Thursday, January 26, 2012

Before and After

I decided to deviate from my normal, essay style on my little blog. A few of you have been curious about the little house and the progress we have made. I regret that I didn't take more before pictures, but these are what I have.
The kitchen had "goldenrod" appliances and the floors were in need of multiple sessions of scrubbing with bleach. It appeared the layers of dirt had actually absorbed into the floor waxes that were used.

 The world's ugliest bathroom had wall board with glittery, faux marble, streaking all over it.  So 1964!  It also had an ugly, gross medicine cabinet and a paper towel dispenser bolted to the wall.  left over from when my house was a daycare.            

The living room is huge and open space.  Every wall in the house was white.  There was no defined dining area except the tiny space in the kitchen.


So we have now painted every single wall.  Warm colors that cozy up the place. Added cute rugs over the floors, except the living room, which had awesome, new carpet.
We designated one end of the living room as a dining area.  The table I have was hand made by my step-grandfather and we had to make room for it somewhere!  It's one of the very few earthy possessions I hope to keep forever.  I also had to squeeze in a comfy chair for reading in the mornings.  I also had to add a cute light!                                               

I decided to take the pictures with "reality" in them. My life includes, rugrats, sippy cups and crayons, so the pictures include them as well.

 So far my decorating style is pretty much, "use what ya got".  I haven't bought very many things just for this house.  It's a collaboration of Ryan's things, my things and gifts from friends and family that mean a lot to me.
I was lacking a space for crafts and scrapbooking.  I began to notice that the only reason I wasn't updating the babies' scrapbooks was because I dreaded having to get out all the supplies and then be sure to put them away when I got interrupted.  So I carved out some space for crafting in my huge mud room.  Maybe not the most adorable entry way, but it makes me happy to have this use of space! I do have to go buy a new breakfast nook table though....
For now I have painted over the ugly, bathroom wall board.  I used a light blue to go with the blue tub.  I actually like the blue tub.  It's a bigger size than they put in most homes these days and it's in good condition.  It does need new fixtures and the over hang above the shower ripped out.  I plan on wainscoting the walls, tiling the floor and ripping out the funky sink thing and putting in a real vanity.  But for now painting and making a cute curtain helps!

The kitchen is actually pretty great.  I hate the pink counter tops though and hope to resurface them at some point.  But I love my new stove, love all the cupboard space too! 

The babies room has a nice, traditional rug that was actually picked out by Ryan.  I hung some Remington prints that Ryan already had and made a cowboy themed room for them.  The wardrobe was a freebie that was in the house. 

My room  and Payson's room I will have to update later.  I have some things to do in there yet.  So stay tuned.... I hope you have enjoyed the tour of our little work in progress. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


Yesterday the weather broke from the snowy and frigid pattern we'd seen for several days.  The warmer, more windy weather returned.  During our little Arctic blast, my mom and I stayed put in our cozy little houses.  Other than the little snow boot path between our homes and Payson's little tracks to school, our yards looked vacant.  The vehicles had blankets of snow all over and around them, untouched.  Us prairie mommas keep things stocked up at home so we don't get stuck without yummy things to eat or things we need for the babies when the weather hits.  Nice and cozy we were....

I had crossed the street to retrieve the mail.  But I missed the sign on the door that was supposed to notify us of the scheduled power outage that was to occur between 3:30 and 6:00 pm.  Luckily, this is Geraldine.  People here are looking out for us.  Around 2 o'clock the phone rang.  Gary is an old rancher that now has retired to town.  He doesn't seem to have much to do, but is very nice.  He called because he noticed that our vehicles had not moved in several days.  So he figured we hadn't gone anywhere and probably hadn't seen the sign on the door of the post office.  He wanted to be sure we knew of the outage so we would not be unprepared or concerned.

This small kindness allowed us to to plan ahead for dinner without power and dig out the candles ahead of time.  It actually was kind of nice and peaceful for a couple of hours and then the lights came back on an hour ahead of schedule.  I guess that's how they do things in Geraldine....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Almost daily, God shows me another reason that we are here.  Sunday morning was one of those times He made it clear for me.  I went to meeting (church) with my mom instead of attending a church in Fort Benton or staying home and watching the dvd that our church in Laurel sends for us so we can stay connected. (I love that they send those!)   After meeting we were invited to stay for lunch with our relatives that host the meetings.

When I was growing up in Cascade we would drive to Great Falls every Sunday for gospel meeting.  My mom's aunts, uncles and cousins were always there and their children were a regular part of my life.  Their families are some of the most God fearing, salt of the earth people I know.  Moving away to Seattle caused us to lose touch with those families.  Until now.  Returning to this area has allowed us to reconnect with family that we are blessed to have.  My children can now grow and play with the children of my cousins.

I find it interesting that I am not the only one to recently return from elsewhere.  It seems they have also felt a calling to return to a more simple, authentic life for their children after spending years outside of Montana.  We have seen what the rest of the world has to offer and have chosen to be apart from it.

There, sharing Sunday dinner with my family, on a farm in the middle of an empty prairie, God once again whispered reassurance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Over the last month I have poured exhaustive energy into my little, old house.  The renter left and I scrubbed and painted every surface and nearly every wall in the place.  Cleaned the carpets, bleached the flooring multiple times.  I so wanted to have my little home at least "decent" by Christmas. I wanted to be proud of her when my family came. And I was!  It took all my emotional and physical energy but it was worth it! 

Once we were "in", the smaller, less noticeable, yet equally important tasks have needed tending too.  A reoccurring thought has surfaced during this process. It feels as though restoring an old house is an awful lot like rejuvenating a marriage....

Some of the items need cleared out and thrown away immediately! They've stopped working or have become dangerous! (stove)  Some things have lost the ability to work effectively and need replaced with something better. (fridge)  Some things died a slow, cold death a while ago and you can't revive them so you have to manage the costs of moving on with something new. (dryer) 

Then there's the little things allow us to reap great rewards for little effort.  A little handle added to a door, new curtains to hide ugly old swamp coolers.  There's nothing like new area rugs to cover up worn, old floors until we can afford to get the laminate we dream of.  Its the little things that make such a huge difference!

A few things in old houses and marriages are bothersome, but not something you can really change.  You must accept them as they are and choose to love it anyway.  The floors aren't level and they squeak.... the walls are cracked.  But they aren't deal breakers.  A little fresh paint and things look nice enough to keep you happy.

Some things in old houses or marriages are BIG projects that will take an almost ridiculous effort to repair.  But you know they cannot stay they way they are if you want it to stand for a lifetime.  So you plan for improvements and work diligently until things shape up and are strong again.  My little house has a cedar beam down in the belly of a basement.  The beam is doing its job of supporting the floors of the master bedroom, bathroom and part of the kitchen.  But that beam is getting tired and probably won't stand forever.  Ninety five years has taken it's toll.  I know it's going to be a tough project, but I'm going to have to move forward fearlessly if it's gonna last....