February 10, 2021

Valentine's Day Decor Throughout Our Home

Valentine's Day decor in cottage style kitchen -

Valentine's Day has never been one of my more favored holidays but I think that with all the time at home this year, I added way more than usual. I have one bin with Valentine's stuff in my attic that I've collected over many years and I used most of it in my kitchen.

Valentine's Day Decor -
I think that, more than anything I was craving a pop of color and some cheer to add to this space. 

Valentine's Day decor in cottage style kitchen -
I like how so many colors play well with the blue/green of the island. The pandemic won't disrupt our usual Valentine's Day plans. I usually cook a nice dinner at home and we give the kids (and each other!) some chocolate from a small shop in the neighborhood I grew up in. 
Valentine's Day Decor -
We had a big snowstorm and are expecting more so there will likely still be snow out that window come February 14. It seems like we are getting a few winter's worth of snow in a short period of time here in NJ. We're used to lot of snow up in the mountains at the cabin, but here in NJ it turns into a big mess very quickly. 
              Valentine's Day Decor -
The banner over the sink is new this year, from Target and was a part of the Opalhouse Valentine's Day decor. And the dish towel on the sink as well as the dish towels hanging as curtains are all from TJMaxx. Everything else is old.
Valentine's Day Decor - www.goldenboysandme.comValentine's Day Decor - Valentine's Day Decor -
I switched over to a red cardinal bird sponge at the sink. Those little sponges are so fun!

                 Valentine's Day Decor -
In the living room, I added in some more color. I usually wait until Spring to do that but I was needing it this year so I brought it our earlier.
Valentine's Day Decor -
Valentine's Day Decor -
Valentine's Day Decor -
Up in in our bedroom, I simply added a banner over our bed from the Target Dollar section.
Valentine's Day Decor -

Valentine's Day Decor -
Happy Valentine's Day from our house to yours!

February 2, 2021

The (not so) Long & Winding Road of Parenthood

Hello friends! How are you? I have thought to sit down and write a more personal post so often - yet it feels daunting. I miss the days when bloggers shared more of themselves. But I also understand why they sometimes choose not to, myself included. Many of my everyday stories involve my children and so, inherently, many of my stories aren't entirely mine to tell. I try to always be mindful of that. But, we also need connection these days, now more than ever it seems. I'm still striving to find that balance.

Life this past year has been challenging and unique and ever changing. Collectively, all of us have seen such significant changes in our daily lives and how we all deal with it is so individualized. I have a son who is flourishing with virtual learning and finds it very efficient. In fact, he hopes to have the ability to work from home in the future and has chosen a career path that is suited to that. And I also have a son who struggles in school and this pandemic has proven to be so difficult in regards to his education. I hold on tight to the hope that he will be okay in spite of it all.

And I also have a son who is a soldier-in-training. When our oldest graduated from college last May, our  assumed plan was for him to begin his career and possibly begin grad school. We discussed many options at great length. But his plan, unbeknownst to us, was to join the Army National Guard. Let me back up - it wasn't a complete surprise. When he was in high school, we discussed the idea of ROTC with his guidance counselor. We even visited a military college in Vermont that he briefly considered. But he ultimately went in a different direction. Several times throughout his college years - when he became confused about his exact path and switched schools, he threw out the idea of joining the military. To which my husband and I responded, repeatedly, please finish your degree first. You will never ever regret having earned your college degree!, we said. And so he took our advice. He finished his degree. He even graduated with honors. But you already know where this is headed, right? And THEN he joined the military! 

And so, this has been weighing heavily on my heart ever since. He left for basic training a couple of weeks ago, just as all the terrible news was coming out of Washington DC. It's been a tough month. I knew it would be and, in some ways, the anticipation of him leaving was worse than his actual leaving. I guess you could say it was a very long goodbye as he trained and prepared himself both mentally and physically for months. 

Saying goodbye to Dax

I know my #1 job is to stay strong for him. That's what Army moms do and so I am taking my new role seriously. I have researched everything I can about his training and stalk Facebook daily for a glimpse of my boy (the basic training companies post pictures of the trainees there). We are still awaiting our first letter from him. As many of you know, we are a law enforcement family but the military is all new to us. Both my and Billy's fathers were drafted when they were young men but then military service skipped a generation in our family. To say I have always been proud of him would be an understatement.  He has served our community on our fire department since he was a young teen and then went on to also serve our state in forest fire service. So serving our nation is a logical next step and one I probably should have seen coming. The pride I feel to get to be his mom is immense.

I also miss him terribly. He's been away from our family at various times, for college and otherwise, but we were always able to keep in touch the whole time. He has such a strong personality and presence in all of our lives. He makes time to connect with each of us daily and not having that leaves a void we all feel. I keep thinking, how lucky am I to have a son that I miss this much? He'll be back soon enough and I can't even imagine how many stories he will have to tell us. I can't wait to hear all about it!

I was listening to a thought provoking podcast the other day - Kelly Corrigan Wonders (I am such a fan of every single thing Kelly does and I highly recommend her books and now her podcast) and she was discussing parenting and she said that our kids should come with a one page instruction manual like the ones they include at Ikea and it should only say - let this put itself together.

So, if any of you are military families with advice, this newbie is all ears. I think it will be helpful to have you all along this journey with me.

I finally set up a desk area in our bedroom. It's not really a proper desk but an old console table that is in desperate need of a coat of paint. Our house has been full of so many of us for close to a year now and I finally realized that the only spot I could go to really think and write anytime soon was our room. I've never been keen to the idea of putting a desk in the same space where we rest, but desperate times call for desperate measures and now I wonder why I didn't put a desk up here long ago!  

Finally, I've been catching up on some reading. Wintering by Katherine May was a great read for this season. Billy gave me Maggie Smith's Keep Moving for Christmas and I am trying to savor just one poem a day, along with Mary Oliver's Dream Works
Have you read anything great lately? Thanks so much for stopping by today and allowing me to share another piece of my story with you.