I close my eyes and our home is filled.
Filled with the sounds of laughter, music, hooting, hollering, football commentary and a host of other noises.
It’s filled with the smells of chili simmering on the stove, a wintergreen candle to offset the “black sheet of the family” choice, popcorn popping and yes, boys’ feet.
Real life brimming; overflowing everywhere.
I open my eyes and look around.
It’s a home that says “Welcome, take off your shoes and stay awhile.”
Although last night it was literally a home that said, “Welcome, teen friend of ours. We are glad you surprised us, but you’ll have to push over all the laundry to find a spot to sit.” (sigh)
The above sign hangs in our hallway.
It’s a reminder that we celebrate both the beauty and the bedlam of every day life, and in doing so, we create a place where people feel welcome to stay.
The memories created, the celebrations enjoyed, the disappointments maneuvered have all taken place within these walls.
As I type this, I look down at the ground and think, “Wow, these floors hold such stories.”
In April, it will be 17 years since we built our home, and in all of those 17 years, we have not done any kind of renovations within our home.
I know, for many of you that just seems crazy, but the reality is that our home has been a haven to many even with mismatched furniture, tacky floors and some not so pinterest perfect organization.
I shared my story of these floors and what I’ve learned from them in the post, “When You’re Told Your Floors are Tacky.”
With all the waiting, it makes the start of my inside home goals that much more appreciated, and 2014 is the time to start checking some off.
Last January, we had finished saving up for The Front Porch that took 17 years to build, and while I just shared our “After” story in November, the reality is that it’s been done awhile and budgeting for my first inside home goal, replacing my ripped vinyl flooring and worn down carpeting, was completed a few months ago.
For last two years, I’ve been in the market to replace the flooring throughout our downstairs. My friend that called them “tacky” inwardly would say they needed to replaced ten years ago, but oh well. Lessons are learned in the waiting process.
I am horrible about making decisions and honestly, I went ahead with our outside front porch instead of starting inside because it was easier. No de-cluttering had to occur. Nothing had to be moved. No one had to be in our home. It was just an easier beginning place.
I’ve had plenty of time to think through what I wanted for downstairs, but there are so many choices, it’s so hard to know where to start.
The Mohawk Flooring brand is one I’ve been familiar with for years. I own a few of their area rugs and love them, so when I started to get estimates last year, Mohawk was one I started researching.
Based on our children’s’ strong opinions, I toyed with the idea of putting either hardwood or laminate in the entire downstairs, but leave carpet for our great room. We are a “roll around, wrestle, play cards on the floor” kind of family and the thought of not having carpet in that main living space made them revolt.
And then this happened.
Yes, it was a carpet disaster of the worst kind and with five children, three dogs and two cats, I know disasters well.
Over nearly two decades, I’ve been able to get most any stain out until this.
Dry Chocolate cake mix + dog tearing into carpet + feasting on chocolate and licking it to death = death of light carpet (or at least my old carpet.)
I’ve seen amazing feats of epic proportion with Mohawk’s Smart Strand Carpet , which I can’t wait to try for myself.
No matter how much our kids begged to keep some carpet downstairs, this made my decision and I promised them I would make sure and get a very large area rug so they will not even notice the difference.
While all of you were decorating your home for Christmas, I was creating sheer bedlam by emptying out every part of my downstairs. It still brings me nightmares, but the end result?
It feels like a new house, plus it’s finally giving the motivation to do my Clutter Count Down Challenge, which I’ll start soon since I need the accountability!
I can’t wait to show you both the behind the scenes of bedlam of this process, along with the beauty created from my new Mohawk Floors AND tell you how I finally decided on what to install.
I can’t even believe I am kicking off my very first Home Goal of the year!! It’s so exciting!
Over the next few days I’ll think through some of my Personal, Business and Spiritual Goals for the new year. I am all about manageable baby steps.
But for now, I am just going to revel in our son home from college and the full house that’s creating all kinds of fun chaos in our home.
Do you have any Home Goals for the New Year?
I’d LOVE to hear them.
Disclosure: I’m thrilled to partner with Mohawk Flooring blogger program for my downstairs renovations. They have provided the flooring for this project, while I have paid for all labor and installation. All opinions are mine.
Excited for you to get your new floors. I love your perspective about how your home has been a haven despite not having renovated in 17 years. In the age of HGTV and decorating blogs, it seems like we are always hearing about “upgrading”. I think back to how my grandparents never felt the need to move their furniture or replace items to something more stylish like we do now. I just want to land some place in the middle. lol.
Thanks so much. It’s so true. Upgrading has an entirely new slant now, doesn’t it? The middle is where I strive as well – we can try and balance together. 🙂
I can’t wait to see what you do. Floors make such a huge difference!
I knew it! Congratulations, Jen! I cannot wait to see what your house looks like after. Congrats, too, on being such a we-known blogger that Mohawk provided the flooring. What a blessing for your family.
OH Bonnie – you are such an encourager. Thank you so much. While it was still an investment on our end with the labor/installation, it was a HUGE blessings from Mohawk. It allowed me to do more than just one room at a time and I am very grateful!
I just had to laugh when I read the part about “boys stinky feet”!! I have a college athlete home for the break and his feet cleared the room for the first three days he was home. I searched the internet for home treatments for stinky feet and we began testing many treatments from salt soaks to lemon rubbing but the winner of all tests for his stinky feet was blue Listerine soak! Amazing how well it worked on the smell plus it has an added benefit of softening the rough areas on his feet! Jen, I know you must have some of this in your stock pile…give it a try today! It allows for some precious mother and son time while his feet are stuck in the Listerine.
No way!! That needs to be a blog post! Seriously! Can you believe I do not have ANY Listerine because we actually use it.
Are you interested in /writing/sharing this as a guest post? I think it would be not only funny, but a definite help to all of us boy moms living with this dilemma. Otherwise, send me the info and I’ll share it.
Also a tea soak (not herb tea) is a fairly well known way to help. The tannins in tea neutralize the odor as well as absorb into the skin to help deodorize.
Sometimes waiting for something can make it even sweeter when it gets here.
We have never had a linen closet, in the 28 years we have lived here. (We put our linens under the bed in a box) We share a small closet. My husband,is right now, building us a larger closet which will hold linens, vacuum, ironing board and even our clothes!
Hurray! God is so good!
Thank you so much, Diane.
And won’t something as simple as a linen closet just seem like the best gift? I can only imagine!! You have a good man to build one for you. 🙂
He is wonderful! We are blessed.
Thank you so much for your transparency and encouragement! We can all relate.
I so understand all of the dilemma of which you speak: not having to worry about accidents/less than stellar ascetic appeal; decisions, decisions; saving for home improvements/starving children and missionaries needing support; loving pets and children visiting/adding to the ‘mess’. Congratulations on meeting the goal of having saved enough and making the necessary preparations and decisions. My goal for 2014 is to get a handle (and keep it) on the clutter and organization. I am so looking forward to your sharing your journey and lessons learned. God Bless!
Thank you so much and I am there with you on the clutter and organization. This was way too eye opening for me and the amount of things I had downstairs.
So excited to see it all put together!!
I’m really looking forward to your Clutter countdown challenge. When do you think you’ll be doing that?
In February. I want to have checklists and things in order for everyone. I have SO much more to do on my home and thought doing it together would be great. 🙂
So the new floors are already in? I’m jealous! I’ve been walking in subfloor due to a flood we had in March. Hoping they will be finished by Valentines :/