The List to Make It Official

Moving really puts life into perspective for you.  You begin to identify what matters most.  For weeks cc and I have been living in limbo as we prepared to sell one house, and made a few changes on the new house.  Every time something important happened we'd look at each other simultaneously and say "it's official, we've moved."  The list keeps expanding. 

1.  It's official, the coffee pot, latte machine, beans, grinder, filters...have been moved.  
2.  It's official, we now have wireless internet.
3.  It's official, the t.v. has been connected just in time for football season. (Go Huskers!)
4.  It's official, the kitchen is set up.
5.  It's official, the first batch of Great Aunt Linnie's cookies have been made with the girls.
6.  It's official, our first letter arrived in the mailbox.
7.  It's official, the new mattresses are here.
8.  It's official, the rocker has been placed on the front porch.
9.  It's official, the rugs are on the floor, which means painting is done.
10.  And the most important, it's official, the cats have made the move.  Reluctantly.
At first glance these things may seem silly and hardly qualify as important, but there is an unspoken understanding that it is not the material items that are so important to us, but rather the moments in which they take place; The traditons that are brewing that create family.  We value the anodyne of creating a home that is a safe place that heals, comforts, and infuses us with laughter. 

I finally feel at home and every time I walk through the door, despite the patchy paint yet to be finished, and the empty rooms waiting for furniture.  I can't think of a place I would rather be.  It's not just that we have moved, we have arrived home and this list is just more proof that we have finally found our resting place. 

What do you find important to you and your family that makes it official?

The Wild Chicken

There is a wild chicken living in our new neighborhood.  To be more specific, living in the tree in front of my in-laws house.  She was there when they moved in and none of the neighbors seem to know where she came from.  Of course, she has been adopted and named Henrietta.  Her eggs can be found all around the yard and a in a decorative basket on the neighbors porch.  Although I've seen evidence of Henrietta, I have not actually spotted her myself (note the lack of photo of a chicken).  She roosts high in the tree at night and gallivants around the neighborhood during the day. 

One of my favorite little people and I were talking about Nini (her grandmother) using Henrietta's eggs in a cake she was baking.  She exclaimed, "I've never eaten eggs from a chicken before!"  To which I replied, where do you think the eggs in the grocery store come from?  This was followed by "where does our food come from" lesson, while an idea for an episode for Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution popped into my head.  Being a very witty five year old she hastily corrected her statement and said with as much excitement as the first time, "I've never eaten eggs from a wild chicken before!"  True, true little one. 

As I am writing this, I can't help but think this is a great storyboard for a children's book.  If only I could draw...

I'm off to eat a piece of Henrietta's cake.  Enjoy the weekend.

The Fireman

Meet my brother.  One of the nicest guys I know.  He is a volunteer for the local fire department.  He and his family live in rural Nebraska in a village of 300ish people.  Recently, he invited me back for the annual village celebration.  A day full of family fun and local tradition. 

As he showed me around his neighborhood, there wasn't a single person he didn't know or speak to, and all I heard were good things.  "He is a hard worker.  Give you the shirt off his back.  I can always count on him..."  This should have come as no surprise to me because I've always known this about my brother, but it caught me off guard.  For as long as I can remember, people have been unkind to him.  Most thought he wouldn't amount to much, and for a while we only had each other.  He stuck up for me and I stuck up for him.  A bond I'm fairly certain is embedded so deep nothing will break it.  We are worlds apart, which makes our relationship uniquely strange.  I can only hear about the latest technological advances in farming for so long before I go bonkers and he has no desire to understand my life in the city, but we would do anything to protect each other.

Hearing others confirm the person I know as my brother makes me incredibly proud.  He has risen above the odds that were stacked against him and made the best life for himself that he knows how.  As a volunteer firefighter, he is willing to put his life on the line to save a neighbor or friend.  We had a conversation about this while I was there.  So many others in the village don't understand the importance of the service and don't always support it.  I'm not sure how you can turn away a person that would put their life on the line to protect yours and do it for free. 

In this moment my heart is full.  I had just lifted my nephew into the truck because he wanted to be a fireman like his daddy. 

I had a great visit and I walked away with something very important.  My brother helped me remember that despite what trouble life brings you, there has to be a time when you set aside your differences to help others, to be a good person, and accept others for who they are.  He has his flaws.  We all do, but at the end of the day he is still trying and that's all that matters.  To be a good man, a good father, a good citizen. 

Meet my brother.  The volunteer fireman.

Sun Tea

I went home to Nebraska a few weeks ago.  It is a special treat when I actually get to visit my parents' home.  Typically they meet me wherever I happen to be.  As I took my coffee out to the back porch the first morning, I found a jar of tea already brewing.   

For as long as I can remember my mom has always made sun tea.  Every summer morning a new glass jar would be on the porch.  With all the change that takes place in our lives on a daily basis, it is comforting to know that some traditions remain constant.  Seeing this jar brought back so many memories of summers past.  It truly reminded me of my mother and home. 

Little things like this bring a sweetness to my life and I can't help but smile.  I wonder why I don't make sun tea every day.  Some practices, however simple, are worth saving.  It's never too late to start.  What do you think?

We're Moving

I think it's safe to say that most people have a back up plan for their life.  A dream plan at least.  The yearning to pack up and head for the hills in search of a more simple life.  My vision of a wild, free, indigo life, abundant with all things I love, has been in my heart for some time.  It has been hard to find it surrounded by concrete with no room to stretch and grow. 

About three months ago an opportunity came available that would allow us to live more of the life we wanted.  A beautiful house on a corner lot in a small country town.  It's full of natural light and charm.  Let's just say we know the owners very well and they were willing to give us a deal. 

There is no rhyme or reason for the move other than the longing to set roots in a place that feels like home already.  We are shedding light on our dreams.  We weighed the pros and cons for weeks. 

*loads of outdoor space
*farther distance between the us and the neighbors
*the view is greenspace
*there is a front porch and a back porch
*natural light in the entire house
*we can make it our own
*we know people in the community
*closer to family
*my favorite little people will be neighbors
*farther out of the city
*small town
*downsizing (minimalism)
*more affordable

*we add 20 minutes to the commute making it a 40 minute drive to work
*benefits of the city (markets, movies, eateries) are not as accessible
* putting our current house on the market at a bad time
*there are several renovation projects
The lists could go on forever, but in the end the pro list won.  It would have been easier to say no, keeping the idea dormant for a while longer.  We are comfortable where we are, and there is something to be said for that.  There is a lot of work involved, but dreams are not comfortable, they're daring.  And so we decided to take the leap and continue to build our life in a quiet, cozy neighborhood. 

This is our lemonade:  plans for large gardens, hen houses, a community of friends, family close by, and plenty of space to grow.  Why wait for that?