2200 posts categorized "Family"

Our new house!

1228 Fairview outside

Bum ba BUM!

We found a new house! And here's the funny part - we're two blocks down from our old house! When this house came on the market about three weeks ago, I called our real estate agent and we raced over to see it that afternoon. We had an offer in later that day (or was it the next morning? Man, things blur.) 

It's a teeny bungalow, in need of some pretty heavy cosmetic work (and even a little more than that), but it's cute, has the perfect location & is an exciting new project. Our grand plan is to add a bathroom & closet to what we are calling the master (which is sort of hilarious, because right now it's just three small bedrooms), and maybe even squeeze in a mudroom off of the kitchen. Those are GRAND plans. Our plans RIGHT NOW are to paint, fix and refinish floors, redesign the kitchen & do a small re-do of the existing bathroom.

I've got pictures, an excessive amount really, for such a small house, but I'll try and weed through to give you the gist. 

1228 living room from dining room

This is the living room, looking in from the dining room, front door is at far right of picture.

1228 dining room 2

Dining room, pretend you just flipped around 180.

1228 kitchen

Kitchen, pretend you just turned right from dining room.

1228 master 2

If you take another right (beside the fridge), through the kitchen - it's a walk-through bedroom now, but we will re-close into a one entry room - this is what we're calling the master bedroom. I've already pulled the wallpaper (and if you follow me on instagram, you'll see some of the help I got :), and eventually I'd like to break out the wall into the backyard and add a bathroom and small walk-in closet. 

1228 hallway

Now imagine you've walked through the master bedroom and are looking into the hallway. I wish I'd snapped a picture of what was under that rug - and old furnace hole had been patched with plywood. I've since had it replaced with real hardwood. Next step - getting the floors refinished so it all looks integrated!

1228 bathroom

Turn left into the bathroom. This will be small redo. I'm going to break up the floor, add back something like what I did at the Marling house, paint the tiles, replace the light fixtures, toilet, (maybe sink?), add a new mirror and paint. That's probably the gist of it. (And yes, I do think the original floor is charming, but it's cracked, a lot).

1228 back bedroom 3

What will become Truett's room. He's asked to have it painted Goldenrod. (That's actually a compromise, as what he first asked for was Goldfinch).

1228 front bedroom 3

This will be June's room. It gets a lot of pretty natural light and she's asked to have it painted Calypso. Now if I could just figure out how to lighten up Truett's room. 

For right now we're still at the apartment. We have floor repair, paint and floor refinishing left to do then I'm hoping to schedule the movers to move our stuff in :)

Kiddos, first day

4th grade 1st grade

Oh my dosh

Emerson-Fry-Bardot-Top-20180725210316

We have a cute two year old neighbor friend who, instead of exclaiming oh my gosh, says, OH MY DOSH OH MY DOSH.

Which is my way of saying wow I have been away from this blog for so long & am looking forward to getting back into this creative outlet. 

Since posting last we have: sold our house, moved into an apartment, started (this morning!) 4th & 1st grade, and generally tried to keep up with life, as it hurtles along.

Why did we sell our house? Well, for one thing, the neighborhood we lived in got very popular. We always had a sale in the back of our minds, but hated to pull the trigger because we love, love, love the neighbors/hood, house, lot, my babies were raised there waaaaaah. We'd also sort of "finished" what we planned to do with the house. Of course you can always continue to add/subtract, but the biggies we set out to do were done: kitchen, added bath, new roof, lots of out door hard & soft scaping and so forth.

Still, it was challenging. A few days after the sale June told me she wished "you hadn't signed those papers," referring to closing. Ouch. But we keep emphasizing the positive - a new house to fix up as we wish, living in an apartment is sort of vacation-fun (June keeps calling this our hotel) & in general, moving forward is nearly always preferable to feeling stale.

My dearest, biggest, hopeful wish is to find another beautiful-bones house & chronicle the fixing up here on GDI. I'm so grateful I've got this space to refer back to on both Fairview (kitchen & moving-in pictures) & Marling

With that, I will leave you with something totally unrelated, but fun. How cute is this Emerson Fry Bardot Top? It looks perfect for summer-to-fall weather. 

Happy first week of school for all of my Columbia friends :)

PS - whoops! Mother of year award! I'll post kiddos first day pictures tomorrow. 

Three fun things for your Monday

Small building  skies  grass

First of all, how have I missed this Alexa ad? It's hilarious and b. we love our Alexa ap - the kids use it to play music, ask questions & inquire about the weather most mornings.

Secondly, this is an interesting, kind of funny, story about a broken ski pole, that my friend Miriam sent me. It bears noting, I have not been watching the Olympics, but I love how the games bring out these fascinating stories from all over the world. 

Last of all, guide to dog breeds is especially funny. My favorite line, "exercise me 6 hours every day or I'll eat this couch!!"

Hope you had a good weekend. xo

Ouch, parenting

Mother and child Frederic Leighton

I was talking to a friend yesterday about a moment's realization I had the other day. My sister and I were chatting on the phone, and, as often happens, we began wringing our hands over what kind of education is best for each of our children. Should I home-school? If I do, when (or if) do we put child(ren) back in school? Which school then? etc etc.

Of course I was consumed, at least momentarily, with anxiety over my choices. When it suddenly hit me, I cannot, as a parent, control my children's experience with the world. Of course you know this somewhere deep down all along, but like so much wisdom, it comes and goes. 

It's particularly tough for today's parent, who faces a constant barrage of parenting information. It lulls us into thinking we are in control, we are in charge. And it's tough, too, because to some extent we are! Especially when they are newborns and dependent on us for nearly everything. And statistics and outcome-based research is everywhere. So our choices DO matter. 

So, I get it. But ultimately. Ultimately, we have to let go some. There will be positives and negatives attached to each choice we make and so, after making as-best-a-decision-as-I-can, I think it is wise to let go of what happens after that choice. Or perhaps, deal with the outcomes as they come. I think this will take daily practice.

My friend, after hearing me relate my conversation with my sister, and my subsequent feeling about it all, found this poem by Kahlil Gibran, called, aptly enough, "Your Children Are Not Your Children".

I'll warn you to have the tissues ready if you are as prone to tears as I am, but also, there is a deep wisdom and comfort in these words, I think. Remember, you are somebody's baby too. xo

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Link here. Image here.

On being human

Birthday post balloons

Today is the day I turn 37 years old. It's funny, getting older, duh, because you essentially always feel like the same person you always were. What's this 18 year old doing with two children? Weird.

But I don't sit down to write about the weirdness of aging, I just trust we're all in the same boat. I sit down in the hopes that I can write this morning, as a birthday gift to myself, with bravery and honesty and, in the greatest hopes, to ease someone else's burden.

Last year, and I suspect in different ways, in many years to come, was a tough year. I'm sure I've alluded to it here before, and I know that piques your curiosity, and we all die to know each other's nitty gritty, but it'll have to suffice that it just was and that I have a family and that I cannot share all my details here. Anyway, if you can move past that bit, I'll get to the part that really matters, I think.

For the first few months of feeling really, really shitty, I walked through my life mechanically. I smiled for my kids, I waved at friends in the carpool line and I bought groceries. I made dinner. I did laundry. Those things required little thought. And then, when no one was around, I hid in my room and cried. I sat on my couch and stared. I felt justifiably sorry for myself, and then I also indulged in feeling sorry for myself because OF COURSE people have it far, far worse than I do.

Then - and I think this is the important bit - I began a Rocky sequence. I got off the couch. I began running - slowly and with lots of walking at first. I weaned off of my SSRI (slowly, slowly). I lost 30 pounds. I bought a small, run down house. I worked hard, hard, hard to fix it up (we're under contract!). I prayed, I meditated (poorly), I went to therapy. 

Then - and this part is even more important - I also failed. I cried on the phone to my sisters and my best friends. I indulged in a lot of anger and self-pity. I looked healthy habits in the eye and gave them the finger. I snapped at my kids. I was, and am, and probably always will be, full of mental writhing. In short I failed a lot.

Also, I keep failing. Also, I keep running. Some mornings I don't run. Some mornings I slog through two miles, miserable the entire time. Some mornings, like this one, I am King Kong running through the neighborhood, conquering all that is in front of me. Sometimes I succeed out of spite and a sense of life doing me wrong. Other times I am able to harness gratitude and compassion and peace. Those are the best times and they are rare and hard won.

My point is, and I'm not even sure I have a point, but my point is I am failing and succeeding at the same time and I have a feeling you are too. A Rocky sequence is sexy and movie-worthy, but it doesn't actually feel that way when you are inside it. 

I am in a boat with the rest of you, I imagine, and yet most of us feel like our friends and neighbors are in the better, well-balanced, shiny boat. The one where no one argues, no one makes poor decisions, no one grapples with the weightiness of being human (ever wish you were just, like, a fish or something?). 

We all know social media picks and chooses what it shows us (everyone on instagram can make the most swoony pies, while mine look like a jumble of assorted fruits smashed inside a lumpy crust). We also all know by now that those portray the highlight reel, the things our friends choose to show us. We also all know some of the gritty behind-the-scenes. But, still. Why is it so hard?  Why does Facebook tire me out and leave me feeling crappy? Is everyone going about their instagram-worthy lives while I press my face into the wind? I know they're not. 

The other day I saw a quote - one of those ubiquitous wall-quotes hipsters love to hang up in their gallery walls - and it said, simply, "Patience and discipline," I love that. I can do that. I can't do it perfectly, but I can keep trying. I can wake up some mornings in despair (looking at you, my best friend in the world) and put my shoulder into the hill. I can experience the tough and the shitty and the beauty and the transcendence. I can acknowledge the truth in opposing opinions. I can try my best to live in the exquisite slivers of a nuanced life. 

I hope this helps. I hope you feel less alone. I hope you know that while a few people must be living insufferably balanced hipster lives, the rest of us are right there with you just trying our best. xoxo 

Cool Christmas card idea

2013 Sypert card

I am endeavoring to work on a simple + awesome gift guide for 2017, but in the meantime thought I'd put this up for those of you who like to mail out cards (me) but find it kind of an obnoxious task. And - I promise, much as I'd love it - this is not a sponsored or affiliated post or anything like that.

Minted - a company I've used several times for our Christmas cards, is offering a new service. You text them the photo you've chosen and they send you back five different options for cards. You choose one, give them some text details etc & then they put it in your shopping cart! Woot! (Plus, I love their business structure of working with independent designers).

Now if I could only wrangle the four of us into a decent photo...

Happy card-ordering! xo

PS - above is our card from 2013 (totally heartbreaking) & and the same post on how to make your own custom holiday card, if you're more in the crafty mood :)

If you'd rather not make pie this week

Chocolate wafer stacks

I am a HUGE fan of pumpkin pie. Apple, cherry & other fruit ones are good, too, but I'll be honest & say I don't love pecan. I mean, if it's in front of me I'm probably going to eat some, but I don't go out of my way.

My point is, this is not an anti-pie post BUT it does give you a beautiful, chocolaty, creamy alternative to pies for the winter holidays. 

The recipe I found online calls it a zebra cake, but we called it a cookie log growing up. It's a traditional ice box cake, meaning you don't bake it, but you do let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. The beauty of this cake is that to the unsuspecting eye, it would appear you spent hours crafting layer upon layer of tiny sheet cakes only to put this together in all of it's magnificent glory. Or maybe that just makes you look like someone with too much time on her hands. Either way, it's a show stopper, and not difficult.

The wafers can be hard to find, but I've had luck at Publix during the holidays, in the ice cream section. Super specific, but worth the find. They're called Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, and here's a link if you need a visual.

You can visit the online recipe here, if you like detailed descriptions, but I can distill it in this way: place homemade whipped cream on either side of each wafer, smoosh them together into a shape on a plate, cover THAT whole thing with more whipped cream (think: icing a cake) & cover the whole shebang overnight in the fridge.

You. will. be. amazed. 

(image via thekitchn, with another version of this simple recipe)

Monday links

Manger blog photo dining room

I haven't posted links in a while, and they have been steadily piling up in one of my folders. So, I thought on this chilly fall day, what would be better than some interesting and/or beautiful things to read about?

I love the idea of scavenger hunts, with family, or friends. 

Halloween makeup ideas, no costume required (if you're still on the hunt).

5 questions to ask when you're buying (Thanksgiving) wine.

Food might be a key component to the ADHD diagnoses.

I LOVE this article on how to throw a simple dinner party. My suggestion? Just throw one for crying out loud. Also, I always have a few bars of chocolate on hand nowadays that I can break up onto a tray for a quick tea or after-dinner treat. 

I loved these satisfying moments on Cup of Jo.

Sweet nutcracker napkins for the holidays. 

I make this herb flatbread regularly now and it is so good, especially with a Mediterranean type meal. 

“I’ve turned my hand to lots of things but never stuck at them. Not that I’m lazy, just sort of restless.” From interesting quotations.

Best of Ikea, 2018. The leather pulls!!

Have you heard of unicorn food? So pretty. This might do the trick to get June to eat more veggies :)

Beautiful, simple teapot.

That's it! Hope you're having a good start to your week. 

(top image via Manger, the lovely blog by Mimi Thorisson in a post listing their spring workshops)

Celebrating Mommy Ann

Todd family everyone Mommy Ann's memorial

In November my beloved grandmother died. To all of her grandchildren, and greats, she was called Mommy Ann.

Mommy Ann framed photo

It was weird, and hard, losing my last grandparent because I think my subconscious had decided she would always be there: doing puzzles, looking impossibly stylish, cooking dinner with a Tom Collins in hand. When you think of those old-school beauties who walked through life with (seemingly) effortless class, that was Mommy Ann. 

Molly

To celebrate, my aunt set up a beautiful party at her house in Cincinnati where we all ate, drank, chatted & were merry & were sad. Georgia put together a slide show that was unbearable to watch, but in the good way. How can someone feel so close and be gone? It's still hard sometimes.

Ella piano

As I walked around the party, catching up with cousins & aunts (there are males in this family, they're just...rare), I kept remarking to myself how much I liked everyone. Not just because they're family, but genuine appreciation for how much I wanted to keep hanging out. And how I kind of wish we hadn't all scattered to the four winds ;)

Molly Georgia pregnant

Here are a few pictures from our weekend, if you'd like to see, and I hope you're doing well. xo

Hope Aurelia angry face

Here's a picture with Aurelia - we were making angry faces at each other, because, at three and a half, she was over it

Zoe June

Ella Truett Henry gun fight

The kiddos celebrated Mommy Ann by...being kids.

About Me

My Photo Hi! I'm Hope. Welcome to my website all about: style, food, travel & parenting. I live in Columbia, SC with my husband and two bebes.

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