City Slickers

I’ve made it a silent goal of mine to stay on the Island as much as possible this summer. Except for a random twitching sensation that drives me to spend hundreds of dollars at Target every 10 days or so, I try my best to stay put. Since there are only two ways off the Island (ferry or bridge) it’s not too hard. Paul’s still has one class hanging over his head, so I thought taking the kids out of the house would give him the peace and quiet he needed to get some work done. I’ve been wanting to take the kids back to the Seattle Aquarium and, since it is just steps from the ferry terminal, it seemed like a pretty easy trip to tackle solo. We spent the morning at the aquarium and then hit up Ivar’s for fish and chips afterwards. A perfect Seattle day!


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Bring in the Crayon Box

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I like neat and orderly. I like predictable and scheduled. I like obedience and perfection. 

It’s amazing I’ve made it this far in life without constant soul-crushing disappointment.

As a child (maybe 8 or so?) I vividly remember my mother buying me the 64-pack of Crayola crayons-the huge pack with the sharpener on the back-at the grocery store one Saturday morning. I loved new crayons.

The smell. The pointy tips. The colors lined up neatly. 

I couldn’t wait to get started with them.

But first, I had to entirely clean my room. This wasn’t some sort of bargain my mom struck. with me. A “clean your room, you get the crayons” agreement. I, myself, felt compelled to clean my appropriately tween-disheveled room before bringing the perfection of the brand new crayon box in.

I had to do it first before I could fully enjoy the beautiful crayons.

Now, as an adult, I often feel like I am still swept up with “cleaning my room” before I can bring in my “new crayons”.  However, at 35, cleaning my room entails so much more than picking up my discarded outfits on the floor and organizing my Cabbage Patch Kids. It means unrealistic demands on my husband and children, predictable and appropriate behavior from everyone, including myself, in all situations, and a complete understanding of complex issues such as marriage and faith- just to get started.

I want every aspect of my life neat and orderly before I bring in the new crayons. My relationship with my husband and children, major life-altering decisions, and relentless forward progress in my story make up my crayon box these days.  And frankly, I just wish all of those things would stay out of my way until I’ve cleaned up my mess and I am ready for them.

In my struggle to prep the space in my life I’m missing out on the joy of using the crayons. And that can’t happen. 

I need to find the joy right here and right now in all my mess. To love fully, take risks, and embrace the beauty of the chaos. 

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Etsy

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Golden Days

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The first thoughts begin to creep in around the 5th of July. After the excitement of the 4th, complete with Stella’s birthday, things settle down and I slowly start the mental list. I start checking the dimensions of L.L. Bean’s duffel bags and compare them against Emirates’ baggage guidelines. I pick up exceedingly large blocks of cheese at the store and approximate how many we will need to make all the grilled cheese, appetizers, and pasta dishes we want until December. I eagerly drop things into my cart on Amazon and wait for the right moment to ship them out. I consider my work assignments that need to be completed before we return in August and start chipping away at them.

At first, these tasks fall like a drop into a bucket. One here, one there. A burst of them all at once and then nothing for hours. But over the next few weeks they will start to occupy more and more of our {my} time. The last week before we return is a downpour of last minute visits to Target, stuffing bags, crossing off items on the to-do list, and weighing luggage.

It seems like it can’t be. There’s too much summer still waiting to be had. The perfection of the Northwest summer is just beginning. The Farmers’ Market just burgeoning. And our minds and bodies just exhaling. But in just over three weeks we will head back to Mumbai for our fourth year.

The rhythm of our life in these moments is equally frustrating and comforting. I want both stability and adventure in the same breath.

How are these days so fleeting?

I want to drink it up with everything I have so on those long Mumbai days-those days when the city is deafening, the work exhausting, and the chaos overwhelming-I will still have Bainbridge. I’ll have the golden light and salty air. The silence. The simplicity. All tucked away in a little corner of my heart, sustaining me until December.

 

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Beautiful Shells

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I’ve been (re)reading A Gift from the Sea this week. It’s a simple book about finding balance as a woman, wife and mother in our lives. There are so many great passages-my copy is dog-eared and underlined to death-but one part of it stuck with me a bit more than others.

She writes, “One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few.”

For me, that part reminded me that we must pick and choose those things that we pack into our lives. More does not equal better. For me, the shells in my pocket have been growing and I am finding that with  each additional shell, I am appreciating their beauty less and less and feeling more and more weighed down. It’s too overwhelming to have to sort through it all and keep it all together.

Right now, my shells include: religion, being a wife, a mother, a teacher, a friend, a writer, and a runner. Just writing all those out seems like too many, but I those are all non-negotiables for me, and several overlap, so for now I am keeping that list. If it doesn’t fall into that category then it is going on the back burner at this point. I want preserve the shells I keep and appreciate the beauty in each of them.

To that end, I’ve decided to get rid of my running blog. I just can’t keep it all up, and for me, right now, running is just a part of my life, and doesn’t need its own category. I’d rather focus my writing effort in one place and not give too much emphasis on one area over another.

I want to appreciate the beauty of all the shells.

And for now, that means all the action happens right here.

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Currently

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Linking up with A Mama Collective to share the latest happenings around here:

Thinking about: how we can be sure we are living intentionally. We left the States in an effort to make sure we weren’t becoming complacent with where we were professionally and socially. It’s challenged everything we thought about ourselves, but on the the flip side, I also want to be sure we aren’t becoming complacent in our current situation. It’s a delicate balance between stability and intentionality. It is taking up a lot of my head space right now!

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Our little family. Just want what is best for all of them.

Reading: Just 18 Summers. I also have 5 or so books coming into the library from around Kitsap County today. This public library thing is just amazing.

Listening to: The Simple Mom podcasts. So amazing and fun. I listen while I fold laundry, clean the house, run, and cook. Can’t get enough right now.

Watching: embarrassingly, trash television. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. Celebrity Wife Swap is at the top of my list right now.  And the Today Show. Both are unavailable in India so I am just flying my American flag and enjoying these fine cultural works.

Thankful for: Bainbridge Island. I can’t help but believe everything that is right in the world happens right here on this island. I am so grateful we have a place here. It’s absolute perfection for two months a year.

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Eagle Harbor Park downtown. Like 2 minutes away.

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Sunday picnic and hula hoop practice

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Taking second and third place in their age groups for the Bainbridge Fun Run.

Clearly they get their speed from me {or not}.

 

 

 

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Settling In

Time seems to move to fast here. I know we’re in the midst of the sweet life and I just don’t want our break here to fade too quickly. This is our third summer here on Bainbridge and the one I feel like we’re using to settle in.

 

To make a home.

We know that cloudy mornings lead to sunny afternoons.

We know where the best parks are.

We know which grocery store we prefer.

 

And we’ve almost mastered the library’s hours.

After years of pouring an insane amount of money into a summer rental, we bought a car this year. It’s an old Saab and I love it. It feels so great to be driving a car that isn’t ridiculously huge, has a sun roof, and could go reasonably fast if we wanted it to. We just pack the kids in the backseat, open up the windows, and go. It’s perfect.

We also started some pretty basic kitchen renovations. The other morning Paul woke up with a gleam in his eye and I knew it was time. Time to rip out the horrible 1970s overhead cabinetry that turned our small kitchen into a dungeon. Within an hour the cabinets were down, as well as the huge wooden fluorescent light. We’ve ordered new appliances and are looking at new countertops too. Slowly but surely we are making this place our own.

 

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Paul’s ripping out the overhead cabinets. We’re actually trying to keep the other cabinets, but these made the kitchen so heavy and dark, so out they went.

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“Elsa” showed up and did a musical rendition of “Let It Go” in honor of getting rid of the 1970s kitchen.

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The throw away pile from round 1. Just removing these cabinets and replacing the gigantic dated light in the kitchen has made a huge difference!

We’re almost to the end of week 2. We also got a new bed for Noah (and any guests that brave our small quarters!), have appliances on order, and a counter top estimate set up for week 3.

So happy to finally have this place feeling like our own.

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