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So, each week, I see this graphic on a couple/few of the blogs I frequent, and today I think, “Hey, that’s just what I need to eek out a blog post today!”

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  • I now have first-hand proof of the validity of the “wait until your child is free of symptoms for 24 hours before sending him back to school” rule.  Nicky’s fever broke at 2:00 this morning, and as much as I wanted to send him to school, so he could participate in his final drum circle group, I did the right thing and kept him home.  Several hours later, he looked miserable, and the thermometer registered 101.
  • The house is still a wreck, but Jason took down the LCD TV mount the previous tenants left behind (which was  likely only making him feel deprived, anyway) and replaced it with framed artwork.  Awesome.
  • The art (a tea towel from Bayeux, which my mother thoughtfully had framed for us), inspired me to clean off the mantel underneath it and spookify at least a little of the house. (Sorry about the shoddy photo.)

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  • My toes are cold.  (Surprising to no one who knows me, I’ll wager.)
  • I think I might just try NaBloPoMo again this year.
  • The black light bulb we put in our front porch fixture every year always makes me think of Space Mountain.
  • Bench Monday makes me happy.

2009-Oct26-blog

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I have been scatterbrained and completely unfocused on doing anything fun and creative lately.  My blog has been withering, the posts have been piling up in my Google Reader, I haven’t done a scrapbook page since leaving Atlanta, the crochet hooks are cold and lifeless.

The final straw?  I forgot 12 of 12 yesterday.  I love 12 of 12.  It’s no Bench Monday, but it does make me happy.

The solution?  I’ve given up on Project 365 (one less thing to think about on a daily basis), and I caught up on my Google Reader, which has inspired me to at least get blogging again.

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Balance.  Isn’t that always the key?  It is for me.  Funny that using that particular key also happens to be one of my biggest challenges in life.

All of this is not to say that life has been boring or that I’ve been unfulfilled – quite the opposite, in fact!  We made the decision upon moving here to refrain from participating in any time-consuming extracurricular activities for a while.  This has resulted in an unprecedented amount of family togetherness.  Board games and garage saling and letterboxing, dinners with all four of us gathered around the table…these are incredibly good things.  The boys and I walk back and forth to school most days (a new experience for us all!).  They play on the playground after school while I chat with other moms and [hopefully] form some new friendships (…and thank Heaven for my friend j., who provided me with a built-in amazing friendship and support system and tour guide, all in one.).

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On top of all of this, I desperately need what is usually the first thing to fall by the wayside – creative outlet.  Something that’s all mine, and mine alone.  My feet on a bench.  My hook in some yarn.  My hand on the mouse.  My fingers on the keyboard.  That’s all I need…a lot of one, or a little of each.

2009-Oct12-blog

So, since I spent yesterday morning ironing shirts, this morning calling doctors in Seattle (requesting appointments) and Atlanta (requesting records), and the afternoons on the school playground, I dedicate this evening to me.

Slow and steady, right?  Isn’t that the fable’s answer to getting ahead?

Oh, good.  We’re right on track for winning the Get Your House Unpacked marathon.  Woo hoo!

It’s been more challenging than we anticipated, figuring out each room’s use and finding ways to house the odds and ends we have.  Our garage sale pile is growing (again, slowly but steadily), but we do want to keep some of our stuff.  Garage sales, trips to Ikea, Craigslist purchases…bit by bit, we’re organizing and storing.  Stay tuned for some updates in that arena!

As a placeholder, how about one of my favorite Bench Monday shots to date?

2009-Sep7-blog

I know a lot of you have heard of it: Project 365.  I’ve seen blips and blurbs about it, on blogs, on Flickr, and I must admit, it intrigued me.  Taking a photograph a day for a whole year?  Sounds easy enough!  Then I thought about it.  It really is quite a commitment.  Goodness knows, I’ve nearly forgotten my Bench Monday shots now and again, and that’s only once a week.  Not only are we talking about a commitment and follow-through in general…it’s a commitment to be creative – if only a teensy bit – every single day!

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Ooh, now there’s a challenge worth pursuing!  Daily creativity feeds the mind and soul, right?  So, I decided to jump in with our first day in Seattle.  It should be an interesting documentation of our first year here, don’t you think?  For those of you who read my blog through an RSS reader, please click through just this once, and you’ll see a Flickr widget on the left, streaming my photographs.  Just wanted to let you know it’s there.  (And if you want to receive my 365 in your reader, here’s the RSS feed.)

As for the rest of life…moving in is going a bit slowly, but as soon as today’s chiropractic visit catches up with my body, I’ll be hitting it hard again.  I’m loving our house, and I’m beyond excited about fitting everything into place, decorating, and making it ours.

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Happy Bench Monday!

Tomorrow at this time, most of our stuff will probably be packed on the moving truck.  I wonder if the whole moving thing will hit me then.  Or will it be when we’re getting on the plane?  Or will it be in a few weeks, when we don’t “come home” from Seattle?

I have been a packing fiend the past few days.  I didn’t realize quite how much stuff we had scattered through Mom and Dad’s house, but it’s all done now, except for a few key entertainment things: the Wii, a bin of DVD’s, the lego bin, my computer.  Easy enough to finish up this afternoon and evening.  (And in the case of my computer, probably late tonight.)

This may be my last post before we hit Seattle, so here’s a proper Bench Monday send-off:

2009-August10-blog

The tape gun and I are very close friends now!  We have a lot in common.  You need to keep us fed to keep us working, and neither of us works as well out in the humid garage as here in the nice air conditioning.  It bites when it’s in a bad mood, though.  I don’t tend to bare my teeth that often.  (I hope.)

As I was lying in bed last night, a list of people began forming in my mind.  These are the people without whom this move might not have happened.  I think I’ve thanked them all profusely in private, but they also deserve a public hip-hip-hooray:

Mom and Dad: Duh.  Hello, they offered up their home long before the thought would have occurred to us.  They rearranged the house, gave up grandparental spoiling rights for a few months, and allowed us the greatest gift of all: choice.  Because of them, we had the choice of following our dreams when Jason was laid of.

The G Family: Who have put Jason up rent-free since he got to Seattle in early March.  They gave up their privacy and their guest room (a special Thanks to all their other visitors during this time, who were displaced to couches and play rooms), and they provided transportation to and from the airport, great advice, and amazing friendship.  Also to their boys for being our boys’ built-in, ready-and-waiting friends in a new place.

Jason’s Mom and Dad: Their basement/garage has been our storage area since December, when we started getting the house ready for market.  Like my parents, they have also been extremely supportive of our decision to move so far away.

My Swister: She told me it was okay if I couldn’t afford to come up for her law school graduation in May, which was incredibly selfless and made me more determined than ever to be there.

The R Family, here in the ATL: Heather keeps me sane (and sometimes simply identifies with and validates my insanity), their pool kept us entertained, and the whole family are the best friends we could ask for.

The O Family in OKC, and the E Family in Wyoming: They provided housing on our drive across country, and they both gave me awesome birthday celebrations, too.  Not to mention, they’re simply great people & friends!  (Best of luck to the O Family with your own move this weekend!)

The June Mommies: They keep me sane, too, and are an amazing gift.

Our Awesome Realtor, Cheryl: She worked hard and was so helpful in selling our home.  She had an emotional interest in doing the best she could for us, and it showed.

Dave Ramsey and his Total Money Makeover: We’d been following his plan for nearly two years when this thing began, and without that plan, we would have been in much more dire straits.

Everyone Else: Who has prayed for us, visualized us in Seattle, bit their tongue if they thought we were nuts, and loved us.

…and last but definitely not least, Jason, Nicolas and Kalen: Jason made the biggest leap possible outside his comfort zone in moving three thousand miles away, not knowing how long it would last, and never having lived apart from family before.  The stress has been unbelievable, I know.  The boys have handled this thing with amazing grace for nine- and six-year-old kids.

To all of you (and to anyone else I’ve forgotten in my current scatterbrained state):

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Boy, it’s humid in Atlanta in August.  I know, I know, it’s a given, but I really do forget just how bad it is out there when I’m happily ensconced in my air conditioned home.

This morning, we had a playdate with our neighbors…from our old neighborhood, that is.  Their oldest son is Kalen’s age, and they were in the same Kindergarten class last year.  These boys have so much fun together, and they were troopers this morning!  I needed to replace the logbook in one of our most popular letterboxes, so I recruited them to accompany us on a mini-hike to take care of it.

Of course, I took my camera…and you know it’s Monday.

2009-August3-blog

So today, I did my part to educate friends about Letterboxing and Bench Monday.  Both make me happy!

Getting together with friends we don’t see often enough makes me even happier.  Thanks for a great day, guys!

As I promised on Twitter last week, I can finally reveal my latest crochet project.  Saturday was the shower for some dear friends, who are due next month with a little girl.  Since I have so few opportunities (that is to say, no opportunities) to dress little girls, I had to go for a garment.

BabySweater
Pattern: Lacy Cardigan by Hilary Mackin, Sue Whiting
from The Big Book of Weekend Crochet
Yarn: Knit Picks Risata
Hook: 3.5mm (E)

I’m very happy with it, although I didn’t find the pattern too easy to read.  I got it done though, and it’s adorable, and that’s the point!  The yarn matches embroidery on the little dress I picked out for her, and it was a dream to work with.  It has some stretch to it, and it created such a nicely-draping fabric.

Today, the baby fun continued when I drove out to meet a good friend from high school and her new baby boy.  She and I had lost touch for a number of years (12!) before we met again at her baby shower this summer.  Talking today, it was like we’d just been hanging out together last week.  Good friends like that don’t come a dime a dozen.

Remember the Sólás Caomh blanket?  That was for Little Baby Thomas:

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Babies are so cooperative when they’re napping, aren’t they?  Thomas, like both of my boys, was born prematurely due to preeclampsia.  He is thriving, though, and ate like a little piggy while I was there today.  (And his mommy is doing well now, too.)

He continued napping long enough for us to grab lunch…

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…and then woke up to let me capture my favorite photo of the day.  I love the look on Monica’s face.

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(How freaking adorable is this baby?!?)  Of course, when Thomas heard about Bench Monday, he got really excited and begged his Mommy to play along.

2009-July27-blog

As if Bench Monday weren’t enough…

2009-July20-blog
…from now on, Monday will hereafter also be known as the day of the week Jason was offered (and accepted) a job, setting the wheels in motion to move the boys and me out to Seattle.

Happy Monday!!!  We’re moving to Seattle!!!

Happy Bench Monday!

2009-July13-blog

Jason’s interview went well this morning – keep your fingers crossed for us!  He thought his freshly-polished shoes deserved a spot on today’s bench, and I was more than happy to share.  You should’ve seen the rest of him.  He cleans up nicely.   (Darnit, I should’ve taken a picture…)

I took my Errand Helper (aka Nicky) along with me to knock out some to-do’s today.  Library, vitamin store, etc.  Most importantly (and most enjoyably, thus saved for last) was a trip to Barnes & Noble and Toys R Us, so he could pick out birthday presents for his brother.  As we left the house, I said to Nicky, “It’s Monday.  Help me look for benches!”

So he did.

2009-July6-blog

He loved that I was being sneaky, taking a photo in the book store…but not enough to climb up on the little bench with me.  He thinks it’s silly, but I guess it’s a good, “Mom” kind of silly.  I’ll take that.

My boys

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