between then and now. (but not really.)

I realized today that I hadn’t written since May. And my post from May was posting pictures from February. And I didn’t say much about the in-between.

There was a lot that happened. Things are good, now. But for a while, it was very, very bad. Although, I admit, I do dramatize for effect, sometimes, and I get wrapped up in things more than I probably should. It just wasn’t good and I was stressed out, but made some changes that, thankfully, have seemed to work for the better.

I am feeling better now than I have in a long while. And I am thankful for that.

I don’t know that I have any readers, here. I have written so sporadically that anyone who does read, probably has read before and followed from somewhere else. One thing that you would know if you had read for a while is that I am a journal keeper – it’s actually one of the things that brought me to sharing my life online (and un-sharing…and sharing again.)

One of the things that I have found in my “journalling life” is that an issue will continue to repeat, like a cycle, until you do something about it that changes course. I have a few “theme issues” that repeat and repeat and repeat. But I needed to get to a breaking point before I could do anything about it…or at least, that’s what seems to need to happen for change to go down.

So, I made a very risky choice. And it worked out. But at first? I thought it backfired. And that I had made a very big mistake.

One of the things that I try to do is to think, “So what? What’s the worst possible thing that could happen?” (And this is difficult to do, because I go to the most dire, desperate situation EVER, because I think very black and white about everything.) And, I think I learned this from an episode of Dr. Phil that happened to be on when I needed to see it (like most things, if you pay attention), but it comes to reframing how you think about it: “This happened. Not the worst thing in the world. I made it through it. What next?” But when you’re in the thick of things? It’s very, very hard to do.

But, I made it through.

I was thinking this morning about my baby book. (Somehow, between waking and my shower, it popped into my brain. Weird. Does this happen to other people? Must be just me.) Anyway, there were three years’ between me and my next youngest sibling coming along, so the book was actually completed for more than the first year or two. (Which is more than I could say for my son’s book…) There was a section that included the first comments from the doctors and new parents about the baby.

Let me say, I was born three months’ premature and growing up, I refused to look at the “pre-due date” photos of myself. (A scrawny, ugly red chicken thing.) The comments? The doctor said “Baby – ok.” I don’t remember what my mom said. My dad said, “She’s tough.”

(He was always the optimist, my dad. He still is.)

It’s probably the only time I’ve been called “tough” my entire life. Quiet, yes. Sensitive, yes. Tough? Not so much.

When this year began, my husband and I talked about it and I said that I felt like it would be a good year. That I felt like things were shifting – that good things would be happening. We went to Nepal in the midst of all the crap and it was good to be a literal world away, at the time. Although I couldn’t really truly enjoy it.

Next trip will be better.

I wrote SO MUCH while we were in Nepal. The house was cold, but the roof was warm and we would sit out on battered sling-back chairs and read books or journal (me). I wrote over fifty pages and read over sixteen books (thank goodness they were on the Kindle). I felt smarter and more in-tune with myself than I had been in a long while. I thought about the kind of lives we are living; the kind of lives we want.

When we ended the trip, I had honestly debated just staying.

Maybe someday, we will.

For now, our lives are here. If my son’s schooling wasn’t an issue, you never know, it might be there.

It’s hard, with my husband’s parents getting older, having them there and us, here. For now, they are healthy and we can afford to see them. But a few weeks’ every few years isn’t much time. And that’s what it’s about, right? Time.

We went on a safari. Rode on elephants. Avoided malaria. Spent way too much time in a rented car with a driver who was insane…there wasn’t enough time to spend doing small things like holding Maa’s hand (my husband’s grandma, who I adore) or hearing stories. I tell my husband that he needs to write these things down. He isn’t the memory keeper of our family, though. I am.

I need to ask.

I need to listen.

I have learned that I need to do a better job at living in the present.

To have faith.

To change the things I can and to not worry about the things that I can’t.

(I’m still learning.)

I’m still finding answers, (although maybe not looking for them so much.)

progress. (?)

A few photos of our recent painting updates.

I started revamping our hallway a long time back…painting out the trim and doors and painting the walls. I didn’t like the deep gray that we had alongside our red/orange dining room wall color, so I’ve been in-search of a replacement.

(I’m not kidding you, I have a sack of those sample pots of various Benjamin Moore colors in one of our closets. It’s embarrassing.)

I chose Roycroft Suede from Sherwin Williams’ Arts and Crafts collection. I have always adored Craftsman bungalows and actually found through comparing swatches that I already had used equivalents of two shades in the palette in our house (Roycroft Adobe in our dining room and Decorous Amber in our butterfly bathroom.) So looking for other colors within the collection seemed the way to go.

I should have swatched more areas.

I loved the color in the hallway – a medium brown, maybe a bit taupe. It went a little olive-y on the second side, but I thought I could live with that.

I moved to the fireplace wall and it looked kind of yellow. I figured it was the lighting and the existing color (plus, this color sort of looks like baby poop yellow-green going on, but thankfully dries darker), keep going.

So I did.

It’s green.

It’s an okay color, but the color looks different between the soffit wall and the fireplace wall – to the point that I think it looks like two different colors.

And because I can never be satisfied and I’m not a color expert, I’ll probably just end up buying another gallon of paint.

(My husband is so sick of me buying more paint.)

Honestly, I would like to be done with the painting part and not have our house be a patchwork of colors, as well. I would love to have a cohesive color scheme and good flow from room to room, so it’s a little discouraging that this didn’t work.

Oh, well. All part of it, right?

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soon.

We are leaving in less than a month. It doesn’t seem so close, but the day is inching closer and closer.

It will be nice to see my husband’s parents and family. We last visited Nepal in the fall of 2011. I remember coming home and our house seeming to be so huge. We Americans have no idea how much space we have – and we don’t even have that large of a house, comparatively.

Jayan has been doing well in his special needs classes. He takes a bus each day from daycare to class. (He has a new daycare, too, and outside of some hitting issues, which are getting better, it was a pretty smooth transition.) The assistant on the bus complains about how he shirks his coat and boots once he’s on the bus – and honestly? That’s just Jayan. That’s the first thing he does when he gets into my car, too. So best of luck to you. :)

I like that we are seeing progress. Hopefully thibgs won’t regress while we’re away.

mayors of this block.

I’m not sure if I’ve told you, yet, about the story of our house. The one before we bought it.

We were fortunate enough to find out, at least somewhat.

Our neighborhood was founded by airport employees back in the day, prior to the city being incorporated. Our home was built in 1966 and the city was incorporated in 1968, which I think is pretty awesome. (I have a soft spot for homes, what can I say?) At the time, the rules of the development was that all of the homes needed to be ranch-styled houses and the lot size was a minimum of a half-acre. Our neighborhood weaves in and out of the hills, some areas very wooded and others, more like our own, where it is more suburban, with mature trees. It is a great area to walk with dogs and kids.

Our home’s original owner, Louis, lived here from 1966 (or thereabouts) until he passed away in 2006. He was a very tall man (6’5″, by reports – a pretty large contrast with my husband and I…neither of us surpass 5’6″!) and had trouble with his knees later in life. He used a chair lift on our stairs for some years and spent the last years of his life on the entry level of the house, creating a makeshift kitchen on that level and using the den as a bedroom. Because our entry is flush with the grade, he then had no stairs to worry about.

Louis passed away in our house. Our neighbor, Charlie, told us that he was found in the den. He had passed away in his sleep. My husband swears he hears footsteps in the hallway upstairs from time to time. I have heard them, too. I like to think that he is pleased that the home he built has a family that loves it.

But before that, before then. There was the friendship. 

Jack and Louis were best friends. I don’t recall how they met – if they had befriended prior to living here, or after, but Jack and Jan’s house was across the street and one down from our house. They were a bit of an odd couple, big burly Louis and then Jack, who stood 5’3″, at the most, if even that. 

“We ran this block,” Jack recalled. “We were the best of friends.” He talked about their kids growing up together and running through the trees or watching deer. “When new people would move in, we would go together to say hello…”

They told them that they were the mayors of this block. 

And it was true. 

Ironically, we met Jack prior to moving into our house. Our realtor advised that if we were interested in seeing what a neighborhood was really like, it was a good idea to knock on doors and talk with the neighbors. So, that’s how my husband met Jack – and he was excited to meet the people who would be moving into his best friend’s house.

He took special interest in us after that. Telling us how much he liked watching Jayan “mow” the lawn with his green plastic mower. How they would comment all the time to their friends about the cute little guy across the street. He would find me in the yard, (picking weeds, most likely) and would tell me stories. How he met his wife (Catholic school), how he grew up in St. Paul, how Jan was too shy to go out with him at first, but eventually gave in. 

I always liked when he would stop out and talk like that. I love stories and the history in things. I love seeing the nostalgia in a person’s eyes when they have an especially good memory.

He was quieter this summer. I would wave from our car when I would drive by, sometimes seeing him inside his screened porch. I don’t know if he always saw me – some days, he just stared straight ahead. He might not have recognized our car. I’m not sure.

Summer turned into fall. I remember the day I saw the ambulance. It wasn’t moving. I wondered what had happened, but was on my way to the office (it was the morning, and, of course, I was late, as usual). I asked my husband about it that night – he hadn’t heard anything.

A few days later, we found that Jack had an aneurism. He was still alive, but only by life support. I was still amazed by how quickly life could turn – most older adults in my life had a slow decline over several years, nothing so sudden.

He passed away on a Friday. The family waited until all of their children could be home before finally taking him off life support.

Even now, I think about him, a few weeks later, and I think about how he said our house had always been gray, even though we can see from the siding that at one time, it had been green. That I wished I would have shown him the inside, again, after we had done more work to it. I somehow think that it would have made him happy to see us taking care of his friends’ home.

I really do think that they are looking out for the neighborhood, now. Louis and Jack. Together again, playing cards – keeping watch over us all. Maybe laughing about our leaves. He always kept his lawn impeccable. I wasn’t sure how he did it. With leaves like ours, you almost have to have a sense of humor. I hope that Jan has someone to help her with her yard.

Our newest neighbors moved into the neighborhood over the weekend. So strange seeing the home with so many cars. My husband laughs at how I keep track of the houses and the inhabitants. I need to stop by and introduce ourselves – we have lived here for four years and were never appropriately introduced to the last people.

It would be nice to know them, this time.

so long.

I haven’t written in a while.

I don’t like to do that.

I can’t tell you how many times I have come to a blank screen and thought, “Well, I’m here…now what.”

How much of real life can go onto a blog. At what point does it become over sharing. I saw a YouTube video recently that had the presenter talking about the benefits of keeping a journal on paper, rather than go to the likes of Twitter or Facebook (neither of which I put too much on…), but the principle was that some of the stuff we put online shouldn’t be there.

She was saying this because she was annoyed at reading melodramatic postings that were, yes, I’d say inappropriate for the audience. Maybe something more appropriate for a notebook in a drawer, than in public.

So I think about things, and honestly? When I blog, a lot of times I will do so, so that someone will listen.

Our son was recently assessed by our school district and although not a medical diagnosis, everyone feels fairly confident that he falls somewhere on the autism spectrum.

This, I had expected, but it is different to actually be working through things. The past few weeks have been a blur of assessments and meetings. We are now putting together an IEP.

It is good to see progress, but still overwhelming. I try not to think about everything at once. Talking with my aunt, who had helped her autistic grandson through the process, helped me to feel better.

One step at a time.

I have been pouring over docs online to see what I could have done to change things. Things I could have done differently – not that those things matter, now, but I’m the type who studies up.

The more that I read and find, the more I can see smattering of characteristics across my family both sides. It is strange how much you can notice when you look at things in a certain way. No conclusions, of course, just interesting.

One frustrating thing that happened is that we were trying to open enroll our son in the school district where he is currently in daycare. Note the “were” part of the sentence. We found out last week that the district was over capped for their special needs department and weren’t accepting any new students.

So, the past week, we have been desperately searching for a home daycare in our home district. We have been interviewing the past few days and are pretty sure we have our choice figured out, but it will also involve rearranging our work schedules, etc.

So much in such a short amount of time.

Unrelated, but related, it’s really stupid, but I have also had issues with the name of my blog. I registered it way back, but have never completely identified with it.

I don’t feel brave. I’m definitely not a girl, anymore, either. But I don’t feel a strong pull toward anything else.

But, I’m posting, so there’s that. I can’t help but wonder if posting somewhere else under a different blog name would help with my motivation to write? Something to consider, anyway.

Maybe it’s not that uncommon of a thing. Dooce might curse her choice of name every single day, for all I know. (Does she still write? I haven’t followed her in ages.)

Anyway, I’m going to post this, now, rather than have it sit in my drafts.

just like that.

On days like this, I need to remind myself to breathe.

Remind myself that things could always be worse.

Remind myself to count my blessings, rather than my hurts.

It would have been my cousin Chad’s birthday, today. He passed away a few months ago. I think of him every single day. I like to think of him as sort of a guardian angel, looking out for me. That or that he plays tricks on me – the latter is more likely. Last week, while I was home with Jayan, the lid jumped off my sugar canister I keep on my counter (this cannot happen on its own). Freaked me out.

Chad would have laughed. He was always about the pranking.

I have been so stressed out, lately. There are things in my life that need changing, clearly. I feel like there are things underground working against me. I’m not normally wrong about things like that.

I just need to trust that things will work their way out. They always do. But, as normal, I worry too much. It’s not good or healthy to do that.

I need to remember how lucky I am. I have a supportive husband and a stubborn son and I house that I love. We can afford to take vacations. We have loving, relatively low-drama extended families. My husband is a newly-official US citizen. I have a new car. We live in a nice neighborhood.

I just need to keep my head up, stay strong. Remember things can change.

Just like that.

a little before and after.

We have been living in our house, officially, four years, as of Memorial Day weekend. Crazy how fast time goes! (And how many colors I have painted the walls in that amount of time…I’m still debating colors, actually.)

I do think that it’s completely satisfying to see how much things really have changed since we moved in. So…here are a few pictures from the real estate listing and what the rooms are looking like now. Pretty wild.

The Family Room

The family room – this is the deep gray wall color that I have a love/hate relationship with. :) I love it when I’m home in the evenings – it’s a great, cozy color. But on the weekends, it’s a little dark. We still need to get curtains for the east window and the candle holder (on the floor on the right) is now up on the fireplace. And the glass lamp on the left has been replaced by the match to the other lamp.

If you are wondering what it looks like normally, add a gazillion toys on the rug and there you go. :)

The Dining Room

This photo is really dark, but the color is fantastic. Kind of a rusty red. :) I would love to have a photo display on the wall. I’m picking some photos from one of our trips to Nepal – just need to get them printed and up!

The dining table is glass and is MUCH larger than it looks. It’s 60″ across, so we can easily seat ten people! Oh, and I highly recommend leather chairs for in your dining room, especially if you have kids. So easy to clean up!

The Living Room / Office

This is the living room side – the office side is too messy.

This room is still pretty mis-mashy. My hubby would love a sectional in here and maybe a bar set-up. Then, I’ll move this sofa up to the family room.

Taking down the panelling was one of the first things we did when we moved in. (Before we moved in, actually!) We were lucky in that it was drywalled behind it, so we just needed to mud and sand the walls. Maybe at some point we will lay some slate tile in here. But that will be a huge, MESSY job. (Not to mention tough!) So we’ll probably never do it. :)

I’m also planning to paint the double doors black – I painted them white, so I can do that.

Jayan’s Room

There wasn’t pictures in the listing of the bedrooms, so I’ll add a few pics of Jayan’s room. We haven’t bothered to take apart the crib since he was a baby here. Whoops. My mom made the quilt for him and I love having it displayed. She also painted the wall and did the trellis stenciling with painters’ tape – I had saw a nursery on HGTV’s site that had something similar and copied it. I love it.

And you can see that I need another coat or two of paint on the door. I’m okay with things being in-progress. :)

The twin beds and the dresser were my mother’s uncles’ set from back in the 1940’s. There are cut-outs of oak leaves on the headboards and footboards. I painted the side table – it used to be an el cheapo maple nightstand from Target. The tiger on the wall was from my bedroom when I was a kid.

Anyway. I’ll post other progress shots at some point – once I remember to take pictures AND upload them. My current project is the hallway – it’s mostly painted the same gray from the family room – but I haven’t finished it because it’s super dark up there, now! So, I’m rethinking the color.

More paint! Whoo.

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