Monday, April 23, 2012

What Matters

Every morning as my son gets ready for school I have to remind him of several things:
Did you brush your teeth, comb your hair, put on CLEAN socks, make your bed, clean out the backpack, take your lunch, take the jumpropeforheart forms, take out the trash, take snack money, remember your instrument, get your test signed?  To which he replies, "It doesn't matter, mom."  He's not being totally defiant.  I think he looks at me in my tired tirades and just thinks, "She doesn't get it.  She doesn't get that the hard part about school is not remembering all these things, it's getting there and getting in line with someone you may or may not like and getting in a seat and getting your work out and getting the work done before someone says time's up.  It's about being kind and being ready to answer and being ready to defend yourself or someone else and being on task and being a good listener and being careful of others and being careful not to make mistakes."  I agree with him, his socks don't matter. 
Sometimes as I write these blogs I am reminded of all the trouble and pain in the world and I think, "This really doesn't matter."  But the truth is when the pain is knocking at your door and the troubles of the world don't seem so far away any more and when you see a friend in pain or you are in pain, it helps to have on a soft pair of socks.  It helps to have a soft pillow to cry on, a picture of your family to look at, something fun to read, flowers to look at, a bench outside to sit on.   Then, when the pain is getting you down, you have something you can rely on, some way to distract yourself from all the chaos in life and find pleasure in the simplest things. 
When my son is in school and hears names he shouldn't or feels embarrassed or humiliated or wants to cry and can't, I hope he knows that I care, that I cared enough to have soft socks for him to make the journey a little less wearisome.  He'll have less to carry in his backpack because I made him clean out 20 pages of last month's spelling homework.  Every little bit helps when it comes to what matters.
Today I am cleaning out of frustration and an emotional need to try to control something.  I know this may look like it doesn't matter, but I found these cute labels and they made me smile.  I upcycled some old file folders simply by adding stickers.  
 from Homegoods for $1.
 New file system.

And while I was on the site I found these inspirational sayings too...

Sometimes the littlest things make a difference.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Ready for sunnin'...

Ready for sittin'...

Ready for sipping'...

NOT ready for swimmin'...
But will be soon!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bedroom In Between

So, this is our master bedroom.  Pretty bland and boring.  I love my bed, which we bought about 8 years ago from a catalog.  But the old shams and blanket just weren't what I envisioned for our master retreat.  The old wreath too.... it's gotta go.  So we began with a paint color.  I'm all about free paint and Ace Hardware had free quarts of paint on Saturdays during the month of March.  I thought I would only need one because I was only painting the wall behind the bed, but I add to go back the following weekend.  If you remember the rest of the room is wallpapered and we are not into self-torture trying to get it all removed.  So we're working within our limits.  Painting one wall.

I found this lovely color at the paint store that coordinates with the wallpaper and the window treatments but isn't too dated.  (Or so I thought...)  It's a pale aqua blue called Crystal Lake, ironic because that's the name of a lake near us. 

This is also my new system of keeping track of the paint colors we are using.  Just use the paint stick and let it dry.  Then write in sharpie marker to identify the color, the room and the store or brand of paint used.  Maybe I'll add the year too now that I think about it.  I will eventually hang these on a hook in the basement so I'll have a little paint palette of colors we used in the house.

This is the new paint color.  I am so happy with how it turned out.  I think this might be the perfect color for just about any room in the house.   It would be great in a kids room with bright accents, a bathroom with lots of silvery fixtures, a kitchen with blue and green, and a living room with grey tones. 

So you can't really tell, but the pillow in the center is a small check that has the same color blue.  The pictures I had collected over the years and I hung our wedding invitation on one side and our wedding picture on the other side.  (And there's that big ugly fan again!)

I was inspired to make the bed this way after looking for hotel rooms online.  The old beds have bedspreads that cover the whole bed, but breaking it up with a blanket at the foot of the bed adds dimension and texture.  So I copied, with a soft white blanket and the old blanket folded at the bottom of the bed. 
It's not done yet... I actually ordered a new duvet cover and shams which should arrive any day from West Elm.  There are mirrors going up on the closet doors and you'd never believe what happened when we took the old mirror off the inside of the closet door -  the SAME PAINT COLOR!  I'm not kidding.  This has happened twice in this new house and it's a little bit haunting.  As soon as I saw the color I dropped the screwdriver.  Isn't that odd?  I suppose not really odd because whoever painted obviously had the wallpaper to match and so we didn't have much choice.  I just thought I was picking a color that was new, but what's old is new again I guess.   More to come!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Growing Things

It is one of the rewards of being human - we can grow things.  We can plant and harvest and enjoy the benefits of what we sow.  I so enjoy watching my children grow.  I enjoy watching my garden grow.
Last fall I planted bulbs that I hoped would come up and they did:

So beautiful and so strong!  All winter those little bulbs had the nourishment they needed to thrive and this spring they decorated my front yard and it was so rewarding!

But sometimes, I don't want things to grow.  There is a really old tree stump out our front door that was cut down years ago.  That thing still wants to grow, even though I have taken the hatchet to it about twenty times now.  I have pounded away at the stump as hard as I could until there are splinters of wood everywhere and no dirt covering the roots and I think surely that will be the end of that.  Yet each morning it is still sprouting up new green things that I don't want to be there.  How do you stop something like that from growing short of pouring acid all over that would leech into my beautiful hydrangea right next to it?

Last week we worked at old Newton Creek with the Cub Scouts to clean out an area where bamboo had rooted and still wants to grow.  This old invasive plant and the wild rose are destroying the natural plants that should be growing there. 

After - We got rid of the invasive plants.

And the invasive trash!

Even with my children, I love seeing how their faces change and am reminded on occasional mornings when they come downstairs just out of bed that they have grown.  Their eyes are a little different or their cheeks look a little less like baby cheeks.  But sometimes I wish they wouldn't grow.  I'd like to put a time freeze on them some days.  Watching my son take the "big field" this year for baseball, I really thought, "Oh, this must be the wrong field.  My son is not as big as those kids out there."  But as he wound his way down the hill and through the gate I saw that indeed he was.  He is growing and I just fail to see it happening right under my nose.  My husband and I like to joke that we are holding them back in school next year, just so we can still say, "Yes, our oldest is in 7th grade, and our youngest is in 2nd grade."  Somehow it makes me feel younger and that time is not slipping away as quickly as it is.  It sounds better than 8th grade and 3rd grade!  That's old...

Watching things grow is pleasant but can be difficult at the same time.  Watching the kids learn and hearing them use new language and play with ideas is so enjoyable and rewarding.  Inside I grow a little too when I realize how their lives are shaping.  But when I hear my son talk about politics or my daughter talk about where she wants to go to college, I'm reminded that this will end.  That they will leave us.  For even the tulips that were so bright just days ago have all begun to wither and die.  As happy as I was to see them sprout, I'm just as sad to see them go.  I thought they'd last a little longer. 

Same with my children.  I never thought the time would go so quickly.  My only job now is to continue to allow them to grow... to remove the stuff that threatens to invade their lives and their growth... keep the soil just fertile enough that weeds don't begin to grow around them... watering the good and feeding them and giving them sunshine.  When invasive plants threaten I will take my hatchet out!  I am the family gardener.