Loving my morning routine

During the summer, the girls and I would sometimes stay in bed until 9:30 AM.  (I tried not to tell my other mom friends that I had no problem training my girls to sleep in.)  We had very lazy mornings, often doing nothing of consequence until lunchtime.

That was nice, but I often felt like a giant slug.

Now that school has started back up, P gets up at 6:50 for a shower and the girls and I cuddle in bed together until around 7:15 AM.  P takes the girls down for breakfast while I get dressed and we are out of the house by 7:45. We drop the girls off first and then P goes to work while I either head home or head to work.
I go in for my internship (which starts at 8:30) three mornings a week; the other two mornings I come back home, make myself a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal, put on music, and sit in front of the computer to write e-mails, pay bills, blog, chat with my family, or catch up on my Reeder.  Occasionally I will run errands outside or do things that are much easier without children (like clothes shopping at the thrift store or meeting a friend for coffee).
I’m not a morning person but I have loved having to get up early.  I love getting dressed for the day (I usually don’t leave my bedroom in the morning without getting dressed–I don’t know why, but I don’t like hanging out at home in my PJs!) and even the short drive to drop the girls off at preschool/daycare is enough to energize me for the day.  I love listening to Morning Edition on my drive.  I love that the start of every morning is the same.

Loving my home

We bought our current house almost exactly 2 years ago.  We purchased it under a first-time home buyers’ program that is fantastic (we would not have been able to buy a house in this location otherwise) but that has stipulations that make it much more financially worthwhile if we stay here for at least a few years.  So basically, we bought this house two years ago and don’t intend to move unless we’re moving out of town (or, as I vowed when I was hauling our seemingly endless boxes, until we move out of the country).  Is it ridiculous, then, to admit that I regularly cruise the real estate listings?  

To be fair, I look at the real estate listings the way I look at home decorating blogs—fun for ideas, fun to daydream about future possibilities (I’d like a porch one day.  And an eat-in kitchen would be nice!).  Before this house, we moved at least once a year, and I’ve combated any antsiness by rearranging a room every few months.

The house needs work—work that we’re not sure we’ll ever get to.  (In fact, the first time we toured this house, we both said, “no” right away.)  Both bathrooms could stand to be gutted. frankly.  I am currently typing from my lovely office/library under a fluorescent light (ew) and a drop ceiling (double ew).  Our kitchen floors are scuffed linoleum and yes, I dream of an eat-in kitchen.  Our house is at a corner by a fairly busy street and, more often than not, I fall asleep to road noise.  It’s a split-level.  I always considered split-levels my least favorite style of home.  

Furthermore, home ownership has also not been all that it’s cracked up to be.  Our monthly expenses are much higher than we anticipated (so much more to think about—sewage, trash/recycling, insurance, taxes!) and we’re always afraid that our plumbing will die for real.

All that said–I love this house!  We are lucky, lucky, lucky (or I should say—blessed) to live here.  We live in the heart of town.  P can walk to work in less than half an hour—or bike in seven minutes.  I can walk to my favorite coffee shop in just over fifteen minutes; downtown is just a few blocks away.  We are equidistant from a playground and two gorgeous parks with wooded trails and a stream.  We are close to many friends, not far from shopping.  We live on an older tree-lined street, where every house is different and most are much nicer and bigger than ours (good for home value!). 

P and I both feel like we’ve been given the gift of hospitality (not that we’re Pinterest-worthy hosts—far from it—but we both are always inclined to say “Yes, please, come over to our place.  Stay for a night or a month.”) and the best part of this house is that we have space for guests, unlike our two previous apartments.  Now we have a dedicated guest room (which sees lots of use), a futon in the library, and as much floor space as we’d ever need.  Our living room and dining area are open, perfect for parties.  We have a big deck and a backyard that is covered by a canopy of mature trees.  Our backyard has seen countless parties and late-night conversations around a fire.
I’m thankful for this house.  I’m thankful for the friends and family that fill this space.

This picture is from February 2012.  I need to remember to take more pictures around the house!

Loving the here and now

As I’ve mentioned before, I struggle with restlessness.  I’ve been fairly transient my adult life.  I’ve lived in four continents and consider three countries “home.” My first job out of college had me traveling to fifteen countries in five months.  In the six years that P and I have been married, we’ve lived in 8 different homes.

We moved to this town in 2008 with the intention of living here until both of us finish our Master’s degree.  I am on my last semester but P has at least another year to go.  Sometimes we get really antsy.  It seems crazy that we own a house, have two children, and have lived in this town for almost half a decade.  We spend hours talking about our future, dreaming about various scenarios that will bring us to far-off places.
And it’s not just our location that has us chafing at the bit–sometimes we want to rebel against this season of life–parenting small children, living on a tight budget, limiting our late nights out and our weekends away.  We dream of being a bit more foot-loose and less tied down to our current iteration of a normal American life (9 – 5 job, house with a yard, etc.).
It’s good to dream.  I’ve come to terms with the part of my personality that will always be looking towards the next adventure.  I appreciate that I am not afraid of change.  
But it is also important to be content.  
One thing I’ve learned in my years as an adult is that every situation presents both the wonderful and the not-so-wonderful.  It’s easy to glamorize the life I’m not currently living (whether that be in a city or in the bush) but I know in my heart that there are SO many things about my here and now that I will miss.  The thing is, I really love my life.
So I am going to take the thirty-one days of October to be intentional about celebrating and enjoying this place, this life, myself and my family as we are right now.
l-r: Kitulo, Tanzania; Tagaytay, Philippines; Coburn, Pennsylvania, USA