Indepence.

Our first holiday in our new city: Independence Day! How appropriate as we haven’t felt this independent in years! Prior to moving 50 miles south, we were, well….to be candid…sponging off of other cities. Yes, we had super low taxes, but no amenities to show. I never realized how much we did that until we moved. Whether it was park facilities, splash pads, pools, events, community ed programs, even schools (although we do pay for private tuition for both of our children), business’, clinics and hospitals… Looking back, we were always in the car headed somewhere~ And that somewhere, on average, was 30 minutes. Add snow. Well, you the picture. The thing is, you just condition yourself to “do it.” Until you’re out of the situation can you really reflect.

While we do continue to love our home in Otsego, life just seems so much simpler now. We realize how blessed we are to be able to still own it and purchase a 2nd house (especially, on one income all the while paying for private tuition for the boys). It is also reassuring to have a wonderful family renting there now, filling the walls with laughter and love.

By no means are we treating that house like a step-child. That was our first home. The home we brought our babies home to. The home I single-handily planted every bush, tree, flower, etc. That was the neighborhood I created and maintained a website for: friendlymeetingplace.com, organized a progressive luncheon as a neighborhood ice-breaker, had an open party invite for people in the neighborhood to attend a Halloween party at our house, hosted a cookie exchange in which fellow neighbors delivered cookies in order to reach out to new people in the neighborhood, as well as a neighborhood breakfast and ice cream social in the park as well as having helped out with National Night Out. That was the city that I proudly became active in by volunteering for the local festival, serving as a tri-chair for the bond and levy campaign, donating time and services with my photography business to organizations and causes and served as Chair for the park and rec. commission.

I can’t forget all of the wonderful people I met (shout out to: S.Kre.,K.H.G., L.C., J.G., S.T., K.M., A.W. ) that I’m so lucky to be able to call my friends! This was the place where our boys had their first playdate and trick or treated among friends. We will always have fond memories there– and who knows, perhaps in a few years we’ll keep it solely for our “cabin.” 🙂 The creek in our yard occasionally does get high- perhaps some tubing action in future years? ha,ha.

Our move was based on what was personally best for our family. With the move in mind, our top priority~ being that we now had the opportunity to move virtually anywhere in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, was the school district.

So now…
-we’ve changed our address on our license
-have new library cards!
-started to fill out official paperwork for when Nishad transitions into public school for first grade (Fall, 2012)
-feel a bit spoiled without having to drive any further than 10 minutes to EVERYTHING under the sun (bonus: major reduction in our green carbon print!)
-are amazed at the plethora of beautiful parks, events and activities that promote a healthy and sound “family” life-style all within our own backyard
-are a little gitty about never having to choose between a few places to eat (now we can’t decide ate which amazing– and organic– place to dine)
-can not get over having our own library and aquatic center
-love the peace of mind that a solid school district defined by excellence brings to my core
-enjoy the fact that grocery shopping is no longer an event (Whole Foods is 10 minutes away, Trader Jo’s 8 minutes away, Byerly’s is 5 minutes away!)
-are beyond thrilled to have a community ed program that is built off importing strong schools/organizations/instructors to teach classes (for example, Martha Burn’s Swim School [same tier as Foss Swim School] handles all swim instruction offered, through a community ed price)

We really didn’t know what to expect at our first “community event.” However, the night prior, while driving home on Vernon, we saw a bunch of lawn chairs that people placed to ‘mark’ off their spots of the Independence Day parade. Suddenly, my expectations for this little community parade rose a lot!

The following morning, we found a arrived at the parade route to ‘hunt’ for a spot. We did find one, but it was PACKED! Some of the Edina veterans and police officers explained to us how the kids get to collect candy, but to make sure we ‘supervise’ them as their are cars, etc. in the parade. Got it. With so many parades banning candy and free stuff, I thought it was neat that they still allow it.

Growing up in a city in the suburbs of Chicago, we LOVED a parade ~ and they were often quite political. I really missed not having this experience in the city I lived in…I was so excited that our children now got to experience it. They loved it!

I also LOVED that Nishad stood up for every American flag that passed us in the parade. This happened after a veteran singled him out by waving and yelling to him to come by him (he is pictured below, in the back looking at the camera). He gave Nishad the flag he was waving. How beautiful and inspiring that someone that has given so much already, continues to give more… This was a moment when I wish I had my good camera (I shoot 95% of my pics these days with my iphone— I know, I know…slackin!). After, I explained who the man was to Nishad— even at 5, I believe he “got it” and understood what it meant. The parade and all the groups were great…

But please never forget…This is the ‘land of the free’ because of the brave.

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