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An Old Favorite

2014 October 23
by Wendy

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My younger son and I were recently looking through our bookshelf and I happened upon one of my favorites. I received “Charlotte’s Web” for Christmas when I was eight. I loved it, so much so that I’ve kept it for a long time.

Finding it again was like being reunited with an old (old!) friend. My son had no interest in reading it on his own, but begrudgingly agreed to let me read it to him. Cracking open those old, yellow pages transports me to those carefree days of being eight and truly warms my soul.

What were your favorite books as a child, and have you reread them as an adult? Does it bring you back to your youth?

Daddy’s Home

2014 October 22
by Mia

2014-10-19 13.50.07I love this photo.  After a traveling for business, the Mister arrived home to hugs, kisses and smothering from his three ladies.

Our family dynamics shift so much when he is gone.  Bedtime is strictly at 8pm, dinners have known to include a quick run to Panera Bread, and three of us are known to curl under blankets for a good 3pm movie.

When he is home, however, we follow a different routine.  Family dinners with questions about our high/lows/good deeds, snuggles before bedtime that can linger until the Mister falls asleep at 8:30pm, and family game night of Catan Junior or Sorry.

I always enjoy a good “girl time” week, but nothing compares to the sight of him walking through the door, suitcase tossed aside, giving giant bear hugs to the three of us.  And as you can tell from this photo, we just can’t seem to get enough of him.

Story of a Tween’s Bedroom

2014 October 20
by Mia

My oldest will be ten (!!!) in November and we offered to re-do her bedroom as a milestone birthday present.  Her current bedroom has a fairy bedspread,  ”cow-jumped-over-the-moon” lamps and other decor that reflected her interests at age two.

Now at age ten, I suggested we make some updates for her room she could grow with until senior year (gulp).  I was envisioning a room where she could have trade secrets with her bestie during sleepovers, curl her hair as she gets ready for prom, and spend hours listening to music to soothe a broken heart.  THIS would be the room where she would visit during college vacations –  a safe refuge from the barrage of mid-terms and papers.  I had high expectations.

My daughter was initially excited as we poured over pinterest and landed on this image by Emily Henderson for inspiration.  She wanted turquoise walls, lots of pillows and a pinboard.

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Lots of research was spent online looking for floral or medallion prints with a rainbow of colors that would compliment a turquoise wall.  We found a few things, ordered a few things, tried out a few things…but nothing brought an overwhelming sense of excitement and joy.  And then we figured out why this weekend:

We weren’t ready to say goodbye to her childhood.

The yellow walls with crayon markers, the fairy princess bedding with faded bloody nose stains, the silly fairy-tale lamps that don’t even work — they all represented safety, familiarity and comfort.  This room represented the first half of her childhood. And the decision to not move forward with the re-design symbolized that we both weren’t ready to begin second half.

So this weekend, we scrapped the re-design plans, cancelled the painter and sent back the pillows.  A weight was lifted off of both our shoulders — no longer doing what seemed like the next step for a ten-year old, but instead doing what felt right.

And in the meantime, I’ll file away those fabric and paint samples until that moment when she will boldly ask if we could hide those fairytale lamps in the basement.  I know that moment is coming, but am not going to rush it.

Flowers and Memories

2014 October 16
by Wendy

I’m not feeling 100% right now due to some combination of poor sleep, a slight cold, and a flu shot today. Not bad enough for me to cancel things or stay in, but not good enough to take on my to-do list with gusto. As I was scrolling through my pictures, avoiding said to-do list, I found this little lovely.

We went to Ann Arbor, Michigan over Labor Day weekend to see a University of Michigan football game, reconnect with some family, and pay homage to my husband’s grandfather – Opa – and his love of all things U of M. The day before we left, we visited Opa’s hometown and the cemetery where he and his wife now rest. Dinner was in Chelsea, Michigan, at one of Opa’s favorite restaurants.

Walking back to the car after dinner, this pretty scene caught my eye. Looking back at it now, it brings back fond memories of our trip, warm and happy thoughts of Opa, and the hope that one day I may be able to plant and maintain something as gorgeous as this.

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Snapshot of October 15

2014 October 15
by Mia

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Weather:  Predicted to hit 80 degrees here!  A true humid Indian summer day.  We’ve had a gorgeous fall with few days requiring a jacket.

On the Bedside Table:  The Curse of the Good Girl, Elements of Style: Designing a Home and Life; Not that Kind of Girl and The Marriage Plot.

What’s Keeping Me Up at Night:  Logistics!  We are soon to get the Nutcracker rehearsal and performance schedule and I’m bracing myself for the logistical chaos that will ensue to get my oldest to the city for 11 performances and umpteen rehearsals.  It will work itself out….it always does….but the planner in me wants to have everything mapped out for the next few months!

Exercise of the Day:  I’m finally back to running after an 8 week hiatus, due to the oh-so-clumsy broken toe mishap.  My post run self was tired, with aching knees and a throbbing toe….it might be time to hang up my running shoes for the season.

Dinner Tonight:  Leftovers….my favorite.  I made Giada’s macaroni and cheese cupcakes last night which were a hit with the young ladies in the house.  Wednesdays are our crazy days with school ending at 3:50 and a 6-7:30pm ballet class…so not a lot of time for homework, dinner and downtime.  This meal makes my Wednesdays easier.

Travel Plans:  My youngest and I are off to Florida in a few weeks!  With Big Sister tied up with Nutcracker obligations, I wanted to make sure Little Sister was getting some special attention.  The trip requires a tiny plane….gulp….but I know we will be all over the warm beach weather.

Four Hugs a Day

2014 October 14
by Wendy

When my boys were in preschool, one of my favorite songs they sang was “Four Hugs a Day”. While I can’t remember all the lyrics, the refrain was

“Four hugs a day,
that’s the minimum,
not the maximum…”

All the mommies loved it, and it always ended with lots of hugs.

I recently stumbled on this blog post, “10 Habits to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Child”. It’s a great post with 10 seemingly simple and ways to be a better parent, including play, turn off technology, connect before transitions, snuggle at bedtime, and aim for 12 hugs a day. The preschoolers were off by nine, but they had the right idea!

Now, I’m off to snuggle with my little buddies before they fall asleep. Have a great day and start counting those hugs!

Joy and Pain

2014 October 13
by Mia

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster for our oldest daughter. The week started on an incredible high when she received news that she had been cast in Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker (more on that in another post). However, the glow quickly faded when she learned her best friend would be switching schools at the end of the week.  It was a week of smiles, squeals, tears and sadness.

Life is full of highs and lows, ups and downs, good news and bad news.  I remember when my oldest daughter was born the day after Thanksgiving and holding this new life with awe and love.  My post-partum self was full of happy tears –only to be replaced by sad tears when I learned my favorite uncle passed away from a heart attack two days later.  A life added, a life subtracted.

No matter how big the high or how small the low —  the song “Joy and Pain” seems to make its way to my conscious during times like these.  Remember the lyrics by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock?

Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain
Over and over you can be sure
There will be sorrow but you will endure
Where there’s a flower there’s the sun and the rain
Oh and it’s wonderful there both one in the same

Whether you are 11 or 40, these up and down experiences are all part of life and growing.   They remind us of us that life can be beautiful, ugly, sweet and unfair all at once….but there would be no flowers without rain.

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Real Food

2014 October 10
by Mia

A health nut, I am not, Yet I am becoming increasingly aware that I am not making the wisest decisions regarding food choices to nourish my family. So after following 100 Days of Real Food blog and recently purchasing Lisa Leake’s cookbook, I can share some real changes in our kitchen:

- Juice boxes: We’ve eliminated juice boxes from their daily rotation. In fact, 12 are still left on our shelf from a birthday back in May (note to self: time to throw those out). Water, milk and a morning cup of OJ are our liquids of choice these days.

- Bread: I actually feel pretty naive about not noticing all of the chemicals in our Wonder Wheat bread. Now it makes sense why the bread was always “squishy” with the perception of being fresh! These days, I’ve been stopping at Great Harvest  for their honey wheat 5-ingredient breads (whole wheat flour, water, yeast, salt, honey).  The Husband and kids consume about 12-14 slices of bread each week, so this feels like a big win.

- Snacks:  Per Lisa’s suggestion, there are some better alternatives to the current snacks we are serving our kids.  Instead of goldfish crackers (guilty) use Cheddar Bunnies.  Hummus is now a staple in the fridge.  Dried fruit and almonds/cashew mixes have made it to the lunchboxes.  Small changes….

A favorite recipe in the cookbook has been the pumpkin muffins.  My old recipe from epicurious included THREE cups of vegetable oil and TWO cups of sugar (yikes!).  This new recipe includes spelt (I use King Arthur’s whole wheat flour) and honey.  In fact, honey has made a big presence in our kitchen lately replacing the 1/2 cups and 1/3 cups of sugar in most recipes.

Ok, so you’ll  also note a few chocolate chips in the photo.  Like I said, small changes are being made around here — but chocolate is not one of them.

Happy muffin making!

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Boy Time

2014 October 9
by Wendy

With our oldest son away for the week at Outdoor Ed., it’s been a nice and relaxing few days with our younger son. We have a much slower pace with 50% fewer activities, 50% less homework, and 100% less sibling bickering. It’s fun to see him by himself and without any competition for attention, food, the bathroom, or the TV channel selection. And since he’s the lighter eater, I’ve enjoyed taking a break from major kitchen duties.

It will be wonderful to have our eldest home come Friday, but in the meantime we are enjoying the quiet. And maybe a few extra treats…

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What is Home?

2014 October 8
by Mia

A dear friend, K.B., sent me a copy of an article titled “Our Favorite Place: Home“. First of all, how cool to receive a copy of a paper article via snail mail? Only my grandmother and mother-in-law do that!  Love that K.B. is bringing back a wonderful old-fashioned act of love.

And secondly, the topic of HOME really stirs up quite a few emotions.  The author, Rhiannon Bankes, writes “Home isn’t a place but a state of mind.  Home is where we are our true selves.”  I absolutely love this…home doesn’t have to be where your bed or your honey is….home just has to be a place where we can let the authentic side of ourselves surface.

I had a telephone interview a few weeks ago and the selected time would collide with a visit at my parent’s house 20 minutes away.  I felt funny canceling on my parents when I just as easily could have taken the call from their house — but I could be my most confident self seated at my own desk in my own home.  A place where I could be my true self.

My home is where:

  • People magazine can be read with zero shame
  • paint scratches are left from an impromptu dance party a few years ago
  • lessons are learned and stories are shared around the dinner table
  • hugs and kisses can be given freely without concern of PDA or 4th grade embarrassment
  • four different books can be read simultaneously by four different people in one giant bed
  • tears can be shed with no judgement
  • you will find me most nights of the year.

What is home to you?

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Welcome to my Home