Snapshots: Looking Back on 2012

Looking back on a year's worth of pictures took A LOT of time, but it was also a wonderful reminder of the blessed life we live.  We are thankful for every family member and friend that helped us with our move and experienced life with us, big or small in 2012.  It was so hard to pick just 16 pictures to represent our favorite memories and most significant life events from this year...

1}  Baptism.  This was a special moment for us.  We baptized Avery at our church and took vows as parents and members of the congregation to nurture her into a relationship with Christ.

2} Girl's Weekend. Got to spend a fun-filled girl's weekend with some BFF's from college in OKC.  Unfortunately this only happens one, maybe two times a year.  I sure do love these girls.  We went to the movies, ate at great restaurants, did some outlet shopping, had a fun game/wine night in, and of course participated in lots of sharing and laughing!  Can't wait to see what kind of girl's weekend 2013 brings us.

3} For Sale.  We listed our tiny, Brookside charmer in March.  Looking at these pics makes me miss our first house.  The neighborhood was quaint, located near Riverside and walking distance from great restaurants.  The trees were abundant.  It was the house we lived in when Avery was born, and it will always be special because of that.  It was listed under 100 days before it sold in July.

4} Growing Girl.  I can't believe all of the growing/changing Avery has done in the last year!  I'm definitely grateful for beautiful photos like this one (taken by my friend, Lori) that helps me hold onto all those precious memories.  We spent a beautiful April afternoon with Lori and my sister at the Dallas Botanical Gardens, and left with some amazing photographs.

5} Church.  Our beloved church acquired its own property in the summer after being a thriving church-plant for six years.  We wish we could have contributed more blood, sweat, and tears to the property than we were able to because of our own renovations at home, but it has been amazing to see the place turned around.  A place our church family can call home.  We had our first worship service there the week before Christmas and we cherish this place.  

6} One. These are just one of the many "One Year" photographs my dear friend, Shari, took of Avery to commemorate her 1st birthday.  "How big are you? Soooooooo biiiiiig!!!"  What a fun summer!

7} Pilgrimage.  Taylor lost his granddad in February.  The entire family gathered in June from all over the states to make a trip to Northwest Oklahoma to spread his ashes in their family plot.  We made an entire day trip out of it and saw many of the old family houses, including this one where four generations of my husband's family are pictured together.

8} Homestead.  On that very same trip, we saw the family's original farmhouse built circa 1900 on the piece of land that Taylor's great-great- grandfather acquired during the land run.  It was an amazing experience, as most of the grandkids had never seen it.  I have aspirations to frame some of the photos I took on this trip, as well as copies of originals, to hang in our home.  

9} Walking.  Avery started walking this year, which was just one of the many firsts that took place in 2012.  First swim in the pool, first time to feed herself, first halloween costume, first busted lip, first words, first time to get sick.... The list goes on.  Yet another reason I'm so click- happy with the camera.  These pictures help me remember all that has happened! I don't have the best memory, you see.

10} Moving Day.  Longest. Day. Of. Life.  It started as a bright, beautiful day.  It ended at 2 a.m. the next morning with mommy and daddy crawling into bed wanting to sleep for days and never wanting to move again.  Ever.  Although the move was awful, it was monumental nonetheless.  I thought it would be hard to say goodbye to our first home, but it wasn't.  We had lived so happily in that teeny house, had grown out of it, and had found the perfect place to move onto.  Where I had expected tears and longing stares, I found so much joy and anticipation in getting into our forever-kind-of-home.  So I guess all in all, it was a pretty positive experience.  But, I'm not moving again. Ever.

11} The New Haven Home. We had always loved this house.  Amazingly, it was for sale at the same time ours was.  It sold several weeks before our home sold and we were disappointed.  However, it went back on the market the week before our house sold, and low and behold everything worked out:)  We are this home's third, proud owners.  Taylor and his family knows the family who built the house, as well as the family who lived in it before we did.  It's so neat to know the history and the love this house has been home to since it was built in the 50's- another reason we are so excited to settle and grow our family here.

12} Home Improvement.  A new home has meant TONS of home improvements.  We have loved making this house our own.  And it all started with our kitchen the day we closed.  To me, this picture symbolizes all of the hard work we've put into our house since September (although we didn't actually paint the cabinets ourselves).  It serves as a great reminder of how far we've come.  When I find myself being picky about our house and becoming discontent, I think of where we started and how much fun we've had in the process.

13} Chicago.  I was incredibly blessed to be able to jet-set to Chicago one September weekend with some girlfriends.  It was such a great little vacation after the stress of the move. It's such a wonderful city.  Doesn't hurt to be there with people you love:)  More about that trip here.

14} The Zoo! Another first for Avery and I this year was the zoo.  Taylor surprised us one day in October by taking the day off of work to take us to the zoo! Avery didn't have nearly as much fun seeing the animals as we did.  She was more interested in the kids and the toys the animals were playing with in the cages, but oh well.

15} MS 150.  Taylor participated in the MS 150 bike ride for the second year in a row.  It is a two-day  150 mile bike ride from Tulsa to OKC that raises money for Multiple Sclerosis research.  The cause is close to our heart as we have family and friends who are burdened with the disease.  Taylor also really enjoys it, as he rides with some buddies, eats tons of free food, and ends the race at the capitol building.

16} Stillwater. As always, we spent a good chunk of time in Stillwater cheering on the Pokes this fall.  We share a box with Taylor's parents and family friends.  The Cowboys weren't spectacular or anything this year, but that's really not what it's about for us.  We cherish the time we spend with Taylor's parents, seeing our friends at tailgates, and being back in Stillwater in general.  It's a very special place to us.

Happy New Year!!!


Merry Christmas 2012

Joy to the World! The Lord is come! Merry Christmas from our home to yours!


On Annapolis & Company

Today I'm on Annapolis & Company as a part of a series called, "Artists Incognito".  My friend, Mary Beth, who inspires me everyday, came over and we played a grown up girl game of dress-up for about four hours.  It was delightful.

{via Annapolis & Company}

Thank you, Mary Beth, for considering me fashionable, and for featuring me on your wonderful blog!


Guest Suite Makeover

Our new house has a great mother-in-law suite located downstairs off of the main living areas.  It is a full bed and bath closet combo. We refer to it as our guest suite, mainly because both of our mothers aren't even close to having to live there, although we will welcome either of them with open arms if that day comes.

From the state of this room, it can be deduced that the previous owners hadn't entered in a very long time.  I don't think they had any use for it, so it needed a lot of TLC.  As I mentioned here, we had lots of guests in the month of November which turned out to be the motivation we needed to get this room ready! On the downside, we made some hasty decisions about carpet and paint color, but all in all it worked out.

Before you read on I have to warn you: As always I was too impatient to start and didn't get very good before pics.  I don't have very good pics of the progress either, especially in the early stages.  There isn't a ceiling light in this room (weird), so the only light is daylight or a floor lamp, which was unplugged for some of our work.  And since we worked mostly at night, pictures didn't really turn out that well.  Oh, and I take my pictures on my iPhone, so that is another excuse.


Here is a before pic of the room from Zillow (they used it as a game room).  The carpet was green and had quite the "crunch" to it.  It was very reminiscent of the mid-90s carpet in the country club where I grew up.  As always, Zillow does the room more justice than it deserved...  

We started with the carpet.  In a perfect world (er, my perfect world), we would have laid wood floors. We ultimately decided to wait a few years until we do the flooring in the rest of the house so that we can match.

Here is a pic right after we had carpet laid (again, only a floor lamp for a light).  Already a huge improvement...

The walls/trim were pretty dirty and yellowed.  Definitely needed some freshening up...

This gap in the closet was the worst of it, but as you can see, there were lots of gaps between the molding and walls that needed to be addressed.  I did A LOT of caulking !!!

For paint, we chose to use warmer colors in taupe/brown tones to add a touch of masculinity and warmth to the room.  Here is the room after the walls were finished and one coat of trim had been done.  I'm always amazed at what a fresh coat of paint can do to a room!!!


We used the rug and bedding from our old bedroom in our first house and a couch that we are storing for a friend.  For now they work great and we are very pleased with how everything turned out in here.  The room is definitely very comfortable, which was our goal.

Here I found the perfect place for a little doggie portrait I found at a garage sale...


Love these vintage end tables I found at Salvation Army long before we moved.  They had been living in our garage for over half a year.  Very happy to have given them a home...

My favorite part of the room? The gorgeous bay windows that overlook our back yard...


The bathroom also needed considerable caulking and painting, as well as new hardware to update the look {pic via Zillow}.  Again, this pic does the bathroom way more justice than it deserved...


We chose a dark brown in here to contrast the bedroom and the white tile.  LOVE how it turned out.

Here is my favorite part of the entire process: the hardware.  Taylor thought I was brilliant for coming up with this, but I had to admit to him that it isn't my original idea:(  I took all of our existing, tarnished brass hardware and gave it few coats of Krylon's Brushed Metallic spray paint in the Oil-Rubbed Bronze color.  So instead of buying all new hardware,  I spent $3.60 (Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon) to update the entire lot.


In progress. As you can see I went crazy and painted everything that we possibly could- the mirror, towel rack, all knobs and handles, the doorknobs and even the light fixture!


I really dig the Krylon oil- rubbed bronze against the Valspar "Safari Beige" we used in here...

As always, a room is never really finished;)  We are thrilled with the progress we have made in the guest suite- especially that we feel comfortable with guests staying here now.  I do have many more ideas in store for this little section of our house, though!  I'm currently sifting through ideas for a headboard and new bedding, as well as determining what I would like to put on the walls.  

One thing I will definitely be hanging in here?  This landscaping blue-print of the house from 1994 I found in the closet!!!

Alright! Now who wants to come stay the weekend with us? Seriously, we love it!

Snapshots: November 2012

{1} Play.  Man, have we been doing a lot of playing! This eighteen month old loves to be outside.  Good thing then, that pretty much all of November was in the 70's.  We've been living it up in the front yard, on walks, and on various play grounds around Tulsa.  I'm taking the lead from my little lady, too.  There's nothing like being outside to lift the spirits!

{2} America. Wore my red, white, and blue on election day and sported my sticker.  Going to vote didn't seem like a big deal at all.  Then I got to my designated voting place and the entire process, rather the entire privilege got to me.  I left feeling thankful and truly appreciating God's grace in allowing me to live in a country that gives all of its citizens a right to vote (even if they don't reside in swing states).

{3} Home Improvement.  Taylor and I spent all of our evenings over a two week period renovating our mother-in-law suite, which we affectionately refer to as the "guest suite".  It is a full bed/bath and closet combo that needed some serious love.  It had been neglected by the previous owners to say the least.  However, there's nothing like imminent visitors to give you a good kick in the pants!  The second weekend in November brought us three different couples and we had no choice but to kick it into gear.  We had carpet installed, then spent countless hours cleaning, caulking, painting, and moving furniture to get the guest suite ready.  My proudest moment came when I decided to spray paint all of the hardware instead of buying new.  Taylor thought I was a genius, and everything turned out great!  More pics of our reno coming soon.  I've been busy, okay people???

{4} My loves.  This is the one picture I got from our glorious November weekend with friends (all from the Lone Star State).  Featured here are my sister, Jodi and a bestie, April.  I so regret not getting any pics of Kailey or the guys.  I had a truly blessed and refreshing weekend.  Although I didn't get any sleep, I cherish every day that I get to be with my sister, and every hour spent into the wee morning hours catching up with my friends from college that I get to see so little of.  These women are encouragers and sisters.  I miss them so much, but treasure our conversations about Jesus, hooting and hollering about old memories, catching up on the every day, and relating about any and everything.

{5} Stillwater, America.  I am unusually blessed to have had two hometowns in my life.  One was where I was raised.  The other is Stillwater, where I went to college.  Stillwater is a true small town, home to Oklahoma State University that is its lifeblood.  I say Stillwater is like a hometown to me because five of the most wonderful years of my life were spent there.  The best friends I've ever had were made there.  So many of the best times I've had were had there.  I lived and worked four summers in Stillwater, and two of my sisters (Pi Phi and just plain sisters in life) were born and raised in Stillwater.  Their families welcomed me and raised me during my college years.  We return to all of the home football games during the fall, as do many of our friends, and there is always that wonderful settling feeling in my heart as we drive into town that says, "I'm home."

{6} Loot.  My first garage-saling in months happened this month.  Since the move, our weekends have been filled with painting, cleaning, repairing, traveling.  There really hasn't been much opportunity to drive around on a Saturday and look for steals!  However, this garage sale down the street rendered a lovely doggie portrait and a pair of foo dogs.  I also found out something very interesting about my husband: although he is terribly fond of dogs, and loves our Jake very deeply, he has a strong aversion to animal art.  He made me promise not to hang the portrait in any main part of the house.  It now resides in our guest suite and was promptly complimented by every one of our November guests:)

{7}  Hometown Restaurant.  My favorite place to eat. It's a family owned fast food Mexican joint that has been operating since the 1970s.  It is not owned by Mexicans.  The cheese is neon- yellow.  The food is microwaved.  Taylor thinks it is not so good...  You get the picture.  Yet, I'm addicted.  My mom has eaten there since her college days. My sister and I used to drive home from college to visit our parents and they would meet us there before we even went home.  I still have nights when I wake up craving it, and there are many afternoons when I would pay a pretty penny to have a Dr. Pepper from there. They are THE BEST.  Needless to say, I was a happy girl when mom took us girls to eat there the day after Thanksgiving.  That's probably why it is a special place to us- It was our second kitchen growing up (a fact mom not totally proud of).  If you want to see anyone when you come back home for a visit, this is one of three places that would actually happen (behind the movie theater and Wal-Mart).  Mom saved my life here once when she performed the Heimlich as I choked on a rubbery cheese enchilada.  Jodi once accidentally squirted a squeeze-bottle of salsa down the back of Dad's white Hanes t-shirt.  It has a juke box with songs that have not been changed since I was in grade school.  You want to eat there now, don't you?

{8} Thanksgiving.  My family loves to eat and my sister is a great cook.  She has been the head chef for the last four years. She takes the lead in the kitchen, and that suites mom just fine.  This year I paid particular attention to her stuffing from scratch.  She doesn't follow any recipes- she just knows.  She is gifted and I love learning from my little sister in the kitchen!  I don't contribute a whole lot, but I enjoy the time I spend with mom and Jo.  It's amazing how the same food wouldn't be nearly as good if we ate it without them!

{9} Florence Park.  Since I've had a kid, I've come to realize that Tulsa has a lot of great play places, especially in our area of Midtown.  Lots of our friends from church with kiddos live within minutes, so if we ever get the itch, there is usually someone who can join within a moments notice.  Afternoons like these, when I get to watch Avery play and steal some mommy time with my friends, remind me of how blessed I am to stay at home.

{10} Chalkboard.  I started and finished this project during the commercial breaks of Parenthood
(our favorite) one Tuesday night.  Seriously.  I knew it was going to look good, as well as temporarily relieve my itch to paint my entire house black (see post here).  I wasn't prepared, however, for how much I would LOVE it.  It adds just the right touch of depth and character to this part of the house.  I decided to write our weekly dinner menu on it, but I haven't quite worked out my spacing, font, etc.  More on this later...

{11} Hipster babe.  Did I mention how much fun I was having with this little bug?  She gives me so much joy.  Her little (or should I say big) personality is coming out in new ways everyday.  She loves to sing, try on my things, help me with chores around the house, and just overall act like a "big girl".  Sometimes at night I spend a good thirty minutes going through videos and pictures of her, reliving moments that have already become memories. I could never get enough of her!

{12} Blueprint.  I found several old landscaping blueprints the previous owner left in our guest suite closet.  They date from the late 60s through the 90s.  This particular one is from 1994 when the second owner (those before us) installed some updates in the backyard.  It's my favorite because it has some great color.  I also think it is such a fab find because it's instant art that also means something historically to our house! Just have to decide where to hang it...

{13} Christmas is coming.  I LOVE cards, especially greeting cards.  They are special because in this day and age we can make calls and send texts or emails to say what we want to say; but taking the time to prepare and send a card means so much more!  I love coming home during the month of December to expectantly check the mail, peruse family pictures, and read special greetings from family and friends.  I also love the process of creating our own.  I used pics Shari took of us this year.  I thought the cards turned out nicely!

{14}  Leaves.  We had trees at our old house, but nothing like this.  Taylor loves working in the yard, but the amount of leaves we have here can get exhausting.  Good thing he has a helper:)  We've decided it's a trade off, though.  There are only a few weeks out of the year that we will curse the trees while the rest of the year will be spent enjoying them.

{15}  Decor.  Christmas decor is coming a little slow this year.  I am a bit sad about it, but I've decided to embrace it.  So many people have asked me if I'm all decorated and if I'm having fun getting the house ready for Christmas.  The truth is, I'm overwhelmed!  There are so many things I want to make and do and buy, but there isn't the time, money, or energy to do them all!  I love the creativity that goes into decorating my home and the atmosphere it creates as we anticipate the holidays, however, increasing square footage three times what we used to have means a whole new game plan!  So, this year we've resolved to do lights on the outside, the mantle, and the centerpiece on our dining room table.  Why?  I think it's more important to remain focused on the hope of the season and enjoy the other various improvements that remain to be done rather than stressing about Christmas decor.  I'm hoping to go all out next year, though:)

{16}  Blue.  I just had to include this picture of Avery.  Sometimes I take a picture on my iPhone 4 that is actually really good.  This one just takes my breath away.  Her eyes are actually that blue when she looks into the light.  Since we've been playing outside so much, we've been learning a lot about nature. Identifying trees, rocks, sticks, and leaves.  Pointing out squirrels, birds, puppies, and bunnies.  Learning the difference between a run, walk, and hop.  In this picture she is looking up into one of the big "tees" in our front yard.

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving!