Bucket List Blonde

I come from blonde roots. My Mom is a blonde, my sister is, and all the nieces and nephews are little toe heads. I’ve always been dark haired. I would have been named Robin had I followed in all the blonde footsteps before me, but I came out with gorilla levels of nearly black hair, and so my sister got her way and I was named Autumn.

As long as I can remember I’ve wondered what it’s like to be blonde, could I pull it off? Would it be too weird? And… would it be more fun?

This past month has been a weird one, full of joy and fun but also transitions and tiredness, settling into our home and trying to find the groove we fit into. And in all that tumult and the dust settling around huge life changes I felt that itch. The one for a Big Change. It was this or a tattoo, so I figured it was time to scratch one off the list and just go for it.

I am so glad I did.

10420102_10100933083530180_1554885585341085984_nBefore…

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After!

I still feel a little like I am wearing a disguise but the strangest side effect is that I feel about 100X more confident and like such a girl! I’m getting dressed, grinning from ear to ear, and kinda feel like I’m walking on air. Being Blonde will be a short season for me, but one I can already tell I am going to adore. Cue the CHORUS: ” I ennnnnjoy being a girrrrl!”

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fathers day; Dear Charlie

I wish I had all the moments bottled up. They’d fill the mason jars, overflow the cups, it’d be the moment when the bath runs too high and Nolie starts giggling and Ev stands tall and the water just barely drips over the edge and all of a sudden it’s an overflow of love/holdme/read another book/can you build that papa/I’m your baby/toss me up high/draw another picture with me? and those looks you give. The exchange between all of those sparkly artist eyes, the ones you all share.

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The look of concentration Nolie has, ear protection on, while she builds a fairy world in the scrap wood box below you as you craft art for our home.

The tiny voice saying her known words, “Ebby Papas Baby. Ebby Lobah you.” that she’s felt since the start and can now put to voice.

It would be canisters full, memory cards overloaded, words piled on top of each other in the tiniest scrawl I could fit on a card, that would start to scratch the surface of those moments.

You are a super dad. A super husband. And a constant source of hand squeezes, kisses, encouragement, and growth. You see where we fall short and work to build up. You look at our girls as precious, important, and people in their own right. You don’t steam roll, take over, covet control, or put your foot down. You give empathy, words, affection, read books and care about learning what we can change and do better.

My hope was to be with a man who was always growing. Someone who knew that they knew nothing, who didn’t take the roll of Dad lightly. You study it. You pray over it. You talk and talk and talk with me through the ideas and ideals. You put effort and time, care and thought, and so much love into being a Dad.

When we first found out I was pregnant with Nolie. And I sat there on the big green ottoman, knees to my chest holding that test. And you ate peanut butter cup after peanut butter cup after peanut butter cup and I shook and shook and said “I think I should just call my Mom. I really need to just call my Mom.” and you looked at me, with steady eyes and said. “Autumn. I am so excited, this is good!”

You were right. You were so right. This is good. This is past good, out of the park, beyond my wildest dreams, the best adventure. Thank you. Endlessly, over the top, don’t have the space or words in the world to put it together, Thank You.

You blow me away my Love.

Happiest Fathers Day Charlie, your title of Best is shared with only one other man, my Dad. And I don’t have to tell you what a high honor that is.

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hands in deep.

I have my fingers dipping into so many little pots, stirring and tasting and trying, but not quite seeing the ends yet.

It’s a phase of calm and consistent. Eating well even if my jeans stay tight, of running the miles even if they feel hard each time, of talking her off the ledge and using calm words and decibel even with my crazy rises and bubbles up into what could be explosive. I am in a space of meal planning, the same simple meals, to save the pennies. To paint the same colors and love them each time I stroke them on. It’s feel like a hard space, waiting. The in between. The “results” and “behaved” are far off, or maybe right there, but I can’t tell because it’s all around a bend.

All I can do is remember two things; I am worth moving, eating, loving well. No matter what. No matter what the ‘results’ look like. And no matter how long any of it takes to achieve.

And, two, the girls are worth my calm-loving-empathetic and listening response. Every.Single.Time. No matter if it’s the hundredth time Ever has hit Nolie, or the thousandth time Nolie has deemed a trinket “too special to share! NO EVER! NO!!!”, no matter if I didn’t sleep the night before, or if we are out of coffee. No matter what. They are worth that. And hand in hand, they are worth apologizing too. Even if they don’t apologize back. They are worth the fresh starts, the clean slates, the ‘no keeping of accounts’. They are  girls who pour grace out on me when I fail, and model to me all the love I want to give right back.

This is a good space, a good season, a waiting and calm and consistent space.

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5 tips for decorating a small home

{1} Pick your colors!

My knee jerk is to paint each room as sounds good to me in the moment, or as pintrest inspires me in the moment…ahem. BUT, Because we have a small home we need all the rooms to work together, flow well, and have some continuity to make the whole space feel larger and more fluid. The house seems larger because each space isn’t jarring. Our colors are black, white, grey, and different variations of blue. I am sure we will deviate here and there (hey yellow! I adore you!) but keeping the bulk of our big pieces and paint in those families is helping SO much. For example, I was worried that bringing a grey rug into our already pretty monotone living room would make the space feel a little blah, wrong! The rug wholly pulled the room together.

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{2} Keep your furniture Low

Keeping furniture to scale is important. Large pieces can help fill a space, so a couch that fits well across a whole wall is important, and will help you not have dead space, but keep them low profile and legs visible so that you still have nice bright site lines. For us that meant that we needed a lower coffee table (ours was about mid thigh height and it felt a little invasive since it sat higher than the seat of our couch). I found one with nice bones at a local thrift shop for $15, a coat of bright paint on the bottom and some sanding and clear coat on the top made it a great and easy couple hour DIY project that added some great punch to our space.

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{3} Draw the Eyes UP!

Drawing the eye up is important in opening up a small space, so having a bright or interest filled ceiling (coffered ceilings are in my dreams) helps loads, but if your budget is a bit lower then adding a large mirror to an empty wall or some lights strung well and high can do wonders. We have little pink twinkles in our girls room to have as evening reading light, but they also draw attention to the gorgeous tall ceilings. But in our kitchen the top felt a little empty, soon we will install some open shelving and that will do the trick. But this little decoration is bringing some whimsy to our space as well as fun light in the evenings. Eyes up, and it’s starry bright. 10271536_10100905858534290_3111675366007054655_n

{4} Make the functional pieces fun pieces.

Our kitchen cabinets are TALL. So we needed a step stool desperately. My knee jerk was to buy the cheapest plastic one from Ikea (like we have in the bathroom… out of necessity thanks to a certain two year old pee monster) since it’s so functional. But because our home is little the stool can’t be hidden away. So we picked up a wooden one (also from ikea) and painted it (the same bright blue as the bottom of the coffee table and our entry room, see? continuity! It’s fun, not boring! and saves you money ;) ). I love how it turned out and that it isn’t an eye sore in the kitchen but instead another cute moment. And, for only $15 it’s a pretty nice deal too.

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{5} Don’t follow the rules too closely.

My bedroom is small, it shouldn’t have a four poster huge bed. But? I adore it, so it does. The entry room would look bigger if it had bright walls, but I wanted a saturated jewel tone, so? I did it anyway. If you love it in your home, it’s worth it to have in your home!

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Super strict black/white/grey in the office… except when it’s not.

Pretty, Inspired {3}

Sometimes all it takes for me to feel inspired all over again is a quick rearrange. A little extra cleaning. And some fresh bright light.

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These Ten Small living spaces are inspiring me today. I especially LOVE this one, the frame?! So.Cool. We have super high ceilings and this is speaking to me for the little lady room. . . .

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Our bedroom is the number one room on my I’mStumped list. But these before/afters are so pretty and get my wheels turning. 

 

I’m a big sucker for Ikea Hacks. And these are some pretty awesome ones.

 

This quote has been bouncing around my head a lot lately. As someone who comes at life with a bigger than normal dose of sensitivity, it hits home.

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I have high hopes to have a few (amazing! fingers crossed!) before and afters of our back yard coming soon, but I’ve got big dreams and a  small budget, so we will see where this ends. What Spring projects are you working on? Today we pressure washed the garage, picked out some pergola ideas, bests some laundry, and are trying to pick out a paint color for our garage… who knows if we will ever get a brush going, we can’t decide!!

 

It’s in the small stuff.

1484151_10100738407297910_274825159_nCharlie and I are celebrating 10 years together in a couple weeks. We’ve ebbed and flowed, highed and lowed,over those years but a few things lately have been really tying the bond up tight. We have been feeling closer, more connected, and happier than ever lately. I wanted to share a few small things that seem to be fanning the flame.

1. A daily act of love. Charlie makes me a french press, every morning. He has done this over a year, and it carries huge weight. It is time out of his morning, it is care to learn how to do it (because up until a couple months ago he didn’t drink coffee! Right, what.the.what.?). And he wraps it in towels so it stays hot for when I wake up (a few hours after it’s made). This one small act communicates to me a huge need I have;  I want to know he was thinking of me when I’m not around. I am a big lover of the Five Love Languages book, but this one for me knocks those all out of the park; I want to know I’m on his mind. And this reminds me, it also gives me that moment of pouring hot coffee and thinking of him, and being thankful for him.

2. Random Clean Up; when we ‘do each others chores’. This one happens all the time and in different ways. It’s when he comes home from work to a clean house instead of the typical play filled disarray. It’s when he drops by in the middle of the day and cleans the toilet or tub without even telling me. It’s caring about lightening the load.

3. Encouraging. This one has been a practice for us. And one that is always evolving. It has meant sinking money into things that make no sense to each other (tools! for him and a fancy camera for me!). It’s not keeping score, or bartering, it’s Charlie saying “lets just buy you that camera. We can build the deck in a couple months and you can start taking pictures of beautiful things now!” We are learning to encourage each others passions; it’s me telling him to take the extra time in the shop, and him telling me to go and write while he occupies the girls. It’s sacrifice and love given in tangible ways! And its revitalizing both of us.

4. Asking questions. Somewhere around year 8 we kinda hit a lull and stopped really asking each other questions. We just kinda thought “yeah, I know that person. Inside and out.” but then, recently, we started to realize that (duh!) we are two ever evolving people with always changing hearts and passions, we are endless! there is so much to know! So now we date. Sure, its across bobbing blonde baby heads, noodles all over the table, or intersected with bath times and bandaids, but we keep the questions flowing like were dating again. And I can’t even say how great it is to keep getting to know this guy.

5. Kissing and hugging. So much. All the time. And for longer than 20 seconds. That seems weird, and precise, but I promise once you start doing this two things will occur to you; 1. Wow, we were just kissing and hugging hardly at all before! and 2. Ohhhh the LOVE! This article talks a little about it, but that love/attachement/connection hormone (oxytocin!) is released strongest and best after 20 seconds. So, get smooching!

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both photos by Tiffany Burke Photography (and taken almost exactly a year apart :) )

Weekend Projects. Slow and Steady.

We have been tackling small projects each week/weekend and here are this past weekends triumphs!

10269503_10100882726246580_4871572076497308987_nThe back steps before.

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And (mostly done) after! Still need to box in the rails and remove one side (deck is coming soonish!) but still a huge improvement!

10251965_10100882726236600_609847520750316675_nand…. because we are crazy… after lots of talking and thought we decided we are done with the bunk bed season (no one was sleeping in the top bunk and it always freaked other Mom’s out when their littles climbed up, and we host a LOT of playdates, so for the sake of mine and everyone else’s sanity! we cut them apart. The girls are THRILLED!)

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What did you do with your weekend? Any fun projects, were still scheming whats to come next weekend!

Pretty, Inspired {2}

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This little lady-o turned TWO last weekend! Between the unending chatter, sentences, and new words busting out… I believe it!

Here were a few things I saw/loved during this past week;

ea4f74a865806aad2658537acc039a2eThis hair. I mean… yes. 100X yes.

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This bathroom remodel is getting my wheels a turning!

I’m pretty handy with a sharpy and have a whole lotta white walls. . . . thinking about doing this DIY wall paper dealio.

journal

 

I’m missing having more consistent writing, and these journal prompts are pretty enticing. I think I might start working some pen to paper and get that flowing again.

13915859956_5f097b9cfc_oThis picture really spoke to me. A ‘gallery wall’ of your kiddos chosen art. I love it.

And I think this might be the inspiration we need for a big art day and some beautiful new pieces in the girls room! Found here!

1464697_10100738403041440_96263811_nAnd, what is inspiring me most this week, this guy. Marriage, love, and how to tend a marriage is on my heart, mind, and lips a lot lately.

at home. {Five Things I Didn’t Expect in the Home Buying Process}

Something clicked this last week. We would walk in the door and both kinda smile to each other. I would hang things on walls and not second guess it. I would move around chairs and benches and mirrors without a second thought, because I knew where they went. This past week I didn’t think much about our old house or how cute the front yard was, or how warm the stoop was after the sun went down. This week I reveled in home and all the security that comes with it.

I feel like our feet are under us and we are finally finding our love for this home that we had upon the first walk through. The tumult of buying is over and behind us far enough, the project list is out of the OMG CHANGE THAT ASAP space, and we’ve hosted friends here enough to feel like this is home to them now too. But now I can finally reflect a second. And wanted to lift the veil on home buying for a moment; It’s not what HGTV made me believe it was!

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Five Things I Didn’t Expect in the Home Buying Process;

1. The secrecy! Putting in an offer is a big deal! But sharing it around early? And then having it fall through? Heartbreak. We only kept a small circle of friends/family in the loop until we felt *kindasorta* sure, and even then it was pretty early to share our info (uh, on here!) and it  might have all fallen through. Most people take the pregnancy approach and keep it all pretty quiet till they are sure the house will stick. It surprised me how much we were urged and how much we felt like this wasn’t okay to put out in the world until we had keys in hand. I clung to the words from a friend and blog reader (read her amazing words here!) of “This or something Better.” and those got me through a whole lotta fears.

2. To cry. So much. I am a crier, so it shouldn’t be surprising that when we sent in our “offer paperwork” and when we got the “keys call” I was a wreck. But I didn’t realize all the tear opportunities in between! Like; Running your credit and finding you pretty much financially don’t exist (uh, I guess there is a downside to having no debt :/) and having to change all.the.plans. Or crying every time you hear your email alert go off, because  MAYBE WE GOT THE HOUSE?!

3. To feel uncertain until the very very end. Even if it is “certain”. Because of the program we bought through, it wasn’t a bidding war or negotiations that were tenuous, it was just waiting to ‘be sure’. The papers had to be gone over and over (and over twice again) by underwriting, and the loan officers, and on and on. We *knew* that there was nothing that would give them pause, or that made us not great candidates, but I still spent lots of sleepless nights wondering what they would find combing our (stupidly simple and empty) bank statements. I think the inherent limbo in waiting for someone to give you a stamp of approval is just hard and restless.

4. How slow slow slow it feels while you wait and then how LIGHTING fast it is once you “know”. Suddenly you go from hazy timelines, and maybe we can have a garden in our new home, to THIS IS IT COME SIGN TODAY! and “here are your keys! welcome home!” and then you still have to pack/move/clean/unpack/clean/arrange/organize/arrange again/yougetthepicture (it’s still going).

5. That your new home, even though you bought it because it is better than where you were and even though it is now “yours”, won’t feel like home right off the bat. The taco truck dinners, pizza takeout on paper plates, and champagne in a coffee mug is charming and sweet, but not quite home. It took us a good two months, this past week!, to really get that :sigh: this is ours, feeling.

 

But now, we are sitting in that sweet spot (for DIY fanatics) of a nice long list of stuff we want to accomplish. But in a home with photos on the walls, furniture in nice functioning spaces, and friends knowing where we are without needing our address. We are home.

 

Pretty, Inspiring.

1653266e05300f92ff470729bf387aefThis quote, while cheesy, speaks to me. It’s likely going on the chalk wall soon.

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A weekend project I am wanting (Charlie) to do.

Looks so cute and easy too!

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Both of these are inspiring me for our office wall. And lots (LOTS) more cool wall art ideas here too!

Also liking This bloggers thoughts (after participating!) in American Blogger.

This cool way to add character to a door! SO beautiful. Also, that blue door? Yes. Please. Everyday.

 

And, this office, alluvit. The shelves are especially inspiring me since I need to get some BIG SHELVING going in our bedroom soon!