Monthly Archives: April 2012

the sisters

The eldest is headstrong. She loves to be active, outside, and loud. She craves an ADVENTURE and daily bemoans the fact that we live on a quiet cul-de-sac instead of on a deserted island, in the middle of the jungle, or in a mountainous wilderness. She loves the earth and wants to save “all the cute animals” in the world.

The middle is easy-going. She is a pleaser and loves to make her daddy and me happy by remembering to put things away and help around the house. Happy to sit inside with a screen in front of her on a beautiful spring day, I have to encourage her to get out and DO something, be active. She is bright and quiet and go-with-the-flow chill.

Like oil and water, my oldest two. They always say that with girls, three’s a crowd. I see this daily in my home, usually with the oldest and the youngest paired off, with my sweet middle girl left out. I try not to referee too much–they’re young and they need to know how to work it out. Sometimes they do, and sometimes there’s tears. I guess it’s all part of raising girls.

But moments like this, they get my heart. The eldest just found out last week that she needs glasses. She is EXCITED and really looks forward to wearing them and seeing things at school more clearly. But as with all things, she is nervous about the change.

The middle one picked out a library book yesterday specifically with this in mind: DW Gets Glasses. In a quiet moment before school this morning, the eldest read it to the middle. Both were engrossed. That rare moment of sisterly bonding–makes me realize they’ll be okay.

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the hand-me-down trunk

Doing projects around the house has proved to be an excellent keep-busy-and-take-your-mind-off-your-grief activity since we learned that Patrick wouldn’t be coming home with us. Ryan has built, filled, planted, and installed a drip system for four garden beds on the north side of our house (more on that next week) and is in the middle of a trellis project for the south side.

Me, I refinished two and a half pieces of furniture in the first four months after September (I’ve been out of commission for the last few months because of some back troubles). The dresser that I started for Patrick sat in our garage, sanded, primed, and painted with one coat of dark blue, for about a month before I tackled it so I could park my swagger wagon in the garage again. (The dresser is currently holding our TV and AV equipment in the family room until it finds a permanent home).

Then there’s the desk that I finished just in time for the holidays. I love it–the turquoise makes me so happy, and I’ve had a lot of fun creating different vignettes on it to welcome visitors to our home.

My other refinishing project is now tied with the desk for my favorite project to date.

But I should back up a little. Remember what my living room used to look like?

The old tired couches were on their last legs, and we purchased our new leather sectional the day after Christmas. After waiting impatiently for two months, we finally pushed aside the old and welcomed in the new.

Wah-wah. The dark brown couch and the dark brown and black coffee table just were not doing it for me. That coffee table has been good to us over the years–each of our girls pulled themselves up and cruised around it in their pre-walking phases, and the rounded edges and distressed top have been perfect for kids. But I think it was time to move on.

This trunk was a part of my childhood home. I remember my mom storing her Christmas sweaters and her Mexican poncho (vintage, from the 70s!) in it, along with other heavy duty clothing items she didn’t need in constant closet rotation. She and my dad brought it out to us, along with the desk and Ryan’s ultimate chair, in September. Using it as a coffee table would provide the added bonus of lots of extra storage for the blankets I always need in the winter.

But when I tried it with the new couch:

I just didn’t love it in its current state. It was too dark and heavy–it pulled the room down. I loved the black wooden straps, leather handles, and brass hardware, but the green color had to go.

Initially I tried painting it with some Annie Sloan chalk paint in old white.

Once I got it finished, we tried living with it for about a week. While I liked the brightness, the stark contrast of the black and Old White was just too strong for my taste. So my sample of Old White turned out to be the most expensive primer ever. Ooooops. I tried again, this time with a soft, warm gray I’d picked up at the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore ages ago.

Ahhhhhhh. Isn’t she pretty? A few more gratuitous beauty shots:

I adore the texture of this piece. It fits so comfortably into our home.

Added bonus?

My husband tends to break out in hives if there are too many pillows on the couch, so I can store my extras in here when we’re not expecting guests. Then when I want to pull them out, they are super accessible.

Oh, and just because I love the ranuculus I cut from my garden for these photos, here’s one glory shot of them.

Aren’t they pretty? Though in the interest of full disclosure, this is the far more likely view from today.

But look, at least I have groupings of three–the flower vessels, the discarded hair things, and the rumpled pillows in the background. *snerk*

What have you been doing to keep busy?

Linking up with Miss Mustard Seed, the Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk, and,

Home Stories A2Z

my therapy

I’m struggling with how to write this post. I’ve started three different drafts just to have a place to share some of my recent favorite photos. This really isn’t a hard task, is it? “look, cute photos of my kids! Aren’t they adorable/crazy/funny?” There, that’s not so hard, is it? What’s the big deal?

The big deal. The elephant in the room. The reason why when people ask me in passing how I’m doing I answer simply “I’m ok.” How do I find joy in my life with my wonderful husband and my sweet and silly girls when I ache every day for the boy who is gone?

This is hard. Hard. I am grateful every day that we have these days, that I can be with my girls and my sweetie. Seven months of gratefulness that with our loss, we still have each other and get to move forward. But the other side of that coin is that moving forward feels like a betrayal of my boy. I shouldn’t be happy, because he’s not here. I shouldn’t laugh and play with my girls because he can’t watch from his bouncer and laugh at his sisters’ silly antics. I shouldn’t write upbeat, cheerful emails, Facebook posts, or blog entries when I feel such a heaviness.

And yet, I know I have to do these things. I have to move forward. I have to function. I have to help my girls feel joy. We have to laugh, to grow, to change and improve and learn. I have to feel joy, guilt-free.

And here’s my therapy. Taking pictures, capturing the everyday, these simple things that are so precious. This is helping me climb out of me, the space in my head that doesn’t want to let myself be happy just yet. I have to get there.

I hope you enjoy.

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