Wednesday, May 12, 2010

There is something to be said about supporting local industry. I can definitely get behind fresh dairy products: milk, butter, sour cream, and mmmmmmm the ice cream.

...another man's treasure.

Now that we have been in Maine for just over 5 weeks things are finally starting to feel "normal" I guess.  Everyday is still an adventure - but I am sure it will be that way for awhile.  We are still moving boxes around and unpacking now that we have some space cleared out.  The house we are renting is FULL of our landlord's furniture and his parents belongings.  He told me that the house was furnished but wow.  The drawers were even full of things!  One drawer contained a gold Buddha coin bank that my daughter thinks is the most beautiful thing she has ever seen... that being said, there are all sorts of oddities that we have cleaned out and placed in a storage room so that we can actually live here and not out of a box or suitcase.  

I still can't believe we have so much junk of our own and I am determined not to keep it when we move again.  This calls for a YARD SALE.   I have never actually had a yard sale because of how far into the sticks we lived when we were in Georgia, but there is a first time for everything.  Apparently with the lack of retail options in this part of Maine yard sales are very popular.  I hope someone will buy our junk...I really want to get rid of the clutter.  I also hope this can be a positive experience for my daughter.  Her hoarding tendencies are starting to become obvious and I see this as an opportunity to teach her a few life lessons before her problem gets out of control.  Just how many stuffed animals does a little girl need??  Why must she save every piece of paper that she has colored on??  I have always been sentimental and nostalgic but moving has taught me that I don't need half of this stuff!!  I also don't need half of these clothes!!!  So if you are in the area in a few weeks, stop by my yard sale... and let our junk become yours!  We have the most well-traveled junk in this part of the country...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Trading BBQ and Collards for Fiddleheads and Whoopie Pies

I am in a new world that looks familiar. This part of Maine looks much like extreme north Georgia or even North Carolina.  Beautiful rolling hills and mountains with lovely trees and breathtaking views. I do feel at home here and when I am just with my husband and kids nothing much seems changed and Georgia doesn't seem all that far away. Then we go to the grocery store or try a new restaurant and this is where the differences begin to show.  Here are a few things I have noticed about life in Aroostook County, Maine:

  • Fiddleheads are in season (see picture to the right).  I had never heard of fiddleheads until I came here.  Apparently now is the time to pick them.  They grow near elm trees and in marshy places and are supposed to taste much like asparagus.  We may try to find some tomorrow and give them a try... I'll let you know how that turns out...
  • Whoopie Pies are divine and I could have that marshmallow fluff every day if it were possible and I didn't want to be as big as a house. They also cause 3 year olds to go into a sugar high that is impossible to come down from without a few laps around the playground and they probably keep the dentists in business here. The picture to the right was staged.
  • The snow melts away the lines in the road and you have to be from here to know where the lines are supposed to be. Between the lack of lined roads and the frost heaves we will probably keep a mechanic in business.  The roads up here make Alabama's roads seem like perfection. 
  • There is no such thing as a private dinner-conversation in a restaurant.  Emalee, with her beautiful red curls and sassy attitude, is quite an attention-grabber and people are simply friendly.  
  • Everyone knows what my husband does simply because we are new to town.
  • I looked everywhere for hot dog buns today.  Here they have "frankfurter rolls".  I think I like them better... 
  • All of the restaurants have Coca-Cola signs. Whoever the Coca-Cola salesman is up here is doing a fine job.  In Georgia, restaurants have a logo and "brand".  Here, every restaurant has their own following and specialty but you would never know it by their sign - it is almost funny.   I guess that is how they get around the fact that Maine doesn't allow billboards.  Coca-Cola is doing just fine with the advertising it is getting from restaurants and country markets.  I'll post some pictures of what I mean soon...
  • The black flies are out. They are a pain. I want them to go away. 
  • When someone says that plowing is included with your rent they are not referring to helping out with the garden.  They mean that they will plow the snow from your driveway. I arrived too late for that to be necessary, but it is a great benefit.  Imagine my surprise when I was negotiating my rent with our landlord while in Georgia and he said he would do the mowing and the plowing.  I was so excited to be having a garden until I realized what he meant.  I have a lot to learn about the winters up here...
  • Snowmobiles are called sleds. 
  • The driveway is called the "dooryard". Don't ask, I don't get it either. 
  • Many of the homes out in the country are literally connected to the barns. It is funny, almost like the house was originally built away from the barn and they added it to it so many times that it finally was connected to the barn.  I guess that is their way of avoiding the snow when they go to check on the cows in the winter. I will have to get a picture of that, too... 
  • I still can't force myself to use the word "wicked".  I also can't stop saying "y'all" and am more aware of how frequently I say it. 
  • Maple syrup tastes better up here.
These are just a few things I have figured out since our arrival nearly a month ago.  As we explore I am sure we will make more discoveries... but life is good in Maine and I am enjoying being a tourist for a few years. Now I need to go find some fiddlehead recipes...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Anti-Social Networking

I haven't written in several days.  There are many reasons for this... I have sat down to "blog" on more than one occasion and simply couldn't think of anything clever to say. I have no idea who wants to read my rantings and ravings or even a recap of my day. I don't want this to get too personal because who really wants to know the inner workings of my head? Who really wants to have true insight into what I am going through right now?

The past few days I have given thought to just how disconnected I feel from the world now that I have moved to Maine. As I have pondered this, I have thought about the things that keep us from picking up the phone and talking to a friend.  I talked to my dad the other day and he said that a friend of his told him that she believes that neighbors stopped talking to each other the day that air conditioning was invented.  Think about it and now think about how technology has done this to us as well.  I have most recently begun to base my perception of who my "true friends" are completely on whether or not they have called me or even simply emailed me since I left Georgia.  This is silly because I know I have wonderful friends that have done neither.  We "tweet" and text and comment on each other's Facebook statuses, but are we really socializing???  How many times have I been guilty of checking up on a friend's Facebook page to see what was going on in their life rather than simply calling up for a chat.  My reasoning? I don't want to intrude or interrupt what is going on in their life.  I may call at a bad time. It might be inconvenient.  So it is easier to check up on them when it is convenient for me.

BUT... how does this really make us feel?  It makes us feel privy to information on what is going on in people's lives that we hardly ever talk to. I currently have almost 600 friends on Facebook.  Do I want to talk to 600 people on the phone?  Probably not.  I guess it's cool to know that someone I went to college with is eating Mexican tonight for dinner or that another friend's son flushed their watch down the toilet, but does this meet our human need for interaction?  Does this really make me feel connected to another human being? Not exactly.

So that's why I haven't written in a few days.

I have been trying to focus on cultivating new friendships in a new town. I have been spending more time with my family and more time really talking with my husband.  I've been kicking the ball outside with my daughter and making silly faces with my 12 week old son. I have been trying to call friends that I haven't talked to in awhile and actually hear what is going on in their life rather than just reading about it online.

I'm trying to be social.

I'm also trying to figure out why I am doing this blog.  Is it so that it can serve as a tool for communicating with friends and family back home what is going on in our lives?  I think I just answered that question with this post.  I will be posting quirky things about our life here in Maine, but if you want to hear what we are up to, pick up the phone and give us a call.  My number hasn't changed!!

OK... I have to run now.  I need to go post this to my Facebook page so someone might actually read my rant...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My life in a Box(truck)

About a year ago I was packing up all of our worldly belongings.  Armed with a permanent marker and a tape gun I labeled each one: ME or TX.  Most of the TX boxes were for Emalee's comfort.  Books, toys, etc.  Little did I know that the things I packed for myself (clothes) would barely be used.  Little did I know that our life would change even more than I had planned.  I found out a month later that we were pregnant with our second child and all of those cute sundresses were already fitting a bit too snugly.  Now I can't even find those boxes. Anyway - I have learned from this crazy experience that I really don't need as much "stuff" as I once believed.  It all seemed so important a year ago.  Most of our things sat in a storage building for nearly a year awaiting the next trip from GA to ME.  It is now here and I am still living out of a suitcase and still wearing what I wore while in GA.  Still living with less and not really missing anything except for the relationships and people we have left behind.  So what does this really mean for us?  Well, aside from still not being able to find a pair of jeans that fit now because I haven't located my skinny jeans yet, all of the "stuff" is so unimportant.  What have I been able to do?  I have spent time with my husband and daughter.  I have enjoyed my son's first smiles and giggles. I have started to explore a new place that until our plane landed I had only seen online via Google's "Street View".  I have been living in the reality of our leap of faith.  Looking "God's Will" in the face.  I know we are exactly where we are supposed to be but I have to work through the harder parts of that too.  I am still looking for why exactly He wants us to be here.  I spend the days with my children.  I adore Emalee's insights on life and discoveries each day.  I love the glimmering smiles my baby boy reserves just for me.  I am also starting to realize what I left behind.

I used to think that "home" was where you kept your "stuff".  Oh how wrong I have been.  My home is in the arms of my husband. My home is having our children in my lap or their sweet heads resting on my shoulder, twirling my hair.  My home is in the swing in my parent's backyard watching Emalee kick a ball.  My home is sipping coffee in the quiet of the morning before everyone wakes up.  My home is fishing from the dock of my grandmother's pond.  My home isn't a particular place but truly is where the love is.  As I continue unpacking boxes in the quest of my favorite lasagna dish and those elusive skinny jeans that will finally fit I know this truth: I already have what is important in my life and it will never fit into a box.  It took moving away from all that was comfortable in my life to really realize that.  Unfortunately it also took a 26 foot Penske truck full of "stuff" for me to realize I could live without everything it contained.  The search for certain boxes continues but I no longer need to wait for our "home"... I already have it with me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunrise Sneak Peek...

Usually it is nice to be "first" at something. There is something unique and fresh about it. Moving to Maine I quickly realized that we were so far east that we are the first to see the sunrise in the U.S. What a beautiful sunrise it is each day! Our house is built so that the sun rises on one side and sets on the other. We have full daylight for the entire day. In the morning the light comes streaming through our bedroom window at about 5:30am. During the summer months the sun rises as early as 3:30am. Wow! This Georgia girl is used to seeing the sun around 7 or so... and having a 3 year old that stays in the bed at least that long. We have been awakened by our adorable little redhead at least twice a week with the sweetest voice saying, "Mommie, Daddy - look at the beautiful sunrise! My room is pink and orange - isn't it so beautiful??!!" Poor Daniel - this usually happens on his day off. Such was the story this morning. I've already decided that I just need to embrace the sunrise no matter how early it is. As a mother (especially now that I stay at home with our children) my days of leisurely sleeping in and cuddling with my husband are clearly over. Our 9 week old son is going to wake up regardless - he is ruled by his tummy and not daylight. I never was really a morning person but I am starting to enjoy the early hours before everyone is awake. I find myself with a little more "me" time - even though I do typically have Eston with me. I can do my pilates or just sit and sip coffee. I can pray and listen for that "still small voice" that comforts me. I can make my grocery list. I can blog. I can think without juggling several activities at once. I can watch something other than Nick Jr. on TV.

I guess becoming a morning person was inevitable for me... I come from a long line of women that are. Now I understand why! By the time everyone else in the house wakes up, my mind is clearer and I can handle the noise and activity that comes with the day. I can think about what to fix for breakfast before the time gets away from me. I can have a few moments with my baby son without the mild jealousy of his big sister. I can just be. As I write this post the house is still quiet. Daniel was able to coax Emalee back to bed for a few more hours of sleep. He is sleeping in. Eston is in the swing snoring. The only sound I hear is the gentle rocking of his swing and the dryer in the room next to me. Steady, soft quiet. For now...

Friday, April 16, 2010

OK...we are renting a house in Houlton, Maine and this pic is at the top of one set of stairs. Creeps me out like a painting on Scooby Doo where the eyes follow you...

Mainiac or Mainer?

I have been thinking long and hard about whether or not to start a blog to track our journey/adventure as we make the move from Georgia to Maine... it has already been a crazy year but I am more of a journal writer. I have always found joy in journaling - there is something about re-reading your deepest thoughts and remembering where you've come from, especially when it is written in your own handwriting. For some reason that makes reading it intensely personal and real, but I think I will give blogging a try... mainly because so many people ask how things are for us and I never remember the funny details or things that happen in any given day. So, here goes: our blog about relocating to Maine, growing our family, being adventurous, and knowing that we are where God wants us to be...

Where we are: Houlton, Maine
Why we are here: Daniel is following his dream
Where we have been: In December '08 Daniel began the academy in New Mexico and we were apart for 5 months while he was in training. Emalee and I joined him in May '09 in El Paso, TX for his southern border training. We soon discovered in June that we were pregnant with our 2nd child who would be due in February. In December Emalee and I (7.5 months pregnant by this time) moved back to Georgia and lived with my parents while we waited for Eston Daniel to be born. Daniel joined us for his birth (February 10, 2010) and packed up all of our belongings and drove to Maine 11 days after he was born. We joined him here on April 6...

It has been almost 1 year since I left my job in Rome to become a stay-at-home mother... something I never thought I would do. The time has absolutely flown by. I've always been a goal-oriented person and quite focused on the next thing down the road. It is obvious to me that staying at home is the most important job I have ever had. Don't get me wrong, I loved what I did in Rome. I felt like my career was relevant and I was using my skills and talents in a position that was made just for me. I took my daughter to daycare each day and spent the evenings and weekends marveling at how fast she was growing up and how much I was missing, but I still felt like it was the right path for us. Then Daniel came home one day in November and said that he had finally gotten the job offer that we had been waiting for - on the northern border. Now it was time to take a leap of faith and support my husband. I have never regretted that decision.

I have learned so much about love in the past year and a half. I have learned just how strong my marriage is and how much I completely adore my husband. The months and weeks that we have spent apart have shown me that when we are not together I feel incomplete. I feel like we are more in touch with each other now than I did when we lived in Georgia. When he was working in Dalton and I was working in Rome it was truly (as he called it) a rat race. We saw each other at night and spent our weekends trying to be a family but had little time to connect. We were living separate lives, truly. Now our marriage is stronger and we are focused on our future together as a family. We have an amazing daughter and a brand new baby boy... and a new adventure in a new place.

I have also learned just how much I enjoy spending time with Emalee. I know everyone believes their children are simply remarkable, but I know that my daughter is. She amazes me each day with her insight and for a 3 year old she is more resilient than I give her credit. She has packed up her treasures 3 times in the past year and moved with us and has held it together much better than I have.

One more thing has happened. I have fallen for another guy. He came into my life on February 10 and I will never be the same. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband. I love Emalee more than I could ever imagine. My son, though... he is special in his own sweet way. Eston had my heart when I heard his heartbeat and felt him move for the first time. The first time I saw his face I was in awe... and the first time our eyes met I fell completely in love. I've heard that sons love their mothers in a completely different way than daughters and found this to be absolutely true. His smile lights up my day and makes it easier to get going sometimes. And while it is very frustrating that he only wants me sometimes, deep down that feels pretty good.

OK... I have gone on much longer than I thought I would for my first post. I guess that comes from the lack of adult conversation during any given day, but that is a topic for another day. Right now I need to get the kids dressed and head to the grocery store. Truly parenthood is the most important job I have ever had. Funny how I was missing out on that when I was working all the time. Funny how it took moving across the country for my concept of "home" to become real to me. Home isn't where you keep your things. It isn't a building. Home isn't necessarily having your friends and family geographically close-by. Home is where your love is. Everything else is just "stuff".