Merry Christmas from our family to yours! I wanted to share some highlights from our Christmas card photo shoot. We tried to take our photos this year at the Stanley hotel but the weather would not cooperate at all. Not only was it freezing cold, the winds were insane. If you’ve ever visited Estes Park in the winter you’ve probably experienced some crazy wind at some point. We literally couldn’t get a single photo without our hair blowing around crazy. After some major hair brushing in the car we decided to drive around town and look for a spot sheltered from the wind.
Eventually we ended up at the YMCA camp. Brian hiked down to the frozen pond and found a spot that was mostly wind free. He set up the tripod and motioned us down to the frozen pond, I stepped out of the car and that’s when fear set in. Are you kidding me? We’re taking family photos here? The spot where nearly 10 years ago I fell walking down to the pond and fractured my spine? This is really happening? I guess Brian saw my look of panic on my face and walked up to help me down… I had a death grip on him. The good news is I didn’t fall again, we were able to get some family photos and I conquered my fear of the YMCA frozen pond.
My son Corey visited us back in August and I wish he could of visited us for the holidays but he’s busy with his own plans and I have to respect that. He was greatly missed though.
Haley recently turned 18 this year and was accepted into University of Texas, and she’s so excited to study medicine. I’ll talk a little bit more about her below.
Ashley is doing great living here. She’s taking culinary classes and has a new found love for cooking… and that means she’s usually making a huge mess in my kitchen! She turns 16 soon and I can’t believe how the time has flown by. She absolutely loves living here with all the beautiful nature around us.
I need to be honest this has been a very hard year for me. Acclimating to this new life was tougher than I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely love living here but it’s been a transition. New house, new climate, trying to find new friends but not really having time because we’re so exhausted working on home projects and then there is Haley.
I haven’t really talked much about our situation because it’s been so hard. After a lot of back and forth she decided not to move to Colorado with us. She was onboard at first but she changed her mind and wanted to finish her senior year in Texas. She has a late birthday and turned 18 soon after the school year started and as an adult we gave her the choice to stay. Even though she flys down to visit every 6 weeks or so it’s been extremely hard on me emotionally. I’ve felt unbearable guilt and that on top of the moving and remodeling stress has been a lot to cope with. It’s caused a little bit early empty nest syndrome and I’m trying hard to be strong.
Like I said it’s been a hard year and I’m excited to start a fresh one. Brian and I have started going on winter hikes up in Rocky Mountain National Park and it’s been great, almost like therapy. Nature therapy.
I’m taking a blog break for several weeks, a much needed holiday break, and to spend precious time with my family. I’ll be back blogging sometime in January. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 2020 is going to be a beautiful new year for us all!
Happy August everyone! I should have updated the blog weeks ago, but with all the dust and dirt July just slipped by… it’s been pure chaos here. Things haven’t been going smoothly in terms of our cabin remodel… everything has taken 10 times longer than we thought it would, and we’ve ugh… had some issues with our workers. I’m pretty sure we’ve survived the worst and things are starting to turn around because honestly I can’t take anymore stress. For me to be happy, sane, and function properly I need things to be clean, organized, and pretty, and I’ve had the exact opposite. We’ve had workers in our home nearly every day for almost 5 weeks, and that includes some weekends too. It’s really taken a toll on me, there is literally nowhere to go for privacy, and every night I, or I should say we, collapse into bed from exhaustion. I do have some updates to share though.
First of all, we sanded and repainted the metal deck railing. We chose Benjamin Moore Appalachian Brown, this color is going to be used on all our exterior trim and garage, and indoor on our spiral stairs and railing. I love the way that it looks, I took this photo recently after a rain storm. Now we just need to add the deck wood floor, but were waiting on our new glass and sliding doors first.
One thing that has been incredibly frustrating is the amount of junk and trash around our property, then add in all our construction demo and we’ve had an absurd amount of trash. We had a HUGE commercial grade dumpster delivered and it’s been emptied 2 times and it’s ready for another. Wasn’t it nice for the original owners to leave us a broken microwave in the garage from 1987?? #kindness
We decided to remodel the downstairs bathroom first, we’ve nicknamed it the bathroom from Hell. This is where literally everything has gone wrong. We had some workers redo the plumbing, HVAC, and move a gas line (the ceiling was too low because of the gas line). After nearly 3 weeks and still no progress we told them not to come back. They did almost everything wrong! We had plumbing parts put in upside down, and our favorite was the bathtub faucet at chest height. This is a bathtub shower combo mind you, and they knew that. Yet they still argued with us they were right. Can you imagine taking a relaxing bath while water falls 4 feet down into the tub, and then having to stand up to turn the bath water off?? I mean come on! After paying a lot of money to those guys and getting very, very upset, our wonderful general contractor had Brian2 come fix it. Brian2 has been a true gift! He’s so nice and full of knowledge, he’s been teaching Brian1 (my hubby) lots of helpful skills! By the way it’s taken Brian2 10 days to fix all the wonky plumbing Dumb and Dumber did.
The stairs have been a nightmare to deal with, both sets. The spiral stairs had old dirty carpet glued down, the glue was so thick that it took me FOREVER to strip it off. Then we had to get a grinder and smooth off the chunky welding spots, it was bad. From there it’s been a blur of more sanding and patching of the rough uneven metal.
Our main entry stairs are metal and concrete and go straight down… y’all we fall up and down stairs all the time! These are a huge injury waiting to happen so I’ve decided a nice carpet is the way to go. The floor company argued it couldn’t be done but Brian determined never to give up found a solution that lets the stairs be carpeted and still up to code. The stair company finally agreed it would work but we would need to prep the stairs ourselves and chisel out the concrete.
Luckily Brian2 let me borrow his amazing chisel tool thingy. I took out all my frustrations and chiseled up all the concrete myself! Brian1 just finished building the wooden stairs and as soon as the construction calms down I’ll be having carpet installed soon… and I have an awesome wooden branch handrail I can’t wait to install!
My original plan was to have a red front door, with our house painted a richer shade of brown. I quickly realized that was a bad idea, after testing a few shades of red I just accepted it wouldn’t work. It clashed horribly with the stone and just felt wrong. My backup choice was teal, we decided on Home Decorators Sophisticated Teal, the blue color on the left… now if only my new craftsman door would arrive!
As for the living room, we’ve enclosed the closet, that is now in the master bedroom, and brought it up to the ceiling. What a difference it makes!
The gas fireplace is installed and waiting inspection so it can be completed. I’m a bit frustrated our ceiling is still not installed… it’s been in the garage for over a month now! It had to acclimate, be stained, and now we’re just waiting on everyone’s schedules to clear up.
Our master bedroom is coming along nicely. This photo was taken right before Brian2 fixed all the wonky bad wall texture, and Brian1 has built my new closet. We’re planning everything to be super space efficient… I refuse to give up my king sized mattress, so it’s definitely tight. I’m just waiting on baseboards and my doors to be stained, it should be up on the blog within a few weeks.
We did have some drama with these pine doors. This is after staining with a natural colored stain, NOT OKAY! What is with those zebra stripes?? We returned all of our doors and bought knotty alder.
We removed the large cabinet along the wall in the dining area. My plan was always to take out this window, we have plenty of windows and it’s not needed. Because of our open floor plan I won’t have a chandelier over my table… which is so weird for me but it will be so much easier taking tablescape photos without a chandelier knocking us in the head.
We bought a larger deeper table and I have plans to add banquette seating and possibly sconce lighting for ambiance. When we do our kitchen remodel the cabinets will need to be moved left slightly to accomodate a dishwasher so I’ve got to design this space knowing in a year or so the pantry and cabinets will move down a foot or two.
Off topic but I’ve mentioned our house is framed all in steel, isn’t it weird how you can see the beams coming through the walls and ceiling?
Out of sheer frustration I added cabinet knobs and pulls. Seriously it was hurting our hands to open them and they open in weird unexpected directions. It made such a difference! Those tacky lights are next to go.
It’s so funny Haley and I were cooking in the kitchen, it’s tight but doable. She’s like me and loves to cook. I asked “So what are your thoughts on the kitchen.” She said “it’s ok, it works, but I wouldn’t plan on cooking Thanksgiving dinner in it.” That evening my sister texted asking about cooking Thanksgiving together at the cabin. We laughed so hard… I mean maybe it’s possible I don’t know. It was just a funny coincidence. I will say I HATE cooking on this electric stove top, and it’s a nightmare to keep clean. I can’t wait until I get a gas stove top again!!
Those are my updates for now. We’ve been through the worst so fingers crossed things should start moving along quicker. Hopefully I’ll regain my sanity and keep the blog regularly updated again. After our bedroom is done our next focus is to finish the downstairs bathroom, Ashley’s room, then the living room and deck. Plus I’ve got to try to get the cabin exterior painted in the next month of two before cold weather really hits. You might could say I’m a bit overwhelmed. Click here to see more of our cabin before photos.
Taking a break from cabin drama, Haley and I came up with an interesting twist on a new strawberry shortcake themed dessert, so expect that to be on the blog next! Take care!
It seems like I’ve been saying we’re moving for months now… or at least it does to me. As of yesterday it’s official, we no longer own our house. We are paying a month’s rent, though, so we technically have this house until the last day of May. Yesterday was so emotional for me, on the way up to our closing I was almost in a trance like state… just very weird. I’m truly excited to move but this month is full of obstacles.
Yesterday we were supposed to close on the new cabin in Colorado but it was delayed 2 weeks, which is especially frustrating because renovations were originally supposed to start this week. It’s actually getting kind of comical at this point all the delays with the cabin. It took over 2 weeks to finish the inspection (they usually take half a day) but it couldn’t be finished because the furnace needed a new part to turn on and the only company that still made the part they needed was in Texas, but they were behind production because a tornado hit their warehouse. We finally got the part but geez…. these are just some of the absurd situations were dealing with! Agh!!!!
We have a roof over our head but emotionally I feel homeless. Our Texas home belongs to another person and our new cabin technically isn’t ours yet, and it’s making me feel out of sorts. Plus our house is all torn up and empty. We decided to sell off almost all our furniture, and people keep asking me why we’re doing that. First of all this cabin has a different vibe decor-wise, and most of our stuff won’t look good, plus since the cabin is smaller we will need more space-saving furniture, and also we don’t want to haul a ton of furniture up there that we probably won’t use. I need to be very efficient in decorating and designing the cabin. I have some ideas how I want to decorate but I really need to live in the cabin a while and let it speak to me. Word of advice- mistakes are made when you decorate too quickly! You end up wasting time and money.
It’s crazy all the stuff we’ve sold, many things sold to the new owners which worked out great, our other stuff pretty much sold instantly on Craigslist and at our garage sale. I’m taking my smaller kitchen table, our mattresses, and my ivory sofa and chair, that’s really it… and some little decor stuff that I love. I’ll probably end up selling those after we get settled in the cabin and I redecorate, but we need a spot to eat and a sofa to sit on until I find what I want. I’ve felt sad selling some of my favorite pieces but at the same time it feels good to get rid of everything. It’s crazy how much stuff we had in this house, I’ve packed up so many boxes already. I’M SO OVER IT!!!
I had fun with the monthly loves category but it came to an end naturally. I was purging and selling stuff off once we went into contract, and the last thing I want to do is buy more stuff that I would need to pack up, so that’s the story with that. I haven’t really wanted to do outfit posts either, I haven’t wanted to shop plus I’ve gained a little bit of weight and nothing fits good. I’ve just been stress eating way too much lately!! I’m about to get the weight off, I actually had just started dieting a few days ago and then our realtor gave us tickets to the all you can eat porch at the Rangers game tomorrow. I’ve dreamed about the all you can eat porch for years! Screw the diet and pass the nachos please!
I feel like we’re all in survival mode right now, the girls are stressed out with school and just ready for the year to end. They work and study hard so naturally they’re burnt out… poor Haley had 5 AP tests this week and the SAT is tomorrow. As soon as we close on the new cabin we’ll go up and take some before photos, I’m excited to share it with you, but I’m also a little mortified how it currently looks. Mentally I have it decorated and remodeled and it looks amazing though… haha! So far we’ve picked out stone for the new fireplace and we’ve redesigned the window wall and ceiling. I can’t wait to share cabin photos and projects with you! It won’t be much longer!
Hey everyone! I’m ready to share our news, a few have known and kept the secret, but for a lot of people I know this is going to be a shock! We’re moving! It was a lot of stress emotionally and physically putting our house on the market, and that’s why the blog came to a halt and I had to take a break. Our house was showing non-stop, and keeping your home show-ready at a moment’s notice when you have a busy active family is HARD. We naturally keep the house pretty picked up anyway, but it was still stressful. We had to have the house perfect and be able to run out the door at a moment’s notice… and you can’t even stash dirty dishes in the oven or under the counter because odds are they’ll look there… right? The house sold within a week and life is calming down now so I’m ready to talk.
Selling our home was really emotional for me. I was excited to move but it actually put me into a depression and I had to mourn the loss of our beautiful home, it was weirdly like going through the emotions when you lose a loved one. Having said that, I told Brian we I wouldn’t budge on the price and I would only accept the perfect offer… and we got it. We received our perfect offer over Spring Break, and we all had a massive freak out. We almost declined and pulled our house off the market just from the shock and fear that it sold so fast.
I was scared to tell anyone we were putting our house up for sale because years ago when we lived in another city we sold our house and it was a disaster. It was during the 2008 market crash, and it was a 90 year old house. It was gorgeous but it sat on the market a year and we took a loss. I was afraid of another real estate disaster, but God came through for us and this is meant to be.
We were seeing signs all around us to go but we were still conflicted. A few weeks before Ashley’s birthday she asked it she could have a new bible for her birthday. She had really specific ideas how she wanted it to look, what version she wanted, and how her name was to be engraved. One Saturday morning the three of us went to the Christian bookstore, and as we walked up we saw this giant window display in the window. We just stood there in awe and Brian snapped a photo with his phone. The verse is so special and beautiful it makes me cry.
“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth in peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” -Isaiah 55:12 (KJV)
We’ve gotten a ton of questions from friends and family so I thought I’d answer all the questions we’ve been asked plus a few more that I know some of you are thinking haha. So here goes!
What area are you moving to in Colorado?
Right outside Estes Park, we’re in the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest. We found a cabin that needs a lot of updates, but it has a ton of potential. It’s technically not inside the Estes Park city limits, but we’re only about 15 minutes away. Our home is on several acres with gorgeous views. Yes we will have a few neighbors but there is plenty of distance.
Why are you moving to Estes Park?
We love the area and just have so much history there. My kids have been going there since they were so little, it’s beautiful and we love it. Estes Park is where I fell and fractured my spine, I never thought I’d feel good or normal again, but with God’s grace I recovered. Estes Park is where I first placed my hand on my sister Julie’s tummy when she was just a few weeks pregnant with my niece Lilly (who I’m obsessed with). Estes Park is where my Father in Law spent his last Christmas with us before he passed. We have a special photo of him sitting at the table playing games with the girls that makes me cry. We have so many stories and warm fuzzy memories that make us laugh and cry here. We feel at peace and closer to God and His creation here. We are ready for the simpler lifestyle and a change.
This seems really fast and sudden, have you really thought this decision through?
This has been in the works since New Year’s, so it was not an unplanned spur of the moment decision. We started looking at real estate in January and found our new cabin then. We thought about buying it to rent out for vacations, but God was tugging at our heart and we realized we were being led to live there. We fought it for a while. Plus if we hate it we will just move back.
What do your kids think?
My son is grown so he won’t be moving with us, but he’s excited to visit, plus he helps locally with the family business. The girls started out super excited then they started getting a little nervous. They’ve gone back and forth but things are fine now. Haley has a few kinks to work out with her school. She will be a senior next year but just needs 1/2 class credit left to graduate… so we’re working on that. She really studied hard in school, taking all AP classes, doubling up on needed classes, and keeping her grades up to be in the top of her class. The following year she’ll go off to college, her future looks bright, plus we donated $500,000 and she’s on the rowing team lol! Ashley is exited to be closer to nature, she’s a gentle soul, she’s begging for a horse down there and wants to name him King Louis. We’re just in talks at this point though.
Will you still have the blog?
Yes! We’re going to do massive cabin renovations and I can’t wait to document all of it, good or bad… and no we aren’t moving just so I’ll get to redecorate. That’s just another bonus though! Plus we still love to travel, I can’t wait to really explore a new part of the country. I’m a little nervous cooking at high altitude though. Cooking times are different, so I’ll have to experiment with that and see what’s up.
Don’t you know how expensive it is to live in Estes Park?
People complain it’s expensive up there, but we’ve ran the numbers and we’re actually going to be saving money. Yeah the place is a little smaller, and real estate with a view of course costs more. But a lot of things are cheaper, and we find the restaurants and groceries similar to what we pay in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Our property taxes surprisingly are drastically lower, so our house payment will actually be less.
Are we just moving to Colorado to smoke weed?
Haha… no. I don’t need anything to stimulate my appetite, plus we would rather drink wine anyway! But I do find the jokes hilarious, like when people are at a high elevation in Colorado and they take a photo saying dude we’re so high. I mean come on… that’s funny!
Are you worried about being snowed in and trapped for days in your new home?
It snows in Estes Park but not nearly as much as people think. The town is on the drier part of the Rocky Mountains, there isn’t any skiing in the area. We’ve visited Estes Park so many times in the winter and there are times we don’t see even a flurry. Estes Park has lots of sunshine so when it does snow it usually melts within a day or 2. The roads are also treated and plowed constantly. It’s not like Texas where we get a bit of snow and we all skid off the road.
So you’re probably going to change your clothing style and only wear buffalo hide and flannel right?
This was something I was concerned about at first, and Ashley too. I was looking around in my closet and told Brian I can’t wear any of this stuff in the mountains, my purses, shoes everything looks too city girl. I’m going to need to get rid of it all and only wear mountain clothes. He said why on earth would you want to blend in with everyone else? It’s a statement that’s stuck with me. So when it’s not a snow storm or I’m climbing the side of a mountain you’ll still see me in my pink Prada pumps.
How will you shop and buy things so isolated in the mountains?
The most amazing mall is only 90 minutes away in Denver, it meets my standards with a macaron store, a Nordstrom, and a Neiman Marcus. Denver is so modern and amazing, 90 minutes is nothing to us. The Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is huge and spread out. With bad traffic it can take a good hour to drive to my favorite mall in Dallas, so we’re good to make trips into Denver once a month or so as needed. This mall has the most beautiful Restoration Hardware store I’ve ever seen, it totally blows the Dallas location out of the water! Plus there is online shopping to fall back on.
We won’t be officially moving until the very end of May or the first few days of June, so life here at our home has returned to normal somewhat for now. The kids will finish the school year. However, we will be taking trips up there to get the remodeling process started before we officially move. Brian and I love DIY and remodeling projects but there are a few things that fall out of our area of comfort, such as replacing windows and shiplapping, staining, and adding wood crossbeams to a vaulted ceiling. So we’ve been in talks and getting bids from some local contractors.
I will absolutely be sharing photos of the cabin soon, I can’t wait to show you what we plan on changing. We’re doing some stuff immediately before we move in, other stuff will be done over time while we live there. In the meantime here is a little peak of the view off our deck, it’s heavenly! We’re surrounded by big boulders and pine trees (you know I’m obsessed with pine cones) with a view of the creek below. It’s so quiet with just the gentle sounds of the creek and the breeze in the trees.
We already have friends and family asking to stay with us! Brian said we might still need to get that vacation scheduling software so everyone can see when were booked and make their reservations… haha! I love having house guests, so I’m really excited. I’ll give you more cabin updates soon!
In the meantime I’m excited for spring and Easter coming up, Monday on the blog I’m showing you how Ashley and I created the prettiest Easter eggs!
Hello my sweet blog readers! I just wanted to give you a heads up that I’m taking a short break. I’ll just be honest, my anxiety is very high and I need to take a good week off or so to clear my head. Our life has been super hectic lately, we’re in the middle of a big project – I can’t explain what that is right now but I will tell you as soon as I’m ready. It’s nothing bad I promise! Then right after Ashley’s birthday she was complaining of terrible headaches and we discovered she had a double ear infection. Brian also needed a simple skin surgery done due to an infection and the harsh antibiotics are making him incredibly sick. He’s slowly improving but spending a lot of time in bed. This combined with our “big project” has my brain extremely overloaded.
We were wanting to explore some new areas of Denver over Spring Break and Brian even though feels bad is insistent we go, I’m trying to change his mind but I’m not sure it’s working! So this is just a heads up what the heck is going on with the blog. I thought I could try to push through it, but in the end I thought it would be better to take a short break and get it together a bit.
I’ll clear my head this week and be able to sort out some new blog posts I’ve wanted to share but have been too exhausted. Breaks are good and so healthy aren’t they? Those of you on my email list just be watching for my next blog post… otherwise expect to see me back in 7 days, ok 10 days max, ok? I’ll be ready to share some great spring ideas. If we do make it to Colorado for Spring Break I’ll be sure and update my Instagram.
I left everyone high and dry last week during Birthday Week. We started off strong with the birthday cake body scrub and our fun tassel garland. Next I had planned to show you some fun gift wrap and our yummy birthday cake recipe, and then…. our camera lens started massively screwing up. Fun right? Naturally we ate all the cake and Ashley opened the presents so that’s gone… there is always next year though. We did manage to get this frosting photo before the lens really flopped.
Another birthday thing we did over the weekend to celebrate Ashley’s 15th birthday was have afternoon tea at the beautiful French Room at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. I was able to get some ok-ish iPhone pics so I thought I’d share our wonderful experience! It was so fun!
Once we arrived at our table we were given a complimentary glass of sparkling rose and the girls had sparkling cider. So yeah… Ashley’s not drinking champagne haha! Both of my girls cautiously sipped the sparkling cider, for whatever reason they’re freaked out by carbonation. They’ve never had a soda pop in their entire lives. I’d let them have one, they just never wanted one… plus we don’t keep any in the house anyway.
After sipping on our sparkling drinks we were told just to sit back and relax that all the courses listed in the menu would be coming out shortly along with our tea. My girls are huge tea drinkers so they were really excited. Haley’s been into tea for a long time, but Ashley just recently started liking it.
Our favorite tea was the chai blend, it didn’t have a strong spice like your typical chai tea. This delicious chai had a strong fruity almond flavor. We ended up taking a bag home it was so good.
Soon after we had our first tea our finger foods came out. Would you believe I’ve never had an egg salad sandwich ever until now? I’ve lived a sheltered life. It’s not as scary as I thought it would be …haha. We all enjoyed the unique selection of finger foods and the delicious scones.
After several more cups of tea our dessert tray came out and did not disappoint either! Our experience at Tea at the Adolphus was an incredible one. I must also mention that the interior of the French Room restaurant is breathtaking. It’s light and bright inside with gorgeous ornate carved wooden embellishments on the walls and ceiling with huge pastel crystal chandeliers above us.
Any time you’re looking for things to do in Dallas I highly recommend Tea at the Adolphus!
Things the next few weeks are going to be a bit crazy in our house. I don’t really want to say exactly why yet, just we’re in the middle of a big project, I’ll eventually explain it. Then we have Spring Break and the broken camera lens is just the cherry on top. Due to lack of sanity I might be posting a little less for the time being, but I’ll be back strong ASAP! Have a great week friends!