• a lesson from the newbie

    As I stood in line and unloaded my cart at the grocery store, the guy behind me noticed my little girl in her car seat. As we waited, he asked how old she was and as I proudly told him 'almost 5 months', he tried to coax a smile out of her. He continued to tell me that he and his wife have a five (almost six) week old baby boy at home. It was also their first so we continued to chat about how crazy it is having a little one.

    We were both first timers to the parenting club so I expected him to proceed with a joke about lack of sleep or say something about how much harder it was than he ever thought it would know, the common complaints of a new parent.  But he didn't...

    I wanted to have the chance to tell him, like many others had told me, that it gets better. I wanted to tell him that the first smile, the first time they roll over, the first time you hear them giggle- your heart doesn't matter if you are completely exhausted and going on just a few hours of sleep (not a few hours straight- I'm talking an hour here, an hour and a half there...). The little moments you have with that tiny person somehow will give you the strength to keep going.

    I was the veteren between the two of us so I wanted the chance to fill him in on the special things that were to come. I wanted to give him something to look forward to. The first 6 weeks or so (more like the first three months or so...) were such a blur for me that I wanted to comfort him and to bond with him over our shared experience with lack of sleep, dirty diapers, and crying babies (well, as much as you can bond with a stranger in the checkout line). I wanted to share everything I've learned over the last few months...but I couldn't.

    Before I could jump at the chance to be the experienced one with the wise advise, instead of the newbie I've been seen as for the past few months, he said something that made me rethink how I should be viewing this journey of parenthood.

    'It is so amazing...' he said.

    He was still looking at my little one wiggling around in her car seat when he said this, but I could tell that he wasn't seeing her. He was seeing his little boy and all of the moments they had already shared in the short 5-6 weeks since he was born.

    I realized that he wasn't the one who needed the encouragement and reassurance- it was me. I've been lucky enough to be able to stay home with our little girl but I find myself just trying to make it through each day... and then each night. During the day, I catch myself wanting it to be evening, when my husband is home to help. During the night, especially if the little lady is having a rough night, I can't wait for the sun to finally come up so I don't have to fight for sleep. I've been wishing the days away without even realizing it. I've been so caught up in the every day little battles and although I've enjoyed it and wouldn't change it for the world, I haven't been taking in every moment as much as I should be. Our little girl has grown so much already...if I don't focus on making the best of each day, I'm going to miss it! 

    I guess we all need a little reminder to slow down every once in a while- a little nudge to remember that we should live in the present, not in what we think our future will be. The important thing is that we recognized this reminder and actually try to take in each day.

    Now if you will excuse me...I have some snuggling and playing to do.

  • one man's trash: the alley chair makeover

    A couple years ago, I stumbled upon my favorite piece of furniture. Erik and I were meeting up for a beer after work- he was walking from work and I was walking down from our apartment. As I left our apartment and started down the alley (my shortcut!) I noticed an old chair by a dumpster. This was a fairly common sight- we live in a neighborhood of apartment dwellers which means people moving away and new people moving in throughout the year. Usually the furniture left behind by people is better left for the garbage man but this chair was different. I was running late to meet up with Erik (also a common occurence..) so I continued on my way. I made it to the end of the alley when I turned around to look at the chair again. I knew that it wouldn't be there when we returned. Beneath the scuffs and the old fabric cushion, was something special. The lines of the chair made it so unique. I knew with a little love, this chair could be a really amazing piece. I rushed back up the alley, threw the tattered cushion into the dumpster and carried the wood chair up three flights of narrow stairs to our apartment. I quickly wiped it down, took a few photos (to show Erik why I was running exceptionally late this time) and then rushed out the door.

    A couple years later and a lot of hard work (mostly Erik's hard work...the poor guy had no idea I was dragging him into this project!) the chair looks amazing. Erik refinished it and, of course, I needed to make a new cushion for it. I wonder what the old owner would think?

    The day I found it in the alley (pardon the photo quality- these are the photos I took with my phone):

    My wonderful husband, sanding his heart out:

    And the chair now:

    And one more, with one of my pillows...because every chair is better will a pretty pillow:

    I could go into a little soap box speech about why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or how an ugly duckling can become a beautiful swan but I'll save that for another day. I will say this though- if you find something at a second hand or antique store (or in the alley...) and it has good bones and you are not afraid of a little work (or know someone who isn't afraid of hard work, whether a friend or skilled tradesman), don't hesitate to pick it up. These are the pieces that add interest and personality to our homes. They have stories behind them that you will want to share!

  • our little mix and match christmas table

    It will be our first time hosting Christmas this year and because most of my time now-a-days is spent feeding, changing, and snuggling with our three month old, this was a perfect excuse to be creative. I didn't want to spend much money so I tried to find things that we already had to create a fun (and definitely eclectic!) table for four.

    I dug through my fabric stash and found a holiday-ish pattern that would work with my vintage plates and then added in a couple small blue and white plates (from my grandma), some candles, and Fiestaware salt and pepper shakers to add a little more interest. Because the fabric was so busy, I combined a variety of red flowers for the centerpiece. I thought more than one color of flower would be too overwhelming. I decided to use three small vases instead of one big one- one small teal ceramic planter (also from my grandma) and two mugs I made in one of my ceramic classes in college. I added to the centerpiece by putting a wood cutting board underneath for a little more height and texture.

    And this is how it all, somehow, came together!

    It was a fun challenge to find things that go together and nice to do something a little creative. Hopefully it inspires you to mix and match the next time you have guests over! Now, hopefully the cooking will turn out as well as the tablescape. Wish us luck!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!