Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'm from Nova...

I'm from Loudoun.  Born and raised.  And so were my parents, my grandparents, and generations before.  My grandma was born and married on the land where my mom and I both graduated high school where Broad Run stands today... But if you ask my Mama, she says to say our family had the Solomon Farm (since they are family and all) where Redskins Park is because that was so clean, and well, our family farm wasn't always that way.:) I ride through Sterling Park and still see the beauty of it.  I smile as I walk down Juniper at Christmas remembering our house on Oak Tree, and I grin when I ride by this little old rambler that is now a scuba shop... Because that was the house my grandfather hand built and raised my mom in- and don't ya know, that was the cream of the crop back then and on the home tour because it had a fireplace, wood floors, and was one of the first homes with olive green appliances- Fancy, schmancy. 

My parents chose to leave Sterling and raise us in a little town called Arcola.  We had to stop for the cows to cross the road (where Brambleton Towncenter is now) and the local celebrity was Les Pangle.  We had a pet cow named Big Red that made me turn vegetarian one year when he became our meals.  And another time, I gave birth to a cow.  Well, not really, but the poor baby calf got stuck and a bunch of neighbors tied a rope to its hoof and we all had to line up and pull.  Errbody knew errrbody in Arcola.  In 3rd grade, Ashburn Farms and the Village started building, and those "subdivision kids" started coming to our schools.... "Don't Fairfax Loudoun" stickers started popping up on cars, and a little over a decade later, I was off to Virginia Tech and when people asked where I was from, I'd respond just like the rest of the school, "I'm from NOVA."  Yep, my little piece of country was now like the rest of the area... rows of houses and Ashburn had turned Ca$hburn.

Growing up, I never thought I'd live here.  But then you get married, move away, and realize, that that place you wanted to leave to conquer the world was actually your world.  It was in your blood and where you wanted to raise your own children- just like you had been- with those crazy people you call family that you couldn't bear to be away from. 

Good 'ole Loudoun County- land full of beauty and history.  And houses and taxes so expensive you want to croak. We, like many, have those fleeting thoughts of "let's pick up and leave and move to a small town or North Carolina or somewhere we aren't house poor."  When we most recently sold our home, our grand plan was to move to Winchester- to cut our property taxes in half, buy a small house, and feel like we're ahead of the game instead of working to live. Well, that didn't happen because as much as we bitch, moan, and groan, we realize that right here is where we want to be.  While we dream of "getting away from it all- the crazy youth sports, the nights where we sit around and say to ourselves "what the hell are we doing wrong?" and "what are all of these people doing around here that we aren't" because we can't keep up, and all of this "keeping up with the joneses" mentality to live life more simpler, this place is made up of all the things we love.  Friends, family, great schools, and beautiful surroundings.

So yep, we're moving to Western Loudoun and hoping it's at least a little slower.  I mean, there is no Target there afterall.  And when I was growing up, those people were a different breed- I mean the one time when I was seventeen I went out with my "Valley" friends, I ended up in a tattoo parlor in Berryville.:)  But if it's not any different there, we're okay with that.

Ya see, after selling our home, moving to an apartment where we are so squeezed in with all of our belongings instead of coughing up money for a storage unit that we feel like we can't breath- it's that very short of breathness that has breathed new life in us. 

Living here, and taking a step back from it all has made us realize more than ever how wonderful Loudoun is.  Sure, it's filled with high falootin' rich folk that we'll never be... but it's also filled with amazing people.  People that don't care where you live or what you have.  People that have proved to us that they will still call, be there for you, and that the friendships you've made are real and not superficial.  Friends may no longer be at our fire pit, but instead they are showing up at our son's baseball game to spend time with us.  Friends invite us to trick or treat, invite us over for a Saturday night because they know we are stir crazy, and call just when ya need it.  And ya never know- some of those "high falootin'" peeps are actually the most down to earth, best people you've ever met when you stop being so judgmental and take the time to meet them.:)

I've realized that so much of the "we'll never be able to keep up" is just in our heads- because at the end of the day, who the hell cares.  The people in our lives love us for us, not what we have and they could care less about any of that.  Surround yourself with those you love and the next time you have to say where you are from, smile, and despite the traffic and headaches, and everything that goes along with it, say that you are from "Nova".  I know I will. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

We are that family

I've read them all and I get it.  In fact, I agree.  Ya know, the recent blogs about how we are robbing our children of a childhood in the high stress, overscheduled environment where travel sports and activities are on steroids.  Authors are quick to write how parents are putting stress on children, making them specialize in one sport with the hopes of raising the next Olympic star.  I read how youth sports are hijacking our lives and how too much competition too soon is bad for your kids and your family.

When I read these things, I take them to heart, because we are that family.  We are that family that is overscheduled, run from one practice to another, eat more dinners from a snack bar on a bleacher than we do at our own dinner table, break our bank with hotels for tournaments, and sport obnoxious magnets on the back of our car about our activities.  We are that family, and we are happy.

Yes, as a mom, I bitch and complain sometimes when I want to have a night off with nothing- but when we do, we miss it.  And so do my kids.  This weekend, I had one of those moments where it all came to a head.  Games were cancelled and it happened to be the weekend where my in-laws were visiting.  Our son was scheduled for a 5:30pm game and the field was perfectly fine midday.  We scrambled to get teams together, find umpires and ended up playing- and while all this commotion was going on, I thought to myself- this is CRAZY.  Let's just go enjoy this beautiful day. 

The hubby and I both grew up playing sports.  My weekends were filled with traveling all over the tri-state area for soccer and my hubby was an All-American swimmer and stud baseball player.  I traded sports in to party my college away and my husband played D-1 ball.  And ya know what, we both wouldn't change it for the world.  While society might say sports got us nowhere, we beg to differ.  We are who we are because of them.  And when our parents make suggestions to us about how we are doing a little too much with our children, need to make more time for the holy spirit in our lives and what is really important, I want to just look at them and say thank you.  Thank you for the suggestions, we appreciate them... and thank you for raising us the way you did and instilling the hard work ethic, the love for a game, and more importantly for giving us a childhood that was so wonderful that we are trying to replicate it with our own children.  You should be proud of that. During the day yesterday, I was about to lose it on my hubby because he was so hell bent on playing a ball game, but when  I saw him with his baseball team that only had seven players on the field in the freezing cold last night playing a game that probably should have just been cancelled, I understood. I understood completely.  He simply wanted to show his parents a glimpse into our life- the one that we enjoy and love- the one that we don't feel is robbing our family of anything, but that brings us together as a family.

So yes, I'll continue to read those blogs, and I'll continue to agree.  I'll get that some of our friends don't "get" why we run from activity to activity instead of just sending our kids outside to have just as much fun playing on their own.  I'll still have those thoughts of why the hell am I picking up babysitting jobs to be able to pay for private pitching lessons for our son when my hubby was a pitcher.  I'll agree that being at the pool at 5:30am on summer mornings is ridiculous, but I'll smile when I see the pride my son gets from it. I'll be reminded every day when I walk into my gym and see a star Virginia Tech football player is now a trainer just like any old normal person and didn't make it to the pros.  And when I brag on Facebook that my daughter did great at a gymnastics meet, I'll know that if she was going to be an Olympian, she'd be at training facility out west by now, and when I broadcast that my son hit a homer, trust me, I know he's playing the lowest level of travel ball possible and there's so much more talent out there.  We know that our kids aren't the next Jennie Finch or Bryce Harper, but that they are our children that we are so proud of and love. Trust me, we get it all. 

I just hope people get people like "us."  Our children still play xbox, frolic in the fields with their cousins, put schoolwork and academics first, and pray at night. We live, laugh, and love hard.  We are just chasing our dreams of happiness... and at night we kiss each other goodnight- it just might be followed by a high five and a love pat on the ass. :)