There’s a Fine Line Between Salmon and Pink

We started painting Millie’s bedroom over Memorial Day weekend and finally finished sometime in July. Watching Bob and I DIY is basically like watching lightening. If you blink, you’ll miss it. We’re that fast. But, whatever, because IT’S DONE NOW.

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I picked Millie’s wall color during a panicked moment of indecision at our local Benjamin Moore store. The color I had originally selected, and had headed to the store to purchase, was something soft and safe but when I spotted their display of Williamsburg colors, I kind of fell in love with “Custis Salmon.” The salmon color was a split second decision and there was pretty much no changing my mind because a gallon of the paint cost $75.00. I had no idea paint had gotten so expensive. Which, I was reminded of again when I had to return to buy a second gallon to finish the room.

(Side note in case you are getting ready to paint something: I have used two types of paint now from Benjamin Moore. In Millie’s room, I went for their top-of-the-line Aura paint. I didn’t care for it. I don’t really know anything about painting but I found the coverage was almost too thick and goopy. When we painted our great room, I was focused on price and went one step down in their line, using their Regal Select which was easy to use, offered great coverage and was many fewer dollars. Two thumbs up!)

Anyway, I got really, really nervous when we started rolling the walls and everything seemed not so much salmon as bright pink. Everyone on Facebook was quick to assure me that it wouldn’t seem so pink once I had curtains hanging on the windows, artwork on the walls and furniture back in place. I will admit now that I think the color does look rather lovely and coral-y during the daytime but when the room is illuminated at night, I don’t know. I can’t help but think it resembles what I imagine the inside of a pancreas looks like. It’s still very, very pink. But, it has grown on me and the color works really well with the ivory trim, which we are definitely not prepared to repaint white for a long time to come.

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Millie’s room is pretty tiny and has to double as our guest room so the bulk of her space is dedicated to a queen-sized bed. She has a great double closet though and there’s room for a bookshelf and dresser for added storage. Both Bob and my mom think I should ditch her dresser for something more modern but the dresser was mine when I was a young girl so I have this weird nostalgia for it. I was thinking of changing the hardware and painting it white but I think we all know that I’ll never actually get around to doing that so it remains as-is for now.

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Millie has three big windows in her room so I wanted to keep the window coverings pretty light and breezy, especially after the room turned out so pink. I found some cute fringed curtains at Target (of course). I’m pretty sure at some point I will be filled with deep regret for hanging all-white curtains in a 3-year-old’s room but for now, I really like them.

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Above Millie’s bookcase, I hung some of the pieces I had originally selected for her bedroom in Richmond but which we never got around to hanging because we decided to move. Richmond has the BEST antique, thrift and consignment stores. Whenever we go back to visit friends, I always make stops to visit my favorite shops. It’s nice that these pictures and mirror have finally found a permanent spot.

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Millie’s bookcase holds all of my favorite books from when I was a young reader plus a lot of her favorites, too. I hope she loves Anne of Green Gables as much as I did. Also, this bookshelf will never, ever look this neat ever again. It is impossible to keep a kid’s bookshelf organized and I kind of think that’s okay. That’s the point of books – to dive in.

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It will come as no surprise to my parents that, when it came time to find some much-needed new bedding for Millie’s room, I chose the duvet cover with horses on it. When Millie is a championship-winning horsewoman, I hope she points to this bedding as her inspiration. (And, also, the twelve Breyer horses I have purchased for her that she refuses to play with because Millie doesn’t care about my unfulfilled dreams apparently.)

The four prints above her bed were a Pottery Barn Kids find and are hung with upholstery tacks because: LAZY.

I’m going to place Millie’s room in the “Done” category. I might bend to peer pressure and swap out the dresser for a different piece in the future but I’m not sure. And, sometime soon, we’re going to need to figure out a Stuffed Animal and Small Purse Storage Solution but for now, I’m considering this space good enough.

One room down! So many rooms to go…

Edited to add: this is how her room looks approximately five minutes later. 

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Podcast Love

If I know of something current or trending or super smart, it’s usually because of Twitter. The people I follow there seem to always know what to listen to, what to watch and what to read. Towards the end of last year, Twitter suggested I listen to the podcast, Serial. Everyone seemed to be fascinated with the unique format and compelling true-life story that gradually unfolds during each weekly episode. At the time, I didn’t even know how podcasts worked. I’m a late adopter of virtually every technology (we JUST started streaming things on our television about a month ago) so it took awhile for me to figure out how to access the content but after one episode of Serial, I was hooked.

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For me, Serial was the gateway drug to all of NPR’s podcast content. I quickly added several of their shows to my phone app including, This American Life, Invisibilia and Planet Money. It’s just such interesting, intelligent reporting and storytelling. It’s like PBS for your ears.

My favorite of the bunch is probably StoryCorps. The mission of StoryCorps is to capture the stories and history of individuals from around the country and record them as a historical record. It’s founded on the notion that everyone has a unique story to tell. The podcasts are a quick listen but always, always captivating since each episode shares one or more of the stories that have been recorded and preserved through StoryCorps. Oh, you guys, people are so, so interesting. Since I am generally pretty nosey and love to hear all about other people’s lives, I find this podcast FASCINATING.

Sometimes a StoryCorps episode is funny, sometimes it’s quite serious, other times it is incredibly moving. Listening to people tell their own story, with their own words, using their own voice can be especially poignant. Take a few minutes and listen to a recent episode titled, Listen Closely, at the link below.

http://storycorps.org/?p=58976

My absolute favorite thing about this episode of StoryCorps is that in each person’s story, there is someone – a kind teacher, an eager father, a complete stranger – that intersects their life when they need it the most, providing support and encouragement. Isn’t that amazing? Did you pick up on that theme in each of the three stories? Can you imagine if we all tried to be THAT person for others? Our world would be an excellent world.

Another favorite story-telling podcast is The Moth. It’s a longer-format show with each episode highlighting stories told by performers who are brave enough to deliver their tales, unscripted, in front of live audiences at venues around the world. You can listen to my all-time favorite episode of The Moth at the link below but you MUST listen all the way to the end. It’s amazing.

http://themoth.org/posts/storytellers/mary-claire-king#

If previous generations of stay-at-home mothers had soap operas and romance novels, I guess you could consider podcasts my “stories.” I have earbuds in whenever I’m loading the dishwasher, folding laundry or out for a walk. They make the mundane very, very interesting. More importantly, I think they’ve now proven that you actually get smarter if you listen to This American Life every week.

Now, your turn. Tell me, what podcasts are you listening to? Let’s all make ourselves smarter and the world brighter through intelligent listening!

Vacation Redemption

On our drive home from North Carolina at the end of June, Bob and I reevaluated everything we ever thought we knew about vacationing with young kids. (Well, that sounds kind of dramatic but we had seven hours to kill in the car so…) The first thing we decided to do was cancel our second vacation we had scheduled for early August, to Acadia National Park. We had planned a big Northeast Road Trip with stops to visit Bob’s family in New York and Maine and then an additional drive to Bar Harbor to hike Acadia. It was a solid plan, because I love to plan and therefore had our hotel in Maine booked by early January. However, after North Carolina, we came to the conclusion that our plan was perhaps a bit too ambitious for this stage of the kids’ lives. Just because Bob and I want to hike Acadia doesn’t mean that our kids will be 1. capable or 2. of good spirit or 3. won’t have to go potty approximately four minutes into our hike. So, one of the first acts upon our return home at the end of June was to cancel our Maine hotel reservation. Bob and I were visibly relieved.

In scaling back our expectations of what our August vacation should look like, we decided to keep the New York, family-visiting portion of our road trip and just do things there that would be easy with the kids. Nothing too ambitious, with plenty of downtime and built-in opportunities for Bob to nap. And, last week was definitely easy. We had an amazing time up north which, is apparently what happens when your expectations about traveling with kids have gone as low as they can possibly go.

There was shopping, there was boating, there was ATV-riding, there was front-porch-sitting, there was A LOT of good-food-eating, there was definitely some wine drinking, there was tons of family-time-laughter and all of it was so easy and so fun. Everyone had a great time and no one wanted to leave early. We basically looked like this the entire trip:

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Also, like this:

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And, then there was, unsurprisingly, this:

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The day we went boating, the weather was spectacular. I even got to wear a sweatshirt for a little bit – something I haven’t been able to do since MAY. (Suck it, summer humidity.) On our way back to harbor, we anchored at a little island in the middle of the lake. Henry decided to swim to the other little island close by since it had an enticing rope swing dangling over the water. Charlie, of course, decided he had to go along, as well. It didn’t look like a far swim but once they were actually about halfway there, Henry started to look a little fatigued while Charlie was just pacing himself nicely a ways back. Both of them had a life vest on but Henry isn’t used to swimming with one so I think it was more in his way than anything else. Just as it looked like they might be getting tired, another party pontoon pulled up near the islands, headed directly in their path to anchor near the rope swing. Both boys turned their heads, saw the big boat idling but looming, immediately panicked and then started swimming like their lives depended on it. Charlie, who has apparently mastered the doggie paddle, took off like that snail character from the movie Turbo. Since all of the action was taking place below the surface of the water, we couldn’t really see how fast Charlie’s legs were dog paddling but I can tell you he blew past Henry and was clambering up the side of that island in record time. I’m pretty sure he actually left a visible wake in the water. The paused party boat continued to wait for Henry to slowly make his way to shore and we could tell that he was super close and could probably touch the bottom if he would just stand up. So, there we were, two groups of people on two party boats yelling, “JUST STAND UP!” as loud as we could in Henry’s direction. He eventually stood up.

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I told Bob that I’ve officially switched from my Camper Dream to my House in the Adirondacks Dream. (Obviously, I had to correctly call it a Camp in the Adirondacks Dream before he understood what I was talking about.) It’s just stunning in that part of New York so I’m currently budgeting for a second home somewhere on the water. With a jet ski. Also, a boat. Definitely a little guest cottage for my parents. Maybe room for a pony for Millie or something. Bob is dubious of my plan but I think it’s always good to have a goal.

Bob’s brother and sister-in-law were so gracious to host us and made the days we spent in New York really lovely and relaxing. Our kids adore them and hanging out with their older cousins is kind of endlessly cool when you are so little. Bob and I declared that we are only ever driving north in summertime from here on out. And, because I like to plan, we’re already organizing next summer’s New York adventure.

In conclusion, here’s a picture of Millie playing darts in a bar. Because, that’s how you do it in New York.