Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How to tell a really great story

I used to think I could tell a story about anything because of this one experience I had as a child involving a bum's grocery cart.

In elementary school, my family traveled to Denver every summer. We had a condo in a suburb with this large trail system about a block away complete with a small stream. My sister and I were riding around one day when we noticed a grocery cart stuck in the stream. We heaved and hoed and lugged that mass of metal up out of the water to the trail when we suddenly noticed someone was living under the bridge. Hurriedly, we pushed the cart back to the paved pathway and out of nowhere the bum appeared and started talking to us about the cart. The conversation ended and we put one of our bikes into the cart and ran as fast we could back home. before we got home, though, we stashed the cart in a tree a few blocks away terrified that the bum would come looking for his cart and find out where we lived. The next morning the cart was still there. We had stolen what we thought was his bathtub but thinking about it now it could very well have been his toilet.

That's the story that started my obsession with being able to tell stories. If I could tell such a story about a seemingly uninteresting grocery cart then I could tell a story about anything. Everyone has a story to tell. Even if it's not their own. If you watch close enough or listen hard enough you'll find them - the stories.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Jen Picks: Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is the epitome of cute. It is wonderfully indulgent. It is pops of pink and shades of red. It is my favorite holiday. (Is it a holiday???) The worst is when Valentine's Day is on a weekend. Truly, what I mean, is that it is the best when it is during the week. Because it's not really a holiday, it's a day to celebrate love and it makes it all the more special when it happens on a regular day. A day when people are out working and running to get flowers on their break. Or cupcakes or chocolate. People wear pink or red. There's a spark in the cool February air. I just love to be in the middle of it all. Walking through the city streets, wearing red shoes and red lips, hustling about with everyone else to get my last minute picks of the day for my love. I love it! My Valentine's Day tradition consists of eating yummy treats from some favorite shops around the city and cuddling up to watch all time cheese-fest Valentine's Day movie.

Valentine's Day lends itself way to be highly reflective of what is trendy in the design world. This holiday is about indulgence in every aspect.

A few things to note about the above items.
1) I've had my eye on this mailbox chairbacker from Pottery Barn Kids for years! Literally! Unfortunately, Jack gets exactly one valentine mailed to our house a year - from my mother - and it doesn't seem practical to buy one just for that.
2) I have a red marquee heart on the wall in my living room that I keep up year round. Why not?
3) The molten lava cake in the jar is so delicious. They're made local in Ballard but you can buy them online and I highly recommend them. Lava cake is my favorite dessert and I can usually only find it on hotel room service menus.
4) Heart toothpicks? I die. I need to buy a bunch of this stuff to have on hand for Miss Morgan's 1st birthday this spring. I cannot wait for her party and am so glad that one of my kids has a birthday during a warmer month when we could possibly have it outside.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What is a Home?

I've been thinking a lot about what "home" is. Since being forced to move this last summer, I'm apparently still very unsettled about the matter. Still hurt and shaken up. I think about what home means to me. A place of my own, security, comfort, shelter, stable. Home is known and familiar. Home is not a certain type of place. It's not a house you own, a rental, a camp, a co-op, a hotel, etc. My sister told me once that a 'home birth' is not necessarily a birth in your physical living place. It's a birth in the place where you are the most comfortable. Understanding this concept of home is coming from a place of pain and loss. It sounds so trivial to say given my life of privilege. I lost the place I thought was all of those things. I lost the place I thought was my comfort and security. The place I knew and could count on. It's a hard blow to realize I've been putting my hope for security and stability in a rental property. The thought had not occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to live there for as long as I wanted.

Anyway, I've been realized God is trying to teach me something good out of this pain. Out of this lost and unsettled feeling. This life is temporary and is fading away. My home is not here.

OK, so that's like a Christian concept that most people would wonder if I'm coocoo but even so. Life is temporary. We're not guaranteed even tomorrow. No one. So my hope and security and stability can not be based on something that is sure to pass away. I get it. Like, I understand this concept but living it out is an entirely different story. I'll get there, I'm sure. Not now. I like to mope about when I don't get what I want. I'm paying for it twice.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Baby Girls Bedroom

Morgan has not quite moved into the room she will share with her brother. (I don't think I'll be ready to make that jump until she is at least sleeping through the night). I'm trying to find ways to start incorporating some more girly things. I'm a bit stumped though because I don't want to make the room to girly or boyish. I need something in the middle. I want her art wall to be more girly because, let's face it, girly art is WAY cuter.

Baby Girl Bedroom Inspiration

While I'm obsessed with the dresser for many reasons, the biggest being the metal texture, sadly this would not really work in our current apartment. The kids room is simply not big enough for two dressers. I need a taller dresser so that Jack can have some drawers and Morgan can have some drawers. (If anyone has a better solution, please let me know!). The books illustrated by Anna Bond are incredible. We've started the collection for Morgan and have The Little Princess. Morgan doesn't know this but she really, really wants to collect them all! ;) Instagram has served as a constant source of inspiration for me. The mermaid dolls and the heart felt banner were both discovered on it. I really want to create the childhood room of my dreams. Lots of textures, happy art, bright colors and unexpected objects.

Yes, for those who may be wondering, I made the grid in Paint. I had to! I don't use Photoshop for photo editing. I may have gone overboard with the shapes but I do think they contribute to the look and feel of the room. So, there.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Energizers

In all of my searching for what I'm "passionate" about or want to do or should do, I have never heard this piece of advice which put it so plainly. What things in your life give you energy? The things you can't wait to do. Things that excite you. It sounds straight up obvious but when put so plainly I actually got it.

(From this blog post).

I'm going to have to start paying more attention to the things that I get excited about. One moment sticks out in particular. Almost five years ago (maybe four, I can't remember exactly), my husband and I were jogging on a spring morning and when we got back home I started looking at a Martha Stewart magazine. Easter edition to be exact. I was pumped. Maybe it was a mixture of the positive endorphins from exercising but all the thoughts and emotions that filled me when I thought about having a home, an Easter egg hunt and lovely decorations and spread of food made me excited.

So, I guess I need to exercise more and see if anything else excites me. AND I need to read more Martha Stewart. Lastly, I should think of how to not put roadblocks to the things that make me happy and how to realize those excited thoughts into actual action.

I get excited about other things too but that will have to be another post.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Why can't I go back home

This idea started out as a fear that even if I moved back to my old neighborhood it might not be the same.

It has since morphed into a psychological ponder about myself and what I feel like must be millions of others. For as long as I can remember in my adult life (ie: since moving out of my parents house) when things go terribly, emotionally wrong I just want to go home. Like, not my home, the home I grew up in. When the world feels upside down, I want nothing more than to curl up in a ball in my parents home and just feel all the feelings of finding rest in a safe place. That home is a sacred place to me and I as I have aged with increasing anxiety that house becomes more sacred. 

Flashback three years ago, Matt, Jack and I had to temporarily move in to my parents house for a month due to emergency plumbing issues in our place. It. Was. Not. Fun. I kept thinking that I don't remember my parents being that neurotic when I lived there. Or it wasn't that bad. Did they get worse? Or had I just grown so accustomed to my own way of living that their way seemed foreign? I am grateful that they let us stay but I was severely let down by my own hyped up expectations about how fun it would be living at home again. 

Where has my home gone? I couldn't get back there. It's a desperate feeling. I have the song lyrics running through my head, "home is wherever I'm with you". I wish I could feel it. I still feel homeless after having been asked to move from our home this past summer. I'm not attached to our new apartment. Obviously that would come with time and I think it would surprise me. But now I don't know where I want to live. I so badly want to feel at home. I digress. 

I have this daunting fear that one day my parents may sell their home and I may not be OK. Like, how would that ever be OK?! You can't just sell someone's childhood home. The place I grew up. The place where I had no worries or fears. The place where I didn't have the weight of the world on my shoulders - I didn't even know the weight of the world was even a thing. Where my mom comforted me and wiped away my tears and took care of everything and made me feel loved. That home is not just symbolic. It's physical. And I feel that weight lifted whenever I enter through its doors. So familiar. 

What is a home anyway and why can't we ever return. Why does it seem home is not a physical place rather it is an emotional place? 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Haha that's Funny

If I had a dollar for every time I stayed up all night looking at Instagram thinking 'ah whatever' about the time and then finally set my phone down and rolled into my pillow and thought 'ah man, I did it again' (about staying up so late) I would seriously not have to work a few days every month.