Stranded in the Snowpocalypse

After tears, frustration, and a dying cell phone battery, I decided to call it quits.

Luke's school sent an email saying that they were going to dismiss 45 minutes early- which was 12:15pm. I left my mom's house around 11:45am to be there early to "beat the rush" and we were in the car by noon. Little did I know, the preschool rush was the least of my worries.

I was actually making fun of how slow people were driving (it was pretty ridiculous). The roads were still clear and they were going 5mph.

I got about 4 miles from my mom's house and saw a school bus slide. That's when I realized things were getting bad and I should have turned around then.

I jumped on the loop which is like a small highway connecting a bunch of roads and it was stopped. And I saw 2 accidents. And it was at that point that I started reciting the traveler's Psalm (Psalm 121):

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains-
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will never slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you-
the Lord is the shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm-
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

I kept saying to myself "He will not let your foot slip.... He won't let it slip." Luke asked who I was talking to ;)

I should have listened to my gut and stayed at my moms. But at the time I left the roads were fine. I thought sure the best way to go would be the highway since the roads would be warmer... but as I got close to 75 I realized I needed gas (well I was at half a tank, but if I got stranded then I would need more gas). That's when I decided to continue on to the alternate road. But it was a mess too. There just isn't anything you can do with untreated roads and ice. And by that point the snow was turning into ice. Nasty icy ice.

It took me 30 minutes to get in and out of the gas station. I grabbed a bunch of ridiculously overpriced snacks and filled up for... wait for it.... $3.49 a gallon :/ Once I got back on the road the bus that I had been behind was only 5 cars in front of me. That's when I decided on Plan B. There were cars slipping ALL OVER. It's at that time that I totally trust myself driving- but I don't trust all the other crazies on the road! By this point we had been in the car 3 hours.

All the motels were on the other side of the street, and it wasn't safe to cross. I decided to park on our side and walk to the motel. Once we parked (I got permission from a motorcycle shop to park in their lot), I loaded Luke up in the stroller and we walked about a block to a nearby motel. It's a dive and definitely not a Marriott, but we have heat, a bathroom, and each other!! As I was walking someone offered us a ride. Also I met another nice man walking and he said he lived about 1/2 a mile from where we were incase the motel didn't have rooms. He said he had kids and gave me his wife's number. Seemed like a nice guy and I would have taken his offer if the motel was full. Definitely still good people in the world. And it's amazing how everyone cares as soon as they see a stroller! :)

I'm thankful that we have our jackets (there's sometimes I leave without it since most of the time I'm just doing drop off/pickup at preschool). I'm thankful that Josh picked up Emberly from my moms on his way home (he had physical therapy this morning). Don't know what I'd do with her. I'm thankful that I grabbed our stroller this morning. I was thinking I  needed to bring Emberly in the post office this morning and didn't want to hold her/stand in line/write the address while wrestling her. I'm thankful I have my computer!! With the charger! I was going to work at my mom's house this morning while Luke was in school. I'm thankful that I took a shower this morning, so I won't feel too grungy tonight. I'm so thankful I grabbed snacks! And although they have a Dominoes card in the room I don't think Dominoes will be delivering tonight!!

Praying for a restful night and hopefully clear roads by tomorrow afternoon. You can bet I'm jumping in the shower as soon as I get home!!

High five for Friday!

1. This week was one of the best on record. Luke went to Disney for the first time and had the time of his life. You can bet a post will be coming later!

2. Josh's arm isn't broken! However he has quite a contusion, which is the doctor fancy way of saying bruise. He had his cast removed and has been downgraded to a brace. He has physical therapy for a while and has the paper work to be released to work on light duty. We're both hoping it's sooner rather than later.

3. I can't seem to catch up on anything. I always feel like I'm running in circles. It's like I'll completely catch up on laundry but have no idea what's for supper or I'll be monogramming up a storm and the dishes sit for 2 days. Ahhhh to find balance would be lovely. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I haven't vacuumed since we moved in. And adding another whole extra bathroom, with 2 extra sinks to the cleaning list is exhausting!

4. Luke is thriving in preschool. It still amazes me what he learns and picks up on. I have learned that if I don't want it repeated than I better not say it. Let's just say he's learned the term "hangry" and uses it flawlessly... Complete with the attitude. I'm trying to make a decision about preschool next year. Right now it takes 45 minutes to get to school with traffic. Trying to decide if I want to move schools again (that would make 3 in 3 years) or if I can just continue to deal with the traffic. Lots to pray about.

5. Daddy and Emberly did amazing while Luke and I and my parents were in Florida. He volunteered at the last minute to keep Em at home (Josh couldn't go in case work needed him and he had a doctor appointment while we were away) and I hadn't really thought about leaving her behind- but in the end it all worked out. Because of her horrible sleep habits it was best that she stay in her crib and not break routine (she's barely been sleeping through the night for a month). Of course we kept in touch through face time but I missed my baby. When I got home I told him to tell me the truth about how it really was and surprisingly he said she was perfect and their time together couldn't have been better. It all worked out perfectly!

Sand Art: Take Two

Remember my lovely sand art that I made after 3 beaches, 3 states, 3 weeks?
And then remember how it smashed into a million pieces on the floor when we had our siding redone at our old house? The pounding hammers were just too much for my sweet sand art vase that was lovingly placed on the wrong wall.
Good thing it wasn't an urn filled with ashes. Can I get an amen?

In the midst of my tears (totally kidding), we got on our hands and knees and scooped up as much sand as we could- thinking that maybe I'll attempt another sand art in the future.

All the sand safely made it through the move and there has since been more sand added to the mix. It was time to start this whole project over.

I gathered my supplies (I grabbed the vase at Michael's with a 40% off coupon making it $3)
and got to work.

First I poured in the sand from the broken vase. It all got mixed together, and although it didn't have the same effect as the original, it's the fact that the sand is there.

I keep the vase in chronological order from the bottom to the top so next went the Nicaragua sand,

and then the Gulfport sand.
Ahh the Nicaragua sand really breaks up the tan! Love all those layers.
And of course they all got labeled:
We are at the beach this weekend so I went ahead and labeled the spot for that sand since I had my label maker out.
I was really bummed about the first casualty, but I'm glad I went ahead and made a new one- even if the first layer is a mix. It adds to the story of our sand art right? Oh and I made sure to save the extra sand, just in case something happens to this one!

HIgh Five for Friday!

1. Luke and I are headed to Florida this weekend with my family. Josh needed to stay behind in case anything came about with his arm (he has an appointment while we are gone) and he graciously volunteered to keep Emberly while we're gone. I'm excited about being able to focus just on my little man!

2. I finally got pictures hung on our walls. It's beginning to feel like home!

3. I seriously think I've done 25 loads of laundry this week. Between washing things for consignment sales, keeping up with normal laundry, cloth diapers, and making sure we have clean laundry for our trip I definitely think my washer/dryer will be happy to see me go for a while.

4. Speaking of consignment sales... I am super excited about getting rid of some stuff and making some cash! The best part? My kids really don't need anything for the summer season which means I don't have to turn the $ around and buy more clothes!

5. Emberly is doing SUPER with baby led weaning. Her favorite foods are avocados and hummus- something her brother still won't touch. She loves to feed herself green beans, potatoes, bananas, and really anything soft enough to gum. She turned 8 months this week and still doesn't have any teeth!

Anchored and Secure

Moving creates some serious chaos. And getting pictures hung on the wall is going to be the death of me. I LOVE hanging pictures. But I HATE putting holes in the wall. And I want it all to be right the first time. And I know how ridiculous that statement is. 

When we decided to move, I was actually excited about having different and new walls to use. But as we've settled in, I realize I WANT change. I want pictures swapped out. I want frame colors changed. But all that takes time. Heck it took me 3 years to get everything right in our old house so I'm totally ridiculous thinking I'm "behind" when we've only been here a month (TODAY!). 

One thing I knew was that I wanted to fill the empty wall in our eat in kitchen. And I knew the 2 frames I wanted to use. Remember these from our old house?
Oh yeah-a throw back to how they started:
When we bought them at a thrift store, they were already fitted with picture frame wire. I did have to tweak the wires a little bit since the frames originally came with paper glued on the back. 

But in all the reading I've done in blog land over the past two or so years I've read that these wires aren't the best for big heavy frames. Especially big heavy frames over a TV. It was on my mental to-do list to swap the hangers out to a more heavy duty hanger, but I never got around to it. Until now. 

Here's what the backs looked like:
My plan was to cut the wire and trash it and still make use of the hooks (and pair them with a super duper anchor designed to hold heavy frames).

Using some wire cutters, I made the first cut and realized how blonde I really am.
Nope, that cut did absolutely nothing to help the situation. So I cut again, and again:
Much better.

Next I grabbed some heavy duty wall anchors*.
They claimed to hold 50lbs each and could drill right in to sheetrock (no studs since I needed them centered on the wall and the chance of finding a stub was slim). The screw holds the hooks which then attach to the frame hooks.

It's always a hassle to figure out where exactly to drill the holes since a good bit of measuring is involved. I did try using tape to stick on the hooks and then stick on the wall but it was really difficult to hold the frame, make sure the tape didn't stick too early and make sure the frame was level. So I went the measuring route this time.

I always find the center of the wall first. Then I knew I wanted the frames about 3 inches apart, so I measured an inch and a half over from the center-left then right. Then I figured how far over the frame hook was from the center edge. Once I had that, I measured from that hook over to the other hook and made marks on the wall. I drilled my first hole, held my breath, measured again (and double checked the level just to make sure), and drilled the second hole. That's always the moment of truth. But it worked! The second frame was harder since I had to have it level AND even with the other frame. I do the exact same thing, but I add an extra measurement- from the ceiling (or in this case crown molding) down to the top of the first frame. This helps make sure my holes are in the perfect spot.

I did mess up a hole on the second frame but it will be covered by the frame hopefully forever. Anchors leave pretty big holes so that's a good thing it'll be covered. Over all the anchors have worked perfectly (the frames have been up over a week)!!

I am planning to swap that family portrait out when we get family photos taken this spring! Poor Emmie gets left out for now.

Oh and don't be fooled- we still have piles and piles and boxes sitting around. This just happened to be the worst corner of the house. We had terrible wind/rain and half our living room got wet, so we had to quickly move the framed pictures/cardboard boxes away from the window.
I do think it's funny that this wall makes these frames look so much smaller! Our ceilings are SO HIGH here! I would love to get a buffet or hutch to fill the space underneath eventually- you know- when all those piles are gone.

*Contains affiliate links. Read my disclosures here.

Some photo love

I'm always looking for new ways to help me organize and control the photo chaos that is my life. In a way digital photography has changed my life for the good- but holy organization! I'm no stranger to organizing photos, and I've shared some previous woes/solutions here, here, here, here. But I have found something that has revolutionized the way I'll print iPhone pictures from now on.

Meet PhotoAffections. Also known as Free Prints. Meow. Or since I really don't like cats- Woof.
I came across this as an ad on Facebook. I figured checking it out wouldn't hurt, so I downloaded the app (called Free Prints in the app store). It got awesome reviews and it claimed FREE PRINTS!

Pretty much it accesses your iPhone (or I guess any phone's?) camera roll.  You click the pictures you want to print, and you're practically done! The only catch is you pay shipping. BUT no more than $9.99. You get up to 80 something free 4x6 prints a MONTH. I ordered about 50 and paid around $7 for shipping. Shipping is calculated based on how many photos you order.

It's more expensive to go this route than a photocenter like Walgreens or Walmart, but since it pulls them RIGHT OFF MY PHONE, it was totally work the extra $$! And I'm sure this isn't the only app to do this... but it's the one that I found found me.
It also prints Instagram prints, but you have to pay for those- I think it was 49cents each for 5x5.

I was absolutely thrilled with the quality when they came in the mail! I went ahead and printed the last half of last year's pictures so I can finish my 2013 Project Life binder! And I see myself using this easy app to keep up with pictures throughout the year! iPhone pictures were the one area of photo organization that I just hadn't nailed, but the 4x6 quality is phenomenal! And you know I wasn't perked or paid to talk about this. Just passing on a great product when I find one!

High Five for Friday!

Really can't believe it's Friday again... and I think this is my first High Five post this year!

1. My cousin Catherine came to visit this week from Rhode Island. It's been great having her here! Of course we've done the touristy thing with her including taking a day trip to Toccoa. I must say it was nice to visit but I'm glad to be gone. Hoping to make a trip to the outlets this weekend too!

2. We are feeling way more settled this week. I started hanging pictures on the wall and clearing out piles from corners. It feels so good to find a place for everything. 

3. Got to catch up with another dear friend this past Wednesday. We went to lunch and caught up with all life's events. It's nice to pick right up where we left off. 

4. Luke started back preschool this week. It was so nice to fall back into a routine (of course I miss the lazy days too). Of course he didn't have school Tuesday because of the weather, and on Thursday it took us 1.5 hours to get to preschool because of a horrendous accident on 75. It's typically a 25 minute drive and to say I was OVER TRAFFIC is a total understatement! 

5. Josh is still home. He hasn't worked since Christmas week and although I LOVE having him home, it's so weird because we both know how unnatural that is! We're still waiting on authorization for a MRI to confirm or deny if his hand/arm is broken. At this rate, since he's already in a cast, it'll be healed by the time he gets the MRI. Hoping the paperwork can work out so we can go back to normal life. 

Paint Problems

One of my absolute least favorite things to do is to choose a paint color. I mean I love it and hate it all at the same time. There is absolutely nothing worse than finally choosing a color and then getting it slathered up on the wall and it not being at all what you thought. 

I concluded that one of the reasons I hated it so much was because I hate keeping up with paint chips. You know the drill... go to the store grab 3-4. Get home, none are what you want. Go back get more.... So to put that madness to rest I saved myself a little time (and money) and purchased a paint deck. I got mine on ebay for 50% off the retail price (it ended up being $17ish). It was brand new in the wrapper. 
I really like Behr paint. I pretty much stick to it except the one time I made a terrible mistake and went to Sherwin Williams and was totally disappointed with the water paint/primer combo and the other time when Home Depot clearanced their Martha Stewart paint. Other than that I pretty much always go with Behr.

Also I rarely buy samples. There's just something annoying about getting samples mixed and having to go back. Granted it's annoying to buy the wrong color too, so I'm torn in that department. When we painted the outside of our house I got 2 samples (which if I were being totally honest I couldn't tell the difference and ended up choosing the color that I thought had the prettiest name- surely I'm not the only one who has ever done that?), and when I had to choose the perfect shade of red for our last house's master bath I grabbed a sample. Didn't want any fire engine walls going on. Those are the only samples I've bought. Ever.

Another paint issue I have is NEEDING to get color on the walls without thinking through everything else that needs to go in the room. So I'm taking it easy in this house and figuring the room out first and THEN choosing a color. It may take longer at first, but will hopefully save me time and frustration later on. There is nothing more frustrating than settling on a paint color and not being able to find curtains, fabrics, or rugs to match!

Yet another problem is finding lovely colors all over pinterest that I HAVE TO HAVE ALL OVER MY HOUSE, color matching it to my beloved Behr paint and then repainting becomes an absolute headache. Trust me-I learned this the hard.way. I don't care what the stores say about how accurate or perfect their colormatchingjedi skills are, they could all use a little fine tuning. Let me explain...

One issue I ran into in our Toccoa house was falling head over heels over the color Gray Horse by Benjamin Moore. I am totally not at the point where I can pay $50 a gallon for paint at BM so I had it colormatched to Behr paint. Then I needed another gallon. So I had it color matched again using... wait for it... the EXACT same barcode that they used to match the previous gallon. When I put it on the wall right next to the other gallon's paint guess what? IT WASN'T THE SAME COLOR. I almost cried. I was so frustrated, tired and beyond the point of caring. I blamed it on terrible lighting, some pregnancy hormones, and threw some frames over it and made sure the curtains stayed just so so no one would ever notice. True story.Except I was too far over it to mention it in the big reveal. Because I mean I had just spent a week painting my house. Didn't really want to succumb to failure.

Getting a paint deck long ago would have literally saved that headache... because my friends, I figured out how to do my own paint matching. You can call this Caroline's amazingly awesome colormatching skillzzzz.

Enter one of my most favorite colors ever. It was an Olympic color that we had colormatched at Home Depot. I almost feel like the C word is becoming a bad word around here. The paint is actually HD's but the color was Lowes (see how cray things got in that house?). We used this color in our old office that then became Emberly's old room. BTW I store my paint in mason jars with the lids labeled. More on that here. The sticker on the lid is NOT the color of the contents inside.
I am debating whether or not to do an accent wall or 2 in our new house. It may happen it may not, time will tell. But here's what I did. To avoid the store colormatching nightmare all together I simply painted a little piece of paper and held it up to my paint deck and flipped through until I found a pretty similar color. Voila! I know, total let down right? You were probably thinking I had some huge amazing revelation to reveal. Point being- I loved the original color, and I wanted to find one almost exactly the same. Obs I won't use the old color to touch up or anything crazy- it's just the basic color I was going for.

The color I landed on Mississippi Mud. Quite fitting in a home with a Mississippi boy. Now I know that if I want that color in my house (and need more than the quart of Oyster Shell) then Mississippi Mud it will be. NOT a custom color match.
Enter my arch nemesis:
I absolutely LOVED this color when I painted our master bath with it a few years back. And I used it again in Emberly's gray/pink nursery, and again in the rest of our house. And besides how the 2 gallons mixed terribly (looking blue in some lights green in others), it dried noticeably green in our living room (almost a sagey light green). Which is funny because I had this color for over a year in our master bath and it NEVER looked green in there. It's amazing how paint really does play tricks. For the record I'm not really a green girl. I really don't like green at all (at least not in huge doses). And I was sad that this color that I loved so much just wasn't working anymore.

And what finally sealed the deal is when I held it up to my paint deck that had gray with black undertones. I always look to the bottom color on the paint chip to see what the base/undertone color is. Sometimes gray has blue in it, other times it has black. Side by side Gray Horse really does look green; and if I had my paint deck I would have noticed that! I want to keep Emberly's room the same color scheme (pink/gray in the new house) so I decided to go with "Gentle Rain" by Behr. It's the second one down.
I'm telling you, my paint choices were a hot mess. In Emberly's nursery in our old house I had a color called Powered Pink by Glidden. Again I had it matched but this time I went with Sherwin Williams paint because I had a coupon (which still ended up being more expensive than Behr). I mentioned that saga earlier in the post. I really wanted the same pink shade in her new room because all her bedding is that pink and so are her curtains. 

I obviously wasn't going the SW's route again. So I did the same thing. Painted a piece of paper and held it up to my paint deck. The top 2 colors actually looked exactly the same. I got Josh's eye to agree and he totally agreed. So what to do when that happens?
I look down the rest of the card (or choose the one with the prettier name- just kidding <--- actually I'm really not kidding). See how the top swatch has more red undertones than the one underneath that has more peach/orange undertones? I want a red/pink. Not a peachy pink, so I went with the top card, top color called Powdered Blush.
It's amazing to me how light/peach it looks here, but how pink it was in real life.

My whole stick with one brand has already proven itself effective at the new house. My first project was to paint Luke's room. When we walked through the house and I asked if he was "SO EXCITED about his new house" he looked at me and said "Yeah, I like it, but it doesn't have a blue room for me." I'll show before and afters later, but I chose a Behr color and got one gallon mixed thinking it would be enough. I was only painting three walls, but I didn't take into account how high ceilings are in this house AND that I wanted to paint the ceiling too. I had to run back to the store and grab another gallon, and when I painted with the 2nd gallon, you can't even tell where I left off. I was seriously nervous after the Gray Horse ordeal. And thrilled with the results.

So although a little lengthy those are some lessons I've learned from a paint matching practically an entire house and being frustrated most of the way. Didn't want to make those same mistakes here. Maybe you're not as crazy as I was, but I figured I'd share a few lessons learned along the way!

Housekeeping

I shared our new home tour here and mentioned at the end that I would soon have a list of what we plan to do here at our new abode.

For being a pretty new build this house has alot of character and charm, but it still has alot of builder grade boringness. It's my goal that while we're here we make it cozy and homey. On to the to-do list:

Luke's room:
-Paint. I've already done three walls blue and the ceiling the same shade, but I'm planning to do an accent wall on the window wall.
-Get his curtains up.
-Swap out his light. Our house is boob light central- we must have been the first stop on that train. It's over the top how many boob lights are in this house. I'd like to put a fan in there- we are in the deep south y'all!
-Do something fun in his closet. He has the most awesome closet ever. It's HUGE. And I want to make it fun.
-Hang his wall stuff. The only hurdle I have when arranging his room is knowing that he's going to outgrow his bed in the near future. So I need to keep his big boy bed in mind as I do things (like make a bunch of holes in the wall).

Emberly's room:
-Paint. I barely started cutting in and then we moved in. There's still alot to paint in there. Like Luke's room I'm going to paint three walls pink (along with the ceiling) and do the window wall gray. Her curtains are gray/pink so I feel like the gray wall will really make them pop.
-Speaking of curtains, I'm sure she's getting tired of the blankets hanging by thumb tacks... need to get those rods up STAT.
-Add a light in her closet. It annoys me that Luke's closet has a light and hers doesn't. Her closet is much smaller than his, but it would still function well.
-Swap out the light. Surprise! There's a boob light in here too. I'm thinking of putting in a chandelier.
-I'd like to paint her closet (pink like the old house) and do something whimsical in there.
-Hang her wall stuff. Her room is smaller so I pretty much already have a plan.

Kid's bathroom-
I know my color scheme in here is going to be navy/green but that's about as far as I've thought. I would like to paint in there, but there aren't any windows so I need to wait to be inspired by a color. I may go lighter/neutral and accessorize with bright pops of color. Still pondering. Like I said, I'm still really up in the air about everything.

Our bedroom/bathroom-

For now I'm keeping it tan with red accents. That's what our old house was and it worked. I would love to do something totally different down the line (lots of whites, grays, blues, greens), but for now It's at the bottom of the priority list. I already have a ton of red accessories and red is slightly romantic ;).

Laundry closet-
-Paint or put up some kind of wallpaper. Josh already said no to the wallpaper, but I think I can convince him if I find the perfect stuff.
-Rework the shelving. Right now there's just 1 wire shelf running the whole length. I'd love to have various shelves and maybe a cabinet. There's alot of wasted space above the shelf that could probably be used more efficiently.

Hall/Entryway/Foyer-

It's a total mind shift to have all this wall space. I didn't have a foyer or entryway in our old house. So I'm really having to brainstorm.
-I'd love to do some sort of accent wall on the very first wall you see when you walk in. It would break up all the tan and add some depth, but I worry that it would make the space feel smaller. Still thinking that through.
-Stain the stair rails. Right now the part you hold on to as you walk down is oak colored. It's pretty, especially since this is a craftsman style house and the front door is pretty much the same color (and I can't change that). Between the door, railings, and hardwood floors it's alot of oak wood. I think a rich dark espresso stain would do alot to ground the whole staircase and tie in all the Oil Rubbed Bronze hardware!
-Photos! Lots of them. I don't want an entire wall all the way up (the stairs twist three times), but something to add interest. I also have a very specific plan for a "family" wall on one of the angled walls upstairs.

Half bath-
-This room has wainscoting already installed and I LOVE it. I want to do a deep, dark, rich color up top. Like Peacock blue or deep Navy blue. I'm trying to find the perfect hand towels and then I'll choose a color after I do.

Playroom (Dining room)-
-Lot's of plans in here! First we need to figure out a light. There's a chandelier in there. We've considered a fan since we'll be in there ALOT. Something we can take down when we want to sell and put the chandy back up. To save us some time we may keep the chandelier (Josh has already put it higher)... who knows. We'll probably wait until summer to decide.
-Paint. I'm torn because as much as I want to make it fun, it is also the first room you see when you walk in our house. So I need to keep it calm. Maybe do a fun sky blue on the ceiling  and then a dark gray on the walls since there's crown molding to break it up? The room is bright with 2 entrances and lots of light.
-I'm going to create very specific zones- a play zone with lots of cubbies for toys, a drawing/art table, a reading corner... and lots of little projects along the way.

Kitchen-

-This space doesn't really need anything. It's beautiful as is! I am planning on painting a small wall over the desk a darker brown. It's tan now and sticks out like a sore thumb. Stay tuned.

Eating area- (still don't have pictures!)
-Not too much planned but to hang stuff on the wall and clear the boxes of clutter from the corner. Eventually I would like to get a buffet to put on the wall to house placemats, serving trays, etc... then again I don't just want to buy furniture because we have the room because it'll be more to move later.

Living room-
-Again so much of it is already perfect. Our furniture from our old house fits perfectly. I still love our area rug and coffee table.
-I'm considering an accent wall where the fire place is? Something to make it pop more. I don't really want to paint downstairs since I really like the tan/neutral it is, but I love accent walls!
-Built-ins. Because of how they installed the fire place it juts out from the main wall and creates the perfect corners for built-ins. Now to save some pennies for that project!!

Basement-

-Get my sewing/craft stuff organized. I want to get more stuff on Etsy, Teachers Pay Teachers and Ebay, so I need to space to work! Already done alot that I'll share soon.
-This is also Josh's manland, so there won't be much to style. He'll just be happy to have some space and wall space to put his manly stuff.
-There's a closet nook but it doesn't have a door or any shelves. Although we're torn on adding a door, we have definitely thrown out the idea to put shelves. It holds my holiday boxes, project materials, and wrapping paper.

Garage- (no pictures here yet!)
-There's an awesome nook/corner under the stairs that are in desperate need of more shelves somehow. It's the only way to maximize all that space.
-We would love to include some sort of workbench for Josh to work down there. He has all his "toys"- tools, saws, etc. A flat area to work would be awesome!
-Bikes need to be hung, baby clothes need to be moved, and general garage stuff (beach toys/towels, camping stuff, etc.) needs to be organized. Stay tuned!

I think we have our work cut out for us! I'm excited to get started (actually we've already started) and I am itching to get some things hung up on these bare walls! I don't think I've ever let blank walls sit this long!

Reflecting

As I reflect back on 2013 all I can remember are the emotions. Panic and shock, disbelief and disappointment, absolute thanksgiving and joy.

I was really looking forward to 2013. The one thing we knew for certain as we rang in New Year's last year was that we'd have a baby. What I didn't realize then is that 2013 would be packed with a whole heck of a lot more. It was New Years Day last year that I decided I wanted to stay home. And I never thought this is how it would all turn out. And I'm thankful that this is how it has turned out. When I think about 2013 my first thought is "what a terrible year!" Yet last year had so much good packaged inside too. New life, new blessings.

As Josh put it in my anniversary card- this has been a year of seconds.

It's like we went back to the fellowship meal line of life and asked the Lord for more. And He provided.

A second child. A second home. A second job. A second chance.

And all this year I think I've made it clear how blessed we feel, but I don't think I made it clear how thankful we were for family during this time.

You know when all is said and done, besides our faith, our family is really all we have. When we are on our death beds, we're not going to want that perfect job or that amazing car. We'll want each other.

I am beyond grateful that my parents rearranged their whole life for us to crash their place for almost five months. They handed over two rooms and a bathroom for us to live in. And I'm sure at times they felt like their home was a storage unit. It was like the world's longest sleepover for Luke. Although most people don't see this as an ideal situation, it worked. And it helped especially since Emberly has taken a while to catch on to this sleeping thing.

Over the past five months we've made some pretty amazing memories. Memories we probably wouldn't have if we hadn't been there. My dad and Luke "goofed" almost every night. They'd go play "robot" or some other boy game which pretty much consisted of Luke jumping on the bed- something his parents would never let him do. He'd shout out of the room "NO GIRLS ALLOWED" when I'd try to peek my head in to catch a glimpse. Mom took him for ice cream some Friday nights. He slept on their floor every Sunday night. And lemme tell you- the boy looked forward to it every night- "wait mommy! Is today Sunday night??" (on a random Thursday or Friday night). He got to explore their backyard and "build a fire" which consisted of collecting every stick on their property and putting it meticulously in a pile. They got to see Emberly grow before their eyes, and I know that even on the nights when she screamed the whole night that they were grateful to be able to walk through that fire with us.

They saw everything unfold before their eyes when it came to the house hunt. They were with us around the dinner table to talk about the events of the day; whether there was new news or not. There were logistics to handle like who would cook, and buy groceries, and we played plenty of washing machine tag. But at the end of the day we worked like well oiled machine. Dinner was on the table most every night. I am going to miss someone always being home. I really only had one day of stay-at-home momness while we were there. My mom was off Sat-Sun, dad off Sun-Mon, mom worked at home Tues, Josh was off Wed-Thurs, and then Friday was my only alone day (the day I declared as Pajama Day). It's going to be weird to actually spend most  of my days alone now. I'm so thankful for that time with my parents and although we don't miss stepping all over each other, I am beyond blessed that they were there for us.

And as we go into a new year I'm going to resolve to not make any resolutions; I figured that way I won't be disappointed if I can't keep them. As hard as last year was, it was the stepping stone for this year; this new chapter in our life!

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