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Friday, February 20, 2015

Going S'nowhere Fast

Even for a local move, we've not made it terribly far. At all. We're stuck in our old house a bit longer. Once again the house smells like moving boxes. We've had a bit of extra fun this week and no school since last Thursday. Our 4 day Winter Break was extended by a few bouts of ice and snow. Moving is on hold.

Biggest Brother didn't have cause to fire up the snowblower, but the first round of ice was absolutely beautiful. (She says because they didn't lose power. Yet! Round Two is pelting the house noisily now. Good thing Biggest Brother kept flashlights out from the packers. Also that he has a can opener on his Leatherman. God bless Oldest Children. They are the world's boy scouts.) 

Who thought that oldest child would go sledding in Nashville? You just never know what's coming your way. Life's exciting like that. That's the theme of what I keep telling the girls. They're feeling a little unsure of another house, another change. Or maybe it is the prospect of sharing a room. 

So this week, when we weren't slipping and sliding (and dripping faucets in both houses) we've been enjoying an unexpected vacation in the toasty indoors. What seems a week of Fat Tuesdays. 

All this weather also means our new house remains not quite ready for prime time. Our moving truck couldn't traverse the ice on the new street today. But we're cozy and home in the old place together. With no plane to catch or new job to start, it seems that if ever a move has to be delayed, this should be the one. I am fairly certain, though that I've brought this weather on us all by bragging that a short, in-town move would be easy peasy. Fates Tempted. 

Meanwhile, our things are all boxed up and we'll be in the new house next week. Even though it is Lent, this promises to be a long weekend of Boxing Days. 

Adventures in moving. S'nowhere fast.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Lighting Up Our Life

There's no brighter light in our lives than this guy.

And I mean that sincerely.  I've seen and chosen more lights, fixtures, bulbs, wattages and dimmers in this renovation than I care to discuss. So I can say with great authority that our guy is the brightest, the sharpest light, a gold standard of brilliance.

We were thrilled to celebrate him today and are extra excited that the basketball team he coaches (Big Brother's) pulled off a hard fought victory this weekend. An early gift!

His fan club gathered around en masse to cheer him (and enjoy a little chocolate, too).

He's surely the captain of our ship. Leader of a rowdy, motley and adoring crew. Always.

It is really happy days to think that he'll be enjoying his next birthday cake in this kitchen.

He's earned that all. The pub. His own office space. And so, so much more. Cheers to our love!  xo

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sunny and Bright

This new house is going to be something else.

We've never been afraid of color. I remember telling a dear friend (with impeccable taste and refined color all over her walls) that our La Grange powder room would be orange. The colors in our new house are going to give that one a run for its money. And maybe after years as tenants we've about lost our minds with an eagerness to paint.

Along with a backdrop of grays, we'll have turquoise, two shades of pink, orange, light blue, red, black (the Mister's music room will be "inkwell") and yellow in the new place.

Can you stand how neat this hood will be in the kitchen? Speaking of standing -- I should have measured myself up against it, but it is taller than I am! It appears to be a light source but that was just the sunshine coming into the warehouse. We needed a little glimmer on it today as it has become a bit of a trick in these final stages, but that will make it even more worthwhile. This centerpiece of our new kitchen is a piece not meant for the timid. It is meant for people craving crayola color schemes after white on white walls not their own.

So exciting. The Mister and I felt like we were on a field trip when we went to visit it at a local powder coating shop. If only those were our purple porch chairs.

Lots of color to look forward to.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Movin' Right Along

Are you singing like the Muppets now? Didn't they sing that? I really feel like I've used that same title for a previous post, but given how much moving again feels like déjà vu, repetition feels pretty appropriate.

Apologies for these photos as it is nearly impossible to get good shots w/o actual lights in the house yet.

House is coming along swimmingly. I purchased milk today that shares an expiration date with our move. So I suppose it is coming up. eeeegads. Feels a bit like a baby's due date!

It is hard to believe that in just a matter of days we'll be in our new house. That what still looks like a construction zone will soon be our home.

It is all good news and very exciting. Even if I'm not quite sure how it will all transpire, it sure feels like a "jv" move given that we'll just be down the street from our current place, we don't have to get on an airplane, no one is leaving friends or school behind, etc., etc.

But it still feels strange, this in between time.

I am in denial about the work that awaits us. Maybe because we feel so fortunate to have discovered this treasure and have the chance to make it our own. And because the Mister and I are not so secretly in love with the settling in process.

We love the color the girls chose for their bedroom so much that we're putting it on the front door. Great minds think alike. I'm still trying to noodle thru how to fit two people in that room. So far Murphy beds suspended from the ceiling seem to be the best option. ha!

And every time I walk through this room, I imagine a Christmas tree and our stockings. 

But with all the hoopla over the inside, I think this might be the very best part of our new home. If it is this enchanting on a rainy day in January, I cannot wait to see it the rest of the year.

Home sweet almost new home.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Still Dreaming

"Then the Good Samaritan came by and said, 'If I do not stop to help this man, 
what will happen to him?'"

Biggest Brother's kindergarten teacher (Miss Meise, circa 2007) can take credit for having him make a beautiful construction paper portrait of MLK. That treasure hangs near my desk with similar paper versions of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

Inspired by strong images and words, we spent Monday thinking and talking about Dr King's dreams. We listened to "the Promised Land" speech and made an MLK Jr art gallery.

Our afternoon's work was made even more poignant because we visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis over fall break. We walked all through and around the Lorraine Motel learning, experiencing, remembering and reflecting.

We read Martin's Big Words and thought about what dreams have been realized and which ones still need our work and prayers. We are so fortunate to move to places that have played amazing roles in the world's history. 

Before I moved to Nashville, I didn't know the legacy of local college students training to endure injustice at lunch counters. I should have, but didn't. Now I drive down the streets where they practiced sitting in and think of them. I wonder what my future college students will do in the name of justice. I hope they remember our little kitchen table lessons and do their part. And then some.

The kids are also blessed to know Coach Derrick's grandchildren. All of these seeds being planted will flourish. I'm sure of it.

There is so much that I love about the Promised Land/Mountaintop speech. Among my favorite lines are: "Now I'm just happy that God has allowed me to live in this period to see what is unfolding. And I am happy that he's allowed me to be in Memphis." 

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Think I Mentioned That

Baby Sister is such a peach. She has kept us in stitches lately. We know the wackiness of having really little people around our house is fleeting (The other ones are wacky in their own right, tho -- one of them recently asked the Mister if he needed a wig for upcoming jury duty service! hahahaha. Bless them, having seen ye ole timey wigged barristers in their former city.)

But seriously, Baby Sister takes the cake for the things she says and does. Maybe we notice it more because we know how precious this time is. I feel sure there will come a time when no one wears a cat tail (clipped to the back of her coat) and ears out to dinner. And that's a bit sad.

She gets going with ideas bubbling straight from her head and shares her rapid-fire thoughts without taking much oxygen in. (Where DOES she get that? Must be the Mister's side.)

Here are a few of her latest and greatest from the way back seat:

"Momma. Sometimes when you say something is going to be a little bit spicy, it turns out a LOT spicy. I think I mentioned that. And I know what 'mentioned' means. It means said." [This in response to my saying we'd only be at the gym for "a little bit."]

"I don't remember when Heidi and I became best friends. We just were. One time, when I accidentally kicked her (!) I felt so sad. Like I could cry. So I did." [Who else is thinking she cried because she might have really meant to kick her girlfriend and then felt terribly guilty about it? But I'm not judging. Just driving. And jotting down notes at stoplights.]

And on a religious front,

"Can God see us?"

"How can God be in everyone's heart?"

"Does EVERYONE have opinions?" [Typically. Mine are right, tho. haha. Kidding]. She also asked the same thing about feelings. I was not this philosophical as a five year old. I was just happy if I scored the prize in the Cap'N Crunch box.

I am equally inspired, awestruck and tickled by her musings. She's a sweet, funny, bright and thoughtful little girl. Maybe one day she'll even learn to tie her own shoes. (Not likely soon. That is an area where we get really lazy with the kids. I have never successfully taught an offspring of mine to tie their shoes. Somehow they just do. Eventually. Big Sister just learned to tie hers a few weeks ago. Apologies to every one of my kids' teachers. We all know our strengths and weaknesses.) But Baby Sister's smart enough to have found a good way around that. Lately, mornings can find her snuggled up against Biggest Brother as he pulls an assist on tiny laces on absurdly small saddle oxfords.

We'll all gladly give her a hand with whatever she needs if she promises to keep these good observations coming. That little muffin makes the world a brighter place. I'll leave you with this snap of her dressed as Saint Katherine Drexel for a school report!  Love it. Love her.  xo

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing In the New

Happiest of Christmas wishes and happy 2015, too! Still noodling through what cards (new years, we've moved, new address...?) we might ever get to, so until then, we're sending our best.

And to all a lazy two weeks. It sure feels restful here and I hope the same for you, too. We're grateful that the Mister is not only on the same continent that we are, but is also taking lots of time off and we're all better for it. Fully ensconced in our break, I fear the challenge of alarm clocks and uniforms. But that is still a little too far away to worry about properly. It is next year anyway (ha!). And worrying seems really contrary to the concept of a holiday.

We're busy playing new games, reading new books and introducing our new dollies around. Eating and drinking at odd hours and really happy to be doing so en masse. We're loving our sweet little Christmas cocoon. We managed to get out to be tourists for a bit, to a museum and of course for various tune ups -- haircuts, new shoes and routine appointments. But otherwise, for days on end we have happily palled around at home.

In between unregulated fun and Skyping cousins, we've also visited the new house lots. Things there continue to move along at a rapid-fire pace. It looks great and every visit there brings something new. Also seemingly more questions and to-dos but like everything else, it is on a deadline so it will be done soon. Hooray!

I know boxes await us before very long. Before we know it we'll be undoing our household here and unpacking again in our new home. I just put lots of exciting 2015 dates on the calendar (Big Brother starring as Peter Pan in the school play!, Big Sister making her First Holy Communion!, school getting out at the end of May!), so I know in the months ahead we'll be thrilled to have rested during these weeks. I think we're smart to store up our energy a bit.

So that's where we leave this year. In a bit of peaceful disarray and lots of togetherness. We should be so lucky to find ourselves in this same blessed position next year and every year in the future.

Happy new year, one and all!  xo

Monday, December 22, 2014

The House That Jack Built

I've been such a lousy correspondent lately and haven't told you very much about our new house. Like all of our homes, this, our umpteenth in 15 years, seems to have been waiting just for us.

It will be worth the wait.

It is the house that Jack Daniels built. With Saint Henry's help.

The Saint Henry piece is because our realtor, contractor and banker are all tied to St Henry school and church. Then there's Jack Daniel's part. Bless him. Our house's former owner was Jack Daniel's first marketing executive and made his over 40 year career there.

Along with this waycoolerthanIam legacy, I feel sure we bought a bit of TN history. From a couple that built the house in the 50s and raised their four children there. I took our also having 4 children as a sign. The Mister might say the house being way under budget was his sign.

I'm in awe of anyone who can maintain a lovely home for nearly 60 years. Not to mention raise a family (and entertain lots of grandchildren, friends and neighbors if the growth chart in the kitchen is any indication) and leave this charming stove and beautiful bathrooms in Smithsonian preservation quality condition.

There is this wall in what I suppose we'll call the breakfast room (which sounds really pretentious but I'm not sure what else to call it. It's honestly going to be our all day room..) that has the shadow of what must be dozens of picture frames. I'm just sentimental enough to not want to paint over those whispers of family history. Of what were surely baby, wedding and graduation photos lovingly framed and displayed.

I cannot wait to meet the former owners. When the renovations are through and we're settled, we'll have them over to return that growth chart and a piece of wallpaper unearthed in the renovations. And thank them for passing this legacy to us. I hope they'll like that we're maintaining much of their mid-century modern, exposed brick and wood beams. We're just updating a few spots. Making the kitchen bigger. Of course, we're keeping their fantastic booth. The kids' blue bathroom is staying exactly as is. A mid-century tribute. I have to drink more booze or start smoking to do it all justice, tho.

The house is very cool. I confess that the family's connection to a brand that puts Tennessee on the map is also endearing to me. It speaks to my latent corporate historian. Long before people talked about "branding," our house's owner was doing just that. And it wasn't long ago that I was looking at bottles of Jack Daniel's at Selfridges on Oxford Street. All the way across the Atlantic. How weird is my life sometimes? How blessed am I? Just when I was succumbing to becoming a cliched AllDaySoccerSaturdaySuburbanAmericanMom, we stumbled into this treasure of a home.

Surely lots of interesting things (corporate and otherwise) went on in the pub in our basement. I feel a bit unworthy. Seen the elephant and heard the owl, I'm sure.

But worthy or not, the whole super shebang is ours and we can't wait to get into it. And not just because we can finally paint walls again. (Which ones will get chalkboard paint?!) The workmen are plugging away and we're grateful for their labors.

Raising a glass here until you come see it for yourself. It is yet another sign of providence in our life. If you're keeping track, so far our homes have been host to the Junior League of Richmond, La Grange's beloved football coach, WWII and now, Jack Daniel's.

I can hardly stand it.

Here's to mid-century modern turquoise front doors. And retro pink guest bathrooms. Havana's got nothing on us. Come see.