Monday, January 12, 2015

House Pictures!

Sorry it's taken me so long - here's a little tour of a few of the rooms in our new house!  Rarely are things very tidy around here these it's taken me quite a while to have a moment to grab my camera and snap!  Also, excuse the Valentine's Day decorations lol ;)


A few pretty touches - a shadow box of her take home outfit, a little statue my mama bought her (they're the same ones she got me as a child!), a personalized jewelry box from our friend Katrina.

Main paint colour is BM Grey Mist...really more like an off white with a dab of greyish.  It was the perfect colour to tone down the very yellow "vintage white" furniture yet not turn yellow itself with the purple accent stripe. 

I painted the accent stripe using the new scallop frog tape - so cool!  Made the name with decoupaging wooden letters.  Lighting is from home depot.  Furniture is by Munire (Savanah line - HIGHLY recommend this company for their customer service and excellent product!)

Lastly, the blessing we say to her every night.  Got the idea from the book "The Blessing" by John Trent.


Main paint colour is BM Revere Pewter with accent wall of BM Bridal Pink (requires a LOT LOT LOT of coats - and USE A PRIMER even if your paint is the best there is.)

Lace banner by my dear friend Alyssa.  Photography by the amazing Jaydene Freud of Cradle Creations, Abbotsford.  Lighting is again from Home Depot.

Curtains from Restoration Hardware.  Vintage doilies were my crafty touch ;)

Furniture by Bratt Decor.  Art work by Lindsay Letters (LOVE HER STUFF!)  Used ikea metal bars on the wall to hang special handmade blankets (thanks Auntie Jenn!)


Stuck with a simple black and white damask scheme (from years ago!) and brought in a touch of green.  Walls are "Folly" by Behr.  Curtains are...WALMART of all places!  Lighting is from Tiffany Lighting through Joss and Main online.

If you come to visit, you get your own bathroom!  I'm thinking about painting the end tables in a crisp fresh white instead of the creamy colour that they are.


We wanted this room to be a bit more formal and elegant, but also not too heavy on furniture so that our formal dining room can expand here when needed.  We still wanted it warm and inviting, so we added the blanket ladder in the corner.

The wallpaper is a stock line at our local Benjamin Moore store, so it didn't take nine months to custom order (like our last house!)  Google "Atlantic Damask Silver Modern Damask" and you'll find it in other neutral colours too. We love how it's a modern take on a traditional pattern.

We moved the big bathroom mirror from our upstairs en suite remodel to the entry way.  We also painted the inside of our front door black to dress it up.

Painting, lamps, couches, ottoman, end tables: homesense.  Coffee table, black rug: ikea.  Decided to use aqua as the accent colour through pillows, curtains, and lampshades, but can easily change this up as desired :)


This mudroom off the garage was once just a couple machines on the floor and an industrial sink.  NOW IT'S DREAMY!  I always get laundry done quickly and easily (the folding the putting away is another story lol!)  The drawers are sturdy enough that they act as a stand for my baskets; and the lower ones are deep enough to actually store laundry baskets full!

Haven't decided what to do here yet - it's a low shelf of hooks for Evalie to hang up her coats on her own for now.  I am thinking eventually I would like to find a really cool bulletin board for school stuff to gather when the time comes.


Some people call this the Family Room, but to me it's where all the living takes place so I call it the living's a bit confusing for some (like my husband, for example lol)!  We went with a darker, warmer paint colour since we have tons and tons of natural south facing light along this great room.  It's BM Rockport Grey.  I think it really keeps everything warm, but modern :)

Two sitting chairs and two couches (sofas from Urban Barn) makes for lots of room for friends to chat!  Yet, there is still room for the kiddos to play (that ottoman is full of toys!) and there is a baby swing, play mat, and exersaucer usually here too ;)  Curtains are from Target - love the ombre!

Big fireplaces are hard to decorate without televisions!  But, I think this painting from Bouclair Home did the trick ;)

Love this office nook where we can one day keep an eye on what our girls are looking at on the computer.  Notice the messy papers everywhere...tis wha tis.

A couple fun Heart Day decorations ;)  The heart banner is on its last leg and might have to retire after this year...the paper just keeps getting more and more warped.  OH, and if you ever decide to do one of these paper flower styrofoam ball things, two pieces of advice: only use the Martha Stewart four-petal flower punch and stick with monochromatic!

Love our awesome rug because it pulls in all the neutrals and adds some pattern to the room. It was an investment from our carpet store (Atlanta Flooring in Mission BC) and won't stain (so they say!)

Some art I made from cutting old hymns into heart shapes and modge podging - the gold isn't the best with this paint colour, but oh well!  It's special anyway.

Another spot where I have toys available - under the couch console table...see how pretty it all looks when I cut that bottom part off?  Haha!  Oh what pictures can hide and show! 

Thanks for looking - hope you can come for a visit IRL soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Courage to Change...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

A simple prayer.  A profound reminder.

Sometimes, it's easy for me to focus on the things I can't change, even though it's frustrating that I can't change them.  Primarily these things include...well, ALL OTHER PEOPLE.  It's easy to let my mind wander onto all the things that I would change about others.  The thoughts go something like this, "If only ____ were more ____ then (insert good outcome here)."  Like, "If only my toddler were more obedient, then I wouldn't pull out my hair."  

But, the truth is, I can't change other people.  Even my own children.  (A good parenting book that recognizes this premise is Scream-Free encourages parents to change themselves, thereby impacting their children instead of the vast majority of behavior modification publications out there.)  Okay...that was a side note...

I also can't always change my circumstances.  Sometimes money is plentiful, sometimes it's not.  Sometimes the weather makes my day bright and cheery; usually dreary and rainy.  I can't always change my health.  Sometimes I'm plagued with an extremely painful migraine; sometimes I feel great.  Sometimes I get a good night's sleep; sometimes I'm exhausted.  


I can change:

my thoughts & perspective
my emotions (eventually)
my words
my actions

what I read
what I wear
what I eat

who I spend time with
who I invest in
who I let go

how much I sleep
how much I spend money
how much I exercise
how much I clean house or play with my kids

This year I'm going to have courage to change something when it's not working for me.  To think optimistically, instead of worrying.  To speak encouragement with boldness.  To read more scripture & more parenting books (I love those!).  To eat in a way that gives me energy and strength.  To invest in relationships that serve, fill, and mutually build up.  To let go of people, things, thoughts that drag me down.  To prioritize healthy sleeping and spending habits.  To choose happy children over a clean kitchen. 

This year I'm having the courage to be who I want to be...who God wants me to be!

 just a note that I wouldn't change how cute these kiddos are EVER ;)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2015 Word of the Year: COURAGE

I used to be a courageous gal.  A little TOO courageous in fact.  I was that girl who would say whatever I thought  - often without tact - whether you wanted to hear me or not.  Let's just say I lost some friends along the way.

Lesson learned: LET YOUR GENTLENESS BE EVIDENT TO ALL.  -Phillipians 4:5.

Oh, and it helped that I moved to Canada, one of the most polite countries in the world.  People here don't speak up much (in general) for fear of hurting or offending others.  It was a good culture for my personality to become immersed in.  But, tending toward all-or-nothing, I became quiet, and as PC as I could.  My pendulum swung clear to the other side, and my goal was to be liked by everyone.


Turns out, no matter what I did, I still wasn't liked by some people.  Some people still got mad at me, didn't want to be my friend, or asked me to be quiet.  Turns out, you can't please everyone.

So, this is the year that I say: I'm going to have real courage.


I'm finding my balance between the extremes.  2015 is the year of true courage.

More to come.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Well, that was easy...

A little background before I share the story of this last week...

We purchased our first home (this home!) almost three years ago in the fall.  Our plan was always to stay here for about 5 years or so, depending on how life progressed.  And, oh has it progressed!  When we moved in, we immediately made this home everything we wanted it to be - we put in all the little details that we knew we would enjoy and I got to decorate to my creative heart's content!  We didn't take it slow, most likely because we have been so used to living in spaces for a short time - usually about a year or two.  Those "short" times have added up to our first decade of marriage!  What if every space we lived in I put off decorating and making our own?  Then, we would have spent the last ten years never feeling at home in our little suites, apartments, and first house.  We're glad we did our upgrades as soon as paid off not only for us, but also for the sale of our first home (more on that!)

For the last few years, this house has served us exceptionally well.  But, of course, with a growing family comes the desire for a bit more space.  Not that we NEED it.  "Need" is such a relative term!  We are always aware of our tremendous abundance - the vast majority of the world live in conditions far below what North Americans would ever consider acceptable.  We love to give; we love to serve; we love people.  We have always dedicated this home and all who enter it to the Lord.  He is the One who ACTUALLY owns this house, and who actually owns everything.  Nothing we have is ours - it's all His.

All that to say, we have what some of our friends refer to as a "revolving door"!  We're constantly entertaining, having people live and stay with us, throwing parties, and welcoming people into our home.  After all, that's what we want to use our house for - to bless others, warm others, provide a refuge for those who need it.  With our newest addition - little baby Annelise Virginia - we don't have a guestroom anymore.  We also don't have a floor plan that has allowed for the large parties we love to host.  Hence the motivation for a change...

David and I have a long list that makes up our "dream home."  After weeks of discussion, deliberation, viewing lots, considering building, arguing, praying, and of course pinning (lol!), we finally thought we would find a realtor (Jennel Youssef with Remax - a sister of a friend whom we met at a child's birthday party) who could actually show us a bit of what's available.  Never in a million years did we think that the events of this last week would unfold:

- Friday, Day 1: casually viewing houses (have been for a few days).  Our long wish list is 99% met by a random viewing.

- Saturday, Day 2: view many more houses.  David wants to know more about what's out there and what's available.  Erika is along for the ride, because she thinks that 99% checked boxes is pretty darn good.  But, they're still not sure, because it wasn't the plan to actually BUY a house and MOVE right now!  Plus, the 1% problem is that the house is on a busier street than they had hoped...will that be a major deterrent?
- Sunday, Day 3: Nope, turns out that one deterrent is doable, considering the perfection of the house.  We decide to put in an offer on the house, negotiate a price, and have an ACCEPTED OFFER by the end of the day!   WHAT!?  We are buying a house!?  Much prayer.  Our greatest desire: If God doesn't want us to have this house, He will stop it from happening.  We don't want to live somewhere He doesn't want us to be!  

- Monday - Wednesday, Days 4, 5, 6: Working on removing subjects, including SUBJECT TO SALE of our current beloved home.  We have to decide on a listing price, which is difficult.  We poured a lot of money into this home, but don't expect to get it back in our neighborhood tend to go for low prices (hence we are here!).  Upon finally deciding a price, we're worried it may be a bit too high...but we're hopeful nonetheless.  
So many emotions, so many thoughts!  Suddenly our house feels so much more valuable at the prospect of losing it.  We continue to pray, continue to question, continue to discuss.  We love this neighbourhood!  We love our neighbours!  We love our little first house!  What are we doing?!  On top of managing all of our previous commitments to this week, and continuing to care for a newborn (who, by the way, has been awake and stayed awake since 4 am all of these days!), we have mounds of phone calls, contracts, emails, meetings...the list is endless.  Oh, and don't forget the packing up, decluttering, depersonalizing, cleaning, and staging of our house!  Whew!

- Thursday, Day 7: Our real estate agent puts a sign on our front lawn.  The house will not actually be listed for sale until Friday (privately for estate agents only) and then Saturday (publicly on MLS).  She figures that the sign will build a little excitement for the weekend.  Oh, and today is our 10 year wedding anniversary!  We also have a photo shoot of the home this day...don't know if you've ever done that, but it's a little difficult with two napping children!  By the end of the day, we already have a request for a showing in the morning - yippee!

- Friday, Day 8 10:00 am: our first showing.  It's in the morning, so we run through our quick and easy checklist for staging the house and rush the girls out the door (deep breath: shut all toilet lids, make sure there are absolutely no dishes or crumbs or specs of dust anywhere, open all curtains and blinds, turn on lights, take out all garbage, make sure all laundry is put away, put on music, light a candle, have a plate of cookies ready, pick up the dog poop, clean the floor, PERFECT know, no biggy...)  Meeting with our mortgage broker, grocery shopping, and breakfast out.  The first showing results in an offer!  We're thrilled!
- 2:30 pm: our second showing.  Wake the girls from naps (sadness!) and rush off again...repeat above list.  The second showing results in a second offer!  We're amazed!
-  5:30 pm: our agent informs us that a third party wants to view the house in an hour, and then they will write us an offer just after viewing.  The third showing results in a third offer!  We're dumbfounded!
- 7:15 pm: get Evalie Rose down for bed, and begin negotiations.  Our agent's phone is still ringing off the hook for requests for viewings.  Pray for God to give this house to the people who need it most; pray for direction and guidance and clarity; pray for the new owners that they will be blessed to live here.  Three realtors present three offers - all for over asking price.  After hours of prayer, discussion, and lots of phone calls, we accept an offer for significantly more than we ever dreamed our home would sell for!  Surprisingly, we didn't just go with the "highest bid" but we went with what we believed was the best overall offer.
- 11 pm: evaluate feelings, kiss each other, kiss our babies, and thank God for this wonderful whirlwind of a week!  Now for sleep...which happened to be through the night as baby finally didn't wake up at 4 am!  

As I write, we're awaiting removal of all subjects - which is to happen this coming week.  Lord willing, all will work out and we'll be moving in a month!  So, there's our crazy house-selling house-buying story!  What a wonderful adventure :) 

(Pictures by Lara McAllister with Red Wagon Photography (no longer in business) January 2012)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Scrapbooking Sharing

Hi Everyone!  I know it's been a while since I've blogged...Turns out I've been DOING so much!  Prepping for baby has meant a ton of scrapbooking projects!  And, I've been super motivated to try to "catch up" the best I can on my regular scrapbooking.  Last night I actually finished all of 2013 - woo hoo!  I'm sooo thankful to my mom and hubby who let me have hours of uninterrupted art time to enjoy!  

My apologies for the less than ideal photos...I decided that the ease and speed of quickly uploading things from my iPhone outweighed the need for perfectly exposed and edited shots ;)  I hope you still get the idea of the layouts and that they inspire you in your own scrapbooking journey!  (Side note: there are also some older layouts on here but I wasn't sure if I had posted them yet or here they are!)

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