kids!!)


Abbey with Declan.  She held him EVERY.SINGLE.MINUTE.SHE.WAS.ALLOWED.

 Paddy decide exactly which activity to do when.  Perhaps all of them at once?

Will fish.  I loved looking out on the dock and seeing his silhouette.

Isabella play on the water.  She loved this little paddle boat.

Audrey try shuffleboard.  For...about one minute.  Then she moved on.

The kids learn how to drive a boat.  They LOVED driving fast on the water!


Tennis with Abbey.  She has really taken to this sport since we moved to Ann Arbor.  She got to hone her skills while up at the cottage.

Shuffleboard with Isabella (see her way down at the other end?).  I am pretty sure we were playing wrong.  Who really knows the rules to shuffleboard anyhow?  

With this little guy.  Isn't he the sweetest?  And...Wow.  His smiles are killer.  They melt you every time.

On that paddle board with Audrey.  That is SO much harder than it looks!!

Capturing treasures, and moments, and moments to treasure:

This water fountain.  Sigh.  I loved this.  Obviously the girls did too.

Sticky faces.  Stolen glances.

Tucked flower.  Precious moment.  (P.S. He loves my grandma's 'table trick').

Old porch swing.  Sleepy little girl.

Wrinkly water clogged feet.

Blue sky.  Fluffy clouds.  Curious kid.

Weathered deck.  Brave little girl searching for her worm.

There are so many more moments.  Some on camera.  Some in my mind.  They all make me smile.

Watching.  Playing.  And enjoying the little moments together.  That little break (Can you believe it was only for two days?) made me feel better than I have since the move.  

Cheers to good friends and long-lasting friendships.

And cheers to Grandma Maloney.

Monday, August 18, 2014 share a poem

...about moving that a-young-girl-I-know-who-must-not-be-named wrote

2 August 2014

I wish I could convince myself
this was a temporary home;
an over-extended vacation,
a rental to be looked up on Google Chrome.

Our stay here will be a short one.
In no time we'll be returning to New York!
Where my little baby sister
was delivered by the stork.

Those dents in the walls weren't made by Audrey.
Those scuffs on the floor weren't caused by me...
Heck...Here (in our new home) we don't even need a mail key.

I don't want to grow up in Ann Arbor
to learn at Tappan School...

I want to Attend the Academy (Augustinian)
Fort Drum...That't where I want to be.

Permission to reprint this poem was granted by this observant and talented young writer.

Thursday, August 14, 2014 enjoy our new home

...and our new city...and our new surroundings.

But sometimes, even when we are surrounded by wonderful things in a wonderful place...

it's just hard.

It might not seem like a big deal, but tonight the three girls and I rode our bikes to the library after dinner.  (It's hard to ride 1.5 miles to return some books).  Only to find it closed.  (Hard.  Grr.  Of course it was closed.)  Poor Audrey fell off of her bicycle twice on the way back.  (Harder. Both times right in/next to the intersection.)  Bless that child's heart...she is such a champ.  She didn't even cry.

Tomorrow we'll find another branch.  (Hard.  Look up new directions, check the hours.)  and try to convince Will to go with us while Mark is at school tomorrow.  (Hardest.  That child is a homebody).

I certainly can appreciate all the perks we have had for this move:
1.  Close to family.
2.  Close to Mark's office.
3.  Close to the kids' schools.
4.  Walking/bike riding distance to most everything we need...
5.  Did I mention how nice it will be to be close to our families?

But there are so many things I am missing from our military life...

1.  Meghan.
2.  Amy
3.  The freedom my children had to wander around the neighborhood (and their friends).
4.  A backyard to let Timber out.
5.  Parking in the driveway.  Oh...yes...and driving everywhere we needed to go!
6.  My job.
7.  The ice cream man.  (Friends at FD can you believe I even said that?)
8.  My familiar running routes.
9.  My routine.
10.  Did I mention how much I miss my friends?

I know Ann Arbor will be as hard to leave (Mark says maybe even harder?) as Fort Drum was.  And I know in just a year we will love it here.  I am sure we'll have a new routine, a few new friends, and living near family will be even more appreciated...

but in the meantime there might be days when the kids' and I might feel sad and stressed about learning to live this new and yes somewhat exciting life here in Ann Arbor....

and that's okay too.

Tomorrow will be better.

And perhaps if we are lucky...a little less hard.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

...a normal day

...but perhaps that's a little too much to expect after being in our home (with all of our things) for less than a week?

We did enjoy a little bit of our new normal...

1.  Coffee on the porch.
2.  Breakfast as a family at the (cleaned off) dining room table.
3.  Several walks (now four-a-day) with Timber

But we are still striving putting on the finishing touches...meaning I continue creating projects to make this space our own...

Case in point:  Mark (completely unsolicited by me) came home from the local junkyard with a pile of this wood for me ($5 for all of it)!

Huge brownie points for him!!!

A little bit of work was required....

 And now we have this...

And a several other large pieces that have been turned into stools for our fire pit and two big outdoor tables.  

I'll share more photos later...

Stay tuned.  As there are less and less big projects to attend to, I'll be more and more likely to be able to photograph the rooms' transformations.

Monday, August 4, 2014 start to blog again

...which means it's the first evening in two weeks that I have been able to sit down with my computer in the evening.

We have moved into our first home.

The kids are over-the-moon about our place.

Mark is equally enamored.

As for me...I see lots of little projects on my horizon and I love those!!

Since we began this move two weeks ago I have been on a little hiatus from the internet world.  Slowly over the past few days I've started taking photos again, I've started posting on Instagram again, and this evening it was time to start blogging and answering emails.

I just needed a little break.


It's supposed to be a toy room.
Where's Audrey?  Extra points if you can spot her in the photo above!

And this:

We are supposed to be able to sleep here tonight.

Where did all this blankety-blank-blank stuff come from?  Who buys 14 boxes of Kleenex?  Surely the movers unpacked someone else's things on my bed?

Tomorrow I'll be focused again.

And I'll begin to share more photos of the real progress we have been making.

Soon...this place it going to feel like home.