Nomads

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For anyone who follows along on instagram you can see we moved…again. Still in the Adirondacks, but into a new home. In 2015, we moved to the Adirondacks with anticipated housing. However, things have not gone as planned and here we are in our fourth house in less than three years. And even this placement is not exactly permanent. I am not going to lie – this is a major stress in our life, but when I am feeling my best self –  I breathe and accept this journey for what it is. Each move so far has provided a ton of stress, but also so many moments of fun and joy. I do not want to sugar coat this and act like we (I) do not have have moments of meltdown, moments where I am so overwhelmed with our lack of “structure” I cannot breath. Moments where I go down a deep rabbit hole wondering how all this moving will affect our kids in the future. Then there are moments (usually during the brief part of the day where everyone is happy and no one is whining/screaming/hurt/hungry/bored, etc) where I am so grateful for this season of our life.

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Prior to moving to the Adirondacks, I whole heartedly was a city person. I lived in NYC as a young, single teacher before moving to an awesome part of Nashville on a whim. I love walking places, new restaurants, an abundance of events and classes and people. I love the diversity of people and the hustle of life. Living a rural mountain life was never on my radar. I will be honest, it wasn’t even on my vacation list. However, I have to admit that pre-kids Dominique and I were playing a fun game in our old loft talking about 3/5/10 year goals. I can actually picture where we were sitting and the excitement of thinking about the “future”.  I told Dominique I would move to one “insane” place for a few years in order for him to pursue his goals. One. I suppose he has cashed in on that.

With all that said, I have taken and continue to learn so much from this adventure. My kids – while they think of houses as brief stopping points and talk about packing as if it is a normal occurrence – love their life. They are constantly outdoors riding bikes, making messes and being kids. It does not matter the temperature, if it is raining/snowing/sunny/hot/cold they will be outside. My kids (and me) love that every event we do go to – we are certain to run into people we know. People we love. Things that were “extra” before are now our normal – from going for a hike, to swimming in the lake, and taking out the canoes to snowshoeing or riding bikes on the trails.

All of this and more are things that make so much of this chaos – worth it. I do not know where we will land in the future (near or far), but for now we are back on campus, in a home (peace out dorm life) and making the most of this journey. Even if at times the journey is infused with stressed out meltdowns and anxiety about whats next.

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Winter. You aren’t my first choice, but I’m learning I can live with you.

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The weather has always had a strong hold on me. My mood, my plans, my sheer happiness existed around what weather was predicted. Checking my weather app in the winter and seeing a warm day on the horizon felt like winning the lottery. I never liked winter and basically could live without it. I do not need the Four Seasons. As a matter of fact one is fine with me. Summer.

Growing up an old neighbor used to joke that spring must be coming because the Albert children were shoeless. As soon as the temp neared 60, I was ready for bathing suits and beach visits.

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Fast forward to 2015 and my husband tells me he wants to accept a job in Lake Placid, NY. The lake part sounded the great. The average temperature calendar online, however, did not. The man who complained about Philadelphia winters wanted to move the girl who dreamed of living in Florida {despite Florida being the weirdest state alive (sorry Florida)} to one of the coldest places in America. We moved and I must admit I feared winter with each summer and fall day that passed. I was paralyzed with thinking I was trapped inside for over half the year.

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However, a few weeks ago, as I drove alone to my doctor’s appointment I realized it was really a tad bit cold in the car. It was -4 degrees. I laughed and thought how in this short time my view of weather has changed. While I check my weather app – I no longer fear the cold temperatures – I no longer plan my life around the winter temps. -4 before meant not leaving the house. Heck, not leaving bed. Basically, anything below 40 degrees demanded I be inside a place and if you dropped below 20 I wasn’t even going out of the house. However, now, we are outside nearly everyday. The kids bundle up in their winter gear and we go outside. It might be to sled. It might be to walk around. If it is dry enough, it may mean to ride scooters or bikes or things I limited to warmer days before. My weather checking no longer dictates what I can do – it just reminds me what we need to wear. I joke that nearly half of Dominique’s income this year was spent securing warm gear. While this may be somewhat true, I also know that this move has shaped how I respond to the weather – be that in Lake Placid, NY or Lake Placid, FL. While I use to dream of 60 degrees and sun, I now am pleased with 40 degrees and rain. I have expanded my view of what one can do outdoors in cold weather and even more it has expanded how long my kids will play outside regardless of the temperature. While it still takes us 20 minutes to get ready to go outside – we now can spend well over an hour before someone begs to come inside (or pees up their snowsuit). This move is forcing me to grow in so many ways and at times the growing pains exhaust me into a whiny mess of a person. Other times I realize how this move is helping to erode me of something I have been plagued with since childhood — letting weather dictate my mood, my plans, my ability to enjoy being outside. I am embracing winter and all it has to offer (even if my growing baby belly limits my outdoor options). Wherever we land next (whenever that may be) I am hoping that my newfound ability to not only accept colder temps, but to enjoy them will carry with me and more importantly with my kids. While they become the annoying kids who prance through southern winter in shorts and fleece vests, commenting on how warm it is while everyone else is freezing in parkas and snow boots – I also hope they will become the kids who can take any temperature and find an outdoor adventure. I just hope they learn this as they learn to also stop peeing up their snowsuits.

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Adjusting …

IMG_3822For the first few weeks in our new home, I struggled to adjust to new routine/schedule. While Dominique often had late night practices or weekend games before the move, I was rarely home alone with both kids battling bedtime, as I lived with not only my two parents, but also my younger brother who while he worked massive hours, always seem to get off early on a day I was ready to go berserk.

In addition to the number of family members in the home, I also had a million and one options for daily entertainment for my kids. From indoor play spaces to our gym/pool/cafe/babysitting service mecca to my grandmom’s house and so much more. We had memberships at children museums, zoos and always found places to entertain ourselves when the weather wasn’t great. We were always out exploring new places.

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As I adjust to life up here – I am realizing there is no “replacement” for these things. I cannot find a new mom to come in and listen to me debrief my day at 6:30 every night (unless I can get adopted at the age of 31 up here). There is no Lulu’s (yet – please brother-in-law make this happen), no grandmom and actually not even Chick-fil-a playground near by. While there are so many beautiful and wonderful things – they often require being outside and embracing all sorts of weather ((or not open until the weekend). While I loved taking the kids to Tyler Park or over to Core Creek before the move, I loved doing that when it was 70 and sunny. We are learning to embrace all weather and be outside regardless of the sun or temperature.

Since my return from my Halloween visit home, I decided that I cannot replace. I cannot just find those things from home up here. I have to create new. I have to find a new normal. And so the first step was creating a new nightly routine. Sorry Nola, but your days of being a late night diva are over. You will have to practice your dance routines during the day, as the lack of nap and lack of a second adult come dinnertime, makes this lady really need a break!

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For the past week and half, I have thrown my kids in the bath every night between 5:45 and 6:30 depending on if/how they napped. To be honest – my kids never bathed this much in their life, but every night we shlep toys to the tub and start the routine. Since our house is one floor, I can run out and quickly clean-up toys and shut down the living area while still monitoring the fools in the tub. We then get on PJ’s, brush teeth and begin to read for a good 20 minutes. Nola started out not laying, but she has since listened to the stories – interjecting every 15 seconds with some question, comment or concern. I then start the whole rubbing Flynn’s back and getting him settled. Most nights, especially if his nap was short or did not exist, he will fad away relatively quick. It would probably be shorter, but he is more often than not serenaded by Nola’s late night monologue. Once Flynn is out, I try with all my might to calm the crazy one to sleep. She recently is potty trained so she often requests to pee one last time (and I let her since she actually wakes up dry most days). We then rock, sing, rub backs until she eventually fades. It can at times take another whole hour. Dear Lord thank god for instagram, audiobooks (when I remember headphones) and my ability to say to myself “if she isn’t asleep after I count to 100…” a couple of times before actually losing it.

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While this routine is far from perfect and can often take 2 (or more) hours – it has provided me with some relief at the end of the day. Some time to clean up the crazy mess or to sit and stare at a blank wall wondering what the hell we will do tomorrow, or in tonight’s case to write a long blog post while eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking milk waiting for the first wake-up of the night. (which according to my tracker will be around 10:45 this evening).