cloistered away | enjoying simplicity

Wednesday

23

July 2014

2

COMMENTS

simple summer style

Written by , Posted in STYLE + SOUNDS

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We’re trying to establish routines again–a bit of play, a bit of house work, a bit of school work, a bit of rest–dividing up hours of sweltering heat. We barely go outside in the middle parts of the day right now–except for yesterday when I made the older ones run 10 laps around the house perimeter for repetitive arguing with one another. The heat combined with long periods indoors makes everyone grumpier. And don’t worry I gave them plenty of water. (wink.) Olive came home with strep throat this weekend, which means she’s spent the last few days wrapped in my arms or snuggled into my lap.  It’s the only redeeming part of sickness, really. She hates her medicine so much that each morning she tries to convince me she’s well enough not to take it, “See mom? My throat doesn’t hurt anymore, so I don’t need to drink that stuff, right?” Apparently, the idea of completing the disgusting antibiotic is too conceptual for the five year-old who doesn’t feel sick any longer.

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After a summer of erratic living, I, too, am finding steadier rhythms. I’m waking up before the kids again, and although a part of me grumbles at this, my days (especially the mornings) always go a bit smoother when I begin with an hour or two that doesn’t involve me talking with someone. I enjoy my first cup of coffee in silence, sometimes writing or reading, sometimes watching the sun rise over our neighbor’s roofline. Either way, I feel more prepared to lead my children through our day, opposed to the willy-nilly routine we’ve had most of the last six months–which I always enjoy for seasons.

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Although I generally have a simple style aesthetic, it’s even simpler in this heat. Most days, I tie back my hair or quickly sweep it up into a messy bun or braid. I dab a bit of concealer under my eyes–because I never want to look as tired as I am (wink)–swab on a bit of blush and lip gloss, and try to drink plenty of water (after morning coffee). I stay cool in simple summer dresses or shorts, and usually pick one piece of jewelry with it–this time the skyline medallion, courtesy of Market Colors.

You all know how I love highlighting small businesses, especially ones who give back. Market Colors is a business supporting craftsman artists in Africa. Each affordable purchase directly helps these craftsmen build a steady income for housing, food, and education. Plus, their handmade products are beautiful–like this clutch  or this wallet both crafted in Kenya. See anything you or a friend might like? Enter cloisteredaway at checkout to receive 20% off. Code expires Friday at midnight EST. Enjoy and stay cool!

shirt (similar) / shorts / necklace / shoes 

 

 

Monday

21

July 2014

4

COMMENTS

stay-cation

Written by , Posted in SOUL

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Although Mark and I try to have at least a weekend or two a year to ourselves, we generally go away for those days, holing up in a place where someone else makes our bed and food, and we can slip out of most every typical role and routine, parenthood included.  As I mentioned before, this week was different. We certainly worked. We still made our bed each morning and cleaned our home. We rearranged furniture and cleaned out neglected piles and closets. Mark painstakingly installed floating shelves in our kitchen (which look incredible–I can’t wait to share), while I painted the rest of our cabinetry (white, of course) and left for work at the college on my two usual days. Some friends lamented us, wishing us to spend the week in real vacation mode–and honestly, going into the week, I felt a tinge of my own sadness, too. However, remaining home this week was pleasantly surreal. Void of the usual [running, squealing, laughing, fighting] noises, I could hear our home’s more subtle sounds, the way our old windows vibrate when the AC runs or the way our floors creak under our footsteps. I listened to the birds chorus each day’s beginning and the locusts hum its end. I moved through ordinariness almost seamlessly–without bodies draped over me or “emergency” helps like finding shoes or snacks or a babysitter. I listened to the audiobook Paris in Love, a memoir of a couple (both professors and writers) who decide to move their family to Paris for a year. Distracted by James’ description of patisseries, and Parisian style, art, and architecture, I lost track of how long I painted. On a side note, when possible, always listen to an audiobook while painting. I had a night out with girlfriends and went on a movie date with Mark. Of course, Mark and I also enjoyed uninterrupted conversation and time together, too, and for the first time in a while, we could discuss and dream possibilities instead of merely what we had scheduled for the day. We ate our meals together, sometimes with other people, sometimes just the two of us. When I picked the kids up on Saturday, ready to squeeze and kiss them, I realized the most restorative part of last week was remembering life with just the two of us, before the decade of parenthood, before the home renovations and interstate moves. Just the two of us. This week, I remembered the quality of our life isn’t about what we’re doing; it’s about whom we’re living it with.  A good note, I’d say.

 

Sunday

20

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

29/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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liam // Dad and I often catch you eavesdropping on our conversations and lovingly call you Radar, letting you know we see you. I sometimes catch you listening to the world this way, paying attention to the small sounds someone others might notice.

burke // If there were an award for the best idler, I would give it to you. You are upset if you are rushed out of bed, wanting time to read or simply stare out the window. I often find you like this, simply thinking. I have always loved your thoughtfulness and slower pace.

blythe // dancing. You are always dancing. And when I watch you, I glimpse a part of your spirit otherwise left hidden.   I hope you always express yourself this way.

olive // This week, you returned from Nina Camp with strep throat, deciding maybe you were too little to go. On another note, you’ve begun reading beginning readers and love it. I have found you more than once studying adult books for the simple words you know and recognize. I love watching this curiosity grow in you.

Tuesday

15

July 2014

6

COMMENTS

little things

Written by , Posted in SOUL

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I met my mom for lunch and ice cream yesterday and then left all of my children with her for Nina Camp, a week of fun the grandparents host/plan each summer. The only prerequisite for this special week is that you are at least five in age (and their grandchild, of course). This is Olive’s first year to go–the first thing she mentioned the morning of her fifth birthday–meaning she has officially graduated into the “big kids” category, and subsequently, Mark and I close a chapter of parenthood. We no longer have babies.

Typically, Mark and I would seize this opportune week for a romantic adventure, just the two of us. However, this year, with the kitchen still in-process and our checkbook tighter than ever, we’re enjoying a “stay-cation” as they say–meaning we’re working on the house and working our jobs instead (you know, in hopes of relaxing that tight checkbook). Don’t feel too sorry for us, though. The kitchen is turning out beautifully, and we’re indulging ourselves a bit this week by eating out for breakfast, going to the movies, drinking good beer and malbec, listening to audiobooks while we work, and enjoying silence or one another when we’re not. It’s the little things, right?

In the meantime, I apologize for the sporadic posting here and hope after this renovation to be less flaky and return to some sort of normalcy, whatever that means. Hang with me, friends. Updates on our kitchen progress are coming soon. xo

Monday

14

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

28/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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liam // you climbed our steep roof to watch your dad work. It seems you are transitioning out of boyhood  more and more each day and taking notes in the process.

burke // this week you all left for Nina Camp. You laid your clothes out across the living room floor, sorted them, and then bunched them into your bag handfuls at a time.

blythe // I brought home a woven fan from a recent wedding for you and Olive. All week you have used them to transform into to women of various cultures and time periods.

olive // you lost your first tooth this week after your sister accidentally hit your face while dancing. Fortunately, it was already loose and not overly traumatic.

Sunday

6

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

27/52

Written by , Posted in THE 52 PROJECT

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liam // I always find you reading, even when you should be folding laundry.

burke // a sweet smile from the guy who had blotches all over his face due to poison ivy earlier this week. Sometimes I look at you and can imagine you at 15, so I hug you and enjoy that you are only nine today.

blythe // from the moment you first arise, you get to work on something–sometimes a drawing or your math work. You are such a hard worker.

olive // enjoying a summer popsicle, in a tutu, naturally. Just your style.

Wednesday

2

July 2014

2

COMMENTS

our kitchen inspiration

Written by , Posted in COLLECTIONS, OUR HOME

kitchen_inspirationMark and I dry-fit our kitchen cabinets today, and I’ll admit it was wonderful seeing some more of our vision for this space come together. I’ll share more pictures of the progress soon, but for now I thought it might be fun to share some of the inspiration for our new/old kitchen. Although we are adding so much newness to this room, we wanted to pay tribute to our home’s 1920 origin. We’re trying to keep an early 20th century feel by mixing a few industrial elements with the warmth of aged wood and marble. Although I originally dreamed of white subway-tiled walls, Mark nixed the idea due to shifting foundations and fear of cracking grout. Overall, I imagine the space to feel warm and minimal, full of clean lines and workspace for our family life. As I painted cabinets for hours today, I couldn’t help but swell with gratitude. Stay tuned.

all images sourced on my kitchen Pinterest board