a whole new chapter

We’re three days into school life and things are looking a whole lot different.

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We started kindergarten at six with Jameson after quite a bit of discussion last year.  I’ve found this isn’t the norm.  The majority of his class is five (or so the parents say), some look not a day older than four.  I decided not to ask for birth certificates.. but I hope someone did.  It doesn’t seem to bother Jameson that he is a small giant and hopefully it never will.  Instead he seems to be making the transition beautifully.  With a healthy amount of confidence.  In fact, the first day of school he started crying when he saw that I was there to pick him up at 2:50 because this meant he could not ride the bus. He’s ready.  Which helps me!  Instead of crying and taking pictures of every first moment at school (which is what I’d imagine I’d be like), I’ve felt such a calmness starting this new chapter and navigating the “firsts” with him.

This is going to be a great year in my boy’s life with many opportunities I cannot give him at home. We’re also gonna have a lot more “girl power time” as Lucia calls it around here.

More to come on that..

a little bit of heaven

Heaven to me is quiet.  There is coffee on endless tap.  The sun is shining.  I have conversation time with Mr. Underwood.  I wake and get myself showered and dressed in privacy.  We dream about the days ahead.  This weekend it happened!  I have proof.


We spent time in both Lutsen & Grand Marais which are beautiful.  And the food.. if you were to find yourself in Grand Marais you must eat at the Angry Trout Cafe and The Pie Place.  You will be a happier person.

Ryan was in Lutsen for a video job on Saturday so I spent the entire day doing whatever I like.. by the end of the day everything was closed and I was so bored I ended up painting my nails.  Which is shocking.  It was the first thing Colette noticed when we came home. She looked at me like she no longer knew me..

IMG_0736Both Lutsen and Grand Marais are big tourist spots, so families are crawling near the restaurants. How incredibly freeing to hear children melting down at meal time and completely ignore it.

IMG_0681Sunday we woke just before 10 a.m to only the sound of Lake Superior (and angels singing).  This was our day to celebrate our eleventh anniversary as I mentioned here.  11 years, three kids, six moves, a few jobs, and we continue to fight and love better.  We’re in the middle of it and yet he sticks by my side.  And I by his.  Pretty incredible.

IMG_0717To many more years with this man!  Bonus that he is adorable.  

dining room before and after

To be honest when it comes to house projects I can be dangerous.  This is the area of my life where I see an interesting combination of my parents in me.  Usually my dad’s personality wins- I think about the project, I take measurements, I look up a couple tutorials online (you get the picture).  But once in awhile my mom’s personality wins- and I decide to paint my dining room with some paint I already have. Starting at nine p.m.. “just to lighten things up”.

An hour and half into the project I realize this look is not gonna be good.  It’ll probably be even worse in daylight. So I go to bed.  My husband comes home the following day from a camping trip and asks “is there a reason the dining room has a couple different colors going on?”  Yes honey- i can be impulsive.  My mom won.

One of the challenges I have with our still new to us house is the woodwork.  There is beautiful dark woodwork only in the living and dining room.  I’ve heard this is how people used to build, putting the most investment into the entertaining rooms.  (So here is the beautiful more expensive wood and upstairs the cheaper trim that I painted last summer).  I gravitate towards contrast in decorating.  I like mixing old with new.  Oh, but the wood! The wood is tricky. I’ve actually thought over painting it ALL WHITE.  Do you want to slap me? Ok… we won’t talk about it.

Lets go back to the dining room.  It’s been a hard room for me to put together: wood trim, wood floors, our big wood table.  There was nothing wrong with the room, but it lacked contrast.  It lacked personality.  Time to put a little love into the room that visitors spend the most time in.. seated around our table.

Here is a before shot off my phone:

photo (28)My advice when you’re stumped: ask for help.  My good friend Steph is an interior designer.  To put it simply- everything Steph touches becomes beautiful!  After a minute of seeing the dining room half painted and looking at the pieces I had to work around – Steph said the walls should be dark.  I said done.  We went over a few other ideas and she even emailed me this lovely board to keep me on track:

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I love this.  I could paint myself, I could use what I had, and I didn’t need a huge budget. The curtains I already had from JC Penny, I picked up a bag full of plate holders from Pier One to hang old plates (which I’ve been itching to do), I removed the yellow glass shades from our existing light and put in mini edison bulbs, our table/chairs/bench are from World Market five years ago (the first purchase we made when we found out we were pregnant with Lucia!)  The only new thing was the rug (from Rugs USA on super clearance).

In the end- my dining room works!!  In fact it’s BEAUTIFUL.  See for yourself:




To find out more about Steph’s business or to see other e-design projects she’s completed- click here.  However,  I will warn you in advance.. she is incredible. You’ll want to have her back to work on every room in your house.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thanks for stopping by!

how we forgive

My husband and I stayed up too late last night hanging plates on our wall.  Yes, you read that correctly.  You know your husband really loves you when he’ll do things he calls “ridiculous”, because you want to do them.  For example: hanging plates on your wall.  We bought these plates (as part of a whole dish set) at Bed, Bath & Beyond when we were engaged.  We were poor college students and found this big beat up box of dirt cheap white dishes.. for something to the tune of $30.  We’ve broken and lost quite a few of the pieces since.  It makes me happy and then a little tired thinking of how many times I’ve washed these plates.  So- now they’re on my wall.  On my freshly painted dining room walls (more on that next week!)  But I’m in love with my dining room.

photo (27)Speaking of love- this week we celebrate our eleven year anniversary.  I look at us and it doesn’t seem right- that we’ve been married eleven years.  Then I look at our wedding pictures and we look like we’re twelve and fourteen.  So it makes more sense.

Ryan has been reading a book on marriage recently and has shared thoughts at night when we’re talking.  We’ve talked about the covenant of marriage.  Covenant: a legal contract/a bond.  One WE made before God.  I took that covenant very seriously.  Still.. in the back of my mind I’ve come to realize I’ve always thought Ryan could leave.. or that I would. I haven’t walked around thinking we were bound to divorce, but if something big happened/ if he got angry enough/if things didn’t change… I think I’ve held onto it like a security blanket because I’ve felt incredible rejection before in my life.  I’ve seen so many broken relationships around me.  And thats what people do.  They hurt one another. They choose not to forgive.  But marriage isn’t meant to be a reflection of ourselves/of our humanness.  Is it?  It’s suppose to be a reflection of God.  In us.

Instead be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God through Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

God forgave our past sin, He forgave us while we were still sinning, He even forgave sins to come.  Forgiveness comes first.  My insecurities haven’t been in who Ryan is.  He has shown me over the past eleven years that he is committed.  He has been a steady force. He is not easily shaken.  My insecurities have been rooted in me.  My history.  Our recent talks about our covenant (the one we made eleven years ago) remind me we continue to make this before God, to each other, and to our children.  We’ve been forgiven so that we can forgive.

This is love.