Our family is getting four new legs.

It's official: we are adopting another dog. She’s an English Springer Spaniel like our sweet Sophie was. She lives in Texas right now. And like Sophie, she is coming to us because her owners are experiencing a medical crisis and can’t take care of her anymore. At least that’s what we thought at first. We learned after she was surrendered that the situation was much more dire than that — she’s been neglected for a long time. Living outside, severely malnourished, and her ears have giant dreadlocks that point to being ungroomed and unbrushed for a long time. I’m trying to hold this family in my heart without judgment because I cannot pretend to know what they are going through. But it’s hard for me to fathom allowing an animal in your care to get to this level of neglect without surrendering them sooner. :(

We named her Penny. (With the help of this lady, who also named Sophie.)

Penny the lucky pup.

The happy part? She will be coming to live with us as soon as she gains enough weight to be spayed (hopefully next week) and will live the cushiest, most love-filled life with a family of four who so desperately miss having a dog in the house. She’ll get to swim in the lake, go for walks, eat the best food, and get more snuggles than she can even begin to fathom.

None of this would have been possible without the power of social media and the magic of people willing to go above and beyond for a dog in need and for perfect strangers.

  1. To Robyn Arouty, when we started working together and decided to barter my design services I said I didn't know what you could do for me yet but I wasn't worried about it. I had no clue then the gift you would be giving me. Because of you and your connections, this was made possible.
  2. To Melissa White Raynor at peacelovedogs, you knew nothing about me but went out into the night to rescue a dog before a huge rain storm so that she wouldn't have to spend one more night in the elements. You have provided the most amazing care for Penny and everyday I see more light and life in her eyes. Your heart and your kindness truly give me hope for the human race. You work long days and still find time to text me photos, videos, and updates of our sweet girl. Someday I will find the proper way to thank you for what you have done for us. 

And now I'm crying.

Welcome Penny to our family. We haven't met her yet, but we're already in love with her.

Bathroom Renovation

When Rick and I chose the house we live in now, one of the things that really appealed to us was that the majority of the house didn't need any major work. But there was one room that did: the bathroom. It was pretty horrible, and we both imagined ourselves hardcore DIYers who could take on a project like this. We lived here for quite a while before we could afford to tackle such a big project, so we got used to our fugly old bathroom. I always made sure my glasses weren't on when I opened the shower curtain so that I didn't have to see the horribleness of our bathtub and surround. It was impossible to get clean, and I remember thinking there was no way I would ever give our someday children a bath in that tub.

Last summer, we were finally ready to tackle the beast. We met with our realtor, who did some research and told us that if we spent $3,000-$4,000 on the bathroom we would more than likely get it back when we sell the house. Important to us, because we don't plan to stay in this house more than a few more years. We were doing this as much for re-sale value as we were for our own enjoyment.

We also had a local renovation shop come in and give us an estimate for the work, knowing that we would do most of it but that it might be nice to hire out for a few things. They gave us an estimate of $10,000 minimum. Yeah, homey don't play that. So knowing we had help from family and friends, we set out to tackle the renovation almost completely on our own.

From here on out, when I use the word "we" I really mean "Rick". And various loved ones that helped us out majorly. (Shout out to Rich, Gail, Dad, and Kevin: we love you all!) My role in the great bathroom renovation project was to "art direct". And to freak the hell out every weekend at what a pit our house had become.

Seriously, when you watch HGTV they make it look like everything just MAGICALLY comes together at the end. Elves come in and clean up and everything looks camera-ready and beautiful. And it's all finished in 2 days. This does not happen! We have a small house, with one bathroom, which meant that this project permeated every aspect of our home life for months. Tools and supplies were in every room. For a while we did not have a sink or mirror in our bathroom, so I did my hair downstairs looking in the microwave. (Strangely, I got more compliments on my hair during this time than ever before.)

Without further ado, I give you the befores and afters. The photos are crappy iPhone photos, but you get the idea.



We switched the vanity to the other side of the room so that we could fit a double sink. The sink, faucets, and mirrors are from IKEA. The lights are from Pottery Barn.

So there you have it! I can't even put into words how proud I am of Rick for pulling this off. He taught himself how to do pretty extensive electrical work, plumbing, and drywall. He handled a million little details and also managed to deal with me when I was freaking out for the umpteenth time. And we have a bathroom that we're happy to spend time in and use. Everyday it feels like we're rock stars.

Oh, and we did it all for under $2,000. Amazing, right? That even includes all of the accessories like towels, rugs, the jelly cupboard. All things we will take with us when we leave this house, but I include them in the running total because it was money spent. We're happy with what we spent, considering our budget was $3,000 to 4,000, and the professional estimate was $10,000.

What kinds of home renovations have you undertaken? Do you love it, or is it miserable for you like it is for me? I think if we do something like this again, I will move away to a hotel for a month for the sake of everyone's sanity.