Tom took this picture last week. The afternoon light was beautiful.
When I first saw the picture, I saw the flaws. The wonky chairs, the glass on the table, the rumpled blanket, the case on the ground. I saw the things I might have fixed before I snapped, just like I tend to see the flaws in myself every time I see a picture of me. But I've come back to this picture because it is a pretty good representation of our home right now, while we wait for the floors to cure so we can put the rugs back down. A home that we try to keep picked up, but that is lived in and loved in and always in need of more time and effort.
When we bought our house in July, there were two things I hoped we would get to do sooner rather than later: give the kitchen a makeover and replace the wall-to-wall carpet with wood floors. And now, nine months later, I can't believe that we somehow managed to do them both.
Over the past few days my family has been helping us get all sorts of things done around our house. The seemingly never-ending to-do list is being whittled down, and I am so excited to see things coming together, and so grateful to have so much help. They come to the rescue when I feel completely overwhelmed with what needs to be done. They fill the house with energy and possibility, make the chores seem like party games.
I am excited to show updates on the projects because it is about the only thing I want to think about these days. I spend too much time researching shade plants and trolling Craigslist. Spring is the perfect time for this sort of enthusiasm.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
This weekend we talked about a book that none of us had finished reading among babies and dogs and a few select menfolk. The weather was just right and the Chesapeake served as the perfect backdrop for a novel that retells Maryland's early history. The few who had read pages into the triple digits tried to convince the rest of us that the story is, in fact, hilarious, and tried to inspire us to keep on keepin' on.
I don't know how to say anything new about our book club. I don't know how to explain, once again, the value that these almost monthly gatherings. But they mean a whole lot to me. I think a lot of women lose themselves when they have young children. They forget that they need friends and connections beyond their families. It's really easy to fill your time with the dozens of things that need done. On Saturday as I worked in my yard along side Tom, my brother, and my mom, I considered not going. There was so much to do.
But there will always be so much to do. The yard can wait while I drink a glass of champagne with women who make me think and remind me of things that are important.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
We drove down to St. Mary's county because a friend found a really inexpensive fire place mantle for me, and I decided to try my best to make a day of it. After our stop at the antique center, we drove to Historic St. Mary's City. We go down to St. Mary's every June for Alumni Weekend, but we never leave the waterfront those weekends, and so the kids had never been to the historic site. Unfortunately, they don't have the re-enactors on Sundays, so I don't feel like that itch was fully scratched. But it was pleasant all the same.
Your kids can only be who they are, in every single moment. Sena had to read every plague, while Gus abandoned his shirt because the thermostat had finally inched passed 70. He wanted to rush the next thing, while his sister read and his brother remained adorably slow.
It feels like all my favorite things are just around the corner-- swimming in rivers, bays, and oceans. Cook-outs and vacations and, hopefully, some attempts at camping.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
As it turns out, it was a perfectly wonderful way to spend a break in the spring. Ocracoke will wait for us until July.
Last Monday we drove up to Lorien's new house and explored her new town. We spent the overcast afternoon at Ladew Topairy Gardens with a couple of other friends. The kids found frogs and watched them mate. They rolled down hills and got themselves the perfect amount of dirty.
Afterwards, we went back to Lorien and Graham's house for amazing homemade pizzas, hula hopping, bonfires, and tree climbing. We ended the night in a pile of blankets and feet, watching Frozen. The next morning brought scrapple and pancakes and a harrowing drive home complete with flashers and white knuckles.
Grown-ups talked about education and joined in with the kids when they wanted to. Those four little people, spanning eight years, played together without fussing or fighting. It was one of those moments when I felt like I might be doing something right; it just felt right.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Monday, April 21, 2014
Before I started a blog, I read lots of blogs, and they were always going on and on about the connections and community that came as a part of blogging. I wasn't sure that I really believed them. However, I have learned that the connections and community are real. In my day to day life, I don't get to interact with that many other women and mothers who share similar ideas and thoughts. For a long time, it made me feel a little weird or self-conscious. Heaven knows there are plenty of mommy bloggers who I have absolutely nothing in common with, but there are some, like Nicole from Rose Runs Wild, who write words that I sometimes feel like I should have written myself.
Nicole, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for these glimpses into your home.
Our home is a two story that was built in 1925, and our neighborhood was one of the first built in Fort Wayne specifically for automobile owners. Before that the land was a horse racing track. That's one of the things I love about older homes, always a story and so much history. It's the first home we have bought and still very bare since we just moved in almost two months ago. I love the light in our home more than anything. The house has big windows in every single room. Even the closets have windows. It's a wonderful feeling to have light constantly pouring in our home. It's filled with character and warmth.
We're not friends. Mess and disorder is inevitable, but I try to keep our house as free of it as possible. When things are messy and out of order, I feel like I cannot think or accomplish anything. I also have this weird thing with cleaning. I love to clean. Nothing makes me happier than spending a Sunday doing laundry and deep cleaning everything to get it ready for the busy week ahead. The week always brings mess and disorder, always. I've learned (kind of) to let it go throughout the week. Life is hard enough, some days there just isn't time. I think like everything in life, you have to find a balance.
We have a 13 year old, two dogs that love to play in the dirt and roll in. . . god knows what and my husband works from home so our house is very lived in even after the little time we have been there. There is never a perfectly put together moment or a day where the house is as clean as I want because we are human, we are family. We are messy and chaotic. We are not perfect in any way but that's what makes us who we are and we love who we are and the home we live in.
I find the way a home is ever changing to be beautiful. Each family brings with it their own mark on a home. Over a home's lifetime it can have so many different looks, so many layers of paint, wallpaper and flooring. Homes are in a constant evolution and I think that's absolutely gorgeous.
Nicole, thank you again, for this and for your kindmess and your support. I like you enough to not be too jealous about all that light and all those windows.