Category Archives: nothing crafty here

Springing

It’s springing all over the place in this yard, and we love it. I can hear frogs at night. Frogs! From my own driveway. From my own bed. It’s lovely music. Last weekend my husband spotted a “very large bird” on a tree branch in the yard. It was a hawk, sitting very very still. We all passed around binoculars; my eldest got a good look at the tail so we could identify it as a Cooper’s Hawk. Then, the hawk dove down into the underbrush and hopped up on a log with a snake hanging from its beak, writhing. One less snake out there. (We love snakes, but we’re now living some place with poisonous ones, so I’ve had to impress upon my younger kids that not all snakes are your friend. It took showing them pictures of injuries caused by copperhead bites.)

And then there are the nests.

house finch nest at amyhoodarts.com

I discovered this one first. See it there, in the bottom of the wreath? This wreath came with the house, and I’d been planning on replacing it in spring. I guess I’ll wait a while. I wasn’t quite sure what bird built this nest; I’d only caught a glimpse of a streaky bird flying away. Then she laid an egg.

house finch nest with egg at amyhoodarts.com

She’s now laid four. They are the sweetest wee eggs, and bluish. Not many birds lay blue eggs, turn out, so a bit of Googling and it was easy to identify this as a house finch’s nest. Turns out, they often build nests in wreaths. I’d seen the male house finches at the feeder in the front of the house, too. Now we’re trying to avoid the porch so as not to disturb her.

Then, a few days later, my husband noticed this mess of a nest in the garage.

carolina wren nest at amyhoodarts.com

It’s built up high. I had to stand on a table and reach my phone up to get that view; you can’t see the eggs from below. You can’t see the mama when she’s there, either; this nest is like a cave, with a hole to get into it and a domed roof. This was easy to confirm as a Carolina Wren nest, especially as we had one trapped in the garage overnight one night. Luckily our garage has windows we can leave open, since it’s not really practical to leave the garage door open overnight (although obviously she was managing fine when we were closing it nightly, as she laid all those eggs before we discovered what she was up to).

We feel quite attached to our bird families and excited for eggs to hatch. The last time we tracked a nest we were in Rhode Island, and it was a phoebe nest that was parasitized by cowbird eggs; the cowbird chicks thrived but the phoebe chicks were smothered. It was kind of awful. Hopefully these nests fare better.

Next post will have artsy content. But bird nests! Needed to be shared.

Hello? It’s me.

violet at amyhoodarts.com

It’s a whole season since last I blogged…

Is this thing still on?

I didn’t mean to take such a long break. It just happened. We moved, and that’s time-consuming, and I was sick the entire time, too. Then the new regime was inaugurated and I went a bit wobbly for a while, to the extent of forgetting to eat and take meds for a bit there. Some days I still am wobbly, although not to that extent. But it’s been hard to concentrate–to read, to write, to order my thoughts at all, to sleep well. I know I’m not alone. Many of us feel, like I do, that everything we value is under attack. Those of us who have experienced any kind of abuse or trauma are having a very hard time dealing with how this administration conducts itself. We call and email and gather and organize in whatever way we are able anyway. Some days are better than others.

Thankfully, even when the concentration is scattered and I can’t read more than a page, I’ve still been creating–sewing and, now, dyeing, because we installed a utility sink in the basement and put my old washing machine down there. (Our new house came with a washer/dryer closet in the carpeted upstairs so I’m not keen on carrying drippy dyed fabric in need of a final washing-out up there.) It took a few weeks to get back into the swing of sewing, but I started slicing and sewing and slicing again, and it was therapeutic, so I kept on going. I hung a birdfeeder outside my sewing room window, and I get such a great view while I work.

rooted at amyhoodarts.com

I am definitely rooting into this patch of land. So many bird species! I’m looking forward to seeing what visits in the spring and summer. I added a birdfeeder to the backyard too. We’ve all enjoyed watching the birds. This past week I can hear peepers in the evening. When I get home from driving my oldest to the bus stop every morning I pause before going inside, to listen to the cacophony of bird song. With the extra light, we can walk down to the river after dinner. It is a feeling of relief to be here in the deepest sense–it relieves.

I’m not sure I’ll ever feel at home in Maryland, but I do feel at home in this house. So that is a good thing. Onward.

2017: Grounded

A patch of land to connect to, once again

Sometimes I’m drawn to a guiding word for the year. Last year I wasn’t, and instead of pushing against that, I just let it be. In retrospect I’m not surprised I couldn’t pin anything down. I knew I would miss Rhode Island’s nature when we moved, but I didn’t anticipate how much losing a strong sense of place would affect me. I knew where I was in Rhode Island, always, and I don’t just mean that I could find my way around in a car. When I stood on the beach–any beach–with my kids, I knew what lay over the horizon in all directions. I knew my place on the map. We lived 15 minutes from where I went to college, and I spent much of my time as a wildlife biology student taking trips all around the area to learn the flora and fauna. I knew which birds visited our yard and when, where the snakes and salamanders liked to hide, and when to look out for wild turkey families. I knew where to look for the moon in each phase, and that it flooded my bedroom with light every time it was full. My cycle was in sync with the moon and I was in sync with the land around me. I was grounded.

Then I moved here and couldn’t find a thing. Six months later I was still unsure which direction to drive in to get where I wanted to go. (In my defense, there are rivers and bridges in all directions.) We’re in a neighborhood. I miss nature. I miss the ocean. Streetlights and house lights outshine the moon. No offense against mockingbirds but I’m tired of hearing them and only them. I couldn’t place myself on the map at all and it turns out I’m a person who needs that sense of place.

Now we’ve bought a home, and I’m looking forward to settling in to my patch of ground. Just like in Rhode Island, our yard abuts open space, but unlike there, this open space has trails. I can head out my front door and walk in the woods. I feel such peace there. I will get to know this land, its rhythms, the plants and animals that live there. I will feel that connection again.

Grounded has another meaning for me as well. When PTSD symptoms flare, when I feel anxiety spiking, one strategy is grounding exercises that my RI therapist taught me. The goal is to get back into your body and into your current surroundings. I think, as we head into the 45th President’s term, it will be important to remain grounded and aware–not just to deal with anxiety but also in the sense of being realistic and clear-eyed about what’s going on. Head-in-the-sand is attractive, but ultimately dangerous.

So, for many reasons and with multiple meanings, my 2017 word is grounded.

A Bit About Running

700km-badge

I promise I’ll explain what this means

I began running again a little over three years ago. I’d run cross country in junior high and part of high school, and then stopped. I started again about twenty-five years later shortly after being diagnosed with PTSD. I’d been walking every morning I could, before anyone else woke up–I wasn’t sleeping anyway–and it helped. But at some point I felt like I wasn’t moving fast enough to shut up my brain, so I began to run. It was one of the smartest decisions I’ve made.

Living in Rhode Island, my running ebbed and flowed with daylight. My kids were younger, I was homeschooling, and I didn’t feel comfortable, most of the time, leaving them home alone while I ran. So when we got to the point of the year when the sun set too early and rose too late for me to fit in daylight runs, they slowed. I’d try to get to the indoor track. But most of my miles were concentrated from April to October. Plus, my shins can get tricky. They need a break, especially my left one. There’s no sense in pushing it; I need to run regularly more than I need to run far.

I run for the love of it, mainly. I don’t like to race. I tried a couple, as an adult, but I really don’t like running with people. At all. I even get a little cranky when I come upon group runs (rather common in Annapolis) because they clump up and block the sidewalks and I can’t get by and it aggravates me. I don’t want to run with a friend, either, even though there are other runners in my neighborhood. I don’t want to talk. Running shuts up my brain like nothing else and what a relief that is, what a wonderful, wonderful thing. So it’s good I like to do it physically as well, because I need it.

And I do like it physically. Sometimes it feels awful, sure, especially, here in Maryland, in August. While I theoretically gain the ability to run outdoors most of the year, summer is pretty miserable. Not just the heat and humidity but the dew point, too. I’d try to run in the evening, when the temperature might be higher than first thing in the morning, but the humidity was a little lower. I’ve gradually adjusted. But running can be hard. It’s not all fun. But when it feels easy, it’s the most wonderful thing. It’s–it’s running flow, I guess. Everything works fluidly. I push my body, and it responds. My head clears, my body feels better, my emotions are more level.

I run with a Garmin watch and upload my runs into Map My Run. Because while I don’t like to race, I am competitive, I’m just competitive with myself. I like to keep track of how far I’m running too, as much as to make sure I don’t overdo it because of those shins. At the end of last year, I got one of Map My Run’s many emails, this one advertising a challenge, You vs The Year. The goal was 1000 km (about 600 miles) run in 2016. I’d never run that many miles in one year: between keeping my runs relatively short (shins again) and weather issues, it has just never added up to 600 miles. My neighbor across the street runs marathons and runs probably 80 miles per week. 1000 km in a year is probably an easy goal for her. But it was a stretch for me, so I decided to sign up to see what happened.

I got started later in the year than I meant to, because my shins were hurting so badly, not from running, but from wearing shoes with no support every day. (Chuck Taylors. I have flat feet. It’s a bad combination.) That badge up there means I hit 700 km last week. It means I’m on track, even accounting for the things that often crop up in fall–getting sick, too many days taken up with kid events, and so on. I usually run five miles at a time now, whereas I began in the spring running three to three and a half. Running just a little bit longer means those times of flow come more frequently. I don’t think my shins can handle long distances, but sometimes I feel like I just want to run forever.

Running is a constant backdrop in my life even though I don’t mention it here much. It’s part of what makes me feel like myself. It’s hugely important for my mental health. It gets priority; I plan it into my week to make sure I’m getting enough runs in. I figure if I’m lucky enough to have identified something that helps me so much, body and mind, it’s essential to make sure it’s part of my life. I am incredibly grateful for running.

The Middle Years {And Adjusting}

creating space at amyhoodarts.com

Quiet time together, creating a space for whatever needs to be shared.

“Can you pick us up after school?” my sixth grader asked. “I like to tell someone about my day right away.”

What parent would pass up that chance? It’s not really a hardship to drive ten minutes down Route 2 to pick them up. My middle child gets in the car and goes through his day period by period, telling me everything. My daughter, who just turned seven, often has me to herself when she gets off the bus, since her school releases earlier than her brothers’. My oldest has always been more reticent, but he, too, will share about his day, especially if he learned something he found interesting. We often critically analyze different ideas together. He’s been my main supermarket companion for several years now. He’s a really good helper, and it’s an opportunity to be together without any younger siblings around.

Parenting these children, not surprisingly, is no less involved than it was when they were babies, but instead of changing diapers and being attentive to signs of hunger or distress, I’m quietly monitoring the undercurrents and making sure I’m available when they need or want to talk. I’m making sure we’re not overscheduled, so we have space in our days for connecting. The boys participate in some after-school activities right at school. My daughter plays soccer and just began dance lessons. All of these are their choices. We still eat dinner together just about every night, because eating dinner together has always been a priority.

Last week my daughter complained of a headache and a stomachache. I looked closely and saw a tired-looking, overwrought child and decided she could stay home from school. We sat on the couch together, she reading, me knitting, the cat purring between us. Bit by bit, into the quiet space we’d created, she told me some of what was troubling her. Her new school is very different from her old school. Some of these differences are wonderful: a library, an art room, a room for PE and for eating lunch. But some things are harder to adjust to. The behavioral management charts—nonexistent in her old school—are causing anxiety. I learned details that concerned me. I spoke to guidance to get more information. I met with her teacher, which led to a meeting with the principal. Perhaps these concerns will spark change in the school. I believe in honoring children’s humanity, in believing they are doing the best they can, in helping them to feel invested in the success of the community, not shamed because their clip has moved backwards instead of forwards. I’m glad my daughter felt she could talk to me. I’m grateful we have the time and space to create the quiet necessary to talk about troubling things.

Meanwhile, my boys are getting letter grades for the first time. Our previous school didn’t use letter grades and, of course, my middle child has been homeschooled for the past three years. How does a homeschooler-at-heart adjust to grades, anyway? We’ve talked about them, how they’re not the be-all and end-all, that I don’t want them getting A’s but not engaging (which is certainly possible, as any smart student who’s figured out the game of school can attest). How I hope they’ll connect with their learning, go deeper, get involved. How if their best effort equals a C, that’s fine, but now that they’re in a system that uses grades, they can’t just ignore them, because they might need them for something. (My oldest, for instance, would like to apply to a high school magnet program, which requires minimum grades.) Honestly, A’s and B’s should be no problem for them, but I don’t want them in it just for the grades. The grades are a byproduct. We talk about this balance so they know: You are not your grades. Your grades are not your learning. But assess your goals, and be aware of what you need to do to reach them.

Which is all to say, being mother to these three children is a different sort of engagement than it was when they were small, strapped to my body or constantly by my side. It’s knowing when to step in and when to step back; when a stomachache is a stomachache and when it might be a symptom of something else. Being around and involved but not controlling. Being aware. I am so proud of these children, how they are adjusting, how they are conducting themselves. I am honored to hear their stories of school, to be allowed access, to hang with my boys at the bus stop when most middle school parents have been ordered away. I want each of them to feel they have me when they need me, with no distractions. It’s a sobering responsibility, to be present for these growing people, truly, wholly present. But what, really, is more important?

Small Acts of Kindness

tiny flowers

After only a couple of days at school on crutches, N said to me, “I don’t like having to be helped everywhere. I just don’t like feeling like people need to do things for me.” I understood him perfectly. For whatever many reasons, I entered adulthood feeling like it was best not to have to rely on anybody, if I could help it. That relying on other people just meant they could let you down, and you were better off taking care of yourself all by yourself. That felt much safer. And in some respects, I guess it is. But it’s also tiring, and a bit lonely. And sometimes, like when you are on crutches in middle school and need to switch classes and get all your stuff from one room to the next, relying on other people is unavoidable.

I tried to explain some of this to N, about how I understood, and shared that it had taken me many, many years to be okay with asking for help–even though I am always willing to help other people. I told him that people like to help, for the most part. It gives them a good feeling. Thus, in a way, he was giving people a gift, because they could help him, and feel good. It’s a very human thing, but we forget it often, don’t we? It feels good to help other people. It fosters connection. We humans, we didn’t evolve to be lone units. We evolved in groups.

It’s been good, observing other sixth graders helping my kid. I chaperoned a field trip for his science class last week (I was basically his personal attendant, carrying all his stuff and making sure he didn’t tumble off a dock and infect his open wound with whoknowswhat from the Chesapeake). During the on-the-dock portion of the program, while I was quietly stressing out every time he moved (narrow dock! no railings! crutches!), N was fretting because it was so hard for him to participate in using the water quality testing equipment. Then another boy came up to him and said, “Let’s test the water together.” He handed N the monitor portion and dropped the sensor into the water while N looked for the readings. “Thank you,” I said, “for making sure to include him.” Thank you for noticing my boy. Isn’t that what these small acts of kindness are, really? Noticing, and then acting.

I picked him up from his after-school activity last week and found him waiting with two boys, one holding his backpack and the other holding his water bottle and sweatshirt. Yes, they’d been asked to do so by the teacher, but neither was complaining. I thanked them and was met with a large smile. It feels good to help.

The small acts of kindness require little more than paying attention. Am I paying attention? I try. To walk through the world mindful of where I am and what’s around me, rather than lost in my own head. To notice the person who may be struggling and remove the obstacle. Like the man backing out of the Whole Foods elevator (because parking is below the store) in his motorized shopping cart, but several carriages were just enough in his way. Simple enough to move the carriages so he could maneuver his way out. “Thank you,” he said, looking me in the eye, once he’d backed out and turned around. That look in the eye–I got the sense he felt noticed, and appreciated it. Perhaps this is the best most important thing any of us can do with our lives: notice our fellow humans and do our part to remove the small obstacles when we can.

I’m not sure if this space may evolve a bit. With a bit more time during the day for my own thoughts to quietly percolate, I find more things brewing that I may want to write up and share, along with the posts about making and creating. It’s all the art of life, after all.

Finding a New Rhythm

Walking to the bus stop with Daddy.

Walking to the bus stop with Daddy.

Ever since my first child was born almost 14 years ago, I’ve had at least one child (often two) at home during the school year. This year, all three are in school at the same time. Today is the last day of the first week of school, and we are all adjusting. I feel overall positive about the opportunities the kids have in this school district, and that’s all I’ll say about them. They have their own stories, and those stories are theirs to tell or not, not mine.

So what about me? School start and end times are staggered, with my elementary student leaving and returning first. This is great for sleepy middle schoolers in the morning, but harder in the afternoon, because it means I can’t rely on my oldest to meet my youngest’s bus, because he’s not home yet. The time in between is not long enough to, say, get a job, and I’m a bit pinched logistically with fitting in middle schoolers’ appointments after school (especially given I need to meet that elementary bus). This is scheduling stuff, and we’ll figure it out and get used to it eventually. But that time in between–what do I do all day? I’m figuring that out too. After this first week I mostly feel like I’d like to take some of those hours and shift them to after-school time, when I really need an extra two, at least. Ah well.

But seriously, this is time for me to figure out my big rocks–what goes into each day first–and figure out, for the first time ever, a rhythm that takes my own wants into account first, at least for a few hours. That’s kind of heady. And important. It deserves thought. I’m working on it.

Settling In

magnolia at amyhoodarts.com

Magnolia tree in our yard. We’re not in Rhode Island anymore.

June was a very exhausting and yes, stressful month. Part of me wishes I’d had time to update here, but there’s no way. I was posting to Instagram throughout the month, but then my cell phone up and died mid delivery of all our household goods, if you can believe it. Let me try to catch you up a bit.

After all the doctor’s appointments and end-of-school stuff, the kids, cat, and I got into the car last Monday for the drive down to our new home. My husband stayed behind for the pack-out and to close on our house (I’d signed a power of attorney so that we didn’t both have to knock around with the kids and cat). The drive was fairly easy, even through New York City. The cat never made a peep; he mostly dozed. The kids did great with minimal rest stops (only two! and none in New Jersey, thank goodness; the turnpike bathrooms are disgusting) in order to keep the cat’s time in his carrier as short as possible. I’m actually still amazed at how well our very old cat handled the long car ride and a new house.

The hardest part of the drive for me was the Bay Bridge. It’s very long, high, and narrow, with no shoulders. Middle child informed me I was both panting and whimpering. Mind you, though I’m not a fan of bridges, I drove just fine over the many and various bridges between Rhode Island and Annapolis. That one, though. Ugh.

We had to wait a couple of days for our household goods to arrive on Wednesday morning. In the meantime, the kids slept on the floor in sleeping bags and I used the one mattress in the house. The first thing we did Tuesday was get ourselves library cards. After that we went to Target and Whole Foods. All of these places are within about ten minutes of our house, but it took me about three hours to do those three errands. It’s exhausting, not knowing where anything is. It’s just so darn hard to get anything done.

Closing wasn’t until Thursday, so I also got to handle delivery of all our household goods by myself on Wednesday. It was a little overwhelming. Even with all the decluttering I did, we have a lot of stuff. Nothing brings that home like watching a crew of guys bring your stuff in for five hours. The only time I came close to crying the whole week was when my phone quit working halfway through delivery. It had landed face down on pavement Monday evening when an exuberant middle child launched himself into me, cracking the screen, and I guess it took two days for it to fully give up the ghost. With my husband’s help I was actually able to find an old phone in a box and get switched over so I at least had GPS and texting and email capabilities (although, heaven help us, not all at the same time).

I’ve never moved like this before–that is, with someone other than myself packing the boxes. Unpacking is like a treasure hunt, because while boxes are labeled with rooms and generalities (some crew members being more specific than others), I don’t really know what’s in each box. In previous moves, I knew exactly what to unpack to get to what I wanted. I tackled the kitchen and bathrooms and kids’ rooms first. My art room still looks roughly like this:

art room in boxes at amyhoodarts.com

The light through the window is going to be awesome, by the way. But I’m waiting for a floor covering before I unpack and set up, because I don’t want to ruin the hardwoods, obviously. I’m getting a bit tetchy without this room set up–I’m hoping it’ll be sorted by the end of the long weekend.

I have managed to get the living room looking like a living room, for the most part.

living room window. amyhoodarts.com

And my husband showed up late last Thursday night, which was a relief. Despite some last-minute drama, the house was sold. (I won’t get into it here. Just, sometimes, both parties feel good coming out of a closing. And sometimes, one party feels a bit bludgeoned. We felt bludgeoned.)

We’re chipping away at unpacking and governmental details (both our cars have Maryland plates! which was no small task) and getting to know the area. The kids can just hop on their bikes and go; the neighborhood is wonderful, and full of kids. I’ve been finding some good running routes, including right over the Naval Academy Bridge. We’re meeting our new neighbors and getting settled. Soon, hopefully, this space will return to being about art adventures and creative endeavors. I can’t wait.

Adventuring

adventure talisman at amyhoodarts.com

When I thought about 2015 last December, in terms of choosing a word to encapsulate the year ahead, I immediately thought Adventure. So much of how we experience life depends upon how we frame it. I knew this year would involve selling a house, packing it up, and moving out of state. Was I going to treat that as a trial to be slogged through? No. It’s an adventure. I made myself a word charm necklace as a reminder, and I’ve been wearing it a lot lately.

So much is going on this month that I’m struggling to even write about it. To say the schedule is hectic right now doesn’t even begin to describe my days and nights, or my husband’s. In the past two days I’ve napped in a waiting room once and the car (while various kids were in activities) twice. (Moms do what we have to do, you know?) But my overall feeling, along with excitement, is gratitude. My husband and I are handling all the various things coming our way as a team, and it’s good. We’re also reminding each other to do the things that keep us balanced–bike rides for him, runs for me. I’m grateful for running and the way it takes me out of my head and into my body. More than once I’ve been stressed about something related to selling this house (by far the most stressful part of this entire enterprise), and I left it on the road, coming back with my perspective restored. I am moving through these hectic days, not always with quiet and calm, but fairly capably and with huge amounts of positive attitude. This is a great adventure, and I’m excited to get down there.

Yesterday my kids and I all had ophthalmology appointments. These were originally scheduled for later in the month, after our move date, and they were able to reschedule on short notice and still get us all on the same day, although with two appointments in the morning and two in the afternoon. Since the office is 45 minutes from home, we packed a lunch and had a picnic in between, as well as updating my son’s glasses and going to the library and post office. It was a long day. We left the house at 8:15 and had been in the car but ten minutes when my middle child told my youngest, “There’s a spider directly above your head.”

Oldest child: “Wow, it’s huge, too.”

Youngest child: *Hysterical screams and cries.*

Me: “Thanks a lot, boys.”

You just have to laugh. They tracked that spider until it disappeared somewhere under my seat, while I maneuvered through rush-hour highway traffic, determined not to be distracted when I was notified it was right above you, Mama! It’s on your seatbelt! It’s legs are so spindly! Middle child felt it was a poisonous spider in disguise, which led Eldest child and I to muse on a spider in a trench coat and hat (and four pairs of sunglasses, as he pointed out). Adventure. Seriously, it’s everywhere, if you care to frame it as such, and I do.

The End of Limbo

Finally, I have specific, rather than vague, answers to the questions “Where are you moving to?” and “When?” We are moving to Annapolis the last week of June. Yay!!

This is a story of a whole lot of waiting followed by DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE AND FROM SEVERAL STATES AWAY. We went down to Maryland last week with the aim of coming home with an address. My husband needs to be down there, our house hasn’t sold, so we were looking for rentals. We identified 16 houses to see on Monday, and our realtor could only get us into four of them on Thursday. Some didn’t accept pets, but most were either closed to showings or already rented. That’s the state of the rental market there. By the end of the day, the grown-ups in the family were trying to figure out which qualities to prioritize, because we weren’t finding a house with good space in a good location for a good price. That night we identified four more houses and decided to drive by them on Friday (we also spent some time walking around downtown Annapolis, to add some fun to this work trip). We wanted to see two, but again, couldn’t get into them. A third house required 24-hour notice, and we were leaving the next day. We found a park with a playground and while the kids played, we parents assessed. My husband finagled his tech (phone, app, computer) to set up a little wifi spot for himself and tried to do some work and checked the rental sites, too. Something new had shown up. We decided to drive by.

Since it was vacant, we got out of the car to peek in. We drove through the neighborhood and saw three boys selling lemonade, so we pulled over and I bought five cups of lemonade and asked them if lots of kids lived there, and did they like the neighborhood? (Yes, and yes. Also, it’s good karma to buy lemonade from kids.) Our realtor met us there at 6:30.

Nothing like slipping in right under the wire! Our realtor called the listing realtor from the driveway. Meanwhile, our kids were playing with the next door neighbor, who’d invited them to bounce on his trampoline. We spent quite a while talking to his dad, and everything we learned about the neighborhood made us want to rent this house more. Husband and I filled out the rental application in the hotel room late that night so we could drop it all off in person Saturday morning before driving home again. It’s been a very long time since we had to go through a rental application process! Suffice to say the parents were a little overtired and strung out by the end of this trip.

But we have a house! We finally got word on Tuesday that our application had been approved and accepted–what a relief! (Nearly a year of uncertainty, I dealt with just fine. The final 72 hours of waiting? Were incredibly stressful.) The neighborhood is full of kids, so my kids will start school already knowing some classmates. Annapolis is full of things to do and see, and I won’t feel isolated at all. And the neighborhood sounds like a community. Everybody we met was so open and friendly. The next six weeks will be very very busy but by July we will all be together in the same house, enjoying our first Chesapeake Bay summer.

(And as for selling our house, things were happening on that end while we were down in Maryland–of course–but I’ve had enough real estate experience that I won’t say the house is sold until the papers are signed, the keys are handed over, and we have the check in hand. Just keep your fingers crossed.)