Making it Work

While on the treadmill yesterday, I watched an episode of “House Hunters Renovation”. A nice family from Texas, was house hunting in California but had a small budget (by CA standards) and could only afford a fixer upper. Upon seeing a small master bathroom, the wife says, “We just can’t live like that.” I actually scoffed, out loud. I’m wearing ear buds, so I’m sure everyone just thought I must be watching election coverage. I’m sure we’ve all audibly scoffed at that a time or two, or hundred.

Seriously though, her comment about that “unlivable” bathroom got me thinking…When we first decided we would move forward with this build, there were a lot of ducks to get in a row: When will we sell? What school should we start Carolynn in? How will we manage in between the two?…Brian is the one that mentioned the idea of fixing up the ranch house a bit over the summer and moving in there for the months between school starting and the house being finished. I immediately said no. Love that house, love your adventurous spirit about this, love you. no. no. “we don’t have to live like that. It’s not like we’re poor or something. Life is too short. Why are we making this hard?”

His response was perfect. “You are the one this will affect the most. So I can’t fault you if you don’t want to do it.” Or something brilliant like that. Ugh. the high road…well done, Mr. Smith. My decision to agree was reluctant, all the way up to the day we moved in (he wasn’t exactly excited about it either), BUT, his logic and guidance was right on. This is our self-proclaimed, “adventure year”. We have signed on for adventure. Here are the things we are currently living without- please read on, this isn’t just about complaining…

No cable/Very little internet. I am currently at a Starbucks with my “antique” laptop because our “internet usage” at the house is “nearing the end of it’s allowance”. We have 25 hoozimawhatzits per month, and let me tell you, its not that much. We use our phones to check e-mails, some social media, and we watched an hour and a half of netflix so far this month.
But, you know what we have? The LIBRARY. We have watched three seasons of great shows for FREE. Also, PBS is so, so good. We watched a documentary last night that we would have never stopped on if we had netflix or cable going. That happens all the time.

A washing machine. This was one of the big hang ups. In Cedar Park, I did laundry everyday. really. I liked to have an empty, or almost empty hamper at all times.
Now, it’s like I’ve been given the gift of time. I can’t do laundry. Throw it in the hamper and wait until the weekend. We go to one of our parent’s houses, bum the use of their machines, share meals and laugh, and spend time together.

Dishwasher. Do you know, it actually doesn’t take that much longer to wash the dishes by hand? I really don’t think it does. By the time you rinse, and scrape and get them in the washer I bet it’s about the same.

A normal, American sized fridge. Last night I had to carefully rearrange  shove a full cooked casserole into the cheese drawer. And by cheese drawer I mean the drawer with cheese, a bag of grapes, dressing and pickles. I am an organized person y’all. It does not sit well with me when my pickle jar is in the drawer with the cheese. And now a casserole. This morning Brian had to remove said casserole to get into the drawer, and then couldn’t get the drawer closed. With all the morning chaos, we just had to leave the door mostly open and squeeze past to get our coffee and plates. Don’t worry folks, I shoved it back into it’s “place”.
That fridge is the perfect size for that house though. No one was, or has, ever planned on living in this house for an extended period of time (until now!). It’s meant for a weekend stay.
Fridge, you’re not, “stupid, and small”, sorry I muttered that, and maybe some other things at you. You are fulfilling your destiny. It’s cool. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

LESS. Of everything. My kids have maybe 1/3 of their toys at this house.
You know what Landon plays with all. day. long? His stick collection. His stick collection has been accumulated over these last several months, and in it, are: “spears”, “bow and arrows”, “swords”, “oars for his rowboat”, “telescopes”….
Carolynn jumps rope, and draws/colors. They are living. Do we still watch TV? Of course, yes. I’m not going to act like we’re TV free now or anything…let’s not get crazy. But most afternoons and evenings, they are both just being kids. It is a beautiful, and refreshing thing to witness.

Had I stuck to my original, immediate, and emphatic  “no”, I would have honestly robbed myself, and all of us, of our potential to MAKE IT WORK. I’m impressed with all of us. (Of course, the biggest thank you goes out to both our families who help us make it work big time. Seriously, could not do it without y’all.) We HAVE our health (Thank you, Lord) and a coffee pot (Thank you, Lord).
And, it’s true, life IS short. In this life-Smith life, in adventure year, I have found that, “we can’t live like that” can become, “I’m really proud of us, and we can make it work.”



“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things in life which are the real ones after all.”
-Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Little by Little, a Little Becomes A Lot.”

EEEEEEEE!!! OH. Sorry, let me explain:

Cabinets and Island
Pantry doors (will be stained to match island)


More cabinets

Y’all. Y’all. I am in love with these cabinets. I love that island. I love the floors. Obviously, I am so pleased any work is being done, happy to see any truck at the house, because…progress. But, what a stinkin’ relief that I actually in real real life LOVE the things I chose all those months ago. Details I decided on based on a small sample. Choosing things in isolation that I liked, and hoping they all come together. So far, so very very good. I think a lot of my delight has to do with my relief.  But also, look how pretty! The cabinets are painted with an off white, and have a dark glaze that makes them look antiqued. Here’s a close up:

Aren’t they just beautiful. Yes, they are. We didn’t want them stark white, but I did want a neutral, classic looking kitchen. I really think I nailed it. My granite counter tops will be in next week, and will look like this:

The brick size natural stone will be the backsplash, and that white tile will be….drumroll please….my double basin….farmhouse…sink. That’s what dreams are made of people. Farmhouse sinks.
The floors are real wood, and with their natural shade showing in the photo. I chose “Dark Walnut” at the design center, here’s a picture:

The carpet will be upstairs, and those are my paint colors-green for the master, lighter for the beadboard and trim, darker for the walls everywhere else.

Seeing the floors naturally, the way they are now, makes me think I should stain them lighter. They just look so beautiful. I also am afraid a darker stain may be trendy?!  Brian is also apprehensive about staining dark, so we are going to have some more sample sections stained so we can choose. This is actually the first thing (yes, a huge thing) I’ve considered changing so everyone seems pretty understanding. They aren’t planning to stain until next month probably anyway, so the show will go on, thankfully. What do y’all think? Too dark? Lots and lots of light in the house too. Something else to take into consideration.

Thanks so much for following this adventure, and I will continue to update as progress continues(because it will. it will. it will….)
It’s all coming together and we are more excited than ever. Stay tuned!



I’m baaack?!

Have you noticed? I’m the worst blogger? The worst. Pretty sure my last post was in March? Yes, I just checked. March. Like two seasons ago, or 7 months.
Clearly, lots has happened and I’ll try to fill everyone in the best I can, and then try (I’m really gonna try!) to blog more regularly.
As far as the progress on the house, we’ve been in a bit of a rut. Here’s the latest picture.

*cows not included*

It looks awesome, minus the dumpster, but it has looked exactly that awesome, as in unchanged, for the past two weeks. If you know me, then you know that this drove. me. crazy. Our superintendent rued the day he ever gave me his cell number. “what’s going on today? Why isn’t anyone working today? How long is that going to take?” At the end of the day, I’m living blessedly, but slightly uncomfortably at the Gatewood house on our property and I’m having some control issues. I’m working on it y’all.
If you don’t know, the Gatewood house is a super cool, super old, unair-conditioned, unheated, rock walled, rusty piped, crooked house…that I love, I do. I love it. But, it wasn’t meant for long term living. I grew up going there for a week, a weekend, a barbecue, an easter egg hunt….5 months? Help me, Lord.
Last week, we had an issue with the well, that left us without water for 4 days, a flat tire, an injured dog (kicked by a cow, but he deserved it), and a scorpion sting for Carolynn.
Honestly though, I still know we are just. so. BLESSED. Even though things are not comfortable for us now, and we are just…waiting…we are healthy, we are happy, we are in love with eachother and with this land that we don’t deserve. This is what it is, It is where we are. We will come out of this.Thanks for reading. XO