our Orchard House

orchard-house

I have always loved how the March’s home had a name, a title. (Above is the real Orchard House in Massachusetts. I love the chimney… so pretty.) I’d like to name our house–it is, after all, a big part of our life and something we’ve invested in; why not give it a name? Here’s a fun article about how to do this, and the history of naming estates… no matter its size. Just FYI, if you think about these kinds of things randomly like I do…. ho hum.

We have lived here for six years, and are slowly making it our own. I remember telling R one time that I didn’t like the house, I was so frustrated while cleaning it. What not to say to your husband, right? Ha, jokes on me, this was before we had kids! What was I thinking?? Hard to clean? (Don’t you love laughing at your younger self? I do.) No, but seriously, it is from 1978, and some areas are old enough that no matter how much bleach you use, it’s just not sparkly clean and makes you feel like you wasted your time. Not fun. But slowly we are updating these problem areas. My frustration was a sure sign that gratefulness is a choice, and one that must be chosen everyday… especially in the midst of cleaning. :)

Our place is a tri-level, and I enjoy it because no one ever feels far away, but it’s easy to stow away in a pocket of space here and there if you want to. R and I are trying to make our home as practical/functional as possible, which means we have a reeeeally far way to go, but we’re climbing that staircase bit by bit. You gotta live in a place before you know how you’ll use it; and us being the Slowskis, six years sounds about right to finally decide how we’d like to use it. Especially now that we have kiddos. So we’ve been busy the last couple of years making little tweaks here and there. Taking down the mirrored wall and painting the brown paneled wall beneath a nice creamy Quail Egg color. Replacing the tiny toilets with reliable, white ones. (Ours were originally light blue and mustard color. Nice.)  Ripping out carpet in all of the bathrooms and replacing with tile. Putting a shed in the backyard.

My favorite redo right now has got to be our garage entry… pretty and practical. I was inspired by this pin and this post, which I pinned a loong time ago–I loved how clean and functional it was. And do-able! I showed it to Raul, and we made the magic happen. It was our Christmas gift to each other last year: a new space, and good times working together during naptime or after the kids went to bed to get er dun.

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I love that the wall across from the washer/dryer is now useable, and the splash of color is needed as our home is pretty neutral. I really try not to store things here that aren’t laundry-related; before, I’d store extra food and who knows what. Nope, keep it simple Minns, and make it relate to the space. Makes sense, right? Changing this area up has been a time saver for various reasons:

Tile means easy cleanup for messy boots and kids’ shoes. The girls know to take their shoes off now when we get in, and they have a place to put them (under coats, or in their red box).

Hooks galore means a place for everything, and everything in its place (most of the time…). Purse, coats, keys.

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All hooks except the key hooks (Target) are from Hobby Lobby, 40% off. The kids’ hooks were inspired by this pin…I  loved how accessible and sweet it looked next to the adult hooks!

I am still in love with the hex tile; it makes me think of Downton Abbey, and the ’20s. Kind of an odd choice for a house built in the ’70s, but you gotta go with what you love. (They were a beast to lay down, even though they come in 12 x 12 sheets. Lining them up was te.di.ous to say the least. We used dark gray grout and put a border of rectangular tile by the carpeted edge. I love the contrast of shapes, although I don’t think Raul will volunteer to cut tiles this small anytime soon. And the Best Hubby award goes to… :)

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The powder room on the end of the hall got a bit of an update, too; our previous pedestal sink cracked and broke when we moved it to put the tile in (bum), so we had to replace that, as well as the fixtures. A little cream paint, and what a difference!

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I am slowly starting a little collection of C’s… the little one is from my favorite vintage store, the Pink Attic Cat, and the large C is from an annual vintage fair in Littleton. Keeping my eyes peeled for more when the mood strikes… I heart typography.

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And there it is. A little peek at one modified drop in the bucket that is our home. Which hopefully will have a name soon… any suggestions?

eli: one month

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Hi there. Since my last post, I now have two little cardigans and a little bowtie of a boy, all scrunchy and new and sweet. He mostly just sleeps right now, which either makes things easy (ah, only two other kiddos to chase), or hard (him deciding he needs to eat right NOW, just as I was heading out the door). He is a very mellow baby.  I’ve only heard him downright wail twice thus far: once in the car when we drove around looking at leaves (potentially the altitude difference?), and the one time we’ve tried to give him a bottle. No thanks, no sir, nice try.

I both love and am hesitant about new experiences because you just never know how you’re going to feel about things, and when. Having a third child was something that tried to sink in over 9 months, but didn’t fully begin to hit me until I was in labor, and my feelings surprised me. Sure, I had been a pretty steady mix of Anxious and Excited, but I didn’t expect the Calm.  Doing all of it again–timing contractions and feeling the depth of the pain and then finally cuddling that teeny, warm little body–brought out the peace of familiarity in me. I’ve been here before, I know these ropes. 

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When he was born, the nurses and staff left us for an hour for skin-to-skin time, and the magic of a newborn filled that room to the brim. It’s something that soaks into your bones, and I love talking with other moms because all of those little details you shouldn’t be able to remember are as crisp and tactile as they ever were. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is. So to feel that again, for this final time, gave me a calm and a reminder that I knew what I was doing–or that I could at least muster up enough confidence to assure myself that I would learn what I didn’t yet know.

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Being in the hospital for a couple of days doting on baby with your adorably exhausted husband (glasses, no contacts, cowlicked hair, soft t-shirts and hoodies) is also magical. Reality is waiting at the door, but for the meantime, you’re in sweet seclusion, adjusting to Baby while the world rolls on.

I knew once we stepped foot in our house, I’d be juggling right away. Juggling emotions, juggling three kids now, juggling priorities. The girls have been great–no jealous streaks (yet), but lots and lots of “help.” Well, help AND “help.” I spent the first week keeping Natalie at bay because she was completely in love at first sight, and would be by Eli’s side (i.e. on his face) constantly if I didn’t gently distract her away. Sometimes her feelings would get hurt, which was really sad, but she’s doing much better now (she checks in every 10 minutes now instead of every 2). But this takes energy! I was quickly worn out by that while being thankful she was so excited about it all. Emotionally, I was holding up, but knew a breakdown was on its way at some point, as it always is with hormones and childbearing and changes in general.

 

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My first tears came our first night home, which is also typical–that time in sweet seclusion is vastly different than being in your own home without reinforcements (helpful nurses!). He peed through all of the outifts that fit him; he peeds on himself. He peed on his blankets. I was wrapping him in 6-month sized clothes and crying because I felt like I had let him down by running out of newborn sizes. (Isn’t this funny in retrospect? So not funny at the time!) Nursing also hurt like no other at this point, as did the contractions that happen that first week. It sounds bad–and was hard–but I wouldn’t call it a breakdown.

The third week, I came down with mastitis. Pain, flu-like symptoms, and R going back to work were a trifecta for an explosion. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to come along with so many other issues! I cried off and on for a couple of days about alllll sorts of random things, and then cried again when I realized how hard it is for me to ask others for help and to let them in when I’m having a hard time.  Change and hard times reveal so much, don’t they? And hormones magnify it all like crazy.

Whew. Four weeks came, the infection cleared, and as soon as I began to feel more like myself, the calm began to come back. I’m still having what I would call shaky days, or sensitive days, but over it all I am beyond happy Eli is here and I can touch my toes again and go upstairs without getting winded. Right now, I’m  having the most trouble getting anywhere on time with three, and sleep is still a major issue we’re accepting, but we’re wondering what life was like without Eli, and we can’t remember.  Natalie is smitten, and so am I.

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Dissonance is what I feel often times, but not negatively per se–I tend to want to carry on as it was before, but it never will be the same, and that’s a good thing.  I never dreamed I’d be a mommy to three cute little crazies, but here I am, and I’m learning all about motherhood, womanhood, and sisterhood as I go. I couldn’t do this without other kind, funny, generous women in my life. So thank you, you. I’m sure other people feel this way, but I always so dearly want things to be as they were, and as I get older, I’m learning to let that mindset go and enjoy the moment, and hope for what’s to come. But it’s incredible how deeply ingrained this desire is in me.

Good things are in store for us when we’re able to accept change and grow in it, see the joy in it. I’ve been thinking a lot about how we are not consumed–God’s mercies are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness (Lam. 3:23). I look forward to sunlight in the bedroom every morning, even through bleary eyes. Especially through bleary eyes! That phrase has stayed with me: I am not consumed. I can handle this today! Or I can at least cry while I’m handling it, right?

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At one month (~5 weeks), Eli is:

– Sleeping, sleeping, and sleeping.

– Pooping, pooping, pooping some more, and peeing (but not on us anymore, we’re wise now!)

– Smiling! This boy smiles a lot, and I don’t think it’s due to gas (said every mom ever).

– Still scrunching his legs up when you change him, or put him on your shoulder. Love.

– Eating every two hours, round the clock. I feel like he has a wonky schedule due to our activities (preschool, MOPS, etc), so I’m slowly figuring out naps and such, but food is consistent. Especially after that mastitis nightmare, ugh.

– A “Babywise” baby. We used this method with the other two (eat, play, sleep to help with nighttime sleep), and I’m loosely doing this with Eli, which has helped me keep my sanity in beginning a schedule of sorts…

– Enjoying bathtime! The boy loves to get his hair washed.

And so far, being a mom of three kids means:

– Coffee. Less than normal due to feeding Eli, but it is still a morning staple and one I look forward to daily. Me.so.tired.

– Being way too tired for creative time (& blogging, sadly), but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming about being crafty. Nursing time usually = Pinterest. Yup, it’s still my favorite social media outlet.

– Constantly coming up with a strategy of how to get all of us out of the house to be wherever on time, praying it works and really trying not to worry if it doesn’t :)

– A leeettle more TV than normal for the older two, as well as having them play outside whenever they can. (Grateful for this beautiful fall weather!)

– Thanking, hugging, and thanking again friends and family who have brought food. THANK YOU. Truly a lifesaver.

– I need to improve my multitasking skills. Bigtime. Right now I’m totally in scatterbrain mode; waiting to upgrade to Awesome Mombot status. I am outnumbered, but hopefully not out-clevered (hi, new word).

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Hmm. They kinda look like they’re plotting something here, don’t they?