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Girls Group

2014 July 10
by Katie

I wasn’t gonna ever really post about this…it’s one of those things that is just so near and dear to my heart that I felt like any public attention to it might disrupt the delicate balance of the universe and somehow it would be lost forever….but recently I have had a lot of people ask about it and I think it’s important to talk about.

One of my favorite things.

One of the best things I ever did.

One of the happiest days of my week, month and year.

These are all the same….and they are affectionately called Girls Group.

 

Right after Weston was born I took play dates super serious.  I wanted Will to have social interaction with other two and three year olds…plus, I needed the chance to take a break from the constant vrooming of cars and talk to someone that had at least fifty words in their vocabulary.  We had lived in our house over a year and since our neighborhood doesn’t have a ton of little ones running around, I took it upon myself to find the little people for Will.  If you were semi-normal looking and at the grocery store, playground or park the same time I was, chances were I was hitting on you mom-style.  I scheduled three to four playdates each week and felt like I needed more.  The fact was…I was doing this all for Will but this stay-at-home-mom needed playdates of her own.  I started talking to the other moms about my ‘need’ and soon I discovered that pretty much everyone (stay at home moms, working moms, even the grandmas I knew) they all said the same thing too…they missed that face to face interaction.  There was a social void that we were all accepting and nobody was really doing much about it.

One of my good friends that had a standing Tuesday playdate with me and Will and Weston was on board when I decided that it would be fun to have a girl’s night with the other ladies in our church.  We didn’t really know what exactly we were gonna do…but we knew that food would be involved and we would just sit and talk.  And thus was born Girl’s Group.

There isn’t a secret recipe to this…it’s just opening up your home and telling people to come.   We told everyone at church.  Made an email list and send out reminders each week of the time and place and theme.  Oh right…last summer we decided to do weekly themes.  They were everything from fondue…

to wine and cheese night…

to Mexican food night…

to a masquerade…

During Christmas time we did a cookie exchange…

we had a Halloween costume party…

we have even had a make-up night where one of the girls showed us how to highlight, cat-eye and define…

We’ve also done some ‘service’ themed nights.  It’s really fun to have social time and the super small tasks are fun within a big group!  We’ve written encouragement notes for ladies in transitional homes, provided lunches for pregnancy resource centers, assembled Operation Christmas Child boxes, and made gift bags for a family in our church that had a nine-year old daughter with cancer.

When one of our group members decided to open a coffee shop, there wasn’t a hesitation to jump in and help reupholster chairs.

Big and small, we try to celebrate each little thing.  We’ve done birthday parties, baby shower themes, and even tried our hand at Pinterest favorites…like a mouth rinse foot bath.  Which by the way…it turned our feet blue.  #nailedit

When we meet, we sometimes bring the kids, sometimes have family night where the whole family comes and the more babies the merrier.  It’s a every-one-at-all-ages-is-welcome event.

I can’t say that it has always been super easy…when one of us hurts, all of us hurt.  And like any group of friends, it is easy to take things for granted or say things too quickly or without sensitivity.  But we all believe that humbling ourselves is healthy.  It’s hard to say I’m sorry…or I was wrong…or sure, I will help (even when it’s not convenient or money is tight or time is limited)…those things are the not-fun stuff…and our culture doesn’t celebrate those things like 80′s parties…but we do it because it’s important.  The people are important.

We do our share of crying together and laughing together and praying together over monkey bread.  Talking about issues like education and money management and our relationships with our husbands has been enlightening to say the least.  Everyone has different issues.  Everyone has different stories.  And honestly it has been one of the greatest things in my world…getting to gather together…sometimes with a craft in our hands, sometimes with a video we need to watch, sometimes waiting till someone finishes peeing on a pregnancy test….it has been one of those priceless, beautiful, wouldn’t-trade-it-for-the-world things.

And I hope that if you are thinking that you want something like this…you try it.  I know what that feeling is like…the loneliness from being at home with a kid all the time.  It can be so isolating.  And you might feel like you are going crazy.  But chances are, there are people that want to go crazy with you.

That is what community is….coming together and just being in that moment…sharing a bowl of hummus or having an ice cream social.  I like to think that the recipe is coming as you are and bringing food.  That’s it.  That’s all it take for people to connect.  Oh and maybe a box of Kleenex…because let’s face it, tears from laughing too hard are easy to come by when you open yourself up.

p.s.  Thanks Sarah for always posting photos of girls group!  Love ya friend!

On the Right Track

2014 July 8
by Katie

Does a project in your house ever seem to drag on and gives you more cringeworthy moments than watching Miley Cyrus Bangerz tour on repeat?

I hope so.  I mean…I hope NOT but also I hope so….because nobody likes to be alone.

So that’s my segway into this laundry door situation.  See that room in the photo below?  The room with the blue ombre walls?  That’s my laundry room and for the love of all dirty clothes, we freakin’ need a door.

We removed the original door because it swung open.  Yup.  Right into the laundry room wall creating a tight space for the washer door and my hiney to fit.  Too tight.  It was as uncomfortable as a front wedgie.  So we removed it completely.  But the problem is that we still liked to hide our laundry room.  It tends to have loads of mess and a door would be the quickest solution.  Obviously actually WASHING the clothes would also be a solution but who are we kidding….I have trouble washing my hair much less the many pairs of dirty boy jeans that seem to procreate on their own.

After a lot of thought, we decided that the best way to tackle the ‘no door’ situation would be to install a door but put it on sliding hardware so that it could live wide open but when we were having guests over, we could safely close it and our friends would think we are sufficiently on top of our household chores.

I found a bunch of options on Pinterest for DIY versions but in the end both Jeremy and I decided that our attempts at building hardware would be a lot of time and probably not look quite as finished as what we could buy online.  And let’s face it….in the ten hours we would have spent trying to figure it all out and buy the materials, we could have earned enough to just buy it from Ebay.  So that’s what we did back in January.

When we got it, we immediately fell in love with it and then tucked it away in the rarely-used dining room.  Come March, I was in full “get-it-done-before-the-baby-arrives-mode” and insisted that we install it.  Since the wall wasn’t quite 6.6 ft, we had to do a little metal cutting on the long bar but Jer soon had it in the wall above the laundry room door.

The thing is…I told him about seven times that it wouldn’t have enough clearance but Jeremy shook his head and said that he didn’t understand what I was saying.  I tried to explain but my hormones were crazy raging (overdue Katie = cranky and hangry) and so I ended up just telling him that I would explain later after it was installed so that I didn’t kill him.  Here’s a tip for you…it’s always better to have an alive Honey if your Honey-do list is a priority.

Of course after he saw that the bar didn’t sit far enough out for proper clearance of the door around the door molding, it was completely clear.  Since there was only three bolts, it wasn’t that much time lost…but a boyfriend saved :)   I saw a photo in a Pottery Barn magazine (I call them magazines, not catalogs because I hoard them like I paid a subscription) of a barn door that was sitting on a piece of wood, so I showed it to him explaining that a 1×3 piece of wood would be our ticket to barn door heaven.  He had already marked the studs so that made the job way quicker.

After screwing the wood into the studs, I painted it and then Jer reinstalled the door track in place.

Then we decided to do a test run with the old door.  Jer installed the rolling hardware and we hung it up.

When it was in the open position, it looked ok.  It was obviously the wrong size but it wasn’t as noticeable because the floor trim blended it in.  But we liked the look of it in general so we knew we were on the right track.  Get it?  :)

But when it was closed, it was laughable.  Not only was it completely the wrong size for the hole, it didn’t really block the mess or the light.  It just looked like a capri-pants-door.  Or the sheer white t-shirt over the black bra.  Or the pantyhose are leggings look.  It’s just all sorts of wrong.

Cringeworthy, right?!

And that’s basically when I went into beast mode and decided that I would need to build a custom door.

Spoiler alert…I’m not sharing that door right now.  I don’t have any photos of it hung.  Plus, Weston knocked it over when it was drying and now it has a couple dents that I have to fix.

But I will show you our inspiration for the door…it’s beautiful by the way….

Yup.  We scoured pinterest and found a door that we felt would look right with our house’s style.  Since the house has so many moldings and such European lines, we didn’t think that a true rustic barn door felt like the right fit.  We needed a ritzy version of a barn door.  And that one above was something both Jeremy and I loved.  We sketched up some plans and got to work…

And that’s where I leave you.  At a door.  It’s coming soon.  I promise.  I just gotta find that Bondo and sandpaper and some paint and my camera and the connection cord so that I can upload the photos….and maybe a snack because this sounds like a lot more work than I had scheduled for my Tuesday afternoon….