Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New House (New Life) Anniversary

Exactly one year ago today, we signed on the dotted line. We took a big, scary flying leap and landed pretty much right where we wanted to. I was three months pregnant, the working mother of a toddler, and the proud owner of a new home in a new state. Oh, and I changed jobs to make this all happen. Did I mention that it was insane? Do I have to even go through all the emotions and excitement around our house? It was, in a word, a whirlwind.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve plodded along making the new house “our home” and doing all the typical things you do when you relocate – find the closest coffee shop (Starbucks), meet the neighbors (awesome), get acquainted with the area (5 minutes to the closest thrift store, 8 minutes to work, walking distance to Fleet Farm, biking distance to the pick-your-own-strawberry patch, and down the street from the park and school), etc. We’ve mourned the distance between us and our good friends. We’ve missed our favorite restaurants and gotten accustomed to living in the suburbs. We’ve noticed the subtle differences in “there” and “here” such as my new favorite expression: “stop and go lights.” Have you ever heard that one? Charming, I tell you. You betcha.

Now we’re embarking on something different, I think. Less exploratory, more formative. I mean forming a life where we are. And who we are – now a family of four. My oldest (“old” seems like the wrong word to describe a three-year-old) kiddo is in preschool a couple of mornings a week, the little one starting to eat “real food.” I’m settling into the new job. Daddy is settling into stay-at-home dadhood in the new ‘hood. I feel like this year, I have my focus back. Last year I just tried to get my feet under me and try not to let the new job/house/state/baby/lifestyle/friends get to me too much. This year, I’m thinking about some goals. It’s a fuzzy concept so far, but it just feels like a big year, begging for focus and intention.

You? Are you planning on making goals for 2011? Or how about New Year’s Resolutions? If you would, share! I need some inspiration.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Friend's Search for Heartbreaking Beauty

Growing up I had a few really close friends. One of them was Sonya. She had white-blonde hair and the most adorable smile. And one thing I remember about her all these years later is that she had the best art supplies and an insane amount of talent for a little girl. Did you ever have a friend like that? When she colored with colored pencils, it was like there was no white paper underneath. I swear she out-colored all of us, even in like first grade. And don't even get me started about the notes she passed me in high school or the handmade gifts (like the "How We Look Book" she gave me one year, full of photos of her family with hilarious little descriptions) or when she started entering (and of course, winning) photo contests in high school.

So it's no wonder that today she's a super talented artist, about to set out on the adventure of a lifetime. She's planning to spend a couple of years (YEARS!) wandering the globe documenting what she sees with photographs and writing. When she told me she was going, I started to think "Boy, am I lame." and then, "What's going on with everyone these days?" Didn't I just mention how I just recently ran across an acquaintance of mine who took his entire family (kids and all) on a year-long bike adventure to Mexico and blogged about the whole experience? What is it about right now that's causing people to pick up and take off like that? Or is this something that people have been doing forever and I'm just now catching wind of it?

Sonya says she's "sacrificing security for the sake of experience." She says it's not a new story. That lots of us get jobs to buy cars to drive to work to...wait...what are we doing? Why are we stuck in this grind?

I can see where she's coming from. "Regular" life gets kind of stagnant and you forget that you only get one chance at it, so you better make the best of it. I have to admit I'm a bit jealous of her freedom and I'm anxious to live vicariously through her for a while. She's already seen more of the world than I have, and she has an incredible eye for finding heartbreaking beauty.

She's looking for financial backers, if you can throw a buck or 20 her way, she'd be forever grateful (and I think there are perks to it, too!). If you have $750 to pledge, she will let you choose a location on her itinerary and she'll create a blog post with photos just for you. To learn more about Sonya and her project, check out her Kickstarter pledge pageand her blog, which has a ton of gorgeous artwork and writing.

I'll be checking in with her progress periodically, so c'mon back. Live vicariously with me!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Baby Doll Bed in Progress

I've been a busy beaver lately. Cookies? Check. Knitting? Check. Gift wrapping? Check! Sewing? Check check!

Here's a sneak peek of what's in progress for my little peanuts baby bed. Now let's hope I can get it done in the next four days! So far I have the mattress cover, pillow and pillowcase done. And I'm getting closer on the quilt. My only problem is I can't remember how to do a quilt binding. I think I've only done it once or twice...any tips??

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thrift Store Thursday

This week I had to forego Thrift Store Thursday due to an office holiday party and “ugly Christmas sweater” contest. I was disappointed about not going thrifting, but excited about the fact that I got to wear one of my stashed ugly sweaters. I even brought an extra with me and my coworker wore it. Not to worry, though — not a week goes by here where I don’t get a chance to hit up at least one thrifty sale.

Last weekend, we headed to Granny and Grampy’s house hoping for some good times and a little “date night” action. We had very low expectations on the date night (or date day, for that matter) as my littlest pumpkin has been suffering from stranger danger for about two months. It started with being afraid of anyone but daddy, and now at least mommy is in the “in crowd” but no one else. Even looking at her from too close a distance was a recipe for that sweet little bottom lip to start to slide out like a tectonic plate.

But, as if a switch had been flipped, Friday the stranger danger ended. And thank God! Hubby and I got some good, quality alone time, finally (otherwise known as “time to go to the thrift stores together, without anyone begging for a toy or spending an hour in the toy department trying to ravage everything in sight). And after the kids were in bed, we even had dinner together. Out! Alone! With no interruptions! Ah, life is good!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thrift Store Thursday

This week, my big finds were for me. That's unusual for me but kind of a nice change. I didn't photograph it, but one of my biggest scores was a hand knit blanket in off white that's just gorgeous. It's currently snuggling up on my couch, looking wintery and festive.

I had fun hitting my favorite thrift store with one of my favorite coworkers and now I can't believe we didn't start Thrift Store Thursday earlier. It's getting me through my weeks!

Last week I mentioned that one of my finds almost brought me to tears, and here it is. It's an adorable doll bed for my sweet little girl. When I brought it up to the register the volunteer behind the counter (this is one of those independent church thrift stores that are the best kind, in my opinion) said it had been her donation and had originally belonged to her mother. She told me the story of it and that it had been played with by three generations of her family. Yes, it almost brought tears to my eyes. It's absolutely perfect for my sweet baby girl, who *may* be getting a doll for Christmas. And now I have my work cut out for me making the perfect pillow and mattress and quilt for it.

Have you found anything great at the thrift store lately?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Merry Making

We're getting excited for the season around here, especially with a new blanket of snow on the ground. Here are a few new scenes from our house.

I love putting up our old-timey 1960s aluminum pom pom tree, called "The Sparkler" -- and this year our tot got to help, too. Until this year he's been more of an un-decorator than a decorator, but this year was great. Even though lots of the ornaments all got clustered right together on the same branch, it turned out great.

And our little village is charmingly hodge-podge and not quite right, with masses of cords hanging down. But we adore it anyway.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thrift Store Thursday

This week was all about Christmas. From cool ornaments to little deer to a great granny square stocking. Here's what I scored.

Unfortunately everything has already sold in my vintage shop except this adorable little angel.

Did you hear that there's going to be a show about thrift shopping on PBS? Here's a little snippet about it. I have never heard of Alexa Chung (I'm from the un-cool Midwest, apparently) but it sounds like she's going to be coming from a fashion angle. I'll still watch it, but I can honestly say I'm not all that interested in learning how to dress like a hipster. But like I said, I'll give the show a try.

This week I bought something for my sweet little baby girl. It almost brought tears to my eyes when I found it. I'll tell you why next Thursday!