Island Life

2016-03-04 10.27.19

I live my life right here on this cold, hard slab of marble.  Oh, you thought I meant somewhere tropical?  Ha!  Nope – this is the life for me.  When I am home, this is where I spend 99% of my time.  Ok, well sometimes I sleep…so maybe 75% (ok maybe 50%).  Really, though, this is the heart of our home.  When we were designing our space, I knew I wanted to have an open concept with the island facing the Great Room.  Otherwise, I miss out on being with the rest of my family!  I love that we can have a lot of people over and all be in the same space.  I have always wanted a really big island!  When we were drawing our plans and setting a budget we each decided on one thing that was most important to us in the house.  Jonathan chose the fireplace and I chose the kitchen island! We had to cut cost in other spaces to make it happen, but we are so happy that we did. We designed the island to have seating on two sides so it’s more conversational.  We have six chairs all together.  We eat many meals here.  Also, if we have a lot of people over it acts as a buffet or overflow for kids seating.

I debated about whether or not I wanted our sink in the island. In our original plan, the sink was in the corner overlooking the back yard.  We played around with that design for a long time and just couldn’t get it to work right with the position of the cabinets and other appliances.  I was worried about having the mess of dirty dishes on the island, but I am really happy with how it has turned out.  With the island being large (112″ x  74″ and the sink being large (39.5″), it gives lots of space for dishes or food prep, and I can keep the rest of the island clean for serving.

Btw…our bridge faucet is by Elkay and we chose it because it has the farmhouse look that we like, but also has the pull-down sprayer.  I don’t think I could function with my farmhouse sink if I didn’t have the sprayer!  I need it to wash out all of the corners.

We love spending time here and I don’t regret at all making this island this large.  It functions really well for our family.

Oh! One more fun thing…we were having a hard time figuring out where to put our microwave.  Most of my smaller appliances are in the pantry.  We have a countertop in there with the toaster, mixer, coffeepot, etc.  I didn’t know if we wanted the microwave in there, though.  It seemed like it might be a pain to not have it central when I’m prepping meals.  We started looking and found a microwave drawer by Sharp that we liked, so we decided to have it installed in the island.  We love it and the kids love that it is so easy to reach! Plus, it’s fun to open and shut the drawer. 😉

jan. 9 microwave

 

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Table Talk

jan. 18 table

“All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” ~ Ronald Reagan

The Dining Room table is an important piece of furniture.  It seems like some of our greatest memories are made when we are gathered here.  I really enjoy cooking and sharing my love with family and friends with a nice meal.  My favorite thing, though, is when we linger afterward.  That is when great conversation happens.

We knew we would probably need to have a table made because we wanted to be able to fit around 12 people.  I saw a style that I loved in Restoration Hardware.  I really wanted a pedestal table so we could fit more chairs around it.  Our cabinet guys had built these beautiful legs and John at Green Oak Antiques used them to finish the table.  We made it 10′ x 4.5′.  It is a beast. He slightly distressed it using a machete and some other tools. We chose a dark stain to contrast the color of our floors.

When they were moving it in the house, it barely fit around the corners, but it ended up being perfect in the space.  I love how we can sit at the table and either look at the fireplace or look out the windows and have the fireplace warmth on our backs.

I had fun unpacking some of my table linens and setting the table.  My grandma passed down some old Irish linens that looked so pretty layered with my burlap placemats.

I found the chairs on Wayfair at a great price (and yes – I did scotch guard them!;)) Most days, we leave the table set with eight chairs, but when we have company it’s easy to pull up the others.  When we ordered our kitchen island, I had them save a few remnants of the marble and I use them on our table as decoration and as trivets.

By the way, you can find that beautiful lazy susan on the table here. 😉

 

Moving Week

One of the benefits of living with my parents and moving to an empty home is that we can move in gradually.  There are still a lot of little things that need to be finished, but we are officially moving in this week!  It seems so unreal.  We have spent a few nights over at the house hanging light fixtures and cleaning.  It has been so exciting to see our space come together!

I started putting some snacks and drinks in the fridge and pantry and peeling off the endless appliance stickers.

Lainey has spent a lot of time in her room.  She is so excited and it’s fun to see. 🙂

jan. 11 Lainey's loft

The boys couldn’t wait to play PS4 on the new TV (which will eventually be mounted on the wall)…

jan. 9 ps4.jpg

It was getting late, so the kids brought over bean bags and watched a movie while Jonathan and I finished up.  I’m glad they look comfy since we may not be able to afford any other furniture. 😉

jan. 9 movie

We brought our bed over on Friday night so we could sleep in the house.  The kids all brought bedding and slept in their rooms.  It was such a great feeling to finally be sleeping here!

Then Saturday morning we woke up early and started moving everything else!  Here’s what it looked like mid-day…

jan. 17 from balcony

It will take awhile to figure out where everything will go.  I think that’s one of the hardest things.  It takes so much time to figure out a house!  Even after all of our planning and thinking about where we would put furniture, etc., you never really know until you live in a space.  I’m sure we will move things around quite a few times before it feels right.

Apparently I have a lot of dishes.  Most of my day was spent unpacking and washing dishes. We learned that if you are ever putting your things in storage for over a year to make sure that it’s climate controlled. 😦 I had to wash EVERYTHING and throw away a few things that were broken from the climate change or moldy (eeewwwww!!!).  We were so thankful to friends and family who helped!

jan. 17 table

We decided to keep most of our boxes in the garage and gradually move them in one box at a time.  It made the process seem a lot longer, but helped me to keep my sanity.  I get a little cranky when I see stuff everywhere. 😉 I wanted to be a nice wife and mom this week.  By Tuesday, we had unpacked most of the necessary things and were able to relax into our home a little bit.  Ahhh….

jan. 18 kitchen

jan. 18 coffee spot

I’m looking forward to morning coffee in this spot, praying and dreaming about God’s plans for this home.

The Best Moment of our Moving Day

Moving day was unreal.  Most of the time I felt like a deer in headlights.  Some our friends were cracking up because they could tell I was a mess.  I just had that look…you know…THAT look.  That look of exhaustion and joy and “where are my children?” and “I have no idea where that table will go” and “why the heck did we keep that?”.  I think I got a lot done, but I have a feeling that 85% of the day I just stood in the kitchen, staring.  Moving is so overwhelming.  We also had the issue of having our stuff in three locations – at my parents’ house and two storage facilities.  It had turned me into a hot mess and I did’t know where ANYTHING was (including my children).  We eventually found most things, except for my coffee grinder and my salad spinner.  How these things just disappear is crazy!  I need my salad spinner!

Anyway, in the midst of all the craziness, losing things and losing my mind, I found one of my children.  I found her constantly by my side all morning asking for my help.  She was so excited about her new room and unpacking her things that she hadn’t seen in over a year. She desperately wanted my help and my advice on where things should go and (gasp) could I please hang up her pictures??  I had to explain to her, through my tired eyes and insincere smile that it takes a LOT of time to unpack and that she needed to be patient and that we would eventually (maybe in two years?) get to her room.  I also mentioned that my feet hurt.

An hour later, I was still standing in the kitchen staring (or maybe working?).  She came bouncing down the stairs and asked me if I could come with her and that she had a special surprise.  I always panic a little at the word “surprise” when she says it.  Sometimes it’s something really sweet and other times, it’s something she meant to be sweet or great like painting her walls or dying her carpet (yikes!!!).  But this time, it was something SO SWEET.  She led me by the hand up to her room and I walked into this scene:

spa pedicure

She said “Mom, I know your feet hurt, so I set this up for you so you could take some time to relax.”  {{heart bursting}}  I melted into her chair and into tears as she took my shoes off and gave me one of her sweet spa pedicures.  It really did feel so good to sit down.  She had Adele playing softly on her ipod (haha!) and even had a plate with snacks by the chair. This girl made my day and made my mama heart so happy.  In the midst of everything, she reminded me of the most important thing.  She reminded me a lot of Mary in the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10.  I love her heart. ❤  I pulled her into my lap and we laughed and I cried and it was the best moment of the entire day.

Beautiful Things

You know when you read something and it feels like you wrote it??  Yeah…that happened today.  I was scrolling through Instagram and came across this quote from @farmhouseforfour:

“The process of building our home built with it something we hadn’t expected.  I had not anticipated how the sticks and stones of this place would transform us in the process.  I knew it would be hard, but we simply set out to build a structure, shelter for our family.  In reality, it was building us.  It was a seasoning for our family, a refining by fire, and brought with it lessons in patience, grace, and great peace & joy in the imperfections.  These are the things that make a house a home.”

Umm…yes!  Except I probably couldn’t have said it that well.  In truth, I did expect the refining and the transformation.  I knew that it would be hard.  I knew that it would change us.  I just didn’t completely understand the extent of it. It’s kind of like having a baby!  I was looking at old pictures the other day and came across one when I was about 8 months pregnant.  It felt so familiar.  I have had that same feeling this year!  So much anticipation, so much excitement, and also the sleepless nights…the pain…the struggle.  It has been worth it in the end.  But it’s not easy.  Especially the birthing part.  There was a moment when we were in the thick of moving boxes in, moving our old furniture and stuff in…dirty and dusty from storage (more on that later!).  My feet and my back hurt so bad.  I couldn’t imagine how Jonathan felt.  It was so much work.  I had that thought of “Why would anyone ever choose to do this? It is so hard!” But those are the times that change us.  This is what God meant when he told me to “build your home”.  This is what it means.  Not just the sticks and stones, but the hard work of transformation in our hearts and minds. He is always working! And what He builds is always beautiful!

This song has been on our playlist a lot this year.

Beautiful Things by Gungor

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us