Sunday, July 19, 2015

My Dream House Reading Nook

In my last post I talked about realizing that my current house is my dream house. One of the things my dream house has is a cozy spot to read.

This is our front room. I guess some people would call it the formal living room but it's more than that. It's our music room and office since the piano and computer desk are located in here. Now, it's also my reading nook. I've been finding myself spending more and more time here, curled up on this couch with a book and a cat. Since the TV is in the family room this is a nice quiet spot to read.

For me, decorating is becoming more about arranging or styling what I have into something that looks good in my eyes. Maybe you don't think all these things go together but when I look at this little reading nook I've created for myself, it makes me smile.

The Harry Potter pillow which reads "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light. -Albus Dumbledore" was given to me by my youngest sister for my birthday. She made it out of a t-shirt that she found at the thrift store. These are the kinds of things I want to fill my home with. Thoughtful things that bring me joy.

My sister, Harry Potter, a comfortable place to read a book. These things are what makes this house my home.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

This IS My Dream Home

This is my dream home... at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself. I have a tendency to day-dream; imagining the future is the place where life will be perfect. I like to picture a beautifully decorated home where everything is effortlessly organized because everything has a proper place. A mudroom for shoes, coats, keys, etc. a formal dining room where I can invite a huge group of family and friends over for the most amazing meals that I have prepared in an absolutely exquisite kitchen that has a subway tile back-splash (I'm all about subway tile back-splashes.) In the future, I am an excellent cook.

But here's the reality of the situation, I can have all of that here in my current house. This house can be my dream house. I may not have a mudroom, a formal dining room or a subway tile back-splash (and honestly I could install a back-splash if I want, I own the house.) It's not the rooms that make a house a home, it's the memories you make within the walls of those rooms or out in the yard, or sitting on the deck. Home is where you should be able to recharge your batteries, a place of relaxation and inspiration. Where you can be yourself surrouned by poeple you love and who love you.

I may have a small eat-in kitchen style dining room but I've propped up a folding table next to my dining table extending it out into our family room and enjoyed a whole group of people gathered around my table. I may not have a mudroom but I put an over-the-door coat rack on a nearby door and a rug in a corner for shoes so those things have a place when we walk into our house from the garage.

Sometimes I can be too much of a tight-wad for my own good. I don't want to invest money into this house if it's not my forever or dream home, but we've lived here for almost three years. There are rooms in this house we don't use. We have two spare bedrooms with lots of untapped potential. I wish this house had a full basement, but we don't even utilize the semi-finished part of our partial basement. I learned a lot from buying this house and I know my priorities will be different the next time we're in the market for a home, however moving isn't even on our radar. We could live here for another ten, twenty, thirty years -- who knows, we might not ever move. I worry that we will outgrow this house when we're expecting baby number three because the bedrooms in this house are rather small and it would be a tight squeeze with two kids sharing a room. Then I realize how ridiculous I'm being, baby number three! I don't even have a baby number one! Plus I shared a bedroom with both of my sisters at some point growing up (although I hated it then and that's a different story for a different day) but we all turned out fine.

What I'm trying to say is I have to see the blessing that is right in front of my face. This is my dream home. Growing up I would dream about when I would have my own home to decorate. While we lived in our apartment I couldn't wait until I had a home of my own so I could really feel settled and now I'm currently living in a house I've literally dreamed about and not appreciating it. Last year when we went to the Parade of Homes I kept thinking that everything those super expensive houses had I could recreate in my own home. A place to cook, eat, entertain & gather. A place to rest, sleep and wash. I don't need to have a six burner stove or a pub in my basement to have a beautiful home. I can live out my dreams right where I am.

Honestly, contentment sometimes hits me like a ton of bricks. I wish I would have been more content with places I've lived in the past and worked to make them my own little havens instead of always thinking the next thing will be bigger and better. I challenge myself to make the most of my situation, I hope you will do the same.

Bloom where you're planted.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Great Paint Mistake

In April we finally painted our kitchen/dining room. Actually I painted it the wrong color.

We had three paint sample swatches on our walls for months and I knew I wanted to paint the whole room the middle sample. I had the color Aloof Gray stuck in my head because I thought it was the color we had decided on. When I went to Sherwin Williams I asked for four gallons of Aloof Gray. I had never purchased paint before so I had no clue how much we would need. Halfway through painting the whole room I realized that when I put the paint samples on the wall originally I painted them in color-name alphabetical order and Aloof Gray was the FIRST sample but I had intended to paint my kitchen the swatch in the MIDDLE. I guess Aloof Gray was just stuck in my head because it was a funny name. I didn't consult the paint chips to check the color names before I bought the paint and that was my downfall. I can't even tell you the name of that middle color swatch but it had more green undertones and Aloof Gray has blue undertones. Since the colors are fairly similar we are not going to repaint. However, we only used two gallons so now I have two extra gallons of the wrong color! I do think it is a pretty color so I will probably use to to paint the two guest bedrooms. It's still not my first choice for the kitchen but I'm just going to call in a happy accident and be glad that the project finally got done.

Here's a reminder of what the kitchen color looked like before, wine bottles and all:

Here are the walls painted Aloof Gray.

This is the best wall to really see the color, it's kind of like I have color changing walls because it looks different in different light but the daylight coming in the window shows off the blue/gray color nicely.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Adventures of Little Miss Birdy

A few weeks ago I was visiting with my aunt about all things spring including birds. She said every year a bird tries to make its nest inside their garage on their garage door opener. I thought that was interesting because I could only remember just one time a bird flew into our garage as a kid and my dad running around trying to get it out.

Fast forward to last weekend. I’m working in my yard with my garage door wide open. When I was finished with the yard work I walked back into the garage and startled a bird that had accidentally flown inside and is now sitting on top of my open garage door in a complete panic because she believes she’s trapped. Of course there is an opening large enough for two cars to drive through, which is plenty of space for a bird to fly in and out of; but the term “bird brain” didn’t come about because birds are particularly smart creatures. So I got the broom and started waving it around, knocking on things and saying “come on little birdy” all while trying to avoid any bird droppings that were flying through the air. (Bird poo in my hair would pretty much ruin my day.) But Miss Bird kept flying up except there is a ceiling in my garage and she couldn’t get very far so she just kept landing on the highest thing… the open garage door.

After a few unsuccessful minutes of this, I called my mom. (Moms always have the answers to odd questions like this.) She brilliantly suggested that I leave the garage door half up and half down which will create a space at the very top of the garage door opening and then go about my day and wait for the little birdy to fly out on her own. The only problem was I couldn’t get my garage door to stay halfway. It kept going up and down which made Miss Birdy totally panic and she left her spot on the (now moving) garage door and perched on the handlebars of a bicycle hanging on hooks on the wall. In all the commotion she finally saw the opening to the outside would and soared out into wide open spaces. I shut the garage door as fast as I could – I didn’t want her to change her mind and turn around and head back for my garage. (Thankfully she didn’t)

Shortly thereafter I remembered I needed to get the mail. Standing at the mailbox looking back at my garage door I was amazed at how much that little birdy had pooped all over it. Because when it’s up the front of the garage door is facing the ceiling of the garage and that was Miss Bird’s perch of choice. In her frightened state she must have lost control of her bowels.  So I got some soapy water and paper towels and scrubbed bird doo-doo off the front of the door all the while thinking to myself this is not what I planned on doing today. But hey, Miss Bird was free and my garage door was clean and when I told the story to my husband later, he had a good laugh.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Fourty-Books before November Reading Challenge

At the beginning of this year I set a reading goal for myself on Goodreads. In 2015 I would like to read 40 books. I'm not sure if that seems like a lot, or a little to you but for me it's a reachable, yet challenging goal.

After my goal was set my husband and I watched one of the Harry Potter movies and it got me thinking about the last time I read Harry Potter. In 2013 we listened to the audio book of  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on our 30 hour round-trip drive to Florida. Kevin had read all of the books except the seventh and he wanted to finish the series; so I don't really count that as the last time I read my favorite books ever. Going back in my memory, I last read HP when I was working at a coffee shop that wasn't very busy and we were allowed to read in-between making lattes and cappuccinos. I worked there around 2009-2010. Which means I last read HP over FIVE YEARS AGO. Which is definitely five years too long and I immediately went to grab my copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone but then remembered the 40 books in 2015 goal I sent for myself.

Goodreads won't count a book you already have marked as "read" towards your reading challenge and I want to reach my goals! I want to win! And I want to go back to Hogwarts ASAP so I decided to tweak my goal a bit. It's now my Read-Fourty-Books-By-November-So-I-Can-Read-Harry-Potter-Again Challenge. (I'd like to bet I'm the only one with this reading goal.)

What is my strategy, you ask? Read short books, oh I know that sounds terrible but before I put any books on hold at the library, I'm checking to make sure they have less that 400 pages. I've even read a young adult graphic novel for good measure. (Of course there are still some longer books I'm reading this year, but in general the books I'm choosing are relativity short.) I'm also listening to a good share of audiobooks. I don't have a long commute but just driving to work will get me through one or two chapters. Audiobooks are really helping me speed things up.

These are the books I've read so far this year:

1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
2. At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott
3. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
4. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastination and Get More Done is Less Time by Brian Tracy
5. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
6. Best Staged Plans by Claire Cook
7. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō
8. Drama by Raina Telgemeir
9. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success by Amy Morin
10. The Magician's Lie by Geer Macallister
11. Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup
12. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Twelve books by March 22nd isn't bad, right? As you can see I like to read a variety of fiction and non-fiction, it keeps things interesting. I'm about to start a Nicholas Sparks book, because I know I can read them fast. Now I'm off to dive into a book! Have a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Bundle Up!

Thank you for the kind words on my last post. Writing things out really helps me and sharing them with people who care makes it even better. You may find more journey to baby updates here as we continue on this path. Thank you for your encouragement; it means so much to me.

On a different note, I would like to share a few pictures. Today is quite cold and winter is not my favorite season but I still think it's beautiful. These photos are actually from a few winter's ago, but they are some of my favorites.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Journey to Baby

I've wanted to write about our journey to baby for a long time, but I didn't know how to get started. But this post is for me, to write things down. Pretend like we are close friends and were are sitting in the corner of a coffee shop catching up. Because sometimes that just what I really need, someone to talk to.

In the fall of 2013 my husband and I felt it was time to start our family. We had been talking about it for the past year or so, and we had been married long enough that people had started to ask "when are you two going to have a baby?" So, we started this journey. I talked with some of the women in my family and everyone said that didn't have any struggle with trying to conceive so I didn't have any reason to be concerned and honestly, I didn't have any examples on how to deal with infertility. We went through a couple of cycles with no success and I started doing more and more research and learned about tracking your basel body temperatures and many other tips and tricks. I bought and read books trying to find the answers to my questions. I learned all the TTC jargon, BBT, BD, CM, BFP, OPK etc. I watched a lot of women on YouTube sharing their journey for which I am forever grateful because even thought I have close friends and family; I didn't want to bore them too much with my information overload. 

In the fall of 2014 we reached and year of trying for a baby without success so I made a doctors appointment to begin the conversation about our options and to begin tests in case something was wrong. But on October 13th my period was one day late and I took a pregnancy test. I was so excited about taking it, I just had this overwhelming feeling. I had taken plenty of negative pregnancy tests in the past year but I just knew something was different about this day, this cycle. When the word "Pregnant" appeared on the screen I started shaking and was in complete shock. I woke my husband up and he was sleepy until I said "I just want to tell you that you're going to be a daddy" and he sat strait up in bed saying "NO WAY!" And I was delighted and then I cried. It was a beautiful moment and I'll never forget anything about it. 

Of course this is a Monday so I get ready for work and I think to myself  "I'm pregnant, I can't believe I'm actually pregnant." It replayed over and over in my head all day. That night, I was with my mom supporting my sister at her high school choir concert and I didn't say anything. My husband and I wanted to tell our families together and it was SO HARD not to tell my mom. Tuesday, my parents were having us over for a family dinner so Kevin and I bought a pair of tiny baby shoes and put them in a shoe box. As dinner was wrapping up I told my family that I just bought a pair of shoes and wanted their opinions. When I pulled the tiny pairs of shoes out of the box there were crickets. They all looked at me like I was crazy until my sister says "you're pregnant" and I said "yes, I am!" and my moms face lit up as she jumped up to hug me and there was a chorus of congratulations, hugs and hand shakes from my entire family. 

On Wednesday, we told my husbands family that had been shopping in the area and we wanted to stop by and show them some new shoes we had just bought. Kevin handed the shoe box to his mom and when she opened the lid she looked up and me and I just shook my head yes and there the rounds of hugs and congratulations continued at their house.

On Thursday, I woke up to blood. 

I will never forgot that feeling. Like my whole world had just stopped. This can't be real. I had tried to get pregnant for so long and I had three days of unbelievable joy and now blood. While waiting on hold with the doctor I just wrote "I love you I love you I love you" over and over again on a piece of paper. After playing phone tag with the doctors office, I had an ultrasound schedule for that afternoon. The bleeding had only gotten worse and the ultrasound tech was unable to see anything. I went to the lab for blood tests and the next day found out my HCG levels were extremely low. I followed up with more blood work a week later and my HCG levels were less than one. My baby was gone.

That brings us to today. I've had two cycles since my miscarriage and no baby. I had a miscarriage follow up appointment a month after I lost our baby and the doctor said if we don't conceive in the next couple months then it would be a good idea to come in for some testing. So it's back to the BBT and OPK (basel body temperature and ovulation predictor kit.) 

I constantly remind myself that my story is not over. This is just a chapter. If God has called me to be a mother (and I feel deep in my heart that He has) then He will fulfill the calling but it will be in His timing and not mine and that is the hardest part for me. 

But I will not give up hope. We will keep praying and trying and someday I hope to see that plus sign, second line or the word 'positive' on another pregnancy test. I hope that one day I will hold my little baby in my arms, give him or her a name and to whisper prayers of thanks over them. Someday I will be a mommy. 

Oh Lord, our Lord your majestic name fills the earth! 
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, 
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers-
the moon and stars you set in place- 
what are mere mortals that you should think about them, 
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God 
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made, 
putting all things under their authority-
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims in the ocean currents. 
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Psalms 8 NLT