Thursday, September 26, 2013

House Tour

Dining Room

Since we had the house cleaned up (ish) for company, I thought I'd take a few pictures so those of you far away can see our new digs.  

I have a cleaning hangover this morning - headache and no energy - so clearly I will be doing nothing today and the house will revert to its usual state of disarray, but at least I'll have this post to return to and feel good about.

Do I sound bitter?

Family Room

Kitchen (from the back door)

Clearly this is not a "House Tour" as in "Come see my show house that I've spent hundreds of hours and millions of dollars on decorating!"

Kitchen (from dining room)

It's much more ordinary than that.  It's just pretty much what our house would look like if you were coming for dinner.  

Living room

In the picture above, if the camera panned a little bit left, you could see the dining room.  I'm standing in the front corner of the house, to the right of the front door.

Living room - taken from the front door.

I'm not sure the upstairs will ever be presentable enough to put on here, but this, at least, is the first floor of our new house.

Of course, it is much better in person, so maybe you'd better come over and see it for yourself.  

And stay for coffee.  

Ooh, and a pumpkin snickerdoodle! 

(Thank you, Pinterest!)

But maybe after my nap.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fall Mantel

Facebook comes under a lot of well-justified criticism, but, really, it was made for people like me.  

I am the sort of person who wants a lot of input on questions, believing that wisdom lies in a multiplicity of advisers.  

So, last week when I was trying to figure out what to do with my living room mantel, I posted a picture on Facebook and, boy, did I get a multiplicity of advisers!

I got mostly helpful input from female friends, and mostly unhelpful, "funny" input from males.

My first mistake was asking what I could do to "jazz up" the mantel, so this led to comments like "you need four things, a saxophone, a trumpet, a clarinet and a baby grand piano. The hard part is getting the piano to balance on the mantle so it isn't constantly falling off" and "Miles Davis. Duh."

My second mistake was misspelling "mantel" as "mantle."  This generated less humor, but still prompted a few comments.  

Anyway, when all of the smoke cleared, I went to the thrift store and the dollar store, then pulled in a few things from around the house and came up with this.

I would still like to add a "Thankful" banner.  Something sort of like this.

So, we had a fun Facebook discussion, and now I have a lovely autumnal mantel.  Win/win!  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Of Ironstone and China Cabinets

And now for something completely different...

Home decorating magazines have featured ironstone antiques for years and it seems as though everyone and their hipster sister is collecting it, so even though I admire it and inherited one piece from a grandmother, I figured it would be useless to look for it, and too spendy if I did find it.

Well, on my trip to the thrift store this week (looking for more school uniform pieces) I glanced into one room that had souvenir plates, sets of china, and the like, and lo, and behold, I spotted a lovely ironstone tureen.  One that looks a whole lot like the ones featured in all those magazines.  And it was affordable, even for me (and I'm pretty cheap)!

There's the mark (above) and there it is on display in my china cabinet (below).

Speaking of which, what do you think of this cabinet?  It belonged to my grandmother and I'm very happy to have it.  It is not sacred to me, though, and does not have to be preserved in the state in which it sat in her home for many a year.

I see any number of Pinterest projects that could happen with this.

The trouble is that this seems to be rather more sacred to other family members and I get the greasy eyeball when I talk about paint and other desecrations like that.

I already removed the glass from the door and side panels and that was bad enough!  Then to talk about further "improvements" might just send someone off the edge.  Or to the phone to hire a moving truck and forcibly remove the piece from my unworthy clutches.

But these family members are not your family members and you don't have to care what they think.  If this was left on your front door step, what would you do with it?  Leave it as is?  Start a Pinterest board for ideas on how to change it?  Put the glass panels back in?  Paint it purple to match your dining room set?  I'd really like to hear so leave a comment.

And don't worry.  I'll deal with The Family.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


"The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy." Ps. 127:3

Sunday afternoon, I started to write a blog post entitled "Waiting."  I wanted to share about our continued waiting in the process of Evie's adoption.  At that point, we were still waiting - had been waiting for almost a month - to hear a decision in our recent court case to sever the rights of Evie's birth father.  I wanted to say something deep and meaningful and maybe even inspiring.  But the post lies abandoned because I just didn't have anything more to say on the subject.  We've been waiting on this adoption, in one phase or another, for four and a half years, so my stock of inspiration is depleted.  We've learned to wait in silence.

I am ecstatic to say, though, that that "Waiting" post will continue to lie abandoned and is being replaced with the title "Rejoicing!"

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from our lawyer.  He was so serious I instantly prepared myself for the worst.

Actually, I've been preparing myself for the worst for weeks now, trying to convince myself that either way, it is all in God's good providence.  Which, of course, it is.  It's the "good" part I sometimes struggle with believing.  Although, I shouldn't.

So, the lawyer says, "Well, we heard from the judge today and...we won."  He was so serious and business-like that I refrained from screaming in his ear.  But I was screaming and jumping up and down for joy on the inside!  At least until I got off the phone.

I will, as Jane Austen does, pass over the following paroxysms of joy as I laughed and cried and hugged Evie until she wondered what was wrong with me.

There were, of course, more scenes of ecstasy when the kids got home and heard the news.  We are planning a celebratory dinner for Wednesday night. Maybe we'll break out the champagne and sparkling grape juice my brother brought us!

This is not necessarily the end of our journey; the birth father can still appeal the decision, but we are praying the decision is so air-tight he won't even consider it.

And in due time, the adoption will be finalized and Evie will finally and forever be our daughter.

"...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Ps. 30:5b

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Day of School

How many posts across the blogosphere have carried this title this week?  Well, it is certainly descriptive if not very creative.

Yesterday was the first day of school at our new school.

Sam was lookin' mighty dapper in his uniform.

While it wasn't nearly as traumatic sending him to school for second grade as it would have been for Kindergarten or first grade, there was still a little heart pang to go with our last hug and kiss yesterday.  He has been my constant companion for seven years now and while it is undoubtedly time for change, I can't help being a little sad and nostalgic for my little guy growing up.

This was as much enthusiasm as I could get from Will, especially that early in the morning.

Otherwise, a good lookin' bunch, no?

While they were gone, Evie and I hung out in a suddenly very quiet house.

I had to remember how to do everything with a baby on my arm or underfoot and Evie had to be content with just boring old mom to play with.  We survived nicely, but we were both happy to have the kids home at the end of the day. 

Will had soccer practice, but when I picked up the other three, they were full of smiles and stories, new best friends and funny teachers.  And at dinner we heard similar stories from Will, and even saw a few reluctant smiles.  

So, it isn't exactly as easy and familiar as an old glove, but we are in a good place, and for that we are truly grateful.