Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fall Decorations

My youngest daughter groaned when she saw the dusty orange boxes in the mud room.  She is so not ready for the end of summer, and I am normally right there with her.  But these past few days it's been "sweater weather," as my mother used to say.  In fact, I'm wearing my ratty old writing sweater this very second, which means it's time for my summer decorations to come down and the fall decorations to go up.  

And guess what?  For once, I am not groaning about this.  Perhaps this is because I spent so much of my summer worried about my new job.  Well, said job is off to a good start, and I am eager to have the hectic, crazy, INSANE month of September behind me.  

For today's post I decided to stick with my favorite room, the living room.  So here goes…

The wreaths are old, really old.  The candles and leaves I had on hand.  No purchases for today's decorating adventure.  Just using what I have.

I've mentioned before that my living room curtains work with every season.  Was this some sort of decorating genius foresight?  Nope.  Just dumb luck.  

Plastic pumpkins from the fabric store.  Same with the leaves.  Cheap.  Cheap.  Cheap.

I think my photography skills are improving.  No sweat pants clad me reflected in the mirror.

My limelight hydrangeas!  Love these flowers, and they dry out so nicely.

The silver tray on the coffee table belonged to my MIL.  I just filled it with plastic pumpkins and gourds and lit the votif candles.  Also cheap.  I bought them ages ago at Michael's.

I love the Tiffany lamp in the background.  The wheat came from Home Goods last year.

I struggled all summer with my vacant fireplace.  There was even a blog about my struggle.  Finally, I resorted to fake ferns.  By the end of the summer, the real plants were a mess.  It was a bit of an investment, but now I never have to struggle with a summer fireplace again.  Of course, in a couple of weeks it'll be time for a fire.  Oh, well…

For now this kind of fire is enough.

I hope your fall decorating is going well!  Thanks for stopping by.

Linking up with Savvy Southern Style's Wow-us Wednesdays and Debbie's Newbie Par-tay!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Looks Like We Made It

Remember that old Barry Manilow song, Looks Like We Made It?  Well, that's how I'm feeling at the end of these last two weeks.  Teachers were back to work on August 20th, and students showed up this past Monday.  As stressed out as I've been over the prospect of leaving home and children and dogs behind and going back to work full-time, I survived.  I made it!  We made it.

You know all those little projects around the house that nag and nag and beg to be done?  Well, I haven't thought about those at all this week.  At the end of my 10-12 hour days, I'm just so happy to be home. I don't really care that this slipcover desperately needs to be dry cleaned.

And this little girl here?  She's a tad sad not to have me around.  How do I know this?

Because Iris makes me feel like a rock star when I arrive home.  I've never seen such tail wagging.

When we first moved into this house three years ago, I killed myself painting and picking out fabrics and arranging and rearranging.  And I'm so glad I poured my heart and soul into my home back then because I sure as heck don't have time for that now.  Do I miss decorating?  Yes.  

But the house is mostly (I said mostly) the way I want it.  For now.

Maddie may not be quite as enthusiastic in the tail wagging department, but I know she misses me, too.


To make things easier, I hired a cleaning service.  I have never been big on this.  I don't mind cleaning all that much, and I've never really trusted anyone else, mainly because I know they won't be as picky as I am.

Guess what?

I'm totally over that now.  I haven't scrubbed a toilet in a month.  

Guess what else?  I haven't missed scrubbing a toilet.

In the evenings I don't feel like gardening, and I've mostly given up on weeds now.  I just look at what we've planted and enjoy it.

Is this going-back-to-work-full-time thing easy-breezy?  Nope.  It's hard and I get a teeny bit sad at times.  For instance, I missed my girls' first day of school. But while sitting at my desk in-between classes, I got two messages from neighbors.  They snapped that first-day pic for me.

Nothing is perfect.  But I feel lucky to have been asked to take this job.  At 48 I worry these offers won't last much longer.  Getting my first paycheck was nice, too.  I've had my eye on some powder room wallpaper for a while now.  My husband no longer has to purchase health insurance because I have great benefits at my new job, a major savings for our family.

When I have those moments of sadness, and they do come, I try to remember that being home with my children and my dogs and my house and my garden was a season of my life, just the way this new position at work is a season.

And I am so lucky to have my pretty home and my family and my new job.  I was so lucky to be able to be home for those years when my girls were little.  So many families don't get that.

I know there will be tough days ahead.  I'm on a major learning curve.  Getting up at the hideous hour of 4:30 AM will be even more hideous come January.  There are field trips I will miss, activities my children will have to opt out of because of our crazy new schedule.  This is a sacrifice for all of us.

Still, there is satisfaction in what I'm doing.  I love my pretty, clean classroom and the wide, well-lit hallways.  I love teaching young writers and the good feelings that come with that.  Writing this blog post makes me think of another song—The Times They Are A-Changin'.
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