Spaces::: The Blue Chair and Morning Coffee

This entry was written on Sunday, but posted on a Thursday. Some weeks are like that.

There is a blue car that sits in the corner of our apartment. I bought it one rainy morning, on a whim, when my friend, Tracy and I were wandering World Market. We had to have a man help us put it in her car, but he wasn’t listening and said it couldn’t be done. We decided to just put it in ourselves. Yes folks, it could be done. And so after shoving it in the car, we brought it home. I remember it was the first bigger, more expensive item I had purchased since Sean and I had moved in together. I was kind of afraid he would be mad at me for buying it. But he wasn’t. He silently got his tool kit from the closet and started putting it together. Now, some days when I come home he is sitting in it, reading or playing his guitar, and it makes me very happy, to see this item a staple in our home, to see all the random things we’ve purchased, all coming together to make our home.

This blue chair is the best place to sit and drink coffee. But I don’t always have the opportunity to appreciate it like I wish. So when I do come to this chair, on Sundays normally, I come quietly, before Sean has risen, while the heaters hum and clank, and I simply sit. On this particular Sunday the sun has come out for the first time in almost a week. It comes pouring into our space, and I look at the streaks on our wood floors realizing I should probably sweep. But it seems there is always something to do, something to finish, something to clean. And this morning I am at peace. I don’t have time for worry; I’m too busy drinking coffee. 220 221 222It’s almost the weekend…I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….

This Nanny Loves::: These Silly Lunch Plates

You guys, we love these plates. A lot!  Do you have them, too? If you don’t, you have to invest in these for your little ones! Whenever I pull these out at breakfast or lunch, we get the serious giggles. They’re just so funny to three year old’s. And maybe it’s odd they get so much pleasure from eating hair and earrings, eyes and cheeks, but I can’t blame them: these faces are so cute, you really do just want to eat them all up.178 179

If you’re interested you can order the plates here.

Life in that Moment

It had been a long time since I had seen my friend, Kate. Too long, if you had asked either of us. For years after I graduated high school I had kept in touch with my french teacher. I had found her inspiring all of those awkward years. Often the class she taught was the only one I could manage through. And even though I struggled in French, there was comfort in learning when she was the teacher. And then, graduation came and time passed and we would get together often on breaks. In this passing time, as I developed into my own, our relationship transitioned into a friendship. A very good friendship at that. So when she invited me last Friday to have a dinner celebration with her friends, I knew I would go no matter what plans had to be re-arranged. Sitting around a table with seven women, I was floored by each of them. Despite the paths we were each on, there were seven women coming together, bonding, laughing, challenging and wondering together. It was a powerful night for me to look at these faces and to feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, sitting around a table with seven women.

Saturday morning came with a wake up from my sweet baby niece. My twin sister and I sat on the couch, drinking coffee and catching up. Then, a call from my mom encouraged us to get up, get dressed and get out the door! We had things to do! Off to the farmers market we went, sleeping baby in stroller to collect apples. Together we went to my grandma’s house to make applesauce. We had done this many years before, and the prospect of doing it again excited me. Looking around her kitchen at the generations surrounding me, I was floored by each of them. Despite the path we were each on, there were five women, coming together, bonding, laughing, challenging and wondering together. It was a powerful day for me to look at these faces and feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, working in a kitchen with five women.

It was raining when I left my parents house on Saturday night. My little niece, Sloane, was snuggled in her car seat behind my driver’s seat, already in her pajamas for the night. I turned on a slow-paced, peaceful song from my i-pod and listened as her breaths slowed, fading in to the rain on my windshield, drip drip drip. Looking out to where my headlights ended in front of me, all I could think of was how small she seemed in this moment, of how dependent me she was, of how much love I had for her. It was just she and I in that moment. Looking in the rearview mirror, at the small lady behind me, I was floored by her. Despite the path that she will take in life, I will continue to do things for her intentionally to bring us together, so that we may bond, laugh, challenge and wonder together. It was a powerful night for me to look at her face and feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, driving home with that one little lady.

On Sunday, I volunteered to spend the afternoon with my brother’s daughters. Five and three years old, they are growing all too quickly for their Aunt D’s liking. But each time I see them, they run to me with hugs and love (and if they don’t I force them to anyway). Once their parents were out the door, I cranked the volume on the CD player and the wild rumpus began. We latched hands and spun in a circle, giggling and falling to the floor. Laying on the floor, heads touching, I was floored by the two of them. Despite the path that I have been on these past few years, they have have always been there for me. Always we come together, bonding, laughing, challenging and wondering together. It was a powerful day for me to look at their sweet faces and feel nothing but content. Life was so good in that moment, laying on the living room floor with these little pumpkins.

My weekend home was amazing. And not because of anything I necessarily did but because of who I did it with. What would I do without all of these women in my life. Damn, I am lucky.

Going Home and Blackberry Picking

Sean and I went home to visit my family this past weekend. It was one of the last weekends of summer in Michigan and Sean and I were anxious to spend it Up North, on the beach, with family, eating too much, staying in the sun too long, sitting by a bonfire late into the night, picking through rows of my parent’s garden, and laughing at my brother’s ridiculous comment after ridiculous comment. It was a summer from my childhood and I was so happy to share it with Sean.woods 2black berry 2 big blackberrywoods 1 alex and brit blackberry woods 3hand blackberry

By the end of the summer, I always need an outlet from the noise of the city. Heading North this weekend was the best prescription! One evening, we went over to my parent’s house and roamed their property, looking for blackberries. My brother had been raving for hours about how many blackberries he had picked the previous week and we were ready to challenge the truth of his tales. Off we went, up the hill, like we had done everyday of our childhood; my sister and I walking quickly to catch up with him, to have him show us what he found. Wandering the woods, we picked and picked until Sean’s shoe broke and our buckets were full. There are few better things in life than being with your siblings and smelling your parents cooking dinner on the grill, knowing from the scent that it is time to go home. No matter how old I get, the moment I step into their backyard, I feel grounded and safe. There is peace in their property.

“Isn’t it nice and quiet here?” Sean asked me one night as we walked back to our car from a bonfire, “Isn’t it nice?”

Yes, Sean, yes it is.

Happy Monday! Hopefully this peace of the weekend will carry over as we make it through our last week of vacation!

Upcycling Homework Papers

Do your little ones come home with papers and papers and papers every school day? Ours do here! Sometimes I feel like there is a trail of paper streaming in behind them from the bus stop & nothing we do can stop them from coming in the house. Honestly, it is unfathomable how many pages I see come through this house every week! In fact, it’s a little sickening considering they both have thirty students in their class, which makes for sixty more long paper trails out there–but that is a bone to pick another day!

So, what do you do with all of your classroom & homework excess papers? Other than pull your hair and scream, of course?

Most of the time we just recycle ours. But even that seems wasteful to me at times. Especially since we are always looking for notebook paper to practice our spelling words and math facts on each night, which further adds to our collection! So, in an attempt to halt the paper pile-up and get as much out of these papers as I can, I have been trying a few things before tossing them in the recycling bin for good! They may all end up in the same place, but I like to think that prolonging their lives helps in some way & decreases the amount we might otherwise use.

USE #1: A Practice Page Notebook

This one is pretty simple. I just take all of the one-sided sheets that come home, rip them in half, then staple them together. These are the papers we use to practice math facts & spelling words. Since we typically recycle our practice papers anyway,  using an old sheet is just as easy. This puts out a lot of fires because each of the kids have their own scrap notebook that is always  most of the time in their homework pocket (this hangs in the hall and is where they keep all their homework stuff throughout the week). This is also great for me because this in turn solves a lot of arguments about “not being able to find any paper”. Plus, by using the scrap notebook they don’t have to use their cool notebooks up on test preparation. There are much cooler was to fill a Justin Bieber notebook than with spelling words, right?

USE#2: Craft Projects

In this home, me and my two-year old friends love cutting and glitter and drawing. But these are all craft activities that we are just learning to do, so sometimes we only like our projects while we are doing them & we don’t care want to keep them for later. And since this is the case more often than not, I find myself handing them old sheets of homework to practice with. The twins absolutely do not care what they are cutting or putting glitter on– they just want to do it! One thing I have learned is that as adults, we tend to actually care more than kids do about these types of things. My adopted philosophy is if they don’t care, why should I? In which case, sheets of recycled papers are the best because 1. it’s going to be recycled anyway; and 2. it’s free.

And with Valentines Day right around the corner, we decided to get rid of lots of paper by making a heart link chain. Chain

So what do you do with your trail of papers? Any other suggestions out there?