some pics. but only some.

Both boys are napping, and I am sitting in quiet. This has not happened for over a week, thanks to the constant buzz of our current happenings. Can I just say: a bit of quiet in the afternoon is really nice.

Especially when the afternoon quiet occurs in a family room with panoramic views. From the comfort of my couch, I see golden fields, woods, farms on the other side of the river, and all of this hemmed in by the distant blue of the Adirondacks.


We’ve made progress, thanks to the cheerful and inspiring help of Liz, Mama, and many others. I finally found my camera, and then couldn’t find the cord thingy that moves pictures from camera to computer, but at last, it’s all in one spot. Now I’ll start putting up pictures. Here is today’s meager offering:

[before: kitchen]

Please note the drapery and wallpaper. A bit dark for my taste, although removing the drapery from these windows feels almost wrong. We’re talking yards and yards and yards of no-expense-spared window dressings. Mrs. Livingston did things right — but more on that another time!

[before: kitchen]

Please note the cupboards above the sink peninsula. That peninsula is not on my list of “things to keep”, but those cupboards literally made me cry. I literally couldn’t bend over the sink without hitting my forehead on them. (I think I’m perhaps a bit taller than this designer’s target demographic?)

before: family room]

Now, this room was built as a sunroom adjacent to the kitchen. It’s accessed by triple french doors, and has three walls of windows. I immediately envisioned a wider opening between the two rooms in order to create a fabulous kitchen/great room. Once again, the wallpaper here is just not doing it for me.

So, where we’re at currently:

[kitchen/family room: during]

With the drapes and the overhead cupboard gone, it’s already well on its way to being the bright, open kitchen I envisioned the first time I stepped into this house. How exciting!

[kitchen/family room: during]

Wallpaper: gone.

(Please note the adorable split-rail fence area, which will one day [read: 20 years from now!] be my dream vegetable garden. Also note the dusting of snow, which does not faze girls like me in the least bit. I’m from around here. Snow in March does not shock me.)

[kitchen/family room: during]

This is where Ryan and I will grow old together. You’re welcome to join us.

[kitchen/family room: during]

This is the view from the windows across from the fireplace, where I’ve put my new cherry drop-leaf table. Many a deer will be spotted from this precise location. (Possibly spotted and shot, if my father has his way. Can’t you just see him sitting at the table, with a cup of steaming tea, a fire blazing, and shotgun in hand, ready to throw open the window and take a shot? That’s city-boy hunting at its best.)

And of course, the most important part: adorable boys.

They like to play in their sunny new family room while I work in the kitchen:

And sometimes they wake up grumpy, but most of the time, this is the sort of company I have early in the morning:

The end.

(For more “before” shots, including our bedroom and Ryan’s office, go here. To keep up with the “during”, subscribe to my flickr stream!)

so far:

— two rooms stripped of paper
— books, toys, and furniture in family room
— kitchen cupboards full and ready for action
many window treatments taken down. oh, what light!
— beautiful corner carved out in front of windows: antique secretary, antique cherry table, a spray of [faux] pussy willow, antique linen placemats, and a fun mix of benches and chairs gathered round
— and many, many boxes emptied.

psalm of the day: 71.

a new day

Monday night, we backed out of our driveway for the last time.

All day we’d been working so hard with the movers to load the truck, keep children out of the way, and then cleaned the house, and finally, packed suitcases with all the leftovers for our flight back east. And life had been that sort of whirlwind for days. I’d been thinking about packing, and about missing friends, and had scarcely spent a minute’s time to realize I was about to leave to many special memories.

I stepped out our front door into the dark night to drop one more stamped envelope into the mail. Lingering traces of afternoon’s warm sun scented the air — a fragrance I suddenly realized I’d grown to love. End-of-day traffic illuminated the street with red and yellow lights, and palm trees waved high above everything else, outline of black against a dusky sky.

This had been Evening for almost three years, and now it is no more.

My head fell upon a sister’s pillow last night, my boys and I nestled safely under a favorite red roof, and my mind wandered to a stuccoed bungalow far away: once home, now empty; once ours, but ours no longer. We lived life there. Baby grew to boy. We became a family of four. I hung diapers on a line hundreds of time; baked hundreds of loaves of bread; paced bedroom floor through long nights of sick babes; cuddled all together for family movie nights; celebrated Easters and Thanksgivings, birthdays and Valentines Days; hosted new faces who became good friends; laughed and cried, fought and made up, loved more and better than before. So much life.

So yes, I feel like I’m leaving part of my heart behind, but that’s not a bad thing: I poured my heart into those three years of living, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Good-bye to a wonderful season of sunshine and amazing coast lines, hip cities and easy suburban living, choo-choo trains and constant air traffic (what the boys will miss!), and regular walks to Trader Joe’s. (I was going to include wonderful new friends in that list, but I’m not saying good-bye to them. I hope they’ll be a part of this next season of life, too!)

And hello to a season yet to unfold — where Evening looks like silver moon on vast fields of snow, a new house awaits us, waiting to be filled with memories of its own, and where we look for God to use us and change us in ways we never expected.