this old house

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errr or not really old at all. We purchased our first home five days before our wedding. At the time, it was a patch of dirt in what would eventually be a 100ish home neighborhood. As first time home buyers, we had the perfect opportunity with this gem. We didn’t build from scratch ourselves but instead had our hand held buy the builder and picked all the finishes, floor plan and wall colors from a few options. We lived in this space for five years, made two job changes, brought a dog baby home to it and later our real baby made a home there.

And then, it was time to go.

It took a while but once I finally accepted that I was doing the adult thing by moving (the Seattle area market was crazy this summer) and the for-sale sign went up, it was suddenly easy to let go. I would return home after a potential buyer showing and my house would smell like someone else. Like when you step into an elevator after an exceptionally potent man has just left.  People had been poking around, viewing all my belongings and judging my decorating choices (I’ve seen enough home shows to know they ALWAYS comment on the paint color. amIright?). I was disconnected almost immediately. As we packed, I happily watched furniture walk out the door to new homes and car fulls of stuff go to GoodWill.

It wasn’t until we had everything out and I was deep cleaning that my emotions finally took me down. Actually, it was M’s room that got me. And stupidly enough, it was a tiny coffee stain that literally brought me to my knees. On the shelf next to her changing table, there was a tiny ring from my coffee cup practically burt into the wood. Instantly, the routine I had for almost two years flooded over me. Wake, Shower, Coffee, Get Baby, Place Coffee on Shelf, Change Baby. I just laid on the floor and finally let myself feel the change.

The thing is, it was like pulling off a bandaid. We have taken our new place from house to home in a matter of four months and are still charging ahead. I haven’t looked back once or really even thought about the house we sold. I am certain that the same powerful feelings will imbed themselves in these new walls, that there will be coffee rings to cry over when we leave this place and that I never NEVER want to see that brown shag carpet again (WHAT was I thinking?).

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Side note: I know people move ALL the time and I’ve talked about this a few too many times already. Last one. Promise.

Builder: Pulte Homes

Design Direction: Laurie Schwartz

when spring comes to january

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When the headlines are full of blizzards, juno and the word feet mixed with the word snow, I almost hate to talk about the weather. But, the weather. We pay our dues in the Northwest with enough gloom to make us notorious for it so when the sun shines in January, you talk about it. It’s been 60 here the last few days. 60 in January is some sort of miracle. And we did what any good Pacific Northwest dwellers do when the big ball of light shines. We got outside.

I’ve “hiked” (you can hardly call what we did hiking. it was glorified mountain walking) Evans Creek Preserve a few times in the summer but it was almost better in the winter. Very Twighlight-esc with moss stretching across every surface and tiny traces of wildlife at your feet. It was really a January morning at it’s finest.

**Remind me to look back at this when I’m complaining about the spring that hasn’t yet arrived in April.

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at home acai bowls

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A few years ago on a trip to Hawaii we discovered Acai Bowls. Yogurt like bowls of fruit puree topped with everything from mango to almonds. We would stop at a little local hole in the wall juice bar, collect our bowl of frozen goodness and continue on to the beach. Since then, they’ve exploded all over the internet and are even served in some restaurants around Seattle. The major draw is probably the health benefits but for me, it’s more about the flavorful fruits that make a bowl.

A few days ago, a friend posted a photo of their delicious, overflowing Acai Bowl on Insta. (Just to tease me. I’m sure of it.)I could.not stop thinking about it and was determined to make one for myself. It took a little longer then I expected because I couldn’t find frozen Acai packets but we improvised by throwing a bottle of Acai juice into a Tupperware and freezing it overnight. It worked perfectly! If the packets also elude you, I found the juice at Safeway.

What You Need || 

acai: frozen packet or previously frozen juice

1 frozen banana

1 avocado

coconut milk

1 mango, chopped

strawberries, sliced

chai seeds

granola

What You Do ||

Blend the frozen Acai with the banana, avocado and 1/4 cup coconut milk. Keep adding milk and pureeing until you get a frozen yogurt type consistency.

Divide acai puree into bowls

Top with mango, strawberries, granola and chai seeds

The great thing about Acai Bowls is that there is no strict recipe. I’ve ordered them with scary sounding ingredients like peanut butter and pineapple and have never been disappointed. I don’t even think it would be too crazy to throw some leafy greens in with the puree. Play around with the ingredients and see what you like best. Enjoy!

moving without the movers

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By no means was I the most organized mover. I have moved out of many apartments, college housing and short term living situations but the amount of stuff we had accumulated over our five year stint in our last house was truly amazing. I thought I had boxed, labeled and organized a very tidy move weeks in advance. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. When it came to crunch time things were flying around, family was tossing in every grocery sack and reusable tote they had to help and my new garage was bulging with items I needed to sort though before finding it a new home. Needless to say, I learned a few things and plan to attack any future moves very differently.

1. Start early

Lesson learned. Packing takes about 10x longer then you plan for. Every single.tiny.thing in your house has to make it out somehow. Either that’s into a moving truck, trash bin or finding it a new home. No matter where it’s going, plan for somewhere around three solid days of packing per room in your house. I wish I had followed this rule. After getting the ‘big stuff’ squared away, I laid off the packing and when it came down to it, I was throwing small items in boxes and bags hours before closing.

2. Purge and declutter 

New space means you need new things. Sorry guys. I know the men in your life don’t want to hear this. You’ll need to measure and plan out your new space before deciding what to get rid of. It might be through a garage sale, Craigslist listings (we did A LOT of this), GoodWill donations or gifting to your neighbors. Either way, if it doesn’t work for your new home, just don’t bring it. Have a plan as far in advance as you can and rid yourself of the rest. Decision making, sorting and selling take time.

3. Hire a sitter 

Sorry kids!

4. Box it up

I totally underestimated the number of boxes we would need to pack up our home. Boxes can add up if you buy them new but you’ll be surprised how many you can find if you ask around. I have seen friends receive an entire move worth of boxes just by asking on Facebook. Again, this is a lesson I learned. I had boxed everything that I thought needed a box and at the last minute was staring down a mound of miscellaneous items. (see Start Early)  They ended up tossed in tote bags and paper sacks. Now, my garage is full of these bags. If I had purchased more boxes, I could have properly labeled these and sorted better. My garage would thank me.

5. Enlist a crew 

I felt bad asking for any help from friends or family as obviously there is a whole industry of folks dedicated to making moving easier. But before I knew it, our family had descended on us like moving angels. They helped Kyle carry the heavy items, worked the Tetris game of truck loading like pros and hauled car loads of our junk around. Without them, I am positive we would still be moving. I know the point of choosing a DIY move over movers is to save money but compensate any help as well as you can. It would be fun to host them all for a dinner in your new home once everything is put away or take them out to a ‘thank goodness it’s over’ drink.

 

what’s up

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A week turned into a few months and when all is said and done, it’s been almost six months. This little blogging absence was both ‘oops!’ and ‘ahhhhh!’ all at once. I never meant to step away for so long but once I was away, it just hurt so good. Slowly though, little by little, it didn’t feel so great any more and the itch to put my fingers to keyboard started to come back to me.

Truth is, I really love this space. I love the comments and the freedom to use my own my mind to create and craft and it shouldn’t be as hard as I was making it out to be. So, anyway, I think a simple what the heck I’ve been doing lately (because we all know it hasn’t been blogging) is in order…..

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^^ First things first. Most of my time has been spent with THIS! I finally stopped crying like a baby and ponied up to selling our house. I won’t bore you with the crusty details but we bought in a totally different area then we were originally looking and fell in love with this total fixer. We’ve spent our time demoing walls, creating new walls, ripping out that wonderful 1970’s wood burning stove, pulling up and replacing all the flooring, creating an entirely new kitchen, painting like crazy and decorating where the budget allows. We aren’t completly done (and I don’t imagine we will be for a few years) but we aren’t having ‘picnics’ on the floor any more and the wires dangling from the celing have been tucked away. #remodelsarenojoke

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^^ In October, we left the house in a mid-reno mess and went to Disney with Kyle’s entire family. For the second year in a row, we partied at Mickey’s Halloween shin-dig and, as only Disney can do, it was magical. Little Mady wore a bee costume and when she met Minnie Mouse, my heart just about melted all over that pristine Disney sidewalk. She got all red and nervous but couldn’t hold back from throwing her arms around the tiniest Minnie I’ve ever seen.

I imagine I would act in a similar style if Oprah appeared on the streets offering hugs.

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^^Oh you know, just fall and about 29 different pumpkin patch visits happened.

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^^ I think I’ve had somewhere around 218 cups of coffee since my last post. (Riveting stuff right….)

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^^ I also took a solo trip to Florida to be in the wedding of one of my longest friends (friends since the 4th grade!). I can’t remember the last time I stayed in a hotel room alone or flew without someone to chat with. It was a mix of strange and wonderful all wrapped into one.

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^^ Practically right off the plane from Florida, I hopped on another (this time with my trusty companions) to spend Thanksgiving with my family in Kauai.

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^^ And just like that, it was Christmas. This was our holiday card photo this year. We intended to all be in it but Kyle and I are just not as photogenic as this little peanut. She nailed the whole day of cookie making and perfect photo location scouting so a solo card was well deserved.

Six months summed up in a few photos hardly does it justice but I think that’s the big stuff. To really catch up, find me on Instagram – @prettywednesday.

Enjoy!

a week

DSC_2385This little space on the internet has been lonely lately. I know. The thing is, it’s hotter then hades outside which means it’s even hotter inside. Every year I scold myself for being a typical Seattleite and declining the AC option when we built our house. Around here you generally deal with about five unbearable days a year then it’s over, you lived and your house returns to it’s standard perfectly perfect 68ish degrees. So far this year, it’s been over 90 more days then I can remember most summers having total and although I adore the heat, I have also been declining the option of sitting in front of a computer roasting. (excuses, I know…just bear with me)

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So, to catch up…..last weekend we spent four days on a little cross-Washington road trip. We took off for Walla Walla for a friends wedding, made an overnight stop in Yakima  and drove for what seemed like days even though it was only about four and a half hours each way. We survived the car ride in one piece and Ky was such a good sport letting me play tourist at some fun stops like the run down convenience store above. The only rough patch was on the way home where I was sick combined with the effects of maybe a little too much wedding fun (oops). We had to make a few stops for mama to pull it together but home we came to enjoy the last week bouncing from park to park and beach to beach trying to stay cool. Summa’….I love you!

DSC_2378And another thing, you know the whole not having AC in the house thing…I’m totally not complaining. We decided a few months ago that it’s time for us to sell our home and move on to a community with an easier commute for Ky. This is the summer we move and make our way to our perfect preschool land, the place where we can walk to dinners out and a lifestyle that involves less car and more time together. So, I called up my BFF, an exceptional realtor, and forward motion started. They came and photographed our house, we decided on an asking price and all was well. Then, I left to the store on Wednesday and the sale sign appeared in my front lawn while I was gone. You know, the ominous white post, flyers showing every nook and cranny of the house you made a home and a stupid little banner teasing you with each sway it takes in the wind.

I immediately freaked.

insert photo of sign here. i have one all ready but I can’t actually post it because I just don’t want to look at it. you know what it looks like. 

You guys, I just could not stop crying. I came inside, tried reading M a book and gulped and gasped so much I had to put it down. I sat on the sofa in sorrow for M’s entire nap. I have no idea what is wrong is with me but I was paralyzed by the thought of selling this house. Anyway, I was such a crazy that we postponed putting the house on the market until next week when hopefully I can suck it up and not act like such a weeping fool.

It’s time to move forward towards a smaller home with a better lifestlye for the Lipe family.

 

Enjoy! Melissa

clean produce

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A few weeks ago, I went to visit my aunt in Arizona. I had no idea that she was in fact the Martha Stewart of summer entertaining. Over the course of a weekend, I learned so much from her about sharing your home with a group of people. First was that she had classy plastic utensils for everything. Wine glasses, plates, beer glasses….all plastic. No broken glass and easy clean up. Smart move. The second has changed the way I prep for my own family to eat over the course of the summer.

After a trip to the store, she took all the produce out, threw it into a bowl, washed it with produce wash then did the prep for eating (cut the strawberries, watermelon, etc) and put the produce in tupperware to grab at will from the fridge. Why have I never thought of this? Since then, I’ve been prepping all of our produce as soon as I get home from the store and we have been wasting less. The ease of grabbing it ready to eat means we reach for it more often.

The other thing I took in from all this was the way she washed her fruits and vegetables. I’ve always rinsed my produce in water before I ate anything but produce wash was new to  me. I was skeptable until she rinsed her strawberries then threw them in produce wash. Even after they had been rinsed off, the bowl had a layer of dirt on the bottom at the end of the soak session. I was so sick that I had been eating this and feeding it to my family. Makes total sense. It’s been in the ground, handled by who knows how many hands then placed in the store for you to go after. Anyway, I was totally convinced and have been using produce wash since. I also bought several bottles for friends and handed them out like candy.

It’s the easiest thing. Rinse your produce, add a squirt (or one tbs) of  wash to a bowl, drop in your produce, fill with water. Let it soak for about 2 minutes then give it another good rinse.

Try it!

 

Enjoy! Melissa

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26/52 || lessons from the garden

DSC_2319“M, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Finally! We are seeing some fruits of our labor (hehe!) in our backyard. The vegetable garden  is growing nicely but our potted strawberry plant is the real champ so far. Every year the garden is real labor of love. We don’t expect much out of it but we faithfully weed and water daily hoping that the five little plants we placed in the ground produce something. That’s why it’s SO EXCITING to walk out each morning and find there is a small tidbit you can dig your teeth into. M has been very good about waiting until each berry is ‘wed’ before plucking it off the branches and eating it. It’s a slow process, one little berry at a time but it’s been so gratifying for both her and I to be able to check our plant each day and see the tiny red fruit ready to become our afternoon treat. This one little pot has become such a good teacher in patience and tenderness.

I’m just thrilled!

Enjoy! Melissa

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eating portland

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Last weekend, we set out on a 24 hour journey to Portland. Our friends Bryan and Natalie moved to SouthWest Portland about a month ago and we were anxious to be their first visitors. We took off on Saturday at M’s nap time hoping for a quiet trip down I5 and walked in their front door almost exactly 3 hours later.

Let’s talk about Portland for a minute. EVERY stereotype you have heard about it is true. When I traveled for work, people used to snarl at what a liberal city Seattle was. It never failed that they would mention our tendency to be green. We recycle (like that’s bad? working on the environment here people) and they always ALWAYS commented on the rain. The thing is, if you think Seattle is too liberal, maybe NEVER go to Portland. It’s a city after my heart in some ways. It’s fairly small for a major city so a car is almost unnecessary (we got in ours once all weekend), the Willamette River runs right through the city making it easy to watch boats, wet suit sporting swimmers and we even saw a submarine , plus, it’s almost crazy relaxed. Oh, and they have good donuts.

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DSC_2312 DSC_2303DSC_2300We walked and ate our way through this town. In one short trip, we had Voodoo Doughnuts, Salt and Straw Ice Cream  and one of my favorite coffee’s ever, Stumptown. I got a small feeling for what I would be like as a New Yorker…fat. Each step I took was almost an excuse to eat more junk food. Plus, once you were already standing in front of the hour long line for donuts, it seemed like no big deal to jump right in. Never can I live in a walkable city. Apparently, I would eat my way through it.

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Enjoy!

trust || guest post by Linda Emma

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Today is an exciting first for Pretty Wednesday. A true blue print author is guest posting for us today! Needless to say, I am thrilled! Linda Emma is a mom of two twenty-somethings, lives in Boston, wrote an amazing novel ,works at Endicott College as a teacher/tutor and is a Content Creator for Effective Student Marketing at an agency. (Did you get all that?) She brings a little of her school experience as well as her own kids to her blog kidssuck.net. A blog with a funny title and some seriously thought provoking content. When I asked her to guest post for us, I left the topic up to her. I knew that anything she came up with would be better without my nosing around in it and, sure enough, her article on trust has had me thinking for days about the best lessons for my M. Can’t wait to hear what you guys think. Thanks Linda!

 

We are wired for trust.

Out of the womb and into the world, as a species, we possess a dearth of protective instincts. Anyone who’s ever seen a startled infant flail his arms and legs has to get that humans are ill-equipped to make it long-term on their own. The Moro Reflex hearkens back to an evolutionary day of falling primates desperately grasping to illusive clutches of fur. But its modern day display makes it pretty clear that babies truly believe that someone will be there to catch them if they fall.

Fast-forward to 21st century maternal instincts and those Neanderthal kiddos couldn’t have gotten it more right. As a protective breed, modern day moms are even better (or worse) than their forebears. They don’t just protect defenseless babies; they follow those babies through developmental stages much further than any of the predecessors. Moms are catching falling children when they stumble in grade school, high school, and even college.

And their kids trust them to do so, to be there, to take care of things, to clean up after them.

Too bad it isn’t made crystal clear to those kids, though, that not everyone is in their corner like mom and dad. That trust isn’t necessarily the natural order of things out in the big bad world and that it may need to be earned and deserved. That flailing about waiting for someone to catch them is a pretty wrong way to wade through life.

After one of my students felt betrayed by her friends, she told me, “I don’t trust anyone.”

An extreme response.

She had been lucky to find a college group where she fit in. It guaranteed her a lot of fun nights and gave her a sense of security wherever she roamed on campus. After the mind-changing incident, though, she reconsidered whom she should call friend. I also suggested that such a large circle of “friends” might be unsustainable.

She came to believe that never again trusting anyone wasn’t the way to go, but a measure of caution might be a good idea.

Ah, lessons learned.

Michael isn’t as quick to trust as his sister is. He’s also more likely to cut someone off when he feels he’s been betrayed. He doesn’t forgive easily. Or perhaps, he’s like his grandmother who claims she’s willing to forgive, but never forgets. Hmmm.

Michael and I have been dissecting the nature of trust recently. He’s young to be in business for himself, young to be learning some of the harsh lessons to which he’s recently been exposed. He’s trying to decide whom to trust and who may—or may not—deserve a second chance. For now, he seems willing to align himself with “partners” while looking to a future as independent contractor. No surprise. Even in preschool, Michael was a bit of an independent contractor.

My kiddos from college, though, aren’t necessarily set up for such independence. Some of them have gotten used to sturdy safety nets stretched below them and have become adept cliff jumpers. It’s hard to blame their behavior; past evidence supports their death-defying exploits. Someone has always been there, able to catch them just before they hit rock-bottom.

The thing is, I want my students to take chances, to believe, to trust –in others, but especially in themselves. I also want them to know, however, that flailing about with open arms into a plummeting abyss is no way to start their lives, and certainly could be one that ends it.

Trust can be ephemeral. It shouldn’t be. But too often, it is.

I don’t (usually) ask my students to trust me. Like my son, I believe trust needs to be deserved and earned. But if I were to posit an unearned entreaty to my students, I would plead, trust me: you need to be careful about whom you trust.

 

Enjoy!