Friday, January 27, 2023

Late January Update: Mostly House Stuff

Keeping up with my early and mid-month themes so far this year, I will attempt to close out the month with a post as well! I have already made our traditional Friday night pizza dough and it's rising in the oven, so I'm taking these minutes back while the girls are getting their hairs cut in the kitchen (the proliferation of the mobile hair stylist is one of my favorite post-Covid advancements).
Diving in - our gameroom sectional got kind of delivered today! Two of the three pieces were supposed to come, but one of them was wrong (it's a sectional, it seems obvious we'd want all pieces to be the same color and fabric), and the other is supposed to be delivered next Wednesday. Someday perhaps we'll have all three pieces in the same color and same fabric and that will be very exciting. But for now, the one piece is more seating than we had in that room and it's very soft and pretty and the cats have already approved it.
In the last two weeks other new items have also appeared!
Our entryway chandelier, which I love very much and will look VERY beautiful with the dark teal credenza we ordered and will maybe finally receive in February. It's a statement piece and it is not made of glass like the original fixture that came with the house, which James and Landon broke four pieces of almost immediately by playing sword fights with curtain rod boxes.
The curtains for our bedroom also came! We now have translucent screens for during the day and blackout drapes at night. Finally no more heavy dark gray, and yes to all the gorgeous plaid flannel wool.
The whole room just makes my heart rate slow and my body feel safe and cozy and happy. After 18 years of marriage and general adulthood, 6 moves, 2 apartments, 4 houses, 6+ job changes, 3 kids, and a constantly evolving style and I feel like this is the room that fits us exactly right now. It makes me so happy to be in it.
Somewhere else that makes me happy- my completed office!! Which is good, because I spend more awake time in there than my beautiful bedroom.
It's 90% done- the shelves need to be styled, but functionally and aesthetically it is finished and beautiful and comfortable and chic and I love it so very very much.
This was the room we changed the most. When we bought the house it was painted entirely dark gray, from ceiling to trim to doors, curtains, and light switches. We took it back to white, had the built-ins painted a beautiful green, added custom black-out shades for guests, and gorgeous velvet curtains I fell in love with and designed the whole room around. The rug is from the Fort Worth house, as is the desk and couch that pulls out to a decently comfortable queen sized bed.
The desk chair, coffee table, and side table are new and make the room look luxe and complete to me. I also found the chandelier on Facebook Marketplace for $50 and even though I told myself I could live with the old one, this is SO MUCH BETTER and the used nature makes me feel good. The closet in the room is HUGE and now holds all our skiing and hiking clothes, shoes, and gear, plus our memory bins, extra storage items, a standing fan I got for when my parents stay here, and about 65 other things. There is a full bathroom directly across from the study and a pocket door you can close to close the study and bathroom together in their own little hallway. It works out great. We really didn't need a dedicated guest room, and with Landon leaving for college in 3.5 years (sob) the last thing I wanted was more empty rooms.
I love the gameroom over the garage which gives the kids a big room to play in when they have friends over. It's the Texas equivalent of the basements we don't have. The gameroom is the last truly unfinished room because we're waiting on a carpenter to finish building a bookcase for the back wall which will let me unpack our final boxes - all of books - and get the room settled. Well that and the missing 2/3 of the couch. For now we use it mostly for ping pong but we play ping pong quite a lot.
I'm almost even getting good at it, though Cora gets more style points for her facial expression and tongue involvement.
And finally, I've been matching our new livingroom couch throw pillows to the cat, which I've been told is the highest form of high style.
For those who are not as obsessed with HGTV and getting looks into other people's houses as I am, I have do have other news and updates. I spent part of last week in Washington, DC, speaking at a Women Corporate Director's event that was fabulous. This week I was in Houston for an event after the ACI FCPA conference and then a CLE we hosted and broadcast from our Houston office. I got to talk SEC Updates to a couple hundred people while wearing leopard print shoes to jazz up the subject matter.
The children are also doing things, though as they get older I find I naturally include them less in my narratives and I have no pictures of them because they go on most of their life adventures without me present. In my favorite news of the week, Landon asked out his first girlfriend and I'm driving them to play minigolf on Sunday which is the freaking cutest thing that's ever happened and I screenshot his texts where he told me about it and I am lovingly pasting them in his baby book.
He also swam at Districts, won the 100 fly by a whole lot, won with both his relays and set new school records, and got 3rd in the 100 back and he is very excited about Regionals next weekend.
My parents were there to cheer him on. And after 4 hours of a long hot swim meet they were rewarded with a double-header of basketball games for this girl who scored her first basket and generally did GREAT.
She also moved up in gymnastics and acted in her first school play where she was a snow leopard with one line which she said with great volume and gusto.
Yesterday was Maggie's 4 year adoptiversary. It is so hard to believe we've had her for four whole years. I feel so lucky to get to give her the life of luxury she so deeply deserves after her horrific start at life.
We finally uncovered her raincoat in the boxes in the gameroom and she is SO relieved to not have to get her sweet velvet-y head wet anymore when it rains. It was hard on all of us for a while there.
It's been chilly and rainy, so when not covered in my own raincoat, I've been trying out a preppy slouchy kind of style with wool pants and sweater vests. I haven't bought any clothes for a while. I've decided I have to wear every outfit Bonnie made me, and any other item I bought last year, before I get anything new. Unsubscribing to store emails and being intentional and creative with my ensembles has been fun.
It's now 9:30 pm and the kids are in bed, James has a meet tomorrow, I'm caught up on emails, and Milo would like everyone to be quiet because he only got 20 hours of sleep so far today.
(And yes, he's still on his diet. It's going great and he hates it.)
My goal is to post again before the end of the month. I have so many thoughts that pop into my head during the day and there's never time to capture all the magic and mischief of this time in our lives. I ran into someone in Houston who has a friend who reads my blog. She was so excited to "meet" me through her and I just wanted to say hi to all of you, thank you so much for reading, especially now that I post so rarely and they're always some collection of "here's what just happened and also what's on my phone." Even these make me so happy to re-read later on, so thank for making me feel like I'm talking to someone and giving me the impetus to write. Happy Friday to you all!

Monday, January 16, 2023


Happy 2023! We're 16 days in already and the last piece of our beautiful coral velvet sectional that will go in the gameroom is supposed to be complete in "mid January" and I feel like that is now and yet apparently it is not.
On the upside, many other things have been delivered and it remains the longest Christmas ever around here with boxes still arriving at a regular, if slower, pace. Like the ping pong table above, which has been played on every day for two weeks, including before school and very late at night. It will be moved further back in the room once the couch arrives, but so far it's the kids' favorite piece of furniture.
We received Claire's bed after Christmas. She is very excited to finally no longer be sleeping on her mattress on the floor. Her nighstand comes tomorrow, her desk on Thursday, and then she's done! The last two pieces of bedroom furniture still missing in all four bedrooms. It's a very exciting time.
Maggie got a new room of her very own. We felt that since the other children were getting one, she should too. She really likes it.
We also got our beautiful new coffee table, which I love VERY much. It was one thing James picked out for the house all on his own, after not liking the options I presented, and it is perfect.
On a related note, I have been looking for 3 months for a big piece of art to go in the living room. I wanted something substantive- the wall is really big, and I didn't want another collage or multi-piece set. I also wanted something that went with the colors we had chosen for the room, but also added to them. James wanted texture- he likes things that were actually painted- and I wanted a canvas, no frame. I had poured over Etsy and other art sites, but it's so hard to commit to something more than 7-feet long without seeing it in person. It's also hard to commit when the unstretched canvases are close to $1,000 and I don't even know if it's perfect yet. And so I continued to look.

But then, during a random drop-in at Homegoods in search of throw pillows, I came upon this beautiful gigantic piece. Nearly 8 feet long, 5 feet tall, it was EXACTLY what I wanted. I bought it immediately, for $299, and wheeled it out to my car where it was immediately clear it had on chance of fitting inside (spacial reasoning is not my thing). I asked them to hold it, drove home, got James's car and a very enthusiastic teenage Landon to help me, and after folding down every seat just baaaaaarely fit it in.
I love it with my whole heart. Someday I would love to find an artist to commission a custom piece, or come upon something beautiful in a Dallas gallery, but for the next many years, this will be perfect.
Our new couch was delivered last week, after we expected it to arrive in March, so that was very exciting! I love the beautiful curved lines, though sadly, I hated the back half pillow thing that made the couch not deep enough for me to sit cross-legged while I type on my laptop and being able to sit cross-legged while I type is very important to me.
It's a custom piece, so non-returnable. I decided to address the issue by removing the long lumbar pillow and add throw pillows and now it is perfect. This is a relief because making a purchasing mistake I can't undo is a personal nightmare of mine.
The kids and cats like it very much and I can now sit on it in my preferred style, so crisis averted.
The kids went back to school, and I went back to work in person, last week.
It made everyone a little cranky by Friday morning's wakeup call, but I did have fun putting on makeup and drying my hair for the first time since Christmas Eve. I continue to love my outfits from Bonnie and take pictures each morning to send my mom.
After 5 days of pre-6 am wakeup calls, we were grateful for the 3-day weekend to recharge.
Recharge and do more home decor projects. James loves how every weekend provides us with more opportunities to bond over installing something in the house.
Like new curtain rods! The ones from the old owners were simply too short (why would you only frame the actual window in an inset window nook?) and while I tried to make them work, I couldn't, and so- this weekend's project! Or one of them anyway. I also ordered another set of the same curtains so now they look plush and full and make me very happy.
We also got gas logs put in the fireplace and Maggie is even more pleased than I am.
I've realized that as the kids have gotten older I have fewer and fewer pictures of them in my photo roll. The last two weeks have been full of things- friends, sleepovers, parties, sports, general teenage shenanigans, and yet, the only pictures I have are of Cora, because she is the only one generally still stuck with us much of the time.
She thrives in her only childhood status, which is good since she'll be one for all of her high school years, which blows my mind every time I think about it. For now she is the only one left who still shows pure undiluted joy everytime she realizes I'm home. I worked from home on Friday and when she came in the door (she walks home by herself, and feels quite strongly about doing so) and realized I was in the study she yelled, "MOM! You're HERE! I LOVE THAT HAPPENS!"
I do too.

One of my very best childhood friends came to visit me on Saturday. She and her husband were in town for a wedding and I made them lunch and then hung out with her for a few hours while he went back downtown to fulfill his groomsman duties. It was an absolutely lovely visit. We've been friends since early elementary school- since at least 3rd grade, which is the one Cora is in now. I love thinking about that.

Megan has two kids, ages 6 and 2, and it struck me over and over what a different phase of parenting life I'm in.

And I love the big kid phase of life. It is WAY less physically demanding. I say things to James like, "oh I'm going to Miami for 3 days next week" and he's like "okay." We don't check each other's workout schedules or coordinate when each of us will be going up and down the driveway to ensure kid coverage at all times. We run errands together when we feel like it, grab a mid-week dinner date when we want one, and generally live lives dictated by our own wants and needs as much as the kids. (Assuming of course that we generally WANT to be with the kids, which we do.) When we all hang out together, we can watch movies we enjoy, play card games that our cutthroat and competitive, and plan big trips together where everyone does research and contributes ideas and recommendations. They do substantive chores, genuinely help the house run, and together with James, form my very favorite group of people. I love it.

However, there is quite a lot we miss about having toddlers. One that I didn't anticipate was the hard bedtime. I know bedtime is not like this for some, but for us it was always an absolute hard stop, at a set time, with no fluctuation or parental involvement. "Go to bed." was pretty much the extent of our routine and we were fully off-duty minutes later. I did not realize how much James and I absorbed from those hours that used to exist between "kids in bed" and "parents in bed." Movies, shows, talking, flirting, working- often combinations of 2-3 or more of those options. It was amazing and it is MISSED.

On weekends, Landon often goes to bed later than we do. Claire is supposed to go to bed earlier, but often has follow-ups that extend her awake hours and she's pretty good at regulating her sleep so if she's not tired, she's not tired. Cora is supposed to go to bed at 8:30, but we don't eat dinner until 7:45 when Landon gets home from swimming, so that's a tight deadline we rarely make. Claire goes to bed at 9 during the week and generally makes that and Landon goes to bed around the same time because he has 6 am morning swim practice, but that's often closer to 9:30 and by that point James and I are also heading to bed because we have a kid with 6 am morning swim practice. Claire has had two sleepovers at the house this long-weekend and both times they were up far later than we are and it's just so odd to not be the one who tucks in your house for bed. I also got a text from her at 11 pm asking that we "please not like 'do it' when she can still hear us," so add getting sex-shamed in your own house as a perk of parenting older children. It's back to sneaking around so my parents children won't know. 😂 While thinking about them leaving our nest for college is emotionally devastating (James and I were randomly talking about it last weekend and he suddenly called everyone downstairs and made us play a family card game because he cannot stand it), I suppose there will be some upsides.

And of course I have Maggie who demands almost nothing of me, requires zero rides to the mall, and never sends me late night text messages. It's nice to have someone I still feel in charge of.
And the cats. Not that anyone is really in charge of them, but they're fluffy and comforting and like to help me work.
This was a pretty meandering post, but also captures the last two weeks pretty well. Lots of home updates, kid logistics and teenage admonishment, and pet pictures. On the travel front, I go to DC this week and Houston the week after that. Landon has his big districts swim meet next weekend, which is very exciting because he just got cleared by his orthopedist to swim again. He is also doing his driving lessons with James, challenging everyone to ping pong games, and hogging the cats. Cora is playing basketball and loving it but also missing soccer and doing great at gymnastics. Claire is about to try out for volleyball and spends enough time with friends we now have to have forced family fun time scheduled out on the calendar. The house is coming along beautifully and I love every inch of it more every day that we are here. We have just a few pieces of furniture remaining to be delivered and 3 chandeliers to install and we're done! I'm well into Dry January and have avoided potential pot holes such as a fancy new partner dinner, friend gatherings, and going to my favorite Mexican restaurant that has my favorite frozen margaritas. I appreciate the reset and reframe of when I really enjoy the glass of wine with dinner or cocktail at a work event v. when I'm doing it because of habit or the forum I happen to be in.

And now it's back to hanging curtain rods! (And by "hanging" I mean, reminding James to finish hanging and give him verbal encouragement and feedback along the way.)