A Birthday Engagement

J arose early on his birthday morning this past Saturday. I felt him gently peck my cheek with a good morning kiss before he crept downstairs, trying not to disturb me. I peeked out the window and saw him strolling down to the big pond out back. “Perfect!” I thought. “I’ll pretend to be asleep and sneakily put his presents out on the deck while he’s not looking!” I worked quickly, checking every so often to make sure he was staying put. All was coming together for a fun Birthday Morning Surprise — I even had time to brew a pot of coffee! I poured two cups into our Very Special Mugs from a Very Special Trip we took three years ago and crept down to where he stood by the pond. J seemed peaceful and contemplative as he quietly watched the carp feed on the duckweed growing along the pond’s bank. When he felt my presence just behind him, he turned and smiled the smile of a man on top of the world as he thanked me for the coffee. I wished him a happy birthday, and I joined him in taking in the magic of this place we are lucky enough to call home.

“So, what do you want to do today, for your birthday?” I asked.

“There’s only one thing I want, and it’s you,” he answered, as he got down on one knee. “Will you marry me, Lindsay Ellen?”

Of course I said yes. What an amazing way to celebrate another spin around the sun with the man of my dreams. I’m so lucky I get to love him, forever.

This View Does not Suck

Nearly every morning of the past 70 days spent in our new place, I’ve opened my eyes and marveled at this gift of a view from our master bedroom window: the stark silhouette of our big Oak’s branches against a morning sky that is sometimes gray, often gleaming blue, and today – my favorite! – the fiery gold of a choir of trees serenading us with a reflected sunrise peeking up over the opposite horizon.

Every morning, I awaken to magic out my window and rise with gratitude in my heart. I am thankful for this view (which does not suck). I am grateful for this house, which has so very quickly become home. And I am blessed by this life, which is overflowing with love and beauty.

Twisters

These two. THESE TWO!!!

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A bit of history: J and I waited until we had been dating for nine months before I met his children, and before  introducing our kiddos to each other. Although it was a long time to wait, we thought it very important – considering all four were handling the separation of their respective parents’ in various ways and stages, in their own time – that an introduction be carefully thought out and made after the children seemed at a good place in their healing processes. February 1, 2015 was the target date. By then, all of our kids were aware and quite comfortable with the fact that J and I were dating. And all of us – grown ups included! – were chomping at the bit in anticipation!

Like much of the Magic that seemed to be gracing this New Life of ours, The Fabulous Four got along beautifully from the very beginning, acting as though they’d known each other (at least) a lifetime. But the two littlest girls, who were separated in age by less than 15 months, were incredibly fast friends. The Youngest and The Curly Girl have been pretty inseparable since their first snuggle on the couch (to be precise, during their second meeting, which was a screening of Labyrinth for “treat night”).  Continue reading

New Year, New Home.

The Unicorns began 2017 celebrating freedom from oppression by an Evil Troll; however, that’s another topic for another time. Or perhaps a tale to be revealed bit-by-bit as this New Chapter unfolds. It’s far from pleasant, but it’s part of Our Story. To leave it out would be to omit a time in our lives in which we were not only tested and challenged, but also made stronger by love, persistence, resilience… and maybe a little Magic.

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At any rate, we are finally settling in and feeling safe and secure in our new place. Our Home is a sweet townhouse that sits in the middle of a row of homes in what appears to be a really wonderful, welcoming community. On our second day, we were brought cookies and cupcakes by some sweet neighbors across the lane, and on our first weekend, our kind next-door neighbor shoveled our drive and walkway after our first snow of the season. It is so wonderful to know we’re surrounded by kindness. The security that comes along with knowing our neighbors are already looking out for us is so invaluable.

We’ve doubled our bedrooms – from two to four! – which means The Oldest has her own room now, as does The Boy. The Youngest and The Curly Girl continue to share a room, which is fine by them; they’ve proclaimed their special bond to be that of “twisters” (a twins/sisters mashup they invented). At only 15 months apart (6 and 7 years old, respectively) this all works out quite splendidly. J and I no longer sleep in a converted loft, although we’ll both be the first to admit that the fireplace and skylights weren’t exactly AWFUL features of our former bedroom… falling asleep to a cracking fire and moonlight shining above, and being slowly awakened by the gently rising sun are just a couple things we will definitely miss about the old place. Of course, the atrocities of the Evil Troll provided enough reason to walk away from even the most luxurious of features.

That’s not to say that we don’t feel incredibly spoiled by our new space. Out back is a sprawling deck and sweet little yard leading to an expanse of open space that features a pond and is maintained by the township. Our little explorers are going to have so many adventures back there! J has already begun collecting flotsam and jetsam to begin work on our very own Fairy Garden Village. I can’t wait to see our Crew’s creativity shine in that space. Out front is a playground – also maintained by the township – which sits in the center of our community’s circle of homes. Our dreary winter has only provided a few appropriate days for they kiddos to explore their new surroundings, but I know as soon as that first warm days hits they’ll be all over it. It’s so comforting to know there’s finally a safe space for our kids to just BE KIDS, not having to worry about “quiet feet” and the like (related: the Evil Troll lurked beneath our second floor condo in the previous chapter of Our Story).

J now has a dedicated space for his studio, so we can all look forward to more artistic greatness in this chapter, as well as a far better work environment for him. Working from one’s bedroom while living above an Evil Troll was far from ideal for poor J. We’ve got a glorious kitchen, more space for Legolandia (version 3.0), and a jetted tub for extra luxuriating (for me and for J) and fun (for our Crew). We’ve gone from one to THREE bathrooms. I can’t even tell you how life-changing that has been. Six people (The Oldest having just over a year left till she’s officially a teenager!) sharing one bathroom was a bit much, even for the most flexible of families.

I guess I can safely say that 2017 has been the Best New Year Yet. I’m so proud of J and I. And of our Crew; they’ve experienced so much change in the past few years and have transitioned into this Next Chapter so smoothly and happily, like the awesome little champs they always are.

Thus begins Chapter Three. I’m so excited to share (and live!) Our Story.