Monday, October 27, 2014

Moving Across Country

When I moved to NYC 17 years ago, I only had to worry about myself. The idea of moving my entire family to Seattle seemed great and horrible all at the same time. 

3 years ago our living space started to feel very small and loud. Our needs started to change and the prices in NYC were outrageous. After going home from summer spent in Seattle Coolidge and I started to long for life outside of Manhattan. 

To many people moving to Seattle was an easy choice for me because it was my home town but, that was not true. My only connection to the NW is my family. It hasn't been my home for a very long time. Ben and I didn't have job transfers but we did have my entire family to lean on and my mom to live with. 

There were no guarantees it was going to be a good move for us. Ben would have to scramble for work, I would need a part time job, and the kids would have to make all new friends. There were a lot of what if's. What if Ben hates it and can't find any work, what if nobody wants to hire a woman who hasn't worked in over 8 years, and what if my kids hate there new school. Well luckily Ben works for a company that has some work in Seattle and my kids have a few summer friends and cousins to help before they make new friends. 

Packing up a family of four on a budget wasn't easy. To move a 2 bedroom apartment across country is at least $8,000. All of our furniture wasn't worth it so I began to slowly sell it all. We knew we would be living with my mom so we didn't need any furniture and would cost more money to store it. There was a lot of anxiety trying to sell our stuff, pack our clothes, and say good bye to all our good friends and family. I just kept telling myself it would all be worth it so keep on moving forward. After researching it all I found the best way to get our stuff from NY to WA was to send it through Amtrak. They wouldn't take anything with a plug or that is breakable. So I had to send some some items through USPS and UPS. After two shipments with Amtrak and the rest going through the mail we spent about 1,500. Quite a bargain but I did have to let go of quite a bit of stuff I loved. 

We are here now and just like I thought our quality of life is amazing. The boys share a room right now but at least they have their own playroom and bathroom. We moved here in June so we have had plenty of time to enjoy the kids playing outside without constant supervision. At first it was hard for Ben to allow Brody to ride his bike out of our sight. It has been a pleasure to not have a toddler running back and forth above our heads, having to call Dunkin Doughnuts to tell them to turn down their music, to watch a movie/show without competing with outside street noise, or feeling like I have no space to get away for some quiet.

Sure there are plenty of new challenges. We are currently living with my mom and she has been super gracious to let us share her space and all of her stuff. She helps me with the kids and cleans up after us a lot. I know it has been hard for her to go from only taking care of herself to caring for all of us everyday. Coolidge grumbles a little because he wants his own room but he knows as soon as we get ourselves situated he will soon get that. The first couple weeks of school were hard. Luckily I still didn't have work so I could go everyday with them and walk them to their classes. They looked nervous and scared at first but slowly made friends and started to get their smiles back. Ben's work is slowly picking up. I know all his down time will be worth it because he has plenty of time to write and prepare for his new project.

I'm very happy here where I don't have to constantly shift things around so that we don't feel burried in our stuff. I feel I have room to breath. I haven't lived with my mom since I was 18. I get very uncomfortable having to always use someone else's stuff or worry I'm not doing it right. But we are all doing our best to make each other feel comfortable. I imagine next summer we will all be more settled and we should have our own space. Fingers crossed this huge change in life will be all worth it. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Skin Care

I am in love with this new soap that I found about a year ago. My cousin recommended and I have to say it is amazing for many reasons. Its all natural and from what I was told it helps with acne. I have to say I haven't had much acne since I started. What I love about it most is shaving my legs and washing my underarms. I know that sounds crazy but if you are anything like me you shave your legs and suffer from razor itch and itch arm pits. I don't know why but I thought, I wonder if I try shaving both my under arms and legs with this that it would stop the itch. Well it did. And now I can't live without it.  For some magical reason keeps the itch away. I wash my under arms every day with it and and have to say it is amazing at getting rid of the build up of deodorant. 

I just turned my husband on to it because He was complaining that regular soap doesn't get rid of the deodorant from the day before. I told him to use this and he is hooked. I have also recommended to sisters and cousins who deal with the same problems. They all say it works for them. 

However you must also use this coconut oil with it. Because the Dr. Bronners Magic soap with Tea tree oil is quite drying you must use coconut oil after you towel off. These two combined are miracle workers. My legs and arm pits rarely itch. They were so bad that I thought I was going to scratch off my skin. Also remember you have to keep applying coconut oil each day.

Let me know if you try it and what you think. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Growing up

I'm glad to say winter seems to be finally coming to an end. This was a very cold winter and living in a small apartment when it's too cold to play at the park starts to wear on you mentally. I do have to say my kids are getting older and that helps because they still have lots of energy but seem to have calmed down just a bit. 

Speaking of getting older, My son Coolidge came to me recently and asked me if I am the tooth fairy. I knew one day they would figure it out but asking me to my face, I never saw coming. I never asked my parents. I can't remember what age I figured it out but once I did I kept it a secret because I was afraid they would stop the tradition. 

I didn't know how to answer him because I hate to lie when asked directly but I also don't want to ruin the fun for him. I'm pretty sure by the look on my face he knew it was me putting the money under his pillow. I asked him why he thinks I'm the tooth fairy. He said, "because you are always counting my teeth." I know that is confusing you...but crazy me, started a new tradition where we give them a $ amount per tooth. Well I never wrote it down and every time he loses a tooth I count how many he has lost so I know how much to put under the pillow. I guess that back fired on me. I told him, "yes it is me. Are you ok with that?" He said yes. I told him to not tell his brother unless he asked. He ran off to bed and didn't seem fazed. 

I know what is coming next, "Are you Santa and the Easter bunny?" It would make life easy if the cat was out of the bag but I also don't want then to grow up so fast. I love their innocence and belief in what they can't see. It's so much fun to see them excited to visit Santa and to see if he got them what they wanted. It's funny how as they get older I try to slow them down. 

I feel the growth speed when I see my niece Kendal driving and my nephew Adrian getting acceptance letters from Universities. When you are sleep deprived after the birth of your child, getting up several times a night you long for them to grow up and sleep. When see your son applying to middle school you say whoa where did the time go and you start to see him moving out. Parent hood is a trip and a true roller coaster ride. 

I also have to say we dealt with one of the ugly parts of being so young and in school. Brody brought home lice recently. My kids have been in school for about 6 years and countless letters have come home about lice being in the school. I have had many friends tell me they found lice on their kids but I truly believed we would be able to avoid it. I have kept coconut oil in their hair for this reason and because of dry hair and scalp. However, for some reason I stopped putting it on their hair and lice found its way over to his head. 

If you have ever had this problem you know what a nightmare it is. I know it doesn't mean your kid is dirty but you immediately start to itch and feel dirty. You start looking at every one's head differently. We all got it except Ben who for the first time is lucky that he is bald. It is amazing how everything in your house starts to look infested. You feel should and you must wash everything and you don't even want to sit on your own couch. 

I treated each of your heads with rid and combed and combed and combed and combed and combed all the lice and nits out of our hair. It is tedious and grueling and GROSS! after you do all of this you need to keeping combing through it everyday and just when you think it is are wrong! Then we retreated with rid (which was 7 days later) and combed and combed and combed and combed all the nits and lice out. After that you keep combing every day and I also read that to use denorex because it dries out the lice and nits also with adding coconut oil every day. Lice don't like oily hair so it helps keep them away. Well it took 2 weeks and finally they all died and didn't come back. However, I still have phantom itching and look at everything like it has bugs on it. I know this will fade but right now I'm still on guard. 

I hope you never have to go through it but if you do remember it is tedious job to get rid of them but as long as you follow the steps you will. 

I know it has been a rough winter for just about all of us this year and I'm looking forward to spring and summer. I promise I will not complain about the heat this year. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I can't believe it is already the middle of January. It feels like we just started the school year. It is nice how the holidays keep us busy so we don't think to much about how long it has been since summer. However, now all the holidays are over and now I feel time is ticking by so slowly. I am not a fan of winter. I sometimes wish I lived in a state like California where is it warm year round. However I really do love fall and would miss it greatly. 

We had a great time this fall and the holidays were wonderful. My boys love Halloween and this year we tried something different. We were invited through a list serve to trick or treat over near Mt. Morris Park and each brownstone that had a  balloon by the door was looking for trick or treaters. It was a nice warm day and we loved running up and down the streets knocking on doors instead of going from floor to floor squeezing through hallways with gangs of kids. Ben and I couldn't believe we hadn't done it this way before. It was so much fun and stumbled upon a friends house. My kids dress up everyday but there is something very special about dressing up and going out to see what all the kids are wearing. 

Christmas was great. It is the second year my mom did not come and the boys really miss having her here with us. Traveling 3,000 miles is just not fun during that time. She has her dogs and she had family staying with her this year so we spent it just us and with the our family in Queens. It was also the first time in a few years that we didn't have the flu. We have had someone sick for enough years in a row that I started to think we are doomed. Luckily we only experienced a little cough and sniffles. That I can handle with ease. It's this time of year that I get very homesick. I realized on Thanksgiving that I haven't been home on that day in 17 years. Sometimes it is very hard to live far away. Before I had kids I used to go home 3 times a year and it made it much easier to be away. Now flying a family of four home is just not affordable especially when you live in an expensive city like we do. My kids love all the traditions that take place during the holidays. Lots and lots of food and entertaining along with making cookies, ginger bread houses, visiting Santa, and advent calendars. 

Last year was a very tough one for me. After Christmas was over I had several panic attacks and was very depressed. It took me about a month to find a doctor and therapist to help me through it all. I am so thankful that I have such a wonderful support system to get through it all. I worried this Christmas was going to be the same thing. I had to remind myself that Anxiety does not control me and that even though I can't control having a panic attack, I can control how I respond to it. Going through all of that last year has left me fragile but also much stronger. I'm a firm believer that it happened for a reason but just not sure why.

Coolidge is applying for middle schools right now. It's so cute to see him walk the halls of another school and see him contemplate whether the school is a good fit for him. I love his innocence and that his requirements of a good school are lockers and desks. You have to understand where he is coming from. One of his favorite book series is "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and believes that you are mature if you sit at desks instead of tables like they do at his school. It is fun to check out all of these other schools, but crazy to see that most NYC schools are not at all diverse. I'm not enjoying how competitive it is either.  A lot of parents want to help you get the school of your choice but some would love to trip you on the way there so they can get in first (if you know what I mean). I hate to see some kids are stressed about getting into a school they like. In a perfect world they all get in. Oh wait that's how it works in the suburbs, hmmm. 

Coolidge seems to be taking it all in stride. Right now he is busy with his new Xbox 360 that Santa brought him. Along with building legos and drawing. I have tried to get him in a comic book drawing class but they keep getting canceled because not enough people have signed up. So for Christmas we bought him a magna drawing book. He uses it to help teach him to draw hands, heads and bodies.  It is absolutely amazing how he can look at a drawing and recreate it on his own. For a kid who has a difficult time sitting still,  he manages to have amazing control when drawing.

Brody is having a great time this year. He is still taking violin lessons but this year he is not very happy with it. It takes a lot of discipline and sometimes he just doesn't want to take the time to stop building or playing wii to practice. I just love watching him read the notes. I never learned an instrument and always wished I did. I guess I am living through him a bit. I'm hoping he will get passed this hard part and keep it going. 

Overall we are doing great. We are out growing our tiny little apartment but still having a blast. I hope you are all doing well and enjoyed your holidays as much as we did.