Guest Bathroom is DONE

Well friends, the day we thought would never actually arrive has finally come. The guest bathroom remodel is officially FINISHED! It has become an ongoing joke between Atom & I that the “super quick bathroom remodel” that just never seemed to end is now done & what we naively thought would only take a few weeks took just shy of 5 months. Which seems like a ridiculously excessive amount of time for a bathroom remodel, even considering we literally ripped everything down to the studs & rebuilt it from the ground up. But when we actually sat down & realized how many other things/projects/life that were simultaneously happening, it wasn’t so bad. Also, you have to remember that Atom is doing ALL of the work by himself. 100% of it. Nothing has been outsourced or hired to be done. Not one bit.

If you don’t remember what this groovy pale pink men’s bathroom looked like before here’s a reminder:

We’ve had the fully functioning shower/tub for almost 3 months which made everything else take a back seat of sorts and not be rushed. (There is a previous post where I showed the finished shower & that whole process). There were quite a few unforeseen obstacles that happened while building this bathroom, the major one of having to completely run new water pipes for the east side of the building which was no easy feat in itself. After smashing out the walls, all new PEX piping was run from our main water line that comes into the building up the walls and into the bathroom (and other places as well).

The shower was framed in and Atom built the walls entirely out of cedar plank. It was completely waterproofed and sealed. Oh and of course the 200 gallon horse trough we turned into the worlds largest (& tallest!) bathtub. He built all of the fixtures etc out of galvanized steel parts. We wanted an industrial meets country theme for this bathroom.

The vanity was also built out of cedar and sealed. We wanted to keep with the galvanized theme so we used smaller buckets as the sinks, varying heights for our varying sized children 😉. (And small buckets for a clothes hamper and trash can)

Atom also built the cabinet and towel rack, keeping with the cedar theme.

Here’s a panorama photo of the bathroom all finished:

Close up of the tub/shower:

The door will eventually be painted but we haven’t quite figured out what color yet & we probably won’t make that determination until we decide the color scheme of the adjoining room which will become a rec/game room.

The window curtain is actually a matching shower curtain that happened to be the exact size of the window. I thought it added a fun different style to the mix.

That darn urinal. Yes it’s still there much to my dismay. Atom tried to take it out but we discovered that sucker is set down 12+” into solid concrete so there was no way on God’s green earth we could break it out without having to completely break out the entire floor and re-pour concrete which we weren’t willing to do. So it’s still there. It’s kind of funny to have a giant urinal in a guest bathroom but whatever. Maybe I’ll hang a plant on it. It’s fully functional & our boys think it’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. That is, until it’s time for them to clean it. Haha.

Atom ran new electrical wiring as well, adding separate light switches for the 2 wall lights as well as an outlet next to the sink on the wall. Here’s also a good view of the sinks & their urban faucets that Atom created.

We wanted to keep some original touches to the bathroom so we kept the original toilet paper holder and re-attached it to the side of the shower enclosure.

Another really neat thing Atom discovered was the column of brick that went up the side of the wall. It was previously covered in plaster. Atom chipped away all of that plaster and used a wire brush to show off the bricks. I LOVE this part!

Here are a couple more views from other angles. It was super tough to get everything in the photos. The floor had to be scraped from decades of random paint and stuff on top of it. Atom spent countless hours on his hands & knees hand scraping the floor. His grinder wasn’t getting the job done so it came down to good old fashioned elbow grease. He had to patch quite a few places on the floor from where the old stalls were as well as holes from where the radiator once was under the window. That cement had to cure for 28 days before we could use the concrete paint on top of it.

We are definitely keeping the doorknob on the door. Every single door knob in the building is like this one. And each one has its own individual skeleton key that works. Pretty incredible.

I still need to add a few “decorative touches” to the bathroom but haven’t quite figured out what yet. I’m sure that will come with time.

So there you have it. Guest bathroom now has an official check mark next to it on our mile long to do list of projects. There are still 5 other bathrooms that will eventually be remodeled as well. But for now, it’s time to start building our kitchen on the second floor. Our hope is to have it done & functional by Christmas. Fingers crossed!


Library Finds

This is going to be a quick post but I wanted to show y’all a few really neat things we found in the library today.

It was a pretty mellow Labor Day for us today as yesterday was a pretty rough gnarly day for me. My 2.5 years of no asthma specific hospital visits officially came to an end. Having very severe asthma is a part of who I am (and also the reason for my Respiratory Therapy career choice). Thankfully after having Bronchial Thermoplasty done in 2015 my lungs have never been better. You could say I’m a smashing success story for the lung procedures that literally saved my life. Anyway, I had a very bad pulmonary reaction (severe bronchospasm) to a new cardiac medicine I was put on last week (my heart is also an a-hole but that’s another story for another day). Being a patient at my own hospital is quite embarrassing but I couldn’t have been in a better place. I’m glad I wasn’t working yesterday when this all happened. My coworkers (docs, nurses, RT’s etc) were absolutely amazing and took such great care of me. It was pretty scary there for a bit, until you can’t breathe you’ll never truly understand what it’s like. So today was a day for me to rest and not do a whole lot. Not like I really could do much, after a severe asthma attack I feel like I was hit by a bus & it takes awhile to get back to energetic self again.

Atom got me all set up on the sofa and we started going through & unpacking a few more boxes from the office in our old house & organizing the contents into the lower wooden cabinets in the library. Atom surprised me with a pumpkin spice latte which DEFINITELY made me feel better. Haha! For those of you who don’t know, Starbucks decaf iced pumpkin spice latte is literally my favorite drink in the universe.

Atom had cut wood & built shelves in the lower cabinets last week while I was at work so we could easily organize office supplies and various crafting things that didn’t need to be on display with the books on the upper glass fronted shelves. There was one lower cabinet we overlooked. Mostly old magazines & some old hymnals. Being the treasure hunter I am I had Atom put piles of the books & papers on the sofa with me to go through. I’m so glad I did. Here’s what we found:

June 1926 edition of The Masonic News in perfect condition. There is actually a decent sized stack of these from different months & years.

This neat old newspaper from Melbourne, Florida from 1936. A random newspaper to find its way to Indiana!

A place card from the lodge’s 100th anniversary celebration which was held in 1974. This is in untouched perfect condition.

Here are a couple religious lesson cards from 1900 as well as a perfect attendance award card from 1887.

I found this pencil drawing from 1916 that was folded & tucked into a book. It will definitely be getting framed & hung somewhere in the building.

I picked up this old match box to toss it in the trash can & out fell an almost complete set of tiny hand carved chess pieces. They’re absolutely amazing and were clearly carved by a true craftsman. None of the pieces are more than an inch tall.

Even though I’ve been in the library almost daily since moving here, it never ceases to amaze me how many treasures we are continuing to find! At this rate we will be finding things for decades!

Now it’s bedtime for me. I hardly slept a wink last night after everything so I’m hoping to get a head start on sleep tonight.


Making a house (or building) a home

Atom is back to his usual self and renovations are back in full swing! The finishing touches are being put in the bathroom which will more than likely be my next post with the reveal. Finally right?!

We’re finishing up a couple smaller projects before we dive into starting to build a kitchen from the ground up on the second floor. The goal is to have it done by Christmas. Fingers crossed 🤞🏻.

One project I’ve been really looking forward to are the double doors we had planned on installing at the entrance to the second floor foyer from the stairwell. It will make it feel more like a “home.” All 6,000 square feet of it. After living here for 4.5 months it’s amazing how quick we have gotten used to living in such a large space on the second floor that it doesn’t really feel as massive as it really is. It sounds ridiculous to say that out loud but I guess we’ve adapted to it. One thing is for sure, my Apple Watch has yet to not achieve my daily step goal since we’ve moved here!

We had our next door neighbors & their kids over the other night for dinner & a movie upstairs on the third floor in the half way finished theater and I had a moment of “holy crap we actually get to live here?!?!” I’ve had several moments where I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that we get to live in such an amazing community and are making our dreams come true and are living completely debt free. At times I don’t think we deserve it. But God had a plan for us & we have put our trust completely in him through this process & he continues to blow our minds on a daily basis. (If you haven’t read one of my earlier posts called “The God Factor” I recommend it as it tells our journey of faith that happened from when we put in our offer on the building to when we moved here.)

Ok back to the doors. Naturally the second floor loses a lot of heat/cold in the stairwell. Which was another reason we wanted to be able to close it off. Also, once we have a business up & running in the basement it’s a good idea to have the extra security. We custom designed the doors online and ordered them about a month ago. We had to put off installing them & building the arched framework when Atom was having his awful headaches (which thankfully have been completely controlled with his new medication- thank you all SO MUCH for all of the thoughts & prayers!) Last week he got back to work. He actually burned out the motor in his new beefy hammer drill while drilling the wood frame down into the flooring (I can’t remember the type of flooring but it’s hard as stone and extremely difficult to drill into to anchor the frame into) and thankfully it was under warranty & he was able to get it replaced.

Plywood was then added once it was all framed in.

Then Atom ran the electrical for the light switches for both the lights on the stairwell side and in the foyer itself and an outlet. Being almost 100 years old, naturally the amount of electrical outlets in this building are definitely lacking. That will all change over time.

Next, Atom insulated and then put up the drywall. He did this part while I was at work so I didn’t get a photo of that step. He also painted the door a dark brown which I wasn’t sure about at first but once it dried & the second coat was applied I absolutely love the color!

He the mudded all the nails and cracks to give it the flawless smoothness.

The mud had to dry for a day or so & be touched up & then be sanded before painting. I came home from work on Monday to see this as I walked up the stairs. I literally gasped when I saw the finished product.

Here’s another view from up the stairs coming down.

It looks like it was always meant to be there. Like it was built into the archway 91 years ago (of course with an updated digital deadbolt 😉).

Technically it’s not “completely” done yet because Atom still has to cut the wood with his router for the casing that will go around the back of the doors but I’m impatient and wanted to get this post out tonight. Haha.

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Atom is just so talented.

Sweet dreams friends,



I am an open book, I always have been. I’ll tell you the good, the bad & the ugly. I have wrestled with making this post for a week because I wasn’t exactly sure how to write it or if I even should. It was actually Atom who gave me the push last night to go ahead & write it anyway.

Two weeks ago our renovations came to a screeching halt.

Three weeks ago, Atom started having AWFUL exertional pressure headaches. For those of you who don’t know Atom, he is healthy as a horse. Very physically fit and never ever gets sick. Ever. I think I can count the number of times he has had a “regular” headache in the 16 years we have been together on one hand. They started out intermittently and then got so bad he couldn’t even stand up or sit up for more than 10 minutes at a time and then had to lay completely flat to get any type of relief, 24/7. After a visit to urgent care, who sent him directly to the emergency room, they ruled out any immediate dangers (brain bleed) with a head CT scan. He got to come home but we still didn’t have any answers. His pain was excruciating. I felt absolutely helpless. Nothing I could do would take his pain away. Over the next week he had a MRI, visit to an opthomologist, spinal tap and another CT (this time with angio). I had so many people praying for him and I was scared. Terrified. Being in the medical field (I have been a Respiratory Therapist for 13 years & I was an EMT for 5 years prior to that) I have a pretty darn good amount of medical knowledge which is both a blessing and a curse. Thankfully those tests ruled out the big bad scary stuff (no active or slow bleed, mass on his brain, or ballooning aneurysm which is what they were looking for.)

Now before you ask it, because I know you’re thinking it, the thought of a possible exposure to something in the building that could be causing his headaches did cross my mind more than once. I asked the doctors about it and based on the type of exertional extreme pressure headaches Atom was having it wasn’t from anything he may have been exposed to. And none of the rest of us in the house had any symptoms at all.

Atom got to have his first appointment with our new primary doctor before I did! Who would have thought?! My appointment with him wasn’t for another week. Having debilitating headaches where his head literally felt like it was going to explode gave him a pass to the front of the line and I was totally okay with that 😉.

Being on the other side of things has definitely been an eye opener for me. In the past it has always been me being the medically fragile one. My hats are off to all single moms, single dads and military families out there who pull all of the weight. Y’all are an absolute inspiration. Taking care of a sick spouse while still working 40+ hours a week and caring for our three children is no joke. I was EXHAUSTED.

Atom is still having headaches but he is trying out a couple different prescription medications to try to curb the pressure in his head and he will more than likely see a neurologist in the near future. He’s slowly starting to get back to his regular self again.

I had my first appointment to get established with our new primary doctor (who is AWESOME btw & reads & shares this blog! 👋🏻) earlier this week. I kept thinking to myself “oh man this guy is going to be asking himself what he signed up for with these two medical train wrecks.” Hahahaha 🤣. I’ve said it in the past that finding an entirely new medical team for myself has been a huge stressor since I was so close and connected with my former team back in San Diego. They knew my heart & lungs better than anyone on the planet. This particular doctor came VERY highly recommended from both my coworkers and other patients of his. All of my fears & nerves went out the window at my first appointment. I was blown away with how kind, caring and attentive he was. I was in his office for a solid hour going over my medical history and establishing a plan. It never felt rushed and I knew I was in the right place with no need for any other opinions. Talk about a huge weight lifted!!

Since Atom was literally forced to be horizontal and still over the past few weeks and not work on the renovations, he has really spent time reevaluating his time. Not a single person on the planet will tell you he isn’t a hard worker. He’s hands down the hardest worker I have ever met and definitely not a sit still kind of guy. And believe me, there are plenty of times when I wish he would just sit still & relax! We’ve had several conversations about how we need to be sure to take more breaks from renovating and not push so hard to meet our self set (& often times unrealistic) goals and deadlines. Atom has started working on his next fiction book series that he started writing a year or so ago. Fun fact: Atom is also an author (& illustrator!) He wrote, illustrated & published a children’s book 11 years ago and published a Christian science fiction book this past spring. I’m pretty excited about the next trilogy he is working on, the story line is really amazing.

Now that Atom is starting to be up & around more he is making sure to not push himself too hard too soon. He’s taking many breaks to write and have lots of princess tea parties with our daughter while her older brothers are at school.

Once the scary stuff was ruled out I felt like I could take a deep breath for the first time in weeks (which is super ironic for me with my crappy lungs).

And I am also now trying to take it easy. Being so busy and so worried for the past few weeks has really worn me out. I could feel my body starting to shut down and that is very bad news for me health wise. Holding it all together is so hard, especially when I have a laundry list of my own medical issues. Fingers crossed I don’t crash & burn from all of this. I’m pretty sure I’ll be just fine. I’m relaxing as much as I can and our boys have been awesome and have really stepped it up & are helping around the house more, even more than they already do. They’re such great kids. One night last week I was beyond exhausted and just needed a moment to myself so after the kids (& Atom) went to bed I went down to the basement with my leftover Starbucks that had been in the fridge for hours and decided to be silly. Silly was better than crying from being so overwhelmed. So I did what anyone in my situation would have done & I rode around the basement on my big wheel for awhile (in reality it was probably only 10 min before I was so tired I couldn’t see straight) and then went to bed. I needed that moment & it felt so good. Self care is definitely necessary & I encourage everyone to take time for yourself, even if it’s only 10 minutes.

Don’t fret, the renovations will be back in full swing very soon! Just this afternoon Atom felt well enough for a bit to start measuring out the wood for the double doors that we are installing at the “entrance” to the second floor, our living space. We will be taking the renovations slow for awhile until he’s back up in tip top shape which hopefully won’t be too long. In the meantime if you wouldn’t mind, please keep Atom in your thoughts & prayers. We very much would like him to continue to feel better!

Thanks friends!!



I'm a musician. Music is my happy place. No matter what mood I'm in, grabbing my guitar or sitting at my piano (among other instruments) while singing brings me back to my center. I started playing piano at age 7 when my parents bought one and signed my sister & I up for lessons. Violin joined in on the fun when I was in 4th grade (mandatory elementary music class) and I fell in love with it. I played violin all the way to college, and was the first chair/concertmaster in high school.

It was my first semester of my freshman year of college when guitar entered my life. (17 years ago!) Growing up my dad was always playing guitar. We went to many of his bands gigs and I remember just sitting and listening to him play & sing all the time and loving every minute of it (I still do!!). I remember the moment clearly in my head when I decided guitar was going to be my musical love. It was at a college-age church retreat (shoutout to all my lifelong Vocare friends!) and there was a small group of acoustic guitarists playing music throughout the weekend. I knew I wanted to be a part of that music team. Not sure if you've ever tried, but singing while playing violin isn't an easy feat. The whole chin rest part gets in the way. I asked a few of the musicians to teach me how to play some basic chords on their guitars (thanks Greg, Alex & Julia!) and I was truly surprised at how quickly I picked it up & memorized the chords & chord patterns. I like to thank my strict musical theory upbringing between years & years of piano & violin lessons for that. It's also not recommended nor practical to bring a violin to a church bonfire either. Guitars are so much easier. Haha! I still played violin mostly for fun here & there (besides a few weddings I played at) but guitar was quickly taking over and I was okay with that. My faith has been incredibly strengthened over the years through music. One of my best friends in the whole world Alex, once told me "when you sing you pray twice" and that has really stuck with me still to this day almost 20 years later. I feel super connected to God through music. I've played on worship teams for 17 years now and absolutely love every minute of it. It's not about the performance. It's about the experience & connecting people to Christ through music.
Christian music isn't the only music I play. Not in the least. I'm a hardcore U2 super fan. I've seen them live more times than I can count and coming from a large extended awesome Irish family I have pretty much been a fan since birth.
When we first moved here (almost 4 months ago! Can you believe it?!) I was eager to jump on the worship team at our new church home, The Well and have been in the rotation to sing & play during worship services ever since.
Outside of playing in church, I hadn't picked up my guitar to play just for me since we arrived in Huntington. We have just been so busy with renovations etc that I hadn't really allowed myself time to just play. Atom & I have been planning and talking about the music studio we eventually plan to create up on the 4th floor long before we even moved here, but that's awhile off in the future.
I had some time this afternoon to pull out my guitar and play. I've been dying to test out all of the acoustics in the different areas of the building. There's nothing quite like standing on a stage in a symphony hall with perfect acoustics and physically feeling the music as you're playing it. I already knew the kitchen has incredible acoustics from singing in there many times while cooking. The ceilings are very high and with all of the metal in there the sound is on point. The green hallway between the kitchen & the open part of the basement also has fantastic sound.
The basement itself has potential. It's not bad & there is a pretty good amount of echo but not enough to give goosebumps or anything like that.

We will be pulling down all of the acoustical ceiling tiles to give the basement more of an open industrial concept & painting the ceiling/pipes/ducting matte black. I'm confident it will open up the acoustic sound so much more.

I was pleasantly surprised with the third floor former grand lodge room. I wasn't convinced the sound would be as good up there due to the carpeting that covers every square inch of the floor, stage and stairs. Don't get me wrong, when we hooked up the projector with the sound system to watch Star Wars up there over the weekend it sounded incredible, but I'm more referring to the natural sound. It will all eventually be removed to finish & seal the original hardwood floors that are underneath. I walked around & sat in many different chairs both on the ground level and the 4th level stadium seats to see the difference. The Freemasons definitely knew what they were doing (duh) when they built the building. The sound is unreal. The hugely tall ceilings that are domed really allows the sound to bounce all over.

Since I was already on the third floor I went in another room that we have dubbed "the Egyptian room", and I was also pleasantly surprised with the acoustics in there. It's still a rather large room, probably 14×20 or so and has high ceilings. Pretty much the entire building has high ceilings everywhere.

Walking around my house playing guitar & singing from room to room definitely helped me stop and take a breather from all the business of life lately. I'm definitely going to make it a point to do it more often. Next time I'll walk around with my violin to test the acoustics and hear any differences. I'm also staring to brainstorm a few ideas for community open mic nights & jam sessions. Stay tuned!


Random updates with a side of panda

This post will be a bit all over the place but I wanted to give a few updates about what we've been up to lately. My parents, sister & nephew came to visit a few weeks ago for 10 days and we had an amazing time! We kept it a secret from our kids that my sister & nephew were also coming. Our oldest son & my nephew are 6 weeks apart and they have all grown up together and the look on our kids faces when they saw him was priceless! We took those 10 days off from doing any work on the property to be able to spend as much time as possible with my family while they were here. Saying "see ya later" was really hard for all of us, but especially the kids who are super close to their Mimi & Pappy.
After they left Atom & I sat down & made a game plan for the next couple of months. We're going to push back starting to build the kitchen from scratch on the second floor until mid September. This will give us time to work on & (hopefully) finish up several other smaller projects that are all going on simultaneously. Story of any homeowners life right?! This is just on a much larger scale. Oooooof.

We're close to *finally* being completely done. It's fully functional at this point. The shower, sinks etc are all in place & working great! The walls & ceiling are painted and all of the new fixtures are installed. The hold up now is the floor. Atom had to patch some of the concrete where there were holes from where the old radiator pipes were. That has to set for 28 days before he can stain/paint/seal the floor. In the meantime he's going to work on building the wall cabinets and towel racks etc & I'll work on making curtains for the window to match the one in the shower. Once all of that is finally done I'll do a separate reveal post with photos etc. Promise. In the mean time, here's a bathroom photo from this morning when Stewart got a much needed bath.

Atom busted through the old roof access from a room up on the 4th floor last week. It had previously been sealed off when the new roof was put on and the only access to the roof was up the fire escape. No way in heck was I brave enough to climb that sucker to get up there. No thanks. In all honesty, the 100 year old original wooden ladder on the 4th floor probably wasn't a single bit safer but at least it was only one story to climb & not four.

The view from the top is breathtaking. We're clearly the tallest building in the neighborhood! Atom hopes to eventually have a roof top patio up there with VERY high railings all the way around.

Last weekend Atom brewed beer for the first time since moving here. Our neighbor came over & Atom showed him the ropes when it comes to beer making. He was so happy to be finally brewing again as he used to brew all the time before moving here & he will be doing a lot more brewing in the future (hint, hint.) 😉

Pandas caught on camera
The week we arrived in Huntington we ordered a 16 channel high definition infrared security camera system. We had one (on a much smaller scale) for our house back in San Diego and we knew we wanted a system on this property as well. Not necessarily because of crime or anything like that (there isn't much of that here thankfully) but more so to have eyes on all sides of the building at all times.

After attending a birthday party for a friend this past Friday evening, Atom & I had to swing by Walmart to buy cat food since our cats are basically teenage boys & we weren't planning on going to Costco for another week. While in the store we stumbled across this:

Feeling silly mixed with pure exhaustion, we bought 2 giant panda heads and hatched a plan. We drove home and tip-toed over to our neighbors house who we knew were also home since we were all at the same party & left at similar times to get home to relieve our babysitters. We donned our panda heads, climbed through bushes & tapped on their windows. A few moments later their front door opened and we jumped out and hysterical laughter was had by all. They are seriously the best neighbors ever & we have so much fun with them. Still feeling silly, Atom & I pranced through both of our parking lots back to our front door and wouldn't you know, it was caught on our cameras.

After throughly embarrassing our kids (and our amazing babysitter) as we danced into the living room they were quick to claim the panda heads as their own.

3rd floor movie theatre
Our boys have become extra Star Wars obsessed lately (more so than usual) and we've been watching the series all the way through again. This afternoon, Atom & the boys decided to set up our projector and Harmon Kardon surround sound system up on the third floor (the giant former secret meeting room) and the result was amazing. For now our "screen" is a 15 foot wrinkly drop cloth but it gets the job done. I'm sure every neighbor within a mile radius heard the opening credits to episode 4. The entire house shook from the sound system and it was AWESOME! You'd never know it was the middle of the afternoon- with the windows covered & doors shut it was pitch black in there.

We're talking about taking down the arch & turning the entire wall into a giant movie screen/wall. We used the high definition fleck paint on a wall at our house in San Diego for the projector & it turned out amazing so we'll do the same here. It will just require A LOT more paint.

That's all for now. I could go on for several more pages, but it's late and we are heading to bed. I'll be sure to write up another post this week about some really neat symbolism we have been noticing around the building.

Hope y'all had a fabulous weekend! Make a point to do something FUN this week! You're never too old to be silly & laugh until you can't breathe.



My family has been in town for the past week and the last 2 days my sister & nephew stayed with us. After spending the afternoon checking out the local 4H fair (which was really neat!) our plans were thwarted by the unpredictable Indiana weather. It was too hot & humid to be outside and the bowling alley didn't open until later in the evening. We were racking our brains as to what we could do with the kids and have a super fun evening together at home. Then a lightbulb went off above Atom's head. Broomball. He grabbed the car keys & told our oldest son to go with him to the store while my sister & I got started on making dinner. They got back about 30 min later and got to work transforming the basement into an arena. Considering our basement isn't ice (although I can only imagine it will feel like I've come winter) we improvised a bit. 6 brooms, 2 soccer goals & one four square ball in a 6,000 sq ft basement.

We had the BEST time playing!! The brooms that Atom bought didn't make it easy to hit the ball far which made it more difficult and also more fun. The kids were laughing nonstop and when we added the "play it where it lies" rule it added a whole new dimension of fun. At times the ball ended up on the stage, under sofas & even in the kitchen! We were all sweaty & exhausted by the end (it was a tie & we were all too tired to continue) and after showers for everyone we all went to bed.
Now I want to move more furniture around in the basement to make the playing area bigger. I can see many more broomball tournaments in our future!

Block Party!

Long before we moved to the Midwest Atom & I used to daydream and imagine what it would be like to have a close knit group of neighbors. While most of our neighbors back in San Diego were awesome, we never had much of a relationship with them even though we lived in our home for over 10 years. We wanted that community so badly that you see on tv or hear about in books. We started talking about taking the initiative once we moved to start building relationships in our new neighborhood and town. We hadn’t even met any of our new neighbors in person (although several had reached out to us via Facebook and my website before we moved) but we just somehow knew that we would hit it off & mesh really well. With everything else that had worked out perfectly with buying the building, selling our house in San Diego, me finding the perfect job here etc etc etc we knew God had his hand in every aspect of it and having awesome neighbors would just be the cherry on top. And He didn’t disappoint. The idea for Block Party came pretty much right when we moved in. I knew I wanted to host a giant party in our parking lot for our surrounding neighbors. It wasn’t until last month that I finally had time to figure out a date and set it. Atom & I went around our immediate block & invited everyone and told them to save the date: July 15th @ 4pm. We would provide hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos (because nachos are life) along with drinks. We told people they just had to show up and if they wanted to bring a side dish it was totally optional & definitely not mandatory. 

We kept our fingers crossed it wouldn’t rain as it has been quite a wet spring & into summer since we’ve been here (3 months today! Can you believe it?!) and thankfully the weather today was PERFECT. 78 degrees and sunny with low humidity and a bright blue sky with big puffy clouds. 4pm rolled around and we had set up some tables and chairs and easy ups and we waited. 

Of course the thought had crossed my mind that what if no one shows up? Then what? We’d have 65 hamburgers, 40 hot dogs, a crockpot of nacho cheese and 3 gallons of lemonade to ourselves. That along with 200 water balloons along with a giant bucket of sidewalk chalk and 2 gallons of bubbles for the bubble machine. 

Then they came. They ALL came. All in all we had about 50 people including kids. Some couldn’t stay long but they still came and said hi. They brought so much food and more tables and chairs. It was seriously amazing. 

The mayor and his wife showed up as well and joined us all for dinner. The conversations were so great and we all got to know each others stories as well as share our own. The kids had an absolute blast playing with each other and even the adults joined in on the fun. 

We played games and laughed until our sides hurt. We made plans to do this often and when winter rolls around we will still host in our basement! I think 6,000 square feet is probably enough space. It might be a bit tight but we can do our best to squeeze in there. (Haha!!!!)

Hands down my favorite part of the evening was overhearing our new neighbors make connections with each other. Many have lived in the neighborhood for a long time but had only shared a common wave here and there but never actually got together to share a meal or get to know each other. That all changed today. 

I’m beyond exhausted and my entire body hurts but my heart is so full. We are in the right place. We are here for a reason. And we couldn’t be happier. I’m headed to bed and tomorrow it will be time to start planning Fall Block Party!

Sweet dreams friends,


A first for this California girl 

We have experience a lot of “firsts” since moving to Indiana (it will be 3 months on the 15th) but two nights ago definitely takes the cake- a tornado warning. I know, I know, all of you midwesterners can get your laughs in now, as this is probably going to be a hilarious post for y’all tornado veterans to read 😜. It was a pretty normal day for us, except for my cardiac arrhythmia deciding to give me some trouble which eventually settled down on it’s own without needing intervention (thank goodness). There were several “severe thunderstorm warnings” that morning and I got caught in a gnarly one while I was at the store down the street and had to wait for it to pass through before leaving the store to head back home. We definitely never got rain back in San Diego like they do here, at least not that I can ever remember. Here it will be a wicked strong downpour for like 15 min (sometimes longer) with a ton of lightning & deafening thunder & hail and then just like that it’s over & the sun pops back out from behind the clouds. Weird. 
We’ve been under I think two other tornado “watches” since being here but nothing like a real official ‘take cover now’ warning with the super loud tornado sirens blaring outside. We were sitting down to eat dinner as a family on Monday like we do every night & our oldest’s sons cell phone had a weather alert go off & it said tornado warning for our county. 

We finished eating dinner and that’s when we heard the tornado siren go off for the first time. Being inside the building I had no idea what that sound was as it wasn’t super loud with the windows closed and being in a stone & steel building it is already pretty soundproof. It wasn’t until I opened one of the windows on the second floor in our living room when I realized what it was. And it was LOUD. My dad said it sounded like a hockey goal horn (go Kings go! Sorry Dad 😆). I called our neighbors to make sure I wasn’t hearing things & Ben calmly told me that now is the time when we want to grab the kids & pets & head down to the basement & stay away from the windows. Douglas grabbed our noaa tornado radio as we headed downstairs and turned up the volume and it was telling people to take cover now. 

Fantastic. <sarcasm>

Just what my already fragile stupid heart needed to deal with after a day of being very twitchy to begin with. I was actually surprisingly calm through all of this and the kids were amazing. They weren’t freaked out as much as I anticipated them being and since Atom & I were calm they had no reason to freak out. And let’s face it, we’re basically in a stone fortress and it’s not likely to come down easily but still, the basement is the safest place to be. We got the kids settled on the sofas in the basement and our oldest was glued to the radar app on his phone tracking the storm. Atom & I went outside real quick to see what the clouds looked like before heading back in. From where our building is it’s hard to see very far to the horizon with the other homes & trees & downtown businesses close by. Perhaps if we would have gone up to the roof but there was no way I was taking that risk. Here is an amazing photo my friend Melany took from her house of the storm rolling in from the east:

We waited a bit & went back upstairs & turned the tv on to watch the news & were hearing reports of a tornado that touched down in the county just to the west of us. It was then we heard the tornado sirens go off for a second time and back down to the basement we went. This time it wasn’t for very long & then we got the “all clear” from the radio and the news that the tornado warning was over & the storm had headed southeast of us. There was a report of a tornado that a storm chaser spotted in the southern part of our county and the news reported that there were no deaths or injuries from any of the northeastern Indiana tornadoes that evening. Thank goodness. 

Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep that night, still amped up on adrenaline for a good while. This SoCal girl can handle earthquakes like a champ. No problem there. I’ve experienced too many earthquakes to count in my lifetime. But tornadoes? Forget it. My childhood nightmares from the movie “Twister” basically cemented that fear in my head. 

Now that we’ve had our first official tornado warning experience I definitely feel better prepared on what to expect and how to deal with them. But I’ll still take an earthquake any day of the week over a tornado. 


Glitter Desk ⭐️

I knew I wanted to refinish the super old ugly desk that was left behind by the masons the moment I saw it. It’s very old, huge (it’s 3ft x 4ft), weighs a ton & is just about as solid as it can get. When Atom & I dragged it out of the smaller office to get a better look at it, it hit me: GLITTER DESK. I had seen it done before on a Facebook video awhile ago & had actually forgotten about it until that very moment. I told Atom my plans & after he was done laughing at how excited I was we got to work. Yes, we worked on this project while simultaneously finishing the shower and continuing with the bathroom remodel. I have been going through major crafting withdrawals and needed a desk to work at in the library. 

Atom tried sanding the top to prepare it for the glitter but when he started actually using the sander he realized that the top wasn’t actually wood. It was like this super thick almost half inch thick linoleum stuff. Which would have made it almost impossible to refinish it to its natural state even if I wanted to. He spent several hours with his industrial razor scraper bar just trying to get it all off. 

Atom bought a new thick piece of wood for the top & cut it to size along with rounding the edges & sanding it until it was super smooth. 

Initially I wanted to paint the desk brown to match the walls & woodwork in the library but once we actually painted it I hated it. (I forgot to take a photo at this stage- whoops!) Definitely didn’t match whatsoever with the colors of loose glitter I had picked out. So we scratched that & painted it all bright white. We added a touch of iridescent super fine glitter to the drawer fronts as well which didn’t need to be sealed in, it stuck to the wet paint & isn’t going anywhere. Then we added a layer of spray adhesive to the top and went glitter crazy. I think I ended up buying 10 different sizes, colors & shapes of glitter ($91 worth).

Another layer of spray glitter and repeat a couple more times until I had the glitter just as I wanted it. 

Now as far as the epoxy layers went it was most definitely a trial & error process. And since I went a bit overboard with my glitter application it was quite a thick layer that would have to be sealed in. (There can never be *too much* glitter!!! I’m going to be finding glitter in my house for at least a decade after this I’m sure.) First, we tried brushing on layers of polyurethane which didn’t work because it wasn’t thick enough to cover & seal all the glitter. The number of coats needed would never dry that way. So then Atom picked up a 3 boxes of a 2 part epoxy glaze mix from Home Depot & quickly realized it wasn’t going to be enough. We were left with a giant ring in the middle that had no epoxy and considering it was 10pm neither one of us could drive to Home Depot to get more. The next morning while I was at work Atom & the kids made the trek back up to Home Depot (the closest one to us is 28 miles away) to buy more. He poured another box worth to fill in the middle and we let it sit for a couple days. 

72 hours later we noticed there were a few spots that were still really tacky when we touched them. Thinking it just wasn’t dry enough yet, we let it sit another day. No change. I was getting frustrated and I googled to troubleshoot. Someone recommended pouring hydrogen peroxide on the top to help harden it since the problem was that as Atom was pouring the last bit of the mixture it more than likely wasn’t all the way mixed together. That didn’t work. We also tried pouring acetone on the sticky parts which didn’t work either. Atom said he would buff the top layer off and try to fix it. 

Our other issue was that we tried to drill wood braces to the sides of the top to hold the epoxy on while it was drying which ended up making a bigger mess and still managed to drip down between. Thankfully most of the drips just landed on the drop cloth under the desk & didn’t drip down the desk itself. This made the dried epoxy on the sides & corners round up instead of down (if that makes sense) with sharp edges so Atom had to sand & buff those down which made it look super cloudy along the edges. Back to Home Depot he went to get a different kind of epoxy (2 boxes of it) to hopefully finally get this sucker finished. 

This time Atom was even more careful applying it and put on a much thinner coat of the epoxy (it was still super think underneath and had already covered the glitter) and used a metal spreader to get it perfect with no drips off the sides. Once completely dried (took just about 48 hours to be rock hard) he nailed on a metal carpet tack strip to protect the edges which gives it a really neat look (& was super cheap!) 

The end result? 


These drawer front photos don’t do the glitter justice. The glitter looks like a rainbow in the light which was really hard to pick up on camera. 

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. All in all we put about $250 into this darn old desk between the paint, glitter, epoxy, tack strip & new handles. I absolutely love it & I think it creates a really amazing contrast from the wood in the library. It’s definitely a statement piece. Now I want to glitterify everything!!  

I uploaded a video of the finished desk to the house YouTube page I recently made where you can better see the desk sparkle. I’m going to try & convert the other Facebook videos I’ve done since we have been here and upload them to that channel as well for people who don’t have Facebook. 

Good timing that we finished the desk that sparkles right before the 4th of July!  Happy birthday to my favorite sister Jennie who’s birthday is tomorrow (the 4th!)

Have a fun & safe 4th friends!