puppy love

Ok, he's not exactly a puppy. He's roughly eighty pounds of sweetness and pure muscle.   Although the five days that we've had our new greyhound have felt an awful lot like when we brought our newborns home from the hospital, he's already won our hearts, and taken over our home.
meet Cedric

a giant dog and a little girl

a boy and his dog

pose of nobility

really, Mom?

fast friends

Cedric arrived on our first snow day. Between the snow and the anticipation of his arrival, our house was like Christmas Eve again.

I won't lie: he's a lot of work. I felt like an overwhelmed and sleep-deprived new mother for most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but I'm starting to see the light and getting to know this laid-back sweetheart. More than anything, I am so happy that my kids will get to grow up with a dog.  I know it's something they will remember forever. 

Are you a dog person?



Risk taking: week one

This week I was invited to a link party by Randee of Randee's Organized Chaos where she hosted a link up that was all about constructive criticism.  As a former teacher, I know how important getting genuine, objective feedback on whatever project you're working on can be.  A fresh set of eyes can be enlightening and incredibly helpful.  Handling the criticism part could be where it gets dodgy.  In the spirit of risk taking which I talked about here, I decided to put myself out there and get two anonymous critiques of my blog. I won't lie and say that I wasn't feeling a bit daunted at the prospect of what two other bloggers, perhaps more seasoned than I, thought of my blog, but I took the plunge and did it anyway, hoping to learn something in the process.

So what did I learn?  Well, it's really easy to hear the complimentary stuff, and even some of the little personal opinions that might be different from my own.  The first reviewer gave me fantastic advice, especially with subtle layout and technical things that I was too close to pick up on. Even her/his negatives, were polite and helpful. I was feeling mature and proud of how I handled the criticism. And then my second critique was emailed to me.  And apparently, I suck. No bones about it. Ouch.

I have to be honest, my maturity went right out the window for a minute or two.  It was really hard not to be defensive when I felt certain that someone who read only one post was misjudging me.  But, I took a risk and put myself out there. When I stopped to think about it, it really didn't bug me all that much. The bottom line is that I looked for criticism and I got it.  It's always nice and affirming to hear positive things, but not necessary.Ultimately, if I've learned anything in 36 years, it's that I can't please everyone and honestly, I really don't want to.  So one person thinks I suck. Maybe thousands do, and they are completely entitled to their opinion. As long as I don't, then I'm in good shape. Risk taken and I survived.

A special thank you to Randee for challenging me and coaxing me out of my comfort zone!

What risks are you contemplating? 



Back Out on a Limb

When I started my blog eight months ago, I had a hard time coming up with a name. When I settled on Out on a Limb, I did so because it represented where I am in my life now and what I'm striving towards for the future. As we rang in the New Year, I reflected a bit and wondered if I was staying true to my title and description or if maybe it was time for a new one.  "Musings on tweaking my space, myself and breaking out of the comfort zone" didn't seem to support my blogging all that much.  While breaking out of the comfort zone means taking risks, which I'm far less afraid of than I used to be, I can't say that I've done much of that on my blog beyond well, starting one.

I've also been pretty lean on the tweaking (and sharing) my space part. I honestly have tons of projects always swirling in my mind and on my to do list. I wrote about my Design ADD early on and it still holds true.  The reality is as much as I love envisioning a beautiful space I: a) like my weekends more than I'm motivated to accomplish some of these projects in a timely manner, b) live with two little people who make it all take a lot longer and c) get self conscious at the thought of sharing my home with you all because it is never finished and always a work in progress. I know most people's homes are in this state and that it should be an evolution. I just have a hard time showing an unfinished product. 

None of this is going out on a limb. It's hugging the trunk of the tree and contemplating how I'll climb it. It's over thinking everything. It's time to start climbing and just get myself back out there.

It's also time to be honest with myself.  While design blogs are what I am most drawn to, I realize my blog is more about my personal connections, reflections and experiences with motherhood and real-life than DIY.  Know thyself, I suppose. I am a design-lover and constant tweaker, but not always a finisher. Until I started my blog, I forgot how much I loved to write and how nice it is to have a product of some kind at the end of a piece or a creative thought. I realize that my blog is the place I want to merge those two loves more clearly.

So, I'm starting off the rest of this new year with a more conscious emphasis on risk taking because it challenges and motivates me. I hope that it can be a common thread in my blogging, whether obvious or subtle. Here are a few things you can expect in the near future to keep me accountable:
  • Some real photos of my home and its work in progress reality, most likely full of self-deprecating remarks and explanations...
  • Perhaps a weekly reflection on some kind of risk taking, both personal and design related...
  • Pinspiration, because I'm addicted...
  •  More real-life reflections and photos because my best writing comes from what I know...
If I haven't lost you with this wordy post yet, thanks for indulging my thought process. Thanks to all of you who have read, commented, and followed along. I'd love to hear your comments and suggestions for going forward and growing my blog.  If I've learned anything about this community of blogging it's that it is a helpful and welcoming one, which I truly appreciate. Your feedback has been invaluable to me.

Have a great weekend.


Cave Dwelling

Our basement is not a room we've ever spent time in, except to
use the treadmill, find the Christmas decorations or occasionally
house our guests.  It wasn't an awful space but definitely in need
of some polish. Due to a burst pipe, it's getting some much sooner
than we'd ever planned.

Here are some shots of how it looked just after Christmas:
 Notice our fancy light fixture? Yup. 
It's a pillowcase covering fluorescent bulbs. Classy.

 the gaping hole my husband made trying to find
the source of the leak

trying to purge and empty the space so we
 can begin the demo

cave dwelling

And here is what I've been thinking about for the new space,
which will hopefully function as one part office, playroom, den
and convertible guest space.

cave dwelling by eecandrews on polyvore.com

As much as a pain as it's been dealing with the insurance company, I'm looking forward to having a clean slate to work with and the added living space we will have when it's finished.

What projects are you tackling these days?



Ten on Ten (on eleven)

Yesterday I stumbled upon Ten on Ten, a link party hosted by a new-to-me-blog, A Bit of Sunshine. As mundane as my day-to-day might seem to many, I thought it would be an interesting exercise for me to really pay attention to how I spend what often seems like a day that flies by with little product at the end.

Here goes

The ungodly hour at which I choose to start my day. Yes I said choose. I learned early on that if I don't have time to myself, where I don't have to speak to or tend to anyone but me, I am not a very nice wife or mom. I'm foggy, cranky and impatient and my mood has the power to ruin a perfectly good start to everyone's day.  Some days I still struggle with this, but giving myself that hour to blog or watch I Love Lucy in the dark, helps start the day on a better note.

 6:45. Time to make the donuts...

7: 45 I swear I cannot get these two clowns to be natural. They are like trained seals, 
always posing for the camera.

Breakfast of champions @ 8:45, reheated 3x after at least as many wardrobe/cartoon related meltdowns (not mine) and a drop off at Kindergarten. (Please excuse some of these lousy phone pictures)

9:45 My yoga buddy

10:45  I'm not trying to be artsy and no I'm not naked. Just bad at cropping. It's a monumental picture for me: make-up for the first time since Saturday night. A big deal these days.

11:45 Out running errands with the boy. This shot was his idea. Forgot my ring (and man do I need moisturizer!). You can still see its impression though.

12:45 Me and my shadow...

1:45 Pretty sky on an unusually warm January day...

2:45 A much happier Kindergartner than when we left her this morning!

So, if you're not bored to tears yet, here's what I learned (and thanks for sticking with me if you have): By 8:50 this morning I had decided there was no way I could possibly share this. It was embarassingly dull. By 10:00, I realized that I named my blog Out on a Limb for a reason, to do just that and force myself out of my comfort zone.  Many of my days are this uneventful. Many are crazy, but both are what they are by choice.  I took a big risk when I gave up my teaching career two years ago. Sharing my day today is nothing in comparison. Some days I miss that grown-up world, but all too soon I will be working again in some capacity and will probably miss these very simple days a whole lot more. Thanks to Kim at What am I Going to be when I Grow Up for introducing me to this challenge!

I hope your day was pretty uneventful ; )


Monday daydreaming...

I've mentioned before that I am a procrastinator daydreamer. I think Mondays are for daydreaming. As much as I do crave routine and structure, I'm usually not quite ready for it come Monday morning.  Most of my daydreams involve beautiful spaces of some kind, not the unfinished projects and blank walls of indecision that are my reality.

Here's some eye candy for your Monday morning so maybe you can put reality off a little longer too. All images are via Pinterest unless otherwise noted.

Pinned Image
I imagine myself living in, or at the very least, vacationing in this bright and sunny Edward Hopper painting, Corn Hill.  I picture the ocean not far beyond the foreground. I can practically smell it.

Pinned Image
I'll spend some time just hanging out on my imaginary sailboat, in this outfit.  In reality, anytime I've been on a boat, I've hardly looked like this.

Usually I look like this:
a funny face, because I'm squinting from the sun, baseball cap and sloppy shirt that's my husband's because I'm trying not to get sun poisoning and a clear lack of makeup.

Pinned Image
Of course I am always daydreaming about a beach house,
Pinned Image
or two. I'm not picky.
Pinned Image
It has beautiful features and comfortable spaces,
Pinned Image
and loads of charm.
Pinned Image
And then I'm jolted back to reality.

My kids will be up in ten minutes.
Lunches to make.
Errands to run.
There's a big void to fill where the Christmas tree used to be.

Back to reality. 

What daydreams get you through a Monday morning?

Have a great week.

Linking up with Kathleen's Pinterest Party at Silly Simple Life
pinterest party button



Pinned Image
via Pinterest
I've always sort of dreaded New Year's Day. Even as a kid, it seemed a huge let-down, sloppy-second kind of holiday to Christmas. The carols were over, the decorations coming down, school beginning again. This year though, and more and more as I've gotten older, I don't mind it so much.

After two straight weeks of eating, drinking and being merry, one week of tripping over new toys, and three straight days of playing referree to the monkeys, I'm ready for some routine again. What seemed festive and pretty two weeks ago is starting to make me twitch. It's time. I will embrace 2012. Tomorrow.

For now, I'll enjoy one last day of gluttony (read chocolate eating, pajama wearing, Bailey's drinking...), maybe a pizza and a cheesy movie, and a resolution free New Year's Day.

Thanks to all of you for reading, commenting, and being so supportive as I've experiemented with this little endeavor. It's been fun, fulfilling and at times, a lifeline to the grown-up world.

Happy New Year!