22 April 2013

the beginning of the end

this weekend we began the arduous task of saying goodbye. we had a few lasts that made my heart ache. 

on friday we gathered with our little homeschool tutorial to bid adieu. it was bittersweet. to think we may never see some of these sweet faces again. goodness it makes me sad. but grateful for email and instagram and facebook and blogging. the internet really makes the world seem a great deal smaller. 

on saturday morn we met up with our sweet friends the hanns and their very darling boy, bowman for a jaunt around the arboreum. have you ever been? quite spectacular. we have lived here 4 years and were kicking ourselves for never coming til now. and on this clear, bright, very breezy day-the sights were even lovelier. 

but then we were reminded that it was lunch time so we loaded up and drove over to union market. and even though a security guard chided me with a "kids aren't allowed to play here"{welcome to DC}, we had the most delightful time chatting and lunching at a little place that has the best name, red apron. their grilled cheese wasn't too shabby especially when pared with a gin and tonic that just happened to be on tap{what?}

the mister took the boys out on sunday afternoon for one last ride down that infamous wooden slide. and late in the afternoon as the sun was peaking over the appalachian trail, the oldest penned his name to an acceptance letter of sorts. more on that later. 

what a weekend wrought with much emotion. but my boys are always willing to cut the tension with their comedic timing and uncensored boyspeak. to which the oldest aptly observed, "we are not your typical homeschool family". indeed. and how was your weekend?


16 April 2013

40 Days


this morning the littlest was eating his breakfast-quietly. i asked, "what goes on in that little brain of yours?" "i'm just thinking," he replied. "i'm thinking about our move. i'm really excited."

i'm going to be honest. i've been struggling lately. like really, really struggling. an ordinary exchange can put me in a tither. like when the vet assistant snapped at me and i, well, snapped back. i think it has a little to do with all i have going on in my life at the moment. traditional wisdom encourages one to avoid too many changes within quick succession of one another. it seems that we in the girl friday camp have thrown caution to the wind as we attempt to see how many changes we can accomplish in very, very quick order. 

i checked my calendar and counted the days. 40 days. i thought of noah. that's the length the scripture tells us he spent cooped up on that large boat with his family and all those animals as the waters kept him afloat. 

40 days was the length of jesus's fast before he went to the cross.

40 days is how long i have til we make our way to the{more}south. 

yep. after 4 years of living outside DC, our little family along with the 2 dogs we've picked up along the way will make our way back to tennessee. nashville awaits. 

last week my Mister along with some cherished friends{josh 1, josh 2, chris, aaron, ryan, sam 1 and sam 2, andrew and mike}spent days cleaning and clearing and wheeling and dealing and painting and sanding and spraying our little-cottage-in-the-hood. it seems that in 40 days we'll be leaving our little cottage-on-the-hill for an even littler cottage-in-the-hood. the hood, you ask? that's our beloved neighborhood of east nashville. only the best place on earth. if you ask me.

i can't wait. really. i can't believe it's happening. but i will miss this place. i will miss who our family is up here. goodness, i will miss the sunset over the appalachian trail. i will miss the DC skyline. i will miss the painstaking loveliness of our darling historic town. i will miss meeting the Mister downtown for lunch and seeing him run into dozens of people who know him, none of whom i know. i will miss the people who have welcomed us into their lives. i will miss the milk delivery and how you can't turn a corner without being face to face with history. i will miss the anonmity of living here. the drive over the potomac river. the quick jaunts to nyc, baltimore, gettysburg, philly.

we have few friends, few commitments, few requirements. this has afforded our family four years of putting down roots in one another. and it has been good. and it has been hard. and it has been lonely. but it has been lovely. and so very worth it. and there are so many other things i will miss. far too many to list. 

in 40 days we'll be driving our {pared down}earthly treasures{anyone want an armoire?} and our most prized peoples back to our old house in our old neighborhood to reminisce with our oldish{we're the oldest of most of ours}friends who await our return. 

like noah on the ark and jesus in the wilderness, we have a long and arduous journey{not quite as arduous-you get the picture}. but this is also our providence. and for that we humbly oblige. and hold on for dear life and hope that our lives calm. we welcome all these changes-and hope for no more. at least for a few months.



{relieved and saddened. our sweet friends from high school sent word they were fine. my heart aches for those who aren't. boston continues to be marked as a place of much revolution and redemption. sometimes i think we need a tragedy to remind us there is good and that good prevails.}

07 April 2013

two settings

our third son cried for the first year of his life. or so it seemed. when we look at his baby photos, he is either smiling ear to ear or crying. and to this day, harry has two settings: on and off. there is no gray with him. and he does not mince words. 

yesterday i was chatting with a stranger. her haircut prompted me to comment, "you are the cutest thing i've ever seen." this older woman confessed, "i needed to hear that. i have felt so down lately. i can't seem to lose weight." my son who is 10 today flatly offered, "why don't you get a treadmill?" 

this is the same child who is convinced my grandchildren will someday call me "hot shot". he is the same child who stood up in front of our church congregation when he was only 4, wearing his koala costume and announced it was his birthday. he is the boy who bought himself a drum kit after he sold a software package he won at the opening of the local mac store. you might say he grabs life by the horns-and wrestles it to the ground.

but this loud{very}boy is oh so loving. he is fierce and devoted{when he isn't beating somebody up-remember i said "two settings"}. i will never forget when his baby brother was born. he leaned over george's carseat and observed, "we picked a good seed."

i love all of my children equally, but if there is one who i believe will see me through til the end, it is this boy. he loves deeply. he cares sincerely. and he is so much like me. frustrated the Mister often chides, "he is YOUR son." yes, he is. 

he has two settings. he flies off the handle. and then weeps with joy. he raises his hands in church in adoration. and he raises his hands to his brother-in the lobby as they wait for sunday school. 

today our third son, harrison markham utley turns 10. our life went from black and white to color when he came that fateful spring day. and it has never stopped being colorful. 


01 April 2013

canine and crazy both begin with "c"

i heard that familiar walk into our bedroom. the shuffle of little feet. he was wrapped in his blanket. the house was still dark. barely any grey peeking in our windows. our littlest boy was in pursuit of an early morning snuggle. but he wasn't alone. he had a puppy on his heels. both climbed into our cozy bed. the Mister rolled over softly snoring. "daddy's like a caveman", whispered this boy who helped himself to our layers of blankets. the puppy in his arms shifted in, making herself at home. and my heart was so full. seeing my littlest sweetly snuggle this adorable pup. the cuteness was intoxicating. and i thought.

for so long i thought of myself as NOT a dog{or animal} person. i would visit with friends who shared their home with furry family members and leave thinking, "i don't know how they do it." the smell. the rituals. the trouble. the expense of it all. much like friends must feel when they leave our house with all these wild boys.

i remember being at my friend annette's once. her gentle giant doberman named pilot threw up on the rug. i about lost it. she very nonchalantly grabbed a can of spray and some towels to wipe it up without skipping a beat. it was as though i was watching a blind man bake a cake. "how?!" and a few months later, here i am. doing the same. without skipping a beat. grabbing the plastic bag and gloves and just wiping it up.

now i get to hear breakfast chats like, "meg, who do you love more: me or charlie? o, she looked at me so she must love ME more." or "i do not want her licking me. she eats her own vomit." and i get to see my boys come alive like they have never been as they cuddle and chase and feed and wrestle these new family members.

the dogs run through the house like our boys. they are scolded and reprimanded. they are loved and admonished. those dirty feet have soiled the carpet and my sofa. damn it. but what's a little dirt is the grand scheme of life? are we not taught to use things and love people {and in this scenario-dogs}?

don't get me wrong. dogs {and animals in general} are a huge responsibility. they encompass so much of our time as well as our hearts. up until our dog kipling, we only kept rabbits. and after we buried our second one, my oldest, whose heart had been broken with his beloveds' burials not once but twice, said, "i'm done with rabbits." 

dogs bring such a sweetness to a home. companionship. they bring kindness and adventure. they force us to relax. they teach us to let go of worry and embrace spontaneity with wild abandon. they teach us that dirty floors matter not when it comes to memories that our children will carry with them. memories of early morning snuggles and walks to the park and chasing down a wayward canine. 

our home grew by two this past year. two! i am astounded and surprised by myself really. my friends think i am insane. and i am. but i was crazy long before the dogs came.