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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Home Again, Home Again.

Jiggity Jig!

Until you can come over, I thought you might like a sneak peak around the new house. We're really settling in and thrilled. So often one of the smalls says something about how much they love our home or how much it is like us. They're right! It is fun and casual and more laid back than any of our previous homes. It suits our now and is filled with favorites.

We spend an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen. It is the heart of the home. Surely not because of my culinary skills. Can you see the original booth painted and resurfaced on the lower right?

Here's a real surprise. I thought the sunporch would be just sort of "there" until our next round of renovations. This is apparently A Thing that happens when you know that walls can come down and rooms can be reconfigured. You start considering all sorts of wild possibilities for your house and its future. But we spend lots of time playing, eating and just being in the sunroom/sunporch. It is the perfect spot for our outdoor couch and old kitchen table. And can you tell that is a Mr Ed door leading outside? Just getting to that little room is fun. Those lucky girls got a Mr Ed door on their bedroom, too. Their's was moved from the dining room.

Love this mid-century style light fixture. Even if it has been tricky to get the wattage right on all 18 bulbs. The electrician mentioned something about the switch plate doubling as a heat source if we didn't take it down a few 100 notches. That glow also makes it a challenge for my photography skills.

Breakfast room. Home to our old Marshall Field's table. The drawers have still not surfaced even tho we're pretty much unpacked. Geez. Check out the switch plate. It is home to a few of the kazillion dimmer switches I had installed. I bought old school round push button dimmers for about $1 each. They're among my favorite parts of our house.

Looking out toward the coolest front door I can imagine. This house makes me happy.

Guest room. Book soon and often!

Extra guests get to sleep in the pub!  The pub must have been home to lots of important Jack Daniels goings on, but I doubt many sleepovers.

The house's colors just tickle me. We went with grays in some spots, but otherwise it is chock full of happy hues. Pinks in the guest room, turquoise in the girls' (and on two doors) and even though I didn't get a shot of it, the coolest navy in the Music Room (which goes great with orange sparkle drums!). I'm determined to use that shade somewhere else.

What? You noticed our fab "new" end table? Ha! It is the previous owner's fantastic original RCA. Too amazing to leave in the basement.

One day soon we'll send actual "we've moved" cards for this house. Ideally while the whole topic is still fresh. We made an attempt to take a photo on Easter Sunday to enclose with our new contact information. This is as close as we got. Four people dressed and posed. And me chasing a stray. I love that the four of them are more focused on the camera than on the sudden departure of Baby Sister and me. ha! One day we'll get it together. Until then, enjoy the pix.

And by all means, start planning your trip to Music City. Where else can you sleep IN a pub?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Simple Grace

I flew to Virginia for a friend's funeral last weekend. At sunset. On Good Friday.

Part Holy Week, part daughter of an Air Force officer, I heard the words about slipping the surly bonds of Earth...and touching the face of God when I gazed out the airplane window.

I went in part to support my wonderful friends and the family that has lost so much. But selfishly, I also went to seek peace around a sudden death. Of a young mother. Who purposefully and joyfully dedicated her life to family and friends. A successful woman who left her career to find a different performance review. She raised children and supported her husband. And was a best friend to a host of women. In doing so, she lifted and shaped not just a neighborhood, but a community.

I felt sure that it would be the antithesis of heaven for any mother - or anyone - I know to be suddenly wrenched from loving family and friends. From the general "back and forth" cares of her world. If am out of sorts to do the school run if beds are unmade or dishes in the sink, how could any of us find Good News in a forever departure without warning? Without a million things done and said. Then said again and again for emphasis.

However fantastic heaven may be, how could I possibly be happy about that outcome? How could I find sense, or worse, any faith in that sort of shocking loss?

Bless her amazing ministers. God bless them for enduring their own sadness as they got comforting words out and shared a framework for moving forward. For marking a huge and sudden trial with grace and miraculously, with hope. Also peace and comfort.

The Mister and my own sister can take great joy in hearing that even without the Catholic ritual and rite that I love, the Protestants gave me just what I prayed for this week. They helped me begin to understand - and continue to believe - in the face of such sadness and grief.

This week has given me a big opportunity to reflect on what is meaningful in our lives. And how much our friends have enriched us throughout the years. Their small and large kindnesses have made us feel at home wherever we are. For which we are hugely grateful.

Standing together. But missing one. Seeking a simple grace.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Bright White

Big Sister is working hard to prepare for her First Holy Communion. (And to those preparing her scrapbook pages, many thanks!) She is studying and learning and enjoying lessons with her wonderful teacher and dear friends. She is teaching me and has become a great resource to her brothers for their Religion assignments.

And a very small part of her preparation is getting a white dress, pretty little shoes and a cardigan.

We have my First Communion dress and my wedding veil which we'll incorporate into what she wears. I love passing down clothes for the sacraments. The smalls all wore the same baptismal gown. I wore the dress my Nana wore to my parents' wedding to my bridal shower and my mother's wedding dress to my rehearsal dinner. But I got the sense that my mid-70s polyester blend swiss dot frock might not be what Big Sister had in mind for her day.

I thought I knew just what she'd like in a new dress - something very simple and comfortable. Instead, she envisioned a lace top and poofy skirt! It arrived this week and as you can tell, she is thrilled.

Her tiny buttery-soft freckled face shone. She asked if she could stay in it just a bit longer. Oh. Sure! Just long enough for me to capture those sweet moments on film!

Big Sister seemed a bit more grown when she put her dress on and that's really okay. She's a big girl taking a big step. Baby Sister (who'll surely wear that pretty dress in a few short years) looks equally thrilled and even a little bit awestruck.

In love.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Sporting Life

We're full on cheering these days. Rooting for our three favorite soccer players. And what some days feels like 300 schedules. (How on earth my girlfriends with large families do it is beyond me. When they're not coordinating carpools, I suspect they're lobbying for children to start driving at about 9 years old. Or maybe 10 and a half.)

We have great cheer for our wonderful sports. And for Big Sister who is their best sideline supporter. She is sure to be the unsung hero of this season and I'll have to remember to celebrate her extra when we've cheered our last game in May. Remind me.

We have great cheer for running and playing after a few weeks of weather that kept us in. We hope for sun to shine our players all season. At least after tomorrow -- when temperatures are to hover at the freezing mark. Brrrr. Those early games are always a test of true fandom! I hope that they develop the fundamentals, support each other and play hard.

Check out the zoom on Baby Sister. She is the tiny blond on the far left. 

Biggest Brother knows where to get a consoling hug after a tough loss.

In addition to learning about their sports and having a great time watching my smalls play with their friends, I love the sideline fellowship and socially acceptable shouting. We also bring good snacks.

Speaking of sports, today contractors in the kitchen spied my single trophy. Well. Yes. That IS my "1988 Superstar Girl" award! Indeed. I'm not seeking plaudits and doubt any other trophies are coming my way. I'm fine with that. Really. But beyond the kitsch decor, I feel genuinely happy to give this a place of honor. A wonderful thing about sports is the definitive win/loss factor. When you think about it, there are few times in life when wins are so clearly enumerated. Most of my days end reflecting on a mashup of jobs fairly well done and areas needing lots of improvement. But the shining successes topped off with faux gold statuettes? Those should be cherished. And prominently displayed in your home. Even decades beyond their prime.

That's also my decorating tip for the day.

So here we are enjoying the sporting life. This glorious season of playing. Grateful for the teamwork found in the gymnastics of logistics. It is a wonder to be witness to their enthusiasm, hard work and spirit in action.


PS: the trophy shot is from the old house. Coming soon are big reveal photos of our new house and the renovations. Or would you just settle for ones that show that we're making progress getting situated?! Those I might get to soon.

ha and xo

Friday, March 13, 2015

We're Home. Again.

We're winning the battle against the boxes and every day it looks less like a scene from COPS ("Bad boys, bad boys...") and more like a home. Hooray and come visit - our guest book even has an entry.

Truth be told, the snow melted days ago and we're all tulips and raindrops (a proper March, I suppose) but these snowy scenes of our early days in the yard are ones I don't want to forget.

Last weekend the Mister and Big Brother set off out the back door for a long hike. They explored stone walls and found all sorts of animal tracks. Our new house being on 3 acres (!) makes me fear we'll never ever get the smalls back to urban life. But for now, we know they'll thrive in this backyard. Exploring nature and getting plenty dirty in wide open spaces. Fresh air. A break.

We keep saying that we're going to hang pictures (Yes, FAP. You've always been right on that account - when pictures are up you DO feel really at home) but most nights find us running out of steam. Maybe still spent by the ongoing nature of daily life and the still tricky parts of finding things. That are here. Somewhere. Suffice to say that 3 children here have already been the lucky recipients of new cleats. We've completely defied the axiom that no one actually purchases cleats, they just wear old ones. Apparently unless you've just moved.

The unpacking is well underway. Our favorite toys and totems have been unearthed. We've eaten dinners at our old Marshall Field table (even if we haven't found the drawers). We're finding our way and happily so. It is a joy to see this house embrace a new family and for our family to settle into its spaces. Big Sister said it perfectly this week: "Our house really fits us."

Indeed. It is good to be home. Again.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

We're wishing Tinkerbell could provide a little magical assist to help with unpacking, so I promise more details on a very exciting week when we've made a dent in the boxes. Meanwhile, I wanted you to know that Biggest Brother has us all soaring after five fantastic performances as Peter Pan! We've always been in awe of our guy, but even more so now that he can fly!

I want to tell you (and jot down for our own reminders) so many of the amazing parts of it all. And I will. But boxes are calling. I really must get everyone's bedrooms sorted before we start back to another week of school. We'll all feel better sleeping under favorite covers in our new rooms.

But as the curtain closes, a hearty BRAVO to Biggest Brother, the whole cast and crew and the amazing support they received from their school community. It has been a hectic week to be sure, but one filled with blessings and a certain glittery magic, too.

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