Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Unexpected Celebration

This past week we had a celebration in our family that was a bit of a surprise. Jack came downstairs and announced to us that it was Tiny Henry's birthday.

Say what? Both Brandon and I looked at each other, little did we know that it was Jack's stuffed mouse's birthday.  Tiny Henry entered our lives on Jack's birthday, which in my mind only makes him about 6 months old. There are times that Tiny Henry disappears and is not seen for awhile, but then he resurfaces and becomes an integral part of Jack's day. 

Since this was his birthday he needed to have his own special pancake, because pancakes are his favorite breakfast treat. Brandon and I continued to just look at each other and shrug. Do we step in and say, it's not your stuffed animal's birthday? Or do we just go with it?

Obviously we went with the second choice.  At dinner time we decided to walk to a new pizza place for dinner. Seeing as how it was Tiny Henry's birthday, he had to come too. Along with a friend.  And of course, how else would they get to the restaurant except in the pink stroller.

We did draw the line at actually putting Tiny Henry or Seal into a high chair, but the stroller did make it into the restaurant and to the table. The waitress tripped on it once but recovered nicely and did not ask us to put the stroller away.  We did get some strange looks on our way out of the restaurant, but considering their son had pig-tails, I don't think they have room to talk.

Luckily, we have this one who is almost too cool for school.  Sunglasses, check. Bus, check.  Purse, oh wait, that's right. Nevermind.  

We have one son who treats his "lovies" as members of the family, one son who is impersonating a hockey player, and one son who can't go anywhere without his purse

But they are mine and I love them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And So It Ends

As with everything, my lovely weekend away has come to an end.  Why is it that time flies when you are by yourself, doing something you love; but time seems to come to a screeching halt that last hour of the day. 4:00-5:00, it is only 60 minutes and yet it can seem like an eternity.

This weekend was wonderful, I slept, I read (very little), I practiced silence and solitude, I watched TV (alot), and I walked.

Well, "Hello" there little seal.
Sure was nice to have a lovely along with me, thanks Jack!
I spent the first night just reveling in being alone. I watched weird shows on the CW, surfed the Internet, and was asleep by 10:30. Not a very exciting night, but perfect for me.  It was weird sleeping alone, and I kept waking up to see if it was morning yet.  Also, I was worried about missing out on breakfast.

The dining room, where I learned that at Bed & Breakfast
places you talk to the other guests.
The first of many growing experiences for me!
After an amazing breakfast, and an interesting conversation with a couple from France, it was back to my room for some quiet time.  At breakfast first there was silence, then there was a big laugh from the other guests when I answered the question, "where are you from?".  Apparently, after giving your name, that is the first question asked at a B&B.  The answer: 5 minutes away, was a bit of a shock to the other guests. But I just laughed and said it was a mini-break from reality.  

I truly enjoyed the quiet and am hoping to be able to continue it once I am home.  Getting up at 6:00 AM in order to be able to be alone, is much different then having quiet time at 10:30 with a full belly and a cup of coffee.

After a little bit more laying around, I decided it was time to go exploring. My very favorite consignment store is located not far from here so I set off with walking shoes, rain coat, book, and a spring in my step. Okay, not really, I spent most of the time making sure I am not going to get lost and then trying to walk like I have a purpose. I have a bit of quirk about my personality that makes me believe that EVERYONE is looking at me when I am walking by myself.  Makes me stand up straight as I walk, you know, just in case.

I followed up an amazing shopping trip with lunch. This was a time when I let Brandon guide my meal decision. I was going to go into a coffee shop, because people are always at coffee shops by themselves. That I have grown used to and am quite comfortable with. But the one I was going to was cash only, and I only had $5. Not nearly enough for coffee & a sandwich. It was 2:00, Brandon was quite confident that this place would be empty, it was the perfect time to go.  I took a deep breath, opened the door, and walked in. Once in, I was committed, and unfortunately the place was not empty. I guess there was some sort of a game being played on Saturday. Something to do with an opponent that wears lots of red, and a game that caused lots of screaming from the fans inside the bar.  I took a table at the far back and proceeded to order a salad and a beer.  Yes, a beer, again I was channeling Brandon. It was good, and I ate and read my book, and tried to ignore the game on the TV and the crazy fans filling the restaurant.  I will admit to being a little insecure and snuck out the back.  But still, I ate, at a restaurant, all by myself. I'm a big girl.

After a lovely post walk nap, I resumed my TV watching. I am obsessed with this show, and am trying to catch up for the current season. Probably not likely, but I gave it my all!

My reading/TV watching/solitude and silence chair. 
I finally realized I was hungry about 7:30 at night. Not a good time to go walking, nor did I have a great plan for dinner. I had originally thought about getting a slice of pizza, but they only do slices at lunchtime. I was not hungry enough for a whole pie, so back to the drawing board. After many text consultations with Brandon I ended up trying a restaurant very close to the B&B. I did drive, because after all it was dark, and I am a very cautious person. Plus, I wanted to show my mom that I could travel by myself and be safe!

The place I chose for dinner had a bar, so I took a deep breath and headed in. I was very nervous about sitting by myself at a bar (again, the whole staring thing) but I figured a table would be worse. I tried watching the soccer game on TV but it was soon over and I was left staring at a blank screen.  I ordered a glass of wine, which helped with the nerves, but the second glass of wine left me a little tipsy. All I know is that the bartender was offering me extra whip cream and trying to entice me to have some by proving it was homemade whip cream. I'm not sure, but I did laugh at his tattoo, and then he cut me off. Which was fine, because I was done and ready to continue my TV marathon.

The bags are packed.
After another good breakfast, and more conversation, it was time to pack up and go.  My break from reality was over. I loved it and am holding on to the euphoric feeling I have had. I know as soon as I open the door, I will be hit with reality and I want to show my family how much this vacation meant to me. That means smiles, hugs, cuddles, and devoted attention to all 4 of my boys.

The clock says 11:02, time to go.

One last picture before I leave. Thank you, 9 Cranes Inn, for what I hope will be a yearly tradition.

Oh, wait, I am not quite ready to re-enter society.  One more cup of coffee, blog post, and hour to myself. But now I am feeling the pull of my family. I want to see them, tell them I love them, and then go take a nap.

Hmmm, not sure if Brandon will go for that last bit. Oh, well, I have had almost 48 hours of complete alone time and I am happy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

For The First Time

The chorus to one of my (current) favorite songs:

For the first time
Sounds like hallelujah for the first time
For the first time
Sounds like hallelujah for the first time

Tonight I am doing something for the first time and I can't help but sing (and even dance) to this chorus. Just the chorus because it is the only part of the song I know.  For the first time, I am on a mini-vacation BY MYSELF. All by myself. No spouse, no friends, no sisters, no mom, and no kids.  It has taken me a year but I finally did it, for the first time.

A year ago I was doing okay, definitely better then the previous fall when I had a 3 month old, a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 1/2 year old. But I was still struggling. Part of my struggle was my absolute need for solitude and the certainty that that was not possible in my current stage of life. In my mind I hold the days before kids as this kind of "glory days", where the sun was always shinning, the birds were always singing, and I was content and happy. The truth was I very much wanted kids and longed for the day when Brandon would finally give in.  But looking back, the summers that I spent at home, alone, all day: reading, working in the garden, walking, even cleaning, were this idyllic time.  My teaching schedule and Brandon's work schedule meant that I had vast amounts of time by myself.  

Not until recently did I realize how much I not only missed that alone time, but that I needed it to in order to survive.  Maybe some of you will roll your eyes at this, or as in the case of my Mother-In-Law, be completely aghast at the thought of wanting and needing to be alone. But that is me.
A year ago, I wasn't quite ready to go away. I had some fears, both rational and irrational, about traveling by myself. I also felt selfish in taking the time away from my family, spending money on a hotel for just me, asking Brandon to work all week and then watch the kids all weekend. Instead, I just went away for the day. I started at my favorite consignment stores in Seattle before moving to my other favorite place, Langley. I loved my day away but more I loved how excited I was to return home.  As I have said to Brandon before, "I want to miss you".  Some of you may get that, others may not. 

So this year, for the first time, I am on my own. I am not far from home, but it feels like worlds away. I have too many books to read, ideas to write about, and sleep to catch up on, then can be done in 2 days, but that is okay. I have no time restrictions, except breakfast is only served until 9:30, and no one to answer to.

As I sat down to write this, I quickly checked all my favorite blog sites.  This one seemed to be written specifically to me.  Aah, a place of my own, where I could go more then just once a year? 

For the first time
I'm singing hallelujah for the first time

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Didn't Cry

I didn't cry as we walked into school today and Jack slipped his hand in mine.

I didn't cry when I saw his desk with his name and the room where he will spend most of his day.

I didn't cry when the teacher asked for kids who were willing to share their name and Jack raised his hand.

I didn't cry when The Kissing Hand was being read.

I didn't cry as Jack claimed a locker for his very own.

I almost cried when I realized the boys Jack thought he was playing with were really chasing him away and wanted nothing to do with him.

I cried when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw Jack's face reflected back at me. "I will miss you" I said to him and he smiled.

That's when I cried.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Okay, Maybe He Was Right

We have this friend, I'll call him Matt since that is his name, who teases me about this post.  Even though the pink chairs are gone, we still have the strollers, the dolls, the doll cradle, and even a doll house.  All of my boys have gone through a slight feminine stage: Jack liked to have his toe nails painted, Micah loved to take care of his 'baby'. But Finn takes it to a whole new level.

This is his purse. He makes sure it is full of everything he may need: wallet, cars, binoculars. Then it goes on his arm and he is ready. As we head into the store Finn says, "Mommy purse, my purse".

Yep, that's my boy.