Love and Rhythms During Tricky Times
August 06, 2018
We recently left our 4,000 sq ft home in Tampa for an (adorable) 1,200 sq ft beach condo in Pensacola. We're renting for two months while our forever home is being finished here. We moved early so the kids can start school. Luckily the place we're in is furnished, and our buyers in Tampa are wonderful and allowed us to "rent back" for two months to store our stuff. Oh, the logistics of moving. :)
While Bryan is handling the tactical parts of starting services, stopping services, working remotely for his Tampa company, and coordinating with the movers and our builder, I'm spearheading... the trickier side of things... the day to day of loving three little hearts through a cross-state move. Though we always knew we'd move home to Pensacola one day, the day we officially made the decision that it was time... I knew this would be the trickiest, most important part of things. Our kids were born in Tampa and, even though we travelled back and forth to Pensacola 6-8 times every year (yes, I've nursed in every Starbucks parking lot down I10, discovered every safe rest stop along the way, and memorized every oak tree up Hwy 19 -- seriously, my next book should be all about road trips, ha!), this change is still well, a big change. New friends. New home(s). New places. New faces. New everything.
If you've read A Simplified Life you know that rhythms and routines are the structure around which we shape our daily lives. Let me start this conversation with this caveat though: FLEXIBILITY is key. Flexible routines that can be scrapped, changed, or flipped on their heads at any given moment are important. Sometimes we scrap routines just to teach our kids to "roll with it" and "go with the flow" when life happens.
I started making notes about the little routines, cadences, traditions, and special "objects" that comfort my kids, make them feel safe, and give them that sense that "everything is as it should be" (even if "everything" looks different). Now that we've been here in Pensacola for a handful of days, I'm noticing what's working and what doesn't really matter too much. Personally, I'm noticing some of the "objects" that I'm really glad we brought. These are "things" that make me feel... like I'm at home. Just as its important to nurture their little hearts, it's important to nurture Bryan's and my own... as we are in a big time of transition as well.
Off the cuff, here are a few things I'm really glad we did before we left:
- We made time to hug a lot of friends. I'm really glad we did this. Like, I moved meetings and re-scheduled play dates, and cleared my plate where possible so that I could drive 20 minutes away to show up at a friends door just for a hug. Those were special.
- We tied up loose ends around town. We left reviews for favorite service providers and shops (see my list here). We made sure to visit our favorite spots one last time.
- We packed only the bare necessities. Obviously we're in a smaller place. But there's something quite awesome about the fact that it takes me 15 minutes to clean this condo from top to bottom. My old house took hours, easily.
- We packed things like my blue and white jewelry tray that sits on my bathroom sink (a gift from Shay Cochrane), our favorite coffee mugs, the melamine plates we use every day, the cutting board I use multiple times a day, and our favorite dry erase calendars / lists (of course) to hang on the fridge. I asked Brady what "things" made our house feel like a home and he said "pineapples." That made me cry and laugh at the same time. Here are some of our favorites 1 | 2 | 3.
- We are committed to our Friday pizza nights. It may be a new brand of pizza, or it may be pizza cooked in the oven at home (we're excited to try this brand this upcoming weekend), but Friday pizza nights live on!
- Bedtime routines stay the same. Bath, brush teeth, stories (or funny tales told by Daddy), prayers, and bed. All three kids are in the same room right now. We're still figuring that out...
- I've also kept everything for the move in my Simplified Planner (yes, shameless plug because it just REALLY works for us). I have the kids school forms, information on ballet classes, paint swatches, gate and key codes galore, and so much more. Keeping our ever changing schedule (and -- now that my team is split down the middle Central / Eastern time zone -- it's a whole other layer of complication to simplify). Giving all the info a home really helps keep my brain on track.
- I also know that more than any "thing" or any routine, my kids feel most at home when they are with Bryan and I. People, more than stuff or traditions, are what they need the most. The book Simplicity Parenting is my favorite parenting book I've ever read. In it, the author talks about getting kids through "tricky" times -- and about "soul fires" that accompany those times. I've already seen a few with my kiddos, but knowing to expect them helps fuel me with extra grace and patience. Basically a soul fire is when things just become too much and they need some down time (love, blankets, movies, cheetos -- whatever your kids love languages are, haha) to soothe and smooth things out.
I've been realizing a couple of things the past few days. Though I've tried to manage the heck out of this transition, my kids really are so much more resilient than I anticipated. Also, the Gulf of Mexico is right outside our door right now so they're like, "whatever, we're good, mom!!" I'm looking forward to school starting soon so they can dive into that "new-ness" and we can get into the swing of things for the year. So many fun things on the horizon!