27 December 2012

Michigan moving

had two and a half weeks in michigan to accomplish a lot of things. add in X and i getting a large cold and it was a crazy time.

so we had spent friday (dec 7) in a hotel by the halifax airport. we woke up extra early (5a) on saturday and dave drove us to the airport. X and i flew alone to michigan while dave drove the cat and the car to albany (to drop off nutmeg at his sisters) and then drove on to michigan. he did this in two days. once we met up in michigan we unloaded our storage unit (our things we abandoned 4 years ago), sorted through it, sold the furniture, donated many of the things that we didnt want, couldnt keep (electronics that wouldnt make sense to bring), or things that werent worth bringing even though we may have liked them (dont even get me started). it was arduous. the day after storage was unloaded i came down with a large, fatiguing cold. a day or two later, X got the same cold. she became EXTREMELY agitated due to being unable to breathe and she also won a medal in denying herself (and thus us) sleep. im certain it was not pleasant to be around us during this time. all of our patience had long since worn out.

finally, just as packing up the sorted storage items was about to come to a close, our diseases eased up on us. the day the movers came we FINALLY got a good nights sleep (first in a week). round two of the stress was done and the rest of our michigan visit went much more smoothly. thank goodness, but bummer for all those who encountered us before. better luck next time?

*on a positive note, thank you to everyone who made time to see us, and helped us out with X or moving or anything. thank you for being so kind when i was so grouchy. being sick and stressed totally squashed my warm fuzzies for being back in michigan, and for that i do apologize.

a breakdown of our days in michigan:

Dec 8 (Sat): X and i flew from halifax to philadelphia at 7a. after a 2 hour layover we arrived in detroit at 1p. solo air travel with X was pretty good, but i was tired (thankfully i had had a good night rest). mercifully, X put herself to sleep on the first flight and we were able to get lunch during our layover (during which the kid ate 2 hardboiled eggs!). she was decent for the second flight despite being tired. my mom and al helped us get settled at my grandmas (moomoo) house in dearborn afterward. it took X a while to get down for a nap though. afterward my mom and moomoo took her to the playground and gave her a wagon ride around the neighborhood to see the christmas lights. she really enjoyed it, so after dinner we drove around seeing more lights.

(moomoo, mom, X, me)

Dec 9 (Sun): we visited with mom/al and moomoo. X hit the playground again and played in the house. dave arrived in time for dinner (apparently his drive involved: a fast customs crossing in calais, maine, nutmeg peeing on him, a warm welcome from megan and courtney when he arrived in albany, and a relatively easy drive from NY to MI). we did the wayne county lightfest drive after dinner. X went on to have a TERRIBLE night sleep!

(swings and chalk at the playground across from moomoos house; for one time only, my mom got pigtails in to Xs hair. too bad for my mom, apparently non-girliness is genetic)

Dec 10 (Mon): we visited briefly with my friend katie, her daughter izzy, and her new son quinn in the morning. quinn was SO mellow, he let me bounce him to sleep! (give me 4 of those kind of kids!). later we had lunch at moomoos, and then drove to our rented house (from airbnb) in dexter, michigan. mom and al drove X and i out to ann arbor because our car could only fit dave (and all of our halifax junk). the airbnb house was...interesting. it was an older lady living alone after her husband (and one month before him, her daughter) passed away, she seemed to be staving off foreclosure by renting out parts of her house. she was a nice lady with lots of grandkids. her house was filled with train set stuff and X was in HEAVEN! it then took FOREVER to get her to nap. dave went out to plum market when X napped and we had a relaxing night in.

Dec 11-21: visiting/moving/sorting/packing at the airbnb home and in ann arbor.

Dec 11 (Tues): dave, my dad and my brothers went to our storage unit and moved things to the airbnb house. X and i stayed at the house. my brothers were very helpful and it was nice to see them. X did pretty well with them and my dad, considering they are loud dohring males. i had a hard time setting eyes on all of our stuff: the amount of it, the amount of money we spent on it, the time and energy we were going to spend getting rid of it, the irriation at our past selves for owning it.

(artie, dave, X, chip)

Dec 12 (Wed): mom came in the morning to take X to ann arbor hands on museum (al had gotten the flu by this point and we didnt see him again for the rest of their visit). it was nice to give X some fun, one-on-one time with my mom, she'd definitely been in need of an adult with undivided attention. dave and i used the free time to go to the secretary of state (to get a michigan title for our car), to get groceries, to drop a load of stuff at charity, and to grab some btb burritos. we also did a lot of initial sorting and picture taking and craigslisting back at the house that day. it was depressing to see all the expensive crap we were dumping but im glad to be rid of it and know ive learned my lesson for future purchasing. it was fun sorting with dave though, surprisingly there was no arguing about which things needed to be ditched and kept. that always helps. :) X also had some gastro issues today, but wasnt acting bad...but, it meant we didnt get to see my friend lily for a playdate in the afternoon. :(

Dec 13 (Thurs): mom came again to play with X around house and at the nearby metro park. dave and i sorted through the rest of the stuff. today i started to feel like i was coming down with something. :(

Dec 14 (Fri): X and i had a playdate at friend georgettes in the morning. X and georgettes daughter, lily, got along great. georgette kindly made a dairy and soy free banana bread too, so that was a big hit. i was feeling a little off at georgettes, but not sick yet. we also briefly saw my aunt and uncle back at the house later when they stopped in to drop off an early christmas present. i then went to a (college friends) ladies night at the corner brewery. it was a nice night out and i also learned my friend jen is expecting her second kiddo. i was perhaps a little more sick, a sore throat, as i drove home after ladies night (but, the sore throat could also have been due to talking more than i was used to).

Dec 15 (Sat): previous plans (spending the day at my aunts nature center) were canceled due to all the sick people involved. my mom came over to take X around the town of X (to the library, to see live reindeer, to watch dog grooming, to wander around downtown). they had great fun. dave and i started the process of packing. X had a little fever overnight.

Dec 16 (Sun): our friend lily came for a nice breakfast visit (husband ercan and son everett stayed behind to avoid sickness). my mom came over after that. then friends julie and landon come by to take some of our not-coming-to-finland stuff. dave got us jerusalem garden for lunch. we continued packing. X was fever-ish and stuffy for the morning and felt better after a nap. i was still feeling slow and sick.

Dec 17 (Mon): we continued packing. daves parents drove in to town and had dinner at our airbnb house. X was very congested and SERIOUSLY grumpy about it! if you combine moving stress, with toddler-in-a-new-environment-and-adapting-to-changes stress, with sick mom and sick toddler together...that equals one of the inner circles of hell in my book. at least i had gotten just enough sleep to make my sickness fatigue abate and now i was just very congested and had a sore throat.

Dec 18 (Tues): someone was interested in buying our car so we took it to their mechanic to be looked over. i went to ann arbor for a nice lunch at olgas with some old work friends. daves parents came around to play with X while we packed. later, i went to my friend phils for dinner at brio and to pick up all the stuff we had stored at his place.

Dec 19 (Wed): purple heart charity came to pick-up all of the stuff we didnt pack or couldnt sell. daves parents came around to play with X. we sold our car and picked up a rental. we completed the packing!! X slept like absolute crap!

Dec 20 (Thurs): the movers were supposed to come between 10-2p but actually arrived at 4:20p due to the crappy weather. daves parents were around during the movers time but then took dave to visit his grandma in waterford. friends missy and lonnie came by at 6:30p followed by friends sarah and russ at 8p (i had gone to their wedding in june). blissfully, X FINALLY slept tonight. a great visit with friends and X returned to a normal child, no longer possessed by the sickness demon...happy early solstice gift to us!!

Dec 21 (Fri): X and i played in the fresh snow (our first of the season)! we organized and cleaned up around house. then we drove to ann arbor and made a torturously BRIEF stop at lilys house (got a few glimpses at cutie everett and ercan). then we headed off to TK (college friend gang) Christmas. it was nice to see the gang and it worked out well that i had already caught up with the locals (at ladies night the week before) so i could just mingle and then only had to catch up with the out-of-townies. later, dave dropped us at the house and went to his friend pauls birthday party.

(everyone crams in the kitchen, as usual [landon, julie, jody, dave, ben, ntina, sarah, and madelyn]; X watching papa play with lily; julie hangin with ada)
(jo and ben in a classic stance; sir chuck; georgette)

Dec 22 (Sat): in the morning i zipped up to ntinas parents house to pick up some things. we left the airbnb house and drove to moomoos for our first family christmas of the week. it was nice to finally meet my cousin alexs wife, catherine, since we had only met her at their wedding last summer. then we drove across the state to south haven in the afternoon and settled in to the hotel.

Dec 23 (Sun): in the morning we visited with daves great aunt ev and great uncle james (they were like grandparents to him growing up). it was nice to finally introduce X to them. then we drove up to grand rapids to visit daves aunt and grandma (paternal side). his grandma had also not yet met X, so it was really nice for us to have made those visits and to know that they had met each other and enjoyed seeing her. then we settled down for the night at my aunt jean and uncle johns house in grandville and enjoyed a family dinner.

(us with evelyn and james; us with aunt mitzi and grandma betty)

Dec 24 (Mon): spent a calm day around my aunt and uncles. i ran errands with my aunt (nantucket bakery, franks market). later we all went to lunch at downtown beer gem, hopcat (ratebeers #3 place to drink beer in the country). we finished off the day with another nice dinner at their home.

Dec 25 (Tues)
: christmas day fulfilled all of the traditional christmas activities i can remember, thanks to my aunt and uncle. we woke up to a huge breakfast, presents under the tree, and lounging around for the morning, intermittenly helping with food prep. X finally got to meet my cousin kailee who had flown in the night before, and at 2p my dad, grandpa, and brother chip arrived for extended family christmas and food. it was christmas like i remember as a kid (even though we rarely actually had it in grand rapids, it always involved the same people and the same theme of food [polish]). X was manic about unwrapping presents. we let her be the gift deliverer. she didnt quite get it, but seemed to have fun and it was a good way for her to interact with everyone in the room. by the end, she was pretty comfortable with everyone. at bedtime, we loaded up in the car and drove to detroit to stay at a hotel near the airport. our time in michigan was coming to a close.

(X and kailee finally met!; naya and X in their chucks; grandpa and his girls)
(cousins [chip, kailee, linnea, me, X, and dave])

Dec 26 (Wed): we woke up and caught our flight to albany. conveniently missing the snowstorms on the east coast. thank you!

25 December 2012

X files - 2 Years & 8 Months Old - Vortex of change

most of the changes related to X this month happened to her and did not originate from her. i think this royally pissed her off, as she has a right to feel. it wasnt helpful that both dave and i were stressed in our own unique ways and none of us had much extra patience to give to each other to help make transitions go more smoothly. at least for the first part of these past two months she did have plenty of attention (in the form of reading, see the list below!) and hopefully kids are as resilient as they say. im hoping she will be settled from all the upheaval by the time she turns 3.

obsessions: spitting (not on people, just experimenting making and moving spit in and out of her mouth. super fun), lining things up like a train, reading to herself (from memory), dangling from things

good books: come again pelican, a rainbow of my own, big boss, quiet theres a canary in the library, the story snail, silly and sillier, silly lilly and the four seasons, the stranger, the apple pie tree, goldilocks and the three dinosaurs, potty!, somewhere in the world right now, bringing the rain to kapiti plain, how to catch a star, grumpy bird, in november, the storytelling princess, lentil, horse in the house, jesse bear what will you wear?, the house that drac built, a house is a house for me, those darn squirrels, big max and the mystery of the missing giraffe, how do penguins play?, just a snowman, richard scarrys a day at the fire station

X-citing developments:
1. health and well-being.
-the move/changes reaffirmed that she has a hard time with change. travel, in general, with us has usually been manageable, but this was basically a full upheaval of her life as she knew it for close to 2 months straight. cant say i blame the kid but damn was it a challenge. i was having my own stress and couldnt pay as much attention to her as normal, and certainly not as much attention as she NEEDED. that pretty much sucked. im already not the best at handling a move, but making myself feel like im doing a crappy job in another area of my life (parenting) was laying it on much thicker that i was interested in swallowing. poor kid. sorry X.

-worst sickness of her life. still not much to write home about compared to other families, it just came at a bad time. she was highly congested with a cold, and damn if she wasnt the shittiest patient known to man. she would get PISSED that she couldnt breathe out of her nose but wouldnt let me attempt to help with the nose frida. she was up every 30-60 minutes all night long until about 4a for almost a week. i was LOSING my mind. i was sick too and we were both VERY grouchy and grumpy (sorry anyone who encountered us then!!). i finally had to do her naps by holding her in a rocking chair to keep her propped up. she got sleep at least but i was sore and tired.

-at playgroup one day she fell off a little bike toy and slightly chipped a tooth and scraped her face. she was very brave about it, and the worst part was that the scrape didnt start to look nasty until like 30 minutes later. so the whole time she was crying i was trying to figure out why she was wailing so hard. ugh.

2. personality.
-sensitive/hyper-aware. she became very, very aware of things on/in her body this month: tags on clothes, boogers in her nose, textures/lumps in her food, air pressure from planes, her legs falling asleep when she sits in weird positions. these were all things that didnt bother her before...but now they do. or at least she totally fixated on them until perhaps they became more commonplace to her again and she slightly calmed down about them. also she became aware of shapes of light on the wall in her room at night. it took a while to get her to sleep for about a week when she noticed that. fun fun.

-men. its been very challenging for her to get comfortable with men. even if shes had a great time with them in the past. each time she comes in contact with the man, it still takes her a while to want to even be near him. its hard to find the right thing to say to her because she has a right to move away from something or someone that is making her uncomfortable. shes not exactly at a rational age yet so i cant just say "its just [so-n-so], relax". it doesnt work. im sure it will ease up with age.

-groups. if we have a meeting/playgroup with a new group and the group size becomes more than like two people large, X tends to want to go off and be alone. she plays well with kids she either knows or with one or two kids at a time. its good to remind myself of her general nature sometimes, its a lot like mine, but social behavior is so much more pronounced in kids. 

3. reading. she got waaay in to reading again. after reading a story a few times in a row to her, she wants to "read" it to me. she can remember whole passages or pages to many of her favorite books, and remembers the plot well enough from all her stories that she can "read" you the jist of the story as well as, often, key phrases from characters. she reads to her animal "friends" too. several times now people, or pictures, or experiences we have remind her of characters or stories from books and she is excited to find that connection to her day-to-day life.

momma mentionables:
1. physiotherapy. before leaving halifax i wanted to get myself back on track (only to promptly fall off the wagon of course, but at least now i have the tools). my core has been way weak since getting pregnant with X: my back, abs, pelvic floor. with 2 physiotherapy sessions, some physio-pilates and yoga, im feeling much stronger. im told my abs will always be separated, i didnt get stretch marks but i got abs that will no longer fully join. less than two weeks of physio exercises (less than 30 minutes each night) and i feel so powerful in my core, my muscles coordinate their actions now and take care of things with much less pain and effort. i cant believe what a difference its made, and now i feel silly for waiting so long.

2. second kid? around my birthday the idea occurred to me...to ask dave what his thoughts on a second kid were (literally i had asked him nothing about his opinion about it since i was pregnant). by september i had actually asked him, and we had discussed. i am happy to say that the idea of a second kid is no longer a terrifying black hole that i dont want to look in to, let alone get near. that was what irritated me most about the topic...the fact that X had me so scared about the idea, that it had been flung so far off the table...it made me disappointed in myself. this is not to say that we will have a second kid. there are still things to think about and balance and weigh. its just no longer out of the realm of possibility. i like the quote from carl gustav jung someone posted recently "the pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” thats how im looking at it.

09 December 2012

Halifax roundup

farewell to halifax. thanks for everything. we may see you again this coming summer.

list of the last things we had to do in town:
1. booked the cat on our finland flight.

2. wire transfered money to our new helsinki landlord. there was a crazy amount of info our canadian bank required us to gather to do the transfer, and the fee wasnt so friendly either.

3. orchestrated people coming to take the final things from our apartment.

4. cleaned the apartment. note: oven cleaning is not as bad as i had previously imagined.

5. communicated with government agencies of canada to tell them we were leaving.

6. ordered an apostilled marriage license from the state of michigan. we need this upon entry into finland.

7. spent $155(!) to forward our mail from canada to the u.s. for 6 months. man do i hate the postal service of canada.

8. cleaned and packed all day friday (dec 7). it took two trips from the apartment to the hotel in order to be totally finished, but we did it!!

**X moving note: warning, i am exaggerating only a tad here. she started seeming to be affected by the move in slow increments (ramping up) until the week of the move when she turned into a puddle of shit. i can say this because she was directly feeding off of my energy wave length. so we were both acting like steaming piles while dave was twitching in the corner from work stress. it was, to the fly on the wall, a pretty sight im sure. thank goodness we had organized enough that there werent life or death, do-or-die, last minute things to take care of, but even still, for our first move with a kid, i was not prepared. those times you just want to throw your hands up, take a 90 minute hot shower and eat frosting straight out of the can...you cant! i felt like i was vibrating at the frequency of insane the whole week while behind closed doors, so it was extra hard to put on my "im handling things well" and "yes, finland will be quite an adventure" face for the public. but, moving came and went and while i was VERY sore, we had made it out and were poised for successful travel back to michigan. so we finished off positively.

things i will miss about nova scotia:
-the lovely fall weather
-the beautiful countryside, opens spaces, and outdoor/nature offerings in rural nova scotia (of which we did not take NEAR full advantage of)
-the friendly moms i met and their nice kiddos
-the friendly faces at the library, the museums, and the local food vendors who know us well and offer kind smiles and adore X (i actually no longer think the quote, "i have always depended on the kindness of strangers", from the movie "sunset boulevard" is depressing).
-the talented and crafty moms here who have tons of extra skills on the side (sewing, baking, photography, soapmaking, gardening, etc).

things i will NOT miss about nova scotia:
-the absurd roads, drivers and pedestrians
-the lack of restaurant food variety
-the HIGH food and gas prices (and the taxes, 15%!)
-the low supply of in-city activities (that are non-touristy)
-the near total shut down of little towns during the off-season
-hearing parents say "ta ta" to their kids to mean "no no" (i asked, and i guess its a british-ism thing. thats fine, but for some reason the sound is like a rasp in my ear)
-lack of a good train system or cheap airport to get OUT of town!