We lived in Bremen for just shy of 2 years. And in that 2 years I had every intention of taking pictures of our home after it was all decorated and making sure to show the before pictures. Well, I remembered to take the before pictures (which seem to have gone missing in the last 2 years) but I forgot to take the after pictures. Part of that is due to the fact that I never finished decorating. I kept 2 unpacked boxes behind Milayla's bedroom door for 2 whole years. Try as I might I couldn't get into the mind set of decorating the place entirely because I couldn't get into the mind set that we would be there long enough to make it matter. Besides that, buying all of our furniture was a big enough task on it's own for me. I love beautiful homes but picking out just the right pieces to fill the spaces and walls is a tedious task for me filled with hard to make decisions. I probably stress about those decisions way more than I should, though that is a point for another day.
Today's point is that the day before the movers were coming to pack all of our things I realized that I never took pictures of our apartment in Bremen. Yes, it is in the background of several photos on this blog, but with no pictures of the actual space it is difficult to get an idea of what the back drop of those photos actually looked like. And, well, I would like to go back and show the kids just what their childhood homes looked like so that the little pieces they remember in their minds can be expanded by the photos they see here.
I did not however think to grab pictures of everything. I missed a lot. Like our view, our table, our kitchen, the bathroom etc, but I think the essence of the apartment is there anyhow despite several things having already been packed. Our bedroom, for example, only had the curtains and the wardrobes left and a whole slew of boxes and pictures that had already been packed up and taken off the wall. The essence is still there though. It's not pinterest worthy or anything, but it's our home and it served its' purpose well for us as our gathering place, our growing place and our learning place. So without further ado - our apartment in Bremen.
Our living room. Which used to have this dark blue, severely stained, diamond patterned flat carpet. It was time to go. The coffee table was rarely in the centre of the room as we often pushed it off to the side towards the windows to have dance parties on the carpet, build forts, or just bask in the winter sunshine that bathed our floor in the early afternoon hours. We held family home evenings here. Many a game night. Stubbed several toes and bruised far too many knees. We squeezed on the couch to watch movies and general conference as a family. And the kids often climbed into the chair to read together while I was making dinner. It was a gathering place for us. It was also a play room filled with endless giggles and lots of creative messes. Endless train tracks. And cooking lessons. The balcony out the window was the backdrop for many birthday photos, science experiments, bubble blowing and summer popsicles. And in one little corner we had our piano where Jason and I would practice away while the kids drifted off to sleep. If we ended before they had fallen asleep, Atticus would tip toe down the hallway to ask for "just one more" and Milaya would call out for "more!" from her crib. They always oozed with sweetness when they said it :).
And then there was the table around the corner that we loved to fill with guests, that was the surface for many playdoh and paint sessions, birthday pancakes, perogy making and christmas sugar cookies. The same table where we all cheered triumphantly when Milayla demonstrated her love for indian food and drank through a straw for the first time thus ending the need for her feeding tube. We were so happy - I cried..
Mine and Jason's bedroom.
There isn't much left to look at here; just curtains, one wardrobe and lots and lots of packed boxes. When we moved in the carpet was brown and the walls were mint green. It was all topped off with bamboo roller curtains. Not my taste. New carpet. White walls (one was a really soft grey which was my attempt at venturing outside of white. Ha!). Large wardrobes. Airy curtains. Antique stained bed (thanks, Ikea!) with cream and fluffy white linens. We never got around to adding nightstands or lamps or pictures. But it still was a nice little oasis. Crisp, clean and calming. Weekend mornings, as well as saturday afternoons, this room was quite the gathering place we would all climb into the bed and read books together and take little naps. It also seemed to be the kids' favorite bed to jump on, the best bed to hide under for hide and seek and always seemed to have a couple of Jason's shirts draped over the footboard. I do miss the comfort of my own bed, I don't miss the shirts waiting to be ironed at the end of the bed..
This was Milayla's room:
Another 'work-in-progress' that never really quite made it 'there'. I had some pretty grand plans for her room, but things were never felt permanent enough in Bremen to push them all forward. So I put my crocheting skills to use (the ones that I learned solely to make Milayla a headband for her blessing) and made her a mobile out of several Amigurumi balls of varying sizes in deep jewel tones. My mom made her a beautiful quilt that she absolutely adores and I made her some pictures for the wall (she has an anagram for her name on the wall as well). And there was her picture of Jesus and her temple picture that she loved pointing out to us every morning and night just to make sure we knew what they were. The pictures never found frames because I never found the right ones, but the kids both loved playing in that room regardless. The kids often used the crib as a tunnel. Atticus would climb into the crib and join Milayla post nap time because he was so excited about her being up. Jason and I would take turns getting to read Milayla a bed time book in the chair. And before tucking everyone into bed we would all lay down on the carpet (which was not particularly soft) and sing our favorite primary songs as we looked up at the stars (that were shining from Milayla's lady bug). It was definitely a favorite moment that we all looked forward to and that we still continue...just somewhere else now. It was a well loved room. It was also the room that we hung out in as all our things were being packed up, loaded out the window and taken down the elevator to leave for Canada.
And then there was Atticus' room. Which used to be entirely pink. All the walls and ceiling. Very, very pink. That went first.
He was so proud of his room. So much so that when we were having new guests over, who had yet to see his room, he would talk me through all the things that he was going to show them. There was the bed that was his first big boy bed. The bed that he barely filled when he first went in it. The bed that he insisted was big enough for all of us because he didn't need that much space in it.
There was the quilt made by grandma (with Grandpa's expert opinion!) that rarely left the bed except to be washed or for the purposes of making a fort (and even then, he was hesitant to take it from his bed). There were the two pictures on the wall that I made for him that he enjoyed putting his opinion in on to make them perfect for his room. And then he picked out the frames.
He oozed with pride over his picture of Jesus and the Frankfurt Temple. There are the dressers that I never got around to finishing just like the ones I had pinned on pinterest... the chair with his sock monkey (from Aunt Keely) with Douglas (from Grandma and Grandpa Sayers) and Lion (from Oliver and Mareen) on the bed. There is the shoe rack that he took apart and put back together multiple times when he should have been sleeping. The Lion that nearly got confiscated in Turkey when we took it through security because the music box inside looked suspicious on the scanner (SO glad they let us keep it!). And then there was the car mat which served for hours and hours of fun on rainy days as Atticus, Milayla and I raced around the track seeing which cars were the fastest. Atticus also managed to take apart the light switch, the picture frames and part of his clock. He was a very busy boy! And I cannot forget to mention all the books that were read with Mommy and Daddy in that big 'ol bed or the bedtime lullabies with mommy that he would beg for more of.
I could go on and on about the memories of this place. We loved it. We loved the neighborhood. We loved coming home. And we loved inviting others into our home. These pictures ooze with memories, with giggles, with sweetness, laughter and lots and lots of love.
While we quite enjoyed the decor of our home it was how we spent our time within the walls of our home that made it special for us. Remembering that point; that it is our little family and how we spent our time there that made that home special; is especially important for me to remember right now because as I am typing this we have yet to find a new home and my heart has been aching for a little bit of stable ground beneath my feet.
That said, it has been interesting to see that with each hotel room, and each furnished rental that we have been to our children have very quickly referred to it as home; not because we've been in beautiful, spacious, perfect places but because we are all there together - making memories. And sometimes, dare I say it, those memories have been creatively crowned by the spontaneity and quirkiness of the broken door knobs that trap us in our rooms, the squeaky floor boards that wake us from our slumbers, and lots and lots of laughter. So the next time we are all squished into Atticus' bed (in our current apartment) to read bedtime books or sing songs and I am silently praying that it doesn't break on us (because it HAS!) I will try my best to remember to be grateful for the love, the laughter and the memories. Though I am still praying and searching for a slightly more permanent home that we'll be making memories in soon!
(On a related note: We have applied for yet another apartment and are really hoping that we get this one and are able to move in before the end of the week. If you could send your prayers, positive thinking, tucked thumbs, fingers crossed, love, hugs, and any other lovely things our way that would be great! THANKS!!)