Corners of Our Home

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On my last post, Mallorie commented:

“Can I gush how I really love your blog?! It’s probably the most real thing I’ve ever read online. It has been a huge source of encouragement and ideas for me as a mom of young kiddos, for the last 4 years.”

This comment means a great deal to me because lately I’ve been feeling weird about blogging. A few readers have asked me to post an updated home tour, now that the work on our house is done, but I’ve been reluctant. When I started blogging in 2008, home tours were all the rage among “mommy bloggers,” and I played along even though I didn’t really want to be a “mommy blogger” (though of course, I realize that I am). I guess I saw myself as more of a “lifestyle” blogger, but even that isn’t accurate because this blog is really an online scrapbook with benefits. I love that it helps, inspires, or encourages others, and it allows me to be part of a group of like-minded people with whom I’ve developed lasting friendships. However, its most important function has become to act as a record of our family life.

My problem with blogging (and Pinterest and Facebook and everything of that ilk) has always been that it allows people to present a sanitized, carefully choreographed and stylized version of their lives, and I hate that. It’s fake and insincere, and it makes other people feel bad. For example, I remember looking at a picture someone posted of the inside of their medicine cabinet, and all their personal care products were housed in clear glass bottles with cork stoppers and Pinteresty labels, and all I could think was, “Where’s the mangled toothpaste tube with gunk caked all over the cap? Where are the sticky mouthwash bottle rings?” (Also, why do we post photos of our medicine cabinets on the internet? This is a phenomenon I do not completely understand).

Is this how people really live? Maybe, for awhile, until it becomes terribly impractical to continue transferring all their products into cutesy-matchy glass bottles, and they decide it’s not worth it. But hey, it makes a great photo for the internets, right?

Let’s face facts – blogging has changed. It’s less about sharing your life, and more about jockeying for rank and building your “brand.” Over the years, my blog has (often inexplicably, to me) grown in popularity, and advertisers have shown some interest (though not a lot, obviously, because how often do I encourage you to buy more stuff?) I’ve been given some pretty cool opportunities, and I’m genuinely thankful, but I don’t want to be a narcissistic, “look at me!” blogger. People tell me to promote myself more, but truth be told, I don’t care if my blog is “big,” and I don’t want to be a person who thinks she’s special just because she writes about her life on the internet.

So what. So do a lot of people.

However…I do enjoy writing about my life, and this blog has really become part of me. I’ve toyed with the idea of closing it down sooo many times over the years, and you know what? I just can’t pull that trigger. I’m the girl (well….I say “girl”) who tells people to want what they have. It’s what I do, and I think it’s a message worth repeating.

The point I’m making, in this very roundabout and verbose way, is that the future direction of this blog will just be me writing about our life, when I feel like I actually have something worth saying. If you still want to read it, I’d like to share it with you. I know that for some people this will be disappointing, and I’ll get a few emails complaining about how I’m not as “helpful” as I used to be, but that’s OK. Those of you who genuinely care about us will stick around, and that’s what matters to me. Because see, I don’t want to be a “brand.” I want to be myself.

To that end, I’m sharing some pictures of our home because I think it’s fun to see how other people organize/paint/decorate, and my goal with this blog has always been to write something I would enjoy reading myself. However, it’s important to me that you understand that my house is not always clean. In fact, it’s often horribly, nerve-wrackingly messy. I took pictures of rooms as I cleaned them last week, but my photos aren’t staged or styled. This is how we actually live. Also, I won’t tell you the names of paint colors (unless you really want to know) or where the furniture and accessories came from because, to be very frank, I think that kind of thing is pretentious and not at all important. Also, probably 90% of everything we own came from garage sales or secondhand stores, so the best way to describe our style would be “thrift store practical.” I hope that when you look at these pictures, you learn a little bit about what IS important to us. You’ll learn that we love our children, and we love each other, and while we like things to be generally clean and orderly, we don’t care about perfection. However we’ve put our heart and soul (and a lot of physical labor!) into this house, and it means a lot to us. I have a recurring dream about driving by and seeing other people’s kids playing in our yard, and I always wake up in a panic. This house is ours. I genuinely believe that it was meant for us, and that it was given to us by God, so when we had growing pains we didn’t move – we remodeled!

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33 comments… add one

  1. HeatherC November 20, 2013, 5:19 pm

    I have been reading your blog FOREVER! And although at first it was more for tips from someone who lived in a way that I respected and admired, it has morphed into about just reading about your family!In fact my favorite posts are “a day in the life” posts. They are so real, funny and sweet. I adore the pictures, the tours and the ideas. Glad you aren’t leaving us anytime soon.

    Reply
  2. Jessica G November 20, 2013, 5:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I love to see how others decorate, especially with multiple children. I love reading your blog posts. It has been very inspiring to me. When I am having a down day I come and read your blog. The “wanting what you have” concept is something that I strive for in all areas of my life.

    Reply
  3. Roxie November 20, 2013, 7:41 pm

    One of the things I have always admired about your blog is the FACT that it is real. It does not look like it fell out of the STAGED photos of a Martha Stewart magazine. You are a busy, wife, mother, and someone who works with her husband…your days are full.
    You share what you want to share. It is your blog; I check it often to see if there is something new. I loved the pictures of your girls birthdays. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Janel November 20, 2013, 11:34 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE your home tours!!! I am so happy for you that all the rooms are finally finished! I am in awe of your laundry room!!! I like where you have the bookcase in your kitchen…I almost forgot you had your desk there at one time. The girls must love their new rooms…so pretty! DJ’s room is adorable…I bet he loves the kid zone sign!

    I am SO losing interest in “sanitized and carefully choreographed” homes and blogs as well!!! I am equally losing interest in Pinterest and even Facebook (I deactivate it for awhile and then go back). The “wow” has been long gone…there are so many blogs that I do not visit anymore…oh well :)

    I don’t know why some people will be disappointed about your blog not being “helpful”, you have every subject possible in your archives. I’m sure you will continue to post updated pictures of the kids and your home…I hope <3

    I'm sure you already know, but I'll be a reader of your blog until the day you are ready to say…I'm done. I hope by that point you will have your book written…and your cookbook too!!! I'll catch ya later old friend <3 <3 <3

    Reply
  5. Anika November 21, 2013, 12:06 am

    I agree with everyone above. I prefer just hearing about your family and your weekly/monthly activities so please keep sharing!

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  6. Brenda November 21, 2013, 1:43 am

    You and your simple appreciation of family is precisely why I have stuck with your blog. I am not a blogger, but I love to read. Thank you so much for staying true to your values.

    Reply
  7. nicole November 21, 2013, 1:50 am

    It is a weekly occurence for me to tell my husband about something I have read in one of your blog posts. You may not realize it, but your everyday posts about your family are more than updates. They are helpful and they inspire. I eagerly check for new posts simply because you write about real life and it is so affirming to read about another mother’s struggles and joys. On days when I’m feeling down about myself and what I haven’t accomplished, I remind myself that even someone as organized as you still has seasons of struggles and imperfection. Please keep doing what you feel God is leading you to do because He is using your blog and I look forward to anything that is to come.

    Reply
  8. collette November 21, 2013, 1:56 am

    I’ve been quietly reading your blog for years. I rarely ever post comments.
    You really know how to catch my attention with your real life posts. Please don’t toy with leaving bloggy land ever again. It is hard to find people who are actually authentic. BTW- I loved when you went with your natural hair color. I am a fellow “silver” and love your look. Just saying.

    Reply
  9. Sarah November 21, 2013, 3:01 am

    I have always enjoyed reading your blog and I feel like I have grown to know your family and I love hearing about your real life! I love the photo’s it’s great to see how you decorate, it always give me lots of good ideas!

    Reply
  10. Rosemary November 21, 2013, 4:43 am

    Out of all the blogs I followed over the years yours has been a constant on my feed. I haven’t unfollowed you because you are much more down to earth and real to me. And you also don’t push products or sponsors down our throats. Thank you for keeping it real all this time.

    Reply
  11. Angel November 21, 2013, 7:01 am

    Heather,

    Please know I eagerly check your blog because you are a role model for me. And honestly, (sadly, actually) I don’t feel like I really grew up with role models. At 38 years old I can say I finally have someone I really look up to. Thank you for everything you share with us. Even if you decide to stop writing one day I will ALWAYS have you and your family in my heart and I will ALWAYS be grateful for what you gave me – HOPE, FAITH and REMINDERS TO BE GRATEFUL for all I have.

    Reply
  12. Tiffany November 21, 2013, 8:18 am

    I love reading about your days– your routines remind me very much of the routines around my own home, growing up {the routines I am trying to build into mine, now}. I appreciate the constancy that my wonderful mom instilled in our home– there was a rhythm to our days and that rhythm was predictable and reassuring. SHE was a consistent, even-keeled and fun-loving mom~ What a blessing a steady mother is!~ *In our media-crazed culture, the beauty of these simple joys seems to have been lost. Your transparent writing & balanced example are a blessing to us, your readers.~ Thank you, again. :)

    Reply
  13. Laurie November 21, 2013, 12:39 pm

    I am in agreement with everyone else. I have always loved your blog since it is a real portrayal of motherhood and raising a family. I always love your home tours/decorating posts. Your home is lovely and cozy and I have been able to get some ideas for my own home. Glad to hear you will continue to share your life with us.

    Reply
  14. Mandy B. November 21, 2013, 1:22 pm

    I have been reading your blog for about 2 years now and I enjoy it now as much as I did then! I love that you are “real” and show people not only how to do things and give us encouragement and ideas, but also the real moments and “hiccups” in your life because it makes me feel better about our “hiccups” and I know we are not alone. Thank you for being you and sharing that! Your home is beautiful. You and your family have fantastic style!

    Reply
  15. Mary November 21, 2013, 3:23 pm

    I love your blog!
    and your the only blog that doesn’t tell a story that lead up to a product, which I love about you.
    but honestly I love the way you write, you are such a great writer:) and keeping things down to earth and being able to relate to things you write about which make me feel grateful for the family I have.
    I feel blessed to have found your blog, and please keep writing.

    Reply
  16. Rebekah November 21, 2013, 5:02 pm

    I just want to tell you I’ve been reading your blog for several years now, though I have never commented. As many others have said, I also really love that your blog is real. You and your family live in a way that I admire and am striving to be more like. I also relate to feelings of depression and loneliness in the stay at home mom life I have chosen. I love reading the stories about your children and how a person can really see how much you love your children through your words.

    Reply
  17. Sherry November 21, 2013, 5:10 pm

    I’m another one that enjoys your blog because you keep it “REAL”. Your blog is the only one that I keep up with because of the fact that you are not trying to sugarcoat your life and you have issues and problems just like the rest of us. I have read some blogs that have made me feel not up to par with the rest of the moms’ out there. I enjoy your tips, recipes, and your family. Thank you for keeping it simple and real. God Bless you!

    Reply
  18. Jennifer W. November 21, 2013, 5:15 pm

    I will echo what the others have said- your blog is amazing and so real. Thank you for taking the time to share with us! You do a wonderful job!

    Reply
  19. Deb November 21, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Love it, Heather!! ALL of it… Thank you for being you.

    Reply
  20. Michelle November 21, 2013, 7:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I found your blog when I was in a darker place (no doubt a little depression after my 2nd baby- who just turned 5 yesterday!). Your blog was really an anchor. I have re-read posts & looked through your tours/day-in-the-lifes for motivation. Yours is unlike any other and your family is precious. Thank you for ministering with your talents!

    Reply
  21. Angela Moller November 22, 2013, 12:41 am

    I’m so glad that your blog isn’t going anywhere! I pop in once or twice a week, just to see if anything is new. To me, it’s kind of like making a phone call to a friend to see what’s going on in her world. And while I do enjoy browsing Pinterest for new ideas, I usually come away feeling overwhelmed, not good enough, or desiring more and more renovations/decorations/etc. When I visit your blog, I have a longing for what I NEED: cozy simplicity, practical organization (that doesn’t have to have cute labels), and general order and tidiness. While so much of blogland seems unattainable, you show us that we can have a lovely, clean, organized and frugal home without it having to take priority over our families. All your readers have gotten to feel like we know your family, and we’ll continue to enjoy reading your updates as we continue to use all your archived posts as well! Thank you for taking the time to create your blog, which is a work of art and such a source of inspiration to so many. (And I, for one, would love to know the paint color of your teeny tiny master bathroom).

    Reply
    1. Heather November 22, 2013, 3:23 am

      Angela, thank you for this lovely, encouraging, and thoughtful comment. And the color is called “Country Club.” We got it at Ace Hardware :)

      Reply
  22. Lisa W November 22, 2013, 4:12 am

    I love your blog! Would hate to see you go but you have to be true to yourself. I love that you aren’t out there to keep up with the “Jones”, it makes it so real. By the way, I love your home. Looks like a real home, one that a family actually lives in, very comfy! Be very proud!

    Reply
  23. Julie November 22, 2013, 10:46 am

    Heather, I was worried you were leading to a point when you were going to say you were going to stop blogging! No no no no. I love reading your blog, most particularly your honest account of your life, love and everything. I enjoy your style of writing and look forward to each time I find a new post. I love that I have read for long enough that I was worried when Cakes did not like her original ore school, and oh the joy when you announced you were pregnant with DJ. I love the house tours but of course my favourite is a Day in your life……and how can I not mention Crap family chronicles. Still gives me a giggle…

    Julie in Australia

    Reply
  24. Jessica C November 22, 2013, 12:49 pm

    I have found you so inspirational over the past few years of reading your blog. In our country where so much value is placed on what you have I love that you place all the value in who you have. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

    Reply
  25. Lauren S. November 22, 2013, 1:24 pm

    I know I have said this before, but I have read your blog since 2008 and have gained so much from you in regards to keeping a home and being a mom. In 2008 I had no kids and now I have 3! Like another comment said I find myself often saying to my husband, “on my friend Heather’s blog…” Yet we have never met that is how I feel! Thanks for being real and I constantly refer others to you because of that.

    Reply
  26. Cathleen November 22, 2013, 6:23 pm

    I feel like I totally know which blogs you are talking about! I like looking at them the same way I like looking at the Pottery Barn catalog…it’s fun for a few minutes and then I realize my house is never going to look like that because I have neither the time nor the money to make it! The reality also sets in that those things would never satisfy me anyway. Which is why I love your blog so much…the lesson to want what you have IS always pertinent and your real life is authentic and refreshing

    Reply
  27. jackieNj November 25, 2013, 3:02 pm

    I love reading your blog and it’s always a delight to find a new post.
    jackie
    Kenya.

    Reply
  28. maggii November 25, 2013, 4:31 pm

    I can totally relate…I mostly write my blog for myself…but I too have kinda fallen into the trap of trying to impress or appeal to the masses( not that I EVER even HAD ‘masses’ reading my blog..LOL). Like you I really just want a record of my life for myself and/or my kids. Not that interested in being a BIG blogger. I don’t think ANYONE reads my blog anymore anyway, I don’t post that often anymore so the few I had have probably moved on. BTW , I live your home and style. You can tell there is love there and you’ve done a wonderful job with what you have….

    Reply
  29. autumn December 14, 2013, 4:23 pm

    I am so behind on my blog reading. Only catching up on my very favorites.
    I think I have that exact same hope chest.
    Love the pictures!

    Reply
  30. Amy F. December 16, 2013, 12:37 am

    Heather,

    I am one of many who are glad you continue to write about your authentic life. You are personable, approachable, kind, and realistic. I have learned SO much from you about living a simpler life and I am yearning to pare things down further. Trying to figure out a way to make an even simpler life mine, but for now I am wanting what I have!!

    Thanks for being a pleasant constant in my life. I look forward to the day we make an in person meeting a reality.

    Reply
  31. Amy December 30, 2013, 10:42 pm

    I LOVE the color of your master bedroom :)
    Do you know what color it is! That would look great with the grey you wanted…

    Reply
    1. Heather January 1, 2014, 9:21 pm

      The purple is called “Her Majesty.” It’s an Ace Hardware color.

      Reply

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