Tuesday, July 30, 2013


A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

A peanut butter diptych today-
Henry trying to lick peanut butter off his chin.
Audrey picking the peanut chunks out of her chunky peanut butter-spread toast.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...realizing that not only is our house starting to feel like Home (especially after the focus it got this weekend!), but we're all starting to get back in the swing of things and rediscover our rhythm... and it feels good!
...feeling grateful for the sibling play that's started happening in their very own (partially decorated) spaces.
...looking forward to reheating some of our weekend waffles that we were able to make again, thanks to our finding and finally unpacking the box that's held the waffle iron for more than a year!
...wondering what in the world I'm going to do with five gallons of muscadine grape juice (the result of about ten gallons of grapes we picked at my mom's this weekend)!
...finally washing and stashing the rest of our towels- used as packing material- and putting two in all our bathrooms... no more sharing! Yay!
...loving the relief that came with a weak yet welcome "cold" front at the end of the week. We had rain on Friday, fresh cool air on Saturday, and even now as things start to warm back up again, the edge is still softened... awesome.

Right now I'm feeling a little more pep in my step from a dim light that's started glimmering at the end of this move-in-settle-down tunnel. There's still a ton to do, but it feels possible now. Or at least, it feels more possible now.

So with that being said, may we all start this week knowing that there is in fact a light at the end of the tunnel, whatever your tunnel may be. Happy Monday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Corners of Our New Home, Part I

I had an epiphany this week, during a particularly intense wave of overwhelm from all that still needs to be done around the house: focus on the kid spaces.

Of course.

These little people who have been so completely displaced, who can't even go play outside yet because there are no established boundaries or safe zones, need a Place.

So I did. I focused on their bedrooms, and one at a time, they started coming together.

Once I put his (very basic, single-panel-once-was-an-Ikea-sheet) curtain up, he ran over and said "I looove it!" Then he jumped on his bed for about five minutes, and it felt just right- it felt like his room.

I still want a few more things on the walls, and maybe a better system for storing his little odds-n-ends things like his magnifying glass and glow-in-the-dark snake, but it feels pretty good in there all the same.

Now, on to Sissy's room...........

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pintos from Scarlet

Scarlet and I have been getting to know each other, and together we have now produced a few successful dinners, and even a round of bread.

To kick off what I hope will be years of synergy, we opted for something simple yet mighty (which ended up kinda representing the two of us when we work together, ha!): pinto beans. 

They made the house smell homey, they made family tummies happy, and they were a cinch. Scarlet made them special, but you totally don't need her help to make 'em just as good.

Pinto Beans
Makes enough for 8+

2 lbs dried pinto beans
water (enough to cover beans by several inches)

2 large, ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

The night before you want to eat 'em, rinse dried pintos and sort through them to check for small rocks, bad beans,
or- in my case- sticks. Pour cleaned beans into large stock pot and cover with twice as much water as you have
beans (beans should be covered by at least 3-4 inches of water). Cover and let soak over night.

About 3 hours before you want to eat 'em, drain beans and
refresh water (once again filling pot with twice as much water
as you have beans). Chop tomatoes, onion, and garlic and
toss in with beans, and add bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
Simmer on a med/low partially covered for ~3 hours, checking
periodically to make sure there is still plenty of liquid and the
beans aren't sticking to the bottom of the pot. Beans are done
when you can easily mash one with the back of a spoon.
When we made these beans, my mum brought up homemade enchiladas, and amid the boxes, piles, and chaos, we had a homemade dinner (on a folding table, sitting on a hodge-podge of folding chairs, office chairs, and the wicker chair from my bedroom). In that moment, our house felt like home... and isn't that the point of making meals together?


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

Audrey by the front door in the morning sunlight.
Henry in mid-plea to go outside.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...watching a baby skunk trail the edge of the woods about ten yards from our back door, and hoping our dog doesn't notice, too...
...listening to the dryer and thinking of the mounds of laundry that have yet to make it through there today.
...still feeling amazed by all that was done by parents that came up for the whole weekend and worked on our to-do list (with enthusiasm that outmatched our own for many of the tasks).
...getting a little twitchy from all the piles of junk and stuff here and there without places (and some with places that just haven't made it there).
...making it a point to step outside a little each day, despite the humidity, the heat, and the bazillion tasks demanding attention inside.
...enjoying the feeling of carpet under my feet, finally!

Right now, I'm trying not to feel overwhelmed by what remains to be done- especially because all things have seemingly equal importance. Hopefully there will be tangible progress this week, and we'll finally find the box with the rest of our washcloths!

Wishing all a happy Monday.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Introducing Scarlet

There is a little introduction I've been putting off making here in this space. Truthfully, I've been dying to acquaint you with this lady, but the time just hasn't been right.

It's just that, well, this girl wasn't quite up for making new friends. It was just too hard to get close to her... she was neglected. She was abused. She was filthy.

But now, oh now, she shines.

It's time.

Introducing Scarlet.

It took me three days to rehab this girl. Three. Days. 

I believe it's possible that it has been three years since anyone so much as wiped her down, but it did look like every day for three years someone was frying something.

Now all that is ancient history.

Under all that grease, grime, and burned-on food junk waited a fiery dame with the potential to knock socks off, and I am so looking forward to learning her ways.

Nice to meet you, Scarlet, I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Slowly, slowly, ever so slowly, our house is gaining ground toward feeling like home. It's slow going because there's about a bazillion things that require attention in every room.

Like my father-in-law said, each time you start a project in this house, another comes up, and it leaves you feeling like, "Squirrel!"

If you've seen Up or have a dog, you get the reference.

It's fitting- I'll go out to the garage, heave and heft a box through the maze of piles and not-yet-relocated furniture, tromp through the laundry room on my way to whichever room the box belongs to, and realize the only towel that's been unpacked so far is sitting in the washing machine, needing to switch to the dryer. So I'll put the box down, switch out the laundry, and hoist the box back to my hip. As I maneuver through the kitchen, I see something sitting on top of another box that belongs in the room I'm headed to, so I pause to skim it off the top, and in doing that see that it's a box full of odds-n-ends and there is actually several things that need to go to other rooms. Before I know it, I'm unpacking said box, the original box on the floor being piled high with other things. When I finally get around to bringing the box to it's destination, I'll realize that whatever needs to be unpacked can't be put away because where it needs to go hasn't been cleaned yet- cabinets not wiped out, potty/bathtub/sink still gross, floors not mopped or vacuumed....... you get the idea.

And so it goes.

However, I've been able to focus enough here or there to start making some tangible progress, and it feels good. I've noticed that the kids seem to gravitate in their play towards the more settled areas of the house, and I seem to do the same thing. It's comforting, really, to start seeing things that are familiar here and there...

...and it seems we aren't the only ones who have taken notice of the nesting progress. I think we're all craving a feeling of Home, and that is my motivation as I move through the days and boxes towards "Settled."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

First nap in the new house-
Henry, snoring.
Audrey sleeping with her blanket in her mouth- still- like she has ever since she was a baby.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...cleaning, unpacking, cleaning, degreasing, cleaning, and living out of suitcases and boxes. And cleaning.
...biting my tongue to keep from cursing the people who occupied this house up until the week before we moved in... seriously, how can anyone live in the conditions we found this house in? 1/2" of grease on everything in the kitchen... and I wish I were exaggerating!
...getting tired of eating takeout! My (awesomely amazing beast of a) gas range isn't quite up to working order yet, but I can take no more! Tonight: dinner in the slow cooker!
...still waiting on carpet. They promised they'd be on their way to install between 1-3pm today. We'll see.
...smiling at the adaptability (or is it just exhaustion?) that's enabled both kiddos to sleep side-by-side in the family room while strange noises, scrubbing, packing, and the like happen all around them.
...loving seeing our woods out almost every window as I look up between chores and boxes.

It has been hard to find a moment here or there to sit and share all that's been going on over the past week, but I hope to make more of an effort to get a few more of these early days in our new home recorded in this space. Until then, may we all look with new appreciation upon clean places to sit, fully operational kitchen equipment, and bedrooms!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

One Last Look

There were days when I thought this would never happen.

Stagnant days.

Days spent treading water.

Days of feeling pangs of envy and longing when the world around me moved forward, and we stayed right where we were... where we had been for so long.

Even as I walked through our empty house, it seemed like it was all too good to be true. Like someone could still yank it all away and taunt, "Awww, so close, yet so far away!"

But it happened.

It happened, and though it's something I've wanted for so long, it felt bittersweet. The way one might feel after finally- finally- climbing a harrowing, daunting mountain. Sore. Tired. Achy. Victorious. Weary of turning and starting toward Home.


I just needed one last walk through the place that housed our family, started our family, grew our family, before heading down the other side of that mountain. One last look at the spaces that are now just our jumping-off point.

One last look...

We haven't made it all the way through the hard stuff yet... heck, we're only starting our way back down that same harrowing mountain, but being in our new place (despite all the cleaning left to do and, well, you know, the fact that there's no carpet yet) just solidifies what we knew all along- it was all worth it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


A portrait of my kids every week for 52 weeks.

Audrey at Mimmy and Pappy's house, holding every pool float they own.
Henry in Mimmy's pool, with Swim Face.