Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fishers Run house (aka the Michigan house)

In 2006, 6 weeks after I had our first son, Jackson, my husband accepted a promotion and we moved from Austin, Texas to Traverse City, Michigan.  In October. Neither one of us had even visited the place we were about to move to.  I remember the morning we pulled into Traverse City.  It was the first week in October and it was 32 degrees outside at 7 in the morning.  Four days later, it snowed.  Talk about culture shock!  With the baby being born and other things going on, we didn't get a chance to take a house-hunting trip up there before we moved, so we rented a furnished condo while we looked for a house.  and looked.  and looked.  and looked.  I think we ended up looking at close to 50 houses.  It was crazy.  The house we ended up buying wasn't even one that our realtor had in mind to show us, but was on the same street as one that she took us to.  We drove by and I wanted to look at it because it was brand new and I thought "Why not?"  It was leaps and bounds better than anything we had seen, but that might have been because it was priced a little higher than anything we had seen.  Oh well, we both really liked it and could see ourselves living there.  With a brand new baby, neither one of us were looking for a fixer upper.  This one was move in ready....but....

Somehow, we still managed to find a way to have construction crews in our house!!  The basement was unfinished, so we negotiated with the builder to finish it out with a 5th bedroom and bathroom and family room. 

We only lived in the house 6 months before we put it up for sale because my husband had decided that he wanted to do something different with his career- like start his own business.  The house was for sale for a year and half before it sold.  It was a HUGE growing period and a HUGE test of our faith in God.  We learned so much during that time in Michigan.  I look back on it now, and am thankful for that time in our lives.  We learned many valuable lessons and learned to lean more deeply on our faith in the Lord.  I loved our time in that house and will always have sweet memories of that house because that is where Jackson spent the first two years of his life growing up.  We would love to make it a tradition to visit Traverse City at least once a year.  Enjoy some pictures of our time in Traverse city.

The Fishers Run House--Half of our backyard was full of wild blackberry bushes!  Every morning we would wake up and see a group of deer or a gaggle(?) of turkey in the backyard.  The house backed up to a federal forest preserve!

                                  Jackson and Papa walking the pier on Grand Traverse Bay

Leelanau peninsula...home to one of my favorite wineries in Northern Michigan!

Picking cherries--Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the world!

Feeding the ducks downtown at the Farmers Market (which is the best one I've ever been to)

Look at the long sleeves and pants!  It was JUNE!  We were visiting an Iris Farm.

Picking strawberries.

Old Mission Peninsula Lighthouse.  Jackson's second Christmas.

My favorite thing about the Fishers Run house:  the Hickory wood floors! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

A face only a mother could love

Jackson loves drawing smiley faces and he's pretty much perfected it, as you can see below.  It's the sweetest thing because it brings a smile to my heart every time I see it.  This one was a picture of daddy.  He drew one of me that was the exact same...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just one word: Letitgo.

I like things to be a certain way, but sometimes my family does not like them the same way or thinks that it's no big deal if they aren't a certain way.  I'm not gonna lie, this makes me cringe and sometimes extremely frustrated. 

There are things, however, that lately I have been trying to give myself (and those unforunate to be around me at those moments) permission to "letitgo" or: Let It Go said really fast so it becomes one word.  I've found that mostly this applies to my 4 year old and my husband. 

Example:  my husband likes to use our nice towels to dry his car off with when he washes it or he takes them to the gym and they end up in his gym bag for a couple hours until he makes it home to let them hang out and dry properly.  The old me would grit my teeth and explain to him that he should not do these things.  The new, "letitgo" me, is letting go and letting him take the towels wherever he wants and do whatever he wants to do with them.  He does have an undivided one half interest in them anyway, according to Texas community property law...but that's not why I "letitgo".  I realized that this was just an area of unneeded stress in my life.  I mean, really, who cares if some towels get ruined??  It's not like I can't go to the store and buy new ones to replace them (the exact same ones too).  My husband knows this too, and knows that if they get ruined, then I will be buying new ones.  So, why worry??

An example with my 4 year old, Jackson, would be one from today.  It rained really hard today and we were outside after and he was riding his bike.  He decided that he wanted to go barefoot and dig in the mud.  For a split second (okay, maybe 5 split seconds), I was going to tell him not to get in the mud and get all muddy because we had managed to go through the whole day without getting filthy and we might actually make it a day without needing a bath or needing to get hosed down outside before stepping foot in the house.  Instead, I paused, breathed, and "letitgo".  He had fun for atleast 45 minutes by himself playing and digging in the mud and flinging the dirt everywhichway.  He is a boy, afterall, I reminded myself.  And it's only mud.  It washes off.

Probably the best example of my "letitgo" change was when I finally decided (after years) to let Jackson mix the play dough colors.  I know.  It makes me cringe to think about it still, but it's Play dough.  It's okay.  It's okay to have 8 jars of playdough but the only color in every jar is a grayish brown mix of all the colors together.  It's okay.  They sell more playdough at the store and he actually still likes playing with it even though he can only make gray playdough men and grey playdough turtles or balls.  I will leave it to his teachers at school to keep their playdough separated and nice.  At home, we now can mix the colors.  And have.

"Letitgo" truly is freeing.  If you haven't experienced something like this, then I highly recommend it.  It will make not only your life a little less stressful, but it will really bless your family members or those that you are choosing to "letitgo".  You won't feel as if you are the only one who cares about keeping things nice or a certain way and they won't feel that you constantly nag them about silly things (silly to them at least).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Do it yourself

I'm a big fan of DIY--especially when it saves money.  One such example is the monogram I painted on my baby Sloan's wall above his crib.  I wanted to put someting above his crib, but since the ceiling slopes down on that wall, there is not much room to hang anything high enough out of his reach, so I couldn't do the traditional picture frames or wall letters spelling out his name.  I had done that with Jackson's nursery anyway, so I was kind of over it.  Then, I was looking through either pottery barn kids or land of nod catalog and found a wall decal that was a circle of dots with 3 initials inside.  It was super cute, but cost $85.00!!  For a little decal!!  I was not about to pay that kind of money, so I figured I would just grab some white paint and go for it!  At the very worst, if it turned out horribly, I could just paint the same robin's egg blue back over it and no one would be the wiser.  I think it turned out pretty great, if I do say so myself.  I went with just one initial--much easier.  The whole thing cost nothing!  I had the paint and brushes already!  Have a lookie:

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love my bathroom

When we were building our current house, I kind of got obsessed with tile.  When I say obsessed, I mean, multiple trips to multiple tile stores taking multiple samples home and trying to figure out where else in my house I could put tile--my thoughts were along the lines of: "I wonder if tile would look good on all my living room walls??"

Anyway, it took me a really long time to decide on the type of tile I wanted to use in our bathroom.  I already had the design down, but there's just SO many options when it comes to tile.  Stainless steel tile, natural stone mosaic, glass mosaic, a mixture of glass and stone mosaic (which I used one on my fireplace)...and that's not even counting all the different colors to choose from!  I finally resigned myself to my first choice and it was some consolation to me that one day this will be out of style and I get to redo the bathroom with all NEW tile (and I can only imagine what kind of new, cool tile will be out by then!).  My husband did not want to hear about my remodeling plans in 10 years, though...he's not such a fan of thinking that far ahead...or rather thinking of spending money that far ahead....ha!

Below are some pictures of my master bathroom.  The entire shower and bath wall is mosaic tile.  You can't tell by the picture, but the floor tile has a linen texture to it- very zen-like.  The shower floor is river rock--so loving that.  The tub is extra deep---for my hubby.  He's the bath person in the family, much to everyone's amazement.  I went with a gray color scheme because it is clean and modern and not beige.  I didn't want my house to be overrun with beige/brown (even though I have nothing against beige and brown, I dearly love them, but ya gotta shake it up once in a while).

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Stinnett Mill in Salado

My husband's business partner and his wife are in the process of buying this awesome piece of property in Salado.  It used to be a gristmill back in the day and it is right on a beautiful creek in Salado.  They asked me to take a look at it to help them brainstorm about potential ideas for design since it is not your traditional house or floorplan.  I had a great time visiting and hopefully the sale goes through so that they can live on this property and get to remodel the inside!!  Enjoy a few pics.  I am not including the ones of the inside.  I will save those for a later date to compare to the "after" pics.

This is the view of the mill/house when you pull up.  The stone is all original and 14 inches thick!!  The back column with windows is the original grain elevator--very cool and still operable.

 The wrap around porch/balcony.

The other side of the grain elevator.

View of the house from the creek (and my little nugget on the lawn).

Friday, October 15, 2010

I live in Chichen Itza

A friend of mine went to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth to see an exhibit featuring the Mayan Culture.  She described her visit on her facebook page like this: 

blood, water, turtles, frogs, chocolate, blood sacrifice, jewelry, crocodiles, maize, canoes, conch shells, and ducks

I then realized that she could have been describing my house/life!  Minus the blood sacrifice, of course, unless you count the occassional bleeding stubbed toe as a result of tripping over toys...
But really, let's examine the parallels:
blood = at least every other day we are in need of a Diego, Lightning McQueen, or Dora bandaid.
water = my boy still asks to swim in his kiddie pool even though it's chilly outside and we also live on a lake
turtles = we have found numerous turtles in our backyard and my husband and son have tried to convince me to keep them and make a turtle "farm"
frogs = we find frogs/toads in the backyard too, not to mention the dehydrated frog carcass that I found one morning next to my coffee cup (thanks to my son)
chocolate = this is the element that I bring into the equation...I have to have my chocolate
jewelry = silly bandz...need I say more?
crocodiles = my son wanted to be a crocodile for Halloween, but I could not find a costume for him so I convinced him to be a shark, which he is excited about, thank goodness!
maize = this one is a stretch, but my baby is a messy eater and he loves corn, but I am picking the kernels up off the floor for days after he eats it
canoes = we have a little boat for our lake
conch shells = we don't live on the ocean, so technically no conch shells, but my son loves to play with snail shells and leave live ones on our picnic table (and thus, they leave their poop on the table....who knew snails pooped??? why wouldn't they, but I guess I never thought about it)
ducks = ducks live on our lake too.

The good thing about this strange parallel to the Mayas is that it keeps life interesting...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall is Fun!

I am loving this weather that we're having.  I am making my boys spend every spare second of the day outside, whether they like it or not, and thankfully they like it.  Jackson spent the morning riding his bike in the driveway and he finally decided to ride his big bike that he got for Christmas last year...only because our neighbor, Luke, took a liking to it recently.  Hmmmm...isn't that the way we are sometimes when we grow up still??  Also, the last few evenings my husband has been taking Jackson fishing.  They got a couple of clumps of kelp last night and 3 bass tonight.  Soon, we'll be done clearing out some of the underbrush in our backyard that leads to the lake and building a firepit!!!  I'll definitely post pics of that project.  I'm secretly excited and scared to tackle that one, but the idea of making s'mores in the fire pit is a HUGE incentive!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I am starting to think about Christmas decor.  Well, to be totally honest with you, I started thinking about Christmas decor the moment I knew we would be building our current house.  Neurotic???  Maybe.  But....let me explain:  Our Christmas tree will be in a room that has orange curtains and turquoise accents with a cowhide rug.  Tell me that you wouldn't be trying to figure out a Christmas decor that wouldn't clash with that this early in the season!  Last year I went with reds and natural colors because I gave up completely on breakable glass ornaments for the next 15 years when I realized that I would have a house full of boys.  This year, red is not going to look so hot next to the burnt orange curtains or the cowhide rug.  Also of concern is finding a secure perimeter fencing material to put around the tree so that my almost one year old will not destroy said tree.  I was trying to figure out why this is the first time I'm having to deal with this problem when I've had a baby this age before at Christmas time.  Then, I realized that we lived in Michigan then and I put the tree in our basement.  Problem solved.  However, no basements in TX!!!!!  Maybe I should hang our tree upside down from the ceiling...supposedly that's what a few designers were doing a couple years back--not sure that it really caught on...
Anyway, I've been scouring the internet and stores such as Hobby Lobby for ornaments that are pretty, go with a crazy colorscheme, and are non-breakable.  Doable?? We shall see.  Right now, I'm thinking silver and white is the way to go (along with all of Jackson's homemade ornaments as well).  I love a perfectly decorated tree with coordinating ornaments and beaded strands, but nothing is more special than a tree decorated with ornaments made by your children (atleast the cute ornaments--sadly, there are a few that don't make the cut--but we keep them in our art folder). So, I'll also have to figure a way to include those!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just call him Mr. Practicality...

This is the Pottery Barn Kids "Anywhere" chair.  I bought it for my oldest son a couple years ago and he loves it, but Sloan, my 10 month old son, has started to like sitting in it too.  I've been planning on buying one for him for Christmas.  I just recently mentioned that to my husband, Mr. Practicality, and he asked: "why would we get another one??? They can just share this one".  I responded that Sloan needed one with his name on it.  Mr. Practicality then responded: "can't we just get 'and Sloan' added underneath Jackson's name??"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

8 Houses in 8 Years

We have owned 8 houses in 8 years of marriage.  We have only lived in 7, however.  They are: the Fort House, the Colcord House, the Sweet Clover House, the Fishers Run house, the Cumberland house, the Maple house and the Rainbow Lake house.  The eighth house, which we count as owning, but never lived in, was the house next door to our Colcord house.  We built two houses at the same time and again, whichever sold first, we would move into the other.  So, we lived next door to a house that we built, so we like to count that one as "ours" too.

I'd have to say that every house we've owned is a favorite, except the Cumberland house.  I think this house has too many traumatic memories:  just moving back from Michigan and living in it while the entire downstairs was completely remodeled, my husband was gone for a month for work while the remodeling was being completed, and one of our dogs died during that month too. We only lived there for 7 months, which is the second shortest time we've lived in a house.  We lived in the Colcord house 5 months before we sold it to move to Austin (Sweet Clover house).

Crazy, yes, but moving and remodeling, and buying and selling houses has definitely been an overall blessing in that it has provided income and partly allowed us to build our dream house earlier than I ever thought.  Would I do another 8 houses in the next 8 years?? N.O.  no.  Definitely not with multiple kids, either.

Monday, October 4, 2010

More Canton

Supposedly this belonged to Johnny Depp.  Hmmm, wonder how it ended up in Canton, and can you even picture him owning something like this?  I dunno, but he seems like he would own something much cooler...even if it is porch furniture.

This is a buoy.  These are what fishermen used before they started using the plastic buoys.  My husband was highly suspicous over whether or not this what it was, but I googled it and made sure.  Either way, I love this piece.  The only thing bad about it is that I can't really display it where I would like to in my house because my boys want to play with the "ball".  (also note: the turquoise color)

These were at the same booth as the glass buoy.  I wanted one of these really badly, but the guy was asking $100.00 for each.  I just couldn't bring myself to shell that kind of cash out for one, but just looking at this picture makes me want to go back and get one.  Oh well, at least the picture is kinda cool.  Maybe I can use the picture somehow.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I Cant(on) believe how much fun I had at First Mondays!

I'm SO glad I went to Canton today with my friend.  It was a 2 1/2 hour drive, but being able to talk and hang out without children was a nice break.  I also scored some great finds...and found a few things that make you go "hmmmm".

Not even 10 minutes after we arrived, I found a booth that sold cowhides.  I wasn't looking for a cowhide, but this one was on the top of a pile and it was really great looking.  I thought it would make a great rug for my formal living room.  What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with it myself.  I have been meaning to get a rug for this room, but could not find anything that I liked.  I'm so glad I found this.  It's got the right colors of deep chocolate browns mixed with almost black and the cream.  Love it.

This, this however, this is almost beyond words.  One question:  How many cows does it take to make one of these chairs???  (and no, I did not buy this chair.  I am sure I would be just as horrified at the price as I was at the actual chair).