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Craigslist: A Love Story in Three Acts

Act 1

Many moons ago (apparently Spring of 2015 because that’s when these listing photos are from), I found a dining room set on Craigslist.craigslist table and chairsNow, this was during a heavy Craigslist season for me. I had recently found our elliptical and our daybed on Craigslist, and, like an addict, I just couldn’t stop searching. I was now hunting pieces for several different projects, and I realized what I needed was a dining room set. Now, I already had a dining table and four chairs that I loved, but I had BIG PLANS, so I searched for a complete oak set. The one I found (above) had a pedestal table, 4 regular chairs, and 2 captain’s chairs, and it was around $75 for all. Perfect!

As usual, Adopted California Dad came to the rescue and helped me transport my finds. Luckily, this time it was only across town. We worked our magic to get all of the pieces in the back of his truck and my Honda, and we made it in one trip. (Husband just shook his head as we pulled up and started unloading everything in the garage.)

00N0N_eB7qvgEUwHy_600x450First up were the captain’s chairs. This was the main reason I bought this set – I wanted chairs with arms for the front porch to paint red to match our front doors.DSC_0065Husband did the painting on these for me, and we put them to use right away.DSC_0056Shortly after, I thrifted a small table for $10 and painted it to match. BG and I often eat lunch out here, and it’s a great spot for a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed.

Act 2

DSC_0006.JPGSo, I have a little chair problem. I love chairs. I think it stems from a time when we never had enough chairs at our old house, and many guests were forced to eat dinner while sitting on an ottoman. I look back and realize it didn’t matter one bit, but it bothered me then, and ever since, I’ve had a hard time passing up a good thrift store chair. With this Craiglist find, I now had 4 extra chairs to play around with – yippee!

When we got the Craigslist set home, I added two chairs to our dining room and kept the extra two in the garage. We found ourselves needing a spare chair in the den when both kids were on the computer, so it came in the house as well.DSC_0051Also, just before we painted the captain’s chairs for the porch, the arm and spindles on one side of one chair broke. I searched and searched for replacement spindles with no luck. We cannibalized the 4th extra chair to make new side spindles. (If you look closely, you can see they don’t match, but they work great, and it makes a good story in which I get to use the word “cannibalized”.)DSC_0011I wanted to paint the extra chairs in the dining room a fun color, and this weekend, I FINALLY got around to doing it.DSC_0025DSC_0016It’s “Spa Blue”, and I love how it looks with the navy blue walls and the dark wood table. DSC_0033.JPGI also decided to paint the 3rd extra chair. I went with white to contrast the dark colors of the den. (That camel-colored sectional is also a Craigslist find. I haven’t told that story yet. It’s a good one.)DSC_0034

Act 3

Okay, for those keeping score at home, that’s all 6 chairs accounted for. So, what about the table? Sorry for the Cliffhanger, but Act 3 is not quite finished yet. Husband and I got a good start on it this weekend, but it deserves a post of its own, so I’ll wait and show it to you when I’m finished.

To be continued….

five things

Five Things

Happy Friday!

Phew! We made it! It’s Spring Break, and Husband has been out of town for work this week. He got home in the wee hours of morning, just in time to celebrate BB’s birthday. He’s 8 today!

I cannot believe it was 8 years ago that my water broke and we rushed to the hospital to deliver him 4 weeks early. He was a tiny little thing, but he grew so quickly and got so chubby that Husband called him “The Baby Who Ate the Baby”. Now he’s tall and lean, built just like my daddy was, and he’s one of the kindest kids I’ve ever know. He has a compassionate heart and is a friend to everyone. Just yesterday, we were at the park when the little brother of one of BB’s friends fell down on his scooter. BB immediately knelt down and stayed with him until the little boy’s dad could get to him, comforting him and making sure he was okay. He is genuinely thoughtful and considerate, and he teaches us so much every day. We are blessed to be his parents.

I am off to finish up some birthday traditions that need to be done before BB wakes up, including streamers on his door and at his place at the table, and muffins and bacon for breakfast in bed.

Here are a few things that have been on my mind this week:

IMG_0332-0011. I’m doing this for me. I’ve thought of this about a hundred times this week, when I’m tempted to feel frustrated when the dishes aren’t put back in the right spot (who decided the “right” spot?) or the towels aren’t folded the right way (is there only one?) or the kids’ clothes aren’t hanging perfectly in the closet. It’s like that quote about no one way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a good one. There’s a lot of margin for how things can be done in our homes and families, and I’m learning to have more grace for the ways that are different than mine.

2. I’m sure you’ve read this by now. I put it off until I could be alone and ugly cry if I needed to. I needed to. I’ve been a fan of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s since I read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life and wondered how I could relate so much to this woman I had never met. The book was lovely and funny and amazing and down-to-earth and charming and profound. I loved it and loved her immediately. (She also wrote the children’s books, Uni the Unicorn – BG’s favorite – and Spoon, which we read to BB about half a million times, and many others.) She will be deeply missed.

3. On a lighter note, this is amazing.

lost in paris wedding dress4. These wedding dresses. I haphazardly ended up on the Lost in Paris website when I was searching for ideas for a clothing rack. (My vintage clothing is taking over my workspace rapidly and needs a better solution.) I fell down the rabbit hole looking through Alyssa’s beautiful wedding dresses made from vintage lace and redesigned old dresses. They are simply stunning.

5. This made me laugh, because it’s true. Except I’m pretty sure my doctor is younger than me. When did this happen?

What are you up to this weekend? We are celebrating Husband being home, BB being 8, and all of us having a great Spring Break! Hope you’re weekend is a good mix of purpose, play, laughter, and love. Thanks for reading!

connect

The Orange Tree

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This is our orange tree. Some years, it has tons of fruit. Some years it has almost none. This is a good year. And this weekend, Husband is going to give our orange tree a little haircut, so we need to get some of the fruit off of it beforehand. That was one of my goals for this Spring Break week.

CONNECT is my word of the year.

I haven’t been very good at it so far in 2017.

I’m an extrovert (an ENFP, apparently the most introverted of extroverts, but still). I love being around people. It gives me life. But sometimes, especially as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten worse at connecting. I hem and haw before extending an invitation, I wait for everything to be just right, I think my house has to be perfect and orderly and finished. I think my table should be bigger. I think my house should be tidier. I think I should be a better baker. I second guess EVERYTHING.

But yesterday was different.

fresh squeezed orange juiceBB was heading to a play date, so I invited a friend and her daughter over to pick oranges and make mimosas. (Spoiler: we didn’t pick oranges.) Our girls ran off the moment they arrived, and we didn’t see them all morning. I decided to make scones about 5 minutes before they arrived, so I answered the door with dough all over my hands. I juiced oranges while my friend sat at the counter and we chatted. We snacked and sipped mimosas and talked about church and school and parenting and marriage and family. It was so relaxing.

After our friends left, we went to pick up BB and his friend to continue the playdate at our house. Even after hours of playing, they ran to the back yard and started a project that held their interest the whole afternoon. They included BG in their experiments, and it was one of those playdates that is just so easy.

I went out front to pick some oranges. I took a photo of our tree and thought, What if I put this on Facebook and ask people to pop in? Would they think it’s weird? Would anyone actually come? Should I just hit delete?

I did it anyway. And guess what – people came! A friend and her two boys came over. They picked a few oranges, then BG asked the youngest boy to come play with her, BB asked the older boy to join the science experiments in the back yard, and the mom and I stood in the front yard and had time to talk about preschool and scouts and travel. It was so nice.

Then I got a call from a friend that she was getting off work early and would love to come by for oranges. She brought cupcakes for my kids, and we sat on my stoop and chatted about life and kids and family. (We didn’t pick oranges.) BG gave her a tour of her room, showed her all 25 stuffies on her bed, gave her details of all of her Barbies’ personalities, and interviewed her with her toy camcorder. It was so fun.

In the meantime, another friend drove up to pick oranges. BB did the picking while we sat in the grass and chatted about baseball and work and spring break. It was so peaceful.

It was an awesome day. A relaxing, easy, nice, fun, peaceful day.

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I think this is how life is supposed to be. We were created for community. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows and endless amounts of orange juice. Community can get messy and hard and real. But being in community is how we grow best.

I often think of what our modern life would look like to someone a hundred years ago. Where we live in close proximity to our neighbors but we don’t even know them by name. Where we do life side-by-side with people without making any connection. Where we are surrounded by more people than ever before and yet we isolate by keeping to ourselves, staying in our own homes, staring at our individual screens. It can be so life-sucking.

Connecting is different. It is life-giving. It is bucket-filling. It is the bread and butter but it’s also the icing on the cupcake. It is what sustains life, and it’s what makes life so sweet.

I am thankful for my community. I am thankful for people who love me and love my kids and say “Yes!” to popping by on a Wednesday afternoon to laugh and talk and pluck oranges from a tree. I am thankful for a beautiful spring day and for good conversation in it. And I am thankful that connection is a choice that we can make.

“Do you want to play with me?”

“Do you want to do a science experiment?”

“Do you want to pick some oranges?”