Moving House: the Emotional Weight

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I am well-practiced in the rituals of moving house. I tend to belabor the process with emotional exertion. As every item in my home is sorted, the evidence of failures form into piles. A deluge of procrastinated tasks is released from drawers and closets. Just as each of my four moves in the last five years, my most recent move required me to confront an overwhelming mass of unmet expectations by the last day of the month.

The stain. I got it out. A bleach pen, applied three times, removed the mysterious red stain from the wood floor of the kids’ bedroom. Why don’t I know what stained the floor? Why didn’t I try to remove the stain months ago? Will I never learn to deal with messes right away? Two pangs of guilt, one sting of self-doubt, one relief at victory.

The embroidery floss. For the cross-stitch hobby I never started. The kids kept taking it and tangling it up, because they don’t respect my things. I threw it all out. Even the good ones. A week later, I saw embroidery floss on the list of solicited donations to the kids’ school. That’s four layers of guilt, if you weren’t counting.

The box of summer clothes. The week before the move, a storage box of summer clothes was discovered in the basement, underneath a cobwebbed box of sports gear. The kids’ clothes fit them, despite having been meant for use last summer. Mine are too small for me. With the revelation of the box came one half-dose of guilt for the accidental misplacement, a double rush of fun for two kids’ wardrobe enhancements, and a complex discomfort with my body weight.

The gifts I didn’t mail. In other words: a perpetuated to-do list indulging a delusion. I already spent time, energy and money on the photo matching games for my nieces, 16 months ago. I’m going to mail them. Really. Next week.

The rug. It was a holdover rug, a cheap and temporary solution. I liked it at first, but soon after I realized it wasn’t right for the space, and I hated it more each day. After 18 months in my living room, it had been destroyed by my apparent negligence. I thought adulthood would include more of investing in timeless wool Persian rugs, and less of assuring visitors that spot on the rug is chocolate, not poop. A rug of disappointments: at my feet then, and at the dump now.

I’m taking my things too seriously. I’m not being grateful enough that I had a rug in the first place, or that I have children who break and stain and wear things because they live with me. I do that sometimes; I take myself too seriously and I forget to let the gratitude edge out the disappointment. It’s all part of the process, though. It’s the same process each time: purge, wrap up, transport, reorganize. Yoga words echo in my mind, Let go of what no longer serves you. The guilt, the anger, and the disappointment don’t need to be unpacked in my new house.

I’m moving forward, I hope. I hope.

 

 

 

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Play Kitchen Inspo

 

 

 

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This play kitchen is one of those things that is for my kids, but really it’s for me. All three of us (me and my six-year-old and my three-year-old) had the same reaction when we saw it: gasp!…stare in admiration…pretend to stock it with delicious food. Continue reading “Play Kitchen Inspo”

My Kids’ Girl & Boy Shared Bedroom

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When we moved in, their room was painted a sad yellowish cream with beat up white trim (which still looked wildly better than the red from the listing photo), and the owner offered to have it painted any neutral color.

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I chose a bright white because the room gets great light, and I knew there would be plenty of color from the kids’ books and tchotchkes. Their room is used for sleeping, dressing, and quiet time, so I want it to feel airy, personalized and practical.

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A year ago, the kids transitioned from a toddler bed and a mattress on the floor to the Kura bed. It isn’t actually a bunk bed, it’s a bed that can be reversed so that the mattress is high or low. Gabe has a floor bed and Alexandra is on the “top bunk” a couple of feet lower than a traditional bunk bed would be.

The IKEA mattress that goes with the bed is much shallower; our mattress goes as high as the edge of the bed which, obviously, is not safe. She has a bed rail, and by bed rail, I mean I shove a large plastic storage box lid horizontally between the mattress and side of the bed. I took it out for the picture. I am sharing this “hack” for clarification, not for recommendation.

Gabe snapped off several pieces of one of the cheap rental standard blinds, so I replaced it with wood-look 2-inch blinds.

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The kids love the multi-colored Christmas lights so much that I decided they could stay up indefinitely as a night light. I unplug them when I go to bed. My dad made that bookshelf when Alexandra was a baby and it has been in heavy use for more than five years. I used to keep a carefully selected variety of 16 picture books in it, rotated every Friday. Now, the kids cram it full of their current favorites and bring stacks of books into their beds when they’re supposed to be sleeping. I secretly approve.

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This little corner (above) is the self-care area. A shatterproof mirror has storage for hair stuff and lip balm. They stand on the stools to hang up their towels.

I chose this informational view to show that french doors lead to the kids’ room from the living room, while a doorway (the door was removed by previous owner) connects it to the short hallway. The hall is open to the dining room and leads to the cleaning closet, bathroom, and my bedroom. I think that in the original 1939 layout, this was the master bedroom. The weird floor in the self-care corner was probably a closet, and the the opening with french doors were probably added in the 1980s. Over the years, we’ve had a lot of bedrooms with “character”, so I’ll be controversial and say I’d be happy to take on the challenge of a generic rectangle room with a standard closet.

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Their dresser holds all of their clothes as well as their CDs. The fan serves as white noise every night. A fan in the room is connected with a slightly lower SIDS risk, so they’ve always had one and need the white noise to sleep now.

All year, I’ve been thinking about a large area rug and an updated light fixture, but the room probably won’t evolve further, since we’ll move in a few months.

Paint | Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White
Kura Reversible Bed | IKEA
Ljudlig Duvet | IKEA
Marimekko Bo Boo Pillowcase | FinnStyle
White Blanket | Target
Butterfly garlands & party pom garland | Target (old)
Seagrass storage basket | HomeGoods
Rug | HomeGoods
Faux sheepskin | IKEA
Bookcase | made by my dad
Baby chair | vintage
Hemnes Dresser | IKEA
Dresser knobs | Anthropologie
Greetings around the world art | HomeGoods
Portrait of Alexandra’s 2nd birthday | painted by Jenna Wynne
Globe | vintage
Unbreakable mirror | IKEA (old)
Name Stools | painted by Jenna Wynne
Bunny & Triceratops towels | Pottery Barn Kids

My Ideal Life Vision Board

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” — Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Trendy or not, I love the KonMari Method. It’s less about organization or getting rid of clutter, and more about exercising your intuition to create your ideal lifestyle.

As part of the KonMari tidying process, Marie Kondo encourages you to gain clarity and motivation by holding an image in your mind of the kind of home you want to live in, which lines up with the lifestyle you want to live. In her follow-up manual, Spark Joy, Marie Kondo elaborated,

“Our goal in tidying should be to create a living environment filled with the things we love. […] If you have even one photograph that makes you feel ‘Yes, this is the kind of space I want to live in,’ it will completely change how you feel about tidying up.”

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I pin tons of images for inspiration, but more than a year ago, I created this Pinterest board. It is a vision board of carefully selected lifestyle priorities for my home. I created Polyvore images for the main rooms of my home, like my living room inspiration above. I don’t update it frequently, because my values around living in my home for this phase of life, and the way I love for my home design to feel, have remained mostly consistent.

Lapuan Kankurit: www.lapuankankurit.fi

One of my intentions for the year (and which has always been a goal of mine) is to live in a home with a sauna. This means buying a house! The traditional family sauna image is from a Finnish textile company, Lapuan Kankurit.

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On a smaller scale, I’d like to keep sprucing up the playhouse we got this summer. It’s not a treehouse like in my ideal image, but it has the same feeling of the kids spending long afternoons imagining, climbing, and playing outside.

Do you have a material, digital, or mental image of your ideal home that you come back to over and over? Do you feel like your home represents the lifestyle you want to live?

 

 

Christmas Mantle

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I threw together my Christmas mantle this morning. I’ve had my eye on eucalyptus-draped mantles this year. I may decide to make it fuller, but for now I have a few branches. I love that it is no maintenance. The branches dry out quickly and beautifully. When I take it down in a few weeks, I’ll toss it in the fireplace for fragrance.

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I put up my Little Lamb print by Jenedy Paige. She tried to capture historically accurate traditional swaddling bands embroidered with the symbols of the houses of Mary and Joseph, laid in a manger carved from common limestone. Next to it is my thrifted midcentury peace dove candleholder, similar to this one.

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The hand-carved wood and porcelain nativity is a music box that plays “Silent Night” after you wind it by the star. I bought it in Denver at a stand in the mall on my honeymoon, right before Christmas.

The poinsettias are from Trader Joe’s–I like that their foil wrap is matte gold. And the felt ball garland is from Target years ago. I can’t remember where I got the faux evergreen wreath, but I wish I could because I’ve had it for years and I love it; it is so realistic and also durable. I’ve shared the other print on my Instagram; it is a custom Bella Adele Co. print with the Finnish saying “Oma koti kullan kallis,” meaning “Your own home is as precious as gold,” with the sentiment of “There’s no place like home.”

If you’re looking for more opulent eucalyptus mantles, here’s what I’ve been pinning:

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DIY Seeded Eucalyptus and Pine Garland on Fiskars

 

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Monika Hibbs Instagram

 

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Peaceful Christmas on Beijos

 

 

 

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