COME HERE SPRING, LEMME KISS YOU

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I made the fortunate mistake of watching the first episode of Daredevil on Netflix – fortunate because it was awesome, a mistake nonetheless because now I can’t sleep. Good news is that I got a decent nap in this afternoon, bad news is there’s no cup of coffee in my future and rooibos tea is nice and all, but it’s no freshly brewed French Press, let’s just be clear.

I’ve traded in some no-so-good-for-me habits, replacing them with ones that are a little bit more in line with where I want my life to go, as opposed to where it has already been. A lot of years have been spent in my head, thinking and rethinking and over thinking. I’m trying harder to plan, and do. I’ve given myself small, attainable goals in an attempt to begin to implement an entirely new routine around here. One that is simpler, but also more consistent.

This week, I’m focusing on these three things around my house:

1. A clean kitchen. This is a nice thing to wake up to, a clean slate from where to begin the day. Many things happen in my kitchen throughout the day, it truly is the heart of my home. I’ve taken to running the dishwasher each night + emptying it first thing the next morning, and am trying trying trying to clean as I go while I put my kitchen to good use. At the end of the day, before I unwind for the night, I do a final sweep, clearing any clutter from the counters and making sure our water filter is full.

2. A load of laundry a day. It’s really, really easy for clothes to pile up and then for the piles to pile up. Making sure at least one dirty load goes in and one clean load comes out per day has made a big impact in the way things can collect in places like the bathroom and next to the bed.

3. Vacuuming! Novel, I know. But we just invested in this vacuum and it’s literally changed my life. This little appliance might have been the catalyst to my new obsession with daily tidying.

Certainly nothing revolutionary, just good old fashioned housekeeping, which I’ve never really been any good at. There is something about approaching 33 as a mother of three that makes me feel like I should have this figured out already, so I’m attempting to play catch up. This exact same sentiment can be applied to a great many areas of my life – and it is! – which is to say, in simpler terms, that this is a season of active growth, of blossoming. Of working hard, of learning, and allowing for the possibility of new greatness to emerge.

THE CROWNING OF THE YEAR

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This is it, folks. The home stretch. All the candles on the Advent Wreath are illuminated, we’re more than halfway through Hanukkah, and tonight is the longest night of the year which might be the one I look forward to most of all. I love a good Winter Solstice the way I love a good song, a firm tug on the old heartstrings kind of thing. Also, there’s a new moon tonight and I read somewhere on Instagram that this will actually be the longest night in history? I’m not sure about that last bit, but it sure sounded mystical.

This part of the year just gets me, you guys. It’s my spirit season, I think, because I’m always filled with so much gratitude and inspiration, something about looking back and forward all at once, celebrating what has been and what is yet to come. All the caroling and cookie baking and tidings of good cheer, all the decorations and the stories and the movies, this stuff thrills me through and through.

We spent nine straight hours cleaning our house today – it might actually be shining like the top of Chrysler Building, thank you very much Mrs. Hannigan – and tomorrow morning, the Salvation Army will be coming by to collect a dozen bags filled with things that have worn their welcome with us but that might find new purpose elsewhere. I’ve intended to make this a sort of tradition for the past few years, and the fact that I’ve finally managed to pull it all together is extremely gratifying.

With only four sleeps until Christmas morning, the excitement is mounting by the minute. Our halls have had a proper decking and our tree is finally all gussied up in her holiday finest after spending three straight weeks standing in our living room naked as the day we brought her home from the lot. I’ve named her Aster, fitting for the lovely late bloomer she’s turned out to be, and she smells divine.

There are a few projects that need finishing, a few packages that need wrapping, and at least a half dozen movies that need watching before the big day arrives, not to mention countless cookies that need to be baked and eaten. All the makings of a cozy, quiet, homemade holiday with my happy, healthy(-ish, we’ve got some coughs and runny noses), adorable family in our super clean home in the hills of sunny San Diego. All my Christmas wishes granted, and I haven’t even opened a single present!

Wishing you and yours a week filled with joy, from the bottom of my very happy heart.

ROSY THE APPLES, CRIMSON THE LEAVES

Sorbet

image via

Just as I’d suspected, September was a mixed bag, a helter skelter array of misadventures punctuated by a few golden moments and a couple milestones thrown in for good measure.

The first few weeks of school have been frenzied and greuling, with both the mister and me adjusting to life as working parents juggling an infant. We’d thought we had secured reliable childcare for one Roux Huckleberry, but we were mistaken, forcing Babe into the role of primary caretaker of our tiny guy during the hours I’m away at school. And while I’m not working nearly as much as I had been prior to taking maternity leave, it feels as though I’ve never worked harder in my life. I’m sure if you asked, Babe would tell you the same thing. When it comes right down to it, though we’re both grateful that Roux is able to be at home with his parents as opposed to another person, and while it requires a tremendous amount of flexibility and sacrifice, we seem to be finding our way.

October brought with her a burst of inspiration, which is exactly what I needed. We’ve already made two trips to the craft supply store, and all of the Halloween decorations we had on hand have been proudly displayed for days. Elaborate plans for costumes have been devised, and the kids are excited to share the magic of the season with their new little brother.

Oh, that baby! What a deliciously squishy rolly polly he’s turned out to be. Although, he’s not one to sleep too much, to the chagrin of his parents, he is charming as can be, with a smile so electric it makes even the longest nights a little less painful. Kissing him goodbye in the morning is never easy, but the look of joy that washes over his face when I walk in the door at the end of the day, and the squeals of delight that erupt from his body as I scoop him into my arms to smother him with kisses as I drown myself in his scent, those moments are magical.

We spent the weekend rearranging our living room, finding places for things that never quite fit before. We also adopted a half dozen plant babies, and I’m so smitten with them that I’m convinced I need at least a dozen more. A rubber tree! And a Kimberly Queen fern! I mean, this is some fancy foliage. And everything they say about plants is true, in so far as they really do soften the place up and make for a nice and cozy environment, and I’m absolutely certain the air in our house is suddenly cleaner. There are definitely less flies, too, because welcome to the family, Pitcher Plant, you exotic and carnivorous beauty.

We’re coming into a good time, I can feel it. Although the weather here in San Diego hasn’t changed much, there’s been a noticeable shift in energy. Or, maybe it’s just me, finally seeing some light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Whatever the case may be, I’m taking full advantage of all the positive vibes as we approach the busiest and brightest part of the year.

SUMMER, STAY A WHILE

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credit to babe baker for this gorgeous shot

Early Friday morning, Emet and Jade left with their dad for the annual Miller Family camping retreat, an event which very clearly marks the end of this beautiful season. They’ll return late tonight, with just one day to spare before the new school year begins, our life once again governed by alarm clocks and lunch boxes.

I like to reorganize their room while they’re away, to tidy their drawers and clear their space of any clutter, in anticipation of the chaos these next few weeks are sure to bring. Of course, all I’ve managed to do up to this point is make a much bigger mess than they ever could! At the moment, however, I’m avoiding doing anything about it at all, since both my mister and my baby are sleeping and I can’t remember the last time I was able to quietly sit and sip an entire cup of coffee with nothing but my thoughts and the ceiling fan buzzing about.

I have mixed feelings about you, September.

We watched the sun set over the ocean last night, and as the last of the light dipped into the sea, it occurred to me that while the freedom of summer break has come to an end, our adventures do not have to suffer the same fate. Sure, we spent more time in our house than anywhere else these past several months, and maybe we didn’t have as many barbecues or sleepovers as we could have, but we do happen to reside in one of the premiere vacation destinations in the world, and I fully intend on stretching out this summer by punctuating the rest of the year with twice monthly beach days and at least a dozen exploring expeditions (as per my goals for this year, ahem) because why live in San Diego if we aren’t going to live in San Diego?

With that, I wish you a very happy and relaxing Labor Day. I’ll be making a slow tomato sauce while I finish sorting through the last of the big kids’ things, all the while pretending that Fall isn’t just around the corner. Summer Forever!

THE 52 PROJECT – AN UPDATE

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“a portrait of my children, all three of them”

Well, it’s been a busy few weeks over here. With everything that has happened recently – a nearly ten day hospital stay, a new baby, a handsome fiancé, and not a lot of sleep – my personal projects have fallen a bit by the wayside. I had the most noble intentions when it came to this portrait series, and it seems that at this point, I’ll just have to take what I can get and work with it as best I can. Which, not for nothing, seems to be a current theme in my life.

Emet has wanted a baby brother for as long as I can remember, and seeing how much he loves and cares for the newest member of our family is absolutely priceless. He takes his role as the oldest very seriously. Whether he’s reading to his sister, or fawning over our tiny guy, the love he has for his younger siblings is unsurpassed. Jade is over the moon excited about having a baby in the house, being the little mama that she is. The days since bringing our bundle home from the hospital have been full of so much love and so many tender moments, my heart can barely contain it all.

Did I mention that I’m not sleeping? I’m not sleeping. At most, I’ve gotten three consecutive hours since the baby was born. Whether I’m being woken by soft newborn cries, or the sharp sting of too much milk in my boobs (sorry, but it’s true), one way or another sleep escapes me entirely. Surprisingly, I haven’t lost my mind completely. I have somehow managed to get the big kids fed and off to school in the mornings, and to keep our house relatively tidy. Ok, the mister gets most of the credit for keeping the house tidy, so I guess what I mean to say is that I’ve managed to not destroy our house, which is kind of the same thing, right?

We’re beginning to find our rhythm, and I’m slowly climbing out from under the weight of all these thoughts I have swimming around in my head. I’ll be honest, it’s hard to spend so many months planning and visualizing one kind of experience only to have the exact opposite come to pass. And I’m a sentimental gal, meaning it’s far too easy for me to be swallowed whole by what ifs and whys.

Tonight was supposed to be our last date. We’d planned on seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel, and enjoying one last fancy meal together. The chances of us actually making it to the theatre to catch this film are slim, let alone getting out for a grown-ups only dinner anytime soon. We did, however, steal away to a favorite local spot for lunch today, and the baby slept through the whole meal. It sure felt like a date. A date chaperoned by the smallest, sweetest person I’ve ever met.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even though I was caught completely off guard, and rather unexpectedly, I’m finding my way back. And I’m a better, stronger person for it.

HOME MAKING

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image via

One of my biggest goals for this year is to actually move in to our house. We’ve relocated so many times over the last few years that we haven’t really ever completely settled into a space. Enough of that, I say.

Of course, before we can get to decorating our cute new abode, we must first sift through the mountain of random boxes that currently occupy our garage and purge purge purge. I foresee many a weekend spent decluttering, organizing, and arranging our things just so, and to be honest, I’m thrilled.

MISE EN PLACE

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The French have this saying that mostly refers to setting ingredients out in a logical and organized way so as to maximize efficiency when preparing a dish, but I think it’s a good metaphor for life.

Everything in its place.

A simple idea, and yet not so easy in practice. At least, not for me. This is the part where I tell you that I excel in messmaking. It’s an art, really, one that is terribly under appreciated but one for which I most certainly have a talent.

Now, I have my theories as to how I became so gifted in the discipline of clutter, and they almost all have something to do with the fact that I have moved seventeen times in the last decade and that, frankly, settling into a space was never really something I had the opportunity to do, and so I never really did.

When we moved into our current house eleven months ago, we were still very uncertain as to whether or not we had made the right decision in relocating to San Diego. After the year we had in Oregon, I think we were all a little hesitant to get too comfortable, too quickly. It’s taken us this long, but we’ve finally chosen to stay put.

San Diego has been good to us, better than we could have hoped. And I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe, I haven’t been able to find places for things because I haven’t felt in place myself. And that in finding my place, I’m ready to do something that I’ve never done before.

I’m ready to make a home. I’m ready to unpack years of boxes, to embrace tidiness, and thoughtfully curate our living quarters.

Which, by the way, I’m sincerely hoping makes cleaning easier, because let me tell you. There are about a million things I’d rather do than clean my house. But my home? I think that sounds kinda fun.