Traditions: Pumpkin Patch

Year One: 69865_494766586256_4175302_n

Year Two:307806_879709193820_583087261_nYear Three:

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1069290_10100668462423000_2099827825_nYear Five:

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Also, somehow our three kids (we always pumpkin patch with the same sweet families who have been there through thick and thin, pregnancies, pregnancy scares, and all the booze and popcorn fueled playdates you can imagine) turned into seven over these years.

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Mom Feelings.

I wrote this a few weeks ago. I found it lurking in the drafts and quite nearly deleted the whole thing in one easy click. And wouldn’t that be so beautiful. If those rushing, less than, imperfect moments could all just be clicked away. But, they can’t. They are there. And I would wager that this drowned in dirt and sleeplessness feeling is one that is fleeting but known by every mother. Our sleep has been sparse lately and these feelings run so close to the surface when I’m extra tired.

I told a friend last night “today I just kept thinking, “have I ruined everything?” like.. sleep, attachment, the whole thing.” and she confided back, “yeah, I think that at least once a week. About. . . anything.” And that’s it. When you are engaged, and thinking, and researching, and praying, and asking, and. . . and. . . and. . . it’s really really hard. But, if you are doing that. If you are meeting their needs, and loving them hard, and sitting there, back rubbing, through the screaming, and nursing through the tooth pain of your baby, and cuddling in with those big babies just because they “need some extra time with you”. . . and the hard days, you have not ruined everything.  And you aren’t wrong for putting them first. And you will make it through. And these really are the shortest years. And they are worth this work.

And, as today showed me, there will be different days. Beautiful, overfull to the brim with confidence in your choices, even when they are hard, and the kids just thrive. And you can see the wheels in their beautiful heads just turn turn tun as they figure it all out. All the love, all the attachment, all the closeness. And it’s all worth it. And those baby faces with old old eyes seem like they could blink and be 15, and I could just weep for the loss of years that aren’t even gone yet. Because baby hood, all five years of it, are so heartbreakingly beautiful.

***

I scooped armfuls of clutter from the back of the car. I have two dirty secrets. One is that I had never taken my kids to the dentist, the other is that for all my tidy home keeping… the car. The car is a mess.

There are layers of banana chips, jars full of dirt (Ever?), old baby dolls, endless clothing changes, dirt and mud covered pants from fall’s, so many pairs of shoes, and lost socks. Books discarded, library borrows sulking in the back corners, and abandoned muffins we shouldn’t  have bought and couldn’t afford but splurged on anyway… near needlessly.

Yesterday was a hard day. A day where I doubted my choices. Doubted that I was the best Mom for my kids. Where I couldn’t leave the house. Where my brain went ten thousand miles and hour and wouldn’t slow down with thoughts of “I love them so much!” “I am so deeply tired.” “when will I ever be alone again?” and I let the thoughts grow with speed. With spin. With a tornado of weight that made it destructive and pointless and heartbreaking when the dust settled.

It settled around three crying girls. Appologies pouring from my lips. Tears dropping from my eyes. And wise words from Nolie. “it’s okay Mama, everyone had hard days sometimes. That’s why tomorrows are nice.”

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deep love for this 102 year old lady(home).


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Grass green, pale pink, sky blue, flowered wall paper, linear “Roberts” flowers, those are the layers we’ve discovered under our white paint in the office. They are all so beautiful, and sitting here, thinking about all the people and families who poured their style, taste and love, into our 102 year old home. . . I’m awed and don’t want to cover it all up (now that each chipping layer is exposed on one portion, of one small wall).

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Chipping away these flies on the wall of our homes history, wondering about all the previous owners, and thinking about the decades… century (!) of love and memories  etched into each layer.

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The deepest layer of wall paper is paper bag brown with beautiful botanical book style flowers on it, and I am imagining it was once a sweet nursery full of golden books read by a darling chubby cheeked little baby girl, and a spindly white cradle rocking next to to the beautifully framed window where my gangly girls now hang out their bob haired heads to yell for they neighbor boys to come over.

And, the newest layers. The chalk walls, first words written and sounded out, serious stares of sleepy shuttered eyes. And of two sisters. Who are leaving big love and memories and marks.

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I have fallen deeply for this home. Over, and over, and over again.

And am proud to hang a bit of it’s history in on my walls.

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long weekend love.


We’ve been living this weekend, and it feels good and slow and bright and just right. And there are still a couple days left. I’m so full.

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And eating well. Those quiches, yes. Forever and always.

ombre!

So, yeah, my blog is pretty much becoming a chronicle of my ever changing hair and home. But, that’s just where I’m at!  Lots of home DIY, fun hair changes, and the daily grind of kiddos. I really couldn’t be happier, things feel really good right now. And I am feeling that readiness for Fall, routine, coziness, nesting, and all things pumpkin. And this hair, this feels like I’m ushering in Fall in a big way.

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I feel cozy, fresh, and best of all; Just like myself again.

Tape, Paint, Be Happy!

A couple nights ago we were bemoaning our lack of art on the walls. Our big, bare, tall, white, walls. I was pursuing pintrest and came across a few pins with fun graphic paint treatments.

A small back story; Charlie painted all three of our bedrooms in record speed the night before we officially moved in. . . it didn’t go well. They have giant drips, and huge imperfections. They are also lath and plaster so they have weird stripes. Our hope was that getting some art up there would distract from it.

We aren’t bright wall people. Not usually. I have a clean, cozy, photos everywhere kind of aesthetic so it was a little odd to be so drawn to such a graphic and bright idea. But, Charlie pounced on my moment of “hummm maybe?” and we just went for it.

We taped, randomly all over one wall of our office. Not a lot of thought, just knowing we wanted some bigger spots and some smaller shapes, all straight lines, and a few pops of color.

Photo on 8-12-14 at 7.47 PM(a photo booth picture of our wall roughly nine minutes after we saw a pin of this idea)

When it was done getting taped Charlie went to town with a roller of dark grey and I set to painting a few accent shapes. No rhyme or reason, we were working to beat the bedtime clock, and just going.

Photo on 8-12-14 at 8.59 PM

I could not be happier with the outcome!

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It did change the whole feel of the room so we are going to rethink the desk/shelving that we currently have but it gave the PERFECT pop of bright, fun, modern color. And it was SO easy. The whole project took an hour from start to finish.

In fact, we were so happy with it. . . that this happened the next night.

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Our girls have been asking for a “pink and sunny!” room for ages. And short of painting the walls a hot pink (their pick) I couldn’t figure out a way to give them what they were asking for. Both ladies were thrilled with the office wall and were game when we suggested doing a sunburst on their wall in pinks!

So we didn’t hesitate.

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They. Love. It.

A few tips we found along the way;

1. When you lay your tape press hard along each edge and work quickly so you can get your paint on soon after your tape. The tape seems to get less tacky/stuck to the wall after about an hour, and the edges look a little peely, so getting it prepped and painted speedy works to your advantage.

2. Pull the paint away from the tape. So when you brush brush into the shape instead of out of.

3. Pull your tape immediately after you are done painting, before it is dry.

4. Don’t try this on textured walls :/

There are a few spots that are imperfect, esp if you look close, and a couple of bigger shapes that could use a second coat (and, when we have the time, we’ll get around to it). But overall this was a super quick way to make a huge impact. We have plans for the rest of the walls too and are gonna get started tonight! Hopefully I have a little room reveal to share at some point!

Feels good to get some color into our sweet home!

abundance.

Our little home has given us quite a lot. Room to grow, security, fresh inspiration, roots, and most recently; an endless bounty of foraging fun. We have blue berries, strawberries, mint, rosemary, apples, grapes, and some fruit we can’t quite figure out. . . .looks like a huge cherry tastes like a tiny peach?

Regardless. I am feeling the love for our little home today. 10492116_10100993583832090_875959782473656188_n

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{also, that little mudroom bench is one of my favorite reclaimed pieces Charlie has made.

It is just so soft and worn, perfect fit, and holds tiny feet with tired bodies with so much ease.}

silent spot.

It’s a genre that often goes unwritten. Or, at least, when I was desperate I couldn’t find it. How do you love your husband, grow in your marriage, and… last? without leaving the kids and parenting laurels behind.

My Mom always tells me that “the best gift you can give your kids is a healthy marriage” And, I wholly agree with that, and keep it close to my heart. But after spending a weekend dating every day, for four days (!!), we drove home and talked about how that felt.

Good? yes. Fun? yes. Sad? yes. Hard? yes. Fulfilling? yes. Worth it? . . . silent.

We went on four dates between Thursday-Monday, and they were all fun and amazing (kidless runs in the park, dinner somewhere fancy, a beautiful wedding, and another great run) but we saw our kids getting more tired, more ready for some family time (with us and the grandparents!), and a little sick of saying “bye bye Mama. Mama goes bye bye.” and it brought up some feelings for us both. As our marriage is in a joy filled and easy season, and has been for sometime, the dates were like a cherry on top. One was needed, and three were icing. But what have we been doing that has gotten us there? Why did it not feel worth it?

Dating is important, but it’s not the only path to a loving, full, intimate, successful marriage. But it is often the only real advice given when you google “how to stay married even after a baby” (yeah, I googled that once. it was a low moment.) Sometimes, when the bickering hits a breaking point, the cues go unnoticed, and the communication is quieter than the kids. . . you need something. But maybe that something isn’t what I thought.

Charlie and I have a lean towards Attachment Parenting and Unconditional Parenting, but read a lot of books and pull from a lot of places and don’t follow anyone thing dogmatically. But, in general, our philosophy goes with the golden rule; Treat others how you would like to be treated. And, kids are people too. And, I guess, I also lean to the idea that these years are short (really really really short) and it’s okay for me to endure some big self sacrifice in order to be wholly present in those birth-three years, even if its tiresome and hard, it is (and has been) incredibly worth it to me.

So, with that, having the only advice out there be “ditch the kids!” Be that, out of your bed, on dates, on weekends away, etc. All the articles/books/info I came across always seemed to herald alone time as the only means to love. And, I disagree. I think that there are times when that is, obviously, very needed. When stuff gets tough, conversations need to be had, and they need to be had away from tiny ears. And, dates are amazing! I love them! But, I don’t think, in any way, are they the only way.

I’ve been wanting to write about this, to bring to light a few ways that Charlie and I stay connected and growing in love and understanding of marriage and each other, but felt like maybe there isn’t an ear for it. But I’m going to plunge anyway.

A dear friend came for a playdate today. The kind of friend who asks good questions, and wants to hear the answers. And, a fellow writer, there is something kindred in that. She and I were talking about writing, and about how she would like to write a book, and I followed up with “oh yes! me too!” in kinda of a “bucket list” and “one day” kind of way. But the truth is that in that admission I put to words a dream I’ve only voiced to Charlie. I’ve been aching to write a book about how to have a marriage that is thriving while still being a very attached and conscious parent. I wouldn’t want to write a book, fully, about this until I’ve parented for long (I’m basically just a baby mom!). But I think the time is here for me to own that dream a bit, and to start getting my ideas to paper.. or screen. And start with the early years, the young children years, the years I am the thick of. When there are little limbs stuck to my side, and sweaty hairs wrapped around my arm while they sleep so sound. The years of being ‘over touched’ and under appreciated.

So, I guess, this is my forward. My outline. My rough drafts. My thoughts. It’s all raw, and new, and weird. And I think needed and important.

home tattoo

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It was a couple years ago that we started to dream about owning a home. Ever was growing, starting to crawl, and the ache to do  projects was getting too big to bear. We had painted and repainted, arranged and rearrange (and done it again) in our little sweet rental, but we had hit the edge of the walls. We began to dream of having a place where we could paint, knock down, build new, and buy forever pieces, knowing it could be forever. We started to let go of our comfort in being forever renters, and wade into the idea of risking everything to be home owners.

We started praying. We started saving. We started list making. And, probably biggest of all, we started dreaming.

One night, when Ever was about 7mo old, we were sitting on our little couch talking about the future and I said “when we are home owners. Lets get a little home tattoo.” it was flippant, small, and stuck.

We kind of backed off the whole home buying planning because the more we looked into it the less it seemed like it could ever be a reality (homes in our county are REALLY expensive compared to our wage). We let it go as a ‘maybe in ten years’ kinda idea.

But then the Little Lettered Dream Home popped up. And in a whirl wind of love, community, prayer, and a little magic. We ended up in our perfect, wonky, 102 year old dream home. And through that whole process, the ‘little home’ tattoos crossed out minds again and again.

Something about the simplicity. The permanence. And the shared experience just spoke too closely to the whole process.

And today was no different. We stopped into the parlor, got fit in right away, and walked out giddy and grinning.

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So, happy home owning, birthday(s), anniversary, and just because Love.

I can’t believe, any of this, is real life.

 

Full.

 

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I used to think that fulfillment was found in only the usual spaces. The paycheck with my name on it, the pat on the back from a superior, the scale moving downward, and the compliments from strangers. It was a small definition and one without much depth.

I grew a little and found fulfillment in consistent alone time with God, in meeting Him at 6am, on the dot and without fail. In being at church on the right days, with the right people, at the right time. But that was weak and small, that was habit and religion, not fulfillment and relationship. That was another definition that was little and without growth.

Lately I’ve noticed fullfillment shifting, new every day. It those deep baby sighs as they fall asleep in my arms, full. In hands plunged deep in the sink of hot water washing the film from a meal I made with my hands, full. I am finding it in reading to Nolie, endlessly, full. In spelling out words, counting up high, singing without ceasing, and prayers on my lips all the time, full. Thanks Full. His gifts, so full. A constant conversation with my God, not a stranger, feeling Full.

I have been doing the work, or rather letting it happen, that I am not aching for Full to come in the form of a check, habit, number, or accolade. But I am noticing Fullness, fulfillment, and Him. Everywhere.

In bubbles blown high off the back deck, in a freshly cleaned kitchen, in burping a newborn, in a rearranged living room, in a nearly all homemade renovation, plunging into the cold lake, in hands callused and held tight for ten years, in my girls bright eyes, in new words learned from lips and pencils.

The definition is growing, expanding, exploding. And it’s unending.