After 5 years in this house, we've added a family member and more interests of budding readers. And we home school. In short, we've outgrown our bookshelves. Unable to bring myself to buy an additional shelf and bring the number of mismatched shelves to a total of six, I began to think.
The solution I came up with? Get rid of the bookshelves and build a wall of shelves in my entryway to house ALL of the books.
After discussing options and budget with Jimmy we came up with a plan. (Although I had to spend all of the first day painting the entry since it had never been done since we moved in. Painting. It's never done. Onward.)
After a fresh coat of paint we headed out to buy the supplies. Our van has carried many, many things. Though we always seem to be able to close the back door somehow, we found the limit- seven 12 foot by 10 inch pieces of pine. So this time I had to climb in the back, tie it closed, and then enjoy the ride home.
We spread out the planks and I invited the kids to distress the wood, since that seems to be all the rage, and also because making something messy on purpose seems to be the order of the day at this stage in my life. We used hammers, nails, chain, and other various tools. Someone asked what we were doing and someone else answered, "we're stressing the wood out." Then, "Mom, why do we have to stress the wood out?" What do you say to this? "Because it's cool!" ?? I think in reality I didn't answer because I was too busy hitting the wood with my huge chain. Eventually I told them it's "distressing" the wood, but don't worry kids. If anyone can stress wood out, it's you guys.
I got zero photos of the stressing out of the wood because it was just a little chaotic. That night after bedtime I poured a little coffee (on the wood, come on, I don't drink coffee) and began to sand and stain the wood.
And here is where the real work begins. In mind and body. When you do meanial, repetitive work with your hands, there is something that happens. You begin to access a part of your brain that may otherwise lie dormant. You begin to be consumed with what you're doing while ignoring it at the exact same time. After doing a little research on making new wood look old, I did it my way. And guess what? I skipped a few of the recommended steps. Because if there is anything you learn how to do when you're living with six kids and a dog, it's leave out stuff.
So of course, the sanding, cleaning, staining, and waxing of this wood became a metaphor for my daily life. It's full of scratches, dents, and holes, but it's beautiful. And the very action of the work I did was a picture of how I always function. Isn't there even a movie titled, "I Don't Know How She Does It?" And believe me I get asked that. And you know what? I know how she does it. At least I know how I do it. I skip stuff. Yes, I probably could have sanded it better. It probably could have used another coat of stain. But this is how we do it. We get the whole lot of us involved, we batter and bruise the situation, but it all comes out beautiful somehow in the end. (And we do it in two days because we can't stand the chaos. And we had company coming!)
After all was said and done and we got the shelves hung, it was time to fill them up! Libby was suuuper excited to help and kept asking when it would be time. But in the end the whole family got involved (we missed Cash, he was at a sleepover) and we got those mismatched bookshelves emptied and new shelves filled up in just a few hours. The kids really took ownership of it. Who doesn't like to see your kids excited about books?
Here are girls late at night as we were in progress. There were some books that are tied to our curriculum that I had the kids place tiny colored dots on the bottom of the spine.
And then, later, this scary book zombie came out! Ah!
I don't have great photos, I'm not quite done yet...but we are all enjoying our shelves and even though I enjoyed the work, my arm is enjoying the rest!