What do you want to teach your kids? A letter to my younger self.

The other night my brother was over and asked me what was the number one thing I wanted to teach O as a parent.  This struck a nerve as it was the same question I had been asking myself since I got pregnant.  While I struggle to find the exact words, the basic idea of what I want O to know is that he is the person he is supposed to be.  His little personality traits and unusual interests are what make him who he is, and that deserves to be celebrated.  I want him to know he is loved beyond measure and has the freedom to explore who he is and embrace it. He was longed for, prayed for, and dreamed about long before he was born, and he's perfect.  I want him to fly his flag, be proud of who he is and know that his family supports him.  

Not to be cheesy, but I often think of the line, "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger."

If I had one wish, I would love to mail a letter to my younger self imparting my 31 years of wisdom (I'm sure those of you who are older are rolling your eyes, but this is what I know now).  I imagine myself reading the letter and letting some of that growing up anxiety fall away...  or else I throw the letter away, because I'm 17 and know everything there is to know about life.

Here is my letter: 

Dear Blayne,

He's out there.  You will find him, and when you do it will be perfect.  I want to start the letter this way because I know it's important to you.  I know you spend time wondering if you will meet him and if you will have a family.  I want to ensure you that you will and it will be better than you could ever imagine.  I don't want to give too much away because I want you to be surprised, but if I can take away this major anxiety in your life, I know you will be able to enjoy it more.  Instead of focusing on the end result (will I get into college, will I like it, will I graduate, where will I live, and where is he), I give you permission to enjoy the ride.

Your life will not be exactly what you think it will be, but it is perfect anyway.  Don't set any strict goals of specifically what you will or won't do because life gets in the way, and sometimes you do the thing you said you wouldn't.  Do not look at that as failure.  That is life, and life evolves beautifully.

Give thanks for the talents you were given.  You did nothing to deserve them.  They were a gift, and you should live your life in constant gratitude.  You have amazing strengths and they will help you.  At one point in high school you are sitting in a class with Jessica Bagby, and you express frustration over wanting to spend all your time in the darkroom and not studying things you don't think you'll need.  Guess what? You won't need them.  I want to give you the freedom to explore your talent and push it.  That passion will never go away, but I can assure you that you don't use fractals. 

Pray.  It brings peace. Have faith things will work out the way they should.  You will get through it.

The breakups are hard.  They almost kill you, but you will live.  You will come out of it a better and stronger person.  You cannot rely on someone else to make you happy, even though I know that feels easy.  I want to tell you something and I want you to hear me.  You will hear the phrase, "when you know you know." If you have to ask yourself, "do I know," then you don't.  Do you understand?

Your parents love you beyond measure.  They wanted you and thought abut you before you were born. You will not fully understand that until you become a parent yourself, but please take my word for it. They have your best interests in mind.  They are smart. They are your advocates.  They know you. THEY WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY.  

Please wear makeup.  I know going out in crap clothes and no makeup feels kind of cool and rebellious, but don't do it.  It takes you 31 years to learn that lesson, but please learn it sooner.  When you get up, get dressed and put on make up. You feel better (your mom has been telling you that for years, so I know it's not new information).  These are hard years, and you will want to feel like you look good.  Also, buy clothes that fit.  You're never going to lose that last five pounds.

Take care of your body.  You don't get a new one.

You are smart.  You know things.  You will rarely be the smartest person in the room, AND IT'S FINE.  Life is not a contest to see who is the smartest.  You have things you know.  You have things you can offer.  You can learn from others.  You are relevant. 

Read.  It will transport you.  Books will be there for you when you need someone.  Allow yourself to get wrapped up in the story.  Stay up late to finish.  Befriend the characters.  They will help you.  If you are having a hard time find a book.

Have a second glass, but ask yourself if you really need a third.  

Love yourself, because one day you will find someone who loves you more than anything in the world.

Enjoy the wine, love your friends, embrace your family, stay out late, listen to the music, watch the sun rise, follow the light, take it all in, because once it's gone you will never be young again.

I would like to end with a quote that's given me so much peace, and I'd like you to know it earlier.

"Everything will be all right in the end, and if it's not all right, it's not the end."

You are loved,

The Older Blayne


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Our New Home: Before and After

Hi everyone!  

Welcome to my new blog home!  I made the switch to Squarespace to provide a better user experience for my readers.  The photos are much larger here, which is why I switched in the first place, but then I fell in love with the clean space and the fact that all the posts are categorized now!  You can find anything you want to in the archives or use the search feature.  Use the buttons at the bottom of the page to connect with me on Social Media, or take a look through my portfolio.

Speaking of a new home, Jimmy, Oliver and I DID move into our dream home two weeks after Oliver was born.  It's the most perfect place to hang out and spend time together as a family.  Especially on a...

We found the house when I was about 8 months pregnant, and I don't know if it was the hormones or just pure lust, but I HAD to have it.  There were tears and fits and many many rounds of "I just can't picture bringing my baby home anywhere else!"  Looking back it was pretty dramatic, but if I had it to do all over I would because I'm currently living the real life version of Bunny Williams' "An Affair with a House."

We spent a month making changes before we moved into it and couldn't have done it without my mom. She helped us make decisions, met workers at our house the day I was induced, and moved us in while I made a trip to the ER with post birth complications.  She was our angel in that chaotic time, and we are so thankful.

Before we moved in we stained the floors, painted every surface, and changed out light fixtures.  Below are before (old) and after (new) photos of what the house was like when we bought it and what it is like now.  My friend Linda Williams came over and helped us style it, and I'm bowled over by her talent.

Old Foyer

New Foyer

Sources: {White Paint: Floral White} {Dark Paint: Iron Ore} {Floor Stain- 50% Dark Walnut and 50% Ebony} {Light Fixture - Scott's Antique Market} {Wooden Trees - Home Goods} {Wooden Bird - The Bilt-House} {Dress Photograph - Me}

Old Kitchen

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New Kitchen

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The extremely talented Clary Foreba of Margaux Interiors helped me find the light, and I'm obsessed.  It transformed the entire room. 

Sources {Bird Painting in Window - Trinity Artist Market} {Stools - Ballard's}


Old Family/Dining Room

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New Family/Dining Room

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Sources.  {Aztec Ottoman - Nate Berkus for Target}  {Coffee Table & Chinese Fishing Balls - Scott's Antique Market} {Pillows - Home Goods} {Balck and White Photographs - Me}  {Bird Painting - Me} {Green Abstract Painting - Kristina Bass Bailey} {Green Tree Painting - Trinity Artist Market} {Rug- IKEA} {All Curtains in the House - IKEA} {Dining Room Fixture - Ballard Designs}

Old Living Room

New Living Room

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The most notable thing we did in the living room was cut the shutters in half to make the room brighter. 

Sources: {Wave Pillows-Vintage Missoni Fabric} {Orange Pillows-West Elm} {Throw Blanket, Vases and Rug - IKEA} {Dress Painting - Me} {Ghost Photograph in Stairway - Me} {Orange and Brown Abstract Painting - Melissa Payne Baker}

Old main level guest room

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New Main Level Guest Room

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Sources: {Stool - Home Goods} {Bed and Black and White Pillows - IKEA} {Bedspread - Anthropologie Rivulets Quilt}

Old Office

New Office

We turned this into an office for me/playroom for Oliver.  Whenever you picture me writing this blog or working on pictures, I'm right here!  Oliver loves this rug, and he rolls around and plays with his toys.  Charlotte also graces us with her presence and sit on her pillow from time to time.

Sources: {Bulletin Boards and Blue Pillow- Home Goods} {Candle- Jonathan Adler}

Old Nursery

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New Nursery

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I'm in love with Oliver's room.  It's soft and soothing with a hint of his daddy's style (read, the Phish posters).  When we bought the house the owner was using the room for her two girls, and I loved that idea.  Obviously we just have the one baby, so it's a palace for him!  We have the photos of my dad and uncle (O's namesake) hanging right when you walk in, and my old red sneakers sit on his bookcase.  One of my favorite parts about this room is that we cut the doors in half to make farm doors.  That way we can keep the top half open for naps and I can hear O.  That was one of the most ingenious things I've ever learned from Pinterest and something I insisted on doing.

Sources: {Reindeer and Wreath in the Main Shot - Home Goods}

Old Upstairs Guest Room

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New Upstairs Guest Room

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Sources {Paintings Leading Into the Room - Me}  {Bedspread - Anthropologie Circa 2001} {Bird Pillows and Blue Pillows - Home Goods} {Ballerina Paintings- Kristina Bass Bailey} {Two Abstract Paintings in the Bookshelf - Melissa Payne Baker} {Bird Painting in the Bookshelf - Gregg Irby Fine Art}

Old Master/Master Bath

New Master/Master Bath

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The master bedroom is my favorite part of the house.  The morning light is clean, fresh and the perfect way to start the morning.  The fluffy white rug is the perfect place for Oliver to learn to crawl.  The seashell lamps were the find of the century, and the lack of color keeps my mind peaceful and relaxed.  The bathtub is ideal for an end of the day wind down and glass of wine.

Sources: {Shell Lamps, Black and White Pillow on Lounge, Bench at End of Bed, and Rugs -  Home Goods} {All Artwork - Me} {Light Fixture in Bath - Ballard Designs} {Table Next to Lounge - South of Market}

There is no way I could ever sufficiently thank Linda Williams for coming and helping us when we had a brand new baby and were living in chaos, but you better believe I will keep trying! 

The new blog design and content import took over 50 hours, and I WOULD LOVE YOUR FEEDBACK!  Do you like it?  Is it better?  Will you come back (please)?  The comment section below is very easy to use, and I hope you do!

Thank you for visiting!