20 To-Do’s #DONE!

We’re officially  d o n e  with the plumbing renovations here at the colonial! YAY!!! No more galvanized, rusty, clogged, leaky pipes ruining our ceilings and polluting our bodies. No more icy water that rudely screams, “wake upppp”,  when washing my face every morning. (I’d like to leave that delicate job up to my daily coffee from now on, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!) It’s amazing how adequate water pressure and access to both hot & cold temps can make life so much easier. Who knew??? With the exception of a few walls in need of patching here or there, annnnnd the dining room ceiling that’s still wide open and exposing naked pipes from the bathroom above (no pun intended), WE ARE DONE! So head on over one of these days for a visit and enjoy a glass of oh-so-clear, filtered drinking water from any tap in the house! Just ignore the occasional toilet flushing overhead while eating in my topless dining room… it’s an off-putting inconvenience we all have to deal with for now, until we knock a couple more things off our to-do list!  As always, one project perpetually leads to the next, and you might even feel like we’ve gone backwards if you focus on the rooms that somehow went from done to undone during the domino effect of the plumbing overhaul – but in hindsight – we’ve made major headway.

Here are 20 To-Do’s we scratched off the list during #theplumbingproject:

1. Tear Out Obstructing Wall in Kids’ Bathroom
2. Remove Kids’ Green Tub/Shower
3. Extend B/W Tile Flooring Where Kids’ Shower Used to Be
4. Gut & Expand Size of Master Shower
5. Remove Master Closet & Soffits
6. Tear Out Walls Surrounding Master Toilet 
7. Remove/Salvage Remaining Tile from Master Bathroom Floor
8. Remove Soffits & Cabinets from Laundry Room
9. Re-Plumb Entire House (+ install filtration system**)
10. Rewire Electrical in Kids’ Bathroom
11. Create Pass-Through Window Between Dining & Kitchen
12. Replace Missing Drywall (removed during #theplumbingproject)
13. Frame In Hallway Closet (affected by master shower expansion)
14. Skim/Smooth Texture & Paint New Drywall Throughout House
15. Tile & Panel Kids’ Bathroom Walls
16. Install Free-Standing Claw Foot in Kids’ Bathroom
17. Install New Fan & Light Fixtures in Kids’ Bathroom
18. Install New Fan & Light Fixture in Laundry Room
19. Lay/Grout Extra Tiles in Laundry Room (Salvaged from Master)

20. Buy New Toilet, Cabinet & Sink for Downstairs Bathroom

Kids’ Bathroom

v v  click to enlarge & scroll v v

Z's Mickey Mat

Z’s Mickey Mat

Kids BathroomIt’s exciting to see bits and pieces of my vision coming together, and it’s built-in reMODel motivation to live in a room I designed! The master en suite may be in shambles, and the 3 of us have had to temporarily trade quick showers for long bubble baths, but having the kids’ bathroom so close to perfection (minus the sinks/countertops) is worth the delay! Besides, I personally LOVE letting off some steam in a deep soaking tub. (DONT YOU!?) It may take 3X the time, but it’s soooooooo relaxing! I can’t speak for my 6’6” husband though… I’m sure he’s getting a little restless to finish the double-wide master shower!

Kitchen-Dining Pass through

Hallway Closet

Laundry Room

v v  click to enlarge & scroll v v

April’s Projects

Over the next few weeks we’ll be working on the dining room ceiling (an absolute MUST), and the downstairs half-bath (finally). It’s time to make this old place more accommodating for company! We already have everything we need to complete the guest bathroom, I’m just trying to make a difficult design decision about the flooring before we continue. I want to keep this design decision a surprise for my readers – but let’s just say, hint hint – FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING, and CONTINUITY IS KEY to creating the illusion of spaciousness. << These are two major points that I’ll be covering in my next post, so meet me back here soon! We’ve got 20 things down, and 20 THOUSAND to go!

 – B

** SIDENOTE for the Health-Conscious:


We’ve not only brought this old colonial up to date, but we’ve upgraded it to a healthy living environment. Jared has to go in every 3 months for CT scans to make sure he’s still tumor-free, so we’ve tried to educate ourselves on simple life changes that can lessen one’s risks of cancer returning. One SIMPLE change is installing a filtration system at the source of your water supply. Everyone knows that drinking water should be purified, but rust, chlorine, fluoride, and other toxins are primarily absorbed through the largest organ of your body – the skin! During showers, we immerse ourselves in unclean water, and we inhale its vapors through the steam. This can lead to all sorts of medical issues, but can be easily avoided. We’ll never be able to eliminate the threat of contagions, but this simple change has put my mind at ease… and I suggest that EVERYONE do it. (On a superficial note, it changes your hair tint & texture! So if you paid a zillion dollars for that cute cut/color, and you want it to last longer than 4 weeks before it fades… bite the bullet and get a filter!)


I’ll be. . . home for Christmas?

If only in my dreams! I spent all year in anticipation of the coming holidays…. dreaming of turkey dinners (complete with Grammy’s signature stuffing), and an overly decorated house full of festive cheer and toes warming by an open fire. You know, just a typical girl, guilty of romanticizing the H-E-double-hockeysticks out of something so that nothing less can satisfy. I told myself – and pretty much everyone else – that I would GO ALL OUT trying to make up for last year, but then reality hit me over the head like a lead pipe.

WHO REPLACES THE PLUMBING AND MOVES IN WITH THEIR PARENTS OVER THE HOLIDAYS!? Oh wait… THAT’S US! As if spending last year’s Thanksgiving/Christmas in the hospital wasn’t reason enough to put it off and stay home, we thought it would be a good idea to have another season of abnormal. To be fair, the unfortunate situations we’ve found ourselves in over the last several months have not been by choice… they’re more-so forced upon us and we just have to roll with the punches. If you’ve seen the old slapstick comedy “Mouse Hunt” with Christopher Walken, you know what I mean when I say we were one rodent away from losing the entire house in one fell swoop (except for, instead of mice we had RATS, and we didn’t need the help of a gushing hose to collapse the colonial. It would’ve come down allllll on its own, in a heaping a pile of smelly sewage)! But why did this have to happen now? The holidays passed us by like we were standing still, then left us with no place to bang in the New Year. Oh well. It’s getting done, and one day we’ll be happy we did it.

Just to make sure you really, and I mean REALLY, grasp the brutal reality that was our “home for Christmas”, I welcome you on a little tour of my colonial reMODel, in all its guts/glory…


YouTube Vid

Now do you understand why we’re not living at home!? I’m hardly exaggerating when I say the house has been  d e s t r o y e d ! Not only is it dangerous for Ezekiel with all the holes in the walls/floors, but the putrid fumes coming from the pipes can NOT be good for my Jelly Belly Bean either (Don’t worry, I’ve been wearing gloves and gas masks when I come over here to work – it’s always better to be safe than sorry)! By January 13, the water should be running, the tub & toilet should be installed, the holes in the walls will be patched/primed/painted, and the thick layer of demo dust that’s settled on every single surface should be professionally cleaned; meaning we COULD move in with the ability to maintain hygiene and hydration, without the risk of rats finding their way in through open plumbing-passageways. THAT REMINDS ME! I still have to introduce you to Melvin <:3)~

Mel (the rat)

Melvin (the rat)

^^ inside the bathroom walls ^^

Sorry Melvin, I wish our goodbyes could have been more humane… but then again, I won’t miss seeing your red-beady-eyes in my home-sweet-home. I am impressed however, with your admirable abilities to stow away food from the kitchen (Ratatouille, anyone!?), and I hope you enjoyed your stay here at my colonial reMODel while it lasted 😉

MORE #plumbingproject PICS TO HIT THE BLOG SOON!



Demolition Day

That’s right baby! These walls are goin’ down and the master en-suite makeover has officially begun! Let’s be real, I can put up with the inconvenience of a small shower, but it’s more than just an inconvenience for my 6’6” hubby! You think there’s –what– maybe about an inch of clearance there? (IF that!) And he hasn’t even stepped up into the elevated basin!


poor guy 😉

How does someone of ^that^ manly size move his arms in a stall this narrow? He practically has to fold in half to get his head under the poorly placed nozzle… heck even I have to bend my knees slightly to get my hair wet! And why did they go overboard in the 60’s, building these low-hanging soffits like they were going out of style??? (Oh wait, because they WERE!) I’m assuming an architect woke up one day after bashing his head on the drop-ceiling and thought…. W.T.H. Then he turned his profanity into sanity and started designing houses with vaulted ceilings –#welcometothe80’s y’all!

In order to expand the shower, we cut up and over to the left, removing the soffits and absorbing some of the space from the huge linen closet in the hallway located on the other side of this wall…

bridge leading to master bedroom

(bridge leading to master bedroom)


I was the camera/clean-up crew (ps. remodel debris is HEAVY!), and my brother came over to help Jared with the muscle work (I have the best brothers)…

LOOK AT THIS TRANSFORMATION! It looks so much bigger already!

^^^     IS IT JUST ME, OR DID MY HUSBAND GET smaller!?     ^^^

Now we wait for the plumber…. and we have to move out while he replaces ALL the fixtures in our house! Dang galvanized plumbing is biting us in the butt right now – but once all 3 bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, EVERYTHING is redone, we will feel like a weight is off our chest! We have ceiling leaks, water damage and falling sheet rock in the kitchen and dining room (a ticking time bomb at this point), near-to-no hot water pressure in the kitchen sink, NO hot water whatsoever in the master or guest bath, 3 pipes that are completely corroded and plugged, and sometimes the water comes out brown/rusty! So needless to say, we’re anxious and ready to drop some cash, knock this thing out and get it behind us before something worse happens!

In the meantime, can’t wait to show you all the virtual designs of the master en-suite my sis is drawing up… so stay tuned!

 – 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?



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)


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, unconventional 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 




What I've been doing

What I’ve Been Doing lately

Mostly going crazy pulling my hair out while imagining what it’ll be like bringing a newborn home to an environment that’s NOT so baby-friendly! The things that mattered most to me with my first baby were safety, cleanliness, and organization; three things lacking in My Colonial Remodel! I fear once Cruz arrives I could suddenly find myself so preoccupied that I won’t have time to work on ANY housing projects, so the next couple months I’m trying to cram, cram, CRAM!

WIBD #1. Coming Up with a Plan for the Stairwell  

There are still 5 spindles missing from our non-forgiving, wooden staircase, and lately I’ve been having horrible nightmares over it!

1, 2…

…3 (Please don’t call Child Services on me!)

…4, 5! 

This has made for some high stress situations in the morning when trying to get ready! Let’s just say Ezekiel is getting used to being trapped in the bathroom with me on a daily basis because it’s the only way I can guarantee his safety while putting my face on. When he was still crawling we had a gate to keep him from climbing the dangerous steps, and the only time he was ever upstairs was when he was in his crib; now that he’s almost 2, he pretty much goes up and down as he pleases, so long as I have an eye on him! However, once full-time baby Cruz is here, I’ll no longer have the luxury of being able to chaperone my toddler 24/7, so this project needs to be done BEFORE NOVEMBER or else I’m in big trouble.  


Ralph Lauren is my current inspiration for the banister – I was having a hard time making the decision between wrought iron and wood… but then I saw this pic on Made by Girl‘s IG and it was just what I needed to push me over the deciding edge! Of course I chose the more expensive option, but it just screams COLONIAL (don’t you think?), and I’m all about that! In the long run, it’ll be a better investment because even in brand new homes wooden spindles need replaced all the time… and living in a house with 3 boys, I think it’s safe to presume roughhousing will be the culprit behind many broken things around here! In order to have these danger zones fixed before baby comes however, it’s looking like we may have to leave the existing wobbly railing for now and just pick up a few spare spindles from Habitat for Humanity. It may not look as pretty in the meantime, but with a little paint and reinforcement, at least it will be SAFE(r)!

Luckily, Ezekiel has never paid much attention to these dangerous openings – but it only takes once – and somehow I don’t think the next lil’ guy is gonna have his same cautious personality!

WIBD #2. Pricing Out Moulding

The entire upper level is still without casings and baseboards, exposing loose gravel and drywall along the whole perimeter…

Exposed Drywall (“No picking, Zekiel!”)

Dirt (“No digging, Zekiel!”)

For energy costs alone, it would be worth bumping moulding to the tip-top of the list just to eliminate the draft whooshing in around these windows during the cold winter months. #burrrrrrrrrr!

Loose Gravel (“No ‘wocks’, Zekiel!“)

Not only is this a choking hazard, but it also provides the perfect pathway for marching in the whole cast of “A Bug’s Life”… only these ants aren’t quite as cute as Disney’s! Let’s just say, I now know how STINK bugs developed their rank reputation, and my borderline arachnophobia is at an all-time high. #noANIMALshouldhaveEIGHTlegs #getOUTofmyBED! My poor baby Cruz, sleeping in his crib so helpless and dependent, at the mercy of the great outdoors! That thought doesn’t bring an ounce comfort!

Hatched Stink Bug Egg Cluster
I was so grossed out to find these embedded into the side of my couch!

Stink Bug
found this one today in Cruz’s soon-to-be nursery, of course!

We’re in the process of dealing with HORNETS too!

After being realistic about the cost of finishing the whole 2nd level, we decided to finish the hallway and both boy’s rooms, but we’re waiting a little longer on the master, guest room, guest bath, and bonus room:( As much as I can get impatient with operating in such slow stages, I appreciate how my husband does everything he can to allow for certain projects WITHOUT putting a penny on credit. I’m sure I’ll be especially thankful 10-20 years from now, when I have a finished home and ZERO debt! #DIYers4Lyfe

Ezekiel’s moulding is already done… now we’re just waiting on materials for the nursery & hallway!

Special Delivery!

Ezekiel’s Room (before)

Looking better already! 

Precision is everything! Thanks again for your help, Pops!

Pictures of his finished room
soon to come!

WIBD #3. Designing Closet Layouts

The day this house was officially ours, we were here tearing things apart. Pretty much, if we didn’t like it, it was gone. The bedroom closets were one of the first to go because they were poorly designed and cheap quality; definitely not part of the original build otherwise they would’ve been solid oak to match the woodwork, like the linen closet in the hallway.

The most frustrating aspect about having no closets has been the master bedroom... there’s just something about heavy-laden clothing racks, unorganized shoes and overflowing plastic drawers that really takes away from the romantic aesthetic! #clutteredmind

Isn’t it just so relaxing in here!?

It hasn’t been too bad fitting all of Ezekiel’s belongings into his drawer organizers since his clothes are so tiny (not so tiny lately), but I’m not the biggest fan of the multipurpose “chalkboard hanger”…

Ezekiel’s “Dresser”

Dual Function

After looking around and around, these are the closets I’ve chosen for the boys’ bedrooms:

Ikea “Stolmen”

The Stolmen storage system at Ikea has a large variety of combinations to choose from, and after sketching out a few different arrangements, I think I’ve come up with the perfect combo for the boys! If all goes as planned, Ezekiel’s system should be purchased by beginning of October… and I hope and pray to have a closet for Cruz by the beginning of November! After all, he’s scheduled to arrive on the 24th!

The master closet is a whole ‘nother story on a whole ‘nother timeline! (My writing isn’t always the most refined… but I try to be as authentic as possible while sitting on this end of the keyboard, and if I was talking to you in real life, that’s exactly how I would’ve said it!)

Jaime Pressly – Lucky August Issue

I have lofty ideas that I’ll own a beautiful, custom, magazine-worthy closet someday… until then, my rolling wardrobes will just have to do! In the meantime we’ve made some progress on the closet flooring*, so I was able to wheel these bad-boys in there and free up some space in the bedroom! 

Master “Closet”
(*notice the grout is fixed!?)

I’m satisfied for now;)

 There are so many other important projects that need to be done before I could justify starting in on the master closet; the gutted bathroom downstairs, the lack of flooring in the kitchen & family room, the broken countertops, the plumbing issues, it just goes on & on…

For Example:
It looks like we never clean our tub, but even after Kenzi’s Kleaning is done scrubbing it down, it only takes one person showering to bring up all this gunk from the drain! We’ve tried EVERYTHING!

^These^ are all the things I keep juggling in my head and trying to decide WHICH ONE COMES FIRST. When working with a skinny budget, you find yourself feeling like you just don’t know where to start, especially when each and every project is such high priority and high cost! But like anything in life, you have to start somewhere, and I decided the best place to begin was making some extra money to increase the remodel ca$h flow. We’ve GOT to make some of these hypothetical projects a reality, one way or another!

So, what’s a great way to come up with money out of thin air???

WIBD #4.


This is a whole post in and of itself! Read next week and FIND OUT HOW WE CAME UP WITH OVER $1,600 in just 3 days!!!

Signing off late again, so enjoy your Thursday!
– B

Renovation Vacation


WANT to apologize for missing so many Wednesday Weekly posts while I’ve been away on vacay, but then again, it’s possible that I may have gained enough inspiration and rejuvenation from these last few weeks to spark the next umpteen posts… and for that I am not sorry!
I’m officially beyond my “blogger’s block” and full of things I want to share with the world (so prepare yourself to be blogged out, or bored, depending on how worthy-of-being-read my next words may be)!

Painting the Background

Every summer since Jared and I have been married, we’ve spent two weeks in Palm Springs, fully embracing the financial advantages of having parents with a Marriott timeshare! It’s always been the highlight of our year – the place where we recover from our annual youth summer camp and escape from all the emotional taxes of pastoral work.

That is until two years ago, when vacation for my husband became riddled with fear and anxiety; he began experiencing pain and discomfort so unusual and impossible to ignore that he decided it was time to give the ol’ “self exam”. Poor guy, even after discovering a lump, I kept telling him he needed to stop being such a hypochondriac and just enjoy his vacation while it lasted because I was SURE it was a common cyst and that he was totally fine. He called our physician who scheduled him a visit for the day after we arrived home, and from here everything progressed very quickly. We hadn’t even made it out of the hospital parking garage when he was called back in to review his test results with a specialist… then just two days later, I found myself sitting in a waiting room while my husband was having surgery to remove testicular cancer from his body.


Being pregnant at the time, the surgeon warned us that we could have fertility problems in the future, but encouraged us to be thankful that we already had one on the way. The whole situation was so sudden and surreal that I found myself in denial of the words I was hearing. THIS HAD TO BE A DREAM; Just three days before I was laying in the desert sun, having a conversation with Jared about how it felt like we were FINALLY entering a season of rest in our lives after years of different trials, and we were so excited to be starting a family together. My… how life is unpredictable! Needless to say, that trip ended rather abruptly and two months later I entered the sleepless life of new-mommyville.

Last summer we tried the whole “stay-cation” thing… we had a 9 month old baby, still living in our cramped condo, and in the process of getting the newly purchased colonial move-in-ready. It seemed ridiculous to go out of town at such a time, so the whole idea of vacationing at home seemed to be the responsible thing to do. Now looking back, and taking into consideration the stress of the previous year, the wisest thing we could’ve done was get away and rest before taking on the HUGE task of a remodel! We used up all my hubby’s PTO, spent lots of money, and had nothing much to show for it besides exhaustion. Instead of shopping bags full of hot deals scored at the Desert Hills Outlets, we had not-so-hot bags under our eyes; Instead of using our two weeks of “extra” time making gobs of headway on the house as planned, we found ourselves quickly running out of steam (or rather discovering there was no steam left in our tanks to start with). We said, NEVER AGAIN!

Note: If you live in a remodel, you simply GOTTA GET AWAY, even if you don’t feel like you need it. Please hear me loud and clear, DIYers, I’m trying to save you from a burnout! #yourPOOFpoint


Our Renovation Vacation 

Now that you have that bit of background, lets talk about the brutal irony of this year’s vacation from renovation…
I’ve always known that God has a real sense of humor, but now I’m asking myself, “What kind of humor is this anyway???” God! It’s cruel and unusual punishment is what it is! (Not really, but He gets my jest!)

There comes a time when even the most beautiful things need a little facelift in order to remain beauty-full, and THIS year, it was my palm paradise that was scheduled for upkeep. We ran away from the unfinished chaos we call home to be in a place that would bring some sorta “feeling of completion” or whatever, just to find ourselves amidst the renno of the decade! Totally stupid and ethereal sounding, but true…

 Imagine laying out at the pool that first morning of your highly anticipated getaway, tanning your sun-thirsty legs thinking, “Now this, THIS RIGHT HERE people, is what I’ve neeeeeeeeeeeeeded!!! But wait, before you finish that fantastic thought… CRASH! CLANK! CLATTER! BOOOOOM! Wait for it… EEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRK! TAP-TAP! BAMMM! And don’t ignore the super sexy bulldozer to your left that loves to back-it-up like BEEP! BEEP! BEEEEEP! Then, the foul sound of **** swear words …………. “Oh sorry, is that coming from my face!?” Well ehhhemmm, excuse me, but maybe I wouldn’t have such a dirty mouth if there wasn’t a blankin’ work crew throwing windows and walls over the balcony into those eyesores called dumpsters right there! This is definitely NOT what I needed. If I hear one more drill I think I’m gonna lose my mind! WHAT’S THAT? Oh NBD, they’re just grinding out a giant hole in the concrete less than 5 feet away from my baby boy as he obliviously floats in the pool! “I appreciate the new safety railing, but in the meantime could you guys provide safety goggles for all the innocent bystanders too? Not professional, Mister Marriott!

We had hoped it wouldn’t last long, but it continued on through day 2, 3, 4… Everyday until the day when we had to move rooms because our suite was next in line for renovating! In the end, the move was good because although we lost an amazing view, the worker’s outhouses parked in front of our building were starting to get a little ripe in the extreme heat! #ihatehoneybuckets I know I sound high maintenance right now, but when paying to stay in a nice resort, you feel entitled to a certain level of snootiness! Am I right?
It’s really the small things that matter when you live without certain luxuries – actual countertops instead of chopped up makeshift surfaces, finished closets and flooring, functioning faucets with adequate water pressure… One of the conversations we had on the 17hr drive down there was seriously about how much we were looking forward to using a shower that actually drained! AND.THEN.IT.DIDN’T. Because not being ankle-deep in my dirty body water was just too much to ask, apparently“Yes, I WILL take some of that cheeeeese with my whine, thank YOU!” #notashamed

Being creatures of habit and tradition, it’s funny how dependent one can become on consistency and familiarity. There are a few things we do EVERY YEAR when in Palm Springs… but as I’ve been saying, this year things were just different.
Amuse me by reading some of these meaningless details:

The River – a development similar to Bridgeport Village that was built atop a manmade river, full of cute shops, nice restaurants, movie theatre, & more. This year, “The River” had no river. All the water had been emptied because they were fixing the drainage system and it felt like you were dining in an empty dam!

College of the Dessert Street Market – This is something we’ve always enjoyed doing on Sundays, usually full of 100’s of tents selling fun things like unique food/drink, clothing, accessories, knockoffs like Louis Vuitton & Chanel where I’ve found fake copies of designer purses and sunglasses for dirt cheap. This year… It was nothing but an empty parking lot with maybe 10-20 tents, none of which had anything worthy of buying… Unless you’re looking for some bad-smelling perfumes? Anybody???

Dessert Hills Outlets – Only the greatest outlets around!!! As if they weren’t big enough already, they were in the middle of expansion, so the walkways were all boarded up, much like being funneled through a rat race! But hey, at least they were still open! Actually, this was my favorite year of shopping to date! #deals&steals

Tanning – Normally there’s nothin’ but clear skies and blazin’ sun… This year there were days that were cloudy, rainy, and even a couple of flash floods! (thank goodness for iPhone emergency alerts!)

Sleeping In – Ezekiel normally sleeps from 8pm – 8am every night… But his California clock was set to go off every morning between 4a and 6:30a! I am NOT a morning person whatsoEVER!

Driving – Ok it doesn’t fall under “tradition” as much as necessity, but it seemed as though every major road to get from point A to point B was crawling with flaggers, cones, and gravel! Did the whole city get together and decide to have a giant work party!? The good thing is, next year should be better than ever! Right???

All things aside…  

… We still enjoyed every moment!

Digging Deeper

In a way, I feel like my life has been under construction… some sort of “spiritual renovation” if you will. Every which way I turn, there’s always some blaring reminder that I am far too reliant upon circumstances, environment, and experiences for my contentment and peace of mind. I often find that REALITY FALLS SHORT OF EXPECTATIONS, yet, I continue to set myself up for disappointment by letting myself romanticize and anticipate the unknown. Not a healthy strategy for happiness! (My dad tried to teach me this lesson after a few major letdowns I had growing up… Yet it continues to be one of my silly struggles in life, haha!) So, I’ve decided that from here on out I’m going to try and focus all my energy on TODAY… Not tomorrow, not the next big thing, not where I’m gonna be or where I want to be; I need to learn to find JOY in the here and now, EVEN IF THE HERE & NOW IS LESS THAN WHAT IT COULD BE. (PS: this includes health, finances, relationships, parenting, ministry, business, My Colonial Remodel, all my many goals & dreams… oh and next year’s vacation!) Matt. 6:25-34
There – that’s my deep insight for your coming weekend!

Stay tuned for Wednesday’s “WIBD” (what I’ve been doing) Hint: It involves some MAJOR nesting!

Enjoy your Friday, Friends!

– B

4th of July WORK PARTY!

One year ago today, we had a huge work party before moving into this ol’ place. My whole family selflessly came over and got down n’ dirty rather than enjoying the usual 4th celebrations! It dawned on me some time later…


It’s time to give credit where credit is do, so here’s a Throwback Thursday for ya:

*** July 4th Work Party 2012 ***

Here's the mossy siding, BEFORE my dad powerwashed it!

Here’s the dirty, mossy siding, BEFORE my dad power-washed it!

Mossy Siding


He wouldn't stop for nothin'... Did you even eat lunch that day, Dad?

He wouldn’t stop for nothin’… Did you even eat lunch that day, Dad? #probablyNOT

Dad Powerwashing

He spent many a year climbing ladders when he owned his window cleaning business, so even up around the chimney he was going out on ONE leg… Scary!
(My hubs on the other hand, he may have a slight phobia of heights!)

Meanwhile... My grandparents were working themselves to the bone trying to prune back the hedge of ivy! I'm pretty sure they did more in their 70's then I could currently do in my 20's!

Meanwhile… My grandparents were working themselves to the bone trying to prune back the hedge of ivy! I’m pretty sure they did more in their 70’s than I could currently do in my 20’s!
(In this pic, he’s showing Jared the underground sprinkler head he just uncovered!)

Thankfully the weather was nice last year, but not quite as hot as it’s been THIS week!

You can SORT OF see the amazon that was once our backyard... I just wish I would've gotten some better pics to give you the full

If you look at the photo of my grandpa above, you can actually see the fence;
in this pic it’s still covered by the ivy FOUR FEET DEEP!

You can SORT OF see the amazon that was once our backyard… I just wish I would’ve thought to get some better pics to really give you the full “before & after” perspective!

More Bushes...

More IVY…

... More Bushes

… More IVY

More Bushes

Overgrown Bushes (before)



Hello, Sprinkler System!

Hello, Sprinkler System! Found You!

Once the ivy was cut back, we discovered all this extra yardage! But any grass that once was in now dead n' gone!

Once the ivy was cut back, we discovered all this extra yardage!
But any grass that once was is now dead n’ gone

Why is this fence chain-link instead of matching the others? #disappointed

Why is this fence chain-link instead of matching the others? #disappointed

What's left of the grass....

What’s left of the grass…. #postIVYtakeover

Beneath the ground covering was this nice retaining wall!

Beneath the ground covering was this nice retaining wall!

Z's Playgrounds

Z’s Playgrounds

Starting to actually look and feel like a quarter acre! It was just hiding under a bushel! heehee

Starting to actually look and feel like a quarter acre! It was just “hiding under a bushel”

It's hard to believe my grandparents did all that work nearly by themselves!

It’s hard to believe my grandparents did all that work nearly by themselves!

Thanks Gpa & Gma!!! You REALLY outdid yourselves!!!

This is what happens when a house is abandoned by its previous owners and then the bank decides they don't want to keep up on landscaping!

This is what happens when a house is abandoned by its previous owners and the bank stops landscaping once the house is sale-pending! #FIELDofFLOWERS

This Tree: Marked for Deletion

Awkward Tree: Marked for Deletion

Another view of the awkward tree (left)

Another view of the awkward, partially dying tree (left)

These Bushes (3 of them) marked for deletion

Overgrown BEE-BUZZING Bushes: (3 of them) also Marked for Deletion
Oh and notice the rampant grass covering the flower bed…

As you can see in this listing photo, the 3 BEE-BUZZING bushes I speak of are so large they nearly cover the walkway and front windows!

As you can see from this real estate listing, the 3 BEE-BUZZING bushes I speak of were so large they nearly covered the front door and window!
(Not to mention the patio and walkway)

I'm assuming these weeds are growing over what used to be a flower garden?

Deciding where to plant this beautiful Pink Magnolia Tree,
a gift from Ben Farley of Genesis Realty!

Break Time! It wouldn't be a 4th of July Work Party without a picnic style lunch, complete with Red Solo cups! #itstimetoparty #getinmybelly

Break Time!
It wouldn’t be a proper Work Party w/out a picnic style lunch, complete with Red Solo cups! #itstimetoparty #getinmybelly


My, has my brother changed a LOT in a year!

Lunch Time Entertainment Sponsored By: THESE HARD-WORKING ANTS!

This ant was carrying a daddy-long-leg UP the awning post!

This ant was carrying a daddy-long-leg UP the awning post!

This ant was trafficking a bug much larger than he!

This ant was trafficking a bug much larger than he!

Carrying creatures 3-times their size… marching one after another… I suppose we should’ve been more concerned about WHERE these busy carpenters were going!?!?

Lexie playing with her new pet insect of some sort;)

Lexie playing with her new pet insect of some sort;)
It’s hard to believe I have a lil’ sis this young sometimes! She’s 6 in this pic… ME, 26!

Its hard to

This was my J. 4th #OOTD... Apparently I documented this to remind myself of how little OUTDOOR work I did?!? I spent most of my working hours indoors doing things like this... (see below)

This was my J. 4th #OOTD…
Apparently I documented this to remind myself of how little OUTDOOR work I did?!?
I spent most of my time inside doing housework and things like this… (see below)

Tediousness I ran out of 2

I ran out of 2″ tape and had to switch to 1″…
so now all the stripes appear to be different widths but I PROMISE they were not!

And back outside…

Look at the SIDE-BY-SIDE comparison! He was at his halfway point here!

^ Dirty | Clean ^
Look at the SIDE-BY-SIDE comparison! He was at his halfway point here! #progress

The neighbor came over and offered us his tiller when he saw all the commotion! Made the job MUCH easier for my main man!


Nothin’ HOTTER! #tillin’

The house looks so much BIGGER now that you can seeeeeee it!

Now that’s bettuhhh!
The house looked so much BIGGER now that you could seeeeeee it!

Front Yard

Now, to just get it GREEN!

Front Yard

Can you see the tree? We decided to plant our baby magnolia (aka

Can you see the tree?
We decided to plant our baby magnolia (aka “our love tree”) in the front corner of the yard

Front View

We ended the long day with a BBQ at my parent’s house…where my son pretended to get beat up by his MUCH smaller female cousin, Tylyn ;0

To think that we will soon be able to take this pic with the two NEW cousins! #procreating

To think that we will soon be able to take this pic with the two NEW cousins! #procreating

The next day…

Let's just say, the next day I took it easy... REAL EASY! Celebrated Zekiel's 9 mo with a new Harajuku Mini Outfit, relaxed in the perfect not-too-hot / not-too-cold weather, and sipped a free venti iced coffee!

Let’s just say, we took it easy… REAL EASY!

The next day we celebrated Zekiel’s 9 mo with a trip to Target to buy this new Harajuku Mini outfit, relaxed in the perfect not-too-hot / not-too-cold weather, and sipped a free venti iced coffee!
“Ahhhhh, it feels good to get in a good day’s work!”

Hope you enjoyed this Thursday throwback! It’s time for me to go get ready for our big day of July 4th mattress sale shopping, a family BBQ, then we’ll spend the evening out at Fort Vancouver!