February 2016 archive

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

To Remodel or Not?

One room in the house that I have ZERO idea what to do with is the kitchen.

Now, we all know the kitchen is where most people tend to gather when entertaining, and in my mind, this kitchen isn’t very conducive to that….It’s not open to the dining room and has a small island.

Aside from the fact that I don’t love the layout, it’s clearly very outdated. The wallpaper will go when it’s painted within the first 3 weeks. That alone should make a HUGE difference. We are getting new stainless steel appliances and that will help also.

Here is the kitchen now (please look past the awful wallpaper and country decor)

Kitchen 1 Kitchen 2

Here is where my dilemma is. We basically have two options:

  1. Knock down the wall with the stovetop and open the dining room into the kitchen in a few months after we’ve lived in the space for awhile. Totally gut the cabinets and rearrange the entire layout. It will be open concept and gorgeous! Estimates range from $50,000-$75,000
  2. Paint the current cabinets and just move on to the 197 other projects we have in the house. New hardware. New lighting. New stainless appliances. Estimates $10,000 or so. New white farmhouse sink. New tile backsplash under the hood. Remove current island and put in one that is wood and on castors.

Clearly, I’d love to do Option 1, but I also can’t imagine living with a remodel of this magnitude any time soon with small kids. I’m tired of eating out after being displaced for weeks and the idea of having to do that anytime soon makes me cringe.

There is also the fact that there is NOTHING at all wrong with the kitchen the way it is….it’s just not our style.

THIS IS OUR STYLE….and we think we could easily copy it with the existing kitchen.

home-tour-nina-dobrevs-bright-california-cool-bungalow-1602140-1450415172.640x0c home-tour-nina-dobrevs-bright-california-cool-bungalow-1602141-1450415172.640x0c

What do you vote?

I’m already so tired of making decisions and I guess I’m just hoping for confirmation that if we choose Option 2 it will still be pretty.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

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…

Home Is Wherever I’m With You

Have you heard the story about the time Kirk and I took our first trip alone without Reeve and went to Nashville? Probably not….

Well, it was our first time in over 2 years without a kid (I had just stopped breastfeeding Reeve at 24 months) and Don Linny took him for the weekend. Kirk and I took different planes (partly in case one of the planes crashed and partly so we could meet there and it would feel more like a ‘rendezvous’ “….well, being that it was my first time by myself with no one trying to be held, trying to eat, screaming or pooping, I decided I would start drinking ON THE PLANE. Only, I didn’t. I fell asleep instead. For a glorious 90 minutes I slept without anyone trying to suck the life out of me.

Still, when my flight landed I had another 2 hours or so until Kirk’s plane would land and so I traded out my flip flops for my BCBG cowboy boots with the lace trim and took myself to the Honky Tonk in the airport where an old dude with a guitar sang Garth and Waylon and a little bit of Hootie. The beer was flowing, let me tell you and by the time Kirk landed and found me I was about 9 sheets to the wind.

But that didn’t stop me. No way….Mama was on the loose and the city of Nashville beckoned me with it’s sinful pleasures.

Kirk and I kept on keeping on and drank at about 5 more establishments before we made it to the Ryman Theatre and the Bluebird Cafe. I’m not sure which we went to first, but both were on my music-loving list of “things I have to see before I die”.

Oh, now that I think about it the Bluebird was first b/c I can remember more of it and the Ryman was last b/c, at that point, all reason and sensibility fled and Jessie of Yore made her appearance.

So, if you’ve never heard of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, now is the part of this story where you must either Google them or start humming along to the song they are most known for “Home is Wherever I’m with You.” It’s a catchy tune and they are something to see live. He’s good looking in this Dirty Hippie who doesn’t bathe or wash his hair sort of way and his music feels partly like you are partying on the beach and partly like you are in a cult swaying to a chant that is hypnotizing you. They clearly enjoy some good drugs and the woman’s face really bothers me, so I can’t describe quite why I’m oddly extremely attracted to him, but will let you watch the video for this song in order to let you get a feel for the next part of the story.

I will also tell you that I don’t *love* the song, it is somewhat annoying with the whistling and one of those songs that the only words anyone knows is the chorus, but it’s now meaningful and will eventually make sense in this story. *click link to watch, I can’t get video to embed for some reason


Okay, so at this particular point in the evening I’ve been drinking steadily for about 10 hours and eaten maybe a bucket of fries. I don’t really drink anymore b/c I’m always breastfeeding (my goal is 2 years with both boys), but I’ve got those boots on and no kids and Kirk and I are pretending we just started dating and are going to music shows like it’s 2009.

What happens next is basically a blur. I’m hippie dancing in the aisle at what is basically one of the Churches of Music alongside 1,000 college students. Kirk is equally amused and annoyed. My arms are swaying and my eyes may even be closed. Home Is Wherever I’m With You is the song by ESMZ that EVERYONE knows and so when it starts playing the place goes wild. I’m pretty sure even the Ghosts of Music Past who haunt the Ryman are up and going. (PS…this night left such an imprint on me that I wanted to name Lowe Ryman at one point).

So, the security guard is yelling at me every couple of minutes to get out of the aisle (we are in the balcony and I’m sure I could easily fall over to below as I’ve worked my way down to the front of it) and I’m yelling back at her. I’m falling. Tripping. Dancing…..I remember Edward is wearing a church robe and he’s barefoot and he’s letting kids up on stage and someone says that their music kept him from committing suicide and a kid with red hair came down from the balcony and played the harmonica. It was a spectacle and so perfectly what I love about music and hippies.

then it all goes black and I’m screaming Rocky Top Tennessee in one of the Honky Tonks on Broadway Street after Kirk has begged the bouncer to let me in after he takes one look at me and says, “I’m  not letting her in.” Kirk says (remember he’s been drinking too) “why, because she’s so hot?” bless his delusional heart and the bouncer says, “no, because her eyes are rolling back in her head.”

I am singing Home Is WHerever I’m With You and dancing and falling…it’s really quite embarrassing. We stumble back to our hotel, me barefoot and Kirk trying to keep me from falling in the street. I wake up the next morning and the bottoms of my feet are BLACK with dirt. Our friends are set to arrive to meet us that day and we have ruined any chance of having fun with them the rest of the weekend because we are so hungover the next morning we can’t even walk, let alone be enjoyable.

I drink maybe 2 more beers over the next 3 days and Kirk ends up with a GIANT tattoo on his arm. We eat a pizza with an egg on it and see Billy Ray Cyrus perform. The weekend was basically one big Shit Show.

So, what the hell does this story have to do with anything you may be asking yourself at this point?

Well, I think about that night a lot. I think about that song and dancing and how I’m not really very fun anymore. How I can’t drink and party, but I can dance my ass off and sing along to songs at the top of my lungs even if my voice sounds like a stray cat being strangled….and I do….daily. I sometimes call Kirk in the middle of the day if he’s in a bad mood I start singing just to cheer him up. When A Man Loves a Woman is my Go To song. I can still wear cute boots and I’ve got an awesome husband who loves the shit out of me. We have two boys who breastfeed for too damn long and I NEVER get to be alone b/c of it. I don’t care if I fall over, I dance in aisles and jump up and down to good music. I FEEL things. It’s both a blessing and a curse. My heart is on my sleeve and I swear I was born with it broken just a little bit b/c I really, really *feel* the the things I feel. I’m don’t see things in black or white, but about every shade of gray in between and my husband loves me despite all of that. I appreciate dirty hippies and love a good bohemian crowd. I’m irrational and emotional and this song and that night just remind me that my spectrum of emotions is about 97 times more complex than the average person.

So, when I think about this adventure and our new house out in the woods and the somewhat solitary abode we’ve chosen to raise our boys in, I think about that night and, particularly, that annoying/catchy/cliche song because….

Home IS wherever I’m with them.

And I feel like I may need a visual reminder of that which I can look at daily. See, you will hear me say the following QUITE often. I am a VERY visual person and my surrounding affect me deeply. If I’m happy to look at where I am, I am happy. If I’m in a space I don’t find aesthetically appealing (doesn’t have to be MY style) I am in a bad mood. Colors affect me deeply and fonts really do make my brain smile. My former roommate one time painted her bedroom red and to this day I can hardly stand the color, colors just do that for me.

So, the following three pieces really speak to me. When I read those 6 words I just smile to myself. I need one of them in my home to remind me of that awesomely awful night and that it doesn’t matter if I can’t see the mountain, my HOME is where my boys are.

I guess my long story simply boils down to I may need something in my home to remind me that even if I’m in the middle of nowhere in Kansas with horses and soon a baby goat and it may not be the mountains it is HOME. We all know Home isn’t a place, but a feeling, right?

First Option is my favorite. Likely b/c it’s the most expensive…of course.

I love any and everything from The House of Belonging and it goes so well with some of the other pieces I already have.

House of Belonging

The second option is quite different and I love turquoise, but it might be a bit much, you know? It’s really pretty though.


The third option is the most affordable b/c you buy the image and print it yourself in whatever size you want. That also means you have to frame it yourself though and who knows if I would ever get around to it….but for only $6 I might.






There are some *serious* conversations going on these days in our home. (insert sarcasm)….

Imagine, if you will, the following conversations where I show Kirk 18 pictures on Pinterest and he pretends to listen all while reading the news or rolling his eyes when he thinks I’m not looking.

Do you like this gray or this gray?
Look at this paint swatch, do you see green in it?
What do you think of this sconce?
Which chairs should I get for the new table?
This duvet cover or this comforter?

It’s exciting stuff, let me tell you.

Well, I won’t lie, I LOVE all of it…Kirk not so much!

I imagine it’s the equivalent of talking about Captive Management? What is that even? What does Kirk even do? Who knows!

So, tonight’s question is the following: Do we do a Window Seat in our Master Bedroom or two chairs?

Here is our Master Window. Picture it painted light gray, without those Country Curtains, trim painted white, inside window mullions painted black and their furniture GONE!

Window Master

Do you prefer a built-in Window Seat such as this?Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 8.26.59 PM

or two reading chairs such as this?Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 8.24.00 PM

Told you…pressing issues around here.

I have a definite favorite after seeing these 3 pictures.

Which do you prefer? I’d love to hear. I figure they will cost roughly the same….thoughts?

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?

For When They Ask Why

I was at Dick’s Sporting Good’s the day before Christmas looking for THE best last minute gift that entered my mind at 2 a.m. while feeding Lowe when I ran into the husband of a friend of a friend.

I smiled and was so nice to him despite being tired and running behind and even though Lowe was Hangry. It’s just what you do, right?

I asked him what he was looking for or who he had left on his list or some generic question like that thinking I’d make polite small talk and then wish him a Merry Christmas and be on my way.

Except, he was kind of a dick!

He’s always been so nice and so it’s quite possible that he was suffering from Last Minute Husband Christmas Stress, I’ll give him that…but it’s not really an excuse.

I quickly realized he wasn’t in the mood for my Holiday Cheer as he NOT ONCE made eye contact and said, “Well, I’m off to find some Carhartt’s for Kirk…we bought a Ranch in Kansas, you know?”

And he said….

“Yeah…Good luck with that…..” followed by a scoff.

Look, I get it people. Colorado is beautiful and we are all proud of our views and skiing and the weather and all, but we have choices in life. That’s the message here I guess. We have choices.

I knew there would be naysayers. I had a friend recently decide to leave the suburbs to move her family to a mountain town for the SAME REASON WE DID and people would ask her “WHY?” and “are you sure that’s a good idea?”

She warned me and I’m grateful she navigated those rough waters before me so that I could be prepared.

At the end of the day, all I care about in this WHOLE WORLD is what’s best for my family and my boys….and that’s WHY!

So, ask me WHY we are moving to Kansas (go ahead, say it with disdain). Ask me why we bought a ranch. Why did we want the horses? Ask me…go ahead! I’ll tell you the same thing I will tell my boys because it’s the most important thing there is!


At the end of this life, family is all we have left. When I’m long gone from this world and all my boys have is each other, I doubt they will ever regret that they got to grow up close to their Brother Cousins or an Aunt who will spoil them rotten or an uncle who will be at all their baseball games or grandparents who will sit in the audience at EVERY school program with smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes.

Very soon in our lives, we won’t be the only ones cheering our boys on.

Sure, Kansas doesn’t have mountains. You can’t ski many of it’s hills.

But you know what?

Colorado doesn’t have family.

But we do…and we are going back to them so our family can be together…

So there is your WHY!


And with that….it’s a crappy Snow Day here on our 3rd to Last Day in Colorado and I’m just fine with that. I get so sad whenever I look West to the mountains and it helps that I can’t see them through the snow. You know what does suck though? Snow Days when all of the toys are packed up and your kid is already “bored” at 8am. Oh, and the coffee pot is packed up and I’d pay someone $50 for a Starbucks delivery.

and…..Kirk is working from home (which should be great) except we have to tiptoe around and I have to fight with Reeve who wants to run downstairs every 5 minutes to show daddy something….

and….we have nothing to eat in this whole house except some tortillas, Cheerios, 2 eggs, 1 beer, shredded cheese, 4 hot dogs and a box of Teddy Grahams…