Monday, April 20, 2015

hello, saturday

When you start planning a move from Texas to Colorado, it won't take long for you to dream up a huge, beautiful, river rock fireplace with a gorgeous mantle.  And it's not a big leap to see, in your dream, full green garlands lit up with twinkle lights and festive stockings hanging from the gorgeous mantle for Christmas.

But then you move to Colorado and you realize that it's much colder here than in Texas.  And central heat isn't as practical in Colorado as it is in Texas.  And while fireplaces are beautiful, they aren't the best way to make houses warm.

We heat our home with a wood stove.  It's not a beautiful fireplace.  It is a practical wood stove.

It heats our entire house.  As wood stoves go, it's the cutest one I've seen.  And it's totally fun to have a fire every night for 7-ish months of the year.

Unfortunately, it's not the best idea to put a mantle near a wood stove.  I saw one once in a Hallmark movie, but Honey says that Hallmark movies aren't always real.

Sigh.  Oh well.  Love the house you're with, right?

When I was unpacking I realized that the mantle had always been a pretty big focal point in our past living rooms.  I had a hard time finding places for my favorite things that used to sit on the mantle.  And don't even get me started on Christmas decorations.

So I started dreaming up a way to solve the no mantle problem.

I started by printing off Shanty2Chic's free plans for a floating shelf.  I broke the news to Honey that I had a Joanna Gaines style vision of a floating shelf on the huge blank wall above our TV.

So we took the pick up to Home Depot to buy some 2x4s and some cedar because that's what Joanna always uses.

We knew we wanted our shelf to be longer than our TV cabinet and the wall was barren enough to handle it, so we planned to make our shelf 8 ft long.  At the 11th hour, I took a chance and asked Honey if we had enough barn wood left from our loft project.  And we did!  We were able to piece some of it together and use it instead of the cedar.  Sorry Joanna.

Because we did that, our shelf ended up being 8 inches deep instead of 6.

I'm so glad though.  I think 6 inches would have been too small for the space.  A wannabe, but not quite.

I'm also really glad we used the barn wood.  I love having a bit of the loft wood wall in the living room.

Now the arranging and rearranging can begin.  And maybe I'll wait til after Halloween to hang the garland and stockings.


Today (because we all know it changes pretty often):

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sometimes it happens by accident

From the moment we found out I was carrying identical twin girls, it has weighed on my mind to make sure that each girl grew to be strong, independent, and completely herself.  No rhyming names. Embrace their differences while acknowledging that being a twin is very cool.  Close but not co-dependent.

It was obvious from the get-go that the girls had very different personalities.  Of course, there are some striking similarities (after all, they are sisters), but they are also very different, unique individuals. 

Lately I've been trying to figure out how to parent them separately.  Sometimes you can (and have to) parent them as a duo, and I feel confident in that.  Any parent of more than one child knows that at some point, each child demands their very own brand of parenting, and I was feeling it with the girls.

Last semester Thursdays were drum days.  It's kind of a special 5th grade thing to get to take a drum class after school, and both girls wanted to participate.  About Thanksgiving, Brooke started telling me that she didn't want to continue with drum during the spring semester.  I ignored her, humored her, listed all the reasons why she might miss it, reminded her of how excited she was to start...she stuck to her guns.

In January, when it was time to make her final decision, I let her stop.  I pick her up after school every Thursday and leave Mary Tutu to go to drum class.  For 2 hours every week, it's just her and me. 

At first I thought this time had to be structured and packed with "just you and me stuff".  We unboxed her very own, brand new sewing machine that she got 2 Christmases ago.   We baked cookies, watched the DVR, cooked new recipes for supper...all stuff that I had planned.  

And then I began to realize I had it all wrong with all the structure and the organizing.  What she really needed was some partner, no agenda, no activity.  Just some room to breathe in her own Brooke air.

She has the run of the house, the TV remote, and room to stretch.  I don't make her start homework right away.  Sometimes she wants to go to the library, sometimes she watches TV, sometimes she hangs out in the sun room and chats with me, sometimes she wants to sew, sometimes she draws pictures of what her handmade gifts and sandwich shop will look like someday. 

In her own way, she let me know what she needed. 

So now, Thursdays after school are Brooke days.  I make sure my schedule allows me to say yes as much as possible.  We play it by ear.  Whatever she's feeling that day. 

It's been good for her.  Quitting drums was a good idea.  I'm so glad I listened to her.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Funny thing happened on the way to the barn wood wall

Funny story about the barn wood wall.

Last spring, I gathered the courage to tell Honey what I had planned for the wall in the loft.  I had been on the internets and I loved the pallet wood projects floating around.  I'd found a couple of blog tutorials, and armed with my websites and leads on where to find discarded pallets, I prepared to actually say the words out loud.

Honey took a deep breath, patiently watched my videos, and then said that's a lot of pallets.

I know! But I've been eying a huge stack of them just down the road in Neighbor's drive way.  They've been calling out to me for months.  They've just been sitting there all that time.  I sure wish I knew where he got all those.  Maybe if he wasn't going to use them all he'd let us have some.

Honey unenthusiastically said maybe.

Then a week or so later Honey and I decided to take a walk to check the mail.  When we walked by Neighbor's house the garage door was open and there were several more pallets stacked in the garage.  I mentioned that if we ever encountered Neighbor outside, we should stop and introduce ourselves {hint hint}.

And low and behold, on the way back from the mail boxes, Neighbor was doing some yard work.  It was meant to be!  We stopped, said hi and started up a conversation.  Eventually Honey asked him what he was going to do with all the pallets.

He explained, "Well, my crazy ex-wife wanted to use them to make an accent wall in our living room.  So I started bringing them home from work a couple at a time.  Then we got divorced and I'm not going to make the accent wall.  I was just doing it because that's what she wanted. I was just going to cut them up for fire wood.  Why do you want some?"

Honey said sure!  We'd take any of them he didn't want.

Neighbor asked what are you going to use them for?

Honey answered, "Well, my crazy wife wants to make an accent wall in our living room."

We made several trips with the truck and ended up taking all his pallets.  Then we started taking them apart.  Or trying to take them apart.  We worked about an hour to get about 3 pallets done before I realized that Honey's comment "that's a lot of pallets" really meant "that's a lot of pallets to take apart". 

Let me just burst your Pinterest bubble right now.

Pallets are HARD to take apart.  Honey used to sell industrial strength tools, and the stuff he had was just barely cutting it.  And it was taking SO LONG.  And half the boards we did manage to pull from the pallet broke.  Honey declared Pinterest dead to him.  He might have grounded me from the internet.

We left them stacked on the side of the house for weeks.  I'm pretty sure the deer thought we were crazy.

The day we decided to once and for all conquer the pallets was the day we got the phone call that Honey's mom passed away unexpectedly.  That sealed the deal.  We were done with the pallets.  On to bigger and better things.

Right before we moved, we spent a couple of hours with a saw cutting the pallets in to fire sized pieces.  We gave half the firewood to Neighbor and kept half for ourselves.  Best decision ever.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


You're right Misty, I kinda left you hanging with the whole pile in the sun room thing.

It's gone!  This room is my favorite's DONE!, best view, best sun, no boxes, clean, easy to keep, and the place where all the fun stuff happens.  Great big giant check on the list.

I'm a list person.  I love making lists.  I love checking stuff off of lists.
I have a house list rolling around in my head right now.

-paint last 2 kid rooms
-paint master
-paint bar stools
-refinish front of breakfast bar
-build floating shelf in living room

That's kind of it right now.  They're all relatively small projects.  I feel like once I get this list checked I can move on to decorating, hanging more stuff on the walls, do final unpacking/organizing in the bedrooms, get to a place where we call the house done.

Well you's not ever really done...but...done.

Of course there's also a list rolling around in my head of some bigger house projects.  But that's stuff that can just wait til time, budget, and help allows.

Spring break is coming up.  Maybe we can knock out some painting...

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Loft

The girls' rooms and bathroom are upstairs.  There's also a secondary living area we call the loft.

A couple of pictures from before:

 Hello Mr Elk.

The sellers wanted to leave the armoir and the gigantic, heavy, ancient big screen TV.  You know the TV I'm talking about...the first generation big screen that is as thick as it is wide...circa 1995-ish?  It still works, and is perfect for Xbox, Disney Channel, and High School Musical videos, so we said OK, leave it.

One girl bedroom at the end. 

Another girl bedroom and a bathroom just to the right of the stairs.

When the painters we hired to paint for 2 days had everything done in 1 day, we had them do the stairwell and loft.  Best.

Then we moved all of our leftovers up there.  Why get new matchy-matchy stuff when it will mostly host crazy, giggly slumber parties and loud, bounding wrestling matches?

Honey's dad came for Thanksgiving. He likes projects when he comes to visit.  He's not one to sit and stare out the window.  I'm not one to let a project volunteer sit idle.  I sure did line up a project.  He and Honey and Bubba spent Black Friday putting up the barn wood wall.

So now the loft looks like this:

The girls had lots of fun peeling off the animal stickers that were "just too boyish, Mom."  I've had the green/white striped chair and ottoman since college.  The brown paisley chair used to be in our living room.

There's a floor plug near the stair railing.  I think it's the perfect space for a Ms. Pacman table top game.  We had one when I was growing up.  Some day.

As it turns out, the wall with the barn wood is very long.  Very. Like 28 feet long.  My first idea was to cover it with pallet wood.  Honey freaked, because, well, that is a lot of pallet wood.  

Last spring while we were visiting Honey's parents, we came across some wood on their property left over from their barn built 34 years ago.  We were able to bring most of that home and about half of the wall is covered with that.  

Honey also found some old fencing on the property at work and was able to salvage that.  We ended up buying a few more pieces to have enough to cover the wall.

We cleaned it, but I didn't want it cut any more than we had to.  I love that it doesn't fit together perfectly and that there are gaps and notches.

Honey and his dad put their family's brand on a piece of the wood.  How fun is that?!  I'm so glad we didn't use pallet wood.  I love the sentimental value of the wall and how it was pieced together with love.

Now that I have my wall, I have to figure out how to style it.  What do you hang on a barn wood wall?  suggestions?

Thursday, March 05, 2015


We started redecorating and moving the beginning of October.  We worked straight through Thanksgiving. 

And then I said stop. 

Let's take a break. 

Let's enjoy December and Christmas and snow and the sports break in our new house.

So we did.  Work ceased.  Unpacking was put on hold.  Honey felt free to spend some time cleaning and organizing the shop because it's a little harder for him to just "stop" cold turkey.  We did little things here and there, but not a lot.

The break was good.  It gave my brain time to catch up with everything we'd done so far.  I was able to nest, clean, put away, organize, move furniture.  I felt free to just putter around and envision and dwell. 

I put some stuff on the walls.

And now it's March and "the work" hasn't really started up again.  But, I've started thinking about it.  I've made some decisions and started to get some direction.  Mary Tutu and I FINALLY agreed on a color for her room.  I have an idea of what I want to do with the master bedroom.  The rooms where I felt stuck are feeling more unstuck.

I'm spending today tying up a loose my brain can feel free to move on to something else.

Remember the sun room?

If you stand there between the chair and the couch and turn around, you see this.

Right outside the sliding doors on the right is the hot tub.  I plan to train everyone to enter and exit the hot tub through those doors.  I also plan to train everyone to use the beach towels for the hot tub and not my good bath towels.  We'll see.

It didn't take long to realize that one of the things we needed to address was having places to hang wet stuff, especially when there are more than 5 people in the house.  I feel like the wall of hooks will solve this problem for swim suits and hot tub towels.  It's sort of like a pool house in wall form.

Just to the right of the sliding doors is this:

And that is the picture of the loose end I mentioned before.  It's the pile of stuff that was abandoned when I said stop back in November.  Today I'm cleaning, sorting, and dealing with that pile.  It will be done today. 

And when I'm done, I'll probably take a picture and post it on Instagram.  Because that's what you do when you accomplish a goal, right?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Today is Brooke's diaversary.  Four years ago today we were told that Brooke has Type 1 Diabetes, and that our lives, and especially Brooke's life, would never be the same.

She blows me away with her willingness to deal with it all.  She's a rock star.  The tantrums and bits of sadness are few and far between.  She just rolls with it.  She's one of my heroes.

Brooke was diagnosed pretty early, before she got too awfully sick.  Don't get me wrong, she was still very sick.  But because we caught it early, she was able to avoid some of the scariest, most debilitating parts.

Read the list of symptoms below.  Really look at them.  Be familiar with them.  File them away.  I'm convinced that somewhere in the back of my head I knew most of these symptoms added up to Type 1 Diabetes.  I believe us realizing what was going on was the first step to an early, accurate diagnosis.

It was the first step to getting help.  It was the first step to Brooke feeling better.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Sugar in urine
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness

Call your doctor immediately if one or more of these symptoms occurs in you or your loved one. It is extremely important to receive medical attention—misdiagnosis or leaving your condition untreated can have tragic consequences, including death.    Source: JDRF

Today, I'm reposting what I wrote 4 years ago.  It tells the story of how Brooke was diagnosed. 

**Repost from Feb 18, 2011**

Well, hello insulin.

Remember when all the kids had the flu a few weeks ago? Remember how I declared Tamiflu dead to me because Brooke was so sick with it? Well, turns out, maybe it wasn't the Tamiflu.

It had been three weeks and Brooke still wasn't over the flu. She wasn't back to herself. She had no energy. The little Brooke spark was gone from her eyes.

Then we started noticing that she was drinking. Alot. And going to the bathroom. Alot.

And the emotional roller coaster was getting a little rough. One minute fine...the next minute snipping...the next minute fighting with her sister over nothing...the next minute...sobbing.

Her appetite was crazy. This, the child I felt lucky to get 2 good meals in her tummy, was eating me out of house and home. She was finishing her lunch and if I happened to be subbing that day, digging in to my lunch.

And then the headaches started. Severe. Making her feel so awful she didn't want to participate. Even if it was fun. And the vomit came with the headaches.

And even though her appetite rivaled her 11 year old brother's, she was loosing weight. Her clothes were hanging on her.

Wednesday night at church she had another sudden headache with vomiting. I had an appointment to see the doctor next week, but decided that since the headache was so bad, she needed to go in the next day. I had to work, but Honey was in town, so he was going to take her. He wanted a list of symptoms from me to make sure he didn't forget anything. I sat down Thursday morning to write down everything I'd noticed.

When I saw it all in writing, I knew what the doctor would tell us.

I cancelled my day and headed to the doctor at 9:15am. It didn't take long for them to tell us that she had Type 1 Diabetes and refer us to an endocrinologist. (Which, by the way, I spelled that without using spell check.) We were sent straight to the hospital and Brooke was admitted immediately.

It's been 36 hours since her diagnosis. 36 hours makes a huge difference. Her lab numbers are back to where they need to be. Her blood sugar is being tweaked and managed. The color in her cheeks is normal. Her body is being re hydrated. The Brooke spark is back in her eyes.
Honey and I know more than we ever wanted to know about insulin and pancreases and carbs. And we still have a lot to learn.
But for now we'll just take it one finger prick at a time.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

I get by with a little help from my friends

Y'all, there really wasn't anything wrong with this house when we bought it. 

See?  The before was really pretty.

A couple of months before we moved in, we started working on our redecorating budget.  We had some money to spend on the house up front, so we focused on projects that would make the most impact and would be easiest done before the big move.

Number 1 on our list was paint all areas of the house but the bedrooms.  We ended up hiring this out and it was THE BEST redecorating decision we've made.  There are a lot of tall walls, aspen ceilings and square footage to deal with.  We left it to the professionals, and I'm so glad we did.

paint = BIGGEST impact

Number 2 on our list was to re-tile the kitchen back splash.  Since the biggest common area of the house is the big rectangle with the kitchen attached to one side, we decided that after the paint on the walls, the tile on the walls needed to go next.

I fell in love with the clean texture of glass subway tile.  It has just enough reflection that you feel like there's sparkle without actually having sparkly things.  I've been in love with some shade or another of aqua for forever.  So I chose an aqua glass subway tile.

Honey took a week off work. The first part of the week we planned on working and painting.  The second part of the week, my parents and brother came and we planned on moving.

The very first minute we were in the house, I took before pictures of the kitchen.  While I finished photographing the rest of the house, Honey started tearing out the old tile.  We also took out the corner appliance garage to give us a bit more counter space near the cook top.  You can barely see it in the before picture, but removing it did give us what we wanted.

Our goal was to demo day 1, lay tile day 2, grout and move on to something else day 3.  Because it happened to be Homecoming weekend in our little town, that didn't quite work out, but we did finish in about 5 days.  We recruited a friend that is a professional to lend us his tools, help us get started, and rescue us from the hairy spots.

I've decided that another big impact thing can be changing light fixtures.  Months before we moved, I purchased new pendants for over the bar and I finally got to see them installed.

So, here's where we are today, minus the fall decor.  This picture was actually taken the first part of November, but we haven't done anything since then.  No, I haven't painted the other black bar stools to match the aqua one.  I will eventually...

Also, while planning for the new house, I fell in love with the two tone kitchen.  Mainly, the white upper cabinets and stained lower cabinets kitchen.  The cabinets in this house are all custom, wood, hand built and stained and installed.  Am I crazy to want to paint the uppers white?

Monday, February 02, 2015

She got her groove back

We've been in Colorado about a year and a half.  We're settling into our home where I hope we will live for many years.  We aren't the new people anymore.  Well, in some ways we are, but we are becoming less so every day.

I think we are feeling adjusted.  There are still things that feel different, and some stuff we're not used to, and every once in a while, we get caught assuming we know what's going on when we don't.  We still miss our TX people, but I think we've gained some CO people.  Gaining people is always good.

In early 2013 we started preparing for this move, and 2 years later, I am really feeling that the transition is ending.

For me personally, 2015 is going to be a year of rhythm.  I crave routine, I thrive on it, for about 2 weeks.  Then something happens to upset my routine, and it takes me a month to get back on track.  I start doubting and second guessing myself.  I let things go and then feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start.  Routine is harsh and unforgiving.  Sometimes routine is forced, sometimes it feels like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

I've learned that what I need is rhythm.  I need to settle in naturally.  This CO life requires that I do some things differently than I always have.  And that's fine.  Different isn't bad it's just...different.

Rhythm is flexible.  When one of the kids is sick and home from school for a week, routine blows up and pitches a fit because this was not part of the schedule.  Rhythm accepts it, does what it can, and extends grace when it can't.  Routine makes you feel guilty for all the things you didn't do.
Rhythm says what you did today was enough. 

I know there will be things that I'll still have to just buckle down and get 'er done, there is a place for routine in my life.  But in 2015, I'm trying to work with the rhythm of life, instead of feeling so forced by routine.

Mondays.  I've noticed that I enjoy Monday mornings.  It's when I pull it all back together from the weekend.  We tend to be a little lax on the weekends.  Lazy, if you will.  Or, we spend the weekends doing projects and there is no time for the little things like picking up socks out of the living room.  Monday morning is when I clean the kitchen, pick up the living room, change the sheets, wash the towels, go over the calendar, sort the mail...

After the weekend, I need some quiet to reset and prepare for the week ahead.  Monday mornings tell me what the rest of the week will most likely look like.  It's a rhythm.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The big rectangle

It's amazing how much just changing the paint color will change a room.

When we first started talking about our plans for making this house feel like ours, we prioritized by which projects would make the most impact.  In my head I knew that paint changed everything, but I didn't really know it in my heart until I actually saw it.

Our entry, dinning, and living area is basically a giant rectangle, under a cathedral ceiling, with a kitchen stuck on to the side of it.

Here's a picture of our living room before:

I'm standing in the dinning area near the kitchen.  When it's tile v. hardwood, tile will win every time.  It's just so easy to clean. When you live in the trees and the hills and the snow, you clean floors a lot.

Yes, tile is hard...and cold.  But right about the first time we got snow, I made friends with it.  Because I wasn't worried about how tile would hold up under melted snow, mud, and wood chips.  We're good now.

Here's what the living room looks like today:
I know, right?!  It looks so different!  All we did was paint.  Well, and move our stuff in.

The closed stained door in the middle is the laundry room, to the left of that is the master.  Then to the right are the stairs leading up to the loft and the girls' rooms, then the Ks are sort of in the entry way.

The wood leaning against the wall is actual barn wood left over from when my in-laws built their barn in 1978.  We don't have a mantle, so at Christmas, we hung our stockings on it.  It's been leaning against the wall in random places ever since.   

The basket on the floor by the couch is our electronics basket.  It has a power strip inside, and All The Things are plugged in there at night.  All The Cords are inside the basket and when I don't want to look down into the basket and see them, I just gently lay a pillow inside and cover it all up.  Honey drilled a hole in the side of the basket big enough to put the power strip plug through.  I LOVE IT.  When I find random electronics, cords, ear buds, charger cords laying around the house, they go directly in the basket.  LOVE.

Do you have a charging station at your house?  How do you corral All The Things when they need to be charged?