Wednesday, September 8, 2010


"Is your home as cozy as you would like it to be?  Does it reflect who you and your family are?

"...List the dwelling places of your life, according to the age [you were when you lived there].  What did you love about them?"
--Sarah Ban Breathnach, "Something More"

Yes.  My home is cozy and comfortable.  Warm.  Friendly.  Casual.  I love it.  I think it represents my hubby and I very well.

As far as dwelling places throughout my life...  Uffda.  Get ready.  It's a long list!

1.  An apartment in Colorado.  Only lived there til I was 6 months old or so...  I'm sure it was splendid!
(Mom and me...  That bench we're sitting on?  It's now in my entryway.  Fun.)

2.  A duplex in Illinois.  We lived here until I was 4ish.  I remember red/purple shag carpet and our cat playing in the bathroom sinks.  But most of all I remember my Grandpa playing "dress-up" with me - he'd take me on dates...  Too cute.  I have pictures of some of those moments with him.  Priceless.
(Ha ha ha.  See that typeboard in the background?  I have one just like it in my living room...)
(Grandma, me, and Grandpa - chillin' in Sycamore)

3.  We moved to a little white house, on a brick road in Ohio, and lived there til I was about to start 6th grade.  I loved a lot about this house:  it had a front porch swing, tire swing and sandbox in the backyard, my own room, bunkbeds...  What seemed like a HUGE kitchen to "ice-skate" and dance around in.  A screened-in back porch.  Heat vents in the floor (awesome to stand on in your nightgown on cold winter mornings!).  A fireplace in the living room - perfect at Christmas time.  Lots of kids on the street!
(The kids on our street: Me, Melissa, Jacilyn, Brian, Jamie, and Jenny)
(A perfect Saturday morning - bunny slippers, flannel nightgowns, Care Bears, and sitting on the heater with my little sis, Emily.  Best spot in the house!)
(A picture-perfect Christmas on Kibler Ave.)

4.  Next was a townhome in Southern California.  I got to decorate my own bedroom here - a peach and sea-green color scheme, a new full-size bed, and pictures of teen heart-throbs on the walls!  Our kitchen windows were often visited by hummingbirds, and we had a community pool where you could see the fireworks display at Disneyland!  We only lived here for about a year and a half - so one of the best parts about it, was getting to do all kinds of cool things in California (beaches, sea-side towns, Disneyland, Universal Studios, etc, etc.).  We affectionately refer to this time as a very long family vacation!
(Our porch...  complete with pool toys in the background!  Pretty sure this was a "first day of school" picture...)
(One of the cool parts of living in California for a brief time - weekend afternoons at the ocean.)

5. We briefly lived in a little townhome when we moved back to Minnesota...  The best thing about that one?  My sister and I shared the master bedroom  - the only time I would have a tv in my room!
(Not many pictures here...  We only lived here for about 4 months.)

6.  Finally, when I was in 8th grade, we moved into my family home.  It's gone through many changes over the last 20 years - but it's felt like home the whole time!  The kitchen is small and cozy - with a round oak table that has made it through generations of my dad's family.  I love that table and all the stories that go along wth it!    Our dining room has a table that can fit the whole family - including the husbands and boyfriends!  As the family grew - it just became cozier.  The giant fireplace in the living room has always been a focal point of warmth and festivities...  I can't imagine the number of family photos taken in front of that fireplace!  Several years ago, a 4-season porch was added onto the house - a favorite place for the whole family!  The perfect place to wrap up in a blanket and watch a movie or read a book - most of the time whoever you're looking for wll be found out there.  And of course, there's the big yard and beautiful flowers... and the neighbors.  This street has been a blessing to my family - full of friends that look out for each other and have fun together!
(Games around the ol' kitchen table - Kayla, Karlin, and Emily)
(A nap in the porch on Christmas Day...  Perfect.)
(Another family photo in front of the fireplace!  Me, Emily, Grandma, Trent, Kayla, and Jane)

7.  The dorms.  Throughout college I had 3 different dorm rooms - and loved each of them.  I had the coziest - by far - of the dorm rooms in my building!  My walls were covered with art, I had real plants, the room was decorated with warm, rich colors...  The room was always pretty clean and ready for company - so it became a place for people to hang out.  I loved my dorm rooms for their inviting feeling...  At the end of a long day, I just wanted to go back to my room - where all was right with the world.

8.  My first apartment after college never really attained the coziness-factor.  Maybe that's why I moved after only 9 months.  It was nice...  White walls, beige carpet, small square rooms...  But boring.  It felt empty and cold.  (Not to mention I was the youngest person in the building by 50 years and in order to afford living there, I did all the mowing, cleaning, and shoveling...  Yuck.)
(No pics here...  No inspiration...)

9.  Moving on.  My next apartment - NOT boring!  It was in the upstairs of an old house on the main street of the small town in Wisconsin where I had my first youth director job.  The walls of the living/kitchen area - bright, Crayola green!  Original wood floors.  Windows that looked out at a wetland area - full of birds and wildlife.  The bathroom had red floors and a blue tub and sink...  The bedroom had old-lady blue wall-paper paneling and dark brown paneling...  Oh!  And blue shag carpet.  Ha ha ha.  I loved the quirkiness - and I was able to decorate it in a way that was whimsical and fun.  I loved it.  Once again, I had a place to come home to that I could just be myself in.

10.  The next move was to Illinois, where I would move into the apartment that my husband had been living in for a year (his bachelor pad).  Oh dear.  Cozy?  It got there.  Overstuffed loveseats, tapestries on the walls, candles, rugs...  Eventually the warmth crept into another generic apartment.  My favorite part?  We had a balcony that overlooked the pool and the river.  A wonderful place to sit in the evenings - many Scrabble games were played on that deck by candlelight!
(Still looking for a picture of this one...)

11.  Next was the first house we would live in - and be able to decorate however we wanted!  It was a house that probably should have been torn down, but the park district that my hubby worked for had bought it (with the intention of making it into a parking lot in the future)...  For now they wanted it cleaned up, renovated, and ready to rent out.  They gave us a budget to work with, and extremely low rent - and we went to work!  We tore out dirty shag carpets and refinished wood floors, we painted at least 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of paint on every wall and ceiling in the house to make up for the decades of smoke residue left behind, we laid carpet in one room and floor tiles in two others, we painted all of our kitchen cabinets (bright orange and yellow!) and replaced all the hardware, we bought a new fridge and stove, we wallpapered in the bathroom and had a shower installed, etc etc etc.  It was a LOT of work in a very short amount of time!  But I have to say - I LOVED the sunroom: bright yellow walls, tons of windows, our tiny little bistro table... It was lovely.  And I LOVED our kitchen - bright and cheerful!  It was a fun little place to kick-start our married life - and because it was a house with a yard - this was the place that our little puppy first called home.  I have to say, that was the best part of the house - playing with a new puppy in the yard!

(My cheery kitchen - loved it!)
(The hubby picked this color...  I thought he was insane...  But I really liked it!)
(My little Bailey when she first came home.  Adorable!)

12.  We're getting close!  Less than a year after moving into the Fraser Ave. house, I took a job in Minnesota... and we were on the road again.  We moved into a temporary little apartment in a quiet community...  Nothing spectacular about that apartment, except the giant screened-in porch.  I loved that.  Breakfasts, dinners, reading, Scrabble games, wine sipping, and long conversations all happened in that porch.  (And we could walk from this apartment to one of our favorite cafes - Jensens.  Yum-o.)
(Breakfast with our friend, Mark, in our little porch.)

13.  Finally!  At age 28, after 2 years of marriage, we bought our first home.  A nice townhome that we got to help build.  We got to pick out everything from carpet to light fixtures, molding to appliances, paint colors to doorknobs.  So fun!  Our house now is everything we've hoped for - warm, cozy, inviting - a sanctuary from the world around us.  My favorite part?  The kitchen!  I love to cook and trying new recipes - and it's so much easier when you have space and good equipment!  I also love our loft area (family room) - between the magic couch and the breezes coming through the windows - it's the perfect place to kick back in warm or cool weather.
(The living room...)
(My kitchen...)
(The nature area in our neighborhood - a perfect place for evening walks!)

So there you have it!  The places I have called home so far - and what I found lovely and cozy about them!  I've been blessed my whole life with warmth and joy in the places I've lived...


Kay said...

Aww Meg I love this post! It is so cool to read about all the places you have lived since college is my first time out of EP!
I remember visiting your green apartment... barely. I just remember how you had all of your gorillas lined up in your bedroom.
And the first time I ever beat you at scrabble was on your little screened in porch :D

Miss you! I was really happy to see your blog updated :]

Jill said...

Wow - that's a lot of homes! I knew you moved a bunch while growing up, but wow! And the green wall is SUPER green ;) Loved your Portland recap! We will need to do it again :) And we did pretty good for being under the weather. I plan to start chugging Emergen-C again tomorrow for Savannah.

Andrea, the little collector said...

Here you are! I've been thinking a lot about home this month as we've been painting and reorganizing and dreaming and decorating. I love how a new color, a new rug, rearranging our favorite objects makes this place feel more like us, like home.

Thanks for sharing. :)

Mom said...

I love all the pics--each place has special memories for all of us! I love the pic of you and Em on the vent--a very funny site every am, Love the slippers! I guess it just goes to show you--it doesn't matter how big or fancy the place is--it's the wonderful memories you make that's important!

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