Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Life in a New Place

Nothing like starting our new life in a new state with a bang.

Jason started working in Nashville in April of this year while the rest of us finished school in Illinois/Wisconsin.  I had my graduation ceremony in May, finished my internship in June and the kids finished their school year out in June as well.  It was time for us to join Jason in Nashville!

After a month and a half living in a very unfortunate place for temporary housing, our house was ready for us to move in!

Our move went very smoothly from storage to the new house in a town south of Nashville in Williamson County.  And by the time we were generally settled, in we got a call from the Tennessean newspaper asking if we'd be willing to have our home photographed for the real estate section. 

The following photos and link are the result of us saying "yes."

Funny story: I was approached by a man at the local YMCA while I was waiting for the kids at swim practice.  He had just been sitting in the pool area reading the paper and I was just outside the pool at a table.  He looked amazed and asked me if I was in the paper.  He had JUST seen my family's photo in the paper.  And they say people in Nashville leave celebrities alone when they see them.  HA!

 The following photos are from the online article which you can access from the link at the bottom of this post.

Our subdivision is called Stream Valley.  There are different sized homes in this neighborhood starting with larger "manor" homes near the entrance.  Our home is from the "Home Town" Collection.  The development is growing and houses are going up all around us.  I mean literally!

When you walk in the door, the dining room is to your right.  We had 2 extra windows put in on the side (seen here on either side of the china hutch).  I'm hoping to change the chandelier at some point and even have a dream one picked out.  A rug would be nice now.  On the left side of the front entrance is our office (not shown).  It is a total mess.  We plan to get some custom made functional furniture to fill up a wall in the office.  A mixture of  2 desks, book cases, and storage cabinets will be designed and built by a local furniture maker at a good price.


Down the hall and to the left, past the short hall to the half bath, storage closets, and staircase, is the family room.  We opted for a fireplace, but were disappointed that there was not an option for brick or stone.  In fact, it is not a "real" fireplace.  And definitely not a wood burning fireplace, which we miss.  We had the option of putting it here, or on a corner wall.  We felt the corner location really ate up space.  We also opted for an extra space called a "morning room" which moved a third window in this family room to the extra one to the left of the fireplace.  Still working on decorating the walls, though we already have a few family photos on the wall by the lamp on the left.

Coming from the front door and going all the way to the back of the house is the morning room.  Our new and beloved kitchen table looks a bit swallowed up in this large room.  We did get a rug made of sisal and chenille which I think helps a little.  Though we are not sure that it is going to hold up very well, so I don't know if it will stay.  We are also thinking of getting a low sideboard to put under the window on the right side.  We want something that will hold family board games and maybe a place for shoes on the bottom.  I think it might be nice to get it painted a fun color to break up the natural colors.  And those windows on the right were also extra that we had put in because we like lots of natural light.  All of these windows need dressing soon.  I was going to make some cafe curtains to cover the bottom parts of the windows.  But I'm wondering if that is the right answer.  We really do need something for privacy at least.

The kitchen is past the dining room after you go through a small hall with a pantry on one side and a butler's pantry on the other.  It is across from the family room and next to the morning room.  Some of the best decorative features are not shown in this photo, such as the glass display cabinets in the kitchen and butler's pantry.  It is a big kitchen, almost too big.  I find myself running back and forth at times.  Maybe a future movable island will help. But I especially look forward to one day having a back splash!

The photographer for the paper wanted to know where the girl's room was.  He didn't care at all to take a picture of our son's bedroom.  Both of their bedrooms are at the front of the home on the second floor with a laundry room in between.  I will have to post a picture of the butterfly quilt my mom recently made for her.  It is precious!  There is a fourth bedroom that has become a sewing/craft room.  I've actually sewn a few things, but am still working on organizing and decorating the room.  My first addition was a much needed OttLite as the room was too dark, even with two lamps, even during day light.  Too bad it is more utilitarian than stylish.

We love our nice roomy master bath.  Still room for improvements like a better shower head and a frame for the mirror.

Our master bedroom is also very spacious and has a tray ceiling.  It is a work in progress.  Still working on wall hangings.  The artwork over the bed came from a local store called Refresh.  The artist added little bits of hymnal pages in the birch trees.  I'll have to take a closer photo sometime.

We also have a bonus room above the garage with an extra full bath.  We got the dormer as an extra and it adds so much space.

 Here's another view of the front of our new home.  I will have to take photos of the rooms that were not featured in the article.  Well minus a few, like the messy office.

Here is the link to the online article from the Tennessean.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Change.  It happens when things are left alone.  But sometimes we make decisions that are sure to provide more of it.  

I made a decision just 4 years ago.  I wanted to pursue a new career.  More than a career - I wanted to pursue a now clear calling that my mind had stopped me from seeing years ago in order to comply with what I felt my environment wanted from me.  My current environment was not having it either.  But I was too strong to let it stop me this time.  Call it civil disobedience, call it what you will... I did it.  I pushed forward and nothing was stopping me.  I found that my environment adapted and even began to support me.  And what I'm left with is 3 years of filling myself with knowledge and experience and increased desire to help people in a way I couldn't before.  I am energized at the end of the day when I do help people, instead of being zapped of energy in my previous career which was intellectually exciting but lacking in personal fulfillment.   I am so privileged to have had this opportunity.  The rest of my life's work is still yet to be determined as I take my degree and add to this great knowledge and experience while leaning always on the wisdom and strength of God.

With this is another decision made by our family.  And again WE faced an environment that was / is clearly not in agreement with us.  When I speak of environment, I mean a particular one which means the most to us, even though other (often accepting) environments still mean a LOT to us and have been a huge support!  But I have to remember that those who truly love us will adapt and begin to support.  Because they love us and that's what love does.  True love is given freely and not conditionally.  And yet we push forward with some hesitation.  Clear with our decision but not without difficulty and a sense of loss.  What keeps us moving forward is what we believe we will gain: what is important to our family... to have more time together, to enjoy our world more freely, to stay healthy for a larger portion of the year, to have more access to outdoor life, to have the best education for our kids without a lot of stress, to live in a culturally, economically, and socially thriving community, to use our resources more productively, to access greater natural beauty daily, to build stronger relationships with our loved ones.

Despite best efforts to wait until we were ready to tell close family friends, our news leaked out.  For the first time, without one of these friends asking me because they found out another way but because it did leak out, I am announcing that we are moving.  No, not everything is in place, and this is why we wanted to wait to share the news!  Yes, I am terrified at times.  But the ball is in motion and we are now operating on faith that it WILL all fall into place.

So we keep moving forward.  I am determined to finish my MSW in a strong fashion, giving my best to my internship and my last papers and final exams.  I try to have faith that my husband will find a job.  The more I think things will be stressful, the more they are.  So I'm trying to take it one day at a time and diffuse the stress.  I'm enjoying my family as much as possible and keeping up with housework as best as I can while continuing to sift through, and organize or purge our belongings.

As we slowly rifle through our things, we are met with many reminders of the past.  We learn what we are now willing to shed and what we are not.  We remember that the important reminders of the past lie in our hearts, not in our attic.  

And here and there we are met with a worldly "treasure"... that we try to sell on Ebay...  (I kept this for 20 years??)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Instragram–I’m a Little Behind


I am not a morning person.  Recently I did a sleep study at a nearby medical center.  They kick you our pretty early.  I got to see a sunrise in the parking lot…


Ella and Velvet-cat.  So sweet.  And of course she’s reading.  I think she does about 98% of her waking hours.20120702-IMG_0861

We had some of the kids friends over – 3 brothers – for watergun fights and trampoline jumps.20120702-IMG_0866

I have many crochet and one knitting project partway through.  I finally finished up one crochet project.

(In the background is Ella taking her first piano lesson.  She was amazing!)20120703-IMG_0881

Here’s another crochet project that I have been working on.  At this point (not at this point in the picture, but at this point in time as I type this post) it is almost complete.

And this happens to be in the car going to vacation Up North on the 4th of July.20120704-IMG_0884

Ok, this is not Instagram, but it was from my phone.  This week back home in Northern Illinois it was in the high 90’s.  Up North in Wisconsin, we found a bit of refuge from the heat.20120704-IMG_0887

Ah, true heaven.  Our home away from home.  And bonus, this campground had NICE showers and flushing toilet.  YES!

This campsite was in Algoma, Wisconsin.  As Jason pointed out, the name of this town sounds eerily like a type of cancer/tumor.20120704-IMG_0889

No camping trip is complete without an electronic keyboard.  Right?20120704-IMG_0904

Sweet pic of Jason and Ella where we had a picnic near the beach.20120705-IMG_0909

The beach.  No, it’s not Miami.  It’s ALGOMA and it’s not the ocean, it’s Lake Michigan!20120705-IMG_091020120706-IMG_091320120706-IMG_091520120706-IMG_0922

After two nights in Agoma, we were on our way farther North to Door county.  Lots of barn quilt squares along the way.  I love Wisconsin.20120706-IMG_0928

We settled at a new campsite in Ellyson Bay, WI.  This was an even better campground with even better showers, flushing toilets and well maintained everything.  Here are some random pics of our trip.  I CANNOT leave out this darling squirrel.  We have squirrels in our area, but the ones we saw here were so tiny in comparison.20120707-IMG_093120120707-IMG_093220120707-IMG_093420120707-IMG_0935

This is another town in Door County called Sister Bay.20120707-IMG_093820120707-IMG_094120120707-IMG_0942

The follow spot is one of the most peaceful places I’ve experienced in my life.  Really.20120708-IMG_094720120708-IMG_0950

Ella is doing the Grayslake Pageant again this year.  Here she is at the first practice.20120716-IMG_0980

At my family birthday lunch.20120717-IMG_0991

A haircut I got this Monday.

Before (I know not a great comparison since I had a ponytail)20120723-IMG_1017

After. Well, I love it!  I wish I could get it as straight and sleek as my stylist!20120723-IMG_1018

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