A House and Life Unwritten

a home design and lifestyle blog



Setbacks and Epiphanies

OK let me wallow for a few minutes here. I work in a commission only job. Read: super stressful and volatile. I’ve been in my field for a almost six years. I’m accustomed to the highs and lows and have been pretty much resigned to the financial roller coaster of life I have chosen. But there has been a missing piece since we decided to move cross country. The market here, is not anything like the market back home. The culture is different. The pricing is different. Maybe I’m different. (the common denominator in my year of career setbacks is me, so clearly there is some math to examine…)

This has clearly caused some financial stress for my family. It has sort of altered in very drastic ways the financial path we are finding ourselves on. It has even threatened to topple our let’s-move-cross-country adventure and send us scurrying away from the palm tree breezes back into the clutches of ice filled winters. Anxiety, stress and depression, what a fun combo.

BUT! Oh migosh there is a HUGE “BUT”!

It hit me last night as I was half-heartedly thumbing through some paperwork before leaving and locking up after 10 pm. I would not have discovered blogging or the blogging community in the way that I have this past year if I had not had such catastrophic failures at work. I’ve always wanted to blog. I’ve always wanted to READ blogs (sounds so cool and cultured). But as a busy working mama, these remained intentions like so, so many things.

I have stumbled into this community by accident while browsing Pinterest in my massive amounts of downtime at work (straight commission! it’s all good!). I have been able to delve and dive deep into so many beautiful worlds and homes of bloggers I have fallen in love with. Sometimes, for hours at a time. If this exploration and discovery had been chanced to my “free time” I still would not have heard of any of these blogs I follow so enthusiastically and I would not have started mine.

I have big dreams. Big dreams for the future of my home. Big dreams for the future of my family. Big dreams for the future of my girls. A lot of these dreams have been breathed into life these last few months as I have spent quality time with some of my favorite blogs. So maybe this year of career failures is not wasted. Maybe, this has been a year of growth and catalysts in ways I couldn’t see as I sulked in the dust of downfalls.

Maybe, this is an important part of my story.

And I am SO excited about it.





Reunited and it feels so good

It’s been a long time since my last post. I’m so sad to admit that the whirlwind of life swept me up in it’s torrential winds and spun me for a while. I couldn’t see up. I couldn’t see down, or sideways. But I could see my husband. And my girls. And really what else matters? I’m happy to report that we did indeed end up closing on the dream house. We love it. I have such big dreams for this house. Dreams for my family. Dreams for all the designs tumbling in my head. Dreams for our intertwined future, us and this place. These past few months have been all-consuming in their stress and pressures. Financial duress and job failures are evil twins, intertwined and inseparable , throwing a cruel double punch. They create tunnels. I hate these tunnels. Tunnels of time, tunnels that steal your focus and jumble your heart and distort your vision. These tunnels make you forget, they blur the visions of your heart and they drown the beautiful noise of life. It’s not all tunnel vision, but sometimes it’s hard to see around the tunnel when you are in the tunnel. We still have had joy. We still have had precious memories with our girls. We still have had adventures. We have also had a lot weighing on our hearts. And we’ve lost a little bit of time, stolen by stress. So we are climbing out of the tunnel. Some of the stressors have eased and our focus and passions has been reignited. We are joining the world again. We are so happy to be back.

Closing time

We are one step closer in a very, very , very, long road in our transition of moving cross-country.

We close on our house. Kind of. California has different home buying laws than Minnesota does and it’s throwing us for a bit of a loop. We thought “closing” meant what it does in Minnesota. That you show up to a fancy office, sign your papers, hand them a check, get your keys, do a happy dance in the parking lot and live happily ever after. Easy.


  • We sign our papers at a Starbucks with a notary while shoving a cheeseburger into my face with my non-signing hand. (Hey, it was my lunch break and I was desperate.)
  • Make an extra trip to the bank and pay a $30 wire fee to move our funds to the escrow company’s account. Awesome, we love bank fees.
  • Wait two days.
  • Get copied on an angry e-mail from the seller’s agent to the escrow company demanding why on earth the lender has not reviewed the selling documents yet.
  • Wait another day.
  • Call the realtor, lender and escrow company multiple times asking for updates.
  • Wait for the lender to fund the loan.
  • Call again.
  • Wait for the escrow company to record the title with the county once loan is funded.
  • Meet your realtor and get the keys.

We jumped the gun a little and after we signed our loan docs we sneaked into the house and had a pizza party (which we did entirely on our own, our realtor had zero knowledge or involvement in providing us the lock box key). But now we are not even to the  bottom of the bullet-point list. We are currently on “Wait for the lender to fund the loan”. It is Friday. We were supposed to be done with everything and have our keys last week. Now we are being told that we might not get our keys until Monday. It’s like the escrow company knows that we’ve been in transition for almost nine months and have had multiple housing set-backs so they figured “Hey! Let’s REALLY make this feel like an authentic experience for them and drag it out as long as possible, what’s a few more days in nine months total?”.  I mean really, why would we want the keys to the house we just bought? Why would we want to start painting and change the carpeting (AKA make our foreclosure habitable) so we can move in. We LIKE sleeping on floors, sofas and hide-a-beds. Please take your time. We’ll just be twiddling our thumbs on top of our suitcases. Maybe I’ll get a phone call and we’ll have a house tonight? Almost a year from when we started packing and staging our MN house for sale it would be really great to have a home again. Here’s hoping!


Update: We  cannot close today. We cannot close Monday. Tuesday is the earliest all documentation and recording can be done. This in and of itself is a huge blow in our delicate emotional balance. It gets worse. The extension we filed to close after our most recent delay expires today. The seller sent an angry e-mail to my realtor on which I was copied that stated they already approved one extension, they may not do another. Now we wait. I am in real estate hell. Did I mention how much we heart and soul love this house? Did I mention how long it took to find it? Did I mention it’s a foreclosure and by the grace of God the bank accepted our bid when they could have accepted a much, much higher price for it? Did I mention that because of divine intervention from above that helped us buy a house that would have been out of reach if it had been in retail condition, we have  enormous amounts of equity now and in our future? Did I mention that this is MY house and where I am convinced my family is supposed to be?  Did I mention that it is the most amazing house in all of Southern California? How can this possibly be happening after everything we’ve been through house wise? I feel like crying and vomiting and screaming all at the same time.

Another (Satur)day Another Dollar

Working weekends is not fun.

Working weekends with children at home is torture.

Working Saturdays is soul sucking.

Don’t mind my pity party, just wallowing in the woes of retail hours. I feel like I shouldn’t complain. I love being able to provide for my family. Being able to have built a life for my children that includes a yard, extracurricular activities, food and you know, like clothes is a great feeling. I have worked, clawed and scraped for everything we have. But right now I want to whine. When my oldest was still little it didn’t feel so bad. If I had a Tuesday off, so did she and we got to spend it together. If I had the morning off before my evening shift, so did she and we spent it together. Life has changed dramatically since she started going to school. Now she is on the schedule of “normal” people, she is on business hours. If I work nights and weekends (which I do) I just don’t see her. My only consolation is that hubby is home on the weekends now (he has also worked weekends the last five years so this is a big deal). I feel comforted knowing that they are not in daycare or with babysitters (which are all wonderful people , but it’s just not the same as staying home with mom or dad). He is creating wonderful memories for them. He is doing fun things and making sure their time off from school is filled with joy and adventure. He is loving them to pieces and making sure they feel adored and cherished. And he even manages to do the laundry and dishes and help with life stuff, he’s pretty great.  Today he is taking our mid-west/west coast girls to the mountains to play in the snow (since my 8 year old claims she misses it, she clearly does not understand her statements and must be confused-maybe that’s what happens when you don’t have to shovel the driveway). I hope for pictures. The pictures kill me a little. The pictures bring me peace. I am so jealous. I am happy for them.

Le sigh.

But when all is said and done, I’m lucky to have a job. Right?

New Years Resolutions: a blessing and a curse


I love this time year.  This time of year highly irritates me. This time of year is so wonderful my heart wants to sing. This time of year makes me want to put my head under my pillows and wallow in my lack of change from last year. I want to skip this time of year. I love this time of year.

The blessing:  I love the time to self-reflect. I love that as an entire society and community we all slow down and take a minute to take personal inventories and realign goals. I love that without a societal tradition called ” resolutions” I might (gasp) NEVER take the time to do it and my whole life would pass by in a blink without a single self-reflection.

The curse: The self-reflecting and self-inventory ALWAYS makes me feel like I fell short. Always. Even if I have had a wonderful year. Even if my heart could burst from contentment and fulfillment. Even if things couldn’t be better. Looking at my resolutions from the year before make me feel like a failure. Always.

So I think maybe we re-write this whole “resolution” thing. Maybe with just a few tweaks we will find we ARE in fact achieving these resolutions.

Here are my ideas to more fulfilling and permanent resolutions:

  1. Snap checking once a year is terrible. ESPECIALLY if your resolution is health related, doing so RIGHT after the holidays is setting ourselves up for failure. Are we really to believe that if we snap check our health in JANUARY we will notice an IMPROVEMENT ? Instead, I’m going to reflect throughout my entire year. When was I doing well? How many weeks or months was I feeling successful?  Maybe this next year if I can just add a few weeks in the year of feeling successful in my health goals, I won’t be depressed that they are not PERFECTLY and PERMANENTLY implemented in my life by next year. It’s a process.
  2. We’re setting ourselves up for failure. My resolutions always seem so drastic (switch to a career you love!). Yeah ok. Instead, I’m going to focus on the steps in the process. One online class. Actually start circulating my resume instead of complaining about my job. Start networking with people in a field that interests me. Even just one of these ideas will put me on my way. This resolution doesn’t need to be fully realized by next year, it simply needs to be a living, breathing process in my life.
  3. We have to self-reflect more then once a year. This one is the hardest for me. I know this is a good idea and I know lots of people already do this. But I get SO caught up in bills, grocery shopping, dentist appointments, gymnastics registration, blah blah blah that I lose all sense of self-direction. The older I get the more I realize if we don’t live with intention and purpose it falls by the wayside. So I’m committing to setting little mini-goals and maybe some bigger ones throughout the whole year. Heck, I might even get crazy and throw in some steps on life goals (Academy Award winning screen play anyone? ). I’m going to put them in my planner RIGHT NOW so all year long they will be there staring at me, instead of me trying to remember (which let’s be real is not a thing.).

So off to an amazing year! As amazing as we can make it, and as wonderful as we create it to be.

15 things that go through your head after posting your first blog

  1. Bloggers! I’m ONE of you!!


  1. I’m a pretty much a technical and computer genius. Just sayin.


3.  OMG! I better download the WordPress app so I can check my viewings every three minutes!


4.  Wait a second. Are 19 of these 21 viewings from me? I should stop clicking on it.


5.  Published?! I’m published? Does this mean I can put “Published Author” on my resume now?


6. Oh god. I hope my grammar was correct. Are you supposed to put a period after parentheses?



7. Do you think I could write off a new Apple desktop? You know, one the size of a small country?

oprah thinking

8. I have so many ideas, I should probably get one of those recording pens so I can jot down my thoughts while I’m driving.



9. Can you write off recording pens?

oprah thinking

10. This is AWESOME! Everybody should blog! I should probably tell all my friends and family topics I think they would be great at writing about. Let’s ALL do it!


11. My post has been up for an hour now. Why hasn’t anybody contacted me for a book deal yet?


12. I’ve found my new calling. This will totally be my new job. I should go tell my boss I quit right now.


13. I’ll probably be really good at this. I wonder when the next blogging conference is?


14.Wait a second. Is blogging dead? It’s been around for a really long time…


15. I don’t care! I’m officially a blogger!




“Was your job transferred?”

imageThis is a question I get whenever I tell someone that we have just moved here from out of state.

I think it’s interesting and highlights our safe mindsets. Which is exactly why we moved.

Let’s backtrack a little. This past year  hubby and I made a gigantic leap of faith. We decided to move from Minneapolis, MN to Southern California. We sold our house, packed up the kidlets, drove cross-country with zero road trip plan ( which in hindsight was incredibly dumb, especially trying to traverse the mid-west during Sturgis. We are idiots.) and landed here with no house or jobs lined up.

“You left your family?”

“Neither of you has a job lined up!?”

“Won’t you miss it?”

Yes. Correct. Yes.

It’s been hard. It’s been exciting. It’s been  excruciatingly painful. It’s been full of joy. One minute I want to run back to my beautiful, familiar mid-west with its gorgeous autumns of reds and oranges and crisp air, or its magical, silvery winters. Other times I relish in the balmy palm tree breezes and breathtaking mountain vistas and can never imagine leaving. It’s a work in progress. We get asked why we did it. We have some basic, pragmatic answers to satiate the polite questioner, such as the  fact that we have some family here and that made the leap of faith less scary, or that Minnesota winters are unbearable and soul sucking and we desperately wanted to escape them. Other answers address how little our girls are and how it’s easier for them to adapt now while they are little as opposed to adapting when older. But the root of it is passion. Adventure. Embracing this giant wonderful world we live in. Exploring. And to include our girls. To not wait until they are grown and out of the house. To involve them and be living role models of a family that can do anything together. To open their hearts to change. To help them embrace the critical skill of adaptation. To help pave a road in their futures where they will take leaps of faith and build a life around their dreams because they saw their parents do it.

“Was your job transferred?”

It makes me sad in a way, that the only reason we could make gargantuan changes in our life would be something pragmatic, even out of our control. Why can we not choose just to choose?

At our going away party somebody ominously  warned “You’ll be back.”.

I smiled hugely and genuinely and without hesitation replied “You’re absolutely right. We might.”

The statement felt taunting. Accusatory. Like we were setting ourselves up for failure. Like moving home at any point in our lives would be a shameful retreat. An embarrassment. An admission of mistake making and life ruining.

Oh but how WRONG that is. We are fully embracing this lifetime we’ve been given. If we travel back it would beautiful. It would be a lovely part of our evolving story.

But we don’t know if we will ever move back home. Of if we will stay in California. Or if we will follow one or both of the girls to a state of their choosing. But it is so beautiful to dream and wonder. It is wonderful because it is unwritten.


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