We left off here about my Christmas stocking plans.
And here is where I begin again: after quickly coming to the conclusion that my drawing skills were not going to cut it for an embroidery pattern, I decided to find someone else with mad skillz.
A few messages later to some makers/artists on Etsy, and I started working with Megan Eckman. She has all sorts of fun and quirky embroidery patterns on her website that I loved. So I reached out to her to see if she did custom patterns. She does!
Several emails later (I think our ultimate gmail thread was somewhere in the high 20s or 30s), we’d arrived at a beautiful pattern that I was super excited about.
Just as a reminder, in case you didn’t click on the link I included to see where we started with this project, click on this link below to see how well my hands translate the thoughts of my brain (hint, not very well):
And now, feast your eyes on Megan’s beautiful rendering of my brain’s ideas. I am super excited, and will give you another update once I get it transferred/traced/imprinted onto a fabric. Oy vey, I forgot about trying to find fabric to embroider on. I have no idea what color or type of fabric to get. This should be interesting.
Stu and I are like kids in a candy shop whenever we find a new-to-us beer and liquor store. There are certain liquors, beers, liqueurs, and other alcohol-infused goodies that we like to search for whenever we “find” a new store. Now that we’re in Omaha, our new go-to places to wander around in for a while are Brix and Beertopia. I’ll save Brix for another day, because we found this Sierra Nevada offering at Beertopia last weekend.
Who’s ever heard of a “hoppy lager?” Not me. But I’m not exactly well-versed in my beer types. I used to be a Bud Light gal, then I went to wheats (thinking, “wow, look at me, being so artisanal and into craft beer”), and then I met Stu, and things changed to IPAs, pale ales, belgians, and pretty much anything else except most porters. I just can’t with porters. That’ll probably change in another few years.
I’m not going to try to describe to you how this beer looks, smells, or tastes. Here’s what I will give you:
Thumbs up from Katie. Regular ol’ Siskel & Ebert over here. (Uh, when I Google searched to make sure I spelled “Siskel” correctly, Google alerted me to the fact that it is indeed no longer “Siskel & Ebert.” Who the heck is this Roeper guy and have I been living under a rock?? Don’t answer that.)
I have to admit, having moved into a house that’s over twice as large as our first house, I’m a little overwhelmed with where to start changing things up. We liked that the house, for us, was move-in ready. No big projects, no obvious needs to address immediately upon schlepping our stuff into the house. Which was a big change of pace from our first house – everything in our dear little colonial felt abysmally outdated, not up to code, or just gross.
Oh, our dear old house. I get nostalgic for its charm, but not for the constant stream of maintenance issues.
So not only is our new-to-us house bigger, move-in friendly, and less-old (it’s a 1971 house), but it offers a bunch of opportunities to design a space, not just to fix fundamental problems in the house like drafty windows, or refinishing wood floors.
Instead of trying to take on a bigger space in the house, I’m going to start with the low-hanging fruit: the laundry room. In this house, we actually have an entire room dedicated to doing laundry, which is a huge change from our dungeon that held our washing machine, dryer, and a decrepit wood stool in our old house.
The downsides? Pink walls, that flowery water pail wallpaper border, red floor tile, lots of oaky cabinets with shiny brass knobs (not the cool-looking brass), the sink has a little erosion or scum build up (I haven’t really used the sink yet), lots of fluorescent lighting.
So what’s the game plan? I’m still bouncing a bunch of ideas around. I love the idea of doing something like this super talented gal did in her living room, or like this gal did with a stencil. I also read someone’s blog, and now I can’t find it to cite it, about how they found marble wallpaper for really cheap on Amazon and used good quality tape to adhere it to the wall behind their TV. I thought that would be a fun idea on this wall:
But I also do my ironing/steaming on this counter, so I’m not sure if installing paper on that wall would be the best, most-enduring choice. Here are the things I’m fairly (over 50%) certain about:
1. Cabinets must be painted.
2. Knobs must be replaced. To be decided after I decide on a paint color for the cabinets.
3. I’d like to paint the floor tiles. This gets trickier because (A) the floor tiles don’t stop at the laundry room, they cover the laundry room and the landing just outside the room, and (B) Stu is opposed to the idea of painting the floor (surprise surprise).
4. I thought this was a given, but I’ll say it anyway – the wallpaper must go, and the pink walls need to go too.
There’s a lot to work with, and I’m excited to get started. Can’t wait to share progress pictures!
When I got pregnant, it had been a result of a nearly 2 year concerted effort with my doctor, fertility nurses, and of course, my dear husband. So it was not a surprise. In fact, it was with a sigh of relief and a figurative wipe of the brow, that the pregnancy test finally reflected what we were hoping for.
Despite the amount of time, energy, and planning that went into getting pregnant, I did not give much thought to the details of working as an attorney and being a mother. I didn’t really think about it during the course of the pregnancy, either. I poured so much energy into delighting in the fact that we actually conceived a little person in my belly, wanting and wishing only the best health for the growing little person in my belly, and staying on top of the work I already had on my desk, that I didn’t really have much energy left to contemplate what life would be like as a working attorney in a private practice and having a little person outside my belly, with needs of her own.
And to be honest, Zoe is almost 9 months old, and I still haven’t thought much about my work-mother balance other than it has been vastly different than what I thought it would be. I assumed I’d be able to plop her in a daycare, Monday through Friday, take my breast pump with me to the office, and resume the craziness of a small private practice.
Hell, I started having labor pains in the jail while I was sitting with a client and a detective, conducting a proffer interview. Being the mother I wanted to be and being the attorney I wanted to be would be simple to consolidate, right?
Wrong-o. If that’s one thing I could go back in time and do, I’d shake my pregnant self by the shoulders and yell in my ear “Pick. You have to choose. You can’t do it all. And if you do try to do it all, you’ll do all of it half-ass.”
When Zoe was born, I planned on taking a 3 month maternity leave. Working for myself, it was always funny to me when people asked how long I was taking off…”Well, what do you think, self? 3 months enough to be with the little one? Maybe a few extra weeks, just for good measure, self.” The truth was, I could take as much or as little as I wanted, I didn’t get paid unless I did the work.
But when Zoe was born, my paradigm shifted completely. It wasn’t a hearts, rainbows, and sparkly butterflies-type realization. It was the gut-tugging and intuitive sense that my place was with her, and nowhere else. I didn’t want other people getting to be with her the better part of everyday, for 5 days a week. I wanted to be there for all of it. And I also wanted to keep my law practice going.
This is difficult for me to even admit, as my world before Zoe was premised on hustling and networking and building a law practice I could be proud of. So I half-heartedly called a few daycares, the same ones that we had tried while I was pregnant, and yep, they still didn’t have any openings. I found excuse after excuse for not finding a daycare center, a nanny, or an in-home daycare center. And it certainly fed my excuses when we decided to move to a city an hour away from where we lived because my husband accepted a new job in the new city – why not wait another 2 months until we’re moved into our new home, new city, to find a childcare provider?
That still hasn’t happened, and we’ve been in our new home for about 3 months now. I have a patchwork system of babysitters, all first-time moms who also can’t bring themselves to fully immerse themselves in the work force and who also have the luxury of choice, who watch Zoe for a few hours when I have to be in court or otherwise can’t be distracted with a baby at the office.
But otherwise, she comes with me. That’s her sleeping in her swing that I got for her at the office. Admittedly, it’s great and awful. I love having her with me. But when she screams, she screams and I’m positive everyone in the office building can hear her. She has met a few clients, and surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly), all of my female clients who have met Zoe have commented in some way or another “I wish I could have brought my child to work with me.”
I know this situation isn’t going to last. I can already tell that I need to pull back from my practice if I want to get Zoe on a steady sleeping/nap schedule. My arrangement is neither conventional nor easy, and if I’m being honest, I’m not sure it’s the best of both worlds. The only thing I’m sure of is that Zoe will always come first, and I will always have that tug in the gut that I’m supposed to be with her, as her person, her guide, her protector, her comforter, and anything else she needs me to be.
I think one of the most fun and endearing elements of the holidays, mostly Christmas in my family, are the different twists each family has for their traditions. For instance, having grown up in a family whose only attempt at restraint on the day of opening gifts was to wait impatiently for everyone to wake up and convene around the tree, it was surprising to join my in-laws around the tree for opening presents…only after everyone had showered, dressed, and eaten breakfast. AND then each person takes turns opening a present, while everyone else watches. My brother-in-law (the one who married into the same family, not my husband’s brother) agrees with me that it can feel a little awkward at times.
One of the smaller traditions in our family are the Christmas stockings. I guess it’s not so much a tradition as it is a family heirloom-type touch to the Christmas decorations. My mom cross-stitched each of our stockings, and I loved the fact that I had my very own stocking, with my own name emblazoned across the top, and lots of stitched details you may or may not find on any other child’s stocking, like, ever.
This is a picture of my brother’s stocking. I think I took this picture and texted him to show him all the presents he had waiting for him, and how rude it was that he was making the rest of us wait just so he could sleep some more. Or maybe it was the year he was selling fireworks in Mississippi, and I texted it to him to show how much he was missing out on by not being with us. I’m nothing if not a charitable sister.
I’m sure Mom worked off a pattern, so it’s not like they are one of a kind, unable to be duplicated. But it was mine, and I wanted to give the same thing to Zoe after having our first Christmas with her.
Unfortunately, I could not find a damn thing that resembled a pattern I wanted to work off of, or what I was imagining in my head. Everything felt a little too dated, a little too kitschy, or just not my style. I was getting pretty frustrated – I’m pretty good at coming up with ideas, but my ground-level talent doesn’t carry over into my executions. That was a convoluted way of saying I suck at drawing, otherwise, not finding a pattern wouldn’t have been a problem.
So I had the idea, and no idea of how to actually bring it to stocking-life. To keep from getting too wordy, I’ll share the rest of this harrowing story in another post, but I’ll leave you with my original drawing and notes. Like I said, I am a terrible drawer and artiste. Bear with me, it does get more exciting, but you do have to start at the bottom to appreciate how much better it gets….
Have you tried this delicious brew? I know I have had it before, maybe pre-Zoe, but for some reason, it tasted delightful over a few oysters and fried calamari with Stu last week at (what is becoming) one of our favorite go-to restaurants in our new town.
So, sweet husband that Stu can be, got me a 6 pack of Mirror Pond when he was grocery shopping. So I’ve been savoring each bottle, and taking my time (well, I mean, I don’t really drink much anymore, now that the bean is around, so I guess what I mean by “taking my time” = when I have an evening on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday with some precious spare hours in them to leisure around.)
Generally, Stu and I have really liked what Deschutes Brewery has produced, and I prefer pales ales and IPAs over all other beers, so Mirror Pond has that going for it. I know a lot of the beer labels you read on craft beers now have gotten perhaps gimicky or a little too descriptive for my tastes, but I do agree with Mirror Pond’s side label: “A distinct hop nose and deft balance made this pale ale an instant classic.” For sure, Mirror Pond and Boulevard Pale Ale are now my preferred drinking-beer-on-the-couch-by-myself-but-also-good-enough-to-share-with-company beers.
Wowzers, it has been a lonnnnnng time since my feet last slapped the pavement, my legs strode wider than a walk, and my breathing fell into a steady, haggard pattern of effort.
I do believe I miss running. It only took me about 3 years, birthing a child, lots of excuses, and foot surgery to come to this unremarkable revelation.
Let’s see if I can go longer than 3 blocks next time. I’m certain it won’t take me another 3 years to strap on my running shoes to run (instead of various non-heart racing type activity, such as cleaning the bathrooms).
Hey, hey, hey! I can’t wait to plough through the details of the most recent upholstery project…..
From this blue chair….
(Don’t mind the extra chaos, just focus on the lovely blue patterned rocker, with the vacuum on top of it and some shorts thrown over the backside)…
To this lovely rocker…
…to rock our newest addition to the family! Got it finished just in time for the bean’s arrival!
I believe last time I discussed my dream of owning a pie shop, I had just got the logo designed….
….which was quite a while ago.
I lived with the logo for a while without doing anything else. Then, it hit me. I probably needed to use this logo on something like, I don’t know, maybe pies and baked goods, to give this handsome logo some meaning. So I commissioned some stickers, paid a stall fee for a local farmers market, and purchased some aluminum pie tins (along with several other important things one needs for pie-making, but you get my drift). Here are the pictures to show my journey last summer as a pie hawker at one of the local farmers markets in town….
Things I learned transitioning from a dreamer to a part-time doer:
It’s really fun when you can finally get a big project done in an old house that really makes a difference in how everything looks. And by “how everything looks,” I mean that now that we have our entire second floor’s worth of wood floors refinished, I am frantically trying to make everything else not look so shabby. This includes, but is not limited to:
Anyway, let’s get to the pictures….
Have to get through a few gruesome before pictures before we get to the beauties….
Just for the record, we did not cause such paint disaster on the wood floors. This was what we found when we pulled up the carpet about 4 1/2 years ago. And this is what we lived with for the past 4 1/2 years.
Lo and behold, the wood floors remained intact under the carpet of our master bedroom closet. We were very relieved to see that.
So that’s where we left the floors when we turned the house over to our handy man, Jay. We left town for a long weekend so we wouldn’t be around the dust and fumes. Everything that was on the second floor ended up on the first floor or in the basement. In a word: chaos. But don’t try telling me it wasn’t worth it….
Oh yeah, and a few months prior to getting the floors refinished, we had Jay install this awesome wall-to-wall curtain to get rid of that off-kilter window that our bed backed up against. Besides its aesthetic appeal, the curtain has also proven to be a great source of noise and temperature insulation.
I think I squealed like I was 10 again getting my first Billy Rae Cyrus tape (who didn’t love “Achy Breaky Heart”??) when I first saw the “new” floors.
Sorry for the shininess and the kitty photo bomb.
There are many more pictures, but I won’t overload you, showing people pictures of refinished wood floors is kind of like showing a bunch of pictures of your cat….which I have been guilty of both. Oops.