Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 15--what you like about your house.

Day 13 - a fictional book that is meaningful to you since your loss.
Day 14 - a non-fictional book that is meaningful to you since your loss.
Day 15 - what you like about your house.

So, yeah, I am a dumbass. I took from the first list, and not the second, which is ironic because I MADE UP THE SECOND LIST to correspond with Pregnancy Loss and Awareness month. And today is the day. I am holding my breath today waiting to hear the list of baby names read by Jess. Last night, I revisited her post asking for names, and just started reading the comment section. Each person she responded to, with loving compassion and kindness, and repeated their baby's name. I was weeping for us all. For each of us. That was powerful. I have had it all on the surface this week. So close to the surface. I feel raw and tender and that feels important somehow. Anyway, this list of name feels like a moment I have craved since finding this community.

So anyhow, a fictional book meaningful since my loss and a non-fiction. Fiction would have to be the Harry Potter series, because they delivered. They got me out of my own crappy universe and into one of magic and intrigue and were so well-written I am in awe of J.K.Rowling. She makes young adult literature look like adult literature without under or over estimating your ability to understand. I loved growing more fearful and more mature as I read it, which is stupid because I am 36, but I felt that way. Non-fiction book, I would have to say that I am constantly going back to Pema Chodron's book the Wisdom of No Escape and When Things Fall Apart for grief counsel. I actually got the latter book when my grandfather was dying and it was amazingly grounding. She is a force and a Bodhisattva, and just probably the closest thing I get to a spiritual guru. For grief books, I found Finding Hope When a Child Dies interesting. There is nothing a book can teach you about grief. Sometimes I think the people who should read grief books are all the other people in our lives, but that was a fascinating look at other cultures. I can't rightly remember much of it now, but I read it three months out on a train ride to NYC, and I remember thinking it was fascinating.

Alright, today's topic before I keep talking about books, again and again and again...

What I like about my house.

Pretty much everything, even though it is in New Jersey.

I live in a smallish house compared to some, but it is the perfect size for us. It is an arts and crafts bungalow. We bought it when my husband was in graduate school and I was the sole bread winner, and we found out we were pregnant with Beez. We walked in and knew immediately that this was the house we wanted. Our house is known in the neighborhood as the architect's house, because it was owned by an architect for thirty years. He raised the attic to form a kind of loft for the bedrooms. All the ceilings are knotty pine, and the floors are heart pine, and the rafters in the dining room are exposed to the upstairs.

It actually surprises people when they walk into our home because the ceilings in the dining room looks up into our bedroom, and the roofline of our house. There are ceiling windows in my bedroom out of which I can see the full moon rise, and the trees sway against the brightness of the moon. My children share a bedroom, which I love. I somehow managed to make it both boy and girl. And all of us share one itty bitty bathroom connected by two doors, one into our bedroom, and one into theirs. There are lots of little pockets to hide in and cubbies to sneak about. Lots of interesting lines in our house. It is all modern design, despite the arts and crafts roots.

The week after we found out we were pregnant with Lucy, we took down three walls, and gutted the entire kitchen, opening it up to the rest of the house. The kitchen was the only room untouched by the architect, I think, or maybe it was touched, but not bettered. Cooking is such an important ritual for us, and we sit together and talk and cook. We really wanted a social space. Sam builds furniture as a hobby and woodworks, and so he built all our cabinetry, and we worked tirelessly for months designing and redesigning it on graph paper, saving up, budgeting. So, when we finally took the weekend to knock down walls, we had a working, albeit still in shambles, but running water, fridge, stove, within three days of the first hammer to plaster. So, yeah, the kitchen is exactly what we want. We picked every little thing of it. The sink, as you noted in comments, is one of my favorite parts. We bought it on craigslist. It was dropped in the installation by the previous owner, and we repaired it. It cost us about a sixth of what it was bought for.

Anyway, we have a list of projects, but one that we really wanted was a woodstove, which was installed today. My husband tiled the area with slate and built the stacked stone hearth behind it. We sort of have a list of things to make this house just what we want it to be. The thing I love best about my home is how warm and comforting it is, and how people say it has an good vibe. Every year we fall more in love with our home. The very small town we live in is actually incredibly diverse, and we live a block from a lake, five blocks from a train into Philadelphia (ten minute ride) and six blocks to a really cool small artsy town's downtown. So, yeah, I kind of dig everything.

The kids room. Thor's crib, and Sam's grandmother's chair, and the open door to the bathroom. This was taken a few months ago, but Thor is in his crib, and there is half of Beezus.

All of Beezus. And her bed in a little nook with a princess thing. Next to the light, there is a little cubby that only she fits into. She plays in there as her clubhouse. The only addition since this photo was taken is that we got a replica of the solar system which hangs over the room.

Our brand new woodstove and my husband and girl sitting in front of the fire about ten minutes ago.

After I photographed them, I turned around and snapped this shot of our dining room and kitchen at night. We light candles a lot.

This is the ceiling of our dining room looking into the upstairs. It is hard to see up there, but you can see the original floor beams for the attic.

And my kitchen sink, which I love, and my little ledge of crap, which has a gnome sent by Tracey, mini-Easter Island heads, a buddha, two terrariums, and a pair of dancing ladybugs. We also took off the ceilings to replace them and ended up leaving them open, because we loved the loft-y look of it.


  1. Looks amazing. Hope to be in your neighbourhood some day to visit.
    Candles burning brightly here right now. My hour is technically up, but I'm going to keep them burning anyway.

  2. Your house sounds lovely, and I love your woodburner.

  3. OMG the exposed ceiling beams. Love those!

    I like that your house is arts and crafts at its heart, but has such a cool modern vibe. Looks cozy and homey and fun.

  4. Your house is beautiful. I love the kids' room. I used to live in New Jersey, you know. Apparently I moved away a few years too soon.

  5. Beautiful house! It looks so warm and inviting.

  6. Love it. So much so that I just spent a half hour on line looking for real estate in your neighborhood! You have made it such a beautiful home.

  7. Your home looks so warm and inviting. I want to cozy up next to you and your family, light a fire and tell stories. I'll bring the apple cider!


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