Recapping 2015!


Hello sweet friends! It has been A LONG TIME! We are all still alive and well and happy and healthy. Could I ask for anything else?

I thought it would be fun to look at my goals for 2015 and update how we did. So often we set goals and by the middle of January they have totally fallen by the wayside.

Here was my 2015 post with my goals.

Let's just say I failed miserably in some ways, but really succeeded in others! Isn't that the fun of it? While I wish I could meet all my goals all the time, a year is a long time and I feel content with what I/we accomplished.

1. We set out to rework our budget. Josh is SO GOOD with our budget, and we went over our categories and reworked our spending. I read Dave Ramsey's book and realized that we practically already do what he suggests. If something wasn't working, we changed it.

I LOVE the blog Living Well, Spending Less. If you don't follow her on Instagram, you should. I purchased her book at the beginning of last year and I really enjoy what she says! She is down to earth, has struggled, still struggles, but has great advice. And she loves Target and Starbucks. We also followed along with her Living Well Spending Zero in October. She updates IG with details of different challenges and it's super fun.

2. Meal Plan. I actually have been doing GREAT in this area! I am planning weekly and usually make my plan Sunday afternoon and quickly run to the store to stock up on our needs. I TRY to only shop once a week. Life is just too busy to go any more frequently. Some weeks I am better at meal planning, but overall I would say I did much better this year than last. I feel so much less stressed during the day when there is a plan for dinner. There are weeks that I wing it: i.e. didn't have time to make it to the store or those weird weeks where a lot is going on, and I feel much more pressure those weeks.

3. Sell stuff. Boy oh boy did we do this! If we didn't use it, we sold it. My goal put us saving right at $1,000. At the last count we are at $700, BUT we use this money to pay for babysitters, goodwill trips, and Emberly's speech and physical therapy. So it is kind of a revolving door. I'll occasionally find a dresser or desk at goodwill for cheap and I'll flip it and sell it locally, so I use the cash for that then replenish the cash with what I made on it. We have 2 more projects in the basement in progress. I figured it took a significant load off of paying babysitters since it came from here and not the ATM. After saving $200, we'd deposit it and continue on. I LOVE this system and it will definitely continue this next year. More on that later.

4. Blog more. You guysssss. I was literally shocked after not touching the blog for 4 months to see the page views. I was expecting a big fat goose egg. I seriously didn't even want to look. But I did and I hate that I am such a slacker and procrastinator and haven't written in so long because you are STILL THERE. Thank you! Life just got so busy. I have blogged twice since I started teaching preschool. My mind and body are just exhausted from teaching, running from drop off line to the bus stop, running my Etsy shop, selling Younique, and working part time at our church. I love everything but it just makes life so crazy. BUT in these few months that I've taken to reflect, I have decided that I MISS blogging. And that while I may never be posting 4xs a week, I need to post minimum once a week. MINIMUM. For my mental health. I love it!

5. Organize and declutter. I'll be honest. I haven't even looked at the pages I printed last new years, nor have I set up an official system. BUT I do feel like I have become a more organized person in some ways. For some crazy reason things that have never bothered me (having a sink full of dirty dishes) DRIVES ME CRAZY NOW. I have even managed to make the bed a majority of the week. Laundry is still the thorn in my side. I just can't get it together. I've tried the 1 day a week method, the 3 day a week method, and then 2 week method. lol. Nothing helps. I just procrastinate. But as far as closets and drawers, and stuff- this has been a good year. That new kitchen faucet doesn't hurt ;)

We had a rough start to 2015 with our dog dying and then my husband losing his job BUT as we sat around the Christmas tree Christmas morning we couldn't stop saying how this seemed to be the best Christmas yet. Not stuff wise. But our kids had such a good morning playing and just taking in the day. It was magical.

I'll see you next year! And I PROMISE to be a more frequent flier. Seriously.

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Powder Room Update!

When it comes to picking a paint color, I am usually the worst. I LOVE paint, but there are times I regret my decisions so I make it ten times harder than it should be.

This room was the exception. When we walked through before we even put an offer on this house, this room screamed "NAVY" to me! I'm honestly not even sure why? I loved the bead board and how bright the whole space felt. But something about a regal navy against all that white just did something to my soul.

Here is where we started:
Is it any shock that this room was tan? Bleh. I have embraced the tan in rooms I'm not quite ready to paint, but this space was itching for something different.

I used Behr's Ultra Premium Plus paint in Regatta Bay. I actually went with this color SUPER last minute, because while I knew I wanted navy, I wasn't quite sure which tone I was looking for.
The sample looks like it's a bit more cornflower/purple. Please note that there is absolutely NO natural light anywhere remotely close to this bathroom. It is literally in the CENTER of our townhouse (that only has windows in the front and back). I edited the best I could to show true colors.
Isn't that CRAZY how colors read differently in different lights? See why I was a little panicked picking from a sample swatch? Every color I LOVED in the space, I HATED in natural light and vise versa. 

I was SMITTEN with this towel the second I saw it! I grabbed it months ago and it's been begging for a room to be put in. I would still like to add art of some sort over this towel, but I am a huge believer that if I'm not inspired, then I am not forcing it. So I'll wait for something I love!

Also a side note about the mirror. I thought SURE that before and during this process that I would want to repaint the mirror. However, I actually really like the darkness! Maybe I'm just dark and twisty (Gray's reference). We will most likely swap out the builder faucet for a farmhouse/oil rubbed bronze one eventually. 

This little shelf was a thrift store find (originally black) and the fabric/frame I've had for a while (it lived in our old master bath). I didn't redecorate this space at all. Everything came out to paint, and then back in after it dried! 

I absolutely love this little shelf that was gifted to us from a friend. It holds extra towels and morning necessities for the kids so I don't have to run up the stairs one hundred times a morning. 

It's important to see that I painted the ceiling the same blue as the walls. This is a TOUGH call. Our entire house's ceilings are painted the same color as the walls (even when there is crown moulding). I painted our master ceiling the color of the moulding, but everything else I have left the same. This room doesn't have crown, so honestly to make things easier, I just continued the color on the ceiling. I also did this in Luke's Americana room, Emberly's pink princess room, and their shared lime/navy bathroom. You would *think* that the navy would make it feel smaller. BUT it doesn't add a "cap" to the space so it seems as if the navy extends forever. 

I thought stepping back and showing this full space would give a better perspective. The entrance to this bathroom is through a tiny "hall" that has a storage closet. It's a super cute little nook. And after this facelift, I have caught myself just stopping and staring... I just LOVE it! 
I'd say 1 can of paint and 1 night's work was totally worth it! 

Death of a Pet: How we told our kids

January 2015 was ROUGH. I was actually excited about a new year, a fresh start, and new beginnings. But we were greeted with pretty much a slap across the face.

Explaining death to a 5 year old is HARD. A lot harder than I thought it would be. And we tried to approach the subject with care. Not only did we lose our dog in January, but Luke's preschool teacher (his 3's teacher) was murdered in January too. I'm sure if you're local you saw the news reports about the sweet older couple who traveled to South GA on a craigslist ad. Mrs. June was such a blessing to our family and there isn't a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for her influence.

Although these 2 events are absolutely not comparable, to a five year old losing anything is scary. We also lost a family friend in December and I felt it was appropriate to tell Luke that he went to heaven. We talk about heaven frequently... but we had no idea what January would hold for us. Here's a little back story and then I'll explain how we approached the subject with him.

How it happened...
At the beginning of this year we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog. We adopted her before we were married so she literally had been with us every day of our married life.
We were and still are devastated. Maybe because it happened so fast? She was a 50lb lab mix and pretty much had everything in her favor- she was an indoor dog, mutt, lean, small (-ish for a lab), spayed, etc. She never really had any issues (had a hurt leg from an injury when she was 2) and had 2 teeth pulled a while ago, but other than that totally fine. We expected at the MINIMUM another 3 healthy years with her.

We noticed in December that she became incredibly picky about food. We just thought maybe it was her age, or maybe her teeth hurt, or maybe she just didn't like her food anymore... we took her to the vet and they agreed everything looked good. She hadn't lost any weight, and they thought maybe her stomach was upset, so they gave us some medicine.

The 2nd weekend in January we noticed a significant slow down. She just seemed uninterested.

She was still around us downstairs, and she still got excited when we came home, but we could tell something was wrong. She was also vomiting, a lot. We realized pretty much everything she ate was coming up (in the timespan of a Friday night-Sunday night). I decided to call the vet first thing Monday morning.

By Monday it was clear that she was not well. You could tell she had lost weight and she was just listless. I had that sinking feeling all weekend that I just couldn't shake and part of me hoped Sunday night that she just wouldn't wake up so we wouldn't have to deal with making big decisions Monday morning. I was a basket case.

My biggest prayer was that we would have clear evidence to make the right decision. That sounds silly, but I didn't want to give up on her if she still had life to live. I also didn't want to extend her life selfishly. When we arrived the vet examined her and gave us 2 options. She said that they could do an X-ray and check for a blockage, or do a full panel blood test to check her organs. I wanted to do what was smartest while remembering we don't have all the money in the world. Truth was that if the blood test came back great and showed fully functioning organs, then we would have done an X-ray. But without knowing organ function she wouldn't have been able to undergo surgery. So the blood test was the most cost effective and painless way to check her status.

When the results came back my prayer had been answered (not necessarily the way any of us wanted). Her kidneys were failing. All her levels were 3 and 4 times the normal level. While we don't know what caused the kidney failure the vet said that it can simply be hereditary. Diets can also play a role, but since it came on so suddenly she leaned more toward genetics.

The vet said we could take our time making the decision, but that any type of treatment wouldn't be in her best interest. I scheduled the appointment to put her down (later that evening) and took her home for one more day.

I walked out to the van, loaded her in the back and closed the hatch NOT EVEN THINKING that I had put my purse in the back with her. Since I hadn't actually unlocked the van, when the hatch shut I had mistakenly locked my keys (and our dying dog) in the van. I was mortified, and basically melted into a puddle of tears.

All the emotions from the day and my inner perfectionist came out. I dragged myself and Emberly back into the vet. And between sobs, I explained what happened. Because of all the new technology, I'm not supposed to be able to lock my keys in. I have a keyless start, and it can sense the key in the vehicle so if I try to lock the fob in all the doors unlock and the horn goes off. So the fact that I had just locked my keys (and the dying dog) in the van was enough to make me really confused.

The vet assured me that this happens all the time (yeah right) and since there was a pet in the car the fire department would come unlock it for free. They will also do this if you mistakenly lock your kids in. Who knew?
Sure enough they showed up, and while they had a difficult time opening it, they managed to get in through the passenger door. They told me that it was a VERY secure vehicle! Of course I was crying and at first I'm sure they thought I was the crazy lady, but after explaining our day they were very sympathetic. They all gave Sadie a head rub and wished us the best. I mean, at least Sadie's last day was incredibly exciting!

All this time Luke was at school and I was rushing to make it to pickup on time. This is when I had to tell him HOW sick she was. I could have waited until after she was gone, but I felt that since he would likely remember this, I wanted to give him the chance to say goodbye.

We hugged and kissed and loved on her the whole day. She was NEVER allowed on furniture (although I'm sure she'd sneak a nap when we weren't home), so we let her rest on the chair the whole day. She didn't budge.

I told him that she was sick and would most likely be going to heaven soon. As the afternoon turned into the evening, it became more clear to me that we were making the best decision for her. Someone told me that loving them means knowing when to say goodbye. That comment brought me INCREDIBLE peace (so thank you beautiful friends).

Josh got home from work and knew what had to happen. Our appointment was for 5:50pm. He took her out for a walk one last time and then I told Luke that she was going back to the vet. We did NOT talk about "putting her to sleep" and we didn't say that he "wouldn't see her again". I also didn't make false promises like "Give her kisses, she'll be home soon". In his mind she was simply going back to the vet.

At his age I don't want him to think "we killed her" or that anything was "premeditated". That feels weird typing that. He doesn't understand that putting her to sleep is the kindest and best thing that we could have done for her.

We told him she was going back to the vet because she was VERY sick. I told him that there was a chance she may go to heaven and that he needed to say goodbye. He hugged and kissed her and told her that he loved her. It was precious. And while I thought he was going to have a hard time, it didn't affect him nearly as bad as I thought it would.

The absolute hardest part for me was the fact that Sadie didn't want to get in the car. It was like she knew what was about to happen. She stopped at the threshold of the house and garage and wouldn't budge. She LOVED going for car rides and it was as if she knew she was leaving and never coming back. I lost it.

Luke asked me multiple times the next few days "why I was crying" and I'd simply answer: "I just miss Sadie."

Josh took her and stayed with her the whole time. While neither of us REALLY wanted to be there, we knew one of us HAD to be there. There was no choice really. When you love something that much, you can't walk away during the hard times. #10 hits me in the feels- big time. Josh said I wouldn't have made it. It was way harder than he ever anticipated.


Thankfully Luke was on his way to bed when Josh got home. I prayed that he wouldn't realize that Josh came home without our dog. And he didn't. Luke is VERY perceptive, and asks ALOT of questions and I didn't want to beat around the bush that night (simply because of my emotional state), but I also didn't want to scare him before going to sleep.

What we said...
The next morning he realized that Sadie wasn't there and asked about her. I told him that she went to heaven last night. He asked "what happens when you die?" and I just said that Sadie closed her eyes and went to sleep. I told him she wasn't in pain, and that she no longer felt icky.

And that was it. He never asked what happened to her body, or any details about her death. I am incredibly thankful for that. My best advice is to let them lead the conversation. I fear that I would have said too much if I had led the conversation.

We chose to have Sadie cremated. We decided this before she actually passed so the cremation people would be there to immediately take her body. And looking back, I don't think either of us would have emotionally been able to bury her. My parents offered a spot in their huge back yard, but we wanted to have her with us and bury her eventually at our "forever home". We don't have a yard here.

I made sure to only make/take phone calls between the vet and cremation place while Luke was in school or asleep. Again he hears EVERYTHING and would have asked more questions based on those conversations. The place that cremated her (Dreamland for locals. It's an amazing place!) sent out a VERY good email with how to talk to kids about death and cremation. Also the receptionist who I talked to a few times was so caring and understanding and asked if we had kids and if I had any questions. The premise of the email was not to talk about "fire or burning" but to leave it to "reducing the body to ashes" and terms like that... someday I'm sure Luke will realize that he never knew what actually happened, and I am ready for those questions (more now than I was when it happened). But he is not old enough to fully comprehend what really happened.

When we brought "the box" home, Luke did notice and he asked what it was... and I simply said "a new decoration." I felt that saying: "Sadie" or "our dead dog" would have been oversharing and could scare him more. So until he can fully comprehend death I am sticking to that!

How we're dealing now...
Overall it wasn't NEARLY as hard as I thought it would be. Because we believe in heaven (whether animals end up there or not) he was fully satisfied with that answer. And for that I am thankful! In the months that have followed he has mentioned her a few times. I want him to remember her and the memories he had with her so we still keep her in conversations. Like "remember when she used to chase the tennis ball up that hill?" or "remember when she would bark every time a truck would pass?" We've kept her pictures up in our house and he'll randomly say "I miss Sadie."
I promised Sadie on her death bed that we would give another the same chance she got. My mom gave me that perspective. You love them until it's their time and then you love another.

We added a new furball to our home last month. It was nice giving ourselves a break from a dog for a while (they are pretty high maintenance-- especially puppies) but it was time for a new one. We also adopted Ella from the Humane Society. She is also a lab mix, but after her visit to the vet he is almost sure she is a Belgian Malinois (pronounced Mal-in-wah). They are shepherd dogs and kin of the German Shepherd. They are becoming increasingly popular for police and military dogs (although we didn't know that when we got her). We fell inlove with the brownish/red dog in a shopping cart. We went to the Human Society's adoption day and her foster brought her in and we grabbed her before they even had a chance to put her in the cages. It was love at FURst sight ;) .
So, we're starting over. Potty and crate training. And we get to love another! She is training incredibly well (sits, lays down, and has starting ringing her bells when she has to potty). She is full of life. I can't wait to watch the kids grow up with her! 

a simple facelift and a pretty summer porch

While our home still feels so new to us, I have to constantly remind myself that it is pushing 8 years old. I know that's not OLD by any means, but some places are showing their age.

Our porch definitely needed some attention. Our HOA turned our decks and windows/doors over to us last year, but our siding and roof still belong to them. They repainted all the siding last year which was a happy surprise, and the roof still look great. But our porch had seen better days.

We actually use it a good bit. I typically bring my groceries in the front door (since our only other entrance is through the garage/basement). We also have summer dinners out here (it faces east so it's incredibly comfortable on summer nights). Also sometimes the kids play out front so I'll sit here and watch them.

After the long winter and nasty spring pollen, the porch was looking a little... tired. #pollenprints
The wood porch was past due for a good cleaning and a coat of paint/stain. The decking of the porch that is covered was in pretty great shape but the steps were pitiful. The front door also needed to be polished.
I used a product called Scott's Liquid Gold on our front door. A few of our neighbors have given up with the "real wood" upkeep and have painted the doors a wood color. BUT I have found that the polish REALLY livens it up. I have to polish it about 3 times a summer and once in the spring after the winter since it dries out. It really does make the world of difference!
The paint/stain we used was from Behr. It's called "Solid Color Wood Stain" and the color was Chocolate. A neighbor actually gave it to us. Since we live in a townhouse community all the porches on our row are made out of the same stain/color. So we help each other out ;) He moved and left us the paint since we mentioned once that we wanted to do something similar. It also gave us an idea of what it would look like since we could see the finished product on his house!
It went on as dramatic as this picture looks ^^

You know how you don't realize how bad something ACTUALLY looks until you make it pretty and then look back at the before? I couldn't believe how badly the deck was in need of a fresh coat until it was finished. WOW!
This paint/stain was nice because we didn't have to sand anything. We just cleaned the boards really well and brushed it on. No wiping necessary. It was dry to the touch within minutes and I was able to walk on it a few hours later. We let it sit overnight before moving the furniture back.

(I had AWESOME luck last year with geraniums, so I'm hoping for the same luck this year! The porch faces east so it gets intense morning sun but is gorgeous in the afternoon). 

Speaking of furniture...
We kept the bistro set and I trashed the old green covers that weren't doing this porch justice. I grabbed a few summery throw pillows instead. Much better! (and if you look close enough we hadn't finished the far side- that is done now though ;) )

The door freshly polished looks stunning! I am planning on keeping the Americana decorations up until July 4th. Then I'll swap it out for something more bright and summery.
And for a full view...

Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me, you've never failed and you won't start now....

It's way past time for an update on life. Here goes nothing...

There are days when I feel as though life isn't suppose to be this hard. There are days/months/years that just stink. Anyone else?

As we've plowed through Hebrews 12, along with Daniel and Abraham in our sermon series, I have been lost in deep thought. Sorry if I've seemed out of orbit; spacey even. We've been learning about starting, stopping, staying, and going and how that relates to "My Story." And while sometimes it's easier to "go" when instead you should stay, I've found that going is more difficult than staying. At least how it relates to our situation.

Maybe it's my extreme dislike of change.

It has caused me to reflect on the last few years. How we were SO SURE we were making the right decision to go. And we did. We quit amazing jobs (when I was 9 months pregnant), uprooted our family, left friends, and our home. We said goodbye to familiar and embraced unfamiliar. Through that there has never been a shadow of a doubt that going was the right step. But why has life still been hard? Like REALLY hard?

One year. My husband has been in excruciating pain for a year. If you've never really been around someone in chronic pain then be grateful. It's incredibly difficult to watch. I have prayed for healing, for tolerance to endure.  I have prayed for peace. That if things aren't going to get better that we will have the strength to keep going. 

There are so many places to point the finger... bad knees, his broken/not broken arm incident from a galvanized trashcan being hurled at him, an injury from a self defense class he took, lifting children who have always been in the >95+% for weight... whatever. Knowing the cause doesn't lessen the pain. 

He has been hurting. Really hurting. We have spent THOUSANDS of dollars seeking relief. And that's with awesome insurance. It's exhausting. Adjustments, needles, traction devices, medication (lots and LOTS of medication) MRIs, and the list goes on.

Oh and the clincher? He could no longer perform his duties as a Correctional Officer in the amount of pain he was in. To do so would be a physical danger. It's not something he was able to "grin and bear it". And the job left him zero flexibility to get better. In order to go to a doctor appointment he had to take the whole day off. When you have 2-3 appointments a week, that gets arduous.

I'm a stay at home mom. He's the bread winner. If he doesn't work, we don't get paid.

My flesh says... why? Why did we uproot EVERYTHING to end up at a dead end. At a job that he isn't able to perform. Surely God knew. He knows everything. So why lead us here? Why the physical pain and heartache?

But God ALWAYS provides. Right?

I'll admit. I wasn't exactly the poster child/wife as we navigated these muddy waters. I was upset. Betrayed almost. Not by my husband. In a way I felt betrayed by God (no matter how hard I tried to tell myself otherwise). Why would He would allow these circumstances to happen? He knows my fears. So why would he allow one of my biggest fears to happen?

Again.

Most people don't face these uncertainties in their life, so why us? Twice in 2 years seems unfathomable. I had to change my prayers from "God please heal my husband" to
                       

But as I've taken our sermon series to heart I have realized that to be led somewhere doesn't ensure peace. Abraham was CLEARLY called by God. Yet his trouble didn't disappear when he decided to go. He still faced the enemy. He still had to overcome trials.

Thank you Lord for that; ointment in my wound. 

See when we decided that Josh could no longer physically be at work, he began first using his paid leave. 12 days. We had 12 days of pay left. 12 days to figure out our future and to hopefully make the right decision. 12 days to cover 2 mortgages, 2 car payments, and life's necessities.

Sometime around the beginning of leave, I got a call from our tax lady. We weren't excited about taxes simply because 2014 was a year of new beginnings. We try to set our finances up so we do not received a tax return (you do realize that's YOUR money to begin with right?). Federal and state usually end up balancing out and we usually owe nothing or very little. It was the first year I was home for the whole year, he was at his job, and I had my embroidery business and the part time job at our church. We had NO IDEA how it would all work.

My heart was literally pounding when she called.

And at a time when I felt completely hopeless, with 12ish days of pay remaining... we found out that not only did we get a tax return, but our tax return was enough to cover a complete month of income. Praise Him. 

I was shocked, speechless, and so thankful. Not that a month of income is nearly enough to survive on... BUT it showed me that the Lord was watching. He cares about the details. He knew what that meant to me and He sent enough of a blessing for me to be assured that he was going to provide. I had to step back and let Him. 

Oh my flesh ached during those two weeks. I wanted Josh to not feel like a failure. I wanted to make ends meet. I wanted to know that things were going to be ok. I'd wake up every morning with that sense of dread. Like a wet blanket washed over every thought. Ultimately it wasn't about the money or the job. I wanted my husband to be doing something he loved. To feel worth in his career. To be able to provide.

And just like Abraham had battles to fight, we have an enemy to fight. An enemy who wants to steal joy and destroy lives. The enemy knows our weakness.

Yet when we turn to the Lord in our time of need, we do something the enemy never did. 

Something I've always admired about my husband is how he surrounds himself with people who build him up. Two years ago when we rode that roller coaster, he counseled with people who truly cared and wanted what was best for him. They asked him hard questions; and he clung to every word. The absolutely crazy thing? EVERYONE told him the same thing. The thing I was pushing against. Since then I have completely questioned my motives. And as I try to figure out why I tend to hold on until the very last second, I have realized that change is still my biggest weakness.

While I internalize my emotions and handle them inside my head, he externalizes them. So talking with people is the best thing he can do for himself. During those 2 weeks of leave he had more lunch meetings, counseling sessions and coffee dates than I've had in the last year. #okmaybefiveyears But it taught me that when you surround yourself with the right people that we really do carry each other's burdens. We aren't here to do life alone.

I heard this example a few years ago and I have never forgotten it. It's the idea that everyone has a front porch that figuratively represents the space we are willing to open to others. So while people like my husband have antebellum and plantation sized front porches, I am stuck over here with a cottage sized porch (do cottages even have porches?). A porch only big enough for a select few. That doesn't mean I don't have friends. But large groups exhaust me. I have never felt the need to have a lot of friends-- I trust very few with details. I crave depth. You know, the front porch rocking chair friends. Those comfortable enough to sit and have a glass of lemonade with. My yard may be huge, with room for many, but my porch is sacred. And while I want to open myself up, and share what's on my heart, I usually don't. I was almost caught off guard by myself as we went through this difficult time and how much I just wanted to internalize EVERYTHING. How I didn't want to be around people just in case "they asked". Yet I found myself confiding in those 2 or 3 who I knew had my back. Who I know will encourage me. I can only PRAY that when they need me that I am half as supportive as they were to me.

I share this because surely I'm not the only one who struggles with this small porch phenomena.

As I watched the first week of leave pass, I began to get really nervous. Like stomach sick. I'd cry to God, knowing that He was going to provide but just not seeing the pieces coming together as quickly as I'd like. And as I sat there having a spiritual battle with myself, knowing that God doesn't work on our time, yet truly wanting what was best for us, I would hear that still small voice saying that it would all be ok. #thistooshallpass
You know, it's funny that I felt so led to add this saying in my home. It's meaning is twofold. We hung it over our front door a week before we lost our dog. And that silly little sign has been such a source of comfort. Reminding me that these tense times will pass. Life will settle again. But it also reminds me that the good times are passing too. These years are slipping like sand. And as much as I will to stop the clock, it still runs.

Tuesday April 21st was the day that we would no longer have our main source of income. Josh had a few leads. He'd been on a handful of interviews. And had one lead that seemed the most promising. Ironically it was the one he wanted the most. He was supposed to hear whether or not he was hired by 3pm Monday April 20th. The minute hand ticked gracefully by the 3 with no regard for my emotions.

At 3:47, 13 minutes before his paid leave technically ended, he got the phone call. And yet again, the Lord reminded me that He will ALWAYS provide. It was in that moment that I saw the pieces fall into place and I felt that my prayers were answered.

I call it post traumatic stress (and absolutely no disrespect to people who have been clinically diagnosed). I can't allow my heart to be totally content where we are. The feeling of the rug being pulled out from under me is all too familiar. And I don't want to be caught off guard ever again. But I have to believe that every situation in the past 2 years, even down to taking a job that didn't work out had to be part of the plan.

This new step didn't come without sacrifices. We've had to put private school plans on hold. I also will most likely be returning to some sort of full time work in the fall. What that looks like I'm still not totally sure.

But I am so thankful where we are. These amazing new friends we've made have carried us. They care.

God puts people in our lives for such a time as this. 

I'm not going to lie- the part of me that has such a difficult time trusting, is only having a more difficult time. But I am clinging to His word that requires me to trust and obey.

So the real question... has this change been for the better of our family?

Yes.

A thousand times yes. 

I truly believe that had he stayed at the prison that his back would never have gotten better; regardless of the treatment he received. When you are in a toxic situation and paralyzed by mental fear, there is no amount of treatment that will help. And let me be clear... Josh was not scared of his job. He was fearful of having to defend himself and being unable to do so. Big difference.

It's sad, but I had to hear this from his Neurologist. He told me that if Josh got in one altercation where he couldn't defend himself that the outcome might not be good. Permanent damage. Paralysis. #whyischangesohard

So where are we now?

The good news is that the doctors feel his injury is completely treatable. We just have to give him the time to be properly treated. Mentally and physically. His neurologist said that just being removed from his job environment would do him so much good.

We have opted to do Vax-D therapy at the recommendation of his Neurologist. We are 2 weeks in and he is already seeing relief. He is still on all his pain medication, but 2 weeks ago the pain meds didn't appear to be doing anything. Now he has stretches of pain free times which is HUGE.

We are so thankful for our friends who have come beside us and carried our burdens. Our church has been such source of life and truth for us. No matter how badly he was feeling he always wanted to be there greeting people and making the connections that come so naturally to him (even when I cringed at the thought of being around others). #sorrynotsorry

He has completely changed careers and is a loan officer processing mortgage loans. We are absolutely beyond grateful for this opportunity. To be given this chance means the world to us. And if you are ever in the market to buy a house or refinance, let me know! I'll get you the hookup. ;)
And yet I think that no matter how important or huge these events are to us, I remember that the bigger picture is so much greater than anything I can imagine. That this earthly pain is only for a time. Like I've said before, for each step we are only required to make the next right step. We don't know what the future holds. And while that is absolutely terrifying to my changeless nature, it's absolutely necessary if we truly want what He wants. 

Oh HEY!

Well that was an unexpected break... I'll spare you all the boring details and give you a post of "catch up" pictures instead. Our lives got a little crazy- medical issues and job situations took us on a little ride the past few months, but we are still here... breathing... barely ;) I have been super busy with Create Pretty (etsy and Facebook sales) and I am so thankful for this side gig that I have!

We got a cat! I know right? Our beloved lab, Sadie, died only 11 days into the new year. It was quite the shocker and we were all just really sad. We needed SOMETHING to care for, and Jubilee has lived up to her name. She has brought us all joy and we are so happy that she joined our family. We don't know much about her other than she's about 9 months old and was very sick back in February. All her recent vet bills gave her a clear bill of health and we are so grateful that the shelter took care of her before we could! Even when we adopted her they were so sad to see her go because she is such a sweetie.
Luke is THRIVING. He loves preschool, has learned how to read, and has been registered for Kindergarten. I got two huge thumbs up from his teacher saying he is more than ready and prepared for the big K (although I already knew that) ;) He will go to the Primary School here. Our district has 1 school for just K-1st grade and we are really excited for such a small tight knit atmosphere. 
Emberly continues to grow. She is HUGE and is definitely a toddler and no longer a baby- although she will always be my baby. She is saying WORDS. Partial sentences actually. I miss the baby years, yet look forward to every stage and communicating is definitely something I look forward to. It's nice that she can say "bowl" when she wants a snack or shakes her head yes or no when I ask her a question. 

Josh is dealing with an extraordinary amount of back pain. It's the worst watching him hurt all day every day. We met with a neurologist (this is after consulting with a chiropractor, orthopedic surgeon and having a few outpatient procedures done by a pain specialist) last week who referred him to do a therapy called Vax-D at a neurochiropractor. His pain is not muscle pain, but nerve pain. We are really hoping for some relief. He hates doctors and taking medicine and that's all he's done for the last year. Prayers that this situation improves are coveted. 
No worries- there hasn't been a shortage of DIY projects around here! And I have been documenting to share on the blog shortly. Our master bedroom is the main focus currently and we are in the middle of painting an accent wall, the bathroom, nightstand overhaul, possibly the bathroom vanity and swapping out linens on the bed (eventually). I have it all together in my head, but have to carve the time and benjamins out to accomplish my goals! 
And a VERY little peek of some things I've been stitching! 

{I am crushing on this font BIG time!}

Other than that I am trying to find the time to blog. I love it and truly enjoy it and have genuinely missed it... so I'll be back- probably with a lighter than usual posting schedule but way heavier than the last month or so :) 

Free Printables- BRUSH WASH FLUSH FLOSS

As promised I am back sharing the printables that we used in the kid's new bathroom. Before we get to the link I am going to show you how we hung them. This was actually Josh's idea so I can't take any credit.  

I wanted to hang them differently (not in frames), and after seeing these magnets on the fridge I knew they were what I wanted to use. 

Josh figured out that since they were magnetic a roofing nail was the perfect solution. They aren't too long and have a really wide surface area.

After measuring for the middle and measuring the distance apart... voila. 

You know the best thing about sharing projects? Sharing the love of course! Grab your own "Wash, Brush, Flush, and Floss" printables! Click the link below to download your very own copy.


Kids Bathroom Reveal

It's finally DONE! 

I envisioned my kids having a navy and lime bathroom for YEARS. It's the perfect colors for kids of the opposite gender sharing a bathroom. I obviously wasn't going to fill it with heart or cars. I wanted something timeless that wouldn't get babyish in a few years. This space also doubles as our overnight guest bath so I wanted it to be happy and classic for the guests we have in our home without it feeling like a grimy kids bathroom. Let's be honest, kids are gross.  

From this view you can see that we OBVIOUSLY painted. When people walk in and say "whoa" I take that as a compliment. :) The color is Key Lime by Behr. I am totally in love with Behr paint. I think I gushed about their paint after working on Emberly's room and here and here. It goes on great, has thick even coverage, and covered in barely 2 coats. I will say that it probably would have been fine with one but I didn't apply it enough in some areas. I'm dying to try their Marquee paint that promises coverage in 1 coat. #wishlist

I also painted the ceiling (to flow with the rest of the house). I've mentioned before that every room's ceilings are the color of the walls and while strange at first I love it now! So I followed suit. Also can you believe I haven't monogrammed these towels? #iknowright
and before we get too far into this post, here is a before from walkthrough day:
We swapped out the globes. The old ones were pretty dark (almost muddy). It's difficult to get a good picture since it's hard to shoot INTO the light. But you get the idea- they're BRIGHT! I made this switch MONTHS ago and it immediately made a huge difference (before the walls were even done). 
 I whipped up these printables and I love how they carry the length of this wall. I am going to share these printables with you later this week AND show you how to hang them with these hooks. A two for one!

**Go here to get your printable!
Turning to the other wall is this cute nook. I'll source everything at the end of this post. 
I will go ahead and say the pallet shelf came from one of our online yard sales. Best $5 I've spent in a while! We already had the shower curtain and I added the navy blue anchor. One day I'll do a tutorial to show you how to make your own (with whatever pattern you'd like!). It's SO easy. 

And that arrow? 
It represents a near and dear verse. And I will most likely be buying this print SOON and hanging it above the toilet! :)

I thought that adding something, ANYTHING to the shower curtian hooks would add a lot. I love this simple ribbon I stumbled across at Hobby Lobby. You can't beat 99 cents. 
And turning around this is the view of the doorway. Of course bows for the princess. Also it makes it pretty easy since we have 2 kids- they each get a drawer to stash their stuff. If I'm being honest, the sink top NEVER looks like this. I may have hid some stuff in the tub for pictures. 
Behind the door is a hidden linen closet which I LOVE. It totally uses this awkward space well. We also keep kid's meds and cleaning supplies in there hence the child lock.  

I also swapped out the handles on the vanity. I wanted something fun and lighthearted- nothing serious. After getting these home I realized how 70s they look (#flowerpower). But it's all for the kids. Luke LOVED them and they match #sotheystay. I looked high and low for anchor pulls and while I found a few the price wasn't right. I scored these at HL 50% off. You can see the originals in the before picture. 
I started this room Labor Day- I planned to take 1 day to paint and then guess what? I didn't get done. I left the ladder up that night thinking "no big deal, I'll finish tomorrow" and then Luke was up all night with a stomach bug #mommyoftheyear. "Here kid just sit under this ladder while you puke." Yep that happened. 

But I love the outcome. And he would agree. And while it seems that every major project takes me 6 months, I'm glad this is done!! My next project will be our master bedroom/bathroom tiffany blue aqua and gray anyone? And actually a WHITE ceiling. Gasp. Maybe I'll update around Christmas. ;)

vinyl {mine}
handtowels/washcloths {ikea | target}
curtain rings: ribbon {hobby lobby}
arrow {hobby lobby: can't find the link!}
pallet shelf {local online yard sale}

seeded glass globes {Lowes}

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