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?

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

the nursery | pt. iii

a nursery for two.

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If you've been following the tiny white house for any length of time, you know I have shared before about the nursery.  this room is ever-changing and has quite evolved since the need for a nursery arose nearly three years ago.  the first, original nursery flooded, along with our house, in the spring of 2016.  we set up a second nursery when we moved in with my parents temporarily. you can read about that nursery here.  the nursery changed again when we bought our first home, spent months renovating it, and moved in in March 2017.  click here to read more about the nursery pt. ii.

some of the changes made were subtle.  other changes were more noticeable, such as furniture placement.  last summer, a not-so-subtle change took place—not only in our nursery, but also in our family—as we welcomed another baby into the world.

in November 2016, days before Grey turned seven months old, we found out our little family was growing.  this certainly came as a surprise, but has turned out to be the best thing, better than anything we could ever have planned.  apparently God really does know what He's doing.  I wanted the babies to share a room, regardless of the gender [we continued with the element of surprise and didn't find out].  and on July 20th, 2017, we welcomed our second baby, a little boy named Rhett.  the sweet nursery for our first child became a nursery for two.  

here's a flashback of how the nursery used to look:

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and here is how it looks today...

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Something we realized about halfway through my second pregnancy is that we would have to purchase another crib.  for some reason, it took awhile for this thought to register.  you see, when we bought the sweet Jenny Lind crib that our firstborn sleeps in, I assumed that would be the very crib that all of our children would sleep in.  turns out when you have babies nearly fifteen months apart, you may need more than one crib.  when I sat down to order a second Jenny Lind crib, this message flashed across the top of the screen: "you already purchased this in February 2016."  yeah, I know, Amazon. thank you for the reminder.

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I loved Grey's original bedding.  I chose a simple blue ticking for the fabric and my husband's precious grandmother sewed a darling crib skirt with a box pleat.  after we found out we were expecting again and I began to daydream about nurseries, I realized I would have to get another crib skirt made to match.  she is the sweetest woman and I know she would happily have done it, but I hated to ask this of her.  after thinking on it, I decided to do away with the idea of crib skirt completely.  I would just buy matching crib sheets. after all, less is more.

one day, I googled "toile crib sheets" and that's how I happened upon the crib sheets I ended up ordering and using.  the brand is Sweet Jojo Designs and I purchased them online from Bed Bath and Beyond.  toile has always been a favorite pattern of mine, so the thought of getting to use it in the nursery thrilled me.

Since the very first nursery, a potting bench has served as our changing table.  this is one of the first pieces of furniture I bought for our home.  I found it at a garage sale for $40 a few months before Drew + I married.  in the original tiny white house, it sat in our living room as our entertainment center.  it has been in the nursery ever since.  the boys absolutely love it.  they like to climb onto the lower shelf to sit and play.  I think I'm ready to transition it outside to use it as an actual potting bench, but I'm hesitant.  I've loved this piece in the boys' room and I know taking it away won't be popular with them. 

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The window treatment didn't necessarily need updating, but since I was in a sprucing mood... my husband built a cornice board.  I actually used the same window panels as before, I just added the cornice board for a little something extra.  as most of our projects do, it took much longer than it should to complete; even still, I love how it turned out.

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We had to rearrange some furniture to make room for a second crib, obviously.  but all things considered, I am just tickled with the finished product.  in fact, I love this space so much, which is good since we spend much of our time in it.  I originally composed this post in May 2017, few months before our second baby arrived.  the closing line read: I can't wait to bring home another precious baby and for all the memories that will be made in this sweet shared nursery.  and now, more than a year later, that second baby is a one-year-old and I am finally getting around to publishing it.  I will forever cherish the memories being made by the sweet brothers that share this room.  it is the joy of my life raising two little boys, watching them grow + become friends, and waking up every morning to their laughter [and let's be real—some days tears].  sometimes I can't believe this is my life.

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full disclosure: because I want to be transparent and not create the illusion that my house and children are always clean + perfect, I want you to know that this precious nursery very rarely looks this nice.  after all, there are two busy, little boys living in it.  the boxwood wreaths hanging on the cribs, though idyllic, are a safety hazard I'm sure and the boys have been known to rip leaves from them by the handful.  I threw them up for the photoshoot and took them down immediately after.  the books and other accessories pictured do belong in the nursery, but are used less for reading and aesthetics and more for throwing and playing.  but I have learned [read: am learning] that this is okay.  I want my children to be free to play and make messes and not be afraid to touch the things that make their room, and our home, the special place that it is.  I once heard it said, "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."  isn't that the truth?


sources

Jenny Lind Crib | Amazon
 toile crib sheet | Sweet Jojo Designs via Bed Bath and Beyond
Sutton Glider in Linen | Best Chair