Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unextreme makeover: Playroom edition

If you give a mouse a cookie, he might ask for a glass of milk.

Likewise, If you give a girl a trip to Ikea and a paintbrush, she might redo her a room. Then she might be inspired. Like she might feel so fantastic with accomplishing something-with turning a space into something that breathes happiness-that she wants to keep going.

And with no further ado I give you the playroom
Jared's old bed w/ my old bedding
toy wall
did I mention the entire room is a chalkboard? thanks martha Stewart!

When I was young-like really young, can't-quite-master-the-shoe-laces-thing young I used to stay up way past my bedtime and watch a design show-"you're home" with my mom. It was way out of my repertoire of the brady bunch and disney channel flicks but I liked hanging out with my parents-still do! Anyway the host of this show waskitty bartholomew and she taught me how to decopaughe and Jared is amazed by it and well a decade or so later that late night design show gave my kids playroom a lil more pazaz.

and mom's craft room tucked inside a closet!

I like to mess up a room just to clean one. I rob Peter to pay Paul, dumping piles from Addy's room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to our room, from our room to the spare room, until the spare room serves as the audition tape for Hoarders. But what happens in the end is that I'm so excited about what I accomplished-about all the rooms that look new and refreshed, homey and inviting, that I'm inspired to clean that last room, those remaining piles. I love new projects.

When I was pregnant, I poured all of myself into the nursery. When it was finished, I'd spend my evenings sitting on a chair in her room taking it all in. Sometimes I'd cry because I couldn't believe it was real. The crib would hold a baby--my baby. There's something special about the space you create for your kids. This one was especially meaningful because now that I know her-what she likes, how she thinks, what turns the corners of her mouth into her sweet smile-it was so much fun to create ideas that would capture who she is.

So if you give a mouse a cookie, he might ask for a glass of milk. and if you give a girl a paint brush she may just not stop at the walls!

Monday, October 24, 2011


I have this dream in my mind of the perfect friend day.
They're all there, all the friends that mean the world to me. Especially the ones that don't know it.
And on this date, I get to spend an infinite amount of time with each and every one of them, not worrying about nap time ending, or babysitters needing to go home. At this friend gathering I have a hand-written, bulleted list of all the things each friend brings to my life, and I present it to them in an envelope which I've illustrated with funny comics of the two of us together and the funny memories we share. They'll laugh at first and then they'll read my list. They'll be amazed because all the things they've ever done for me? I remember it all. They'll walk away feeling special and inspired and they'll go home and tell their husbands, "She appreciates me. She even remembered that time I told her bra strap was showing and the other time I helped her carry all her stuff to her car. She made me feel so loved."

I wish this could happen. I really do. Because I do remember. And I always harbor a bit of you-could-do-better guilt for not living up to my expectations of loving and recognizing and honoring my friends like I really want to. There just isn't time.

I think in this consumeristic, demanding time of life when kids and family and paying bills are our obvious priorities, we constantly make efforts to trim off excess responsibilities. But we need balance. When we're busy and stressed, we lighten the load of our ship by jettisoning things that aren't necessary in our schedule: T.V., naps, bubble baths. I think sometimes though, in "Time Triage," we cast off necessary things, thinking the trade-off preserves more family time. Sadly, precious time with friends is one of these.

Sometimes, we will mess up. We'll be in another place in our head when we should be focused on a relationship, we'll flub up responses, reacting too harshly or not harsh enough. We'll yell when we should have hugged, lose our cool when we should have sighed and smiled, or retreat behind an imaginary wall we've build to keep others at bay.

I have been the victim of Time Tirage in some friendships and I have to admit it hurts. It's like being dumped the night of the prom There are all the hopes and excitement, and then *wham* a budding friendship is smashed because; work demands time and our spouse and children demand our energy, we need to eat and sleep and bathing is a politically correct but no matter what the excuse it doesn't make the fact that you've been sloughed off any less painful.

I know I am not alone in this and I am not innocent. I have been the one to let friendships fade and for that I am truely remorseful. Let me tell you something. Friends. Should. Never. Be. Abandoned. If your ship needs to drop weight, throw the clothes overboard. Chuck your cell phone. Get rid of unnecessary coffee shop runs. But friends? They are the life raft on the ship. The one with the big yellow sticker that says "Do Not Tamper." And, God forbid, if your ship ever goes need them. Those pretty yellow life rafts that served as decoration, fun, company, well, when the ship is in jeopardy, guess what? They inflate, just like they promise. They hold you up and take you to dry land, and if you've ever experienced it, you know never ever to take a friend for granted again.

Easier said than done. There's always too much to do and not enough time to do it, and the reality of life with jobs and kids and families truly means time with friends is going to suffer. But I'm not letting it go down out without a fight. Nuh-uh. Sure, I envision Jared watching the babe while I'm cozied up in a swanky restaurant, hugged by friends on all sides and we are laughing and sipping and leaving with the promise to meet up; same time, same place, next week. This is a four-leaf clover discovery though, a lucky encounter cherished on rare occasions. (the last girls-night-outI had was 10 months ago)
and in new mom fashion I was running late and these are the only cruddy picture I have

I love to entertain friends, but I've built up in my mind that it has to be perfect--that I can't invite people to my home unless the floors are mopped and candles are flickering and the oven's about to ding in thirty seconds, perfectly timing hot coffee cake for arriving guests. If this was the case, I'd never see friends. I've learned good friendships come with vulnerability, and some of the most beautiful conversations can indeed happen while sitting on top of two-day old smashed cheerios. But we are together, watching Addiston try to cram a book in the dvd player and laughing. I am a believer in laughter! That there should be laughter and loosing track of time, never and I mean never crickets: awkward silence when you're sitting three feet away, you might as well be on opposites sides of the globe as opposed to opposite sides of the couch. If there's tension, squash it, be honest, move forward. A good friendship can pick up where it left off whether it's been two hours or two years.
Like with these girls, we've shut down our share of restaurants catching up but it's like we've never skipped a moment.

I can't tell you how many times we've excitedly planned a girls night, a trip to the local cafe, a grey's anatamy viewing party, etc. and never followed through. We'll talk on the phone and say things like "Girls night next week, right?" and we answer, "Absolutely, can't wait," but next week means nothing unless it has a date on it, a time stamp and a commitment. Unless it's been typed into a phone calendar with an alarm the day before and a back-up alarm the day of. Time with friends is worth the effort of purposely planning dates. Better yet, make a reoccurring plan and stick to it. Like on Wednesday's I have lunch with my friend Deirdre, she's the sweetest person I know, people think we're sisters which I love because she's way hotter than me and she loves my kid and it just makes me love her even more. If we can make time to show up for doctor appointments, hair cuts and gymboree class, surely we can pencil in a good renewing moment with friends.
If it's been a long time since I've contacted a friend or I feel like I haven't done a good job at showing interest in her life or asking how things are going, sometimes I feel guilty and deal with it by further avoidance. Being forthright and honest is always the best medicine. Sometimes, it feels good to pick up the phone and call. To leave an "I've been thinking about you" message on a Facebook wall. To text a funny picture to let them know they haven't been forgotten. Or sometimes a simple apology. "I've been busy, I'm sorry I haven't been there for you." Because finding time for friends means searching for any available pockets of time. And I guarantee you, that fireside chat last night was far more replenishing than the sleep I missed.

Can I get an "amen" for how good it feels to watch your friends love your babies? This kid is my heart and soul and when you love her, you consequently just found yourself a deeper place in my own heart. Likewise, to let my friends know I love them...sometimes loving their kids is the best place to start.
Someday, I will plan that perfect day. But for now, I will continue to make efforts and find ways to nurture my friendships because they are a valuable part of my life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

stream of consciousness

It is about this time of year that I crave shutting everything off, trading on-the-go schedules for quiet ones revolving around crossword puzzles and new books. And while I still enjoy the thrill and the challenge of juggling activities and opportunities, I smile with the knowledge that the last months of the year bring togetherness and fellowship. Addressing Christmas cards, searching for new recipes, spending time with friends, decorating the house, and tunneling my efforts into what matters most...our family.

It has been two weeks since my last post and for that I am sorry. I'm been finishing some projects (more on that another time) and starting others. And unlike most of our friends who had summer vacation where they were here and there and tried to fit as much as they could into those few months of freedom provided by the good ol' mother nature, our busy season is just starting up.


I had to put myself on a clean schedule and I must admit it's working out but at the same time I must admit that I hate it. Since we've been married I've done a pretty good job of keeping up with the house and I don't know what happened in the last two months but all of a sudden I couldn't get a room dusted to save my life. So a schedule was made, and Jared picked some house "chores" off a list that according to him was too long. I've been abiding by my daily tasks and am very happy to say that the house is dust free and the floors-well hopefully they're clean because earlier tonight I let my kid eat goldfish off of them.

I don't know what to say when people compliment my life. I hear the, "you're always on top of things," and "you have your stuff together," "you're life is perfect." But I don't feel like I've done anything "right" to deserve this life. To be a stay at home mom to a beautiful little girl whom I adore, I assuredly didn't have the brain power to construct some of the stuff my super talented husband has and sometimes I feel guilty that I don't have a corporate job to help pay for the house and cars. My life is not perfect, there are times when I stub my toe and mutter a word that I pray Addiston doesn't pick up. Jared and I have to apologize to each other, I have to reality check myself when I want to go out and Addy just isn't in the mood. I skip showering more days than I'd like to admit and I haven't gotten to call my sisters in more time than my call history will show. But I try to look at the brighter side and it helps that I'm Type A and maybe slightly OCD. I know that staying home with a sometimes cranky 16 month old is a HUGE blessing. That I can make up new expletives like "garfunkle" and that my husband is more that happy to work so that I can. That I can pick up with my sisters right were we left off.


This past weekend was pumpkin fest and I may have had a minor melt down (that Jared handled like a champ if I might add) right as we were pulling into the corn field turned parking lot because I forgot my camera. He offered to turn around so I could get it (back at my parents, not in Nashville) but I declined and we had a good time without documentation. But I later did borrow my parents house to her with some ohio fall action.


I try to keep up on stuff, sending birthday cards, sale's at my favorite store, cooking, cleaning, what's going on in my friends lives but it doesn't always happen. Sometimes, it's laborious and I'm critical and it just feels like I'm trying too hard. Sometimes that's true. But you do what you do, so Sorry if I missed sending you a birthday card but on the brighter side I have another chance next year!


No, there are not enough hours in a day to fit it all in. Our passions, our talents, our friends, our kids, our jobs, our list of to dos. And the answer to "How does she do it?" is probably always going to be "...the best she can."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Yesterday we had Addiston's 15 month doctor's appointment. She was suppose to go in a few weeks back but a spontaneous trip to New York postponed our little check-up.

While we were there some friends from church happened to show up and I was a little excited that there were friendly faces there to entertain my little busy body.

While we were waiting for our doctor I realized I haven't given an update on her development lately. So here we go:

Addiston Rose, 30 1/2 inches long (50th percentile) 18 pounds 14.5 ounces (3rd percentile)
can walk (almost run) and pick herself up when she falls.
She can say a little over a dozen words including: mama, daddy, hi, bye, ball, this, that, up, no, & snack.
She sleeps through the night, feeds herself with utensils and drinks out of a sippy-cup or straw.
She has recently taken up napping again and it's such a blessing. She will only sleep in her bed at night during the day I have to lay down with her on the couch or she'll sleep solo in Jared and my bed.

The doctor is thrilled with her development and thinks that she is just cute as a bug. I was a little concerned that she is so tiny so the doctor suggested that we switch from whole milk to toddler formula. It's got more calories so it should put a little more meat on her bones just in time for winter.

I just love spending time with her. I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with her and while some days I get overwhelmed and exhausted, the house will look like it's been vandalized and I'm sure I don't look much better I'm living in the moment. Not wishing her bigger is something I have to make an effort to do. We'll have plenty of time to go shopping, paint nails, and talk in full sentences later. Right now I'm appreciating sweet little hugs that seem like an attempt to tackle me, learning to blow kisses and getting ears and eyes mixed up.

We're constantly learning. I am so aware that I am the biggest example in her life and have been trying to break bad habits and make good ones more obvious. We are emphasizing please and thank you more, singing hymns while we change diapers and reading our bible at the kitchen table. Understanding the principle of See Good, Do Good, Be Good is one thing, but teaching it to my child is a harder task to accomplish.