The truth is

The truth is, I don’t always enjoy motherhood. I often feel trapped in a never-ending cycle of food preparations, clean-up, laundry, groceries, organizing, sweeping, mopping, diaper changes, potty training, sleep-training, breastfeeding, modeling good manners, correcting bad manners, disciplining children who throw tantrums… and just re-read that seven times.

The truth is, I often long for more free time in my life: more time to sleep; more time to clean my home, myself, my soul; more time to earn money; more time to read; more time to socialize; more time to sit in quiet reverie sipping a stellar latte at a cozy mom and pop’s coffee shop.

The truth is, I don’t love knowing that every time I have sex I am “running the risk” of getting pregnant (unless I’m already pregnant).  I am actually quite frustrated that more Catholics don’t talk about the difficulty involved in openness to new life. Months ago, in the early stages of my current pregnancy–39 weeks now, by the way, woot woot!–our parish priest mentioned the burden of openness to life in his homily. I was so grateful that he put it in those terms–a true carrying of the Cross of Christ. I think that Catholics often feel as if they are supposed to enjoy every pregnancy and convince the world that every pregnancy is/was intended and therefore wanted. After all, how “irresponsible” is it to get pregnant accidentally (and repeatedly accidentally, for that matter)? Especially considering that child-rearing is expensive and exhausting, and child-gestating and bearing is physically painful and takes a permanent toll on a woman’s body.

The truth is, this current pregnancy was unplanned (at least in my limited perspective) and unexpected. Thomas and I thought we were being called to abstain from conceiving more children for the time being, for both financial and mental health reasons. And yet, on the day we conceived I prayed: “Lord, we are doing our level best here to live prudently and avoid another pregnancy, so if we conceive now, it is because You must want this specific person to exist.”

The truth is, I am thoroughly convinced that I don’t always know what is best for me. Honestly, sometimes I think I’m just plain too busy to realize how much I love my life. Some people’s lives are so busy they don’t realize just how empty they are. But for me, life is so full I sometimes don’t realize just how full, how gratifying and deeply fulfilling, my own life is. I glimpse the size 2 working woman in a perfect outfit ordering a skinny latte in front of me at Starbucks as I try desperately to keep my children from breaking anything or screaming too loudly or running around, and I think, “Ah, what a life she has! To be standing in uninterrupted deliberation as I make an espresso selection! She must be so happy!” But what do I know?

The other day at the doctor’s office I was waiting (with my children and husband) in the waiting room beside a Carmelite nun in full habit. I smiled at her. She smiled the most joyful, pure, inspiring, peaceful smile back. My mind wandered to religious life (and oh! the peace it must afford!) and I concluded that God calls some to religious life to be a beacon of hope for the rest of us–a summit of perfection in prayer, Faith, Hope, Charity and so forth. “What a life!” I thought. “Sleeping a solid 8 hours every night, beginning and ending one’s days in the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, attending daily Mass, Lauds, Vespers and all the rest. Thank God for this woman beside me, so filled with tranquility, praying for poor souls like me who plunge on day after day just trying to keep my family alive and keep myself from losing my mind.” So when she commented on my precious children, I told her I was just sitting there thinking what a peaceful and fulfilling life she must lead, compared to the busy mayhem of my own. (Because God knows my children don’t seem too precious when they’re at home whining, bickering, hitting, biting, screaming, wiping poop all over the front seat of the car–yeah, that happened–and so on.) She almost laughed as she replied she had been sitting there thinking how busy her own life was and how must lead such a joyful life–bringing a unique, unrepeatable facet of God’s love to the world in each child I conceive and bear. So, each of us carries our own cross, whatever it may be. The size 2 latte lady at Starbucks may be aching with loneliness as she waits for “Mr. Right”, the nun in the waiting room with me was aching for the joys of family life, and here I am aching for a latte in quiet reverie, or a solid 8 hours of sleep each night (or, well, at least a few nights a week), or just a smidgen more alone time than I’m liable to get for the next twenty years.

The truth is, I love my life and I trust my God and His love for me. I believe that marriage is a calling, a vocation like religious life, and in the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “Marriage, like all vocations, is a carrying of the cross.”

Each of us carries burdens in life, whether chosen or otherwise. As a Catholic, I choose the burden of family life–right down to surprise pregnancy after surprise pregnancy (replete with insomnia, roller coaster hormone rides, hemorrhoids, and then the crazy-making sleep-deprivation of new motherhood all over again)–because I believe with such deep faith that my God desires The Good for me, not just in Eternity, but here and now. And somehow, through marriage and family, my God is giving me The Good. 

This alluring culture in which we live, and after which I so often pine, is a culture of selfishness that leaves the soul empty and lonely. When we are consumed with seeking the things of this world that do not call us beyond ourselves, we lose sight of those things that will actually bring us total fulfillment. We lose sight of the Truth.

The truth is, the Truth is. We are free to choose the Truth, or to choose the emptiness of self-gratification. The truth is, God desires only The Good for each one of us. But as high as the heavens above the earth are God’s ways above our ways and God’s thoughts above our thoughts, so we don’t always know that the daily grind is, in fact, bringing us more fulfillment than anything else we think will make us happy. And the best part of it all: whether we choose the Truth or not, the Truth IS.



One Eighteen Resurrection: Making Our Move

We’ve gone and done it! About a month ago, we made our move from the rental place to our first owned home. What a relief, at last, to be living in the house we bought over a year ago in order to save money and be closer to Thomas’ new job. And while finances are still ridiculously tight, I am so impressed with our ability to downsize as quickly as we did and, outside of the tens of thousands of dollars we borrowed to purchase this house and make it habitable, we have remained more or less in the black as far as our family budget is concerned. But enough about finances.

Thanks to a handful of wonderful friends in the area, the move went off without a hitch. (But not without a Penske rental truck. Wink wink.) The day was sunny and 72, and just like that, we were no longer renters. Even after a month of living in our new home, I still feel waves of relief wash over me as I let go of double property management and simply settle in to this place–which took far too long to occupy.

October 2015

Here’s what I won’t miss about our rental property, and what I love about our new home:

The things I won’t miss:

  1. Paying rent
  2. Living with young children at a highly-trafficked four-way stop
  3. Hollow doors
  4. Creaky floors
  5. Laundry room location–tucked away in the back of the basement
  6. Our old ‘hood–no joke, we heard shots fired the week before we moved, and the week after we moved there was a man-hunt in our old neighborhood that had schools on lockdown. It didn’t help that our rental house was situated just behind section 8 housing.
  7. Paying double utilities–electricity, natural gas, water, sewer, and garbage, which we’ve had to do for nearly a year now.

The things I love about our new home:

  1. No rent!
  2. Living with young children on a rarely-trafficked dead-end street
  3. Solid doors — enabling things like kitchen-cleaning during quiet time or after bedtime, which was not at all an option in the rental, where one kid slept right next to the kitchen and the other one slept behind a hollow door not far from there.
  4. Silent hardwood floors — our kids are ridiculously light sleepers (as am I), so now Dad can leave for work at an ungodly hour without inevitably waking the entire household. Clap and cheer and dance and sing with me… once I’m awake.
  5. Laundry room location (adjacent to bathroom, just outside master bedroom) so I can suddenly and almost effortlessly do laundry more than once a week (I thought this day would never come!)
  6. The floorplan! I am in the process of transitioning Emma and David into a single room, which will leave Dad and I at the back of the house and the kids at the front. For whatever reason (but if you’re a mom, or someone with a vivid imagination, you know exactly the reason), being in the presence of my children nearly 24/7 is rather taxing on this introvert personality here, so having sleep space more than 10 steps away from the kids is such a blessing for me.
  7. The nursery — just off the master bedroom, there’s a tiny room that cannot be listed as a third bedroom for house-buying/selling purposes, but that works just perfectly for sleeping quarters for a Little Someone. So having 5 people in a 2-bedroom will actually still feel rather spacious. After all, we had our first baby while we lived in a one-bedroom, and our second in a two-bedroom, so this is more or less the lap of luxury right here.
  8. Last but not least, I scored a free treadmill from a few houses down, so our basement is equipped with a midwest mom’s winter wonderland (a crappy old treadmill).

And that’s about all the writing I’ll manage today, since writing is a rather extravagant activity in my world, where the dishes are never entirely done and I have a laundry list of other to-do’s that I get cranky for not accomplishing if I while away my one good hour of quiet in front of a screen.

Until next time, peace.

Addicted to Motherhood

As it turns out, I’m an addict. When I began this journey of motherhood four years ago, I was a morning-sick, miserable (yet still totally excited about the adventure) newly-wed. Nine months later I labored like hell, and out came a precious, helpless, totally time-and-life-consuming little person. The adjustment was difficult, to put it mildly. I felt so trapped–my time was never my own (I used borrowed time for life basics like eating, sleeping and bathing), nor was my body my own, as it continued to be the sole source of nourishment for my baby for months and months after her birth. But I got used to it.

Not 12 months after the birth of our first child, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be grand if this little one had a sibling close in age?” No sooner thought than done. I weaned the first while pregnant with the second and life trotted along. By now I’d accepted my role as Life Source for these two little ones. Sure it was uncomfortable, and from time to time I pined for the freedom I enjoyed on Cancun beaches where I honeymooned with my beau, but with my darling children as a constant reminder of what I wouldn’t have if I went back to just the two of us, my current state of affairs rang true as certainly the most fulfilling lifestyle I could imagine.

Early this year, we discovered that we were once again and quite unexpectedly pregnant.  We weren’t planning for a pregnancy just yet, as we were in the throes of home renovations (still are… LOLOLOL/waaah), but we were nonetheless thrilled to be a family of FIVE! With every new pregnancy, life has felt that much more pregnant with meaning and purpose. Planning for the future brings such an overflow of hope and joy as the number of people we have in this little family unit increases. Sadly, however, that pregnancy only lasted a matter of weeks. Who knew I was capable of feeling so irrationally empty? Still, we thought it most prudent to continue avoiding conception thereafter, for the time being.

After the miscarriage, I clung to my breastfeeding relationship with my “baby”  (toddler, for sure).  Completely accustomed to living as a physical gift of self, imagining life with neither a pregnancy nor a nursing child was unbearably painful.  I was convinced I would be risking a mental breakdown if I tried weaning during those months after the miscarriage.

Thomas and I had planned a trip sans babies, to my sister’s wedding, and in the wake of the miscarriage I wrestled with the reasons we were leaving our children. How am I being a responsible parent if I am leaving my children thousands of miles away in someone else’s care? If something terrible were to happen to either of them, could I live with myself for having made the decision to be absent?  How is it right for me to leave all of my helpless babies so that I can enjoy a weekend of wedding festivities and responsibilities unencumbered by needy dependents? And then God reminded me that the children are more His than mine anyway, and I could breathe a little easier after that. He threw a little something extra in there for me as well: another pregnancy! So I was able to leave my two children without my life feeling as if it had lost all of it’s richness and meaning–since I was carrying one third of my children with me on the trip.

Once again, with this pregnancy, we weren’t aiming exactly at it, but on the day we conceived I remember praying, “Lord, if we get pregnant (although I don’t think we will), then clearly you want this particular person to exist.” So, while I am only seven weeks along, I am confident (con fides: “with faith”) that this baby will stay.  And isn’t it amazing to think that, had I not miscarried the last pregnancy, the person inside me right now would never have existed. I am so excited to see what God has planned for this child! Earlier this week I watched my baby’s tiny little heart on an ultrasound machine pumping like crazy, and that only strengthened my hope and belief that this pregnancy will come to fruition.

Please, join me in the joy (but please do skip the nausea) as we await the arrival of our next child! S/he is due late this winter (in early March, with a chance of Leap Year Baby!).



One Eighteen Resurrection: Moving Week

What an exciting entry title for someone who’s been hoping to move into a new home for the past six months! Since we bought a (real fixer-upper of a) house back in October, we have been on-again-off-again renovating it and hoping week after week and month after month that it will be move-in ready. Alas, what the owner of a home considers to be move-in ready is not always what the township wherein the home exists considers as such. In our case, we (and probably several homeowners before us) did some work on the house without permits from the County and/or the City. I won’t bore you with the bureaucracy of it all; suffice it to say that we are supposedly (and maybe even tens of) thousands of dollars away from being permitted to occupy our property. (Isn’t it crazy frustrating that there are two or three individuals in the government of a city who can simply tell us we are not allowed to live on our own property for whatever reason and we have to abide by their rules?… But I digress.)

So what’s this about moving week? Well, last week there was this hilariously painful mix-up at the government center of the township wherein our new home rests. The three-page field correction notice from our occupancy inspection in March never made it into the computer system, so the building commissioner told us if we would just fix a loose railing and procure an engineer’s report of our foundation that we’d be allowed a temporary occupancy permit (i.e. we could move in last week!). We jumped through said hoops as they requested and lo and behold, upon her revisit to the property to inspect the fixed handrail, the crotchety inspector lady made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t going to let her boss let us move in without our first fixing the other 738 items on her “thorough” (read: over-the-top nit-picky; like, “remove poison ivy from north side of home”–because it’s a crime to grow poison ivy on private property?? Or live in a home located on a property where poison ivy is growing??) list. You can imagine how pissed I was when she mentioned as she was leaving: “And your yard is overgrown. I am submitting a request to my boss for a written citation for that.” (!!! Really, lady?!)

What choice do we have? We’ve sucked it up and taken out a couple more 0%-interest-for-20-months credit cards in order to jump through the hoops that City and County have requested of us. We have scheduled a plumbing company to re-do all illegal plumbing work (and pull all necessary permits) in the home ($$$), and we’ve done the same for an electrician. And my question, “What choice do we have?” is proverbial, because I know we also have the choice of simply moving into the home, as-is. After all, everything in the home is functioning well (as far as we can tell). But I am a rule-follower, so going against the grain really grinds my gears. All the same, I can’t ruled it out entirely; with our spending (flat-out wasting) over $1,000 a month on rent plus double utilities, a slap on the wrist for breaking a rule (i.e. occupying our own personal property without a permit) just might be a trade up.

For the time being, we’ll play by their rules–after all, we do want our plumbing and electrical to be functioning in tip-top shape once we are relying upon it completely, so why not cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s before we live there? (Again, a proverbial question. The obvious answer being: “Because $$$”.) While I have said this to myself (and to my loved ones) every month for the past six (or seven!) months, this time we’re closer than ever and I believe it almost as much as I’ve believed it the other 6 times I’ve chanted it: by the end of the month we just might be moved in to our new home!!! So hold your breath and pray a million Hail Mary’s with me and let’s see what comes of this saga! Now for a random turn of entry content: my sweet girl’s third birthday is tomorrow and I’m so excited to celebrate it with her–this being the first year that she’s excited about it, too.


Uncle Michael came to visit at the end of April and I snagged a quick shot of him with my bebes in the kitchen at the new house. My dad (birth-father… meh) put in the archway/entryway in which Michael is standing for a little motif of the original that you can see in the foreground. Lovely.

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And here’s a close-up of my little sailor. She’s such a quirky kid. I love her. But sometimes, wow, she’s almost as irrationally sensitive as am. (No idea where she gets it.)

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And then there’s my guy who will happily reach to be held in the arms of any stranger willing to make eye contact with him. In this instance he’s staring through a window in a restaurant at a group of high school girls….

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…and they’re loving it only slightly less than he is.

So here’s to life and family and red tape and new homes and bottoms of barrels and moving week… whenever that may be!


I have been thinking a lot about seasons these days, as spring breaks gloriously upon us and with it, Easter. New life abounds. But this winter and Lent were tough seasons for me. We lost a baby in January or February, and I bled until the end of March. During Lent I also came to the crushing realization that I will never have an earthly Dad.

If you’ve followed 118 Resurrection, you know my father has not been a significant presence in my life for as long as I can remember, until this winter, during which he was staying with us and renovating our new house. When he first arrived, back in October or November, I had high hopes. Maybe this is it! The opportunity to know my father and the opportunity for him to know me. Finally, I can have a father-daughter relationship! Maybe it took 28 years longer to begin than most father-daughter relationships, but so what? At least I have a dad, and at least we both want to have a relationship. 

During the first weeks of his stay, I was eager-to-please and fascinated by our similarities. (For example, when we walked through the new house for the first time, before making the purchase, we both got the same “sense” about it–it felt like a good home; friendly, comforting, charming, welcoming, etc. I have always known I am a highly intuitive person, and I was thrilled to see where I’d received that trait.) And as months past, I finally worked up the courage to tell him just how difficult it was growing up without a father, and how (heart)broken I am because of that gaping absence. He listened so lovingly and beautifully–I felt as if we were really making progress in the mending of our relationship. But by the time he had finished what he was going to finish of the house renovations, he left (in mid-March) without even saying goodbye. In the sadness I felt after his sudden departure, I realized that he is who he is, and he is who he was. He is the man who left, practically before I was born, and he will continue to be that man. I thought perhaps once I became an adult I would be able to have a meaningful relationship with him. But he, too, has scars from his own childhood and he doesn’t know how to be my father as much as I don’t know how to be his daughter. Now, for the first time in my life, I am learning to accept that.

“You use the simple, obvious, yet now so rare, word sad. Neither more nor less nor other than sad. It suggests a clean wound… And I am sure it is never sadness–a proper, straight natural response to loss–that does people harm, but all the other things, all the resentment, dismay, doubt and self-pity with which it is usually complicated.” ~C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed 

I took the above excerpt from After Miscarriagea book by Karen EdmistenIf you or someone you know has experienced a miscarriage, I highly recommend this book. It is filled with a wide variety of miscarriage experiences and encouraging quotes. If I’ve learned anything from my miscarriage, it’s that every woman’s experience of one is uniquely her own. I was incredibly blessed to experience the sadness of miscarriage after two “successful” pregnancies that resulted in my Sweet Two, as I like to call them.

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My heart is already so full that, as incomprehensibly sad as it was for me to lose a child, I felt always held in God’s Providential hands during the six weeks that I bled and processed the loss of that baby. There is a rhythm to family life. From what my intuition told me, my body was not physically ready to gestate another baby: I haven’t had a period since 2013, I’ve been under so much stress with my father in town and home renovations under way, David was an extremely heavy nurser, etc. It felt as if my body was doing what it was designed to do. It didn’t seem my whole person, body and psyche, was ready for another pregnancy. Of course we value the life of the child we lost, and I would have rather stayed pregnant than lost the baby, but in the big picture, I look at other couples who experience multiple miscarriages before ever once gestating a baby to term and I know I am blessed beyond compare with the life (and the fertility) that I have. Thus far, conception has been quite effortless for us, so this miscarriage was simply a chapter of sadness in a life already filled to the brim with love and mercy.

Before I had come to terms with my miscarriage and as I was struggling to find a “silver lining” in the cloud of it, I came upon the above C.S. Lewis quote and I realized that not all clouds have silver linings. Some things in life are purely, simply and entirely sad. But what I finally came to experience at the end of that season of cold and grief was the warmth of Spring and the Mercy of God crashing down in such relief that I was able to accept the way that winter went, just as it went. The joy that comes with the relief of warm weather and God’s great victory over death is really most palpable after a long, cold winter or a bitter Lent. So thank God for seasons.


One Eighteen Resurrection: The Doldrums

As the end of the year (2014) came barreling toward us, I realized that finishing our home renovations by Christmas was a wild and crazy pipe dream. Then my dad left town for two weeks during the first half of January and I realized my sails weren’t the only ones without wind in them.

We drifted in the doldrums of tedious wood floor installation and bathroom tile work for weeks. (Or has it been months?) The good news is we’ve made some undeniable progress on the house since my last blog post (forever and ever ago), but the less-good news is that in my hope and plan to be moved into our new house by almost two months ago, our family budget has gone a little topsy-turvy. I hadn’t planned on our still paying rent by the second or third month of this year (or fourth, if we’re being very soberingly honest). I also didn’t account for the fact that we’d be paying water, gas, electricity and sewer at the new house in addition to our rental property. So the long and the short of it is: we’ve been stuck in the doldrums in a sinking ship. … Welcome to adulthood and if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

I don’t mean to sound too terribly gloomy though. Perhaps blogging in February was a bad idea. This is the coldest and my least favorite month in all the year for too many reasons with which I won’t bore you. But I say it’s earned the name Febluary for obvious reasons–because who doesn’t have the February blues? (IT WAS FIVE DEGREES YESTERDAY MORNING. Get thee gone, winter!!!)

Let’s take a look at the renovation progress, shall we? (Commence photo-hunting… …and then the baby awoke… …and then I found a few photos.)

Our porch looked like a massive Wendy’s Frosty spill when my dad cemented it to slope away from the house instead of toward it. That should take care of the muddy rain water that had been known to seep in on the front end of the house–since he also patched up all the termite damage at the threshold there. I still find the front porch to be such an eye-sore, but I’m trying wholeheartedly not to care.

frosty porch


Inside the house painting can be, and is being, done. This will be David’s room (it was the laundry room when we purchased the place). Someday the awful black and white awnings will come down from outside the east windows…but not today. Because anything that can wait to be done until we move in will wait to be done until we move in. 

David's room blue


Real bloggers best be horrified by this next photo, but I make no apologies. That is a light fixture in the master bedroom. That’s right, folks, we’re talking true and irrefutable progress being made toward a livable home when you see a light fixture illuminated in a newly-finished ceiling. 

light in the master


And here, lest we feel the doldrums overcoming us once more, is a little reminder that we are the authors of our fates (kind-of)… so LET’S DO THIS. But I mostly wanted to show you the baseboards with quarter-round in this one–the walls and the floors are literally coming together nicely:



Last but not least, before I attend to my roll as mother extraordinaire (that is, before Davey has a post-nap meltdown…which is going to be so so soon if you could only hear his frustrated little self), the SHOWER WALLS ARE TILED! The tile here has yet to be grouted, but you get the idea–making strides toward move-in day! We went an entirely different direction in bathroom tiles than what I last showed you, but sacrifices must be made based on finances and tile saw capabilities… so there you have it. It’s still tile and will serve it’s purpose well.

shower walls



I am hoping beyond hope that when Easter morning comes, this One Eighteen Resurrection will also dawn gloriously upon us! Just yesterday (or was it this morning?) my dad said something to the effect of, “God’s telling me to finish this house project.” So at the risk of sounding overly-confident, I believe we’re coming out of the doldrums and will be sailing swiftly toward the finish! But prayers from YOU can only help in that regard. Thank you! Catch you next time.

One Eighteen Resurrection: Two Steps Back

Friends! I am now quite sure one enters a time warp the minute one signs closing documents on a house, especially if that house is in need of renovations. Time has hurdled relentlessly by. Here we are nearly TWO MONTHS later and the house is in greater disrepair than when we bought it! Or rather, it appears in greater disrepair. See?





We’re taking the “one step backward, two [more] steps back” approach. As my dad put it, we just keep taking one more step back so we can get a really good running start when the time comes for the home improvement chapter.

I am so stoked for that improvement to occur! We’ll be adding two closets (one for each room) in the space where that old pink wall used to be [above]. The room farthest away in those pictures is now a laundry room, but we’ve decided to combine laundry with the (already tiny) bathroom across the wall from the current laundry space so that we can have a nursery. Huzzah! A more-than-two-bedroom house!

Currently, we’re focusing on bathroom renovations. Here’s what the bathroom used to be:


(Before we bought the house ^ )


(After we bought house and started demolition ^ )

And here’s what it is today:

bathroom now

Toilet and bath (and sink) gone, walls gone, concrete whatever-that-is installed, and Thomas reminding Emma where the toilet used to be. Cute, right?

Thanks and thanks and thanks goes to my dad (who, after 25 years of being more or less absent from my life, has become a much more regular part of it and who, for the first time in forever, I can genuinely admire and brag on). And thanks goes to my brother John for flying out from LA last week to help with these renovations (ahem, demolitions). Lastly and not leastly of course, thanks goes to my husband who works a full-time office job and still squeezes in every other hour of daylight to work on home renovations.

We’ll be tiling the bathroom soon, after some drywalling in the other areas of the house. Of the tile options in this picture, we’re going with the warmer, darker beige (left) in 12″ x 24″ on floors as well as 4 feet up the walls in the bathroom, in a brick pattern–pictured is our shower curtain as well; I was sharing the look with Thomas’ grandfather who’s done interior design for nearly 6 decades:


I’m thrilled about it, especially because Thomas’ grandfather is more than happy to share his brilliant interior design eye with us!

So here’s to gutting old houses and rebuilding virtually non-existent father-daughter relationships and, most importantly, here’s to the home-front! What a blessing to be a homeowner and to be making this home our own.