Friday, February 27, 2009

MAJOR progress!

I feel so accomplished today.

I got the dining room table and the island cleaned off. I swept the floor. I moved all of the misc. stuff in the upstairs hallway into the spare room to organize as I have the time (and motivation). I emptied the trash, and I took out a bunch of cardboard (I will have to post a picture of our third bay of our garage!). Our house is starting to look more and more like a home.

I love that everything has a place and that we have the room to organize everything. I love that my house is designed in such a way to allow us to keep it clean. And I love that I love my house so much that I want to keep it clean.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can Opener

I finally bought a can opener. This comes after making curry Monday night. I just needed to pierce both sides of a coconut milk can, but I had no tools for which to do that. So I tried to use the Pampered Chef can opener that someone gave us. Can I just say I HATE this thing? It goes on top instead of on the side, and it chewed the crap out of my coconut milk. After several failed attempts, I cut the can open with a paring knife. This was no easy feat. And I was so frustrated that I was worried I was going to chop my fingers off in the process.

I didn't go shopping yesterday because I am so sick of it. I didn't realize that once we moved into the new house I would need to get so much more. But I try to hang up pictures, and I realize we don't have nails. Or Dan tries to open his grapefruit juice can with a bottle opener and can't. Or I want to freeze Kellen's homemade baby food in an ice cube tray, but they were thrown out in the move. I need a brush to cook with. I need a glass casserole dish. I need trash cans. I need a meat tenderizer and meat thermometer.

So today I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond (thanks to Brett and crew for continuing to help us with a discount) and went up and down the aisles trying to remember what I needed. (Yes, I should make a list. But said list would get lost in the masses of cardboard that have eaten our house!) I am happy to report that I have a can opener and the above-mentioned frustration can now be taken out on the garden when I realize I have no tools... but digging in the dirt with my hands is probably less frightening than stabbing a can of coconut milk with a paring knife!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Six months ago...

Tomorrow is February 25, exactly six months since our lives changed. Six months ago I was getting ready to go to Lewis Black at BSU. I got my favorite DVD autographed, and stupidly, I took the DVD (and book) out of the car that night. I don't think I slept that well because the next day was the first day of school.

I have thought much in the last six months about whether I regret that we weren't home. I know it doesn't matter because it has already happened. In some ways I am so glad we weren't. I think we would have tried to grab more. But I still feel guilty for sending Dan in to get the animals.

Hold all of the families in your thoughts tomorrow. I know it is still hard for many of us, and give us strength as we reflect on that day and the immense changes we have all undergone in the months since.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Pictures of our old nursery can be found here. The walls are blue, but the camera doesn't pick it up very well.


I finished unpacking the nursery today. All I have left is to hang up the stars, and then I will post pictures.

I also nearly finished my office. I have a lot of filing to do, and I still have thank yous that need to be sent out.

A big surprise was waiting in one of the boxes. The Marc Brown book that I have blogged about was in the box. I think I had it in the car to take to school and then decided that I didn't want to leave it at school. Since it was the first day, it was still in the car. As I've said before, this book was such a big deal to me as it was the first of many authors I would meet and the first of many books in my love of the written word. In the front cover is a little dialogue bubble with "Hi Brooke" written there.


Guess what? When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that's what you've wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking right now, that's what's on your mind. Whatever has happened to you, it has already happened. The important question is, how are you going to handle it? In other words, "Now what?"

Like it or not, this moment is all we really have to work with. Yet we all too easily conduct our lives as if forgetting momentarily that we are here, where we already are, and that we are in what we are already in. In every moment, we find ourselves at the crossroad of here and now. But when the cloud of forgetfulness over where we are not sets in, in that very moment we get lost. "Now what?" becomes a real problem.

From Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

I've always been a forward-backward looker. Always looking at the past and preparing for the future. Perhaps that is part of why this has been so difficult for me. I find myself focusing more and more on the present. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, so I'm trying not to focus on it. (I am so accustomed to worrying about it though, that the worry hasn't disappeared, and most days, it is worse. Instead of worrying about the future, I am worrying about right now.)

This shift in consciousness is uncomfortable because it has brought to the forefront the idea that tomorrow isn't promised to any of us. I think that nearly every person has a moment where they come to terms with the reality of their own mortality. And it's in this present moment where we are forced to make changes (or choose to stay stagnant). It is in this moment that I am learning to accept that what has happened has already happened and my dreams for this last year have been altered. I can't do anything about that. All I can do is look at it from a distance and ask "Now what?" I am trying to not be paralyzed by the event. But even in the moments where I am, I must remind myself to recognize the paralysis and then ask "Now what?"

Friday, February 20, 2009

My day

Here is an overview of today... it is very similar to most days.

6:30-7:00 - Kellen decides it is time to wake up.
8:00 - Leave for Dr. Appt.
8:30 - Dr. Appt.
9:30 - Talk to mom, wait for stores to open
10:00-11:30 - Shop. Looking for organizers for my office so that it stays clean. Need to buy Kellen 6-9 month clothes because he is growing out of 6 mo. Thankfully people donated some bigger sized clothes, but as we get bigger, the donations shrink. Look for China cabinet- the wall is an odd width and I need something narrow. Find all items. China cabinet not exactly what I wanted, but it will fit the space, and I've looked everywhere, so we get it.
12:00 - Home. Start assembling furniture
1:00 - Kellen goes down for a nap. Furniture assembly takes longer than expected. Realize that vertigo attack is starting over (it cycles every 5-6 weeks and progressively gets better until it flares again).
2:30 - Kellen gets up. Make bottle, get car ready.
3:00 - Chiropractor appointment. The Bell's Palsy has really gotten better since I've starting seeing him- not always blinking, but close.
4:00 - Pick up prescriptions. Go to Home Depot. Forget nails for the fifth day.
4:30 - Come home, realize I forgot nails. Peel potatoes for dinner. Thank goodness for the crock pot!
4:45-6:00 - Continue putting together furniture (seriously, when you see how small this is, you will laugh. Dan said it was like a model car. It's taken me ALL DAY just to put together a couple of shelves and drawers.)
6:00 - Eat.
6:30 - Feed Kellen cereal until he dumps it on the floor. Call Shade. Realize we need wood floor cleaner.
6:45 - Kellen bath.
7:00 - Start bedtime routine.
7:30 - Write in blog... before assembling more furniture.


Kellen is a little ahead of himself. Remember how he rolled over at 2 weeks? Well, he has perfected rolling both ways now, and if I turn my back, he sometimes has moved away from where I left him. He also can scoot around in a circle and is working on the inch worm scoot. He has started holding himself up on all fours. We know it's just a matter of a couple of weeks before we have a crawler (he'll be 5 months next Wednesday!).

We aren't close to being ready for a crawler. Boxes are still everywhere, even though we unpack constantly. We're still buying things, so more boxes are coming in. Because everything is new and we didn't use it at the rental, we are pulling stuff out of boxes. There are lint and small pieces of Styrofoam everywhere. But there isn't enough floor space to really vacuum yet. I feel like I am trying to beat the clock, and yet I am running out of time. I have been using the Pack N Play (thanks Dad) a lot... as much as he will tolerate it. Moving with a child, though, is crazy. Anyone have an extra set or two of hands? I'm sure I won't look weird as a six-armed woman, especially to other moms!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


After reading the comment below, I feel like I need to write about how moving home does not mean that the world is right again. I'm not sure if it was meant to be rude, but it seemed like it to me (and my husband and our nanny).

My neighbor and I have talked a lot about how people expect us to be fine now that we are home, expect us to have closed the book on the fire and be moving on. I'm sure that seems rational. But it just isn't the case. Healing from any trauma takes time. I still see smoke and need to know exactly where it is coming from. If I hear fire engines on Amity, I turn on the news. I sometimes drive back to the house to check and make sure the oven is off. My heart races when the smoke alarms go off from plugging in the vacuum (something happened with the wiring in one of the rooms).

I don't know where toilet paper is. I'm sure it's in a box somewhere. But for right now, our bathroom downstairs is out. I will go to reach for something and realize that the thing I want was in the old house not the new one. I go to the store everyday. EVERYDAY. I need note cards. Or I need tylenol. Or I need rice. Basic things that you stock up on, you don't have anymore. And when those things are the basis for cooking or pain management, it does get frustrating to have to replace them (especially if I just went to the store an hour ago). I'm sure that shopping all the time seems great, but it is exhausting. And sometimes it's emotional.

I make no apologies for feeling this way. I know that many people cannot understand this experience. This is my way to share my experience. And I would expect a little more compassion than a "Seriously?" comment would imply. Yes, this is how I feel... seriously.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I hate doing things twice.

Now that we are back home, I sometimes feel like I have looped back to a few years ago and am doing things I've already done. Like ordering the same picture frames from Pottery Barn. Or printing the same pictures we had hanging in the old house. Or tracking down a rug, only this time it won't be from a floor sample after coveting it for months, and I won't get the good deal on it.

The first time you do something, even if it is tedious, doesn't seem so bad. It's fun, exciting, new. The second time it's just annoying.

We really are glad to be home. We are also ready for the minutiae of rebuilding to pass.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


In the days after the fire, as we were deciding to rebuild, we asked our neighbors if they were. We had created a special relationship with them and truly felt that the neighborhood wouldn't be home without them. We like the rest of our neighbors, but these neighbors are particularly important to us. They moved in at Christmas, and it was great to be able to see them when we came up to the house. Being home, next-door, makes everything seem right. When they look after Kellen, it feels like it should have felt when we brought him home. Living in a different neighborhood with different neighbors just wasn't the same. I didn't have someone to borrow eggs from. I couldn't deliver bread to them. We didn't get cookies when Dan fixed something. They're just one more reason we are so glad to be home!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


We are getting unpacked. Our third bay of the garage is loaded with cardboard boxes and other packing materials. We are trying to find a home for all of our new things (and a few old). We've also run across things that we didn't even realize that we had. We are reminded of the generosity of our neighbors, family, and friends as we unpack. I hope to get pictures up soon, but I am trying to get us unpacked a bit first so that there aren't so many boxes. I think I'll devote a day to each room and will show the old house and the new.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


We are HOME. We woke up this morning in our house. We are going to sleep tonight in our room. There are still lots of boxes, but we are putting things away in more permanent places. Thank you for your support, for your generosity, for your congratulations. We are so loved, and we are so happy to be home.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


On August 25, our lives hit the pause button. Lots of things have happened since, but we feel as though we've been watching our lives on a television more than participating in them. In 16 hours, we start moving home. At this time tomorrow, we open our bottle of Dom Perignon. Saturday morning, we wake up at home. Home.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I imagine

I imagine waking up for the first time in my new room. I don't expect to wake up confused. My mind has been here for months. Even if we are up with Kellen three times, I still feel rested, peaceful.

I imagine making my first dinner in our new kitchen. It smells warm, of garlic and rosemary.

I imagine organizing my office, assembling my desk. I can see myself writing on my laptop with the Pottery Barn desk I've been coveting for years. This summer I will be able to look out on my Hydrangeas, which remind me of Anne Geddes and babies.

I imagine Kellen crawling around upstairs (sooner rather than later... and with a baby gate), following me as I organize my house.

As of Saturday, I no longer have to imagine.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The nest/bump

Many of the people who read and comment on my blog are "nesties." For those of you not in that group, I thought I would do a quick post about it.

I started on the Knot, which is a website for engaged couples. I didn't ever use the forums, but we did have a website for our families and friends. At that time, a sister site was created called "The Nest." When Dan and I started trying to conceive (TTC in internet lingo), I started posting on the forums. I learned about all kinds of things about conceiving that none of my friends ever talked about!! We had an early miscarriage, and there was a board for women who had experienced the same thing. These women have become some of my closest friends though I haven't met any of them in real life (IRL in internet speak). The nine months it took us to get pregnant, the nine months of pregnancy, and now the four months of Kellen's life... that's a lot to go through with someone!

When the fire happened, I was so glad Dan grabbed my computer, and one of the first things I did was post on our board asking for good thoughts. These "strangers" rallied around us, donated money to help us recreate our nursery, and have been with me through every nail, board, and paint color. When I wasn't able to update in the early days, others who had seen news stories would update. And I feel their support now as we prepare to move back home. I am so grateful for them. (And for the rest of you who support us virtually- through this blog and otherwise.) I know that it is something that generations past cannot necessarily understand, but I am so blessed to live in the digital age and be able to connect with others in this way!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I drive a Prius. I use recyclable shopping bags (when I remember them). I buy recycled goods. I use Meyer's and Seventh Generation cleaning supplies. I feel like a terrible steward of the environment though right now.

I don't think we realize how much packaging we go through when we buy things a little bit at a time. When you are replenishing your house though and practically everything you own is new, you start to realize how much plastic is used. Plastic to wrap things in plastic. Plastic air to fill space. Sometimes the boxes are too big for the items that are shipped, and that uses even more plastic. We have ordered a lot online, and I think that has exacerbated the problem.

I have tried to reuse as much as possible. We kept the boxes to use for packing and recycled the ones that weren't in packing condition. We kept the plastic to use as fillers though I am concerned about what will happen to the plastic once we are moved in.

I want the legacy of the fire to be something good. I worry that it will be plastic, stuck in a landfill for hundreds of years.