All Dressed Up

Hi friends! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. E has been on Spring Break and although we didn’t go on a trip, we’ve had a great break.  We’ve been doing all sorts of fun activities right here in town, and it’s been fun & relaxing.  At one point, E said, “hey, Mom, we’re doing all of the things that I love this week!” :)

Just today, we received our “final” house plans, which I am so excited about.  Up until now, we’ve been working hard on pulling it all together. I can somewhat breathe a sigh of relief because we’ve reached this stage, but then I laugh because I know it’s only just the beginning of a lot more work ahead of us.  Regardless, it’s awesome to see it all down on paper now. Next up, we’ll be getting bids from builders! I’m planning to write up a more detailed house planning post – let’s plan for that next week, sound good? I just said it out loud (or rather published it for you to see), so now it has to happen.

This week though, it’s been all about having fun while my big girl is on break. But, I did want to stop in before the week was through. Recently, we had the opportunity to get all dressed up, which happens around here every so often like never anymore. I joked on Facebook that it was our 2014 prom picture. Not quite, but we did have a ball on our fancy date night! Here are a few pictures to prove that occasionally I do, in fact, wear something other than yoga pants!

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I’m so glad I asked him to stand-in while I test the light because I’m a big fan of this next picture!

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Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

A Beautiful Family of 5 (Almost 6)!

Hello! I still owe you a house planning post, but in the meantime, I wanted to share pictures of this beautiful family!

As I have mentioned, I still have a few sessions from this past Fall/Winter to blog. Yes, I’m a little behind! And with my girlfriend’s baby due any day now, I’d say it’s about time that I share this fun session!

My girlfriend and her husband have three gorgeous children with a baby GIRL on the way! She went to William & Mary, which is a beautiful campus.  We had talked about a couple of potential locations, and when I threw out W&M’s campus as another options, she was totally game! You cannot beat hanging out on a college campus in late Fall and taking pictures.

It was hard to narrow down the pictures for this post, but here are a handful!

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These two are twins and have quite a bond!

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A little timeout to have some fun!

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I love this next one! Is this baby girl lucky or what?! Look at these awesome big siblings!

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I think this last one has to be my favorite picture! Beautiful family against a beautiful backdrop!

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J, I cannot wait to meet this baby girl!!!

We Bought Dirt!

Hi friends! I have been MIA around here lately, but that’s because I’ve been quite busy with a huge project that we are working on.

Seeing how it’s mostly close friends & family who read my blog, I’m not quite sure why sharing big news on here is so tough for me to do, but it is.  I think it’s a combination of wanting to be sure I actually tell them in person or at least on the phone first, and also just thinking that big news for us doesn’t necessarily equate to big news for anyone else – ha! Regardless, we’ve been having lots of fun working on this, and I’m really excited about it, so it’s finally time that I share it here – even though I still haven’t gotten around to actually telling everyone yet.

But, we bought dirt! And pretty soon, we are going to build our house on it!

Here we are on our land the day we closed – this past August. Have I mentioned yet that it’s tough to share big news on here?! Ha!

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We do family selfies, forgive us – :)

The decision to buy land and build was a huge one for us for so many reasons.  The toughest decision we had to make was deciding whether we wanted to stay here in Virginia.  We absolutely love it here, but the reality is, our families, old friends, and my old law firm are in the Midwest. And that’s hard.

You never quite know how big decisions will pan out when you are making them, but renting our current home was a smart move and has been such a blessing for us. It has allowed us the time that we’ve needed to weed through these difficult decisions, and to identify with certainty the area in which we want to live and raise our family (or at least that’s the plan for now – I don’t think you can ever be too certain where life will take you).  It’s been so liberating to know that up until we purchased land, we could literally hit the “eject” button whenever we needed or wanted to.

There is something so freeing and yet so scary about that. Because, in the meantime, we were establishing roots.  We were meeting wonderful friends – friends who, in many ways, we feel like we’ve known forever.  Friends who have welcomed us into their homes and made us feel like family. Friends who are raising children the same ages as ours and have similar values as us. Friends that we can’t imagine our lives without.

Of course, we were also establishing roots with the girls’ wonderful school, Kevin’s job, volunteer opportunities, community engagements, and by frequenting new favorite restaurants, beaches, and fun family activities that are available in our area.

Because of all of those things, suddenly this place where I had only visited a handful of times while vacationing growing up, and where Kevin had never even been to until we moved, was becoming our home.

So here we are today, planning for our house and growing more and more excited about what the future holds.

Closing day was a big day emotionally for us. While all of those tough decisions finally led us to our answer, we were still very much feeling the effects of the very real and difficult decisions that we were making. I’ll never forget the feeling I had that day.  I hoped and prayed we were making the right decision – for our whole family – yes, but mostly for our girls.  As I was sorting through a lot of those emotions, even still on closing day, I looked over to find E on our land – twirling in her pretty dress & blowing dandelion leaves in the wind – without a care in the world.  Happy and free. Trusting us to do the right thing for our family . . . for her and her sister.

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Watching her was so calming and comforting. It’s difficult to describe, but somehow I was finally able to relax and feel excited about our decision.

So, there you have it – our big news about dirt. In my next post, I’ll share more about what we’ve been up to and the direction we are headed with the house!

Sea Glass Green in Our Family Room

Before updating our map chest, we had mostly gray pillows, throws, and accents in our sitting room. Meanwhile, we had some sea glass green pillows, throws, & accents in our family room. After updating the map chest though, I started playing around, and liked the look of adding more green in the sitting room, so I borrowed a couple of pillows & the throw from our family room.

So, we are currently changing some things up in our family room & adding some navy (most of which we already owned), which seems to already be “grounding” that larger room much better. In the meantime, though, I had taken pictures of our family room, so I thought I’d share those today and then I’ll share the navy additions in a later post.

I love layering rugs. I tried it on a whim one day, and now I can’t imagine it any other way in here. I love the texture that the jute/wool rug on bottom adds and I love the color and detail that the wool rug on top provides.

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And here’s our hat wall, which is just inside the family room as you come off of the entryway.

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We actually moved the green wool rug (the top rug in the pictures above) into our entryway, and brought the navy & cream striped rug from the entryway into the family room.  Technically, the sitting room is the first room off of the entryway, and so having the sea glass green in the entryway & sitting room seems to have improved the flow of our home quite a bit. It’s funny the difference that small tweaks can make, isn’t it?

Have a wonderful day!

Our Sitting Room

Hello! As promised, here are additional pictures of our sitting room. I still haven’t replaced my wide angle lens (let’s call it a sad combination of procrastination and indecisiveness), so this is more like the highlight reel! :) This is definitely the most hard-working room in our house . . . can’t say that it’s the prettiest . . . but it is where we spend a crazy amount of time, and it is very cozy & comfortable. Plus, it’s close to the kitchen so I don’t have to walk far for my chocolate fix after the girls go to bed.  Ahem, where was I?

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As I mentioned yesterday, this room also acts as the girls’ downstairs playroom These built-ins house a lot of their toys, books, games, and puzzles.

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You might remember this gorgeous painting of the girls, which was a wonderful surprise by a dear friend’s mom. We used to have it in our master bedroom, but we moved it into this room so the girls can enjoy it just as much.

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The coffee bar is just to the right of this little area, and to the left of the couch.

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Most of the girls’ toys are kept inside cupboards and closets, and pulled out as necessary. This cuts down on clutter & helps keep the toys feeling fresh.

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This dollhouse was a gift from Mimi two Christmases ago. It’s so cute that I want to live in it! Each furniture set has been a gift for a different occasion.  It’s been a fun gift for her to build on and the girls absolutely love it! This is definitely one toy that I don’t mind leaving out!

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We also have our piano in the back corner of this room.

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And there you have it – our comfortable sitting room! Have a wonderful weekend!

Map Chest Before & After

Hello! Here is a closer look at our updated map chest.

Here’s what it looked like when we started:

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For sentimental reasons, I had intentionally been holding off painting this piece.  Plus, I love the look of mixed wood tones, and this was a nice piece in that mix. Eventually though, the fact that this piece was in need of some TLC outweighed the sentimental reasons.  Also, that one missing knob in the bottom left was driving me a little crazy.

So, over the weekend, we sanded down the big nicks, and applied two coats of Annie Sloan Paris Grey and one coat of clear wax. We also updated the hardware with brushed nickle knobs & pulls from Lowe’s.  I was debating between brushed nickle & oil rubbed bronze, and decided on the brushed nickle for a few reasons.  First, I’m testing out the gray/brushed nickle combination to see how I like it before trying it on a much larger-scale project that we have coming up.  Next, I wanted to “lighten up” the piece, and thought the darker hardware may weigh it down a bit. And lastly, this was simply the particular look that I was going for in this case, although, I think darker hardware would look good too.

Here is the map chest all fixed up:

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This update was such a fast & easy one! Because we used chalk paint, we didn’t have to doing any major sanding or priming – we just sanded down the big nicks. Also, all of the knobs fit into the pre-existing holes.  We just had to drill new ones for the two side pulls.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison:

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It now resides in the sitting room off of our kitchen. I’ve just shown bits and pieces of this room in the past, but I do have a few more updated pictures to share with you in the next post. The kitchen overlooks this room & the room has nice built-in bookshelves, so for those reasons, this is where we store a lot of the girls’ toys and where we play a lot. In the beginning, we weren’t sure how to utilize this room, but it is really working well as a sitting room/downstairs play room, and it’s probably the most used room in our house!

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The coffee bar is just to the left of the map chest, I’ll share more pictures of that too so that you can get a better feel for the room.

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Here’s a closer look at the side pulls.  The back of the room opens up onto a deck, which is attached to our screened porch.

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We have a white couch in here as well as our family room.  Because of how close this couch is to our kitchen though, it gets dirty much much quicker than the one in the family room! I have to hand wash this slipcover at least every other week, but I still love the white.

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And this is the view into the sitting room from our main hallway.

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Have a wonderful day!

Updated Map Chest

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day and weekend!

Over the weekend, we painted and updated the hardware on two pieces of furniture.  I love how both of them turned out & I can’t wait to share them with you. For now, here’s a quick look at the map chest that we updated.

This is the view from our main hallway looking into the sitting room off of the kitchen.  The gray chest is the piece that we updated!

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Have a lovely day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hello! I wanted to wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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*Happy Valentine’s Day placemats, which I adore, are by Dear Lillie.

*Love letters were made by the girls’ wonderful Mimi and sent as an early surprise!

Have a wonderful weekend!

A Visit to Lawton Stables

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Hello! I hope you are having a wonderful week.  Here are a few more pictures from our trip to Lawton Stables.

We always love visiting our buddy, Harley. I love how he has his tongue out in the picture below. Harley sent E one of his horse shoes for her fifth birthday, what a sweet boy.

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This is California, and she was SO sweet.  She checked us out from afar, and then finally decided to come closer. Her eyes lit up when the girls starting petting her.

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E fell in love with horses when she was 2 1/2 years old – the same age that Carolina Girl is now.  At that time, Lawton Stables was one of our weekly outings. Since moving from Hilton Head, we visit just a couple of times a year. Each time, Carolina Girl seems more and more interested in the horses, but she has always been quite timid. This time though, she was the most comfortable that she’s ever been. It certainly helped that her big sister never left her side, and continued checking to make sure she was okay.

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We’ve all been giving Carolina Girl a little extra love and attention lately. She has been sick since the end of October. :( She is getting tubes this week though, so we are hopeful that she will start feeling better soon. She’s been through an awful lot for such a little thing.

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Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

I hope you enjoyed the holidays! We rang in 2014 on Hilton Head Island. We spent time with my family relaxing, eating lots of seafood, and playing with our little ladies and their cousins/besties.  It was such a fun trip! I’ll share some more pictures from our trip this week. The one above was taken at Lawton Stables, which is the girls’ favorite place on the island!

I am very excited about what’s in store for 2014! We feel like our little family of four has really found its stride here in Williamsburg, and our girls are at such fun (and somewhat manageable – haha!) ages, so I’m sure this year will be a great one. Also, we have a BIG project that we are working on, the details of which I will share soon!

Have a wonderful Sunday, and I’ll be back soon with more pictures from Hilton Head!