9.30.2014

Things change

Hey there. Remember me?

I'm the dimwit who wrote a season-ending giant cliffhanger a few months ago, saying things were going to change.

And then I never returned. So let me catch you up.

First there was this:


And this:


And then all of this.







See? BIG!!

The Cheesecurds are no longer in the Land of Cheese! We are now, hell, I have no idea what they call folks here. Doesn't matter though...we are still Cheesecurds. We just live in the City of Roses now. Portland, to be exact.

You might be saying "holy hell, I can't believe they picked up and moved!" and that's my thoughts exactly as I drive around our new city. It was a decision a long time in the making, though when the gears starting turning it happened incredibly fast.

The Man and I were both born and raised in the northwest. After marrying, we knew we wanted to settle down in the northwest as well, but not before we ventured out and explored other parts of the country. We lived five years in California, six years in northern Wisconsin, and nine years in southeast Wisconsin.

We loved it there. Had a great house. Amazing friends. Good jobs. We lived in the best school district and a fantastic neighborhood. We were definitely setting deep roots but still felt unsettled because we couldn't say no to the idea of returning to the northwest once again. There was the weight of the "should we or shouldn't we" question hanging over every thing we did.

The past few years we've had so many losses in our family and we were feeling the pull to return even harder. A great job opportunity coincidently opened up for The Man when we were visiting the northwest for my sister's memorial, so a few quick job interviews, and wham, next thing we knew we were moving!

*******

Though it was something we had talked about for years, we were completely unprepared to actually move. And, because I suck at change, The Man basically had to drag me kicking and screaming.

I got focused on all the negatives of leaving Wisconsin. It meant giving up a career that I had dedicated myself to for the past 15 years for...no job in sight. The odds of both of us lining up jobs at the same time were close to none. We opted to go for the higher wage and follow The Man's job. But that meant walking away from a very good journalism job at a time when the number of journalism jobs have been falling faster than apples in October. This move could mean that I've walked away from journalism. I was heartsick.

It also meant leaving a network of amazing friends. Seriously amazing. There are our besties---for 15 years we have hung out, grown our families together, and watched our children become friends. I know we'll stay friends for life, but it will be darned hard not to call them on Friday at 4:30 and say, want to meet at the park in 1/2 hour for a beer?

And then we were lucky enough to make some new friends, brought together through adoption and parenting. You know how hard it is to find a couple where all four of you just click? We had that. (Sniff.)

And not at the end of the list are countless people (GB! MLS!) that were an integral part of our lives and we miss every day!

Of course, another huge concern was the boys. Little Brother was just settling in. Finally sleeping through the night (mostly) in his own room. He had only been home 4 months when we started packing up for the move. And Little Man handles change as well as I do. To say he was out of control would be putting it nicely.

We all struggled.

Into the fray came my mom. Poor thing. Two weeks before we moved she came out to help. (THANK YOU MOM!!)  I realized that there was no way we were going to be able to get out in time. The Man and I were completely exhausted. We had been packing between 8 p.m. (after boys went to bed) and midnight, and there was just no more juice in our tanks. My mom came in full of energy, and when she wasn't chasing our very busy, very emotional kids, she was packing boxes. And she did it while I acted bitchy and whiny the whole time. She was a champ.

Somehow, and I really don't know how, we got through it.

The house sold. (Four days!?!?!) The moving company was great. The Man drove out to Oregon with the dog, two cats and an aquatic frog. Without incident. Mom and I flew out with the kids. And our temporary digs (until we find a place to buy) are OK, which was a concern since we took the place sight unseen.

**********

It's been three whole weeks now. We are living in a sea of boxes which our children think is fun---built in climbing gyms throughout the house!! I'm working on job possibilities. Pre-school possibilities. Figuring out the area.

I'm past thinking we've messed up everything. I think we did the right thing for our family in the long run though it truly was one of the toughest things I've had to do.

It's all a new adventure. But boy, do I miss home.

7.25.2014

Nanny in the house

I never really saw us as nanny people. That very word seems so pretentious and conjures up images of an uptight, elderly fussbucket who caters to rich families and spoiled children.

However, I'm changing my tune.

After four months off of work, it was time for me to go back to the real world. But Little Brother was clingy and still a little scared. We were concerned (OK, mostly I was concerned but The Man went along with it) that it would be too much for Little Brother to go to the preschool that Little Man attends. Although there are two regular classroom teachers, many other teachers rotate through the class for break times, and the two teacher's schedules don't align, so he could have a different set of teachers each day.

He's a sensitive kid and scared when just one of us leaves the house. So I figured that when both of us left, and he was in a strange place, it might just be too much for him.

Our friends have had a nanny for a few years and rave about it. So we decided to go for the nanny option too. I haven't regretted it for a minute!

We found our nanny through Care.com. She's a sweetheart! She's a college student and works with autistic kids. Patient, kind, and gentle. All the things our boy needed.

Because we haven't been together very long, I was a bit freaked about leaving him with a single caretaker, fearing that he would attach to someone else. But he's a loyal little guy. And I don't think our attachment has waned in any way.

His first few weeks with the nanny, I stayed close to home, occasionally running a few errands. I wanted to hear how she interacted with him and see how he responded to her. She did a great job of redirecting and occupying him. She handled his throwing and hitting well (though one week she did have a large scratch across her forehead).

After the initial first few days I tried leaving the house for a few hours at a time and built up the duration over a week. He really struggled and very upset while I was gone. Boy, that was really tough to leave him. He would throw himself at the door as I walked out and screamed the same frantic way he did when he left his foster mother. 

Knife. To. The. Heart.

Friends were super helpful with supportive phone calls at this time and making lunch dates. Thank goodness because all I wanted to do was go back home! 

He did get a little fearful of the nanny for about a week. As soon as she came in the morning, he'd run to us and start crying. He knew what was coming and he wasn't happy about it.

It's been about 4 weeks now and he's doing really well. He no longer cries when she arrives, and though he cries a little when we leave, it's fairly mild and short-lived.

He's just gotten to the point where he's started laughing with her and being silly. She would arrive in the morning and see him happily interacting with Little Man, but when we all left he grew very serious. He's finally started giggling with her and she loves it.

When I come home, I hear his happy screams as I get out of my car. He runs to the door and climbs up on me, patting my chest furiously and babbling. He then turns to the nanny and waves good-bye, as if telling her "you can go now"! Such a great welcome home!

Each morning she comes in and it's great to have an extra set of eyes and hands while we get ready in the morning. She will immediately change, dress, feed or occupy Little Brother, and keep the brothers from causing too much chaos as we try to get ready for work.

Honestly, the most challenging thing I've found about having a nanny is keeping our house clean. I've become a total house nazi and keep a schedule of cleaning on the fridge. This isn't cleaning that the nanny is doing. It's the cleaning WE are doing because the nanny is there! Ridiculous, I know. 

What makes it even more ridiculous is many people have their nannies do the housecleaning while the babies are asleep. Guess I didn't think that one through too well. We just asked our nanny to unload the dishwasher each day and load up our breakfast dishes and those she uses throughout the day. That's a big help. But lesson learned for the next nanny we hire.

The only down side to this is that our nanny is a college student and will be returning in the fall. Which means we have to decide whether to hire again, or to send him to preschool. 

Sigh.

7.08.2014

Three years a family!

Starting our life together. 5/10/2011
(This is a catch-up post. Our family day with Little Man was May 10. I'm only a few months late which is pretty good for me lately!)

*****

Family. Before Little Man came that word only referred to The Man, myself, Gus the wonder dog and our kitties.

But now it's much more. Three years ago our definition of family was revolutionized when a quiet boy was placed in my arms, sitting stiffly in my lap during our taxi ride away from the adoption agency.

I think back to that baby---that stranger who I called my child. I remember how he behaved then, small indicators of his amazing personality that would soon be revealed to us.

How he clung to a bottle and shyly shared his first laugh with us. An open mouthed belly laugh.  It was the sweetest thing I have ever heard.

I remember the guarded look in his eyes. And how he didn't cry. How he kept his feelings bottled inside.

How he babbled and sang when alone in his crib.

And how he watched everything we did very carefully. And then tried to repeat on his own, getting frustrated when he couldn't get the exact same results. He'd try again and again, the absolute definition of determination.

He's still all these things. And of course, so much more. He's a child of extremes and intense emotion. Whatever he's feeling is all consuming for him, (and for those around him as well). He's incredibly physically gifted and one of the most agile children I've seen. He's smart. Sassy (which isn't always a plus). Courageous. Compassionate. Observant. A challenge. A mystery.

He is the leader on this great parenting adventure. Of course, we are the adults, but he is the leader. We follow him through it's twists and turns. Try to figure out how to help him stay on the path. He is forgiving of our mistakes and missteps.

From him we learn more about ourselves---how we react when pushed to our limits; how we need to find more self control; to realize that we really have no control at all; to figure out how to love something and let it go at the same time.

He's a tiny dynamo who inspires me to be a better person, shocks me with his joy for new things, and awes me with his ability to express his emotion completely. He's likely to be my life's greatest challenge and he's definitely my life's greatest adventure.

I can't believe it's only been three years together. And I'm thankful that we are family.