Hello! A catch up post.

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.

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  • 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.  photo IMG_8627_zpsa2831249.jpg
  • 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.

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  • 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 hours days I feel like we’re pouring sweat and money into a pit. Hopefully not.

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  • 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.

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4 things to love about living in a tiny house.

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.

 photo IMG_5734_zpsb3181fff.jpgBut 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.

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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!

Family things.

I think one of the sweetest parts of being in a family are all of the little things that belong only to you. You know, the things that you remember when you grow up, being specific to your mom or dad. For some reason when I was little I always used to pick up on the things other families said and did and some of them stuck with me. For example, the mother of the family I babysat for all throughout jr high and high school always told her girls, “I love you so” and it just melted me. Adding one little word to the end of a phrase that everyone uses made it seem so much more personal and powerful. I still follow along with her and her girls on Facebook and every once in while I’ll smile when that little sentence pops up on my screen. And I won’t lie. I have been telling my kids that I love them so for 8 years now 🙂

Ice cream dreams are a thing I’ve passed on from my childhood. I used to have nightmares a lot when I was little so when I’d wake up in the middle of the night, scared and crying, my mom would come into my room and list off all of the good things I should think about to help me get back to sleep. She would say, “Just think of good things like ice cream cones and you won’t be afraid anymore.” Our kids don’t often have nightmares but every night as I leave their room I always say, “Have sweet ice cream dreams.”  I realized that this was definitely one of our things one night when I didn’t say it and Theo got out of bed to remind me that I forgot to wish them the ice cream dreams. Isn’t it incredible how strong the connection you can make by doing something so small?

It’s not just words, things can be anything really. When Josh and I were in high school, before we were comfortable saying I love you, we would do this hand thing where one of us squeezed the other’s hand 3 times. A sort of morse code I guess. Even after we said the words to each other we continued to do the hand thing anytime we were in a group setting and didn’t want to say it out loud. Cheesy, yes, but sometimes that’s what makes the best kind of thing. Of course we don’t do it much now but every once in a while those three squeezes still mean something. I’ve also let the boys in on the secret code although I don’t get many opportunities to use it with them anymore.

Josh and I also call each other buddy. I don’t remember where it came from but for as long as I can remember it’s been our term of endearment for each other. He’s even listed under “Buddy” in my phone. We’re not big into lovey names. Sweetheart is my way of saying asshole, honey was my dog’s name and I’ve never once called a grown person babe so I guess buddy was created out of necessity 🙂 Regardless, I love it because it’s so personal.

All of these things, whether stolen from someone else, passed on or created by us, make up a kind of club. They’re part of our binding. A legacy specific to the 5 of us. That’s why it’s so important to me.

Family can be so tricky but has been especially for us, because of circumstances and our lifestyleFor us, things haven’t had the chance to occur naturally outside of our circle of 5 because we’ve never been consistently surrounded by our loved ones. It has been easy for relationships to stunt when they should have been growing. When I was little my grandma lived 10 minutes from me which meant we were given the chance for things all of the time but mostly because she never missed an opportunity to make memories with us. Our thing was taking drives on roller coaster road every Friday night. I think of her every time an unexpected hill “gets my belly” and when our kids, whom have spent the majority of their lives in flat NJ and TX, cackle with laughter over “the roller coaster road” (what they’ve designated  the hills of Ohio without any help from me). While it makes me sad that our kids have missed out on creating those things with other loved ones, I am more sad for the other loved ones who have missed the opportunity to create those legacies for themselves. But hopefully moving home will open up more chances for growth and things 🙂

 

 

 

Springtime thoughts.

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It’s 20 something degrees and will be April next week. Yuck. I guess maybe since I’ve been a little bit removed from real winter weather for so long (last year we were in Houston and the 4 years before that were in Cape May which generally has mild, albeit windy, winters) I forgot how cold and looooong they can be. On the upside, it’s supposed to be in the 60’s in both New York and Ohio next week.

I hate daffodils. They’re filling up my Instagram feed lately and I can’t help but wish for tulips or hyacinths instead.

March is insane with birthdays! We have 7 birthdays this month including Theo’s and Ruby’s. I mentioned this to Josh and he said, well what’s 9 months before March? The 4th of July! 😉

Our family is passing around a tiny stomach bug (early spring is always when we get sick). It’s not anything that knocks you out but it’s actually kind of worse because it comes and goes randomly. Ruby and Josh are recovered but now it’s my turn and it sucks. At least it’s this week and not next. Exactly 7 days until our moving truck arrives!

We’ve moved so many times now that it no longer bothers me at all. I actually like taking inventory on all of our belongings, purging things we don’t use/need and starting fresh somewhere. Obviously this move is especially exciting since we’re officially homeowners.

Actually, buying a house is one of the most exciting things I’ve ever experienced. Josh and I have so many plans and ideas for this little house and I can’t wait to get started. This is my thing. For about 6 years now I’ve been really interested in real estate, renovations and home decorating. I even took a real estate appraisal course a couple of years ago, just for fun. Eventually when my career in mommyhood becomes just a part time gig I plan to start something in this field.

Springtime is the beginning of a new running season and I can’t wait to get back into it. Last spring I trained for a half marathon but have only run a handful of times since. I’m planning on a full comeback. Actually, I need a jogging stroller to accommodate Miss Ruby and I’m leaning towards a BOB Revolution. One thing I really want are iPod speakers on the inside so Ruby can listen to music while we run but I’m not sure if BOB’s have that feature. I’d love any suggestions or recommendations.

Happy Spring!

 

 

 

iPhone photos from a really great day in Central Park.

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Bring on Spring and Summer! With 60 degree weather today, we had to get out of the house and decided to go to Central Park since we won’t get too many more opportunities to just go whenever we want. The boys love Heckscher playground and have dubbed it “the best playground” they’ve ever been to “besides Firestone Park!” ha! Firestone Park is the little park in our hometown, which obviously pales in comparison to Central Park but does go down in history as one of the best back home.

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One of the best things about Heckscher is the giant boulder that the playground is built into. The kids are encouraged to climb the rock and the views up top are gorgeous.

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After playing for a good long while, we stopped at an ice cream truck and then walked down the mall and into Bethesda Terrace where a woman was singing opera. This is what I love and will miss about New York. It was beautiful.

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Walking through Central Park on one of the first nice days of the year is electric. Everyone is out and everyone is happy. We saw wedding parties, performers, musicians and no less than 1,000 dogs. Ruby seemed to enjoy the city more today than she ever has and even ended up walking completely by herself (since she refused to be carried) nearly 40 blocks throughout the day. We went into Manhattan today with the idea that it may be our last visit before we move. We were not disappointed.

 

 

Snow Day.

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We kicked off our mid winter break by taking the kids sled riding for the first time today. The boys have gone a couple of times on the small hill in our back yard but today we took them to a big hill down the street and it was a blast. I thought we’d make it twenty minutes top before Ruby was cold and crying but even she loved it. I took her down the hill once on Parker’s sled and even though we were flying, she cackled the entire way down. Theo is a pro sledder and loved every minute, even telling me that he was “training for the Olympics.” Parker asked if we could go back tomorrow.

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Sledding is terrifying. You never realize it when you’re a fearless kid but I went down the hill twice today and thought I was going to die both times.

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Our view is pretty amazing. Not everyone gets to sled beneath the Verrazano Bridge. One of the most beautiful bridges in New York, in my opinion. 

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A lot of times when the kids ask me to play outside with them I balk at the idea and try to come up with excuses as to why I can’t. I want to stop doing that.

 

 

 

 

What’s new with the kids?

Since I don’t have a Facebook account to keep everyone updated on the random things going on with the kids, I thought I’d post about what’s currently going on with them (and us). I’ve relied on Facebook a lot over the years to document the funny things they say and to share their achievements so that is something I’m missing now. Especially because we live in our own little bubble and barely ever get to talk to our outside family.

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Parker – Park’s class is reading “Because of Winn Dixie” and he came home annoyed because his teacher had censored a part. Apparently during the preacher’s 10 things about Opal’s mother, his teacher refused to read one of the numbers because it was “inappropriate.” Of course this led Parker to make a beeline for the book section at Target where he picked up a copy, flipped to the page and read that what was “inappropriate” was that Opal’s mother was an alcoholic. I’m completely against censorship but this pissed me off on another level. I don’t understand why a teacher would believe that rather than have a conversation about a disease, which alcoholism absolutely is, it’s better just to label it not suitable for third graders. I’m against hiding things from kids in any capacity. It leads to two things: 1. kids take it upon themselves to find out and then get misinformed/the wrong idea and 2. you, as an adult, miss your opportunity to effectively communicate with your kid. If we didn’t have the type of open relationship that we do with Parker, he could have possibly actually believed that drinking alcohol is a bad thing or that alcoholism is something that shouldn’t be spoken of.

Park was selected for his school’s soccer team. It’s not competitive and it’s actually just an hour a week of drills, skills practice and fun but he really likes it and was very excited that he was picked.

One of Parker’s teeth is growing in way too high in his gums. I had this same problem with my teeth which is what led me to need braces. I know it’s inevitable for him too but I have no idea when we’ll start seeing an orthodontist. He hasn’t seemed self conscious about the tooth but he did mention to me that he thinks it’s ugly.

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Theo –  Theo came home from school one day last week when Josh had picked him up, ashamed to tell me that he had cut his hair during class. And not just a little bit, he cut half of his “bangs” off. Apparently he had been pretending to cut his hair, laughing with a friend, when the friend said “I dare you to really cut your hair.” so Theo did. And Josh and I were not surprised. We acted like we were disappointed and had the whole talk about how he knows better than to do things he’s not supposed to just because a friend tells him to but Josh and I both know that Theo isn’t a follower – he’s a character who likes to make people laugh. Who can be mad at that? The hardest part was trying not to laugh as he explained that after he did it, he had to take the entire chunk of hair to his teacher’s desk and explain what he had done. I mean, all I could think about was being this teacher who thinks her students are sweetly working on an assignment only to have this crazy 5 year old bring a giant chunk of hair to her desk! To be a fly on that wall.

T was not selected for the school’s soccer team and was pretty devastated for about a day. He takes things hard but he also moves on quickly.

Theo is so excited for his birthday that almost every night as we tuck him in he wants to go through the list of options for his celebration. Since we don’t live by any family and very few friends we never have birthday parties for the kids but instead we let them pick something special to do for the day. Theo has his day narrowed down to the Crayola Factory, the Liberty Science Center, the Please Touch Museum, CoCo Keys (an indoor water park), or a Caribbean Cruise. Not that the last one is really an option but he continues to keep it on his list.

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Ruby – Rubes is a real big girl now. She seems to have the same great memory that the boys have and can recall events from a week ago. She’s talking up a storm and speaks in sentences. She’s obsessed with her brothers, pretzels and hummus and giving Lolly treats. She refuses to wear half of her wardrobe. For some reason she started saying “note” instead of no and I can’t stop laughing about it. She’s the girliest tomboy with the craziest, frizzy curls that I’ve ever seen. She has a stuffed tiger that she takes everywhere and though she had originally named him Guy, he now goes by Tigey.

Last night Ruby woke up at 3:30 am, which is really unusual for her. Josh tried to comfort her but she just wanted to get up so we let her cry/whine for about an hour. Finally, I gave in and brought her into our bed with us for the first time in her life. At first she thought it was party time but then once she realized that we were just sleeping too she said, “Mommy bed.” which was her way of letting me know that she wanted to go back to her bed! I couldn’t believe that two hours of whining and fighting sleep ended with her telling me she was ready to go back to her bed. I laid her in her bed and she rolled over and slept until 7:30.

The other day Josh put on his work gloves and pretended to “Ironman” Ruby’s face. She screamed, “Aweshum!” and Josh and I died laughing. Aside from the fact that we didn’t know she knew the word, it was hysterical that she thought that Josh’s gloved hand in her face was awesome.

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