Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guest Post by Harper Atkins

Go on over to George's blog to read another guest post by Harper.

It is an incredible feeling to watch her grow. It's a blessing to see God work in her life.

I wasn't present at the game to which she refers in the post, but I did get the play by play via phone.

Next time, I am in the stands, hootin' and hollerin' like the crazy lovin' mama that I am!

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Hi! Do you deliver to Beaver, PA? (pause) Oh, snap!"

Hey, can't blame a kid for trying.

From the Highwood years:

Sushi Kushi
Washington Gardens
Charlie Beinlich's
Taco's El Norte

From the Evanston years:

Mt. Everest Restaurant
Pita Inn
Tommy Nevin's
Gigio's Pizzeria
La Rosa's
The Lucky Platter
Blind Faith Cafe
Evanston Chicken Shack
Fish Keg

The List

It was inevitable that I would eventually compose a post to share my "pro's and con's", or a what I prefer to call my "what I am looking forward to in Beaver/what I'll miss here in Evanston" list.

I think I'm finally up for it.

For the record, I am a list maker. I have an entire spiral-bound notebook marked "Move" in which I am keeping a running list of "to do's" that need to be, well, done, with regards to moving in June. This list isn't categorized. It's just a ongoing list, on which I add items that pop into my head, when they pop into my head. Upon completion, I check them off. Simple.

This list is a bit more daunting. But, for my own health, I need to make it. So, I'll attempt it. But rather than calling this a Pro/Con list, as I don't really believe there is anything "bad" about the move, I'll go with "What I am Looking Forward to in Beaver and What I Will Miss Here In Evanston". My apologies if this reads like a list - but that's what it is.

What I Am Looking Forward To In Beaver:
  • New Adventure. After 18 years we have been given the opportunity to move, by choice, to a new area. It's rare, at least right now, that families are getting the choice to move. We didn't have to look for a new job, new city, or new home. We felt called to it and made the choice to choose adventure.
  • New Church. We are looking forward to Four Mile Presbyterian which is smaller than our current congregation and offers a contemporary worship model. We will always cherish our First Presbyterian years, yet we are feeling led to a different church model, one that I believe, will prove to be amazing for our personal spiritual development as individuals and as a family, with the added benefit of professional growth for George.
  • Smaller Town. This should be on both lists, for while I am sincerely looking forward to living in an area where a strip mall doesn't mark every corner, the amount of open land also wigs me out a bit. I am comforted in knowing that Pittsburgh is a mere 30-some minutes down the freeway and do acknowledge without a doubt that I am craving a different style of living, so the overall, I'm good with it.
  • Family. We will now be 4 hours from my sister, brother in law, and their fantastic four. The thought of my kids growing up knowing and seeing and celebrating and playing with their cousins is a huge draw for me. My parents will be 6-7 hours away - so much better than always having to fly, and George's folks will be one hour closer. My brother and his wife are in the DC area, which, once again, will be much closer. The move will take us away from George's brother, Chuck, who will remain in Chicago, but I think that even he, at some point, will make a break to an area where he can live and fly fish every day.
  • Cost of Living. It's a fact. Chicagoland is expensive. We have the highest gas prices in the nation. Housing prices are ridiculous (for as much as we are so not pleased with the price we got for our house, we also realize that the house itself would not have cost as much as it originally did if it were located in a different area of the country). We desire to become a debt-free family, and are on our way to doing so. We desire to save for family vacations and actually take them! We desire to give freely to others. We desire to live more simply.
  • The World Is MY Oyster: I have written ample posts about my desire to write. I am blessed to have my Mary Kay business follow me to Beaver, and at the same time, I know that there are other opportunities headed my way. I have actually begun to entertain the idea of investigating the on-camera biz down in Pittsburgh, renewing my SAG card, and trying my hand. With all this swirling around in my head, I don't feel overwhelmed, but rather, so excited to see what this move holds for me professionally.
  • Neighborhood. We're looking forward to living near the parks and library in Beaver where during both visits I have made, have been filled with families. We don't currently live on a street where kids are out and about (well, until recently when a new family moved in), and have really desired this. I think we would find more of this if we lived closer to Harper's elementary school, but our street is just kind of, quiet. We are praying for kids, kids, and more kids.
  • House. The new house is 100 years old, but there is so much potential! We will have many projects to keep us busy, but I will finally get my own office, the kids will have the basement pretty much all to themselves, the kitchen can fit our entire family and aside from having one bathroom that is extremely tiny, we have grand plans for our new home. In time it will have another bathroom, and new garage, and will be a fabulous gathering place for friends and family.
What I Will Miss Here In Evanston:
  • Friends, friends, and more friends. 18 years yields a lot of relationships. George has several deep relationships, I have amazing girlfriends, Harper has her small group of close friends, and Zane is beginning to realize that he won't be able to see his buddies once we move. Relationships are what drive our experiences. Break down what's important in life and it always seems to come back around to people. We will miss the people.
  • Food. As silly as it sounds I will miss restaurants: Mt. Everest, Pita Inn, and Dozika, to name a few. My kids have been baptized in foods from all nations. They are not peanut butter and jelly, mac-n-cheese (unless you count The Noodle & Company), or chicken nugget kids. They are naan chewin', miso sippin', and kibbeh swallowin' children.
  • Diversity. I have never lived in a place without major ethnic diversity. I'm not sure how to handle this.
  • Chicago. It's just a really cool city. Everyone whom I have met that is familiar with Pittsburgh says the same thing about that city, and yet Chicago is a really special place. There is truly nothing like it.
  • Lake. My sister will laugh at this, as I've never really been a beach person. But, it is nice to have it. Scout adores the dog beach, the kids like the beach, and I have enjoyed runs along the lakefront. So to not have it will make me sad. Even though I still hate sand with a passion.
  • History and Memories. 18 years of them will create tears, but will also serve to fuel new writing projects.
Ok, this is only the beginning of processing the move. I may add more to both of these lists, but I for one think this is a mighty good beginning!!!

We have no doubt that we are being called somewhere new. There is no hesitation on either one of our parts that this move is essential for our family. It will be different. It will take some adjusting. I will indeed have some freak-out moments. And yet, I am confident that we have made the right decision.

I'm curious. What do you think???

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I've spoken with friends.

I've spoken with family.

I've even commented on Facebook, knowing that only those I allow can see my comments.

I have not commented here and I will not do so.

I will remain silent about our real estate transaction on the pages of this blog.

This is very hard. But I've learned my lesson in the past. Nope, no need to link you back to that story about the mechanic. If you are a faithful reader you know all about it. If you are new, comment me and I'll hook you up with the incredible story about how my blog could have apparently hurt a business at whom I was rightfully pissed. So said the business.

Pouring out my thoughts through writing has become a source of relief for me. So imagine how difficult it has been not to process the, well, process of selling a home through writing.

Since this experience has proven to be all consuming for the past three months, my posts have decreased. And in the past three weeks, they have continued to slow down dramatically. No Thrifty Thursday. I've not even submitted to Blissfully Domestic. Those of you who are faithful readers can attest to the fact that I've not been writing. Shout out to Elizabeth who mentioned it at Moms R Us the other day. It warmed my heart to know that you were checking my blog! What a girlfriend!

It's odd to feel so silent on these pages. Especially when I crave writing so very desperately.

I did manage to write, edit, and submit an article to Women's Day in response to a call for submissions about how using the public library has helped me save money.

I failed to finish an article for consideration by Redbook who requested submissions on the subject of "Looking for the Silver Lining".

I had really wanted to finish this one, but just never found the time. Ironic for the girl who in the midst of this crud can still manage to pull a silver lining out of a tiny crack in the cement. How? Blinking.

And yet, nothing since May 1. At least not here. Other than this post to explain why I'm not writing, which is funny, because I'm writing that I'm not writing.

Still want to find a solid writing gig. I believe the future holds it. Haven't found it yet, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Sorry for the silence. Bear it with me a little longer.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Waking Up

As the realization that our house is now under agreement began to sink in yesterday, I could feel the pressure I'd been feeling in my chest begin to decrease.

And while we also realize that "it isn't over until it's over", finding a buyer in a mere three months, (which is relatively quick for this current housing market), has definitely helped in chipping away at our hardened tension levels.

And just how else should one respond to such a huge mountain being scaled?

By praising God and making a list of everything that is good about the situation (as in all honesty we do have a slight bone to pick. Not with God. But, we do indeed have a bone to pick. Where did that phrase originate?).

And just how should one respond to the chipping away of the useless rock that surrounds what can one day be transformed into a beautiful piece of art?

By praising God and embarking on yet another fun-filled "Pajama Ride".

Throughout this home selling adventure, George and I have often shared that it has been the kids who have weathered it the best. They have been incredible. Helpful. Encouraging. Excited. Flexible. Eager to help. I could go on. The "storm" that has been this experience for us, the responsible, faith-filled adults, has only been a tiny Spring shower for the children.

Thus, after a great dinner out at The Noodle & Company, (where the checker actually saved us money by suggesting that we just split one large mac-n-cheese for the kids, rather than ordering two smalls . . . I share this because this has never happened to us at any restaurant), we did a little wandering through Border's. Once home, we rushed the kids up to bed.

Shout out to Melody for the gift card to The Noodle & Company. Ordering out has been so very helpful these last few weeks, for I haven't had the energy to meal plan, nor have we wanted the stress of messing up the kitchen in between our frequent showings.

Upon arriving home and hustling the kids up to bed, we waited about 30 minutes. Once we were sure that things had settled down upstairs, we launched into kooky and crazy parent mode, grabbed our saucepans and wooden spoons and began yelling and hooting and hollering and clanging and banging as we ran up the hallway and entered the kid's rooms.

"PAJAMA RIDE! PAJAMA RIDE! Everybody up! Into the car! PAJAMA RIDE!"

Harper was out of her bed in a flash and ready to go. In fact, she disappeared downstairs only to return with her own stainless bowl and spoon in order to join in the drumming parade.

And Zane?

We couldn't wake him.

Three of us in his room clanging on stainless steel cookware.

He didn't budge.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Snore.

George had to actually pick him up and carry him to the car where we then proceeded to coax him awake with the lure of ice cream.

Yes, he did eventually awaken and enjoyed a bit of his ice-cream before announcing, "Ok. I'm done. Put this in the freezer. I'm going back to bed. Good Night." And he was gone. Up the stairs to his room where he climbed back into bed.

Gotta love that.

Well, I'm NOT going back to bed. I've been in a walking coma for a few months now and I've needed the shocking sound of those pots and pans to jar me back to the land of the living.

I know we still have a bit of a hurdle in front of us to complete our sale, and yet, I feel as if I just woke up from a great slumber.

And perhaps, just perhaps, my son will forget that last night ever happened, thus leaving his ice cream for me!

Ok, that's just mean.

No, instead of lifting my son's ice cream, I think I'll head out for a walk/run this afternoon.

Doesn't that sound great?