Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Things I saw on my walk this morning...

 This morning I took a walk by myself. I usually go with Paxton, but he was sleeping this time and I decided to go solo. My neighborhood always has interesting things to see. Or at least I think so...maybe this post is just a new low for my blog: boring things I saw on my WALK this morning. Exciting! {I'm going to share my random workout songs from this morning's walk too--as chosen by Pandora--so brace yourself, this post is really riveting!}
Song playing while this photo was taken:
Stereo Love - Edward Maya
{Pandora was set to my techno/dance station at first. Hmm...}
This home was recently remodeled and resold and it's new owners have apparently installed a Little Free Library. So I made a note to bring a book or two with me on my next walk, so I can swap it at the Little Free Library. {Should we install one of these when we buy a house? It's a kind of cool idea, isn't it?}

Then I passed this house. Our neighborhood was originally made up of smaller homes like ours. But the location + big lot size of our urban-ish neighborhood has meant that people are moving in like crazy, scraping the old historic homes, and building McMansions--only most of them are stucco, yuck--and many of them buying 2 or 3 old lots so they can have HUGE YARDS. This is one that is actually well done {most of them look like cold, sterile, modern homes, OR really warm and inviting dentist offices}. This one has a gas light on the porch and it reminds me of a Charles Wysocki painting and I sort of want to paint it. {Y'all know by now, I'm a fan of the good old days, the Americana portrayed in Wysocki paintings.}
Song playing while this picture was taken:
Peace of Mind - Boston
We have a handful of churches in our neighborhood. This means...sigh...church signs. Don't even get me started. I'm started! The Catholic church & school up the street makes the Lutheran in me cringe every week when they post a new message on their sign {their recent one is something like, "Treat the unexpected like God"...whaaa??? What does that even MEAN?!}
Song playing while this picture was taken:
Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
{Your church sign is living on a prayer, I tell you what...}
But I've been driving past this gem all week so I just have to share, after seeing it again on my walk this morning. Can you spot the error? I know two editors in my life who will probably notice the mistake right away.
Did you spot it? 

DifferANCE??? :::slaps hand to forehead:::: Ugh. I'm no grammar queen. I make mistakes all the time and abuse ellipses like crazy {I'm also guilty of the lazy spelling, tonite}, but this misspelling is just bad. I also have higher standards for signs and published material. I'm maybe being picky, it's just that in our neighborhood, lame church signs are a constant thing. If it's not the theological wreck down the street every day, then it's this. Churches! Represent!

And then I passed my muse, remember how this house inspired my first painting? I love this beauty.
Song playing while this picture was taken:
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
{I can play the bass for this song on Rock Band without error. That makes me a musician, right? Ha!}
When I was a little girl we lived in the Wash Park neighborhood for a few years. I remember my dad pointing out one of the old cottage-style homes one day, and he called it Snow White's house. I took him seriously, and I really believed that the same Snow White from the Disney movie lived up the street from us {or maybe she did a long time ago}. So I would beg him almost every time we were driving home from anywhere, "Can we drive past Snow White's house, daddy, please???"  And he always would humor me. I'm such a sucker for fairy tales, even today.

Anyhoo, this home is very similar; it looks straight out of a fairy tale, doesn't it? I passed it today on my walk, and it's cottage feel reminded me of Snow White's house. The roof! It's dreamy, isn't it?
Song playing when this photo was taken:
More Than a Feeling - Boston
That house is just a couple blocks from our home, and I fully expected the girls to greet me at the door as they usually do: half excited to see me and half angry that I didn't take them along. But when I got back home this morning, it was empty. {Except for, as you remember me complaining about the other day, all the baby gear. I told you it was everywhere!}
The family was hanging out in our bedroom as Daddy got ready for our outing to the bookstore for storytime. {I see this photo and think, "Eisley, where are your glasses?" I hate that these days I have to nag her to wear them. The first two years of her having glasses she wore them religiously and now we have to fight her to get them on and keep them on. And yes, we've doubled checked that her prescription is right. Ugh. This too shall pass...}
Hey lady! Go put those glasses on!!
I would love to extend this post to my friends, go on a walk this week and share photos of what you see. No matter how "boring", I'd love to see what a walk looks like in your neck of the woods.

{You just have to be willing to be that creepy lady who walks around taking photos of your neighbors houses and stuff.}


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Outgrowing our house....also, Christmas is cancelled.

I made myself an iced coffee and now have some things to write down.
Lately I feel like all I do is tread water, not moving forward or backward or anywhere. I'm trying to stay afloat and not succumb to the madness that is every day life.

Okay, hold on, I'm okay. I'm not depressed or anything. Nothing is wrong, and I'm not trying to be dramatic. I guess you could say I'm just...whelmed? In need of change? Eagerly awaiting the future even though right now it feels like the train isn't leaving the station.

{I've always been okay with changes. I'm the type of person who likes to find a new way to drive home every day. Perhaps this is just because I'm really bored?}

Part of it is this house. I've always felt behind on the housework, but lately it's just been getting to me. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that we are just starting to look for our first home and growing tired of our current residence. Justin has said for months now that we've outgrown our current home, and I used to scoff at him and remind him that up until high school, my family lived in a smaller home with ONE bathroom.

We have two bathrooms.

Since Paxton has been born, I've started to notice the tightness of it all too. We're packed in here, at least it feels that way. I get that people make do with much less than what we have, and we've really loved this little house for a while now, it's been good to us. But we're also growing anxious and eager as realizing our dream of owning our own home is appearing--and not too far off--in the horizon.

We're browsing homes that are twice this size, only because they have finished basements. {A finished basement is on our "must-have" list because we're looking for at '50s or '60s style ranches.} What I wouldn't give to have a finished basement right now.

We have a basement, but it's a sort of creepy-finished with cabinets that have locks and small windows cut in them, so I'm pretty sure children were once held captive in them. Also, Aragog lives down there, along with his 1 million minions. I'm just glad we rarely see spiders on the main level of our house, they must be happy down there.
The homeschool/breakfast/crafting/lunch/dinner/blog post writing table.
So we do homeschool at the dining room table, the same table that is also set and cleaned for three meals each day. I also have to craft there, tag my vintage merch there, and am currently writing this blog post there. {I have a desk, but it's currently covered in...vintage merch and crafts.}

The arrival of our third child made things a bit complicated...
Paxton's "room"
Paxton has no dresser. His clothes are haphazardly organized on the bottom part of his folding changing table from IKEA. He has no room of his own. We could move the girls together but Violet now naps and Eisley has quiet time and I'm not willing to sacrifice either of those, not yet. Home shopping just makes you not want to mess with the current situation that our home is in now. When we buy a house, the girls will share a bedroom and Paxton will have his own. For now, he sleeps in his bassinet next to us.
Meanwhile, there is baby gear all over the home and we have stubbed our toes constantly for the last couple months. A swing and Exersaucer in the living room, a bouncer in the kitchen, a Bumbo chair on the kitchen table, my breast pump in the bathroom.
The alley kitchen has really grown old. I spend so much time in the kitchen, yet it's isolated from the rest of the house, that's hard when you're raising three kids. An open kitchen is on our "must-have" list. Also, baking three-tiered cakes in a room that size is just, well, I deserve an award I would like to have more counter space someday.

So it seems I've joined Justin's thinking that we've outgrown this home and we need would like more space. I feel like this house is bursting at the seams. 


I think that is part of what is causing this funk I've been in lately. To top it all off I'm supposed to drag out the Christmas decorations soon? Yeah, about that...

I just don't feel like it this year. 

In fact, we've cancelled Christmas this year. Okay, not completely cancelled, but we've been in talks with my parents, sister, and in-laws because this year we really just want to take it easy. I mean REALLY easy. No Christmas cards, no parties, no baking 150 kinds of cookies {because it wouldn't be Christmas if you didn't make ____, right?!} We want to get ready to home shop, we want to save money, we want to focus on the real meaning of Christmas {sounds cliché  I know, but it's true} and not feed more money into the pigs {Walmart, Target, Best Buy, etc.}

So this year we've decided to buy our kids a few gifts, maybe something for each other--Justin & I--and grab some hot chocolates to drive around looking at Christmas lights. And that's IT! Other than Advent services & church things, that's IT. My family has eagerly agreed to this "Christmas Break 2013", as I'm calling it. We're really not buying gifts for everyone this year, and we've told them not to buy us anything either {we have enough things anyway, remember?} I also have to say, I'm looking forward to Christmas more than I have in years now that all that has been lifted off our plates.

I like all those things--the baking, the cards, the gift-giving--but this year we just want a break from it. There is always next year to go overboard again.


Home shopping has put my mind elsewhere, I don't care about decorating this home any more. I keep telling Justin, when we buy our first home, we're going to move in and unpack super slowly. I want to be very thoughtful about where we unpack things to. After four years of living in this house, I feel it's absolute chaos--the closets, the cabinets, the laundry room. I'd do it all over if I could but at this point, there is no point.
This is what has kept me sane lately: enforcing a daily reading/quiet time.
To put it simply, I think we're ready for our "forever home". We want to buy a home to retire in. Also, I want wallpaper--the fun kind, not the 1980s kind. Oh, the things I could DO with my own home. I have big plans.

"I'm starting to feel like we'll never find the perfect home for us," I said to our Realtor recently when he showed us a home in a neighborhood we wanted to get a feel for.

"You won't," he replied. "But you'll find the one that you will make perfect for yourselves, over the years."

That was something I needed to hear. Because we've passed the starter home stage.

Regarding buying our first home: We're pre-approved {hooray!} and have been working with a Realtor {whom we absolutely love}, but we will start the official home search in January {we hope, if all goes according to plan}.

Why January? For one, our lease isn't up until February--though we're sure our landlords wouldn't mind going month to month with us, as they offered that last year when we signed for another year. Instead, we asked if we could consider that come 2014, and they said absolutely.

Also, Justin's income is 100% commission--waiting for his income to stabilize over the years is part of what has taken us so long to get to this home-buying stage--and the holiday months are his best selling months. Then there is the tax refund we usually get come February. Basically, we'll be in a better place, more comfortable, come January to start looking. It's clearly the best time of year for us to handle moving and everything. Home buying, we've learned, includes tons of fees and bills. Home inspections, radon tests, earnest money, etc.

We're very grateful for this little home we've been living in for four years, don't get me wrong. But it is not our home. We are excited for a simple Christmas and enjoying the little things and celebrating Christ. It's just, we'd like to re-boot in a lot of ways. Do you ever feel that way?

We're restless. I'm restless. Ready for change.

Here is to doing things differently. Not just in 2014, starting now. If you like, leave a comment and tell me what you're going to do different this year.


P.S. I wrote this post while listening to this song on repeat. Now that I wrap up this post I'm just now realizing how fitting it is.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dear Future {Sap!} Self...

Dear Future Self:

I just wanted to write you a note today to help you hold on to one of those moments where you think, "Remember this moment, take a picture with your mind and remember this."
No, nothing cute or out of the ordinary happened. You simply came home from church activities today {there was a baby shower}, put the girls down for nap/quiet time, and visited with Paxton, who was lounging on your bed.

He was happy on his Boppy, cooing and smiling at you. You leaned over the bed as you always do, feet still on the floor, but resting your upper body on the bed to gaze at your son--the one you never thought you'd have. You tugged his tiny socks off one at a time and kissed the parts of his feet that will someday have arches but for now are chubby and so soft.

Remember this.

You will not always want to kiss those feet.
Future self, are you reading this in 2018, when Paxton should be about five? I know how you like to go back in time on your blog some days in the evenings, when it is quiet. You pour a glass of wine and listen to music and travel back to look at baby photos and read old posts--many of which you are now embarrassed of {this one probably included}. Is Paxton still your sweet little boy?

Or are you late thirties or forty-something? Is he in those awkward years? Is he on the brink of puberty? Does he have a squeaky voice and is embarrassed at your affection? Remember this moment I had today: kissing his tiny feet and how he cooed in delight when you did. To his four-month-old self, it was funny stuff, and you savored that. Remember how he smiled at you from under those long eyelashes, he has the most coy smile. All of my children have inherited my long eyelashes--which you inherited from dad--though they are blonde and thus, invisible. Paxton's are the longest of all my kids' eyelashes--are they still? Do you still see them and does he still smile coyly at you?

Maybe not.
Does he revel in annoying his teenage sisters? Or do they still find no faults with him, but are each other's worst enemies and best friends at the same time? Some things never change.

Perhaps, Future Self, you are reading this and Paxton is all grown up. You are in your fifties--Lord willing--and perhaps Paxton has left the home you've made. Maybe he has even found a wife? It hurts to see him replace you as the most important woman in his life, and yet you feel pride that you raised him to do just that: put his wife first--a conviction this current self wants to instill, among many others.

{Are you still the sap you are right now, as I write this? Of course you are, you fool. You're probably crying too, aren't you?}
You cried today, happy and bitter tears, just a couple--nothing too dramatic. You are so excited for his future, but you've had two babies before so you know that you will forget these snapshots you attempt to take with your mind and heart. They fade. This is why I'm writing it down...

Nothing special happened today, except that Paxton is four months old. He doesn't have facial hair to shave or a wife to love...not yet. This is a season of life that is so precious because right now he is yours.
Don't feel regret, as you so often do, that you did not appreciate every minute of it.

I just wanted to let you know, Future Self, that today you enjoyed it. To the very deepest parts of your soul, you took it all in. This time was precious and fleeting, but it was not wasted.


Current Self

P.S. I hope you're not as much of a sap as you used to be. Oh stars...you're probably an even worse one, aren't you?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ten on 10 - November 2013

Time for a November Ten in 10. It's the 10th already?!
After church & fellowship, we dropped Justin off at work...he's working on getting Sundays off all together. That, friends, would be awesomesauce.

I was driving down the freeway at 70 mph when I took this picture.
Totally kidding! I was parked. Just tell CPS never mind and hang-up your phone.

In the parking lot at Justin's work, he handed me a $5 and said, "Go get yourself some DD." Well, shoot. So I drove to get coffee at Dunkin' Donuts {it's my new Starbucks}. Eisley pointed to the words on my cup and asked me what it said, it went like this:
"What does your cup say?" she asked.
"'What are you drinkin'?'" I answered.
"Nothing! But what does your cup say?" she said.
"'What are you drinkin'?'"
"NOTHING...but what does this say???"
"'What are you drinkin'?'"
"NO! I'm not drinking anything! But what does THIS SAY!?"
And it continued like that.
Today I also watched a squirrel hang out of a tree for several minutes. I posted a photo of this on Instagram & Facebook, then I regretted doing so. It was probably not as amusing as I had originally thought.
This boy smiled at me and was well behaved. Because you know what they say, boys will be boys... 

{I hate that phrase because it's often used to excuse rude belligerence and I feel it implies that boys are too stupid to learn to follow rules. Wait...this wasn't supposed to be a rant post. I'm so sorry.}

I took this photo to send to my sister to show her how mom's emu oil has helped with the fine lines around my eyes. {Emu oil is my FAVORITE beauty product nowadays! It also cures diaper rashes like nobunny's bidness.} I never did send it, the picture below. {You're welcome, Bea. Bea already suffers from my constant, silly texts.} I've actually always thought photos of eyes were sort of gross. Now here I am posting one...hypocrite here!
I made a Crock Pot "stew"--which involved Coca-Cola--in the new Target "French Bulldog" Crock Pot. I followed no recipe. It was a decent meal. Our stew meat was about to expire and our potatoes were threatening to sprout, so just in time!
Got my paint on today. I'm in love with this new Chalk Paint. More blog posts to come there! This stuff deserves it's own post.
Glued some states to magnets...with glitter, of course.
Picked out our first hard cider of the season. Just Mike's, but we thought it was pretty good and very refreshing.
We watched tonight's episode of Homeland {what the what?!<--my thoughts after every episode of Homeland} while I waxed this piece for my new booth.
The baby went to bed. Justin went to bed. The wax & I stayed up to party.

That's 11/10/13 for you. Twelve felt left out.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Reopening Lark & Lola - my new booth!

A few weeks ago I posted ^this photo^ on Instagram along with the announcement that I'd be moving in to once again sell my vintage goods & my handmade crafts. 

ReNew is a thrift store in Englewood/Denver, Colorado, opened by Denver Christian Schools as a sort of fundraising business. It's really a wonderful thrift store, with three levels of used goodies--everything from furniture and clothes to appliances and antiques--all with volunteer staffing. It also happens to be managed by a friend of mine from the past, whom I've done business with before.

ReNew is going through a sort of transition: from 100% thrift shop to a store that will have more of a unique boutique/flea market style plus some thrift shop still in the mix. There are talks of starting craft classes, inviting more vendors in, and other exciting new ideas. Since I have a history and rapport with the manager of ReNew, I feel so fortunate to have been invited in as one of the very first booth renters to this shop!

The Mile 
ReNew is also located on "The South Broadway Mile", so it's a great location to be in. Honestly, I'm really nervous. Any business is a risk. Then again, my favorite boutiques, flea market booths, and antique dealers have all been open for years. They must make money at it, right? Otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it. I'm just nervous that I won't make my booth rent back each month. I'll have to work hard to keep my space updated and fresh. But I've also really missed this! I've missed the crafting; I've missed having a creative outlet like this. Paris Street Market was such hard work and I hated having a deadline. An ongoing shop like this is nice in that I can add to & change it up whenever I want.

To get a discounted rate, I'll be working the shop 2 days a month. The store relies on volunteers, and it will be nice to get out of the house for a couple days each month. The hours are short; it will be fun! Plus, as a store owned by Denver Christian, I feel really good about doing business with them. In a way, this setup just feels kismet.

So here's the story on how I got back into business these last couple of weeks, after deciding to reopen Lark & Lola at ReNew:

I needed display furniture. Booths sort of rely on their furniture for display and extra income. So when I came across an amazing deal on a hutch at Goodwill, I brought it home, picked out some paint, and Justin set up a paint booth in the garage.
Painting the hutch
You all know I thrift like crazy. I used to sell vintage on Etsy, but I HATED the packaging and shipping, photo editing and listing process. So, I've had a lot of "inventory" {things I've thrifted and bought at estate sales with the purpose of reselling}. Now is was time to start dragging it out of storage! In doing so, my house became an absolute mess for a couple weeks there. Seriously. It looked like a thrift store vomited in my home. It smelled like it too. {This is a GOOD photo.}
Pre-move in mess
I started cleaning up the goods and pricing like crazy! I currently have my own barcodes for ReNew's system. I bought a rotary perforator on Amazon, and have been stamping  my own tags.
I was so delighted to dig out a stack of my old business cards. I designed these by myself years ago, and I still love them.
Lark & Lola business card
Justin was kind enough to help out with the painting projects. This cute cabinet has been in our basement for months, just waiting for a little revamping.
Husband painting
I kept thrifting, eager to find fun vintage goods to resell. Antique dealers and vendors like myself rely on thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales to make up their inventory. I hunt the goods, I rely on having an "eye" {though I sometimes fail} for what is desirable and valuable, as well as a knowledge of old items. In this way, I feel like a curator. Anyone can get out there and thrift and hunt and dig, but not everyone is willing to do that digging--the dirty work. This is where vendors have their fun. Taking cute vintage goods and putting it in a setting like a flea market booth or antique store can make all the difference. My booth is a collection of hunted goods, hand-picked by yours truly.

I also love selling my handcrafted goods. But, unlike my previous booths at A Paris Street Market, I now have vintage items to boost my sales and fill my booth. It was HARD having to fill my entire space at Paris Street with just crafts!

There are some thrifted items I'm not sure I'll be able to part with. I bought these aluminum tumblers to sell them, but then I got them home and cleaned them up and decided I wanted to keep them. I bought them for $1 each. They are worth quite a bit more.
Aluminum tumblers
Finding seasonal items is one of my favorite things to hunt. Vintage Christmas ornaments are all the rage these days.
Vintage Christmas ornaments
Vintage tablecloths! I almost hate to sell these, but I can only keep so many vintage tablecloths for myself. Things like these that I love, I'll price them a little higher just because I'm not completely eager to sell them. If I'm going to part with them, it'd better be for a decent price.
Vintage tablecloths
So with the vintage goods hunted, and some crafts ready, and my booth space chosen, I was ready to open my booth at ReNew.

Go visit! There is a back entrance with more parking too. It's a huge shop--three levels. I rent a 10' x 10' space, and there is a lot more to see than just my booth.
ReNew back entrance & parking lot

Do you want to see my booth and how it turned out? Want to know if I've sold anything yet? Well, then see here: I've posted photos over at my Lark & Lola blog--so go check it out and tell me what you think.

I'm so excited!

By the way, I have to thank my husband for being so supportive of this. He has not only painted my furniture for me, he has encouraged me all along. He was open to this new business venture and helped me get this booth open. Thank you, honey! I love you and you are a blessing to me.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Paxton - 16 Weeks

Paxton 15 lbs!
I'm supposed to be blogging about my new business venture, Halloween 2013, and recent mommy drama. But today I took a few photos of Paxton, and darn, if he isn't pretty cute. So I decided to blog some adorable pictures instead.

I'll have those other posts up shortly...and by shortly, I mean by 2014.
Baby Paxton
This kid is such an easy smile.
Always smiling Paxton!
In fact, it's SO easy to get him to smile that I'm half-tempted to get him into baby modeling. Not because I'm a stage mom--I know enough about the business to think actually my kid is the best--but just because he's such a smiley guy!
Paxton smiles
Then again--and this has happened with all three kids--sometimes I look back at photos and think, "Huh...I thought this photo was SO cute of him/her at the time and now he/she looks like a strange scrawny little thing." Justin and I still joke about the "adorable" Christmas photo of Eisley back in 2008. So cute! Only we've since realized that she looked exactly like Uncle Fester in a red velvet dress.
Paxton in his bouncer
So, you know, you always think your kid is the cutest. My Paxton does take a good photo, although we do get our bad shots:
Bad photo
{In this one you can even see the little scratch on his nose that I've edited out of all the other photos.}

Baby model? Maybe...
Baby Paxton on scale

Every baby is the apple of his mother's eye.

Keep me as the apple of your eye; 
 hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 17:8

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