Building Our Dream Home

For many years we have rented houses (we’ve lived in ten houses in the past eight years) and tried out other people’s home designs while making a list of the things that would be most important to us in our forever home. We are finally putting that list and all of our home dreaming to good use. I mentioned in my last post that we bought a farm. We are now living in the existing farmhouse while we build our dream home on the property. I’ve needed to pinch myself several times already throughout this process to believe it’s actually happening.

We own eleven acres of farmland and have set aside a corner of that to carve out our vision of a home that will host family, ministry, memories and our dreams for the future. It’s a big undertaking and we recognize how blessed we are to be given this opportunity. It is our prayer that this home will be used greatly and purposely for generations to come.

One of the houses that gave us inspiration was our home while we lived in Denver. It had a big open living room with french doors to the outside patio and killer views of the Rockies. While the Rockies are hard to translate here in Massachusetts. Our farm is a lovely landscape that we want to enjoy and make part of our design.

So where does one begin when designing a home?

When we started this process the Mister and I made a list of things that were important to us in our home design. What we found was that we wanted a space that would accommodate our large extended family and our immediate growing one. We don’t want it to be too big that it lost the cozy factor and I would rather spend more time playing and reading with my children than cleaning.

Our vision is that the house would feel fresh and open. I love simple, casual and warm homes and want our home to be a place that is cozy and conducive to our lifestyle (sticky fingers, art projects and floor wrestling), but also charming and inspiring. Think bright- lots of windows, subway tile, white walls, wood beams and pops of color. Oh and lots of Fiddle Fig Leaf plants. I’m obsessed with those. I’m thinking it will be classic, but a bit country and still modern and young.

The following pictures are my “design inspiration” photos. These are the photos that I’ve been collecting for a while and the ideas I would love to base our home on. Enjoy!

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Photo Source: Shaylee Webb

 

 

 

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Photo Source: Home Bunch

 

 

It’s an exciting endeavor and one I’ll be happy to share with you about as we move along in the building process.
Stay tuned for pictures of the land clearing and foundation pouring. Yes! The project has already begun!

Sources: Shaylee Webb, Home Bunch, Vintage South Development, STUDIO MCGEE,

Holy cow we bought a farm

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“Hello cow” I say as I drive in the driveway and see the beast casually swaying his jaw and staring at me literally feet from my back porch. We are not in LA anymore. We left over a month ago and have been living in Massachusetts on a farm about thirty miles from Boston. This stark contrast from Venice Beach hit me more now than ever as I placed the car in park and rested my chin on the steering wheel. “What do I do now?” The cow had obviously been enjoying his freedom after escaping through a hole in the fence and now roamed our yard like a boss. I excitedly called the Mister who calmly advised me to “get him back in the fence.” I hung up the phone, told the boys I’d be right back, and channeling my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder I approached the cow with rugged determination. After a little coaxing and I’m sure a hilarious display of flailing arms the cow returned to the fields. I’m pretty certain the cow knew the routine and was very cooperative, but I felt victorious none the less. I proudly went back to the car where the two boys who had been thoroughly amused watched the whole show from their car seats and now flooded me with questions as I opened the door. “Do it again mommy!” “Can I chase the cow?!” “What did you tell him?” Bless. Their mama is a cowgirl. I love how easily I can impress them right now. Do any other mama’s appreciate that their kids think the world of them in these early years? I love that in my son’s eyes I’m so good at throwing a football and playing sports. Like really I’m pretty much Tom Brady. I dread the day he realizes how terrible my spiral is.

Safe to say we are not in LA anymore. We bought a farm. We are settling down and we are living with cows.

Goodbye City of Angels

cama0020We have cherished our time here in California. As we say goodbye we realize how fast the time has gone. When we came here four years ago it was just the two of us and now the five of us include two California boys. Although we take them out of the sunshine we hope they will continue to carry California sunshine in their hearts and in their memories.

We have been blessed to live one mile from the beach, off the Pacific Coast Highway in the trendiest neighborhood in the country (oh you Brooklynites, calm down), one quarter of a mile from the busiest Whole Foods in the state, across the street from the local golf course where Harrison Ford crashed his airplane, on the same street as Viggo Mortensen, in the house that Carson Daly grew up in.

It’s been LA LA Land in all its glory. I feel I have known the true Hollywood and seen it’s unveiled face as it’s perceived allure faded away. Anything is possible here, yet everything is fabricated to look more glamorous than it is. Remember the New Years Eve I spent on December 10th, partying the night away at 10am in a studio?

Some things that will never lose their golden gleam are the glistening Malibu coast, trendy restaurants, coffee shops, surfers, beautiful people, tiny dogs, blow dry bars, boba tea, palm trees and tans. Goodbye Cali! This New England girl is peacing out on the city of Angels and headed back to cold Atlantic waters and clam chowda.

We are growing and going (east)!

cama9817We have a couple of announcements! Our family is growing again! AND we are moving back to Massachusetts!

Thank you to Apple Rose Photography once again for documenting our announcement and these wonderful memories of our LAST days in Los Angeles before we head east.

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Venice Beach has been our backyard for the past few years. Closing this chapter is bittersweet. Living so close to the beach has been such a blessing. Most days we either walked, rode, or drove to the beach for sunsets, picnics, coffee and scones, playgrounds, or just to enjoy feeling the Pacific breeze on our faces. Undoubtably we will be finding sand in our shoes and car seats for a while. The memories will be with us forever.

 

 

Hot mess

I parked the car and began the disembarking process. Unloading the kids, the stroller, bags for each boy, snacks, purse, water bottle… I wasn’t completely a hot mess. I had put mascara on and piled my hair into a messy top knot. I looked “mom cute.” I was just giving myself points for this and for making it on time when I remembered it was potluck day at moms group and I forgot to bring a dish. Frustrated, I told myself I wouldn’t eat so that I would not feel guilty for my lack of contribution. Then I had this thought, “the old me would have brought a gourmet meal to share.”

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The old me…

Have you ever thought that? That the old me would have done this better or could have gone and done this or that? As I thought about it more in depth the more frustrated I felt that I used to be great at orchestrating a room or group gathering. The old me would have dressed precisely, brought a steaming basket of freshly baked goods that rose overnight and took sever hours to shape and bake. I would have elegantly maneuvered the room to talk to as many people as possible and would have left feeling specially regarded and admired. I felt like the old me had a grasp. I had control over the input that formed what others thought of me and perceived.
Now I feel like I have little control over those things. Most of the time my identity is built upon what my children reflect of me. God knows that’s not always pretty. I can’t help what I look like to the world. It’s no longer just me, it’s us.IMG_1835
This thought that the old me had died somewhere along with my reputation for bringing delicious baked goods was dragging me down. I entered the group frustrated and feeling defeated. 
Sometime later after talking with a good friend I realized this world doesn’t need more seemingly perfect people. It needs more real people. More people who are not afraid to share their messy lives and their need for Jesus in them. Maybe the friends we make or keep in this time are the best kind of friends to have because they are the ones who see your transparency, your messy house and your raw, unveiled self. They are the ones who love you and pray for you and who are doing life with you.
“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh.
“There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.
-A.A. Milne
We need more friends like Piglet. That’s all.
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Cool and meaningful art prints

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Dresser painted in Annie Sloan Olive chalk paint. Maternity photo by: Rebecca Love Photography Nantucket, MA. Artwork print by Lindsay Letters.

I am loving this print that I ordered from Lindsay Sherbondy at Lindsay Letters. She has some really wonderful art prints with sayings, verses and quotes to live by in Calligraphy type lettering. I love them all and want them all. This one is sitting atop my newly painted dresser (a roadside find) that I have in my living room. It’s a great reminder to me that Children are like arrows and we as warrior parents have the responsibility of sharpening and aiming them toward the direction of success.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, they are a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in my youth.

Psalm 127:3-4

Look at all these fun and wonderful prints Lindsay has in stock! A great gift idea! 😉

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Number two is ONE!

We recently celebrated our sweet boy on his first birthday. With the help of Apple Rose Photography we were able to document the simple garden party that we threw in our backyard to mark this special occasion.

 

 

I have officially loved this boy for three hundred sixty-five days (excluding the time I carried him in my belly).

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It’s amazing how fast the time goes by. I can’t believe we have a one and a two-year-old!

We are in the thick of it. Most days I feel I can hardly manage the two and can’t imagine how some moms do it with more children, but I’m so thankful I can say I am not alone in caring for them. I have help from their amazing fathers. Yes. You heard it right. There are two dads. There’s the man I love more than any other- the baby daddy (handsome devil pictured). Not pictured is the boys heavenly father who cares more for them than I can know, which is hard to imagine (Matthew 6:26). So they are in good hands.

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This season includes sticky highchairs and fingers, ants, baseball in the evenings, basketball all day, tennis somedays, football on occassion, random tackling, tickling, and bickering. Lots of kisses, the afore mentioned messes, jumping from high places, more baseball, skinned knees, half eaten cheese sticks, and completely full hearts. Our life is truly a beautiful mess and it’s wonderful beyond words.

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Here’s to many more celebrations and many more cake faces!

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Happy birthday sweet boy! We love you so.

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A special thank you to our friend Sarah from Apple Rose Photography for her incredible talent in capturing this special occasion.

Changing the world one diaper at a time

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Today was a hard day. Not just today. Real talk. it’s been a hard week. month. Being a mom is hard. Most days I wrestle between being overwhelmed with the blessing I’ve been given to be home with my two beautiful, clever, often hilarious boys and feeling lonely, bored, frustrated, pointless and unimportant.

How is it that one can feel all such emotions at once without being labeled bipolar? The truth is that being at home with children whether all or part of the time, is a blessing and it’s exhausting. It’s both. That’s just what it is. So how do we moms find joy and contentment in these days we are in?

For me the realization that my days are not my own has turned me on my head and flicked the “on” switch in my brain.

I’ve been (slowly) reading through Sally Clarkson’s book, Own Your Life. She has been so encouraging to me to be above the standard and to live a bold and beautiful life. Sally notably says, “If you dedicate yourself to taking in spiritual wisdom from Scripture, giving yourself wholly to the purposes of God, disciplining the attitudes of your heart, and stepping out in faith to show Jesus to the world, God will use you to shape history.”

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We all want to be world changers in some capacity. All it takes is a willing heart and a choice to live out your days with purpose. Moms have so much opportunity to shape the future and change the world. We need to tap into our gifts, recognize the promise the Lord has given us that He will use us, and be ready and open to what adventure He has for us.

As moms we feel our audience is small and our stage insignificant, but what you have to realize is that it is quite the contrary. The audience, while small in stature is really quite susceptible to our message and what they will do with it is immeasurable.

Our voice is shouting loud and clear from our humble pulpit. Your pulpit may be situated quite strategically by the highchair in your kitchen, on the floor of the bathroom or in the big comfy chair in the living room, but it is there all the same and you are being heard loud and clear.

Not only are our children open to what we have to teach, our lives touch many more people than you realize. Think about the audience that is open to you. Don’t just think of them, find them and open up to them. You have so much to share. There is so much to the story of your life and what you have to offer is more important than you know.

“during our lifetimes, each of us has the incredible potential to be a powerful influence for righteousness, love, goodness, compassion, mercy, and redemption-and to find joy and contentment in each day.”

Own Your Life, Clarkson 2014

Does that sound like a boring life or a life filled with purpose and significance? We as moms have the opportunity to share those things that Sally mentioned above with everyone whose lives we touch. That sounds like a great adventure and a life I’m excited about. I hope it does for you as well! Hold on boys, mom is just getting started. Break out the crayons It’s about to get cray.

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ShopUp LA

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Photo source: babyccinokids.com

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Photo source: babyccinokids.com

A few weeks ago we had so much fun attending Shop Up here in LA hosted by Babyccino kids. Everything was so adorable from the vendor booths, to the activities for kids, and the kids themselves. True to LA fashion, the littles were dressed in their oat, flax, and hemp natural colored linen rompers and working it better than the high-end clothing models on Rodeo just a few miles west. They were PRECIOUS. I found where all the beautiful babies hangout. They are in Babyccino land incase you are looking.

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photo source: babyccinokids.com

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photo source: babyccinokids.com

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Photo source: babyccinokids.com

What is a popup shop? Basically for small boutiques to run and operate a retail location it requires a lot of money and hassle so for a couple of days, or in some cases months at a time, small businesses can pop up in a location and set up shop. That’s why it’s a pop up shop! Sometimes they will share a space with other businesses to share costs and increase traffic. Either way, it gives the shop the ability to travel to cool locations and cities around the world and it gives us patrons an opportunity to shop unique products in cool locations with other like-minded shoppers! It’s really a win win.

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Photo source: babyccinokids.com

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Photo source: babyccinokids.com

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This event in particular was hosted by Baby Ccino kids. If you haven’t already, you should follow the babyccino women on instagram and visit the BabyCcino website. Babyccinokids.com is what they call an international lifestyle website for modern “mums” featuring all things baby from maternity to toys and decor items. With so many great products you may as well start your christmas wish list now.

We totally took advantage of the free photo booth set up by Red Anchor Photo and had the boys picture taken. I love how it came out and can’t wait to have it framed!

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A bubble bath and a glass of wine

As parents we have all had that well-meaning person say to us, “enjoy it! It goes by so fast!” For us, it often seems to be as we are about to board a red-eye flight to the East Coast. “Yes. Thank you.” I say while inwardly rolling my eyes and considering asking them if they would like to switch seats with me for the six hour flight to allow them to relive those memories while I sip Vino and read Costal Living in my spacious seat by the window.
Are these really the good times? Will I really want them back?
It’s like that song youre gonna miss this by Trace Adkins that says, “Youre gonna miss thisYoure gonna want this back. Youre gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast. These Are Some Good Times. So take a good look around. You may not know it now, but youre gonna miss this.”
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I think about that song often and wonder if this is the best time of our lives and we won’t fully realize it until we look back.
Sometimes, when I’m cleaning up messes for the umpteenth time, or on my fourth day in a row of having a headache because of lack of sleep, I doubt very much that I will miss these times, but then sometimes I hear those lyrics in my head and think, these really are the good times and I know I will look back on them and wish I could go back. Even if just for a moment to relive the smell of baby, sound of laughter, or feel of their warm cheeks against mine.
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As I write this I’m typing with my fingers on my phone rocking my littlest to sleep while my older one is singing to himself in his bed. Peaceful moments like this are the ones I want to hold onto.
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So much has changed since the Mister and I started dating over a dozen years ago. Friday nights these days are not quite as exciting as they used to be.
Tonight we sat on the bathroom floor with wineglasses in hand while we watched the boys splash and giggle in the bathtub. We were tired after a long day and the end of the day is no doubt the longest part. Can I get an Amen mamas?
Life has changed. There’s no question things are different now, especially in our marriage.
It’s not so much about what we miss doing as a couple. It’s more about the time we share currently. It’s more meaningful now. We’re working together, or surrendering together. And we are seeking the Lord and trusting in Him for our son’s futures.

The thing is we’re doing life together. We are in the thick of life. It’s rich, it’s raw and it’s wonderful. Emotions are more evident now. We cry more, laugh more and take less seriously.

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I think about the future when our children are raised and I look forward to dinners out, late night movies, traveling, reading a magazine, but until then if Friday nights look like this, with bubbles, Zinfandel, and his arm around me then I am quite going to miss these days and these times.
I think I’ll want them back if even just for a moment.