At Home

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The weather has been beautiful, but our bodies are nonetheless feeling the seasonal pull to spend more time indoors. It's a welcome change for me this time of year and I feel the excited energy of shifting focus to quieter work and play (which are the same thing for the little ones and even the big ones in our best moments). I am looking forward to organizing and sprucing up this old house during the colder months to come. You may have noticed I've already done some sprucing up of this old blog? 

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I am thankful, as always, for the beautiful, simple toys we've accumulated over time. The wooden kitchen and sturdy dollhouse seem to never lose their luster in the eyes of my children, or myself for that matter. I am grateful for some new additions, as well. Elijah got a much anticipated rainbow loom for his birthday and has been glued to the instructional videos since. He is already running out of space on his arms for all the bracelets he's created in the last few days.

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After the freewheeling months of Summer (Or as freewheeling as you can be with three children and two jobs), the slower pace of Autumn on it's way to Winter always spurs me to take a close look at the shape our life is taking. I am deeply happy with what I see. While our plate is full, it is full of very good things. For that, I am grateful.

play space 2.0

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Not only is it a new year, but it's also the last year of my 20's. I've set some goals I'd like to achieve before entering my third decade, and one of them is to make every room in our home work. I'd like the attic to finally be a working studio and the basement to be a project/game room for the kids. I'd like every closet and every drawer to only contain what is meant to be there. I'd like everything to have a spot. The home environment has such a direct impact on the tone and rhythm of family life. I look forward to streamlining and beautifying!

I plan to track my progress here and started out our little tour in the family room (slash studio, slash office) yesterday. Today, I bring you our play space, 2.0. I'll be honest, after all the attention my last play space got, I was really hesitant to change anything. Would the space lose the magic? I decided to take my chances and completely rearrange the room to better suit our needs now. We've added a rug to warm it up, a comfy chair for story time and playstands for more imaginative play possibilities.

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This is my favorite room in the house. It's light, bright and airy. The toys are so beautiful and so played with. Most importantly, we spend many happy, calm hours in this room everyday. I dare say, I like this incarnation even more than the last. What do you think?

(As I was putting together this post, I realized that this is the third January in a row that I have posted a little tour of our play space. If you'd like, take a look at the evolution!)

the family room / studio / office (before)

This is the most multi-purposed little room ever. It's hard to photograph because it's in the middle of the house and doesn't have the best lighting. So, it's about time that this room that we spend so much time is documented here.

We are slowly working towards turning the attic into a studio, but until that happens, this is where I work. My printers, my sewing machine and all the other things that I need regularly are kept on the bookshelf. Remember when it used to have books on it?! Organized by color! Those were the days. ;)

I am mostly happy with the "bones" of this room, the furniture and layout. But I'm not happy at all with the wall color or hangings. I'm hoping to switch things up over the next month and take some "after" photos.

I am considering a grouping of family pictures above the blue couch, but I'm not committed to that idea. As for wall color, I don't know, maybe a light tan (that's not so fleshy)? Or should we extend the blue from the front room? Any ideas?

Tomorrow, I'll be sharing our newly rearranged play space!

at home

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A lot has happened since I posted here last. My sweet baby girl turned one! Oh my. A long post coming about that soon. The crappy thing is I had pneumonia for over two weeks. It was awful. I spent most of my waking hours at home for so many days. Barely getting out of bed for almost a week. It was bad. I am on the mend, though, and I've had a nice couple days at home with the girls. There is much to be grateful for.

sick days

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We have all been sick now for over a week. I overheard the Mama hen consoling her sick chick this morning. You know that your household has been sick a long time when even the stuffed animals start coughing. The only upside to all this coughing and sneezing is that we've spent a lot of time at home, which means the girls have had lots of time to play with their toys.

The hen and chick were handmade by my friend, Liz. Aren't they sweet?

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One of the unexpectedly awesome parts of motherhood is watching my children play. Fiona's quiet concentration as she dresses Clare. Elsa's strong determination as she pulls herself up just a little higher to reach a toy. Elijah's focus as he builds something with his Legos, one piece at a time.

I love how the Winnie-the-Pooh stories immortalized the imagined world of the author's son. I would love to do a series of drawings and stories based on our own cast of characters. That would be nice... as it's a bit heartbreaking to think of how ephemeral this phase of imaginative play really is. I guess that's the main purpose of this blog. It is a place where we can go back and visit these special but fleeting times. When I started this post, I had no idea it was going in such a sentimental direction. I'm even tearing up a little bit. I am such a lucky Mama. Is this beautiful life really mine?

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the three thrifted porridge bowls

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Aren't these cute? Fiona's really into Goldilocks and the Three Bears, so I couldn't resist when we found this sweet set at the flea market. They sure do look adorable on the shelves of Fiona's play kitchen.

Goldilocks (played by Genevieve, the Autumn Fairy) got right to work testing porridge and proclaiming it "too hot!", "too cold!" and "just right!"

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a place for playing

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Last weekend, we packed away Christmas. Fiona and I put on holiday music and carefully packed each ornament to be stored away until next year. Fiona was really into the whole process of it until suddenly, a look of terror crossed her face. She looked up at me and in the sweetest, most nervous voice, asked, "And my toys, too?" Oh, my sweet innocent child. It's hard to imagine what it must be like to be her age. Every experience new... and often confusing. "Of course not, Fiona! Your toys stay out all the time!" (And really, who would put them away when they are this beautiful?!)

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I love looking at other's play spaces, so I thought you might like a better look at ours. This is what is seen as soon as someone enters our house. Fiona is such a good player. She really plays all day, so it's important that her playthings are in the heart of our living space. Everything she needs to imagine, create and play.

I just love this space. It's my favorite area of the house to tend to. I rearrange, reorganize and rethink it constantly. I think about all the playing Fiona and Elijah do in the space, dream of the playing Elsa has yet to do, and then (perhaps?) another child after that. And then if I'm feeling especially sentimental, I allow myself to dream even further. Could even more generations, one day, play in this same spot with these same toys? Oh, my heart just about bursts thinking about it. And isn't that part of the beauty of simple, natural and quality playthings? These toys are forever. 

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Oh, and it's never this neat. Fiona and Daddy were on a walk, so I straightened up and took pictures real quick. ;)

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And because the playspace isn't quite right without the girl who inspired it, one play action shot from when Fiona and Daddy got home from their walk...

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The dollhouse baby in Fiona's hand looks to be in quite the perilous position. Mama should keep a better eye on her but is too busy napping in the front yard with the dog...