A New Year

I know I’ve probably missed the whole end-of-year-wrap-up window, but I’m going there anyway today with year-end house highs and my new year house hopes! And I apologize in advance because this went way longer than I planned…just scroll down if you are looking for pretty pictures and bullet lists!

Christmas was a fun-filled, mad-rush to the finish line for us and then we spent the following week frantically finishing up our front yard and installing wood floors in my son’s room. After that, we were thankful to zone out last week in Lake Tahoe. It was a nice recharge for me. Away from the sight of our house projects/still not put away Christmas decorations with plenty of time to think and read and reassess and plan and make lists in my head – my favorite! And to decompress from the holiday crazies. And the year in general crazies.

Like most, I would say last year sucked in so many ways. It was a hard one. “Current events” were unreal. Like was 2017 an alternate universe??? Personally, it was really rough for our family as well. We lost two grandmas. And something I haven’t talked about before, but something that will define 2017 for our family, was a hard fought battle against OCD. I’m not talking the offensive “I like things organized so I call it OCD” kind of OCD (that I am previously guilty of and forever sorry for!). I’m talking consuming, terror-inducing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. This isn’t my story to tell so I won’t go into details, but we figured out that one of our sweet, spirited, and strong willed babies has actually been silently battling OCD for like ever. Our summer was spent doing something called Exposure Response Prevention therapy (ERP), where you inundate/force your little child to do the very things that seem like irrational, no-big-deals to you, but that elicit the strongest physiological panic responses you can imagine from them (touch something with their right hand but not with their left). It was traumatic and devastating and hard. But so healing. And something that we will be revisiting forever because OCD isn’t something that’s cured. (I cried through the entire Season 2 of Stranger Things because I’m pretty sure the whole show, whether purposely written that way or purely coincidental, is a beautiful allegory for OCD. The Shadow Monster being OCD and Will being my child and Winona Ryder’s smoke-out of the monster being the heartbreak of ERP parenting.) I can’t express how thankful I am for answers and therapy and help and a path to freedom for my child, but also to distance myself from last year because nothing about it was easy. I have hope, that at least on this front, the worst is behind us…

But somehow, last year was a very positive year for our house despite being so heavy in other areas. I pretty much always feel like I’m not getting as much done on the house as I want so, looking back, I’m SHOCKED at all that we knocked out in 2017. Of course, it was only like half of what we set out to accomplish, but many unexpected and impactful projects were taken on as well. I feel like we finally turned a corner where it is more “home” than “excuse my construction pile mess.” It’s a great place to be! Some highlights:

2017 HOUSE HIGHS

mid century family living room abstract painting tulip table coffee I started reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic last week and it was SO inspiring! A great read anytime, but especially after the months of end-of-year craziness when you are so ready to get back to “normalcy,” and trying to figure out what kind of “normalcy” you want your life to have. I love her idea that we are all creative people and that we all have something to contribute, no matter how important or not, how life changing or not, how grand or not, how original or not, and whether anyone will ever see your creation or not. It’s about the process of making instead of taking and saying yes to the things that light you up, without guilt or excuses. Fixing up houses definitely lights me up, and I’m so excited to (try to) tackle these projects in our home in the coming year:

2018 HOUSE GOALS

  • PAINT THE DANG EXTERIOR. A house goal list fav that NEVER EVER gets done, 3 years and counting, but is on the calendar as our big summer DIY project.
  • Build a second screen for the front yard.
  • Reach ninety percent completion of our flooring and baseboards why are we still working on this nearing year 5????
  • Hang the grasscloth wallpaper that I bought last summer in the master bedroom.
  • Finish our very unfinished step down to our sunken family room
  • Build that wood divider I’ve been dreaming of between the dining room and family room
  • Do a low-key master bath fix up to hold us over for a few years (basically this plan, still unexecuted)
  • MINIMALISM TO THE MAX. Well, as max as a house loving, furniture hoarder can be. I want to be surrounded with an better edited collection of possessions.

I’m very excited to make time for a few other just-for-fun creative projects this year as well, but I mostly want to give the biggest thank you to whoever you are reading this! I have so much fun putting this blog together and sharing our weird house projects and connecting with all of you. Thank you for your ideas and your encouragement and for coming back every week to check in. I am so thankful for you all and I wish you and your homes all the best in 2018!!!!

xoxo Jenny

Advertisements

One More Christmas Post

OK, one more Christmas post before the big day! This time, our entry. (Family room here and den here.) I loved walking down the hall to our simple entry Halloween decorations this year, so I basically copied that but in Christmas form. I swapped mirrors (this one is from Amazon and is one of my favorite purchases!), then added a little white tree and lights. Again, pretty low-key decorating this year. Festive but contained. Give me a few more years and I might be down to nothing! The older I get, the more stressed I get, and the less excess I can handle. Is this natural life progression…or should I talk to someone in 2018?  This special little vintage “KISS ME” mistletoe decoration was made by my kiddos great grandma. So sweet. Around the corner from the entry, in the dining room bookshelf, I tucked my favorite vintage reindeer along with our advent calendarSo if you are keeping score, I completely failed at a calm, simple, reflective December despite my best efforts. I’m a wreck. Does this just happen as kids get older and have more of a social life/homework/etc? While I’m not ready to pack up the decorations, I’m really looking forward to some quiet next week after all the celebrating, when we have nothing scheduled but some hardwood flooring install (in the kid bedrooms!). I desperately need a break, mostly from being my youngest’s teacher, ha! Christmas plus regular mom stuff plus homeschool has just pushed me over the edge this month. Like pass the pillow, I’m gonna scream. So sad, but true, and just life. Hope your December fared better! And if so, tell me your secrets to simplicity. If not, there’s always next Christmas! Merry Christmas from my crazy house to yours! xoxo

Palm Springs Indian Canyons

If you’ve ever wanted to look at endless photos of palm trees, you’ve arrived! We spent some of Thanksgiving week in our favorite place and spent a wonderful morning exploring the Palm tree oasis’ in Indian Canyon. Just south of the city sits not just one, but several, of the largest oasis’ of California Fan Palms (the only native CA palms). How we have never done this, I DON’T KNOW! It was an otherworldly kind of beautiful, if you are into deserts and palms and rocks. Time to do some soul searching if that doesn’t describe you. I can’t put into words, mostly because I’m a blubbering idiot, how magical it was to wander around under 1000’s of palms surrounding a desert stream. It looked fake, like a movie set, and rivals whatever you think the most beautiful place in the world is (me: tie between Alps/Mt. Rainier/Redwoods/and now this…got a lot of west coast bias in me I guess??).We skipped the largest and most crowded oasis, Palm Canyon, though we did peek at it from the parking lot, opting to hike using that term sooo loosely the lush and less visited Andreas Canyon instead. The kids did the “hike” literally in the stream and us grown humans followed the trail next to the stream. I’ve discovered that a family hike through water is infinitely more successful than a regular hike on top of dirt. The morning we visited was high 70’s/early 80’s but, with the water, I can imagine this being the hike to do on those hotter days when you still want to get out in and see the beauty of the desert. The biggest goof in a happy place.The oasis from afar. Can you see it?That up there is the parking lot. I can’t wait to go back. Totally 100% worth the cost of admission and I can’t recommend it enough.

We stayed again at our family favorite, The Twist. I’ve said it before, but the Palm Springs living is easy there when you have kids in tow. We spend hours at the pool, and they couldn’t be more enjoyable. They even had out some Christmas decorations = take my money, I’m moving in.Basically, when can I retire? And will it be a classy desert retirement in a mid-century jewel box in Palm Springs? Or a trashy desert retirement in an aluminum trailer along the stinking shores of the Salton Sea? I really can’t wait to find out which way life unfolds… xoxo