1 One More Post

I told Tod I thought I had one more blog post in me for 2014, which will round out the year's final number of posts at a whole, whopping 13. Not very impressive, I know, but I like the number 13, so I'm cool with it. After all, this year has been filled with so many exciting and fun and hard and happy things that blogging simply has not been very high on my priority list, even though it is something I enjoy doing when I actually sit down and do it. To be honest, for the past few weeks (months?), I've found myself questioning whether I should give up on the blog entirely (as in, take it down from the web) or whether I should give it another shot (maybe with some remodeling and a new slant). It seems like bloggers are dropping like flies these days (Young House Love, anyone?), and although this blog is a tiny little thing, I just don't know right now what's in store for this place. But I'm okay with that, too, because I'm not really sure what's in store for me either as I sit here 35 weeks pregnant.

For now though, I'm here, at least sporadically. As I mentioned above, this year has been so very full. If I had to sum it up in 40 words, I'd say that we started the year by moving into our new place and taking an amazing trip to the Middle East, and now we're ending the year anxiously awaiting the arrival of our baby girl, who will be here so very soon. We can't wait.   

Speaking of which, there's been some nesting going on around here. (And I'm a nester without a baby in my belly so I'll just let y'all think about how absurd my nesting must be with a baby in my belly.) Although the walls haven't been painted pink, I can't say the same thing for two green dressers. (Remember when I painted them green here, or remember when my sister painted them gray here?) 

Thanks to help from my sweet mom and six cans of Valspar spray paint (in Satin Thistle Field), baby girl has a perfect spot for her all her precious baby girl things. 

I'll try to update this post with some pictures of the dressers in her room, but my sweet husband (who jokes that he's auditioning for stay-at-home dad) just presented me with a beautiful plate of steaming hot food, so this is where I leave you for now.

Happy holidays to you and yours. 


3 I blame the rom-coms.

Preface: The three or four of you who read this blog already know that "yay! I'm pregnant!" so I'm skipping the whole "yay! I'm pregnant!" post. Not to worry, I'll also be skipping the seemingly obligatory belly shots. I'm in my 18th week now, and I just look like a college girl halfway through her freshman year, so you're not missing much. Also, I'm pretty sure I've been gone from this blog for so long (with good reason, you see) that the three or four of you who read it have found better things to do with your time. I don't blame you one bit. 

Here's the deal: I blame the rom-coms.

I blame them for teaching me everything I thought I needed to know about pregnancy, but for teaching it to me all wrong. 

Because despite what those cute and fun films would have you believe, pregnancy is neither cute nor fun. Take morning sickness, for example. It's not like in the movies where the girl goes to brunch with her friends, gets sick, and tells them she thinks she's pregnant only to feel great! for the next 36 weeks. And take the name: morning sickness. You'd think it would have something to do with the morning, right? Well, not for me. For me, mornings, although not great, have pretty much been my best time of day. But thanks to the rom-coms, I'd never heard of afternoon sickness, or evening sickness, or night sickness, all of which I have experienced every day. For months. I just had no idea. And I didn't know the fear that would come with it all: that I'd be afraid to leave the house in case I got sick; that I'd be afraid of never feeling well again; or, if I did actually feel okay for a minute, that I'd be afraid something had happened to the baby. I had no idea that just the idea of food would make me sick, or the smell of it, or the sight of it, let alone all three of those in combination. I had no idea that just brushing my teeth would make me sick, or riding in the car, or going from lying down to sitting up too quickly. And I had no idea I'd cry so much, for pretty much no reason at all aside from not feeling well. I honestly just had no idea. And for all of that, I blame the rom-coms. 

(For all of that, Tod and I also are firmly convinced that this baby is a girl. We'll find out later this month if we're right.) 

So although I sound totally bitter about all of this, I want you to know that I'm not bitter at all. To the contrary, I feel so unbelievably blessed even though real world pregnancy is not cute and fun like rom-com pregnancy. Real world pregnancy, at least for me, has been the most humbling experience; that's the best way I can describe it. I am so very humbled--by the fact that I'm not as tough as I thought I was; by the fact that I cannot control most of what is happening; and by the fact that I've been given this opportunity. But mostly, I'm humbled by the fact that it's not about me any more. I'm starting to think that's the point of it all.  

In other news, Zelda got a haircut last weekend. She's still our baby for a while.


1 Behind Closet Doors

Here's the master closet before we got to work:
(I told y'all that the person who lived here before us was not the best project completer. Check out that half-ass paint job: an oatmeal/turquoise disaster if ever I've seen one. The face-base colored walls don't help much either.) 

Here's the master closet after demolition: 
(Do you see that that space to the right of the closet? Before we started knocking things out, it was just totally wasted space, hiding behind studs and sheetrock. I strongly believe that wasted space is worse than the Kardashians. And how about adding some framing so we can have normal closet doors and not the strange, to-the-ceiling things that didn't really slide unless you grabbed on with two hands, gave yourself a kick start, and then flung all your body weight in the other direction.)

Thank goodness for that wasted space, for it allowed one to become two, a his and hers if you will.
Move in day came long before the closet doors arrived. (In fact, we didn't have any interior doors for about the first six weeks we lived here. #goodthingwearemarried. These closet doors were special order and were the last to arrive. I didn't really enjoy staring at our clothes for three months, but Zelda didn't seem to mind too much.)

 Finally, doors!

Even better, painted doors!
(We added a floor length mirror in the corner where the bookshelves used to be . . . 

and we moved the bookshelves to the other wall.) 
Yes, I am completely ridiculous and still sleep with a stuffed lamb. His name is Phil.

The view of the other corner:

So far this seems to be the girls' room of choice.

At least as far as daytime napping goes . . . 


1 Dead Sea Swimming

We made sure to take a dip in the Dead Sea on our Middle Eastern journey. And yes, what they say is true: it's really salty--so salty, in fact, that you float--and the mud is divine. Oh, and it's home to the lowest bar in the world.

We went to a place called Kalia Beach. One thing that amazed me was how much the Dead Sea continues to evaporate; some folks say it's dying. You now have to walk down loads and loads of steps (where water used to be) just to reach the shore. 

Then it was time to strip down and be brave.

Tod's floating like he's in outer space. It was actually sort of difficult not to roll like a log in the salty water.

The hardest part about this, actually, was walking out of the water without busting my ass in the really slick mud. I may or may not have been successful.

In any event, we had a great time. (One piece of advice though: don't shave your legs right before you go. The water really is salty.)


1 Not So Pretty in Pink

When we bought our little townhouse, it came complete with a pink bathroom. And although I probably could have handled a charming pink bathroom, this one was not even the least bit charming. 

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that even a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (which can pretty much handle anything) would not have made a dent in this situation.

I think someone tried to give the old medicine cabinet a white paint facelift. That person was not, however, a project completer. 

So, basically, everything had to go in this bathroom: the pink bathtub, the pink commode, the pink linoleum, the pink wall tiles, the half-painted medicine cabinet, the Hollywood lights that had left burn marks on the ceiling, and yes, even the knee-height brown vanity. 

Good riddance!

After replacing rotten sub-floor and soggy insulation, adding new tile backer board, and covering the slightly charred popcorn ceilings with new 3/4" sheetrock, it was time to bring in a new white tub. 

For the rest of the space: I ordered a new (tall!) (real wood and marble!) vanity on sale from homedepot.com. It was listed as gray but showed up more of an army green color; we love it though. For the floors, I told our contractor we wanted black and white hex tile; I didn't care whether it was the snowflake pattern, the flower pattern, or the regular pattern, so I just told him to pick up whatever he could find at the best price. For the walls, we went with old-school tongue and groove beadboard, painted white. I ordered a sleek light fixture for the vanity and modern faucets to round out some of our vintage-inspired choices, and we went with the same white subway tile with gray grout in the shower. We ordered a new white toilet and installed a new ventilation fan with a light in the ceiling, and we upped the outlet from a single to a double to account for our Sonicaire toothbrushes (which we love). 


The sheets of hex tile were apparently a little difficult to work with--the tiles kept falling off--so we ended up with one row of wabi-sabi misplaced tiles sort of in the middle, but we're choosing to view that as a Zen thing. You know, control what you can and all. Plus, you can't see them under the rug (or bath mat), so I'm cool with it. I love the looks of it, but even more so, I love the way the tiles feel underfoot. They're the best. Oh, and we went with gray grout again because I knew it would be a nightmare to keep white grout looking clean on the floor. Design and practicality should be friends, after all.

It's a super difficult room to photograph due to its size and the lighting, so please forgive the poor quality of all of these photos.


The rug looks dark in the picture above, but this is more accurate. Threadbare Persians just look like dirty old rugs to most people, I guess. I think they're amazing. (We have white cotton bath mats to put down on top when needed.)

Zelda approves (I think), but Heidi (as usual) has mixed feelings about all the change. 

The faucets for the sink and shower are Kingston Brass's Concord Collection in polished chrome, although we went with the cross handle in the shower; we liked the bank vault vibe. (We also ordered the matching toilet paper holder and towel bars.)

I ordered the polished chrome vanity light fixture from lightinguniverse.com; I thought its lines worked well with the Concord fixtures, and, like I said, we wanted something sleek and modern to update the vintage tile and beadboard.

I have since added three quirky Paris canvases (picked up from Ross for $20 a piece) to the wall above the commode. (Sorry for the messy counters: I'm just keepin' it real. And yes, we really do love our Sonicaire toothbrushes.) 

So, one last before and after. Even if our choices aren't really your style, you have to admit: it's much better, right?


1 A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I picked up a book the other day, sat down, and started reading. And I didn't stop reading until I finished the book. I was totally enthralled. And although I tend to read a lot, it's actually pretty rare when I'm enthralled enough with a book to read it completely in one sitting. (The last time I did that was one of The Hunger Games books, I think. Go figure.)

Anyway, the book was A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.

I guess you'd say it's a book about writing; the cover blurb says "what I learned while editing my life." So it's a book about writing--about the story--but perhaps it's more so a book about living--about how to live--with a little religion thrown in there because, honestly, who among us can question the meaning of life without that?

I marked a few passages and thought I might share them. (Hopefully Mr. Miller won't mind. The following words are all his, not mine.)

Page 59:

When Steve, Ben, and I wrote our characters into the screenplay, I felt the same way I hope God feels as he writes the world, sitting over the planets and placing tiny people in tiny wombs. If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you.
Candles burning at the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Pages 86-87:

You can call it God or a conscience, or you can dismiss it as that intuitive knowing we all have as human beings, as living storytellers; but there is a knowing I feel that guides me toward better stories, toward being a better character. I believe there is a writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us, interacting with us, even, and whispering a better story into our consciousness.

As a kid, the only sense I got from God was guilt, something I dismissed as a hypersensitive conscience I got from being raised in a church with a controlling pastor. But that isn't the voice I'm talking about. That voice really was the leftover hypersensitive conscience I got from being raised in a church with a controlling pastor.

The real Voice is stiller and smaller and seems to know, without confusion, the difference between right and wrong and the subtle delineation between the beautiful and the profane. It's not an agitated Voice, but ever patient as though it approves a million false starts. The Voice I am talking about is a deep water of calming wisdom that says, Hold your tongue; don't talk about that person that way; forgive the friend you haven't talked to; don't look at that woman as a possession; I want to show you the sunset; look and see how short life is and how your troubles are not worth worrying about; buy that bottle of wine and call your friend and see if he can get together, because, remember, he was supposed to have that conversation with his daughter, and you should ask him about it.
Page 99:
Candles burning at the Church of the Nativity

Here's the truth about telling stories with your life. It's going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you're not going to want to do it. It's like that with writing books, and it's like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.
Candles burning at the altar at the traditional site of Golgotha, within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre


1 Shaggy Dog

Sweet, shaggy Zelda . . .

is shaggy no more.

"Say cheese!"

Yay for summer cuts!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...