Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A few of my favorite things...

Since my last blog was all about my all time favorite projects, I thought I'd follow it up with a blog about my favorite things right now.  That's always fun, right?!

Lately I've decided I really like white and gold.

I've been wanting white pillows with gold polka dots for over a year and I finally splurged and got them for myself and gave them to my husband to have my kids give them to me for Christmas.  Ha!

Mine are from Anthropologie, (I snagged them when they were having a 20% off sale) but I just saw some very similar ones on sale at Pottery Barn.  I'm also still loving those faux fur pillows (behind the polka dot pillows) that I got last year from Restoration Hardware. They happen to be on sale now too!

Since I'm on a white/gold kick, I recently got these two new coffee cups.

The one on the left is from Target (in the Valentine's Day section) and the one on the right is from World Market.  Love them both!

When I'm at home, I usually like to wear slippers around the house.  My favorite slippers that I've had forever were falling apart and so sadly I started the hunt for new slippers.  I've ordered and returned a few different pairs (because I'm a tad picky) until I finally found these from Abercrombie & Fitch.  It looks like they're out of this color, but they still have some in red plaid, which are cute too! So cozy, warm, and comfortable.

While we're on the subject of cozy and comfortable, these leggings from Gap are amazing.  I have 3 pair because I love them so much.  They are the perfect lounge pants for Saturdays and Sundays.  Since they're fitted, they're cute instead of slouchy like most lounge/sleeping pants.  I've also found that they retain their shape well and don't get all stretched out and saggy easily. 

We've had our faux sheepskin throw from Pottery Barn for a few years now and it's still a favorite for snuggling on the couch and staying warm!

Another favorite from Gap, is this vest  that I wore on GMA (pictured below) is a favorite of mine right now.  And here's a lesson… never buy anything from Gap not on sale because it will eventually go on sale.  Also, wait for promo codes (and Gap Rewards) to use on top of the sale price. Anyway, I love vests and I wear them all the time.  They're a fun and an easy way to add an extra layer to your outfit.

Also, these Sperry Duck Boots that I'm wearing in the above picture are a favorite. When I found out I was going to be on GMA, naturally, I went to the mall to shop for something to wear.  I texted my sister-in-law, Ashley to help me decide on the shoes.  I didn't know if I wanted tall boots, short boots, or what style of boots.  I needed help! So we texted pictures back and forth until we decided on these.  I love them because they're so versatile.  They're cute, but super warm, and also comfortable. I walked all over NYC in these things and my feet did not ache or have blisters at the end of the day.  The sad thing was that nobody saw my cute boots on t.v. because I was standing behind a table the entire time.  haha! 

Here's a close up.  

And lastly, another pair of boots I just love are my hunter boots.  When I bought them a few years ago, I wasn't sure how much I would actually wear them.  But I find myself wearing them regularly…. they're great in the rain and in the snow or even just out working in the yard.

Last September, I got them out to clean them up and get them ready to wear in the Fall.  I had read on Pinterest that Goo Gone would work great, so I sprayed my boots and wiped them down, but I didn't really notice a difference.  They didn't look cleaner or shinier.  So Tim said that he had something much better that would work.  He got out his engine degreaser (for cars) and sprayed it all over my boots.  Then when he started scrubbing them, the rubber started rubbing off!!  I was horrified!  They looked like this afterwards.

Awful. Awful.  I was so sad.  Several times, I almost bought new boots, but I hated to spend the money for the exact same pair that I already had.  I tried a few different things (like olive oil) to bring back the shine, but nothing worked.  I thought they were doomed.  And then one day, (I had actually been praying about it.  Yes, that is how much I love these boots.) and it hit me to use Tim's car tire shine.  It shines rubber tires, so maybe it would shine rubber boots!  At this point, it couldn't hurt, right?  So I tried it.  And y'all!  It worked!!

I was ecstatic.  I love these boots!  There are so many colors to choose from, it's hard to decide, but I love that mine are a neutral color because they go with so many different outfits.

Okay, what about you.  Do you have any favorite things that I need to know about?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Favorite Projects of All Time

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at some of my all time favorite projects over the years.  I wanted to include "Then" and "Now" (or at least more recent) pictures too so you can see how my home and style has evolved over the years.

First up:  An old window turned picture frame

I did this five years ago back before it was all the rage.  I don't think Pinterest even existed then.  So it's highly possible that I invented the whole window picture frame thing. Ha! :)  I remember feeling like it was such a big risk.  And Tim totally thought I had lost it when I told him what I wanted to do with the old window I had drug home from an antique store.


And now

My faux fireplace transformation

You must know by now that I love fireplaces.  In my last home, I didn't have one, so I decided to make one…. a fake one anyway.  I bought a mantle off of Craigslist and brought it home to see what I could come up with.  At first it didn't look so great!

After some brainstorming, I ended up putting a chalkboard behind it and drawing a fire on it to make it feel more cozy.


Over the years, it's had many transformations.  At the moment, I'm not using it because I decided to move my desk upstairs and there is only so much room.  Some days I miss it and want to bring it back up.  But here's a look at some more recent pictures of it....

Do you remember when we needed a coffee table so we decided to build our own chunky distressed coffee table ?

I still love it.

Right now, we have it in our basement because it fits so well with our other furniture down there.

The kitchen coffee bar/buffet


The turquoise was fun, but it felt limiting at times.  So back in October, I decided to re-paint it a more neutral color. Here's a recent picture.

Painting the Brick Fireplace

When we moved in, our fireplace looked like this


Painting it made an immediate and dramatic difference.


Since that picture was taken, Tim put up a mantle for me.

And Now:

Peyton's Barbie Dollhouse

I still love this project.  I had so much fun making it for her.

I'll spare you a "Now" picture because I'm pretty sure that Barbie's house is a disaster and she needs a maid to come clean it up for her.  And most likely, Barbie is naked and would not like me taking pictures of her and posting them on the internet.  :)

Hope you had fun looking back with me.  Does your style evolve too over the years?  What's your favorite project you've ever done in your home?  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Our 2015 in Review

"Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in their history the faithful love of the Lord." Ps 107:43

Happy New Year!  As we begin a new year, my heart has been shifting to look with excitement on what the Lord has for me and our family in the upcoming year.  But over the last few days, I've spent some time looking back with gratitude on the ways the Lord showed himself faithful to us in 2015.  Since I didn't blog quite as much this past year, I wanted to take some time to get some of these thing down on the blog.

So grab a cup of coffee because this is the longest post ever…

Here is our 2015 year in review.

At the start of last year, we had just finished up Christmas break and were getting ready to head back to school.  Peyton had been having a really hard time adjusting from homeschooling to school and for some reason it all climaxed during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas 2014.  We were really struggling every day.  I remember being so thankful that we all got the flu during the last week of school before Christmas break because I just couldn't figure out how to keep making her go to school everyday.  The tears.  The crying.  The anxiety over all of it every single day was becoming too much for her and for me. I was doubting and questioning our decision to send the kids to school. I was so worried about Peyton and her struggles that I was having a hard time sleeping.  So an extra long Christmas break was a huge sigh of relief to my anxious and weary heart.  But as the break ended, I started dreading facing the daily battle of getting her off to school again.  Then on the kid's first day back at school, I felt the Lord tell me that He would go before us and He would level the mountains.  He reminded me not to listen to my doubts and fears because He doesn't speak through those things so I didn't need to worry that I had missed His voice when we made this decision. He told me to hold fast, be strong, and not to be moved by fear and doubt.

And over the course of the next few weeks, the drama died down and things became much easier.  We had so many snow days in January in which school was canceled.  I think we went through the entire month of January without a full week of school because it just kept snowing.  This was a blessing for us because it gave Peyton plenty of time at home and only 2-3 days at school each week.  It allowed her time to adjust slowly and not just get thrown right back into school.

In February, Hudson turned five.

and it kept snowing...

March… still snowing…

In April, Peyton turned 7.

She was so brave and got her ears pierced.

And Tyson turned nine.  Tim's parents came up to help celebrate all the birthdays.

In May, Tim and I celebrated 12 years of marriage and we gave our bedroom a makeover

In June, we kept the kids home from school one day and took them to Hershey Park.

At the end of June, we celebrated making it through the entire year of school!!  By that point, Peyton was good buddies with the guidance counselor, the principal, the assistant principal, her teacher, and all the office ladies. I was so thankful for every one of them and the efforts they made to help Peyton adjust and even thrive in school.  I can look back and see that God leveled the mountains for her just as He said He would. 

A few days after school got out, we went down to Florida to spend two weeks with our families while Tim worked an hour away in Destin.  I even got to go spend a few nights with him in his hotel. 

We had fun getting to spend 4th of July with everyone down there.

And Mimi and Pop Pop loved having all their kids and grandkids there visiting at the same time!

In August, the Lord showed His love to me in a very special way and gave me the farmhouse table I had been dreaming about.  Here is the link for the full story.

A week or so later, we had to say a hard goodbye to our Pudge.  He was eleven years old and had arthritis in his back legs which made getting around very difficult for him at times.  One night, while Tim was taking him out before bed, Pudge was going down the front steps and just came down on his back leg wrong.  He instantly let out a groan and sat down.  He was unable to walk.  We ended up carrying him inside and helping him into his bed.  We felt in our hearts that this was the end for him.  Tim and I just held each other and cried that night.  Afterall Pudge was our first baby.  The next morning, we called our neighbor who is a vet and makes house calls.  She came over and after speaking with her, we felt that it was best for Pudge if we had him put to sleep.  It was the hardest decision of our life, but he was in so much pain and still unable to walk.  The chances of him ever recovering and having a life that wasn't full of pain were really none.  We were so thankful that our neighbor vet could put him to sleep in the privacy of our own home.  We made Pudge as comfortable as we could in his bed. Then we hugged him and told him what a great dog he was and how much we loved him and would miss him. That day was honestly one of the hardest days for our entire family.  We cried and cried.  The pain of losing a pet is really beyond description.  But I can see how the Lord was taking care of our family through it.  The biggest blessing was having our vet friend there in our home to walk us through the process and to help Pudge pass peacefully.  I also remember being so thankful that Tim was home and not off on a work trip.  We will miss our Pudge. 

At the end of August, Hudson had his first round of Botox injections in his left leg.  He has some tightness and weakness in the left side of his body due to being born premature.  He's been going to OT and PT over the last year or so to help with the development of both his fine motor skills and gross motor skills.  His doctors felt that Botox injections would be a great option for him because the Botox would help the muscle in his left ankle relax so that he would have better range of motion in it when he walks, runs, etc…  We've all been really pleased with his results.  But the effect of the Botox usually wears off over time and most likely he will need to have these injections twice a year to correspond with his growth spurts.  We are so thankful for the great team of doctors the Lord has led us to up here to care for Hudson and help us make decisions on how best to help him. 

Over Labor day weekend in September, my brother, Jason and his wife, Ashley came to visit us and see D.C.  This was the first time they had been able to come visit since we moved up here, so we enjoyed having them with us and showing them around.  We took them to a trampoline park, apple picking, and into D.C. to see all the sights.

After they left, we headed to our neighborhood pool and said goodbye to long summer days and afternoons spent with friends swimming and playing...

and the next day we started a new year in school.  With all three of my kids going off to school, I felt like a new chapter was beginning in my life.

In October, we flew home to Florida and celebrated Jared (Tim's brother) and Megan getting married.  I could probably write an entire blog on their story and God's faithfulness to them.  Seeing them finally get married was one of the highlights of my year.  

Halloween!  We had a fun night trick or treating with all our friends in the neighborhood.

In November, we bought a Pilot and sold my minivan.  I'm no longer a minivan momma!  Tim had been talking about replacing the minivan for quite some time, because of it's high mileage.  But since the kids were all in school and I wasn't carpooling them around all the time anymore,  I was happy to just drive his Jeep and I felt in no rush to get something newer for me.  I think there was a big part of me that felt that since the van wasn't breaking down or anything yet, it was excessive and unnecessary to spend so much money on a newer vehicle for me.  I also think I felt guilty or undeserving of something newer and nicer.  Then I was reading a blog and in the middle of reading it, I felt the Lord tell me to dream about a new car.  He asked me what I would want.  I remember in that moment, He melted my heart so much that I had tears streaming down my face.  I knew He was saying it was okay to get a new  car.  I told Him a few things I wanted like heated leather seats and a pretty interior.  I told Him that if He led Tim to a car for me, I would take it.  The funny thing was that Tim started talking about a Hyundai Santa Fe.  And I did NOT want a Santa Fe, I wanted a SUV.  (And don't try to tell me a Santa Fe is an SUV! It's not!)  I came back and told God I didn't mean a Santa Fe.  So Tim and I took the kids to CarMax one cold, rainy Saturday and tried out many different SUVS and crossover type cars.  I wanted to compare all the different types and see how easy it was for the kids to get in and out, how much space there was inside, how many people it could seat, and how comfortable it was to sit in.  And then I wanted the kids to tell me which was their favorite vehicle.  And by the end of our Car Max adventure, it was unanimous that we all wanted a Honda Pilot.  The fact that all of us agreed was practically a miracle!  So that afternoon, Tim began looking on Craigslist for a Pilot.  A few days later, he found the perfect one for us.  A 2011 Honda Pilot Touring with heated leather seats and absolutely pristine inside and out.  The owner had taken immaculate care of it.  And I loved it!  It was several thousand dollars over our budget, but when Tim said our price, the owner immediately said okay.  There was no haggling over the price or anything.  He even said, "I don't even know why I'm selling it.  It's such a good vehicle." But I knew he was selling it because the Lord wanted us to have it.  

Then Tim's parents came up and spent Thanksgiving with us.  Tim and I had labeled Thanksgiving of 2014 the worst Thanksgiving in the history of all our Thanksgivings.  I remember the kids fought all day.  I cried.  And we missed our families and the special foods that we always ate with them, like my mom's dressing and Tim's mom's sweet potato casserole.  So it was such a special blessing to have his parents here with us this year.  Mimi and I cooked all our favorite foods.  And Tim smoked our turkey this year.  We loved having them with us and are still trying to convince them to just move up here. :)

And then in December, the Lord took us to NYC and put me on Good Morning America.  As we were driving up there, I remember being so thankful that we were in the Honda Pilot rather than in the old minivan with all the mileage.  I knew the Lord had seen the future and planned for that in advance.  He takes such good care of us!

What a gift that NYC trip was for us!

As I've looked back over this year, I see His faithfulness to us.  I see the ways He shows me His love in such special ways.  I've spent the majority of my life feeling like God was pressuring me or judging me, but I know now that His voice is kind, not harsh.  He is gentle and so loving in how He treats us.  He cares for us and provides for us in ways that we don't even know we need.  And He puts desires on our hearts just so He can fill them.  His kindness melts my heart into a puddle in an instant.  

And as I look back over this year, I'm beginning to actually believe that He can do absolutely anything that He wants to do in my life.  When He moves, who can stop Him?  What He plans will come to pass.  I'm looking forward to seeing all He does in 2016.