Monday, December 31, 2007

Blogging sabbatical notes

Okay, so I cheated last week, but I really, really am trying to be good on my blogging sabbatical. I am cheating again today because my children were all still sleeping at 9 a.m., and my coffee was hot, and my computer was crying out to me. My plan is to be back "at it" more regularly next week.

It's been good to take a break. My kids have needed me, and I needed the rest.

Here's what's gone on the past couple of weeks:

1. Christmas. It was a quiet one - like last Thanksgiving, it was the first time ever that our little family was alone on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. After years of muddling through, my side of the family has agreed to try to get together the Sunday before Christmas every year, leaving Christmas Eve and Day for immediate family. So wonderful.

2. Ruthie's birthday. I still can't believe my baby's four. She's growing up tall, shaped like a very cute string bean. She changes clothes fourteen times a day, and plays pretend with Annie (6) for hours on end ("You can be the huthband thith time, Annie," she says.). She's starting to get a little big for her britches, so we're working on that, but when she says, "You're the betht Mommy ever," it sort of makes up for the struggles we face over who's really in charge around here.

Here she helps make lefse, our Christmas traditional Norwegian potato flatbread. Aren't you glad to know the lefse bakes on a very hot griddle?

3. Tessa. I should just have it engraved on my forehead: S-U-C-K-E-R.

Tessa is our new calico kitten. She was a gift to Libby (10), who started begging back in October for a hamster for Christmas.

No offense to any of you rodent lovers out there, but we have a No Pets In A Cage policy here at the Raising Five house. Let’s just say, Been there, done that with hamsters, birds and rabbits. It’s bad enough that kids (no matter how many tears and promises to the contrary) don’t clean smelly cages out without frustrated mothers holding the proverbial gun to their heads. I don’t have time or patience for that. But the Unacceptable Factor for me is, who wants to hold ANY animal whose digestive outputs are, shall we say, unpredictable?

We set our last hamster - Chubs, the evil, biting man that he was – free. We feel confident that he married a mouse wife and now rules the vermin of the creek behind our neighborhood.

Sooo, after a few visits to the pet store to humor her, calculating the ridiculous cost of cages (you know it’s bad when the pet store offers “free rat with purchase of cage”), we decided another cat would be a better bet for our dear, animal-loving Libby (remember, she wants to be a people AND animal dentist?). Our resident cat, Jack, sleeps all day in the house, and then we put him out at night to hunt hamsters mice. And no litter box, to boot. But maybe a nice, inside cat would do.

So we visited our local Humane Society and found Tessa. She is sweet, doesn’t relieve herself unexpectedly when we’re holding her, she doesn’t bite, and she has no cage to clean.

What could be better?

4. Moving. After years of dreaming about it, we are taking our first halting steps toward getting out of our concrete jungle. We love our house, and have lots of friends here, but we live in a huge "suburb," with a mall and a Walmart on every corner, and where there are over 1,100 students in each high school class.

It's just too big.

We spent the weekend looking at houses in a town about 30 miles away - the commute would add about 15 minutes to Dennis's current in-traffic drive to work.

But in my mind, to come home to this every night would be totally worth it.

Have any of you ever done anything radical, like move your family to a smaller town?

**And, edited to add, just because**

Due to the sprawling nature of our megalopolis, going thirty miles from here does not mean thirty miles out of "town," necessarily. This particular town has two good-sized cities (40,000 and 100,000) 15 miles in either direction. I think that many people live in my current ZIP code, so getting 15 miles away from at least some of them sounds awfully nice!

5. Today is Libby's 10th birthday, so I'm off to bake a cake. She's my animal lover, my time keeper, incredibly smart, and a little on the pensive side when she's not cracking a hilarious joke with her very dry sense of humor.

She's on that cusp - she loves playing (a little too roughly!) with the little girls, but doesn't want to be relegated to the little girls' world. And although she shares a room with Allie (14) and they talk and laugh until way too late for a ten year old, she's not quite ready for the older kids' world, either. It's a precious time of innocence and anticipation, and I'm holding her close.


Beck said...

Have we ever moved our family to a much smaller town? Uh, yes? We moved from a city to our current town (population 1000!). It's been mostly good, but you might want to spend some time talking about what moving to a smaller place might mean (less access to different kinds of extracurricular activities, for one).
Happy birthday to Libby! You described that magical cusp age so beautifully. And your Ruthie and my Baby would be very elegant princesses together.

dawn klinge said...

It's good to have you back in Blogland :P We love to make lefse for Thanksgiving and Christmas also. Congrats on the new kitten! Good luck on the house hunting.

Susanne said...

I'd let Snow White make potato pancakes for me any day. It makes them extra special, magical,even.

It was so nice to see you check in. A quiet Christmas sounds wonderful!

Happy Birthday to Libby!

Michelle said...

We did the opposite, moved from a town of 3,500 to the concrete jungle. While it would continue to appear that is in God's plan for us, I would wholeheartedly recommend you JUMP at the chance to move to a small town. Yes, there are sacrifices (depending on how far you are from "the city" you might not be able to buy a gallon of milk after 6:00 p.m. for example) but the advantages far outweigh those in my humble opinion. To live somewhere you know all your kids school teachers -- even in high know their friends and their friends' parents and don't have to spend half your family time in the car...I'm not sure there is a downside, frankly. Can you tell that I am JEALOUS???? I'll pray that God opens the doors He wants you to walk through and you can hear Him! God bless.

Leslie said...

We moved 8 hours away from the suburbs of Baltimore (where there are 2,850 people per square mile) to a small town in NC (where there are 57 people per square mile). It was, as you can imagine, a big change. But honestly, it was one of the best things my family has ever done for themselves. The kids love being able to run all over the place and play in the woods and the open fields. You have to adjust and learn to drive further (WalMart is 20 minutes away instead of 2), but it is so worth it.

Jen said...

Oh yes...10. Madison turned 10 in March and Katherine I'm having the hardest time with her mouth...she doesnt curse...she back talks...problem is I dont think she really knows what she is doing until the damage is done....we are trying so hard to work on this. 10......great age...they ask so many thing I'am doing this summer with her is more one on one's....lunches and shopping or museums just me and her.
Moving....never moved the family that far since Madison was in school....cant help you looks beautiful and will probably make you happier there.

Anonymous said...

We would probably never make that move because hubby is definitely a city boy and doesn't want to even see what country life would hold. I would love the open spaces for the kids to run in but I must admit I would miss sending hubby to the store at midnight because we ran out of milk or something! let us know what happens - I'm sure you will!

Brenda said...

OK, after reading Ruthie's quotes, and then running across the unfamiliar word "lefse" I was pronouncing it with a lisp. I was confused for just a minute there!

And I think moving would be a WONDERFUL idea!!! I would do it too if Grandma and Grandpa weren't 3 doors down.

El Shaddai Ranch said...

We have lived in several states since we got married. Now we live in the concrete jungle BUT I can see the sun set beautifully over the lake every night. My hubs is ready to make the leap you are thinking about. I get it and I think you are right - it'd be good for everyone (except the work commute.) Hard to please 7 people, eh?

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

Sounds like a sweet holiday season at your house! Ruthie is a doll. "Too big for her britches" sounds like my A. (3yo) who assumes he can do anything the big kids do. Never mind they earned their freedoms one at a time... he can just take them for himself!

And yes, we have made a radical move, but to big Atlanta! We left family, friends, and everything we knew in Nashville, TN almost 3 years ago to the day. But we had a clear call from God and have been so blessed here. The area you're thinking about looks idyllic!

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alyson said...

Yup. Last May we moved from the subburbs to my husbands family farm in the country. It was the best and scariest move we have ever made.
hence why I started my blog proud to be country!!!

Elise @A Path Made Straight said...

Oh, you make me laugh! That comment about baking the lefse on a hot griddle? :D But Snow White is so pure...
Welcome back - I hope your plan to be regularly back "at it" next week goes well... the best laid plans. I've enjoyed this break myself- but I've so much swimming around in my head that it must spill out somewhere! :)

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Oh, the kitten is adorable. My Camden (9) is begging for a kitten since our old cat is lazy and hides most of the time. Stinky hamster cages are the worst, so I'll take a cat over a hamster any day.

We moved from "busy suburb" to "quiet suburb" several years ago and are always talking about someday moving further "out in the country." We'll see... I like my conveniences -- like bookstores and bagel shops, and don't want to be too far from them. :)

Julie said...

I would love to move out of the concrete jungle. I would like to move out of california. However, hubby loves his job so that probably will never happen. We lived in Colorado for a few years and I loved it. I would jump at the chance to move back.

Happy Birthday to Libby. He kitty is a cutey.


Unknown said...

Happy New Year!

And yes, I have some info about the smaller town as well. I grew up in Houston, and thought it was fine. I didn't know why people said it was ugly--I mean, it's not beautiful, but it's just a city, right?

Three years ago hubby's job brought us to Connecticut. He works in a city, but much of CT is made up of small towns. We live in a town of 25,000 with winding roads, smaller schools, and beauty. We are about 20 minutes away from two different towns of 80,000 that have malls, Wal-Marts etc. Bottom line--I love it.

Anonymous said...

Have any of you ever done anything radical, like move your family to a smaller town?

Yup. We left NYC and moved to the middle of nowhere PA on a 100 acre farm for a year. We would've stayed there but the commute was much too long to get into the city daily. Now we're looking to buy a home, and the suburbs look so appealing. . . and then I saw their taxes and said I'd keep my technically-in-the-city beachhouse where I get the beach and a small yard. At $1000/mo in taxes, I can't afford to go out to the suburbs. . . Good luck in your house hunt. I hope you find the perfect one for your family.

Happy birthday Libby!

Lisa said...

You beautifully described the age of 10! I am right there with you with my 9 year old.

I am glad you are back to blogging, welcome back and Happy New Year!

I would jump at the chance to move to a rural area, it is our dream to have a few acres of our own! Good Luck!

Dianne said...

Sheesh, I have an 18 year old calico cat I'd have paid you to take! She's meek and mild and except for taking shots 2x day, no bother at all. i just don't like cats (but she came with the hubby and i do like him!)

kittyhox said...

Congratulations on your move!!

We hope to relocate to a small town as soon as possible!

Love the photos...

By the way, lately I've been thinking I really would like five children. I think it's because I DVR and watch Seventh Heaven all the time. Although, come to think of it, they end up with SEVEN children. So maybe it's your influence?

At what point did you decide to have a big family? Now that we have ONE I just feel like I want to have a little one around at all times. Must get to work on baby number two!

Anonymous said...

My parents moved us from the suburbs to a small town in Michigan when I was a child, and it was WONDERFUL. I live in a small city now, and I'm champing at the bit to buy a house in the country.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for adopting little Tessa from the Humane Society. Every life is precious. May she and your family bring each other much joy for years to come.

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

We moved out of the Bay Area over seven years ago to a suburb that made us feel like we were in the country without the acreage.

We now wish we had bought acreage! We are looking for some land ourselves. A tree with a tire swing and a pond for the boys to fish in would be simply wonderful!

Congrats on your decision, don't look back for a moment.

Blessings, Joanne