Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Circles of Delight...

This is the wall above the television in our main "family room" in our house.  The room we spend the most time in.  About a year or so ago I found these solid wood plate holders at a thrift store for $2.00 each.  I wasn't totally sure what I would do with them, (there is always SPRAY PAINT right?!) but I knew I had to have them.  If I walk away from something that peaks my interest and doesn't break the bank all I do is think about it, wishing I would have bought it.   
Actually, I didn't know what they were at first but hubs filled me in.  So I don't have any Elvis plates to put in them (that's for you Anne!!!!) but I just felt I could do something with them. 
Hubs finally hung them up for me (I always threaten to do the job myself and that speeds up the process.  He hates the way I hang stuff....no measuring and not using proper nails)  This is another photo of the wall.  I had a vision of hanging them in a line from one wall to the other but hubs nixed that idea as it would take way too long to be precise.  I kid you not, he just randomly pounded nails as he went and created a pattern.  So it has looked like this for a long time now.  Not everyone "gets it" but that is what is cool about decorating in my opinion.
Next enter idea #2:  random fabrics that have been accumulating in my life.  Some awesome vintage ones to boot!
For example, these were pants that my Great Uncle Gerald had that he turned into shorts!  (Apparently my Grandmother hated them!)  My Great Aunt Ruth still had them in her cedar chest and I just couldn't get rid of them!  It screams "I love America!"  (HA!)
This beauty is a round TERRY CLOTH tablecloth with fringe.  (Also Great Aunt Ruth's...the woman doesn't get rid of much and I've benefited greatly from her hoarding tendencies!)
I found this fabric square for $1.00 at a thrift store.
This is another gem from Great Aunt Ruthie.  A vintage flower power print chair cover!
I had a hard time deciding which flower to use!

So here was my basic idea.  I purchased some foam core board at JoAnn's Fabric.  I cut some round circles and covered them in all the different fabrics.
I used clear packing tape to tape the fabric down.
Then I inserted the fabric covered circles back into the plate holders.
And now the empty circles are filled with cheery, funky fabric.  I also used some cloth napkins that my Mom had.  (I didn't cut those so I can use them again) These fabrics make me happy.  I can now lie on the couch and watch T.V. and look at my little circles of delight!  So instead of a pile of fabric in my linen closet, I get to enjoy them on the regular.  (that black thing is a speaker for surround sound........hideous I know....it's a guy thing)
 So this was my first craft project of 2013!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thankful For....

Hair color in early January....
A quilt given to me by my dear friend Janet.  
Vintage fabrics mixed new fabrics she picked out.  She commissioned this quilt for me on the day my mom died.  It's a treasure.  It's currently on Lauren's bed.  This is officially a family heirloom!  My mom received a "cancer care quilt" during her treatment and this reminds me of how much a quilt can do for one's soul!  It screams "come, sit down or take a cat nap."
Tory Burch flats....
(gifted to me from my sissy)
Snuggling on a Saturday in bed with my girl...
Stuffed animal tea party....
And setting up for a play date tea party in her bedroom....
(complete with PB&J finger sandwiches from Mom)
Hubs company Holiday party....
My Grandmother's vintage coat, Mom's earrings and some red lipstick.  Classic goodness.
Motivating and acknowledging....
LL Bean canvas bags.........adore.
That was officially the last of the holiday parties.  
Whew!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

American Girl Doll Place....

Lauren & Halle
Cleaning up all the photos on my camera and the computer today.  Sharing these for the relatives really.  But you may enjoy looking at a cute red head too!  : )
Lauren got a last minute invite to take a trip downtown go to AG in Water Tower Place.  How cool is that?We have the best neighbors ever.  We quickly said yes and I had her "prom-ready" in 22 minutes flat.  Hair, makeup and outfit....I'm that good.
The whole gang with all the dollies....
I have been informed by my neighbor bestie that AG lunch is quite delightful.  That the mom's like it just as much as the girls do.
Who wouldn't like to get all dressed up, get your doll all dressed up and head to the city for a lovely lunch?  Sign me up!
Lauren & Ava got glasses for their dolls....
These kids have a very fabulous life. Next week we volunteer at the soup kitchen.  (kidding, but really!)  It is always a struggle to balance such a charmed life with the explanation of reality for so many other children and family.  It is a constant conversation in our house.  January brought a new incentive program in the house with charts and stars and rewards.  Parenthood just never ends.  That is the good part and the exhausting part all in the same!  It's why I breathe a huge exhale after the nightly tuck-in.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Field Museum...

Dad & Lauren and SUE!
Chicago Field Museum
12-29-12
Anderson Family weekend in the city...
A very busy museum weekend!  A reported 7,000 people in and out all day!
So much to see and do and learn.....somewhat overwhelming!
This city will always be in my heart.  So many good memories and treasured times.
Dino's, Dino's....
and more Dino's!
Evan inside of a dino footprint...
65 million years ago......kinda hard to fathom.
Happy to have inquisitive children....(they might have had more interest than me at times!)
"from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are still being, evolved..."  ~Charles Darwin
My Love.  My Lauren.
Fellow butterfly lover.

                     Digging for fossils...                                                              "LOOK MOM!"
Sharing a treat....
Totem pole (and what would appear to be a crazy face)
Fashion at the Field Museum? Why, yes!
FIERCE!
"I like the glitter one best."
Shocking!

Okay friends, this is the last of the Chicago weekend posts.  I'm ready for food and craft posts and an upcoming long weekend in Austin, TX with a bunch of friends for a wedding of a fellow bestie!  OMG!  A long weekend away from the house, hubs and kids!  I might go into some sort of shock!  AND, my sister will be in Austin as well!  BONUS!  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Random Thoughts....

I miss doing crossword puzzles with Mom....

Random thoughts from Monday....

Today marked the official end of the holiday season.  The kids went back to school today. I am happy to get back into the routine of proper bedtimes, teeth brushing and less excess.  I act like the routine slowly kills me, but we work more efficiently on a schedule.  I can even see the difference in the kids.  We all sort of thrive on the sameness and the weekends help us break up the weekly drill.  

I felt sad and displaced all day.  The sadness isn't constant but it's always there. Like a bruise you forget you have and then bump into something and hit it right in that spot.  I saw two different grandmothers dropping off or picking up kids at preschool today.  I felt sorry for myself.  I watched something on TV where the woman said both of her parents had passed away and I thought, "I get that."  Damn why do I have to get that?  THAT of all things.

My sister told me the grocery clerk was exceptionally chatty today at her local market.  She ended up having a conversation in which she told the woman "My parents are both deceased and I don't really have any family around here."  We both talked about feeling so alone while sitting in a room filled with people celebrating the holidays.  

A few days ago I realized this is the longest period of time I've ever gone in my life without talking to Mom.  Everyday I think of all the little things that I want to tell her about.  

I had to turn the radio station in the car on Saturday because all I could remember was Lauren and my cousins daughter Taylor singing "If I Die Young" in my basement with my Mom and my Aunt Sandy.  Laughing and drinking and eating popcorn.  I broke down and Lauren reminded me of how Grandma Terry said "every time you see a monarch butterfly it's Grandpa Tom" and then she added, "now maybe it's Grandma too."  And I sobbed in the car driving home.

April 2012
Mom and Lauren checking out her artwork at school...

Random thoughts from today (Friday):

I went to Costco today and although I didn't cry, I was feeling sad and lonely that Mom wasn't with me.  What I think most people don't truly understand about this entire process is that the normal ordinary stuff slays you.  The big holiday hoop-la stuff, not so much.  It's like you brace yourself for the big stuff.  But the normal stuff just hits you in the gut.  Mom and I would make a "Costco run" (as we called them) and execute that store like ninjas.  She'd man the cart with Evan to get free samples and I'd whittle down my list in record speed.  Then we'd check out, get a snack and I'd unload the car while she put everything away in the cupboards.  (usually creating another organization project!  She hated my kids craft cupboard and complained that I wasn't utilizing the space properly!)

Another thing I'm guessing people don't understand is that I didn't need a sympathy card when my Mom died, I need one now, three months later.  I need to know that you haven't forgotten.  I need to know that you know that I'm still dying inside.  That I'm still piecing together the feelings of being 41 and both my parents are gone.  I need you to understand how hard it is that life just keeps moving on when nothing will ever be the same again.  I need you to be okay with my anger.

Selfish as it may be, I don't want to hear about all the joyous extended family togetherness you had over the holidays.  I took it for granted.  I'm sure you do too.  How can you not?  One doesn't focus on "let me be really present to the fact my mother is alive" when life is just life-ing along.  I'm bitter and jealous (temporarily) about the fact that your parents and grandparents and great grandparents are alive.
Mom with the kids in a vintage gondola, Stowe, VT, March 2012

I want you to keep talking and asking me about Mom and my family.  But be okay with the fact that I might cry or ramble when you ask me "how are you doing?"  I know you might not want to bring it up because you think it will make me sad but understand that some part of me will always be sad.  A little tiny piece of myself died the day my Mom died.

When my Dad died my sister and I would say, "Well, if someone had to go first, we are okay with the fact it was Dad and not Mom."  We adored our Dad.  He was one of the finest human beings, friends and hard workers I have ever known.  I loved him deeply and truly.  He taught me so much.  But there is something about your MOM.  Mom's are everything.  They are your whole world as a child and then if you are lucky enough, they become a close friend.

My soon to be 90 year old grandmother has to deal with the numbing pain of her child dying. She had to attend her daughter's funeral when she would have traded places with her no questions asked.  Hell if I can understand any of this.

I have days when I don't cry.  I have days when I simply can't shake the sadness.   Overall I think I'm doing pretty damn good.  I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have my sister.  I am so thankful for the crazy love and good times shared with my incredible Mother.  I had one of the best.

"When the love is big the pain is big."
~TLKA
Evan and Mom, Stowe, VT, March 2012 on a sleigh ride....