Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keeping up with The Joneses

You've lived there.  You know, next to "The Joneses."  The place where you are always trying to keep up with them and in some cases compete and surpass them.  I've lived there.  No, really, right next to them, our neighbors were actually Mr. and Mrs. Jones.  And we kept up with them.  Then we moved. 

The thing about "keeping up with the Joneses" is such a waste of time.  I've been there, I know.  The grass is always greener and your life will always be better and you will always be happier "if only we had...."  That is a bunch of hogwash (insert worse word here).  We had the hand-scraped hardwood floors, stainless steel kitchen with the granite counter tops, fabulous staircase, study with bookshelves, fancy dining room, valuted ceilings, outdoor fireplace, and more square footage than we actually lived in.  No kidding, I lived there.  The fact is though is that it did not make me happy.  I thought that once we moved into that house I would never again utter the words "wouldn't we be happier if we had....."  Truth is, things don't make you happy, people make you happy.  That house cost more and my kids still spilled apple juice on the hand-scraped hardwood floors just like they did on the other floors in our other house.  The granite counter tops got sticky just like the laminate countertops at our other house.  The kids still made a mess of their bedrooms just like they did at our other house (only this time I had to climb a fleet of stairs to clean them).  You know what wasn't just like our other house?  How much longer it took me to clean that square footage that we couldn't live without and the amount of money that it took to heat and cool the rooms with the vaulted ceilings.

That was then, this is now.  Like I said, we moved.  This time we got a more "sensible" more our style.  We don't have hardwood floors, we have carpet (even though when it is time to replace the carpet my husband is pushing for hardwood floors), our counters aren't granite and our appliances are white.  There is no fabulous staircase, it is all on one floor (so yes, I have gained 5 pounds because I'm not doing stairs a hundred times a day anymore).  I can stand on a stool and touch the ceiling (this fact alone dropped our electric bill $200).  You know what else?  We are a happier family because of it.  We love our house, we love our life, and we love each other.  There is no more "keeping up with the Joneses," we keep up with ourselves (this is a big enough chore with all of the extra-curricular activities).
Madison watching tv....I think it was "The Fresh Beat Band" (notice her complete pause and awe of what she was viewing)

Audri and Tim: Pelican Cove

Molli and Morgan: Pelican Cove

Madison eating her morning Cheerios (maybe it was lunch or supper, she eats Cheerios all day)

Maddie the dog...once again proving she has a hard life.