Friday, January 23, 2015


I would love to declare that my absence from this blog was some sort of conscious uncoupling. Then it would seem that I did it for the better of...I don't know..this blog? Myself? My family? Not to mention that it would make me seem sorta enlightened and very Gwyneth Paltrow-y.

Oh, wait.

I don't really like Gwyneth Paltrow that much.

Okay, so, the truth is: I just got lazy.

At first, I felt totally justified: I was swapping one life for another and things were hectic and busy and exhausting and I was sure I'd be eaten by one the many boxes that were multiplying like Gremlins in my (former) house.

Then there were the perfect moments to blog: saying goodbye to a house I thought was My Dream House (which was pretty good, since I never got the Barbie version when I was a kid); the slight insanity of the four of us living temporarily in my parents' house; the nearly-crippling, irrational fears of taking on yet another house to remodel on our own...  The opportunities for writing were endless.

I could have (should have?) written every damn day.

But I didn't.

Again, the rationalizing: I was tired. I was overwhelmed. I was tearing down walls and wondering what the fuck we had done and obsessing over possible asbestos and fantasizing about what this new little house would look like when we were done.

But again, the truth: I was just lazy. I couldn't get motivated enough to sit at the computer at the end of the day. I didn't care "that much" about writing about all of this. When I had free time, I chose to watch reruns of HGTV or drink some wine or sleep.

And then here's what happened: the longer I was away, the harder it was to come back.

Do you remember double dutch back in your elementary school phys ed days? I remember. The two kids would swing those ropes and I'd stand there, next in line to jump, my weight on my front foot, my body slightly rocking to the ropes' rhythm, waiting for that perfect moment to go. So often, I'd nearly go, ready to go. I was good at jumping. I knew what I was doing. This, shockingly, was not one of those P.E. moments when I was stressed and fretting and feeling completely incompetent. I could fucking double dutch. Yet, there were still so often those moments when I'd flinch forward, the timing perfect, ready to make a smooth entrance into the swinging ropes. But I'd hesitate. No, no. Wait. Not now. Wait. No, wait. Now. The longer I stood there, body rocking, watching the alternating ropes forming perfect smooth arcs in front of me, the harder it was to jump in. More often than not, when that happened, I'd miss it...maybe by a millisecond...maybe by a millimeter, but I'd hit one of the ropes. The perfect rhythm would stop. I'd get tangled up. My turn would be over. All that just to get back at the end of the line. Damn.

This was sorta like that. I'd open the laptop. I'd wait for the perfect rhythm, the timing, and then, I'd hesitate. No, no. Wait. 1..2....

I figured the longer I was gone from here, the more poignant the "return post" would have to be.

How incredibly narcissistic and self-important of me.

I figured I'd have to write about what's happened in my life the last few months: some great post on my new life in my little house, the obstacles and fears that were overcome, the things given up, the rewards, the lessons learned. But no, apparently, instead I thought some random frivolous Halloween post would be just perfect. And then (oh no, here comes the over-thinking), I started worrying about how ridiculous and pathetic it would be if I never blogged again and my Last Blog Post Ever was some drivel about a bad Halloween costume.

Again, how incredibly narcissistic and self-important of me.

So here I am. I'm not really sure if I will get back in line when this turn is over and go again.
But the ropes are swinging over my head and under my feet, and I'm jumping.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Who You Callin' Cute? Me! Me! Me! Please?

I spent most of my life resisting the term "cute."

"You are so cute!"
"She has such a cute face!"
"How cute are you?!"
"That is a cute outfit."

I grew up alongside a sister who posed for pictures on top of the hood of her Camaro and wore Farrah Fawcett-like white bikinis.

I, on the other hand, was never the Camaro type and the only thing slightly Farrah-ish about me was a feathered blow-out I got once when I was 12.

I hated cute--especially in my 20s. I wanted to be called anything but.

Pretty. Attractive. Beautiful. Or, the most coveted: Sexy.

Breathy sigh.

If only...

So that was sorta my thing: don't call me cute! Women in their 20s should not be called cute. Especially when  they're all dressed up and wearing stilettos that hurt their feet. Can't you see I'm trying here, people?!?

When I tried to explain my disgruntlement with this particular adjective to the guy who ended up marrying me in spite of my general craziness, he used to tell me that I was all those things: pretty, attractive, beautiful, and yes, even sexy (I knoooow!)...but that within all of that I was still cute.
He said I couldn't help it. I was.


But then...

Fast forward 14 years.
The cute girl in her 20s who was resisting cute-ness is now 41 (and three quarters).
It is Halloween.
She is a teacher.
She, along with several of her teacher colleagues, thought it would be an adorable (read: cute!) and easy idea to be Minnie Mouse for work: pink sequined Minnie ears, black nose paint, bright pink lipstick, black leggings, black t-shirt, black pumps, and the pièce de résistance: a pink tutu.

Think of it as an abstract interpretive Minnie.

When I walked out of my bedroom wearing the outfit (minus the ears and nose paint), my husband started laughing. I did not, in fact, look adorable at all. I looked like a 40-something-year-old in leggings and a too-short, hot pink tutu.

"Wait!" I proclaimed.

I ran to put on the ears and painted the tip of my nose with my Smolder Black MAC eyeliner.
Then I looked in the mirror...
...and realized: Now I just looked stupid-er.
I had a sudden flashback of the movie Fantasia...remember the dancing hippo? No? Look it up. 

That one.

To add insult to injury, my husband said I looked (and I quote) "a little hoochie."

"Hoochie?!? How could I look hoochie? I'm wearing ears, for god's sake!"

"Baaaabe," he chuckled. "The leggings and the tutu and the heels? They're a little inappropriate for work."
This from the man who wears t-shirts and ripped jeans to work and never, ever, ever thinks my jeans are ever too tight for teaching 9-year-olds.

I went back to my room and started rummaging through all my Halloween stuff: maybe it's the too-puffy I have a better set of leggings?...what about with the lipstick?....skinny black jeans instead? Why does this look so...wrong?

And then it hit me: Perhaps...just perhaps...a forty-one-and-three-quarters-year-old has no business trying to look cute in a costume that was originally the idea of a 13-year-old who wears a size zero.


What do you mean I ain't cute?!?

My BFF and Teaching Partner AFTER I swapped the Fantasia-like tutu for another one
and swapped the pumps for these less offensive flats...pretty cute, right? Right?!?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wish You Were Here

if you come back
to your words
your space
after a very long time

if you come back
does it matter
if anyone missed you
or only if
you missed yourself

if you come back
do you have to explain
to yourself
or anyone else
why you were gone

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Exchanging of Dreams - Throwback Thursday

It is no secret that we have made a major life change recently. (In fact, I suspect my loved ones and my blog readers are quite sick of hearing me complain about closings, boxes, and remodeling.) Most people think this was "very sudden" and spontaneous. But this general unease about the house we were living in (and the mortgage we were paying) had been gnawing at me for a few years now. In fact, here's evidence.

This poem was originally posted here on September 2, 2011

we had always had a plan

so sure of what we wanted

to live life, together, out loud

be as free as commitment allowed

untethered to the things Everyone Else

used to measure their grand arrival

at the finish line of life

keep it small and live simply

so we could live Life large

travel, dance, laugh, sleep at night

without the stresses Everyone Else chose:

a lawn man, the corner lot

we planned life with bare feet

spontaneity, experiences, whimsy, free of cares

we were so sure back then

until something shifted, wishes got swapped

and we suddenly found ourselves dreaming

of a grown up life, settled

a home that was spacious enough

to welcome Just One More baby

(and a lawn man to cut

the grass on the corner lot)

we swapped one dream for another

found ourselves with a new life

new joys, different desires, wishes granted

but with it all sometimes comes

the subtle, quiet unease of wonder:

was this the life we intended

one we will look back on

with satisfaction of a life fulfilled

or a life exchanged for one

that is just like Everyone Else's?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"Let me tell you the story about the time you..." - Throwback Thursday

I have been asked why one of my labels on this blog is "vomit." Those who have asked were not around when my youngest was younger. Those who have known my Aidan Kai for just a couple of years find it hard to believe that he was a Demon Baby who shrieked for hours every single day no matter what and then entered the gagging/puking phase of his baby-hood. It was awesome. 

Rule #472 of Parenting:
Never Let Your Guard Down
Originally posted here on September 24, 2009

So...I was going through The Bedtime Routine with Aidan Kai this evening and trying to rush through it (as usual) when the thought occurred to me that the days of him snuggling like a baby in my arms are numbered. I looked down at this big fat baby, his pudgy fingers clutching his bottle...his cheeks dimpling with each slurp...his sleepy eyes looking up at me from underneath his damp mop of curls...and I decided, right then and there, to enjoy the moment.
To really take it in.
To savor it.
To savor him. he finished his bottle, I snuggled him up onto my shoulder and rocked him, humming and patting his back, inhaling his Cheerios-Johnson's-Baby-Shampoo-Yummy-Still-New-Person-Smell, and I admit...I was loving this moment. I was incredibly aware of the fact that this is the beginning of my favorite baby stage (just turned one) and this is really It. No more babies after this. So I decided, right then and there, to start enjoying The Bedtime Routine with The Last Baby.

And just as I made that decision...just as I felt the warmth of his little breath on my ear, his tummy inhaling deeply against my chest...he puked. No warning. No gagging sound. No coughing. Just puke. Thick, stinky, curdled puke. All over my neck, my shoulder, down my back and all the way to my settle nicely into the crevices between the rocking chair's seat cushion and its base...

Well then, I suppose it's a good thing I had decided to start enjoying the bedtime routine, because it was back to the bathtub all over again....

Ben is smiling in this picture, but by week 3 of the phase known as The Crying Days,
he would cover his ears and glare resentfully at his little brother.

Hard to believe someone this cute could puke up something so gross on such a consistent basis...

We get along remarkably well these days...
All has been forgiven.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Still Stuck on the Move - Just Write

Brain dead.
Physically exhausted.
Overwhelmed with the chaos that is my house right now: boxes and Tupperware and drawers overflowing (literally) with clothes that are no longer even in any sort of pseudo-order.
The mattress on the floor is not too bad, though. With the exception of needing to put my knees practically up to my ears when I get up in the morning, the set up is surprisingly comfortable. (Maybe considering the fact that I am getting to the gym less and less these days, I should start counting that one exit out of bed each morning as a full squat/lunge.)
The original closing date for our current house was April 14.
Then it was April 16th.
Then it was "on or before April 30th."
Now here we are, living with a TV that has no cable; a kitchen containing only 6 spoons, 3 knives, 8 forks, one small pot, and one small pan; a refrigerator with only milk, eggs, left-over brie, 5 Coronas and one bottle of red wine; and we have no closing date.
Now we were told "it should be by this Friday."
I realize that this is not a Big Deal.
I realize that this is minor.
An inconvenience.
An annoyance.
But I'm really inconvenienced and majorly annoyed.
I am thinking it was a good thing we kept the beer and wine.

Join me and Just Write on Tuesdays

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy belated birthday to my neglected third child

While I've been busy trying to dodge the man-eating boxes invading my house, this blog turned 5 years old. Five! That's a biggie, no? I mean, when my first-born turned 5, we threw him a full-blown party--complete with an acrobatic, wall-climbing Spiderman impersonator (trust me: it was one of the rare times in our parenting history when we did something really expensive and over-the-top, but thankfully, it was actually worth it).

Half a decade.
Five years.
269 blog posts.

When I started, I wondered if I'd survive the year (and early motherhood). And look at me now: preparing to switch over to Wordpress all by myself, with a brand new domain name and everything (and no longer crying hysterically from sleep deprivation and the identity crisis that often comes with becoming a new mom).

My blog and I are all grown up.

This blog was born of need and desperation. I was out running and doing what I usually do when I hit that good runner's high: attempting to recreate myself in my own head. (Maybe this is why I'm getting boring as I'm gaining weight--my knees have finally decided to strike in protest until I give in to the surgeon, and running is a distant memory.) I was thinking about how much I miss writing--the words, the sentences, the musings, the freedom. As my feet pounded the asphalt, my brain pounded out ideas, much like that  "I Love Lucy" episode in the bonbon factory.
I need to write again. I used to write a lot. Maybe I should write a book. Could I really write a book? I have no brain cells lately. I can barely stay awake, let alone write anything. How could I come up with a plot and characters when my own life is a dizzying whirlwind of diapers and potty training, bottles and sippy cups, first steps and tantrums?
The main characters of my own real life, Ben (then, 4) and Aidan Kai (a few months old), were draining the creativity and energy out of me. That's when it hit me: write about them. Write about how hard and wonderful and funny and scary this--Motherhood--all is.

I remember walking in the door at the end of my run, sweaty and red-faced, and proclaiming to Hubby "I need a minute!" I marched straight over to the computer that sat tucked away in a corner of what was supposed to be the family room, but was really the toy-bin-and-baby-floor-mat-area/indoor-soccer-field/general-room-of-crap-and-miscellaneous. I opened Word and typed nearly frantically. After a few minutes I was done, and on the screen, where the cursor still sat blinking, were several sentences and a mishmash of notes on essays I thought I could throw together into a book. Musings on what my life had become since I'd had my kids, how I'd changed as a person--in ways I had wanted to and in ways I absolutely had not. Anecdotes, basically.

What I thought, at that moment, might be chapter titles soon morphed into blog posts.

The title But Then I Had Kids came relatively easily. It seemed to me, then (and sometimes still now), that all my reasons and excuses for not being able to do something--anything--were related to my kids.
I used to be cool. I used to travel. I used to go to fancy martini bars. I used to be interesting. I used to be thin(ner). I used to skip undereye concealer. But then I had kids. I walked around in a daze, for about 3 years, eyes unfocused, disoriented, tired, overwhelmed, and feeling guilty about all of it, while my boys were babies.

Those 269 blog posts not only helped get me through those early years, but they helped me rediscover my writer's voice, my craft, and my sense of self. They gave me an outlet for venting and connected me to other women and writers who felt the same way. They helped me be a part of something bigger than my often-cramped world, and pried open my head so some of the noise could escape.

I've beat myself up quite a bit over neglecting this blog. No matter the stage, it's never been enough:
I'm not writing enough or I'm not writing well enough. I don't have enough comments or I haven't followed other blogs consistently enough. I'm not social-media savvy enough or I'm not disciplined enough to keep up with it like I should. I don't put enough into it--ever.

Over the last year, I've tried to take in some of the advice I've learned from other writers: that I need to approach the work as I can, and sometimes that means dedicating hours to it a week, while other times, it means only a bit at a time, if at all. I have to remind myself constantly that I am a full time teacher, wife, mother, friend, and individual...and that all of those roles need my attention. My role as Writer might sometimes monopolize a lot of my time, but more often than not, the best I can give it is a few inspired but exhausted minutes at the end of a long weeknight.

I had hoped to have my new blog site up and running by my fifth anniversary. Not only did I not meet my self-imposed deadline (I am really starting to think I should have a section dedicated to the word "self-imposed" on the blog), I actually forgot my blog's anniversary...and then even after I remembered, only got to writing about it nearly a month later. You do know I fretted and beat myself up a bit over this, right? I guess after 5 years,  you all know me pretty well. But it's all good. You know I ain't going anywhere.

Happy 5th Birthday, Little Blog. Thanks for the ride.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Boxes: Just Write

They are going to eat me pretty soon. Like the blob in that old tacky black and white horror movie from the fifties. The boxes, I mean. They are everywhere.

I am sitting on the sofa--the one that is perpetually stained, no matter how much stain remover and steam cleaning we throw at it--in the sunken-in part. (Why does it seem that I am always on the sunken in part of the sofa for Just Write Tuesdays?) My butt is dividing the two cushions...I feel like I'm falling in. Maybe the sofa is going to eat me, too.

I like my stuff pretty neat. Not like OCD neat. In fact, I relish a good chaotic Tupperware cabinet. But I have a hard time relaxing when shit is everywhere.

I thought I would enjoy my house these last few weeks, before the move. But really, who am I kidding?
There is stuff everywhere.

At first, I tried to contain it: boxes in one corner, garage sale items in the other; then, pick up the book bags, mail, lunchboxes, jackets worn for the day and tossed on the floor by the door. I thought it would help me relax--picking up the day-to-day stuff--still feel like the owner of this domain, still feel in control. Then I could still enjoy a movie or a book or a glass of wine or some sex....if I wasn't harping mentally on the piles and piles of stuff. But really, now, there is no more containment. It has all exploded.

As we watched a movie Sunday night, I did a really good job of ignoring the 18 boxes piled next to the TV. Each one labeled in thick, black Sharpie. LOFT. WINTER CLOTHES (which, in South Florida, thankfully means a sweater or a turtleneck tossed haphazardly into a giant box). LAUNDRY ROOM. There's another box that Hubby labeled with BIKING CLOTH. I am sure he just ran out of space or time for the ES since I never would have married a man who can't spell clothes.

The family room was an empty space that we have barely used over the last 7 years except as a mini soccer field for our boys and a dance floor for parties. Now, it houses bags and bags (and not the grocery store reusable kind, but actual hefty sized garbage bags...some the kind you can only buy at Home Depot that say something intimidating on the box about Contractor Use) of garage sale items: The Excess. The stuff we've hoarded for all these years because we needed it except we never used any of it.

As I type this, sitting at my kitchen counter, my laptop and phone share the black granite space with two business cards of realtors we are not even doing business with, a post-it with 4 items all scratched off, three pieces of random junk mail, my son's pencil box covered in shiny animal stickers, a coupon for my favorite Mexican place, a 100-dollar-bill-looking eraser, some kind of army Matchbox-looking vehicle I've never seen before, and an index card with a chart depicting exactly how much we will save per month if we get the house on which we just put an offer. There's a towering pile of newspaper and tissue paper on the floor in the corner of my kitchen, waiting to wrap up my delicates. On the other kitchen counter, there's a box of random mail belonging to my husband, an opened bottle of Dreaming Tree red wine, coupons from my son's class, several print-outs of houses for sale, and a bewildering amount of old X-rays (the actual films and the CD's). The old stuff, in need of being tossed, sold, or packed is now mixing in with the new, daily stuff. It is this that is threatening to totally annoy and overwhelm me and send me into a mood reserved only for serious PMS days. I think about tackling some of it as soon as I finish this post. But then I think: Nah. I'm gonna bury my head under the covers for the night. (Isn't that better than running away screaming like in the movies?)

JUST WRITE with me (and Heather of the Extraordinary Ordinary!) every Tuesday.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Decisions That Matter

I am thinking maybe I should change the name of this blog to But Then I Sold My House.

Not only is it the only thing I’ve been writing about lately, it’s also the only thing I’ve been thinking about. So yeah, for those of you who have been around (here, or in my “real” life), no more Open Houses for us. We sold. (Not, mind you, thanks to the aforementioned sucky open houses, but because we finally caved and listed on the MLS, which just goes to further prove my theory that Open Houses really do suck). We officially listed our house on Friday morning and by Sunday afternoon we had not one, but two, buyers. Somehow, in a matter of a month, I have gone from just considering the possibility of moving, to signing a contract and running around town collecting liquor boxes for packing (it would be even nicer if the liquor was still in them).

I would never describe myself as a risk-taker.

More of a chicken.
With anxiety.
And a near-compulsive need to control everything and avoid change of all sorts at all costs.

Except, maybe I’m not.

I’ve given this some thought, and I’m starting to think that maybe I am a little gutsy…at least when it matters.

Take, for instance, my divorce 15 years ago. I was 25 years old and had been married to a man who everyone thought was the cat’s meow, but really, he was just a pussy who constantly told me to lower my voice and wear more beige. I didn’t tell anyone I was thinking of leaving, because I knew everyone would try to convince me to stay, and to be quite honest, back then, I was too young and too scared to be really confident in my choice. So I mulled it over for 2 years, alternated between trying to be what he wanted me to be and being even more of what I truly was, and made myself nearly sick with anxiety and resentment. When I finally walked out and told people, I had almost no support. My parents thought I was crazy and barely spoke to me (except to tell me I was crazy). My sister told me she thought I was making a huge mistake that I would regret for the rest of my life and “simply could not support this.”  My best friends told me they couldn’t be my friends anymore because “divorce is against the Catholic religion” (I kid you not). People at work kept whining: “But whyyy? He seemed like such a niiiice guy and you guys made suuuuuch a cuuuuute couple…”

Over the year that followed I got my own apartment for the first time in my life, started dating the man of my dreams, and became my own person. Now, in the interest of complete disclosure here, I will admit that, on most days, I did not accomplish all of this with grace. Not even close. I was a blubbering, anxious, over-eating, not-sleeping, therapy-attending, scared shitless little mess.

But I did it anyways.

And now here I am, selling The Dream House Of My Grown-Up Life, moving in temporarily with my parents (they no longer think I’m crazy—or maybe they do, but they just don’t tell me anymore), buying an RV to live and travel in over the summer, and hoping to eventually find a house that will be smaller, cheaper, but still "cute enough," so that we can live the Life We Really Want. I have no idea what the next 6 months hold in store. I am cleaning out 9 closets worth of Stuff that is being sorted into piles labeled Garage Sale, Throw Away, Keep. Every time I step into my little oasis of a closet with its mini chandelier and get teary, I remind myself that a wall of stilettos is not worth giving up trips with my husband and a college fund for my kids.

When people ask where we are moving to and I answer, “We don’t know yet,” the responses seem to follow a theme: 
“Wow, you’re bold.”
“Wow, you’re brave.”
"Wow, you're crazy."
“You guys are like gypsies.”
“You guys are like hippies.”
"You guys are perfect for each other."
"You're gonna be miserable in a smaller house."
"Your kids are gonna be miserable in a smaller house."
"Why do you want a smaller house?"
Or my personal favorite:
“You’re going to live in an RV?!?”

Then there are those few people who listen quietly and nod and smile and ask questions about our plan, and seem confused or concerned while I'm talking, but then will tell me--almost in a conspiratorial whisper--something along the lines of: "Wow, I really admire you guys."

It's interesting how when a person is making a major life move, especially one that tends to go against the norm, people have strong opinions (which they tend to volunteer freely). I suspect for some, it is truly out of concern and love because they are worried we are making a mistake. For others, I suppose it is simply disconcerting to see others doing something that holds potential regret. And I have no doubt that some are forced to face their own demons when presented with my choices.

It all makes me anxious: the packing, the waiting, the not knowing where we are going, the looking for a new neighborhood that is "good enough" but also "cheap enough" (quite a feat in South Florida), the giving up of this house...the house we thought would be The House. And yes, sometimes, people's reactions make me a little anxious too. But really, I have realized in my old age (uh, hello? 41?) that I have quite a rebellious side, and there is nothing like telling me something I think is a good idea is a bad idea to make me really want to tackle it and kick some serious ass coming out on the other side all shiny and happy.

The bottom line is: yes, some of this is risky. Yes, some of this is considered a little loopy, especially by society's standards (I can not tell you how many times people have asked me: "Who the hell downsizes?!?"), where everything and everyone is about More and Bigger--all categorized under the label of  "Improving." Yes, I am scared, sometimes. But I'm doing it anyways. Because this is really what I (we) want. This is worth the risk.

Just like that divorce so many years ago.

Sometimes, in life, even the chickenshits have to be brave and do things anyways...because that, after all, is what really matters.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Open Houses Suck

As soon as he left to take down the Open House signs, I went into my bathroom, opened the cabinet under the sink, and took out the toothbrush holder that had been hiding under there. I went around our 4/2, 2-car garage, corner-lot-with-pool home and blew out all the candles that had been lit earlier in the day in an attempt to make the house look more Zen and appealing. I didn't really blow. I huffed and puffed violently with great indignation. Everything that we had put away when we "staged" the Open House came back out: the toys, the books, my contact lens solution.

I hate Open Houses.

I hate and resent that I have to pretend I don't really live in my home, have toys and books and bags scattered around, where we live, where we spend our time, where my children are growing up, and my husband and I are fighting growing old.

I have done these before: these Saturdays and Sundays with the curtains all opened and the ceiling fans whirring and the candles lit. Where everything is "just so" and you pretend you live in this house like this, make it seem that it can be someone else's, but hide everything that actually makes it look lived in, real.

We want to downsize. We want to sell this great big dream house we bought and gutted and made to exactly our specifications. We want something smaller. Simpler. A few years ago when we took every penny we had (and several more that we didn't), nothing but granite counters would do. Now, when we go house shopping all we care about is a big back yard with space for a pool and storage for a new RV. Formica counter tops? No problem. No garage? We'll buy a storage shed. I am well aware that, most likely, I will give up my walk in closet with the tiny chandelier and wall of shoes. (If you are anywhere near a size 6 1/2, you might want to be real nice to me over the coming weeks.)

We want less house and more life.

Our children do not need an entire room filled with toys (what we call a playroom is really just an excuse for excess).
My husband does not need 5 bikes, 10-year-old racing trophies, and rappelling gear he's used twice.
I do not need 7 giant boxes of Christmas tree collectible ornaments.

What we all do need, however, is money for college and retirement.
A newer RV that does not require prayer each time we turn on the generator.
The ability to plan a trip and go on it without having to constantly swat away that nagging sense of guilt.

So we are taking a leap of faith. We are selling a too-big house we love and seeing where we end up. We are gambling on the research we've done (okay, really, Hubby has done and I have sat by him on the sofa and blogged and occasionally nodded and agreed whenever he'd show me something that served as further evidence) that we will be able to end up somewhere cheaper and smaller and possibly closer to the beach (Bonus! Bonus!), with a yard big enough to have what we have here.

Every time someone loves the house, I am hopeful they will make an offer. We will be able to jump in the pool (the metaphorical one, this time) without this prolonged waiting and worrying that we are making the right decision. Let's go already! Let's sell! Let's get out of here! Let's live with my parents for a while until we get our bearings. No more time to debate.

Push me in the fucking pool already.

So I will continue to hide my pictures and my toothbrush. But each time, I will resent it. I will be pissed off at the people who come in and smile politely and nod. I will resist the urge to yell at them: "Don't you see? Don't you see how great this house is? Don't you see how much soul and heart it has in addition to the goddamned square footage?"

And then, I remember...oh yeah, it's not the house that has the soul and heart. It's the four of us. And we plan on packing that shit up and taking it with us...wherever we go.