Monday, June 24, 2013

T mins 5 days...

This move thing is finally happening. This is the current state of Izzy's room in the loft (she doesn't sleep there anyway, perfect packing zone).

There are a million gazillion things that still need to happen at the new house before we move in on Saturday.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Downtown, the highlight reel

I need to write this post before we move or it will never happen. There won't be much looking back once we are finally in our new house.

It was my idea to live downtown while we remodeled our new house. I wanted a distraction, a place far from both our old house and our new house, a location that would allow us to explore new things rather than just impatiently wait for this life phase to be over.

It has definitely been different and we have kept busy and entertained.

Living downtown you might get a parade of elephants right past your front door,

or wake up on a Saturday morning to find the American Royal Parade going down your street. In many ways, this is the ultimate neighborhood - full of events and people, never a dull moment and always something new. Our neighbors are tattoo parlors and a bartending school, a coffee shop, LuLu's Thai Noodles, and Union Station. We can walk to Crown Center, and the River Market is a stroller ride away. We walk to the Sprint Center and the Kauffman Center. On date nights, Ryan and I walk to Affare and Extra Virgin. We've tried every Mexican joint on Southwest Boulevard.


This is the best view of Kansas City and I will never tire of taking it in from the base of the Liberty Memorial. This view was the half-way mark in my regular 3.5 mile running route from our loft.

There are some inconvenient aspects of living in an apartment building. Taking Roxie in and out three times a day with two kids in tow never got any easier. Standing in a vacant parking lot on a dark, cold Winter morning is not at the top of my list of favorite things about city living.

The kids are so used to the routine now, they race to take Roxie outside and fight over who gets to throw the poop bag in the dumpster. Oh, the stories we can tell!

I don't know if Charlie will remember walking the streets of downtown, exploring empty parking lots and the downtown urban garden, or watching the trains go by from our balcony. I hope he does.

We felt a bit cooped up in the winter and had to get creative and use the basement of our building for some play space. This long hallway served as Charlie's soccer training ground.

Being on the ground floor of our building and having this balcony made our situation work. I can't imagine how loud we would have been to someone living under us. And this outdoor space really came in handy when we all had cabin fever and needed a little room to breathe.

Parking during the snowy winter months and late at night often meant driving around looking for a spot. Trekking to the door with arms full of kids and their gear was always a challenge. Sometimes we got lucky and found "Rock Star Parking!" as Charlie liked to shout.

Our biggest challenge in this space was sleeping. Other than the master bedroom, the loft was one big open space for the kids' rooms and the living room and kitchen. Charlie learned to sleep with lights on and lots of noise. Izzy stopped sleeping in her bed entirely after the first few months. We grew tired of fighting her to sleep every night, we couldn't let her cry or she would wake Charlie and anger all our neighbors. The only thing we knew to do was bring her in to bed with us. She never left.

Living downtown was a temporary gig and a layover on the way to our new home in Kansas. Had we done things differently, bought a condo and made it our own, I think living downtown could be amazing with kids. Because we have our dream home waiting for us at the end of this journey, of course we can't wait to move on. But I can imagine living here and loving it.

I am sure our neighbors will be happy to see us go. They won't miss the yelling, crying, banging, and shouting. We were an odd sight coming and going with kids, toys, costumes, sippy cups, strollers, and soccer balls. Charlie and Izzy loved to yell and hear their voices echo in the large hallways. They always had to climb the railing next to the mailboxes in the lobby. They said hello to everyone we passed in the halls, asking them "what are you doing?" or "where are you going?" They had to pet every dog we encountered - which is no small number considering our building is essentially a hotel for dogs.

There have been some embarrassing and uncomfortable moments. There was the time Izzy threw up on the stairs just outside our building and I had to clean it all up before the 5:00 pm parade of dogs got to it.

There was the time our neighbor knocked on the door to ask us to be quiet. It was our first week in the apartment and Ryan was out of town. Thankfully those neighbors moved.

There was the time I took Roxie outside and didn't lock the door behind me. I thought Ryan had both kids in the bath. I came back inside to find Izzy standing at the front door of our building, her face pressed against the glass door crying and yelling for mommy, wearing only a diaper. Two seconds later Charlie comes racing out the door of our apartment into the lobby without a stitch of clothes on his body. One poor woman bringing her dog back in from outside witnessed it all. We're lucky she didn't call the authorities.

There was the time I lost sight of Izzy in the parking lot. It was the longest 30 seconds, and the most intense fear and panic I've ever known.

We will miss weekly dining with our good neighbors at LuLu's Thai Noodles.

Union Station has been a most gracious neighbor and always had an open door for us. We know the place so well now and took advantage of every exhibit, show, and holiday to visit.

We celebrated all of our birthdays in this space. Izzy has lived half her short life in this loft...

and we had our first broken bone while living here.

We enjoyed visiting the downtown public library and the kids' reading room was usually ours alone.

Being displaced from a home and having things in storage for almost a year would be tough no matter where we lived. I am happy we've had this experience and I think we made the most of our time. Now we are ready for our suburban home with a big yard, a garage, and neighborhood kids filling the street. I can appreciate where we've been and I'm looking forward to what's next.

Nearby parks left something to be desired, so we had the most fun running around the grass at the Liberty Memorial, standing on the pedestrian bridge over the train tracks behind Union Station, playing ball in an empty lot, and checking out the planting beds in the nearby urban garden.

Roxie has been the best sport of all through this transition. Hold on Rox, your new yard awaits!

There will be no bike or scooter riding inside the new house so I hope Charlie got it out of his system.

Thank you Downtown KC! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

This is 40

Lost in the stress and excitement of finishing our new home is the fact that I had a monumental birthday this week. Monumental.

Friends and family have been waiting for the melt down, the freak out to occur over this number 40. And with good reason -  I've never been super excited to see my birthday roll around, and I had a bit of a quarter life crisis at 30.

Life at 30 and life at 40 are night and day for me. I accomplished a lot in my 20s - traveled the world, earned my doctorate, ran 9 marathons, lived overseas. But when I turned 30 I was ready for the next phase of my life, one that would be shared with a man I loved and would include a family of my own. I'm a worrier, and at 30 I worried and worried. Worried that my Prince would never come. Worried about where my career would lead me, worried about where I would live (I had lived in three different cities in three years), worried I would miss the chance to have children of my own. At 30 there was so much uncertainty in my life, so many directions and turns yet to unfold and it was not a comfortable place for me.

At 40 I have the world on a string. I have my Prince, two lovely and healthy children, my career is rewarding and challenging, and we are two weeks from moving into our dream family home. Ten years ago, none of these aspects of my life were visible - my reality has exceeded my hopes and dreams.

This is 40. It feels amazing.

And that is all I have to say about that silly little number.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mellow on Meadow

It has been a rough week for the future dwellers of Modern on Meadow. I can say that we met our all time low last weekend. Rock bottom.

I consider myself someone with a significant amount of mental toughness and effective coping skills. And yet, as I felt myself put to the test for the umpteenth time over this house in the past week, cracks in my armor began to show. I felt the wheels coming off and I was powerless to prevent it from happening. I was downright depressed over this house. Depressed enough to not shower for two days, to not even look in the mirror when I went out the door for the day. Depressed to the point that I went to the drugstore and stocked up on allergy meds thinking that might put a dent in the pounding ache emanating from my skull.

Many things have gone wrong with the process of renovating this house. And I know this is part and parcel of every build, every remodel. I know that. I think we've put up with our share, not without complaining to be sure. The stress and difficulty are unavoidable.

The kids have been through a lot in the last year. We all have. But for little people that really don't understand what we're doing with this renovation and why it is taking so long (the adults don't understand that part either) it is confusing and bewildering. Charlie and I had a conversation in the car yesterday that went something like this:

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Modern on Meadow Remodel Tour - the home stretch

I've been dreaming about the day our kitchen cabinets would arrive for what feels like forever, and now that day is here.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Washington DC in 72 hours (by bike)

We had a fantastic trip to our Nation's capital last weekend for a friend's wedding. We took in a lot of the city in a few days, most of it by bike. A few highlights...

The Capital BikeShare program is amazing (and I'm proud to say KC has a great bike share as well. I wrote about it here). The bike docks are all over the city and you can pick up a bike and drop it off at any location. $7 per bike for 24 hours. We saw the entire city for $28. I highly recommend it! Next time we're bringing helmets with us or figuring out how to rent them...

DC neighborhoods are so charming...and expensive.

We enjoyed a few adult beverages during our stay. We also had some fabulous meals - Thai and Indian on Thursday and Friday nights, respectively. Both reservations were for 10pm. Needless to say, we slept in during this trip...

The Library of Congress -  Jefferson's library was fascinating and I wanted to sneak down to the main reading room and stay awhile.

My first time to see the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

St. John's Episcopal church, where the bride and groom got married. It is across the street from the White House and has a 'Lincoln Pew' where the President used to sit alone during services.

Charlie and Izzy would have loved this fountain in Georgetown (the Kennedy Center is visible in the background). Parks and waterfronts, great restaurants, and every museum under the sun - D.C. has it all.

We can't wait to take the kids when they are older and show them all the museums and monuments. Maybe when they are 8 and 10? Charlie would love the Natural History and Air and Space museums right now.

The wedding reception was on the top floor of the Newseum with an amazing terrace overlooking the mall. The museum was fascinating and we spent two afternoons walking through the interactive exhibits - basically history through the eyes of the media. Cool stuff.

Thank you Michelle and Scott for a fantastic wedding and excuse to visit D.C.