If you’ve followed along with me over the past few years, you’ve seen that I’ve essentially dubbed myself the memory keeper of our family, and I have a few traditions that I’ve managed to keep up with over the years. The first is my One Line a Day Five Year Memory Book (this is a great time to start one since it starts on January 1).
The second is my Christmas memory box, where I print favorite photos from the year (both professional and iPhone photos), then tuck little sentimental somethings inside to gift to the family for Christmas. It’s a great place to keep favorite photos, trinkets like baby hospital bracelets and ultrasound photos and a few small pieces of our kids’ artwork. It also gives us a limit to how much we can keep each year. If it doesn’t fit in the box, we probably won’t keep it—but we may be able to take a photo of it to keep in the box for later. All of the boxes go up on our bookshelf in our family room, and we love pulling them down to go through the photos and trinkets with Zel (Arden’s still a bit young—she would probably just try to eat the box at this point).
The third tradition is the One Second Everyday App on my phone. I take a short video (almost) every day, and the app makes it easy to compile into a video. I usually put a little music over the whole thing to make it a little more interesting and fun to watch. You can see the first two videos from Zel’s first two years here, and our latest video is below. Between Zel and Arden, my phone is feeling the crunch of memory for sure this year.
And just for fun, here are a few more recent photos of the girls enjoying some cozy time at home as the winter sets in.
When we bought our 1970’s house, we set out to make it our own from top to bottom. We knew it would take a lot of work, but we loved the bones and the location of the house, and we knew we could make it exactly what we wanted it to be.
Our kitchen remodel was by far the biggest project that we took on in the whole house. We ended up moving out and living with my parents for four months while our house became a land of dust and construction (I’ll have to share more of the “in progress” photos later). I don’t think most people would recommend taking on a renovation like this during the first year of parenthood, but I’m glad we did it when we did. For more details on the renovation (budgeting, floor plans), check out our full feature in Houzz.
Also check out a few of the kitchens that inspired our finishes:
- Smitten Studio was the original inspiration for using IKEA cabinets with Semihandmade cabinet faces that we could paint.
- Jenna Sue Design Co. inspired the white subway tile and open shelving.
- We loved the dark contrasting island in this Houzz photo.
- We love the waterfall countertops in this Houzz photo (the waterfall countertops added time and expense to the project because they required extra materials and a special team, but it was completely worth it in the end, since this really sets the tone for the kitchen design).
Before: We started with wallpaper, a horrible fluorescent light, wood cabinets and a severe lack of storage that led to cluttered counters. The one thing we did like was the clean white Corian countertops, which gave us more confidence when we chose this surface for our new 13 foot island.
After: We knocked out the wall between the kitchen and dining room to create one big continuous space. We donated all of the old cabinets and appliances and bought new stainless steel appliances. We used IKEA for our base cabinets and DIY shaker Semihandmade cabinet doors that we painted Alabaster White (Sherwin Williams) on the perimeter and Cracked Pepper (Behr) on the island. The island is 13 feet long, and most granite and quartz options only come in 10 foot slabs, so we opted for Corian, which can essentially be melted together so that it’s seamless at any length. Corian also worked great for the waterfall edges on the countertops. View all sources at the bottom of this post.
Before: Cluttered counters and THAT WOODEN SCALLOPING.
After: We moved the sink to the island and made the area under the window into a window seat. The cabinets that make up the window seat are actually top wall cabinets that are meant to go above the fridge. These were built onto the base frame with the other cabinets and reinforced with an extra layer of wood on top, then finished with a custom 4″ cushion from Cushion Source. This gives us an amazing amount of extra storage for toys on one side and our own work bags and office supplies on the other.
Here’s the initial mockup I created for this space using IKEA’s design software and a bit of Photoshop.
- Cabinets: IKEA
- Cabinet Faces: Semihandmade (DIY Shaker)
- Perimeter Countertops: Gray Marengo Quartz
- Island Countertops: Arctic White Corian
- Pendant Lights: Schoolhouse Electric (Luna Antique Black)
- Floors: Argonne Forest Oak from Shaw (in Armory)
- Bar Stools: CB2 Phoenix Carbon Bar Stools
- Vent Hood: Zephyr Tamburo Under-Cabinet Hood
- Floating Shelves: IKEA Lack Wall Shelves
- Sink: 33″ Kohler Stages Sink (this one was a splurge that we’re still in love with)
- Subway Tile: Rittenhouse Square Matte Arctic White 3 in. x 6 in. Ceramic Wall from Home Depot (Warm gray grout)
- Espresso Machine: Breville Barista Express (we’re obsessed with this thing, and it has easily paid for itself now that we both work from home and rarely buy coffee out anymore)
- Custom Cushions (window seat and banquet area): Cushion Souce (Sunbrella Spectrum Graphite fabric)
- Table: West Elm Tripod Table
I’m obsessed with Michigan beach towns. I’ll drive as far as I possibly have to if it takes me to a wedding on one of Michigan’s gorgeous lakes. Jeff and I have been scoping out places to keep our distant future dream sailboat, so I always—no joke—go early to beach weddings and shoots to scope out the local marinas.
Jeff and I were married in Mexico with 40 of our closest family and friends, so intimate beach weddings have an extra special place in my heart.
Molly and Matt live in California, but Molly dreamed of getting married in her childhood backyard. Their ceremony was extra sentimental, because it wasn’t just about joining together the couple. It was about joining a new family, including Matt’s kids, Ashley and Josh.
- Hair: Holly Muscat
- Make-up: Marie Ann
- DJ: Dramatic Dimensions Entertainment
- Catering: Crank’s Catering