Why I Stopped Blogging (and Why I Miss it Sometimes)

Is anybody out there?

Since I’m guessing that any of you who will actually see this are personal friends and family of mine, I’ll spare you the details of what I’ve been up to. But I was thinking lately about this blog and why I stopped writing. When Erin and I started, it was a fun and exciting project. A way to share our thoughts and projects with whoever wanted to listen. We were motivated and had grandiose plans for what it could become.

But for me, it eventually became a chore. I’d be getting up at 5AM to post pictures and edit a post before I left for work in the morning. I felt like I needed to create things to do so that I’d have something to share. And it became something I felt like I had to do instead of something I wanted to do. So I took a “break.” Which turned into “something I’m going to get back to one of these days” (I did for a hot second). Which turned into “I used to blog, but I don’t anymore.”

Lately, though, I find myself missing it. I find myself thinking in “blog talk” – I’ll be doing something around the house or thinking about plans, and I think about how I’d write about it. I can’t tell you how many times since I’ve stopped writing I’ve thought, that would make a good post. But I wouldn’t write because I felt like I couldn’t just post randomly – it was a commitment that I’d have to uphold, at least somewhat regularly. And that I didn’t want to promise to start writing again and then not uphold that promise again. 

I love the blogosphere. I love reading what other bloggers have to say and peeking inside their homes and lives. I am inspired by other, everyday people more than I am by pages of magazines or HGTV. I’ve learned so much from other bloggers, and I love the blogging community – even if I feel like I’m no longer a legitimate member.

So I’m writing all of this to say — Is it ok if I just check in every once in a while? And that by “once in a while” I might mean twice in one week and I might mean twice in six months? Is it ok to not make any promises? If there is anybody out there listening, I hope you don’t mind.

Until we meet again, friends.

Homebody: Far from Home

Recently, I took a little trip, leaving the kiddos and husband behind, to visit a dear friend who is at grad school in Ireland.  For an extended weekend, I traded in playing trucks and dropping CJ off at his nursery program, with listening to traditional Irish music and sipping a beer in the pub.  In a few day’s time, I went from exploring the confines of the park, to exploring the vastness of the Cliffs of Moher.  It was a journey of contrasts.

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We had few set plans, which is unusual for me: I like a plan and a list and a strategy.  This was nice – this was low key.  I tended to one, I worried about myself, I moved quietly, quickly, and without having to help someone put on a coat, take off a hat, grab a cup of water or fill up a snack.  It was weird.

But it was wonderful, too.

All I really wanted to do, while in Ireland, was to be outside.  I don’t know if it was because of the long and cold winter we had, where time outside left you numb.  Or perhaps I just really wanted to surround myself with all of the green landscape and suck some type of life-source from its vibrancy.  Despite the misting rain and dampness, the life and energy existed and I tried to soak it up.

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The jagged rocks, the cliffs, the swirling grey water, the smell of turf all sitting and existing and there for the viewing.  It was pretty beautiful.

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It was a great/tiring/fun/relaxing trip.  I clearly missed my little family and was happy to get back to them.  It was the first time I’d been away for that long.  But it was nice to see my friend and to be among the good fairies and the music and the wild Atlantic way and slow down a bit.  For once, I took few pictures, which I mark as a sign that I was too busy just being and experiencing, rather than occupying my mind with what shot I should take to preserve the memory.  The memory, itself, will serve just fine.

Being back home, of course, has been like being thrown back into the deep end of the pool:  CJ has had his reactive airway disorder rear its ugly head, so we’re back to nebulizers and the doctor and coughing, and Emmett’s fighting off a drippy nose, just to keep up with his older brother.

But I’m happily home and glad such a nice trip gave me reason to come home so happily again.

 

 

We Heart Detroit.

My hubby does different work with municipalities, in different cities and states.  One such place he’s been traveling to and working on, is Detroit.  He’s learned so much over the past two years from work about the city and it’s current situation, (and by extension, so have I) and in certain regards, it’s become a big part of his professional life.

So when his birthday rolled around last month, I wanted to find some way to take a moment and use that as inspiration.  Because, as I’m sure you’d guess, his work is sometimes frustrating and sometimes tiring.  And because he loves gifts that intend to motivate or inspire, I tried to find a small way to do both.

I decided then, that the best way to represent the city, was with a map.  And as I’ve shared before, we love maps in our house.  Thanks to the Etsy shop, iLikeMaps, I was able to get a great map of the city of Detroit.  (Sorry, my pictures seem a little blurry here.)

Detroit Map

I wanted to go one step further and added a quote.

Detroit Map

The quote reads, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal,” a statement made by Henry Ford.  (I thought,  “a statement made by a Ford?  Perfect for Motor City!”)

Using clear labels, I printed the quote out and attached it to the mat that came with the frame (a Target purchase).

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All in all, it was a simple little task to upgrade and finish off a great map of the city of Detroit.  We’ve hung it above my map of Brooklyn (my former work place), as you come in and out of the house.  Can’t miss it.  And hopefully, he remembers to keep going, although frustrations can abound when working with bankrupt municipalities.

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Any fun birthday gifts others have created, in such a semi-homemade manner?

Have a great day, everyone!

Paint it Black, Pt. 1

Yes, a nice little You Tube embedded video for you all today, in connection with my title post.  Side note:  Mick Jagger was a dreamy rock star, back in the day.  I totally get why the girls are screaming in this video.  Back to the post -aside from all that intense and dark metaphorical soul-searching of the classic Rolling Stones’ song, it’s rather true:  I’m painting some small detail items here, and a lot of them are black.  Case in point, I’m finishing up some kitchen stuff and the star color (or lack thereof?) is black.

It’s starting with the support leg that is holding up our breakfast bar/countertop.  It’s a newel post, (think National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, “Fixed the newel post!!), screwed into the kitchen floor twice to support the heavy quartz on top of it.  We primed it white, but I wanted a little bit of contrast, to carry on with the darker accents we have in the room.

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From metal fruit basket, to the black that appears in the appliances, to the chalkboard, a frame, the curtain stripes, I like how it looks.  And honestly, it reminds me of an inspiration picture I found via Crate and Barrel and their bistro-inspired kitchen island, found here.  I liked the white countertop and the black legs – classic and neutral and clean.

So, I decided to go that route in choosing my paint color here.  I used the leftover Benjamin Moore paint we had from painting our office desktop and a brush and painter’s tape to keep things simple.

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From white:

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To black:

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It was already primed and took two coats of the black.  I was able to get them both done when the boys were napping, thankfully.  Easy project to complete and easy to clean up.

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It even coordinates nicely with the black in the dining room, which I like.

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My next goal is to tackle the blonde stools sitting underneath the countertop.  I was looking into metal ones, ones with backs, ones with leather seats – all to realize that right now, my toddler uses them to climb up to get to the sink or counter area.  We’re going to put new ones on hold, as the ones I was eyeing were a bit more than the ones we’ve got, and might not be as sturdy/durable to survive EM’s journey into climbing kitchen furniture in coming months.  So, for now, a coat of black paint will make them fit in and not break the bank.

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So, hopefully, I will soon have the stools sanded and painted black to go with the rest of the kitchen’s accents. I just need to have a nice day to use the palm sander.

Any projects people have going on in their homes?  Anyone tying details together for a project?  Anyone else now have “Paint It Black” in their heads?  You’re welcome!

Have a great day, everyone!

 

31

My maternal grandma, a proud member of the Greatest Generation, had some pretty simple, but pretty profound principles that she passed down to her family.  Sitting here, I could write volumes about the things I learned from her about faith, trust in God’s will, the importance of family and participating in the culture from which our family came.  But one of the most important lessons I learned from her was to celebrate just about everything.  Celebrate milestones and birthdays, random Friday nights, the start of summer or the end of summer, the nation’s birthday, important anniversaries of life, of loss, of memories.  Take the time to come together with the people you love, blood relatives or chosen family, raise a glass and have a good time together.

Pause for a moment, and take stock of who you have in your life and relish it.

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So, taking a page out of her book, JD and I decided to celebrate our 31st birthdays in true Grandma C./pre-war style: in New York City.  Since time moves so quickly and seems so jam-packed with cleaning, kids, family events, work and travel, what we really wanted this year was some time together.  So we cashed in those credit card points (handy little things, really) and did an over night into Manhattan, just the two of us.  (Shout-out to my in-laws for taking on the boys for the night!)

It was a Friday during Lent, so our Catholic-selves ate at a delicious Greek fish restaurant, then headed over to the ever-swanky Plaza for a drink at their champagne bar. I felt (a little) like Daisy Buchanan, minus the yellow car, the millions and the general disillusionment of life, as I sipped my French 75 in a cozy chair in the lobby of that historic New York landmark.  Cross that cocktail experience off of the life list!  (By the way, those types of cocktails pack a wallop!  My Grandma wasn’t kidding when she said they made them stronger in her day!)

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The next morning, we even got a walk through Central Park in and brunch at Norma’s, at Le Parker Meridian.  Hey, you only turn 31 once! ;)

It was so great to get out, reconnect, and just take our time strolling through the city.  It was a great way to celebrate both of us turning 31, the year that we closed out and the one yet to come.  I felt like Grandma would have approved!

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Here’s hoping everyone gets to take the time and celebrate the important, small and big, moments you have going on.  Life’s too short not to!