We are headed to Disney World in 26 days. When we come home, it's Lucy's third birthday, then nine days later, Christmas, followed by New Year's. Then: THREE MONTHS OF DARKNESS AND DEPRESSION, also known as WINTER.
I love having something, ANYTHING to look forward to. The best, though, is when I have a trip or a vacation to look forward to, along with some accompanying research to keep me busy. While I am really looking forward to our trip next month (I can't even TELL YOU how much I'm looking forward to it, except to say that in the Name of Preparation, I have been to Walmart THREE TIMES just to settle on the perfect $3 rain poncho) (I KNOW, SHUT UP), I'm also dreading it, because I know the letdown that follows when a trip is over – and I've enjoyed the last 300 days (yes, we booked in February, because we are OVERACHIEVERS) of having something to look forward to as well as something to overeducate myself about.
Also, there's the whole thing about winter sneaking up on us, and the fact we'll spend the majority of January, February and March INDOORS in this impossibly tiny and dark (TWO WINDOWS DOWNSTAIRS, THAT IS ALL) house. Then again, I'm kind of... how do I say this... looking forward to the winter, because I am curious to see if the changes we made during the renovation this summer will have a noticeable effect on how well we weather the winter. We did NOT do so well two years ago, when we were pretty much housebound for upwards of three weeks during which over four feet of snow fell, but then again, we were living in what felt like a crummy old frat house, complete with wobbly Ikea furniture and cheap carpeting that was horrible to clean, meaning there were obvious reminders pretty much everywhere of each specific location where various people and pets had vomited.
Circa 2007, the house looked like this. Not bad, but not... UPDATED, really, either:
I mean, this isn't the greatest angle. Turns out when your house is covered with blankets to protect furniture from dog hair, you're not photographing it all that much. You can see why.
Here's another, featuring Asher, age 14 months. (OMG WHEN WAS HE THAT TINY) (Also, please realize at that age he had already had STITCHES IN HIS WEE HEAD.)
And now, NOW, you guys, I get to live here instead.
I love it, I do – just... will it be enough to get me through the winter? This is our one living space. Yes, the kids have bedrooms upstairs and yes, we have a nice open kitchen now, but otherwise, this is it. This is where the messes are made, LOTS OF THEM, and I'm not the kind of person who can sit down at night to watch television with 52,000 die cast cars scattered all over the floor. In other words, it must be straightened up every evening for my own sanity. You people who can close the doors to a playroom or leave toys strewn about OVERNIGHT in your finished basement? I'll trade you for Date Night, I SWEAR I WILL.
That said, I do really, truly love it. I loved putting it together and I love the color palette and I love the way it all turned out. I loved the colors during the summer, and I'm hoping it makes the winter seem cheerier. Honestly, all that work we had done makes living here so much more tolerable – it feels shallow, to say that, that somehow, really and truly, hardwood floors and cute throw pillows and matchy lampshades could improve my life so very much – but it is TRUE. I find that I can now spend entire afternoons here with the kids without feeding movie after movie into the DVD player and crumpling to the floor in defeat. Prior to the reno, I was ALWAYS looking for a reason to get out of the house. ALWAYS. And maybe part of the reason it's easier to stay home these days is because the kids love playing together and are suddenly into coloring and drawing and I find we can pass the time together much more easily than we did last year, back when they were into INSTRUMENTS, which is its own special level of hell, especially if you own CYMBALS and an ACCORDION and SIXTEEN PLASTIC HARMONICAS (we do).
But then again, HARDWOOD FLOORS. You know, if I'm going to live in a house with 900 feet of actual, usable space, which is constantly covered in a layer of baby dolls and log trucks and Legos, then I at least need to know there's a layer of CLASSY somewhere underneath.