Lost & Found

IMG_17791Traveling solo is not a good idea for me.

You know the book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day? On Saturday, I felt like you could have plastered my face on the front of its book cover. The day started off wellproductive, in fact. I successfully got both dogs and their stuff to the boarding location with Wes in tow, packed both him AND I, stopped the mail, took out the trash, straightened up the house and washed my hair, to boot.

Mom came to pick up Wes and then I was off to the airport to meet Steven in Atlanta. He was in Florida for a company retreat for a few days, and we had decided to make a fun trip out of his next speaking gigs because of last fall’s adventure in Spokane, WA. I had planned to go to the PRSA International Conference in Atlanta, and it turned out that Steven was asked to speak at the same conference. (I ended up not getting a reservation to officially attend sessions, but I enjoyed it anyway.)

It’s not like I haven’t traveled by myself before. It’s not like I’m disorganized. But somehow between boarding the plane from Indianapolis and entering the Atlanta public transportation train, Marta, I realized with a sinking feeling that I had left my driver’s license in my back pocket, and it was not there anymore. Or my coat pocket. Or wallet. Or ANYWHERE.

I quickly got off the train and re-entered the airport. Keep in mind this is the nation’s BUSIEST AIRPORT. I approached the Southwest ticket counter and told them I thought I left my ID on the airplane. They called the gate in which I arrived and didn’t get a response.

“That’s a good sign. Maybe it means the airplane is still there.”

They handed me a faux boarding pass that said “CUSTOMER NEEDS ASSISTANCE” and wished me luck getting through security.

At 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, the airport was pretty quiet. Thankfully there was hardly a line at security. After several minutes of explaining my situation, the security guards decided it would be funny to crack jokes that I didn’t understand because my mind was everywhere and flustered and my heart was racing. “Steven’s going to be so mad at me.”

They let me through, so I took off my shoes, scarf, jacket AGAIN and took out my laptop and toiletries bag to be scanned. I quickly gathered my things and set off so that I could try to catch the airplane before it took off again.

The lady at the ticket counter had told me to check with staff at a different gate because they couldn’t reach anyone via phone. Thankfully the staff at the other gate was kind and went to search the airplane on my behalf. They came back empty-handed. Strike 1.

During this whole ordeal, I had been texting Steven, who was boarding a plane in Florida to arrive in Atlanta a few hours later. He probably felt helpless trying to problem-solve from afar. I felt terrible making him feel so out of control. I felt out of control!


Somberly, I headed back to the Marta train and arrived at the hotel. While in the ridiculously long check-in line, my heart raced again as I began to dread what I knew happened…I LEFT MY LAPTOP AND TOLIETRIES AT SECURITY. Strike 2.

I called my parents in a blubbery mess because Steven was unavailable – flying. I just had to vent. This is so unlike me! What the heck is wrong?! How on Earth could I be this careless?! For a hot minute, I considered going back to the airport again, but stayed put. I needed to check into the room and cry. Lost and Found was closed for the next two days, so I filed a claim online. That was all I could do until Monday morning (which led to an 1.5 hour phone call). Strike 3.

Steven arrived an hour or so later, and I collapsed into him. Poor guy. I was a hot mess. He calmed me down and we decided to make the best of it. Everything I had lost was replaceable.
1) Driver’s license needs to be replaced anyway with our new address.
2) My Chromebook wasn’t that expensive, and it’s password protected. It’s easy to spot, though – lot of stickers on the top – so it probably can be retrieved.
3) I can buy contact lens solution and a case and a toothbrush and everything else needed for the next couple days.
4) Make up? Oh well. I can survive without it.

I love Steven. He’s so level-headed. And he invited me to join him because, well, I bring the fun and interesting to his life. :)

And we DID have fun. Following his morning speaking engagements each day, we went to the World of Coca-Cola Museum and tried flavors from around the world. We walked around various parks and streets, even though it was cold and rainy. We rode the downtown ferris wheel. We checked out CNN World Headquarters. We tried some local eating spots. We visited the world’s largest aquarium, which was likely the highlight of the trip. Touring the place made me miss Wes something terrible. He loves sea life and ocean creatures, and I could hear little kids shouting at something unique and cool and knew he’d be right there with them.

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I’m now sitting in the airport, ready for our journey home. I successfully collected my laptop and bag of “stuff” from Lost and Found this morning, and my umpteenth romp through security was rather uneventful. They’ve seen it all, these airport staff. And everyone has been so nice – I mean everyone. Atlanta, you’re good.

My driver’s license is still lost, but whatevs. I’ll spend my lunch break at the BMV tomorrow, and heck – it makes for a good story.

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Posted: November 10th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love

After Steven left early for a morning meeting, Wes ventured upstairs and hung around the bathroom as I was getting ready.

(Looking in the mirror) “Mama, why is it blue under my tongue?”
“Oh, that’s called a vein. See them in my hands? They move blood to the rest of your body.”
“To help me work and play and move my hands?”

You can always tell when he’s thinking hard about something, putting two-and-two together. After a couple minutes, deep in thought, he went on.
“Can I listen to your heart?” (I bent down to his level.) “I hear it!”
“Did you know that your heart pumps bloods to your arms and legs?”
“Yep, through those blue ‘vines’?”
“Uh huh – veins.”
“And that’s where Jesus lives, too, right?”

Last week was a rough one for Wes’ discipline and obedience. But “being like Jesus” seems to strike a chord with him, and lately he’s felt guilt and shame – and sin.

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At bedtime earlier this week, he mentioned it again. I guess he’s really struggling at school with his friends.
“I don’t know why, but at school I act crazy. It’s really, really hard.”
“Why is it hard to follow directions?”
“Maybe my friends? And when I do bad things, God will punish me and take me to heaven.”
“Well, if you disobey, yes, you will be punished, but you are always forgiven. God loves and forgives you. That’s not how you go to heaven.”

It’s been a little over a month since the death of one of our friends. Wes has been asking many questions about heaven since then, and that night was no different. It’s still a bit scary to him, and he’s afraid that we’ll be separated.

“Mama, I don’t want your body to stop working.” (How we addressed death.)
“Oh, honey. I hope that I’ll have many years with you before that happens. But when it does, we can be together again in heaven.”
“There’s lots of rooms there. I want a nice room in heaven.”
“Me, too! Maybe we can share a room with you and me and Daddy.”

We talked a little more about the wonderful things in heaven, his preschool struggles, and we decided that he could rely on “Jesus in his heart” to be a good example at school: be loving, kind and generous. Listen and obey. We prayed for strength, courage and for our friends’ family, who is coping with their recent loss.

Watching Wes think deeply about his actions and the reason to live has given me pause for thought, too. It pains me to witness his understanding of our world, and it softens my heart to witness his desire to follow Jesus’ example.

As The Jesus Storybook Bible describes it, I am grateful for God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.” (And for his wisdom on how to respond, teach and demonstrate this love to an empathetic and impressionable four-year-old boy.)

Posted: November 6th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Halloween: the last 10 years

Steven and I have been together since October 2004 – we joked that we’d start officially dating if the Red Sox won the World Series. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! :)

I went as Johnny Damon to one of our multiple Halloween parties that year. I don’t remember what Steven went as, and sadly, we don’t have ANY photos of that first “date.” I got to thinking about it this morning and realized that we DO have plenty of other photos from past Halloween costumes, however.

The only Halloween photo from that first year together. I’m pretty sure I wore my cool leopard pants to go along with my face paint, and Steven went as a Pizza Delivery Guy because he just got off work doing just that. He smelled horrible while working at Pizza King. And then he started delivering flowers.

Senior friends dressed as Harry Potter characters. No one could figure out who I was because I kept changing my outfit and hair color throughout the night. Duh, Tonks!

I don’t know what we did for Halloween post-college. Likely rebelled against the idea of Halloween parties because we were so hipster-professional, you know.

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The dating, soon-to-be-engaged Reynolds pair went in with us to become Team Zissou from The Life Aquatic.

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Cut Man from Mega Man and Werewolf Marilyn Monroe. Uh huh.

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Wesley’s existence made Halloween change into adorable. Because we were so heavily involved in the Irvington Halloween Festival, I had to have several costumes for Wes – a frog and a lil’ slugger.

Wendy, Captain Hook and Peter Pan – easiest costumes ever.

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Prepping for our friends’ annual “Reforween” party (Reformation Day + Halloween) as Finn, Jake and Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time.

Wes decided early on that he wanted to be an elephant construction worker for Halloween. Ok, then. Let’s make it happen! “Chucky cheet!”

Because of last year’s amazing costume idea, I asked Wes in September what he wanted to dress up as for Halloween. Immediate answer, “an icicle.” Really?! Ok… so we went to Target to find some frosty-looking things to make up his costume, and everything was branded as the Frozen movie, which he despises.

“UGH! I HATE FROZEN! I DON’T WANT TO BE AN ICICLE ANYMORE.” (Sees Mario costume) “Oh, Mama! And Daddy can be Luigi!”

(It’s yet to be determined if he will.) Happy safe and fun Halloween, everyone!

More photos from our first trip to Indianapolis Zoo Boo with my family can be found here.

Posted: October 30th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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First Fire of Autumn

IMG_2129Wes and I have some good conversations on our daily commutes. This morning we remarked on the vibrant colors of changing fall leaves.

“Which color that you see is your favorite?”
“Oh, Mama, I love the red leaves.”
“Me, too. The way the sun shines on them, it looks kinda like–”
“That’s just what I was going to say!”
“I know, Mama.”

(And YES, he DOES tack on “Mama” to nearly everything he says to me. It’s like he likes the way it sounds, or maybe it’s a way to reiterate his points. I don’t know, really, but it’s pretty great.)

Usually I dislike this time of year because the season changes quickly in a long, drawn-out winter. Subconsciously I’ve associated fallen leaves with deadness and lifelessness, and it spoils my chance to embrace the beauty and coziness of October. Easily affected by sunlight and season changes, I know it begins with my moodiness.

I’ve felt pretty dead inside most of this calendar year. I’ve experienced death in various forms: the death of my grandma in January, friends recovering from miscarriage, and the recent death of a friend in September – the combination of which left me shaking and unstable. I didn’t realize how much I had been exponentially mourning these losses. During this time, I felt that I had also said goodbye to unrealistic hopes and dreams. And, in a way, saying goodbye to our first home in a flurry and whirlwind didn’t easily close a door that I had wanted to shut gently behind us.

The extended dry spell (and resulting sunshine) and surprising warmth over the last couple weeks has helped tremendously. It’s like the fog cleared some of the haze away. I’ve spent more quality time with loved ones and friends, which does wonders to my soul.

Picking up a friend for an evening play date of leaf piles, bonfires and s’mores with fellow neighbor kids.

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And October brings many chances to celebrate LIFE. Our Godson, Lucian, was a long-awaited answer to prayer on October 13, 2014. It’s hard to believe he’s here – let alone 1 year old. Last week, my grandpa turned 89, and on his birthday my sister witnessed a few of his good, hearty laughs that we used to hear much more as kids than we do now. And this week, we celebrate my wonderful mom and my vivacious 3-year-old nephew, Josiah.

IMG_2059On a lighter note, Steven and I were featured in an Indianapolis Star article on divided households in preparation for this season’s Colts vs Patriots game. It was great fun to be light-hearted, and we received a wealth of fun support and (mostly loving) teasing from family to people we haven’t heard from in years.

Twice in the last few weeks I have heard people use the same analogy about their desire for a “burning bush” from God – a clear directive. Maybe the fire we saw in those red leaves today were shining for me. When God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush, he said (paraphrased):  I have seen the misery of my people, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come to rescue them.

Those red leaves were beautiful. And the sky was so blue against them. How could I have not seen such October beauty before? Also – it’s so good to have the Good Guy on your side, isn’t it?

Posted: October 19th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Healthy Mourning

candleI’m not sure how to write this post. I’ve attempted it several times and given up. I started with a letter format, and then I thought about creating lists and self-help guidance, and I kept getting it out all wrong.

I’ve been grieving. I’m mourning for a friend who buried a spouse, and it’s affecting me in ways I didn’t anticipate. I mourn for my friend who is now head the household and a single parent to a toddler. I know they are well supported by an amazing community and a small hometown full of family and friends, but my heart aches deeply for these sweet people who deserve the whole world.

I feel the need to protect the goodness from seeping out of my friend. A friend who is the first to volunteer, to give back, to organize – it’s not fair.

And then my thoughts instantly shift into feelings of guilt. I feel guilty for thinking that my friend needs overwhelming support, perhaps making the subconscious assumption that my friend cannot deal with grief – that the strength isn’t there. I mean, I know support is appreciated and likely needed from time to time, but we’re talking about one of the strongest and selfless people I know.

I feel guilty for “stealing the thunder;” like, the grief belongs to my friend and not to me, really. I shouldn’t blunder along and unintentionally make my own sorrow my friend’s problem, too.

Because of these feelings of guilt, I tried to overcome my grief by layering other thoughts on top of it, but it didn’t work so well. I couldn’t concentrate at work and found myself more irritable at Steven and Wes. I knew it was because I wasn’t properly addressing the grief nagging at me.

Everyone says you need to face it head-on, so remember the post about love languages? It came in handy again. I realized that acts of service was not only one of my love languages, but I knew it was also very strong on my friend’s list. Finding tangible ways to move this grief into something productive seemed to work. Wes wanted in on the action, because, well, he’s my little helper, and acts of service is one of HIS love languages, too. We worked together to make small things (like household chores and playing with our friend’s dogs) into big pieces of love.

And to top it off, our church sermon series called, “One Another,” concluded this weekend. Sunday’s scripture in particular moved me. “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – 1 Peter 4:10. Though not a “love language,” I do think I have the gift of empathy. And yes, that’s a way that I love others. I love my friend, and my feelings of grief aren’t bad – they’re real, raw and full of empathy. Of which moves me into acts of service.

What I think many people forget is that, yes, life goes on, but support is still needed. At my office, I found several tips for friends of families living with Alzheimer’s disease surprisingly helpful and applicable. Though meant for a completely different audience, the tips resonated with me as a friend who desperately wants to be supportive. (And you know I have to work a list into a post somehow!)

  • Educate yourself.
    Learn about its effects and how to respond.
  • Stay in touch.
    A card, a call or a visit means a lot and shows you care.
  • Be patient.
    Adjusting is an ongoing process and each person reacts differently.
  • Offer a shoulder to lean on.
    Simply offering your support and friendship is helpful.
  • Offer assistance to help the family tackle its to-do list.
    Prepare a meal, run an errand or provide a ride.
  • Engage family members in activities.
    Invite them to go on a walk or participate in other activities.
  • Offer family members a reprieve.
    Spend time with dependents so family members can go out alone or visit with friends.
  • Be flexible.
    Don’t get frustrated if your offer for support is not accepted immediately. The family may need time to assess its needs.

It’s important for me to mourn in a healthy way – a balance of respect, empathy and encouragement. If you know of a friend or family member who has recently (or not so recently) endured a tragic experience, please reach out to them. He or she may need a reminder that you’re thinking of them, and it may also help you.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18

Posted: October 13th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Love Languages

I recently completed an online profile to determine my love languages, according to Gary Chapman’s bestselling book/series. It’s no wonder I am filled with such joy on weekends with my boys.

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My number 1 Love Language (9 out of possible 12) is Quality Time. I feel closest to my loved ones over coffee or ice cream, window shopping, exploring the city or enjoying the outdoors.

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Sunday football snuggles, then an outdoor bounce house break. And playing chess on Monument Circle. (Whoa, backlit!)

Our recent overnight trip to Louisville was a blast. Steven was scheduled to speak to the Louisville chapter of professional fundraisers on the Tuesday after Labor Day, so we decided to make a quick trip out of it, visiting friends in the area, checking out the Louisville Slugger Museum (so cool, by the way! go tour the baseball bat factory!) and wandering around downtown. Though it was a fast trip, spending the time together was rejuvenating to me.

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Swing park on the water! And checking out how bats are made.

Wes is a chatty child, and I appreciate seeing and hearing the world from his point of view. My love for him grows deeper the older he gets and the more he expresses himself to us. Some of the best quality time is right before bed. Tonight’s bedtime stories (he gets to choose 2-3 each evening) included, “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash,” “If You Give a Dog a Donut” and the “Jesus Storybook Bible,” which he has requested every night since we started reading it weeks ago. Perhaps it’s the sweet way in which its written, but he seems to begin to understand the concept of grace and forgiveness. We love our time together before saying goodnight to the day; Wes and I have a special moment of reading, chatting and praying, and then Steven takes over with some top secret dad-son rituals that I will never understand. Mostly giggles.

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I was a little surprised at how high (8) Acts of Service ranked on my list! But, come to think of it, this is the backbone of my relationship with Steven. Domestic love, I guess, but it DOES speak volumes to us both. We might even take it for granted, which is likely why I’m surprised at its high level.

It’s easy to brag about Steven in this way: he cooks, does laundry & dishes, declutters, fixes things around the house, runs errands, fills up my gas tank, the list goes on…all without a peep. He knows that I’m a dreadful hostess when company visits, and he instantly jumps into the role – because he’s that good. (And because he knows Quality Time is my #1.) Dependability equals deep love in this house. I also suspect Acts of Service is Steven’s #1 or 2.

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First Family Portrait by Wes on the back of a Louisville restaurant menu

First Family Portrait by Wes on the back of a Louisville restaurant menu

The next 3 Love Languages are just about equal: Physical Touch (5), Words of Affirmation (5) and Receiving Gifts (3). The great thing about these three is that not only do I have a husband to encourage me, I also have a 4-year-old son with a big heart whose love language(s) are Words of Affirmation followed closely by Physical Touch AND Receiving Gifts, and because of that, he gives and gives and gives in those areas.

I’m starting a rock collection of recent “gifts” that Wes has found on the school playground. Lately he picks 3 – a big, medium and small one – and keeps them in his pocket all day until he is home to “give presents.” Big for Daddy, of course. Sometimes I get the middle one, but usually the smallest. Whatever.

Except for the days when he forgets to take them out of his pocket. (Maybe that’s why our washing machine stopped working last week?)


Posted: September 20th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Sous Chef

Recently Wes has been really interested in meal preparation. Our old house had such a small kitchen that cooking side-by-side was next to impossible. Steven fixes more than his fair share of dinner options for the family, and though Wes would try to sneak a peek at what he was doing, that kitchen didn’t allow for him to get up close and “help” make dinner.

Now that we have a much larger kitchen by comparison, there’s really no excuse to redirect Wes’ attention. It doesn’t bother me that he wants to check on food in the oven or watch us brown ground beef on the stovetop. And just this past week, Wes has become more vocal about his interests.

“Can I help you, Mama?”

How can you turn that down? I quickly came up with a few side options that he could help me prepare. Our first attempt to fix something from start to finish together (I mean, occasionally he’s helped me dump in flour or other recipe ingredients, but usually holds short-lived interest) was mac n’ cheese from a box.

Waiting for the water to boil was the hardest part. He grabbed a chair to stand next to me and threw in the butter, milk and faux, powdered cheese. As he stirred the pot, squeals of joy and grunts of satisfaction came out of his mouth.

“I’m gonna eat all my mac n’ cheese gone! Daddy! Come quick! Look at what me and Mama made!”


So proud. And did you catch those amazing aprons?! The matching adult apron says “Head Chef.” They were a Father’s Day present for Steven this year, who truly is Head Chef in the kitchen. He nearly orders me to sit when he prepares a meal.

This past weekend was a flurry of birthday parties, cake and sugar rushes. We had to cut out early from yesterday afternoon’s party, and Wes had a meltdown in the car because he didn’t get a piece of Levon’s birthday cake. I felt awful because I mistakenly didn’t give him a 2-minute heads up before we left, which better helps him navigate the leaving-whatever-I’m-currently-doing process. In other words, it prevents a meltdown.

I made a deal in the car: if he actually slept during rest time (which is a whole ‘nuther subject – this outgrowing of naps before he’s ready to outgrow them), I’d make a cake to eat after dinner. He held up his end of the bargain and took a solid gold nap.


After some serious snuggling, Wes declared that he’d like to help me make the cake. He pulled up a chair next to the counter, clamored up close to me and did a very decent job of dumping ingredients, stirring and holding the hand mixer. We even made homemade frosting, which was a messy, yummy task! I think I was redeemed from my earlier mistake.

Because of the last few successes, I decided to pull out a Mommy & Me cookbook given to me as a hand-me-down from a friend. While on the drive home from school, I asked Wes if he’d like to help me make dinner tonight, and his excitement was adorable.

The recipes in this book are totally unhealthy and full of canned and preserved ingredients, but it sure was fun to spend 20 minutes prepping food with Wesley this evening. And cheesy tater tots never taste bad.

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Posted: August 31st, 2015
Categories: Leah
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(500) Seconds* of Summer

*8.3333 minutes

I’d love to say that we spent a fantastic summer visiting the beach or picking up new hobbies. But truthfully, it’s been a hot mess. That’s not to say we haven’t enjoyed family time, birthdays, anniversaries or our home adjustment. I just feel like I blinked (or sweat) it all away.

Here’s the last 6 weeks in a nutshell.

Wesley’s birthday:
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T-Ball practices:
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Painting the Dining Room, Entry and Stairwell:
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See those frames in the dining room? To remember our first home, I pressed and framed a few clippings from our former garden.

Multiple trips to home improvement stores:

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Indiana State Fair:

Visiting family:
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Lots of grandparents and cousins and Grandma’s new condo pool.

8th Wedding Anniversary (on the same day we sold/closed on the old house):
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Fondue takes forever to eat, especially after a long and draining day of house closing.

Family time:
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Wes made mac n’ cheese! He learned chess! (Look at that crazy wall in the background before it was painted!) Jake loves sitting at the dinner table, and that might be my favorite photo of the summer! Ice cream for ages!

Lounging, in between everything else:
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Summer Projects:
List old house on the market
Stage old house for showings

Old house upkeep and maintenance
Repair rear fence (TABLED: Maybe it’s a spring project…)
Remove wallpaper: Entry/Stairwell

Remove wallpaper: Family Room
Remove wallpaper: Dining Room – in progress
Remove wallpaper: 1/2 Bath (TABLED: Steven has hinted enough that he actually likes the wallpaper!)
Remove wallpaper: 3rd Bedroom – in progress
Weeding & landscaping – in progress
Paint grout in entry
Paint: Master + Bath, Entry/Stairwell, Dining Room, Family Room
Buy dehumidifier for basement
Additional runner for upstairs hallway
Sofa slipcover in Living Room (TABLED: I’ve had enough people tell me it’s endearing to see Grandma’s old sleeper sofa in all its 1995 patterned glory. It will stay for now.)
Replace entry light fixture
Replace toilet seat in Master Bath
Remove bee nests on front porch
Poison ivy removal
Recover kitchen banquettes

Here’s what I’ve learned this summer:
1) I wore my hair in a ponytail every day.
2) I am spoiled to think that a vacation=summer. Look what fun we did have!
3) I miss painting canvases. A few times I was able to tear myself away from “being productive” and have started a different sort of anniversary collage painting.
4) I underestimated our ability to pack up and move on so smoothly. No, not that it wasn’t hard to physically move and get settled, but we haven’t been sappy or remorseful over our decisions.

And now, look at this giant boy who started PreK-4! Trudging onward.

Posted: August 28th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Week Two

IMG_1240Last Monday, we put our house on the market. Our realtors are a husband-wife team my parents’ age, and they sold our neighbor’s house 3 years ago within 2 weeks. They are no-nonsense, and we like that. They told us what to expect and what not to expect, gave a few pointers on what we should do rather quickly to the old house, took some photos and listed it that same day.

While we were taking family photos outside by the for sale sign, several neighbors and passersby asked questions about the house, complimented our front garden bed and wished us well. I’m hoping that’s a good sign that we will have several inquiries and showings! I did hear today that we indeed had a showing on Wednesday, and while their only complaint was the small dining room, it was enough for them to keep looking at other properties. Can’t really do anything to change that; we “survived” 8 years with it!

The week itself was fairly uneventful because it rained ALL THE TIME. Wes has been super antsy and cabin feverish from the weather, making up new words to songs, “Rain, rain, go away. Don’t ever come back!”

If you ask Wes about the new house, his response is nearly always about the garage doors. He is fascinated with them. The conservation goes something like this: “We have a loud and a quiet garage door at the new house. The garage doors are blue. The quiet one isn’t as fast as the loud one. And the loud one is really, really loud!” Uh huh.

Outside of getting connected with internet again (it was dreadfully painful without it!), we unpacked boxes, tried pieces of furniture in different rooms, and I researched kitchen breakfast nooks. Note: Amish-made breakfast nooks are the best quality, but they’re pricey. You can find cheap particle board sets within $300-500 online, but luckily I scored a used (and weathered) L-shaped bench/banquette on Craigslist. The seats desperately need to be recovered, as if I don’t have enough projects!

Ballard Designs Coventry Corner Bench: We actually placed it into the opposite corner after trying it out for a day

Ballard Designs Coventry Corner Bench: We moved it into the opposite corner after this photo was taken, and it looks much better. Maybe I won’t be lazy and will post the updated look later.

We spent much of the weekend attempting yardwork once it finally ceased to rain. All this precipitation has made the weed population go crazy over here. I spent four hours weeding out the front beds of approximately 30 square feet and nearly another hour clearing out random weeds, trees and other plants that have popped out of the lovely English Ivy in the side yard.

Steven has cut the lawn twice now, which is nearly triple the size of our past yard. Wes was so excited to cut grass with Daddy at the new house, but he didn’t quite keep up – he came in drenching in sweat, hair matted to his head, and out of breath – “I think I’m done.”

Probably the most worrisome project is problematic poison ivy and night shade. The night shade is actually pretty easy to pull, but it’s creeping up everywhere, and it makes me nervous that the dogs and Wes are so close to it. Yesterday evening, I attempted to pull as much poison ivy out of our back side garden. There are three more bad areas in the yard that I am well aware of, and I’m afraid I’m likely to miss a bunch.

IMG_1251Rachel came over on Saturday, and she helped ease some of my anxiety about paint swatches, project priorities and time frames. She suggested we place all the unhung decor and unpacked boxes in the unused guest room so that I can’t see “unfinished projects.” Decor is the LAST thing to accomplish, and it’s been stressing me out that we don’t have things on the walls. Rachel also helped take down window treatments to allow more light into the house, and we even attempted the dining room wallpaper! I also have to give a shout out to her husband Nate for hauling the kitchen nook across town for me. :)

My plan was to use my PTO day today to finish removing the dining room wallpaper and clear out more poison ivy. I was able to spray weed killer and get halfway through the dining room before a massive storm hit and wiped out our power for 4 hours. Wes decided to stay home with me today, so we hunkered down in the basement with candles and tried to fight our boredom until the sun came out and the lights came on. Way harder than it sounds!

Summer Projects:
List old house on the market
Stage old house for showings – in progress
Old house upkeep and maintenance – ongoing
Repair rear fence
Remove wallpaper: Entry/Stairwell

Remove wallpaper: Family Room
Remove wallpaper: Dining Room – in progress
Remove wallpaper: 1/2 Bath
Remove wallpaper: 3rd Bedroom
Weeding & landscaping – in progress
Paint grout in entry
Paint: Master + Bath, Entry/Stairwell, Dining Room, Family Room (retouch & trim)
Buy dehumidifier for basement
Additional runner for upstairs hallway
Sofa slipcover in Living Room (original purchase looked terrible this week)
Replace entry light fixture
Replace toilet seat in Master Bath
Remove bee nests on front porch
Poison ivy removal – in progress
Recover kitchen banquettes

In other news, WES TURNS FOUR THIS WEEK. In fact, today is my original due date. We’re having our first company over on Saturday to celebrate. We’ll see how I do!

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Posted: July 13th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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Moving Update: Week One


Moving break: Celebrating the Fourth in Troy, Ohio

We made it. Both families are now moved in: Mom & Dad at their new condo, and our little family in their former house. I’ve had several people ask how it feels to “come back home.” It’s strange, not gonna lie. But wouldn’t it be strange to live in ANY new house? I sometimes find myself unconsciously heading toward my old bedroom (which, ironically, Wes chose for himself) once I’m at the top of the stairs. I keep opening the pantry to throw things in the trash, only to remember that I have put the trashcan next to the cabinet – not where Mom used to keep it.

It still sorta feels like my parents’ house, but our stuff is everywhere – though, much of it still in boxes. It’s slowly becoming ours, and the dogs are getting accustomed to the new smells, the familiar ones and the big backyard. Mom and Dad are getting used to their new digs as well, and they think it’s fun to see what we’re doing to give the house a Shattuck-over.

Because they have spent the last 8 years living and upgrading their lake house, this house has several home improvement needs that we’re tackling slowly. I know there’s not much urgency to complete everything this summer, but we have two back-to-back weekend parties at our house, starting THIS FRIDAY (aack! I planned it before we knew we were moving!), and the freak-out hostess in me thinks more needs to be done by then.

Summer Projects:
List old house on the market
Repair rear fence
Remove wallpaper: Entry/Stairwell

Remove wallpaper: Family Room
Remove wallpaper: Dining Room
Remove wallpaper: 1/2 Bath
Remove wallpaper: 3rd Bedroom
Weeding & landscaping
Paint grout in entry
Paint: Master + Bath, Entry/Stairwell, Dining Room, Family Room (retouch & trim)
Buy dehumidifier for basement
Additional runner for upstairs hallway
Sofa slipcover in Living Room
Replace entry light fixture
Replace toilet seat in Master Bath

We’re meeting with our realtors this evening to talk about needs before listing our old house. While there, I’m planning to snag a few of our plants grown sentimental to us and introduce them to our new home. We’ll also need to leave our mark in the basement like the owners before us: the two previous families hung a wooden name plaque including their live-in years. I think that’s when the last week’s worth of bottled-up emotions will spill out in a soppy mess.

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Posted: July 6th, 2015
Categories: Leah
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