Simple updates for big impact

When you’re looking at a room, it’s the little things that pull that space together. If you’re like me, it takes a lof of time some time to figure out exactly which details you need to focus on! (I am seriously so slow at making decisions- blame it on decision fatigue.)

Our living room is off the kitchen, and we don’t use it as frequently as our family room, so it gets pushed off to the bottom of my list. This room is, however, the first space you see when you walk into our home, so I’ve been making more of an effort to pull it together.

It used to look like this:

I was AD|GIFTED new curtains from Jinchan.com (check out their Instagram, too!) Let’s be real- my old curtains had seen better days. I had chopped cut them sloppily at the bottom because I was too rushed, and they just weren’t providing enough privacy. I get that they were sheers, but there’s different levels of opacity, and they just weren’t cutting it.

These new curtains have a subtle embroidered vine detail that gives them a more finished look, as well as a heavier weight so I feel like we have a little more privacy. They do let in the light gloriously, though!

I am so pleased with how this little change made a big difference in the feel of this room! What do you think?

Xx,

Lindsay

From the bottom up

When we bought this house, there were six different types of flooring in this house. I don’t know about you, but that just annoys me. It was visually very jarring- the bedrooms had old *old* dirty white carpet I just couldn’t keep clean, the laminate flooring that covered the hallway, living room and kitchen was scratched to oblivion, the hardwood parquet in the family room was sunbleached and had very noticeable bump in the middle of the room… it was a hot mess. Not even hot… it was just a mess.

We’d been going back and forth on when to put in floors for quite some time. Floors are a big ticket project, and this house isn’t small- almost 2500 square feet. We wanted to do the bedrooms and all the living area. (Basically, we didn’t do the pantry/laundry and the bathrooms.) I am also incredibly slow at making decisions about expensive projects- I want to be 10000% sure before I decide, because there is no going back- like, no freaking way am I going to rip out floors that just got installed because they’re not quite right.

We could have postponed for a year or two, but our timeline for new floors got pushed up when we found out Baby Devaurs 3 would be making their arrival in August. (By the way, it was a girl and her name is Millie <3) The thought of a baby crawling around on that dirty floor just wasn’t it. We got quotes from several companies, and set the dates- June 2021.

Side note: There are some projects I’m totally cool with doing myself- this wasn’t one of them. The demo was intense, the amount of precision required was overwhelming, and I was 7 months pregnant. This was a job best left to professionals. I know some people install floors on their own, and I am in awe. I am not one of those people. I know my limits!

Because this house is… this house, it wasn’t a relatively seamless install. (I know NO project is, but this house always has the wonkiest, weirdest, STUPIDEST issues caused by previous owners who wanted to fix things cheap and fast… every project. Every time.)

The first issue we had was the subfloor. Because of the way the previous owners had installed the laminate, we were facing replacing all of the subfloor throughout the majority of the house. This would have increased our project cost by 50%- which just wasn’t feasible for us. I cried that afternoon when the contractor was explaining the situation to us- tears of frustration, mostly, because it seems like decisions of other people always stymie our progress with improving this home. Thankfully, the contractor was able to find a way to work around this safely, and we didn’t have to replace all the plywood subfloor. {Note that by June 2021, plywood had increased in cost by nearly 50%, so this workaround saved the project.}

Another strange issue that just feels about right for this home was the hump in the family room floor. This hump was so noticable that you could place a ball in the center of the room and it would roll to the side! The contractors had to do a ton of self-leveling concrete. I’m grateful that it’s mostly gone- they could only do so much because of the sliding glass door that had to have clearance maintained so it could function.

This project was finished in a week- those men worked so hard and I was and am so grateful for them. I know that if we had attempted this ourselves, it would have taken months! The before and afters are unreal, too…

Before:

If I could change anything about the floors… it would be nothing. The floors we picked are perfect for us (I chose a light greyish/white because my children and my dogs are in and out all day, and so there is always a lot of dirt, dust and dog hair.) We went with LVP, because it’s waterproof and tough. I know some people hate grey floors-and that’s ok. I like grey so much. I live here, not them. *shrugs*

Despite the fact that I wouldn’t change anything about my floors, I would change a few things I did to prep, survive, and finish up this project:

  1. I rented plastic storage bins from a local California company called Boxbee. I’m not linking them because they were terrible, start to finsh. They delivered my order late and were really unhelpful with giving me delivery details, and then they forgot to come and pick up the damn boxes! It was such a pain. Renting boxes for a move or temporary storage is a big yes from me, but **do not** work with this company if you’re in Northern California. I love that I didn’t have to deal with a lot of cardboard recycling, and this only added about $150 total to the cost of the project… it was totally worth not having to buy or find boxes, then tape them together, then break them down. I labeled the boxes with Post-Its so I could be semi-organized since the boxes just stayed in our garage during this process.
  2. I would not stay in my home during the process, especially with small children who were not in school and being very pregnant. The crew that worked on our home was great, but it was tough to manage keeping my inquisitive posse out of their hair. Haha. Covid constraints made it tough to get out of the house and find stuff to do, so it was really just about making the best of a pretty difficult week. We went to the park a lot.
  3. I wish I would have had a cleaning person come in afterwards, instead of struggling to do it myself. The house was super dusty and dirty from construction, and I don’t know why I didn’t give myself permission to get help, The funny thing is, this isn’t the first time we’ve done a floor installation, so I knew this would be a dusty process.

Alright… After:

To say that we’re pleased would be an understatement. It just feels better, and looking at the floors doesn’t make me feel twitchy, ha.

Any questions? Pop them below or find me on my Instagram!

Xx,

Lindsay

Look at how far we’ve come!

Before I do a deep dive into the indidual projects that have been completed, I think it’s beneficial to take a snapshot to see how far we’ve come since April of 2018. I get so discouraged when I look around my home- I tend to notice the unfinished and out of place before I see what IS in place. (Lemme tell you, living with kids is really testing me and teaching me how to turn a blind eye to things a bit more.)

Just last week, Google Photos very helpfully showed some photos from the week we did a final walk through on this house. I remember I wasn’t able to come, because I couldn’t miss any more work and child care constraints, so Jensen flew solo and sent me photos to keep me updated. It’s unreal how much this home has changed, as demonstrated through these few photos!

Family/Great Room before, Feb. 2018

This house has great bones, which is why we chose it… but there were certainly big ticket projects we needed to undertake to make it OUR home. Four years later, and we’ve gotten much closer to our vision of what we wanted this home to become.

Family/Great room in June 2021this section now has all of Millie’s baby boys, and I haven’t had the energy to find a better spot for them :)
Entryway before, Feb. 2018
Entryway as of this weekend. The rubber boots are for gardening and checking on my chickens 🙂

I get really discouraged when I look at the list of things we still need (and want) to do. But this photo reminds me of some the really, REALLY big things we have finished, and I have to smile. It really has come so far in the four years. That’s not to say that we don’t have more to do (looking at you, bathrooms, kitchen, and pantry!) but it feels like a totally different home.

xx,
Lindsay

Well, well, well.

How did three and a half years happen since I last posted?! I kept on telling myself I need to write, and yet, sitting down to make that actually occur hasn’t happened. When the days are so full you feel like it’s hard to breathe, and everybody needs so much, AND you need to take care of yourself somehow… writing gets pushed to the very, very bottom of the very, very long list of things to do.

I was working for Stitch Fix for two years (2018-2020), which sucked up a lot of my free time, and then the pandemic started, and I was at the end of my rope. Trying to work from home with two very active kids is no joke. And then we decided to add another one to the mix! We welcomed sweet Camille in August 2021, and life has been even crazier {in the best of ways}. I took this year off of teaching so I can soak up the time with the baby, and it has been glorious. Also, teaching on Zoom for a year was not the business. I couldn’t stand the thought of being in a classroom surrounded by students and bringing all that yuck home to a tiny bebe.

Sweet Millie, six months old and starting to investigate everything

Needless to say, in the last FOUR YEARS, a lot has happened around here. I’m not going to work in order of projects because frankly, I can’t remember exactly when things occured. (If you follow along on my Instagram, I do post quite frequently over there!) But I will give a bird’s eye view of what we’ve done on our corner of the world.

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Dusting myself off

It’s been a minute two months since I last posted.

Writing has been on my to do list for a month, at least: write two blog posts this week. I start with good intentions, and then, I fall flat and push it off until tomorrow.

I have had a lot on my mind and on my plate, and it’s easy to get caught up in the inane minutiae of adulthood. My career- or lack thereof- has been something I’ve been grappling with. I’m not teaching this year- partly by my own choice, partly by things that are beyond what I could control.

I’ve struggled with feeling like a weakling, like I couldn’t hack it back in the classroom so I’m here sitting on the sidelines. I come from a teaching sector that is very, very competitive and also pretty traditional.  A common mentality in this field is if you don’t go full speed all year, you’re a poor teacher.  I know, deep down, I’m not a failure- in fact,  in having the courage, maybe even the audacity, to chase what makes me truly fulfilled, despite what others may say about that choice, is the best way to carve out my path to success- it’s also difficult to face your former colleagues and tell them you’re “throwing in the towel.”

When I was five, I declared I didn’t want to live in Bakersfield when I grew up. When I was nine, I decided I was going to go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. One of my  high school teachers commented he had never seen a student so determined to accomplish her goals. With this in mind, admitting I don’t know what I want to do with my life is difficult, and frankly, a little embarrassing. Glennon Doyle talks about this- the falling, the waiting, and the rising. I know I’ll figure it out, but in the meanwhile, I just have to sit and wait- not one of my strong suits. 

On top of my <not even close to> midlife crisis, I’ve had to put both of my children into child care programs. They’ve both been great and are flourishing (David cries when he has to LEAVE preschool, no lie!). However, I miss them! I loved being able to be home with these two incredible little kids who amaze me every single day. I realize part of motherhood is letting go, but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier.

Finally, Jensen and I have had our house renovation plans derailed by this ^&*($Y% stupid retaining wall. Jensen has been working SO hard on finishing it, but it’s an 80 foot long project, and the hill is nearly 5 feet tall at some points, so it’s been slow going.  We decided we’re going to finish a few small projects after we finish this &*$($)# wall so we feel like we can have actually accomplished something! 

I have to keep reminding myself that faltering is part of growing. Pursuing what makes me genuinely happy is worthwhile. This too, shall pass. If you’re in a place like I am, filled with uncertainty, all you can do is put one foot in front of the other- keep on dusting yourself up, and get back on that damn horse and ride, a piece of wisdome I learned from my years of horseback riding. Some days you’ll go forward, some days you’ll fall back, but ultimately, by deciding that what you want is more important than what others want for you, you will get to the place where you’re living an authentic life. And frankly, don’t you think you deserve that?

You do.

XO,

Lindsay

 

How to Keep Your House Clean(ish) with Children**

** Clean-ISH. NOT like really truly clean

Jensen and I really like to entertain. I’m pretty sure we had company for two weekends in May and every weekend in June. When our freezer got switched off (thanks, David!!) we had guests come over to help us eat ten pounds of chicken and three pounds of tri tip, all on short notice. I do NOT spend the the day before we have guests like this:

This used to be my mom, for real, though.

I don’t like feeling so frantic, and I get anxious when the house is dirty, so I figured out a few ways I can keep my house kinda ready for guests- like, I’ll be ready for company within thirty to forty-five minutes or so. Also, please bear in mind, this works for my family- adjust to make it work for yours.

Another aside- we used to have a housekeeper who came twice a month- this is my ideal situation! But we currently don’t have the budget for that, so we do our cleaning ourselves now. When I get a job, you best believe I’m going to find a housekeeper again. I’ll do the same things listed below, but it won’t be as… intense.

  1. Jensen and I tackle one major household tasks four nights a week. 

On Monday we clean bathrooms, Tuesday we dust, Wednesday we clean floors, and Thursday we clean the kitchen. The house is never completely clean all at the same time (sigh), but it is always pretty clean-ish.

Of course, this is flexible, but I try to get to all of these things at least once a week. Sometimes I stack them and do multiple tasks on one day, most of the time I don’t.

I can see the argument that its a drag to do this stuff every night- and yes, it is. It really, really sucks. I’d rather read or scroll through Instagram or write- I mean, I’d rather do almost anything than clean. But I also don’t want to spend an entire day doing it either. It’s easier to break it up, spend 30 minutes getting the house clean-ish, and it’s not as overwhelming.

2.  I fold laundry and put it away.

I do laundry nearly every other day. I get it- my kids go through a lot of clothing, and after the vomit fest we had this week, I did even more laundry, if that’s possible… But I try <<really really>> hard to fold and put laundry away as soon as its done. Is there anything more intimidating than a mountain of laundry to deal with? Well, maybe when your kid pukes all over the floor and your husband at work and both kids are crying and you know the baby wants to walk through it and you have to clean it up even though you want to puke too – but that’s a whole different ball of wax. (And that was literally Wednesday for me. Gross.)

3. Toys get put away before nap time and bed time.

Yup. Every time. It corrals the mess and keeps the house from looking like Santa’s workshop vomited in my family room.

4. If something is out of place, I put it away, and “a place for everything, and everything in it’s place.”

Just put the stuff away. Some recommend getting a laundry basket and putting all the things that get strewn around the house into it, then putting things away when the basket gets full. Same idea, different way of accomplishing the end goal.

5. Give yourself a break.

Your house is never going to look as clean and perfect as those homes in Architecture Digest, House Beautiful, or Better Home & Garden. Your home is LIVED in. Life, and children in particular, are messy. Some weeks are better than others. I feel like I’m about two days away from living in filth. It’s a never ending battle! So if a mess piles up, it’s ok. Your guest(s) should get it, and if they don’t, you don’t need that energy in your life.

How do you keep your house looking semi-decent? Comment below or on my Instagram post!

XO,

Lindsay

 

 

 

 

Family room update

I’ve been absent for a bit because life has been busy! We’ve had lots of guests, the kids have been very active- Caroline is becoming quite the confident walker!- and I’m trying to savor my time with my children before I have to go back to the working world.

Jensen and I had big plans for doing more renovations, but the wind was knocked out of our sails when our retaining wall failed

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I hate this fricking wall. 

 

This is no minor issue- its only ten feet from the side of our house, and it’s nearly fifty feet long. It’s also very expensive to repair- like, three bathroom updates expensive… Needless to say, we lost a little bit of our motivation and got the wind knocked out of our sails, so we’ve been sitting in stasis for a bit, trying to find solutions to this major problem that won’t gut our finances.

On a positive note, I finally got 95% of the boxes unpacked and sorted, so it feels a bit more like home every day. David finally stopped asking about going to his old house, which also helps.

I wanted to do a quick overview of the family room, as this is where we spend most of our time and it’s really the most finished room in the house… besides art work. That’s always something I struggle with.

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This is the view from the kitchen dining nook. I love this room- I really do. I love the paint color (Sherwin Williams Sea Salt FOR LYFE!), I love the rug (Costco special, although someday I’ll buy a gorgeous vintage rug when I don’t have to worry about kids destroying it), and I love our sofa- down feather- wrapped cushions are dreamy, people. Dreamy. I also adore the parquet floor, which surprises Jensen to no end. It’s real hardwood, and I am enamored with the way it sounds and feels underfoot. We need to get drawbacks for the sheers (Ikea, by the way), but every single time I go to buy them, I forget when I’m shopping. Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this!?!?!?!

This is our current toy storage situation. It’s not BAD, but it’s certainly not ideal. I got some really great ideas from readers on Instagram, and  I’m trying to figure out if I want to buy a cubby system or use what I already have and maybe build a simple floating shelf. We also need to refinish the children’s table that we have so we can create an art station. I wanted to keep the kids toys in the family room so that I can keep an eye on them when they’re playing. <No, it’s not this clean during the day, but we clean up toys every night as part of our bedtime routine. See the post here to get more information about how we put our toddler to bed each night.> (Also, peep the bar- I can’t wait to have more parties so I can really utilize this thing!)

 

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I missed putting a pair of little boy’s shoes away… oops. 

There’s only thing I really don’t like in this space- and there’s so much to like, seriously! It’s a large room, it has incredible INCREDIBLE light because of the skylights, the floors, and the sliding glass door (which is okay but we’ll update eventually to French doors… can’t wait…) I hate the fireplace. Some people really like the rock fascia on the fireplace, but it’s just really not my jam. It’s A LOT of rock. Like, an 8 foot corner of rock. And I also prefer to have rooms that are predominately white or light colored, not brown. I think this fireplace just drags the room down. I’ve been doing a lot of Pinterest hunting on this, and have narrowed it down to a few ideas, and I’m drawn to painted white brick or white paneling. (Surprise, surprise) I also want to add a mantle- it needs SOMETHING there to break it up.

Thanks for joining me on this little tour- step by step, this house is coming together!

XO,

Lindsay

 

Just breathe

I reached out to a friend this past week. I had a feeling this person was just not feeling right, and my hunch turned out to be accurate. They shared that they are tired… they are tired of seeing so much bad news and so much sadness.

I can’t help but agree. It’s heart wrenching.  It kills me seeing images of babies separated from their families. It hurts watching environmental atrocities occur on a regular basis. It’s painful listening to my friends of color share experiences that are appalling and dehumanizing. It’s depressing reading Facebook interactions where name calling and character bashing are seen as normal.

I’m going to share with you the same thing I told my friend. It’s okay to check out for a few days and just breathe. Seriously. The world will keep on turning if you aren’t up to the minute on current events. We live in such a quick news cycle that it sometimes feels never ending- and I don’t say that negatively, it’s just our reality. You have to take care of your self- and if you’re feeling depleted by bad news, unplug.

It’s okay to stop reading the news at night- if I do, I find that my mind races and my heart pumps and I want to get up and do something. If this is you, as well- read the news in the morning. Let it fire you up and give you even more incentive to get the day started.

Follow people on social media who are fighting for what they believe in. They’ll inspire you and give you hope. YOU get to choose who you follow on social media- choose wisely. What you feed your mind is what your mind becomes.

As far as feeling like you can’t do enough, ponder this: if you consider yourself a candle, remember your light won’t be dimmed by lighting other candles. So keep on doing whatever thing you’re doing, big or small. Donate to causes you believe in. Talk to and engage with people and have intelligent conversation, and don’t stoop to name calling. Go to protests if that’s your style. Call your elected representatives. Be neighborly and kind to strangers, even the ones you don’t agree with. In every little thing you do, you’re spreading your light in some small way, and a bunch of candles together can brighten up the darkest room.

So let that light of yours shine, and breathe. Just breathe.

 

 

Labor of love

The most difficult thing I’ve ever done is be a mother. I’ve been through some pretty big trials throughout my life- but those trials have had an end. Not motherhood. Every single day, I’m responsible for someone else… well, two someone else’s. I can’t just drop everything and go on a spontaneous trip, or go out for drinks on a Saturday night, or schedule a hair cut whenever I want. I have to think about how two little people are going to be taken care of, and how they might feel. I’m not saying I don’t love being a mother; quite the contrary. But I will say I have made some major life adjustments, especially in the area of my career, that wouldn’t have occurred if I didn’t have David and Caroline. 

 

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I have to hold him in order to get a picture with him nowadays. Three year olds, I tell yah.

Motherhood is hard. It’s hard always putting someone else first. It’s hard seeing your body change. It’s hard being so damn tired all the time. It’s hard having to think so much. It’s hard being consistent with discipline. It’s hard not sleeping in. Damn, do I miss sleeping in

 

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She wanted the pom poms on my tank. Never any personal space around here.

But you know what makes motherhood even harder than all of the things I mentioned above?

Our culture’s expectations of how mothers “should be.”

 

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“This hat is obnoxious.”

 

 

We are fed a narrative that tells us we should look a certain way, act a certain way, and sacrifice everything for our children.

That’s ridiculous. 

Motherhood doesn’t mean you have to loose yourself in your children. It doesn’t mean parenting the same way or acting a certain way. 

 

 

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He sees the world as pure magic. So refreshing.

 

 

Because we believe we have to be a certain way, we compare ourselves. Comparison is the thief of joy, people! Women have told me they think I have it all together… puh-lease. My car is filled with goldfish crackers in the nooks and crannies, too, and more days than not I have my children’s bodily fluids on some part of my body. I don’t wash my hair enough, and I still have boxes I have yet to unpack- 7 weeks after moving later. My life is a mess, too, folks. All of us have messes.

 

Embrace the messy, give yourself grace. Don’t buy the story you’ve been fed that mothers have to be perfect. They don’t. Moms only need to love their children fiercely and love on them. That’s the definition of a perfect mother.