There’s nothing like a house guest – especially one from another country who I haven’t seen in years – to make me see the world through a new set of eyes. Last Sunday I spent blog night driving to Boston to pick up Paul from Australia. Yeay! Although he might feel like he fell into some crazy domestic limbo, we’ve been enjoying him to pieces. It’s so great to have his company and to do so many things that I could do every day, but I don’t. Like hiking in the morning when Emerson is at school. Or driving up to the Bookmill and having a leisurely lunch. It’s nice to be taken away from everyday life for a while – even if it’s in my own domain.

And we’ve actually made some headway on the house too, amazingly. There’s nothing like a house guest – or a party, which we’re having soon too – to get home renovation in high(er) gear. Originally, we thought we would get both back rooms done before Paul’s arrival, which is humorous now. I’m not sure why we never take in to consideration the possibility of sick kids, crazy kids, and – oh yeah – our life. And the fact that we seriously underestimated the amount of time it would take us to do everything. Matt finally finished putting the joint compound on the walls of the bedroom closet and the ceiling, and he sanded it all down to a flawless finish! He ended up doing all the sanding by hand, and it took A LOT longer than we thought it would, and made a MUCH bigger mess. And then I thought I could clean it in a morning. Right. I’m still finding the dust in odd places. So as I drove to the airport, Matt painted the ceiling, and Paul spent his first night here on the couch. But the next day I finished cleaning up, and Paul and Matty moved the bed into the bedroom, and the futon into the guest room. So we’re actually sleeping in the bedroom! For now. We still have to move the bed out again so that Matty can put the second coat on the ceiling. Maybe by our party we will actually have color on the walls. We’ll see… Oh yeah, and there’s no bed in our living room anymore!

And the rest of the life is going smoothly for the moment. The weather this month has been more like sunny October than gray November, which always makes life better. And Emerson has come back around – for the most part. It’s always amazing to look at the worst behavior in hindsight, and realize what was truly going on. And from what I can gather, it was just a step forward, like it always is. Both her teachers have told me over the last few weeks that Emerson is really coming out more at school, and feeling more comfortable being herself. She’s not just following behind her best friend, but reaching out to other kids, and flirting with leading. For such a timid girl, it’s amazing what inner conflict reaching out can bring. Not to mention the conflict of simultaneously pushing away and reaching out at home. She wants independence, but not too much. She’s always growing, and by letting her, I’m always growing. It’s an amazing balance. Should I say amazing one more time?

So now I have a girl that seems older overnight. She’s finger-knitting and hanging out with her friends, and it seems like her ability to communicate has gone up a notch too.

And as for Paul, I’m still not too sure what he thinks of our crazy life. Much different from mine and Paul’s life while traveling in Thailand, but hopefully enjoyable all the same. We all had an awesome day at the Hartsbrook holiday fair. Emerson got to decorate cookies, make a jump rope, ride a pony, go on a hayride, get treats from the Pocket Lady and King Winter. We all ate lots of great food and watched a marionette show. And most important, we spent late part of the afternoon sitting around the fire, enjoying the end of a beautiful sunny day, talking to friends while Emerson ran around playing without abandon. We are so lucky to be a part of that school. But I don’t even have time to begin talking about that now. Having a guest is exciting, but tiring…. so that is it.

Or maybe not. Ophelia is laughing, growing teeth, pushing chairs around, and trying to put on her own socks. She makes us laugh so hard.

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