one word

Redefining “homemaker”

For those who have been reading the blog for the past couple of weeks, you have read that I have chosen my “one word” for 2017 as “home”.  I talk about why and what it means in this post.  So, this campaign from Pine-Sol and Take Part grabbed my attention.  As a word person, I love the idea of redefining “homemaker” (which is what I truly wanted my one word to be, but felt like it held too much baggage for me to embrace it for a whole year) and modernize it into #makersofhome.  It really captures the sentiment I want without having to bring all the baggage along with it.   I understand that homemaker is not a bad word in and of itself, but I still like the idea of redefining it from someone who cooks and cleans the house to someone who makes it a “home”.

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The campaign itself is broad and the sentiment is lovely: “From a blended family with adoptive children to a single mom to a family with a special needs child, these stories show us that even as families have changed, love has not.”   We’ve always shared love outside of the traditional family unit, but I like that we are not just recognizing it, but celebrating it with this campaign.

I do cook and clean.  But, I often do it with resentment and frustration rather than as a way to “love”.  I want to change that perspective.  I want my homemaking to become more focused on being a maker of a home.  I want my home to be welcoming and comfortable and cozy and a place where I can celebrate our family and our place in the world.  And our house may change (we will most likely be moving in the next couple of years), but our “home” will remain the same.  Right now, we don’t have a ton of space to host others or much money to invest in decorating and this is a rental, so we don’t have control or permanency to invest in renovation, etc.  But, that isn’t what it’s all about.  It’s about making this a home, in the cultural sense of the word discussed in this Smithsonian article rather than the dictionary definition, which isn’t nearly so meaningful.

A few things I have in the works to reach this goal:

  1. I asked my husband for picture frames for Christmas so I can do a gallery wall with our family photos.  I have one in our stairwell, but it isn’t all that great and certainly is not updated at all.  I think the last picture we have there is from two years ago and most are much older.
  2. I am starting to be more purposeful in my furniture choices.  We basically live in a house of hand-me-downs.  Some that I love and some not so much.  First order of business is to replace our dining room table.  I got my parents’ table when my mom passed away and although it is a beautiful antique that my dad refinished before he passed away, it is also completely out of place in our home.  It is large, formal and the chairs keep breaking (with a seven-year-old and a larger husband, they just aren’t holding up).  So, I’m going to keep my eye out for a good buy on a dining room table that is more our style.  I’m also on the hunt for a coffee table.  I like the open space in our living room without one, but we have problems finding a place to sit drinks and books and work and snacks.  Anyways, I will look for something free or cheap (I got a great office chair free today off Craig’s List that I will use with my desk that I recently moved from my DD’s room to my room to give me a place to work other than the dining room table and the couch) and be patient.
  3. I had a chance to listen to a podcast today while running some errands and the one that popped up was the most recent Abundant Mama podcast with Katrina Kenison.  I had never heard of Katrina Kenison before this, but she truly captured my imagination.  Her story of waking each morning before dawn purely for the purpose of watching the sun rise and how she found out her mom did the same thing because “she didn’t know how many more days she had on this earth and didn’t want to miss one sunrise” just brought me to tears.  The episode focused on her ability to find extraordinary in the ordinary and that, my friends, is what I truly want to make our home.  A place where the ordinary is recognized as extraordinary.  After all, with a daughter who had a heart transplant when she was 5 months old and has been through so much since then, every day really is extraordinary.  We just don’t take the time or effort to recognize that much.  I want to recognize it, not only in words, but also in actions and in our environment at home.

So, as I close this post, I am sitting in a living room with laundry baskets on our love seat and chair full of clean laundry that needs to be folded.  Piles of student papers on the floor and one of the seats of the couch next to me (grades are due in four short days, so these will soon be gone).  A dining room table piled high with a project of my husband’s and mail and papers from the past few weeks that have piled up there as we move them over when we want to eat or play games at the table.  A bar that has Christmas decorations and boxes from Christmas presents and more items from my husband’s project (which he has promised to have cleaned up by tomorrow).  The vacuum is sitting in the hallway where I used it earlier today.  A blanket is on the floor, along with some shoes.  It is by no means picture perfect, but it is a reflection of us.  It is a home that we use (for projects and reading and folding laundry) and one that we snuggle up in (with blankets to keep us warm).  The Christmas tree is blinking with memories on almost every branch.  And my bulldog is snoring next to me.  Would I rather our house be neat and tidy?  Certainly.  But, if it meant that we weren’t using it for things we cared about and loved and needed, than it wouldn’t be worth it.  So, for now, I will take it.  Tomorrow, it may get tidier, but somewhere along the way, it will get messy again.  Perhaps even messier.  But, if it gets more comfortable and it is well-loved along the way, than the mess doesn’t matter.  We are making a home in the Smithsonian sense, not the Better Homes and Gardens sense.

I hope that your home is one of love and beauty and kindness in 2017.  Please let me know in the comments what you think is the #makersofhome.

 

Grounded - My One Word, homemaking

What would you ask of the wizard?

This weekend is my daughter’s stage debut in her school play, Wizard of Oz.  She has worked hard and although she doesn’t have any speaking parts (she is part of the Lullabye League, but they just pretend to sleep and snore), she sings a couple of songs and had two parts (Lullabye League and Flying Monkey) which required her to learn quite a bit of choreography and timing.  It has been fun to see her build confidence and was great to see her have a really good time last night.  Here are some photos:

It is a very cute production and her Principal has worked incredibly hard on it for the past few months.  It was a standing room only crowd last night and we have two more shows, one tonight and one tomorrow afternoon.  I don’t know if she will continue to love drama and performing, but it is a lot of fun while she does!

The production made me wonder what would I ask the Great and Powerful Oz for, given the chance?  What do I feel like I am most lacking in my life?  And am I really lacking that thing or, like the characters in the Wizard of Oz, have I had it all along and just didn’t know it?  It is a more difficult question than one might think.  We often answer questions like this very flippantly and without much thought.  “I would ask to be rich.”  or “I would ask to be younger.”  or some such thing.  But, thinking about the characters in the play, they ask for a heart to love others with, a brain to be able to understand and reason through things and courage to protect others and be a force of good.  But, Dorothy is who I most identify with.  I think I would wish for my home to feel more like a “home” in the emotional sense of the word.  A home that is happy and comfortable and warm and welcoming and full of joy.  A home where love prevails and everyone who enters can feel that presence.  Don’t get me wrong, our home isn’t lacking in love and we do have a good time at times, but the decor and the feel of our home is very much thrown together.  We don’t have many family photos on the walls.  Our furniture is mostly hand-me-down and not coordinated.  Our surfaces are often piled high with stuff.  It doesn’t always smell great because of the animals.  Our carpets are stained.  The paint has dulled over the years.  There are things that need to be repaired.  It just kind of reeks of temporariness even though we’ve been here for over seven years.

So, for 2017, I am going to choose the word “home” for my word of the year.  And I am really going to focus on “homemaking”.  Making a home that does all the things I listed above.  Making a home that I would happily click my heels together three times and go to any time I am stressed and tired and needing comfort.  Right now, I often want to click my heels to get away from my home!  I want that to change!

So, what about you?  What would you ask from the Great and Powerful Oz?

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Thankfulness Challenge, Uncategorized

365 Days of Thankfulness – Day 29

I can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of November!  I really don’t know where time goes.  But, it goes.  It goes very fast…Today, I’m thankful for our home, which is coming a bit out of spite…

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Today, I’m thankful for our home.  It hasn’t been shown much love in the last seven years that we’ve been here.  We aren’t the cleanest of people.  We don’t do maintenance much.  And I’ve become convinced that we should not be homeowners (although we do own a home in So Cal that we rent out, but a management company deals with the maintenance and such down there – we rent here because of that house in So Cal).  My husband would like to buy a home up here.  He is convinced we would take better care of a home that we owned, but I’m not convinced.  So, I’ve been trying to embrace the home we have and show others that it can be nice.  So, today’s post is going to focus on some of the things I am thankful for in our home.

First, I love that we are in a neighborhood where there are kids my DD’s age to play with.  Rarely does a day go buy that if she wants to play with someone she can’t find someone.  And I feel safe letting her outside without direct supervision because we all check on them intermittently; we live on a circle, so we don’t get much traffic; and, the childless neighbors are all very nice to the kids.

Second, I kind of appreciate that our carpet is old and dirty because we seem to constantly be spilling stuff or when the dog was a puppy she would have accidents.  I feel like we aren’t ruining something really nice when life happens.  Of course I would love to have nice, new, clean carpeting, but realistically, it wouldn’t last long.

Third, I love all the natural light our house gets.  We have two big windows in the living room and the sliding glass door.  All of the bedrooms have windows that get light at some point during the day.  We also have high windows in the stair area that gives the stairs and hallway good light.

Finally, I love that we have nice yard areas.  I wish that we took better care of the backyard and could make it nice.  But, it is nice to have plenty of space for the dog and trees and such in our yard.

So, that’s it – my thankful list for our current home.  We won’t be here forever (or maybe even for long), but I’m really going to try to embrace the home we have for all it is while we are here.