House For Six

Closing Out 2016 and Looking Ahead

Deme CrinionComment

I thought about doing the ever popular "Best of 2016" post today, but as I looked back at the year's posts, it's clear that our move this summer dominated the year and the blog.  

Moving day

We've had major cross country moves before, but none has changed our lives more than our move across town this past summer.  And none have stretched us and eventually blessed us more either.  We've learned so much about patience, trust, faith, and community...and we still have so much to share with you! (catch the full story of how we came to our forever home right here). 

In fact the past two years have been quite eventful!

2015 was incredibly hard, although lined with many and grace-filled moments, as we navigated unfamiliar waters with a very colicky newborn.  One who missed the memo on the colic clearing up at the magical 3 month mark.  It was my most exhausting and trying year as a mother, but looking back I still see so much good.  

The same can be said for 2016.  What a whirlwind of a year!  We were asked to leap and we did.  We thought a soft landing was right on the other side, but it turned out that we spent a lot of time free falling in mid-air while we waited on God's hand to unfold.  But when it did, we were stunned by His goodness once again.  

new home!

It wasn't just that moving to this house cut our commute/car time by literal hours...or even that it placed us right in the heart of our community. We've lived in 9 homes in our 10 years of marriage. It's the contract nature of James' work. And with that came an element of uncertainty.

We never really knew how long we would be in one place.  James' work has brought us to many places we've enjoyed, but they were all far from family or didn't feel like the right place to raise our brood for the long haul. I never felt that I could really settle in our previous homes, because we didn't know what the future held...but who does?

I would muster forced attempts to live in the now and "settle in" regardless of a potential move, but I have felt unsettled in my heart for many years.  I have longed for the comfort and assurance of a forever home.  For myself, for James, and for our children.

When James' job unexpectedly moved us to Ohio, God answered a prayer that we had barely even whispered.  This area had so much of what we've always wanted for our family.  And when we moved to this house he delivered so many hidden desires for a slower pace, 4 seasons, interesting places to visit nearby, a quiet street, a house with a kitchen sink overlooking the backyard, the school/church a short walk from home.  And community.  

I don't want to sound like a broken record but this community...I could just cry. I didn't even know if communities like this still existed.  Where neighbors acted....neighborly, the kids bounce between houses playing in the yards, dinners are shared with no pre-planning, moms sip coffee together in toy strewn houses, the garden's fruit is exchanged in bounty, as are meals and flowers in times of strain and grief.  Our children will grow up with lifelong friends, and with an older generation that is passing on their wisdom, humor, and love.  Is it perfect?  No.  Because we're a community made up of imperfect people and life isn't always roses.  But, it is a gift.  

Sometimes I wonder....what if we think this is our forever home and then we end up moving again? The truth is, that could totally happen.  But that's a thought from a place of fear.  We've made a conscious decision to put our roots down here.  Which means we now have the freedom to say no to opportunities that would uproot our family once again.  We also trust that if we did ever move, that God would make it abundantly clear and provide the means to do it.  

Sometimes we don't get a choice and life chooses for us...other times we get a say.  We're thankful we were able to make this choice our family and couldn't be more grateful for this home. I finally feel like I can breath here....that time isn't slipping away while we wait and wonder about what's next.  

So what does that mean for 2017?  

After a year or two filled with change and uncertainty, it feels like 2017 is a year to dive into how to be the best stewards of what we've been given....including our home, family, time, faith, finances, relationships.  It's going to be a year for rolling up the sleeves.  Doing some of the less than glamorous work, but the stuff that feels so rewarding once it's done - to finally go through moving boxes that have followed us unopened through the past 5 moves, to continue the work of purging and ridding ourselves of excess in order to live more freely, and maybe to actually get some pictures up on the walls #whydoesittakemesolong

The blog has definitely reflected the shifting nature of our family life over the past couple years and now that we have a fairly consistent napping toddler vs. constant screamer, I'm looking forward to devoting more time to this space!

I've always loved working on our home and encouraging those of you that have been bit by the home-bug too.  We also love sharing those things that have helped make our daily life as a family of six a little easier.  Here's where I see us heading in the coming year....

Thanks to the sale of our old house, we knocked out some big home projects when we first moved in.  So while we're letting the budget recover, I'm turning my attention to some of the smaller projects around the house.  The kids' rooms are 75% done and Liv's nursery hasn't really been touched. I'm determined to be a better finisher.  I'm great at knocking out 80% of the job and then dragging my feet on those finishing details.  Maybe we can work on that together - I'm thinking about a monthly series on hanging meaningful art throughout the house.

There's a lot of paneling and trim still begging for paint, and if you've been following along on IG you know that we're finally addressing the entry flooring that was damaged by a water leak. Which of course has my wheels spinning on an entry/stairway makeover #someonecomeholdJames

And hey, how about that mudroom?  #bueller?  She's so close to done!  Hopefully, I'll have her finished, photographed, and posted by the end of the month.  How lame is it that I'm sad I didn't get to throw some garland up in that room for Christmas?  #nextyear

Some of the home management systems we had in place at the old house transferred here seamlessly, and others are warranting a total overhaul.  We're still very much in that phase of figuring out what stuff worked for the old house but doesn't work here - that goes for furniture and systems.

It's also been about 3 years since I purged my closet and went down to a 30ish piece wardrobe.  Still my most pinned post of all time!  As a person who is perpetually cold, I had to make some adjustments living in a place with real winters, but for the most part I've been able to stick with that system.  I'm planning some follow up posts along those lines (including kids clothes) if that's something that you guys would be interested in.

I'm sure we'll throw in a few recipes that manage to please all 6 resident Crinions, and maybe a few thoughts on faith/motherhood as they come. Let me know if there's anything particular you would like to see us cover here!  

I hope you all are going into the new year feeling hopeful.  I'm so grateful for each and every one of you that stops by here.  Your presence and sweet comments over the years mean the world to me - thanks for sticking with us! 

Our First Holiday At (This) Home

Deme Crinion6 Comments

I love this time of year so much!  It really does feel magical, and while I don't have any misgivings about a perfectly styled home yielding the perfect Christmas, I do think that all those ways we bring Christmas into our home lend to that feeling that something special is happening.  

You might love trimming a perfectly themed tree (or five!).  Or maybe you're in the just-throw-some-green-branches-around-the-house camp.  Or maybe you clear the stores out of the $1 red bows like it's cool.  Whatever your Christmas flair, it all gets the job done in it's own way.  It's the shift out of our ordinary day-to-day rhythms that jars us out of a monotony of motions.  Because something special is happening

And I couldn't wait to deck our new halls for the first time!  That is until James dropped a bomb on me a few weeks ago...

"I really hate decorating for the holidays".  

*GASP*   What do you mean??  Do you hate the actual decorations, or the process of it?  

Yes. Both.

Ugh. #stabtotheheart

We were interrupted by the kids, so I gave it some thought before I revisited the topic.  I will just say now, that I am the worst about starting something, knocking out 80% of it fast, and then not finishing it.  Rooms sit undone, boxes sit in walk ways, and the chaos of the unfinished eats away at the would be calm.  

Last year I thought slowly decorating would take off some of the holiday stress and pressure.  And it did, but it caused a whole other level of stress to have the giant Christmas bins floating around various rooms for weeks on end.   And I know it drives James nuts to do a rote motion like reach for some hand soap and have some unexpected object known as the "holiday vignette" block your way (and get knocked over in the process).

I finally asked if these were the reasons for his aversion to holiday decorations.  He confirmed. Which left me with two goals when it came to our holiday decorating: 

1 - Make it quick.  Don't let it drag on.  No need to rush but stay focused.  Keep the bins out of the way of our daily routine....and PUT THEM AWAY when the job is done. 

2 - Ditch the cluttery vignettes.  I had started going this direction over the past couple of years anyway.  I wanted to include more natural greenery and to keep things simple. And now I would add being considerate of placement.  As in....will hanging this wreath here make it hard to close the curtains?  Will this decoration be annoying every time we open/close the door? Will the toddler be able to destroy this and send me into a mom-rage every time she does?  Etc, etc.

Being that this is our first Christmas in the new house it did take some time to figure out how our tried and true decorations would work in this home.  It took about a week (instead of the weekend I hoped for) and I finally had to let go of some of my ideas to call it done.  I have lots of plans for next year, but that's the great news.  We have many more years in this house to have fun decorating for the holidays in new ways.

So, with that, here's how we brought in some holiday cheer for the first Christmas in our new home....

I apologize in advance for the snowpocolypse shot.  All we did for our porch was put up our light-up skinny trees and throw some red bows on the lights for a little pop of color.  As if the door weren't enough ;) You're guaranteed to be be greeted by at least one munchkin when you knock on our bright blue door and they're happy to usher you in.  

holiday porch

Our entry has the perfect sized wall for our piano and Mia loves playing because the acoustics are great in here (read: it's loud).  I split up a 20 ft fresh garland from Trader Joe's (under $7!!) and spread it around the house.  I attached some poinsettia clips from Tar-jay to the garland on the piano and added our favorite Nativity.

holiday entry - fresh garland with poinsettia clips

Our entry is right in the middle of the house and the rooms form a U-shape around it.  If you walk to the left you enter the living room.  We slid the desk over to make room for the tree, added a poinsettia that always reminds me of my grandmother, and that vase of fresh greenery a friend gave me.

family Christmas tree

Cutting down our family tree is always the highlight of the season.  The kids decorated almost the entire tree themselves (I just helped with the fragile ornaments on the top), and they knocked it out of the park.

family Christmas tree

We opened up the wall between the living and family room when we first moved in and although the tree is in the living room it's really close to the fireplace in the adjoining room.  We didn't do much in the family room, but we did add a holiday bin for all the Christmas books.  

simple holiday decor in the family room
holiday bin for Christmas books
holiday bin for Christmas books

The family room flows into the kitchen - again thanks to opening up another wall.  We just added a few touches of greenery and stocked the fridge with peppermint mocha creamer.

fresh greenery in the kitchen
fresh greenery in the kitchen
fresh greenery in the kitchen
holiday touches in the kitchen

I think he's embarrassed that we still have a Halloween pic up, but he'll get over it.

holiday touches in the kitchen

Past our kitchen and to the right is our dining room, just on the other side of the entry (don't mind the toddler mess at the bottom of the stairs).  We recently switched this from a play/homework room back to a dining room and it's getting so much more use.  It's also doubling as our Santa's workshop.  Gifts, wrapping paper, ribbon, and gift tags are stashed all around the room. 

holiday entry
holiday dining room
Modern advent wreath
White Christmas villiage
holiday dining room
holiday dining room
holiday card station
holiday card station
holiday dining room

My favorite addition to this room (aside from the long table) is this bar cart.  I recently had a Holiday Mom's Night In and this was our hot drink station.  We filled a thermos with hot cider, another with hot cocoa, and then filled up the cart with some fun drink additions and a few merry touches.

Holiday Bar Cart
Holiday hot drink cart
Holiday hot drink cart
Holiday hot drink cart
Holiday hot drink cart
Baileys for the cocoa bar.jpg
Holiday hot drink cart

Since my mugs are all white, I added a snowflake wine charm to each mug, so guests wouldn't confuse their drinks. I found this set of six at Home Goods (similar set here) but I think this set of nine looks pretty fun too.

wine charms on mugs for hot drinks

The charms do tend to slide down the handle, as modeled by our resident Vanna here, but they still did the trick....and gave the plain white mugs a festive touch.

wine charms on mugs

The final bit of holiday decor was in our bedroom.  I've never added any decorations in here before and since this room is still very much a work in progress, the blank wall above the headboard was begging for a wreath.  I'm not sure James loves that I put up the furry white one up, but I love it.  Next year, maybe we'll try some greenery in here - more masculine?

holiday bedroom

And that's about it!  That one large bundle of fresh garland gave us some serious bang for our buck.  It ended up in three different rooms and the house smells like a Christmas tree farm.  Even though there's more I would like to do next year, I love the simplicity of what we have going on this season.  It also won't feel like a bear to put away when the time comes.  This is the earliest we've ever put up decorations and been "done" with plenty of time to actually enjoy them.  Maybe there's something to be said for not procrastinating after all ;)

We hope you're able to enjoy the process of getting your home ready for Christmas this year, however simple or elaborate.  It felt good to take the pressure off and say "good enough".  Because something special is happening no matter what my house looks like...and I might just enjoy the waiting a bit more now.

holiday bedroom

Sources:

Entry:  Garland (Trader Joe's) | Poinsetta clips (Target in store only - by the wreathes/bows) | Lamp bases (Home Goods) | Lamp Shades | Canvas | Nativity (Home Depot super clearance last year) | White sheepskin (IKEA)

Living Room: Tree Skirt (blanket, Home Goods...this one is fun too) | Desk (Walmart - old, but similar) | Poinsettia (Home Depot) | Rug (Costco)

Family Room:  Chair | Plaid throw (blanket scarf from Target Dollar Spot) | Wooden Book Bin (Home Goods) | Rug (Beaumont Distressed Adileh in "green"...which reads aqua blue in person) 

Kitchen: Garland (Trader Joe's) | White pitcher (Home Goods) | Hedgehog table crumb brush 

Dining Room:  Table (Pottery Barn Outlet) | X-back chairs | Grey linen chairs | Plaid Throw (old blanket scarf) | Buffet (Craigslist) | White Ceramic Villiage | White shelves | Lego Advent Calendar | Giving Manger

Bar cart: | Stainless Pitchers | White mugs | Wine charms (Home Goods....similar here or these cute ones) | Camping mugs | Silver Tree (older, gift) | Marble bowl w/ gold spoon | Green velvet ribbon (Home Goods)

Master Bedroom: Headboard | White quilted linens (similar) | White fur wreath (Target last year)

 

*Some affiliate links used

Our Family Christmas Tree

Deme Crinion1 Comment

The first year we moved to Ohio we found the sweetest Christmas tree farm [Spring Valley Tree Farm] and cut down our own tree.  It's been a Christmas tradition we look forward to ever since.  

The farm has a few precut trees, but we usually channel our inner Paul Bunyan and scour the rows of planted trees to cut down our own.  It adds to the fun (and discomfort) and the tree usually doesn't dry out as quickly.  

hunting for a Christmas tree!

The owners are so nice - not only do they shake, bag, and load your tree on your car, they serve cookies and hot cocoa in their little red shack.  

We found this year's winner pretty quickly and Jack was determined to haul it to the front himself.  

Let no one say this child lacks fortitude.  Or facial expression.

The kids wanted to do the decorating themselves, and for the first time, I really stepped back and let them drive the show.  Even though there's at least 20 counting dinos buried in the branches, they did an amazing job!  With necessary water breaks of course.

Family Christmas tree
Family Christmas tree
Family Christmas tree
Family Christmas tree
Family Christmas tree with Santa clothespins

Pulling out our favorite ornaments from years past is the best part about decorating the tree.  I love how they tell our story (and it's only just begun!).  Do I sometimes wish for a pretty, themed tree?  Yes.  And maybe one year I'll get a small second tree for just that, but this one will always steal the show.  In all her perfectly imperfect glory.  

Family Christmas tree

We're not going to have a full blown holiday house tour this year since we're fresh off a move, but we'll be back next week to show you the small ways we're bringing the holidays into this home for the first time.  Have a wonderful weekend!