Crafting & Art

A Big Move Deserves A Tiny Painting

Something big happened last week: my parents sold the house I grew up in.

They’ve been planning to do this for a while, so it’s not a shock or anything. It’s also not as depressing as it could be since they’re selling it so they can move to Richmond (right now they’re about 2 hours away in Northern Virginia). My parents are both retired and have been planning to downsize for a while now. They picked Richmond for a bunch of reasons, including that four of their five grandchildren live here. So all in all, we’re really happy about the news.

But there’s still something major about the closing of this particular chapter, so allow me to be sentimental for a moment.

My parents moved into this house in 1979 (forgive the not-so-pretty winter pic above). It was a new construction home at the time, so they – along with my two older sisters – were its first (and up until now only) occupants. If you’re keeping track that’s two years before I arrived, meaning this is the house they brought me (and later my little sister) home to after we were born. So as you can imagine, a lot has happened in this house over the 32 years they have owned it. Including my mom taking annual pictures of us on the porch for first days of school and for our birthdays (note the homemade banner taped to the storm door behind me).

When we heard they accepted a buyer’s contract early last month, we took the first opportunity to gather there one last time for a family portrait. My sister Emily even made an homage to my mom’s birthday sign tradition for us to pose next to. Here’s the “original” six Petersiks (aka, the “Petersix”)…

…and now with our expanded family of spouses and children (can you tell that it was POURING rain during these shots – fortunately my bro-in-law the professional photographer knew how to handle it).

In addition to these pics, my sisters and I wanted to honor this big moment with a gift. After debating a few things, we decided to get them a drawing or painting of the house. They already own a pen and ink sketch of it, so (thanks to some suggestions from you guys on Twitter) we landed on getting a painting of their front door from artist Kal Barteski (she calls her series T+A - tiny and awesome). So I sent Kal this pic of the door…

And a couple of weeks (and $100 – split four ways among me and my siblings) later, this arrived. Tiny and awesome indeed.

It’s actually 5 x 7″, so it’s not that tiny. Kal paints them on thin onion skin parchment paper which is why it looks a bit wavy and textured. It threw me off a little at first, but when I read that she does it so your painting looks truly like original art – not a print or a replica – it won me over as quite charming.

The onion skin paper is also translucent so she invites people to mat her paintings on colored or patterned paper to customize them and add even more texture. We had fun trying a few colors & patterns underneath but ended up going the straightforward route and putting it on white card stock since we thought my parents would like it best that way.

We finally presented it to my parents this week and they LOVED it. Woo hoo!

Oh, and since some of you might be curious – my parents got very lucky when it came to selling their house. Before it was officially listed on March 1st, they had a preview showing at the end of February and that person put in an acceptable offer on the spot. Not bad right? Since it happened a bit faster than any of us expected (including them) they have around six weeks until they can officially move into their new house in Richmond. In the meantime they’ll be bouncing around between their Delaware beach house, my sister’s house in Northern Virginia, and my sister’s house here in Richmond. But we can’t wait for the day that they can officially call our city their home.

Psst- The babyproofing adventures continue over on BabyCenter where we’re sharing how we anchored a giant wall mirror in our bedroom (thankfully it wasn’t rocket science).

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The Big Two Nine

Now that all the birthday bid-ness is over I can tell you guys all about it. It was sweet. Turning 29 didn’t really feel any different than the past few b-days and it involved everything from a foot massage with shaving cream (John mistook it for the lotion bottle) to Clara taking her “first crawls.” Holy cow it was amazing. Everyone, including the doc, thought she’d just go straight to walking since she has been scooting around on her butt for a while – and even recently started pulling up. But lo and behold she decided it might be fun to give crawling a go (you know, just for kicks) and we even caught it on video:

So yeah. Baby, baby, baby. Sorry if that’s all I talk about but Clara is kind of awesome. Haha. It was the best present ever.

The weather on Saturday was around 70 degrees and sunny (which is funny because it used to always snow on my birthday when I lived up north) so we went on a nice long walk in one of our favorite neighborhoods (look at that gorgeous house behind me) with Clara and the dog.

We even saw turtles in the river (Clara loved it, Burger seemed ambivalent).

And the whole time I was sporting my new bun/thigh toning Reebok Easytone b-day sneaks that the hubby got me. Oh yeah, I’m styling.

I begged for them and he humored me. They actually didn’t kill me at all during or after the first three mile walk that I did in them. But the next day I did the same thing and I needed a serious break afterwards. So yes, they do actually burn the buns and legs after a while (although my first trek with them made me think they were all hype, my Reeboks had the last laugh).

What else. We went out to a nice little sushi dinner (we have a thing for it)…

… and I got some pretty fun stuff from J and the fam. Beyond my tush toning Reeboks John also got me an awesome book called Love Life (from a local gift store named Mongrel) with a perfect greeny-yellow cover.

Not that you should judge a book by its cover, but it never hurts if it looks as good on the outside as it actually is on the inside. We mentioned a while back that sometimes we struggle with balance (since the internet is a 24/7 thing, sometimes it’s hard to draw the line and unplug) so the book is chock full of couldn’t-be-more-true reminders, like:

But enough philosophical stuff. What is it about birthdays that make you evaluate where you’ve been and where you’re going? Oh yeah, the whole “I’m aging” thing. We were just joking that we’ll have to change our blog name to Middle Aged House Love. Haha. Somehow it doesn’t have the same ring. Anyway, now for the fun stuff. Look at the home-related booty I got from John’s awesome sisters. We always do “wish lists” when it comes to gifting each other (which makes it easier on the buyer and pretty sweet for the receiver) so I moseyed around the world wide web in search of a few prints that I’d love to add to our soon-to-be-expanding frame gallery in the hallway, and found these beauties:

That one’s from here (we love a good road trip) from John’s sister Katie. And John went for extra credit. I begged for those Reeboks and thought they’d be the extent of my gift, but he also surprised me with this adorable bee print (we have a thing for bees too).

So I can’t wait to hang all of my new prints among family pictures and keepsakes in the hallway. Pics when we knock more holes into the other side of the wall and hang that pile of Ikea frames that’s still sitting in the corner of the kitchen. Someday. Oh and my sweet friend Heather sent me these lilies out of the blue:

I love them so much and especially adore that she specifically picked out the lime green vase because she knew I’d flip for it. Affirmative Heather. I went crazy oohing and aaahing and still find myself walking in from the other room just to “visit” my bouquet every hour or so.

So overall, birthday number 29 was awesome and life is good. Who the heck knows where I’ll be when I turn 35, or even 30. I’m just trying to make it count, without going so crazy that I forget to enjoy the little things like baby snorts and puppy sniffs. Man am I still hormonal from birthing Clara 10+ months ago? Sorry if this post is all sorts of personal and corny. I guess that’s just me these days.

Pssssst- For anyone who has asked how we organize Clara’s toys or inquired about the big brown basket next to our sectional, click here to check out our BabyCenter post for the mind-numbingly simple “dump & cover” toy storage system that’s rocking our world.

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