Monday, August 25, 2014

Catching Up

(Only read if you like long posts where I wax poetic on life. If you want to see the house, scroll fast to the bottom -- but don’t get your hopes too high -- not much going on right now.)

At the end of last week Blake and I got to take a trip up to my favorite place in the whole world. I’m sad I didn’t actually take pictures of that place to show you, but I was too busy doing absolutely nothing effortful. :)

My parents watched the girls for three nights and two days while Blake and I went to the cottage in Michigan. 
It’s an entirely magical place to me -- closest thing to Narnia I’ve ever known. My grandparent’s bought the house in 1969, so it’s just always been for me. We went up plenty of times each summer, and sometimes for non-summer holidays, I think we had some Thanksgivings there, and I remember my Grandpa cutting down a small pine tree outside for us to take in and I got to decorate it for Christmas -- tinsel and all (we never got to use tinsel at home -- too messy. ;) )

The past year or so my parent’s have been renovating it -- tons and tons of hard work, sanding through layers and layer of tar to get to original hardwood and pine floors. Gutting the kitchen, widening doorways, making the bathroom new again, painting and un-allergifiying all of it -- out with the old furniture, in with a hand made (by my dad!) table and benches, leather couches (to wipe dust off) a new bed. I mean, they just gave it their all. And it is FANTASTIC. (Which is why I’m sad I didn’t take pictures.) I spend the whole first day just walking around saying out loud (and I’m not an out loud thinker), “This is AMAZING." 

So while Blake and I were there, we just kind of detoxed from everything. Did whatever seemed relaxing. We did some guitar and singing, we did some out-to-breakfasting, we did some movie nights (in and at the theater.) We went to the beach (the beach we got married at -- Cherry Beach)
7 years ago

and played in the waves (Lake Michigan doesn’t always boast good waves, but it did have some pretty decent ones the first day.)

Hilarious photo from shaking sand out of the sheet.

We also went into an antique store and looked around.
I can’t really explain how much I love being around stuff that is older than me. It gives me a full body slight tremor. It just kind of overwhelms me: the presence of so many gone before paving the way -- the lives that are whispered of within.

I have a hard time buying anything at antique stores because I love thrift stores so much -- I can often find antique items there for so much less -- not everything of course -- but I get sticker shock in antique stores.

My favorite thing this time was an old English Pram.  I had to touch it and imagine using it. It felt awesome. It was huge -- I don’t think the photo really shows how big it feels. Like pushing a small car. It had a suspension system which made it feel like a carriage -- like the bumps of the road would feel like horse steps to the baby. A thick cover buttons over the baby.

Touching this, imagining my babies in it, was amazing. This thing would be every new mom’s security blanket. You know that postpartum feeling like everything is scary -- the way this pram feels -- like it’s made to combat that -- so strong and secure. I couldn’t help but think this would be soo wonderful for a new mom to feel that small car of strength around their new babe. I mean clearly -- it was be terrible for storage, and shopping in real spaces. But in imaginary world for three seconds -- it was thrilling.

The first night sleeping at the cottage I woke up more times than I can count from dreams of the girls crying and needing me. And I groggy-worried coaxed myself to believe my mom could take care of them. So I could go back to sleep. (Why don’t I remember she did it for me in these moments?)

The next two nights I learned to sleep. And sleep deeper than ever, attempts to regain four years of nights.

I took a photo documenting us drinking “coffee" together -- Blake refuses the black gold. (Much to my dismay -- I’d love that coffee in the mornings together camaraderie) but he did indulge in this essentially chocolate milk with a drop of coffee in it beverage by my side one morning as I had the real deal. :) I was pretty stoked. 

We got to sit and talk. Think together. Plan some things. Get on the same page. Forget the page and laugh. Just be us. It can be easy to forget us with kids endlessly interrupting.

I also had some glorious, and I mean glorious, introvert time while there. It was probably the first time I felt like myself since having children (4 yrs ago.) I could hear my thoughts and process them. I wrote. I sat. I prayed. I thought. I sat. I looked. I was silent. I watched. I thought. I felt sane.

I hope some day I figure out how to do that at home. Four years is a LONG time to not feel like myself.
It’s not the kids’ fault. I just literally NEED that time -- and I don’t know how to find it with them near me. And they clearly don’t know how to provide silence -- my kids are calm for kids, but they are kids they make noise.

I was soo soo grateful to have that time now.

One the third day my mom brought the girls up to see the cottage. Jasmine has been there as a small baby -- but not since. So it sort of counted as the first time.

They loved it -- like I knew they would. You can’t not love it. Especially as a child -- it is irresistible.

Seeing them again was heart ache and joy. I had missed them in the midst of recharging alone. Any longer would have been too long. They looked bigger in three nights. They seemed older, saying new things. Hugging them, sweet smells.
Being a mom is so hard. Needing your own time, not wanting to be away. It’s the most overwhelming thing.

They hold hands so much -- it melts me to the ground, such a special gift a sister.

The lake was overwhelming to them, so we brought water to them in the boat.

They loved it, and when we got home they asked to go back. (They actually asked before we got home.) I’m so glad they love it there. It’s my favorite place.
Now I just have to trust that I can be there as a mom -- keep the magic while keeping them safe. The balance beam.

Her hair was FULL of sand -- Michigan in our Family Room.

When I got home I crashed emotionally.
Having had so much peace in a clean beautiful place.
Getting home to so much sound, whining, questions, requests, needs, and good sounds of giggles -- still hard because I’m not given a break of sound.
Our home covered in drywall dust, in such disarray. And no way to really set a done date.

Two days of me feeling shaky, and unsure of myself. Unsure if I’m strong enough.
I looked at a cook book, trying to figure out once more how to cook for my kids, allergic to so much, picker than I’ve ever seen. And the book crushed my soul -- telling me how “this is the best way to eat” and most of it not consumable to us -- I wanted to rip it up -- but the library would charge me more than I wanted to pay for the momentary relief.
Jasmine saw a photo of food and declared she wouldn’t eat that -- and that she only wants to eat rice, till she is a grown up. I stopped short of locking myself in the bathroom to cry. Instead I paced our house and saw all the dust and got shakier still.

I was trying to read "1,000 Gifts”, a book I’ve never heard a bad thing about -- a book that revolutionized everyone’s lives. And it while reading it started to hurt worse than before. I’m not everybody -- I never have been, I never will, I can’t do what everyone does, I can’t like what everyone else does. I have a hard time processing that -- I’m very different. I want to feel included. But I usually don’t.
I liked the book. I see why everyone else loved it.
But I take on too much -- the author’s pain, cuts me too hard. Her finding joy is her own journey, and it doesn’t bring me to mine. And her way of seeing gifts, so lovely, but also often finding blessings in her home life, and home life includes food. So she sees glory at the table and her child asks for more milk, and I try to think happy thoughts, but I want to get mad. And it all slaps me in the face “hard eucharisteo” I don’t think I am that strong. Not right now. Not to read. I have to put down the book. I can’t process so much yet. Not now. Maybe my own gifts. But my own way. And I think that’s ok. I’m pretty sure He knows He made me rather different. Rather unable to handle things, but also rather capable, in a twisted tangle. He’s waiting for me to get it and release, and I think He’s rather patient. He’s proved that to me now. But for me the book wasn’t letting go, it was taking on. And I can’t hold that too.

A few more days at home now, and I’ve acclimated again. Mostly. The mess is still hard. I don’t think that gets better, I think it’s just hard, and it pushes me to finish.

I love pretty, and order. I’m not the best at cleaning (kids or not) but I love deep clean order. And making that pretty. And some day I’ll get there. But for right now I have to work around it, and some moments I feel like I can, and some moments I just don’t. But I will.

How many times has He gotten me through moments I couldn’t do?

As far as where we are on the house -- I know I’ve not blogged too much lately.

Its because we are at a boring stage. Small unremarkable things that need to be done.

Our reading room is under construction -- it’s where all the drywall dust has been coming from for months.
We ripped out part of the ceiling because it had water damage and we wanted to both fix that and check on the pipes up there to be sure. They were all good --so huge hole, no problem -- both good and a bit irritating to patch back up. But also great, that we didn’t have any problems.

There is the green new drywall -- above for the hole, and on the walls for the niches we didn’t want. 

More mud and sanding needed. Maybe another week for us before we can paint? (Blake does the ceiling stuff when not at work.)

I’m really excited to get this room done -- because it will mean our downstairs is in order for real.
I still have tons of organizing dreams, but like hard core reno downstairs inside will be done. 
(The sunroom is downstairs and needs roof help -- but it’s kind of it’s own space I don’t count as downstairs because it’s not A/C or normal heat -- it’s it’s own thing.) 

Here’s my hilarious positioning to get that shot -- laying on my back holding my leg up to keep it out of the shot. Yeah I could have thought longer and repositioned, but Yoga? Or something? lol.  It did feel like a nice stretch. :)

What else?
Well our front yard is looking better and still bad. :)
We took out those bushes stuck in hostas (for now -- kinda random -- but ya know -- so are we.)
But the weeds are crazy. We went ahead and hired True Green to spray for weeds and help fix our yard -- it wasn’t too pricey and we feel like it’s a helpful way to divide our efforts. But they said not to cut our grass so it can seed itself. But they need to come back and kill more weeks because it currently looks like a prairie.

I know at one point our yard was loved. We have few patches of nice plants that show up amongst the mess. Here is our single long stem rose! (How cool is that, that I have a rose? VERY cool.) This is the second time it’s bloomed this year -- I didn’t know that happened. It’s fun to watch nature go. (While I don’t have time to touch.)

Blake has been limbing up our dying pine tree. It needs to go. We’ll get to it sometime before winter.

We have this lovely sign on our door -- we’ve yet to wire in our new bell. I got tired of not knowing the mail man needed a signature because he used a non-working door bell -- sign it is. (I used that phrasing because I couldn’t help it -- I heard Dorothy and the gang reading it out loud at the Emerald City everything I read it.)

I did get around to painting the two entry way walls with one coat of paint -- they and the hall way need a second coat.

We got around to hanging up this self I got for $6 at the thrift store. It makes the kitchen feel like a home. I like it. (I did rub some stain on it to refresh it a bit.)
I’ve been working on living room arranging. It’s a total mess, but getting a rough lay out makes me feel more on track. It’s a very long room, that’s narrow -- so pinterest has been helping figure that out. I’ll show you more some day when it actually makes sense.

This week I’ve been painting our base boards and the last bits of our bathroom makeover out in the sun room. I do it at night -- babies sleeping and avoiding summer heat.
It’s a project I was in NO hurry to get to. It doesn’t mean much to me. But it means TONS to Blake -- he wants to install those baseboards so bad, to officially finish his flooring install. So I went ahead and did that for him even if I wanted to do anything else first. Marriage love, ya know. Small boring stuff is big stuff.

For me, a current excitement is a couch.
I’ve been thinking more and more about our reading room and what I want it to be.

Since deciding we will be doing homeschool (at least to start out) I’ve known that would be a great space for that.
So I was thinking a table would go there to work at.

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought we aren't really at the stage where a table in the space would get tons of use. (And we already have 3 tables! Is that crazy? We have so much space now -- its weird.) Once they are older maybe a table there will be right? But by then maybe we’d rather have individual desks. I just don’t know what we need yet -- they are young and I’m new to this.
So I don’t think I need to try and get it right yet.

So what do I want in there now?
Right now I want an introvert room. A space I can cocoon in, either in the mornings or at night. Coffee and a book kinda space.

That means a couch.

Therefore: Craigslist looking commence. 

One failed trip 20 mins away. 

And then this beauty for $25, 50 mins away.

I don’t know how you feel about floral couches. But I gotta tell you. I’m smitten. I think it will be adorable in the space. The only other kind of couches I could picture in there are NOT couches I’d find on craigslist -- they’d be ones that would cost TONS of money -- like tufted leather. And well, I don’t particularly want to worry about my gorgeous tufted leather, extremely expensive couch around little ones.
SOO…an adorable $25 floral couch is RIGHT up my alley. If you spill on my $25 couch, I’m not gonna be too shook up.

I didn’t really know what it was shaped like based on craigslist. But I love it’s curved sides.

It came with TONS and tons of pillows. Most of them are quilted down -- and i think that makes it look old (I mean it is old -- but I want to pretend it’s not) so I’m gonna leave most of them off. And recover a couple with that fun mixed prints look.

I used a friend’s carpet shampooer to clean the whole thing.  (A photo while it’s drying next to the dehumidifier.)
That was so nice that I could do that! I got out a lot of dirt build up spots (nothing terrible -- it’s just a white couch -- hands make marks) there were a couple stains (some pink dots) I couldn’t get out on a cushion but I can just put that side down. 
All in all I’m so happy we got it.
Getting to it on time was hard and crazy (I’ll try to do a post on couch shopping adventures sometime --each one has been kinda crazy.) But I’m so happy we got it. It’s terribly comfortable -- just right for a reading room. I’m excited.

We picked it up from a church, it had been donated by a “clean older lady” no smoke or pets. I enjoyed thinking of the life this couch has already had as I cleaned it. And inside it I found this glass chandlier crystal. 

I’m trying to remember that’s life. Beauty inside the hard things. Sometimes it’s gets lost and you know it. Sometimes it shows up by surprise and you have to not toss it aside. Sometimes you have to look for it. Sometimes it’s a choice it look at that instead of the distractions.


  1. I started reading 1000 Gifts and only got through half of the first chapter. It was so painful to read that I just had to stop- and of course it was a gift so I feel obligated to read it but I just can't do I right now- guess it will have to wait for a time when I'm in a different place emotionally.

    1. Glad I’m not the only one. Yeah the first chapter is SO SO SO hard! It’s crazy. I got to chapter three, and it does get up lifting (mixed with other hards). But I was just not in a place to take it in right now.

  2. I actually really like that couch! I think the problem was when florals were in people had floral everything. They kind of need to be on their own.

    1. Thanks Catherine! I LOVE it. I can’t wait to get it in the space. I think part of why this one works is also the print on it is bigger, and has a branch in the mix with makes it feel more updated, and maybe slightly Asian influenced. I can’t wait to see how more prints mixed in will look. I’m getting more and more excited about the room it will be in by the minute as my plan comes into my head. :)

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