Friday, October 17, 2014

Sweet Sammie

I was hoping with all of my heart that we were through huge transitions and events in our world for a while but life apparently has had different plans.

Last Friday, we said goodbye to our dear, sweet Sammie.  While she only lived with us for five years, she immediately became a part of our family.  We took her in after our elderly neighbors at our old house passed away and jokingly called her our 12 year old kitten because, unbeknownst to me, Brent was planning on welcoming a kitten into our home around that same time.  She was part of our world for many huge moments - preparing for a baby, life with a newborn-turned-toddler, and moving into a new house.  With each of those changes, she took it all in stride.  I truly have never met such a laid-back, easy-going cat.  I admired her for her constant calm demeanor.
About a year ago, she was diagnosed with pancreatitis which we learned to manage with quick reaction time, meds, and fluids.  Over the past year, she had many crashes but she was always able to pull herself out of them with our help.  This last one was different.  I knew she was getting close months ago; I could tell by her coat and she had lost her hearing some time ago.  To our knowledge, she was at least 17 years old and even two weeks ago, I caught her playing like she would when we first got her.  I think if she'd had her way, she'll still be around, but her body just wouldn't allow it.

We made the decision to take her in, which I haven't had to do in over a decade.  While it's something I wish nobody ever had to deal with, it's part of having pets sometimes.  I cried buckets that day, along with our torrential rains, but knew it was right.  It will always be hard for me to think about though, as evidenced through my current stream of tears.

Sammie was an absolute delight to share our lives with.  I wish we'd known her sooner.  I'll never forget the first day I saw her.  Hap, our wonderful neighbor, was tending to the rose garden he kept for his wife, Helen.  Beside him as he worked was the most beautiful fluffy kitty I'd ever seen.  As he'd move to the next plant, she'd move along with him.  An occasional back pat here and there was their only form of communication from my view but they needed nothing else.   I'd love to be able to tell them both how much peace that scene still gives me.

While we reflect on the passing of Sammie, we've found ourselves dealing with more kitty crisis.  Our kitten Opal has just had a tough time all around and just within the past 24 hours, her back legs have given out.  We're working to figure out what exactly is happening and how we can make her better.  She's in good spirits and in good hands so for now, we wait.  If you're the type to send out good vibes and the like, we're in the market for all you can spare.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The First Gathering

Regardless of how crazy our worlds may get, our lives still move on and people still age.  Even those little people that feel like they were born just yesterday.  Last week, Rio turned two.  Sane people who had just moved probably wouldn't have opted to invite over a ton of people but, as we all know, we're not that sane so decided to throw a party and invite the masses.
Even though we invited a crap-ton of people, we kept things mega simple.  And it helped that only a small portion of the crap-ton of people we invited actually came, making survival that much easier.  We opted for a late afternoon fiesta so the kid could get her nap in (which, of course, she played and sang through) but since I pay no mind to football, I didn't even realize I was scheduling right in the middle of game time.  Football played while presents were opened and a few hours later after the game was over, wave two of guests showed up just in time to welcome the evening.   To those who joined us, thank you SO much for making it such a fantastic time.
For actual party business, I did very little.  I took the '1' banner that I made last year and updated it for this year's birthday.  After unpacking the banner and realizing that this party would be super low maintenance, I made the decision to have this banner be a recurring decoration for Rio's birthdays to come.  Literally an hour before the party, I unpicked the '1', quickly eyeballed a '2' about the same size as the previous number, cut it out, and sewed it on.  I foresee one day putting together the 1 and 2 to create a 12, when that day comes too soon.  This was the extent of our decorations.
For grub, I went along the same lines as last year's build-your-own-grilled-cheese theme.  This year, it was build-your-own-personal-pan-pizza!  I thought it up last minute, bought everything even more last minute, and crossed my fingers it would all work out...and it did, even better than I expected!  I already knew I wouldn't be making my own dough (who has time for that business?!) and thought that these sandwich rounds would hopefully suffice.  As luck would have it, they were perfect AND they were on sale!  Score!  We used those for our crust, had all of the stereotypical toppings for pizza, and encouraged everyone to build their own pizza on a cookie sheet.  After that, we popped them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees and, voila, personal pan pizzas!  We will DEF be doing this again, with crazier ingredients and suggested combinations.  
This particular gathering officially made this new house feel like a home.  For the first time in weeks, I kicked my heels up and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out at the new abode, dreaming of what it will become in the coming years.  I mean, if we love here this much already, just think how it will evolve even more to truly be our home.  Sitting outside, watching friends play hilarious rounds of basketball and shooting the shit was pure perfection. 
The night was so wonderful that several of us decided that it had to continue the next morning so we planned a brunch for the next day.  After a very filling and delicious brunch turned lunch and some frisbee out back, I bid adieu and took a nap while the kid slumbered as well.  Lord only knows when the last time that happened was.  After awakening, our family of three said goodbye to the sky while doing some hammock lounging, tree scouting, and lazy memory making.  I think we're going to like this place.  I think the memories will be plentiful and profound.  I think we'll have many wonderful birthday parties here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Moving Along

I'm not even quite sure where to begin.  The past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster of goodness, sadness, and just pure exhaustion.

Let's start with the house.  A week ago today, we officially said goodbye to our first house and passed it along to a dear young couple just starting their years together.  I shed tears reflecting on the memories we made in that house (a proposal, Rio's first home, to name a few) and shed a few more thinking of leaving Pimmy there.  We worked long, hard hours packing up our (my) many possessions, taking carload after carload to the new digs, and cleaning until our first home was sparkling clean.  It was sad to say goodbye to but we were also very ready to be on the other side of buying and selling homes.  Plus, we really, really liked our buyers so we knew we left it in good hands.  Yes, I was emotionally attached to this house.

During all of this, we were working on replacing all of the floors in the new house, figuring out the new place's quirks, and trying to maintain our heavy workloads (I should have gotten a sub!) with a toddler nipping at our ankles throughout it all.  Then, not even a week before we were set to move, the death of my former boss turned mentor turned friend knocked me, and everyone else who had the pleasure of knowing him, flat on my ass.  It's still very, very hard for me to think about and is still hard to believe.  That week I cried more than I've cried in a long time due to so many huge life changes.

Another change that we're also in the midst of right now is my family's business is moving locations after being in the same space for 30+ years.  You may remember that I work in the office there (when I'm not teaching) with Rio by my side and that my mister also works there.  In fact, just a few weeks ago, he passed a massively important technical exam also thrown into the moving madness.  Leaving a place that has been a second home to me my entire life is a little crazy as well, to say the least.  All of my home bases are changing and it's a bit surreal.

And finally, I turned 35 two days ago and the kid turns 2 next week.  I don't know where the time has gone for either of us.  It just feels like lately, everything has been huge.  Birthdays, deaths, family surgeries, bizarre trials, two moves, tests, stressful work loads, and just keeping our heads above water.  But here's the deal, we're through most of that now.  We ARE breathing easier.  We're not constantly going and have even taken a few evenings off to not do a damn thing.  I even have a haircut scheduled for today.  That, my friends, is huge in a different way.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fuzzy Friday: Big Sis, Lil Sis

Sure, there has been a lot of house talk lately but be assured that there's been just as many kitty snuggles and cat chatter within our walls.  Nervous about moving the herd but so excited for them to explore new closets, to discover the large windows prime for bird-watching, and to continue making our hearts full.  I lurve those cats.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Ultimate Estate Sale Purchase

We did it.  Last Friday, we bought a new house.  Here's that crazy story.

Just a little over a month ago, we had decided to tough it out and stay in our current home for a few more years, finish some house projects, and get ready to move our family.  Literally 48 hours after coming to that decision, we found the house we would soon buy.


In early July, I hit a random estate sale like I regularly do.  When I pulled up, I quickly realized that I was in a neighborhood that I'd had a crush on since I moved back to Tulsa after college.  Beautiful ranch style, mid-century houses, homes lived in with pride, large lots, and a great location.  I'd never been in this part of the hood but was quickly won over.  As I walked up to this particular sale, I quickly noticed the For Sale by Owner sign but didn't really think twice about it since we'd chosen to stay put just a few days before.  Just a few minutes into the sale, I got a text from my dad who told me that I had to see these available digs.  We were randomly at the sale at the same time.  After finding each other, we marveled around the house together and ended up talking to the son, who was taking care of the sale and got some general answers about the house's history.  Brent did a few tours through the house the next day, with the estate sale going on, and also saw the potential.  We made an offer just 48 hours later.  Remember, not looking to move.  It was a bit impulsive.

Things continued to progress.

Being a For Sale by Owner (FSBO) house, I learned LOTS.  I mean more than I ever thought I'd know about real estate.  Talk about a crash course.  While I do think it would have been easier on the buyer's (our!) end to officially have a realtor involved in the process, there were also some really cool parts to FSBO.  In the short time that this all happened, we got to know all about the only other family that has ever lived in this house.  That's right, this is our second house to buy from original owners.  We LOVE that.  It's a quirky house that needs some TLC in many spots but more so, it's a house filled with SO much potential.  Not only is it twice the size of our (very) cramped current home, it's a house with tons of history, gorgeous mid-century modern features, an amazing yard that we can't wait to personalize, and so.much.more.

We hope to spend many, many years in this house.


We officially became this home's new owner last Friday.  We did some urban camping sans kid and cleaned into the wee hours of the morning.  We have SO much more to accomplish before we move in but luckily, we have about four weeks before we have to turn over our current home to its new owners.  Yup, our house is set to sell in just a few more weeks, hopefully.  Our luck with ALL of the house stuff has been insane...   If everything continues to progress as wonderfully as it already has, the house that we've built a family in will belong to its third family.  We're absolutely thrilled and astounded how everything has unfolded.  So surreal.

The countdown has begun and we've got a lot to accomplish before we move into our sea of harvest gold and pink.  It's crazy exciting, a little overwhelming, and quite hard to believe.  Throw work, back to teaching, and a toddler into the mix and you've got yourself a lot on the plate.  But we're always up for a challenge.  I hope.

Friday, August 15, 2014

My Dream Kitchen

And now, I welcome you to my favorite room in our house, the room I will undoubtedly miss the most, the room that made me fall in love with our first home:  the kitchen. 
When we first began looking for a house to buy, Brent and I were living in different cities.  In fact, we'd spent no more than five days straight together.  Buying a house together was certainly a leap of faith.  We had our wants and had been looking on the weekends while he was in town for a few weeks.  We did our best to only look at houses while we were in town together but we hit a point where we were really ready to move so I started looking with our realtor during the week nights.  We definitely wanted an older home but everything we looked at made me feel claustrophobic and seemed like too much money for such a small space.  That's when we broadened our searching horizon a few miles and found this house.  It was a single owner and hadn't been updated for many, many, many moons.  For the first time, I didn't feel like the walls were closing in and the idea of buying a house from the original owner just felt right.  Then I walked into the kitchen.  Love at first sight.  I HAD to have this house. 
I would venture to say that even those that barely know me, know that I'm slightly obsessed with the color green.  Always have been.  I like all shades but one shade in particular really revs my engine - avocado green.  Yup, these kitchen cabinets sealed the deal.  In the early 70s, the original homeowners expanded the kitchen and had these cabinets installed.  Pretty dreamy, right?  A HUGE kitchen filled with cabinets in the color of my dreams?  Tell me more.  And yes, that's an avocado green sink surrounded by avocado green counter tops.  They weren't messing around with their green.

Believe it or not, these cabinets have always been a point of contention between the mister and me.  You see, to me, they are perfect.  Not a thing to change.  To a man who was once a trim carpenter, these were basic, outdated cabinets that desperately needed a facelift.  See, we're not perfect!  We bicker and it's mostly about our decor styles!  Ha!  Alas, we did nothing more to the cabinets than remove more shelf paper than one could ever imagine and added new hardware.  We had finally agreed to keep the cabinets, install new countertops, and replace the sink with a stainless number but lo and behold, an unexpected move jumped in and the kitchen remained relatively untouched.
A few years back, we did paint the walls that bright yellow color.  To me, green and yellow just belong together.  We ended up accenting in red and black, adding to our rainbow house.  Nothing wrong with adding color to a home, amiright
I wish I could have seen what the original stove looked like since the vent hood is so killer.  While we don't have the fanciest of stoves, I have always LOVED how easy ceramic cook tops are to clean.  The easy clean up is so desirable to me that I prefer these stoves over others.  Call me crazy.  :)
One of the stranger aspects of our kitchen is the brick corner.  When we moved in, there was a wood-burning Benjamin Franklin stove there, vented through the ceiling.  It was massive but cool.  When inspections went down, we learned that the vent was capped, leaving the stove unusable in that location.  We decided to remove it and make the space more usable for our household.  For us, this space has typically functioned as animal central with feeding areas and storage for pet-related goods.  We had plans (and have actually already started) to build Rio a play kitchen of her own to sit in this space.  Project postponed. 
Sometimes, I (often) get in a fury of reorganizing and cleaning out of nowhere.  The artwork above the dining table happened in one of the fits and was really a happy accident.  I was just placing them on the wall on existing nails to see if I liked the colors and the pieces together.  I took two steps back and absolutely loved the composition and left it like that.  Who says that art must be centered on a wall?
Once a mobile child started scooting across the floor, it was time to find hooks to hang my bag hoard up.  With as many different things as I tend to, I have tons of different bags that shuffle around with me.  Above that lifesaver is one of my earlier online DIYs, a floating vintage matchbook display.  
Our kitchen window above the sink faces west, something that I absolutely love.  Actually, I just love and appreciate a window above any kitchen sink but make it west-facing for sunset watching and I'm in heaven. 
While I was packing up some in the kitchen last night, I mentioned to Brent that this may be the hardest room to pack.  A few days earlier, I had said that same thing about Rio's room.  When I was packing up the workroom, I'm sure I made that same statement.  I knew that once we decided to move, it would be an emotional process but with as quick as everything has happened for this move, it feels like those emotions are intensified.  Moving is tough work physically, mentally, and emotionally.  For sure. 

Man, I'll miss this kitchen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No Longer a Nursery

So, um, we're moving.  Like in a few weeks.  It's a crazy story that just sort of happened and we're just going with it!  I'll go into more depth soon but know that it's all super positive and exciting!  That short little teaser to introduce another room tour, Rio's Room!

The last time we toured this room, the kid was still cooking and having a child in the house was something we hadn't experienced yet.  Fast forward almost two years later, and we're old pros!  Or something like that.  ;)  Things have changed in her world since those newborn days which, of course, means that her room has evolved some as well.

One of the most popular features of Rio's room are her lockers that we configured to work as a tiny closet for her tiny clothes.  I've had some inquiries as to what we use the lockers for so here we go.  Obviously, they are the framework for the hanging clothes but they also serve as invaluable storage.  Toys that are too old for her, crib sheets, changing pad sheets, hand-me-down books, and other miscellaneous kid goods all live within those lockers.  I've already been dreaming up how they'll function in her new space since she'll actually have a true blue closet of her own!
Once we were done with co-sleeping and the kid started sleeping on her own, we quickly decided that her crib had to move.  It began on the wall that also houses our lone bathroom's plumbing which meant that anything that occurred in the bathroom was easily heard through that wall.  The crib was moved and we've never looked back since.  The hanging swaddling blanket on the window blocks out sunlight during naps and early bed times at home.  It's not the fanciest solution but it sure works!

The book tree has worked well but I don't know that we'll use it in the same form in the future.  What rocked about it was its mobility.  While I get ready in the morning, the kid often hangs out in the crib reading.  All I have to do is move that book tree next to the crib and she then has a stash of books to choose from!  It's easy for books to get lost within it though so I'm hoping to utilize more shelf space for her readers in the future.
We made the area next to the crib a reading/play area which has functioned quite well.  That rocker gets tons of use by us and the kid (I'm still impressed by her ability to climb on it!) all throughout the day which makes me all sorts of happy since it's such a dear family heirloom. 
The trunk functions as a sort of table top while storing the loads of blankets we have.  Next to it is another one of those basic storage shelves that we seem to have amassed a lot of!  I have plans for those in the future as well.  :)  Try as I might to keep her toys well organized within this space, it always seems fairly disheveled to me.  If parenthood has taught me anything, it's to be ok with the chaos, something I truly struggle with.  As much as I am ok with a little disorganization in this space, I can't help but be optimistic in our future plans to make her new space function even better and more organized! 
I still do love our wallpapered wall.  We never hung anything on it but it was a statement all its own.  I have a feeling that the changing table situation won't be around much longer as we're on the cusp of saying good bye to diapers.  After the move, of course.
So much of our house is now in boxes.  In fact, my entire studio is just a shell now.  Artwork is coming off of the walls, closets have been cleaned out, filled boxes are multiplying, but only one little section in Rio's room has been dealt with.  I think this will be the most difficult room to pack up and say good bye to.  As sad as it may be to say adios to this home, I think about how exciting it will be to start fresh in our new abode.  I can't wait to share more of it and its evolution so very soon!
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