Thursday, April 23, 2015

Flooring Progress: To Horizonal Or Not To Horizonal

That is the question.

Lloyd just left our house with all his flooring samples and a plan to finally take care of the large concrete hole in our floor.   Remember this leak situation:


We were hoping to grab more of the same flooring that we put down in the rest of our main level when we first moved in.  One seamless look throughout all the rooms.  Especially since you travel in one big circle going from one room to the next. 

Alas, it's not going to happen.  We purchased that flooring from Home Depot and they're sold out online. We would have to call from store to store around the area and pray we could gather up enough boxes to finish this pretty large kitchen/family room.  I'll spare you the lengthy details, but since our insurance is covering this for us it's also a bit complicated to go through a big box store - we would lose some of the warranties and would probably end up having to come out of pocket on installation by going through Home Depot vs. the company contracted with our insurance.

SO!  Plan B - work with the insurance's flooring company and find a really good match or go with something totally different.

We really want to bring better flow and cohesion to these main level rooms.  Up to now the kitchen/family room has almost felt like a separate area of the house.  Fortunately, we found a darn good match as far as color/finish/texture, BUT.....the planks are not as wide as our current flooring.

Since we'll need to have a threshold at both of the doorways where the current floor meets the new, Lloyd suggested laying it in the opposite direction of the existing floor.

Pros:  it would look like we intentionally did something different in that space, instead of being an "almost but not quite" match.

Cons: it would look like we intentionally did something different in that space, and wouldn't be as visually seamless.

Or we could have it installed the same direction as the existing floor...

Pros: less choppy and a continuous line throughout the spaces

Cons: the difference in the plank widths will be obvious and won't align. 

Either way there will be a threshold (a trim piece) where the floors meet, so there will be some sort of break in that visual line.

Hey, speaking of visuals, how bout a floorplan?  I won't even admit how painstakingly long this took me to mock up.  The teal areas are cabinetry/fixed features in the space and the yellow dotted lines are where the existing floor will meet up with the new floor.

The grey dotted lines are steps (the living room is sunken).  You can get an idea of it in this pic (this was right after we built out the curved steps and installed the laminate wood floors.)

So what's your vote?  Stick with the same direction as the existing floor or go horizontal with it?

The good news is that no matter what we decide, we'll have the same color flooring throughout the entire level and that will be amazing!  

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Kitchen & Family Room Ideas

Hey Friends!  This was one of those weeks where I needed Friday about 4 days ago.  You?

We've been battling a nasty cold over here with 4 of us down for the count.  Yesterday I finally felt well enough to rip the germ-infested sheets off our bed and toss them into the wash.  Hopefully, we can do the same for the rest of the beds and give everything a good wipe down this weekend.

My only claim of productivity this week was taking this monstrosity of a DVD collection...

and condensing it into this.... 


And since I couldn't start wielding a paintbrush in the family room/kitchen area this week, I spent a little more time on my favorite part - the plannin' and a schemin'

I don't even know how this room ended up so wrong.  There are a lot of good things happening in here, but together they are making my eyes hurt.

When we first moved in, we didn't have the right furniture or a clue what would work in here, so it quickly became the catch-all space where furniture waits to find a home and toys go to multiply.

I tried to make it give it a purpose, an identity.  First a homeschool space, then a family/school space...that only seats 3? 

She really is quite the hot mess. 

Well, thanks to a floor leak we have a chance to start fresh.  Once I allowed myself to look at this room as a blank slate where anything was game (and not worry about working with everything already happening in here), I gained a whole new perspective.

I purposefully didn't edit or lighten any of these photos.  You can see in the photo below that this side of the room is actually quite dark.  Sort of ironic because the kitchen side gets some of the best light in the house. 

I knew we could help it feel less cavernous with a fresh coat of paint and once I we made the decision to go with white, the ideas started to flow again.  Something light and bright...a very neutral foundation so that I could play with colorful accessories and change things up for the season.  A space that's comfortable for our whole family and also welcoming for guests. 

I recently stumbled onto the House Seven blog and am basically stalking her Instagram feed.  I simply drool all over my  iphone at every single one of her spaces.  They are light and bright and modern and charming all at once. And lucky for us, she jumped on the Blogger Stylin' Spring Home Tour this week so you can catch a peak at all that loveliness right here.


Her home has one of my all time favorite features:  white planked walls.  It's a fairly easy and inexpensive wall treatment and helps give some character to otherwise flat (and often sterile) white walls.  I mean how can you not love...




I may be getting ahead of myself, but it sure is fun to think about all the details.  That picture above really captures our vision for this room, right down to the planked walls and white washed brick fireplace.  Throw in a little more evidence of child residents and we're in business.  I'm learning to set my goals low and stow for this project, so here's hoping we can finally check the fireplace off the list this weekend.

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Calling A Truce With Our House...A Plan For The Family Room

I'm done.  Waiving the white flag.  I'm officially over fighting with our house. We've been in a brawl for several months and it's time for me to tap out.

I remember being so excited by all the possibility of this house when we moved in.  We could hardly believe it....the layout! the walls to paint! the yard with a play structure! the GRASS! #formerdesertdwellers

So what, may you ask, have I been doing with all this wonderful possibility? Lately, I've been wishing it were something else. Like something that doesn't require sacrificing my vision or using too much imagination.  Something easy. Which translates to outrageously expensive fixes like totally changing the layout of our house or building something completely unnecessary.  Basically, gimme what it takes to make it what I want it to be instead of what it is.

From the day we were handed the keys to this house, the family room (right off the kitchen) has been a challenge.  We started off dancing at the open space...

...and then wondered how the heck we were going to set up our furniture.  We wanted the fireplace to be the focal point of the room, but if you float the couch there's no space to walk around it because of this guy splitting the space:

Placing a couch on the longest wall facing the kitchen felt odd.  So, we sent our couches to the basement, and our sectional to the living room.  This room became a couchless, catch-all play/school room.  Which I have been avoiding ever since.  Here she is in all her confused glory...

Then came our surprise kitchen leak...and the ripping out of floors...and the clearing out of furniture....and the opportunity for a fresh perspective.

I've resisted this room being a place for our family to actually hang out and watch movies thinking it needed to be a school zone or something more grown up (read: no TV). 

Well, done and done.  

We won't need a space dedicated to homeschool next year, and whenever people come over we tend to linger in this combo/great room area.  Except there's really no place for people to sit, so half of us sit on the bar stools and the rest of us stand.  Lame.

The kids also enjoy playing and watching movies here.  And I love that, especially when I'm in the kitchen.

Soooooo, I think we're finally ready to claim this as a family space...a place where we can watch movies, curl up with a book, or thrown down with our favorite board games.

Yes, it has an enormous chunk of cabinetry dividing the space limiting our furniture layout, but I'm ready to break some rules and make it a comfortable spot for us to be a family together.  Hopefully, that will translate into a comfortable space when we have guests too.

The intended name and function of a room is not always going to suit your family's needs.  You may not have a need for a formal dining area, but desperately need a separate play area or office.  Or maybe you have two living areas but need a bigger area to host large dinner parties.

Do it!  Make that dining room into a kid zone!  Put a long dining table in that living room and start cooking for friends!  Make your house work for you and don't fight the way your family needs to use the space.

It's so easy to get caught up in what our house is not, but with a little creativity we can take what it is and make it work for us.  I don't ever want to forget the blessing of this house!  It is more than enough for us and I don't need to worry about following any rules for what a room "should" be or do.

I can't wait to jump in, starting with the wall color!  I've never loved it.  Correction, I really love it, but not in here.  We wanted a fun color as this was going to be our homeschool space, but since we don't really use it for school and I'm the only one that really cares about wall colors, it's gone.  I'm going with my gut for the new paint.  Hint: rhymes with shwhite.  Maybe it's because I loved the last room the buffet was in so much:

We're going for a similar vibe.  Light & bright, pops of color, warm woods, mixed metals.  Happy.

*Has anyone else been fighting with their house lately? 

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Leaks and Floor Bubbles and New Plans

Welp.  Sometimes you make plans. And sometimes God laughs at your logical planning ways while throwing a great big wrench into your great big plans. 

I had just started thinking about a few projects I might like to work on.  You know....a slow reentry into life beyond the newborn colic.  Then came the wrench....

That's our floor being ripped off the slab.  A couple days ago James noticed a quiet hissing noise near the fridge before he went to bed.  We figured it was the water cycling through the new filter we had just changed.  Oh, if only. 

The next morning we could still hear it, but there we no visible signs of a leak.  So, James planned to pull the fridge out after work for a little investigating. Turns out we wouldn't need to wait that long. 

A couple hours later I noticed bubbles at the seams of the flooring and a distinct squishy sound when walking on said floor planks.  We indeed had a leak.

Within a couple of hours our insurance had connected us with a restoration company and our floors were coming up in soggy chunks.  We now have the worlds loudest fans drying out the ground and are speaking in conversational shouts over the jet engines.....and applying chap stick in liberal amounts thanks to the dehumidifier.

A couple "funny" things....

Just two days prior to this I looked around the family room and thought "I should really take some pictures of this wackadoodle room before I start changing things up".  I don't have any pics of it other than moving day, and I've had the urge to make it feel less like a catch-all yard sale site.  So, I snapped some pics.

Just two days prior to that, I was walking through Home Depot and thought "Hmmm. I know we probably can't afford to do the floors in the kitchen/family room for another year or two, but we should really look to see if they still have the flooring from our living/dining room and stock up as we can before they discontinue it". 

Well, thanks to our insurance, hopefully a whole lot of that flooring will show up here in a few days.  We had to pay a painful deductible, but it was WAY BETTER than the price of paying for someone to fix the problem in total out of pocket. 

This is the second time our insurance has come to our rescue in the past few months (the last time was major body work on our car after an accident).  We're feeling a bit sucker punched, but mostly really grateful.  God has been so faithful to bring good out of our "what the heck?!?!" moments and this is no different.

The family room is also one of our spaces in most need of purging.  Since we're going to have to move out all the furniture for them to replace the floors, we're going to take this week to really purge as we clear things out. 

Aaaaannd since I had already planned on giving this room a little refresh this spring, we may go ahead and knock out some bigger projects that were on the long term list for these rooms.  I'm even thinking I might tackle the kitchen.  Why? Because I belong in the loony bin.....and the last time we took on a kitchen makeover it really displaced us for awhile. Since we're already displaced for the next couple weeks (but thankfully still have a mostly functional kitchen), we may as well take advantage of the construction zone state of the things.  Of course, that all depends on a certain 2 1/2 month old and how much she'll let us get done. 

For now, we continue the purge!  A fitting task for Holy Week, no? 

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Coffee Break: 40 Bags Progress and Favorite Reads

*Thank you all for you sweet encouragement on my friendship and postpartum depression post.  Seems many of you have been through the same thing (and to a much worse degree).  I'm touched by your stories and am praying for each of you still in the trenches.

It's FRIIIIIIIII-DAAAAY!!!  Oh Friday, how do I love thee. 

And since I haven't been able to finish my post on the latest house project this week, I thought we would resurrect the ole Friday Coffee Break post to catch up.  I've got my coffee con dairy free creamer (experiments in baby fussiness) so let's get to chattin'....

40 Bags in 40 Days

How are my fellow purgers doing?  I was feeling frustrated...well, more like claustrophobic.  Even though we haven't been tackling our spaces at lightening speed, we've still been chugging right along at "I think I can, I think I can" pace.  But the house was feeling even more cluttered than before.  A bag here, a pile there.

I finally picked up all the bags and piles of things purged and loaded them up in the car.  Of course I did not grab a picture because I was too busy patting myself on the back for getting all 4 kids into the car without the baby crying.  Then she started crying. 

30 minutes later that stuff was donated and we came home to a house that was already feeling lighter.  I meant to make a donation run once a week during this process, but we were without a car for awhile, so more had piled up than I realized - a great thing!  And some much needed motivation to keep going!

Here's what we've ditched so far....

1 garbage bag of clothes from our closet
1 garbage bag of random kid stuff
One box full of decor/serving items I simply haven't found a place or use for in the year we've been here.
A bin full of school-type items
About two garbage bags worth of crap (i.e. broken toys, socks with mondo holes, etc.)

We also went through the boys' dresser.  Both of their shirt drawers were stuffed so full you could hardly open/close them and they kept going for the same few shirts on repeat that sit on top.  I mean really #firstworldproblems

Mia's dresser is on the docket this weekend.  I can hardly believe the last week of this 40 day challenge is coming  up.  I'm hoping to lean in and make a big dent in the areas I know we're carrying extra weight. 

Anyone have big weekend plans?  If you're up for relaxing with a few good reads, give these gems a click:

-This flower arrangements post.  I knew about the tape grid trick, but now I'm going to spiral like a boss.

-The homeschool/public/private school debate is always a hot one and as someone who has felt pressure/guilt on both sides I truly appreciated Bonnie's words in this post. I just want to hug her for it.


-My love for the Nester will never end.  Go paint that ugly floor! Because "you can't ruin what you already hate"

-And this trick for how to soften butter quickly....because I'm never prepared enough to have my butter at room temp for baking.

-If you're in need of some eye candy, go drool over Cassie's tile She's documenting the whole process of her kitchen reno and I wish it were a series on Netflix I could sit and binge watch in one all nighter. With dark chocolate M&Ms.

Have a great weekend, Friends!

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Friendship & Baby Blues: When Postpartum Depression Comes Knocking

I'm not sure how to describe the last couple weeks.  I wrote that post on the not so glamorous newborn days and then it was like someone with a maniacal laugh turned the dial up a few more notches.  Colic baby with an ear-splitting scream that wants to be held all day, day after day, about sums it up.

I hit my low; my breaking point; my I'm-going-to-hop-on-the-back-of-a-yellow-school-bus-that-comes-down-our-street-for-a-freedom-flight-unless-something-gives point.

We were in a car accident a few weeks ago (just Livy and I).  Thankfully no one was hurt, but our van has been in the shop for repairs and we've been clawing our way through the frigid days of winter at home without any form of escape.  Which is partially OK because Livy was screaming so much I was hesitant to go out in public with her anyway.  Would she fall asleep in her car seat and actually take a long overdue nap?  Or would she rage at the straps holding her in the entire time?  I never knew.  

After weeks of build-up I felt bombarded with thoughts of "what have we done?"  "It was so much easier before she was here..."  "Did we make a mistake?"  "I don't think I can do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore".

And I hated myself for thinking that way, because I know that she is an absolute gift.  A completely wonderful gift and I was wishing for things to go back the way they were or to zoom forward so I could what....finish a cup of coffee? take a shower in peace?  have some personal space? Get some things done? Get anything done?

Oh those postpartum hormones.  

It is perfectly normal to have those thoughts and frustrations  I knew it in my head but in my utterly exhausted state (mentally, physically and emotionally), I felt desperate.

"For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" Gal 5:14

I'm not good at asking for help. I'm guessing you're not either.  Because women are like that.  People are like that.  We're generally eager to help a friend in need, but when it comes to reaching out for ourselves it somehow feels selfish and weak.  So, I guess it speaks to my desperation that I finally emailed two dear friends asking for their prayers over me and Livy. 

And boy did God answer.  He took that one simple act.....of humbly admitting that I was not doing well...and his flood gates of grace flung wide.

Their encouraging texts and prayers (along with a sob-sesh with my mom on the phone and my husband who already knew how much I was struggling) carried me through that afternoon.  And every time I paced the hall with my screaming baby I took their intentions to prayer to help focus my heart off of my bleeding eardrums.

The next morning my friend called to say she wanted to bring over coffee and donuts.   

But the house?!   the screaming baby?!  my lack of showering?! 

But her request to stop by was less of a request and more of an "I'm coming so make sure the door's unlocked".  By some miracle of miracles I had dressed before I got the baby up that morning, but told her my kids were still clad in pajamas.  So, she brought over her kids in pj's too.

Not only did she bring her kids over to play and give my boys a fun morning with friends, and bring me a cup of happiness from outside the walls of my house, and come bearing donuts just because.....she also brought everything to make us dinner.  When she left for home a couple hours later I had BBQ chicken cooking away in the crock pot, freshly baked cornbread cooling on my stovetop, and veggies ready to pop in the microwave at dinner time. #saint

"bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ." Gal 6:2

Here's the thing guys - she's right in the middle of her own trying season.  Her husband is working some intense hours for a couple months and she's doing a lot of solo parenting with her three young kids.  I should be making HER a meal.

But friendship doesn't work so black and I'm worse off than you.  In fact, helping me, ended up helping her too.  Her kids got out of the house to play with friends, we got to catch up over coffee (soul balm every time), and soon half the day had passed with both of us feeling a bit renewed in our solidarity.  Although I definitely made out like a bandit with the meal.

This is community.  This is how we help carry each others burdens.  We actually let each other know we have them.  We let each other into the middle of the mess and don't wait until we start to get things under control first.  It is not weakness to admit that you are struggling and that things are hard.  Many good things are really, really hard.

I didn't want to let my friends know I was struggling, knowing they have enough going on in their own lives.  But that's not the way we were created to handle adversity.  So, when we attempt to suck it up buttercup and trudge along in our isolated misery, it usually doesn't yield a great result (resentment, anger, despair anyone?).

James and I both have incredibly giving parents.  Whenever we try to reject their generosity my parents have responded many times, "don't rob us of the joy in blessing you".  In a similar way I think we can do that in our friendships.  When we hold back from each other, even with good intentions not to inconvenience someone else, we can rob each other of the joy and privilege of praying for one another...of serving each other....of being a vehicle of grace.  And even of blessing them.  Because that's the kind of God we have - one who can take a single burden shared and turn it into a blessing for two. It's some kind of crazy Holy Spirit math ;)

The worst part of that baby stress peak was how guilty I felt for my thoughts and my inability to control them.  But as a friend gently reminded me, we can not condemn ourselves for the ways we respond in our humanity to the muck.  They simply remind us of our need for a Savior and how much we need each other.

*I'm not a health care professional, nor an expert on postpartum depression, but I have experienced the baby blues to varying degrees after each of my children.  There's no shame in letting your loved ones know you're struggling, especially if you're experiencing postpartum depression/baby blues symptoms that last for more than two weeks, are getting worse, make it hard for you to care for your baby, make it hard to complete daily tasks, and/or include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.  Not getting help isn't "suffering well "or being stoic. That's the time to allow community (and good doctors!) to help you.  If you aren't sure what you're experiencing, you can read more on PPD here and give your OB a ring.

**Livy seemed to turn a corner a few days, in turn I have too.   Its the only way I was able to finish writing this post :)

Thanks so much for reading! We would love to hang out!
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