Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I need heat.

It's like a drug. I'm in withdrawal. I need heat.

Clearly, this girl has not yet hardened off from her years spent in southern California...and this 6 degrees is killing her. Right now in San Diego, it's the best time of year...sunny, 60/70's...easy.

Here, it's 6 degrees.

I don't think I really need  to say anything more. But I will. Come on, it's me.

The circus involved in getting the kids out the door lasts twice as long as usual. The walk to/from school takes twice as long (it took two times longer than it should have before the winter hit) and is riddled with things like...

"Mommy, my sock fell off in my boot. It feels weeeirddd."
"I'm cooooooold!"
"Carry me."
Jumping into snow banks to make snow angels when we're 5 minutes late.
"My mitten's slipping!" Tears and snot streaming down her face.
Sitting down and refusing to get up.
"Hey Mom! Snowball!" Smack.
Plummeting to the sidewalk when an errant boot catches a crack.

Of course, situations like this happened in the height of summer as well...come to think of it...autumn too. Just add your season-specific complaint and you'll see the catastrophe that is our family walking to and from our house. Add the dog to the mix and you get a real show. I try to remain calm and Mary Poppins-like throughout the experience, soaking up all the quirks that I'll miss some day. Often, I achieve that affect but usually all I'm really thinking about is how early is too early to pour myself a glass of red.

But now I'm home, a hot pack on my feet, a snoring hot-box of a dog next to me and a cup of tea in my hand. Warmth has been achieved. Until I have to get up again, anyway.

I'll get that glass of red later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Questions & Answers

There are years that ask questions and years that answer. 
~Zora Neale Hurston

I wonder if 2013 will ask...or answer. As a year, 2012 answered a lot of questions. A lot. It also asked its fair share. It was a full year.When I think back over everything that happened during the previous 12 months, my head spins a little. Job hunt, house buying and selling, packing, relocation, learning a new place, new pets, losing pets, kindergarten, preschool, new sports, losing family, gaining family.

Before putting away our 2012 calender yesterday, I looked back over the first several months of the year...every square was packed. The middle part of the year? Fallow, a resting and adjusting time. Some fear. Learning how to be together in a new place, without the joyful distraction of friends and neighbors and appointments. Settling in. The ending of the year? Almost every square was packed again. New friends, new appointments.

And so, how will 2013 be? I guess however it is doesn't really matter. It's what you do with what is. And so, what are you going to do with it? Live it? Live the questions? Or simply survive it, searching for answers outside ourselves as we crash through life? Hmmm. Of course, the answer we all yearn for is the former...to live it. But what does that mean and can you really pull it off in this day and age when information, technology, time restraints and wanting to do it all can create a whirl of insanity and exhaustion inside you? This is one of the reasons we both refuse to get a smart phone.

A couple years ago, Sascha and I were talking...or playing a game...or reading something...I can't remember...but the question of How do you define success? arose. Some of the answers presented didn't click for either of us and so I asked Sascha, "Well, how do you define success?" expecting something analytical and left-brained...

He replied, "When everyone in our family is thriving."

Well, then.

I don't think there is a better way to answer that question. He surprises me, that one.

And so...Resolutions be damned. Intentions be damned. Aspirations be damned. However you phrase your "new year new life" commitments, none of that works for me. It never has, though I've tried. Instead, we're going to go with thriving. It's not a goal, it's not an end result. It's a process, a way of being...at least in my mind. It's living your questions, finding the ones that truly need asking and are worth answering. As Rilke wrote, "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now..."

So, thriving. Not "happiness". Not accomplishment. Not end results. Simply finding that path through yourself to the knowledge of the things that delight you, the darkness that frightens you, the places that sustain you...and how to live that. How to maintain your balance of delight and fear, rest and growth. Knowing that without the one, there cannot be the other. And knowing that you already hold within you all you need to thrive.

The Family Freiwald New Year Newsletter

Happy 2013 Friends & Family!

For the sake of brevity, I just listed out all of the major changes that have happened for our family in the last two years and added a couple fun kid things. If you're truly interested in all of the fantastic details of our magnificent lives (wink, wink), you can read the rest of our blog.

We Had Goodbyes and We Had Hello's
  • Our sweet Bella cat passed away November 2011.
  • Sascha was laid off from Pfizer December 2011.
  • Sascha was hired and started work at NSF International in Ann Arbor, MI February 2012.
  • Wendy's Grandma passed away March 2012.
  • We said goodbye to San Diego and hello to Ann Arbor April 2012.
  • We added some hamsters to the family June 2012
  • Our niece, Mattie Jayde, was born August 2012
  • Ari started Kindergarten and Ally started Preschool September 2012
  • Ari started team soccer and Ally started gymnastics in the fall
  • We brought Axle, our new dog, home November 2012
  • Our sweet Mo cat passed away December 2012

Our Super Heroes
Sascha and I remain strong contenders for Parent of the Year as our SoCal-raised children continued to burst naked from our house this summer and dash around the yard. Endless entertainment for our  new neighbors, I'm sure.

Ally has developed an affinity for a nice relaxing bath, relieving herself in the great outdoors and her vocabulary and opinions, at age 3, challenge even mine.

Ari, now 6, continues to hone his social skills...exemplified by being nearly taken to the floor of his kindergarten room each morning with hugs and declarations of “Ari F!”. There are two Ari’s in his class and he has full-heartedly embraced the alter ego of “Ari F”.

The adults in the family are really just riding the post-relocation wave for now. We will, perhaps, start saving the world again next year.

A happy and blessed New Year to you all!  

Wendy, Sascha,
Ari and Ally

Story Time
Sweet Moser