beautiful moments

Friday was grandparents morning at Jameson’s school.  Every student invited their grandparents to see their classroom, meet their teacher, and attend a book fair with them (which was a very good strategy for the profits of the book fair! yes?)  Ryan’s parents are too far away (in Tennessee), my parents haven’t gotten to know our kids, and Ryan was out of town for the week.  I planned on just skipping grandparents morning.  It was another thing while I was running things solo.  Then Wednesday Jameson came home begging that I’d come with him: “mom.. you could be just like my grandma”.

Do you ever have one of those moments as a parent when you just know what the right thing is?  I needed to go to grandparents day.  It was a really good morning just me and my big guy.  He was so proud to show me every little thing about his school and I was proud to be there.  The youngest grandma by far.

photo (31)

Grandparents day stings for me.  I sat on the little kindergarten plastic chair looking around the classroom at so many incredible grandparents leaning in listening to their grandkids, putting their arms around them, and praising their work.  I missed Jameson’s grandparents.  I wanted the Underwoods to be closer to share these everyday things with us as I KNOW they do too!  I wanted my parents to be able to have relationship with this boy who is already in school!  Of all the firsts transitioning Jameson to school, this was the one that got me.

On grandparents day I needed to hold myself together.

So we read together, we talked with the friends he sits with everyday in class (along with their grandparents), and then Jameson was antsy as can be to head down to the book fair setup in the library.  On our way he reached back to grab my hand.  Perhaps it was part of his strategy in getting an extra book…but God knew it was exactly what I needed.

Friday morning I was where I needed to be.. because even in the pain there are laced these beautiful moments.  The sting teaches me about celebrating, participating, loving, and listening better.  It opens my eyes to see broken family relationships everywhere that I probably wouldn’t recognize as if it weren’t for that sting.

It hurts.  But beauty is found here.

a whole new chapter

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

photo (30)

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:

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!