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December 2010
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February 2011

the opposite of zen

so, yesterday was a little nutty. harper and i were on the go go go all day. she had asked me the night before if we could do yoga, and i told her that maybe we'd have time the next day. well, the go go go got in the way.

after school, henry was doing homework and i was getting stuff around for a moms brunch this morning, so i told harper that if she wanted, i could put a yoga dvd on and she could do it on her own. she squealed affirmatively, so while she got the mat ready, i found a dvd.

now, this particular dvd is led by a woman from australia. she's lovely. she goes very slowly and i thought that would be good for my little novice five-year-old yoga enthusiast. i skipped to the beginning of the work-out and then wandered off to the kitchen.

five minutes later, harper comes storming in.

"done already?" i asked.

"i hate that dvd! i can't understand anything she's saying! she talking only in cursive! it's all, 'wah wah wah wah'! it's like it's japanese! it's horrible! i can't stand it!!"

then she stomped off to her room to play barbies.

so, australian accent = speaking in cursive.

who knew.

by the way, the brunch? got canceled. however, the strata i made was amazing. you need to try it.

the midwinter blahs.

it was bound to happen. the blahs. the meh that settles in halfway between the excitement of the first snowfall and bitterness of having to yet again bundle up to the eyebrows just to go start the car in the morning before having to sit in it for 20 minutes to drive a child to school.

we're halfway through winter, and the honeymoon is over.

now i'm left to waffle between wanting it to warm and thaw in the next two months and get these blahs out of here, and hoping it stays cold and white because it's much prettier to look at our house under a snowy blanket than when it's surrounded by the brown squishiness of post-winter yard. plus, once it melts, we have to contend with people looking at our house and tracking in mud. because you know not everyone will respect our wishes that shoes be removed.

the blahs bum me out. i've lost all sense of energy and enthusiasm. i've taken about three pictures since the beginning of the year, which is really sad because marc bought me a super fun lens for my birthday: a 17-40. oh, the fun we could be having together! but ... nope. meh. i should be doing so many little projects around the house but ... nope. meh. yesterday we literally sat around so much that i was exhausted by it and went to bed for two hours.

we *did* manage to get a new chandelier for the dining room from ikea and get it installed over the weekend, so that's one thing off the to do list. our chandelier was a gift from my parents when we moved into our first house and i love it, so it comes with us every time we move. (once, so far. but still.) hence the need for a new one. and for $40, i'd say the new one looks pretty good. (actually, one of the three 2011 photos is of the new light. maybe someday i'll share.)

this weekend we (by that i mean "i") will paint henry's room and get rid of the bright/brighter/brightest on the walls currently.

(remember those walls?


with any luck next weekend will be entryway retiling. i need to call our handywoman to come drywall over a couple of spots in the tv room. those might be the three biggest things we need to tackle. oh, and i want to paint the laundry room walls and floor. they are just cement block right now and it's always depressed me, so i really want to freshen it up. four projects.

in the meantime, to combat the blahs, i've sat on the couch and flipped through paint decks. when the time comes and the framing is done and the drywalling begins, we will be asked what color(s) we want, and i need to be able to answer that question. i refuse to paint everything one color and then figure out the rest later. this goes back to my obsessive-compulsive pre-planning (evidenced here, here, and here) ... i want to do it once and do it right. i keep asking marc about sofas ... beds ... rugs ... and he says, "we'll get there. we're not getting it all right away." and i say, " duh. i know. but i don't want to repaint when we DO get there. i want to plan ahead, even if the paint doesn't totally match what we take with us initially."

he gets it now. because he doesn't do the painting. at all.

so, in honor of the blahs, i give you the current considered paint scheme:

i know at some point i'll want a different color in the guest room in the basement, but i'll deal with that when the time comes. looking at it altogether now, it doesn't really scream out with the fresh color that i love, but trust me ... there's a plan afoot. i have inspiration:

entryway ...

image from
(via justine taylor)

kitchen ...

image from
(via design*sponge)

great room ...

Eric roth photography photographer winter white living room yellow accent throw pillows wild horses of sable island photograph drum pendant light
(via eric roth photography)

mud room ...

image from
(via two ellie)

master bedroom ...

image from
(via decor pad. marc and i are already in agreement about this bed from crate & barrel.)

harper's room ...

Harp room layout
(via unknown)


image from
(via barefoot in the kitchen)

(already have one jenny lind bed ... working on the second right now.)

henry's room ...

Henry room pallet bed double high
(via unknown)

kids' bathroom ...

Kids bath brockway w stools
(via unknown)

image from
(via justine taylor)

upstairs guest room ...

image from
(also via justine taylor)

general inspiration for the new home ...

image from
(via kiss the groom)

lots of white ... lots of warmth ... lots of cool ... lots of fun ... lots of happiness ... a little vintage ... a little whimsey ... a little industrial ... all us.

and that, my friends, is what gets me through the blahs.


loose ends.

tyin' 'em up.

i can't quite get going on the new things coming down the pike without getting december/xmas out of my system.

and don't get me started on 365/52. i abandoned it back in, i think, september. maybe i'll finish that someday.

i was smart enough to know better than to try it again this year.

but going back to the pre-holiday and holidays ...

i seem to remember mentioning that harper and i were going to be crafty in december and that i would share. well ... you know how that went. i didn't share a dang thing.

but we were crafty.

we made ornaments, we painted a little wooden church and put little bottle brush trees and tiny nativity ornaments on a chipboard "yard" in front of the church. we painted clear glass ornaments. we did these martha stewart glittery things. etc.

we took the kids downtown for sushi and the holidazzle parade.


IMG_8205 IMG_8198
both kids had a holiday party at school. i helped at henry's.


(i need to buy that child shirts that fit his arms.)

the kids voted to open xmas gifts from grandpa and grandma lawrence before heading to indiana. everyone loved their goodies, but marc's buckyballs were the big hit with everyone. those magnets are hella strong and we had a blast trying to figure out just what we could get them to stick to ... painfully.

then we made the trip to indiana.

harper and grandma made cookies ... and wyatt felt very left out.

so they let him join the fun.

we took the littlest kids to fort wayne to see santa ... on christmas eve. nothing like waiting until the last minute.

we had a fantastic dinner at my cousin's beautiful home and hung out for a few hours, then headed back to my parents' to get to all the eve traditions. the santa jammies ... the stockings ... the thank you notes and cookies for santa ... reading "'twas the night before christmas" ... etc.

then christmas morning:

being with great-grandma ...


harper, using her new camera to take funny pix of her brother ...

(i need to upload her work ... it's hiLARious. especially her videos. omg. she kills me.)

harper discovered when she played a whistle, bruiser would sing. that was a big hit ...

then we all got the flu. for two days. oy.

then we headed to indy to be with marc's family. but first, a birthday present for wyatt, who amazingly turned one on new year's eve ...

then we went to skinners' and got to spend time with marc's sister and her family, who live in costa rica and we haven't seen them in three years. it was great.

the cousins were adorable together and played so, so well ...

we spent went to a crazed pizza place, and the kids had so much fun ...

and they threw blankets on the floor to slumber party each night ...

our last day there, it was 70 degrees. above zero. so they all ran around in the backyard, playing frisbee, climbing trees, finding acorn hats (that would have been *my* daughter's activity) ...

(all moms are the same ...)

too soon, it was time to head home. but first, the annual measurements on the growth wall, which then led to height comparisons ...

nearly-six-years-old harper and her nearly-eight-years-old cousin, berea:

and nearly-11-years-old henry and his ever-so-slightly-older-than-11-years-old aunt andi:

that was pretty funny.

then we drove home. where it was -15 with wind chill. we lost 90 degrees in 12 hours.

but we were well again, happy, and ready to sleep in our own beds and get back to normal.

it was a great holiday. even with the flu.

and now i can embrace 2011. officially.

turn 37. make 'to do' list.

i don't make new year's resolutions. well, sometimes i do, but i never mean it.

i have no resolve.

so this year, i got smart. i made a to do list. i *like* to do lists. something about crossing things off ... it feels productive. and not at all crazy-ambitious, like a resolution.

"lose 50 pounds." really? um, no. that sounds hard. "eat better and go to the gym and strive for a healthy one-pound loss per week." hey ... THAT i can do!

and i didn't make it on new year's. i made it for today. my birthday. the day my (cough) 37th year begins. it is my to do list for being 37.

what's on my to do list?

* the aforementioned eat better and go to the gym and strive for a healthy one-pound loss per week.

* take at least three classes a week at the gym. first up? vortex water power, water boot camp and spinning. goal class: kickboxing.

* draw up an official business plan for little bird memories photography, get marketing off the ground, get the web site built, and start getting my name and product out there.

* be proactive and get the house ready for market in baby steps, instead of waiting until the weekend before the open house to, say, retile the entryway.

* remain calm throughout the build process, enjoy it, roll with what may come, because it will be awesome and will likely never happen again.

* once we move, spend good, thoughtful time putting things away and getting organized and then LIVE an organized life.

* get the email inbox to zero, respond to emails in a timely manner, delete when i've read them.

* be a better friend.

* learn to make bread and then stop buying bread. on that note: cook more. i love to cook, my family loves my cooking, and i need to do it more often.

* make time to read. and then work through that stack of, oh, eight books that have sat on my nightstand for a year, unopened.

* start being scrappy again. (more about this later this week. i have an idea.)

i think that's it. that's all i really want to add to my life and accomplish this year.

because, really ... i'm 37. that's too dang old to have a list with anything more on it. i'll just get bored and wander away to some early bird special at ihop ...

so, happy birthday. to myself. and to my mom ... thanks for having me and starting me on this journey called life. it's a pretty good one.

obsession hits fever pitch.

i did the math yesterday: our plan for the past year has been to put the house on the market after harper's birthday in march, and get the build process going in april. sticking with that timeline, we have ... two and a half months. roughly 70 days to retile the entryway floor, purge the garage, craigslist several big items, repaint henry's room, touch up paint in several areas, take down some shelves in the kitchen, de-personalize every room, fix the entertainment cubby wall in the basement, clean the bloody heck out of every room, etc., etc.

oh, and marc travels for work.

oh, and both kids have birthdays during this time.

(oh, and so do i, but that doesn't count. mom's birthday never counts.)

i've got to find that master room-by-room to do list that i made in the fall. i do so much better when i can cross off things.

since returning from the holidays, i find that i walk around the house looking at everything with a "we can totally pack that away" eye. honestly, i can't wait. this may be a good exercise in paring down to only exactly what we need, not all the extra. which is perfect timing, since we're about to double our square footage.

while talking over the holidays, marc mentioned something about having more house to be messy, and my reaction was: no. we are not getting a bigger house in order to have more to clean (though that's, sadly, an inevitable outcome). the upside of a bigger house is that everything has a place. i can plan the storage we need for what we have.

empty drawers and cabinets. that is my aspiration.

i've been reading susan susanka's not so big house books, and i love the idea of a home being arranged intentionally and thoughtfully. now, i understand that our house will not, in fact, be a not so big house, relatively speaking, but that doesn't mean that we can't be thoughtful about how we use it and what we will need to store. this may be construed as "going off the deep end," but i use my finger on the floor plan and walk through my day to make sure that the kitchen is laid out most efficiently, where we should plan to rearrange some space, whether we need a door here or a closet there.

like i said: obsessing.

and i obsess over the pretty details, too. i mean, come on ... that's the fun part, right?

top topics of thought?

1. kitchen sink: apron front farmhouse - fireclay or stainless steel? single bowl or double?

2. island: cooktop in the island? or just a prep sink? or just a flat work surface?

(from meg duerksen)

3. fireplace surround: leftover soapstone from the countertops or 1x3 glass subway tiles, preferably in a pretty soft green, to carry the soft olive color of the island through the great room?

Fireplace tile
4. stairway: bare wood or striped runner, specifically, this striped runner?

Da stairway runner
(from dash and albert)

5. ceilings: splurge and get tongue & groove, or settle for knock-down?

(from kentucky mama)

6. marc's office: door to match the house, or seriously cool sliding barn door?

Barn door marcs office
(from feldman architecture)

7. exterior: white clapboard farmhouse or new england gray?

Gray with turquoise door
(from ck interiors)

8. mudroom: lockers or hooks and shoe cubbies? gray and white checkerboard linoleum floors or black slate herringbone?

(from skon hem magazine)

(from tile girls)

any thoughts? recommendations? learned-from-experience wisdom to share?

as much as i can't wait to get to the fun part, i have to have to have to focus on the next 70 days. otherwise, the rest is pointless.

a boy and his dog.

(first of all, if you are coming over from the cottage nest ... welcome!! jen can totally make a girl's day with one little email. me? she made my entire holiday with, like, five little emails. we're bffs now. (not really ... we haven't actually met yet ... but i can pretend, right?))

i've been working through our pix from the holiday and realized two things:

1) i really didn't take many photos. blame it on the stomach flu that kept 60% of us in bed for two days, or blame my desire to actually relax and be a PART of what was going on versus just observing it. whatever the reason, my pix are limited this year.

2) henry needs a dog.

now, *i* don't need a dog. that's just one more person to care for. and we travel too much to be dog people. heck, on this trip we just left three bowls of food, an extra litter box, and a new fancy water fountain for the cat. if we can't even find someone to come feed a cat once a day, what would we do with a dog?? (and for the record, mario is just fine. loud ... and needy ... and not letting me sleep past 5 a.m. ... but fine.)

however, the whole time we were with my parents - five days - henry and my sister's dog, bruiser, were inseperable.

there's just something about a boy and a dog, isn't there?


even i have to 'fess up to being rather fond of this dog. as far as dogs go, he's pretty awesome and loveable. and i'm not generally a dog person.

unfortunately, soon enough, henry will have to share bruiser's attention and affection. because wyatt will one day be the little boy throwing the sticks and rolling the ball and snuggling up with his head on bruiser's chest.

luckily for henry, there's another year or two before that happens.

90 degrees.

that was our temperature swing. from playing frisbee outside in indianapolis on friday to pulling in our driveway at 8 p.m. last night.

24 hours. 630 miles. 90 degrees.

and one year.


this year will be full of so, so much. and who knows what lies out there that is UNforeseen.

i'll write at length in the next day or so, share photos and whatnot, but today i am unpacking, doing laundry, restocking the fridge, tracking down the sneaky spoiled smell from somewhere in the kitchen, policing children who are happy to be in their own space again but are tired of being together but are not ready to be alone, caring for mchotness and his three-octaves-deeper sore throat (which really means i'll bring him a cherry 7-up while he watches the vikings play and eats frozen pizza), and hopefully find some quiet time to go through photos and catch up on eight days of being disconnected.

it was a wonderful holiday (minus the stomach flu), 2010 was a wonderful year, and 2011 holds so much possibility and excitement. and i'm ready to get this party started.

but first, i need to find my slippers. because my toes are freezing.