Coffee Break #35
Happy September, friends! What a difference a few months make! As opposed to when I wrote my July Coffee Break (when I was down, anxious, and thoroughly overwhelmed), I’m now (mostly) settled into our new home, all three of my kids are off at full time school/care, and I am back in my happy place…either behind my Cricut machine, with a paint brush in my hand, or sitting here typing to you! Our fresh start and our North Carolina life have finally, officially begun; and I’m so thankful to be bringing you a more upbeat, cheerful monthly update this time around! So if you too finally have some extra quiet time in your home, grab a cup of Joe and your favorite snack, and let’s catch up on life behind-the-blog.
No Back-to-School Blues Here
A few weeks ago, all three of my boys started school on the exact same day. Well…my two big boys went off to school and my 3 year old went off to full-time “Three-School” at the on-base childcare. The day was filled with anxiety, excitement, and (thankfully!) lots of smiles for them…but it was a really big day for me too. Because while they were there at school…learning, playing, and having fun…I was at home…alone…being productive…and feeling more whole than I have in a really long time.
Over 11 years ago, I started my life as a stay at home Mom when my first son was born. Shortly after, I started this blog simply as a hobby and creative outlet. But over time, the blog grew and evolved until I was a full-fledge work-at-home Mom. But working during naps, nights, weekends, and/or with kids underfoot was never really the “plan.” And over time, what started out as convenient and do-able became stressful and downright frazzling. I joked that I needed childcare just to do the side hustle I started while being home with my kids.
All kidding aside, in recent years I (slowly) started to acknowledge that I was ready to be “back to work” in a full-time capacity, not just as I could “fit it in” or “make it work.” Never in a million years did I anticipate that I would put my child in childcare just so I could work on my blog. But here I am; and I can’t deny that it feels really good to have my space, my time, and my life back to myself…just a little bit.
I will admit…the quiet (and clean!) house is a little strange…okay, it’s very strange. And I’m still re-training myself that I no longer have to scramble to answer emails before the 22 minute episode finishes or burn the midnight oil just to get my next post out. Navigating this new life feels a bit like putting on old jeans that finally fit again or driving down your childhood street, knowing exactly where to turn even though you haven’t done it for ages.
While I am thankful I could be home with my children for the last 11 years, I’m also starting this new chapter with clear eyes, immense relief, and a very contented heart.
What I’ve (Mostly) Been Doing In Our New Home
Earlier this week, I finally revealed the “Before Tour” of our North Carolina home (if you didn’t see it, catch up HERE). In the seemingly 1 million photos I captured of our new home, there is one detail that may have largely slipped your notice. In fact, it went unnoticed by me too. Until I saw it. And then I couldn’t un-see it.
When I said “the entire house” was freshly painted between residents…I didn’t quite highlight that…literally…the entire house…was taped off and sprayed the exact same color. Walls yes. But also all the trim, baseboards, chair rail, window frames, ceilings, doors, shelving.
Every surface (besides the floors and kitchen/bathroom cabinets) is the exact same color. So all that beautiful moulding, all those gorgeous architectural details…like the bookcases and the mantel and the chair-rail…aren’t in fact bright glossy white. They are all instead the same dull, yellow-ish monochromatic white that is base housing blah.
I’m fairly certain that if 100 different families were to move into this house, not one of the 100 would care that everything is the same color. But guess who cares. Guess who cares a lot. Guess who complained about it so much the first week of living here that her husband went out and bought 2 gallons of bright white, semi-gloss trim paint. And guess who is now spending every waking moment painting all the trim in this traditional house back to a gorgeous bright white.
Her name begins with M and it rhymes with ‘egan.’ No, she doesn’t really have time for painting trim. And yes, she’s crazy.
Remember back to our California home? When all I could talk about what how brown it was? For three years, I tried to get over it. But all I could see was the walls, the carpet, the tile flooring, and the cabinets that were brown, brown, and browny brown brown brown. I had such a hard time moving past it and decorating around it.
I feel like the monochromatic trim is this home’s version of the California home’s brown. It’s something that just has me frustrated and preoccupied. Especially since there are homes to my right, left, diagonals, and back..all with the same floorplan….that DO have bright white trim. At least this time…it’s within my power to change it. And little by little, change it, I will.
I’ll commit right now to not complain about my beige-y, ugly, dull trim perpetually over the next two years. I promise. Because it’s small potatoes in the grand scheme of this beautiful house. But it is going to come up every now and then…and I will be sharing what I learn along the way. It’s definitely been an interesting (albeit time consuming) task to embark on, having impacts I didn’t quite anticipate (both good and bad). But I’ve got four rooms done…so there is no turning back now. Anyone want to come help?
My Favorite New-Home Finds
When you move into a new home, there are always new things to buy like a trash can for a really particular spot, a different-sized drawer organizer, or a tool you need to complete a random job (like painting trim!) We’ve done our fair share of new-home purchasing over the last few months and have stumbled upon some things I’m flat out obsessed with. Like…”where have these been all my life” obsessed. Here are my fav finds so far:
- Marble Spoon Rest – We have a new microwave/coffee station setup that is farther away from the sink than in our last home. As such, our spoons (for stirring) had no where to land besides right on the counter. On a whim, I checked Target while I was there for school supplies and found this gorgeous spoon rest. It’s understated and classy and totally functional. To say I’m delighting in its sophisticated simplicity would be an understatement!
- Expandable Garden Hose – I didn’t really know what I was buying when I purchased this hose…I pretty much just saw all the 5 star reviews and threw it in my cart. But this thing is amazing. If you’ve never seen one in action, it’s a little hard to explain. The hose, when not filled with water, is small, pliable, and SO easy to wrap up. But it lengthens when you turn the water on, reaching the 50+ feet to wherever you need it. I love how easy it is to pull out and (more importantly) coil back up (no more wrestling an unwieldy rubber snake!) I’ve never been more fascinated by a home item in my life!
- Gorilla Grip Bath Mats – We had these in our last home and they somehow went missing during transit (we think we are missing one or two boxes). I hastily re-bought them because we love how durable they are and how well they wash!
- Mattress-In-a-Box & Boxsprings in a Box – Raise your hand if you hate shopping for mattresses. Me too! And with so much to do when moving into a new home, I didn’t have it in me to shlep the whole family off to the mattress store. Much less strap all the big things to our car roof. So I took a gamble and bought our little boys’ twin mattresses (and boxsprings) from Amazon…the ones that come in a box and expand after you unwrap them. I’ll probably do a whole post on them because it was a really fascinating experience that you kind of have to see to believe. But I will say this for now: we love these new mattresses, and the hassle-free experience was totally worth the risk!
- The Cozy Minimalist – Okay, I didn’t just buy this…but I did just pick it off my shelf to re-read in the last week. And I have to say, it’s speaking to my soul more than ever. Having just shlepped a bunch of stuff from Virginia to North Carolina, only to turn around and purge/sell a lot of it, to then buy new stuff for our home that we “need,” I’m (yet again) thinking about the role of stuff in my life and how to balance my love for decor with a desire for tidy spaces (and an easier moving experience). My favorite quote so far: “Less stuff not only simplifies my home, it simplifies my life.” I’m starting to think this one might need to be annual reading for me.
Okay – finally…we’ve been in our new home for about 6 weeks or so and we’ve knocked out some really big-impact projects. I’m not quite ready to share everything just yet, but here are a few sneak peeks of what’s coming to the blog soon!
That’s about it for this month, thanks for catching up with me! How are things where you are?!?