Archive of ‘Lawrence’ category

just an afternoon Horse Break on a cloudy, overcast day at The Right Turn Ranch.Field

This is really a dream come true. I wish everyone could find a place that feels as much *home* as this does for us.

The Name

Two things before you read this:

  1. Kirk is officially the Fact Checker in our Family. My memories are usually a little more Big Fish than his…if you are reading this Kirk and you feel that anything I’ve written is wrong, misleading or EXTREME feel free to comment. But I know he won’t.
  2. If you are reading this and you don’t know me, this post right here is THE PERFECT post to give you an idea into my brain
  3. I read this aloud to Kirk just now and he gave me his “you’re crazy” look and said my version was “about right” and that’s all I aim for nowadays.

And, BTW, that’s 3 things not 2…and, in this family, we call any math I do Fuzzy Math and, as far as I can tell, counting is Math.

I’ve compared my Name Choosing Process (be it Child or Ranch) to creating a grocery list for a party of 4. Wait, then another couple invites themselves Then you find out someone is a Vegan and two people are Lactose Intolerant. There is also a Recovering Alcoholic and a friend of a friend who just got dumped and is going to need a LOT to drink.

See what I mean?

It involves starting with a small list and then adding more and more items then crossing some off and adding a few more then deleting 5, but also adding 8 after the fact. The list looks like someone was playing a game of MASH and writing a song at the same time while also doing their grocery list.

When I named Reeve, I would sit in my office (yes, I had a Real Job once and an office and made a LOT of money….now I sit at home and sing B-I-N-G-O 100x a day) and start with a pretty and clean lined piece of paper and by the end of each day end up with one name I only kind of, sorta maybe liked.

Lowe was different. Heard a name. Had a story. Done!

Naming The Ranch had nothing to do with me and, these days, that’s exactly how I like Major Life Decisions.

Mama is tired and ain’t nobody got time for anything that requires me to really think…unless it truly is a grocery list because I really am good at that. Well, I take that back…new city, new grocery store has messed up My System and until I learn the aisles (I have tried to write them down the last few times I went but somebody is always crying) I end up zig zagging all over the damn store, back tracking for butter or quinoa or something. Side Note: The Annie’s Mac & Cheese and Almond Milk are in a whole separate section of the stores here in what’s know as the Nature Market. In Colorado, all the foods were….they just WERE…and now the healthy stuff is in a completely different area. It baffles me b/c I’m sure the Psychology of Shopping makes some people think these Healthy Items cost more….done!

The Ranch was named after the previous owner’s and it really just bothered me every time we pulled up to it. Their names started with a C and a D and “C D Ranch” sounded “seedy”…

Don’t get me wrong, they are lovely people, it’s just that it’s OURS now…sure, we still need their help learning about the horses and how to do things around with the land, but this is OUR house dammit! We uprooted our lives and children to move to this little slice of land and that has MORE than earned us naming rights. Oh, and our names are on that mortgage now…not theirs!

So, what’t the name, you ask?

Well, let me take you back to January 2009! Kirk and I had just started dating, in fact, we’d maybe only been on 4 or 5 dates at this point. I was careless, carefree, unemployed, homeless and pretty much open to anything! He was hard-working, the boss of many, sat at a desk and was awed by nearly every word and idea I had. He really had no idea what he was in for when he started up with me. Poor Guy, didn’t stand a chance!

One snowy day, I called him and said SNOW DAY….skip work and come play with me. Well, again, I didn’t have a job and every day was Snow Day for me, but Kirk, well, he had people to boss around and deadlines and HUGE companies and important people to deal with.

Did I care? No way!

I decided we’d drive around in my Honda Civic and do donuts in parking lots.

What the WHAT?!??! You read that right. Yes. You. Did.

Kirk was nervous. Kirk is always nervous, but was still in that phase where he didn’t want to not go along with my ideas for fear of looking lame and so he sat in the passenger seat while I pulled the Emergency Brake and spun us around lots in LoDo or somewhere. It’s the small things, people.

I wish I had a picture of us. He was grasping the Oh Shit Handle for dear life and I was maniacally cackling in delight. Oh, and this makes me remember the time we were lost in Italy and I was driving the Manual Car and taking hairpin turns and he was shaking, white and praying for his Life….and…back to story.

I then decided we’d go to the Aquarium. Or the Museum. Or somewhere. Only…I didn’t know how to get there.

This was before you could easily just pull Maps up on your iPhone. It was actually back when Blackberry’s had that little rolly ball thingie and you could pull up a map it just took a long time and, back then, I wasn’t in a hurry.

I got us lost. Well, you are never really lost in Denver (just look West, right), but I wasn’t listening to him trying to tell me where to go and I said, “I’ll just keep making Right Turns until we get us there.”

Now, this is the part where you say to yourself, “how does she remember that?” and I say, “Are you kidding me? You think I remember that? I can’t remember what day it is.”

Kirk remembered that….duh!

So, when it came time to name this place, I’m thinking about song lyrics and things from our wedding, places we’ve been, looking at our surroundings. I don’t have a lot of brain space these days and unless that damn sign looked at me with lips and actually TOLD Me it’s name, I wasn’t gonna come up with a name for this place.

Kirk, however…well, Kirk is good like that.

He told me he’d been thinking the Right Turn Ranch and I’m all “ohhhhh…I see….because you make a right turn to pull in here, huh?”

And he’s all “well, that and the time you got us lost and said you make a lot of Right Turns in life and…yada yada….and something about the symbolism and making the ‘right turn’ in life with this decision to move here and so on a yada yada”

He’s deep like that.


Well, I’m all “sounds good to me.Can I make a pretty sign?”

Kirk rolls his eyes and I make 4 subsequent trips to Michael’s for wooden letters and paint and brushes and I spill paint everywhere and make a mess on the sidewalk and end up making it off-center and a little tight between Right & Turn and everyntime I look at the new sign I smile and say to myself a sentence I find myself uttering quite often these days:

Kirk was right! We really did make a Right Turn (literally)

PS…does EVERY SINGLE THING around here need to have a horse on it? NO….NO IT DOES NOT! I don’t know why the previous owners insisted on putting rooster and stars and horses on EVERY THING. It’s not like people didn’t see the horses. I like horses and all, but ENOUGH WITH THE HORSES.

PSS…or is it PPS? We only have TWO horses, not THREE, so it’s wrong anyway

What life is like

I don’t know what I expected life to be like out here in the woods, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t at all in my mind what it’s turned out to be.

It’s slow. And calm. And peaceful. And VERY humbling.

We are still living out of boxes going on 36 days and I’ll be okay if I never eat out again, but our perspectives have completely changed. I’m reminded constantly why we made this huge change in our lives.

From Reeve excited to put on him mud-covered boots to feed the horses to the cobwebs covering the barn and even the not-perfect house.

I won’t lie…that part has been the hardest for me. I seem to cross one thing off my list of what I want to do to this house and three more get added. New carpet, built-ins, appliances. There is always something and that’s been really hard for me, someone who likes things nice and neat and doesn’t like to wait.

But there is a lesson in all of this, I know.

My home isn’t perfect (like the one in Coloardo) and it certainly has some quirks, but I’m reminded daily that I don’t want perfect anymore. I don’t want to live my life trying to find the *perfect* picture of the *perfect* curtain. I would tell Reeve, if he were to ask, that *perfect* is boring!

I’m reminded with each sunrise, each thunderstorm, each foggy morning, each time I hear frogs croaking in the pond, each time I make a right turn into our gate….we didn’t buy this house for the house, we bought it for the land.

And I couldn’t not be more happy that we did. I see our family changing. I see myself changing so much. I like what I see.

Here we are are sitting on our white porch swing under our wraparound porch listening to blues music and the rain pattering on the roof as we hear thunder and horses whinneying…we will call this “Front Porch Session.” I see many of these in our future. 

This Cree that runs at the edge of our land is called Deer Creek and has become our daily excuse to get out of the house. Here are my boys watching for tadpoles.

  Showing an old friend’s daughter our new life.

  I saw this tree root when we first moved in and just knew it would make for a perfect Gnome Home. Reeve saw it and gasped! He covered his mouth and insisted we whisper. I made up this great story about how he trusted our family enough to be seen and how we needed to buy him some furniture. He hasn’t told us his name yet, but we can’t wait until he does!  And here is his food. I put some sprinkles in this tic tac container and Reeve just thought it was the coolest thing!
  The clouds! I love how daunting and ominous they are. You can see the grass is greening! That’s Cody, the male horse. Every time we come up to the fence he thinks we have food. Lowe doesn’t know what to think of the horses just yet.  This is the very front of our land (the creek is just behind me). I still can’t believe this beautiful land is ours.
  My dad gave us this horse swing and Reeve named him Trigger. In this picture, Reeve had just sat down and said to me, “I need to think. We need to do some chores, let’s pick up sticks for the firepit.” I can see the changes in him daily. As responsibility grows, he seems to flourish and love having “jobs” to do.

Two of our daily visitors. We now have 3 deer, 4 fat squirrels, 2 geese, a ton of HUGE bullfrogs, 20 turkey, an owl and who knows what else.

Reeve and “the girl next door” who walks down our long drive nearly daily now that we’ve met her and whom he works so hard to try to impress. She’s 7 and he’s as tall as she is. She’s also darling and has the cutest smile. She adores Lowe and is very polite, yet stern to Reeve when he says things to her like, “just so you know, I’m not wearing any underwear.”

Walking up our drive with Hannah on a sunny day to Deer Creek. He ripped his shirt off and kept talking about how Vitamin D gives you energy.   Taking the flag down so it doesn’t blow away after spreading corn from the yellow bucket on the lawn for the animals to come visit. He still looks like a baby with these pajamas on.  I call this a Traffic Jam these days! Life sure has changed.
  From inside my car. I hadn’t realized how much I missed living where it rains, thunders and lightnings. You wouldn’t believe how one rain can make things blossom and bloom.

Sitting at the Creek again looking for tadpoles.   I find myself taking anywhere from 10-20 pictures daily of just something new we discover right here in our own yard. With this slower pace sure comes an appreciation for nature. You actually NOTICE things here.

When your world moves too fast and you lose yourself in the chaos, introduce yourself to each color of the sunset. Reacquaint yourself with the earth beneath your feet. Thank the air that surrounds you with every breath you take. Find yourself in appreciation of life.

Christy Ann Martine

I pinch myself most mornings as we bounce up the gravel road in my truck. I give thanks at each meal that we aren’t looking at our neighbors eating out the back window also.

For every thing I miss about Denver, I find 2 new things here that I love.


Peanut Butter, Paint & Playdates

As I sit at the island in my new kitchen eating my new favorite snack and thinking back on the day, I find that I am quite in love with this little town. Lawrence has filled the holes our family was looking to fill.

Less than 2 weeks in this small town and I’ve met some of THE most amazing people!

Living in Colorado, I sort of grew to expect people to be busy or “too busy.” Everyone seemed to have “too much going on” or were going “up to the mountains.” My friends were mostly my neighbors and trying to find a Mommy Group that I really fit into wasn’t that easy. I loved my MOPS (Mothers of Pre Schoolers) group, but never really grew too many of those friendships too deep. My neighbors were great people and we loved them…we MISS them, but again, BUSY! I get it. Once you have kids, your lives are busy.

Or are they?

“Busy” became an excuse it seemed. You can easily tell someone you are “busy” and just get out of a lot of commitments and promises.

In Lawrence, it’s slower. I don’t live in a Concrete Jungle that 100,000 people PER YEAR are moving too. In fact, I live in the opposite of that…a country dirt road and a quarter mile private road where I actually saw a pack of coyotes gnawing on a crow today.

It’s slower here. People aren’t racing. Highways aren’t full. Buildings don’t block the sun and there isn’t a Brown Cloud over the city. Strangers wave at you from their car with what I call the “Two Finger salute.” You can stop on the side of the road on your drive home to let your babies get out of the car and look at the tiny calves at the cattle ranch next door….and by “next door” I mean about 1/2 a mile down the road.

Finally….our Insides match our Outsides.

I feel like I’ve made more *friends* in the two weeks here than I did after 10 years in Denver. Now, mind you, I’m still getting to know a lot of these people and most of them don’t know how crazy I can be yet….but these people are opening their doors to me. Their hearts. Telling me their stories and it’s been humbling to have found what we came looking for.

Think about that….

When Kirk and I started whispering this dream to move out of the city and away from the mountains we love to let our boys grow up on land and with space, we really didn’t even think we were serious! We honestly would just say that we wanted “a slower life” and for our “to be less consumed by stuff.” We wanted a life where our boys knew corn grew in fields that farmers tended to and that it was their livelihood and that corn did not, in fact, come from Target.

Our dreams and whispers are now a reality.

And we are meeting so many great people! It’s been so fun these past 2 weeks. I can’t wait to see what some of they will add to our already so very full hearts and lives. Getting to know new people and hear their “stories” has really shown me how blessed we are to be at this place at this time in our lives.

I swear I’ve told our “story” 40 times.

Here is the condensed version if you are just now tuning in.

We lived in the City. Bums shit in our yard. Intravenous needles on our porch. Sirens all night. We moved to the suburbs, got married, had kids and could see from our dining room table what the neighbors were having for dinner. We were sad that our boys had a cul de sac patch of grass and one rock to jump off of. Was it enough? We would visit family here and started fantasizing about renovating a farmhouse (F You, Joanna Gaines). Two years passed. Looked at houses. Found one we liked. Almost made an offer. Kirk went to look at a house in the country on 13 acres with 2 horses. I didn’t go with him or realtor because I didn’t want to live in the house based on the pictures. Kirk was gone for 3 hours. I called Kirk. Kirk said I had to come look. I drove down the drive and two horses galloped along side me. Kirk had hands in pocket, smile on his face and had taken a Lover….she was a white home with a red door and a barn and animals galore. Made offer. Offer accepted. Listed our house. Sold in one showing. Two months later lived with friends and family until house was ours….BOOM!

You should see the looks on people’s faces. Their first reaction is ALWAYS, “we LOVE Denver…we would love to live there” and then they realize what they’ve just said and next is, “Well, welcome to Lawrence, you will love it here.” And we get that…we DO! Denver is gorgeous! The mountains are gorgeous. The weather is gorgeous!

But…my amazing, thoughtful, smart, kind and wise husband said this one night and I stopped him and grabbed my iPhone just so I could write it down (an act which takes ALL romanticism out of what he actually said).

“Colorado is beautiful. It says, ‘Come!! Play here.’ But Kansas is beautiful in a different way, It says, ‘Come!!! I will feed you, I will take care of you.’

And who doesn’t want that? Would you rather play or be held tight by a place and people who will take care of you?

Reeve is loving his new school and already has new best friends (but he does cry a lot of Deklan, Camden, Lucas and Jordan….and it breaks my f-ing heart. Real tears….sad tears in the backseat with no words or whining and that’s how I knew it’s real). And all of this after 2 weeks straight of painters in my home and 3 melt downs over wall colors. All of this after a bag of graham crackers covered in my new favorite Skippy Natural Peanut Butter Spread with Honey. And all of this after yet ANOTHER day where my best friend, Whitney, takes Reeve for the day (while she’s actually working from home) so I can run an errand of some sort.

And that’s a whole other post…the help we’ve received from her and my Sister-in-law….that’s another one. Also, there is the “take me to my knees” emotions that I experience every time I’m with my best friend and our boys are best friends and it all began with a sorority almost 20 years ago. She said it first when she said, “Would our 20-year-old selves ever have thought our boys would be best friends?” And all of this after THREE playdates with people I’ve never met but who have heard about us or who we met at church or on a playground.

It’s crazy how this town has opened it’s arms to us…LITERALLY!

Why, the other day, at Story Time at the library with Whitney and another sorority sister from KC someone came up to me and said, “are you Jessie?”

SHIT…..who doesn’t get sweaty pits whenever a conversation starts like that?

It was a friend of a friend (4 friends and counting actually) who I became Facebook friends with. She recognized Lowe and me and we hit it off just like we were REAL friends and not Facebook friends. We chatted and she introduced me to another friend and now I’ve got 12 friends here in Lawrence I didn’t have 2 weeks ago! We even have a coffee date this week and will probably find a way to either get drunk together or spend money on jeans together soon!

Her name is Melissa and she has a new blog too! CHECK It out HERE!!! Her story is REAL! I can’t wait to see what brought us together in this world! I can’t wait!

She is quite a bit funnier than mine and makes me rethink my whole modus operandi. I’m all “need to buy some boots to kick horse shit piles in because that’s what the previous owners told us to do to make the grass in the pasture green” and she’s all over there blogging about cute clothes and Luminous Weightless Liquid Foundation and pink skirts and bottles of wine that cost TWENTY DOLLARS!

Folks….if it ain’t got a 9 and a 9 and then a period and another 9…it ain’t coming home with me.

But, Melissa, I’ll drink your $20 vino and let’s skip that coffee playdate and go straight to The Wheel and show them young bitches what Black F Me pants and a choker look like.

Thank you Lawrence for being such an awesome little secret in the very middle of the US of A….we love it here and can’t wait to meet more cool people! Also, I think we are the only people here who don’t have a KU basketball schedule memorized and who have to look for the mountains to know where West is?!??!!

and some random pictures from this week

My boys looking out the back window. Every morning the same 3 deer come eat and these two wait and watch them. I love how they look so much alike here.12783597_10208932696019568_21454204118041882_o. These should give you an idea of how exciting MY life is.

These two thought it was so cool that they had on, as Reeve said, “Similar but different shirts.” Addison said his Polo shirt (with Polo players) had “two guys playing golf riding on horses.”

IMG_7453I don’t know how to rotate this, but I am obsessed with these $2.00 wax melts from Wal Mart and giggled when i read this one. It’s Fire Amber and it says “souls catch on fire.” IMG_7461

and, when you have Honey Peanut Butter on Graham Cracker addiction you must use the treadmill to an extreme!IMG_7468


One Week

It’s been one week since we got possession of The Ranch. One crazy, long, hard week.

The day we signed our share of the paperwork to get the home, we arrived at the closing but our bank in Colorado had failed to mention to us that they wouldn’t be able to wire the money needed for closing to us without us actually being there…in person….after hours and hours of time spent on the phone with managers and loan officers, the only solution was for Kirk to drive to the nearest branch of our bank…in Tulsa, Oklahoma.. What a shit storm.

He did it though, like he does everything. With a smile on his face and with no complaints. Clearly, he and I are COMPLETE opposites in that regard (among many others)!

On the day we closed, we had been staying with my parents, my best friend and my brother in random periods of 1-5 days at a time. We intended to not move in until several days or even a week after closing to allow the painters as much time as possible to get a head start on painting the interior of the WHOLE house, but we were all just tired of living out of a suitcase that we borrowed an air mattress, some sheets and towels and spent the next four nights on the floor (the very UNCLEAN floor of our new home).

Painters started painting before we even got possession of the home that morning!

Over the weekend, we shopped for necessities, I bought 49 paint samples, unpacked what we could from what we brought with us, got some groceries and continued on with our 99th meal eating out. Our truck was set to arrive that Monday at 9am.

We got a phone call from a very confused truck driver who let us know that it was absolutely impossible for the VERY large moving truck to make it down our hill! We argued that it WAS possible and it HAD been done, but he assured us even if he got down, there was no way the truck would make it back out. They had to locate a local UHaul and get a smaller truck to the top of our hill where they unloaded the big truck in 4 loads onto the small truck then unloaded it back into our house. Overall, though delayed, it went as smoothly as possible.

My BFF, Whitney, took Reeve for THE WHOLE DAY and Lowe napped in the car out front for 3 hours. My sister-in-law, Connie, helped me unpack the WHOLE kitchen and organized it and here it is Saturday night and we are 98% unpacked. We were just given the go ahead yesterday when the painters left for the weekend after finishing up painting the trim to move our large furniture into place.

Kirk was dreading the unpacking part, but I love it. We get to purge EVEN more and organize! I can’t believe we are less than a week with our stuff and it’s all put away. The only items that aren’t are the rugs (waiting for paint to get finished) and pictures on the wall.

I can’t wait to share the Before & After pictures with everyone. Your eyes can’t even take the amount of oak in the Befores! Mine hurt when I look at them.

We are loving Lawrence so far and basking in all of the help we’ve received from family and friends. It’s almost overwhelming…to go from having NO help to people VOLUNTEERING to take your kid for 8+ hours! We have spent more time doing things with people this week than we did in the 5 years we lived in Highlands Ranch. It definitely takes some getting used to.

We are enjoying exploring the city and finding local spots to enjoy (from ice cream shops to the library and random stores on Mass Street).

Our hearts are full!

We could not love our home and our land more! Each morning the same family of 3 deer come eat out back and Reeve loves watching them. He says, “They’re so cute” and has named the baby Cutie Bear. Birds flutter, squirrels chase each other. I swear, it’s like a Disney movie back there.

The horses are gorgeous and learning to get to know us more every day. Reeve LOVES feeding them with daddy and has to do so either morning or night.

His bedroom is “awesome” and he loves having all of his toys in there with him. Lowe is sleeping all night long or waking up only once. A VERY welcome change from just two weeks ago when he was up 7 times a night.

More later…I’m pretty tired. It was a 70 degree day here in Kansas and a full afternoon out in the sun has me downright pooped. I leave you with this adorable picture of Reeve & Kirk watching the deer out the window.

*note how similar they look and stand. 12783597_10208932696019568_21454204118041882_o

Master Bath

It’s so hard for me not to just call up contractors and order a complete remodel of the rooms I don’t love. But, let’s face it, that’s not financially feasible nor is it even smart. Not having actually lived in the house, I don’t really know how I want to use the space.

One thing we are able to do right away is paint all of the oak cabinets we don’t love and change out some of the flooring.

While on Instagram, I saw the picture below and traced it back to House of Turquoise and was able to get the actual paint name. I am always so happy when bloggers that I adore actually answer me back. It makes me feel special!

House of Turquoise

The paint color is Blue Green by Farrow & Ball and I can assure you that St. Joseph, MO does not carry that anywhere. I was a little heartbroken as blues, greens and blue greens are so hard to match.

I sort of gave up. Not a big deal, I’ll just get as close as I can.

Well, then, after leaving the gym and driving to get a salad I saw the Taco John’s and it all went downhill. My salad became 3 crunchy tacos eaten in a parking lot feeling guilty and sick to my stomach at the same time. Was it the guilt or the grease?

Either way…as I’m sitting there crumpling up the wrapper to rid the evidence I look up and see a Westlake Hardware store next door. What the hell, I thought.

I went in and the nicest old guy with the sweetest Midwestern combover was able to put Farrow & Ball Green Blue into his computer after he hunted and pecked each letter and found it!  WHAT!

He mixed that $1.99 sample (everything is so much cheaper here) right up and I did not love it.

GREEN blue…..not blue green.

Farrow & Ball Green BlueI don’t love green. So, we found out how to add a little blue and came up with Steely Blue by Valspar…..and  I’m so happy with it.

Valspar Steely Blue

I love this color. Now, the current bathroom has brand new tile floors & back splash with heated tiles and I don’t love them, I don’t even really like them, but they are quite neutral and will look really great with this color cabinets.

The counters are white marble (which I’m okay with) but the faucets are gold (we will replace those right away) and there is no lighting over the mirrors (also an easy fix) and we will get new mirrors, so picture all of that in this space. Plus white walls…that pea green that is on there now gives me diarrhea. I really, really hate green paint.

Master Bath

I think it’s going to be pretty great. I love pops of color and think it will help this boring bathroom become quite the statement.

When the clawfoot tub is installed I will be even happier. 🙂

At this point in reading this my husband has probably rolled his eyes 8 times and is going to lecture me on Patience and Budgets and I will zone him out and we all will just move forward as I like. I don’t really like either of those words and Kirk knows this about me. It’s an ongoing battle between us…one that I usually win.

So, what do you think of that bathroom? Do you like pops of color and painted cabinets or do you prefer wood stains like the existing oak? I have Bipolar Paint Disorder so I have a hard time with wood stains…

New Table

I’m so excited about this new table from Restoration Hardware I bought for our house.

I’m currently trying to find chairs like these but a little darker, more of a black than silver….

diningtableWe have a dining room that will be opened up into the kitchen later this year or early next and that will house our more “formal” Crate & Barrel table and West Elm chairs, but we also have a huge Family Room that will fit our large sectional and is just calling for a more casual table for one of the back corners. I envision my family sitting there playing Board Games, coloring and just love that the table can’t really get ruined…it’s meant to look distressed.


I love the metal legs and that it’s on castors so I could easily move it if I needed to.


With two boys (one of which who spills every glass I give him) it’s just perfect b/c you can’t really mess it up.


The legs are so sturdy…


Kirk is going to kill me, but I think I need to order this 1890 Stag Head too….he is just begging to go on the wall in that room.prod1860696

he looks so menacing.

What shall I name him?

We Are MOVING!!!

For those of you who Follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed that in the past 18 months or so, every single Pin is about a Farmhouse. It’s gotten to be ridiculous!  I mean, every day I am showing Kirk a pin of hardwood floors, dinner bells, rustic tables. He’s really a gem, that Kirk, to tolerate this behavior. It has been borderline obsessive!

There IS a reason for this behavior. For almost 2 years Kirk and I have been dreaming about a home with a Story, a home with character, a home that isn’t the same floorplan as the one 2 doors down. A home with land for boys to run. A home that we never thought we’d find….

but we DID!!!!!

And without further ado, take a look at that exact home we were searching for….and the 2 newest members of our family, Cody & Cheyenne!

Our new home and horses

After 2 years of looking, we found the home we want to raise our boys in and the land we want them to grow on.

And yes…it is in Kansas. Lawrence to be exact!

We couldn’t be happier to be closer to family (5 minutes to my brother’s house) (also 5 minutes to Whitney’s, my BFF), part of a REAL COMMUNITY and in a home that we get to truly make our own.

This picture does no justice to how beautiful this home is. From the wraparound porch, the vaulted ceilings, the red trees on the circle drive, the 30-foot fireplace….

Our new home has personality and character, stories to tell. Honestly, I can’t wait to share with you the story of our home and the horses and how it came to be ours.

Can you believe it? I still am having moments where I will stop during the day and say to myself, “horses?!?!????” It doesn’t seem real!

This is the front of the house. I am telling you, it’s darling, lovely….adorable. It seriously belongs on the cover of Country Living magazine, the owners have taken meticulous care of it and the WREATHS COME WITH IT….I honest-to-God wanted to write them in the contract (there are over 20….even some along the white fence).

Our Home

Our Home

Our Home

Another View

Please join us on this adventure as we share with you our renovations, decorating, recipes, trials, errors, bonfires, horses….there is so much to see! The road down to the house alone is gorgeous, the woods, the rolling hill, the fence, the garage is even pretty!

The barn…..sigh

Red Barn

Lovely Red Barn

I’m equally excited and terrified! I have moments where I can’t stand the thought of not seeing the mountains every day, but then I have moments where I think about Reeve seeing his cousins in school or me getting to sit at school programs with my best friend and it all makes sense.

It’s a bit daunting, all the needs to be done, but we are ready!

Welcome to Red Barn White House….I can’t wait to take all of you on this journey of a Simpler Life with us. Please click on the Follow Button and come along!

First up….we need help picking paint colors, stairwell remodel, carpet runners and designing the boys’ bedrooms!

College Town

When we started talking about leaving Denver I would over and over ask Kirk, “are you sure?” and everytime he’d say, “Jessie, I’ve always wanted to live in a college town.”

I had to stop and think about that.

I mean, I HAD lived in a college town (the exact one we are moving to, in fact) and wasn’t really sure what he meant. I mean, he had lived in one too (he went to college, didn’t he? TWO, in fact)….and his middle name is Denver (Reeve’s too)….so how could he think about leaving it?

Then, I had to step back and think about what it means to live in a college town.

In Lawrence, EVERYONE is a Jayhawk fan (except for maybe a very few Kansas State Power Cat fans). And everyone wears red and blue and the mythical bird on their clothes, everyone has a flag, a license plate, you name it touting their college pride. Was he prepared to leave the Rocky Mountains for a bird?

It’s more than that though. It’s the locally-owned shops and restaurants that residents are so loyal to that small mom-n-pop shops stay afloat while Barnes & Nobles goes out of business.

It’s the tailgating.

It’s the Rock Chalk chant and all the acronyms and legends only residents know (RCJH, LFK, etc).

It’s the parades down Mass Street and Santa landing on Weaver’s rooftop.

It’s the local celebrities like Dennis and Rob.

It’s Mount Oread and the rolling hills (Kansas is NOT flat)…

It’s the Granada, the Replay Lounge and the Bottleneck for live music.

It’s The Java Hut, Amy’s Fabrics, Jeffersons…

It’s the “Beware of the Phog” and Allen Fieldhouse.

For God’s sake, we wouldn’t even HAVE baseketball without Lawrence, KS….

As someone who has frequented all of these places as a college student, I can attest to how unique and great they all are. To Kirk, an *outsider*, I totally get their appeal.

While we saw all of the great *places* to visit, what we didn’t *see* but definitely *felt* was that good old Midwestern friendliness. EVERYONE waves. Everyone supports the same college and 2 high schools. Friday night football games are BIG! Everyone loves their Jayhawks, but also their KC Royals…


You walk down Mass Street and people know your name.

We NEVER had that in Colorado. We missed that.

Every time we would go back to visit, we would always laugh and grin at the tables full of old men sitting at restaurants talking about “the game” and “the score.” It was just so quaint…so promising coming from a city of people who are always ON THE GO! Sure, Denver has great museums and restaurants and skiing and shoppings and lots to do…but everyone is always rushing, in a hurry! The rats are racing, the Joneses’ have a new car and everyone has so much STUFF their homes are overflowing and then they have to build a newer, bigger home.

Denver was feeling crowded and rushed. Buildings and highways…

We wanted our outsides to match our insides.

For God’s sake, we tried to explain to Reeve that people have to “work the land” and farm b/c “where do you think food comes from, boy?” and he’s all “Target?”

NOT how we wanted to raise our children.

I often tell Kirk about this dream I had where we have land and three little boys and green farm truck and I play Keith Urban’s Raise ‘Em Up for him and I cry when he sings:

So you meet someone
The only one
You take her by the hand
Make a stand
Buy some land
Make some love
And then babies come
Raise em’ up
Raise em’ up

We don’t want to be so busy that after an hour spent in traffic trying to get home Kirk only gets an hour each day with the boys before it’s bedtime.

We wanted a life where we PAID ATTENTION. To corn growing in rows. To a neighbor who may need our help. To a community with one goal. To details. TO EACH OTHER!

It’s hard to focus on your family, on your MARRIAGE, with just a few hours together every week.

And so we did it….

we bought some land with a couple of horses on it and we are slowing down!

Our new home

Lawrence, Kansas

Something in each of us changed. And we can’t wait for the adventure that awaits us in Lawrence, Kansas.


We are officially Under Contract on The Ranch!!!

The next step for us to is to put our home in Highlands Ranch on the market and sell it!  Hopefully it sells quickly, we are worried with it being right before Christmas and all.

Selling you home is STRESSFUL!  Buying a new home is stressful. Everything is STRESSFUL!

I keep having mini panic attacks! There is so much to do and so much to decide and so much money to spend. We are having the whole home painted on the exterior and will be remodeling the kitchen and dining room after we move in. A bathroom remodel will be Phase 2 along with a stairwell remodel and new trim/molding.

Even typing all of that gives me anxiety!

I’m trying to calm myself down and remind myself why we are making this move (for the boys and to get back to simpler life…with 2 horses…how is that simpler?), but every time I look at the mountains I start to cry!

I’m excited and scared and terrified and nervous, but I have Faith that this is the right thing for our family.

In the meantime, I keep reading and quoting this to myself.Quotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magic

It’s been a 2-year Dream in the Making…and being Brave is a lot harder at 36 with 2 kids than it was at 27 with no one buy myself to think about. These two little boys that are my world make decisions this big REALLY hard! I’m emotional about all of this, but I’m putting my love for the mountains aside to give my boys their cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and 2 horses…and THAT is about as BRAVE as I can imagine being….

but the truth is…I don’t want to live a SMALL life. I used to think Small Towns equaled Small Life, but the older I get and the more I see, I realize Small just means Scared.

I will talk more soon about how I swore I’d never find myself back in a small town, that’s a whole post of it’s own, but I can’t wait to have a LOCAL coffee shop/bookstore/breakfast joint/music store. Nothing is “local” here, it’s all a chain. I can’t wait to cheer on a Friday Night Football game, see my niece/nephews at their sporting events, take the kids to grandma’s for the weekend, be close to my best friend, get involved with my sorority. There’s just SO many *little* things that are going to make my life *bigger* in the best sense of the word!

I will keep you all posted on here and hope that you enjoy following along in this journey with us.