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Saturday, April 21, 2012

We've Moved!

Come read about the Otto's and our adventures in Colorado at www.thecolorottos.blogspot.com!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stay Tuned Y'all

The blog is about to be revived!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Still Trucking

We're still here, still trucking...I swear!

The kids are enormous. A few days ago I scooped Van up in my arms and thought, "Oh! Where did my little baby go?" but the thought was brief because that little baby has been replaced with the most darling little boy.

Sofie is steadily making her way out of the terrible threes and she is full of spunk. She is growing more and more independent each day and I am getting better and better at stepping back and letting her be. (So perhaps it's Mommy who has gotten used to the terrible threes instead!)

Ben is the most incredible Dad. I often find myself watching him with the kids, grinning, and realizing for the first time ever how much I missed out on not having a Dad in my life. The kids absolutely adore him and rightfully so. He is so patient, so fun, so willing to act like a dinosaur or play Candy Land for the 50th time.

We are blessed!

And now, a selection from the Otto Family Jamboree for your enjoyment :)

video

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January in NC




You know you're jealous :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Circle Game

Feeling much better, really, these last few days. Not to say I won't be down again in the few to come. That's how things have been...up and down...and I am learning how to ride the merry-go-round. Our life is in North Carolina, and here it will remain.







(Making cookies for Santa, Christmas Eve)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

How it Goes

I've been having a hard time with the blogging. For awhile it had mostly to do with lack of sleep and no more than a few minutes at a time to sit down and compile something mildly meaningful. Then, more recently, there was a severe lack of a computer with an Internet connection. Lately, though, my evenings have stretched out in front of me and I find myself opening a post, staring at it blankly for a few minutes, and then moving on to Hulu where I watch episode after episode of House Hunters :) It's certainly not for lack of material and in fact, it would seem logical for me to really try hard to stay on top of the blog now that we're so far away from all our friends and family. There is a lot of change happening in my life right now and lately I've been feeling sort of uncertain of myself. Or perhaps, certain of how I'm feeling and what is happening and certain that it is not how I thought I should or would feel. It's harder to write about those feelings than it is to do a cute kid post and I think it is what is holding me back.

I've learned some big lessons in the past few months, lessons that would not have sunk in without actually experiencing the move that we made. They are freeing, but frightening, and in some ways I feel unsure of which direction to head from here. We came to NC so that I could accept my dream job. I had been growing more and more stir crazy at home and was itching to return to a professional environment. Perks of that decision included a very nice home twice the size of our apartment and the freedom for Ben to pursue his dream of going to graduate school. It was an easy decision to make and we barely looked back. In the beginning it was quite exciting and fulfilling. There were new things to discover and people to meet. There were so many many things for me to learn which is just the type of challenge that has always made me terribly happy. Now that we are settling into the routine a bit more and the excitement has begun to wear off, the enormity of what we have chosen to do is beginning to sink in for me, and there is some regret and loneliness surfacing. Looking back I think I was always sort of aware that at some point this would happen, but it doesn't make being at that point any less hard. I am genuinely sad.

Mostly I am missing friends and family with a vengeance. My life is feeling empty and meaningless without people to share it with. I am very happy to have my little family assembled again, but I am learning how important the extended relationships were (are!) in my life. Along those lines, I am finding myself wishing quite often that we were back in our dumpy apartment. In our dumpy apartment where we could walk down the hall or across the lawn and knock on the door of a friend. Stained carpet and out of date appliances become quirky and fun when you have someone to laugh about them with. I have learned that a fancy house in a nice neighborhood is worthless to me. I have always believed that I would choose a smaller living space in a walkable city than a spacious place in the suburbs and this experience has completely cemented that notion. I want to know my neighbors, frequent the local businesses, and hang out on the square. I have never been more certain that things can't possibly make me happy the way that people do.

I'm also learning just how matronly my core interests are. I work in an environment of young, childless professionals and while I still feel like I landed the greatest job in the world I'm finding it difficult to relate. I love to listen to them chatter about the ways they choose to fill their days and spend their money and once in awhile I wish for the freedom that a childless life affords, but mostly I am feeling old-fashioned. On the weekends I find myself cooking up a storm, dreaming up craft projects that I have yet to find the time to pursue, and wondering where the best family friendly activities are brewing. I am sort of lame and that's ok.

I haven't found my niche here yet. Yet. But I will. Until then, I am dreaming of my old life and wishing for a few more days back there, amongst friends.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Tall Tale

video

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Van Van Says

Meeeeeeeee! - Usually in a high pitched squeal when he wants something you've got or with his arms upstretched when he wants you to pick him up.

Num num - When he's ready to eat.

Oh oh - Uh oh

Bah - Ball

Dah Duh - All done (Over and over again at dinnertime...we have a hard time believing this statement since he's usually still stuffing something into his mouth when he says it. Usually we wait to get him out of his seat until he's pushing himself up out of his high chair looking at us like, "What's wrong with you people? I've been telling you I'm Dah Duh for half an hour now!!!")

See - As he points to various things. This was probably his actual first word although we weren't convinced of it until much later.

Um - As he stares into space...Ben says he's a contemplative boy :)

He also does mama, dada, and nana. I can't wait to hear what he comes up with for Sofie!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nuclear

I'm proud to report that we are a nuclear family once again! After two months traveling back and forth to Ohio for work, Ben is finally a full-time resident of North Carolina. He arrived in the wee hours of Halloween morning and we had a blast carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating and passing out candy in this lively neighborhood. The kids are settling nicely into a new routine. We put Nana on a plane home on Nov. 3rd (I'm still pinching myself over the fact that she actually got on a plane after 35 years of adamantly refusing to fly) and Ben jumped into full-time Daddy-ing. I was anticipating chaos, but it turns out I sold him desperately short because he is WONDERFUL with the kids. It's been quite a relief for me.

The last few months have been jam-packed and eventful. The processes of applying, interviewing, and beginning this job were a complete whirlwind and one that I am so glad I got caught up in. I couldn't have asked for a better place to work or a job more suited for me. I feel really fortunate to have landed where we have. In August Van and Sofie both had birthdays, complete with parties and out-of-town guests layered on top of packing up our old place and traveling to find a new place. We arrived at our new house with Nana in tow on September 3rd and I jumped right into my job (before our furniture arrived!) on the 7th. Over the last two months we've seen Ben only every other weekend as he finished up his position in Ohio and I traveled quite a bit (St. Louis, Denver, Atlanta) through the course of my training. Nana was our anchor at home with the kids and we couldn't have possibly managed this transition without her. Through it all the kids have been resilient, if a bit confused. We are so relieved to be on the other side of the crazy, entering a steadier phase and rooting ourselves into this community.

I hope to find time to return to my semi-regular blogging. In the meantime, a few of my favorite photos from the last few months!











Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Because

Today I sat on a swing, my little Van straddled across my lap, and I kicked out my legs and we swung. He leaned his head way back and beamed up at me before snuggling into my body, arms hugging tight around my sides. And I felt so incredibly lucky.

Today we are in a new state, living sparsely since the moving van has not yet delivered our belongings. I walk into our beautiful empty house after a satisfying day at my dream job and I'm greeted by two jubilant little beings so excited to welcome me back. I am full of happiness.

We are well :)