Under the weather

I think I have the flu. I am very not excited about this. I have to watch the kids on my own today too, while Phil has a haircut.

I got a little bit of a rest this morning though, and I will remain grateful for coffee, and over the counter medicine.

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January 22

I’m grateful for just enough light seeping in around the edges of the curtains, so I can stare at my beautiful baby girl.

I’m grateful for a few extra minutes of holding her today, even though I am SO tired.

I am grateful for her stillness, because oh my LORD is she a wiggle worm these days.

I’m grateful for her ridiculously silly and amazingly sweet and kind older brother, who, when I was setting her up on the floor with toys, helped me gather them from one room and bring them to her in the other room, without being asked or prompted in any way.

I’m grateful for his giggles and cries of “more!” when I smother him in kisses.

I am grateful for Phil, for changing diapers without complaint, for taking the morning off work to hang out with us so I could go to a meeting, for cleaning the kitchen and making popcorn, and walking outside in the freezing cold to fetch ice cream for us. For the way we always tell each other how bedtime went, even though it’s mostly the same story.

I’m grateful that Enzo says things like “sleepy bug,” or “night night,” or “dumpie,” when he’s ready to go to sleep.

I’m grateful for my family. My beautiful, amazing family.

Falling behind

Already? Already. Because babies.

But I’m grateful for new days to start over. And there are no merit badges for updating every day, so I can forgive myself and keep going.

Today I’m grateful for delicious, delicious coffee. And easy naptimes. And remembering to switch over the laundry in a reasonable timeframe. And having dinner already made before 1 pm. And January afternoons above 50 degrees.

Every day, there’s so much to be grateful for, including blogs that patiently wait for your attention.

Catching up

On the 6th, Elsie woke up at 2 in the morning. I managed to slip into happy mom mode – the one where you’re not bitter about being awake, and you just drink it in. Elsie slept on my chest for a little while, not just heavy in my arms, and it’s just the sweetest feeling ever to have a baby tucked under your chin, above your heart.

My friend Nikki is also a birth photographer, and a couple days ago asked for people to define motherhood. So while I had my sleeping sweet pea to rock, I wrote this on my phone:

Motherhood is love without choice. There was love before, doled out however you saw fit. You chose the recipients and the volume and the intensity. Now though, there is a creature who just showed up one day, with all your love attached, and they are skipping about, with your love spilling out everywhere.

It’s far from a perfect description, but it’s a start. 😊 I was awfully grateful for that hour with my baby girl, but also quite grateful for my warm snuggly bed when it was over.

Yesterday and today have honestly bled into each other in my brain. Although yesterday, I did manage to get a 45 minute nap, and got quite a bit of work done in the morning. I am so, so grateful my mom has been here the past three days to watch the babies and play with them in the morning, so I could get stuff done. And I’ve gotten SO much done (never as much as I want, but really… whenEVER will *that* happen?)

Tonight, I’m grateful to be in bed before midnight. This week is kicking my ass – I’ll be glad when work settles down again.

I will kick so much ass today

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve written a blog post. And like a lot of things, the inertia is overwhelming.

But I just read my cousin-in-law’s blog, where she is on Day 97 of a 100-day self-imposed writing challenge, and her writing is so beautiful. She and I don’t have a whole lot in common, but we have more than I think I’ve let myself acknowledge. Her fearless approach to writing resonated deep within.

At some point in the recent past, I packed myself up and didn’t let myself admit that these are the things I like, and these are the emotions I have, and I am grateful for these experiences.

Work has been hard. I don’t feel like I’m growing, and I feel like my path is unclear, and as those worries have compounded for years (which is ridiculous), it’s slowly evolved to where I have a hard time fully enjoying all of the rest of my life. One of the top three questions people will ask you when they haven’t seen you for a while is “How is work?” I’ve tried brushing the question off, lying, being honest, being too honest, and the conversation never really goes in a way I could call “good.” The whole thing gets awkward in my head. It’s frustrating. It’s embarrassing. It’s redundant. It’s boring.

So I feel frustrated. And embarrassed. And redundant. And boring.

And on top of it, or because of it, or whatever, my internal self kind of disintegrated. Obstacles become too big to be considered. Disappointments don’t leave.

I HATE feeling like this. Who the hell is this whiny bitch? I can’t seem to break through.

So my new motto will be: I will kick ass today.

I have some new projects totally unrelated to work that are taking shape, and I’m getting SO much positive reinforcement from my friends. I am getting love, and hugs, and support, and confidence. All you need to do is just kick a teeny tiny bit of ass. Just a smiiiidge. And that instantly becomes so much.

I have wanted to start a gratitude journal, but wasn’t sure how. Thank you, thank you, thank you Christen for showing me how it’s done. Today, I am grateful for you, and for my wonderful Phil, whose voice I always hear in my head, telling me to do the things I’m good at, or want to be good at.

I will kick so much ass today. And I will be great at it.

A pleasant surprise

So March Madness is over, and Richmond was more caught up in then usual this year. The University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth U were both in the tourney this year, and both made it farther then anyone anticipated. VCU actually made it to the Final Four – after playing some INCREDIBLE games to get there. (Seriously, I’ve NEVER enjoyed watching a game of basketball more than the nail-biter win over Florida State and the “you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet” rampage over #1 Kansas.)

VCU is also where both Phil and I went to college, so of course, we were cheering for them the whole way, and so was the rest of the city. This is a city that has a love-hate relationship with itself, and could be diagnosed as mildly schizo. But for a few weeks at the end of March, all that got put on the shelf, and we were all Rams fans. The UofR Spiders were even in the crowd cheering for the Rams, after they lost their own game in the Sweet Sixteen round, which I thought was an excellent display of cross-city brotherly love and sportsmanship.

Saturday night, VCU lost their game against Butler for a spot in the final game. Of course, we were sad for the team, but at the same time SO happy for how far they’d come, and for the feisty underdog story that they’d dished up for us all to feast on.

Then this past Monday night, Phil and I were coming home from a meeting while the final was being played between UConn and Butler, and we saw this on the skyline. We were both filled with warm and fuzzies, and I thought it needed to be shared. I’m sure next week we’ll all go back to moaning about this-or-that about living here, but for now, I wanted to hold on to this:

Studio Before and After

So, a confession. This is my shame. This is what our guest bedroom/ Phil’s studio looked like:

Every time I walked past that open door, I would cringe. It got worse when I walked inside:

The biggest problem is obviously storage.

Phil has a LOT of craft supplies, and the fur and fleece that he uses takes up a LOT of space. The thing that killed me is that the closet, which was hidden behind the home-made lightbox, and nearly impossible to access with the table in front of it, had plenty of potential. The contractors who renovated the space prior to our purchase had done a HORRIBLE job of planning out how the space would be used, and it was completely inefficient.

You can sort of see what I mean in the picture above, and here’s a shot of the closet, once I pulled out most of what was in it:

We decided to remove the sliding mirrors completely (they blocked your access getting in and out, and that fake gold trim – SO UGLY!). Then we ripped out the existing “guts” of the closet, and put in two shelves that run all the way across the space. We built a ledge to run through the whole closet (and we may end up reinforcing the front of the shelf by adding more ledges on the left and right of the door.) We used a piece of plywood we already had on hand for the top shelf, and we had a piece of MDF cut to size for the lower shelf at Ye Olde Big Box Lumber Store.

We do use this closet to hang some long clothes that don’t get used often, like my formal gowns and Phil’s grandfather’s old coats. We wanted to keep them in here (since closet space in the rest of the house is also hard to come by.) After coming up empty-handed when I tried to find something that would work in the closet department of the Big Box store, I got the idea to add a short towel bar mounted on the underside of top shelf. That’s the silver bar you can see on the left side of the pic. It works perfectly, and has more than held up to the weight that’s hung from it. (The longer items just get tucked neatly to the left.)

At this point, it was just a matter of putting things away so that everything was accessible. Below the bottom shelf, we store most of the plastic bins that used to be stacked near the door. These are the bins we need when we do craft shows, so it’s great that they’re very easy to pull out and put away when we’re done.

On top of the lower shelf is the existing drawer systems we were already using. They’re not my favorite thing stylistically, but you can’t argue with the function. Phil can just pull out the drawer he needs, and have it on a chair next to him while he works.

The top shelf got the items we use less frequently, or items which were lighter. Here’s how it looked when everything was piled in:

From there, it was just a matter of picking out fabric for the curtains (which we scored at the awesome local shop called U-Fab.) I pinned everything, and Phil sewed them and hung them. We both LOVE the results.

Phil’s sewing table is now on the wall where the bins and drawers used to be, and there are still plenty of other things we need to find storage room for (like those big cardboard boxes, which are full of fabric and fur.) One project at a time though.

Yay!