Monday, September 29, 2014

Vardon House Tour

Well folks, my house is all packed up.  The kids are away too! Nonna came all the way down and endured the most daring journey any person has ever taken: the vehicular transportation of all four of my girls back to NV, BY HERSELF. A nine hour gig. One that involved Emerson throwing up everywhere only 2 hours in. Or so it was reported.

Nonna has officially been inducted into The Bravest Fiercest Mostest Insanest Female Adventurist Heroic Martyr's Society. Member count: 2. (Nonna and yours truly)

So now I'm here, in my empty big shell of a home. It's always a little emotional, as you disassemble your existence. After the 19th trip to storage with Tyler, I remarked how much I prefer Unpacking to Packing. One involves taking your life all down and apart, and the other involves the building of the new one. I prefer the latter. 

We will be homeless for a few weeks while we close on our new house and get some work done. I kinda like this bizarre, limbo state we're in. As we drove away from our storage unit it felt good to leave all of our possessions behind for a time. It's just me, my family, a car, and few suitcases. It's liberating. We enrolled the girls in an online school program in the interim, so we are free to spend the next month traveling to see family and enjoy a few small adventures around the area.

So, while I have a little time, I am ready to post a house tour for history's sake. We've only been in this house for a little over a year, so I didn't do nearly everything I had envisioned. We didn't plan on jumping ship so early. But when that little dream house gem comes along, the one you've sorta envisioned in all of your anne of green gables/little house on the prairies/victorian english jane austen era obsessions, ya gotz to do what ya gotz to do

This was a good house and we had plenty of fun adding our touches to it. I was able to comb through our photo files and find a few decent "before" pics. Although, I'm kicking myself that I didn't do more. Remember people: always take Before photos of EVERY room before you move in. It's so fun to track your progress as time goes on. 

Ok. I'm done now.

Without further ado, let's start with the downstairs:

Entry Way

There was old tile flooring when we moved in. And the walls were a light blue. Kick me, I didn't take befores. But at least I snapped a few before I decorated.






Playroom Closet


Living Room


Formal Dining Room


The Piano Room. 
{because my feelings regarding Formal Dining Rooms are very similar to my feelings regarding tonsils: hardly necessary anymore, best removed.}

Family Room/Kitchen Combo 


{terrible pictures - but you get the idea. Plus it is the only one that shows the original flooring in the house. Now add the scent of many cats and you'll have a more accurate description}

Did I mention that Tyler did every ounce of the new flooring himself?

All. by. himself.  Every day after work for a week. What a guy.

Dontcha just love the dirty tile!?

 Family Room/Kitchen Combo

That's a wrap for today. Thanks for stopping by! Coming next: upstairs! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meal Planning Monday: Upside down.

Hey HAY.

Welcome to the zoo!


It's been too hot to play outside, so the girls have no choice but to entertain themselves indoors while I am busy packing boxes and disassembling our existence. We are in full fledged move MOVE MOVE mode! 

This house will be officially sold in a week. I'll post a house tour soon, with all of our before/after work. We didn't do a TON of work in this house, but we spruced it up a bit and I'm pleased. I enjoyed our (rather short) time living here. She was a good home, this one.  I always meant to post a full house tour for memory's sake, but never got around to it. Luckily, working with my realtor finally forced me to methodically clean each room, take a photo, and fantasize over how it actually could have looked like that on a regular basis, that is if none of us ever actually lived inside. Sighhhh.

Speaking of unrealistically clean, how much do we HATE selling houses? SOOOO MUCH. Next time, I'll invest in a good, portable Xanax drip to stave off the nervous breakdowns. Trying to keep the house spotless at all times for potential buyers is nothing but insanely, impossibly, torturous cruelty for a mother. BBBBleh! My realtor got all uncomfortable and squirmy as I was trying to explain how the peanut butter smears on the wall really give the house character. Dontcha think? It's like a shabby chic sandwich in here? no?


You have a great week, friends.

Meal planning is minimal, and involves a slow cooker more than once. These are on our list for the week:

Dinner Entrees:

And some snack ideas for the hooligans:

*Fresh peach milkshakes
no recipe needed. Just blend milk, vanilla ice cream, and peaches.
 (go heavy on the fresh peaches - its that time of year!)
Or go extra healthy/vegan with a twist: substitute coconut milk/coconut ice cream.

(my girls won't eat plain bananas, but will devour them if I doctor em up. ya gotta start somewhere folks. no shame, no shame at all.)

Friday, September 19, 2014

A sneak peek.

Act I

Scene: Bedroom, 11pm. Husband enters in and collapses onto bed beside wife. Hair is tousled, business shirt un-tucked. Remarkably handsome. Wife is in sweat pants and faded Frugo's yogurt t-shirt. She puts laptop and various school texts aside as they look at each other with droopy, tired eyes and half smiles. They review the day, their daughters' various activities, the sad state of the laundry pile sitting beside the bed, the list of upcoming events, the schedule for the next morning, the items that need to be checked off on their mounting daily lists. A brief "nose goes" game ensues to determine who will have to go back downstairs and make sure all the lights are off (him). Wife puts in retainers. Remarks with a loud lisp about how they also double as excellent teeth-grinding protection for TMJ. Husband is visibly trying to restrain his overwhelming manly desires over such hotness.

Both settle in and prepare for slumber with the usual ninety-pound mental weight of life's responsibilities visible in their sleepy shoulders. They slump into the pillows.

Sit quietly in the darkness.

 About 30 seconds pass.

Suddenly, the silence is broken.



W: "We should SELL OUR HOUSE and MOVE."

H: "Sigh, I love selling and moving. All of that paperwork. And those boxes."


H: "Yes....YES. Completely agree. One with LESS space for our LARGE family."

W: "Totes. A house that IS OLD TOO."



H: "And...preferrably one that needs WORK?"

W: "mMMM HMMMMM. We DEFINITELY need more WORK. Lots and lots of WORK. Maybe one with some termite damage."

H: "Yep. Fo sho."*

{*except husband never really ever says anything even remotely resembling a term like "fo sho" but for all intensive purposes of screenplay authenticity the screen-writer insists that he meant exactly that.}

W: "And WHY should we do this, one might ask? Because we are AWESOME. DECISION. MAKERS."

H: "That's why."


H: "Word."**

{**Refer to above note. Same applies.}

W: "And while we do THAT, let's also WRITE A BOOK titled, "How to Lose the Balance you've never Maintained to Begin With"

H: "I like where your head's at. Now... let's get. it. oooOOOoon."

W: "Like donkey KONG."***

{***That part is accurate. Word for word.}




Act II

Scene: the house.


{screenwriter to audience}


I'm freaking out excited.

We've officially bitten off more than we can chew.

Look at that beauty!!! Such a gem.

Stay tuned, this is only the beginning...can't wait to tell you all about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It shall be titled...

AM Showers.

{I was upstairs making beds yesterday morning. I came down and discovered this going on in the backyard. I must say, nice way to start a hot day.}

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Raessay: The Slow Exit.

I've become mildly obsessed with figuring out ways to be more conscious and aware of the present. I'm looking to try and extend the shelf-life of each moment. I'm like a broken record, I know it! It's just so good, these times. How else can I express it? I'm not sure if it's normal to be so achingly aware of how short this slice of time is with my little people. 

I'm okay with time passing, I really am. I'm okay with growth and change. Or at least, I think I'm really learning to be. I'm slowly but surely cultivating a comfort with the fleeting aspects of experience. 

The quality, the depth of the life, the lasting imprint of it all, is up to me. I know it. I can make my steps deliberate and deep on this journey, so that the footprints of our experiences forever leave their fossilized impressions on my heart and mind. Or they can be shallow. Shallow from a life that I chose to live in a quick sprint, spent spreading myself too thin and too far over the vast landscape.

I think I will only feel cheated if I don't carve out and allow myself to fully immerse and enjoy what is going on around me right now. 

I have this fantasy. In it, 

I'm in my very old age, sitting in my rocker on the front porch, pondering my years. The setting sun is sneaking through the branches of our big oak trees which shade the yard, casting dancing light beams into the haze of a gentle summer evening. The deep hues of green permeating my gaze are complimented by the purple-ish blues of our good and plentiful hydrangea bushes. Because at some point in my life I hired a good gardener.

As I sit there in my chair, I consider the bulk of my journey and am not able to recall every detail. I will probably have forgotten the specifics of  countless precious words, thoughtful gestures, gut-deep emotions, loving embraces, and transcendent experiences that life offered me. There will probably be experiences and times I will wish I could forget too.

And as I comb through my soul's archives I feel that ache of longing, those flashes of 20/20 hindsight, and possibly some well-earned pangs of regret. All a part of the normal inventory of a life spent learning. 

However, in my optimist's fantasy, the really good part, I somehow manage to escape the most despairing realization of all the years. The one which begins with the dreaded lament "oh how I wished I had noticed..." or "if only I had appreciated...". 

Instead, I will remember that I chose to experience the memories when I was actually in them. As a result, I will be free to relinquish the impossible quest to hold on, or rebuild, or relive what has already passed. I will be content that those details of my magnificently grand little life now reside etched into the deep laugh lines and numerous wrinkles surrounding my eyes that squinted too much when I smiled.


Summer has taken its time leaving us. The intense temperatures have provided an indulgent surplus of pool side fun. We've taken full advantage...

{My little fish}

{Lily and London have been perfecting their stunt shows with Daddy}

{emerson is no longer permitted to wear a towel without her flotation device on. she's made too many mad dashes straight to the water when we turn our heads. fearless. terrifying.}

{post pool showers. come to think of it, the only bathing they experience all summer. really.}