Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom: One Year In

A year ago today I began my career as a stay-at-home mom.

{This was the first solo outing I had as a stay-at-home mom!}

I knew it was going to be hard. I wasn’t sure what the challenges would look like or how I’d weather the change. What I did know was that I was ready. While it ended up happening much faster than we could have ever planned for, the timing was such that it worked out just fine anyway.

Before I became a career mom I loved my professional career – it was really hard to leave it. And still, I am so confident in my decision to stay home with my littles and honestly hardly think about the time when I was a working mom. A lot of things were significantly easier then – mostly because we had consistent childcare and I could get a break during the day.

Since staying home, though, I feel so grateful to be the one out on the field every day making the decisions, fighting the battles, kissing the bumps and bruises, breaking up the fights, pushing the 75+ pound stroller up the giant hills in our neighborhood, preparing all of the food and just being there with and for my children. I had always dreamed of being “just” a mom and it turns out to be a pretty good fit.

I began my new career just days after we moved into The Lodge and the timing of the transition was seamless. I honestly can’t imagine running two houses and the hectic schedule we have, managing an au pair, parenting two toddlers, while also working.

The adjustment took me a few months. I got into a groove in early spring last year, and of course there are ebbs and flows with the schedule day-to-day but overall, we have a really nice routine. I have a list of some favorite activities the kids love {swimming, going to the zoo, the children’s museum} for no school days and another list of fun, random outings to check out.

Some weeks are super smooth. Both kids are occasionally in great moods at the same time and equally cooperative. I can recall some of our best weeks and some of the highlights that left a lasting imprint. A lot of them are really recently.

Last summer was probably one of the best summers I’ve ever had, definitely since having kids, but it was also extremely difficult. Ben as a fresh three-year old was not a walk in the park. I had a massive adjustment period to age three and it took a solid six weeks for me to get my bearings and figure out what I was dealing with.

In addition to Ben turning three, Hannah turned into a toddler and threw us all for a loop. She went from being the easiest baby ever to being the wildest, loudest toddler on the face of the earth, all in the span of what felt like a day. One day I had this blissful 2-1/2 year old and my perfect, calm baby and the next I had a threenager and a freaking monkey. Holy, holy buckets.

I’m extremely fortunate to have a tremendous support system. It seems like all of my closest friends have toddlers the same age as Ben and many of them now have their second child. I have a few different groups of “mom friends” here in Seattle, as well as my girlfriends from back in Minnesota. We support each other frequently through texting, video chats and playground meet-ups. When we’re lucky we can sneak away after bedtime for a glass of wine.

Now that I’m a year in I’m pretty unfazed by things like two toddlers both throwing a fit at the same time {in public or at home} or carrying two toddlers {thankfully usually the littlest is on my back} and a coffee, or going on a big excursion. Things happen and I deal with them and then the day goes on.

One of the biggest challenges, though, is that I get very little time to myself. I have found creative ways to make time here and there, like taking Hannah for runs in the jogging stroller, hiring a babysitter once or twice a month or going out in the evening with a girlfriend after the kids are in bed. I also love to wake up early and have my coffee in peace and get ready alone as a way to ease into my day.

Spending all day just about every day with two toddlers certainly has its ups and downs. I’m paid every day in cuddles, laughter, big hugs and kisses and pure abundant love from my littles. It’s worth more to me than any fancy salary or incentives and I am so loving my job.

Ski School!

Long before Alex and I had kids we would catch ourselves dreaming of the days in the future where our little ones would be in ski school and eventually we’d be able to ski together as a family. We’re a long way from all being able to ski together with much independence, but our firstborn just finished his inaugural year of ski school!

Ben wrapped up his six-week session of ski school recently and absolutely loved it. We really didn’t know what to expect from a three-year old in ski school – we just hoped he’d have fun, maybe learn a few things and keep on enjoying skiing.

Thankfully six weeks in and he still loves to ski! And he made huge strides with independence and stamina, to boot. He is working on the “pizza” and definitely has “french fry” figured out pretty well and can even do a few turns. Stopping is not in his wheelhouse yet, though.

So far this season Ben has had nine days on snow and we’re hoping to get out several more days to keep up with his new skills. Alex took him on his first chair lift ride a few weeks ago and I’m hoping the rest of the ski season will largely be spent on the beginner chair. It’s nice that the run is longer on the chair lift than it is on the magic carpet.

I’m chalking this ski school experience up to a smashing success.

Lodge Life: Reflections on our First Year

To say this has been a big year for us would be a gross understatement.

As we are at the year mark on having moved into The Lodge I’ve found myself thinking back on this most special time so fondly. Our children are growing up partially in the mountains, they’re having “firsts” out here in our paradise and they’re simply free to run and roam in ways they’re not able to in the city. The air is so fresh and cleansing and rejuvenating and the spirit out in the mountains renews us.

I’m not sure what it is but when we’re at The Lodge our to do lists go to the wayside and our priorities shift. The most important matters on the docket are spending time with family, Alex and me enjoying an evening together and getting outside in nature. Everything else gets pushed aside.

We’ve begun to become part of a new community and now have two places we call home. We’re meeting neighbors and other community members in Leavenworth and forming new relationships.

Now that we’ve seen all four seasons in Leavenworth we have our favorites list and really understand the annual cycle of the tourist town and the beauty surrounding it. We’ve found some fantastic family-friendly hikes, two ice skating rinks, the most gorgeous views and the best coffee in town. We also know when to avoid coming into town for fear of having an hour wait for a table at dinner time. We’re really getting acquainted with the area and it feels like home.

It’s so nice to have somewhere to go to get a break from the city. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love living in Seattle, it’s just nice to go spend time where life moves a little slower and things are a little simpler. We relish in the space, both inside the house and outside.

The best part, though, is the time we’ve been able to spend with each other, our extended family and our friends. We’re bursting at the seams in our tiny house in Seattle and we love being able to host multiple families here at The Lodge. That’s the biggest reason we did this.

We absolutely love the time that our kids have been able to spend with their grandparents out here. It brings Alex and me so much joy to sit back and watch our kids play with their grandparents and make what we hope is a lifetime of memories. I always want our kids to think back on their childhood and recall spending precious time playing with their family here at The Lodge.

Our two nephews {and their parents and grandparents} are visiting for the first time in a few weeks and Alex and I are just over the moon with excitement for Ben and Hannah to show Nico and Marco around the mountains. We are so hopeful they’ll come back every year {hint, hint!}.

This winter we had the true pleasure of celebrating our first holiday season at The Lodge. Cutting down our Christmas tree from our property was so special. I sit in front of the glass doors every time it starts snowing and just watch it turn into a snow globe outside. Winter is so magical here.

Now, with all of these great pleasures we’re enjoying there surely have been tremendous challenges and sacrifices. It is extremely difficult to manage two households with two very young toddlers – Hannah was only 6 months old when we moved in and literally screamed for half of the car ride until she was over one.

Going back and forth between two houses with two little ones is exhausting to say the least. For at least the first six months or so neither kid would sleep through the night here and it put a big damper on Hannah’s overnight sleep in Seattle, as well. One thing our kids are learning is to be adaptable to continued change and unpredictability.

Managing the ebbs and flows of the two houses is a little tricky. Do we have eggs in Leavenworth, or do I need to bring them? What about mayonnaise? Wait, was there bacon in the freezer, or are we out? I’m eternally grateful for our amazing and well-stocked pantry and the fantastic freezer we have at The Lodge – it makes the management of food so much easier. I loathe the grocery stores available nearby so I bring most of our food from Seattle. I do a big stock-up on food about once a month or two and replenish our staples, so generally I only have to bring dairy and produce.

Our house in Seattle is severely neglected. Particularly in the winter when it’s dark for all hours of the day when Alex is home, it’s been very hard to keep up on outdoor projects. Mowing the lawn last summer was really tough to squeeze in with being gone every weekend and having a baby who went to bed at 7:00. We realized we need at least one weekend a month in Seattle to focus on taking care of house projects. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to help out more with projects now that our kids will be a little older this summer.

The weeks go by so quickly when we’re back and forth every weekend, as we are now. Living in one city for 3 days, then another for 4 is quite an experience. I feel like I’m constantly needing to think ahead and order groceries for the next house we’ll be at, or needing to do laundry so I’m not returning to a heap of it. And then there’s the cleaning. For some reason The Lodge seems to be significantly easier to keep clean, so that’s icing on the cake.

It’s no surprise that the benefits significantly outweigh the challenges of having two homes. Our kids absolutely love the “mountain house” and they are so happy and so comfortable there. At three and a half I have already seen that Ben’s vocabulary and experiences are different than they would be if we didn’t have this life. He knows his way around Leavenworth just as well as he knows his way around our neighborhood in Seattle. He talks about the mountain pass and is able to describe what “avalanche control” is, he’ll educate you on what a pump track is and will happily share with you that one of his most favorite things to do is go ice skating.

My gratitude for this privilege of having a mountain home is so abundant. We are so grateful to have been able to build this home so early in our kids’ lives. It is everything we had hoped for and so, so much more. Cheers to our first year at The Lodge!

P.S. In case you’re curious, the kids and I spent 159 days and we all spent 36 weekends at The Lodge in our first year!

Hannah is 18 Months Old!

Our baby girl is growing up so fast! Her personality continues to grow bigger and bigger each month. Hannah Maxine has really turned into a toddler lately.

  • Weight: 26 pounds, 6 oz {88th percentile}
  • Length: 32 inches {60th percentile}
  • Clothing size: 18-24 months and growing! Anything new I buy for her I’m sizing up to 2T.
  • Shoe size: toddler size 5 – growing, growing, growing!
  • Number of teeth: twelve
  • Eye color: I’m calling them “alpine lake” – the most gorgeous greeny blue
  • Favorite foods: pomegranate, smoothies!!!, Grammy’s party mix, mangoes, blueberries, cookies
  • Least favorite foods: beef, chicken
  • Favorite things/activities: doing anything Ben does, brushing her teeth, reading interactive books, playing with cars, taking things out of drawers or cupboards, waving at a dogs/people passing by, going to the park, climbing!
  • Least favorite things/activities: waiting, not getting what she wants, going in the car seat, getting her diaper changed

Hannah wants to do everything Ben does. “Monkey see monkey do” is on repeat inside my head all day long. Ben bangs his fork on the table, Hannah bangs hers harder. If Ben is putting on his backpack, she wants hers on too. Thank goodness she can now fit into Ben’s old red Hunter rain boots so she can have a pair that matches his. When Ben comes home and immediately wants to get his jammies on, Hannah goes to her PJ drawer and picks out a pair for me to help her into.

She is becoming so independent in wanting to do everything by herself too. Hannah loves to refill Jackson’s water bowl {so much so that she dumps it out on the floor just so she can fill it back up again}, wash her hands, pretend to vacuum or sweep the floor and pick out her own boots to wear.

Hannah is so helpful around the house! I am amazed that she’ll just walk around picking things up and putting them away. Just the other day we were playing in the living room and she noticed Ben’s mittens were on the vent drying from the day before and she went over and put them away in his basket. She is a really terrific listener and she follows directions promptly and with enthusiasm. Boy do I hope this keeps up! It’s so endearing watching her help out.

In the last month or two Hannah has become more interested in playing by herself, away from me. I’ve always felt she’s pretty independent in that she likes to do things for herself; however, she generally wants me to be with her. Recently that has begun to change and she’ll spend longer periods of time playing with a toy off in the distance at the mountain house or around the corner in another room in Seattle.

It seems like Hannah has been working on repeating more words this last month. She definitely has a few new ones. Most of Hannah’s words sound like a variation of the word “dada” so it’s rather hard to understand what she is saying at this point. For several months now it’s been clear Hannah can understand everything we say – we’re just working very hard to understand what she has to say.

While Hannah isn’t pronouncing many words properly she sure can convey her point. It makes me wonder if she’s satisfied with her method of communication and has chosen not to talk more. She uses sign language a lot, does a lot of pointing, a lot of shouting and demanding, she’ll bring me something she wants me to put on her or she’ll take my hand and pull me to where she wants to go. She surely has figured out how to make the most of her abilities.

Hannah’s personality continues to mountainous. She is SO much fun. When she’s supremely happy, generally after filling her belly, she puts her arms up near her shoulders, stiffens her body and just shouts jubilantly. Over and over again. We all know when she’s happy because she starts to get really loud!

Hannah is incredibly slow to warm up to people who want to get in her personal space and rarely leaves my side in a new setting or when other adults are at our house. I think she’s afraid I’m going to leave. Hannah is my little koala bear.

Within the last week or two I’ve started to notice Hannah and Ben actually beginning to play together. They sort of wrestle and goof around with Hannah climbing on Ben’s back. Hannah is always the instigator and her ever patient big brother is typically a willing participant.

Lately I’ve been noticing that Hannah is extremely jealous when I pay Ben attention, especially during an afternoon when Ben has been at school. Those are the days Hannah and I have special one-on-one time while Ben is away. She is known to push him out of my lap, come up and whack him on the head with a toy or her hand or just start shouting at him.

She’s also figured out just exactly what she needs to do to get my attention when I’m trying to get something done. Generally it’s by dumping Jackson’s water or food bowl out on the ground. Other times it’s wiping her high chair tray clean of food if I am multitasking while she’s having a snack. At 18-months old she’s got it all figured out!

Gosh this girl is a blast. She is just so much fun. We’re looking forward to the next few months as we continue to enjoy winter in the mountains!

Ben is 18 months old

 

First Holiday Season at The Lodge

This holiday season was extra special for us. We’re hoping to spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas at The Lodge from here until eternity and our inaugural year didn’t disappoint. Our first Christmas season was a white one and it was filled with more joy and smiles on my kids’ faces than I’ve ever seen before.

We were able to spend just over two weeks holed up in the mountains together and it was magical and so, so very special. It seems like our quality family time happens mostly at The Lodge and to have such an abundance was the best gift of the season.

Our Christmas traditions seemed extra special this year. Alex perfected his cinnamon roll baking skills and whipped up the best batch yet! I knocked out a few more dozen of my new favorite Christmas cookie – M&M cookies. Ben decorated a gingerbread house and we cozied up on the couch in front of the fire for The Night Before Christmas.

There were so many firsts that will be on the “traditions” list from here on out.

We loved ice skating in town, finding the best sledding hill around and going cross country skiing still holds high on our list. Ben got three days of skiing in and Alex and I managed to get one, too, although it was separate.

A few days after Christmas my dad made his way out to The Lodge. We were also joined for a few visits by my cousin Jonathan, his wife, Kelly, and their almost 2-year old son, Miles, who were staying nearby. The weather was really mixed during this part of our trip and was fraught with torrential rain for a few days.

Despite the unseasonable weather we managed to get out for a few adventures around town and hosted Jon, Kelly and Miles for a few play dates to escape the rain. After taking Ben skiing, my dad and I were able to stay at Stevens Pass for a few hours and take some runs together. It was such a treat and the conditions were amazing.

This first holiday season at The Lodge was an absolute dream. Time moved so slowly and it really felt like we were able to unwind, relax, play and enjoy each other’s company. It actually did feel like a vacation.

The snowy weather made the experience that much more special. Snow is one of my absolute favorite things and I found myself rushing to the windows in the morning to see if new snow had fallen in the night. We read “Snow” as many times as possible because every time we recited it, it snowed!

My heart is extra full after this holiday season and it’s overflowing with gratitude and excitement that we are able to spend so much time out in the mountains this winter. Happy ski season!

2010-2019… A Decade Recap

I’ve been super nostalgic lately and I think it’s partly due to the fact that my toddlers are growing up before my eyes, but also partly because the decade is coming to an end. I wanted to put together a little photo reel of images I thought summed up each year of the 2010s. Happy New Year!

2010

We bought our first house! Back when we were 24 we were not anticipating still being there a decade later and bringing home our babies to that home. We fell in love with our little craftsman and absolutely adore our neighborhood. I don’t know if we’ll ever leave Madrona, but hopefully one day we’ll up-size and get a slightly bigger house.

2011

Skiing was a major part of our 2011. This winter we made it to Whistler, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole and Crystal Mountain. We palled around Crystal Mountain with our friends Carrie and Patrick, as well as Steve and Diane, and solidified our friendship, love of the mountains and skiing skills.  We rented a cabin for four weekends the winter of 2010-2011 with two other couples and that was the gateway to our quest for our own ski cabin. 2011 also marked the year that Alex and I snuck off to the courthouse and got legally married, then later that year Alex’s paternal grandmother, Maxine, passed away.

2012

Our winter wonderland wedding took place on April 14, 2012 in the mountain town of Vail, Colorado. 90 of our family members and closest friends joined us as we said “I do” while surrounded by puffy snowflakes falling down just for the occasion. 2012 was also the year we got our puppy, Aspen. Sadly, she only lived six months. We also said goodbye to Alex’s maternal grandfather, Papa.

2013

We celebrated our first anniversary in Hawaii just before bringing home our puppy, Jackson. That summer was filled with weddings and associated parties, as well as travel to said weddings. As newlyweds ourselves it was extra fun to celebrate our friends’ nuptials. Along the way in 2013, I lost both of my grandmothers and now Alex and I only have one surviving grandparent – his maternal grandmother, Nana.

2014

The trip of a lifetime was our major 2014 highlight. We spent a month touring Italy, Switzerland, Spain, London and Amsterdam. The reason for the trip was to attend the dreamy wedding of Alex’s sister, Alina, and her husband, Alberto in northern Italy. Our trip was a dream and we think back on this so often.

2015

This was the last year before we had kids and we sure lived it up in 2015. We drank all of the wine, took as many trips as possible and enjoyed our time together. I got pregnant in the fall of 2015, so the year ended with my first trimester.

2016

During the earlier parts of my pregnancy Alex and I managed to squeeze in quite a few memorable ski days. We went to Park City together, then Alex went on a cat ski trip with our friend Patrick while I went to Whistler with my dad. I’m so grateful we got that many ski days before we became parents. Ben arrived on the very last day of May in 2016 via an abrupt c-section. After a month in the NICU we brought him home and started our life as a family of three. Having a premature newborn is no easy feat. There were many challenges and so much joy in 2016. We certainly adjusted to our new normal and were so very grateful to have had Edina, our wonderful nanny help us navigate the beginning of parenthood.

2017

I had a hard time coming up with a “theme” for 2017. It really was a fun year but not one with a major trend, other than navigating parenthood. We managed to travel a bit – we went to Arizona, Whistler, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois and we bought the property in Leavenworth that we eventually built The Lodge on.

2018

Hannah was born right in the middle of summer 2018. She was the absolute best baby and made us feel like a real family. A few months before Ben turned 2 we broke ground on building The Lodge, and Alex had a big job change.

2019

The Lodge was completed in early 2019 and our year was spent adjusting to our new life with two toddlers and two homes. The joy we experienced in 2019 is a life’s worth. We made all of the memories and squeezed in as much as we possibly could to this special year. We spent so much time together as a family, as well as with our extended family and close friends. Early in the year I left my job to stay home with our kiddos.

I can’t even imagine what’s in store for the next decade. I only hope that the 2020s bring us more family time, a continued love of exploration and nature, good health, an abundance of travel and patience. By the end of the 2020s our children will be teenagers and Alex and I will be approaching our mid-40s. I don’t really think I’ve thought about what those days late in the next decade will possibly look like – I just hope they’re happy ones.

2019 Recap… A Year in Review

2019 has been a year filled with so many highlights it is going to be tricky to narrow them down. Alongside the highlights we weathered some storms, quite a few illnesses, and navigated significant changes, including a career change for both Alex and me. Alex switched roles and is now working in management, rather than as a software developer, and I’m finishing out my first year as a full-time mama.

The year started with such mixed emotions. We were busily making final decisions on The Lodge while also on-boarding our new au pair. We quickly realized she wasn’t going to work out and we made the tough, yet easy, decision for me to leave my job and stay home with the kids. The year didn’t go quite as we had expected.

February marked our move-in date to The Lodge! It also marked a 3-week period where the city of Seattle was covered in a thick coating of snow and ice and there was no school. That meant we got “snowed in” at The Lodge for our first big trip there. What an experience that was!

The rest of the winter was much the same – getting settled at The Lodge and going up every weekend. We quickly got into a groove.

Ben fell in love with skiing and by the end of the season was able to ski a bit independently.

Ben also fell in love with the pump track, where he built tremendous confidence on his balance bike, as well as gymnastics. He is naturally very athletic and we noticed a big boost in his self-esteem last winter as a result of these various physical activities.

Alex and I didn’t get to enjoy the benefits of having a season pass at Stevens Pass; however, we did get our fair share of days in on our cross country skis.

Our family photographer, Kim, came out to The Lodge late winter to capture our little piece of paradise. I will always treasure these beautiful photos from our first month there.

Once the snow melted at The Lodge we pulled out our hiking boots and really began exploring our surroundings.

We had a wonderful spring in the mountains with Grammy and Papa. They spent a month out in Washington and the kids loved getting to have so much time with their grandparents. Grandpa Fred and Uncle John came to enjoy the sun and built the kids a swing set to kick off our first spring/summer at The Lodge. Hannah started crawling on Mother’s Day and that opened up a whole host of possibilities for her.

Spring quickly turned into summer. Summer 2019 was one of the best of my adult life so far. We started off the summer by celebrating Ben’s third birthday, doing a round of swimming lessons, spending as much time as possible at the pump track and dipping our toes in the world of summer camp. 

Despite the joy and happy memories June was a really tough month. It was the first month Ben was three and ohhh the defiance. Hannah also turned 11 months in June and lordy she turned into a tantruming, demanding toddler then. I was totally thrown off my game, adding to the fact that it was summer and there was zero consistency since school was out. Thankfully we came out the other side eventually.

As the days grew warmer the memories compounded. Alex took off nearly 3 weeks of work and we savored precious family time and celebrated Hannah’s first birthday.

{#prodad}

The summer unofficially came to an end for us on our Labor Day weekend trip to Wisconsin to visit Alex’s family. We got to meet our new nephew Marco, too!

This fall Ben started a Montessori preschool and absolutely loves it. Our early fall was primarily spent in the mountains enjoying the spectacular colors and entertaining friends and family. We got hit hard at the start of the school year with stomach bugs, pneumonia and croup and it took us a while to bounce back. Hannah learned to walk, I ran the Leavenworth Octoberfest Half Marathon in October and Ben joined a soccer team. We’ve been using a babysitter more regularly to give me a break during the week and allow Alex and me to enjoy an adults-only dinner out together.

The holiday season arrived abruptly, amidst another round of illness, and our hearts overflowed with joy and pride as we celebrated our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in Leavenworth at The Lodge. Alex made a quick trip back to Illinois to celebrate his mom’s birthday. The holiday season has been filled with skiing, sledding and ice skating and we can’t wait to enjoy the rest of the winter in the mountains.

Well, that’s a wrap! I am so looking forward to seeing what could possibly be in store for the Allen family in 2020. My wish is for it to be a year filled with good health, lots of snow and an abundance of time spent with family and friends in the mountains. Happy new year!

Lodge Tour: Master Oasis

I’m tempted to say that our master bedroom is my favorite part of the whole entire house. It’s so hard to pick favorites, but when I walk into the master suite I instantly feel a sense of tranquility and pause to take in the beauty – especially in the evening when the lights are dimly lit.

{The knotty cedar ceiling is striking and I can’t get enough of the views of the Ponderosas out the windows. I absolutely love how the decor and finishes came together in this room.}
Bed
Dresser & nightstands
Blanket
Quilt
Decorative pillows
Lamps
Chandelier

{The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom and closet with a separate powder room – a must for us!}

{We had so much fun pulling together the finishes in the bathrooms and just love the fun pattern on the tile.}

During the design process we also stumbled upon Brooklinen and gave them a try for our bath towels as well as our sheets. I’m hooked! Each mattress in the house {we have seven!} is from Tuft & Needle and we loooveee them. We’re so happy with all of the finishings we ended up selecting.

Lodge Tour: Exterior & Main Living Spaces

We are darn near done furnishing The Lodge and putting the finishing touches on the stylings and I just can’t wait another moment to take you on a tour! If you’ve been following along for a while you’ve seen many pictures; however, we haven’t felt the house was in a complete enough state to really stop and take some good pictures to share until now!

Well, the wait {for us!} is over. We are so in love with this beautiful home and are so pleased with how it turned out, thanks to our amazing builder M&M Quality Construction. Here’s a tour of the outside and main living areas. Bedrooms to come separately!

{From last winter – our snowbanks aren’t this high quite yet!}

{Also from last winter – I just love the snowy trees in the backdrop.}

{Welcome! We knew we’d be opening our house up to family and friends and would need a lot of space to store coats and gear. Our cabinet maker built us this custom boot bench and it’s one of my favorite parts of the house.}

{We have a split entry with very high ceilings – I just love walking in the front door.
Lights from Crate & Barrel and door from Simpson.}

{The kitchen is a dream come true. We had so much fun picking out the kitchen cabinet color and working with our cabinet maker to fine-tune his special blend of vinegar and red wine as the stain for the upper cabinets and open shelves.}
Appliances
Hardware
Most dishes
Kitchen lighting
Rugs (no longer available)
Bar stools

{We love having the great room open into the kitchen and dining room with a view up to the loft.}
Sofa Pillows – no longer available (from Crate & Barrel)
Ottaman – no longer available (from West Elm)
Rug – no longer available (from West Elm) – similar rug
Blankets
Lamp – no longer available (From Crate & Barrel)
Side board – custom
All visible art
All visible lighting
Dining table – custom
Dining chairs – color: dark gray (looks black in person)

{We feel so cozy in our great room. Any time of day it feels so homey, especially when we have a fire going.}
Sofa – color: tepic gray
Side board – custom
Leather chairs – color: vento smoke with walnut wood
Striped rug – no longer available
Cow hide rug
Benches – custom
Bench cushions – custom
Wagon wheel light fixture
Wall sconces
Art above side board
Art above chairs

{Meals at this beautiful table are extra special. Our cabinet maker hand-made this table, with seating for 12. Dining chairs are from Room & Board.}

{View from the loft.}

One of the best parts of the house is the quality of materials and the quality of local tradesmen who came together to build this dream home for us. We are so grateful to all of the people who had a hand in this project. I’d link them here but we’ve realized this town is so small that no one seems to have a web presence!

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

So far our Christmas has been filled with joy and excitement. We have made so many memories with our family and are enjoying carrying out our Christmas traditions.

This is our first Christmas at The Lodge and it has been so magical. I hope I remember these days for the rest of my life.

One of the extra special memories we made this year was cutting down our Christmas tree from the forest on our property at The Lodge. Just as we made it to the forest it began to snow! We trudged through the ice crusted snow with our very own saw and found the perfect Ponderosa Pine. It surely isn’t like a typical Grand Fir or Fraser Fir most folks are used to, but this tree is the most perfect of Christmas trees I’ve laid eyes on.

Of course we had a very Christmas Vacation moment when we brought the tree inside and realized just how big it really was!

Alex trimmed it back and we got carried away with decorating our beauty.

Every year since Ben was born the holiday season has been more and more special and this one takes the cake. Seeing the joy now from two toddlers is extremely heartwarming. I can’t wait to see what happens after Santa comes!

Merry Christmas!