For anyone still out there following along after nearly a year of no posts…I’ve moved! You can find new posts written by me over at withthreekidsintheyard.blogspot.com.
School lets out really early here – really early. Like May early – so I feel like I can justify being over summertime already. The weather has sucked and continues to suck. Next week’s forecast is mid 70’s and rainy all week long. The last week of July. Don’t get me wrong, mid 70’s is normally my jam but not in July and August. These are supposed to be the dog days of summer. We’re supposed to be crawling to the pool and the beach every day, getting tanned and tired and falling asleep in the hammock by the fire at night. Instead we’ve been renting lots of movies, going for bike rides to the playground when it’s dry enough to, baking and reading lots of books. I’d be fine with all of this if I didn’t know what kind of winter Ohio has in store for me. I’m scared.
But today I looked through my Instagram photos and was reminded of just how awesome our summer has actually been. A couple of trips, a couple of beach days, a couple of lake days, lots of pool days, house progress, baseball, camps, gardening, friends, dates, and good food and drinks.
So I guess it hasn’t been so bad after all. But I’m still holding out for a nice, dry, HOT August.
This is a really long and detailed post. I’m sorry. I’m not sorry. These are the posts I love to look back on the most. Also, the pictures are really terrible. I wasn’t focused on taking beautiful pictures and kind of just snapped here and there. All photos are iPhone pics. I’m over lugging my huge camera every where we go.
During the last week of June, Josh and I were painting the garage and drinking some Tiki Tea (which is lemonade mixed with Firefly – ice tea flavored vodka – highly recommended) when I got an idea. Instead of using the 10 days of leave that Josh had taken to work on the house, we should pack our bags and head to South Carolina in the morning. My aunt lives outside of Columbia and we had been planning a visit sometime this summer so why not now? With some quick planning we were on our way the next morning.
About halfway through the 9 hour drive, Josh spilled the news that he had set up a night away to Charleston for just the two of us. We’ve only left the kids overnight twice, and not at all since having Ruby, so it was a big treat. Especially since we only live together part time right now.
Josh booked a beautiful hotel in a perfect location, I reached out on Facebook to ask for suggestions from friends who live in the area and a couple of days later we were on our way by 10am. We drove straight to the beach at Isle of Palms where we rented beach chairs, bought a bottle of Firefly (it’s produced in Charleston…so we had too) and snuck a little in our styrofoam cups (we had been told by a friend that drinking was allowed on the beach but Google said it was prohibited, although tolerated as long as you behaved like a mature adult) before heading out to relax on the beach.
I’ve never done this before. My family never vacationed to the beach when I was growing up and I had my first kid just shy of my 20th birthday so beach experiences have never been very relaxing.
The 3 hours we spent there were magical. Josh and I walked along the edge of the water and talked about
the kids everything. We agreed that we most definitely can not settle down in Ohio because we are beach people. I collected some shells for the kids and for a little memento tray I keep in our living room and got way too excited when I saw the fishing pier that Channing Tatum jumped off of in Dear John. I tried to convince Josh that he’d be a legend if he’d jump off it but he said he’d rather live instead.
The water was unbelievable. I’ve never swam in water south of Virginia Beach so feeling the ocean at 86 degrees was amazing. Actually, I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever swam in the ocean at all. More like wading. But on this day I swam. Josh taught me how to, I don’t know, body surf? Is that what you’d call it? And we were in the water for nearly an hour, swimming and catching waves and laughing together. It was a ball.
When we were tired of the water we lounged for a while longer on the beach before deciding to curb the post buzz sleepiness with another drink at one of the beach bars. We went to this cute rooftop bar called Coconut Joe’s. I ordered a house margarita that ended up tasting like weak orange juice and we made plans for the rest of our night. We called it a day and decided to head into Charleston to check into our hotel and enjoy the complimentary happy hour (there was a clear theme to this day).
The hotel was beautiful. We stayed at the Harbourview Inn in the historic district, overlooking the water. If you know Josh at all, you know that he’s a bit of a salesman at heart (which is why recruiting is such a perfect fit for him). I like to call him a schmoozer but salesman is a good euphemism. Anyway, he schmoozed the guy at the front desk and we were upgraded to an historic king’s suite. It was awesome but too bad we were only staying for one night. We got showers and ready for the night and then headed up to the rooftop (everything in Charleston is rooftop. It’s very lovely.) where we had some wine and snacks and decided where to go to dinner.
Now. I know if you’re reading this and you know Charleston you’re going to say, “Husk. Duh.” I mean, it was only voted one of the best restaurants in all of America, let alone Charleston, but my husband
who has the palette of a child took one look at the menu and declared that it was a little too fussy for him. I won’t let him live that one down but in his defense, we probably wouldn’t have been able to get a table anyway. We agreed on a place that had come recommended to us by a friend and was coincidentally right around the corner from our hotel.
One of my favorite parts of Charleston is how walkable it is. It’s not Houston where you have to drive all across the sprawling city and it’s not New York where public transportation is a must. The streets are cobble stone, the houses have these gorgeous courtyards and walkways and there is seemingly no litter or beggars (I don’t mean to seem crude but after living in NYC for a year this aspect was nice). It is all just breathtakingly beautiful.
We ended up at Craftsmen, which is like a gastropub specializing in tons of local beers. We were starved and thought everything on the menu looked amazing so we decided to have dinner kind of tapas style, except American tapas style because nothing was portioned small. We tried a few beers and ordered pickled boiled peanuts (omg), mini brats in pretzel buns, poutine, deep fried pulled pork and kimchi spring rolls, and a couple of other things I can’t even remember. It was all incredible.
After dinner we considered doing a trolley tour but decided that we should probably just walk. We walked along the harbor and then into the streets of the historic district. It was so quiet. There was no traffic, few pedestrians and seriously nothing but beauty.
I’m lame and started to get a little sleepy so I made Josh go back to the hotel with me “just for 20 minutes so I can rest.” I swear to God the dude stared out the window, tapping on it like a little kid for the entire 20 minutes. He poured us both a shot of Firefly and we were off to the Rooftop Bar for drinks and music.
Getting up to the bar was really cute. You had to walk through an art gallery filled with really quirky pieces before you took a tiny elevator up to the first level. We climbed the stairs to the second level and got a seat in the corner overlooking the water. The view was beautiful but our barmaid was most definitely high and only visited us every 50 minutes. We had a couple of drinks and then drunk ordered hot chips, which have become our new “thing”, even though we were still stuffed from dinner. After it got dark and we lost our view and were tired of making fun of all of the people around us (we do that sometimes) we decided to head down the street to a bar that had come recommended by a fellow Coastie.
As soon as we walked into The Griffon, we knew we were not cool enough to be there. It was very Irish Punk Rock. Cool, but cooler than us. We got a table and ordered beers and decided to stay because our hotel was only two doors down. All of the walls were covered in dollar bills that had been left with messages and there was one of those old cigarette machines where you pull the knob to dispense the pack, right above our table. I begged Josh to buy a pack of cigarettes (we don’t smoke) because I wanted to be a little crazy. Obviously. He said no because he didn’t have any cash and if he bought me a pack of cigarettes I’d end up throwing up. Ha! He’s always got my back. To be quite honest, I don’t really remember a whole lot about our time in The Griffon but I do remember that there was a funny poem written on the wall in the ladies room that I had memorized but unfortunately have now forgotten. I also remember that the group of people we had been making fun of at the Rooftop Bar had now made their way down to The Griffon and we had a few more good chuckles at their expense before I picked a fight with Josh.
This is so ridiculous, I know, but I shut down a pretty perfect day over a game of darts. I really wanted to play darts and Josh was a bit of a pill, claiming he “doesn’t know how.” – Uh, you throw the darts at a board and see who gets the closest to the bull’s eye. But I blew it up and made Josh out to be a buzzkill (can you say, hypocrite?). Between his refusal to buy me cigarettes and now refusing to throw darts, I was done. I asked him to pay our tab and was asleep in our hotel bed before I even knew it.
I was such a bitch, I know. The next morning the poor guy woke up and immediately apologized for how silly it was to decline a game of darts and I apologized for how silly I was to get so upset over it. We packed our bags and decided to take advantage of the noon time check out and headed to brunch.
We ate at this little place called Toast. I tried to order the most Southern thing I could, so I got shrimp etoufette, fried green tomatoes, grits and a sweet tea to drink. It was incredible. Afterwards, we stopped off at one last, sweet, little boutique where I bought a small Charleston painting and a little thank you gift for my aunt who had kept the kids for us. Then we said goodbye to the Holy City and planned our return/move during the drive home.
It was absolutely a perfect trip (minus my little meltdown). The beach, the food, the scenery, the drinks, the hotel and just focusing on each other was perfect. We both left in love with Charleston.
I think I might start blogging again. Maybe.
There have been a handful of times where I’ve typed up a post, or part of a post, and then left the page because I lose interest that quickly. I think it’s due to a combination of being super busy with the house/parenting solo Mon-Thurs as well as retreating a bit because of comments that I just don’t care to deal with. Blogging is serious bidness. Especially when it’s your family who takes the opportunity to criticize from behind the comfort of their screen.
The truth is, I miss the interaction that I get from writing this blog. Like I’ve said from the beginning, I love to write but even more so, to document/vent/share. I also love reading back on everything I’ve written over the years so I kind of want to continue for posterity’s sake. Now that things are settling down with the work on the house and we’ve gotten into a pretty good routine, I think this little hobby is something I want to pick up again.
So where are we now?
- Geobacheloring blows. I force myself to refrain from complaining about it on Facebook but hey, this blog is my domain so I can complain about anything I want, right? ;) Our family has the easiest possible geobacheloring situation (seriously) but I still don’t have my husband home with me every night and that makes me sad.
- That said, moving back home was the best thing we could have done (if you’re not caught up, check out this, this and this and this). Not only has it given our kids the opportunity to live in a fantastic community surrounded by friends and family, in an amazing school district (my favorite part) with all of the extracurriculars we could want, it has also given Josh and I the chance to fulfill our dreams as homeowners, as well as given us a leg up financially.
- But the biggest impact that moving home has made on our family is definitely knowing that staying here, in our hometown, is not what we ultimately want. This small town in North Eastern Ohio will always be my (and Josh’s) home, but it’s no longer my home, if that makes any sense. Josh and I have have wondered what it would be like to raise our family here since practically the day we left but over all of those years, something about us changed. We’ve tried to move back a couple of times and finally doing so ended up being the kind of closure that we needed I guess. We have immense pride in being born and raised here but it’s not where we belong anymore, so while the kids and I will cherish the memories we make here over the next two years, we’ve all already agreed that we’re ready to move on.
- And if you’re following along, and you’re really keen (I’m hard to keep up with – I know), you may have noticed in that last paragraph that I said two years instead of one like we had originally planned. Well, staying in the Coast Guard is back on the table. Moving home kind of made Josh, Parker and I (the other two are too little to care) realize that we’re not done wandering around this beautiful country (yes, really, my 8 year old totally decided that he’s not done being a Coastie kid). But that’s okay because it’s better to figure all of this out while we still have our options open, right? But anyway, we still have a full year before we have to decide on anything so we’re just trying to keep an open mind (things change rather quickly around here) and not worry about what’s next until at least next summer.
- Lastly, I’m going to open up the blog’s Facebook page again, for now (I’m flakey. Get over it). Originally, I had decided that having a Facebook page for a blog that I never intended to grow (and still very much do not) was a waste but I kept contact with many people through that Facebook page and I miss that. We’ll see how long it lasts.
Update : Annnnnd it’s down. ;)
Please excuse all/any of the typos and grammatical errors. I”m sleepy, I’ve had a glass of wine or two and I spend 99.8% of my days with three children under the age of 9. Also, I promise my next post will include some pictures! Welcome (me) back!
First day of summer break. Awesome and awful all at once. I woke up Monday to a child screaming, “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mama!” I jumped out of bed worried about what the screaming was, only to find that the boys were watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Augustus Gloop’s chunky butt was screaming for his mommy from the tube. I crawled back into bed for a minute.
Once I gained my bearings I climbed into my running shoes and poured a cup of coffee to chug before my summertime baby-sitter arrived. I hired someone (actually a teenager I used to babysit when I was a teenager) to sit with the kids in the morning Monday through Friday so I can continue on with my runs while the boys are on break. She pulled into the drive way and I took off.
I got a great run in, although I’m still not in what I consider “shape”, I was able to run two, under 9 minute miles so I was good with that. I relieved the sitter and hopped in the shower. Afterwards I worked on garage organization while the kids played in the yard, searching for worms so we could go fishing. We were starved by 11:30 and the boys have established an obsession with Subway so we loaded into the car, had sandwiches (veggie for me – have I mentioned that I’ve lost 6 pounds since the beginning of May?) and then stopped at a convenience store to pick up bait (you can buy bait, beer, chips, dip and lottery tickets all at the same venue in Ohio).
We pulled into the park and unloaded our fishing gear. Josh’s dad bought the boys fishing poles and all that goes with it so I fumbled for a few minutes trying to figure out how to pull the line through the rod, hook the bobber and attach the hook. I managed though and within little time the boys were looking at me like I was the definition of badass :)
We fished for about an hour, maybe a little more, and I was impressed with how quickly the boys caught on. Theo could cast like a master fisherman and Parker caught three fish! I was also a little surprised with how unafraid Theo was. He’s usually very squeamish about all things but when it comes to animals something is just different. He caught one fish, grabbed it and began to release the hook when Ruby tripped over his line causing the hook to dig into his finger. He freaked out for a minute but it wasn’t that bad so he shook it off like a champ. In the meantime, every fish Parker caught waged a war between he and I. I’ve declared this summer as the season of learning and I’m digging my heels in when it comes to making sure the boys do the things they can do, on their own. I read an Ann Landers quote recently that basically sums up my personal parenting philosophy and I’ve taken it to heart.
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”
Anyway, I told the boys from the get go that I would help them bait their hook and cast a couple of times but that was it. If they wanted to fish, they had to fish. Parker was totally creeped out by the wriggling fish every time he reeled one in so we spent about four minutes per fish (the first two at least) arguing about whether he should pull the hook from the fish’s mouth or whether I should. And then the third fish happened. I watched him literally, mistakenly, cast his rod into the first dip of water and within two seconds a fish had caught. Excitedly, he reeled it in only to find that the fish had swallowed the hook. As soon as I saw it several choice words flew through my brain.
Park worked on getting that hook out for about three minutes before I finally said, “Okay, we’ve got to get this fish back into the water or it’s going to die.” I threw the fish back in still attached to the hook. Parker flipped. He was going to de-hook this fish and save its life. He told me to reel it in again because he was going to get the hook out. He asked that I gently step on the fish so he could get a better grip and then he proceeded to try every angle while tearing up and bickering back and forth with me for twenty. minutes. Twenty minutes. It was so pitiful and though I was annoyed with his squeamishness, I felt so bad for the little guy by the end of it. Eventually I told him it was a lost cause. The fish was dead. We had to cut the line and just throw him back. All three kids broke down crying and we all hugged in the 85 degree weather by the pond in the park.
We called it a day and discussed whether we’d ever go fishing again. Theo said absolutely not because he “can’t handle when things die. Except for germs.” Parker said yes because he had had a blast until the third fish fiasco but next time he’ll bring gloves to better handle the fish. We headed off to the library to return some books and check out new.
When we got home I realized that I had left the garage door open. Now, our garage is not for our car. It’s at a really terrible angle in our driveway and I’m actually not even sure that our van would fit even if we could make the required turn. If I had my way, I’d tear the damn thing down. On top of our inability to use the garage for what a garage should be used for, we need a new door. The one we have is ragged, ugly and off the tracks.
As I pulled the door down, the stupid thing got stuck. With my handbag and library books in my right hand, I used my left hand to partially re open the garage door so I could pull it closed, but as the door dropped, my left hand caught inside of one of the sections and began to smash as the door continued to lower.
Though I didn’t make any noise, all I could think was, “Holy shit, my fingers are being cut off and I’m here by myself with my three kids who will just be completely traumatized.” Parker thought it too because he screamed and said, “Mom! Are your fingers there? Are you fingers there?” I dropped everything I was holding in my right hand and slowly began lifting the door. As the door lifted, it got tighter and I grew even more scared thinking there was no way out. Luckily, after a certain point I realized that I could manually separate the sections of the garage door that my hand was stuck between and managed to escape with a minor gash and three bruised knuckles. It actually didn’t even hurt that badly but it was scary as shit. I held it together until I was in the house and then 5 minutes later, when the kids were distracted, I called Josh and broke down crying.
The rest of the night was filled with vodka and lemonade (duh), eating dinner outside and Face Timing my aunt, sister and husband. After the kids were in bed I vegged on the couch while drowning my sorrows in Housewives and London Ladies. Day 1 is in the books.
I’m kind of over blogging. Over as in, I don’t ever feel like taking the time to write things down anymore. Over as in, I never want to upload/edit/share pictures from my camera anymore. My hobby of blogging has been evolving since the day I started my first blog back in 2010 and I assume it will continue to evolve until it eventually fizzles out. Then I read back on something I wrote 4 years ago and I’m so thankful that I took the time to blog because I love the little glimpse into the time capsule that I created. Our lives are so different now than they were just 4 years ago. I’m ridiculously nostalgic so even though my life today is exactly (almost) where the me from 2010 would have hoped it to be, I can’t deny that it makes me sad to look back and remember where I was then.
I think I’ll probably get back to blogging a little bit more since it’s officially summertime in the Kistler house but since I can’t promise anything I thought I’d write a little random update post to share with everyone (especially the future me) what is going on in our family and my mind lately.
- Living separately from the love of my life absolutely sucks. Today marks two months since we started this geobacheloring journey and while these two months have flown by, we still have 16 to go. As to be expected, we’ve already had some issues but we knew this wouldn’t be easy when we signed up for it. For me, aside from just really, really missing my best friend, the hardest part is keeping the feeling of resentment at bay. Some nights, when the kids have been particularly difficult or the work on the house is wearing on me and Josh calls to tell me he’s out at a bar in Manhattan with the guys from work, I feel it creeping in. I feel like he’s such an ass to be out on a Wednesday night partying like he’s one of the guys (everyone he works with is single) and I really, really want to be mad at him. But I know that he isn’t really partying like one of the guys and that this isn’t something he would be doing if we were there with him. I don’t expect him to sit in his apartment and twiddle his thumbs because I’m back at home tucking our kids in bed. Sometimes I just have to remind myself that he’s not choosing his friends or the bar over us – we’re just not there for him to choose. The kids are handling it well though. I was afraid they’d live their lives Sunday to Friday just waiting for dad to come home but just like they always do, they’ve surprised me with their resiliency. We FaceTime every morning and every night and have only gone 5 days max without being able to squeeze Josh so it’s not too bad. Ruby has become obsessed with New York. Any time she sees anything that resembles a city she says, “Look! It’s New York!” because she knows that’s where daddy is.
- Moving back home has been pretty much completely opposite to what I thought it would be like. It’s not a bad or a good thing, it’s just different than what I imagined. I love our little house but it doesn’t feel like “home”. As a matter of fact, while we are very happy that we made this decision and we’re very happy to be back in our hometown for right now, I don’t think that any of us feel this is long term. For the first month, while the New York funk wore off, Parker made comments every other day about how badly he wanted to grow up here. I felt it too. I was actually disappointed that we didn’t buy a bigger house because this house is just too small for us to grow into if this is going to be our forever town, but slowly that feeling started to fade for all of us and now I wonder if we’re just addicted to the nomad lifestyle. A few weeks ago, Parker and I were talking about our life here and I asked him if he was happy that we moved back. He said, “Yeah I like it here and I want to stay for a little while but I think I’d be okay to move again.” Hearing him say those words felt a little like gaining permission for something. It felt like a relief of some kind.
- As for the house, Josh and I have been busting our butts and have the downstairs 99% of the way completed. We’ve changed nearly everything. The color of the walls, the light fixtures in every room, we’ve painted the fireplace, stained the mantle, installed a door bell, installed central air, changed the entire kitchen, upgraded the blinds in the windows and on and on and on. We’re currently working on fencing in our back yard and we’re creeping upstairs as we continue on with sanding the floors, painting the hallway walls and changing out the upstairs hallway light. I’d say overall, we’re at about 70% complete with everything I envisioned on the first day we walked through the house. The speed at which we’re working is insane – basically projects haven’t stopped for 2 months – but it’s just one of those by – products of being a military family. You only have so much time in this space so do what you need to do before you have to move on. That’s the way my brain is wired now. That feeling is draining at first but now that we’ve accomplished so much I’m actually starting to feel elated. I nearly have the house I’ve been picturing since February which is allowing a little bit of contentment to trickle down. I don’t think I’ve felt content since 2011 so this is nice. With that said, I am very bipolar when it comes to this house and some
hoursdays I feel like we’re pouring sweat and money into a pit. Hopefully not.
- I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about summertime in my life. The dog days of the two summers past have given me a huge appreciation for Ohio summers. I plan to move at an extremely slow and laid back pace, earn the nick name of pool rat, play outside in our pajamas at 8 am, eat most of our meals on our new picnic table, run and bike hundreds of miles and eat more fair food than I’d ever admit to. The boys are signed up for basketball, soccer, and art camp, we have two vacations planned and a visit from my sister and new baby nephew in early August. I know I’m going to blink and it will all be over with but like I told the boys this morning, the second half of the year in Ohio is just short of magical. Fireflies, football, holidays and family is all that’s left of 2014.
Nearly a month has gone by since we moved into our little brick cottage and within this short time I’ve had a lot of different thoughts and feelings about this house as a home. From the very beginning Josh and I looked at this building as a temporary stop. I mean, surely we didn’t think that we’ll actually be able to raise three children all the way from elementary through high school in 1200 square feet with one bathroom. The very reason we chose such a small home was for the potential to easily rent it out once we’re ready to move on. We figured that a small 3/1 home would appeal to a broader range of renters (singles, couples, couples + 1 or 2 children, elderly, etc) than a larger home would. I was so eager to not see this as our forever home that I even asked our realtor how much she thought we could list it for on the first day we walked through.
But a funny thing has started happening as we fix up this little place and make it our (even if it is temporary) home. I’ve started to love it here. When I look around, even though there are some things that I wish were different, I see so many more things that I’ve always wanted in my forever home. It’s got me thinking that maybe we could stay here for the long haul…
For One – Living in a small house means living with small expenses. Honestly, we live in this house for less than $750 a month, utilities included. To me, this means that we are free to do whatever we want. I’m no longer worried about Josh finding a livable job after the Coast Guard because livable here is pretty easy. It means that we can travel more. Save more. Put more money towards making what little bit of square footage we do have, exactly how we want it. It gives me a feeling of freedom, really.
Two – There’s less to clean. The house we rented in Texas was 2400 square feet and I hated every single inch of it once it came time to clean. Actually, that was all the time because I could barely keep up. A living room, 2 dining rooms, a kitchen, 4 bedrooms, a loft, 2.5 bathrooms, an entry way, and giant hallways was just too much. We didn’t use half of it but all of it needed dusted. I relish the fact that this house is less than half of that Texas house because it means I spend less than half of the time cleaning it.
Three – There’s less to decorate. Don’t get me wrong, I love decorating but it’s nice to feel like I have everything I need. We actually even had to purge some things in order to fit into this house but less things, is always good.
Four – We’re around each other more. I know this may actually become an issue for privacy’s sake as the kids get older (although, “sure you can have your girlfriend over and we’ll all sit right here and hang out together in the only living room we have” sounds nice too) but right now it’s perfect. I’ve noticed that we all watch much less television because we only have one living space that we must share. Also, for me personally, I feel like I’m more attentive to each kid. Not to say I wasn’t before but with only 1200 square feet to move about, I always know exactly where and what everyone is doing/discussing. It’s nice.
I think it’s common to think that you need more than what you actually do. Really, I think it’s common to think that you want more than you actually do so I’m happy to say that for now, I feel content. :)
PS – WordPress has apparently changed its photo options so I no longer know how to decrease the size of photos. Sorry if you have to scroll just to view a full picture!