A Post within A Post

“Thankful Thursday”

Drafted November 16, 2013 (3 days before Cruz was born)

I know, I know… November is the cliché month to give thanks and recognize those things we often take for granted… but it’s in the midst of need that we’re suddenly aware of how much (or how little) support we have. From family to friends, I am blessed with SO many quality people in my life who truly-madly-deeply care about me. I haven’t always felt this way. I’ve gone through seasons of my life where I desperately needed what I have now, but felt like I had nowhere to turn. It’s comforting to know that the next time I experience trial, I won’t have to bear it alone.

So, how does a person adequately express their thankfulness towards someone when the generosity itself has left them at a loss for words??? I’m not quite acquainted with this sort of speechlessness , so I guess I’ll just jump off -

Thanks to my dear friend, Whitney (and my sister-in-love, Jerushah, and the many other helpful hands involved), I had the BEST baby shower a girl could ask for! Not only was I pampered by ALL who came spoiling me with diapers, wipes, and gifts GALORE, I left feeling undeservingly blessed to have finally found a friend who………..

(End of Draft) 11/16/13

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“Death of a Thursday”

……. And here I am, in the midst of another trial. Wow. If I only knew, blissfully driving home that night with a car-full of baby stuff, that I wasn’t going to need ANY of it. Now looking back at the past valleys I’ve walked through, I can see how every journey has taken me oh-so-slightly deeper into pain’s crevasse; each one just toughening me up a bit, bracing me for the day I’d eventually step in sinking sand. Sitting here, suffocating at the bottom of the pit, it’s frightening to recognize that this fractured ground could give way again, and I might find myself disoriented by an even greater fall.

For the past few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book on love. I have the title, the cover design, a general outline… but one thing was missing. Without running on with divulging details, I will just say, Cruz’s death finished the book. I had always wondered if losing someone is losing someone, is losing someone… and in fact, for me, it IS one-and-the-same. Whether losing someone to death, rejection, betrayal, or unfaithfulness, the emotional-transcending-physical heartache feels the same, just at different dimensions.

I think we as humans were designed to be resilient; able to bounce back from major impacts by evolving and learning to move/live on with whatever our individual struggles may be. But – because of this ability to cope, we often gain a delusion of independence and underestimate our inherent need to be reliant.

There’s nothing quite like a humbling wound to the soul that sends us desperately seeking help from someone/something/somewhere beyond ourselves. We’re wired for relationship, we crave community, we live for love. But even (after trying psychological and physical solutions to numb the pain, or simply placing enough time between myself and the event) if I’ve truly had an encounter with my Creator, I find that I lean into Him just long enough to regain my strength and wits about me, then I leave the nest regardless of whether my wings are still broken. Just because something’s no longer raw, doesn’t mean it’s cured; just because you’ve learned to ignore bloodiness, doesn’t mean you’ve stopped the bleeding and yet, well, you’d think I’d learn.

When answering the trite Christian-question, “how are you doing spiritually?”, I would honestly say I felt close to God……… but what does “close” really mean??? Any religious, disciplined person can read their Bible, pray, make all the “right” decisions, and still be absorbed and governed by their own feelings and selfish nature. There’s no other relationship in my life that would survive such narcissistic behavior, so I suppose that answers my question of closeness.

I feel like my priorities were so out of whack before this whole thing that I’m not quite sure how I ever justified it in my head. I was due for a wakeup call, I suppose. If I’ve somehow painted an image of a harlot or hypocrite in your mind, that’s not at all what I’m saying, I just mean I may have had other gods in my life, such as my children, home, and earthly treasures; I guess this is me pleading guilty of idolatry. I don’t think I brought this situation upon myself, nor do I believe that God is a God of vengeance, but sometimes bad things happen to good people, and I think our response to these “bad things” is what sheds light into the deepest places of one’s heart.

It’s hard to feel happy these days… but then that begs the question… was my previously-so-called happiness rising from a foundation of joy? Or, was my happiness subjective, suspended between ever-changing, unsecured circumstances? As children it’s pounded into our brains at Sunday School that “ I’VE GOT JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY, DOWN IN MY HEART – TO STAYYY!”, but we’re not taught how to practically live that song even if/when we grow up and find out that after generations of a hereditary disorder laying dormant, YOU are the one who was born with the defect that will someday kill your son.

If I’m honest, I’ve been dealing with thoughts and temptations so foreign to me there might as well be some stranger whispering terrible-nothings in my ear, in a language I hardly understand… and if I listen… the things that used to be black and white start to warp and meld into shades of gray, and the foundational belief system of my faith is called into question. Perhaps this is how Eve found herself allured by the snake? It’s easy to judge when she APPEARED to have everything she could ever want already, but let’s just say she too, had a nagging void within her rendering her vulnerable and susceptible to deception. If she could be convinced that God didn’t have her best interest at heart, I think that’s all it takes for anyone to begin questioning the difference between good and evil.

It’s disillusioning when your personal absolutes suddenly seem subjective. God is good. Evil is bad. But then many have implied that perhaps Cruz was chosen to be some modern-day sacrificial lamb that would lead many to Christ… as much as I try to see that as good, I CAN’T. The God I thought I knew provided Abraham with a lamb so that Isaac didn’t have to die. Where was my Shepherd as I watched Cruz drowning in his own fluids for his last what-seemed-endless hours, struggling for  e v e r y   s i n g l e    b r e a t h. “HE’S ONLY A BABY! JESUS, PLEASE!” My cries seemed to have fallen on deaf ears and for that whole night I felt…………… abandoned.

Multiple doctors were in his room, but one of them was standing over me as I fell to the floor having loss all color, my left arm numb, chest cavity so heavy I felt like death itself was clenching my lungs; I was dying on the inside. I had heard multiple “adult code-blues” blaring over the intercom during my stay at the children’s hospital and I was sure, I was next. As my heart began to palpitate, my body violently shaking, it was as though I was preparing for the birth of something only I assure you, labor pains don’t even compare. Everything began to fade out, both sight and sound, but there was ONE thing that gave me the strength to hold onto my fading consciousness. His name, Ezekiel. “YOU CANNOT LEAVE HIM, BRITTNEY, GET IT TOGETHER! HE NEEDS YOU JUST AS MUCH AS CRUZ HAS NEEDED YOU!” Then I’d think about the fact that little Cruz, just handed off to his father by the mother who had always been near, never afraid, always holding his hands and cheering him on…. WHAT IF HE’S SCARED!? WHERE AM I IN HIS GREATEST TIME OF NEED!? I had heard about females in the animal kingdom dying after the loss of their young, and part of me was afraid that if I held him again, as much as I ached to, my heart would go into cardiac arrest. || Even as I try to recount these all-too-fresh moments, the frightening, familiar, paralyzing pain is gripping hold, convulsive cries are making it hard to type, and tears are flooding my eyes, streaming down my chest. || I knew this was the last hour because it was getting harder and harder for me to function, and it was requiring so much medication to keep him comfortable that he would soon overdose. It took every ounce of my existence to lift myself from the disgusting blood-spattered floor, like going for that 100th and final push-up when muscles tremble and joints give out… but I willed myself to crawl over and sit at my husbands feet. The closer I drew to Cruz, the closer I felt to death. I reached out, determined to make myself known to my suffering babe, touched his swollen hand and spoke as many words as I could mutter. I think I knew he was waiting for me; I knew the sooner he sensed my presence, Cruz would feel like he could stop fighting… and sure enough… moments after my voice touched his ears, I looked up at the monitor just in time to see his last two heartbeats before the flatline_________________________

 

Still filled with some bit of hope or perhaps denial… my adrenaline raged and I had a burst of strength pulse through my body, throwing myself overtop of him. I screamed his name loudly against his cheek, his body jolted, and my heart leaped, only to look up at the doctor to be informed this was a COMMON reflex. TOD 7:44am, THURSDAY. I proceeded to vomit everything in my stomach until there was nothing left, stood to my feet, took a deep breath, felt an unexplainable burden lift itself from my shoulders, then the words, “Well done, daughter” penetrated my spirit. Suddenly, this feeling of abandonment was replaced with nearness, and I felt as though my Father was standing next to me, smiling, with an empathy that only He knew. I did it. A piece of me was gone, and I was certainly not the Brittney I was even the day before, but I survived the impossible. I looked over at the body that once contained the soul of my precious, precious son, it was already so shockingly pale, but somehow I could separate the fact that he was no longer there, and my life-long fear of death was replaced with a calming peace beyond my understanding. As I watched them remove all of his needles and wires, some sort of freedom came over me, and I felt the same liberation I used to feel as I’d pass the baton at the end of an excruciating relay. He was out of my hands. This is when the Psalm 23 image of Cruz and Jesus walking hand-in-hand painted itself over my bleeding heart, and I felt healing, refreshment, cleansing – renewal. Cruz was alive!

Though he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, Cruz wasn't afraid, because Jesus heard his cries and comforted him; led him to green pastures, still waters, prepared a feast in the presence of his enemies (for his starving little tummy), and now Cruz will live in the house of the Lord FOREVER.

Though he walked through the valley of the shadow of death, Cruz wasn’t afraid, because Jesus heard his cries and comforted him; led him to green pastures, still waters, prepared a feast in the presence of his enemies (for his starving little tummy), and now Cruz will live in the house of the Lord FOREVER.

I don’t know what I think about God or the God I thought I knew… I struggle with feeling mad at Him but my love for Him has SOMEHOW increased. Did God plan such a tragedy? Isn’t He good ALL the time? Full of mercy, love, and grace? It comes down to the ongoing theological debate between predetermination vs. free will. Where I stand on this subject is neutral. To think it was premeditated and orchestrated ruins my belief that God answers prayer, without prayer I have no faith, without faith, I lose hope and my ability to trust in anything. But to think God’s first design was for Cruz to live and that His plan got derailed by man’s sin-nature and the foolish mistakes/mistreatment in Portland, (although it takes the fault off God), it suggests that evil prevailed. So now God is the lesser of two powers at war??? I believe God could’ve intervened at any point and released Cruz of the ailments that bound him, but He didn’t. Why? It’s not like there wasn’t enough of us praying for him! I could entertain unknowns and what-ifs that’d eventually drive me straight to the psych ward, but correct treatment or not, thousands of prayers or none, this all started because he was formed with a failing liver, and that’s the part I struggle with. 

I’ll admit I’m getting nervous as time goes on. My genetic screening was supposed to take 3-5 months (I think I’m down to 0-2) and although part of me is anxious to hear and get on with my life, part of me doesn’t want to know. Right now I can still have hope that the worst is over, and I don’t want ANYTHING to take away this hope. Now that the shock is beginning to wear off, the permanence of death is setting in. Cruz is gone. His cute little body I used to gaze upon is now rotting beneath the ground. His precious fingers that gripped mine so tight are now lifeless and cold. I COULD NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! I could never watch another one of my babies die… BUT, if I never try for another, how will I ever move on?! What will keep me from obsessing over what happened? I can’t get stuck here.

This goes without saying, but I’m obviously at a turning point in my life… we all get a few of those. Am I going to let circumstances destroy me or build me? Am I going to get bitter or better? Am I going to drown in self-pity or let the waves of grief spur my creativity? Am I going to thank God for His goodness and mercy regardless of my pending DNA results, or will I be overcome with anger and resentment if things don’t go the way I’d hoped? What if this isn’t an isolated one-time tragedy because the very fabric of my being is flawed!? This IS what will break me or make me; This has the potential and potency to imprison me or propel me down a road less traveled.

I could easily live the rest of my life blaming God and overlooking all my many blessings because I feel shortchanged – but then I’d be just like Eve – forsaking all the other fruitFUL trees in my garden because I’m captivated with the one that I don’t understand, with the one I think I want/need most, the one God obviously set apart, and convinced that I know what-would-have-been best, distrusting that God could possibly have a better plan. I was blessed and chosen to be Cruz’s mother for the short time he was here, that IS good. I wouldn’t trade the opportunity to meet Baby Cruz for anything.

The brutality and finality of death remains unmatched. If I didn’t believe in something eternal, the Brittney we all know would surely disappear, buried alive in this insurmountable heartache; but I’m a firm believer that this life isn’t all there is. Cruz is alive, happy, healthy, stronger than ever and better off than he would’ve been on this hell of an earth… he’s just not with Momma. And that’s actually ok with me. I know that I know that I know, I will hold Cruz again someday, and that someday-moment is what gets me through my every waking hour.

 

Moving on from here:

I’m redesigning my website so I have a place to continue making my #iheartcruz entries, that way those of you interested in remodel updates won’t have to worry about stumbling upon depressing news while looking for a lighthearted read, and others can skip the carnal colonial posts and go straight to the heavy things like: the #iheartcruz adoption fund, our plans to raise awareness about Urea Cycle Disorders, DNA tests and autopsy results, the unfair mistakes that lead to his death, etc.

In the meantime… I plan to get back into my normal blogging routine, I just need to get past the new-found superficiality of it all. It seems so pointless to talk about design and decor, but then again, I have never been so thankful for My Colonial Remodel as I am now. Having the ability to lose myself in projects has been a healthy distraction as I go through the motions of mourning, plus, 10 months of pregnancy hormones preparing me for the busy life of “taking care of baby” have left me with all this extra energy that I need to spend somewhere! Someone once asked me if I was going to seek grief counseling, and as of now, working with my hands has been my preferred therapy. I hope everyone else can move on with me, obviously never forgetting Cruz, but helping me pick up where I left off.

Thanks for all your love, support, prayers, endless gifts and happy mail… every day is delivery day here at My Colonial ReMODel! I am surrounded with the best of the best and I love you ALL!

 

TRULY MADLY DEEPLY,

- B

 

 

 

Posh Pumpkin

As long as I can remember, I have LOVED the tradition of decorating for the holidays… running around in my fleece-footie-jammies, pulling out the beat-up ol’ boxes from the attic, and probably overwhelming my mother with all my audacious opinions on where everything should go! :) After Hubby and I got married, I discovered he was every bit the “festive fanatic” as I (possibly even more so), and something we like to do around this time every year is go hunting at TargetPier One and/or Z Gallerie to find ONE new addition for our Thanksgiving-Christmas collection! #NERDalert

But – is it just me or is it HARD to find holiday decor that doesn’t look like it belongs in an arts n’ crafts bazaar??? Most seasonal items tend to be chintzy-little-knick-knacks made of styrofoam and glitter, and lately it’s been tough pickin’s even at some of our favorited stores… Either that or I’m becoming pickier… to which I’d say, GOD HELP US ALL! Too many of these so-called “knick-knacks” can make a festive vignette just seem corny n’ cluttered, so once again I find myself taking the less-is-more approach; Whether you’re accessorizing yourself or your home, AVOID OVERKILL!

Or as Coco would put it:

It is always better
to be slightly underdressed.

– Coco Chanel

Of course, when you DO find those not-so-corny, more purchase-worthy items to dress up your nook, they usually come with a “HOLY-HEFTY” price tag and then one must ask themselves, “Do I REALLY wanna spend this much cash on an item kept out-of-sight for most of the year?!?” I’ve always liked these (decently priced) black/white craft pumpkins, but at $12-$20 each, it would cost a chunk-o-change to create an arrangement of assorted sizes for both my porch and tabletop. Plus, where would I keep all of them in the off-season?

Sold seasonally at Target

3 reasons I prefer using REAL vs. FAUX pumpkins:

A. It allows you to decorate on-trend without having to splurge on the latest looks
B. It’s more festive & celebratory to use harvested organics
C. You don’t have to (find a place to) store them for 10 months at a time! 

 

Picking Pumpkins

Riding the train at Lakeview Farms

Before having kids, Jared and I would just walk over to Whole Foods and grab a few fun-shaped pumpkins/gourds rather than going to the pumpkin patch. But now that we have a son (and another one on the way), we love to take him to Lakeview Farms and pick out one unique pumpkin per person. Last year we went home with 3 pumpkins, this year 4… next year… let’s just hope it’s still 4, haha!

One BIG n’ TALL sized pumpkin for Jared…


One MED-sized Cinderella pumpkin for Moi… the girl of the family!


One SMALL-sized pumpkin for Ezekiel…


…and one perfectly-puny pumpkin for baby Cruz
(who should be joining us the week before Thanksgiving!)


What a cute little family ;)


Painting Pumpkins:

For various reasons, I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween – which is partially why I don’t prefer to carve my pumpkins. I know that once the October 31st festivities have transpired, a rotting Jack-O-Lantern won’t exactly represent the spirit of Thanksgiving… and what’s Thanksgiving without pumpkins!? (Besides the obvious coma-inducing turkey dinners!) My pumpkins HAVE to last till Dec 1, all the while looking intentionally decorated for both Holidays!

Inspirations for this year’s painted pumpkins:

Nate Berkus Gold-Dipped Decorative Bowl (from TARGET)
image from Olive Lane Interiors


Splatter Paint is SUPER “in” this year and I LOVE it!


Studs have taken over the world!
Fashion…food… & decor!

TIME TO GET MY DIY ON!

All I needed to pull this off: 2 packs of gold grommets and some paint I already had from other projects!

Ezekiel having fun “toloring” before Mama takes over…
He was actually pretty excited about me painting his “puckin”!


“Z Art”
Too cute not to document!

 

I painted all the boys’ pumpkins black, and my “pregnant” Cinderella pumpkin white!
A girl’s gotta stand out ;)


Jared and Cruz’s pumpkins got the “gold-dipped” effect


PROCESS:
Cover the areas you don’t want gold-dipped with a plastic bag, then tape it off and spray 
TIP: If I had to do this project over again, I would still use tape for spraying the black, but I would probably freehand-brush the gold because the tape peeled off too much black, even after letting it dry overnight. Oil-based paint is best, or use latex then finish by spraying with clear coat so the paint will survive the weather!

Ezekiel got the “STUD” pumpkin… only I used 1/2 inch grommets instead of spikes/studs for a little originality! (Click and scroll through pics for step-by-step HOW-TO)

Ezekiel: “Oh wow, that’s Zeko’s back puckin!”
He even helped with the grommets :)

Believe it or not, the grommet process was way easier and less time-consuming than the gold-dipped pumpkins!

I saved the SPLATTER effect for MY pumpkin because I LOVE splatter painting! (In fact… I’m having a hard time keeping myself from splattering everything in my house!)


I love baby Cruz’s little curly-Q-stem!


Placing Pumpkins:

At first I had them all grouped together on the left side, but I thought it was a lot more welcoming to have them framing the b/w door! Since I was working with an even number of objects (a design faux pas), I decided to offset things a bit by staggering one side and stacking the other… plus, it’s only fitting that Cruz be nestled atop my pregnant-princess-pumpkin!!!  I think the houndstooth rain boots add a nice touch as well! :)

 


Porkin’ Pumpkins:

Don’t forget, a Holiday project isn’t complete without a “tis-the-season-snack“! Try this quick-and-easy DELICIOUS pumpkin bread from TJ’s (topped with their creamy pumpkin butter and perfect pumpkin chai!!! (TRADER JOES knows where it’s at)

More posh pumpkins I LOVE:

 

 

Happy Halloween Everyone!

-B


Closet Junkie

It’s true, I’ll admit it, I have a thing for closets! What can I say??? All that extra (overlooked) square footage, usually tucked away by conventional-closing-doors, is what I view as hidden DESIGN OPPORTUNITY!

You could have 2 rooms the exact same size: one with an exposed, well-thought-out closet, and the other with a concealed, cluttered closet. The brain would automatically calculate the open-closeted room as being larger because there’s more for the eye to see/take-in/process. Even with a closet as small as Ezekiel’s (2′x5′), that’s still 10SQFT just there to be taken advantage of!

I’m not saying every closet should be paraded for all to see… NO, no … sometimes you NEED those “panic-rooms” to ditch the daily mess and dirty laundry when that unexpected guest arrives! Am I right!? But for your non-storage spaces, do you necessarily NEED ordinary doors? Why welcome a barrier that creates the illusion of less space if you don’t HAVE to? If you’ve got it, flaunt it, baby! After all, square-footage doesn’t come cheap, so EVERY INCH COUNTS!

Here’s what I mean by taking advantage of a hidden design opportunity:

Sorry for the old iPhone 3 quality photo

Here you see a standard closet; basic shelving and bi-fold doors. We could have left it this way and been relatively fine, but we chose to maximize the space instead. (If we plan to live here till we’re old n’ gray, we best do it and do it right!)

First, we (Jared) removed the existing doors & shelves:

Then, we (Jared) remudded the walls to cover all the “scars”:

Luckily we have smooth walls, so there was no need for texturing!

Can’t forget the primer!

Next step, PAINT! Instead of painting the closet white, I continued the black from the rest of his room to avoid making it seem like a separate space. This way it feels like an extension of his room…

Paint & PSLs 

To make it fun, I also painted orange stripes on his ceiling to tie-in with all the details around his room…

As you can see, it needed a bit of TLC!

After a little light sanding and a coat of white paint to cover the lovely leftover lavender, I applied 4″ Frog Tape…

4″ wide Frog Tape, spaced 4″ apart


I sealed the corners with the edge of a stir stick to avoid bleeding onto the freshly painted walls

Next, I tried a trick I learned from the Property Brothers that was SUPPOSE to keep the orange from bleeding underneath the Frog Tape… but from now on I’m gonna stick with my own method because I found myself doing WAY too much touch-up afterwards!

Property Brother’s method:
Paint a coat of white PRIOR to painting your color,
this way you seal the tape edges & prevent any bleeding.

The other downfall to this method was having to wait for the white to dry before I could apply the orange. It added another hour or so to the process… which led to working with fans and shoplights in 0% daylight!!

…late into the night


After 2 coats of orange, time to remove the tape!

Tip: When working with reds/pinks/oranges, it can take 3-5 coats to arrive at its true color unless you buy a primer. I use (and highly recommend) the all-in-one Paint & Primer products when using these colors… the couple extra dollars will save you HOURS when painting an entire room. (However, don’t let them talk you into the all-in-one’s for colors you’d normally never prime for!)

After some touch-up…

^ Color: Behr’s Volcano ^

MY method for creating perfect lines that won’t bleed: squeeze a pea-sized portion of paintable caulk onto your index finger. Run your finger down the seam of the tape, repeating process till each seam has a THIN layer of caulk. (So thin you shouldn’t be able to see it). Rub it in as smooth as possible! The idea is that the caulk will seep into any air pockets, filling the gaps that the paint otherwise would have. If you remove the tape after your project is finished and can visibly see caulk dried onto the wall/ceiling, it will easily wipe off with a damp cloth AFTER you’ve given your paint a full 12 hours to set/cure. I was given this advice from a professional painter (Judah Schmoll) when we moved into our condo 7 years ago, and it’s never failed me since!  (This works beautifully on corners too!)


Finally, WE installed a new shelving system:

As usual, the Ikea BUILD-IT-YOURSELF system came
complete with instruction manual and involuntary profanity”

Why did I choose the Ikea Stolmen system?

a. It’s sleek, modern, with a retro 60′s vibe… one that I felt could be showcased. No need for doors!

b. It’s VERSATILE! As he grows older, the length/size of his clothing will change, so I was attracted to the adjustable brackets that can slide up/down the pole to accommodate him as he grows! I can change anything and everything from bar heights to drawer positions, add or remove shelves… you name it.

c. It’s removable. It’s not a built-in, so if for some reason we wanted/needed to take everything out or move this system to another closet, it won’t leave ANY wall damage. Besides the 3 brackets that are screwed into the ceiling, the rest of this suspended system floats! (A perfect example of why we’d need to remove this system: refinishing the hardwood floors. An overwhelming project made easy as 1,2,3!)

“Whoa, we’re halfway there!”
(IKEA has me singing BON JOVI ???) #livingonaprayer

 

Ready? Set?
PIMP MY CLOSET!!!

Clothes.JPG

Ezekiels_Closet.JPG

Whites | Colors

Whites | Colors

I just love this little hamper I found for Ezekiel! Not only does it match his room perfectly, but it also has removable laundry bags and teaches him how to sort his whites from his colors! I designed the layout of his closet to accommodate this little hamper, then later when he finds it too juvenile I can simply remove it and readjust the shelves accordingly.

These hooks are perfect for hanging his hats!

These hooks are perfect for hanging his hats!

Z loves shoes! ( and running around pants-less)

Z loves shoes! (and running around pants-less)

Ezekiels_Room.JPG

His room feels so much BIGGER now!

His room feels so much BIGGER now!

Everybody’s lifestyle is different, so if the idea of having exposed closets still scares you after reading this post, I completely understand! I also like the feel of hanging curtains instead of doors too. They provide the option to quickly n’ conveniently hide your closet-contents, but in a more decorative, nonconventional way. I did this in the studio closet at the condo and loved the way it looked. (Especially if the closet and window curtains are matching!) I’ve been thinking about doing this for Ezekiel’s closet in the future, just in case he’s not as clean and organized as his crazy OCD parents!  

I’m sure most of you think I’m overboard, but it’s things like this that…
wait for it… wait for it… MAKE a house a HOME“!

Sorry, I got overly excited to use my tagline;)

Thanks for reading and be on the lookout for my next post: theposhpumpkin 

-B

 

Belated Blogiversary!

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since I spontaneously decided to try this whole “blogger” thing. If you go back and read my very first post Hello World, you can hear the hesitancy behind my words as I mull over all my preconceived notions of blogging; After reading those words back to myself just now, I’m glad I acted on the whim to launch My Colonial Remodel that late Saturday evening, and thankful I continued to give it life to this day! It’s become my main creative outlet, one of my passions, plus it’s a lot more satisfactory to be writing to a small audience rather than penning songs in a journal (that may or may NEVER be heard)! What started as a means of keeping the family up-to-date on renovations is now my fondest brainchild, and my hope is that it would continue to grow beyond my normal social sphere.  Although… I find it quite humorous that I referred to myself as a “lightweight”, and was able to predict my “posting-inconsistency” even back then… I must know myself better than I realize!!!

As a sort of tribute to this pseudo-significant milestone in My Colonial Remodel‘s history, I had planned on doing a reFAB giveaway (one of my vintage furniture-upscale pieces), but long story short – I forgot; and now with a surprise joint giveaway scheduled for November’s end, I decided to forgo the whole thing and just accept that I let this momentous day pass me by. I had even warned myself before going away on vacay, “make sure you don’t miss your Blogiversary post while in Cali!”, but as if I lost my head at the border, I completely spaced it until NOW. August is looooong gone, and we’ve now reached the tip-tail of September, but I’m hoping a last-ditch-effort-entry will help me get over this very-anti-blogger-ish mistake I’ve made!

OH… and to make matters worse, SOMEHOW I had it in my mind that the “blogiversary” and the “yay, it’s officially been a year in the colonial” dates were one-and-the-same; but in reality, our official move-in date (August 28th) came much later than my first blog post, which actually went live June 17th, 2012. Those first couple months were spent writing about my grief over losing The Perfect House, feeling cramped by Our Newlywed Condo, and the beginning stages of the renno. When you look at it from this angle, I’m suddenly 3+ months beLATEd, and probably should’ve considered a completely different title for this post all together! PUNCH. ME. IN. THE. FACE.

With all ^that^ said, “THE” colonial remodel didn’t become “MY” colonial remodel until the day I could call this house my home – Tuesday, August 28, 2012. It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 months (to the day in fact), since we were driving the U-Haul back and forth, loading and unloading the friends-n-family-caravan! To coin the phrase, “time flies when you’re having fun”, this fast-first-year is a tried-true-testament to how much FUN we’ve really been having!(?) The kind of fun where you rip your hair out in dire frustration at the end of the day, sleep-it-off, then wake up in the delusion that “TODAY will be nothing like yesterday”! #ain’tNOthing #timeflieswhenyourehavingfun #LIVINtheremodelLYFE #JT&JIMMYFALLONskit #WATCHit

What I’ve Learned This Year:

Patience: Slow progress is still progress. If I choose to be patient and focus on the task at hand (rather than the finished product), the process of taking the less-than-perfect and transforming it into something one-of-a-kind can be amply rewarding. Contentment: Thinking too much about what I want something to look like can start to drive me mad. As long as I remind myself of how fortunate I am to even have a home like this, and continually count my MANY other blessings, all the other day-to-day frustrations seem meaningless. Focusing on the Positive: One of the ways I’ve motivated myself when feeling swallowed whole by the glaring remodel responsibilities and endless journey ahead is by looking back at where we started. You quickly forget how things used to be, so you feel as though you’ve gotten nowhere. But then nothing puts progress into perspective quite like side-by-side comparisons! (Kind of like watching an underwhelming infomercial for weight-loss/acne/cleaning solutions… UNTIL they bust out those convincing before & afters!)

Highs & Lows:

With so many remodel blogs out there, you can start to feel like a pointless needle lost in a cyber haystack. But – I really felt like I had found my niche because of one distinct factor that set me apart from all the others: the fact that mine was a COLONIAL. I developed so much of my blogger’s identity from this ONE defining detail that I had a partial meltdown when I learned of the famous YOUNGHOUSELOVE‘s most recent renno project… an old colonial! Sherry Petersik started out just like me, posting updates of their remodel progress for close friends and family, but within a few years it blossomed into a full-time job for both her and her husband, and now they’re onto their 3rd house! I seized the opportunity to meet them this January while they were doing their first book tour, and it’s one of the most inspirational experiences I’ve ever had. I introduced myself as a remodel blogger and told them they were my “DIY paragons” (in a total non-sappy way), then John Petersik gave me the advice to “keep at it and never stop what I’m doing”. He later tweeted me in response to my IG post, and I of course had one of those embarrassing jumping-up-and-down-starstruck-freakout-moments:) Definitely a highlight of my year!!! Oh the irony of his advice that day now that they’ve started a colonial remodel… probably among the worst things that could happen to hinder my blog’s success. How do I even stand a chance? younghouselove signing younghouselove signing younghouselove tweet This hasn’t changed my admiration of YOUNGHOUSELOVE whatsoever, if anything it’s caused me to heed his advice even more and focus on the other things that make My Colonial Remodel unique. I’ll admit that at first there were the irrational thoughts of just giving up all together… it felt as though the entrepreneurial part of me sort of waved the white flag. But when push comes to shove, I’ve always known that the only thing capable of setting me apart, is ME. It’s good to have those “younghouseloves” in your life to challenge and inspire you, as long as you don’t change yourself to fit into any certain mould. I may not be married to my co-writer, I may not have the biggest budget, and I may never be mentioned in magazines or featured on HGTV (although that would be an unreal dream come true!), but I have always had a passion for fashion, decor, design, music, art, writing, anything that taps into my creative core.  Just meet the 18-mo-old version of me who refused to let an item enter her wardrobe that wasn’t pink and you’ll better understand where I’m coming from :)  If I put my artistic personality and unconventional ideas at the forefront, staying true to who I am, no one can accuse me of trying to be like someone else… even if I am in the midst of renovating the same style house as the most successful DIY bloggers around!

Looking Forward:

I’ve been working on a whole new plan for My Colonial Remodel! New pages, new images, new formatting, and I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some guest features as well! A few months back (before the baby-bump was too obvious) I did a blog photo shoot with the multi-talented Chris Roe of croemedia.com. He recently sent me some finished images that I am SO excited about! Out of all the photographers I’ve worked with (when modeling years back), he is BY FAR superior. He was able to capture the essence of who I am with all his final editing skills, which I find to be the HARDEST thing to do in still photos. Many times you think you’ve adequately communicated the vibe you’re going for, but the end result still lacks the X-factor. Once I have redesigned my site with some of these images, the pages will clearly speak to my creative personality and immediately tell a person what to expect if they were to read my blog!

My Colonial Remodel Image

Isn’t this uh-mazing!?! SO ME!

I’m looking for some constructive opinions from my readers as well: What would you like to see more of? – More How-To’s? – More Pictures? – More Day-to-Day Projects? – More Design Ideas? – My aunt recently sent me a photo of her family room and asked me to help her decorate her wall – I LOVE doing things like this! Perhaps this is another component I could add somehow? You tell me what you want to read/see! This next year is going to seem much more productive than our first year. Rather than spending our money on behind-the-scene investments like laundry room plumbing, power-tools and a MUCH-NEEDED mattress… we are planning on doing a full kitchen re-design and spending more time on esthetics! Before I go… a Blogiversary post wouldn’t be complete without a look-back at 2012-2013′s progress! Check out my Before/After Collage of some (not all) of our biggest projects this year!

My Colonial Remodel 2012-2013:

Curb Appeal

Curb Appeal Front Porch Front Yard

Entry

Front Door Entryway Staircase

Boudoir

Living Room

Den

Office

Dining

Dining Room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Family Room

Family Room

Deck (off family room)

Backyard

Garage

Garage

Bathrooms

Powder Room Kid's Bath Master Bathroom Master Closet

Ezekiel’s Room

Ezekiel's Room

Cruz’s Nursery (soon to be)

Cruz's Room

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My Colonial Remodel

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to leave your constructive opinions for me in Comments!

- B