Posts Tagged ‘life’
Around Here: Mud Puddles/Road Trips/Building a Cob House/Spring Rain/Tools with Dad/Summer Canning/Lots of Naps
The first few weeks of summer have been jam packed full of family and fun. It seems we have been trying to fit in as much as possible before baby #2 makes his grand arrival in Mid-July. With each new day we welcome more and more of the summer’s heat and with that comes the inevitable pregnancy symptom; swollen feet! :/ It’s making it harder for us to get around and be active like we want, but we’re enjoying the slow pace and trying to get in as much rest as possible before we are waking up every 2-3 hours!
Overall we are very excited that our little family is growing and actually looking forward to our second home birth! Besides growing a human being, here are a few other things we’ve been up too:
From Oklahoma to Texas, Oklahoma to Tulsa, and Oklahoma to Kansas we’ve driven our little family all over the Midwest! We’ve had the pleasure of celebrating Grandma’s and Great Grandma’s Birthdays’, Confirmation for Meg’s little brother, IKEA pit-stops, and even a trip to an indoor waterpark!
No pregnancy is complete without having to squeeze yourself into a maternity swim suit at least once, right?!
We had the pleasure of meeting our dream client two years too early! Ever have that happen? No really, we had a couple reach out to us about building a modern farmhouse. It seems they are planning to build their own and heard, through our blog, that we were doing the same thing! We setup a Skype meeting and had a blast sharing ideas, hearing their current process, and what inspired them to build their own sustainable farmhouse in the first place. It’s so encouraging to meet other couples out there that are planning and saving and want the storta same simple life we are striving for. Not that everyone has to do it “our way”, it’s just neat to meet other couples in our shoes who are trying to figure it all out.
One of the amazing things that we found out about our new friends, Craig and Michelle, is that they actually built their own cob house on their land in Stillwater, OK! The photo above is an interior shot and you can visit their blog to see more of their process. You guys these people are legit! They don’t mind getting their hands dirty and although they realized, once the summer heat hit, that a cob house in Oklahoma just doesn’t hold up to the climate, it’s still amazing that they did their own research and decided to try it out!?
Better yet, they made it a family affair and managed to get the kids involved too!
The Midwest has had its share of rain this spring and we’ve enjoyed every little drop that Mother Nature has given us! Rainy days are a favorite around here and James is just starting to really appreciate the
mud puddles beauty of a good rainfall! There are moments where he is all little boy and then suddenly he becomes a little man, just sitting back taking it all in.
We love our little intuitive first born!
We had to share just one more photo of the Cob House built by Craig and Michelle! We look forward to keeping in touch with them and sharing our process as we both figure out how to design and build a custom modern farmhouse. Our vision for Green Couch is that in the future we primarly offer residential home design services. Right now Cale is pursuing his architectural license, working full-time so that we can get out of debt as soon as possible, and establishing the capital to fund our own home design. We want to gain as much knowledge in home construction as possible. In our opinion hands on experience and actually walking through that process is the best way we can learn and become experts from start to finish!
All in all our conversation with Craig and Michelle reminded us that our biggest passion is still family and design. Our hearts long to help families create spaces that they love and can ultimatly flourish in. We’re still figuring out what all that looks like; blogging, possibly consulting, to actually walking clients through a step by step process of design and home construction. Regardless, our Skype date was a refreshing reminder of our ultimate vision for home, family, and ultimately Bringing Design Home.
I know we keep saying that we are ALMOST done with the Nursery + Toddler Room Combo, but seriously we are ALMOST DONE!! After our pit-stop to IKEA we picked up a few last minute details and with the help of James, and Dad, we quickly had everything assembled.
Except that we hated how it all fit into the room!
Truth is, Cale and I got into a huge argument over the items we bought at IKEA. We thought they would be perfect, but once we saw them in the room, we realized they were over the top and that we had crossed the line. You know? The designer line? The modern elements balanced with the handmade/upcycled items were not coming together like we had envisioned. We didn’t go crazy and buy a bunch of stuff at IKEA, but it was obvious that the items we had purchased didn’t quite work with the existing layout and style of the room.
Meg’s been barefoot in the kitchen canning away! Ain’t no shame here, she’s obviously obsessed and has put together three amazing canning recipes that we will be sharing with you at the beginning of June, July, and August. Here’s a sneak peak at the recipes you can look forward to trying!
- Slow Cooker Cilantro and Lime Vinegar Free Salsa
- Slow Cooker Smokehouse Garden Salsa
- 3 Pepper Jam
Can you tell spicy foods have been a craving of hers for the last 9 months!?
And lastly, our little boy is going to be an official toddler at the beginning of September. He is so much fun and we can’t wait to give him a little brother to
terrorize love. We officially moved him to a toddler bed and the transition has been unbelieveably smooth! We just can’t figure out if it’s because he feels like a “big boy” or the fact that he can sneak and grab cars to play with in bed?! Either way, he seems to fall asleep on his own so we are letting him keep his “little secret” (at least for now!). You gotta pick your battles!
Next up, potty training a toddler while keeping a newborn alive and well! :/
Say a prayer for us…
From the Farm
As a parent you struggle with wanting to give your children your whole world, but also making sure that your whole world doesn’t revolve entirely around them. You need time for yourself, time to dream, time with your spouse, time for real sex (not JUST “Business Time” Sex), and time to feel like a real person who gets to pursue their own desires every once in a while! As a parent we all still have dreams! When our kids come along it’s easy to feel like those ambitions get pushed out of the rhythm of simply maintaining a family.
I know this has been a struggle of ours.
How do we build a business that our family can happily live off of while raising our kids at home?
For the longest time I thought it was all about maintaining the balancing act of family and work. Similar to the scales of justice the minute you take your time and focus off of one, the other has to sacrifice, and in return be neglected. I thought it was about doing it all and making it all look really good, but that’s not real life at all! Running a home based business, heck even if you work a 9-5 job and have a family, there are weeks where you can barely catch up with the laundry, let alone have dinner ready on time! It’s a lot of hard work, but changing my perspective from balancing it all to allowing life and work to flow within a steady rhythm has given me a new found peace for the journey a head. Finding my rhythm in the busy and quiet places, being in tune to my individual needs, my family’s needs, and my professional needs have all given me permission to ebb and flow within the different seasons that life brings. It’s not up to me to balance work and life, it’s up to me to listen to the ever changing rhythm and give in to how the two become my life. It’s about enjoying the journey of pursuing our dreams while being ok with the process.
A few years back Cale went from being home full-time working for Green Couch to working full-time at a local architecture firm. Between that and having a kid our design business went from two full-time employees to about one half. I’ve often times felt like we sold out to get a pay check, but looking back our reason to put Cale back in the work force was so much more than that. His degree is in architecture, but in order to get his architectural license and design like we hope to in the future, he had to put in more hours at an actual architecture firm. Since then he has collected all the hours he needs and has started testing for his license (2 tests passed, only 5 more to go!). It’s been a SLOW process, but one that has helped us move forward in so many more ways than I could have ever expected.
What felt like 10 steps back was actually 10 steps forward.
When we started Green Couch Design we had no plan, we had no savings. It was a whirl wind and a lot fun, but it was also a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice. Taking the last two years to intentionally slow down the growth of our design firm has given us time to enjoy growing into a family. It’s given us financial stability to become fully debt free AND build up savings so that we are in a better place when Cale does come home full-time. It’s given Cale work experience and connections in the architecture and construction industry that would have taken him YEARS to gain by working from home. Lastly, it’s allowed me to enjoy just being a mom and taking on clients at my own pace, instead of designing out of a need for a pay check.
As “creative entrepreneurs” it feels like we are not truly legit unless we are the starving artist. But there has got to be a way to do what we love and make a lot of money doing it without selling our souls. For Cale and I we want to pay for our kids’ college so that they can start their life as debt free as possible. We want to go on vacations all over the world for weeks at a time. We want to grow and cook our own food. We want to design and build our own modern farm house–in the next five years! ALL of these goals take money, and planning, and dreaming BIG! I understand that life can throw curve balls. There are moments where you finally get your savings to a healthy place and BOTH cars randomly need major repairs (like this last week!). None of our dreams become real without true intention, focus, and drive. Life is gonna throw random events your way that, for a season, will take more of your time, money, and energy. It’s how you allow those obstacles to flow within the pursuit of your dreams that will determine their ultimate effect.
There are days, like today, where I have to remind myself that we are making progress.
We are learning how to make smarter and better choices.
Our dreams are becoming real and tangible things.
It’s a slow process.
At times it’s VERY tedious, but step by step we are getting there.
There are so many dreams in Cale and I’s hearts that are way bigger than our children. We are constantly asking God how do all these things fit together into one melting pot? Like it or not you can’t separate life and work. The stress at work is gonna carry over into your home life and vice versa. Giving myself permission to move within the rhythm of life and work has made it less about choosing one over the other, and more about enjoying this season, this moment, and the task at hand. If I can’t stay on top of the laundry and have dinner ready in this moment, then how will I set my own deadlines and stay on top of them with our clients? Who knows what this season of motherhood is preparing me for in the future? I just gotta treat each task like the world depends on it. And it does! My kids depend on me being there. Being present in the day to day and not constantly checking my phone, or the latest blog post. Finding my rhythm has given me permission to focus on my design skills AND my mommy skills while not feeling guilty when I’m focused on one more than the other.
It’s given me the freedom and grace to adjust, adapt, make mistakes, and be ok with starting all over again.
This journey of Green Couch Design and ultimately Bringing Design Home is gonna look different than I thought. Sometimes we start down a path and it changes, but if we flow within the rhythm, within the song that is our life, God still manages to turn it into something amazing. Our rhythm is gonna look different than anything the world has ever seen, because there is no other Cale and Meg (or Male & Ceg as our friends call us). I can’t tell you exactly how or draw it in a picture. It’s not up to the world to define that for us. It’s not up to the latest social media fad, or the top 5 steps on how to grow our business. It’s up to us, and us listening to the beats in our hearts each moment, each day. It’s up to us flowing in this rhythm of life and work, enjoying the dance, and not being afraid to share it with others. Instead of being afraid of neglecting my home life for my work life, I get to choose both and do them both well. There is freedom in this journey of children and the pursuit our dreams. When the combination of life and work is less about balance and more about rhythm it becomes a celebration of the dance.
Of our song.
Of our story.
I know all this might sound like bunch of creative mumble jumble, but we are about to change things up around here. We are about to go into new directions as well as straighten up some existing paths. We’re still praying through it all and re-establishing vision, but we are excited to jump back in. With no strings attached. With no preconceived ideas.
Only a song in our hearts of a business that bridges family and work with a reality and a freedom that says you can be successful at both without compromising your beliefs, your time, or your quality in any area… And that’s exactly what we plan to do.
Thanks for joining us!
From The Farm
Around here things feel like they are finally moving forward! It seems projects we have been waiting to start are finally underway and we couldn’t be more excited!
After several cold days, and then a few late, late, late frosts (May 4th, seriously?!!) I “think” it’s safe to say that spring is officially here!
We planted 40 tomato plants! I had to put Cale’s eyeballs back in their sockets when I told him how many plants I wanted to plant this year. Since I won’t be eight months pregnant (like last summer) I plan on canning my little heart out and stocking up good for the winter. Look for our “Canning with… Series” starting back up in June!
Remember our refrigerator that had to be held shut by a bungee cord? We’ll it’s moved to “The Shop” and been replaced by this beauty! We had some friends actually give us this one for FREE! What an amazing and totally unexpected blessing (Thanks Williamson Family)!
At 8 months old Little James is scooting/army crawling around and loving being outside. We’ve given up on trying to get him to stop eating the grass. After all, a little dirt is good for ya right?!
For Oklahoma the Irises are always a sign that spring is here! We planted these a few years ago from extra bulbs Cale’s Grandpa was splitting. They have gotten so tall that I can see them above the windows in our kitchen! Makes my heart happy and I love filling our home with fresh cut flowers from around the yard.
I think I have finally perfected one of our favorite breakfast dishes, a crustless quiche (based off of this recipe)! Gotta get in all the oven goodies I can before the summer heat sets in.
After five years of marriage we are repainting/updating our bedroom! I was super excited about this until the gray/purple color I picked out was actually lavender! Our house is so small that all the wall colors need to gel together otherwise things can get really out of hand. The new gray/purple choice, alongside the other rooms, is starting to make our home feel like a rainbow! Looks like I”ll be choosing a a new color direction (and starting over)!
Anyone wanna come over for a painting party?!
We had our first play date in the water on the front lawn! What started as a fun way for the kids to cool off ended with our little niece running around butt naked and James completely soaked and muddy. I’m not gonna lie, I definitely felt like ” The Cool Mom”!
And finally, the chicken coop is completed! This used to be the old hen house where they would raise baby chicks. Cale cut a door in the back end and created a little run for our chickens. After loosing one chick to a big snake we’ve already had to face the good and the bad side of having real animals on The Farm. Cale reminded me that I need to get used to it since I’ve already made plans for owning bees, pigs, etc. Becoming a mom has definitely made me a softy so I’m gonna have to put on my big girl
panties boots if I want to be a legit country girl!
What spring projects have you accomplished thus far? Are you feeling caught up yet or still falling behind?
From The Farm
We have a friend who recently sold us several pounds of pecans for a really great price! When I asked how he managed to get such a good deal his wife informed me that he’s developed quite a new hobby. In the early morning hours he walks around Oklahoma City and hunts down the local pecan trees. He knows where all the best trees are and has slowly gathered gallon buckets full of pecans! Apparently there is quite a sub-culture of people that do this because he’s even made some friends along the way.
And it got me thinking… how many people walk by these pecan trees everyday and have no idea what they are missing out on?
As I was sifting through my stash of pecans I started thinking about Cale and I and this season we are in. Lately life’s been asking us to crack open some of the deepest issues within our hearts. With the death of Cale’s dad, job changes, new baby, business changes, grandparents being sick… it’s been a long season of just “surviving”. For to long we’ve just walked by those feelings not wanting to feel them or say what we truly felt so they just stayed tossed on the ground.
A few nights ago we finally slowed down enough to notice some of the deeper issues and it was a really great moment in our marriage. We have been trying so hard to just do life that we were not aware of how truly unhappy we were. I guess we just thought if we kept going, ignore all those annoying shells on the ground, that eventually things would just get better. But typically things don’t just “get better”. There is not a magic wand that will automatically crack open pecan shells.
I can’t enjoy my pecans without some work invovled.
Pecans are sweet nuts and unless you are allergic I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like pecans?! But before you can get to the nutty goodness you have to get past the rough and tough shell. It takes time, attention to detail, and patience to pry open each shell and find the yummyness hiding inside. But when you sift through each shell not only do you find one pecan… you find a stash of pecans!
Of course you’ll always find some bad nuts along the way but you have to sift through the bad ones to get to the really good stuff.
And then what do you do?
You make pecan pie of course!
Or put em on your ice cream.
Coffee Cake (Yum!).
Finally, after a not so fun conversation Cale and I are getting to the real core issues. Some of them hold truths that are still hard to swallow but when you face them life becomes so much more than just survival and hoping that you don’t get stepped on.
Instead life is something you can open up and enjoy.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get crackin! Even if you find some painful nuts along the way you’ll eventually get to the good stuff.
Can anyone else relate to being in this season? What has helped you “get crackin” (wine, good friends that make you laugh, baby giggles, etc.)?
From The Farm
With having our first baby boy born last September it’s been a year full of firsts. The first bath, changing our first REAL poopy diaper, the first time he rolled off the bed and onto the floor (don’t tell me this hasn’t happened to you!?), the first time we let him cry himself to sleep (kill me now), the first time he smiled, laughed, or sucked on his tiny big toe.
These are moments we all grow sick of when we read them over and over again from friends and family posting on Facebook; but, when it’s YOUR baby… Oh my, how different it is! Read More…
Hello dear friends! How was your holidays? We finally got the Christmas decorations put away this last weekend. It was nice to be able to reflect on this year’s holiday season and truly relish our first Christmas together as a family of three.
When Cale and I first got married we struggled to establish our own traditions. Once married, with our own home, our childhood traditions were not quite the same with just the two of us (no one tells you about that part when you first get married). Part of what makes those old memories so special is the fact that they happened when we were kids. Traditions can be forced into existence but we think the best kinds are the ones that simply happen. Like magic they show up one random holiday season and before you know it you find yourself doing them year after year… and that is exactly what happened with our friend Carroll the Cactus.
This week we dropped off the last bits of our concrete jewelry and kitchen line at Shop Good in OKC. It was a bitter sweet trip. For the first time we got to see each of our babies and compared stories as new parents. We have walked through a lot of life changes with Audrey and Justin. Shop Good was the first store to carry our jewelry line. From it’s humble beginnings in the Plaza District to it’s move to 9th Street their business has grown into something with full-time employees and an ever growing inventory of products supporting social justice organizations. We are so proud of what Shop Good is today and we can’t wait to see what is next for our friends (baby #2!? ).
When you meet “The One” there are things that are both beautiful and intimidating about that person. A lot of times those are the things you fall in love with. The things you would never want them to change.
For me, one of those things about Cale is the fact that he’s always wanted to be a dad.
The oldest of 5 kids I think fatherhood was sorta birthed into him.
He has this innate since with children that totally intimidates me.
Over our vacation Cale and I celebrated our 4th year of marriage. Our favorite anniversary tradition is to watch our wedding video and to remember where and how this whole adventure started.
It holds us accountable to our vows and the covenant we made to each other and before God.
To be honest this year has been one of the hardest years of our marriage. Not in the since of fighting or not getting along. This year we lost Cale’s dad to cancer and so we’ve been through a lot of emotional ups and downs.
More so than usual.