Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Need to Level With You

A reader recently made a sweet comment asking me to do a tour of my entire house. This request came on the heels of Silas's room unveiling.

And I gotta tell you - I cracked up.

Then I read the comment to Cory and we cracked up together.

But honestly, I've had the recent urge to just come out with it all.

I am reminded over and over and over again that it just doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter that the stairway leading upstairs is a tunnel of doom, with orangey, varnished paneling and mottled, dingy, brown carpet.

I am not defined by the state of my stairwells.

We have bigger fish to fry in this world, don't we?

I believe that God created us to be creative, and for me, that outlet is my home, my meals, my garden. This is some of the stuff that stirs me and that is probably not something that is going to change.

But you know what? Most of the homes I have felt most welcomed, relaxed and cozy in are not artfully arranged. They have no specific color palette. They are hodge-podge, in the best sort of way. They are lived in and loved in. They are a small reflection of the inspiring inhabitants, whom I adore.

So while I've shown you select portions of my home that look pretty, I can promise you, if you happen to drop by without warning, you will very likely find me without make-up, standing in a messy kitchen, surrounded by laundry piles. Heck, call ahead and I probably still won't change a thing. I do enjoy making things look nice, but it is often not my priority. And beyond that, it's not reality for me.

I will not pretend that I have a fabulous Anthropologie-inspired wardrobe. I dress 90% of the time for comfort, pure and simple. I do not pick up loaves of artisanal breads from the organic baker. My bread comes pre-sliced and costs less than $2 a loaf. My life's work is not ensuring that my home is magazine-worthy. What a waste of time and money that would be.

So come on over, anytime. You'll first see my kitchen, which I love. You'll see my living room, which can hold its own. But stick around a little longer and you'll see the junk rooms, the neglected rooms, the next-on-the-list rooms, the not-even-on-the-list rooms.

We've got 'em all.

My only hope is that you feel welcome here. You are free to put your feet on the coffee table, assuming it's not covered in Legos and Polly Pockets. If you're cold, I'll toss you my favorite blue blanket. She's not too cute, but she sure is soft. If you're hungry, I'll serve you up a steaming hot bowl. But it may be spaghetti with Prego, straight from the jar.

Mostly, I hope you feel appreciated by me. I hope you feel safe with me. I hope you laugh really hard with me. I hope you tell me a secret, and know that I'll keep it.

I hope you never feel judged, looked down upon, less than. I hope you feel cherished and important, because that is precisely what you are.

And if you happen to require a trip to the loo? Well, at least you'll know what awaits.

83 comments:

  1. I only wish that toilet photo had little Calvin sitting on it, as I seem to recall a certain photo of him reading on it? (Is that inappropriate for me to say publicly? It's just the first thing that came to mind). Oh, and when you do get to redoing the downstairs bathroom, I'll take that old shower curtain from you...I'm sure R. will love it! ;)

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  2. Shannan, this is why we love you!! You are so relatable, so real! Thanks for sharing!!

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  3. And this is exactly why you are loved. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it a thousand more times: I'm so glad you're my friend!

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  4. thanks for keeping it realz, yo.

    my house sounds a lot like your house...
    just might cut and paste that little portion about "hoping you feel welcomed...appreciated..." (with your permission, of course)...

    i think it would make a real nice 'house mission statement' if there were such a thing.

    i want my house to be that kind of house too.

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  5. yep, you are 'my people'! ;)

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  6. Ok, what you said was very sweet, and wonderful. But....like your whole house isn't completely done and perfect? You are gonna give me PREGO out of the jar. Well. I never.

    I'm sitting here staring at a flashing cursor now trying to think of something clever and witty, but I'm fresh out.

    So I'll just say that I love you, even though I don't know you in person YET. I'm glad that you are you, and you get life the way you do.

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  7. ahhh thanks for posting this, sometimes I feel so inadquet (sp?) when I see some blogs.. and after seeing Silas' room, I was starting to wonder why my home can't look like that! I love the honesty.

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  8. Shannan,

    I love this post. You are one of the bestest and nicest people I know--seriously!
    MW

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  9. You blow me away with the way you express yourself EVERYTIME I come over. I would love to visit with you and sit under your blue blanket and share stories and laughs.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. This is why you are my favorite!

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  11. This is an awesome post. I'm so glad I found your blog; what a joy it is to read.

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  12. I don't know you personally, but I feel like I do. Seriously, I LOVE reading your blog. My husband has heard all about you and your cute family. When I grow up, I wanna be like you. If you ever make it down to Florida you have a place to come over for dinner. We can swap "un-finished project" stories. Thanks for all your entries. Really. I look forward to them.

    ~JoAnn

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  13. LOVE THIS POST.....so true for so many of us! You are so real and honest.....a true inspiration!

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  14. I think the 'party' is at your house this week. I've had a sick kid and nobody wants to come over. You've got the new 'baby', so party at your house. Besides, you've got the coolest countertops I've ever seen.
    Thanks flowerpatch. real life at it's best. Can't beat it, wouldn't want to,...
    Hoping little Silas is getting snuggle time with that cozy blue blanket.

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  15. Thanks for the reality check. I am personally barely interested in decorating my home, and very very uninterested in cleaning it. It's a discipline for me, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who sometimes has better things to do (in a responsible way of course ;)
    That emoticon was just for you.

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  16. Well at least I know I'm not alone! Thanks for being real.

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  17. I appreciate your down to earth attitude. I can relate to someone like you!

    Nancy

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  18. Oh girl, you know that this post could have been written by me??? I've been asked a lot lately for a tour of my home. And I roll my eyes at the thought of what most of my house really looks like. All those nooks & crannies that are just piled with crap. The things that need fixin. The guest room all messy. The basement with all of my shop stuff strewn about. Heck, the dining room table with all my shop stuff strewn about. I've felt overwhelmed lately. BUT, we are comfortable. We feel at home, even when it's not perfect. So hopefully other people would feel at home b/c we are at home. I think I'm going to do a tour of my home pretty soon too. And include those things that I feel are less than perfect.

    Thanks for the inspiration. ♥♥

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  19. who cares about a perfect house? my heart broke this past Sunday when a lady in our Bible class said she never lets her kids get on the furniture. what?!?!?! there's an imaginary line that keeps them from going near the furniture.

    this post is beautiful.

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  20. An honestly sweet post! Thanks for being YOU!

    Mikal

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  21. When I first found the blog world, I fell head over heels for all of the beautiful homes and amazing decor. Wow, these people really have it together - I thought. What am I doing wrong? But soon my crush started to fade. I grew annoyed with the use of the word COTTAGE. And NEST. And GIVEAWAY. And discovered that most just show magazine photos. I learned that there are really only a handful of quality blogs out there. Only a few where people speak TRUTH, instead of trying to impress.

    Even though there are moments when I think my happiness would be complete if I just had a remodeled bathroom, I know that is a lie. I hear God whisper in my ear, "I have better things for you."
    And I believe HIm.

    I have slashed my blog time and now only come back to the ones that have meaning for my life. You are one of those. So thanks for being real, stairwell and all, and showing that to us.

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  22. I have to say that we have never met but you are my friend, because if we lived near each other I am positive we would hang out and eat ice cream right out of the box together.

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  23. shannan...you are so the real deal :) love it! this is a great post...and personally...i love EVERY part of your home :)

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  24. No phoney bologna, plastic banana... just the real deal! Thanks for the simple word that have given me great perspective.

    Christi

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  25. love it...at least now I feel normal:) hee...hee...hee...

    and this is why we love you!

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  26. It's official! You are sooo my idol!!!

    Thank you for keeping it "real!" Next time you come to Michigan, you look me up! :-)

    Happy Spring!!!
    Mel

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  27. All of life is a work in progress, isn't it? It's about the journey and the life you live while you're on it, more than the destination....it's the climb, to quote Miley Cyrus. Yes, I just quoted Hannah Montana. Help me please.

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  28. Just love your refreshing honesty. I think more of us are just like you than you could imagine. I'm so grateful that there's an "edit" on my photo site.
    Debra

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  29. Thank you, Shannan. I feel much better now. It looks like we are bathroom tile twins...although mine is lovely lumpy white paint over pink and peach "marble" plastic tile...but only half of it is holding on for dear life. The other half of my bathroom has been gutted down to the lathe and plaster. Oh, and the staircase is completely and utterly decked out in lumpy seafoam blue/green paint. Wanna trade?

    : )

    Julie M.

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  30. Hey you -- I have to say that your house is fabulous, despite what you say! And I did feel all those things when I was there. And you made me homemade soup. Love the photos of Korea. And that Silas is a cutey -- just like the other two! So glad things are going smoother. Have a wonderful Easter. xo P.S. Thanks for including a mention of us -- and the shelf. (:

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  31. Oh, please stop. You are making me miss you even more. I can't wait to come back for a visit in your wonderful cozy home filled with lovely people. You know what? One of my favorite things about you is how very genuine you are. You're the read deal kitty cat.

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  32. Umm. Make that REAL deal. At least I didn't type read dead. It's early.

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  33. I love it! So true - the priority is not having perfect things, or a spotless home. The priority is happy kids who get lots of time to play with their mom, and guests who feel welcome and wanted. I absolutely loved this :) And just look at these pictures... your home looks so cozy and inviting :)

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  34. Oh, honey we could surely be friends! Like you, I have rooms that are lovely and some that are well, not so much! We have more "to do's" that "already done" rooms and projects in our house. However, it houses those who we love, we always have a bottle of wine ready for visitors and most of all - we greet you warmly and with a smile.

    Love this post and thank you for expressing what most of us needed to hear and see.

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  35. As always... I am chuckling to myself at 5:30 am. alone in the dark. As always, you are right on!

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  36. I love this post! Thank you for being so real and knowing what matters most. Have a blessed Easter.

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  37. And THAT'S exactly what I love about you! Thanks for the tour. Hopefully I'll get to see it in person someday;)

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  38. Thank you for this and for being real. I have just recentley come out of lurkerville on your blog because of who you are. You are like all the fresh flowers some of the other bloggers set out on their perfect coffee tables. Don't get me wrong, I love looking at the houses that they have created,but, you have a home. A real home and your kids have a real mommy.Just doesn't get any better then that.I usually grab the Fransico Rinaldi (sauce) It's cheaper! Ha. mad mad love,xxoo Donna

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  39. Oh how I love this post! You are such a real person - I love it! I think we all have things like this in our homes! You should see my furniture room - what a mess! Loved every sentence of it :)

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  40. oh man! you are hysterical! i love that you are keepin it real. i would expect none other here! xoxo

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  41. Keepin' it real girl and that's why I love ya. A house tour may be an upcoming post for me. I love when people do "real" home tours.

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  42. hi
    i read your blog several times a week but never really left a comment -
    but after seeing your son's room
    i just wanted to say it's soooo cute.
    I love how you transformed it.
    Great job - and thanks for sharing the photos!

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  43. knock knock knock... hi friend. here are some cookies (my husband made) and some daisies (my favorite) Sure! I'll come in for coffee :) Don't worry about the laundry I practice hurdling over mine all. the. time. Anyhow, Jesus loves ALL of us - even our soap scum. And THAT is all that matters.

    Happy Day, The Lady

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  44. Hey there! This is my first time stopping by and I think you are precious! I love honest blogs and think your will be one I will continue to read. Have a wonderful Easter!

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  45. So refreshing...the truth will set you free! I actually 'unfollowed' some bloggers who promoted themselves at having the perfect homes. Pfffttt!!!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

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  46. You certainly do put a smile on my face! Thanks for keepin' it real!!!!!

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  47. You are so honest and real and that is precisely what I love about you!!
    Life is way too short for all of the "fluff" Going through my dad's house last weekend brought a lot of this back to the forefront. Some day we will be gone and someone will be cleaning out our "stuff" that we worked our whole lives for. It just makes you think about what's really important.
    Thank you for sharing and for the reminder that people are more important than anything

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  48. I am certainly just one in a long line of commenters, but I echo their sentiment. I love your blog, your wit, your honesty. I love that you talk openly about your faith, and I love how I feel like a friend every time I read a post. Thank you for being real, and honest.

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  49. Amen and Hallelujah! Finally someone who says it like it is! My house isn't spotless and never will be. It's not perfectly shiny magazine pages decorated either, but it's home, and it's comfortable, and I hope our guests find it comfortable and welcoming. Beyond that, there is so much more to life than that! Thank you for being you, the Shannan that we all love! Becky

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  50. I love this, you actually answered the question I posed this morning in my post!!! I think you are adorable...lego covered tables and all!! mwahhh, happy Easter!

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  51. Hi, Shannan. Come on in. Don't breathe in too deeply on the back porch...the boots have proof of our pigs and cows. Pay no attention to the dirty dishes on the counter and in the sink...they are patiently waiting to be loaded in the dishwasher...it runs twice a day with our large family. Don't look too closely at the dining room carpet. A gallon of ice tea was spilled 2 years ago and the stain keeps-a-comin back. Watch where you step those legos and cars and Little People can give your ankle a good twist. Have a seat on the sofa..just put the books on the floor and the unfolded laundry back in the basket. I'll just shut the door to the school room/den...I don't want you to think we were vandalized. Thanks for coming and not judging me and making me feel loved! You're welcome here anytime!

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  52. Shannan - several days ago I found my dog laying in the bathroom, chewing up a pair of my husband's underwear while laying on my Anthropologie catalog (which was wrinkled from getting soaked with bathtub water). It was the perfect snapshot of my life.

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  53. love this post, love you! thanks for being so real!

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  54. Awesome, awesome post. I think when we blog, we showcase "the best of" (best recipes, best rooms, best outfits, etc.) but it's so nice to take a peek into "the rest of" our lives :)

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  55. FPFG (do you mind if I call you by your acronym??)...you are so encouraging and inspiring. Thank you for posting your real photos pretty, and messy and all! And, thank you for telling it like it is....it ties my big toe right back to earth. I have to say that since I've been blogging I've been tempted to stop because it's easy to "create" a virtual world for yourself where everything is "perfect" even you are believing your own lie! (uh, my own lie). Our world is fallen. Our lives are not perfect. But the beauty that is here most certainly is a gift!

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  56. Practically perfect in every way!
    This is a home that will grow some great kids! :) Love you, love that you are REAL!

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  57. This post gets a big WOO HOO from me!!! I could have practically written this myself. Thanks for keeping it real FOR REAL!!!

    You don't need to have a perfect house to have a home filled with love. And that you do have. Lots of love. :)

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  58. Preach on sister!!!!!

    Your transitioning family is still in my thoughts and prayers...

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  59. GREAT words. What a wonderful thing to instill in your 3 children as well.

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  60. I just love your easy, breezy view on life.

    At times it is so hard not to get caught out in making our homes magazine worthy. Thanks for the encouragment to keep things "real"

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  61. aww- i think i shared that blue blanket with you and michelle while we watched "the waitress". i love your house - every part of it - not only because you are a great designer but because i love you my friend.

    great post.

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  62. This post says a lot about you AND your followers because it is authentic and real AND authentic and real people commented more on this post than when a designer reveal is posted. Warms my heart that there are so many people out there in blogland that get it! I'm glad to be a tiny little part of it all.

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  63. We use Prego, that's the only kind the kids don't complain about :) Your 'realness' is why I read (and often re-read) every post you create. That and your great heart, wit and wisdom.

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  64. love this. pretty sure my entire house is comprised of 'not even on the list rooms.' :) i've been actively working to place my treasure in eternal things, hoping my heart will follow.

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  65. I love this post! I am so glad I stopped by today.

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  66. Well. Thank. Goodness. I'm more than old enough to know better, but it took your post to lift the self-imposed pressure. Love, love, love your blog. God bless you and your precious family!

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  67. I love your post!!! IT is so true! Most of us only show the pretty any way! There is a lot of ugly!

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  68. That is the best way to roll!!!

    First comes lovin the family! ~ then comes keeping it clean enough that we aren't germ infested! (hopefully) ha ha! and when the walls are painted ...it might take me 3 years to put the second coat on... and I might have had half a door frame painted for three years?!! and the curtains are sheets.. but they keep the monsters out at night.... =) the art on the walls are masterpieces by my very own flesh and blood... they are proud! Once in a while mommy needs color, or a touch of me... but really... in the big picture... I want to LOVE first...

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  69. This post made me happier then any other post I've read (anywhere!). I love the very down to earth, every day of the week truth in this. I am currently looking at a floor strewn with toys, shoes, books and pillows, and I'm smiling. Thank you!

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  70. Thanks. We needed that. I've been in prayer a lot lately trying to get my attitude right and be more content with this house and try to ignore the holes in the linoleum, the rust in the bathtub, the panelling in the mud room. It's overwhelming for me some days. I'm going outside to enjoy the solace of my daffodils today.

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  71. "I am reminded over and over and over again that it just doesn't matter." SO TRUE! I have to remind myself of the same thing. We also have the "the neglected rooms, the next-on-the-list rooms, the not-even-on-the-list rooms," and it truely doesn't matter. I also remind myself that so much of the fun in renovating is the planning, dreaming, and anticipating . . . so much so that when the paint is dry and the decorating done everything else is background as we watch our children laugh and dance . . . the same way we did when the plaster was crumbling.

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  72. this is what it's all about! love it!

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  73. love your post. i'll be over in a minute. okay, not really...but you know what i mean. :) LOVE the pics of silas even more!!! i am so happy for you all!!! God is so good. happy easter and much love to you from germany...

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  74. ME you excited about what you've written. I want to take the first flight from Barcelona, and help you organize your mess rooms. You are quite right with what you say, I think like you. I've seen pictures of the weekend and I love your blog because it has soul. Congratulations on your life your and your blog, keep going. (Pardon my English but I speak Spanish) a big hug.

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  75. U R fantastic!!! Thanks for bringing me back to reality! I am so tired of trying to keep a perfect house. There are so many more important things to spend my time on. Love your blog!!!

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  76. So true.
    I love that I got to read this hours after coming home from a long vacation. Lets be honest, with 3 kids and a husband that loves to golf, vacation may be a stretch!!!

    I have laundry to do, bathrooms to clean, organizing and putting away clothes and easter stuff to put away(the list is LONG).

    After reading this, the laundry's waiting till after the kids are off to school and I've had my 2nd cup of coffee in my nice, quiet, DIRTY house. Ahhhh, it's good to be home!

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  77. I feel your pain! Old houses are adorable in time. But when I have 30 people filling my house, for dinner and bible study twice a month, I'm reminded that they obviously don't care than my kitchen wall is still pink and my floor cracks in the lenolium dirty and that the kitchen(like a few other rooms) will be remolded someday!

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  78. i would love to come over! except i dont want prego. i want some of your YUMMY SALSA!!!!

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