Spring Mini-Sessions!

I never feel more inspired to get the camera out than when the earth grows green again. Everything is fresh and the sunlight is golden. I love, love, love Springtime!

I would love for you to join me for a Spring mini-session! Whether it’s time to document a milestone or you just want to remember your family playing in the sunshine as they grow, this is a great time of year.

We’re opening booking for 2 weeks in April, the 3rd-7th and the 18th-23rd.

The Details:

  • 20 minute session
  • 10 hi-res files
  • $250

Click here to reserve your session.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon! :)

  • Mel

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The Not-So-Wonderful

Today…was not so much fun.

I love our life. I really do. I love that we take big risks and do things that other people think are crazy. I love making big plans and renovating our house, and I even love living in a camper with my kids for extended periods of time. I think our life is pretty exciting and it really is wonderful.

I prefer to focus on the positive and exciting aspects of our little world and that really is how I spend most of my days, but acknowledging the other side of things is important too. It would be easy to look at my Instagram feed and think, “they just go do whatever they want, whenever they want, and it always turns out great. Their life is always rosy”. Well, I would never want anyone to feel like they can’t live life on their own terms because they experience ups and downs while things are clearly so amazing for us all the time. So let’s talk about when life is really not wonderful.

Sometimes you just keep finding more water leaks between the house and the RV and it feel like the water damage is never. going. to. stop. Seriously. You think you’ve fixed everything between the mold damage from the dishwasher and the water heater breaking, and then the washing machine pours out all over the laundry floor, and the RV is delaminating in spots due to mystery leaks. Oh and did I mention the rental property had all the same problems this month? Yaaaay. Sorry – that one deserved its own paragraph.

Sometimes construction takes forever and it’s just a much bigger job than you expected, at a time you didn’t plan for because of aforementioned water damage, and it all just gets to you. Sometimes you think money is going to be coming in and then it doesn’t, which coincidentally almost always lines up with a whole slew of big expenses.

Sometime your kids pile your living space so full of crap their precious belongings that you feel like you can’t move without tripping on something and you want to scream. Or they spill copious amounts of both chocolate syrup and a tomato-based soup on the carpet in the same week.

(And then in between writing this and posting it, let’s just add 3 of 4 children coming down with some tremendous crud all at once.)

Sometimes it can feel like everything is falling apart or not going as planned.

Those times are not wonderful. They are hard and they’re going to come up when you’re living life full-speed with lots of little ones and lots of house-sized material things to take care of. There are going to be lean times when you’re an entrepreneur and plenty of occasions when things don’t go as planned.

But you know what? I firmly believe that all of that uncertainty and stress and hard “stuff” would come up from time to time whether we lived life like we do, or just played it safe. It’s just part of existing on this planet, isn’t it?

Things happen. We have our choice of how to deal with the not-so-wonderful things. Even more so, we decide what our mindset will be as we deal.

So we remind ourselves that tough spots are temporary. We keep in mind that stuff is just stuff. We walk away for a moment to clear our heads and then we deal with it with as much patience and calm as we can muster. (Actually, if you’re us, you walk away and find a pizza, because pizza makes everything better, but I digress.) The point is, we deal and then we move on. We don’t wallow in the hard times. That doesn’t serve anyone. We pick ourselves up and we look forward to better times ahead.

I think how we handle our hard things in life are what determine how we feel about our life in general. If we get stuck on them, we’ll feel like our life is far from charmed. But if we can see them for what they are – minor setbacks, just kids being kids, temporary moments of stress or downright insanity – then we can all move forward to more positive things so much faster.

And then we hear about someone else’s crazy, hard, not-fun things and we realize that we’re not alone (although, I might be alone in this much water damage). This is just how life works sometimes, for everybody, no matter what they do — so you might as well go out and live the life you want to be living.

And at the end of the day – yes, even the crappy ones – our lives really are all quite lovely.

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That Time the House Fell Apart

The night before Thanksgiving when I was supposed to be cooking half of the entire Thanksgiving spread for 20+ people, we were sitting in the car instead, waiting while a mitigation crew ripped up our kitchen.

At 11:30pm we were allowed back into the house and I cooked in this:

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The dishwasher had sprung a leak and water had gotten all up underneath the hardwood. Unfortunately, this was not the first time it had happened and mold was discovered underneath the kitchen and adjacent laundry room flooring. Just like that – laundry room: inoperable; kitchen: all but the same.

And then Thanksgiving morning came and as I walked through the little room that holds our water heater, I stepped into a nice. big. puddle. The water heater was down for the count. What are the odds? We just had to laugh…and clean up additional water damage and get Thanksgiving dinner out the door.

 

Sean and I had talked about the kind of travel we want to do with the kids while they’re small and decided to buy an RV in the Spring. A fantastic one came up while we thought we were still in the browsing stage, so last minute plans were made for Sean and his grandfather to fly out to Utah and drive the beast home. They made it through a gigantic snow and ice storm that was covering the Midwest and arrived just in time to take our family trip to Disney World. We didn’t have a lot going on or anything. But isn’t that how it usually works out when things decide to fall apart?

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We thought it would be fun to drive our brand new (to us) toy down to Florida so we loaded up quickly and took off. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were moving in for the foreseeable future.

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My uncle was working on the house while we were at Disney and he called to say that the kitchen needed to be gutted. We came home to this…

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…and I promptly admitted defeat and did this…

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We were (are) officially trailer-dwellers. Try not to judge us too harshly. ;)

The kitchen was a blank slate though and well, that got us thinking. Someone should really rip the paper from my hands the next time I say I just want to sketch something out because my sketches are really expensive.

We’ve talked about the danger of “while we’re at it”, right? Well we are headed down that rabbit hole again. While the kitchen is gutted and we have to get all new cabinets and flooring, what better time to tackle the other things we’ve always considered doing with the main living space? I mean, really – when will we have an opportunity this prime again, I ask you?

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*You’ll note that this particular drawing is already even more pricey because it includes an opening to a finished garage.)

“It would be nice to have more room around the kitchen table” turned into “we should have an island instead of the previously existing peninsula”, and “what if we knock that wall back, and that one too?”. Then, the BIG ONE: “what if we vaulted the ceilings across the living room and the kitchen and went open concept?”. You see, the sketch just looked so pretty. I could picture it and I felt myself getting attached to the idea. It’s like giving a drug addict just a taste. Besides, I had been binge watching Fixer Upper on Netflix so I was INSPIRED. Ha.

 

Our Disney trip got us nearly half way into December. Then there was all the Christmas stuff and Uncle Duck had to wrap up some other jobs while we figured out what we were going to do about kitchen cabinets.  It all added up to it being January before any more work could be done on the house. We settled into camper life in the back yard and tried not to get our hearts too set on the ceiling vaulting until Uncle Duck could come back and tell us whether it would be an outrageous expenditure or not.

Finally, the day arrived when Uncle Duck was able to come look at the house and tell us whether or not we could do all the things! I said, “I really just need you to give me an idea of what we’re looking at so that we can see if we can afford it.” He didn’t even make it all the way into the attic when he said, “you can afford it” and got to work. Ah! Somebody cue the angel chorus!

So that’s where we’re at right now. Demolition is finished, new ceiling joists are in and most of the sheetrock is up.

Here’s before the walls and ceiling came out:

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Along the way:

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And where we’re at today:

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It’s the end of February and we’re still living in the camper. That’s a post unto itself so more on that later, but I will say that it’s alright. Surprisingly, it’s working out pretty well actually. We are all very excited to be finished with the house though. It’s going to be an amazing space when it’s done! Can’t wait to show you all the after photos. :)

 

  • Mel

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