April 24, 2017

Setting A Pace

A friend of mine recently commented on how small of a town we live in and how it affected our pace of life.  It got me thinking about how living out in the country compares to living in the suburbs and how much of a difference I really noticed in our pace of life being in a different setting.

One of the main differences is that we don't just go out to run a quick errand.  We have a Dollar General about ten minutes away and while they have a lot they also don't have much.  Any trip into town is at least twenty five minutes.  So while we are not out and about as much, when we do go into town it is more of an event.  I try to get all my errands done or we are making a day of it.

I do not attend a gym right now but it has more to do with my attached nine month old than being willing to drive into town.  So I am doing my exercise outside and at home.

We do spend a lot of time outside - exercising, sitting on the porch, going on walks, and killing time when the baby is fussy.  But these are all things we did back in Sacramento as well.  It is just more quiet and woodsy here.

My husband has pretty much the same job just now in a different city with more responsibility.  He lives even closer to home but unfortunately is working even more than he did before.  This definitely is a large factor in how slow or simple life feels.

We attend a smaller church and I have found a moms group to join - but they both can be just as equally busy as our larger church we attended before.  Churches and organizations still need help, have plenty of groups and activities to join, making socializing easier but also still time consuming.

As I look at life now versus our home before, while things are different I am seeing that our pace of life isn't.  We had more social and family responsibilities in California but now we spend more time in the car going anywhere.  It seems like one thing that once filled our time has been replaced with something else. 

What I am finding is that no matter where we live, ultimately we are the ones who determine our pace.  While we haven't lived here long, I have come to realize that I get to choose the pace I want for our family.  Any type of fantasy I had about living in the country was actually more reflective of a vacation in the mountains. 

Don't get me wrong - I absolutely love living surrounded by woods and being able to take quiet walks on our dirt road.  But being surrounded by beauty isn't going to necessarily change all of my priorities.  Sure it is an encouraging reminder to enjoy what is around me but I see now that though I didn't have that back home, I tried to create it myself through gardening. 

The things I allow to cloud my mind (the buzz of social media and the internet) or what I put on my calendar (another commitment or event) are the things that make me feel most overwhelmed.  It is a choice I have to make daily on how hectic I allow life to be.  So if you have been dreaming of another life somewhere else - know that unless we change our priorities, a change of scenery isn't going to necessarily get us there. 

Instead how we shape our homes, our schedules, and our mindsets are more likely to change our pace than where we live.  If you are striving for a more slower paced and simplified life, it is not so much about where you live but how you choose to spend your days. 

April 10, 2017

Our First Visitors: A Mini-In-Progress House Tour

A friend of mine from back home recently also moved out to the east coast.  Over the past few months we have started taking turns visiting each other.  It is a bit of a trek to each other - two hours with kiddos.  But there is something so refreshing about being able to sit face to face with someone you have history with.  While I am enjoying making new friends here, it seems like a break to be able to hang out with someone who already knows me and I feel like I can be myself with.  The longest drive to a play date ever.  But it is worth it!

A few weeks ago they were able to come out to our house for the first time and knowing that I would have house guests besides just our family was the motivation I needed to get the house a little more put together.

It felt like old times.  The baby was napping and I got to run around the house fixing pillows, putting out coffee and tea, and taking in the joy of a morning prepping for guests.  It is truly one of life's small but greatest joys for me and it reminded me that I still have it in me.  I just haven't had the same opportunities that I used to. 

I have always felt that one of my greatest sources of accountability to keeping my house clean was having people over.  The house hasn't looked this clean and put together ever!

In the short few weeks since I took these pictures, things around the house have already changed.  I am still trying to figure out how I want everything.  But for now these are glimpses of temporary pretty.  One of the things I have learned is that it takes awhile to get things just right.  It is okay to live with something for awhile even if it isn't exactly what I want.  Pictures on the wall and plants around the house are still more welcoming than nothing.

The morning ended up being a bit chaotic - a baby who is being extra clingy and two little ones who just rode in the car for two hours!  So at the end of the day having the house all spick and span really didn't matter.  But it did something for my heart and THAT matters.  It gave me the confidence I needed to invite people into our home, it reminded me of something that brings me life, and it got me to get some little projects around the house finished. 

I love that there are some things I just love that have stayed the same in our new house (like our couch, pillow, and mirror combination).  But it has also been fun to use things in different ways that fit this house and a new style I am embracing. 

It ended up being a good morning to catch up and I am grateful to being one step closer to having our house put together!

April 3, 2017

One Room at a Time: Our Master Bedroom

My new house mantra is one room at a time.  It's a lot like my personal goals (one goal a month) and it's helping me tackle one thing at a time without the pressure to do it all.

It applies to both picking up the house on a daily basis as well as getting all the rooms feeling close enough to being done decorated wise.  It all started the other day when I decided I wanted to tidy up our bedroom during nap time.  The goal was to pick up and put away everything before leaving the room for the morning.  This meant making the bed, putting away clothes, and gathering things that needed to be taken downstairs.  The end result?  A beautiful and tidy bedroom! 

It ended up being a small gift to myself all day as every time I went back into our bedroom I was greeted by a clean and put together room.  I decided from now on instead of trying to tidy up every room only half way, I was better off cleaning an entire room completely.  I find once a room is picked up it tends to stay that way at least for a couple days because I have set the standard that this room is tidied up.

So once our bedroom was finally clean for once, I was able to have new eyes to see what was left for me to decorate.  Having the blank canvas of a picked up room allowed my creative juices to start turning which resulted in our master bedroom being about 99% complete!  And it feels great to know I have one room in our new home pretty much completely finished.  Progress people!

The only thing that is left is I would like to find a fitted sheet to cover the box spring of our bed.  I had a light tan and white striped sheet on the box spring of our old (now guest) bed that I would like to try to recreate the look.  I just haven't found one that I like. 

Our new bed is a dream.  It's the perfect mix of traditional yet still modern and I am absolutely in love with it.  We decided that since our master bedroom was so large and that we needed guest beds for family that visits that it was time to finally purchase our very first grown up bed!  No more hand me downs (or futons!).  Seven and a half years of marriage and we finally bought a bed!

The bed is from Overstock and we got a pretty good deal on it on Black Friday.  The mattress is Saatva which we are really happy with and was recommended to us by a family member.  Buying a bed and mattress can be really overwhelming especially when buying online.  But I can say that we are completely satisfied with what we found.

We switched out the existing chandelier with the white one we had in our old bedroom.  The linens are all the same except for these two large square pillows I recently found at Marshall's.

We decided to also shop around for new bedside tables as our old ones were pretty small (and are now being used with our old bed in the guest bedroom).  Bedside tables are crazy expensive.  I was shocked.  And being out in the country with a little one I don't have the same time or energy to hunt at thrift stores.  After looking around we decided to go with these simple side tables from Ikea.  I liked the simple and sleek design that I felt worked well with the modern lines of the bed.  And at under $10 you just can't beat that!  We ended up buying two more for our other guest room in the basement.

The lamps are also new and from Target.  I like the addition of a little black and an industrial feel.

On each bedside table I added a small basket with holes for handles to corral our things.  The open handle allows us to run chords through the basket without seeing them on the table.  This is a great trick for hiding cables (we did this in our old entryway with a flower pot!).  I am also currently reading the book Girl Meets Change and loving it.

The botanical prints are a repeat of what were in these frames from the past.  This time I just reprinted them so that they actually completely fit the mat!  Sometimes it takes moving across the country to finally fix those things you have been meaning to do for years!  You can find the link to the free botanical prints in this post here - as well as how we styled a gallery wall around our TV.

In front of the bed I have a vintage trunk I recently picked up at a thrift store.  On top is a basket from Target that I use to hold a few toys for our son.  I am slowly finding pretty baskets to stow away a few toys in most rooms so that we always have things to play with.

The previous owners left up all of the curtain rods which has been nice for some of the large walls full of windows.  I hung up my go to Ritva Ikea curtains that we use throughout the entire house.

It is interesting that now that we have more wall space I find myself hanging up less on the walls.  I have yet to put together a large gallery wall in this house and I am thinking I may not.  I am at a season where I am longing for simple and it is being portrayed in how I style this home.  When given the chance to completely start fresh, I surprise even myself at how my style has changed.

We would eventually like to get a long short dresser to share (and use our old dressers in guest rooms) but I haven't quite settled on what I would like.  As we purchase new things for this home I am hesitant to just buy things when we feel like we need them.  I want to be intentional about picking out the right item since we are at a phase of life where we are now buying new instead of repurposing old.  

I cannot just run out and hit five different stores in an afternoon to find what I want.  Instead I am spending more time online (during nap time!) and having to be patient with searching for the right item at the right price.  Eventually the decision happens pretty quickly once I have shopped around but this often will take at least a few weeks.

This reminds me of how I feel about parenting right now as well.  Forcing things only makes me anxious.  Usually when it is time to try something new, it comes when I am ready (or so over something) that the time just feels right.  It is a gut feeling and I am applying it to how we furnish our home.

The room is spacious, airy, and welcoming.  It is a mix of old and new.  And I am really happy with it.

One room down and quite a few more to go!  But with tackling one room at a time I will eventually get there! 

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