I am so very happy to be back in our house. Have I mentioned that? Because I am. Giddy happy to be home. I was going slowly insane in that hotel room during the month of August. I am too embarrassed to even mention how looney-tunes I was towards the end. I kept telling Mark, “I just need to get back in our house.” And he kept telling me, “You just need to relax”. And I kept telling him, “No, REALLY, I just need to get out of this hotel room and back into our house.” Yesterday, I pointed out how utterly normal and not-crazy I’ve been for the past few weeks, and Mark admitted that I had been right. A nd then I did a little “told you so” dance. And maybe guilted him a little for not taking my mental state more seriously in the midst of his swooning over the hotel pool and free hot breakfast every morning. Things are still far from perfect – the whole house needs repainting because some moron (me) forgot to write down the paint colors and decided to “eyeball it” when she picked the colors to repaint, giving the effect of some faux-finish gone wrong in every room. We lost several storage pieces to water damage, so the girl’s clothes are in piles, and the toys are scattered willy-nilly in the wrong bins, some of them not even labeled, and OMG I CANNOT EVEN EXPRESS MY DISCOMFORT WITH UNSORTED, UNLABELED TOY BINS. But I am doing my best to ignore it. We are currently using a pack-and-play as our linen closet and the kid’s bathroom has no running water. But look! I HAVE FLOORING. And I could just about kiss this flooring. And not just because it’s pretty, but because it means that we can live here. Karis is happy to be back spinning some tunes and using a power strip as a telephone. And look! Floors!! I’m also thrilled to be back in the same neighborhood as Jafta’s best friend, a.k.a. THE BUFFER. Ryder comes over every day and magically makes my boys get along and never fight. I don’t know how he does it, but these three have so much fun together. He was sorely missed in that hotel room. India was happy to be reunited with her costumes and princess shoes. I don’t think she has worn regular clothes for more than an hour since we got home. And the loft. Or, as Jafta has dubbed it, THE HIDE-AWAY. It is awesome. Yes, it has a window. Yes, I painted it yellow. Yes, the kids want to be up there all day. But best of all, I no longer have a child sleeping in my room, and can have three children napping AT THE SAME TIME. Well, in theory. It hasn’t happened yet. But I’m keeping the dream alive. I was also pretty lost without my two main discipline strategies: The Timer and The Tattle Tally. I use timers with my kids ALL THE TIME. For cleaning up their rooms, for putting on pj’s, for time-outs, for everything. I forgot to pack them before the asbestos crew came so they were boxed up and I was without. I can’t even tell you how impotent I felt without them. And the tattle tally/reward chart wall. Oh how I missed you. I don’t think I really appreciated the value of our basketball hoop and our trampoline until we were without them. Nor did I appreciate the value of saying the words, “stop jumping on the sofa and go play in the backyard.” Hello, commercial-free tv. Hello, pretending like we don’t get Spongebob at our house. Hello, effortless beans and rice. Goodbye hotel food. And last but not least, Karis is happy to be back where the tables are kid-sized, so she can perform her daily ritual of swiping a marker while India is drawing and biting off the tip.