Happy New Year, my friends!
I've never liked to hear people say they "survived the holidays." I love the holidays and much prefer to enjoy them than endure them. This year, frankly, was about survival, though. I was working 80 hours a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas and didn't even have enough time to fully decorate the trees (yes, we do two trees. Maybe that's one place I could have cut back).
Without going into too much detail, I took on a special assignment for my local newspaper covering a Christmas charity in our town. One front-page story per day for 30 days (on top of my regular work). It was rewarding and heartbreaking and it deepened the meaning of Christmas for me, but I'm glad to be easing back into our family's normal routine. My heart goes out to families who have to keep that pace throughout the year just to put food on the table--or who would be grateful for any form of employment right now.
Yesterday we took part in one of my favorite traditions. For almost a decade, our good friends here in Spokane have gathered for a New Year's Day lunch. We took a break for the last couple of years because we all had kids at that crazy age where, when you throw too many of them together in a small space, there's a meltdown around every corner and a few doors get knocked off their hinges. Literally.
But we decided at the last minute to bring the New Year's Day lunch back, and it went quite well. The grownups even managed to squeeze in a round of Cranium.
The party was also an excuse to see the house our friends Brian and Danica just finished building. Holy gorgeousousness. It was liking walking into the page of a magazine--a tranquil, modern, soft, warm, cozy, beautiful magazine.
The house was built (most of the construction done by Brian and Danica themselves) using an ICF wall system, which basically means that the walls have a concrete core and are wrapped in an insulating foam. Super energy efficient! Plus the thick walls mean your window sills are deeper than normal, as you can see here:
The best thing is how family friendly the layout is, which I hope you'll be able to see from these photos.
There's a shower behind the tub:
My favorite room--a mudroom with a cubby for each family member. Dreamy:
Underneath this bench seating are drawers that hold the kids' coloring books, Crayons, playdough, etc.:
Their sons' rooms are identical ...
The happy homeowners:
I love the stain color they chose for the doors and baseboards, not to mention the wall paint colors: