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:

underwoodshome (1)

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.


things keep moving

Summer is flying.  It is divine.  Seriously- low humidity, nights with a perfect cool breeze, and our neighborhood is buzzing with kids, gardeners, runners, and popsicles.  We have yet to do a lemonade stand – but its happening.  Once (a long time ago) I thought stay at home moms had it made in the summer.  They didn’t have to sit inside at their desk job and eat packed lunches like I did.  They basically could do whatever they wanted all summer long. What was I thinking?!?  Stay at home moms have ridiculous tans because they don’t stand (let alone lay still) all day long.  They run about putting on sunscreen, passing out popsicles, washing twice as much laundry, scheduling more playdates, putting on band aids.  Oh yes.. its a breeze. Either way -I like it better!  I’m home to capture more moments like these:

photoJameson is riding the bike his dad did as a boy!  The bike is a little big for him (and heavy), but he only needed a nights practice before he could get it going and balance.  Two days later he was racing down our street.  This kid can make any sport look like a breeze.  My papa Juntunen says he was born to be an athlete.  I see his point.

photo (23)These two.  Whoever wakes up first in the morning goes to wake the other up (because they want to be together.)  I then spend 50% of the day breaking up their fights.  Siblings! Lucia will be missing Jameson big time this fall as he is headed off to full-time school at a charter school near us.  I’m excited and nervous for him as we make another big transition. I was seriously considering another year of home school with him, but the social element is important.  As a home schooled kid myself I know- it is really important.  Plus- the charter school has an environmental theme to it and incorporates hands on (outdoor) teaching a lot.. which Jameson will love. They also cap at a smaller class size which was really important to me.  Still, it’s full time. Half of me can’t wait.  The other half wants to cry. Please leave a comment with all your advice/tips for me.  I will consider them all.

Our baby loves the beach.  When we show up she starts giggling.  She doesn’t want to go in the water, she just wants to use her cup to fill buckets with water.  Here she is watching her siblings digging in the sand.  She watches a lot and repeats everything they say by following up with “mom- when I’m older I’ll ____”.  Wishing she wasn’t growing up quite so fast.. but then I remember she’s still in diapers.  So she isn’t old yet.

We’re living outside and thinking about the season ahead because things just keep moving.  This morning at church I was talking to the family sitting beside us about their summer.  Jameson felt the need to interject that he CANNOT WAIT for winter because then his mom will let him play video games.  Oh, son..  winter is coming.