Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Falling in love...

My dream library was the first one I ever saw.
This perfect library... with thousands of books, and a balcony, a huge ladder and it just so happened to be in my childhood home. 
Surrounded by his books, sitting at a huge wooden desk, with his incense burning, classical music playing, and the fire crackling, my dad did whatever dad's did.

I think he was secretly waiting just for me.

We would talk endlessly.
This is also where I learned to love reading.  Ahhh the classics.  I first fell in love with "Secret Garden" and "Little Princess," "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," and then it turned into everything Jane Austin and Bronte sisters. Which is something I have never out grown.  I remember he paid me 100 dollars to read "Huckleberry Finn"  to expand my horizons. Ha! But seriously, I would climb the elephant ladder, (pictured below if you have never had the pleasure of seeing one...  see how it folds up into that pole?) find my perfect book, and enter my new but temporary world.
Many childhood days were spent curled up in this perfect spot... and oh how I have wanted a place in my home that I could surround myself with books in the same way.

I have pinned more libraries on pinterest then I can count... but I just couldn't think of where to put it. In our cottage, we just don't have a place for a full library.

Enter my love that is the maker and keeper of my dreams.

He was on Craigslist and saw these bookshelves that someone was giving away.  They were sturdy and perfect for a wall of bookshelves and just the right dimensions for someone that is a carpenter and the maker of my dreams.  Not exactly my library but oh soooo close.  
So my living room got completely reorganized and I got my library. ;)
Holy crap I love them so much.  I mean really really love them.
Like stare at them all day kind of love.  Did you see how he built them in with the wainscoting on the side? Did you see the lights? Did you see the freaking ladder? Oh yea he built that too.  It's not an elephant ladder but pear cottage isn't Brookburn. (My childhood home)
I mean seriously.
I know they need so many more books and I will keep working on it because right now I have had to improvise with other things which looks darling but not the exact look I want... which is
books, books and more books!
It will take time.
Did I say how much I love them?
Well I do...I really do.

This is the wall before my library was put in. ;)
Our piano used to be on this wall but because I'm me and everything is an afterthought, I forgot to take a picture before. I moved it onto the adjacent wall and moved that piece of furniture in our bedroom.

The wall

My first look at the book cases in there.

Painting these things were a beast.

progress...he had to do all the electrical for the lights and pull the outlets out to the front.  Plus all the light switches and such.

The before of the other wall.
That English antique pine armoire is from my parents home and I really really wanted it to stay in the living room. I knew it was going to be difficult but I was determined.  I also wanted the antique English desk to stay. It really isn't a desk or a sofa table but that is it's purpose for now.
I still love the gallery wall as well but with a wall full of bookshelves I knew it would be too busy.
Much rearranging lay ahead of us.

By removing the gallery wall and sliding the antique armoire down closer to the windows, I was able to keep it in this room without it looking too crowded or busy.


I mean... have I said seriously yet?

While I wait patiently for books to fill up these shelves I have placed all things that are near and dear to my heart.

I am thankful for books, my library, my honey, and Brookburn and of course my dad.  Without my dad and without that first library... who knows where or what I would be.

Linking up with French Country Cottage

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Starting the New Year Off Right...

That time between Christmas
the New Year when
don't know what day it is,
who you are
or what
you are
supposed to be doing.

Yea it was just like that.

Then Carmel came again and we ended the break with the best possible ending... or really the beginning.  

I have never made resolutions but January 1 we ended up here. 

Underneath this bench were notebooks that people have left behind.  Some with just their names and dates and others with their instagram accounts hoping for some followers.  But many others wrote their thoughts and feelings. 

 It was a spiritual experience for me.  Even Ella and Charlie were quiet and we just sat in this spectacular setting with each other, but alone with our thoughts.  Ann and I stayed way past sunset and as we say, "tried to solve the worlds problems in a couple of hours." 
We certainly weren't able to do that (haha) but I was able to welcome the new year in a way I will be forever grateful for. My life has made sense for so long.  I have been a stay at home mom for over 22 years. My goal has been to be the best mom I can be. Everything I perceived that to be has taken 99% of my time....but what now? My oldest is on the verge of huge changes and has been out of the home for 3 years. My second is a senior in high school and leaves this summer. Ella and Charlie are getting more and more independent and I am feeling all the feelings all the time. What does this mean for me?  Where is my place now? Am I doing everything I want?  I am 46 years old and while I am going to be mothering for many more, it is such a different stage. Everyone just seems to have their crap together by now and I am not sure I do. I am just feeling more confusion than I normally do.  My brain is not a complicated one.  It is not hard for me to find happiness and stay there.  It is one of my specialties. But things are jumbled up in there and I am trying to find my way out.  Not sure how long it will take me, but to have moments of clarity like I did on January 1 on river beach in Carmel,

 is sometimes all I need. 

the boys played MPCC.

Our endless walks...

Nicholas was off to school a couple of days later and to have this time together... well as always I am just grateful.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Why Yes Dear, We Are Going To Do That Again....

Ahhhh traditions...
The glue that holds a family together.  
Our Christmas's are so thick with the wonderful stuff, there really is no question of what will be doing...well ever.  After all these years our holiday reads like a well rehearsed play.

Act 1:

Wake up beyond elated on Christmas Eve to Johnny Mathis, James Taylor, Amy Grant and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir blaring carols throughout the house.  Check

Make  huge batch of pumpkin pancakes with homemade syrup...check, check

Head into San Francisco to "The 24th Cheese Shop" and get caught up with the owner Charles, and his daughter. Act like they are your family and that you can't believe it has been a whole year since you have seen them. Talk to them for what feels like days. 
Sample lots of cheese but buy Raclette for your dinner as well as maybe a delicious Roquefort or  
pate.  Ok the pate only happens if my dad is there bust still I add it because it sounds kinda festive but  really it is so gross.  (It has a 1/4 in of jiggle jelly on top...yuck!!)

The talking and the sampling and the deciding between the french and the swiss cheeses will take a ridiculously long time, as in half the afternoon. You will occupy yourself with picture taking and the kids will look at all the unique and wonderful food and tell each other stories and laugh. Check

You will finally leave and just aimlessly wander because nothing in the world is better than the Christmas hustle and bustle in San Francisco.

Someone will say lets go into this bookstore and there is no plan and so we do.

Take endless amount of pictures because everything is magic and you will want to remember every single detail.

Act 2:

Go home and all the while,
Sing off key Christmas carols at the top of your lungs.
Make eggnog cookies and sugar cookies and candy and rice pudding and wassail.
Get everything ready for the raclette feast.
Light a million candles,
build a fire
and bask in the glow with your family and friends.  

Get pathetic manger costumes like robes and outgrown lamb outfits and dress whoever is willing and reenact Luke 2.
And be sure to sing more carols off key and pretend like you know all the words. Check

Put out carrots and cookies for Santa and his reindeer and check on GPS to see where our jolly fellow is.
Go to bed cuddled up in Christmas magic at some ungodly hour that is neither night or morning.
Finally it is

Act 3
Wake up at some ungodly hour.  (even though this year was actually 8:30 it is never late enough because you feel like you have been hit by a bus.)

But then you remember in your sleeplessness haze that it is Christmas day and your 9 year old simply can't take it.  Not even for 1 more minute.

So we light the fire, play our carols and open gifts.
Everything... and I mean everything is right with your world.

 Act 4
Make a beautiful Christmas morning breakfast all the while thanking your Heavenly Father for every single blessing that you are a part of.

 Surround yourself with people that you love more than your next breath and remember that this day represents love in a way that your brain cannot comprehend.

Laugh and play games and whatever you do try not to get tired.

Because when you do... the play ends and just like that,
the heavy velvet curtain falls.

And everybody applause's and laughs and cries and thinks it was the best year yet.

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