Simple Changes no. 4

heart shoesImage at Wedding Chicks

Big holiday this week…is love on your mind this week and Valentines sprinkled throughout your house?  We usually keep it pretty low-key on Valentine’s Day, but I’m thinking about busting out the cookie cutters this year and making sugar cookies for my sweethearts.  We do have a special Valentine’s breakfast every year because it is the one time of day that we are all at home.  I wake up early, use china and candles, fix a fantastic breakfast,  give everyone a special Valentine, and then I send the girls off to school and go back to bed…it is my Valentine’s Day gift to myself.  And now,

It’s a new week…are you ready for some simple changes?

Find a new book to read from the Best books of February…I’m excited for the new Maeve Binchy novel.

Add some Drops of Awesome via 71 toes.

Create a Baking Drawer.

Use Encouraging Phrases.

Discuss Weight and Body Image with your children.

Undecorate.

Make some Washi Tape Frames.

Happy Life Book Club–January

bookclub

I started my little book club last week and we had a wonderful evening discussing happiness, and getting to know each other a little bit better.  I had written down a few topics for us to discuss, but our discussion took on a life of it’s own, which is always what makes a book club so great.  A few things that I found especially thought-provoking…

-at some point each of us had suffered from or are currently struggling with major depressive disorder.

-happiness means something different to everyone; it feels different to everyone.

-the happiness “set point.”

And a couple of questions that were asked during our discussion…

-Is it self-centered to devote time to work on my own happiness, while taking time away from my family and other obligations?

-How do I work on my own happiness when someone close to me is not very happy, specifically my spouse?

Our unanimous answer to the first question was absolutely not!  But the second question is more difficult.  It is hard to be happy when members of your family are not.  There can be a lot of guilt and holding back and eventually you can be sucked into that dark hole with them.  Often, though, helping someone else increase their happiness set point raises our own as well.  And being around happy people usually rubs off as easily as being around someone who is miserable.

I’m interested to hear any thoughts you might have on this question or anything else that is happiness-related.  Have you ever struggled to remain happy when someone close to you isn’t happy at all?

By the way, I hope you will join us on February 21, either virtually or in person.  We will be discussing February’s chapter from The Happiness Project as well as Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto.

Changing Roles

baby white announcementLovely Baby Items at Coral & Tusk

It is official, Mama Lori is becoming Grandma Lori this year and I’m absolutely thrilled!  A new role for me, a new role for my daughter, and a beautiful little soul to welcome into the world.  Baby White, you are going to be so loved.

DIY Graphic Desk Update

desk--nailheads

Hey, what do you think of my desk?  It makes me smile every time I see it.  It is sitting in my loft/office enticing me to come and do my daily work every time I walk past.  That is a good thing because there are always bills to pay and papers to file and stories to write and email to return.  It has also become Halle’s go-to spot for the nightly homework ritual.  A lovely spot for all of us.

Updating the desk was typical of the rest of my office projects:  I used something I already had and made a few changes along the way.  I started with an old Ikea Malm desk

…and gave it a good cleaning, a very light sanding, and then I brushed on a coat of Gripper Primer from Home Depot. It is definitely the best primer to use when painting slick Ikea-like furniture.  The next step was rolling on two coats of coral paint to just the sides of the desk.  Then came the fun part!  I was inspired by this idea from Design Sponge.

But I used a slightly different technique.  Instead of hand-drawing the lines, I covered the coral paint with Frog Tape, using this image as a guideline for my tape lines.  Then I covered the entire desk with three coats of white semi-gloss paint and four coats of polyurethane.  By the way, I have such a difficult time with polyurethane so if you have any great tips, I would love to hear them.  A few things I have learned along the way:  do not use a roller, use a brush designed specifically for polyurethanes and stains, use steel wool between coats, don’t freak out if there is still specks of dirt on your furniture, try spray-on polyurethane.

After everything had dried well, I gave it extra time to cure because it is a desk and there will be lots of writing going on…it cured for almost a week.  The final step was to dress the desk up with some brass nailheads and casters.

desk

This project was time-consuming, but not too difficult and I LOVE the graphic lines and fresh color.  It was well worth the time and effort and the only cost came from paint, nailheads, casters, and some tape.  Here are some easy instructions if you’re interested in making something similar:

diy desk update

Posted in diy

Air Plants

Image at Bird and Feather

I am always looking for a fun and unique design change, or a great gift idea and I think Air Plants are perfect for both.  They are a low maintenance way to add some life and beauty to your decor.  Interestingly, they require no soil, thus the title “air plant.”  And no soil means you can choose from a greater variety of containers.  Apartment Therapy has some great ideas here, and I’m seriously in love with the Air Plant Pods at Bird and Feather.  Forget Valentine’s chocolates and jewelry, Air Plants are my wish for a sweet Valentine’s gift this year…and I might be sending them as birthday gifts to everyone I know.  Such a fun way to say I love you.

Simple Changes no. 3

horses

Do you love horse images as much as I do?  This is a picture of a picture so not the greatest quality, but I find the horses nuzzling to stay warm quite endearing. We actually have a few horses in the field next door that have looked just like this recently.  Do you think the horses feel cold or confused or sad at times like this?  I’ve noticed that several of the horses I drive by every day are now wearing blankets.  Too cold here for even the animals.

I’m really enjoying the whole concept of simple changes.  Are you?  These small weekly changes are helping me get closer and closer to accomplishing the really big things.  A little bit at a time makes anything feel possible.  And now,

It’s a new week…are you ready for some simple changes?

It’s time to Leave High School!

Recognize The Value of a Day  from  Seeing the Everyday.

A great plan to Organize Your Bookshelves by Color and Genre.

A plan to help you Unplug…so smart to do this while your children are still little.

Fun and stylish Gadgets to Organize and Power Your Tech.

Tracy Anderson’s 15-Minute Workout Add-on.

Feed a Family of Four for $20 a Week…do you really think this is possible?  Try it this week to see if it works for you.

I’m having a difficult time deciding which changes to focus on because these are all such great ideas.  Which do you think you will choose?

 

Mom Moment: Take the Trip!

ski lift

 

A couple of weeks ago, Joe and I took our two youngest daughters on a weekend ski trip.  It was a perfect weekend…cozy condo, a fireplace and hot chocolate, movies and a jacuzzi, games and brunch, perfect weather conditions and snow at the ski resort.  It was expensive, but worth every penny on so many levels.  We were together every minute for three days, we cooked and ate and played and laughed and argued together.  We did something fun and active and new and difficult together.  Joe and I remembered our love for skiing, and Lainey and Halle discovered theirs.  There is nothing like watching your teenagers tackle a difficult mountain on skis and emerge with pink cheeks and a glow of confidence that they have accomplished something big.  Unless it is listening to them giggling in bed at night for hours.

As we took a midday break in the lodge, a woman was there with two very small children…1 and 4.  She and the 4 year-old were dressed in ski clothes and the 1 year-old was running around and enjoying every second of being 1.  Although the woman was patient and happy, she became increasingly frustrated as the lodge became more crowded and here children more energetic.  She came close to us to gather them up, and said, “I can’t wait until they can both spend the day skiing instead of running through the lodge.”  A simple encounter, but one that I’ve thought about a lot since them.

I wish I could rewind that moment and tell her what a fantastic job she was doing.  She wanted her children to ski, and she was there and one was learning to ski and one would.  And she would enjoy about 5 minutes of that time when they were both skiing and she could hug them and kiss their pink cheeks.  Then, they would be off with their friends and they wouldn’t want her there and she would miss them in ways that she could never imagine.  And she would probably spend the rest of her days as a mother feeling like something was missing…she would be happy and productive and fulfilled in other ways, but a piece of her would be out in the world somewhere without her and she would no longer be whole.

As fun as our weekend was, it wasn’t complete without our two oldest daughters.  And hovering around the edges was some regret.  You see, Joe and I had decided years ago that our children were going to be skiers and we had our oldest daughter, Courtnee, on skis at age 6.  We talked and fantasized about winter ski trips as a family, and occasionally we looked at costs and dates.  But we never took that trip…we were too busy, or too broke, or too tired.  And now Courtnee is married and busy with her own life, and Riley is 18 and busy with her own life.  And somehow we have gone from a family of 6 to a family of 4 most of the time.  And every single day I ask myself how it happened.

I have heard it a million times, and you have too, but enjoy every minute you can with your children.  It goes by so quickly, so unimaginably fast!  And then they are gone and as a mother, you are empty…empty rooms, empty arms, empty schedule.  But if you have worked hard to enjoy as much as possible, your mind and your heart will be full…full of love, and moments, and joy.  And somehow, that full mind and that full heart will ease the pain of the emptiness and you will carry on, never entirely whole again, but grateful for every single minute you were and are a mother.