Thursday, July 23, 2015

Slovenia.....A Love Story

Every once in a while, a place will wrap it's arms around you.
You'll feel all warm and fuzzy in it's embrace.
In the two-ish years we've lived in Germany,
we've gone a few places.
All of them have been amazing in their own right.
From the cerulean waters off the Amalfi coast, to the somber grounds of Auschwitz,
to the tapas bars of Malaga,
I have loved each place we've visited.
Although none as much as Slovenia.
It was one of our most brief, but memorable, trips.
Friends who had been there shared their stories and pictures.
They all agreed it was one of their favorite places.
Of course, my family was looking forward to it.
Nothing prepared us for the absolute peace of the place.
Lake Bled is a tourist town, so there was bustle, in the
way that vacationers bustle.
There were people walking and biking around the lake.
And some were rowing boats across it.

(We got in on the rowing too)

For me, the real star of the show, were the majestic Julian Alps.
There were still a few mountain tops capped in snow.

They leaned into the bright, blue sunny sky.
The little town of Bled encircled by the mountains, and with it's medieval
castle perched on a rock overlooking the lake, was perfect.

We stayed at a "glamp ground".
You know? Glamorous camping?
It was just a short walk from the lake.
Had it not been for the scenery and hiking that awaited outside the resort,
we never would have left that little sanctuary.
To optimize memory-making for our short stay, we slept in a treehouse.
Let me just say......

Coolest vacay ever!!!

We enjoyed the living pool.

We ate delicious, fresh food prepared by a fantastic chef.

We explored the resort garden and ate strawberries
that grew along all the paths.
We hiked the nearby Vintgar Gorge.

We napped, and talked, and skipped rocks.

We sat by the fire and snuggled.

We took in the beauty of creation.

I realized after we got home that we didn't do much.
We just spent time together in that beautiful place.
For giving us that little respite in the midst of our busy lives,
I'll always <3 Slovenia

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Room Roundup #1

Every day that passes has me more excited about getting back to our
people, and church, and
I'm also pretty anxious to start putting together our home.
I thought it'd be fun to do a few room roundups.
That way I can look back and giggle at how easy I thought it would be ;-)
In all seriousness though, my brain likes to see things.
So, I'm starting with rooms that already have a pretty clear direction.
Since I like pictures, and I hope I'm not alone, there are quite a few.

Our 13 year old recently chose new bedding and curtains for his room.
All I can say is, the kid has taste.

He got the fabulous Shelby Faile drape from Pottery Barn to
go with the MudHut Xavier quilt set from Target.
And because I love throw pillows almost as much as I love curtains,
the chevron embroidered lumbar also from Pottery Barn.
He inherited his older brother's queen sized bed too.
Unfortunately, it's just the mattress set on a frame.
Uh....not cute.
So I'm envisioning something along these lines for a headboard.

Simple, stylish, and pretty easy to DIY.
His dresser and night table are from the Carter's Kids Lost Creek Collection in a mix 
of espresso and grey.
We bought it about 4 years ago and still love it!

Our yougest son's room has me a bit baffled in the curtain department.
In his room here, he had these

Threshold's Ikat Jaquard in grey.
They're a good weight, but I think the little guy needs something
a little less adult.
Here's his bedding

This mix of color and pattern absolutely represents our
very active 8 year old.
I think a simple solid curtain panel might be best, with everything
else going on in his room.
But then an old fashioned rugby stripe catches my eye.
I just don't know.
For a while anyway, bamboo shades will do just fine.
This industrial-inspired shelving still makes me swoon,
and I think it'll be a perfect DIY project to house our boy's
junk treasures.

Our dining room is on the small-ish side. 
It's important to me for that room to be pretty and light,
without going over the top.
It's the first room inside our front door.
(I think that's a little weird, but whatevs)
We've had our Broyhill Attic Heirlooms harvest table
for about 11 years.
It's a good quality, oak (that means heavy) table that I can't see replacing anytime soon, if ever.
The plan is to give it a makeover, by staining it in a grey wash, similar to this.

This is our table, except ours has two leafs.

While our table is a rockstar, our dining chairs are a hot mess. 
They're old, and a tad rickety.
Talk about being held together with glue and nails and screws and who
even knows what else.
No one has had one break under them....yet.
But I do think it'll be time to replace those soon.
They look deceptively good though, don't you think?

When the day comes that we buy new dining chairs, one of my Pins has me feeling happy

Dare I try light uphostery with a houseful of boys?
So pretty....

Anyway, I recently scored a natural jute rug for the dining room and I'm excited to
unroll it when we start unpacking.
I got this 8x10 beauty 70% off at Rugs USA!
 And for our large dining room window, how about these beauties? 

Seriously, the PB Lucianna Medallion drapes are too delish!
I made them mine. Because SALE! Muuahahaha.
I've been scouring the web for a chandy.
Problem is, I love soooo many.
These are a couple that are definite contenders for our dining room.

I do love sparkles, but I also appreciate a simplistic approach to beauty.
Decisions, decisions.
Thankfully, there's no rush.
I can take my time and wait for just the right chandy to bring home.

For sure, our DIY china hutch will be getting a new look.

As much as I, and everyone who has seen it, loves the aqua, it's time
for something new.
I'm tentatively thinking a 50/50 mixture of Annie Sloan's 
Old White and French Linen.
And a darker stain on the top.
It will be such a pretty home for the dishes I've picked up around Europe.
Well that cover's two bedrooms and the dining room.
I'm looking forward to sharing more ideas for the rooms
that I'm still trying to figure out.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What's in a name?

Last August I knew things were changing.
The change that was ahead of us was big. BIG.
Our oldest started his senior year last August.
I was prepared (that's a dirty lie) for the slow but steady seperations that happen
when a boy crosses into manhood.
But, it still made my heart hurt.
**Insert random crying and large doses of nostalgia.**
It was a good hurt though.
The kind of hurt that happens when you grow.
What we didn't know, couldn't have known, was that life as we knew it
would be changing.
I've wanted to write about this for a while.
But the feelings were just too raw, and the words wouldn't come.
My emotions are still kind of all over the place, but
I know everyone is going to be ok.
We are covered.
We are loved.
When my grandma's journey here on Earth was coming to a close, 
we went home to be with her.
And we lost our son, Nate.
Well, it felt like a loss anyway.
He left more specifically.
He had been struggling for a long while.
And we had been stumbling behind trying to get ahead of 
his hurt.
Unfortunately, we never really caught up.
It's one of those things that makes a parent feel like a failure.
To see our boy losing himself was almost more than I could bear.
I've never prayed so hard. I prayed so hard my body ached with longing to have an answer.
What we came to was acceptance of a truth that we hated.
The realization that trying to force our will hadn't ever worked
and it was not likely to start working.
We had tough decisions to make
because we had to go back to Germany.
We decided to let Nate live with the decision to leave us.
In all of my life, I can't imagine that I'll ever have to do anything as difficult
as getting on a plane without my child.
I cried from Charlotte, NC all the way back to Germany.
Life felt like a thing that was just happening around me, and I was just watching
from outside.
I tried to be positive, I prayed for Nate and for us.
I did all the normal things because there was comfort in familiarity.
Nate didn't contact us for a while.
I sent messages to remind him that we love him and he
still has a family that cares.
Sometimes he responded, sometimes not.
That's been the way it is for 8 months now.
Its' still hard not to have him with us, but for reasons I don't
understand, this is the path that he's chosen.
He seems to be maturing and in that small statement,
there is hope.
Around the time that Nate left, Steve and I started 
giving serious thought to our family and 
what we want for it.
Our life as an Army family was good.
But it was filled with hardship.
Nothing unique neccessarily, the usual.
Deployments and seperations for training or schools, and
 of course the moving.
It took a toll on all of us.
We were basically always on the other side of the country
or the world from our family.
After a while, I think they got the impression that we were "used to" it.
But anyone that's done it knows, you don't get used to it.
You just do it.
So, hubs decided our family and building us up from the spirit out,
was more important that the next promotion board or mission.
Can I tell you?
I've never felt so cherished or loved than when he told me
he was retiring.
It was the sensation that God had breathed new life into us.
So now we're here.
Our house is empty and I'm excitedly looking foward to having a home.
Like a real one. With roots and everything.
I honestly didn't even know I wanted this!
No one is going to tell us we're moving in 2-3 years.
There's just one caveat.
We're leaving Germany with two kids.
Our oldest son was sworn-in to the Air Force last week.
He'll leave for basic from Germany.
Am I proud?
Oh. Em. Gee. Heck yes!!!
But there's that hurt, the one where you grow.
That brings me to what's in a name.
I named this blog to honor my beautiful family.
It was an homage to our four loud, funny, loving boys and the home we had together.
Because as an adult, that's always been the only home I've ever known.
So now that Nate is making a life on his own, and Devon is
going to serve our country.....
are we still us?
The half dozen.
Maybe we won't all be under the same roof all the time, and that's fine.
And it's probable that in the next several (I'm too young for this) years there will
be girlfriends and fiances and wives and grandkids.....
But at home in my heart, we'll always be us, the original half dozen.