Thursday, August 26, 2010

Firsts and Lasts

We're moving. In 3 days I'll be leaving the home I've lived in for the past 10 years...for the last time. If you know me, you'll know I'm a very sentimental type of person. I don't like change either. But, this move, this change is a good kind of change. We're moving to be closer to family. We'll be living in a beautiful part of the country and my boys will go to a fabulous school. So, I should be thrilled! And, I am! But, I'm also morning the loss of my life here. My 10 years of life that is full of firsts and lasts.

The moving truck comes tomorrow. They'll load up all the boxes that we've been packing for the past 4 weeks, some were packed even longer ago than that. And, as I've touched almost everything that we own, I remember the memories I have of this house that has been our home for the past 10 years.

This is the first home my husband and I have owned. We moved away from his family in TX to the Midwest, to further his career. It was a great move for us. We established ourselves nicely, finding a church ( I became a Catholic, after completing the RCIA process). We love our church. I'll miss our church terribly. I love going on Sundays, looking across at the faces, and knowing just about every one I see in our large congregation.

We found fabulous doctors, grocers, favorite restaurants, and favorite family places to take the kids....oh, the kids.... When we moved in this house, we didn't have any children. We came only with our guinea pig, Piglet. She was our "child" back then, traveling with us to visit family. But, even before our children, came our fluffy puppy. Our fist dog. We brought him home our first New Years Eve in this home. We played with him while we watched the ball drop. This is the only home he's ever known. But he'll make the trip with us to our new home.

I also had my accident in this house. I fell down the stairs, trying to take our puppy out to go potty "one last time". I slipped on the first stair, hit the back of my head on that stair and broke my C1. I spent 2 healing months in a C-collar, sitting still mostly because everything I did hurt. I even slept sitting up. But, I have made a full and complete recovery, thankfully.

One year after my accident, I had my baby shower for my first baby boy (only we didn't know it was a boy at the time). We've brought our three sons home to this house. I remember sitting in my rocker, nursing my first son, for the first time in my bedroom and telling my husband, "This is what I've always dreamed of. This is what I'm meant to do." I'll only have 2 more nights left, sleeping in that room. I'm hoping to have my 2 older boys in there with me for those 2 last nights.

All 3 boys took their first steps here, spoke their first words here, celebrated all of their Christmases, Easters, and some Thanksgivings. We've celebrated 13 of their birthdays here. At the age of 3, our oldest fell and knocked out 3 of his front teeth in the living room where I'm sitting now, on the coffee table where my laptop rests. There have been many a skinned knee, elbow, and even a cheekey or two from our driveway.

We've made many friendships in our neighborhood, some feel close as family. I can ask them for anything, and they can do the same. These friendships we've made aren't just your average run-of-the-mill relationships, these are strong, lifetime-lasting friendships. We're so blessed to have found such a wonderful group of friends.

I remember where I was in my bedroom when my sister told me that our Grandfather had passed away. I remember finding out my Grandmother had throat cancer.

We've painted every wall, changed almost all of the carpeting, changed the vinyl flooring to tile and hard wood. We've made this house our home. Only, in 5 days, it won't be our home anymore. And, in 3 days we'll walk out the door and never walk back in again.

It's sad to think, yes, that I will never see our kitchen tile again. I'll never smell the same familiar smells as I open the windows in the morning. I'll never play on the driveway with my boys, and look down and see the neighbors playing as well and be able to walk down and chat with my friend. Instead, I'll be picking up the phone to chat with her.

I may not be able to be in our first home again, but I'll always have the memories from living here. And, for that I'm so thankful.

Friday, August 13, 2010

{this moment}

Go to to participate. In Amanda's words:

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cinnamon Granola Bars

My kids love granola bars. I'm not a fan of buying them at the store, even though I do buy them at the store. I don't want the added sugar or other hidden ingredients. When my good friend told me about this recipe, I couldn't wait to try it. They are delicious, smell wonderful while baking (just like oatmeal cookies!), and are approved by my children! Plus, you can change them up and add any kinds of dried fruits and nuts that interest you. Here's the recipe with my modifications. I halved the sugar, made the vegan, and doubled the recipe. Voila! Yummy, healthy granola bars!

1/4 cup soy yogurt (I used vanilla flavored)
1/4 cup safflower oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg substitutes (I used the flax/water substitution - let me know if you need that info.)
4 TBS wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
4 cups of oats
2 cups of flour (1 cup whole wheat, 1 cup white)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup raisins
*Add other dried fruit or nuts to suit your tastes.

Combine the yogurt, oil, and sugar. Add egg substitute. Stir in wheat germ and agave nectar. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flours, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir into the wet ingredients. Add the raisins or other dried fruit and nuts you chose.

Press into a jelly roll pan. Wet your fingers so the mixture won't stick. Bake at 350 for 18 or more minutes. I can't remember now how long I baked them. Check for golden brown edges and a soft center.

Let cool for a couple of minutes, then cut into rectangle-shaped bars. Let cool another few minutes, then remove from the pan and cool individually on a cooling rack.

Feed them to your family and be happy knowing how much sugar is in them, and that there aren't any funky ingredients that you can't pronounce. Yum!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We're Moving!

I am so very excited to say, we finally sold our house. It was on the market for over a year and we didn't receive any offers, until the one that we accepted 2 weeks ago. I have many mixed feelings about this change in our lives, but mostly am ecstatic about the new life that lies ahead for us in....Michigan!

I grew up in Northern Michigan, which is an absolutely beautiful place to live and we are so blessed to be able to return to my roots and be closer to some of my family. We'll see them more often, live in a beautiful part of the Midwest, and be closer to a wonderful school that 2 of our children will attend.

Here is a picture of them way out in East Bay. They walked all the way out there. Being an overprotective Mom, I made them wear their life jackets. It makes it easier when I'm the only one there with them at the beach.

I do have mixed feelings about leaving Oshkosh. We've lived in our home - our first home, the home where I broke my neck, the home where we brought home our babies, the home where they took their first steps, ate their first bites of food, scraped their knees, etc. - for 10 years. We've made this town our home, made life-long friends with the wonderful, kind, and caring people in our neighborhood. So, it's difficult to leave all of that. But, I see the path that is ahead of us. The path that will allow our children to be closer to their relatives, to go to a terrific school, and to grow up in a beautiful city.

We returned to Oshkosh today after searching for and finding our next home. We're very excited about it. It's only 10 minutes away from school! ...compared to the 25 minutes each way I was driving last year. And, on days when my husband was out of town, traveling for work, I would spend over 3 hours in the car (on a good day with no traffic or weather-related issues) taking them and picking them up from school.

So, now begins the packing process. Actually, we've been packing for a while. So, the serious packing begins. I completed the laundry room tonight. Tomorrow I'll hope to pack up the upstairs hall closets. Fun fun!!

I'm looking forward to spending as much time as we can at the beach next summer with these terrific boys.