The One with a House Warming

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Over the weekend we filled our home with friends and laughter and food (and Fuller House). The menu was simple, the house was clean, and it was so lovely to be able to have our friends share in celebration with us. Scared or not, we’ve put down some roots in this unexpected city.

In the hours leading up to and following the house warming, I realized two big things about my natural reactions towards parties and hosting:

One: People over details, always and always. I woke up at 5:30 the morning of the party in complete panic about having enough drinks – I was certain we’d run out of orange juice or champagne. My sweet husband reminded me that running out of things is not a party killer because, duh, there are stores nearby and friends who are always willing to bring an item if needed. And he was right. We actually didn’t need more drinks, and I was a thousand times happier when I turned off the detail-panic and instead focused on enjoying my guests.

Two: I’m still about thirteen years old when it comes to party attendance. I am 100% okay with guests not being able to come and letting me know. But my “yes” people who are a no show completely crush my soul. I know it sounds extreme, and really it only lasts for a few dramatic days, but I am a woman consumed by non-attendance. This has not changed, apparently, because I specifically remember grieving this same thing at every major life event – high school graduation, birthday parties, my wedding. All happy occasions overshadowed by who was missing. As someone who firmly falls into the love language category of “quality time”, non-attendance makes me feel unimportant and unloved. And I’m just going out on a limb here and hoping I’m not alone in this one, fellow quality-timers, but it’s so difficult for me to not jump straight from people not showing up to people not caring. My brain immediately reacts defensively, creating walls where there should be grace and understanding. Because the hard truth is that we’re all doing the best we can, and that not everyone has the same scars as I do or feels the same way. To my friends who can throw a party and enjoy every single aspect of it, I salute you! I hope to adopt more of your style. Right now I’m at the space where nerves exist and party feelings get hurt and I have to use a lot of grace talk to work past it.

So there you go, friends. If you’re insanely attached to attendance and inclined towards appetizer induced anxiety, my tips on how to have the perfect housewarming are to calm down and don’t be like me. Enjoy your sweet guests, be thankful for who is there and completely forget about who wasn’t. Root your worth in being known and loved, and don’t equate not showing up with not caring or loving. Pour yourself a glass of bubbly and go brag about your closets. ((but no one needs more kitchen brags, because really, that masterpiece speaks for itself))

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The One for a Schnauzer

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Freddy Kay. He was always the first thing I missed about home. He fit perfectly inside my arms in the way that made him do that low, rumbly growl as I’d bury my face in his old-man beard. He was so tolerant of my hugs.

Freddy was smart and stubborn, loving and loud. He knew who his people were and was fiercely loyal to them. He spent half of his life positioning himself strategically around the house so that he could keep a watchful eye on everyone’s activities. If that spot coincided with a sunny place on the floor, well that was just pure puppy gold. Freddy always greeted people loudly, and was only ever at peace when all of us were in the same room (preferably the living room so he could snuggle onto the couch).

Our first Thanksgiving with Freddy, my mom picked him up Lion King-style to bring him to the empty dinner table as we talked over half-empty glasses of tea after the meal. As she entered the dining room, Johnny yelled out “he’s peeing, he’s peeing!” and the horrified look on my mother’s face was enough to make me laugh even now. He wasn’t actually peeing, but in her defense, it was entirely likely that puppy Fred would’ve done that. He took quite some time to house train – mostly because we spoiled him shamelessly.

Freddy went on to prove his cleverness when, at the ripe age of six, he learned how to shake hands in a single day, taught by a stranger, no less. The things that dog wouldn’t do for a peanut butter treat are limited. He saw me off to junior and senior prom. He waited by the back door every school day for John to come home. His face was the first thing I kissed on the morning of my wedding, and he sat with me while I got ready, as if he could feel my nerves and wanted to help. He tortured my puppy girl for the entire time she was in his house, showing his disgruntled hiney to her whenever she tried to play. He loved my mother with complete devotion, and was secretly Johnny’s best friend. He was faithful and lovable and a little on the hefty side.

And now he’s in puppy heaven, hopefully with his own place so he can be the alpha dog, and somewhere with an unlimited supply of kashi bars and bacon. He was a good boy, and will be sorely missed.

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The One with A Move

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Well friends, we’ve up and moved! Nothing drastic – a mere two miles from our former abode, but enough for a new zip code (21212 – how adorable?!) and a totally different take on what a home looks like for us. We’re homeowners, which is entirely new and scary territory, and between furnaces and hundred-year-old hardwoods we’re learning a lot. Yay for adulthood!

We completed the painful moving process the weekend after we returned from our holiday galavanting, and I immediately began unpacking and settling in (cue the binge-watching Fixer Upper – can I be Joanna Gaines?). Our kitchen is dreamy and the fireplace is cozy and the downstairs bathroom sink drips and the backyard needs some TLC and our to-do list is a mile long. My head is swirling with ideas for curtains and how many counter stools we need and how to keep the (only) full bath from looking unkempt.  And in the midst of it all, my prayers for this home are already being fulfilled. On our moving day after unloading the truck, all eight of our wonderful friends sat around our unpacked living room and shared our first meal in the house together, where we split pizza slices and laughed and talked. The weekend after we moved in my darling Amanda came to visit, and we piled onto the guest bed and talked about boys at 2 AM (because that’s when she arrived) and then we made breakfast together the next morning. My vision and hope for this house is that it will be home to shared meals and sacred pauses, an inviting space where stories and laughter are shared. This is where we will do life, for however many years to come. And while the thought of lingering this far north much longer scares me, God isn’t finished with us here just yet. So we’re soldering on in a new zip code, with hopeful optimism and knowledgeable friends and family on our side.

Ten thousand shout-outs to our moving crew, and to my mom & Johnny who were my salvation the week before we moved in. Come back and let me cook for you soon!

The One with the Crooked Tree

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Well, we’ve got ourselves a leaner.  Our perfectly full and even-branched tree is split in the middle – about four feet up the tree it branches off into two major sections, so that our tree top is a little more than slightly askew.  But you know, I still like him.  The house smells like heaven, and the lights do wonders in cheering up our quickly dark afternoons.

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We won’t be moving until after we return from the holidays, so I went into full nesting mode over the weekend, baking up a storm and trimming the whole apartment.  The recipes you’re going to want to add to your repertoire:

Apple Cider Ginger Snaps

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Pecan Chocolate Chip Snowballs

I brought a few of these sweets to a mug exchange party, and between that and watching the Holiday it felt like the perfect Christmasy weekend.  Of course, I avoided all the grading I needed to do, and will be paying dearly over the next week.  But in the midst of this crazy season of three schools and a new house, I continue to feel this undercurrent of peace – that I am precisely where I am supposed to be, and that in my brokenness I am being made whole.  And it’s exactly in this season where I can so obviously count the ways that God is using the people around me to affirm and encourage me in his plan, and I’m learning to open myself up to do the same for others.  Letting people in on my story has never been sweeter.

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Soon, sweet puppy, you’ll have a new house full of street-level window access so you can gaze the day away.  Until then, save the snuggles for the couch you’re (supposedly) not allowed on.