2019 | resolutions, habits, + dreams.

Some say that they don’t believe in making new year’s resolutions. well that’s fine for them, but as a stupid ex-boyfriend of mine once said, “to each to his own.” as a list-maker, I love writing down my hopes and dreams and goals and ideas for the coming year. now, are there things that have been on my list for the last five years? well, of course. but maybe this is my year! the year I’ll make things happen. and if not, there’s always next year, right? perhaps one of the reasons I am a fan of setting goals and resolutions is because there are always areas in my life I know I can and would like to improve. some of my goals may be a little lofty, but I would say most are reasonable and attainable. for the first time in tiny white house history, I am sharing these resolutions with you!

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hospitality

I find great joy in creating atmospheres that are welcoming and feel like home; but this year, I’d like to step out of my introverted comfort zone and actually invite others into our home and our lives. a novel concept, yes? this past year, I really struggled with insecurity and perfectionism and having the desire to host others, but feeling inadequate. towards the end of the year, after much prompting by the Holy Spirit, I decided to get over myself and invite the girls from my Sunday school class over for a girls’ night in. in the weeks before, I stressed myself out planning and cleaning and preparing and wishing I hadn’t mentioned the idea in the first place. but you know what? I am so glad I did. it was such a sweet time with some dear women in my life. I’m not saying the night or my hosting was perfect, but dinner was served at 6 and my guests lingered until 10pm, so it must not have been too terrible. and to think if I had let my fear of my house not being clean enough or nice enough or not being a good enough cook keep me from hosting, I would have missed out on the gift of letting others in.

I love the way Laura Bell puts it,

…both of them knew and understood the true art of simply opening their door.  They weren't prideful in what they had nor were they ashamed or afraid of not having enough.  Because they had that innate “southernness” about them, they understood that those who entered their home didn't actually NEED their finest china or greatest batch of sweet tea.  What people needed was them.  They needed their kindness, they needed someone to be family when theirs was falling apart, they needed to see and be touched by a strong marriage, they needed to be heard and not overlooked. 

The Greatest gift we have been handed is an invitation to walk in life with the One who gave life to us. If we are made in His image, doesn't that make us excellent extenders of invitations?

The Art of Inviting

another thing I’d like to do this year that falls in the category of hospitality is to meet our neighbors. I mean, we’ve met them; but I want to get to know them, to bake them cookies, invite them over for dinner. I want to share more than a friendly wave when we pass each other. this is another thing that makes me nervous and I’ve already overanalyzed and considered every possible scenario… they’ll be allergic to the cookies, they’ll decline a dinner invitation, etc. but my mother said I should offer anyway. she said they should be gracious enough to accept the cookies and then throw them away if it’s not something they like. so, I guess I’ll take my mom’s advice and just do it.


writing letters + sending cards

do you remember how exciting it was as a child to find a letter in the mail addressed to you? not a bill or anything of that sort, but a card or letter with your name on it. I suppose snail mail could be considered a lost art, which is such a shame. I’ve always thought it such a thoughtful gesture. I want to send more mail this year. on birthdays and special occasions would be nice, but what about sending a card to someone for no reason at all? I know that would mean a lot to me, so I want to try to do more of that.


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getting back in the kitchen + weekly family dinner(s)

another revolutionary idea, I know. this one is kind of weird [and maybe pathetic?] because I actually enjoy cooking, but don’t do it as often as I’d like or should. I plan to make more of an effort in the kitchen this year. I’m open to trying new recipes; but more than that, I want to gather around the table with my family and share a meal. we do this occasionally at home; but more often than not, our meals are shared on the living room floor—or kitchen, if it’s spaghetti night. a lot of the time, my husband and I will feed the boys, do bath time, tuck them in, and then enjoy our meal—whether home-cooked or takeout—once the house is quiet. I actually love this kind of dinner, but I want to learn to love sitting down to supper with all three of my boys and hearing about each others’ day and dining together like civilized-ish humans—you know, that kind of thing. my goal is to have family dinner at the table once a week. I realize I am setting the bar very low, but this is more often than we do now, so I’m good with it.


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projects + home improvement

if you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, you know I love a good project. and while I don’t believe this is our “forever home,” (which is such a silly term to me. there’s really no such thing, but that’s another post for another day.), there is still much I’d like to do to this house before our time here is done. ironically, my husband thinks it’s kind of pointless to do a lot of projects if we don’t plan to stick around longterm. and I see it from the exact opposite point of view… if we aren’t going to be here forever, I’d like to get to work now and do the things I want to do, so we can enjoy them while we live here before our time here is complete. and it’s nothing too major… our home renovation knocked all the big tasks off the to-do list. it’s small(er) projects like making over the friends’ entry to our home, planting an herb garden, landscaping the front yard, finishing up the laundry room remodel, that kind of thing. I’m sure my husband is not thrilled if he’s reading this, but none of this is news to him. I submitted these work orders a long time go. time to get to work!


taking photos + having them printed

almost five years ago, I bought my first DSLR camera. though I have no desire to be a photographer, I have certainly enjoyed my camera and “gotten my money’s worth.” I don’t struggle so much with actually taking photos as I do with promptly editing and ordering prints. I have maybe a handful of printed photos of our family, and that’s being generous. this year I want to be intentional about printing photos for framing, but also to fill photo albums. I’d love to have something that isn’t a screen that we can use to reflect on memories, as well as something tangible to share with our children. I’ve had plans to create a gallery wall of black + white family photos in our stairwell for some time now, so accomplishing this will kill two birds with one stone.


blogging

this little blog of mine is certainly a hobby and creative outlet for me. I can’t believe it’s been nearly five years since it was created! in 2019, I’d like to share on the blog more frequently and maybe figure out the business side of blogging. this, along with most of the “resolutions” mentioned above, has been on my to-do list for awhile now. I’ve been researching how to monetize your blog for some time now, and let me tell you, the internet is hard. but really and truly, I’d love to be able contribute financially to my family, so I’m hoping to make real progress on this front in 2019.


I suppose these are more than simply goals or resolutions… these are habits that I want to create and make long-lasting, and I think 2019 is just the year to make it happen.


your turn! do you set new year’s resolutions? if so, what’s on your list? if not, why?

laundry room remodel | pt. ii

progress report.

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It's time for a quick update on our laundry room remodel!  there was a time when I jokingly said that I hoped we'd have this project completed by the end of the year, thinking how in the world could we not? these days, I think it will be a Christmas miracle if this thing wraps up while we're still in the year 2018.  if you're just tuning in, catch yourself up on our laundry room remodel by reading part one here.

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To be sure, we have made progress.  after all, this wouldn't be much of a progress report if there was no progress.  the new countertops are nearly complete.  all that's left to do is a final coat and sealant once they have cured, which takes thirty days.  if you're just joining us, we covered our laminate countertops with concrete.  sounds a little crazy, right?  it probably is, but my thinking behind that is that nothing can be worse than the dusty blue counters we began with.  I mean, even with a risky DIY such as this, it's hard to mess up something like that and have a worse outcome. we were willing to take that chance, anyway.  I will share more about this process in the final reveal post.  for now, I am really pleased with how things are looking.

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After removing the upper cabinets, which were glued to the wall, there were quite a few spots that needed to be patched.  a little drywall tape and joint compound fixed that right up.  a fresh coat of paint and several true crime podcasts later, the wall looks brand new.

a couple weeks ago marked our five year wedding anniversary.  we spent the evening celebrating the most romantic way I know how—DIYing. with a little research and absolutely zero experience under our tool belts, we installed a tile backsplash ourselves! I would bet a million dollars that five years ago, my husband never would have imagined that's how we'd spend any anniversary.  in my mind, though, we're right on track!  I'm teasing… sort of.

would you believe we actually both enjoyed this project?  I know this because Drew actually started on it without me.  typically when it comes to home improvement, I am begging/having to consult and formally schedule with my husband to begin a project.  not so this time around... while I was chasing our youngest through the house, I passed by the laundry room to find Drew spreading thinset on the wall with a trowel and putting the first subway tile in place.  "what do you think you're doing?" I demanded.  he turned with a smile, "I just couldn't wait anymore." though I appreciated his enthusiasm, I had been dreaming of this moment for months and wanted to be a part of every second of the tiling process.  needless to say, we tucked our boy into bed shortly after and headed straight to work together.

a couple days after the thinset dried, it was time for grout!  to be totally honest, this part was not as fun as I had hoped and neither of us much enjoyed it.  but it is a necessary step and we got it done and that’s what that counts.  it was our very first time to tackle a tile project; and though it was a small area that didn’t require too many cuts, I’m happy to add this skill to our resumé. I’m sure a professional could take a look at our work and spot imperfections immediately, but I think it looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I’m proud of us for trying something new and tickled that the results were decent. I'll share more details in the reveal post about products used, tips, etc. 

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The wood brackets for the open shelving have been painted, as you can see.  the lumber for the shelves has been cut.  I need to prime and paint the boards.  and the plan is to install it all this week. I am extra excited about this part!

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I hung a few woven trays on the wall near the desk, so we've got that going for us as well.  I am so happy to see this room slowly coming together!  I think it's shaping up to be a really lovely space. I need to pick up some spray paint and lock my other handyman [aka my father] down. he’s always been skilled in spray-painting, so I’ve recruited him to help me give the old metal lockers a fresh coat of paint. here’s hoping we knock that out in the next week or two! if we do, it looks like there may just be a chance we could wrap things up before the clock strikes twelve on 2018. I’ll keep you posted…

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if you want to keep up with all the little details between blog posts, give the tiny white house a follow on instagram.  I post there more frequently,  and almost always share as things are happening on the laundry room remodel... as well as in other rooms + projects taking place!


Drew.

I am not one to boast, especially on social media; however, his birthday seemed like just the occasion to honor and introduce you to the man behind the tiny white house. he’s the one who makes it all happen, the one who brings my vision to life.

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image by Emily Green


My husband Drew is one of the kindest souls I've ever known.  he always gives the benefit of the doubt and sees the best in people.  if ever I am venting about another human, he is quick to suggest what they may have been thinking or where they may have been coming from.  it is so irritating.  he never assumes the worst in situations or of others.  in fact, we often refer to him as "Defender of the Weak/Week."  he has always been this way, ever since we became friends when he was sixteen years old.  of the two of us, he is definitely "the nice one."

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minutes after we welcomed our first child to the world


Another cool/annoying thing about Drew is that he is brilliant.  let me put this into perspective for you: he scored a 32 on his ACT.  for those unfamiliar with the ACT, it is an entrance exam used by most colleges to make admissions decisions, with a test score range of 1-36.  according to the statistics, a score of 32 places him in the 98th percentile. I, who am a little older and much wiser [I do have more life experience, after all], did not make a 32.  I will not be disclosing my score, but suffice it to say: I was accepted into college and that alone was my goal.

he's kind of a know-it-all.  well, he used to be.  he still knows a lot, but I "helped" him to possess his knowledge in a more humble way.  for any other know-it-alls reading this, the first thing you need to know [or should already if you do, in fact, know everything] is that know-it-alls are obnoxious.  if someone informs you of something, almost anything is a better response than, "I know."  Drew would say this phrase so often, driving me mad, that I created a little exercise for him.  if I told him something and he responded with, "I know," whether he knew or not, I would make him recite the phrase: "I don't know everything."  repeatedly.  because you know what?  it's true.  nobody knows everything.  and you know what else?  he has learned to respond more humbly with an "oh really?" or "that's interesting."

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image by Emily Green


In addition to his intelligence, Drew is an incredible musician.  I know it seems like I'm biased, but really and truly, he is completely gifted.  his first love is the drums.  he began playing when he was just four years old.  (he learned from his dad, a fellow drummer).  as a teen, he learned to play the acoustic guitar.  as a twentysomething, he conquered the bass and electric; and finally, the piano.  he doesn't sing often, or in public anyway, but he also has a nice voice.  we enjoy making music together, though all I bring to the table is my voice and sick dance moves.  since he was thirteen years old, he has served in our church in some musical capacity.  the neatest thing about Drew and his talent is that he is completely humble.  if I was a rock star and played forty-seven instruments like him, you better believe I'd be shouting it from the rooftops.  Drew is not this way.  where he once lacked humility as a former know-it-all, he has never lacked anything as a musician.

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moments before the birth of our second child


We make quite a pair for many reasons.  I am a dreamer; he is a realist.  I like to create, whether it's drawing or painting or building.  simply put, he does not.  but he does it anyway for me.  he's a numbers guy and majored in accounting.  I don't do numbers.  like ever, at all.  I once said that if the wires in my brain to compute mathematics do, in fact, exist, they are not connected.  not even close.  Drew says that he sees + thinks in numbers and that I see + think in colors.  the most ironic thing?  Drew is colorblind.  we are literally speaking completely different languages.  we are opposite in so many ways, but have the important things in common...  our beliefs, our goals, our dreams, our faith.

his life has not always been easy—by my standards.  he's weathered divorce, the loss of his mother, and losing his home + virtually all his earthly possessions in a flood, all before he was even twenty-four years old.  but he's so full of joy and hope, you'd never guess it.

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image by Allison Moix


It's fun being married to him.  he's loving and spoils me in unconventional ways, like a coffee cup filled with ice cream before bed.  it's the darnedest thing, but it just tastes better when he fixes it. he dances with me in the kitchen, the way my father always has, and he makes me laugh like you wouldn't believe. he's an amazing father and loyal friend.  he loves our boys and they are crazy about him.  he’s a hard worker, and very rarely, if ever, does he complain.  every time I observe this quality of his, I make a point to be more like him.  I'm still working on it, obviously.  he never asks for anything and doesn't want much… except a nice guitar and set of drums and to move to the country.

I’m so grateful that the Lord saw fit for us to be together and that He chose me for Drew. he loved + pursued me despite my being a young, insecure girl who didn’t know who she was, and he helped me to find myself + follow my dreams. a true picture of the gospel. I’m still not certain why our parents let us get married since we were just a couple of dumb kids, but I sure am glad they did.

happy birthday to my man. you are so worth celebrating.

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image by Allison Moix


images by:

Emily Green of Emily Green Photography
Allison Moix of Stellar Propeller Studio
my personal collection