refurnishing our home was a nightmare

Wamie house update!

In this cozy place we call home, we have been working hard to make it everything we want it to be.  We have added pantry shelves, gone through countless paint samples to find The One, installed a fence and gutters, and so many other odds and ends that we are so excited to share with you in future posts.

But first thing’s first, if you want to follow along with our adventures of newlywed life, turning a house into a home, and all of the highs and lows of everyday life, click the subscribe button on the right (or at the bottom if you’re on mobile).  It doesn’t send you crazy stuff or give your information to anyone—it just sends blog updates directly to you!

Okay, let’s be real for a second. 

Some of us only dream about fully refurnishing our home, but rarely get to do it.  Especially not all at one time.  Usually we painstakingly save up for that new couch.  We stalk Black Friday sales for our new flatscreen.  We refinish cheap furniture that we find at an estate sale.  Refurnishing from scratch only happens in our dreams.

Well friends, let me break it down for you.  I’m not sure that it should be a dream.  I would call it more of a nightmare.  

If you want to read all about how we lost all of our furniture in Hurricane Florence, click here.  If not, here’s a quick breakdown. 

We searched for and put an offer in on a home in North Carolina while we were living in Arizona.  The day we left for North Carolina, my car was rear ended in a tiny town in New Mexico and we found out it was a total loss (read about that here).  Because we were under contract for a home we would be financing, we couldn’t replace my car until we closed on the house.  Luckily, everyone we worked with was a rockstar and we closed just a few days after we got into town.  The following day, we emptied our storage unit and found out that we had lost a LOT due to water damage.

On some level we were expecting some damage.  But to lose all of our furniture?  We literally kept our kitchen table and two chairs, a tiny desk, a drink cart, and our bed frame.  Those were the only furniture items that survived.  

Luckily we had insurance and had saved some money while in Arizona.  Through our own savings and the generosity of others, we have been able to mostly refurnish our home and are loving everything.  Here’s a breakdown of everything we have so far:

Couch

We found this beauty at Ashely Furniture, which is actually where be purchased almost everything for our new home. We found that the value and quality met exactly what we wanted at a price we could afford. This three seater is soft to the touch, firm, and perfect for our living room.

Chairs

These chairs are one of our favorite things. We bought them the same day we got our couch and the sectional we put in the bonus room. They are a similar fabric to the couch above but are not from the same collection. They are situated right next to our window and are perfect for afternoon book reading sessions with a big mug of tea, or for a late night blogger who may or may not writing this from one of these chairs.

Bookcase

If you are ever in need of anything for your home, Wayfair is like the Amazon of furniture. We have been so excited to find some great pieces on their website.

We actually purchased two of these bookshelves, intending to put them both in our office. However, while arranging our living room, we found that putting the bookshelf here tied the whole room together and made it exactly how we wanted it. It’s a grey wash finish and we only put very specific and limited books here so that we wouldn’t overwhelm the space.

Bonus: my parents were getting rid of their coffee table and end table and we were able to snatch them!

Nightstand

We got our bedroom pieces from Ashley Furniture on Black Friday. We were blessed with some very generous friends who gifted us a mattress and therefore only had to replace our nightstands and dresser in the master. I wasn’t so sure about the arrangement of this nightstand initially, to be honest—with the shelf on top and the drawer on the bottom—but it has actually been great for this bookworm who adores reading before bed.

Dresser

The dresser is from the same collection as the night stand, and like the bookshelves is a grey wash. It is a good size dresser—not too deep or gargantuan, but has great drawers that offer a lot of storage space. Bonus: being a newlywed and learning to share space for clothes is teaching me how to declutter and get rid of things I don’t need. Also, having your storage unit flood will do that to you too.

Mirror

So funny story. I put this mirror on my amazon wishlist (linked here if you want one!) and got two of them for Christmas! I am putting the second one in our guest bedroom.

Sectional

This stunner is from Ashley Furniture. It is a four piece sectional that we specifically chose so that it could fit upstairs in our bonus room. Our bonus room is the the only room in the house with a TV so we have to be intentional about any time spent watching shows or movies. We are so excited about this space, and this sectional has been perfect!

Side tables

The sweetest girl who I used to work with gifted us their old end tables that fit perfectly in this space. We have loved them!

TV Stand

Yet another gem we found on Wayfair. Our TV stand is our newest piece and I absolutely adore it. Again, it is a grey wash modern farm house furniture item and I can’t stop ogling it. God bless my William for putting it all together (some assembly required!).

Really this nightmare of refurnishing our home is a blessing in disguise.  We get to choose everything we want and build a cohesive home.  We get to start from scratch with items we picked together and can build our marriage in the comfort of new beginnings. 

While the stress and time spent on insurance and trips to the dump was overwhelming, and the time spent in stores and online searching for what we need was only lessened by the fact that I love shopping—while all of this is real and hard, we can find joy in our time spent with one another. Our lives in this home will be much more enriched because of everything we have been through.

What do you think of our progress so far? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already!

Until next time,
Jamie out.

our puppy is a genius

Blue update #2—Weeks 10 & 11

In the past two weeks we dog sat another puppy, marveled at Blue’s genius, and had a potty training regression.  

My favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • Transitioning to only getting up with Blue once every night.
  • Getting lots of good puppy snuggles and kisses.
  • Watching tiny Blue climb up and down our stairs.

My least favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • The great potty training regression of 2018.
  • Hand bruises from sharp puppy teeth.

Things I have learned:

  • That Blue is really really smart.
  • That Blue is already great at posing.
  • That Blue loves to please us.

Blue has gained over five pounds since we brought her home.  At her eight week vet visit she weighed 10.8 pounds and at her 11 week vet visit, she weighed 15.8 pounds.  We feel pretty good about her size and are hoping she is right in the sweet spot when she is an adult, which should be between fifty-five and sixty-five pounds.  She is happy and healthy and still learning daily.  It is amazing to watch her pick up on things.

For the most part, things got easier for us as a family these weeks compared to the first two.  I have definitely grown more attached to our high energy fur ball and absolutely love her snuggles and puppy kisses.  She is really good at hugs and snuggles, especially when she is tuckered out after playing with a puppy friend.

On the weekend Blue turned 11 weeks, we dog sat our friend’s puppy who is one month older than Blue and twice her size.  He is a shepherd mix—a herding breed—and is much more calm and less high energy than our girl Blue.  He is also better at sleeping through the night than she is.  And while they were both mostly house trained in their own homes, this weekend turned into utter chaos that caused both dogs to regress a little bit.

Our visiting pup wasn’t sure how or where to potty at our house, so he decided that inside was the perfect spot.  We had a lot of accidents the first couple days, especially because he refused to go outside.  At first Blue just observed this, but eventually she started to go inside as well.  As you can imagine, this got pretty frustrating.   

The short story is, we got the dogs on a strict schedule for going outside.  If they weren’t in their crates, they were going outside every twenty minutes, whether or not we thought they had to go.  This cut down on the accidents dramatically, and improved our relationship with them as well.

Dog sitting also emphasized repeatedly how intelligent our Blue is.  Not in comparison to the other dog, but just in the way that she would help him when he didn’t understand.  For example, he was terrified of going down our stairs, so Blue got right next to him and went down every step with him one at a time.  He also kept chewing my carpet, so Blue finally laid a chew toy across his paws and showed him to chew on that instead.  I have never been more proud in my life.

We are growing closer daily, and as Blue learns more and more, Will and I enjoy her more and more.  Often times before bed you will find the three of us sitting on the floor and playing with a ball or rough housing.  By the end of week eleven Blue weighed in at almost 19 pounds.  It’s safe to say she is heading into a big growth spurt!  She is still fearless and resilient.  We didn’t go a lot of places during these two weeks and she is definitely learning that the house is her den.  We still keep doors to a couple rooms closed to avoid temptation for her, but in the rooms she is comfortable, she is great at only chewing on her own toys.

Until next time,
Jamie out

Read more: 
Weeks 8 & 9Bringing Blue Home

the pitfalls of potty training

Blue update – Weeks 8 & 9

If you didn’t know we got a puppy, go read this blog post ASAP!

Being a puppy mom has been incredibly hard and incredibly rewarding at the same time. Blue is a smart cookie. I can tell when she’s just ignoring me, or when she’s sneaking off to do something she knows is naughty. But I also rejoice with her as she begins to get it. As she begins to ask to go outside so that she can “go potty” and as she obeys when we say “come” and “sit.” I am so surprised that at nine weeks old she knows so much. Obviously there is still a lot to learn, for BOTH of us. 

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

My favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • When Blue learned to go up and down the stairs to the bonus room.  She’s still so small that she looks like a bunny hopping up the stairs, and I have to encourage her down every step when we go back down.  It’s adorable.
  • The first time she asked to go outside to “go potty.”  
  • Watching her grow right in front of my eyes.
  • Her play date with our friend’s three month old puppy where they played until they literally dropped.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

My least favorite things about the past two weeks:

  • Her tiny sharp puppy teeth as she grabs onto my hand and won’t let go.
  • How dry my hands got from cleaning up pee accidents inside and washing my hands afterward.
  • How much she cries at night and how much we had to get up with her the first week.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Things I have learned:

  • It is okay to change your mind and do what is best for your family and your pup.
  • She is really really smart.
  • If she is acting “bad,” it is most likely my fault, not hers.
  • I cherish my sleep.
Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Her first week here was hard on all of us. We coddled her a lot at night and she struggled to sleep. We got up with her seven or eight times one night.  She learned that crying would be rewarded, so in her second week here we had to try to unlearn that.  We all lost some more sleep.  But we are confident it is what is best in the long run.  We want her to be comfortable and confident when she is home alone and when she is sleeping at night.

It was our intention to not crate her, however after having her for a week we caved and got a crate.  She went in voluntarily on the first night to go to sleep, but after that it got a little harder.  She is attached to the stuff IN her crate—like her blankies—but she isn’t so keen on the crate itself.  As her fur mama I know that she is safe in her own little den while I am gone, and I have peace of mind that my home isn’t being destroyed while I am at the grocery store.  And I am certain that she will grow to love her place once she realizes it isn’t a punishment and she isn’t lonely.

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

Potty training is no joke. We are finding a better routine and schedule that we can all adhere to, but as our days are never the same as one another, that can prove challenging. After four or five days of training she asked to go outside. A week after we got her she asked us three times in one night to let her out. This is where I feel the rewarding aspect of training—to finally see results of hard work. 

She is super smart and Will loves putting her brain to work to train her and then practice things they have learned.  We got her a puzzle ball we can put treats in to help her work her brain also.  A tired puppy is a good puppy, and even though she is very high energy, tiring out her brain is just as important as tiring out her little body.  

Or not so little body.  Two days after we got her I took her to the vet and they weighed her at 10.8 pounds.  By the end of week 9, she weighed a little over 13 pounds.  She is going to be too big to pick up and carry in no time so I am enjoying the lap snuggles while I can.  

Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

With full disclosure and honestly, we did not enjoy our first week with Blue.  We were very sleep deprived and potty training proved to be very stressful.  Once we got the crate, things began to improve and I started to get attached.  We made a plan for taking her out at night that would negate some of her crying and got us all on a better schedule. 

We are so excited to watch her grow, to learn with her, and to be the best fur parents we can to this little ball of energy.  Stay tuned for the perils and pleasures of puppy ownership as I take you along for the sometimes bumpy ride over the next several months.  There is so much that we will all learn and experience.

Do you have any puppy advice for me?  The biggest one right now is how to make her happy with her crate and cut down on the crying.  Please leave any knowledge in the comments below!  If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to subscribe to join the family if you haven’t already.

Until next time, 
Jamie out.


Golden Retriever Puppy: Blue at 9 weeks

I am thankful for…

At my job, every day we start the morning by sharing our good news.  Sometimes it is a struggle to think of something, but I can appreciate it all the more because it forces me to chase the good and positive.  

Even if I have been dog sitting another puppy all weekend and I feel like I cleaned up more messes than when we were in the thick of potty training our pup Blue.  Even if I am struggling to adjust back to North Carolina busy life.  I know that my good news this morning is that I got to spend some much needed quality time with my husband this weekend and that we actually weren’t that busy the past two days.

So here is my challenge to you—life is hard, and busy.  There is always something responsible to get done, like laundry and the dishes.  There is always something that will throw off your routine, or be frustrating.  The good news is that you are in control of yourself and how you react to things.  My challenge for you is to chase the good.  Do it with me—every morning think of what your good news is.  

Did you just get a cute new pair of shoes?  Did you successfully try a new recipe?  Did your kid accomplish something awesome, like good grades?  Did you have a great date night?  

Be thankful.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.  

It isn’t going to do your life much good if you are only thankful on Thanksgiving.  It is time to create a habit of gratitude.


our Thankful family our Thankful family our Thankful family

Until next time,
Jamie out

We bought a house!

We are first time home owners!  And we did it all from over two thousand miles away.

What a rollercoaster this process was. I was super surprised that the part I thought I would love—the actual house hunting—was the worst aspect for me. When it got down to the nitty gritty though, we had some amazing professionals on our team who worked super hard behind the scenes to pull it all together in less than 30 days. 

Our realtor was a good friend of mine who has been building me up and encouraging me for almost four years now. She is a rockstar. When we told her we wanted to buy a house in North Carolina, but do basically all of it while we were in Arizona, she didn’t bat an eye. She was down for the challenge. 

My parents, who coincidentally LOVE “window shopping” for houses were game to go look at houses for us. They looked at neighborhoods, the condition of the property, the drainage of the lot—all of the things you can’t change and all of the things you can’t see in the photos.  

Our realtor took us on video walkthroughs so that we could get a feel for the place as well. We talked over all of the positives and negatives. We searched for over a month and we fell in love with multiple homes. We were so ready!

Finally we found The One and we got an accepted offer. It was smooth sailing from then out (for us, not so sure about everyone else on our team, haha!) and we were so excited to close and get our keys just four days after we arrived in North Carolina. 

Since leaving Arizona, everything has been a little crazy for us. We got in a car accident and my car was totaled, but because we were under contract on a house, we could not buy a car until we closed, otherwise it could mess up our mortgage. Luckily we were able to close just a week after the accident and our insurance was understanding so they let us keep our rental car a little longer than normal. 

We were also super lucky because we closed on our house on a Friday and got our keys the same day, which doesn’t always happen in North Carolina because of the legal process here. 

Even though we had no furniture, food, or toilet paper, we booked it to the house as soon as we got the call. Just thirty minutes before the courts closed, our realtor called us to tell us that the house was officially ours! We drove through the rain and pulled up outside just after five. Will even insisted on carrying me over the threshold. It was amazing. 

We spent the evening at the grocery store buying toilet paper and frozen lasagna, and then back in our house to just soak in every foot of its perfections. 

We are so excited to make it our own. To fill it, and decorate it, and host in it. It is our favorite investment, and we are so very happy. 

Until next time,
Jamie out. 

We bought a house! We bought a house!

my car was totaled on our cross country move

On the first day of our cross-country move, in a small town in New Mexico, my tiny car was rear ended as we were attempting to pull into a restaurant for dinner.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

Earlier that day

We were in Arizona for four months, exploring and working and living in a hotel.  We booked it out from North Carolina in June, driving our two tiny cars packed to the brim across the country over three and a half days in order to get a good hotel room.  We were able to snag a suite, with a kitchenette, separate bedroom, and couches for comfy movie nights.  I took advantage of our space and went through a full workout program during our stay.  I worked out five days a week for about an hour every day and got some abs by the end.

When it was time to leave, we were definitely a little sad.  We had made great friends and connections, not to mention all of the authentic Mexican food and National Parks to explore.  If you have been following my blog you know all about our adventures and how much we loved our time in the desert.  Granted, my whole family is in North Carolina and we have an incredible support group on the east coast, so we were definitely excited to head home as well.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

We weren’t able to leave town until the afternoon.  We packed up our cars, checked out of our hotel, said goodbye to our friends and had a quick lunch at Subway.  We sent texts to all of our family and friends to let them know we were hitting the road.  I promised my mom I would let her know once we arrived at our hotel for the evening.  Then we set off into the desert, going through our last border patrol check and peacing out toward the mountains.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

We stopped in a tiny town in New Mexico and pulled into a parking lot to check our map and decide where to eat.  We settled on a nearby local restaurant that had great reviews online.  After turning back out onto the 25 mile per hour road, we drove a little ways and then turned left on another road.  We stopped, with our left blinkers on, intending to turn into the restaurant’s parking lot.

That’s when I got hit.

my car was totaled on our cross country move

Suddenly my head flew backward and my car lurched forward and my heart and lungs seemed to compress in my chest behind the tightened seatbelt.  My arms were glued to the steering wheel and as I began to comprehend what had happened, and my car lurched forward again, I slammed my feet on the brakes in a feeble attempt to avoid hitting Will’s car, which was directly in front of me.

Luckily, I didn’t hit Will.  He waved to me, indicating he was going to pull into the parking lot.  I rolled down my window to look back at the driver who hit me to see if he was okay.  He was in a huge truck.  My tiny Mazda hadn’t stood a chance.  

I shakily yelled back at him, “Are you okay?”  But I doubt he heard me.  I waved at him a few times, and indicated two or three times that I was going to pull into the parking lot to get us out of the road.  I tested my car and it seemed okay to drive, so I cautiously pulled into the parking lot and to the side to stop.  Will ran to my window and immediately asked if I was okay.  I started crying, I think simply from adrenaline and shock.  Also just because I cry over every strong emotion.  I got out of my car and we hugged.  That’s when we finally looked around for the other driver.

He wasn’t there.

Another shock.  It was a hit and run.  And it had happened to me.

The witnesses outside were shocked as well.  The restaurant owners brought us water.  A paramedic heard the crunch of my tiny car as it was hit, so he and his fellow paramedic came immediately and called the police for us.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move

Guys, I want to emphasize something right now.  Every single person we encountered on this journey was amazing.  They answered our questions, helped us however they could, and were on our team.  Even though we went through something hard (although unfortunately not uncommon), we did our best to treat everyone with respect while at the same time emphasizing our situation and being proactive in getting everything accomplished.  

We were in the middle of/on the first day of our cross country move.  We were not from New Mexico, we had no permanent address, and we were two thousand miles from our destination.  

As we waited for a tow truck, a truck pulled up and a man and his son got out, heading directly over to the police.  There was a small dent in the front bumper of the truck.  I nudged Will, who was on the phone with insurance.  

I want to protect involved individuals, so I’m not going to hand out specific here, but let’s just say that the dad of the driver who hit me deserves an award.  They came back, and we shook hands, and they apologized, and their insurance has been the bomb.

What a crazy rollercoaster of a night!

The tow truck driver, on arrival, inspected my car and told me it was okay to drive to Las Cruces.  Will asked if he could drive my Mazda for me and I took his little Fiesta.  We stopped for a quick dinner, got a hotel room, unpacked my car, and then went to the ER to get me checked out.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

I got x-rays of my right wrist and they did an exam but determined nothing was broken or bruised.  They gave me a shot for pain and a prescription for muscle relaxers, and advised that I not take more than half a pill at night if I was planning on driving the next day.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

The following day was Friday and insurance claims adjusters don’t really work on the weekend.  We had one day to get everything sorted out, otherwise we were going to be stuck in New Mexico all weekend.  

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

To make a long story and a long day a lot shorter, we were able to meet with an insurance claims adjuster that afternoon and after working with us for a few hours, he determined that my car was a total loss.

Not to be dramatic, but literally six years to the day after I bought her, my baby died.

my car was totaled on our cross country move
Throwback to the day after I brought her home.

On one hand this was much more convenient.  We didn’t have to figure out how to get my car repaired and then to North Carolina, or how to get to North Carolina and then repaired.  Having it be a total loss meant that insurance could give us a check and a rental car and we could drive off into the sunset.

Which is pretty much exactly what we did.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

It was a bitter sweet moment, and I may have shed some tears as we said goodbye to my Mazda and peaced out in the HUGE Ford F-250 rental car (the only car they had on the lot for us).  At least we knew we could fit all of the stuff that was inside my car into the truck.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

We stopped and indulged a little for dinner at Cracker Barrel, drowning our sorrows in comfort food and consoling ourselves that the total loss was ultimately in our favor because we could finally get back on the road.

After dinner we drove a couple hours into Texas just to get somewhere.  I took half a muscle relaxer once we got to our hotel room and we went to sleep almost immediately.  It had been a crazy 28 hours.

my car was totaled on our cross country move my car was totaled on our cross country move

The rest of our trip was absolutely uneventful.  We ate dinner one night at the fanciest Panera I have ever seen.  We still listened to podcasts and stopped for Subway, gas station dinners, and tiny donuts.  Will drove the truck (and LOVED every minute of it) and I drove his car.  We took a different route home than we had planned in order to save some time.  Our favorite hotel was a La Quinta somewhere near the eastern border of Texas.  Our room had crazy tall ceilings and was exceptionally nice.

All in all, even after arriving back home in North Carolina, purchasing a new car, and other grand adventures we have been on since coming back, we are grateful.  We don’t know God’s purpose yet in the accident, and maybe we never will.  Sometimes everything isn’t about us.  Maybe it is about someone we encountered along the journey.  

Or maybe for us, it was about having each other and learning to cope together in a stressful situation.  Having Will by my side through all of it was the greatest blessing.  It was much less stressful to go through it with him and while I would rather never total a car again, I would gladly say I’m excited to do life with my husband, especially during the rough patches of life.

Until next time,
Jamie out