Yard Reno | Part I

When summer arrived, we knew it was time for major exterior work. Matt's mom, Jayne, came to town a few months ago and helped us knock out some serious front and back yard demolition. It was three days of brick hauling, wood chopping, dumpster filling work. Now, our front yard is getting so much closer to livable. Overgrown shrubs, cracked brick planters, and rotten wooden flower beds are gone. This Friday we are having a concrete porch poured and some other concrete work down in the front and back of house. So much has changed already,yet nothing has been documented here - so I figured it was about time to show the yard progress we've been making.
About a month ago, a hail storm walloped our house. These photos were all before that storm, but even with the hail damage, our house is really coming along. Matt is such a hard worker - I seriously owe everything that looks better on the exterior to him (and Jayne). It's not pictured, but now the shrubs, brick, planters, and flower beds are all gone. I'm counting down the days until we can sit in chairs on the front porch and enjoy a few more summer nights outside, or have people over and utilize our front porch and yard for entertaining. (Yay!)


This was supposed to be a simple post.

The first place I ever stopped at in Kansas was here, at the Norton Livestock Auction. Matt and I had only been dating about two years, I had never been to the midwest, let alone sat in on a real-life cattle auction. (How much of a city girl I really was, yet didn't even know it) You know how certain things just stick with you, as something you'll always remember? I'll never forget standing on the wooden fence, leaning in to see the tops of the cattle waiting out back to be brought in for the sale. I'll never forget the green paint and the men sitting there with their trucker hats, blue jeans, and boots hardly saying a word yet purchasing thousands of pounds of steer. The sale barn was my first impression of this place Dorothy called home. And so, on our way back to Colorado, after our latest Kansas trip a few weekends ago, I asked Matt to drive over to the Sale Barn. The green is still just the same, and that fence is always ready to be climbed up on and leaned upon, with cattle out back waiting for the next sale or to be picked up and driven to their next landing pad. I love that I married Matt and can know his grandparents. I love that his grandpa Clarence, approaching 80, or already 80, still owns this place and runs it with all of his heart and soul. I love that God gives us moments of quiet, where a barn cat's meow is the only sound competing with the warm summer wind. I love that there is this place, way out in Kansas, that I have gotten to see and have memories of. Its moments like this that make me want to get in my car and go see more of this land, this space, and spend time in the small towns I'd otherwise miss. 

My grandmother passed away this week, and it's really just made me so thankful for family. So grateful that I've had time with all of my grandparents, and Matt's Kansas grandma and grandpa too, because places like the Norton Sale Barn, or stories of my grandpa's farm in North Dakota, my grandma Pat's sorority days at UCLA, and my Poppie's time working in his garage wood-shop - these are all the foundation of what our family is today. These roots, these memories they've told countless times, the stories they took the time to tell, and now what lingers with me: these are precious gifts. I'm reminded after visiting Kansas this past month, and with my grandma's passing, that one day there won't be the Norton Livestock Auction. One day there won't be a grandfather's voice to tell you things like, "kiss and pinch appropriately". One day there won't be grandma's house to gather at with her dress up box and expansive front lawn. One day, the season shifts, life goes, and then its time for mothers to become grandmothers, daughters to be mothers, and new stories to tell to little ones.

I guess its just really hitting me that I'm in that season. More than ever before I'm feeling the necessity to go and see and experience and listen to stories of the past while the people who are still here can tell them. I want to wrap them up, treasure them, and hold onto them for my own children someday. I'm feeling more than ever this shift, this need to have my own family and show them all the places while I still remember the details. I want them to sit with my mom, and my uncles, and know the things of the past. I want them to have that gift, just I had it.

So where was this post going? I just intended this to be a snippet from our Kansas visit, and now here I am getting all reflective and writing about being a mother. How easily that happened.


WEAR // oh, sweet joy! headbands

I am a little smitten with the latest addition to my wardrobe. Anne stopped by this morning and gifted me a few goodies from the oh, sweet joy! shop. I couldn't make if out to the Firefly event in Boulder to see Kim's handmade goods last week, so I was really excited that Anne thought to bring me back a few things. One of them just so happened to be this really sweet headband with a bold poppy print on it. Kind of a perfect fit for me, no? Today I had the day off from work, and completely to myself, as Matt drove out to Kansas yesterday to see the grandparents, so my day was a roll out of bed, launder my clothes, watch Hart of Dixie, and go on a run type of a day. Meaning, zero plans for makeup or a thought out outfit. But thanks to Anne, and oh, sweet joy! the people of King Soopers and the greater Arvada area saw me a little more put together than planned with this really cute headband. (She also got me a wire wrap which I cannot wait to style and wear to work next week!)


Summer and Adjusting

Every day for the past month I have this moment where I think of this space and my lack of writing. I look at my list of house projects in the line up to share and see my files of edited photographs just sitting on my desktop, just waiting to be added to my drafts and a click away from sharing and pinning. But then I shut the laptop lid, walk out of my office, and then repeat the next day. This cycle almost continued today, but then I finally felt it. After reading a post by my friend Anne and then another by Natalie, both brave and raw and truly vulnerable--it caught up with me That little pull on my heart to sit, write, and be real.

Why I love the outdoors so much in our neighborhood.

I was telling Anne the other day that I just have no motivation to write and come to this place. I have no ounce in me to stay inside with a laptop as my view. I want mountains, and sunshine, and the pool! I want snuggles on the couch, camping, and crafting with friends! I want long summer nights, BBQs after work, and freshly painted walls! I just want to be anywhere doing anything except for blogging. It's just where I'm at, even though I really would love to say otherwise.

Now I treasure this place, I really really do, but lately I'm in a whole new world entirely. Ever since our trip to New York, everything has been at full speed. We bought a house. We moved to a new town. We left our community and our church. I quit my job. I stared a new job. I began working some weekends, with a new schedule, and a new commute. Matt's role at work changed. We've had out of town guests. I began swimming with a masters team, with practice, and discipline. We experienced hail damage and house repairs. We've built new friendships and worked hard to keep old ones. And on top of it all, marriage has been a place of learning, growing, and grace.

Hail damage and settling into our new home.

With change comes adjusting, and I think its safe to write that I'm still in that phase. We're figuring it all out, or at least the parts we can, and learning how to give up the parts we cannot. If anything, buying a house has been the best thing for our marriage. It's brought out core anxieties, our strengths and weaknesses, and a true necessity to rely on the Lord (especially so with weather like hail). This has probably been some of the hardest yet most gratifying six months of my adult life. Matt and I have made big decisions, life changing ones, and it is a bit overwhelming when I really reflect on everything that has been in our lives since the new year. Changing jobs has been another true blessing. I never realized how much happiness I was missing in that part of my life. I'm learning more about myself and who I am than I have in a long time. The same is true for swimming. I'm finding out how easy it is to slack and not be disciplined, and that it takes hard work to focus time and energy on a goal.

 Where I find myself the most fulfilled: in the pool and with friends

So with all of this said (and this being the very short version of six months that have gone by), I'm at this crossroads in my life where I'm navigating how to spend my time. How delicate the balance really is. Time is truly precious, you know? I am learning how to hold on to all of these new things in my life, give myself to them fully, but yet still find a place for writing and blogging. I will get there, I have full confidence. I hope you too might close the laptop, walk out of your office, and seek the long days that are left of summer.

Thank you for hanging tight and trusting that I didn't just disappear amidst blog silence. And thank you, Anne and Natalie, for being so brave and open to write and be real today. Your vulnerability truly encouraged me.


Mini Meyers Lemon Tree

I wandered into a nursery down the street from our home on my day off this week. It was during a lull time in my painting the wall grey where I needed to just wait and let it dry. So, I wandered on over to this little plant haven and ended up coming home with a mini Meyers lemon tree.
It's the small things in life that bring me such happiness. Like sitting next to the bay window and enjoying the bright sunshine on this little tree. The lady at the nursery said to keep the tree in full sun, and that it would thrive on my patio or in a bright space indoors. And in the winter, its a must to keep it in. I kind of just love how it adds some life to our dining room. Growing up in California with lemon and orange trees in my backyard, its also a reminder of where I come from. I cannot wait to see what size of fruit it produces! Happy weekend, friends!


Heirloom White Dresser

One of the perks to having a living room with only a dresser and secretary desk is that they can be rearranged over and over. I felt so inspired after painting what used to be the brown wall grey, that I played around with decorating the one lone surface of the dresser. This room is the first room you walk into from the front door, and even though we don't hang out on sofas in here yet, we still like to have a place to drop our keys and "land" in a sense before traipsing through to the rest of the house after a day of work. That, and we do spend quite a bit of time on the floor. I had forgotten how nice it is to sprawl out on carpet. But anyways, like I was saying, having a place to catch all our odds and ends became the purpose of this little white dresser's table top as I rearranged things today. (Also, how much better does that wall look? SO MUCH better!)
The dresser was actually a hand me down from my cousin Natalie. They recently moved and hadn't a need for it anymore. Its been in our family for years, so it only makes perfect sense to keep it as so! She actually painted it white the summer I first moved to Colorado. We spread out in her front yard painting, sanding, and painting. (And sanding, sanding, sanding for what seemed like a millennium.) Somehow, the memories of sanding furniture seem to stand out the most (perhaps because those are the most brutal DIYs?) Anyhow, she has twin taste to me, so it basically works out to pass anything and everything on to each other. Natalie is also the one who told me to paint my walls Sherwin Williams Agreeable Grey in Eggshell. Having cousins who are wonderful friends AND wonderful decorators is too good to be true.
Even in an empty room, there are always small and simple ways to decorate even just a portion, without having to spend a ton of money. Besides the dresser being second hand, the lamp, wooden tray, and frame were all on sale from Target. The books were thrifted, the yellow runner are actually placemats on sale from Anthropologie, and the framed "Hello" print a card I saved that was sent to me in the mail. It's all about saving little bits and pieces that you find while running your errands, cleaning out your closet, or thrifting. In the end, they all come together to make your home uniquely you :) That's the beauty of decorating.

(*The wall in the first photograph/the far left wall seen in the second photograph is the only one that's been painted grey so far. The other walls are a khaki color that the previous owners painted).

Ciao, Brown Wall

Today is the day I sing my final goodbyes to the brown wall. This accent wall did not make the cut, fortunately, and its about to be covered by Sherman Williams Agreeable Grey. The grey is almost white, but grey enough that with white baseboards, or white linens, the crisp white still pops against its subtle shade. I debated going darker and richer, but I think that when it comes time for a sofa and furniture in here, those will be the rich dark colors - like a navy blue upholstered sofa and patterned accent chairs.
How easy it is to sit and analyze the color grey for hours on end. I am going with my gut on this, guys, and am thinking the color may even over take the entire entry way room today. I'd love to eventually redo our kitchen cabinets in a slate grey, so this lighter grey will peek through into the kitchen from the dining room and compliment darker shades if I go that route ( which I really would love to...with white subway tiles in the kitchen too, these are my dreams…). Now off to tape and drop cloth!