Saturday, September 21

On Life

I'm not really sure how many of you are still reading my little blog, but if you're here I'm sure happy you are! :) I have a million things I could blog about, but would like to take a moment and share some of my thoughts as of late.

I don't think Lance and I could have timed things any better with starting our little family. We both graduated from college in 2010, and me with an 8 1/2-month-prego belly. I would be remiss to leave out that I had just gone through the darkest, most discouraging and painful 5 months of my entire life, but, that aside, the timing was great! :)

I had roughly a month after we graduated to sleep in, move us fully into our new apartment, and nest to my heart's content. After Crew arrived we transitioned straight into Lance working full-time and me being a full-time stay-at-home mommy. I delved right into taking care of my new babe, doing the laundry, ironing, making dinner every day, and everything else entailed in running a home. 

(On a side note, this is the only photo from the hospital where I look even half-decent. 
My 6-month-pregnant-looking belly is still there, promise, it's just hidden by all that black.)

What I think when I look at these pictures (after admiring how young and fit we are, and thinking of how much I love my little family) is, "How naive you are, you two! You think parenthood and adulthood are going to be all roses and kittens." Oh sure, if you would have asked me then I could regurgitate that things would be hard, but I really didn't understand how difficult being a parent/adult would be. I didn't understand that having a child meant the end to being care-free and only worrying about yourself and what fun adventure you'd have next. That growing up meant taking care of everyone else's needs before your own every single day.

I vividly remember a conversation I had with my dad after I had just started college. I was complaining about something or another and he said, "Don't worry, it only gets worse." With a big grin on his face. After a worried, "Really?" from me we both had a good chuckle and moved on. I have returned to that conversation countless times in my mind. While I realize he was half-teasing, I've also come to understand how much truth there is to that statement. Every time I start to feel comfortable, like I've really got this "life" thing down pat, something else is added to the mix and I'm thrown all out of whack again. Isn't that true for all of us? I sure hope so.

The bottom line for me, and what I've come to understand in a new way this last year, is this: It is by divine design that life is so difficult, that every time we feel we're enough, we suddenly aren't enough again. And I'll tell you what folks! How grateful I am that a loving Heavenly Father sees fit to send more responsibility and trials my way just when I start to get comfortable. Because it's in those uncomfortable times, the squirmy "I have no idea what I'm doing" times or the "I cannot see past the pain and discouragement I'm feeling every moment of every day" times that we learn and grow the very most. 

It's in those most difficult times in my life that I've gained hope, or humility, or patience, or perspective. And it's in the day-to-day repetition of things that I've learned how to work hard, be content with here and now, and look outside myself to serve others. Heaven knows I need way more of all of those qualities, along with innumerable others that I couldn't even begin to name. 

I know this topic might seem a bit odd. I've had more people than I can count say things like, "You live a charmed life" or "You have so much help!" and it's true; I have an incredible support system in my life. I have an extraordinary, supportive family, I've never really had to worry about money, I have been blessed with amazing friends who are the embodiment of selflessness and love, I have a college education, I have two beautiful children and an insanely supportive husband who are my everything! 

But that's not the point.

The point is not what we have or don't have, because our lives are so different from one another that it's just not even worth comparing. The point is that we each face hardships that are new and difficult to us. Not compared to Sally who just lost her son, or compared to Ashley who has an incurable disease. The beauty of this thing called life is that our trials and hardships are totally and completely catered to us, to help us become the kind of people we need to be. 

And you want to know what? Since I've started looking at things this way a beautiful thing has happened. At a time when I would have thought, "I can't do this." or "When will this be over?", instead I'm able to think, "This is teaching me patience." or "I will be a better woman because of this." And while I still have my fair share of grumbling and complaining, this small shift in my thinking has made all the difference. 

Wednesday, September 18

All about Tile

Choosing tile has been the single most difficult decision for me in the entire house-building process! I have known for a long time I've wanted a white kitchen with marble countertops, brown wood floors throughout the main and light gray walls. I knew I wanted a fireplace in our living room with built in bookshelves flanking each side. There are so many details I've had figured out from the very beginning but when it comes to tile, I have flip flopped too many times to count!

When it really came down to it the pictures I was constantly drawn to were white marble tile, but marble is a hard choice for a few reasons. One, it can be a lot of upkeep, two, it costs a lot of money, especially once you start getting into Calcutta gold (my favorite!) and the fun different patterns, and three, I worried that white throughout the entire house would be too boring.

Well, I'm happy to say I've finally committed to tile for the entire house and I couldn't be happier with my decisions! I worked hard to source the marble I bought and found it for an incredible deal on ebay, so I was able to stay mostly in budget while still getting what I want. And I am really excited to add punches of color to each bathroom through painting the vanities different colors and with textiles.

White ceramic hexagon tile
$4.95 per sq ft.
This will go in the kid's bathroom, 
the apartment bathroom & 
the apartment laundry room

White Carrera marble basketweave
with Gray accent
$9.99 per sq ft
Main floor laundry room 

1" White Carrera marble hexagon
$8.59 per sq ft
Main floor 1/2 bath

These last two marble tiles can easily run $16.99 a square foot, 
so these are incredible prices!

I realized with tile, just like I did with the exterior of our home, that going with what I really want is a gutsy move but I would regret it if I did anything else. I also try to err on the side of classic and simple and I don't think you can get any more classic than subway, penny tile and marble.

And for an update, we are almost finished with exterior siding and tile has already begun. Next will be wood floors, finish work, cabinets and painting! We are about 6 weeks from completion.

**Let me also just say that I feel a little silly having an entire post about tile for our new house. I know there are so many other, more important issues going on in our country which is why it's so nice to just think about something that doesn't really matter. Thanks for indulging me for a bit while I plan our future home!