Monday, May 17, 2010

Ingleside: Status Update

I named my new home Ingleside. Those of you who immediately understand why are of the race of Joseph. If you understood the phrase "race of Joseph" you are hereby invited to be my best friend forever.

For those of you not yet in the know, I shall give you an inside look at the world that is Anne Shirley Blythe.

After Anne and Gilbert are married, they move to a tiny seaside cottage where Gilbert begins his first practice as a doctor. There they make several friends who are of the race of Joseph and have their first baby. All this occurs in the fifth novel in the series Anne's House of Dreams.

The next book Gilbert talks Anne into buying a house too big for them. It is a beautiful home, but Anne doesn't want something that big, nor does she want to leave their dream house. Gilbert reminds her that they plan on having many more children and that the cottage could not accommodate a large family. So they buy the large house not for their immediate needs, but in planning for the future. A future of children and work and play and laughter and love and tears and lessons learned. They name their home Ingleside.

Thus, in honor of my beloved Anne, I have named my home Ingleside. Here I will bear and raise my children. Here they will frolic in the backyard and play and imagine as only children can. Here I will work and garden and pray and love.

Now that I've lived at Ingleside for just over two weeks I feel like I can begin compiling my lists of loves and love-nots about the place.

Things I Love-Not About Ingleside:
1. My kitchen sink has a flat bottom. This means that the water and food particles don't flow toward the drain without assistance, resulting in a usually dirty sink. Hmm. New habit to follow: clean sink after every use.
2. It is not a two-story Victorian or Cape Cod style house, nor is it built in the Colonial style or is an Arts and Crafts bungalow as my heart truly yearns for. Alas, it is a rambler.
3. A few cosmetic things that I can change over time.

Things I Love About Ingleside:
1. It is red brick with black shutters and front door.
2. It has my bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry all on one level. (Ramblers are good for something.) Thus I can stay here until I die, even if I'm wheelchair bound.
3. The yard. Oh, the yard. Room to roam. Room to frolic. Room to plant. Room to build. Room to play.
4. The hangar. I love having a storage space that is seemingly limitless.
5. Main floor laundry. Can I say that again? MAIN FLOOR LAUNDRY! Ah, I feel like shouting it from the rooftops. Now I know I sort of already mentioned this one in number 2, and it seems like a rather boring thing to be thrilled about, but if you had knees that hurt like mine and had to carry heavy laundry baskets up and down 13-step flights of stairs, you would understand. Especially if you had done it while pregnant or tried to do it with a baby on your hip. This was one of the primary reasons I wanted to move and now I have my heart's desire.
6. The tree out front. It's huge. It's green. Sure, it rains debris down every time a wind comes through, but oh it is lovely.
7. The chickens and roosters in my back neighbor's yard. I love hearing the cockadoodledoo of the proud cocks throughout the day.
8. The plantation shutters in the front rooms of the house. They are pretty. They are practical. They are easy to open and close. They let in a ton of light or conversely block it well.
9. The view from my dining area onto the back yard. Have I mentioned how much I love my back yard?
10. The master bathroom remodel that is coming along. Oh, it will be beautiful. Anyone who wants to take a soak in my claw-foot tub at the Spa del Maren is welcome anytime.

I feel so blessed. So completely and utterly BLESSED to be able to call this house my home. I am a lucky woman who is incredibly grateful to have found her Ingleside.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Sunday Evening of Contentment

I write as I lay in bed, propped up on insufficient pillows. I lay in the very center of the bed in a vain attempt to even out the lump that has been created between the two valleys my and my husband's bodies have made in the mattress.

My bed is currently in my living room (as the master bedroom is a construction zone), and thus affords me a view of the street. I'm facing south and watching the day's light drift west while the shadows lengthen easterly. Through the slats of my plantation shutters I watch my neighbor sit in his green and white lawn chair in his driveway. Another neighbor walks by walking his dog and holding his wife's hand. I love to see elderly people hold hands. I love the way their body language tells me that after all the years and no doubt joys and trials, they still are sweethearts. It is a future I hope to attain and look forward to.

My husband is cleaning the kitchen (wonderful man) while my daughter noisily rolls her wagon around on the slate floor (adorable girl). My baby is sleeping contentedly in his room (sweetest boy).

Today we made it to church on time. We sang hymns and prayed. I wrestled with children. I tried to listen to the talks and lessons. I came home grumpy but still glad I went. Glad that I'm married to a man who also wants to go.

We visited a neighbor and took them cheesecake. Not mediocre store-bought cheesecake, but the real deal. With raspberry topping. A small gesture of gratitude for the generous help they recently gave us.

We played in the yard (oh, how I love my new yard) and enjoyed the sunshine. Ah, the sunshine. It has been missing for far too long this spring. I love the rain, as anyone who knows me really well can attest. But lately I've been craving the sunshine, and today took the time to enjoy it with my loved ones.

It has been a simple day. But such a sweet one.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

More On Mother's Day: Going Nuts

The night before Mother's Day I had a visit with my sister during which I expressed the tumult I have been feeling lately regarding parenting two little kids.

I feel angry much of the time. I can go from feeling perfectly fine to angry at the slightest provocation from my children these days. I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde sometimes: out of control and volatile. Perhaps it's not as bad as I describe, but that's how it feels. I'm constantly battling to stay calm and not scream back at Jenny when she screams at me.

So it was in the frame of mind of defeat, frustration, and exhaustion that my husband came home late with a bunch of flowers in his hand. Fortunately my first response was one of pleasure and gratitude. It was nice to see my sweet man at the end of a long evening.

Unfortunately that response was almost immediately eclipsed by feeling an unwarranted amount of hopelessness because I didn't know where a vase was. (Keep in mind that 3/4 of my entire life is in boxes right now and consequently stress levels are high.) I almost started crying because I didn't know what to do with the flowers.

Brent, calm and reasonable, found the box I had clearly marked "FRAGILE: Glass Vases" and brought me a selection.

Then I started snipping the ends and arranging them. I almost started crying again because I was tired and it was late and I just wanted to go to bed and mope about what a bad mother I was rather than arrange my own flowers. I was feeling grumpy and muttering things like "because he couldn't possibly be bothered to spend the extra money on an arranged bouquet, could he?" and other irrational and mean things. I ended up just dumping them in the vase and not worrying about the shape of the arrangement.

Brent played it smart. I suppose the occasional tears that would leak out in the midst of talking about a neutral subject tipped him off. I went to bed. He rubbed my back. He told me I was a great mommy. Of course I didn't agree with him, but it was good to hear. I need that reinforcement sometimes. It helps me get through the crazies that occasionally possess me.

Oh, I just pray my children will forgive me someday and that I won't scar them for life.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today I received my first ever Mother's Day gift made by a child of mine.

I remember making these as a kid. My primary teacher would give me a template that I would fill out. Something along the lines of "I love my mom because . . ." and then I'd write something and try to be sincere. Then I'd color the flowers printed on the page and my teacher would put it in a dollar store brass frame and I'd proudly give it to my mother after church.

She's smile and say thank you and give me a hug.

Then she'd get six more identical gifts.

Some weeks later I found my framed gift in a trash bag. And to be completely honest with you, I totally understood. Sure, I suppose there was a fraction of my childlike heart that wondered why my mom would trash my gift, but I distinctly remember not feeling bad, not even one iota. After all, it was more of an assignment rather than a voluntary offering. And over the years I'm sure she had received many many many such items, in varying degrees of tackiness. She just didn't want to be burdened with the junk. She had her children, and they were the most precious gift anyway.

Then there's my mother-in-law whom I am sure has kept every single mother's day card/letter/gift that her six children have given her through the years. She's the kind of woman that treasures every "memory" (as she calls them) no matter how small or trivial, and keeps them forever.

Two different responses, and yet I am sure that both my mother and my mother-in-law love their children fiercely. I know of no two women more devoted to their children and grandchildren than these two.

So today as I received my Ikea oven mitt upon which my daughter had scribbled with markers and her nursery leader had traced her hand and misspelled her name, I felt a strange role reversal.

To own the truth, I was delighted to receive the gift, even though the teacher gave it to me and not my daughter and in fact Jenny had no idea why she made it and was supposed to give it to me.

I have been needing a new oven mitt for a while now.