When You Ask A Question, Do You Really Want An Answer?

A couple of posts ago I asked, “To move or not to move? That is always the question.”  Well, I got my answer: looks like we’re moving. Where? To Texas, but not in the same place as my kids and grandkids. We’ll be about 4 hours away, and that’s better than 12!

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My answer came in the form of a promotion for my husband. It’s really great! I’m so excited for him – and me.

It’s really one of those God-orchestrated things where you can’t believe how it all works out so nicely. Not to say that there won’t be challenges and difficulties, but you can’t doubt the rightness of it.

All my minimizing, weeding out, and decluttering is so worth it right now! There are things here and there that I’m getting rid of but for the most part, I can say, “This is what is going with us.” And, it’s not much.

I feel like the past two years has been setting me up for this move…

but…

there are still emotions. The untangling of my heart from this place, loosening of my fingers from around memories.

Also, holding my breath to see if my friendships can stand the test of distance. Fearing they won’t, praying that they will.

Change. Yuk!

Adventure. Yay!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that conflicting emotions that battle inside of me won’t kill me and after the dust has settled I usually find that they can live together and both be right at the same time.

On a side note: I’m thinking about starting a vlog in conjunction with this blog. Would you like to see me and hear me and let me show you where I’m going? Let me know!

Thanks for being patient with me dear reader!

Peace,

Jill

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Review of Lagom: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life

In my journey toward minimalism, I came across this sweet, little book, “Lagom, The Swedish Art of Living A Balanced, Happy Life.”

(Click on the image to be taken to Amazon.)

It’s a cute book and I would recommend that you read it if you’re interested in minimalism.

The author draws on her experience living in Sweden among the Swedish people and explains the concept of Lagom as being the idea that something is “just right.”

She extends this idea that is ingrained in the Swedish psyche into everyday living to relationships to how to interact in the wider world.

It’s filled with drawings and photographs, recipes and craft ideas. It’s a great, little book.

I keep saying, “little” and “cute” because it is. It’s a small and pretty book.

Niki talks about decluttering and decorating your home, the Lagom way. “Not too little, not too much.” And she doesn’t limit the decluttered and balanced life to just the home. She gives ideas on how to bring simplicity and “Lagom” to holidays and events.

She even brings in other Swedish ideas, such as Fredagsmys or “Cozy Friday” where the family gets together after a long week doing something like watching TV and relaxing.

There’s a large part of the book devoted to following the Swedes example of getting outside and enjoying nature. Something I think we could all do more of.

So, yeah, I really recommend this book if you’re needing more balance, moderation and simplicity in your life. If you’ve made that a New Year’s resolution, then get this book to inspire you!

Peace,

Jill

To Move Or Not To Move, That Is {always} The Question.

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In my opinion, one of the greatest challenges of being a person of my age & station (i.e. a distance grandparent) is that will we swim in the brackish waters between the past and future – and there is this EXTREME tension between the two.

My husband and I decided to make our home, right here, in this house I’m sitting in as I write this, 22 years ago. We’ve been in this general area for 33 years, 3 years after we got married. So, basically, we’ve been here our whole married life. We’ve raised our kids here, made memories here, established lifelong friends and careers. We’ve forged trails and worn paths. It’s home.

And that is precious and wonderful to me.

I raised my kids to explore and reach out into the world. I fully expected them to leave and go. But I imagined my husband and I and our home as John Donne describes how he felt his wife was to him, his “fixed foot.”

“Our two souls, therefore, which are one, 
   Though I must go, endure not yet 
A breach, but an expansion, 
   Like gold to airy thinness beat. 
If they be two, they are two so 
   As stiff twin compasses are two; 
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show 
   To move, but doth, if the other do. 
And though it in the center sit, 
   Yet when the other far doth roam, 
It leans and hearkens after it, 
   And grows erect, as that comes home. 
Such wilt thou be to me, who must, 
   Like th’ other foot, obliquely run; 
Thy firmness makes my circle just, 
   And makes me end where I begun.” 
Foolishly, I guess I thought my kids would “end where they begun.” I don’t know why I thought that, I mean, left home and never went back. It was silly for me to think my kids whom I raised and was an example for would be different.
So, here I am, having established this kingdom, a castle, a homeland with my kids and grandkids –  my heart – 800 miles away.
It seems daunting to leave all this history and start building a world again. But the tension often gets so unbearable especially when they are struggling or sick, I want to be at their side to be a help and support.
I know there are options, compromises, I guess you’d call them. I have a friend, a grandparent, who sold their house and bought an RV and is traveling the US. That’s a bold move, to so totally let go of the past. Maybe I’ll get to that point one day.
And I know, as I age, my role as the “fixed foot” will inevitably change. My kids will become the anchor and I will depend on them more. I’m just not ready for that.
So, for the time being, I’m weighing my options, living on FaceTime and becoming very familiar with the 800 miles between us.
But the questions still haunt me: “Will I move?” “If so, when?” “Should it be sooner than later?”
Got any advice, suggestions, my blog friends?
Peace,
Jill

 

Christmas 2017 Gift Ideas For 2 Year Olds

Before my kids came for Thanksgiving I fixed up the spare bedroom as a playroom. I hit Goodwill and bought a few toys, pulled out my kid’s old stuffed animals and made a little reading nook in the closet complete with twinkle lights, pillows, and hanging monkeys.

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But you know where they enjoyed playing more? My pantry!

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Their moms had been telling me how much they love to play with pots and pans and “help” them around the house with sweeping, folding (or rather unfolding) laundry and all the other little everyday chores around the house.

And of course, it brought back a flood of memories (remember my Time Traveling post?) of my own kids trying to “help” me! And getting mad at ME because I wanted to take the broom to sweep the floor, haha!

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Both of them said they just had to get the boys their own broom because the boys were always trying to take it away from them. They wanted to get mini brooms and vacuum cleaners so they could actually get work done around the house!

So, I’m listening to my girls and here is a quick wish list that I thought I’d share with you in case you’re wondering what to buy for your 2-year-old grandchild this year.

Melissa and Doug Sweep & Mop Playset

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Melissa and Doug Vacuum Cleaner

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Melissa and Doug Play Kitchen

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Yes, there are cheaper ones that look more like toys, but both of my girls said they thought the boys would like a more realistic one.

Little Helper Fun Pod Step Stool

My daughter and I talked about this and while this looks a little like putting your child in a box or kennel, which it is like that I suppose, this particular design looked to be the best for her son. G is pretty active and other designs are open all around and so he could possibly fall or crawl out which could be dangerous depending on what they were doing. Especially if they were in the kitchen. So, this closed design seemed best. Also, the floor of the step stool is adjustable and could be lowered as he grows. We haven’t used this, it’s a bit expensive so I’m waiting for my after Christmas funds to increase and then we’ll give it go.

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Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but you get the idea.

I hope these ideas help you get the right gift for your grandchild.

Peace,

Jill

 

 

Time Traveling

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I’m still new to this grandparenting gig. I’ve only been at it for a little over a year now.

So, these feelings and experiences, which are probably old hat to you veteran grandparents out there are still fresh to me.

My 2nd grandboy, Manny, sometimes looks just like his dad, my son, so much so that it’s freaky. It’s like I have my little boy back for a few seconds or minutes.

And not only that sort of thing but I find that old feelings I had as a young mother wash over me in a wave.

For example, my son arrived on Thanksgiving Day from a trip to Peru where he hiked the Inca Trail. My son is 30 years old. Not my little boy anymore. But when he got to my house, had eaten a good meal and fell asleep on the sofa, the old feeling of peace and contentment that I had as a young mother after my kids were fed, bathed and asleep washed over me. For a moment, he was that little boy safe, warm and comfortable in my care. Tears in my eyes from a warm heart.

Having these grandkids is making me feel like a time traveler jumping back and forth from being a mom to being a grandmom. So weird sometimes.

Peace,

Jill

I’m Not The Only One! Death Cleaning

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My father-in-law sent me a Washington Post article on “Death Cleaning.” I was so excited to hear that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s important to clear out unwanted things and get your s@#%* in order before you “bite the big one.”

According to Margareta Magnusson I’m about 10 years too early. She suggests starting at 65 years old.

But really, the Swedes embrace the concept of “dostadning” which comes from the Swedish words for death and cleaning. It’s basically what I’ve been talking about: gettting rid of unwanted things so your family doesn’t have to deal with it and getting your affairs in order.

The article quotes Karin Olosfdotter, Swedish Ambassador, who says that her parents are “death cleaning” as well as their friends and she thinks it almost a “biological” thing to do.

It’s funny because I have run across my people in my own age range and most of them are doing it and if not, they want to or are thinking about it. So, I think it could be a biological thing. A lot of people don’t do it because it’s so hard, though.

We should come up with a word for death cleaning here in the US. I think I have. It’s called “getting your s@#* together.”

I’ll have to get Magnusson’s book when it becomes available in the US in January.

I’m glad I’m not alone and this whole throwing out experience wasn’t actually a mental breakdown.

This day after Halloween might be a good time to start “death cleaning.” What do you think?

Peace,

Jill

#2 Grandboy’s First Birthday

So, I realized that I never told you about my #2 Grandboy’s First Birthday! I told you about #1’s Sea Pal Party, so let me tell you about #2’s Elmo Sesame Street Party.

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Little Man turned 1 back in August and his Mom & Dad did it up right! Little Man loves Sesame Street, especially Elmo and The Count. So, Mom found a giant vinyl sticker of most of the Sesame Street characters and they had a few friends come over to help put it on the wall.

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Then Mom came up with snacks in keeping with the theme…

She was SO clever! And I made the Smash Cake…

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The red dye didn’t stain his face too bad, haha!

They had indoor and outdoor games for everyone…

 

And Husband made Little Man a motorcycle, too!

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A great time was had by all! What a great day celebrating our Little Man!

Peace,

Jill