My career as a mother/homemaker and what i’m gonna do now

I felt it might be time for my readers to get to know me a little better. Although there’s some info on the About Me page, I’ve been feeling like I wanted to go into more detail about who I am and what I’m doing writing this blog. Let me first say I’m not one who really likes to share too much personal stuff, not even to my friends and family. I wake up and pray each morning and then kind of leave it all up to God and get on my way. But, sometimes sharing is valuable in growing and also as a means to help other people.

I’ve been a stay at home mom for the last 20 years. Prior to that I was a workaholic and truly enjoyed it. Although I always hoped I’d have a family I was not prepared for the overwhelming sense of purpose I felt after I had my first child. I remember the exact moment I knew that motherhood was my calling. My oldest daughter Sage was 6 weeks old and my husband was getting ready to leave for work, as he was coming to say good-by to me, he found me holding Sage and sobbing. He asked me what was wrong and I said, “Sage is 6 weeks old and lots of women have to go back to work when their babies are this age, I would be absolutely devastated if I had to leave Sage right now”. It was like a huge wave of reality hit me and I felt completely fulfilled with my place in the universe at that moment. Honestly, God never felt more real or significant as in that moment. I’m not sure why that happened but I will say I embraced motherhood and homemaking with gusto and a feeling of complete gratitude and thankfulness. Before I go on, this is not to say anything negative about women that go back to full-time work willingly/happily or to women who have no other choice. Being a mother is by far the hardest role we play and it takes a village to raise a child; we all need each other. I’d like to think that I was helpful to those working moms when they couldn’t be there and I could, like for school functions, after school activities, etc.. In fact I was thrilled to help out, it was a privilege and I would hope if the tables had been turned someone would have done it for me.

With that said, I am coming to the end of my day-to-day career of motherhood (and yes, it is a career, it takes talent and brains, not to mention nerves of steel and a heart of gold). Sage is already in college, in fact she will be entering her junior year and my younger daughter Skye has just started her senior year in high school. Anticipating the drastic change that was about to happen in my life, I approached this challenge as I approach all challenges, I first pray about it and then I set about to make a plan and lastly I embrace the change as much as possible knowing that it is the journey that makes life worth living.

Over the years I’ve become someone who’s hidden talents, and talents that I didn’t really think of as talents, have shown through as I’ve navigated through this motherhood/homemaker life. I’ve absolutely loved anything having to do with interior design and although I would not say my house is, at the moment, a showplace, I’ve always tried to have a home that is warm and inviting and makes my family happy and friends want to come over. My love of cooking and baking, which of course was a necessity, was honed over the years and I’ve actually gotten pretty good at it (thanks mom and dad for those genes), and my love of photography which started in high school got lots of use over the years. Party planning and all that went with it was completely fun for me and shopping for my girls allowed me to enjoy my love of fashion that I’ve had my whole life. Had I stayed on the career path that I was on, I would never have had the opportunity to hone skills that were innately what I feel are my passions. I know that sounds a bit hokey but I do think we all have special talents that when we tap into them, it makes sense of everything and hard work becomes something you look forward to because it’s what you are meant to do. Being a mom and homemaker made it crystal clear to me what my talents were and gave me a chance to use them all the time, and now it’s given me the direction to know what my next step should be.

Knowing that I’d be an empty nester I started to plan ahead so I wouldn’t be caught off guard. I felt like I was being asked to retire when I wasn’t quite ready to. After looking at all kinds of blogs and following along on different types of social media: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest etc.. I decided that I wanted to give blogging a shot. Initially I started very slow, there’s a lot to learn and you soon find out that those cute little blog posts actually took lots of time, energy and talent. My thought was that I’d take time to study and learn and try my hand at it while still being a busy mom. Well, I loved it!!! It seemed to wrap everything I enjoyed into one pretty package.

Now that I knew this piece was figured out, I approached my husband and told him I’d like to blog about the remodel of our home. I’m not sure if he knew what he was getting into initially but I’d like to think he’s now on board. I’ve mentioned before that we’ve lived in our home for 16 years and it was a new build, so everything has been beautiful and new all these years but now our home is showing some wear and tear and it’s really time to redecorate to keep our home current. My dream would be that eventually I can flip homes or just acquire rental properties that I buy and then remodel, blogging about them on the way. I find the whole process fun and exciting and I love all the creativity involved. Because that is my goal I want us to do all the work in our current home ourselves as much as possible. Also, I want to give other people an opportunity to see that they can do it too. I’m not gonna lie, it can be frustrating to see many people on social media who seem to be able to remodel their homes quickly and with the most amazing furnishing and fixtures, but even if I could do it that quickly I wouldn’t,  I’m kind of loving that I’m learning all the ins and outs of interior design and am having to be resourceful, creative and mindful of finances. I think the greatest design comes out of the people who have to think outside the box to get their homes to look beautiful. Honestly, I know exactly how I’d like my home to look from top to bottom and there are definitely days I wish I could do it but I really want anyone that visits my blog to see that they too can make their home special with a little ingenuity and elbow grease, like I’m doing.  I’ve transformed my backyard with mostly spray paint. Had I not had to think creatively I wouldn’t have gotten my brightly colored fun backyard.

Lastly, I think it is so important that I set an example for my girls that you have to embrace change and know when it is time to move ahead, to plan and pray to make dreams come true and to not let anyone stop you from obtaining those dreams. The other thing I would like to point out is that I’m a big believer in doing things 100%, and over the years I have gotten some jabbing remarks about being a stay at home mom, as if it wasn’t enough or boring, it was anything but that. I always knew, and would share with people, that I was going to enjoy the motherhood career path knowing that there would be another career waiting for me to start at the end of this. I never for once thought, “oh no what am I going to do when my children grow up”. But it’s funny how many people project that thought on to me and I have to stop them in their tracks and say, that yes, there is a sadness to this life change but there is a sense of pride in seeing your children grow into successful adults and an excitement in knowing there are new horizons around the corner.

I plan on enjoying this last year as much as possible with all that comes with motherhood. Of course I will always be a mom but my day-to-day duties are going to change. I’m so proud of my girls and the young women they have become. They have made me a better person, my heart more loving and my faith stronger. It really has been a privilege to raise them. I do look forward to spending time with my husband that has been so few and far between with our busy lifestyle and to many new adventures ahead.

When it comes to growing this blog, I want my readers to know that my home remodel may not be the fastest but it will be interesting, informative, and most of all doable for anyone who wants to take on their own remodel. We’ll figure things out along the way and make spaces that are gorgeous and affordable, so I hope you follow along and get engaged because I’d love to hear from you too. I will also be selling my photography which I’m really excited about, I display my photos throughout my home and it really is something I love. Of course, lots more recipes, DIY projects, lifestyle and party ideas and gardening. I’m excited to expand and do this full-time, but first I’m going to enjoy this last year of full-time motherhood and will continue blogging on a regular basis.

Hope that was informative and helps to give a glimpse into my personal journey and that of Avenue Of Joy. Thanks for stopping by and can’t wait to share lots more.

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Painting All the Shutters In Our Remodel – It’s not fun but it looks great!!

Sometimes when taking on a remodel there are jobs that are necessary but tedious. Painting all the shutters in our remodel is one of those jobs. Although It’s not fun, it does give great results and is one of those details that really makes a difference in the long run. When we moved into our home 16 years ago, it was a new build and didn’t have any window treatments, we decided to splurge on shutters in most of the main rooms. So we have them in 3 of the bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and the family room. I’ve never regretted having them. They are so beautiful and I love the clean lines. I really don’t like too many window treatments, in fact I wish I could just leave the windows as is, but obviously we can’t live in a fishbowl. They’ve also been so nice in my girls rooms because I could easily redecorate as they grew through all the stages of childhood, with just new paint and bedding.

Since we are repainting most of the house with a nice crisp white, the shutters looked a little dull in contrast. I want all the baseboards, crown molding and any other woodwork to be the same color white, allowing the architectural element to speak for itself.

In all areas of the house that are painted white we are using: Behr Premium Plus Ultra Pure White. I used this in our last house and it’s the perfect white if you want something very pure and clean. It’s a real white, white. I also like that it is right off the shelf from Home Depot, which makes it so easy to buy.

The only time that we can take on this project is on the weekend. It has to be done in stages, it’s time-consuming and you need time to let the paint dry in between coats. We also are using our outdoor retreat off our master bedroom as a makeshift paint area which means we can only do one shutter at a time. So this is not a job that is getting done quickly, and has put any fun projects to share on hold.

First we sand the shutter really well and clean it up.

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Our Palm trees are great helpers.

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Then the shutters get painted one at a time in our makeshift paint area.

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Starting in our Master bedroom, these windows overlook our backyard.

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Here is the difference between the painted one on the left and the one not painted on the right.

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A bit tricky to photograph but I think you can get the picture. It’s so much brighter and fresh and makes the shutters look brand new again.

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So that’s what we’ve been working on as we plug away on this remodel of ours. I really love that we are learning so much from projects that we could have hired out. It may take longer but it costs a lot less, and again, it’s pretty great learning new skills.

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Yay, I Got a Bosch Dishwasher!!! And some other fun finds!

I’ve been a little MIA and I apologize. I’ve been battling the flu for almost 2 weeks and it just got the better of me. I could barely find the energy to get through my normal routine and with my girls on summer break, it was family first and then lots of lying on the couch watching old Project Runway episodes. With that said, I miss my blogging and have so much to share, starting with an exciting new purchase for my home remodel.

My husband and I went shopping for a new microwave and realized that since I want my microwave to match my oven, stove and vent, we would have to purchase all of it at once. We weren’t prepared to make that big of a decision without our due diligence, so we bought a dishwasher instead. And honestly, that’s how we roll. We might be going for one thing but end up with another. I’m a big believer in buying something when you see it, if you absolutely love it. My husband has wanted this dishwasher for a long time, which I find so funny, because he normally doesn’t show much interest in these things. We both wanted the Bosch brand, we know lots of people who have this brand dishwasher and they all rave about it. And now I know why, it is so incredibly quiet. It’s sleek and cool and everything I wanted. It’s so beautiful!!! Kitchen appliances just make me so happy.

I went with this model: SilencePlus 44 dBA. We bought it at Pacific Sales, they price match, I got free installation, they took away the old dishwasher and the service was great.

I wanted it to look sleek, unobtrusive and to not compete with the other appliance which will be a different brand. I like that the control panel is not seen, nor is the Bosch name (no need to be flashy, right). I also had the handle switched out for the flat pull instead. Again, I did not want a bunch of different handles all over my kitchen and I also liked that I won’t walk into it, which believe me, I would if it was there. I just love the design and cannot believe how quiet it is; wish I had gone with this years ago. I’m a happy camper, but of course now, I’m itching to get going on the kitchen remodel, which will be a major undertaking.

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So I guess you noticed the not so pretty runner in my kitchen. It’s seen better days and although I loved it when I bought it, it’s definitely time for a change. My kitchen is completely designed for the most part and I knew exactly what kind of runners I wanted for either side of my island. I was thrilled when I found them at Rugs USA. I follow them on Instagram and saw that they were having a big sale. I got my beautiful new runners for 70% off at $60 each. What a steal! This is one of those times that you have to buy it when you see it. Even though my kitchen remodel is not in the near future I couldn’t pass these up.

I absolutely love them, they are everything I wanted. I was looking for a rug with a little pink and turquoise without being really over the top and these runners are perfect. Great quality. Really I couldn’t be happier and will be checking this site on a regular basis for future rug purchases.

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You might have noticed, if you follow me on Instagram that  I also received my adorable JCrew Factory leopard sandals.  Super cute and I’m glad I got them in white eyelet too. The leopard pair were only $9.99 and the white pair $14.99. Love a good sale.

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 I’ve bought a few things for my home office remodel, slowly working on the last odds and ends but I’m getting there. I found this cute little pink pad at Target and my daughter Sage liked it so much I got one for her and also found this trendy little pencil holder/planter there. It was just her style so I surprised her and picked them up. So fun to get something when you’re not expecting it, one of my favorite things to do for my girls.

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 I had also blogged about these lip glosses that came in this sweet tin from Modcloth. I used this lip gloss in Jr. High, specifically the strawberry flavor and am happy to be using it again. My girls really liked it too, sure would make a great stocking stuffer (yes, I’m already thinking about that).

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I’m super picky about perfumes and anything scented. I tried this scent from Victoria’s Secret called Very Sexy Now (they also have one called Very Sexy so don’t get them confused). I really, really like it, but I only bought this small travel size which is so cute with the pink tassels but I knew it wouldn’t last long. Sage works at Nordstrom at our local mall so I asked her to stop by VS and pick me up some more but they no longer had any. YIKES. So I went online and they did have it.

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Lastly, my girls and I have been using this Coconut Milk Anti-Breaking Serum for our hair. It’s smells like summer and is helpful in protecting our hair from the saltwater and chlorine that we are constantly exposed to in the summer. You can find it at Target or Walmart.

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So, even though I’ve been dragging around I do try to stay productive, hope I start feeling better though. I’ve got a really fun food blog planned, all the photos are taken, I’ve just got to get it posted. Look for it, it’s really fun and perfect for the summer.

Hope you’re having a great and healthy summer.

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