Phone Photo Friday

07/29/2011

If you liked that Curtis Jeré style tree in our hallway, I saw these at Pier 1 recently. I like. HomeGoods often has similar metal wall art trees.


Call #2: Up in the Air

07/28/2011

On Monday we got our second call for a foster care placement. The placement worker left a voicemail for Jason. He called me as soon as his plane was on the ground and he got the message but it was already too late. It was for one little girl. We probably would have said yes. I am at peace about it—I’m believing she ended up in a good home and things turned out the way they were supposed to. But, it’s hard to wrap my brain around it all… one phone call can change everything. Missing a call (by 35 minutes) can change everything.

Instead of going over to a friends house for dinner, cake and a birthday celebration Monday night, I could have been fumbling around with setting up our car seat, running to Kroger for diapers and formula and baby food (and Googling what you can feed a 9 month old), calling my boss to let him know I may or may not be stopping in to the office tomorrow, texting my friends to start praying, calling my mama to say HELP! But tonight that little baby girl will be laying her head down to sleep at another house and I’ll be going about business as usual. Again, I have complete peace about how it all worked out, it’s just strange to think about how differently this week could have turned out. And “business as usual” feels a little lame.

Seeing as we’ve had 2 calls in 5 days, I imagine we’ll get a placement soon. I have a tangle of contrasting emotions: excited, scared, hopeful, sad… It’s beautiful thing, foster parenting, and also a horrible thing. I wish the need for it didn’t exist. I know I’m only seeing and understanding the tip of the iceberg at this point.

One of my co-workers aptly put it in an email the other day, This is truly a unique journey.


House Tour: Hallway & Cloffice

07/27/2011

Hallway

Ah, the hallway. It’s so utilitarian. Attic access in the ceiling. Smoke detector. Carbon monoxide detector. Thermostat. Air intake. Doorways…

A couple of black and white photographs of Jason and I from my college photography class back in 2003 (shortly after we got married) hang on one wall. They’re not excellent photos but I like that I shot them with an old manual film camera and developed them myself.

At the end of the hallway hangs this brass tree. I spotted it on an estate sale website a few years ago and Jason was able to find it for me. I don’t remember what he paid for it… maybe $40? My relatives from Sweden wanted to buy it from us when they were visiting.

Cloffice

I actually spend a lot of time in this hallway thanks to my cloffice (closet+office). I wrote about the original transformation from a coat closet into a home office earlier this year. It hasn’t changed much since then, except that the hallway was painted SW greek white.

When Jason removed the closet door and doorway to give me more elbow room, there was a strip of the original hardwood floors missing. We came up with this simple solution of inlaying a piece of wood and painting it with white trim paint. I like how it defines the space and it has held up well to 6 months of chair rolling.

The desk is not very deep. It works well for using the computer and not much else, unless I move my keyboard, mouse and laptop stand out of the way. I love having two monitors, and though I think side by side would have been better, this works. I don’t believe I mentioned before that the desktop is removable; it’s sitting on two wooden rails and tightly wedged into place so it doesn’t move. We didn’t make it permanent because there is an access panel to get to the plumbing of the hall bathroom tub on the back of the closet. See it there behind my pen cup?

It feels as small as it looks. Or maybe it looks bigger than it feels. It’s a pretty tight work space and I find myself paying bills on the couch and blogging from bed more than I used to when I had a regular home office. But, this solution was so worth it to free up a bedroom for our future kids. That little cardboard owl cup serves as my waste basket. My printer was relocated to the living room bookshelf. I traded my scanner for a slim design that can slip onto the top shelf of my cloffice, between my portfolio and my storage boxes. The best thing about it being small is that I can’t afford to let it get messy.


The Garden: July 2011

07/26/2011

I take no credit for the piece of paradise located in my backyard. This oasis is all thanks to my husband’s love of plants, especially dessert and tropical plants.

We have yellow bamboo (left of the gate) and black bamboo (right of the gate, not pictured below) in neatly contained planter on our patio. We cut these blocks out of our concrete patio. (Anywhere I saw “we” just assume I mean Jason.)

The black bamboo was very determined… it’s roots spread under the patio and it shot up a bunch of runners into our cactus garden this summer. We’ve left most of them to grow because the idea of a bamboo grove sounds nice. Plus black bamboo is super expensive (the most we’ve ever paid for a plant!) and it spreads pretty slowly. It’s really neat to see how fast a new stalk grows. I’ll do a post just on that some day.

Most mornings while Jason and I are having bacon, eggs and toast at the kitchen table there is a couple of yellow finches having breakfast on our echinacea (cone flower) plant. I guess the seeds are tasty.

There is also a hummingbird that frequents the echinacea and the red yucca (tall finger-like pinkish plant in the center of the photo.)

Our patio needs repainted. Or stained. Or tiled. Or something.

This is a banana tree. It’s just ornamental, it doesn’t get fruit on it. But it’s huge and fast growing and definitely the focal point of the garden right now.

We love this pretty crepe myrtle tree.

There’s a sister banana tree in the corner of the garden.

Our key lime tree, which seems to be fruitless right now.

So there’s a quick tour around our garden paradise this July. It’s been hot and humid and the plants are lovin’ it!


My New Favorite Snack

07/25/2011

I dug up a quick blog post idea since I didn’t have anything prepared for this morning. (Sorry.) This is my new favorite lunch or afternoon snack:

Wheat crackers
Cheese (I’ve used hot pepper cheese or havarti)
Sweet basil (fresh from our garden…LOVE!)
Tomatoes (also from our garden, mmm…)
Sprinkle of salt & pepper

It’s kind of a quick cross between bruschetta and caprese salad.


Phone Photo Friday

07/22/2011


“The Call”

07/21/2011

We got our first call yesterday. The sweet placement worker called Jason, thankfully, because the adrenaline rush makes my ears pound. He talked with her for a few minutes on the phone, walking into the room where I was working. I raised my eyebrows as I heard him explaining that we’re only set up for 2 kids and that we have a crib and a twin bed. He held up 3 fingers to me and raised his eyebrows back.

He told her we’d discuss it and get back to her. Three young siblings. Outside of the boundaries we set up. It was an easy decision, really, an obvious answer, yet we still discussed and pondered and prayed about it all afternoon. Ultimately, we knew what we had to do. But it wasn’t easy.

I got her voicemail when I called back. It felt so petty and heartless when I heard myself say “I hope you do find a good home for them.” As if they’re puppies. My tears for those three little ones won’t do anyone any good but I do believe prayer works and I’m asking God to open up the perfect home for those three young siblings.


Front Garden Expansion: Phase 2

07/20/2011

With the practically tropical Nashville summer weather, even cropping the grass down to the roots wasn’t enough to kill it. It’s basically perfect growing conditions for grass right now. So… Front Garden Expasion: Phase 2. Landscaping fabric. We used WeedBlock from Home Depot. First we thought the 300 sq. ft roll would be enough. Then we bought another 300 sq. ft. roll and a 150 sq. ft. roll, thinking we could take the smaller one back. Nope. Our front garden expansion project is more than 750 sq. ft. We used some leftover thick landscape plastic for the last, oh 50 sq. ft. or so.

(Jason, if you’re reading this… we need enough gravel to cover 800 square feet. That’s a lot of rocks. This gravel calculator says we need 2.5 cubic yards for 1″ depth, 3.7 cubic yards for 1.5″ depth, or 5 cubic yards for 2″ depth.)


House Tour: Hall Bathroom

07/19/2011

Hall Bathroom

Guest bathroom. Kids bathroom. What do you call it in your house? Our house has a couple of unique features that caught our attention the first time we saw it. Besides the angled front wall of windows in the living room and there is also this downward angled vanity in the hall (only original) bathroom. The countertop was replaced with concrete and a bowl sink before we moved in. Jason added different knobs and painted it gray. Together we laid the slate tile—our first tiling job! The tiles and tub, originally pink and blue, were painted white before we moved in. We also changed the light fixture and added a shower fan. The wall color is Sherwin Williams Softest Green.

Step stool from IKEA for children to read the sink.

I really like the concrete countertops. We’re thinking about trying out this technique ourselves someday for our master bathroom or kitchen.

Rub-a-dub-dub.


Vintage Floor Lamp

07/18/2011

Jason inherited a few unwanted furniture pieces from his late Grandma Joan. We made a short list of things in her house that we liked but didn’t expect we’d get unless no one else wanted them. We just didn’t want to see them get discarded. This floor lamp was one of them.

By the looks of it, it had been down in that basement for years, tarnished and covered with cobwebs. We decided to spray paint it to cover the tarnished areas with Rustoleum Antique Bronze. Each of the three lights has a (teak?) wood handle that we love. We wiped the wood clean with damp rags and then Jason rehydrated the wood with lemon oil. He sanded the rough spots on the metal with steel wool before spraying it. (I didn’t get a true before shot.)

We’re not sure where we’ll end up using it but for now we’re enjoying it as a piece of art in the living room and we’re thankful it’s no longer rotting away in a basement in PA.