If you have some time, pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, get comfortable and enjoy my blog. It might be fun, and if you can please feel free to leave a comment, I really appreciate your thoughts. Also make sure you check out some of the blogs I follow. Truly inspiring.
(Photos above are courtesy of Pinterest)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Farmhouse Wedding by a City Girl in a Country Home.

When I first set eyes on my future home I felt a familiarity as I walked the grounds around the old colonial. (Above is photo after we put in the portico, before the extended porch)
There was something there that beckoned me, telling me that the house was meant for us and we were meant for it.
My husband reminded me that when I walked on the property in the back I said "I could see a wedding here."  (And truly in my mind I could see a white tent, lights and music and candles, plenty of candles.)

In just 24 days my vision will become a reality.  (God willing)
In 20 days the Tent will be erected in the back of our property. 
So I decided to do a before post.  I promise to do a posting of each stage.  So in twenty days I will be posting about the set up and details.
My basement looks like a store filled with treasures.

Since we are doing alot of the work ourselves we have gathered all our best china, glasses, candelabras, candlesticks, you name it.  The Mother of the groom, myself and my sweet friend and designer Susan have shared all their treasures with us for the day. Even my dear friend Mary Carol Garrity has lended a hand giving Tim and Liddy a wonderful gift of her wreath that she actually used for her daughter's wedding.  (See her book "Stylish Weddings")
How lucky am I to have such wonderful ladies in my life.  Take a look at our inventory.

Milk glass and crystal, silverware and china have all been gathered to be polished and made to sparkle for the big day.  Some to hold food and some to hold flowers.  
 Can you see the bar set up in the patio?  Lights on the pergola and hordevours being served?
We finally removed the gravel left from the building of the barn a few years ago.  The sod is being watered twice a day.  My fingers are crossed.

My son's new furniture is being stored in here for his apartment.  Can you just see the arbor built with lights from the beams?
 This Amish built farmhouse table that was built just for me is waiting to hold flowers and candles and be placed by the very spot where vows will be exchanged.  Can you see it draped in a flowy white fabric?

And this sweet old picnic table given to me by my sweet neighbor and friend Belinda and her husband Mike. It was made by Mike's father.  One day as they were cleaning out their barn I saw it and fell in love.  When I asked them what plans they had for it they told me they didn't really have a need for it and so when I told them I admired it from afar and would love to buy it from them they told me I could have it.  I love this table.  It has seen many games played on it, has seen many parties and many wonderful occasions.  Now it will see a wedding.  Can you see it happily holding a lovely lantern and a few pumpkins and maybe some happy mums?  
I can.  
More to come. . . 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Trim and Doors

The light is diminishing and I waited too long to take the photos but I wanted to post about my trim and doors and their simple facelift just by painting them the perfect color.  
With 28 days left for the wedding we are doing more restoration and renovations to the house than we have done the entire time we have lived in it.  The past few weeks we have put in molding, painted, caulked, removed outside gravel, planted sod and changed the kitchen counter, sink and faucet.
(Hey I should have a wedding every year!)
The latest was to change all the doors and trim in the upstairs to match.  Our doors were heavy painted in dark walnut with tons of layers of polyurethane.  I spent an entire weekend trying to select the right color.  I can now say I have.
The color is Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore.  It is my new favorite.  I paired it with my walls, Benjamin Moore Simply white and it was love at first sight.  Here are a few moore photos.
I loved how the trim looked so much that I decided not to put up curtains.  I swapped my 
Target Shabby Chic Baloon Shades from my guest room for the curtains I had in my bedroom.
The result was just what I wanted.  
The double doors where painted in it and I think the contrast is beautiful.  Although it's hard to capture the colors exactly on camera, I am very pleased.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Sea Of Orange

Hard to believe that family weekend at UT had arrived.
I am happy to report that my son is settled, happy and feels like he's finding his way and making new friends.  As we pulled up to the dorm and waited to see my youngest, this was the first glimpse I got.
It's blurry because I was holding my camera phone to try to snap a quick pic.
As I watched my son who is now six feet come down the stairs and walk towards the car I thought of a time when I knew where he was at all times, was the center of his universe and made him laugh and kept his attention like no one else.   Now before me stood a young man embracing his independence and new stage in his life.  (Okay not gonna get sad now.)  

Sela Ward, whom I love wrote a poigniant book about growing up in the south called Homesick.
It is one of my favorites and I have read it twice because of my fixation with the south.  In it she talks about when she was a cheerleader for the University of Alabama.  She refers to being in the Bear Bryant Stadium for a game like going to church because of the magnitude of the fans fixation and following and how the entire state in some way worshipped the team, the place and the sport of football.
I remember feeling disconnected because I didn't go away to college or belonged to a great university.  I went to a city college and commuted daily and honestly never had an emotional tie to the school.
Sela in the middle.
(Here is an excerpt from her book)
"I WAS A CHEERLEADER at The University of Alabama in the 1970s and my memories are so rich from this chapter of my life. I can still smell the freshly cut grass of the practice field which we shared with the Million Dollar Band and feel the adrenaline rush that shot through my body as the band played and we practiced the double stunts that we were known for. And with coach Paul "Bear" Bryant at the helm, you felt as if you were participating in something larger than life. Tens of thousands of fans in a sea of red and white would weave their way into the stadium. In those days everyone got dressed up - the guys wore a coat and tie and the gals often wore dresses. Barna football was as serious as religion, and to be a cheerleader, down on the field, smack dab in the middle of it all, was a privilege of the highest order!"

Well this weekend I experienced first hand exactly what Sela was writing about.  Although I was not a student or alumni I am a parent of a student and witnessed this weekend something truly magnificent.  Here is a glimpse of what it's like to be a "Tennessee VOL"
(Except for the first three photos the rest are from my iphone because we are not allowed to bring cameras into the stadium.)
So this is Butch Jones, he is not a rockstar although he very well could be with the amount of fans he has.  He is the coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.
Before the game what feels like the entire nation lines up along the pavements around the Neyland Stadium listening to The Pride of the Southland Band as they play "Rocky Top" the unofficial State and school Anthem and various other marching band music.   If you are a fan of Peyton Manning you are probably familiar with his traditional warm up dance to Rocky Top before each game because he was the most famous VOL. 
 The cheerleaders lead the crowd in chants as the people line up for what seems like a mile long mob all sporting their orange gear from jerseys, to hats to painted orange and white checkered toenails. 
Below as the team arrives and make their way down the path the sound of cheers are almost defeaning as the band plays to greet their arrival.
(Below are my photos)
Below you can see a group of the marching band. 
 Below if you can squint and look down towards the bridge of the university the people are lined up on it and below going down until the eye can hardly see.
Below The entire Band in the traditional T formation.  On the stadium you can read Petyon Mannings name on the black border below the seating.
 Here is the stadium in all it's glory.  The sun glistening above allowing the orange to shine like nothing I've ever seen before.

Above a shot of one of the student sections where my son stood down in front of us watching the game with some of the members of his flag football team.

Here I am above hugging my soon to be Daughter-in-law as we stood before the team processed down the hill. And below the only other photo I was able to steel with my phone of my son under the Neyland Stadium sign.

I understand Sela's heartfelt words about her home, her university and her experiences at Bama in a deeper level now that I have experienced what it's like to be part of something.  My son, PA born has begun his journey and his lifelong tie, connection to Tennessee and to the university.  The friends he will make and experiences he has will shape and mold who he will be for the rest of his life.  
I can see how anyone can be captivated by such an experience and a way of life like Sela referred to it in her book.  I am so happy for him and feel fortunate to have been present in the sea of orange and all it's glory.
(My Matt, Age 6, Dancing on the beach)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It Started With The Stairs. . .

42 days is all I have left before the wedding and don't you know we decided to do some of the work on the interior now!  
This is how it started.  Our home is a sweet old farmhouse that has a lot of wonderful details that are part of the original house.  We still have some of the original flagtone flooring in our foyer and our steps have not been touched.  But they had been covered with a wall to wall rug for years.  At some point in the middle of the summer I said to my husband, wouldn't it be nice if we could take the rug off the stairs and expose the hard wood?
Well after a few minutes of sitting in silence as we both stared into the blank canvas of possibilities in our minds we both rushed to the stairs and while my husband pried a piece of the carpet up, I was giddy with excitement as I could see the wood peeking form beneath.
Cut to my husband, my two sons and I hours later on our hands and knees with bloody fingers and stiff joints glued to pliers as we pulled the million of stapels from the floor.
This was our end result.

The stairs were damaged in some spots by the staples but still pretty to look at.  The wood beneath each step was in desperate need of new spackle and painting.
So we decided to repair them. 
Now during the time of consulting our painter and having several discussions with my husband about the upstairs landing now needing moldings that were missing because of the rug we began talking about our doors.  The house has these old doors that were stained and polyurethaned years ago.  There is one below in our little foyer.

Now from far they look great but if you were standing in front of them believe me you would see how the polyurethane is peeling everywhere and the color has chipped over time and the stain is just too dark.  That's when we talked about stripping the doors and repainting them without stain or polyurethane.  I hate polyurathane.  But then we were faced with the moldings along the floor and frames of the door.  Well lets just say the list continued to grow until finally we came up with this.
9 doors stripped and repainted
2 linen closet doors
5 closet doors
1 pair of french doors
window sills throughout the house 
moldings along the floors of the family room mudroom, foyer and bedrooms and upstairs landings.
Oh and almost forgot . . . refinish the stairs.  The stairs was what started this entire project.  I know I think I'm a glutten for punishment.  
So I have been searching for the right color.  My dear friend Catherine has been helping me match a color she had that went well with her white walls.  Will post when the project is complete.  The painter said he's looking at possibly in the next two weeks.  I can't wait to see my old doors looking new again.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

From Here

Here I am today, on the beach in this beautiful sun, being still.  I read a bit and just stared out at the glorious ocean and sand.  I am here.  This is where I am.  I have no small children to care for like the women I see all around me running after their sand filled two feet tall little versions of themselves with their buckets and shovels in hand.  I am not thinking about traveling or college or what I might be, those days have passed. I'm just here.  So I am holding on to this moment in my life.  This moment of stillness.  Appreciating and being thankful that my youngest is acclimating to his new environment, that my oldest is about to marry and that my life is radically changing.  
But in the meantime, I am going to sit with that awhile.  
I think there is a numbness you feel when the tidalwaves of tears have settled and you somehow develop a panoramic view of your life.  
I am thankful.  I wanted to document this day, this moment, so that I can come back to it when things get crazy again.  A week at the beach is just the right medicine, just the right time before everything changes.  
So that once I'm home I will be able to hold on to that as I begin my lists, and countdowns and preparations.  I am focusing on the happiness to come.  My son's visits home, my homestead  transformed for a wedding and all the fun in between. (And don't worry, I am prepared to document every moment for my wedding posts.)
Thank you for reading, commenting and being my hideaway.
Lee (a.k.a Lisa)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Love Brownie

So I made cookie brownies today to ship to my son tomorrow.  Look how one of them came out. Can you see it?  Even my Brownie Loves my boy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Emotional Day

On Saturday morning we moved my youngest son into his college campus dorm. Above were all his things except for the striped bag that was mine.  (The things behind the cardboard box are not his)I have to say I thought we packed pretty compact.  I did see a few girls who had cartloads filled with things.

I am having alot of trouble I have to be honest.  Although this is not my first son who went to college, he is the first one to go away.  My oldest commuted to his school only 45 minutes away and lived at home.  Matthew is our baby and he is my last one.  As some of you know my oldest Tim, will be getting married on October 11 of this year, exactly 55 days from now, so needless to say I am feeling the anxiety of being away from both my sons.
So we left part of my heart almost 700 miles away.  My husband and I drove home feeling like we had lost something.  I won't sugarcoat it.  It was one of the hardest things we have ever done or experienced.  And yes I understand that every parent experiences this and I can't imagine what our military parents go through to know that their beloved son's are being deployed to placed like afghanistan.  I am trying to put it all into perspective and be thankful that he is safe and just attending college like millions of eighteen year olds do every year. But I can't seem to stop crying.  So I wanted to do a post to mark this moment, my feelings and thoughts.  My husband surprises me every Christmas with a gift of having my blog put into book form.  I already have 5 volumes.  (Crazy huh)  And even though I know that one of the boxes I open on Christmas morning will be my next volume to my blog, it still warms my heart that my husband never forgets and has them done for me.  I had told him that I wanted them for my son's so that when I'm gone they will have a collection of my thoughts, posts, important moments, great buys, (hee hee) projects, anything and everything I ever thought worth bloggin about.  They will see that I valued the little things, I valued the moments and that through it, through these volumes of humorous, whimsical, instructional, emotional posts, I will still be present in their lives.  They will say, "wow, mom posted about your birthday, or look remember that chair dad hated that mom bought at that antique place, or hey I didn't know she wrote about when I went to college or my first job, or wedding." Etc.  
So for this post, for some day when Matt comes across the volume that includes a post about late August 2014, he will see that his mother wrote:
This week I said goodbye to my youngest son.  My husband and I drove ten hours to take him and ten hours back home.  It was the most exciting trip and the most heart wrenching trip for us because although we could not be more proud of our boy, we were still leaving a part of our hearts so far away from home.  And no class or book or lecture or orientation meeting will ever prepare you for the pain a parent feels as you hug your son and drive away trying not to look back.
It know it will take some time to get accustomed to:
an empty room
a quiet house
an endless aching in my chest everytime I think of his face
a smaller list of groceries
less laundry
So in the meantime I will hold on to dates in my head.  Dates when I visit him and dates when my boy will be returning home.  And until then I will save each text, smell his pillow at least once a day, look at his photos on my phone and pray for him that he may be happy and be blessed.
I love my boy.  I love him forever.