The blues

Mmm yes. Maybe next month. You can't see very well in the photo, but it's not all one shade of blue, there are about three blue-greens. Love it. 



For as much as I love foreign travel, metropolitan adventures, and sophisticated conversations, I do love domesticity. I love decorating a home, baking, taking walks, raising children. Making my space beautiful alleviates the mill of routine chores that threaten to envelope me whole. I like looking at a space and imagining possibilities. 
There are only two home decorating style books I adhere to with ferocity, Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic, and Cath Kidston's first decorating book, Tips for Vintage Style. My mother of course is a huge inspiration and decoration mentor. I keep bugging her to write her own book, Whimsy in the Garden, because seriously that lady has creativity to the fingertips. 
The whole shabby chic style is so liveable; white is my favorite color. Floral, clean, a little French, antiques. Delicious.
Of course my visions and my capabilities don't match up when I have four hooligans tugging at my apron. So I have to pick projects with my limitations in mind. These are what I did this weekend:
I made a house number...it's only been 3 years, right? Weather proofed the bunting, new mailbox. I came home from Paris full of new ideas for my house - color inspiration, space use, etc. - but the one thing that absolutely had to happen right away was flower boxes. America has too few flower boxes. Our lower-level windows have them now, but I'll wait to post a picture until they are all up. 
Wallpapered the fireplace. I used Target's "Devine Wallpaper," which is actually more like a wall decal with a sticky back. Yes, I have a thing for chandeliers. If I didn't have little girlies running around, I would place books in there too. Right now, the fireplace and chandy are playing host to a Palace Pets wedding, naturally.



In my mind, this is how I get around:
What it actually looks like:
Where my soul is:
Or doing this:
What my reality feels like:
Or this:
All day, I feel like I am putting out little fires. Eloise's dirty diaper. Her food ran out. She needs J-tube care. She won't nap. Amelia wants to paint. Josephine wants me to hold her. Hazel is crying. The dog is barking. Amelia is hungry. Jo needs a specific toy that's been lost for months. No one seems to want to go to bed except me. 
It is madness here. It actually feels impossible to raise all these tiny young children. Some of the balls have to drop in this mad juggling act, and unfortunately, those balls are titled "Lady Mother's Sanity" and "Mom's Sleep" and "Shelley's Intellectual Pursuits.


Small pleasures

Even in difficult times, there are always small wholesome pleasures to notice and enjoy...
Like fresh madeleines out of the oven and tea...
New season, new decor!
Easter is my favorite holiday.
This one is mostly because I want Sarah to see what I've done in the kitchen...
Afternoon snuggles with daddy...
How even Hazel's braids curl!
How the carriage house feels different every season.


For future Eloise

I am writing this post for a future Eloise, when she wonders what all the scars were from, and also the many curious people who ask about her now. 
Portacath: A permanent port for IVs. This hurts her a lot right now, because it was placed a week ago.
Broviac scar: She used to have a PIC and a Broviac, so meds could directly be distributed by the heart. 
G-tube: A button that directly accesses the stomach. She was fed through this before her esophageal surgery last December. Now it only vents the stomach, which means it drains whatever is in her stomach into a bunch of tissues I cinch together with a washcloth and a rubber band. It's totally disgusting. Slimy, full of bile and mucus...and I have to change it out with every diaper change, which is way more often than a normal baby needs a diaper change, because her food is inserted straight into the intestinal track.
J-tube: A button that directly accesses the jejunum in the intestines. This is how she being fed right now - a continuous, slow feeding, so as not to overburden the intestine (could burst). I try to imagine what it must feel like to have food directly inserted into the intestine. She never feels fully hungry, or fully satisfied. J-tubes are finicky, dangerous and gross. But she has nothing anatomically keeping anything in her stomach, so until she can manage her own reflux, she will be fed this way. 
Incision: I am imagining this scar will bother her the most after the huge scar on her back. This is where the surgeon had to cut open to place the J-tube. 
Yeah, it's a lot.

bright royal Greek Isle blue

"There's free food!" Every nurse would exclaim when I would decline the invitation to join 'Parent Hour.' I hated Parent Hour in the NICU, when the twins were there I went once, and with Eloise at Primary's I went once. Don't know if it's pride, anti-social behavior, or just introvertedness, but getting together with people to talk about your babies' problems is pas tres bien for me. Enjoying an excellent poem, raging out to a song in the car, or sewing are my best outlets, definitely not talking to people. However, last week in our terrible, traumatic, surprise Primary's stay, I had a conversation with a woman in the elevator that has stuck with me, and I wish I had gotten her number. 

Me: Ooo I love your dress...that blue looks like it came from the Greek Isles. 
Her: Thanks! This royal blue is my twelve-year-old's favorite color, so I thought I'd wear it to visit him today. I got it at the Sundance outlet, and thought I could pull it off. 
Me: You certainly do.
Her: Your baby is adorable. What is she here for?
Me: She has a lot of problems...just got discharged from the NICU after seven and a half months. 
Her: That's awful. My son has had lots of problems since he was born too...(After a pause) Things like this change you. It makes you fearless. 
Me: Yes it does. You can wear bright royal Greek Isle blue.
Her: Yep! And hey - I like your head scarf.

My head scarf? Also a bright royal Greek Isle blue.



If you grew up a Priest, your favorite Disney movie was one of your defining personal attributes. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves has always been my favorite, and it would take a lot to topple it to second place. But I will always have a special place in my heart for Frozen. Its release to DVD and Eloise's discharge from the hospital were nearly simultaneous, and watching it with all the girls together has been a memorable, sweet experience. Watching a movie about sisterly love while my girls embrace their new sister - lines, leads and all - has been moving. Josephine is especially tender with Eloise. She is always calling her 'sweetie' and 'honey baby,' holding her hand, stroking her skin, singing songs to her of her own creation. Hazel is delighted with her, giggling at everything she does. Amelia can hardly hold still long enough to catch Eloise's attention, but she loves her in her own way.
Frozen will always be attached in my mind to this precious time with my girls. And I can't tell you how helpful it has been when I have to make dinner!