Monday, August 15, 2016

A new season awaits

I kind of can't believe the last week of summer is upon us. While part of me is sad to say goodbye to the concept of summer, I am mostly happy to be welcoming a new season.

For one, fall is my favorite season. I've always loved back to school shopping. This is my 14th year of not being enrolled in a class, but I am still connected to the world of back to school and am embarking on my first year solo teaching. While it's a part-time gig, I am looking forward to trying something new and staying connected to higher education.

I look forward to the return of wearing jeans and boots and jackets. I love wearing layers! I am excited to spend more time outside, since it won't be so hot during the day and I really need to get back into my walking routine to get some regular exercise.

Truth be told, I am eagerly awaiting the new season with a lot of hope and expectation. I am anxious to get into a rhythm. I am hopeful we will feel like part of the community in some small way.

While we were in California and attended the annual gathering with our church, I got to hear Dr. Bob Logan speak. He had some really great things to say about doing ministry that really encouraged and challenged my heart. One of the things he encouraged us to consider was what he called "drop two, add one" when you are thinking about taking on something new. While I haven't had a lot of commitments since moving, the idea resonated with me in the culture of busy that so often exists.

I can't say enough about Jess Connolly's Fall into Freedom worksheets (probably because she's a girls after my own heart in the need for structure department). Doing the worksheets got me so excited for establishing some routines, but also being intentional about what I am saying YES to.

Since I am teaching, I expect there will be some structure to my days (at least three days per week when the class meets). The kids and I will attend MOPS every other week. And I am exploring some options for our preschooler to get into, but I am being intentional about what I commit to. I am hopeful the season ahead will be structured, but not overly busy.

What are you looking forward to as the school year begins?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Our Summer Road Trip

Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to travel to Southern California for a conference with our church. We chose to drive, so we could see more of the western US. None of us had ever driven from Colorado to California so it was sure to be an adventure.

Highlights of the trip included:

  • Driving across Utah. I really had no idea just how beautiful and varied the landscape would be. I am already trying to figure out when we can go back!
  • Seeing friends we knew in our dating/early married life. Two couples we shared a lot of time with in Boston were on the visit list and catching up in person, introducing them to our kids was pure joy.
  • The Grand Canyon. Need I say more?
  • Visiting my second cousin and her family and dinner with my great aunt and uncle.
  • Taking the kids to the ocean and just hearing the waves crash along the beach.
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice. I'm talking made just a few minutes ago, fresh. I may have had it in a restaurant once or twice, but when you can watch it made in my cousin's kitchen, it is just so good (and I don't even drink OJ on the regular).
All in all, it was a grand adventure. Sure we camped in the pouring rain, but saw the Grand Canyon the next morning!  

Monday, July 25, 2016

Maggie says (part 3)...

When I told Maggie she's a city girl turned country girl, she laughed and asked what kind of girl I am. I told her I was more of a suburban girl and she laughed calling me a "bourbon girl."

"I think I need some oil," referring to essential oils when her tummy was upset.

While showing me a picture of Snow White she drew I asked her if she looked at her Snow White figurine. Closing her eyes, she said "no, I just remembered she has a yellow and blue dress."

"Can I giggle him?" when asking if she can make her brother laugh too.

We pulled up outside of a McDonald's that was attached to a gas station and when I said the name, she asked "is it like Old MacDonald?"

Referring to a movie, "The Fox and the Town"

"That was some serious thunder" upon hearing a loud thunder clap.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday finds: June edition

Photo from Wildly Co.

Capsule wardrobes for kids? Check out Wildly Co's summer capsules for girls and boys and use code BETH20 for 20% off your order through June 30.

You can help refugee moms, here are five ways.

All this hot weather, makes me want popsicles and this list has me anxious to try a few recipes.

Traveling this summer? We are next month and I will certainly be trying a few of these suggestions for saving money.

Also, on the subject of travel, hacks for parents.

We've all heard about the gorilla and alligator, but did you hear about the mountain lion a mother fought off?

Some solid suggestions on how to talk to your kids after the gorilla incident.

Have you noticed how NPR reporters always have great names? Here's how you can determine your own NPR name.

If 70s moms had blogs.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

One last goodbye

This week we said a final goodbye to a piece of our heart in Massachusetts. We closed on our house. We bought the 90+ year old 3-bed colonial 11 months into married life. It needed a lot of work and took a lot of my husband's attention over the five years we lived there.

I blogged and Instagrammed some of the renovations we made over the years we lived there, but I wanted to share the final pictures here now that it has been sold as a final tribute.

We called it home for five whole years. That is a long time by our standards. Having both been quite transient in the years before we were married, it was the address that we both lived at for the longest period of time in our adult lives.

I loved the kitchen. It was by far the most lived-in part of the house. It was the first part of the house we changed. I remember washing dishes in the bathroom sink while we gutted it and using a headlamp to cook dinner on the gas stove because the electricity was off for something else my husband was doing in the house. My most vivid memory was when we replaced its windows hoping my husband really knew what he was doing while I stared at the gaping hole where windows should go.

The upstairs bathroom was the first project that we finished and brought joy to my life. The changes from a weekend of painting and installing a new sink, were so drastic I claimed the paint color, warm caramel, changed my life. I may have been a bit dramatic, but it was such an improvement from the lavender walls and ugly pedestal sink that used to live there.

We also made some major improvements in the layout of one half of the house. The master bedroom and living room were both fairly awkward because each space was so long and narrow.

On the main floor, Brandon built a wall to divide it, which made the living area more live-able. He also re-painted and re-tiled the mantle, making it a beautiful focal point of the room. Finally, he added doors to the space, making the room feel cozy when we used the fireplace. I will really miss that fire place next winter.

In the master bedroom, it was the closet that needed the most work. When we bought the house, the closet was along the back wall, covering a full-size window. It was quite awkward (and a little weird) to have a window IN the closet. Brandon dismantled the closet and then installed his and hers closets from Ikea (we were spoiled to live just 20 minutes from Ikea). He also built a window seat between the closets adding to the cozy feel. 

I remember when he painted the walls grey. It was less than two months before Maggie was born, and I almost immediately felt it made the space more calm. It was a vast improvement over the army green that had previously been on the walls.

The dining room didn't see any drastic changes, but we did live without a finished ceiling for a number of months due to water damage from the upstairs bath tub. I remember the night a group of men from our church came to put up the new ceiling. I was so grateful to finally have that space finished and then we used oops paint (found on a must sell rack at Home Depot). I don't think I would have thought of painting the walls mustard, but we loved how it turned out.

It was a good house. There were times I thought we were in over our heads and times it was a haven, especially during the hard New England winters. We saw record snow outside its windows in 2015. 

It was the home where we brought our babies home from the hospital. 

Goodbye, red house. We affectionately refer to it as "the red house" when talking to our two year old daughter who remembers it. Brandon painted the exterior red last fall and it's the way I want to remember it. 

Our red house, the sweet little piece of MA we had our names on it for five years. So long, old friend. Thanks for the memories.