When bad things happen

This morning I checked my blog feed and scanned the list of new posts by various people.  One caught my attention and I clicked on it.  It was a post by one of my favorite bloggers who I have mentioned a few times around here, Andrea at A Peek Inside the Fishbowl.

It was a post from yesterday.  A post documenting a horrible moment for her community, for Canada.  A gunman had shot someone at their War Memorial.

I didn’t hear the news yesterday.  I have been avoiding the news since Ebola became a bit too much for me.

I read her post several times and I clicked open an email to message her.  Her family was safe.  It is the next day.  But the desire to reach out was strong.  My fingers hovered over the keys as I pondered what to say.  And then I glanced at the clock and realized we had to leave for speech therapy.

The entire 20 minute trip there, throughout therapy, and then the drive home I thought about what I could possibly say and my desire to say something….ANYTHING…

I finally came to a conclusion.  In this world, horrible things happen all the time.  People get sick.  People die.  People kill.  There is persecution and slavery and suffering.  When things like this event in Ottawa, or the bombings at the Boston Marathon, or 911….or even Ebola happen we are shaken.  We feel fear.  We fear the unknown of what is happening….of what could happen….of what will happen next.  Even if our families are not directly involved we feel fear at some level.  We feel the need to protect and reassure and find control when we sometimes have very little.  There is also grief as we mourn people who lost their lives.  We feel grief at the loss of innocence.  We feel anger.

When bad things happen, like this action of terror, there is nothing we can say to make it better.  There are no words than can really take away the unsettling feelings we have.  It is why I hesitated once my email screen was open.  What should I say?  Did I even need to say anything?

So, my revelation….YES!  We do need to say something!  We need to acknowledge each other in moments like these.  We don’t need to send long drawn out emails.  It doesn’t have to be complicated or contrived or awkward.  It is simply about saying that we see and hear and acknowledge the confusion and fear and pain and anger of the moment.

When we were in the heat of the Ebola situation here in the metroplex I was gripped with anxiety.  There were so many conflicting thoughts and explanations.  The media was trying to reassure.  The internet was trying to discredit the media and tell us we were not being told the truth.  Everyone had an opinion and most of the opinions were based in fear.  And then suddenly it was much closer to home than we thought it would be.  Not direct contact but closer than I was comfortable with.  I was terrified of what might happen.  I was unsure of what actually COULD happen.  That is when I quit watching the news and shut off my Facebook feed.

But in those moments when I was most worried for the safety of my family all I really wanted was someone to say….”I know you are scared.  I know you are worried.  It is okay to feel those things.  It is okay to turn off the constant flow of information.  I hear you.  I understand your fear.  I am thinking of you and you are not alone in this world.”

None of those words are hard to say.  None of those words mean you have to agree with my anxiety.  You could think I am a complete idiot and yet still find the space to understand that we are all different and we all feel differently.  Even if we don’t agree we can show support and compassion.  None of those words would have fixed the situation or would have taken away my anxiety.  But it would have been comforting in those moments.

The sad reality of our world right now is that sooner or later we are all going to be confronted with a terrible situation that makes our perceived sense of safety feel threatened.  We are all going to have to find words to help explain the situation to our children or loved ones.  If we have children we are going to have to find a way for them to feel safe and secure.  And it isn’t always going to be easy.

I cannot change those things.  I can however let you know that I hear you, that I am thinking of you and your family and friends,  and that you are not alone in this world.  We all KNOW we aren’t alone….but hearing it from someone makes a difference.

So how about that home tour….

The internet was fixed finally and that, combined with a bit of free time this evening, means it is finally time to show you my 1978, never updated except for wallpaper, home!

Why don’t you come on in….

This is our front door!  :)  Notice that even though we don’t live there yet we are decorated for fall.  The boys insisted on having at least one fall decoration at our new home.  They love fall as much as me!  :)  Notice my dad is getting ready to work and Nathan is sitting by the pool….only because he was the only one willing to get in the freezing water with the boys and they were dying to swim!  The blue accent color will be going away….eventually!

DSCN1425When you step into the entry this is what you see.  The wall paper is now THANKFULLY gone!  The floor….oh that is a very magnificent 1978 option of real stone slices.  We discovered this weekend that it is going to be a bitch to get out….it is the one demo job we are leaving for our contractor to worry about.  Those two door knobs open coat closets.  I absolutely cannot complain about storage in this house!  I have so many lovely closets!

DSCN1423In the entry if you turn to your left you find the formal living room.  This will be our school room / office.  The carpet is gone at this point.  Those curtains….yeah….I haven’t pulled them down yet but they are very definitely going.  This room will have wood floors just like the rest of the house when the contractor is finished.  We are going with a gray tone for wall color….I just have to pick one that I like.  This room is devoid of lighting so 4 can lights will be going in and a few more plugs to power all the computers and other things needed for a school room / office.


If you turn right out of the entry you step into the dining room.  This room has the worst paint job I have ever seen.  It  looks good from this distance but if you get up close…the cutting in is terrible.  This room will not remain red.  Most likely it will have a darker gray.  The light fixture will be magnificent once it is cleaned up a bit.  All the wood work will stay too.  The carpet is gone….and it was terrible in this room.


If you go straight out of the entry you enter the living room.  I am standing in the breakfast area looking into the living room and back towards the entry.  To might right, and not pictured here are big glass door leading to the sun room.  These floors will be sanded and refinished to a dark wood to match the new floors going in.  The lovely wall paneling will be sanded and painted the whole house color.  Those two big squares in the ceiling are sky lights and they are LOVELY!  The fire place over there is awesome and huge!  The door next to the fireplace leads to the sleep quarters of the home.DSCN1426

After the above picture I turned around and took a picture of the breakfast area.  The tile is happily gone, to be replaced by wood floors.  The cabinet is built in and will be painted.  The door you see leads to the 4th bedroom and 3rd bathroom which will be our guest area of the house.  It is separate from the other bedrooms and bathrooms so our guests (Grandma and Frank) won’t worry about disturbing the boys and I won’t worry about the boys disturbing them!  That wall paper…GONE!  Those curtains that match the wallpaper….those were disgusting and so dirty they were stiff….it was gross.  I took those down the first weekend I think.  The ceiling fan will leave, to be replace with some other kind of fixture or can light.


This is a photo of the breakfast area from standing in the kitchen.  The green room you see is the sun room.  It is an old porch that was inclosed at some point.  It has heating and air so it is part of the livable space.


Here is my lovely kitchen!  It has so many more cabinet than my last house!  You can see the red dining room to the right.  The door to the left is the laundry room which also leads to the garage.  The wall paper is gone, the tile is also gone, the ceiling fan will be leaving and new can lights will be installed.  The cabinets will also be painted.


DSCN1431This is the guest room and the guest bathroom.  (I reduced the size on the bathroom pic because it was too big.  You cannot see the shower from this angle.  Nothing spectacular in these two spaces.  The guest room does have a door that leads out to the sun porch and the windows look out to the back yard and pool.


If you go back through the living room and into the sleeping quarters this is the first room you come to.  It is just a normal bedroom and is on the front of the house.  This will be the toy room for now.  That 80’s style shelf at the top of the wall is gone.  The carpet is gone.  There will only be carpet in the hall and bedrooms on this side of the house.



The boys have a jack and jill style bathroom that links the front room and their bedroom.  It was hard to get a picture.  I was standing in the hall in for this one.  You can see there are two rooms.  The first room has a door to each bedroom and then the second room is where the tub and toilet are.  This (if you follow me in other places) is where the termite damage was found.  Behind the door to the boys room (on the right) is the built in linen closet.



So we weren’t going to be redoing in bathrooms beyond some paint and tile fixing at this point.  But then my dad was in this room tearing down wall paper and find the old termite tracks.  This room is almost a total loss at this point.  Several of the studs will have to be replaced and it needs all new dry wall (except for the wall that faces the tub).  We spent this weekend trying to get the cast iron tub out. (I have more photos of this for a different post.)


This is the middle room of the sleeping quarters and will be the boys room.  It is bright pink with PAINTED black floors.  Fortunately the carpet will over the black food.  The built in desk area is already ripped out and the shelf above the window is out too.


At the end of the hall is our master bedroom and bathroom.  Our windows look out to the pool area and patio.  We also have a door that leads out to the sunroom.  We have a big walk in closet in the room.


At the back of the bedroom on the left side is the “dressing area”.  This area, as you can see, has a vanity with sink.  Across from the vanity is another walk in closet.  We won’t even start on the idea that there is carpet in this sink area.  The wallpaper in this area was the easiest in the house to remove.  The vanity is being ripped out tomorrow.  At this point there will not be carpet in this area.  We are going to paint the floor because we plan to remodel the entire master bath in the next few years.  For now I have two tall IKEA cabinets that will be in this area for storage across from the closet.


Here you can see the second vanity and the shower after you enter the bathroom from the “dressing area”.

DSCN1442If you turn around you can see the lovely stencil motif on the wall….and also the little wall that “hides” the toilet.  Fun fact…that wall is actually a book case!  :)  You can see my tiny tub across the way there and over the tub are two windows that do open!


I left out the long hall in the sleeping quarters.  You can see the boys’ bathroom right there on the left.  The next door down on the left is their bedroom.  Our room is at the end of the hall.  On the right….the first door is the water heater, the second door is a closet with shelves, and the third door is another walk in closet the size of the one in our bedroom.  Immediately to my right (which you cannot see) is the door that leads to the living room.  Behind that door is ANOTHER closet!

I don’t really have a great photo of the sun room for some reason.  The boys already love that room best because it is like playing outside and inside at the same time!

Oh…and I forgot this little gem!  It is a photo I took when we were justing looking at the house so it was when the other people were still living there….but this is just too great to not share…


This is our BAR!  It has swinging doors and a pass through to the living room!  The pass through has folding doors on it!  :)  So if you visit you can walk up to the bar (if the window is open of course) and request your drink of choice!  :)  Just kidding!  This thing is totally going!  We are closing up the hole in the wall and tearing out the sink and cabinet.  This will be my new walk in pantry!  This totally broke Emory’s heart.  What 6-year-old could resist this play space?!?!  Sorry Emory….we don’t drink buddy and even if we did I am not going to serve people in the living room through the bar!  :)

I did find a photo of the laundry room from before the people moved out but they had laundry hanging up….so I won’t show that at this point.


OH I forgot the garage!  :)  The open door goes into the laundry room.  The closed door is ANOTHER closet!  :)  We love the built in cabinets that are raised up and away from the parking area.  And there is room for our freezer right next to the door going into the laundry room.  That hole down low that is stuffed with a pillow…..dog/cat door (also leaving).  The garage door has also been replaced.  The old one had windows and the cable was about to snap….and it was rotting.  So…nice new windowless door has been installed!


And last, but not least, is the pool!  :)  It had a diving board that was no longer completely bolted to the ground.  That has been removed.  It is a vinyl lined pool which we had never heard of before seeing this house.  The pool is probably a whole post by itself at some point.  Let’s just say we discovered it was rapidly leaking water after that first weekend we had the house.  The pool has since been repaired and is holding water nicely now.  I am already dreaming of next summer!  :)

So there you go!  :)  We do have a start date on the painting and floor and repairs that have to be made before we move in.  The contractor says they will start on October 27th.  He said we will be moving in the weekend of December 13th.  We will be in our new house for Christmas….which is really all Emory wants.  :)  I want it too!

I am already madly in love with our new home.  We have already been making memories in our new house and we don’t even live in it yet!  This house has plenty of room for us as the boys grow.  The neighborhood is lovely and quiet and established.  We met our across-the-street neighbor today and he kind of told us about our immediate neighbors.  I cannot wait to meet them all.  This is my dream house!  It needs ALOT of love….but we can give it that and make it our in the process!  :)


I was about to post when I found this photo from one of our first visits.  You can see the living room from the door leading to the sleeping quarters.  You can see our bar pass through there and the lovely built-in.



No Internet

It was not my plan to stop posting once September was over.  I have a photo tour of our new house I want to take you on.  I have other house and homeschool things I want to write about.  I am back in the swing of writing and I am ready to get back to blogging…like back when I posted almost every day (that was years ago…before kids).

Then yesterday happened.  A cold front with storms and VERY strong straight-line winds blew through.  We never lost power, yet somehow, my dad’s overly complicated home technology system messed up (again…for like the 4th time since we moved in with them) and Verizon is messed up.  After an hour and forty minutes waiting for customer support we gave up and went to bed.  I will call again tonight after I get the boys to bed….

All of this means no wi-fi and limited phone internet for who knows how long.

On the other hand I got a bunch of things accomplished last night without the distraction of internet.

And again this morning I accomplished more than normal without the lure of emails and Facebook…..


Facebook is something I have been wanting to write about.  Is anyone else tired of Facebook?  Does anyone else feel like they just cannot cut ties because of far away friends you actually do care about want to keep up with and Facebook makes that easy?  Or because your church group has a page and this is how you communicate class information?  I feel like it is a necessity to stay connected because of those two things….but OH MY GOODNESS the rest just drives me nuts.

All the articles about how you should parent and be a great spouse and all the other articles about how you are totally doing it WRONG and destroying your marriage and children and life.  And then there are all the political links and photos with captions.  I have both liberal and conservative family and friends so I get both sides….bashing the Republicans for this or that and bashing the Democrats and the current president for the exact opposite.

Let’s not forget all the people selling stuff….there are more people selling MLM crap than I can count.  I am so glad they are making money and reaching their goals and dreams….but I don’t want to buy their stuff and I would love to see something other than a sales pitch in my feed.

I like seeing photos of kids and families and pretty sunsets.  I like the short status updates about what is happening right that minute that is funny and silly or completely crazy.

I think mostly it startles me how “addicted” to Facebook I feel.  I only felt that this morning when I realized that I noticed it missing in my life.  And most of the time, at least recently, when I close the app or browser, I find that I am pissed off or annoyed about something I read or say.  THAT isn’t good.  It takes away the VERY LITTLE joy that I think Facebook actually provides.


I think not having access to the Internet last night forced me to organize a bunch of thoughts I have already been thinking lately.  I want to evaluate what I use the Internet for….how I use and waste my time online.  I am not liking the conclusions I am coming to.  So….once I get my connection back at home I plan on writing more about this as well…my thoughts and conclusions and ideas.

This is a random and scattered post….but my work break is over and it is time to accomplish a few more things before the weekend!

Joyful September ~ Day 30

I knew exactly what my post today would be.  These trees!


I pass these trees all the time.  Every year they turn in the exact same way.  The tree on the far left starts turning first.  The other 3 trees follow in a progression.  The tree on the far right is still mostly green with the slightest hint of color change at the top.  These trees bring me so much joy!  I know when I see the left tree start to change that the season really will begin to slowly change.  The four trees are all the same type of tree (sweet gum I think) and every year they turn the same exact way.

These trees signify fall and the changing of the season and they have been slowly turning all month.  I smile every time I drive past them.  Every year at the beginning of September I start watching them, waiting for the slightest hint of color change.

With this photo we leave September.  My month of Joyful posts is now over.  It certainly doesn’t mean that I stop being joying or that I stop noticing the little things in my days that bring me joy….it just means that I am going to move on to other posts.  I feel like I have found my rhythm to posting again.

Goodbye September!  Hello lovely October!  :)


Joyful September ~ Day 29

Joy was a bit hard to come by today.  I had lots of hard parenting moments that came down to a LONG and VERY SERIOUS talk on the ride home.  I will admit my consistency hasn’t been the best and I have let lots of things slide that I shouldn’t have.  The boys and I have reached an understanding.  I don’t expect that things will be magically perfect but there has already been a shift…a good one.

Before that long ride home there had been fits thrown, toys and treats and privileges lost, and many MANY tears.

As the day wore on I was searching desperately for my joy in the day.  Mostly I was angry and frustrated and so freaking tired.

But I found my joy….I found it at the end of the day, when the lights were low, and we were in the middle of the bedtime routine.

I realized that our routine….our not flexible, rigid, end of day routine is a balm in so many ways.  No matter how hard a day we have had.  No matter the stresses or the disappointments.  No mater the anger or frustration.  When we enter their room at night, with soft lamp light and the white noise of the fan, it all falls away.  They snuggle in their beds.  I pull Dean’s quilt….the first one I ever made and that he claimed as his own….over him.  I pull Emory’s quilt (not one I made) over him and make sure he has one of his billion stuffed animals to cuddle.  We recap our day in story format…”Once upon a time there were two boys, one named Dean and one named Emory, and today we…..”  I started this long ago when we realized Dean could never tell us one thing that happened in a day no matter how spectacular it was.  The story contains the good, the bad, the spectacular, and the mundane things that made up our day.  Then I sing.  I sing a song my mom modified for them when they were babies, the standard Rock a Bye Baby….only no one is falling from trees.  I sing to two stuffed friends, Dean, Emory, and a list of grandparents.  Then it is time for hugs, kisses, and noses.  If Daddy is home he takes his leave.  I turn out the lights and I sing a hymn from my childhood that my mom started singing to them when they were infants.  That hymn is followed by the ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (Dean’s request followed by Emory’s request….requests made long ago and now are just part of the set routine).

By then, they are usually asleep and I quietly leave.

In these minutes at the end of the day all the bad and hurt is erased.  The routine soothes my tired mommy soul.  I watch them relax.  No matter the day, they know at the very end of it, hugs and kisses and soft “I love you’s” are waiting for them.  When the day has been especially rough I always tell them, “No matter what happens during the day…no matter if you do something wrong….no matter if I am frustrated or angry….I will ALWAYS love you.  I love you more than you could ever know and more than I could ever say.”

Our routine is a balm….one that heals the wounds and hurt feelings of the day.  The day always ends on a positive note.

It was last night, in searching for my joy, that I realized what I have created for us each evening.  I have never planned it out.  I didn’t set out to make it this way.  There was a time when bedtime and them falling asleep was the WORST part of my day.  I just wanted them to go to sleep so I could go do something else BY MYSELF!  But one day I realized that they are only little for a short time.  One day they won’t need or want me to cuddle them at night or give them multiple hugs and kisses and noses.  That is when bedtime changed for me.  It became sacred and special and it is a time I cherish EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

And so, very unexpectedly I have created a joy….a joy that I get to experience every single day.  A joy that isn’t just for me….but for all of us.

Joyful September ~ Day 28

Today was “Time to Serve Sunday” at church.  Our whole church goes out to serve the community in different mission projects.  Last year was the first time our church did this.  Last year we left the boys at home because our Sunday School class all went to the nursing home and I knew the boys weren’t ready for that experience yet.  This year I picked an activity for our family to participate in that I knew the boys would enjoy.  We made birthday bags for children in shelters and foster homes.  The idea that there were children who might not get to celebrate their birthday was a startling idea for the boys.  Dean was so worried that a kid might not get cake on that special day!  He was so happy to discover that one of the things we were packing in the bags was a box of cake mix and some frosting.  (The food bank will make sure the family gets the other items needed to make the cakes.)  After we finished I asked the boys how they were feeling after completing our project.  Words just came spilling from their mouths.  They were so happy to know that a child, maybe just like them, would get to have a little surprise and joy on their birthday.  They both wished they could have made even more bags to help more kids.


We spent all afternoon at the house again.  My brother, back from his trip to Atlanta, came to see our house and stayed to help scrape wallpaper.  My sisters-in-law came to help break up and remove tile.  I am constantly overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit being gifted to us.  So may people are willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty to help make our home.  It fills me with so much joy to already be building memories in our new home!

Joyful September ~ Day 27

I spent time at the house by myself today.  We were having an attic consultation.  I had the doors open and I stood in the entry scraping wall paper.

As I stood there I listened to the sounds of my new neighborhood.  It is so quiet.  I could hear the birds and the breeze in the trees.  I could here the occasional neighbor.  I felt so at home in that moment.  I felt so content.  I know we are in the right place.


Tonight we went to a banquet.  One of Nathan’s most cherished friends was being inducted into the local Sport’s Hall of Fame.  We saw old friends.  We met “old name” people of the place where I grew up….names I have heard but faces I had never met.  We heard about and honored amazing athletes from our local high schools.  And best yet I was able to sit and talk with Nathan.  It is always nice to have some moments to ourselves during football season.  I miss him!