home is where the heart is.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

this is the time of year where our homes become our safe havens.
yes, come february, we're climbing the walls 
and anxiously awaiting our first 40 degree day
(a temp that practically feels like summer after a long, cold winter.)
or waiting for that great spring rain to melt the last bits of snow
and flood our noses with the smell of fresh dirt and summer to come.
but right now, we're here.
winter is well on it's way.
(this is a pic from last year.)
but this is pretty much what it looks like right now.
snow everywhere already.
as annoyed as i am with this,
i'm learning to embrace it.
all that winter has to bring and the warmth we can find on even the coldest of days,
within these four walls.
this is when our home REALLY is where the heart is.
warm and cozy and inviting on these cold days of winter.
where the fireplace is lit, candles are burning,
humidifiers are soothing sick babes,
milk is being warmed for hot chocolate,
slippers scuff the floors and blankets hold us like warm hugs from a friend.
and i love my home.
when we first moved in, we wondered what we'd gotten ourselves in to.
it's an old, old house, that needed a lot of TLC.
we've been here 5 years now and I think we finally feel like we've nestled in.
we love our neighbors, we love our park across the street, we've accepted our detached garage and now see it as a nice way to get fresh air in the frigid temps after being cooped up all day with the kids, even if just to take the garbage out.
sometimes that short walk is all I need.
the walk where my husband detaches from work and gracefully turns in to 'daddy' for the evening, doing his best to soak up the few hours he has with the kids each night.
but our home and all of its quirks is more than that to us now.
it's where we've turned ho-hum into heavenly.
it's where we've snuggled close,
rocked babies to bed,
drank wine with good friends,
it's our home.
YOUR home is your life.  
I LOVE going to other people's homes. . .it tells you so much about the life of the family inside.
how it's kept or unkept, the lighting, the decor, the smells.
everyone's home as it's own heartbeat
and there are so many homes of my friends and neighbors that i just LOVE to be in.
the homes that welcome you in and show you another life, another way of living,
force you to look outside of the walls of YOUR own home, and make you think,
'oh!  i just love it here!'  
if I walk in to a friends home and instantly feel relaxed enough to take a nap, 
that's a good sign that you've entered a loving home.
where you can leave not just your boots, but your heartache, your fears and your frustrations at the door
and are greeted with a glass of wine or a hot cup of coffee and a hug.
despite those warm feelings,
it's nothing like your OWN home.  
and there's nothing like coming home, after a trip, a visit to someone else's home,
that you appreciate and love your house even more.
the memories inside are priceless.  
and in our home, although memories seep from the top down,
so many are contained neatly on our walls.
i love our bedroom more than any other part of our house. . .the coziest room.
but i DO love our staircase and hallway.
the walls are stamped with memories of our loves.
moments in time, frozen forever.
these pictures don't do it justice.  i have two other walls just on the staircase lined with pictues.
my life.
and i get to relive those moments everyday, as i pass by on the way to the shower,
hauling laundry up the stairs,
or tired babies to bed.
constantly reminded of how good life can be,
despite the fear, the heartache, the loss.
never mind the chipping paint, cracks in the walls, slanted floors and creaky stairs.
what about the love within the halls?
the sweat and tears that has gone in to making this home OURS?
this past summer, two of the previous owners of our house stopped by
and i was reminded that others lived here before us!
this is our home right now, but it wasn't always and won't always be. 
others had THEIR own memories here.
two of the previous owners both raised SIX kids in this house!
when we complain that the house is feeling too small and we need more space and this and that,
we're reminded, that those before us did just fine.  with MUCH less.
one man came through with his boys and showed us which bedroom was his.  
where he grew up.  where he and his brothers wrestled.
it was so lovely.  
and it took me back to my own childhood. 
i've been thinking about it for sometime, about where I grew up. 
the house that shaped my childhood and that I STILL drive by sometimes,
when i'm in st. paul, just for a taste of nostalgia.
 it seemed like a castle when we were kids.
with a front porch that seemed to stretch a mile long.
my dad poured his heart and soul in to remodeling this for our family.
he built the garage.
I vaguely remember him building it, but DO remember thinking that having an attached garage meant you were rich!
to have your garage ATTACHED to the house?!  
living in the lap of luxury!
and i was so blessed to have such a joy-filled childhood.
so to go back sometimes, is lovely.
to remember the days where I was care-free (for the most part.)
ruling the neighborhood, able to walk to and from school by myself,
living in a time where we would head out first thing on a summer morning and not come home until dark.
I remember sitting on these front steps when I was 'attempting' to run away.
i was about 9 or 10, I think.
and for some lame reason, i'd had enough and was going to hit the road.
but I knew it was foolish, even then.  that I had it good in this cozy home.
so I didn't even make it to the bottom step,
as I heard my younger sister crying for me and I'm sure my mom standing behind with her arms crossed and a smile on her face, 
knowing I'd be back in within a few minutes.
but it killed me to hear my sister crying, and back in I went.
so many memories.
I remember all the times we ran back and forth through this little alcove
from the back yard to the front.  the gate was always open.
and i'm sure if the current owners had seen me sneaking back here, 
they would've called the cops.:)
and of course, I couldn't leave without knocking.
I stood on the front porch waiting for an answer,
for a step back in time.
standing below the door knocker that I could barely reach when we lived here,
now a grown woman, able to peek inside the windows.
no one was home.
probably better.
but it's so fun to go back sometimes.
as kids, we used to stand at the top of our hill, 
which seemed like a mountain at the time.
where we could see the minneapolis skyline.
I remember thinking it was another land, Minneapolis.
It seemed so far away, like Mt. Rainier does to Seattle dwellers.
(well, that actually is far away.)
But I thought it was SO cool that WE could see the BIG CITY from our quiet little street.
to get out of your head of the current day and be thankful for where you came from.
I don't remember the day we moved to Illinois,
but I'm sure my parents remember pulling away from the curb one last time,
onto our new future and new home, 
where even MORE memories would be made.
into a new town that has given me some of the most amazing friends today.
but as I drove away this time,
thankful for my past,
I was excited to get home.
MY home.
the home where MY children will have fond memories and maybe come back to visit someday.
to OUR sweet and lovely river town of Stillwater.
as much as I claim to be a 'city girl,'
i've found a nice little niche here.
we live in a pretty great place, the BIRTH place, actually,
of Minnesota.
Stillwater is right out of the little Christmas villages you can buy.
or that you see tucked sweetly inside a snow globe.
little brick buildings, churches on every corner,
bustling with tourists on the weekends,
quiet and serene on winter evenings.
old lamposts lining the streets, hidden alleys, steep hills.
coated in a deep history of what used to be a busy lumber town.
aside from the great restaurants and boutiques,
there is a loyalty to Stillwater among the people that were born and raised here.
and I can see why.

a magical place tucked in to the bluffs of the st. croix valley.
we don't have river views from our front porch,
but we have friends that do.:)
we can see pretty sweet sunsets from our bathroom window.
we can watch our kids from the kitchen window, playing at the park or the baseball field.
it's a big, small town.  where the cleaners know me by name, I look for the sweet, older couple that walk together EVERY morning past our house, as our house is just waking up.
the little old man that walks his bike up our big hill everyday.
the cashiers at kowalski's, the happiest grocery store on earth, that wraps you up in it's goodness (and maybe overpriced produce. . .but SO worth it.)
the co-op, the quaint little restaurants and boutiques, 
but most importantly it's where are heart is right now.
THIS is our home.

where we learn to appreciate ALL of it,
no matter how cramped, how old, how worn down,
but thankful for the roof over our heads.


BEES'NETTA said...

Wow. This is a trip! I remember that little pathway at the old house so well!

Jenny said...

Liz- This is EXACTLY why Brian and I moved from Woodbury to St. Paul. We missed the old-ness and the character and beat of living in a city. A real city. And I understand the ups and downs of living in an old home. Ours is almost 90 years old and I wouldn't have it any other way. Great post!

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