Leaving Your Mark

Leaving Your Mark

Railroad Sign Hallway

I always thought it was a hallway.

You know.

The kind you walk down.

You’ve heard of hallways before…..right?

They are a staple in most homes.

Traditionally people have used them to get from point A to point B.


But even though you might think this looks like a hallway.

And talks like a hallway.

And walks like a hallway.

It’s not.

At least not yesterday.

Because yesterday for one brief shining moment…it was a training ground for the next gold medal gymnastics champion……

…..in cart-wheeling.


Back Hallway


The two future Nadia’s of the competitive world of gymnastics decided that hallway was the perfect place to practice.

Practice their back bends.

And splits.

And round-offs.

And one-handed cart-wheels.


Wooden blocks

Actually…..I heard it before I saw it.

The one-handed cart-wheel that came crashing down.

It sounded terrible.

And loud.

Kind of like when Teresa from the New Jersey Housewives couldn’t believe that Danielle had written that book a long time ago that they were all talking about in the beauty shop and when Danielle dared to pull out the book Teresa wasn’t going to take it for one more second and she stood up and flipped the table and the dishes went sailing everywhere and it sounded like an earth shattering crash and Carolyn and Dena were just standing there open-mouthed because they were in complete and utter disbelief that Teresa was secretly a table flipper.

It was louder than that.


Mark On Wall


And left this behind.

Big and dark and scuffy.

I was torn between relief that my gymnast was smiling and unhurt and irritation that I had a mark the size of a small European nation on my wall.


Then I paused…..and took a deep breath and stared.

And thought of the future.

When my house will be clean and neat and completely without scuffs or scrapes or spots.

And empty.

And I will long for the days when laughter and cheers and singing rang through the house.

Long for those gymnasts to run and dance and twirl through the hallways.



Cape Cod Sign



And as I reached out to hug my tiny little smiling unhurt one-handed cart-wheeler….turned scuff-creator….

I was so happy at that moment.

Happy that this home was made for living.

Happy that hallways were made for walking and talking and dancing and twirling and even….one-handed cartwheels.

And filled with overwhelming joy that there’s never been a mark or a scuff….

…..a little magic eraser and a lot of elbow grease couldn’t take care of ย ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Love this. Thanks for the reminder…I need it constantly as I look at the mess made, oh, after every meal. I haven’t reached the gymanst stage, but I am in the plate dumping stage. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. And those empty house days will be there before you know it, darn I wish there was magic eraser when my kids were small. Great post made me smile ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. They grow up so fast and are gone off to their own lives in the blink of an eye! Too bad there wasn’t something like Magic Eraser around when mine was small. I can’t count how many times I scrubbed down to the drywall trying to remove scuff marks. Boy oh boy – I’d love to rewind the clock and have that problem again!

  4. I’ve resigned myself to dinged cabinets and woodwork, scuff marks on the wall, and hand-prints on the glass… at least for a few more years. ๐Ÿ™‚
    TGIF, Kari!
    xo Heidi

  5. KariAnne, this sweet post brought several thoughts to this brain of mine. My first thougtht was to remember the days when I was that agile. Ah, such sweet memories. My second thought will give you hope for those days when your sweeties are out into the world. They will come home often, and with them they will bring sweet little treasures (aka grandchildren). Those sweet little treasures will quickly leave their marks behind just for you. And, even then, you will stop and look at those marks with a smile. Who knows, by then the magic eraser might be replaced by a magic wand.

  6. Awww! What a lovely story!

    I have a cross-stitched piece hanging on the wall in my studio which relates to handprints and smudges on walls, and which ends with:

    “So, here’s my final handprint,
    Just for you to recall
    Exactly how my handprints looked
    When I was very small”

    Below that, I have a pair of handprints done in pink paint, provided by my two year old daughter.

    You have to embrace these moments!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. This also reminded me of the Handprint Poem. So true! Magic Eraser-love! Housewives-love! Husband hates them.

  8. The Hallway..what better place to achieve the “perfect 10″…..As they leave the nest, you can look down that hallway and remember the cartwheels and back bends and smile…..I so remember the times when things were knocked over by soccer balls being juggled off a knee and baseballs thrown into the air that rolled out of the glove…but it was hard to discipline, as the “older child” (my hubby) was next to him, doing the same thing……where was that magic eraser back then…!…Have a wonderful weekend of cartwheels and baseballs!! A good thing!

  9. Oh, how I love the memories a house holds!! So much history. Especially in an older home. I grew up in the house we live in now. I swear if I close my eyes I can still see my sisters, brother & I running around as children inside of it. What a treasure a house is that has raised a family or in some cases, many families.

    What a lovely topic today! A sweet thing to read and start the weekend.

  10. Kari…I read this right before I woke my little sweet girl up this morning. Thanks for the reminder to not sweat the small stuff. It won’t be long until we are begging for marks on the wall and spilled milk.

  11. This is so true. My “baby” is in his last year of high school and my daughters are away living on their own. My house is almost always clean now and I remember the days that I was constantly complaining about having to clean or cook something. Enjoy these days as they do not last long. My favorite moments now are when all my chicks are in the nest and there is a comforting mess around us all.

  12. Yep. Every Lego that stabs my foot reminds me that in 5 short years little Morgan will be coming into his own…


  13. Yes, the years fly by. My daughter is back home with us right now as she just finished law school and took the bar (now the job search begins). It’s so nice to have her here. At 26, she isn’t doing cartwheels down the hall, but still, seeing her lounge on the sofa reading a book warms my heart. I’m wondering if I could still do a cartwheel???

  14. ๐Ÿ™‚ We have 3 gymnasts around here since the olympics! They really prefer Grandma’s new living room carpet as their tumbling floor but they are constantly showing me how high they can kick their legs!
    And I would like to give a medal to the genius who invented the majic eraser!

  15. We are mostly past the cartwheel stage but have now reached the handstand and walking on hand stage… plus lets leave every game controller and game case out. It took me a while but I’m beginning to embrace it because, well, they won’t be at home all that much longer. Nor do will this be our home for all that many more years (“retirement” property in NY after the “baby” graduates….)

    Isn’t is a great feeling that they aren’t afraid to do these things, that our houses are truly their homes! Places where they can kick up their heels and feel safe and secure enough to take on the world….

    Have a wonderful day! And weekend!! (now i’m off to work on “the” curtains! i’m making progress… i’ll send you photos in a bit, k?)

  16. What a great reminder! You are right, time goes by too fast . . .

  17. I have many broken items that can be replaced and the only thing I think about when my three cart-wheels shake the house daily is please don’t get hurt. I don’t mind painting the walls because I like the fun in our house.

    have a great day.

  18. I was just laughing with my son over my daughter’s ever-expanding repertoire of gymnastics moves and twirls and kicks … and how we have to be careful when we enter a room because we might just get a foot in the mouth! Oh, and how when I take her to Lowes or Home Depot or even the supermarket how I pretend that I do not know that twirling and kicking girl following along behind me …



  19. I am from Dallas and LOVE that sign! Where did you find it? I have plenty of wall scuffs that it could hang over ๐Ÿ™‚ 4 kids=Loads of messy fun!

  20. Oh, so true! My children are grown and I miss all the noise and excitement n the house. I have no one to blame for the messes now but my poor hubby and myself.

  21. This is such a great post! It’s good to be reminded that the little blemishes on the floor and walls and furniture are just a reminder that real life is going on in this house. I still have alot of it going on in mine and yes, have a few scuffs of my own on the walls. I completely forgot about the magic eraser! I’m off to find mine now. Ha! Your hallway (with or without scuffs) is very pretty and not borning like most hallways.

  22. way to make lemonade! emmy did something similar but the house almost left its mark on her instead…. she decided to do a backflip on our porch. our cement porch. she was ok, luckily. and i don’t think she will be doing her gymnastics on the porch anymore.

  23. I loved it all, just have to add ……. I’m not sure the day of a clean and neat house ever comes so it’s a good thing I never looked forward to it.


  24. A little Mr. Clean Magic Eraser would take care of that in a jiffy!

  25. I really enjoyed this post. Got me a bit teary-eyed. Thanks!

  26. Ha! At first you have me all emotional and thinking I shouldn’t care about the scuffs, but you came through in the end! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. When I was growing up our yard was the only yard in the neighborhood without grass. My mother allowed our yard as the base for every game her children and the neighborhood kids wanted to play. Thus no grass…when we were older and had moved away she always looked at her green lawn a little sadly. Mom has been gone for 6 years now and my own children are away at school and no longer leaves marks on the walls, floors and ceilings (yes, ceilings ๐Ÿ™‚ ~ I know now why she always spoke so longingly and lovingly of those no grass years. Enjoy your beautiful children and those ugly marks as they proudly declare your house a home.

  28. Didn’t you know? God made Magic Erasers as extra insurance that kids would survive their first 18 years at home.

  29. I Karianne! Oh, this brings back memories! I was so disappointed when my parents finally got furniture for the living room because I couldn’t run through doing cartwheels anymore! I did them EVERYWHERE!
    As a Mom of 2 twentysomthings, an 18 & 15 yr old…I know! It goes by oh so very fast. Enjoy those scuffs and squeals!

  30. Of course, that should read Hi, Karianne instead of I Karianne. Like I’m about the quote something!

  31. Have I told you recently how much I love you? Your stories always put a huge smile on my face ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck with your aspiring gymnast. I have a future soccer player who’s gotten stitches 3 times in her forehead from accidents around our house. Oh, gotta love them!

  32. You’re so very right, I will miss my kids so much when they finally grow up and leave me. Thankfully I’ve got many years ahead of me, full of forts in the living room and books all over the floor. Hope you have a great weekend Karianne!

  33. i miss my little cart-wheelers, hand standers, mess makers, it reminds me of this quote i saw this morning “cleaning house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos”….enjoy those round-off-ers while you can!

  34. I can tell you first hand, they do grow way too fast and before you know it they are gone and you will long for these days.

  35. A beautiful perspective for all parents! I’m sharing this one on FB and Twitter to remind all the mamas.

  36. Love this post – for us the space between the island and table is our cartwheel zone!

  37. Cheryl Thornton :

    I think I would put a lovely frame around that scuff for posterity sake…so one day when that gymnast does make it to the Olympics…you can say “remember when”….embrace the scuff, for there will be lots of time for clean walls!

    Cheryl from Ontario

  38. Love this post, Karianne. As mine are starting high school this week, my mind often goes down the same track.

  39. My sons are 20 and 23 and I’m totally wishing for those scuff mark days! I miss my loud stinky little boys. Boo hoo. We just moved to a new house….big and beautiful…dreamy….I just miss my little boys so much though.

    But hold on…have you ever shown us those amazing black and white pictures? I love the frames with labels. Details?

  40. awww! What a great post! and what a great example you are.


  41. true and words to live by!

  42. Wonderful! Thanks for the reminder!

  43. I love it! I kinda just want to take your house and move it to Chicago ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Awww, what a precious story! Those days go far too quickly! What a great mom! I give her a ten!

  45. Karianne, Treasure the moments! Joyous Wishes, Linda

  46. Talk about parallel lives!
    My twins are gymnasts too – and leave scuffs everywhere – and we both love to watch a good table flipping!
    You sure you’re not from Jersey?

  47. Karianne,
    This is a delightful post. It warmed my heart. Time REALLY does go that fast. I promise. Sometimes I long to hear the sounds of my kids playing, and wrestling around. But, I am also very blessed to now hear my grand babies laugh and play. The seasons come and go in our lives. Just as it should bee.
    Love the feelings I felt today as I read your post.

  48. Exactly. When I have to re do something again for the 95 millionth time, I stop and think that in a few short years, I won’t have anyone to clean up after. I know I will miss it desperately.

  49. Congratulations to your one-handed cart-wheeler on her success and to you, on your scuff mark! I have a few of those in my house, on the walls in the stairs to the lower level and more on the walls in the basement. I may even paint over them before the “next people” move into our home but for now, they make me smile as they serve as reminders that we’ve done a whole bunch of LIVING and LAUGHING and LOVING in our home. Sometimes, after the “party” is over, a scuff mark or two get left behind. Magic Eraser is a wonderful thing and sometimes, when your son is away at school (as mine now is), so is a renegade scuff mark and the memory of how it got there. xo

    P.S. I’d try a one handed cart wheel myself but I don’t think that I could “Magic Erase” a trip to the emergency room! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  50. Samantha Bailey :

    Love this! I love reading your blog. You crack me up and I get you!! lol! Seriously, I really enjoy reading your posts and I think you have a beautiful home and you are so, so talented. Have a great weekend!

  51. great attitude…

  52. What a beautiful post! And it’s so true! We have to enjoy the moment, scuff marks and all. Though I still probably would have yelled and flipped a table ๐Ÿ˜‰

  53. My daughter was a gymnast. My hubby actually drew a gymnast doing a cartwheel on her bedroom wall. I sure miss those days. My house is the one that is clean but, empty, and quiet. TREASURE those scuff marks. Your house will be pristine befor you know it. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be……..XO, Pinky

  54. Hahahahaaa… The Gymnast and the scuff. I am having a giggle … all I can say is thank goodness for magic eraser. Just finished using it as a matter of fact, but it’s (the pup) Master Vic that was the creator of the mess. The lads ahem.. young men are pretty much mess free now (whew)
    Savour the flips!! And the scuffs… before you know it, this will be a distant memory.
    Time is a thief!!
    Cheers, Gee

  55. I am glad she wasn’t hurt. I have had a few mini heart attacks myself when I have heard that familiar thud or crash and then a “Moooooooom” Sigh. I have been in a funk this week for some reason and coming over here and looking through your blog and photos really lifted my spirit. It feels like coming over to a neighbor’s house. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hugs, Angie

  56. So glad Nadia was safe. I too find myself building up steam about my cluttery toy/school/life filled house, but then I remember it is just a small moment in our life. My girls have big, important, amazing dreams right now, and I do not want to be the one who squashes them.
    By the by, I love the signs in your hallway!

  57. Enjoy every moment of it, Kariann. I was just thinking this morning how I miss aall those moments with my girls ๐Ÿ™‚

  58. and please mark it off to senility that I can no longer spell your name or the word all

  59. Yes I though a magic eraser with a bit of elbow grease would take care of that mark………………when a house has children in it, it can suffer a bit from the rough treatment children dish out………………at lest she didn’t get hurt………….

  60. What did we do before Mr. Clean Eraser? Man I love that stuff!

  61. Annnnd, after you hugged her, I hope that you pulled out your magic eraser and made the mark magically disappear! LOL. And, wait, you’re a RHONJ fan ?! Say it isn’t so? I was just watching the marathon earlier today (when the US Open interrupted my soaps)! The Teresa table-flipping moment was replayed over and over … will definitely go down in history! But, back to your story … I love how you write … and, thanks for the reminder that life goes by too quickly and to truly “live” in your home!

  62. Beleive me you never want the silence….If you still have mom and dad…have them tell stories and tape …yu will always treasure the sound of their voice when the are no longer here…..and your kids you are so right on

  63. Sweet, inspiring, and so introspective, Karianne. ๐Ÿ™‚

    xoxo laurie

  64. Oh my gosh, this one brought tears to my eyes. My little gymnast is graduating this year, and the cartwheels have turned into a steering wheel… and tomorrow we’re off to try on a gown for her prom – where did the leotard go? And the scuffs she now leaves behind are made with her heels… What happened to her little gymnast slippers? Where did the time go? I think that’s what my parents asked, and now I’m asking it, too. Stock up on those magic erasers, because you’ll want to be needing them long after you do ๐Ÿ™‚

    Such a great post, Karianne! It really touched my heart. Thank you… xo

  65. Did you make the Dallas/Cape Cod sign? Sooo cute! If so, can you post a “how to”?

    Love your blog!

  66. What a darling story!!! I can so relate. But you have one thing a little askew in your story…. you will love quiet halls on the days the rest of your home is quiet because it doesn’t last long, Your family will grow and they will come back and fill you hallway to overflowing with laughter, love and antics!!!! This is my hope for you dear KariAnne!
    Beautiful hall…mocking scuff and all!

  67. Amen to the magic eraser! For some reason my boys find our hallway a great place to pass a football. I guess all those little scuffs are memories. Or job security.

  68. Fantastic post, great writing, and oh, so true!

    (I try to remind myself of this often….since 3 of my outdoor pots have been broken in the past 1.5 weeks!)

  69. I love this post, Karianne…our home is very lived in with the grandkids…a closet door was decorated with marker this week…

  70. my daughter actually kicked a hole in our dining room wall doing a cartwheel! fortunately she was unhurt. it will become a great memory. we thought it was hilarious and she loves telling about it! i love your blog! linda

  71. Good for you! You don’t know what empty is until your home is empty.

  72. What a great reminder to love the place you’re in right now! Thanks for this great post!

  73. OMG, Karianne this made me cry. I’m such a baby. My little girl is going through the house doing cartwheels too. Sometimes it sounds like the chandelier in the dining room is going to fall from her doing gymnastics upstairs. I think about my kids leaving all the time and it makes me sad. I’ll only be 43 when I become an empty nester. That’s not far away. ๐Ÿ™

  74. Loving this post…tugging at my heart and making me miss my college freshman even more!

  75. oh my goodness…I love your hallway and the story to go with it.

    you’re so right. one day, sooner than we want, these hallways will be scuff free and kid free…and we’ll beg for them to come home and make some noise and a mess. ๐Ÿ™‚

  76. You are SO right! My 3 1/2 year old little man took the back of his fork to my kitchen table, and let’s just say, it has a permanent decoration now…and I thought of looking at that table in frustration or looking at it in 20 years and remembering how nice it was to have a little man sitting there. I’ll take the marks, I think:)

  77. Definitely keep that Mom of the Year Award!!!!!!!

  78. What is the paint color in the back hallway?