Blake is working in the garage hanging pegboard so we can declutter enough to park our cars in there. We have a four car garage, and we still don't have room to park with all the packing paper, a few remaining boxes, and general disarray. We are taking, what feels like, baby steps every day to get settled in the house. I suppose that's because our focus the last two weekends has been on the landscaping and the garage, so we still have no pictures on the walls or decorations to make our place feel more comfortable and lived in. The four foot tall weeds, however, are gone from our flower beds, and Blake has spread five yards of mulch! I am also cleaning grout in our kitchen, one measly tile at a time. This wouldn't be so frustrating had we not paid someone to do it already, and they didn't get it clean. I later found the nasty chemical that will do it (the usual natural cleaners I use will not touch this damage). It's so harsh, though, that I can't do it with Anna around, which means working only during nap time or after bed time. It's going to take me a while.
This weekend we were home and away. Anna and I procrastinated making dinner Friday night by hanging in our neighbor's front yard. Anna and Sofia jumped through the sprinkler, while Paul and I chatted about the next day's block party. Actually, Anna discovered that you can drink the water from the sprinkler, so she spent most of her time funneling the spray into her mouth.
We worked on the yard Saturday morning and prepared food (pasta salad and a delicious dairy-free blueberry crisp with our freshly picked berries) to bring to our first neighborhood block party that afternoon. We swam in the neighbor's pool, talked to our new friends, and embraced the feeling of community that we'd desired for so long. We were surrounded by kids Anna's age and some older girls who she particularly loved, one of which helped her onto the diving board countless times. Two of those times actually resulted in a jump (with a floatie) into Daddy's arms in the water! We walked home following the neighbor's tractor that carried our coolers and chairs, my stomach full of beer, burger and blueberries and my mind totally comforted by our surroundings.
Sunday was our away day. Anna and Blake hit the hardware store while I did yoga. Then came golf for Blake. We all met at Uncle Blair and Aunt Carolyn's new place in the afternoon. I met a friend downtown for dinner that night (where we saw Christian Slater) and enjoyed the best gimlet over much-needed girl talk.
It all seems like a pretty good balance of work and play, but I still feel utterly exhausted. I'm guessing too many months of late nights before and after the move have left me with little capacity to cope with the mood swings that accompany being three (and nearly thirty-five in my case). So, I can also be found alternating between huge smiles and bursts of exhausted tears. Seriously, though, one minute Anna is making me laugh and glow in amazement as I watch her hands flitter around her body while she tells me a story with words she made made up in the moment. The next minute I'm raising my voice (OK, yelling) at her to STOP yelling at ME during quiet time, STOP stalling and get into bed, STOP pushing my every button!
It's the beginning of August, and I'm also a little bit sad that we have just one month of this summer left. For the next four weeks, I hope you'll find me mostly at the pool, on the deck, by the bonfire, and at the beach with my friends and family.