I justified living in a townhome for a long time, my parents recalling frequently the expansive land they raised my sister and I on, whispering the notions we’ve all heard about kids needing a yard. I tried to think ahead, to when the boys would be older and more independent; the freedom to ride their skateboards through our small downtown to get to the beach. I wrote off the lack of outdoor space highlighting the community surrounding us, neighbors that truly cared for us (and still do). And really, it wasn’t until the day that Hooper came up and asked if I would go outside with him so he could run that I felt as though something was in fact lacking. His little legs carrying him around in a circle formation like a hamster on a wheel. I spent the following week anticipating a letter from the HOA notifying me that children are not allowed to run in circles on the road because, well, safety hazards in overprotected America and old crotchety neighbors that live to taddle.
Our search for a home was more about meeting our needs than meeting our dreams. Sure we hope one day that the home we envision can come to fruition but until then, it’s nothing more than checking boxes on a list. And none of this is to say that the house we now call home isn’t a dream; it is. We feel incredibly grateful for all our home provides for us; not a day has gone by where we haven’t talked about how happy we are here, under this new-to-us roof.
During the reconstruction we spent many of evenings in the backyard, waiting to finally move in; sitting on chairs that were left behind and eating dinner out of a plastic bag, red letters reading ‘thank you’. The boys would ride their bikes, climb up the hill, and pee in the bushes; they were marking their territory. Point being, by the time we finally moved in, they had their holes dug, their plants – errr – watered, and their forts constructed. They knew the outside of the house better than the inside. And now, weeks after actually living here, the same is true.
They spend entire afternoons outside. I was told yard space would be a game changer, but I didn’t anticipate the playing field changing so drastically. It’s far from the vision we have for it but already it meets our needs and then some. Jimmie’s needs too. I mean having a doggy door has changed my life in areas I didn’t know I needed help. As in, I would starve him if he ever grew out of the little flip door.
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Our original plan was to drive to AZ, spend some time with Willy’s family while our house got worked on, and return and move in. Easy Peasy. What I’ve learned, and ultimately have come to accept, is that nothing – when moving – goes as planned. After ten days in AZ we received word that our contractor took off for Mexico. It sounds more dramatic than it ended up being, but at the time we had no clue what that meant for us. We decided to come back early from AZ so we could find out more. I’ll spare y’all the details and say that it all got figured out but things were far from done so we went to stay with my parents. We were there for another week and a half and, again, things were still not done with the new house so after returning from the weekend I spent with my sister in Ojai, the kids and I took of – again – for AZ. Hence the round II.
Janet reminded me that moving is rated number 3 on the list of most stressful events, right behind divorce and death. And now, I know why. I get it. It hasn’t always been fun and we have had our fair share of curve balls (both cars breaking down at separate inopportune times, the contractor taking off for Mexico, Sarah being hit by a car… to name a few).
The kids and I had so much fun. We went on several day adventures and my mother-and-sister-in-laws took me around to the thrifts and they always seem to serve me better than the second-hand stores here in CA. I came away with a peacock chair for our enclosed patio, tons of planters, two kilim rugs that look as though they were made for our hallway, various knick-knacks, a huge macrame that I can’t wait to hang, an old antique chair whose price tag did not reflect it’s value, a blanket, a rug for the boys’ room, and some other odds and ends.
clearly love and adore; as will they miss the cows, the goats, the garden, and riding in the back of the pick-up truck down the dusty dirt road.
What I share on my blog is never forced; I write what – in my mind – needs to be written to either save my sanity, document for my boys, or enable me to move on with a clear head. That’s why it may come as a surprise to some that we moved. I shared little bits here and there on my instagram account, though I did refer to it often as “spring cleaning” and that’s because there were so many question marks. Would we get the house? Would we be able to sell ours? What will happen when I return to work / will
I need to find a new job? Will Willy be able to work remote? and so on and so forth. So, you see, until each of these questions had an answer attached to it that I felt comfortable with, I kept it all to myself.
But, lo and behold, we got the new house, our old house sold very quickly, I decided I would commute to my same job so my parents can still take care of the boys on those days, and Willy got the a-okay to work from home.
Settling in has barely begun and is moving slow as molasses due to my physical limitations and those little leaches I sometimes admit to as being my children. I kid. They’ve been incredibly ::cough cough:: helpful. Okay, so they are pretty much as helpful as a drummer who bangs his drums while you’re trying to go to sleep. But what they are is easy going and adaptable. There have been some outbursts that I correlate more with the move than their ages, but all in all they seem to be better at this whole moving thing than I am.
It’s been a long road. We’re tired emotionally and physically from all we’ve been through over the past six months. And so, today we leave for a much needed vacation. I have loads of catching up to do on here, so while I’m gone I’ll be sharing some of our Arizona adventures as well as some photo sessions. I have portraits for this weeks portrait series, but will not be sharing for the following couple of weeks until we are back and settled, again. If you want to follow along on IG, you can find me @thestorkandthebeanstalk. Feeling grateful.
There are some things that go on at my parents’ house that I hope the boys always remember; like the fact that my dad gets up everyday before them to hide two strawberries in their strawberry plant, one for Hooper and one for Van. And there is amazement every time they search that plant and find that ripe, red little berry. As if it were planted there just for them (::cough cough::, it was). Or the fact that my mom hides little plastic Easter eggs, well before Easter, with a piece or two of candy so the boys can hunt around the living room to find their treats. Or the way Hooper stands at the kitchen sink to watch the birds eat from the bird feeder he fills with the help of my mom; asking what each bird’s name is (my mom actually educates him about the different types of birds, whereas I just give each one a human name for him to call it, “Oh yes, that bird, Hooper?… It’s name is ‘Spencer’…”).
Oh yes, and they have their very own playroom at my parents’ house…. which is something they had at our old house for the blink of an eye (just before we put our home up for sale) and will not have at our new pad. In fact, they will be sharing a room and it will double as a playroom. So, ya know, the list of perks at g’mas and g’pas house is long.
These days, it takes a village and each member of the village has something to give; a new way to show love, new traditions to add, patience to give when mine is exhausted. Being between homes has not been easy, but I’m grateful for everyone in our lives who have worked so hard to make it as easy as possible.
We arrived at Willy’s parent’s house in Arizona beaten down from the physical and emotional stress of moving and saddened after losing Sarah just a few days prior. We always brought her along on our trips to AZ, so there was that sobering reminder when we didn’t have to push her off my lap and into the back seat like we usually do.
To make matters worse, our truck broke down early on and as if luck were teasing us by slapping us one minute and then kissing us the next, we happened to be a few miles from my sister’s house where our second car sat until we returned. So we swapped cars, repacked all our stuff, switched the car seats out for the umpteenth time, and made it to Joshua Tree just in time for a family session I had booked prior. So ya know, the take home message is that it all works out. One way or another.
of our car and some other treasures for the new home, and enough laughter with family and friends to fill our empty tanks.
could work on the new place while the boys and I were back in the Valley staying with my parents), to a move-in weekend that happened to land on the weekend I was in Ojai for my sister’s bachelorette party, to one night (one night, people!) in our new digs, and now, back in Arizona while some foundation issues and flooring and all that other miss-mosh gets handled at the new place. Life just doesn’t slow, does it? Moving is the pits.
It’s the long way home, indeed.