Sunday, March 2, 2014

My brown Kitchen

This is a random post I should probably save for our anniversary but when I get an idea for a post I just go with it.  Maybe I will re-post it for our anniversary.

Weddings are wonderful for many reasons.  Love, family, celebration.  But on the practical side, they are great for setting up homemaking.  It would have been a challenge for John and I to buy everything we needed in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and general home decor. With a wedding and a couple showers we had everything we needed and more.  Many of our wedding gifts have long been used up, worn out, broken or gone out of fashion and left the behind.  We have slowly replaced bedding, towels, dishes, knives, utensils, candle holders, etc over the years.  However, as I wander our home I find a few treasures still here from that outpouring of love from family and friends on our special day.

I didn't pull out every single thing but you get the idea.  Pyrex lives forever, mixing bowls, cake pans of every size and pie plates continue to serve us well.  Almost all of them were clear.  You will also note the Chicago cutlery knife and sharpener (no that knife is not sharp anymore) and the brown visionware spoon that went with the brown visionware pots and pans we registered for.

The formal stuff.  I still love my china and yes indeed I do still keep the relish tray in its original box.  That crystal pitcher is so heavy you couldn't lift it to pour if you added water so it gets used mainly for flowers.

We had 2 precious ring bearers who gave us this after the rehearsal.  Reminds us 23 years later we can always be on our honeymoon.

When we were at Dayton's registering for our wedding we found ourselves unprepared for setting up a home.  Of course we didn't ask for help, we were determined to be independent and do everything ourselves as our own new little family rather than let our parents influence our decision.  Besides, what could they possibly know about buying new home stuff?  Their homes were full of old stuff.  We were going to be modern, not old fashioned.  Except of course we had no idea what that meant.

You know how some little girls play house and imagine what their future home will look like?  You know how as they grow up they dream of getting married and having a home of their own?  You know how they might have started with a decorating plan for their room?  My sister-in-law had already started collecting her wedding flatware and another friend had bought a set of dishes.  You know how girls are like that?  I wasn't that girl.  I should have been voted most unlikely to marry at 19.

I had literally never given any thought to getting married or how my future home would look or be decorated.  Not that I didn't want a decorated home but I had just never thought about to how you put everything together.  And, as you can imagine, neither had John.

So there we were wandering around Dayton's trying to figure out what we needed for the rest of our lives.  From a practical standpoint we were able to write down baking pans, measuring cups, mixing bowls, etc.  Back then they didn't have a scanning gun that let you chose the exact mixing bowl you wanted just the general category.  Then the tricky part came in, you wrote down your decorating scheme.  What are your colors?  Because of John's sister getting married the year before us and not getting any towels the color they registered for we happened to have given some thought to this one question.  Burgundy, black and gray towels came to us in many brands and shades.  Then we got to the kitchen.  What are your kitchen colors?  And I am sort of thinking, "kitchens have colors?"  At the time John was living in an apartment with bright salmon colored countertops that should have seen the end of their useful life a few years before.  I didn't know much but I knew I wasn't going to decorate around that color. Having absolutely no idea what to put down we finally wrote down "earth tones" thinking that means neutral and we can then put with whatever color we do eventually decide on.

Luckily most people decided against giving us kitchen things with a color because it became clear what a mistake it was when I started opening earth toned gifts.  Brown towels and potholders.  And a set of mixing bowls that were Orange, green and yellow.

 23 years later I am still using the ugliest thing we got for our wedding.

The Orange and Green have broke but the yellow bowl lives on.

In the following years as other friends got married it quickly became apparent to me that they all understood something about decorating and setting up a home that I had totally missed when doing my wedding registry.  The hottest look in kitchens at that time was bright white kitchens with cobalt blue accents. I never could work my brown towels and orange mixing bowl into that particular trend.  Over the years many kitchen color schemes have come and gone, our earth tones even had their day in the sun.  But I still look back and laugh about getting brown kitchen towels for my wedding.

I don't know if it is simply irony or if that experience actually played a role in determining our life work. John proceeded to go to school for home design and we ran a business in which knowing all the latest design and decorating trends, especially for kitchens was a vital aspect of our success.  People now come to us for advice on designing and decorating their homes.  We've come a long way from those two clueless kids sitting on the floor of Dayton's filling out a registry.

In case your are wondering what I dream of these days I thought I would put a few items from my pintrest page on for your viewing pleasure.

gray cabinetry, stripe tile detail
I do have a master bath that needs re-doing and this would look great in there.

Contemporary Kitchens, Integrated Appliances, Bench tops and Soft Closing Doors, Impala Kitchens and Bathrooms
Our new kitchen is a little more contemporary with gloss white cabinets and black appliances.  Would love to replace our carpet with dark wood floors.  Haven't decided yet if I want to do dark countertops though.  That sounds a little high maintenance.  Age has taught me to consider both design and function.

Small Bedroom Interior Design - Interior Design for Small Space
Isabelle's room would look great like this.  Although her and John and plotting to build a loft bed...

Laundry Room
We have identified a corner of our dining room where we are going to build a closet with a laundry room behind it.  I love being able to visualize.  Also, love the black laquered doors they put on this.  I just saw black doors in an older home that had been remodeled to have a more contemporary design and it was fabulous.  Keep the trim white and just paint the doors.  Sounds crazy but totally works.

The other day I was talking to a girlfriend, one that thought a lot about her future home growing up.  She finally says, "I have to go, Lottie and I are re-wallpapering a room in her doll house."  I started to laugh.  Her 6 year old was already preparing for her future home.  I think I see a decorating project for Isabelle and I in the future.  I wouldn't want her to end up with brown dish towels.  Unless of course that is the current trend.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Embracing the Path Before Us

When Jake was 4 years old we made a decision.  We had been trying unsuccessfully to give him a sibling for 3 years and finally hit a wall.  While we hadn't exhausted every medical option that existed, we had exhausted every option financially available to us at that time. So with reality smacking us in the face we looked at God, acknowledged the path he had put us on and began to celebrate it.  God gave us one child.  A great child.  A child we adored.  If we were to be the parents of an only child we would embrace this path with gusto!

One of the first things we did was get a family picture taken.  We had gotten one taken when Jake was about 15 months but I had put off updating it since then because we were about to get pregnant and have another so I might as well wait until then.  Why waste money on a photo of the family that will be obsolete so quickly?  In an effort to put action to our resolve we went out and had family pictures taken.

(I would scan in that picture here but I am too lazy.  I will just tell you it is adorable and we all look young, fresh and energetic.)

You don't always realize how you are putting your life on hold waiting for something until you let go and stop waiting.  In the back of my mind I had avoided a significant vacation because our family wasn't complete.  I wanted our whole family to experience the world with us.  So we headed to Disneyland the following year. The truth is that we don't really travel all that much, not that we wouldn't like to but we just have never prioritized our money that way, so the next time we took a trip of any significance was almost 10 years later when we went to Kenya, but that Disney trip was a huge symbolic step to embracing and celebrating the path God had put us on.

With this appreciation of God's guiding in our life we have more quickly embraced the road blocks and changes that have come our way over the years.  Not seamlessly, not perfectly, our will still conflicts at times with God's plans and I do still fight it at times.  But we have learned to live our life amidst whatever reality is before us.

This past fall as we were house hunting for this downsized home we got to embrace a reality we hadn't expected to experience quite so soon.  Jake being gone.  When we started house hunting we were looking for 3 bedrooms expecting Jake to still have seasons at home with us.  But by fall he had joined the army and decided to marry.  Both those actions guaranteed he would not need a bedroom in our home again.  Moving our sights to a 2 bedroom gave us the option of prioritizing the needs of the child we still have at home and finding the perfect fit for our family.  Embracing the stage of parenting we are in now.

At Jake's wedding I returned to the symbolic action I first took when we embraced him as an only child, the family picture.  Our family has changed, in a variety of ways, and we now need 4 family pictures to represent who we are today.  We captured that change in the moment it happened.

A family of 3 once again embracing the only child lifestyle.

A new family created.

A wedding is a place where a family both multiplies and divides.

That only child God gave us has grown to become 3 beautiful children for us to love.

How are you embracing he path God has set before you?