We are big game players here. We like board games and card games and video games. (I actually work in gaming, for those of you just getting to know me.) Right before we found this house, Brett and I had spent the afternoon at the Roanoke playing games and having a beer or two. We love taking games to the Roanoke, but we do get some looks.
Of all the games we play, Scrabble has to take top rank. We play a lot of Scrabble. A lot. And we play with no mercy. We might help a child here or there learn Scrabble strategy. “Hey, is there a triple letter score you could use?” But on the whole, we play for blood. We keep a Scrabble game and an Official Scrabble Dictionary (a perfect Christmas gift from my brother) on our patio at all times. Hey, you never know when you’re going to need it. We even put down an outdoor rug under the table because we lost a few tiles through the slats, a genius idea from my husband.
I must say that in our house, I am reining champion. I’m into words. What can I say? Brett has beaten me twice. (Do not ask me how many times he’s beaten me in chess.) I used to be a Trivial Pursuit champion until my little brother grew up. My cousin-in-law has cleaned the floor with me many times as well. Apparently age does not bestow knowledge.
The other thing we do a lot around here is negotiate and compromise. Being a blended family isn’t easy. Being a blended family with four daughters (three of whom are ten and one 13…try to figure that out) is even harder. The Brandy Brady Bunch, indeed. When Brett and I were married, our vows included our intentions for our family. And that is how we see it, as ‘our’ family. Not his kids or my kids, but our kids. My step-mother taught me this. She never introduced me as her step-daughter; it was always this is our daughter. It meant the world to me and I have never forgotten it.
Around the time of our wedding, there were a lot of questions about names. Would I change my name? Would we hyphenate our names? (Good heavens, O’Briant-Dightman is a mouthful!) I didn’t want to give up the name I shared with my daughters and Brett didn’t expect me to take his name. But a hyphenated family name never really felt good to us. One day, our oldest daughter Maeve said, ’I’ve got it! O’Brightmans!’ It stuck. It was a perfect combination of the names and so cheerful. We loved it. We sent out the invitations for the wedding from the O’Brightman family. We had O’Brightman on the directional sign to the wedding (painted by our daughters). We got a lot of questions about whether we were legally changing all our names to O’Brightman. (No!) But it worked. It bound us all together and we embraced it as a family and it became our family sur-nickname.
This is a really long backstory to my little project. The Scrabble Family Tree. I was in Anthropologie the other day and I saw a Scrabble board hanging on the wall. The words were glued on and, while not particularly meaningful, wonderfully creative. When we made our thrifting outing last weekend, I kept this project in the back of my mind. I scanned game sections for old Scrabble boards. I wanted the really old school kind. Not a new one. Something a little worn, like us.
And I found it at the Bellevue Goodwill, home of the awesome thrifted chair. I brought it home and explained the goal. Everyone was on it. There are a certain number of letters in a Scrabble box and the challenge was to spell O’Brightman, Brandy, Brett, Maeve, Ainsley, Hailey and Hannah with only the letters in the box.
After multiple misspellings and trials, we did it! Now that the puzzle is solved, we glue the letters on and find some way to frame it. I think some thin painted wood strips nailed together with a support on the back to glue the board to would work just fine. I envision it hanging with all the photos and artwork from the children in the living room and down the hallway. Now that is a triple word score if I’ve ever seen one.
UPDATE: I bought a 14″x14″ frame with a mat from IKEA and glued the board on top of the mat. It hangs in the hallway outside our bedroom and adjacent to the hallway of photos with the center line focal point explained here.