Papa Day

Today is the second annual “Papa Day”.

This will be the third October 10th that my grandfather hasn’t been with us…and we all miss him horribly. I would have had so many things to tell him this year. I would have told him all about my house and showed him pictures. I would have showed him pictures of my garden and told him all about what all we were growing, the success we were having, and the lessons we were learning. I would have picked his brain for gardening tips and tricks and asked him for gardening stories. I would have showed him the hat that my mom got for Trey that is just like the one he wore. I would have told him about my new job and how happy it makes me. He would have loved that I am able to be home at a reasonable hour and that I have weekends and holidays off. He would laugh sweetly at how long Trey’s beard has gotten.

I came up with the idea for Papa Day last year as a way to make his birthday into something joyful and comforting for my family. The idea is that on this day, you honor him and do something that brings you joy, but also helps you feel connected to him in some way. You might wake up before the sun and sit with a cup of coffee to ease into the day. You might make a large breakfast spread for someone you love with biscuits and chocolate gravy, preserves, honey, eggs, bacon, etc. You might spend time in the sunshine, working outside or just sitting outside. You might make a southern dinner of cornbread and “field foods”. Whatever you want to do, or can do, that will help you feel linked in some way. It feels like a little bit of a reset to devote time and energy to just remembering him, loving him, and finding this connection.

Last year, Papa Day held a lot more than this year’s did. I was working this year, and by the time I got home - I felt too tired for much of anything. So, I took a bath, combed my hair, put on my robe, and sat down to write this. I have vivid memories of my grandfather gathering his pajamas and a towel from upstairs and going downstairs to take a shower every single night. When he would come back upstairs, he would have on his robe and his plaid pajama-bottoms would be peeking out from beneath it. He’d have on cozy socks and his house shoes. His hair would be perfectly combed and he would sometimes say something about how squeaky clean he was. He wouldn’t stay awake for much longer. His shower was always at the very end of his night.

So, here I am. Squeaky clean and ready for bed. The second Papa Day is coming to a close, and somehow he feels farther away but so much closer at the same time.

Giving Thanks

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On our way home from our third Thanksgiving meal, Trey and I talked about how different this Thanksgiving was from ones in the past. It’s shocking to see how things change over the years - and it’s funny to see the things that never change (like having four or five different pans of dressing at a single dinner). I felt that in all of the hustle and bustle, I didn’t slow down and let gratitude sink in until I was on my way home from all of the festivities. So, I thought that I should settle in and give thanks.

I’m thankful for the family that I have. I’ve got one big, loud, zesty family…and somehow “zesty” really is the best word to describe them. I’ve got a step-family, where the get togethers are well-organized and put together. And I’ve got a big bunch of in-laws that are almost always seemingly carefree and ready for a good time. They’re all so different, and I love them all.

I’m thankful for my marriage and the person that I’m married to. I’m thankful that he is patient and generous and willing to do anything for anyone, and is always ready to swoop in and save the day. I’m thankful that he is so, so, so loving, and so, so, so kind.

I’m thankful for the way that things are going at the moment. We are working hard, and it seems like it’s going to pay off soon.

I’m thankful for friends that feel like family. Trey goes to DND every Sunday night, and I know that those people that he plays with are some of his favorite people, and they’ve become some of mine as well. I’m also thankful for the friends that live nearby, and the friends that don’t, and the new friends, and the old friends.

I’m thankful that tonight, I got to sit next to my husband while I held one of my nieces, and while he held another one. I’m thankful that I got to go to THREE Thanksgivings, while some people can’t even afford groceries. I’m thankful for my furry little family, and the way that George gets along with my mom’s dog - and the way that James parades loudly around the apartment demanding to be fed. I’m thankful for all of it. The good things, and the not-so-good things.

Next year, when even more things have changed - I hope that I remember to look back on this post and find all of the joy that this year held. Now - go watch You’ve Got Mail, tell someone “Happy Thanksgiving back”, and pull out your twinkle lights because it’s truly officially the Christmas season.

Papa Day

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Today was the first annual Papa Day, a holiday that I created for everyone in my family to devote the day to the memory of my grandfather. What better day to have it than on my grandfather’s birthday, October 10th. 10/10? And that’s such a fitting date for him to be born, because he truly was a 10 out of 10.

The ideal Papa Day: wake up bright and early to have a cup of coffee and have a slow start to the morning. Then, make an elaborate breakfast spread that isn’t complete without Papa’s biscuits. At some point in the day, spend time outside. Any work you do, work harder and give it your all. Spend time with family, and for dinner, have field food (black eyed peas, collard greens, cornbread etc).

This year, Trey and I woke up and with the help of my mom over FaceTime, made my very first attempt at my Papa’s biscuits. Somehow, pretty much only two people in the world know how to make these (and there’s no recipe since he would never measure anything and just go by the feel of it). It turns out that I am just like everyone else and my biscuits were pretty disastrous. Though they were supposed to be fluffy, light, and pillowy…my biscuits were dry, angry, flat and crackly. But, Trey and I listened to Christmas music and had fun nonetheless. Then, we just spent time together. We watched a movie, ventured outside for a bit, and since we were both off work today, we came home and rested some more.

Having an annual Papa Day isn’t going to help any of us miss him any less. I miss his hugs, the smell of his pipe tobacco, and the sound of the tobacco pouch crinkling in his shirt pocket when I hugged him. I miss the sound of his voice and his rich laughter. I miss watching him watch someone as they spoke - really listening to what they were saying. I miss the comfort of just knowing that he was around. I miss him calling me his “Sadie”, I was never “Sarah” to him. I miss the way he combed his hair. I miss every.single.thing. I miss it all. But…very recently I noticed that my mom has his eyes. The shape. The color. I also noticed that my older brother hugs just like him, and I like to watch him while he watches someone speak - because he really listens, too.

I feel that having this day set aside every year is going to be healing for my family. I feel that it will give all of us the opportunity to take a minute to stop and just relish the memory of him. We’ll be able to acknowledge and appreciate all of the ways that we are like him, and we can move forward into the rest of the year, feeling just a little bit lighter.

So, Papa Day was a success. I know that somewhere in AL, my family members are having field food right now. I’m going to go cuddle my husband, have another cup of coffee, and look for a house to buy. Hug tighter, listen harder, and nestle yourself way down deep into the moments that you have with the people around you. XO.

Love, Sadie

And away we go.

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Imagine walking through your homey, lovely living room and admiring the things around you as you stroll. You walk along, noticing the framed photos of a place that has always meant the most to you, and the vase filled with flowers that you dried because you just really were digging them and didn’t want to let them go. Your pets are asleep on the couch and your favorite throw is draped just so beside them. The sunlight is pouring into the windows because it’s that perfect time of day. You keep walking along and then your gorgeous ornate rug gets pulled out from under you and you slam into the ground face first. Bruised and confused. That’s how I feel right now. 

Our apartment has...mold. And we know that there must be a lot of it. It’s making me sick, so we have to leave... now. Like, yesterday would have been better. The day before we found out about MoldCity, I spent the entire day painting our guest bedroom white and worked so hard to turn it into a beautiful, useful studio space. A lot of sweat and three coats of paint later, it was complete and I was so proud to check that off of the to-do list that it had been on for over a year. In the time we’ve lived in our current home, we’ve made it almost everything we wanted it to be. We still had a ways to go, but we were actively working to get it there. Now, I have to start from scratch again... and lose about 500-600 square feet of space. 

I am such a firm believer in there being a plan for everything, and a believer that all things have a purpose. So, when frustrated, my mind flips back and forth between positives and negatives and plus sides and down sides and goods and bads. So, maybe it was time for us to be shaken out of our rhythm. Maybe the rhythm we had wasn’t the rhythm we needed. Maybe this will get us further along in our long term plans than our previous living arrangement would have. Maybe this. Maybe that. Maybe an hour-long commute to work will mean I can finally listen to all of the books I’ve been wanting to read. Maybe this means we can spend more time with T’s family, and more time with mine. Maybe this will make us be more intentional with the time that we have. Maybe we will get gorgeously tan from having access to a swimming pool daily. Maybe T can start cooking again, since he will have access to a much bigger and better kitchen. Maybe. 

Despite how aggravated I am, and how unfair it all feels... I do feel grateful. I feel grateful for T’s parents and how they’ve offered up their guest house to us. I feel grateful for the memories that we get to make with them, and I feel grateful that I get to spend autumn tucked away in a leafy, dreamy space. I feel grateful for whatever it is in me that is making me feel at peace (96% of the time) about all of this. 

Let’s see how this goes.

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5 Things.

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1. Happy June 1st! June and July are both such happy months. They always make me think about forever ago, when our family moved into a new house, which happened right around the time that Florence got a Target. My mom stocked up on their summery dishes, tablecloths, cups, ice molds, skewers, picnic gear, and anything else that struck her fancy. She came home with bags of polkadot cups and plates and cups with fruit all over them, and it was so much fun to dig through them all. We had a big 4th of July party during those early years, and those summer memories at home with my mom just stamped these two months with a big stamp that says "FUN", and then a smaller stamp that's a picture of a watermelon. 

2. Today is my first "off day" at home in quite a while and I have big plans for it. I feel like a lot of things have been put on hold lately, and May was a very eventful month with a lot of traveling. June seems like it's going to move a lot slower, so I'm preparing for that today by knocking the biggest things off of my to-do list, gathering up the books that I've been wanting to read, and making lists of what I want to accomplish because it seems like that's the only way I can actually do it all. My method: write it down, make it feel tangible, and then tackle it. 

3. Our neighborhood has a community garden that I somehow had no idea about! My life has been changed by these heaving peach trees. I'm torn, because I want to take everyone to this precious garden, but I also want all the peaches for myself. What a pickle. No matter what, though, I'm going to harvest a bunch today for a pie.

4. We are having my younger brother stay with us for part of next week. This means that my home will smell like ketchup and sweaty men for a few days, there will be Mario figurines scattered around, and I need to start buying groceries NOW so that I'm prepared by the time he gets here. Despite the ketchup smell, I cannot wait. I miss him all of the time. Trey said the other day that I'm a very stable, sane person, but then if you remind me that I have a family that I don't get to see as often as I'd like, I go off my rails, down a gravel road, into a ditch and burst into tears. He's right. This happens. I'm a monster.

5. Confession: It's a struggle for me to be as open and honest on here since I announced this space publicly. It's so much easier for me to just make it about art and mood boards and to show you the latest Madewell pieces that I love. So, bear with me as I learn how to bare my soul to all of you.

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The Three Caballeros

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We're back from Disney, and I love these travel buddies of mine. The three of us have been to Disney together countless times, but this time: it rained nearly the entire trip, Trey's Chaco's broke, we each had a turn trekking around in far-too-soggy shorts, we all had some wicked blisters, we took turns feeling under the weather, and it still ended up being my favorite Disney trip thus far. When one of us is low, the others are high and patient until the low one finds their way back up. There's empathy and kindness here, making them the very best travel companions.