Monday, March 25, 2013


So, 2 (almost 3!) weeks ago I did something I've been planning on doing for over a year.
And I was excited.
I couldn't wait to document it.

Yet tomorrow marks three weeks since the big chop  - and I haven't written a blessed thing.

Because I feel ridiculous.

Yes, I cut my hair.

Almost all of it.

Completely off.

And I donated it to Locks of Love.

(That's 11.5 inches people!)

What I didn't expect was the amount of commentary my dumb hair would garner.

First - a warning:
If EVER you go and chop all your hair off - know that ALL of humanity will have an opinion about it. People you may not remember ever seeing before will come up and comment on if they like it or if they don't, request a reason for such a change, and basically tell you all sorts of interesting things.

Like the MOST awkward compliment (?) I've ever received in my life:

Wow! When your hair was long I had no idea you were so pretty!


My husband teases me that sometimes I look like Justin Bieber, or Pink, or K.D. Lang. Which is a point. Thankfully, he's dialed it back a bit, so the world is balanced again.  :)

I have gotten many of the same questions regarding "The Big Chop,"  so I thought I could just answer them publicly here:

1. My hubby DOES like it. He was very supportive of the chop - I would have never cut it if he wasn't!
2. 3 of the Beans LOVED it immediately.
3. String Bean was the wild card - she ran away crying and hid from me because she hated it so much.
4. HOWEVER - now both String Bean and Jumping Bean want to grow their hair out to donate!
5. Yes, I will save loads of money on shampoo and conditioner.

The reason this feels ridiculous though, is because I was donating my hair in honor of 2 amazing women I am privileged to know.

One is a woman who always smiles, she encourages others in every way possible. She is a mama of two - and a friend to many. She is a woman I would be happy to be like.  She found out she had cancer Labor Day weekend this past year.

The other is a woman who passed away this afternoon after battling cancer for the last year. She leaves behind a devoted husband, five young children, and countless people who were privileged to know her.

Cutting my hair to honor such great women as Lisa and Julie - that was easy. 

A couple people called the cutting of my hair a brave thing to do. 
I would wholeheartedly disagree.

Being a child seeing your parent fight cancer - being a parent watching your child fight cancer - gripping to hope in the hospital rooms, in the doctor's appointments, through the chemo, the radiation, the tests, the waiting, the unknown -
That is courageous.
THAT is bravery.

All I did was cut my hair.

I cut my hair to honor TRUE bravery. 
To honor life-changing courage.

It isn't much to do - but it is what I've got.

I wish I had more to give - I wish I could ease the fear and the ache and the lonely places that cancer leaves behind. But I can't.

All I can do is keep answering people with the truth of where all my hair went -

To hopefully give brave children comfort in their battle.
Battle on.

 Copyright 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cocoa Bean Moment

Our sweet moment happened recently on the way home from church....

Jumping Bean was talking about Bean Bags (I've been requested to make a bunch for them to practice throwing) and everyone was pretty wound up.

Jumping Bean and I made a rice bag together (her first sewing project!) last year and kept it in the freezer. Then, whenever she had a boo boo....she could grab her special "boo boo bag" and magically feel better.

The amazing thing was that it actually worked to stop her crying!

Anyway, back to last night...

String Bean was on the giddy side of silly, and said "You made a boob bag?"

And, since we are ALL very mature...the entire car erupted into raucous laughter. We started to calm down, and then String Bean repeated (clearly confused), "You made a BOOB bag???"

We lost it.
In fact, I barely stopped laughing enough to hand the gate guard my ID card!

Eventually, we were able to explain to String Bean that we were talking about injuries. But not until all 5 of us had laughed until we cried.

Was it a mature moment?

But it was completely sweet.

 Copyright 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Zone 2 - The Living Room (post 3)

*** I apologize in advance for the obscene amount of pictures in this post. Since this is already my 4th post regarding one room in my house (you can find the other 3, here, here, and here, if you bored out of your head), I decided to make it very long instead of adding yet another post. The jury is out on if I made the right call. ***

So, I'm allergic to not changing.
We have lived in the SAME house for THREE STRAIGHT YEARS!  And, while this has been a really amazing experience...I have realized I've become accustomed to change.
I'm unnerved by things staying the same for such a long time.
Which means I needed to re-arrange furniture.


 This is what my Living Room looked like when I was starting February:

Not bad. Not great.
This is a long room with a gazillion windows. 
And has been the hardest room I've ever had to decorate and configure furniture. 
I love the windows! 
I love the fireplace! 
But holyheckamama it is super difficult to lay out.

The white kid-size table was a FANTASTIC Craig's list find - and didn't normally sit in that spot. 2 chairs (that were as comfortable as they were ugly), occupied that particular zone. But the chairs were out of the house for a little bit while Molly from The Industrial Cottage worked her custom-slip-cover magic.

Then one night after we put the kids to bed, My Love said something in response to one off-hand remark I'd made a couple days earlier. He said,

"Honey, you want to re-arrange the living room furniture?" 
File that under "Top 10 sexiest phrases ever."

Within an hour and a half, every single piece of furniture had been moved. 
Yes, he loves me. 

Biggest life-altering furniture move?
Taking the piano off the wall...and backing it up to the couch. LOVE it there!

But it wasn't complete.....not by a long shot. 
Poor man.
One week later, he came home to an obscene amount of picture frames (and other stuff) laid on the floor in a specific pattern...and a wife with a I-have-a-project-going-and-won't-be-able-to-sleep-until-it-is-done-face.

I told you he loves me!
Now, every time I walk in the living room I smile - because that wall says he loves me.
Really, he had a LONG day and came home and hung all those pictures, even though he wanted to just sit on the couch and do nothing.

Without a ladder.
He just stood on the back of the couch and leaned back on me.
I'm a helper. :)

The bare spot under the long shelf is supposed to have a picture under it (see it hiding on the couch??)....but the command strip didn't work. I'm impatient, and wanted to post pictures anyway. Please use your imagination.

Also imagine there are actual pictures that mean something to OUR family in all of those frames...because the pictures they came with are hanging on my wall. Eventually, 8 of the small frames will have a picture of the front door from every house we've lived. 

Here is the final tour....
The view from the back of the room -

Chair #1with a custom slipcover in bleachable white denim. :) It makes me very, very, happy. We turned the bookcase on it's side and now it is an easily accessed kid zone. It holds some toys and children's books. (See earlier post detailing how we contain the beast known as kid stuff.) 

Courtesy of Craig's list, the neighborhood can now watch tv from the alley behind our house.
You're welcome, neighborhood.

View from the middle of the room (above) and the front of the room (below).
Please note beautiful chair #2. Also known as the-most-comfortable-chair-you-will-ever-sit-in. Which is what has saved its life all these years. Your butt is just super happy in that chair. Now my eyes are happy to look at it, too!

(Imagine the TV cabinet and giant TV on the right of the above picture.)
(And my floating shelves with the owls on them above the white chair in the back of the room)

There you have it! Our living room - Zone 2 - as of this second.
There is no guarantee that I will not change something in the future....but it will definitely NOT be the picture wall. 

Or the furniture layout.

But a nice round, wood, coffee table?
(something like this one I saw at Haynes)

Maybe an accent table?
(Like this super funky one from Target)

And a beautiful lamp?
(not that we would EVER buy this - but I love the look of it!)
Oh Pottery Barn, why do you have such lovely things?

I could see stuff like that migrating in. 
Window something or other should probably happen too....but my brain is hurting from all this decorating already. 

Now my poor second floor is naked. 
But hey, my kitchen is organized, my living room is beautiful, and I finally figured out a system that keeps the toy mess at bay!
I'm calling it a win. 

Thanks for reading!

~Whitney Copyright 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Movie/Book Review

First - the blog has been super quiet the past week (or so) because my house has been rather extra loud.

Full to the brim with hollering children.

My Love is being tackled by our 4 kids (7 1/2, 5 1/2, 3 1/2, and 2) and 2 nieces (3 1/2, and 2)...3rd niece is only 1 month, so she's not in on the wrestling just yet!

I had the treat of bringing my sister-in-law and her 3 daughters to our home for 10 days.

We played and snuggled and wrestled and mediated about half-a-million skirmishes.

We had 7 children - 7 and under - and plenty of crazy.

Good times were had by all. :)

On to my movie and book review....

I am a white woman who grew up in the American South.
A place I love.
A beautiful place, brimming with delicious food, gorgeous landscapes, and wonderful people.
People full of stories.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, sought to tell some of those stories.
Stories of people in 1960's Jackson, Mississippi.
Black people.
White people.
I was struck by how recent these fictional lives were lived.
Separate but equal.
Those things have always seemed like long ago issues - things from history books, not as recent as yesterday. This book helped me register - for the first time ever - how close the social disparities in the South were.

The characters were beautifully created with depth, struggles, and imperfections. One of my favorite things about the book - aside from excellent writing - was that each of the characters had aspects of who I am, or who I've been.  It was a story full of ordinary people given choices every day to choose right or wrong.  Ordinary people -people who chose kindness; people who chose evil; people who knew they were choosing wrong, but lacked the courage to choose right - people just like me.

The movie was the best adaptation of a book I have ever seen. They changed some things to allow the story to flow smoothly in a different medium - but they were carefully chosen and enhanced the story. There were not wasted moments. The casting was superb. The script was flawless.  I have never been pleased with a movie based on a book I love - but this was truly excellent.

The Help challenged me to inspect my own life.
What accepted atrocities am I party to? 
Am I in a boat that needs rocking?  

The point of the book was this:
We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I thought. 
Maybe I ain't too old to start over...I laugh and cry...Cause just last night I thought I was finished with everthing new.

The book and the movie are completely worth your time - it will grip your heart, and hopefully inspire you to not accept the status quo.

~Whitney Copyright 2013