A new home, part 1/?

I have, clearly, a lot of catching up to do, but to be honest I don’t know how much I’ll actually “catch up” this blog. People who know me know what’s been going on; the rest of you can infer. I will eventually write up the dreadful saga of our move from Kansas to West Virginia, which was riddled with unfortunate events. For now, I’m going to start posting some new home things.

The new house, which was built in 1921, is a work in progress. We’re slowly unpacking boxes and putting things away, so the “after” photos I’ll post here are really “in progress” photos.

I’ll start with the kids’ bedrooms, which were a priority for us.

First,Sam’s room. Before:


Okay, not too terrible, right? Notice the nice hardwood floors? NOTICE THE TERRIBLE YELLOWISH TRIM PAINT WHOOOOP WHOOOP ALERT painting that trim became the bane of my new house life.



Barn-wood bookshelves and toy chest built by my dad; quilt by Jeff’s mom. Wall color is Sherwin Williams Regatta; trim color (blessed trim) is Sherwin Williams Alabaster.


Amazing custom loft bed also built by my dad; LEGO city and Egypt by Sam. :)

Next, Charlotte’s room. I don’t have before photos of this room because the “before” was traumatizing (part of the series of unfortunate events). Long story short: there was dramatic cracking in the ceiling of this bedroom, which the sellers were supposed to fix before we moved in. We found out the day before we arrived in WV that the ceiling was not, in fact, fixed. And then when we did our final walk-through, we saw the extent of the not-doneness. That was one of many times during the walk-through where I cried. Fun!!

So, for the before, just imagine a room painted ENTIRELY in that gross dirty yellow color of the trim in Sam’s room. THE WHOLE THING. Plus, half the ceiling torn out and cardboard covered in plaster bits and dust all over the floor and and *breathes into paper bag*

Okay, AFTER:


Color isn’t great in this picture (later ones are more accurate) but: Wall color is Awesome Violet by Sherwin Williams; trim is Alabaster again. Bed built by my dad (middle drawer will arrive in October :) )


This photo shows the wall color better. Little reading nook in the corner there, plus a new dresser with a pretty, almost pearl-like sheen.


The desk was unfinished, a gift from a friend of mine in Kansas. We painted it Cay by Sherwin Williams. I also spray-painted the pulls, which were brass, “hammered black.”

We’re pretty happy with the (sort of) finished rooms. The kids love their new beds and their rooms in general. I think the colors they chose/helped to choose make for really cheerful and cozy kids’ rooms. We still have some things to do, but they’re rooms that feel like home already now.


June 23, 2006:

June 23, 2007:

June 23, 2008

June 23, 2009:

June 23, 2010:

June 23, 2011:

June 23, 2012

charlotte six

(a few days past) June 23, 2013

charlotte approx seven

(approximately) June 23, 2014

charlotte eight

And today, June 23, 2015


Happy birthday, Charlotte. We love to see you grow and learn every day.

Sam turns six

Honestly, I thought I’d post here more after NaBloPoMo November than I have, but…well, there you have it. I haven’t. It’s been a rough month. Actually, it’s been a rough year. There is a lot of push to reflect on the year toward the end of December, and I have been resistant to it. Some things about this year have been wonderful and amazing (finishing and defending [with honors!] my dissertation, graduating, taking a trip to Mexico with Jeff). But lots of things have been rough. I found myself crying a big while listening to Christmas music when “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” came on. “Next year all our troubles will be miles away” expresses all my hopes and dreams. So I hope you’ll understand the lapse.

BUT! What better occasion to pop back in here than my BABY INFANT SON turning SIX YEARS OLD?!


Oooh yikes. He’s not much to look at, is he? Truth be told, my beautiful Sam was not a very pretty baby. I was determined not to repeat my experience with Charlotte’s birth (good in many ways, save for the 3.5 hours [!!!!] of pushing), so I pushed so hard with Sam that it only took three pushes and he nearly shot across the room. Just kidding on that last bit. Something about the speed of his delivery, though, took its toll on his poor face. He was purple in the face for a day, and then had bruises around his eyes like a prizefighter for another two weeks. Plus a full head of black hair that had no respect for “hairlines” and instead grew right down to meet up with his eyebrows–he was a handsome, purple monkey.

It didn’t take him long to get real cute, though.

sam first birthday

(On his first birthday)

Sam is my accident-prone child. He’s had the only broken bone in the family–his collarbone, which he broke when he was just a year and half (I think?), leaping from his crib. Plus a hundred scrapes and faceplants and near-misses. He has aged me.


That photo, taken just before his second birthday, reminds me of the time he snuck off during Charlotte’s ballet lessons and RODE THE ELEVATOR DOWN TWO FLOORS ALL BY HIMSELF and how a couple of parents and I realized he was gone all at the same time and we all just SCATTERED to find him like we had been training for that moment. Which, in a way, that’s what parenting Sam is like. Like training for an emergency.


Look at that gorgeous baby. I mean, he’s beautiful. He will draw you in with his giant eyes, and then capture you with his weird theories of the world, and good guys, and bad guys, and let’s play legos and and and

Santa Sam

I find myself wondering a lot lately what Sam will be like in five years, ten years. Maybe because (for various reasons I am probably not going to get into that much here) life with Sam is a daily challenge, I project myself into the future, thinking you are struggling with this now, trying to instill some human courtesy and basic decent behavior into this child so he can survive and thrive in five years, in ten years. Maybe in part because it’s so hard, every day, to be Sam’s mom.


(Taken this morning).

But it is also rewarding, and fun, and funny. When it’s not hard, which isn’t often. But there are glimmers, every day. There are sticky-handed hand-squeezes. There are snuffly, snotty hugs. There are long, involved stories about LEGO ninjas, usually including PWOOOSH sound effects. There are squirmy morning cuddles. There are spontaneous, appreciative declarations of thanks and love that knock me off my feet and remind me why this is worth it.

Happy birthday, my boy. I love you so much, it hurts.

We got our tree this afternoon! Here’s what we did with the place:


There’s a moment every year, usually in the midst of getting the ornaments out, where I think “ugh, is this even worth it?” But when it’s all decorated and cozy and the lights are lit, I love it. And actually, the kids did really well this year. They hung most of the ornaments themselves, and did a pretty good job with distribution.

So, it’s the last day of the month, which means (hallelujah) my daily posting is over. I haven’t been entirely successful this year, nor did I plan to be. I missed several days. Some days my posts were pretty perfunctory. But I’ve mostly enjoyed writing here again. I’ll try to be more present on the blog in the coming months. Plus, I still have some of Shelley’s questions to answer!

Day 29: Nelson-Atkins

It was a gorgeous day–nearly 70 degrees. We had planned to go to the Plaza area of KC anyway, but the weather made it all the more lovely. Here are a few pictures from our trip to the Nelson-Atkins museum:

Day 28: Day After

In past years, my mom and I have gone out Black Friday shopping. Once we did it because it was really the first year ever that I could. Having grown up in rural Iowa, where the nearest shopping malls and stores like Target were an hour away, lining up for Black Friday shopping wouldn’t have made much sense. We never went in Grand Rapids because we were often back visiting my parents in Iowa over Thanksgiving. Athens was similarly distant from big shopping areas. Lawrence is the first city I’ve lived in that has many of the stores (Target, Kohl’s, Walmart) that draw crowds for Black Friday shopping.

Anyway, I’ve done the Black Friday thing, always because I needed/wanted something that was a big ticket item (bike, external hard drive, TV) that I could get for a substantial discount by waiting in line at 5 a.m./11 p.m./1 a.m. It was an interesting sociological experience, plus I got my $99 TV, so I was happy. Cold, tired, but happy.

This year, we didn’t do the Black Friday shopping thing. My parents went out last night for a couple things–and stood in line at Kohl’s for more than half an hour. I sat around in my stretchy pants and drank more wine. I did go to a couple places late this morning, and found a couple of things. But the stores were not too busy, mostly quiet by that point.

We also all went to see Big Hero 6 this afternoon, and I loved it. I LOVED IT. I cried so hard about a robot that I gave myself a crying headache. SO GOOD. And really beautifully designed.

Then we did the traditional downtown Lawrence Weaver’s Santa rooftop rescue (google that!), which we preceded this year with burgers at Burger Stand (yum) and followed with seeing a friend’s art exhibit at Henry’s (go see it! Cicadas!)

Not once today did I grade a paper or apply to a job. That’s a real break.

Day 27: Thankful

I am thankful for many, many things today. Here are a few:


Hope you are warm and safe and well-fed and surrounded by loved ones, today and always.


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