Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas 2017

It's been quite a while since we got together on here, Friend. Quite a bit has changed, actually.
Yes, I've changed decor and paint colors again...and again. The garage got a makeover and Jesse put in a patio.
But the biggest change around here are the little people that now inhabit this old century house. We welcomed sweet baby Karis Eden into our family in October this year and she brings our total to five.

Adding in three more Allisons has made our house a bit cozy, and I love it all the more. People ask me all the time if this is our forever home. After all, it's kind of rare anymore for kids to share a bedroom, right? Is a three bedroom house big enough to accommodate five? And I have to say yes, yes, and again yes. I've shared a bedroom my entire life and, growing up, the six of us shared one bathroom. That's right-six people, three bedrooms, one bathroom. And we loved each other all the more for it.

This is our home and I couldn't imagine a different one. God knew we needed this 127 year old house as much as the old house needed us. Her walls now hold tons of toys, family pictures (upon pictures), and Eric Carle books. Her old beams hear cries in the middle of the night, silly songs and rocking chair creaks. She sees every hiding spot we choose during a game of hide-and-seek, she feels the touch of little bare feet running on her hardwood floors, and is outfitted with dirty little handprints all over her window panes.
Yes, this is our home and Lord willing, always will be.

Around this time of year,  I like to take some time to reflect on our journey and all that we have. Things like running water in the sink, electricity, walls, even a stationary fridge are all things to be thankful for.
Rewind to year 2011: Here's what our kitchen looked like the day we bought our house.
And here it is during Christmas 2011: No baking, Christmas tree, or decorations going on this Christmas.
Yikes! That picture above sure makes me appreciate the picture below, which is how it looks for Christmas 2017:

And can this fireplace hold any more love? For years I thought it would only hang Jesse and my stockings and now look at those additional three little ones God gave us! Some people probably think I'm a bit obsessed with pictures, which does have some truth to it, but those pictures are a constant reminder to me of God's overwhelming goodness. We were able to have our first fire it it this fall after having some work done on it and I don't think I've ever tasted a better s'more. 
(Side story-after we had our first fire, a squirrel came down through the fireplace because we forgot to close the flue. I did my brave part by running outside with Aislyn and Declan while screaming. Jesse did his brave part by chasing it back up the flue with a broom. Oh the stories this house has!)

And can we rewind back to our 2011 living room?

Walls are such a wonderful thing to have:

Now mind you, 5 seconds before these pictures were taken, I ran around like a mad woman gathering up all the toy cars, lost puzzle pieces, and play kitchen food that typically adorns our floor. :)

Yep, this is our home.
It makes me thankful every year-Not only because it reminds me of what we've done without, but also because it reminds me of what we have.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The "Big Girl" Room

Our little family is expanding! We are so happy to say another little miracle is on it's way and scheduled to arrive in early June. It wasn't always the easiest road for us but looking back, I'm thankful that my Lord makes all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).

We found out last month that our little one is a baby boy and we are already in love with him. 

Since the nursery is, well... the nursery, he'll be moving in there and Aislyn will be getting a big girl room. Thankfully, the nursery wasn't really gender-specific, so it will do fine! I just need to change a few things and it will be all set for Baby Boy. :)

Aislyn will be getting the guest room and I'll admit, I've been dreaming up ways to make it her special room.
When we first moved in, it was covered in....yep, you've got it by now if you've been reading this blog-brown paneling (the original owner's favorite thing in the whole wide world). I'm so bummed that this is the ONLY before picture I have of this room. I scoured through my albums for quite a while but it's the one and only. Boo.

I have to admit though, even in it's ugly, blurry stage here, I love this room. It's one of those rooms that has slanted ceilings on both sides and makes it feel like you're up in a treehouse. It's also the room Jesse and I made our bedroom while we were renovating the entire downstairs, (which was almost a year). So it's pretty near and dear to my heart. 

After painting the paneling and replacing the window and carpet, we let this adorable room sit as a guest room for a few years. 

And it was quite happy like that for a while, but it was now the time for this little room to get promoted to "Big Sister" room. 

I went about planning for this room a little differently than I had for the other rooms. Instead of starting with the big picture, I started with the details. There were certain things I found or liked in a store and went from there. 
Things like this adorable little bunny....

Gold knobs (painted by me!)....

Book bins... (of course!)

Heart garland (hand-painted by Aislyn!)

A chandelier...

And a ribbon-decorated lamp with a picture of my little girl playing with my wedding shoes :)

 I'm excited about the final result and actually could see myself happily spending afternoons up here as a little "treehouse" retreat.

Now we'll just see if Aislyn is as excited about it as I am ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Finally...the nursery

Of all the rooms in the house, the nursery is the most dear and near to my heart. It has definitely been the one I've waited for the longest.

When Jesse and I got married, I had a feeling it would be difficult for us to have children. Call it a sense, or the fact that I just knew my body and what it was telling me. However, like most young marrieds, we wanted to wait a while and become "financially secure" (whatever that means) before we brought our little ones into the world. So...we really didn't think about it. Our first four years of marriage were some of the happiest I've ever had. And...then the "parent urge" hit.  No, we weren't "financially secure" (it never happens) and we were still in renovation phase. It didn't make sense. But...we had a longing to be parents.

After trying with no success, our suspicions were confirmed by the doctors. It would be very difficult for us to get pregnant. Actually, they gave us a number-3%. We considered adoption. We cried. We prayed. We cried again.

We started sharing our struggle with family and others and discovered a lot of other people that went through this same struggle. They supported us. They asked how I was doing, coping, without asking "are you pregnant yet?"  On July 7th Jesse and I went to a family gathering. The entire family gathered around us and prayed over us, anointing us with oil. It was such a powerful experience. We went home that weekend and finished putting on the last touches to our house. We were done with one crazy, stressful part of our life only to be going through another. A few days later, we started another round of treatment. Guess what? Well, you know the ending :).

I share this personal story not having all the answers. I don't know why God answered our prayer for a child when so many others have been praying longer. All I can say is that this experience opened my eyes to the very real pain many couples secretly have. I encourage you, if you know someone who is going through fertility to encourage them, pray with them, pray for them, cry with them, hug them and love them. They will treasure this friendship.

Okay...all of this to say that this room has been long awaited for. When we first moved in, I knew this room would be the nursery. It's the smallest room but it's adorable. So...during every step of the renovation of this room, I've thought of my future children. It's been prayed over, it's been cried over and it's been loved.

Here's what this precious room looked like the day we moved in:

It had very old, cracked plaster with white/blue flowery wallpaper on it. The green "carpet" is actually a rug that came up to reveal layers upon layers of tile and linoleum flooring. What we can say is, it needed some work.

We started this room after we had just come off a nice, long summer break from doing anything "reno." Needless to say, I was not thrilled about starting the whole process back up, as you can see in this pic while taking out the tile flooring.

We stripped the room and then hired some contractors to "skim" the plaster. If you're not familiar with skimming (I sure wasn't), it's where they take drywall mud or plaster and place a thin coat on the entire span of the walls to fill in any cracks and make it smooth. Ahh....smooth walls are such a blessing I've come to appreciate.

Like I said earlier, we finished the room before we knew about Baby Allison. I painted it a blue-gray (same as our bedroom) because that's the color we had on hand. Hey-beggars can't be choosers and paint can be expensive! Plus, I liked the color. If you've read this blog at all, you know that I love stripes. So...that's what this room got as well.

When my parents heard the news of Baby Allison, they bought us a gorgeous crib as a gift to their first grandbaby.'s what the nursery looks like now. We went with a gray/cream theme and then made a bold move and added in bright red accents.

This room has "family" written all over it.
My mom bought the gorgeous cream quilt,
Jesse's mom knit the adorable gray and red blanket,
I made the shelf with her name on it and
Jesse painted my grandma's old chair red.

Here is what my grandma's chair used to look like:

I ordered some custom cushions from Theresa at Etsy (she did a fabulous job) and Jesse spray-painted the frame red. Here is what it looks like now:

I love that it's keeping a little of my grandma close.

On the other side of the room, we bought a dresser and hutch to match the crib which can also be used as a changing table for now. Gotta love things with double purposes!
 That adorable little door (it's so vintage-looking!) is Aislyn's closet. Right now, we're incredibly blessed that it's stuffed full of diapers. It even smells like diapers! The gray storage bin hangs over the door and makes it easy to grab bibs, wipes and other essentials.

On the other side of the crib hang three frames with verses/prayers that were prayed over Aislyn. We love being reminded that she is a gift from God to us and we want her to know that as well.

Finally, I made this shelf to hang with her name on it above her crib. "Aislyn" means "vision" or "dream" and we've definitely dreamt about this little one for some time! Hobby Lobby has some adorable knobs and Mod Podge does the trick of preserving the letters on scrap-booking paper.  ***Oh, and don't mind the photo frame-it contains the picture that came with it. Soon we'll have plenty of "real" photos to fill it with!

We feel so incredibly blessed :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Second Full Bathroom? Say what?!

You might remember from this post that when we converted our bedroom into a master suite, we lost the only full bathroom we had. Well, not really lost, but Jesse and I claimed it for ourselves (I know, we can be a little greedy).
Now our guests would need to travel through our bedroom to use the only full bathroom in our house. Not horrible (I actually grew up in a house of 6 with only one bathroom) but we really wanted another bathroom upstairs.

Wonder of wonders....there happened to be this huge, (yes ugly) but wonderful space directly above our current full bathroom!

It was sort of a weird space, you could say. Immediately upon arriving upstairs, there was this incredibly large landing that was not being utilized. Well, not for long. We had some plans for this space.

I've always been fascinated with magic tricks. Making something appear out of nothing is quite amazing to me. A rabbit out of hat, a dove out of your hand. I don't even try to figure out how they do it, I just watch in amazement.

I did a lot of watching the next few months as Jesse, my dad and a few friends did exactly that: Created a bathroom out of thin air. Well, at least it seemed like that to me.

First, we took off that oh so beautiful paneling.

Yep, it's dirty up here. Hang on with me WILL get better!

Then, the amazing Jesse built walls to frame the new bathroom. This takes talent. Building square walls within a not-so-square house is no easy challenge.

Yay for drywall!

 Here's where the little sink will go!

And....voila! Here's what it looks like today!

To me, it's magic.

I can't wait to have you over so you can try out the new guest bathroom!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


This post is all about stairs-we love them, we hate them, especially walking up and down them numerous times.
But....did you know you can get really creative with your stairs? It's easy to forget these little guys when our feet are the only ones to make contact with them but it's really simple to make them stand out.

When we first moved into our our auction house, here is what our beautiful stairs looked like:

These little guys were way past their due date for a face-lift. The orange-speckled carpet that once probably did a decent job of hiding dirt was no longer functioning and the middle part of the stairs (the part that people use) was worn thin.
And please, can we just talk about the tunnel of dark paneling for a moment? At one point during our renovation, I thought we could open our house up as a haunted house and charge people for visiting. This stairway would definitely elicit some screams.
I personally don't like wood paneling but know a lot of people do. If you are one of these people, please don't install dark paneling in close spaces with minimal light. You will be doing all of us a favor by not installing a safety hazard.

The top of the stairs were no better. Even the banister was wrapped in paneling, making for a sort of scary optical illusion. Still dark. Still creepy. And I bet if I would have jumped out in a Frankenstein outfit, you would have screamed.   Loudly.

So what's a couple to do? Initially, we were just going to paint the paneling (which I am a fan of) and install new carpet. However, one of our amazing neighbors works in a wood factory and had some "scrap" maple wood treads that, if he didn't find someone who wanted them, was going to add them to his burn pile. By "scraps," I mean these treads looked absolutely perfect to me. Perhaps to the very careful eye, they could have spotted a nick in a few but we didn't care-they were beautiful (and free!).

So....we Jesse took the long route and decided to rebuild the stairs and install the new treads.

Before I start this description, let me add a disclosure. Jesse could probably tell you much more in detail how to install stairs. If you're interested, just contact him and he'll share the details...probably more than you bargained for!

First, he took the old ones apart and rebuilt the risers (that little box that you see).

He also built in additional support for this large stair before placing the tread on:

Next, he built a little ledge to prepare for the next riser:

And...voila! two stairs completed!

Can you already see how this is going to lighten up that creepy stairway?

It was still missing something though....I had always imagined the fruit of the spirit verse if we had wood stairs. Now that we had our wood stairs, I went searching and found this decal on etsy:

The thing I love about wall decals is they don't have to stay in their original position. They are usually sold on clear backing, so cut them up and change their shape! Have some creative fun with them!

After painting the paneling and having fun with the decals, here is how our stairs look now: provides a great reminder of the qualities I should be displaying!

Jesse also rebuilt the banister to make it much more open at the top of the stairs.

Yay! Much less intimidating! Now, I can just have you over as a guest, not as a haunted house customer! =)