Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Part 3 of Having More and Owning Less: Clearing out the Clutter

:: Clearing Out the Clutter :: 

The idea of having more by owning less is one of those ideas that seem great in theory. Oh yes, I can do this. Let's buy a home that fits our budget. Easy. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty of going through your belongings and actually letting go of what you do not need, it can become difficult. This part of living in a minimalistic state of mind is where I am still working and will continue to work the rest of my life. It is a place where I have to sit and think about what is actually important to my daily life. I will break it down into three parts. These three parts are what I am doing each month to clear the clutter. 


First: Clothing

I am a self-confessed clothes hoarder. In my closet I had clothes dating back 10 years. That is not good fashion sense (trust me- the early 2000's look dated). I had clothes with tags still on them. I bought them thinking that I like it and some day I will wear it. I had clothes that I bought on a whim or thought I might need several colors. I had clothes that were not flattering to my body type. A month ago, those clothes left my closet in SEVEN big bags. Clothes, shoes, purses, belts, and outerwear. They were loving folded, packed, and set up on the doorstep to give to the Green Drop pick up service. Then they went on their merry way to The Order of the Purple Heart to be donated. Two things happened after that: 

#1 - I could actually walk in my closet and see all that I had nicely hung on hangers or folded on shelves. I saw clothes not a massive heap of fabric. I saw the clothes that made me feel attractive and flattered my figure. I saw what was missing to an essential basic wardrobe. A good black dress. A good pair of brown leather boots. A good wool coat. I never knew that I was missing those things that enhance a look because there was too much clutter in my closet. Now, I can actually find my clothes and wear them. 

#2- I realized how silly it is to buy clothes that aren't made well or don't flatter me. I have had three children and my body type has changed but it doesn't mean I have to hide under a burlap sack. It is time to mature my wardrobe and really buy the clothes that make me feel good. No more giving in to internet sales and email coupons. Buy with purpose and for quality. Owning less but having more.

My husband is happy too. He actually gets more closet space. 


Second: General Household 

This is a lot easier for me. Clothes are hard because I link my identity to what I am wearing. However, household goods are just that: tools of the home. I have made a point over the last year to decrease the number of linens by getting rid of the tattered looking ones and only replacing what needs to be replaced. The kitchen got a total overhaul and a lot of dish ware and cookware left the kitchen. I kept what I use regularly and make me feel like a real chef. Books that have been read went on along with craft items that weren't getting used. Even some furniture that was hiding out in the storage unit will be on its merry way soon. My new mantra is get rid of one old thing and replace with one new.  If something leaves the house then something new can come into the house. It does not work all the time because there are special circumstances but mostly it has decreased the clutter. Example: We do not need six sets of bath towels for the kids. Three are rotated and used in a  four -five day cycle. When they wear out then I will replace. I have found that by keeping only what is useful and meaningful in our home it allows us to live an less cluttered and happier life. (Also- it is much easier to clean the house now) 


Third: Toys

This is a hard one. Children do not like to be told that they will have to go through their toys and get rid of broken or unused toys. I know, I tried it. We recently cleaned the play area and organized all the bins and cubbies by putting all of the same toys in individual bins and throwing out broken toys along with giving old unused toys to charity. It was a trial and error experience that was met with much wailing about how they would have no toys. Not true, they have plenty. Instead of giving up, we talked about what toys we loved and played with the most. They would stay and if it was something that longer kept our interest then maybe some other child might like it. Now, that the play area is organized and clean. The important part in this clutter free zone will be Christmas. My approach in the past few years has been to find toys that will be educational, thought-provoking, imaginative, and fun. To ask my children what is fun for them and try to find toys that will fit what they are thinking. It takes a lot more time to find those special gifts but they are so well used and loved by my children that I feel it was worth the work. 


By clearing the clutter- it has made me a more thoughtful shopper. I am becoming aware of the rampant attempts to get me to buy, buy, buy! I am working hard to keep those tricky attempts at bay by obeying my instincts to keep my home clutter free and my wallet full for adventures. 


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Our Home






The first light of the day is just reaching out above the tree-line and from where I sit and write this post. I can see the darkened silhouettes of those trees and the stray cloud that lingers waiting to be burnt off by the sun. I try and spend a few quiet moments looking out our back slider each morning, surveying how the trees have changed from the day before. The seasons coming and going changing the wooded landscape behind our rental home. This is a ritual that I do in every single home that we have lived. 

A little background; we have lived in seven different homes - six of those were rental homes. We have had many opportunities to live in homes and figure out what we need, want, and dislike. For us, it is a lesson in buying exactly what we need, and knowing that just because we can, doesn't mean we should. We made the big decision to stay well below our limit and find a home that fits our budget, not a budget to fit a home. For us, saving money each month for the future is very important. But there is something else that we learned is very important to us. The freedom to go. We are a family that loves to go places. If you know us or have read this blog for any length of time then you know that we are always on the go. It has enriched our lives and the lives of our children. That is why we are choosing to buy small and stay small. 

"Small" and "inexpensive" are relative terms. We live outside an area of the country that is expensive. So, our budget looks very different than that of someone who may be buying a home in Montana. ( I've looked, such a pretty place.) As a result, our "small" is different than someone else's "small". We worked out the budget and know the limitations of our family. By knowing our limitations our biggest obstacle is overcome. We hope that by purchasing a home that is "less expensive" (relative term alert) we will be able to do more as a family. It might owning less but we will have more time and flexibility to travel.

By using the idea of staying "small" I have found that what is inside the home is as equally as important the size of the home. We are a family and a family needs basic things on a day-to-day basis. We also need to utilize the space we have, not wasting an inch. Here is where the work still needs to be done. We are constantly adjusting and changing how we use the space.

I have broken our home into three levels:

Upstairs/The Quiet Space: bedrooms and bathrooms. This space is where we sleep and prepare for the day. It is also now our quiet space. Our bedroom doubles as a studio/office space for my husband and I to work when we desire. The children use their bedrooms as a quiet space to read. We moved Legos upstairs too. We have found that from time to time our kids need to have some alone time. Just them being independent.




The mid-level/The sometimes noisy area: kitchen and living space. I love all those magazines that have the perfect living rooms with white sofas. Oh, to have a pristine white sofa! But I have three kids. No white sofa. We have a sitting area with a sofa and chair along with some bookshelves and a cabinet for my "fancy" dishes (as the girls say). We also divided that room into two parts. The living space for adults and then a table and chair set and small bookshelf for learning time. I homeschool through pre-k and we need that little corner for quiet learning time. We use our coat closet for coats and a small shelf of art supplies. Again, trying to use every space. The kitchen is for everyone. The centerpiece of our home. Everyone helps cook and clean up so it is a place that is accessible to everyone. My most loved piece of furniture is our kitchen table. We spend more time there eating, crafting, doing homework, or chatting with visitors then anywhere else. It is the heart of our home and it is where we are a family. So, the noise level and craziness on this floor can vary depending on what we are doing.





The downstairs/The kids zone aka FREEDOM!: our cozy place. All the toys and the television ( we only have one) are down here. It is where we spend time as a family. The kids have most of the space and are able to play, pretend, and imagine with freedom.






I found that if I organized everything in our home this way then we can all be content. This also meant really deciding on what needs to go in each room and letting some things go. We also started a little thing where if we want to bring something new into the home then it needs to replace something else that is leaving. It is hard because we are battling the urge to buy some thing new to enhance (or so we think) our home. A perfect example would be our living room, I want to buy another chair but I took a step back and realized that we were really fine with what we had right now. The biggest step is finding contentment in what we have.

The perk of having less furniture and more open space is that I am not cleaning as long. Anyone who knows us knows that we keep a really tidy home. But I have found that with less furniture I have more time to do the things I want and not fuss over the tidying up.

Our needs will change as our children grow and we know that we will have to adjust accordingly but that is in the future and we are here, now. Our biggest lesson in looking for a home is that we have to be content no matter where we live. A home that will be our base as we go into the world and experience life. 





Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A 4-part series on Owning Less but "Having" More




Over the last two years we have transitioned as a family from a military lifestyle to a civilian lifestyle. For most people who have not experienced a life of deployments, seabags by the door, homecomings, new friends, new places, and moving, it may not seem like a hard transition. However, leaving one life behind for another is hard on everyone in the family all the way down to our little two year old. We have always lugged our things behind us in U-Haul trucks or followed big 18-wheelers loaded down with our belongings to our new home. This last series of moves involved moving from one rental to another for 8 months while my husband finished his final duties as a Naval Officer in Washington DC. Then we moved into our current rental as we began our search for a home. During this time of packing and unpacking I began to realize one important thing. We have TOO much stuff. Our closets are teeming with clothes, we have furniture that has sat in storage and not been used for over a year, and we have books, so very many books. These things were beginning weigh us down both physically and mentally. It made me feel resentful and a bit stressed about where everything would once go as we moved into a 2,100 sq. foot home. 

I would like to claim that it was this grand light bulb moment where I had this life altering epiphany that we should own less things but it was not that. It was and is a series of fits and starts where in one moment I am clinging to everything and saying "Oh, we will use it again" and in other moments I am having surges of "we must purge this house!!" We are not the perfect family of minimalists. We are renting a storage unit for goodness sakes! It is a journey of finding the balance of things and life. 


Here is where we started, my husband and I asked ourselves a series of important questions. 

1. What do we need to live and raise a family? 

2. What is our family code? Our morals? Values? What things do we place importance on? 

3. How much money will we need to live comfortably by our aforementioned values? 

4. How do we want to spend our time? (travelers or homebodies)

5. What do our things say about us? What do we WANT our things to say about us?

6. What do we want our future to look like? 

7. What are we willing do to achieve the lifestyle we want? 

8. (The big one) Are we happy right now? What would we change? 



These answers came out over time and many discussions over the dinner table or in the evening after the babes were asleep. They sometimes change too. That is definitely okay with us. Some of the answers were already in front of us we just had to see them. 



I am hoping to write this week and probably next (because let's face it, I have three children and sometimes the blogging just does not happen) about our journey through owning less but having more. We are not a success story but more of a story in the making.


** Disclaimer: I do not claim this as a blueprint for success or what will work for every family. I fully acknowledge that everyone is in a different situation and have different responsibilities.  Rather this will serve as an inspirational narrative for those seeking some help navigating the world of things. 



Friday, September 30, 2016

Adkins Arboretum

:: Adkins Arboretum :: 


We visited Adkins Arboretum last Saturday. It is very near where my husband grew up and spent time with his family. We picked up his dad for lunch and a trip to the arboretum. I had never visited this place before and didn't know how beautiful it was. It was amazing. The walking paths with some plaques describing trees, an outdoor sculpture gallery, and goats! It was one of those afternoons you want to bottle up and keep forever. It will definitely be worth another visit. 









Thursday, September 29, 2016

Three Thoughts on Thursday

:: Three Thoughts on Thursday ::

Oops! Tuesday was here and left before I could even put a post up. So here we are on Thursday already. The weather has been up and down all week so it throws me for a loop. I like rainy days but not several in a row. It really depletes my energy. Things have been calm this week in our home and I love it. Slow weeks are needed to catch up on just taking a moment to live. 

#1 Chocolate Cake 

My little ones have been begging for a chocolate cake for what seems like forever (not really, maybe just three days). We set out yesterday to bake a cake. I am on a bundt cake kick lately. I have really pretty pans and I love how easy they can be. No fussy middles or lining up layers. We picked out a recipe from Martha Stewart's website and off we went. Mixing, measuring, pouring, and spilling. I got the cake in the oven just in time to turn around and find our youngest guy covered in chocolate batter. He had taken the mixer paddle and began "cleaning" it for me. I usually don't mind if they taste it but the raw egg thing kind of worries me. So- we quickly cleaned up and set about making chocolate frosting because we go big in this house. The kids really enjoyed cooking and I did too. I have learned to relinquish some control when it comes to allowing the children to help. I used to try and control the mess but now we just go with it. They love to help in the kitchen and I don't want to turn them off to cooking. Let's face it, they will need to cook to live someday. It is one of those important life skills. The cake was great not as good as Ina Garten's: Beatty's Chocolate Cake. That is by far my favorite recipe. But I didn't hear any complaints from the family because who doesn't like cake. Our middle gal told me that I was the best mommy because I make cakes. Not a bad way to end the day. 


#2 Politics  

I make it a point never to talk about politics on my blog. It is not my thing. I have well-informed opinions about the direction of our country. I read newspapers, journals, and articles about different issues and I have a set of values that I try to use to navigate the ever dangerous waters of political conversation. I am not associated with a political party. I am not thrilled by my choices this fall. My candidate did not win the primary. I feel very hesitant to ever bring up politics around anyone because it is met with great debates and hard feelings about both candidates. I hear people say that they are looking for the person who will fix our problems. But there is no such person. We have to be the ones willing to work for change, fix the problems, and be the change we want to see. It is so much easier to sit back and tell someone else to fix it. That person will not be there in November. We have to be the change. I started to make myself a list of ways that I can be the change I want to see in my community. It is a work in progress and I know that I will fail at different times trying to achieve those goals but it is better than sitting back and waiting for some else to do it. 


#3 Trees 

Fall is here! Every day my trees in the backyard change a little bit. It is so wonderful to see the change of seasons. We are hoping to get a lot more hiking trips in over the next couple weeks. Autumn is our chance to marvel at the spectacular show nature has planned for us. It is also an excuse to get away from the busy nature of the world. I feel like this time of year inspires me to dream big and work on new things. It is so lovely to see the trees. They give so much and expect so little. I guess that is why some people just want to hug them. I might the next time I am out in the woods. 





Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Works in Progress

:: Works in Progress :: 




Works in progress these days consist mainly of my garter stitch blanket (for fun and ease) and starting completely over on my Real Sea Urchin Slouchy Beret. I am ready for the fourth color to be added to the blanket. It is so squishy and soft. It is fun to knit while watching TV or chatting with my husband. I had to completely restart my beret. Not a good night for that little revelation. I am not sure what happened but my stitch counts were way off. I may have missed a stitch in the first round of the eyelet pattern. I still don't know but I went back to the beginning and started again. Hence why I am the world's slowest knitter. So there is no progress to show there but I did make some more head way on a shawl I put away over the summer. Next week I will share some photos of it. 

I am more than halfway through The Fifth Avenue Artists Society. It is really good so far. I love reading historical fiction. I also have been skimming some new cookbooks from the library while looking for new recipes to dazzle the family. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week! 

Happy Knitting. 



Joining up with Ginny of Small Things

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Weekends

:: Weekends ::

Our weekends are never long enough because before I know it the sun is down and it is Sunday night. I really wish that they were three days instead of two days. Another weekend has come and gone. We have enjoyed every minute of it. 

* homemade pizza and movie on Friday night. I finally convinced the girls to watch Aladdin. They loved it. 

* Saturday morning was a quick breakfast followed by dropping off my parent's dogs that we have been watching all week. The girls enjoyed their furry friends all week. 

* we headed off to the Eastern Shore to visit with James' dad. 

* lunch in Easton at a cute little pub and a tour around the theater next door

* afternoon of walking the trails at Atkins Arboretum

* long evening ride home enjoying the beautiful sunset

* catching up on the newest season of Longmire and lots of knitting 

* Sunday morning omelets and enjoying the sudden arrival of fall

* Mass and a stop at my parent's home to say hello

* an afternoon of hemming pants and going through winter clothes

* kale, white bean, and sausage soup with homemade bread for supper 

*tonight will be lots of knitting. The weather is getting me in the mood for cozy knits. 







Hope you and yours had a wonderful weekend! 


Joining Karen of Pumpkin Sunrise




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yarn Along

:: Yarn Along :: 




                                     

























Knitting news! I actually have something finished. Ha! I am slow in the summer and find myself spending time outside with paints or going for walks with my children and husband than knitting. But alas, summer is over and fall is here. It is my favorite season and I am getting back into knitting more. I finished my Adama a few weeks ago and I had to block it twice because I didn't like the outcome. Then I just forgot to take some pictures of it. But here it is! I love the soft pink (dogwood) of Quince & Co. Lark yarn. It was a fairly easy knit and I love the diamond pattern. It will be cozy around my neck in the near future. 

I am working on a simple garter stitch blanket with a set of seven different colors from Knit Picks
(Billow is the yarn name). I wanted to work on something that was easy and simple while watching TV, chatting with friends, or playing with the kids. It is going to be a long term project but one that everyone in my house has already tried to put dibs on. 

Lastly, I just finished the ribbed band of my favorite beret pattern, The Real Sea Urchin Beret. I made a blue one about two years ago and I really wanted something grey. The yarn is from Madelintosh  but I forget the name. 

I just started reading Fifth Avenue Artists Society by Joy Callaway. So far- so good. I recently read Ann Patchett's new book, Commonwealth. I did not like it as much as I did her other works. I am also savoring every single article and picture from the latest Taproot. I try and stretch it out until the next one arrives. 

Hope all is well. Happy Knitting. xo. 


Joining up with Small Things and 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Three Thoughts on Tuesday









#1 

We are finding our homeschooling groove once again. It seems to take a bit of time to let go of summer and reengage in schooling in our home. Routines are new and the ability to handle the changes are low. Our oldest is in 2nd grade this year and that means new homework, new teachers, and new schedules to adjust to in the first weeks of September. For her, the best schedule at home is quiet rest or alone time to decompress from the day, then activities (play and dance class), dinner, and then homework/reading time. Thankfully, the school is not big on homework and they want time at home to be time at home. Love this! She is finally adjusting. Our middle girl is at home this year doing pre-kindergarten with a home program. We spend the afternoons doing school work in a structured manner while the mornings are full of crafts, cooking, play, or outdoor activities. The day can get long and she also needs down time. I made a Montessori- like box full of individually bagged activities that she can do on her own when the time arises. Our youngest little guy isn't old enough for schooling so he just plays on the high speed setting until nap time. Unfortunately, with all this organizing and planning I forgot about me. I am running on empty lately so it is time to get myself adjusted. A massage and overhauling my planner is what the doctor ordered. September is for organizing and changing pace. 


#2 

Making big decisions are hard. We had a light bulb moment last week. For months we have been searching, worrying, and trying to find a home. We have looked at about 14 homes but none of them seem to fit what we want and our budget. We realized that it was time to step back and reevaluate what we need vs. what we want. We have decided that buying a home that was well below our budget would allow us to not only save money for the home and any repairs or improvements but also allow us the financial freedom to live life with experiences and travel. Living simply. I don't know why it took us so long to figure that all out but it did. We are feeling renewed in this decision. I am hoping it works for us. I have really tried to embrace the living simply attitude. I want our family to experience everything and worry about owning less. 

#3 

God has been gently whispering to me. It comes in little waves and snippets. While alone in the car, during a homily at Mass, or just before bed. He has been asking me to give more of myself in prayer and help of others. It is slow to manifest but I am trying to quiet my mind and heart to hear what is needed of me. I am finding that if I am open to help others my own cup is filled with happiness. It is a new path in my life journey. I am excited and open to see where it will lead me. 




Sunday, September 18, 2016

Weekends

:: Weekends :: 

Another well-spent weekend moving at a slow pace. We spent time catching up on all the important things in life. Family, good food, lazy & quiet days doing little things but not abiding by the quick pace of the week. 

We spent Friday evening running some errands and then grabbing a quick little bite at our kid's favorite place, Panera. Finally, we stopped in Michael's Craft store and picked up some early Halloween crafty items. 

Saturday was a quiet and slow morning with coffee, newspaper, omelets, and blueberry muffins. 

We ended up heading off to our favorite Orchard to pick some apples, eggplants, and kale. I cannot be trusted around fresh produce. It all looks so lovely. 

Saturday night was pizza and movie night. We watched Muppet's Most Wanted and enjoyed very yummy homemade pizza. 

I made an apple cake and we watched our new favorite show, Shetland. 

Today was another slow morning with blueberry pancakes. We headed off to noon Mass where the children exceptionally behaved. 

I have spent the afternoon doing some cooking. I made homemade barbecue sauce, macaroni and cheese, and slow cooked greens for supper. 

The night was spent going over a five year plan for our family. We are still not sure what we are going to buy in the way of a home. We have lots of ideas swirling around but I think putting it all down in writing will help. 

I might be lucky enough to get some sewing finished tonight. 



Another lovely weekend in the books. 












Joining up with Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise

Weekends

:: Weekends :: 

Another well-spent weekend moving at a slow pace. We spent time catching up on all the important things in life. Family, good food, lazy & quiet days doing little things but not abiding by the quick pace of the week. 

We spent Friday evening running some errands and then grabbing a quick little bite at our kid's favorite place, Panera. Finally, we stopped in Michael's Craft store and picked up some early Halloween crafty items. 

Saturday was a quiet and slow morning with coffee, newspaper, omelets, and blueberry muffins. 

We ended up heading off to our favorite Orchard to pick some apples, eggplants, and kale. I cannot be trusted around fresh produce. It all looks so lovely. 

Saturday night was pizza and movie night. We watched Muppet's Most Wanted and enjoyed very yummy homemade pizza. 

I made an apple cake and we watched our new favorite show, Shetland. 

Today was another slow morning with blueberry pancakes. We headed off to noon Mass where the children exceptionally behaved. 

I have spent the afternoon doing some cooking. I made homemade barbecue sauce, macaroni and cheese, and slow cooked greens for supper. 

The night was spent going over a five year plan for our family. We are still not sure what we are going to buy in the way of a home. We have lots of ideas swirling around but I think putting it all down in writing will help. 

I might be lucky enough to get some sewing finished tonight. 



Another lovely weekend in the books. 












Joining up with Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise

Monday, September 12, 2016

Weekends

:: Weekends ::

Our weekend whirled by at lightning speed and the next thing I knew it was Monday morning. We celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary on Friday with an overnight trip to Washington DC. The kids were packed up and spent the night with their grandparents having loads of fun at their place. James and I headed off to Washington DC for an evening near the White House at Capital Hilton and dinner at Georgia Brown's restaurant. It was so fun to dress up, go out on the town, and eat some amazing food. Georgia Brown's is a restaurant that specializes in southern cuisine and even with all the fancy entrees on the menu I settled on buttermilk fried chicken, smashed potatoes, and collard greens. Goodness, it was delicious and it made me miss Charleston, South Carolina and all those wonderful restaurants. 

We spent the next day touring the Museum of the American Indian. It is such a beautiful museum with so much information to share about the lives of native peoples of America. I couldn't help but feel a little sad for the years of mistreatment of people who have such a vibrant and rich culture. However, I am so happy that there is a museum dedicated to the understanding of Native American culture and society. It is definitely worth a trip if you live near Washington DC. We stopped by the gift shop and picked up a few little gifts for the children. We had lunch and headed for home. After dinner, James and I visited a few more possible homes but none of them were exactly what we were looking for in a long term home. So- onward and upward. 

We ended our weekend with dinner and cake at my parent's home on Sunday. My mother went back to our baker who made our wedding cake and got a small replica of the cake. It was such a lovely surprise and yummy too.   

It was a really lovely weekend.



fancy dress



The ceiling of the museum 


drinks! a fancy drink 


















our anniversary cake 










Friday, September 09, 2016

10 years on...

:: 10 years on ::


We are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary today. September 9, 2006. There aren't many words that can adequately describe how wonderful life is together as a couple and a family. These 10 years have been some of the most wonderful years as we have seen the country, watched our children enter the world, and grow our lives together offering love and support. I truly cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else. Here's to many more years together on this journey of life. 
All my love, dearest. 


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Three Tuesday Thoughts

:: Three Tuesday Thoughts :: 


These are not my flowers but I certainly wish they were



#1 

Sometimes being a stay at home mother is lonely and hard. I have had this re-occuring realization that no matter where we live and what type of house we buy that at some point it will be lonely. I am currently on a path that is different than most people I know. I am blessed and very lucky to stay home with my children when they are little while beginning to embark on a new and different career path of writing and becoming a student again. But some days when we walk to the park and there isn't a soul around it feels like a ghost town. I am a former military wife so having friends close by was a given as we lived on base and other women were in the same boat ( no pun intended) as me. Friends were easy to come by and loneliness did not exist. In the civilian world, the tribe of friends is gone and I am faced with the new challenge of making new friends. That isn't ever easy for anyone but I am trying. It also helps that I am a "do-er" and have many things to occupy my time. But it is hard at times and don't get me wrong whether you are at home or at work motherhood is the most difficult job in the world. My take from this is to support your mama friends no matter what path they chose because we could all use a little more love in our lives.


# 2

To bounce off of the first thought. I did something in the past couple days to stop that feeling of loneliness. I went to a party where I only knew two other women and made some new acquaintances. I always feel a bit of anxiety when entering a room of strangers and sometimes make excuses not to go just avoid that feeling. But it was a very good friend's birthday and I wasn't going to pass up the chance for us to spend a little time talking, eating, and enjoying adult time. Then today, I joined a blogging group, Catholic Women Blogger Network. A big leap because I just did two things in one week to make new friends. I am proud of myself. I have been a bit spoiled in my younger years because I went to a small college, joined a sorority full of amazing women, and then got married and entered the world of military wives (another amazing group of women)- all the friends I needed just add water.  So, now I am out here without either group and I am making new friends. Time to give myself a little pat on the back.


#3 

Sometimes dinner doesn't go as planned and one must wing it or in this case my husband is making homemade pizza. I forgot to thaw out something, didn't make bread (yes, I know that seems silly but you have no idea how much we love bread this house), and then our oldest came home not feeling well. So, out the window went dinner plans and in came our old friend, pizza. It is homemade and incredibly wonderful of my husband. I think I will grab my knitting, pour a glass of wine, go sit on the floor with my kids and pretend that is not Tuesday. 

Monday, September 05, 2016

Weekends

:: Weekends ::




We are back in the swing of things but this weekend was a welcome respite from the busy weeks ahead of us this fall. We enjoyed every moment of it. 


* Pizza and movie night for us then I headed over to friend's home for her 40th birthday celebration. It was a delightful evening on their front porch in town. 

* lazy Saturday morning with omelets, hot coffee, and fresh fruit. 

*we headed off to Gapland State Park (the historical site of the news correspondents during the Civil War and part of the AT). Then we went down to the C & O canal park on the Potomac River. An absolutely beautiful day.



* Sunday morning was breakfast and Mass followed by a quiet afternoon at home with cooking, baking, and playing outdoors. 

* Today was a holiday. We spent the day at my parent's home for a end of summer cook-out and swim. 

Lovely weekend to end the summer. I will miss our lazy days but look forward to the change of seasons. 








Joining Karen of Pumpkin Sunrise

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hello September, my old friend.

:: Hello September, my old friend :: 


Hello September. Good-bye August. The days are slowly creeping toward the inevitable long hours of darkness that cover our evenings at home like a heavy coat. The leaves on our trees in the backyard are just starting to show what beauty lies ahead. The air in the evening is beginning to cool and the crickets are singing the last of their sweet summer melodies. Autumn sits in the wing waiting to make her big entrance. 



I have been vacant from this space this summer because I felt like I needed to stay in tune with my children. Every year I am becoming more in tune with the fleeting nature of childhood. I will blink and babies are toddlers while little girls are now bigger girls. It is beautiful and yet so hard to let them grow. I am acutely aware of the bittersweetness of motherhood. Our oldest gal headed off to second grade this week while our little gal stayed home for her last year of home pre-kindergarten.  I do miss homeschooling them all just a bit. It sounds crazy but last year was both hard and rewarding. It is a memory that I am so thankful to hold. Our littlest boy is two and he is a ball of energy and playfulness. We enjoy these blessings and hope for more in the future. 

We had a wonderful summer and enjoyed every moment of it. But now the routines are here and we slowly fall into them all the while trying to obey our family rhythm. I am hoping to spend more time here now that September has turned the corner.  I will be opening my Etsy shoppe (after many years of procrastinating) by mid-September. It is a mix of different handmade things that I am ready to share. Everyone just has to hold me to it so I don't get cold feet. 


I finished a three month writing course and enjoyed every moment of it. I learned that my writing is worthy of sharing and working on. It isn't meant to be kept hidden away but shared. I am fairly shy about these things so it was a big leap this summer and it is/will pay off. I have Jena and Cigdem of The Inky Path  to thank for that. It has allowed me to work on different ideas and know that in the future I can and will submit pieces for publication. 



On the homefront, we are still looking for a home which is a point of contention and annoyance for me. I want to settle down but it just hasn't happened yet. I know it will but it can become frustrating at times. I think the perfect home is just trying to find us instead of us trying to find it. 


I have been slowly knitting and reading this summer. I have fallen head long into reading more poetry than I ever have in my life. Along with a few new stories. Currently, I am working through  To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey ( of The Snow Child fame). It is a far more interesting read than I had anticipated. I would recommend. 


All in all, things are calm has we head into a new season. My husband says that this is my nesting period because I stay close to home and begin to kick my home-making skills into high gear. I think it is true. This season allows us to reflect and look inside ourselves to examine our thoughts, memories, and life. The air will be crisp and the swirling leaves will conjure the magic that is Autumn. I will miss summer but welcome my old friend, September with open arms. 

Peace and Love. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Late Summer

:: Late Summer ::

We have almost reached the point of mid-August and I can begin to feel summer slowly dwindle away as only a few weeks remain before the Fall routine begins again. I would have loved to write more this summer in this space but life got busy. We have filled our days with all kinds of fun and places. Most nights I collapse into bed too tired to sit at the computer to write and share the day. We still have a few adventures to go on and next week we had off for a couple days away in Virginia. Exploring the homes of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. We will drive down part of Skyline drive and savor all that the Shenandoah Valley has to offer. We also have our tickets reserved for Members night at the National Aquarium. A family reunion to attend and a few more late evenings and ice cream cones to eat. It has been so nice to have a summer where we aren't worrying about too much or gearing up to move. Our home search has been slow but fruitful in some respects. We know what we want and now we just have to find it. I know that the right home is out there and we will find it but I am not in a hurry. Some things can not be rushed. 

I am hoping to finally open my Etsy shoppe and showcase some of my work. I have been diligently working in a writing community and hope to start sending off some pieces for publication. It is kind of scary to put myself out there in the world and see what happens but if I don't try then I will never know what might have been. 

Lots of things are going to start happening around our home this Fall and I can't wait to see what the change in season can conjure. It is my favorite time of year and the one I feel closest too. There is something indescribable about the weather and change that takes place. Change can be hard but good can come out of it. 

I will be visiting this space more and putting down more of our family life. 

Even if I haven't been here, I have been taking my camera with us....