creating a haven {for the every day}

This redo… it’s turned into a scene from some not-so-obscure movie starring the unassuming, naive couple who found an innocent leak, which spread to mold which went into to the floor which led to ripping out the entire bathroom and all. of. the flooring… and some walls. And we even redid a mantel in the process because we’ve lost our everlovingminds. It’s like Lucy and Desi proportions, minus a trailer over a cliff. The trailer is a metaphor for my life. And basically, I just feel like this:

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It could always be worse… but Jamin is totally Tom Hanks right now.

No. Really.

Are you tired of hearing me whine about it already? Do we need to break out some cheese and a tiny violin? My eye is twitching and I’ve cried over it. Seriously. I’ve cried. More than once. Is twitching caused by stress?

no carpet

Woe is me, first world problems central. It’s hard to describe, and I guess it’s the nature of the beast. In a way, all home renovations, add-ons and makeovers come with their own little set of problems. It’s some kind of sadistic Murphy’s Law thing. It all takes a delicate balance with a lot of elbow grease and equal parts patience. I keep looking at this, thinking it shouldn’t have taken this long. I wonder why on earth we have a blog where we write about home stuff because at this point I’m probably just embarrassing myself and enough already.


This redo has been a gift tied up in a big red obnoxious Lexus commercial bow. Except right now, the Lexus kinda feels like it’s driving down the road to the house next door and it didn’t stop in our driveway – There are no slow motion surprises with snow and Christmas music. For starters, because its summer so that would be awkward. And also, because the bow is kinda ridiculous. I mean, how on earth do they get it so fluffy?

No idealism. No perfection. Just mold, and cigarette butts underneath the carpet.

This is reality. This is life.

It’s funny how we already know these things. Sometimes we have to be reminded of them oh so gently. And sometimes, they slap us in the face in the form of a Busch Light Beer Can with a big red Lexus bow.

I love it when that happens.


I’m really guilty of getting so caught up in the day to day. The imperfections… the things that we’re “missing”. I wonder, if we’re so busy focusing on all the things that are wrong with our homes, what they aren’t… the things we hate and drive us batty… that we forget to focus on what they already are.

I’m over the fact that we’ve been using one tiny hallway bathroom {in the company of two little offspring with bad aim} since late January. I think we often forget that two generations ago, the standard bathroom was a small shed outside with a hole. Now it feels as though our homes aren’t measuring up, if we don’t have at least four. {Bathrooms, not outhouses.} Yet I can’t help but wonder if our homes today are missing a little more community, a little more celebration, a little more just enjoying life in the simplest of ways… just like they did a few generations ago. Even with those outhouses. Are we missing it?

I was looking back through our Instagram feed the other day, and I realized I could care less about the pretty. I try to post pretty… because it’s what we do. But I want the real, too. I want dirty handprints on the wall, legos scattered on the floor and wrestling matches on an unmade bed. I want those images of my children and the delightful memories of what really matters. Caught in an instant with a priceless snapshot.

Ironically enough, this entire redo has made me realize how much I could care less about the material things, because they just don’t matter. We tend to get caught up in the glossy magazine image of what a home should be. And when it comes down to it, it’s not about the new recipe or craft or fill-in-the-blank-here. It’s about celebrating our home and those in it. Now. Even if there are no floors. Even if there is ‘only’ one bathroom. Because we have so much to be grateful for. Why delay the celebration, every day?

Our homes, regardless of how they look, are our haven. It’s where memories are made. Where life is celebrated. Where the real things matter.

arctic_cove_misterA place for toys to be scattered gloriously, because they can be. It’s about soothing the booboos, and relishing in the belly laughs. It’s where we play endlessly with Barbies in dollhouses, while loosing track of the home.


Crazy summer hair.


A quest to see how high we can go on that swing.


Visits from Creepers while I work.


Quiet reading spots.


Tumbling in the living room.


Sword fights in the kitchen.


And breath-holding competitions in the bathtub.


Because now is the time for birthday pancakes with sprinkles. For no apparent reason. And for dinner.


And the chocolate smeared across his face because he enjoyed his cookie.

That chocolate won’t always be there.

Maybe I won’t fret so much if he smears it on the sofa.

backyard_conversationsIt’s about embracing life, cherishing it, and celebrating daily. Because it isn’t always perfect. We all know perfection is impossible. Kind of like the big red Lexus bow.

It’s about creating a haven for the every day. Not just those magazine-facebook-website-instagram worthy moments. But the crazy, out of control ones, too. It’s about loving life where you are, right now. Because it’s the unpredictable spice mixed in, that makes it so amazing.

Every stinkin day.

Even if we’re laughing like Tom Hanks.

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Responses to creating a haven {for the every day}

  1. Alexis says:

    Ohhhh how I needed this reminder today! I was just whining to DH last night over how long this ridiculous redo in our entryway is taking us. I get so frustrated but then I look around and see all of the things I’m missing when I don’t pay attention. Thanks for this!

  2. Beth M. says:

    Seriously, how do they get that bow so fluffy? One of life’s mysteries that will remain that way since I’ll never own a Lexus much less get one at Christmas.
    Love this post! I’m still trying to figure out how to make our dining room better work for us. If only you made house calls…you love Franklin, right? 😉

  3. Layla K says:

    This is adorable and so true. Perfection isn’t about the pretty hosted but about the memories you share there- I love it!

  4. Jeanne says:

    Once again Ashley, another timely post in this life of mine. Was lamenting with a co-worker this morning about not taking a vacation in 9 years. Seriously. 9 years. As long as I’ve been in this current job (and no, I don’t consider 3 maternity leaves during that time to be “vacation” – am I right?!) I need a recharge. I need to remind myself that all my problems are 1st world problems. We have a home. We have jobs. We have food on our table. But the days fly by too quickly. I need to, I long to, capture those little moments you mentioned in your post, the messy hands and faces, the belly-laughs, the 10 month old who just started crawling last week… Right now, our house is not a haven, but after 10 years, it’s getting there. Slowly. And I have to remember that that’s OK.

  5. JP says:

    Tom Hanks! LOL! I needed this!

  6. Tennille Mykula says:

    Love it! I was watching the Oprah Winfrey network the other day. There’s was a little snippet of a clip with Jane Fonda. She said something so profound, something that has been circling around my head for the past few weeks; “We weren’t created to be perfect. We were created to be whole.” Hmmm. There’s such freedom from striving in that statement. Hopefully it brings you as much calm as it did me. Happy Thursday!

  7. Sally Badnall says:

    What a beautiful post. It’s so true and such a great reminder…more than anything, life is about the day to day and the making of memories. It’s wonderful to have pretty, creative colourful ‘frames’ (homes and rooms) to house these memories in, but we need the snapshots of our lives to make the frames come to life. Thanks for the refocus!

  8. ANN W says:

    Totally need that chuckle today!!! Glad I am not the only one knee deep – ok neck deep in a renovation that has a mind of its own! I keep saying – in 3 years – if it is done – we will look back and laugh at the “great times” we had:)

  9. Amber says:

    Yesss. All of this. Thank you.

  10. Caroline says:

    THANK YOU for bringing back perspective in this crazy life we live. It was refreshing and perfectly timed.

  11. Lovay Broussard says:

    Love this article ~ so true! Life goes so quickly and ‘little ones’ are grown with children of their own before you know it. Like the song in Fiddler on the Roof ~ Sunrise, Sunset……..turn around and they’re a young one with babes
    of their own.

  12. Marla says:

    You ‘get it’ Ashley. The point of life. People. Gratitude. These are what make life worth living. Hard, sometimes, yes. But as my Grandmother used to say, “It’s never so bad it couldn’t be worse.” ACK! I hated when she’d say that! But, she was right.
    After waiting (still waiting, after 5 years) for our ‘dream house’, it is worth it. The medical expenses weren’t part of ‘our family plan’ but we still have our family intact. And that. Well, THAT. Is. Worth. E-V-E-R-Y. Still. Waiting. Moment.
    You see, our ‘dream house’ is under a remodeling process – In our hearts. We may never have that ‘dream house’ but we have our ‘dream family’ (crammed into every square inch of this too-small home). And for that, we are eternally grateful. Every. cherished. moment. of. every. day!!!!
    One day the little ones will be off on lives of their own. Mom & Dad will be living a renovated life. Yet again, without the littles.
    Life is just one big remodeling project after another. And WAY better than the alternative! And having an “attitude of gratitude” makes all the difference.
    God Bless Ashley!

  13. Monnaie says:

    Nice color combination, beautiful interior designing!

  14. Rhonda Hawes says:

    Do you have plans for the playhouse? My Jacob would love something like this in our backyard!