Where Am I?

The day after I gave birth I had this moment of panic about needing to immediately start job hunting. I need a job, like NOW. My brain was in manic get-back-to-it mode and thank god in that moment I was in a hospital bed and not anywhere near a computer. First of all, maternity leave. Second of all, I don’t fit into any of my clothes yet. How would I even go to a job interview?

Oh please disregard my leaking breasts and the fact that these trousers are unbuttoned, I just had a baby.

I definitely need a minute to sort myself out before I go trying to convince other people to pay me money for my savvy professional writing skills. But the fear and holy-shit-ness is real.

For several nights in a row my dreams consisted of a sudden realization that I needed to take care of a lot of people unexpectedly. First I dreamed that Kamel had some sort of head wound and I needed to wrangle our 5 children and convince him he needed to go to the hospital all at the same time. Then the next night I dreamed I discovered yet another fish I needed to keep alive and had forgotten about and now needed to bring back from the brink.

Having 2 kids is a kick in the ass. One kid was good. I felt on top of it, like I had leveled up in life enough that adding another complication to the mix was just… fun. I upped my difficulty level but I was prepared for it. I had the bandwidth. Having two kids makes me feel like I’m constantly juggling…sticks that are on fire… while balancing 3 stories of plates atop my head.

I’ve got to make sure Gabe gets enough attention and 1:1 time with each of us.

I need to be aware of Fae’s eating schedule and remember I can’t just up and leave the house without her for long stretches.

Omg baby vaginas. Don’t get poop in the baby vaginas!!

I have to encourage and foster Gabe and Fae’s relationship even when I want Gabe to stop touching his sleeping sister, to be quiet so she doesn’t wake up, for the love of god wash your grubby daycare hands before touching her face! Don’t squish her eyes! Be careful of her head!

… but I don’t say most of these things. I don’t want him to feel like she is off limits. She is his as much as they are ours.

There are still meals to prepare (Even if that just means popping something in the oven thanks to my dad and friends), diapers to change, a thousand more loads of laundry, and floors to vacuum. Now I just have less hands, less sleep, less time. I am never not parenting. I am either nursing, holding, burping, or changing one OR playing with, talking to, supervising, bathing, changing, snuggling the other. There is no “handing off the kid and taking a minute of me time” because there is always another one seeking attention.

I could be napping right this second, but I’m writing this instead. If not now, when? And I need to write, I need it. It’s how I set down a thought and walk away. I’ve never been very good at sleeping when the baby(ies) sleep. That’s not how I self-care. Even when I am so very tired. Even when I should actually probably shower, tend to my stitched nethers, change my nursing tank. Sometimes I would just so much rather be here. So I am. And I will be for the foreseeable future, even if it’s no longer cool to blog. Even if it is. And honestly, I’m too busy and in the thick of it to really know which is which anymore. Are people still reading the internet? So many of you reached out to me when I was wondering what I was going to do with a space I feel I can barely keep up with myself, that it looks like at least a good handful of you are still out there. <<waves>>

Even if I’m not on HuffPo. Even if I never get a book deal. Even if I never sell advertising. These things are not actually my real goals anyway. I just want to write really honest, really great stories that people read and have some sort of reaction to. It’s a constant work in progress.

Closing out 2014

Oh my goodness this year. This year of TRANSITION in all caps.

We often try and do as much as possible in just 1 year and it sends me in a spiraling loop some days, while other days it invigorates me into superhero-level productivity. I CAN CONQUER THE WORLD! Except when I can’t and I am a puddle on the floor.

What were your goals for 2014? How did you do? Don’t be too hard on yourself, LIFE is a goal, just the daily grind and getting through it awards you two thumbs up. Everything else is icing on the gravy.

Last year I had so many things to say and so many feels and I was a lost puppy with the big wide world of a fresh start ahead of me (and at the same time the reality of staying at home with baby Gabe until a lot of details were handled) and I wanted to get my writing back on track, take a trip with just Kamel, and become more comfortable with using our village of babysitters.

When it comes to my writing a year ago I was empty of thoughts and ideas. I didn’t know where to go. But then I took an online course, I went to AWP and I started writing a book. Ideas, I have them. Well at least 1 pretty big idea. Now it is just finding the energy to make it happen now that I am pregnant and a giant waste of gestational space. But hey! IDEAS! The stuff work and genius are made of!

So Kamel and I didn’t take a trip just for ourselves. BUT we DID have a staycation and our first overnight without the baby!  It was mostly a success but we did spend an annoying amount of time moaning about how much we missed him. God it is so gross being those parents. Oh well, first overnight under our belts, and we haven’t done it again sense. Face. Palm. We also managed a real actual trip to somewhere new. Maine! A place I’ve wanted to go since I was 8!! And we hadn’t had an adventure vacation since March of 2012, so I’m calling that win!

And that leads right into our village of babysitters. I have become ok with it. I try and mix it up so that no 1 person feels taken advantage of. But I will say, sometimes organizing and planning so far ahead is just so much work JUST to go see a movie or JUST to go out to dinner, so we don’t do it on a regular basis, but way way way more than we did when we were in the bay area and have managed to do some really fun things.

This year I want to have this kid. First and most important goal.

I also want to become more involved in volunteering/charity work.

I would really like to finish a first draft of my book. But! Who knows. This is a soft goal. Even if I write a few hundred pages I will be a happy camper.

2015!! You’re almost there!! The year I turn 30!! The year my second child will be born!! What mysteries await inside your storied halls?

One Year of Seattle

I started to write a big post about all of the feels I have about being back home in Seattle. And it was really cliche. “Time goes by so fast and yet so slow!” “I love it here, but I also miss it there!” etc.

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Kamel kept asking me if I was going to do a post about this anniversary. I didn’t know if I was going to. And then the anniversary came and went. I’m 3 days late calling it out because life is happening. Living is happening. It’s the holidays! So much to be done! We really haven’t even had time to pause and toast to our root setting. The setting of our roots.

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(First  full day in Seattle)

There were times a year + ago that I never thought we would EVER move to Seattle. That we would be trapped in the Bay Area with the soaring house prices and expensive everything and the insane commutes and life feeling so so so HARD all of the time. Kamel loved his job, loved it. We loved our close friends, we loved our little home and the little worlds we built. But it always felt like one misstep and we’d be shit out of luck. One more rent hike, one more child, a lay off, an extra bill, and we’d be kapoot. We had no support system, we had no community for Gabe, we had no ability to expand our family or our lives.

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There were times where I felt absolutely trapped.

But just like anything, with some patience and perseverance, and really dedicating ourselves to the cause we made it happen. And I am grateful every single day that we did. Even with the bumpy transitions, even with readjusting to different work experiences, the hunt for a new daycare, digging ourselves out of credit card debt from our 439683049 moves in 3 years, and on and on. NOW I feel free. Now I can see 5 years down the line of stability. Now I know which school I want Gabe to go to, I can see summer barbecues in a backyard somewhere during the summers, and the ability to travel less for necessity and more for fun.

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(First snow for baby, 316 days ago)

In the words of Kamel, “Only good things came from moving to Seattle.” And it is so true. And every single day I am so so grateful to be here.

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(Almost a Year in Seattle)

Holding Pattern

November until January was a period in time when the world was on fast forward for me. Bambam family trip to Mexico city, bambam no more job for me, bambam organizing several vendors who would be moving us to Seattle, bambam apartment hunting, apartment getting, backing everything up, shipping off our car, boarding a 1-way flight, bambambam Christmas, New Years, moving into our current place.

And then … the pause button.

It hasn’t totally felt like pause, not the boring kind. We had unpacking to do, figuring out Gabe’s daycare, job applications, new routines to manage, an interview here and there, Gabe’s Birthday, AWP, Miami. Oh, plus the never ending run of illnesses (Currently on tap: Roseola! Let’s here it for the childhood CLASSICS).

But… the ellipses never end.

The pauses…

The waiting…

The other parts of my world that are on delay…

Sigh… fill out an application… wait… check e-mail… wait…

The part where I’m watching the months slip by and in a couple weeks I turn 29 and I thought for sure I’d have a job by now (I said at the beginning of March), or by NOW (I said yesterday). The hypothetical future planning gets pushed farther and farther away.

“Well maybe before Gabe is 2,” turns into, “Hopefully before Gabe is 3.”

“We’ll only need to be in this apartment for 2 years if we can save ____ amount” turns into “We’ll at least be here for probably 3 years, regardless.”

The business of life is chugging away, but the motion of life is stuck in the turn-style. I know it is just the way things go. I know that eventually the … will turn into !!! but in the mean time I’m scratching my head trying to think of what to write about here, trying to find jobs I haven’t yet applied for out there, and the clock ticks just a millisecond slower.

Seattle Apartment: The Reveal

All aboard the Better In Real Life HGTV train. What? you say! More apartments? MORE APARTMENTS! This is what happens when you move too much. Apartments and re-configuring of furniture and art for days and days and days and days. Are you ready?

First I have to tell you – this is the nicest apartment I have ever been in. I actually really miss our last apartment in San Mateo. There was so much light and happiness there. It was a good place. (Strangely, knowing how much I wanted to move back home, I just got a major pang of sadness thinking of that place. Hmm.) But this place has some conveniences I don’t know if I can ever live without.

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Second, this apartment is huge. I think it sits at 1100 sq feet and has ample storage. Behold our front door and entry, complete with hall closet and shoe basket.

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I found this great map, etched in cedar, of the neighborhoods of San Francisco and got it for Kamel for Christmas – so we don’t forget where we started. Go check out Neighborwoods if you’re interested!

The funny story about this apartment is that I really just wanted it because of its location. It is in my favorite area of the city, walking distance to where Kamel and I got married, and just down the street from where I lived with my best friend briefly after I finished grad school. So, when I was up in Seattle searching for apartments I was excited for this building, but had no expectations for the actual apartment.

Turns out, the entire thing had been completely remodeled, everything was new. All of the appliances were new, the entire kitchen, the floors, the carpet, the bathrooms – yes, two bathrooms – everything. Then the apartment manager mentioned off hand the newly installed washer/dryer. In the unit? What! I think my eyes were the size of saucers. How could this be? At an amount we could afford? This apartment was like a San Francisco Unicorn! Amazing location with all of the stuff we had on our lists as, “would be nice, but we can live without it because we always have”?! I signed the lease the next day.

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I’m excited to show you that a few things have changed in our decor. It’s a bit of a relief for me that I’m not taking photos of the same exact set up, just in different rooms. On Super Bowl Sunday we ran over to Macys and bought a sectional couch on sale. Ta Da! (You can also see our lazy attempts at baby proofing with the coffee table (that no longer makes sense with our sectional couch) positioned so that the baby can no longer fuck with the TV and the modem and all of Kamel’s gaming systems.)

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This is by far the biggest impulse purchase we have ever bought. Our black couch was unfortunately breaking, it is true, and our seating situation was very slim. Being in Seattle, knowing more people, being with so much family, it became stressful for Kamel and I thinking how the hell were we going to fit more than 4 people in this apartment without some of them having to sit on the ground. Within 7 days we bought a couch, had it delivered and had our old black one taken away by boys off craigslist. The Pillows we found during a sale at West Elm.

The book shelf is from Ikea and replaced Kamel’s 2 DVD cases that his sister had made and had been much loved for years. Unfortunately the baby was always trying to pull them down on himself and we needed something that could house both books and blu-rays/games. It was $129 and the best money ever spent, I love it so much.

Oh! And a lot of people have been asking me about our rug. We got it off Amazon and I will never get a plush rug ever ever ever again. It is great now, but until about 2 months ago it shed like a mofo and was messy and a pain in the butt, especially with a baby that is all over the floor. Ughx1000. Woven rugs for life.

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The tall, skinny bookshelf that we used to have in our entry has now been tossed on its side and moved behind the couch. It’s a great place for the lamp and for a beverage (high and away from little baby fingers) in lieu of a side table or a coffee table. I actually have plans to ditch our long green coffee table (sob) and replace it with two poofs. Baby friendly, great for feet, and easily movable. I’ll show them off once we find some that I love and that are not $500.

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Our instagram wall has expanded from 3×3 to 4×4 which I am SO excited about! And we switched out the black and white frames for matching simple thin frames during the Aaron Bros penny sale. A shout out to Kamel for measuring and placing all of those squares just so.

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When it came to placing art this time around we had some pretty big wall space and I wanted to move away from the constant clustering. We have so many photos, so much art that I absolutely love, it has become really difficult for me to pick and choose. With this apartment I really wanted to not fill every white space with stuff, so hopefully the items we do have up stand out a little better.

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The kitchen sometimes feels small to me, even though I don’t think it is smaller than our last kitchen. Something about the storage and the counter-space is a little cramped. I mean, there are tons of cabinets, but the way it is laid out makes it hard to use at times. Flo, the trusty mixer, has to live in the hall closet, and the bottom cabinet this side of the dishwasher is pretty much unused because of its weird narrowness. But! Everything is new! New backsplash! New countertops! New stove and fridge and sink! No one else has used it except me! No weird crumbs under the fridge! ONLY MY WEIRD CRUMBS!

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An apartment like this wouldn’t have ever even been a possibility for us in the Bay Area. Never in a million jillion years. And it’s not cheap, this was an upgrade for us, an upgrade we could afford, but … we could have easily spent as much as we are spending and gotten no washer/dryer, no new carpeting even, and definitely no second bathroom in the Bay Area. We were looking at apartments during our previous apartment hunt that were as much as this one is, and were complete shit holes. We were looking at places that were MORE than this apartment and we were trying to justify the shit hol-nesse because it had a shitty washer and dryer included. No renting or housing market will ever come close to the insanity in the bay, so everything else, though expensive and like woah at times, will be cake. For that perspective I am very grateful.

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The guest bathroom, just down the hall from the living room. Bath mat by Target, shower curtain by Target, towels by Target.

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I told my mom this the other day – my decorating goal in life is to create a space that makes me feel like I live in the luxury of a hotel (With, ya know, some whimsy here and there. Some color splashes, some ba-bam-ness.) and I don’t think it has to be about spending all the money all the time. I think it’s about color and texture and picking out an item here and there that is of excellent quality and that may be more expensive, but for the most part just creating a vibe. God, I can’t wait to buy a house and then I can really go to town. Sigh.

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The baby’s room you’ve already had a sneak peak of because of the new crib. This room is a little smaller (I feel, although, not technically) than his last room and it is a little oddly shaped. But! The closet doors don’t swing out so there is a space save there.

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(blurry baby making his way into the room spotted in the doorway)

Now then, this apartment reveal is not actually 100% complete. I may have lied a teensy bit. I’m going to hold back our bedroom because (as you have seen in previous apartment posts) it is really bare. It is always the last space to get any love and I have a hard time really decorating because no one but us goes in there. But! I am trying very hard to change the sad vacant-ness of it. Our bedroom is undergoing a little makeover. So, until I can get all of that handled I’m going to leave you hanging for a while longer.

Photos of our second bathroom, the hallway, and our bedroom coming soon. Hopefully with a few more interesting twists than just a rug and a bed. Hopefully.

I’m really proud of how we’ve managed to complete our space this time around. It feels really calming and solid. I guess it is always going to be an evolving experiment into interior design, so thank you for indulging me. Yay sectional! Yay more space for having people over! Yay washer and dryer and second bathroom! Even if it is twice the cleaning! These are not-so-small victories in the Duprez house.

This Is My UGH Face

Back from a weekend of vacationing is always hard, but I felt like yesterday was even harder than hard. It meant me, still at home with the kid, still “working” 12 hour days of boredom and loneliness. Some days I feel excellent at being a mom. Some days I feel the warm and fuzzies about getting to spend so much time with Gabe. But then sometimes the amount I do not want to do this anymore, the amount that Gabe cannot play with his fucking toys and stop pulling on my hair, climbing me like a jungle gym, or trying to rip out my earrings, the amount that I just want to be alone for 5 minutes overwhelms me.

Yesterday was a big day of ugh. Of naps that were too short, of eating an avocado for lunch, of getting lost on the way to Gabe’s doctor’s appointing, not being able to find parking, forgetting the diaper bag, juggling 6 pieces of paper, two phones, my wallet, car keys, and the baby without a purse or stroller. It was mostly feeling like a loser and a noob, reminding myself that as long as the baby lives, I can check off this day as a success… but really, that’s never been good enough for my high achieving self. So I can’t help feeling like a big big loser. I mean, I should be teaching him spanish and we should be exploring cultural centers and going on 7 walks and … whatever.

The loser that didn’t hear back from the exciting job interview, that feels unattractive and lazy, that shouldn’t even complain about being tired or working so hard because I hang out on the floor of my living room 80% of the day.

And did you know? That next week Gabe starts daycare again. It will be amazing amazingness for him, he is craving other kids and tries to cuddle any baby he sees. He is bored of our toys and of me and of our walks and and and… he needs to go somewhere else so he can come home and be all “Wee!” And then I’ll just be someone who is at home trying to get a job without the added “but I’m ALSO taking care of the baby.” Next week I won’t even be doing that.

Sometimes the day to day is dumb. Sometimes coming home and being reminded of your normal life, and not your jetsetting, best friend hanging, movie watching, bad-for-me-food eating pretend existence stings more than it should. It is especially noticeable when Kamel is trying to set up some sort of 1-2 night weekend get away for just us and my response to every single suggestion is,

“Why does it even MATTER? We’ll still have to come home and be parents!”

or

“That isn’t even worth it! What are we going to do, just be in bed all day watching TV? WHO CARES?!”

Ugh, Lauren! Where is your making-the-best-of-it face? It’s probably on some really lovely vacation with plush robes and warm weather, and a perfect bikini body! That’s where! I’ll be here, waiting for it to return, sitting on my living room floor.

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Finding Footing

So here we are. I am on mom patrol all day long and let me just say – stay at home moms? You are an army of 1 and I tip my hat to you.

I love my kid but I really hate having him be my all day every day.

I love that we moved to Seattle. I love love love it. But part of me does wish that we had moved for my career vs Kamel’s. That sounds petty when I type it and I am so proud of him and grateful for his opportunities, I just want my own opportunities. And wouldn’t it be nice to be the one carrying the family for a change? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the big important job? That would be nice.

I’m still climbing my ladder and building my stepping stones and that is good too. I have to remind myself and Kamel that he is older than me by a few years, and that I went to grad school instead of joining the working ranks so he has quite a few years ahead of me career-wise. But still. I want to have a job that means something to me and to my family. (And of course my job has always meant something to me and my family… it’s just… in comparison to Kamel’s? Because he makes more and has better benefits, his gets the most important stamp.)

When I left my job a lot of my coworkers assumed I was leaving to be a stay at home mom. That has never been my goal and has never been something I’ve wanted. It was interesting though that people immediately jumped there. I think it is a socially comfortable place. “Ohh, you’re leaving! For your family! And you have a baby! So convenient!” Except… this hasn’t been the convenient choice by any means. This has been a lot of work and we changed course in order to give our family a better quality of life, but… man, it’s going to take some effort and patience to get us to the point we were at in the Bay Area. We were a well-oiled parenting, marriage-ing, individual-ing machine (or close to it? almost there? something). We are, maybe, just now beginning to find our footing again. On a rocky rocky shore, with giant waves, and we are very wet and cold…. metaphorically and sometimes literally. It was a long December and a turbulent roller-coastery November. I’m so relieved that it is now January and I be seein’ normal times ahead. Fresh starts and newness.

How has your year started off? I know everyone has been freezing to death in the US and thankfully, my little corner has not been hit by the POLAR VORTEX. So… other than that…?

Closing Out 2013

Did you know that even at the start of 2013 I kept thinking it was 2014? I even wrote it at the end of last year’s post and then went back and edited. My goals for myself in 2013 were short and sweet. I knew that the year was bringing an addition to the family and a lot of my day to day was going to be wrapped up in Gabe, so I didn’t want to start piling on the unattainable. I gave myself a bit of a break. Making a human and keeping him alive seemed (and was at times) pretty overwhelming.

So! I wanted to keep all of that in perspective and I focused on:

  1. Doing 1 thing just for me. (Score!)
  2. Feel good about my body by Christmas. (Yay!)

Going into 2014 I need to sift through a) the long term goals, things I want to be able to put on a yearly to-do list, but can’t at the moment (like plant a garden, take a skills class, refine my French, go to Italy) b) super short term goals (like find a daycare, move, unpack, get settled, get a JOB, etc) that are very much on my mind but are things that will happen during my every day life without extra thoughtful effort and c) the medium length goals that are attainable within a years time, specifically this next year. What are those? What do I want for myself? What will help me grow as me? What will help me become a better person? What challenges can I set up for myself?

Well… first, I want to get my writing back on track. I gave myself a reprieve while I juggled a new human, but now it is time to stop messing around. Part of my issue is that I do not feel inspired. There have been times in my life where I have too many stories piling up inside myself and picking just one seemed so disappointing to the others. At the moment, though, I am empty. Absolutely dried up of stories. So I signed up for Alice Bradley’s “A Year of Writing” course. Every week I will be sent readings, prompts, etc. And I’ve worked out with Kamel that every week (I think it will be Tuesday evening, but that is still TBD) I get 1 evening where I am off baby duty and get 2 hours to myself to work and think and make pretend worlds happen. I am planning on not missing a week (unless for travel, a sick child, or some unforeseen disaster). I’ll be keeping track.

I’m also planning on attending AWP (which happens to be in Seattle this year!) with the ever lovely Margaret!

Second, I want to take a trip away with just Kamel. We are planning a trip to Maine in the summer, but because of all of the moving shenans we have not been able to lock it down like I hoped we would by now. So, if it isn’t Maine, I want it to be at least somewhere, for at least a long weekend.

Third, and sort of on the same vein, I want to be better about using willing friends and family as babysitters for Gabe. I have no issues leaving him with others, but I do have incredible guilt about burdening others while I am totally capable of taking care of him. I feel guilty asking for a date night from even those who have offered. I thought it would be better now that we are in Seattle, but … it’s not. I need to get over it. I know that it makes me a better mom and a better Lauren to have time away, and I know that it is the best thing ever for my marriage to have time away with Kamel. So, I’m working on it.

And I think that’s it! Aside from getting a new job, settling in, and all of the other normal things. What are you working on? How do you want things to change or stay the same in 2014? What do you want for yourself? What do you not want? What did you accomplish in 2013 off your to do list?

Oh, and of course! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Holiday Move

This last weekend my grandma said, “So… no blogging this week?” and I knew it was time to come back. Also, Kamel asked me on the same day, “So! Do you have like… a bajillion posts stored up in your head for the coming weeks?!” And my response was, “Um. No?”

I’ve been busy. There is no way I could have been writing and posting even if I wanted to. Which I didn’t. Because sometimes I am incredibly caught up in the life swirling all around me and I don’t even have 1 second to sit thoughtfully and practice turning my mundane world into something interesting.

The week before Christmas we moved. I don’t recommend (if you can help it, which we couldn’t…unless we wanted to be spending the holidays alone in San Francisco, without jobs and in a type of weird moving purgatory) that kind of moving timing. All of our things were packed and taken away on Wednesday, along with our car. Then on Thursday we cleaned the apartment, sent Christmas presents off with the USPS (all arrived on time! Don’t underestimate the under-appreciated USPS!), went to see Frozen without the baby, got extra copies of the baby’s birth certificate, and then repacked our bulging suitcases. Friday AM we left the bay area for good on a very very very early flight to Seattle. We couldn’t “check-in” to our corporate housing until 3:00 so we spent the bulk of the day hanging out at my parents house doing laundry. Once we did check-in I took a quick shower and then was off and running to girl’s christmas – a time honored tradition – by 430.

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Then there was last minute shopping and family get togethers, and Christmas Eve and Christmas, and all while living out of suitcases in not-our-beds, in not-our-apartment, missing 90% of our things. As ridiculous as this sounds, it kind of feels like we are urban camping. We make due with the basics in kitchenware, we make due with the basics in food because we don’t want to overstock our fridge and then have to waste money when we move again (hopefully hopefully hopefully) on the 2nd. I could go on and on about the out-of-sorts-ness that is our little family and our living situation but it is boring, so I won’t. One more last thing – the bedrooms here are tiny. TINY! And we are sleeping in a double bed. The first night I finally poked Kamel and said, “Are you on the VERY EDGE OF THE BED?! Because I AM! I have no space!! You better be on the VERY EDGE TOO.”

We’ve driven by the apartment that is waiting for us and our stuff (come Jan 1) about 5 times in a week. We look at it longingly as the baby naps in the back seat. We look at the neighborhood and think “this is our place, these are our people!” So unlike the area where our corporate housing is. We are staying in a totally un-family-friendly area. And every single day I lament out loud that we didn’t bring our stroller. We just didn’t have enough hands at the airport and we couldn’t do it. So, our 30 lb baby is chillin in the front pack only – which greatly limits my desire to walk the several blocks to the drugstore.

But we are here! In Seattle! It snowed when we landed and I was in Christmas-time heaven. I get to see my favorite people and it isn’t even a big deal. Amazing. I already feel a swell of support from the community that has been waiting for us to arrive. I would take months of borrowed sheets and towels that are too short, pseudo-hotel living in a building filled with hipster, entitled douchebags, and too-small-beds for the community here.

Overall in the last two weeks things have been a little woah-nelly. Our belongings are willy nilly and there are days I am lucky to remember my pants, let alone wipes/diapers/extra shirts/our baby. But we were incredibly lucky to have a lovely (albeit stressful at times) Christmas with lots of friends and family, and I am so so so happy to be home.

New Chapter: Home

So of course right after we had hung up the last photo/painting/print in our brand-new-to-us 2 bedroom, an amazing opportunity would pop up for our little family to move (again!). This time not to another city around the bay, and not because we have been priced out (though, in a big way we ARE being priced out of the bay), but because we are finally able to take a big leap forward, up the coast, and back home to… Seattle!!

I’ve been holding my breath for over a month, not able to say a word publicly (which I am TERRIBLE at, just terrible!) about Kamel’s new job opportunity at Microsoft (yay!), and our new family opportunity to be in a place where Gabe will be surrounded by grandparents and aunties and actual seasons. But now here I am, able to finally say: We are moving away from the Bay Area after my 6 years and Kamel’s 11 and we are off to Seattle, where I grew up and where all of my family is and where I’ve been trying and trying and trying to get back to a la Odysseus.

And here we are… apartment hunting this weekend, and having all of our belongings (even our car) packed up and shipped out next week! We fly in on the 20th, into the welcome, crazy arms of all of the Christmas hubub!

I feel like the last pages (in a giant book that lives only in my imagination) of this major chapter are slowly but decisively flipping closed. My California life – with 70 degree Marches and Novembers, endless time spent on the 101, vineyards, Yosemite, where I met Kamel, where we got engaged, the beginnings of our marriage, the birth of my first child, where I finished my education, met some amazing amazing people, and established a tiny slice of my career – is now ending. A great big PNW future is beginning.

The new year is bringing us new travel, new adventure, a new home, a new(ish) city, new jobs (not yet nailed down for me), and new unknowns. I am continually honored for the opportunity to share all of this with you. I finally get to go home.