Through My Doorways

Thursday, November 22, 2018

As I was moving through my home one day, puttering and tidying, something made me pause a moment in the hall by my bedroom and I looked into a doorway I walk into and out of all the time. And this time, instead of looking past the familiar, I looked AT it. Just stood and looked. And I realized that if I let myself, I could really love what I was seeing. The story being told in this one frame. How my husband has loved and collected Legos for as long as I've known him, and this dressertop has become a magical place where all his favorite sets get to stay. The bookshelf that holds the miscellany of books we read to the kids when we're all piled in our bed together and the books the kids thumb through when they have Quiet Time in our room. The "Bordeaux" sign I got Joe for a wedding gift becuase it was where he served his mission. The funny photos in the frame that used to hang in our entryway, but that I took down when we had Larkin, since her photo wouldn't fit in the 5-hole frame. A hastily-taped up Father's Day card to Joe from Quinn.Random catchall piles. A carpet needing vacuuming. 

All of this so commonplace to me that I mostly never really stop to notice anymore.  But in this moment, it was sweet to me. It softened my heart and reminded me of how infinite the blessings really are in my life. So I decided, right then, to go get my camera and stand in as many doorways in my home as possible. No tidying, no waiting for a good moment...just a pause in each doorframe and a photograph. So here, on a lowkey November afternoon, are some peeks through my doorways.

Through the doorway into the guest room:
Our guestroom has also been Noah's Lego workspace for a year now. He saved and saved and saved last year for that massive Minecraft Lego set on the card table, and was able to buy it for his birthday back in 2017. It was so big and complex that we set up the table in here for him to build it, and for it to have a home for awhile so he could enjoy the set. he has since added three-ish additional small Minecraft sets to accompany the big one, and while he loves sitting here to play, his absolute favorite thing to do with Legos, it turns out, is to commandeer the leftover bits and spare parts from every set and make robots and drones and weapons and other imagination inventions, all teeeeeeeny tiny, and make them the star of his playtimes. So funny! To have the huge sets, but love the teeniest bits best. 

Through the doorway into the kids' bunkroom: 
I took these photos during Thanksgiving break, and the night before, I mentioned to them that if they made their bed each morning, I'd give them a dime each time. Something about that shiny dime really inspired them, and my kids made their beds every morning for over a week before sputtering out and losing the habit. I should remind them again that the dime offer still stands. Ha ha!  We also had time earlier in the day before this photo to do some room-tidying. It truly almost NEVER looks this nice, so it was a really neat treat to happen upon a tidy room when I had my camera in hand. Also, unavoidable self-portrait here. Dang mirror doors.

Kids' Room, closeup of other side:
Looking pretty tidy here, too. Hooray! Not shown: the pile of dressups tucked against the wall the door frame is in. Conveniently easy to omit from this shot. 

Through the doorway into the dining room:
Our cheerful yellow walls that still have patching putty spots that never got painted over. Oh well. A moon that has a remote control to light it up into phases like crescent, quarter and full. Salt and pepper shakers up on the windowsill to keep them away from Larkin. Little plastic pig figurines on the windowsill for the Bad Manners Pig initiative at mealtimes (if you display bad manners at the table, a parent can bestow the Bad Manners Pig upon you. If someone else makes a manners error, then the pig goes to them. Last person to have the Bad Manners Pig has to clear the entire table at the end of dinner. We almost never play this game. But the pigs are there just in case we need to.) And Larkin's half-finished Happy Meal, abandoned. I make zero apologies for the occasional Happy Meals we bring home. 

Through the doorway, into the Photo Room:
Part playroom, part office, part music room, this front room recently got a cheerful update in the form of that beautiful red bench Fiona is sleeping on. I have NO ROOM for more furniture in my home, but when I walked past this bench at the fall Vintage Market Days, I fell so completely in love. It's so cute in its proportions, and the red color is perfection. The seat is a dark walnut color. I kept walking past and telling myself I had NO ROOM for new furniture in my home. But I went home that evening and walked around my house, and decided that if I had to, I would sell or store my little yellow school desk that has been in this spot since we moved here five years ago. And VOILA-- I now had a space for the red bench. Woooo!! And now, a couple of months later, I have NO regrets. Clearly, neither does Fiona. 

Through the doorway, into the Photo Room, detail shot:
Quilts and dolls and a glaring kitty. (Don't take my picture. Harrumph.)

Through the doorway into the living room:
Look closely and you'll see three Southerland kiddos. Can you name that movie? Also, laundry baskets are always here behind the couch. At least one is empty?? Also, Quinn loves those red pants, and somehow always tries to pair them with that orange shirt. Yikes. Oh well. It's a cute detail I'll laugh at someday. I still hate these curtains, but they are NAILED IN, like, needing a CROWBAR to remove, so I continue to just live with them. It's all good. I spy #melaniequilt. 

Through the doorway into the kitchen pts. 1 and 2: 
Peekaboo, Lucy. ♥


It's simple. We have abundance and light. We just have to remember to see it. Really see it. I love my home. I love the people populating my home. And I love when I remember to say THANK YOU to all that I am blessed with.

The Day After the Snow Day

Friday, November 16, 2018

The three older kids have been put on the bus and the baby is still sleeping. The house is warm, and it is quiet. My focus for November was supposed to be, appropriately, "Thankful", and yet I've not done a great job at pausing to think of things I am thankful for. It's been so busy-- photo sessions and rehearsals and church callings and visits and lunchdates and flu shots and even a snow day. It's been challenged by upsets in the routine. By fresh things to worry about. By colds and coughing coming from various rooms in the house. 

But right now, the day-after-the-snow-day, with the older kids dressed, fed, combed, bundled, and sent off to school and the little bundle of energy and opinions still slowly stirring to the morning light in her room... with only the sound of the dishwasher and the furnace quietly in the background, I am taking a very intentional moment to pause and say, "this moment is a gift, and I am at peace." I am feeling the calm of the in-between. And I am thankful. I am the MOST thankful for the life in between the calm--- those crazy kids, that steadfast husband, the friends and the family and the adventures and the life experiences-- but this morning I am also profoundly grateful for the pauses in between, when there is enough space to reflect and remember. If not for these beautiful pauses, I'm afraid my life would just keep sweeping me along and I wouldn't be able to say, as I whipped past another experience, thing or person, "that was amazing! I'm so lucky! Hooray for this adventure/humorous mishap/life lesson!" Perhaps that's a skill I need to work on-- to be able to grab those realizations in the middle of the frenzy-- but that's a hard one. And I'm not there yet. 

So for today, I am relishing this sunny, quiet, peaceful morning pause. And with it, all the hard stuff and the crazy stuff and the good stuff I've been experiencing all this month are settling into focus and I am able to say THANK YOU to all of it. I am thankful for it, every bit. "Life is brutal. But it's also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life's brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly they can't be separated...So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real..." -Glennon Doyle Melton 

Happy second-half-of November. I hear a Larkin beginning to squawk, so this moment is nearly done. Time to get back to work. 

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