Launching, Planning, Breathing

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Phew. What a week it’s been. Last Monday, we met some friends at the park and Nora mastered her big summer project–crossing the rings. By yesterday, we’d launched both kids at preschool, attended Nora’s swim and dance classes, participated in our second church Sunday of the new year, gone through a week of Steve’s new schedule, and I submitted another editing project (just two left for this month!) since that Monday park date!

While it’s been an intense and extremely stimulating week for sure, I have to say that rather than feeling too busy, life feels full. I love seeing the kids enjoying independent activities. I love talking to my hubby about his days at work. I love (well, sometimes not) having a project to work on, forcing me to find a quiet nook in the house so I can edit.

To celebrate the week’s accomplishments, I’m giving myself a day to rest, and then I’ll be marking up Word files left and right for the remainder of the month. And planning a rainbow-themed birthday for my eldest, who turns four at the end of the month. And continuing our new schedule, of course! Love this time of year!

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Wordless Wednesday: School Begins!

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September 10, 2014 · 3:19 pm

Moving Along

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For school-aged kids in our area, yesterday marked the beginning of the school year. I loved scrolling through my Facebook page displaying the cute pictures of people’s kids–elementary, middle, and high schoolers included–wearing their new outfits and backpacks.

We’re still a week away from the preschool year beginning. My eager three-year-old is starting to over-anticipate school, making herself nervous. She’s waking up in the middle of the night because she’s worried about being in a new classroom. My two-year-old knows the name of his teacher (the same as his sister’s last year), and seems excited. I have a feeling the nervous and excited kids will flip-flop next week when school actually begins.

This week presents some change without having our new activities in place (all start next week). My hubby’s new schedule goes into effect, which will require some adjustment. I’ll be in charge of bedtime two nights a week and have an early morning to contend with, though I think it will go much easier than in the past now that the kids are better about sleeping in and sleeping independently. (That newborn year with Carson when this schedule first appeared was beyond brutal!) However, I’ll have more mornings with Steve around so I can fit in that onslaught of work.

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I am having a hard time accepting that it’s September. Our August sure zoomed by at rapid speed. We finished the crazy month (beach trips; a baseball game; hand, foot, and mouth; a wedding; a Jamberry party!) with a rehaul of our bedroom. After being saddled with large and awkward hand-me-down furniture ten years ago, Steve and I decided to pull the trigger on some new dressers, a bed, and a nightstand that worked better in our new bedroom. We decided on a sleek, midcentury look with a wedge finish, and purchased a platform bed as well. I sewed new curtains for the large window (I’ll finish the ones for the smaller window after my workload calms), and we are using our new comforter and rug purchased at Target this spring. I even have a jewelry storage area, which makes me happy! After so many years of making do, I feel like we’re sleeping in a hotel room!

Here’s to a happy and productive September!

 

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Packing It In

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Seasonal change is upon us. We’ve received preschool letters. We’ve started planning Nora’s fall birthday. We’re procuring fall and winter clothes and school backpacks. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out our fall schedule, which involves two kids going to preschool on separate days, a husband who is working various early mornings and evenings, and a fully packed social calendar.

But summer isn’t over quite yet!

We’ve been enjoying summer activities to the max this week, attending a minor league baseball game, swimming at the pool, and lounging at the beach. I hope you are also enjoying these final lazy days of summer.

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Hammered

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Well, I am pretty glad that I decorated my office earlier this summer. I have been living in it!

Since leaving my full-time job last spring, I have been picking up freelance work here and there. I copyedit and proofread books, journals, websites, and other publications. When I left my position as a managing editor, I didn’t want to give up on my career entirely. In publishing, there is a great deal of freelance work. Fortunately, as of late, I have been experiencing an onslaught of projects!

However, for the first time ever, I had to turn down a project. Wow, was that hard! But with several large projects hitting me at once, my pile of work is too big, especially with two littles at home, a husband who is beginning his busy season at work, and a fall calendar already packed to the gills with back-to-school, Nora’s birthday, and church and social obligations.

I’ve found that I LOVE editing and proofreading at home, but I have to balance my love of work (and making some additional income for the family) with my full-time stay-at-home mom gig (or, am I a work-at-home mom now?). Lately on the weekends I have been holed away in the office while Steve takes the kids to do fun things. It’s nice to have another role in my life, but balance is key.

I am an enthusiast by nature, which makes it difficult to say no. I love to craft, work, volunteer, and host parties, which sometimes leaves little free time for my family and me. I’m pledging to keep myself busy (I do thrive on juggling lots of things) but without making my family and me crazy.

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New House: Front Door

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The kids and I love the song by Phillip Phillips called “Home.” (Seriously, even though he won “American Idol,” which I had no awareness of at the time, Phillips is as good as Ray LaMontagne and Jack Johnson, to name a few of my other favorite male singer-songwriters.) One of the best lines of the song is “I’m going to make this place your home.” And that’s what we continue to do at the new house. Our project this weekend? Painting the front door smurf blue (or smurf indigo, depending on how picky you want to be when dissecting the color).

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Now, this change is completely based on personal preference; the maroon door we inherited wasn’t that bad looking, but it was dull (I did make sure to remove the ancient and less-than-attractive screen door as soon as we moved in). When we were waiting to close on our house this winter, I’d drive through the new neighborhood and remark on how good the fronts of the houses looked. I wanted to do something bold with our house’s exterior, so painting the door was the perfect first project to tackle outdoors.

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I used a semigloss paint and primer in Batik from the Eddie Bauer collection (purchased at Lowes). I painted it with a small roller and angled brush, and the paint project took about two-and-a-half hours. Before painting, we used a deglosser to clean the door (no sanding required!).

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The finished result? The door is bold, but I’m happy with it. We’re color people, and I can’t wait to find a few more outdoor decor items to make the front of our house “ours.” Plus, it’ll be easy to tell people where we live–it’s the Tudor with the BRIGHT blue door!

 

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Finished: Living Room Curtains

IMG_4859Here they are! The finished living room curtains. Made with Waverly Barano fabric in Indigo and sewn according to this pattern for backed-tabbed curtains (without the blackout lining) on View Along the Way. I’ve been ordering fabric at Fabric.com and loving it–the site is easy to browse and there is free shipping for orders of $35 and up (not a paid placement, just a recommendation!).

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Each curtain took about an hour to sew, including cutting out the size (I trimmed them down to 44 inches wide and 71 inches long) and sewing (side hems, top tabs, and bottom hem). The curtains at the large front window hit just the bottom of the windowsill, leaving plenty of room for our radiators (while I love floor-length curtains, they aren’t practical for a home with a boiler!). The other curtains on the side window are a bit longer, which I did based on personal preference. I sewed the top tabs before hemming each curtain to ensure that each one aligned with the windowsill/desired length perfectly.

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While I wasn’t keen on sewing all of the curtains in the house, I am quite pleased with the finished result and will keep using this pattern until someone tells me to stop! Next up, the bedroom curtains; I’ve already ordered the fabric and just need to find the time to make them happen.

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Reorganizing Life

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Steve and I logged on the computer this morning to register Nora for her fall activities at the YMCA. It was very reminiscent of college days, where we’d set our alarms to sign up for classes and the computer would freeze, and then we’d spend an hour trying to get into Spanish 201 only to find out that all sessions were full. This time around, I still had technical difficulties, but I was thankful to get into our desired sessions.

Fall is coming in our house, though it’s three or so weeks away. The September through December calendar is already looking a bit packed, and that’s just with preschool and extracurricular activity runs. We’ll add church, birthday celebrations, fall festivals, and holiday stuff too. On top of that stuff, Steve’s schedule becomes rather wonky with evening hours and an early Sunday morning shift until February. There will be a lot of adjustment come September 1.

While I like summer and its freedoms, I LOVE fall and its structure (and fall beers, crunchy leaves, and cool nights). This year, Carson will attend preschool two mornings a week, which I think will be an awesome experience for him. I’ll also be balancing a lot more paid work than I did last year (the freelance gig is seemingly working out) and Nora’s going to add an activity in addition to swimming lessons. Plus, I can’t wait to enjoy the leaves change color at our new house, though I think we’ll be responsible for raking at least 50 bags of them come October.

Our final weeks of summer include a baseball game, the Renaissance fair, an art camp for Nora, and a few other things to be thrown on the calendar at the last minute. Then, I’ll be ready for the football season to begin and the school doors to open.

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Rewarding Myself (And Not Forgetting to Try)

One of my favorite sayings is “Don’t forget to try.” (The other one is “That’s not helpful,” but that’s more related to the stay-at-home life than a general life theory.) I’m a pretty good trier, but there are aspects of my life that get away from me.

I had a moment today in the dressing room at Kohls where I realized that I’ve really let myself go. Like REALLY. I’ve got the mom ponytail, the stained pairs of shorts, the stretched out T-shirts. All I’m missing are holes in my clothes (oh, wait, I’ve got that covered too!). Thankfully, I keep up with my hair color since one of my close friends is a cosmetologist. And my brother’s wedding prompted me to restock my fancy clothes, so at least I looked somewhat decent at a wedding we attended last night.

I’ve got to make this aha moment count. While it’s true that my life is hectic with child rearing and I’m always keeping our budget in mind, there’s no way that I can completely let myself go–I’m only 31 for goodness sake! And with a full fall social calendar, it wouldn’t kill me to try a little harder in the clothing and beauty departments.

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For a quick remedy, I treated myself to new nail polish today (Naughty Nautical by Essie), which reminds me of the Elsa costume I recently sewed for Nora. Also, I’ve fallen in love with Jamberry nail wraps thanks to my friend Liss. I’m going to apply these cute rose polka dot ones later this week. A fun way to end the summer, right?

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Any tips on how you stay on top of your style? What do you do to reward yourself?

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New House: Living Room

I wrote about my hopes to decorate the living room a few weeks ago. After lots of sewing (curtains and pillows), framing, and hanging, we have a much more decorated space that feels homey. Of course, the room isn’t technically “finished” yet because I am waiting for another two yards of my curtain fabric to arrive so I can sew the final panel for the front windows. Once that is finished, I’ll post more info about how I sewed them.

So, without further ado, here’s the space:

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I’m sure I’ll tweak the space over the years (I’d love for the reading nook to have some funky art and a bright pillow at some point), but this feels like a great base for now. And someday, when the kids are older, we’ll probably get a coffee table. But for now, it’s great to have space for them to play.

 

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