Living in Between

Sorry for the lapse in writing, and thanks to those who kindly reached out wondering what’s going on. You’ll be hearing more about all of it in the near future, but suffice to say we’ve had quite a lot of hubbub around here, and I’ll get back to regular posting as soon as we can get it all sorted.

Renaming and relocating the blog was a very conscious decision. Our old blog, The Purple House, was named for the house I’ve lived in happily for the past 12 years—the same house we’ve been trying to sell for the past year-and-a-half. I am ready to move on.



Trying to sell is frustrating. I work for local government along with 4000+ other employees, and complete strangers will ask me if my house has sold yet—they’ve been seeing my listing on the employees’ for-sale mailing list for over a year. Friends and family are always reminding me and Damon that the market is turning around. My response is generally some variation of, “I’ll believe it when our house sells.”

Damon is doing a crazy commute now, and telecommuting is not an option for him. With his erratic schedule, we really want to live closer so we can see more of each other. Beyond that and the obvious space issue of another kiddo on the way, I’m just plain weary of living in-between.

I’m tired of conversations peppered with the phrase “after our house sells,” dreams deferred until “once we find a new place,” ideas shot down because “we’re trying to sell.” We’ve looked into rental and rent-to-own options, both of which would tie us up financially and credit-wise and carry obvious and inherent risks of their own. Not appealing.

I’m ready to move on. I’m ready to unpack somewhere else. I want to be one step closer to settling down permanently with our family, to getting Oscar those chickens I’ve been promising him since before he was born, to plant a new herb garden and vegetable plots and perennials, to put down our roots. Once step closer to coming home.

In between here and there, we’ll need to rent, to get to know the prospective area, take our time, but getting out of this house will still bring us one big step closer, nonetheless.  That, and I have no desire to be moving when I’m eight months pregnant. None whatsoever.

So we’re moving this summer, biting the bullet and just paying double mortgage/rent until the house sells. Damon has been a real trooper with his commute, but it’s been exhausting for both of us. I want us to be closer. If it means Oscar and I (and baby-to-be) see Damon for even just one more hour each day, well, that’s worth it to me.

I’m hoping and praying that we’ll get some clarity in the next week or two, but in the meantime, if you pray or meditate or wish or think really hard or direct your energy or whatever, please send us some good house-selling energy. We’ll be relisting it (hopefully) next week. Wish us luck!

Thanks, y’all.

Saying Grace

Damon and I are chatting and catching up in the kitchen as Damon puts the final touches on dinner—he’s been awesome about picking up more of the cooking duties since my “morning” sickness and fatigue kicked in. Oscar is literally dangling from the hem of my skirt, laughing as he swings and twirls from side to side, hanging on to the fabric. I’m wrinkling my nose up at the eggplant Damon just brought in from the grill—I normally love it, but my pregnant belly isn’t so keen. I’ll try some anyway because it was made with love. I sit on the floor to tickle Oscar before dinner hits the table, and he shines. He just shines.

We have so much for which to be grateful. Of that, there is no doubt.

The fall before my husband and I met, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Shortly thereafter, I had what’s called a cold knife conization to remove the cancerous tissue.

As I woke up in recovery (thankfully lucid enough to push away the proffered saltines, pointing to my allergy bracelet), my fabulous doctor came in to see me. With characteristic frankness, she told me that the lab tests on the excised tissue would give us confirmation in another week or so, but that the surgery itself went great and I would be able to have children in the future, no problem.

I burst into tears of relief.

Which is weird because I didn’t want children. Or I thought I didn’t. Or I had accepted the fact that I never would.

But my body’s reaction, those tears, told a different story. They changed my life. The weeks that followed brought tumultuous change—some good, some less-than-pleasant, all necessary. I knew my life needed to change. I didn’t know if I would ever have children, but I knew that I didn’t want to be living a life in which I knew having a family would not be an option.

Subsequent lab results and follow-up tests showed that I continued to be cancer free, and I found that I didn’t want to “date” anymore or try to shoe-horn myself into someone else’s life. Antoine de St. Exupery once said, “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction.” That’s what I wanted. I signed up for an online dating service on a whim, and I met Damon. Less than a year later, we were engaged.

That next winter, a follow-up test showed positive for cervical cancer again. I’m so glad Damon was there with me. We once again did the biopsy and confirmed the diagnosis. And once again, I had surgery to remove the affected tissue.

And once again, it was successful. I’ve been cancer-free ever since, about two years now. Our oncologist told us when the second diagnosis came that if we wanted to have children, we might want to “prioritize it,” not put it off. There’s a chance the cancer could return, and a third bout might require different handling, to put it gently.

Damon and I agreed on two things. First, we both very much wanted a family. Second, we did not want to have fear rule our decisions, and neither did we want to postpone something we both wanted so much. We talked, a lot. We planned for our wedding. We celebrated our good fortune and good health with breathless gratitude.

eating ice cream

Damon and Oscar, sharing some ice cream.

Within a month of returning from our honeymoon, we discovered we were pregnant with Oscar. I often marvel that if I had never been diagnosed with cervical cancer, I might never have met Damon, for whom there are not enough superlatives in the world (superlatives, Damon, not expletives 🙂 ). If I hadn’t been diagnosed a second time, Oscar might not be here today. And suffice to say, we would probably not be expecting baby number two.

I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I am so glad that I had cancer. I’m not ever one to dally with regret, but to think of so much goodness coming from something so frightening, my head just reels.

Now dinner is ready. Oscar wears his enthusiasm for food all over his face (literally). I try the eggplant, compliment the flavor, then predictably focus on the salad instead (sorry, Damon!). Damon laughs, his face split into a huge shining grin, and tells me about the beer he’s drinking. I realize he shines just like Oscar, and vice versa. All that glow, illuminating our meal.


Baby Steps: Drunken Sailor

Oscar walking

Oscar, my little drunken sailor 🙂

Oscar is getting stronger everyday with his newfound passion: extreme toddling. He still uses the cart some, but mainly for the hilarious thrill of running it into the backs of mommy and daddy’s legs or making the dogs run for cover. More often, he’s walking.

Here’s what walking looks like right now. He strides somewhat bowlegged, swaying side to side like he’s got sea legs or has had one sippy cup too many. His arms are upraised for balance, but it looks like more of a celebratory ‘huzzah” type gesture. Indeed, his enthusiasm and joy at his progress is infectious. He catches himself mid-stumble, sways on his tiptoes, then returns to his peerless toddling form and continues, halting and swaying, ever onward.

He looks like a very small, very cute drunken sailor.

He also looks disconcertingly like Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here—around 2:15, that’s what Oscar’s walking looks like), especially when his arms are upraised. It kills me. Damon doesn’t get the joke, but he doesn’t share my passion for musicals. Meh.

I keep trying to get a good picture, but all I ever manage to capture is a blur of movement. My only excuse is that he’s a very fast-moving drunken sailor / Tevye.

How the Tables Have Turned

It seems only two weeks ago I was writing about the great energy boost I get each spring. Actually, it was only two weeks ago that I wrote that. Huh.

Shortly after penning that piece, there was a seismic shift. Around six weeks, similar to last time, my energy dipped. Hormones: gotta love ‘em. Now my mind is still racing and I’m still super inspired, but my body… just… can’t… quite… muster up the energy to do much more than sit on the couch and cheer Oscar on as he races to and fro.

You catch that? Yes, that’s right. We’re pregnant.

This is going to be epic. 🙂

As a funny little aside, this is our 100th post. Nice little bit of happenstance. Huzzah!

Baby on a ring

Damon and I call this “baby on a ring”

New Look for HomeBecoming!

Our good pal Anna Strahs Watts came by yesterday and took some pics with the family – and thanks to her the blog has a brand spanking super spiffy new banner image! After fiddling with cropping and adding the title text, etc., of course I had to switch up all the colors. Isn’t it beautiful?

If you live in the Richmond, VA, area, Anna is just getting started as a photographer. She has a wonderfully easy manner with people, is good at figuring out what you’re looking for, what makes you tick, and she’s great with kids. Oscar adores her. So if you’re interested in getting in touch with her for some work, just let me know in the comments.

Here are a couple more of the pics she’s taken with us recently…

Oscar and his blue balloon

Me and Oscar and his blue balloon. Photo by Anna Strahs Watts

Oscar with his balloon

Oscar admiring his blue balloon. Photo by Anna Strahs Watts


Oscar clapping

Oscar demonstrating his clapping proficiency. Photo by Anna Strahs Watts

Oscar walking

Oscar walking with Daddy. Photo by Anna Strahs Watts

Oscar and Damon

Damon and Oscar – LOVE this picture. Photo by Anna Strahs Watts

Happy family

One happy family. Photo by Anna Strahs Watts