Friday, August 15, 2014

Next From the Big "D"

You guys, I'm moving on from this blog. I started writing this blog when I got married, and it carried me through honeymooning, deployment, the beginning of my motherhood, homeowning, and the combustion and dissolution of that same marriage. As much as I love writing here, and the support you have given me, I don't think I have any more stories left to tell here

However....

I am moving on to an exciting new adventure with my friend Amelia. Together we are launching At Home Wherever, a blog about how many times we have had to set up homes in places we've loved and hated, and exactly how we have done that. Amelia went from owning to moving and renting, and I am going from renting to building and owning. We have so much good stuff rumbling around in us about the thing we are each most passionate about: home. 
At this point, it looks better in watercolor. 
Speaking of, I will gleefully inform you that the finishing touches are being put on Lot 22 and we are expecting to close the first week in September. When I stood in the house this week looking at my almost-finished, designed-and-built-just-for-me kitchen, I was happier than the day I got married. Because marriages are hard. And marriage to someone who has always had trouble staying put turns out to be impossible. Marriages end one of two ways. People have limited potential. Houses have endless potential, depending on your financial situation. 

When we bought our first house, we were in the middle of deployment and the boys' mom had recently passed away. We moved into that house hoping to create sunshine in the middle of a storm that would continue for a few years and break up a family on those once-hopeful floors. My cozy chalet cottage was a shelter. Standing in the living room I designed, looking at the kitchen I designed, in the home I have built for my boys and me, I was happy for all the life that will happen there. 


We're going home. 

Home is people and smells and sofas; the handprints of little boys on flat-paint rental walls; the gray sludge that gets on furniture when dogs have bones; cans of paint and accidental pumpkin patches; floor plans and landscaping; outgrowing what you loved two years ago; and packing up to say hello to something else. 

So just move over to At Home Wherever. The site is being designed as we speak, and you will want to sign up to get an email when we launch our very first post, and every one after. You can go ahead and do that now. The content will be less personal than here, but you will get to see how the boys fit into my idea of "home." And if you want to see us in our new house and watch us set it up, you have to go over there to AHW. Please come on my new adventure. One that I am really, truly, deeply happy about. 

Thanks for the memories. They were almost always swell. 
nell

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tears for my pillows

I do not remember when it started. At some point, I believe in the old house, I was inspired to pepper my living room with coral and navy. This makeover was over a year in the making, starting in the showroom of Williams and Sherill in Richmond during a visit with Funny Emily. Williams and Sherill is not for the faint of heart, as they have 4,000 bolts of fabric in their showroom, a clearance center next door, and home interiors that I can only dream of. I left Richmond with hundreds of dollars in fabric that I hauled home in my carry-on.

If you do not sew, have moderate confidence in your sewing, or are not good at the finishing touches, you need a Friend Who Sews. You cannot have mine, because she's very busy designing my house and my life and her house and her life and the houses of others who hire her in the Nashville area.  I would not tell you her name, but Amelia deserves credit for (1) conceiving the fabric selections; (2) selecting fabrics via iPhone; (3) sending me a video she made herself on how to sew welt cord; and (4) making these pillows.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

More us, less everything else

We spent Easter weekend at my parents. The boys love going there, because they get to wear rubber boots and get dirty and smelly and eat well. I could tell on Saturday afternoon they had gotten a little bored, so I shocked them by declaring that I was taking them into the woods. There are woods by my parents' house and if you follow the right trails, you can come out at the junior high school, in another neighborhood, or at a little waterfall. I could only remember how to get to the junior high, and that requires tight-roping over a pipe eight feet above a creek. That pipe was a LOT smaller than I remembered from twenty years ago, but I did it TWICE, carrying a BB gun, with Landen holding his breath at the other end. I hate nature, the outdoors, and being covered in 50+ mosquito bites, but I am still getting high praise from the boys about how cool it was that I could do that and could we please do it again next time we go to Jena.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Teenage Prayer + Adoption Photo Shoot, My Messy Beautiful

I have a confession, a shocking admission from a liberal, semi-socialist, formerly shacked-up, now single-mothering girl like me…I listen to Dr. Laura. She’s unreasonable and dismissive and wildly hypocritical. I mostly listen because of the morbid curiosity of other people’s problems, but I get very rage-y at her. The last few times I’ve listened, she’s had the poor twisted Mothers of Teenage Sons From Broken Homes who are lashing out and behaving abusively towards the mothers. Dr. Laura’s advice is always to pack their bags and boxes and send them to live with their erstwhile fathers, asserting that the mother needs to Take a Stand and show the sons that they cannot treat women this way without consequences. To show the sons that Mom Is Not Going to Take This Sh*t Anymore and they should not expect their future wives to tolerate such jackassery either.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nell's Kitchen

When I think about my adoration for houses and interiors, the word "junkie" is the first to jump up. I think I am actually an "enthusiast." I am a Home Enthusiast. If you are a contractor, and you agree to build a house for a Home Enthusiast, you should be prepared to earn every penny you are charging to build the house. A Home Enthusiast knows exactly what she wants, because she has been looking and loving and thinking about what she likes and does not like for a long, LONG time.

Let's talk about my kitchen. The kitchen has the most design elements, is often the room that has the most "pieces," and as I am learning, the room where the upgrades cost the most.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

City Mice, Country Mice

"Whatever good things we build end up building us."
Jim Rohn

Our next chapter is building a house. This is our dirt, located in a subdivision about three miles south of Baton Rouge, in the "country," adjacent to the small high school we've chosen for Jake.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hello Again, Hello

I have a habit, or a gift I give to myself, that I have claimed since I left the nest. Whether I did it when I lived at home is a question for my mother. I go inside. Because… I am tired. My moods are switching. I am trying to settle myself down. Gather my strength. Remember how to love my kids. Or because the world is so big and so challenging that I need to nap, speak only to the dog, and clean.

I have not blogged in six weeks, and I attribute this to not wanting to be cyber-seen, because I do not have the answers and I’m not great.

It’s not bad, actually. Jake’s physical and emotional health is better and his grades have improved miraculously in the new year, which brings peace to our home. Landen is still learning his lessons the hard way, but the back-and-forth, push-and-pull are consistent, and we get a little better every week. We are crammed in this small condo and we hate it, but they have drawn closer to me. Like they see how hard I am working to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation and change things. And maybe they know I need the encouragement.