Sunday, December 23, 2012

An Old-Fashioned Family Christmas

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here!  Almost every year for the past twenty years, my family has traveled to the mountains for Christmas.  It is without a doubt my favorite time of year.  My mom has a magical touch when it comes to decorating for the holidays and our cabin is always extra cozy and

Each year, we save up our time off so we have some extra days to spend here around the holidays.   Those days leading up to Christmas are filled with excitement and there is something extra special about a white Christmas.  Snow blankets the world in quiet and peace as we step away from the noise of our lives and the busyness of our days to reflect, ponder and rest.

Each year, our anticipation grows as we look forward to sledding, hot cocoa, warm cider, games, delicious meals, naps by the fire, days spent in pajamas, walks outside, Christmas movies, homemade sweets and of course lots and lots of snow!  

Since arriving, we have had over a foot of fresh snow fall, and there are predictions for a big storm on on Christmas Eve with expectations of at least ten inches or more still to fall!  

It goes without saying that there is no place I'd rather be!  

May your days be merry and bright...and may all your Christmas' be white!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our 2012 Holiday Greeting

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

 This year we had every intention of getting a fun holiday card out into the mail, but it just did not happen!

 So instead, we are sending a little online holiday love your way.  We hope you understand!

I am learning that it is becoming increasingly challenging to capture our little gal with my camera the way I would like! She is super busy and loves to check out everything going on around she does not like to sit still and pose despite all of mom's best efforts!  We continue to be amazed at the gift of her life and grow in thankfulness for all of our blessings with each passing day.

 She is on the move, has lots of opinions about what she wants and does not want to be doing and did I mention that she is on the move??  She is our biggest helper and brings loads of fun with her everywhere she goes.

Lily is 19 months old now and bursting with loads of sweetness along with little dashes of spice which keep things interesting around our house! 

And we are loving her more every minute!

We pray your homes are warm, happy and filled with laughter this holiday season. 

  May brightness and merriment illuminate the true gift of Christmas in your heart.

With lots of love and holiday cheer from our family to yours. Warm wishes for a Merry Christmas and a joyous 2013! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012


It has been nearly a week since tragedy struck Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut.  I have not had any words to express my sorrow here although I have thought of and prayed for those sweet faces and their families several times a day since.  It terrifies me to think of that kind of crazy evil in the world- where precious little innocent hearts are taken on the whim of a mad man.  

I pray that those precious children knew how much they were and forever will be loved.  I pray that they recognized their parent's love for them despite possible hurried words uttered while rushing out the door for school that Friday morning.  I pray that they were ushered quickly into the arms of Jesus and away from that horrible scene.  I pray for those students and teachers who will forever walk with their memories of that horrific day.  I pray for the families who will have one giant gaping hole in their holiday celebrations this year and every single year to come.  I pray for hearts of mothers who can never recover what was taken from them last Friday morning.  I pray for households filled with the silence of a life that ended too soon.  I pray for those whose hearts are dangling by a thread over a pit of unthinkable despair.  I pray for a community whose sense of safety and comfort has been forever shattered. I pray for the first responders who had to walk into that tragic scene not knowing what they would find only to discover the worst possible scenario.  I pray for all of us in our society that we would find value and treasure the innocence of our children and do everything we possibly can to fiercely guard it against the evil so intent and desperate for its destruction.  

I thank God that he is a God who sees, who loves, who comforts, who avenges, who remembers, who restores, who renews, who loves children and who is always present with us, even (and especially) in the darkest of moments.  It is when the dark seems the darkest that light shines the brightest.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.  Please come back soon.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where we live...

 In addition to lots of time spent in Lily's playroom, we also live in these rooms...

This is a look into where we spend most of our time as a family.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of our most favorite parts about our new home is the open floor plan.  This is our family room taken from the kitchen.  As you can see, there is a TON of natural light which makes the room bright and cheerful even when its cloudy outside.  There are two built-in bookcases and cabinets on either side of our fire place and I LOVE having a mantle!  Over the years, we hope to advance our ratio of "adult" furniture that we pick out and purchase ourselves to hand-me-downs, but for now, what we have and have been given is more than enough!  It is a very comfortable space to spend time.

Here is a peek at my mantle.  I kept things pretty simple this year as I had never had a mantle to decorate before, so I used what I had and enjoyed playing around with where things might go.  Our finances were tight with just having moved, so I did not purchase anything new other than the large letters above the mantle itself.  I think I spent a total of $6.  Leading up to Halloween, I had a fall colored garland across the mantle and a Jack-o-lantern there in the middle.  For Thanksgiving, I just put up my two little turkeys and a cornucopia.  It will be fun to see how my decorating style evolves and emerges over the years in this fun new space!

This photo is taken from the fire place looking back toward the kitchen.  As I mentioned, we have an open floor plan that allows wonderful flow between the two rooms and allows you to still feel included and involved in what is going on even when you have to fix dinner or do something in the kitchen. 

Here is another glimpse into the kitchen from a different angle.  Lots of windows and wonderful light.  I have tons of design/decor ideas for our kitchen as well.  It may be awhile before we can dig in and really make it the way we would like, but perhaps some smaller steps in the coming year.  We'll see.  It is so nice to have all of this space!

Some more wonderful light on our stairs leading up to the bedrooms.  We have the shade pulled up a little bit because our neighbors have three dogs and Lily loves to look out the window on our way up to see what the dogs are up to in their back yard.  Most of the time they are sleeping in the sunshine, but she loves to check on them!  It never gets old.

One of Lily's favorite features is the little opening up behind the chair here in this photo.  You can see part of the window from the landing on the staircase that I just showed you in the photo above.  She loves to wave to whoever is in the family room, say "good night" to any and everything on her way up to bed and to have one last glimpse of the Christmas tree before she turns in for the night.  It is a really cute little ritual that she has developed...  I have visions of little peeks out from that space in the future with a little gal asking for one more drink of water, just one more story...

We also have a dining room on our main floor, but right now we don't have any furniture in there so hence no photos.  Right now, it is a room where some boxes still remain (mainly of wall decor and some of the final 15% of STUFF that just never seems to find a place... ugh!)  While I dream about hosting family and friends for dinners and holidays someday, I am also really enjoying just having some empty space around for the first time in a very long time.  In fact, probably ever. Call me crazy, but I like it!

Hope you enjoyed these glimpses into our home.  We have not done Lily's room yet, that is high on the list for 2013.  I am sure I will post some photos as we dive into that project.  My apologies for not having the beautifully staged photos I had envisioned, but my life tends to be pretty messy and clutter-y these days.  I'm working on it, but also keeping things and expectations realistic!  Making a house into a home is an ongoing journey and one I'm beyond thrilled to be on with this place!  Thanks for stopping by and for being so encouraging and patient with me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Counting down to Christmas...

Holiday lights twinkle outside our doors and windows, our tree is decorated, our mantle Christmas-ified and shopping is in full swing.  In spite of all of the busy-goodness of the season, may we remember to be slow enough for snuggles, open to smiles, ready for games, eager for books read again for the millionth time, patient for spills, excited for giggles, prepared for new milestones, braced for delight and grateful for moments of presence.  

We forget these gifts that remain warm in our hearts cannot be bought or wrapped and more importantly that He- the King of extraordinary in the ordinary- is found in these true gifts for the heart.  For they are the best gifts of all and they abound only when we slow down enough to receive them. I'm trying to simplify and slow down this holiday season.  Will you join me? 

May we all delight in the unwrapping of gifts for our hearts this holiday season.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lily's Playroom

Here are some glimpses of Lily's playroom.  One of the features on my list of ideal "would love to have-s" when I was looking for our future home was a formal living room.  Not for formal gatherings, or use as a "show room" that you didn't really every use, but to use as a playroom for Lily.  I really wanted her to have a space to play in that was not the main living area in our house.  I wanted it to be nearby the kitchen and where we would be, but not necessarily have those rooms taken over by toys.  I wanted her to have a place that was hers to mess up, play in, create in, and where her imagination could run wild.  Our living room is not a super huge room (hence, hard to get great photos), but it is perfect for a playroom.

Many of the homes we looked at did not even have a formal living area, but our new home has one and so far, Lily LOVES it.  (And so do I!) She especially loves it if we are in there with her.  It's really cute, she will come and stand beside us and point to her playroom to let us know she wants us to go in there and play with her.  LOVE it!

I have done nothing to it so far, other than move some of her toys in, but I have some big ideas for this space in 2013...

looking up at the top of the windows
 It has floor to ceiling windows, which are fantastic because it gives Lily a place to look outside and see what is going on in the world around her.  She loves to watch the older neighborhood kids playing across the street, dogs walking by, passing cars, sprinklers, Christmas lights and birds in the trees.  It seems that the window treatments were custom made several years ago and I'm sure are very nice, but I'm not in love with them, so that will be something that changes...

Our ceilings are all 12 feet high, which we love.  Another feature we are excited about is every room has beautiful crown molding around the ceilings and doorways.  Each room is finished very nicely.  The house is painted in very nice, neutral colors, so we are not feeling desperate to change any of them, just excited!

The playroom faces east, so every morning it is flooded with beautiful morning sunshine...

 Right now, there is a chair in there for adults (which is going to be moving to a different location soon) and also a giant cabinet that is filled with some of my pretty things which is also going to be moved to a different location very soon to make the room more kid-friendly.  

Lily's "purse" hanging on the cabinet doors...
I have ideas for new paint, wall decor, window treatments and of course some new toys for little Lily to play is crazy how fast kids outgrow their stuff!  She is in no way "needing" new toys, we have a tub that I rotate her toys through as it is, but there are just some she prefers over others and she is growing so big so fast! Our little gal still LOVES reading her books.  That activity never gets old! Thank goodness for libraries!

 I have a feeling Santa will be bringing some items for this room as well!  I'm very excited to make this room a special kid-friendly place to play.  It will be fun to compare some before and after photos someday! 

So far, we have been spending a TON of time in the playroom which has been a blast!  We love that Lily enjoys playing in there too!  It is wild how quickly this room goes from picked up (in the morning) to complete disaster (about 10 minutes after she gets in there)! *Note: These photos were taken before she woke up, hence it appears somewhat put together.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Welcome Home! (Finally!)


Here are a few initial glimpses of our new place.  I am not a real estate writer, so the basics are: it has 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, an unfinished basement, TONS of natural light, two stories, a two car garage, an open floor plan (which we LOVE), an awesome back yard, is on a cul-de-sac and is surrounded by families with young kids which has so far been a blast!  

The sweet family we bought from had two daughters who left us this message when we came for our inspection.  It made us feel so happy!
Not ideal, but I only had a certain lens for my camera with me when I took this photo, hence the only way I could get all of the letters in one shot was this angle.
 Seriously! It about made me cry I loved it so much! 

I forgot to rotate this hubby is cringing right now... sorry babe!

I loved that they took the time to write it out for us, color it in and also make each letter special... so adorable!  

We never got to officially meet them, but throughout all of our "official" dealings, they were easy and honest which says a lot these days.  In my heart I know they were/are amazing people.  Its clear from meeting our new neighbors that everyone really liked them and were sad to see them go.  Maybe someday our paths will cross again and we will have the chance to be friends.  I really think they would be people we would really like too.

Initially I wanted to show you all the house when things were "put together" and all tidy etc, but what I know now, is that those moments are RARE, so now, there will be some real life mixed in with these photos for your enjoyment.  The goal is to get something posted not perfection! So without further delay... here we go!

Some of the outside features we are enjoying are...

Seriously! It's really great to have a doorbell.

There are nice outdoor lights flanking our garage door.

A nice little front garden/flower bed area for Luke's statue to sit in and greet our guests.
Here is our front door. Our front porch is not huge, but it has two steps and is nice and shady in the afternoon.  I am excited to find some good seasonal decor to help it look and feel happier.  This year our seasonal decor consisted of our lone pumpkin that sat there this fall after our mums died.  It was admittedly pretty sad looking, but hopefully as time goes on, that will change. 

More photos soon! My little napper is waking up, gotta run-