and baby makes 7

When we decided to buy the old house, Steve and I would live in the front house and Mom and Dad would live in the back apartment that is attached.

Courtney and Justin’s relationship was a whirlwind and within months of meeting, we were already planning a wedding. During times of planning, we talked of the future. Where will you live? Discussions flourished as we discussed them living with us at the old house while they decided where they wanted to plant roots. Some parents would cringe at the thoughts of adult children living with them. Us….not so much. I love having as many under the same roof as wants to be there. I know it’s not permanent and that’s ok. I want my birds to fly and have their own nests.

Fast forward a couple of months and you guessed it! We are going to be Grandparents and Great Grandparents. 4 generations living in the big house. To say excited would be a great big fat understatement. I am already in love with the littlest one. I sweetly refer to the babe as blueberry. Why blueberry? When Courtney and Justin shared of the babe, they said it was the size of a blueberry. It is no longer that size but lovingly, he/she will be my blueberry.


I have heard my friends and others say that there is nothing like being a grandparent. I am ready to try it out. Parenting was a great joy and the best gift I ever received so I am assuming grandparenthood is going to blow me out of the water. I have had people say to me that I will make a great grandmother. I won’t prove you wrong.

As I was given permission to blab on the blog today, I do not believe it was coincidental that I listened to a video on and it was titled “Why hasn’t God answered my prayers to have a baby yet?” Courtney and Justin are so incredibly blessed to have gotten pregnant so quickly. I always teased Courtney that she better get busy cause her eggs were getting tired. As I listened to the video, it became so apparently clear that so many are not as blessed as we are. There are struggles of infertility, miscarriages, the loss of a child and so many more.   Quietly crying as others are pregnant. Accepting baby shower invitations when they know how incredibly difficult it will be. Silently struggling as months and years go by when all they want is a child.

As we celebrate the news of our newest family member, I will pray for those wanting to hear the news that we were so blessed to hear. News of God’s greatest gift. The gift of life.

Steve wants to be called Grandpa. My Dad is Pappa and Mom is Nana. I’m still working on my name. I know I might not have a choice, blueberry might pick one for me and that’s ok.

I will apologize or not if I talk a lot about blueberry and what’s going on at the old house. I’m not sure I will be able to contain myself. COME ON!!!! I have a nursery to design.


the girl who is over the moon excited for baby blueberry to arrive. Only 191 plus or minus a few days to go.



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Are you on a detour or is your road closed?

In my neighborhood they are putting up new street lights. Cute black historic looking lights that will fit the beautiful old neighborhood I live in. However for weeks now, we have lived in a detour zone. Roads closed, as they tear up the road to install new electricity to run the lights. Step one which is preparing the way is needed before moving to Step 2 which is installing and making the lights work.

When I left for work yesterday, this was at the end of my road. Look closely on the left and you will see the big old white house.

I had to weave around the closed road sign to get out of my street. I looked around at the sign and it said DETOUR with signs pointing both ways. What the heck?


Instantly I felt like this sign was sometimes my life. How about you? Do you ever feel like your road is closed and that you need to detour but your detour could mean to go “this way” or it might mean to go “that way.” However your road is open to local traffic only and that allows some things to still come in. It could be good and could be not so good. Or maybe you just think it’s not good and it’s the best thing EVER.

Sometimes I don’t want even local traffic. I just want to be left alone. This is never a good thing. I fight myself sometimes allowing people to know my stuff. I am not a good sharer. My personality says otherwise. I am super friendly and I do love people. However I don’t really like to tell people my business. Local traffic only people and sometimes the road is closed.


This is a constant challenge. I am a small group leader for goodness sake. I am supposed to lead people into relationships. If I mention that I am unsure of myself I usually hear “Wow I thought you were super confident.” Nope, not close.

At work we have recently taken personality tests. I am a full blown helper, encourager and activists for others. Why is it so hard to allow others to do the same for me.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day about our DISC profiles and Love languages. I told him that I didn’t care what people thought of me. He laughed. Really Charma? That’s why you are so vain and self conscious. Oh well yeah, there’s that.

Recently some old photos popped up of me. Like 25-30 years ago. Just me, not the family, not the kids. I had gone to a friends house and we took fun pictures. I DO NOT like to have my picture taken. I DO NOT like what I see and I know,  Love yourself. Love who you are. Love who you are becoming. Whatever…I don’t like what I see. However when I look at those pictures, I envy my previous self. I envy my perfect, non wrinkled skin, I envy my perfectly flat stomach. I miss those days.


I like these days too. I still do not like having my picture taken. I do enjoy my now adult children and my new son-in-law. I do love the freedom of coming and going whenever I please and not really having to check in with anyone. There are perks to NOW.

I tell people frequently who comment about the house or the furniture restoration that I am able to accomplish. If I had small children, I wouldn’t be doing this! I would be taking care of them just like you are. There is a season for all things. My season with littles has passed and sometimes I still mourn those times. God made me a Mom. Even if it was the hardest job I ever had, I love(d) every moment.

Some of the most quoted words of the Bible are from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 verse 1-8

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones, and time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose;  a time to keep, and a time to throw away;  a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate;  a time for war and a time for peace.”

This list represents all the seasons and the important matters of our lives. Some are happy times and some are sad. Some are productive while others seem like a waste of time. No matter what season you are in, remember that just because there might be a detour, this doesn’t have to mean the road is closed.





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It was the grossest room

On this day 1 year ago Steve and I were demoing the grossest room in our old house. We were pulling the ceilings with nasty drywall falling on our heads. There were poop smears on the floor. If you dare, you can read  the grossest room yet.

During renovations, we took some rooms and turned them into others. That is what happens when you have 5 separate apartments with 5 kitchens, 5 bathrooms, numerous rooms and alot of grossness.

The previously grossest room is now our Master Bathroom. It, like all of the other rooms in our old house still has things that need to be completed but wow what a difference a year makes.


You enter the Master Bedroom through the Master Bedroom. Straight ahead you see the vanity. I love that it’s freestanding.

If you look to the left, you see the clawfoot tub. The tub was original to the house. I traced the manufacturer back to the early 1900’s so I love the perfectly imperfect tub.

The windows will soon be painted and trim will be installed.

Who knew it would be hard to buy plain cotton white cafe’ curtains? I searched and searched. I wanted curtains to allow privacy without blocking all the light. So off to the fabric store I went. If you can’t  buy them, you make them. They were cute but not cute enough so a couple of weeks after they were installed, I pulled them back off and sewed some trim on the bottom. Perfect. img_1835

The hardware I chose is the 3rd option. Yes I purchased and returned, purchased and returned, purchased and kept. I love them and look at the exposed pipes are just the best.


Turn left and you enter the shower area (yes there is a toilet too) however the shower is my favorite.


You will now see why…….


It’s a shower for two. Sometimes there is two and sometimes I turn both shower heads on and enjoy all by myself. The best part? No shower door to clean!!!!!

As you continue past the party shower, you enter the master closets. The closest have caused quite a stir between this wife and her husband. Why is it so hard to design a closet. It should be simple right? Shelves, rods, done. I don’t think so.

You enter Steve’s closet immediately from the bathroom. He knew what he wanted. We went to Lowes, we bought it, he installed it.

I borrowed half for another 2 months. My clothes and shoes remained everywhere. On the floor, in the bathtub and many other inappropriate places due to the fact that I could not figure out how to make my closet be perfect for me.

Finally I gave up. Just do it. Put up some shelves for my shoes and some rods for my clothes. I don’t care anymore. This past weekend, I got a closet. It’s not what I had visioned in my head. I wanted grandeur whatever that means in a closet however, my wardrobe and shoes off the floor is grand…..GRAND I SAY!!!

You enter my closet from Steve’s closet. The mirror will be hung and there will be baskets attached to the wall to hold scarves and what nots.


To the left there is a shelving unit for shoes and a double rod for shirts, pants and skirts. They are not yet organized but soon. very soon. Color coordinated and matching hangers are in the plan.


To the right is another shelf for shoes. Yes I have many shoes and a single rod for my many dresses. So fun to see everything out of boxes. Joy.


This room that used to be disgusting and super smelly is now clean and beautiful. I am excited to continue the design of this room. Keep watching, MORE to COME!!


the girl with big news.

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Lockers revisited

A few weeks ago I posted about the lockers. Slowly……they have been restored. If you missed the first post, check it out here It all started in dads garage.

They have now been repaired. Hammer in hand, I beat on them just a little.

They were sanded.

They were primed, cause I don’t want no stinky happening. Dad sprayed them for me cause he’s better at that then me.

Just in case your memory has collapsed, here is a before of the lovelies. Dads treasure.


And the almost finished, after….


The inside is almost complete. I shopped Pinterest for an inside inspiration color but two things were stopping me.

  1. I didn’t want it take another month to get it done.
  2. I am super cheap and I really didn’t want to spend money just because I wanted the inside to be different.
  3. Really there are 3 because on Thursdays, I don’t like to go anywhere and I was too lazy to go to Lowes.

So, I decided to do what I do in the kitchen. I checked in all cabinets (the shed, the dirty room where all the paint is currently stored) and I mixed a Charma original.


A little bit of this and a little bit of that and poof, a perfect color.

The bottom left is a hint of the color. It still needs a second coat.

I will revisit the lockers one more time when the insides are complete. I am searching for the perfect item to create shelving.

These beauties are then moving inside to the Mudroom.


Can’t wait!!!!! Here’s a peek at what I am currently working on. Oh my gosh it’s going to be great.



the girl who is working on the second half of the Chicken story. Missed the first? Check it out here The story of the chicken



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Preparing for a hurricane is different now.

The last few days we have been preparing for Hurricane Matthew. Having lived in Florida for 99% of my life, hurricane preparedness is not new. I am so incredibly blessed to not have ever been directly impacted by a Hurricane. However that does not mean that I haven’t put in my time getting ready because you just never know. You CANNOT be under prepared. During this time also makes me think back to being married to a First Responder.

For 25 years Steve was a Firefighter in Sarasota County Florida. 24 hour shifts – double shifts sometimes (thank goodness because that was overtime pay) and the potential of extra work due to emergencies. Hurricanes were one of those emergencies. There was never a question as to whether Steve would be home for the hurricane. No. Nope. No way. Never. It was just a gimmee that he would be out in the county evacuating people and providing his first responder duties. Did I worry? If I say yes, I’m a worrying wife. If I say no, then I don’t care. My truthful answer would be no.




Steve was the best at his job and I knew that he never took chances that were not necessary. There were also times that I didn’t find out about a scary situation because it was not necessary for me to know until it was over. His firefighter days were some of the best and some of the worst.

Both times I went into labor, Steve was on duty. I can’t begin to tell you the times in our lives that happened, Steve was on duty. To make it even better? My dad was also a firefighter, my brother was also a firefighter and my brother in law was a firefighter. There were years that we had a family member on each shift at different stations. Just think of the logistics during the holidays trying to figure out how and when we would gather together. There were many years that there would be 12-15 of us opening Christmas gifts in the common room at one of the stations. It’s what you do as a firefighter family.

Our house was always the place where displaced hurricane people gathered. Mom and Dad lived in a mobile home so we would open up the house to the mobile home park. One year, I will never forget, we had an elderly couple at the house. The woman was very ill and dying of cancer. It however was the most precious of times. When you are stuck in the house with nothing to do, you make the most of your situation. You talk to people. You allow yourself to slow down. I will never forget that day.

Steve has been retired now for 6 years. As we prepared for Hurricane Matthew it still seems weird that he’s here. I always feel safer when he is here.

If you are in the path of the storm and your enjoy your day off, don’t forget about the First Responders who will be out in the weather working. Steve’s heart was and forever will be a First Responder. That I know.

We still have many friends who are First Responders. This is going to be a long weekend for them. Thank you for your service.



the girl grateful that her husband is home.

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Now. it’s a dining room

The first day we looked at the old house, January 2015, not knowing that one day we would actually own the nasty, disgusting crack house, we stepped into this room.

It was a small room. The windows were covered with dark blue sheets. There was a red couch sitting up again the windows and a woman smoking a cigarette glared at us as we entered. Intimidated would be an understatement. Maybe even scared.  However we keep walking.

There are not a lot of pre-purchase pictures of the downstairs, because truthfully we were fearful and I didn’t want to hang out there for long periods of time.

This room is immediately inside the front door.

Prior to renovation, there was wall which you will see below which held the fireplace. To the left of the fireplace was a doorway and to the right a blank wall. This room has 3 windows.


This pictures shows the lovely tile that was covering up my be-u-tiful brick fireplace. It also shows the giant hole I made when I discovered the brick chimney behind the wall. This was a happy day. I definitely did a happy dance.

IMG_0007 (1)

The ceiling was covered with at least an inch of plaster. Steve climbed up on a ladder and for DAYS and DAYS and DAYS stripped the plaster off the ceiling. He pulled 1000 nails and exposed the most amazing beadboard ceilings.




There were holes in the floor which will be repaired with new wood and where the new air conditioner vents will soon live.


From the porch, these windows look into the new dining room.


Plaster walls were removed, lathe pulled off piece by piece. All that was left was the wood structure. Bible verses were written on the walls by our small group. This house, as bad as it was is now encased with love. Insulation was installed and drywall hung, walls textured and painted.


Prior reno, the staircase ran the opposite way and there was a wall on either side of the stairs. This wall was in the old Living room/now dining room. There is no longer a wall.


The fireplace was exposed and is one of the best surprises during the whole renovation. Look at the space opening up that wall created? Good grief Charlie Brown. Check out the recessed lighting that will shine on the fireplace!


The big wall covering the stairs was removed.

The stairs were relocated to go the other way

Wait until you see the stairs done. Oh my word, they are beautiful.


My cute chandelier sat on a box for months. I didn’t care because I needed to see it put together and she did not disappoint.


The floors. Oh the floors. One board at a time. My poor back. Totally worth it.


I give you…….our dining room. She is not finished but it’s a great start.

I bought this farm table at a consignment store at least 9 months ago. It sat in storage waiting for its spot in the old house. It’s perfect.


The stairs are still in progress too. Check out the blue tape!!!


The front door makes me smile every time.

I was able to get curtain rods and curtains at Ikea a couple of weekends ago. The windows are being painted as I write and curtains will soon be hung.

My dining chairs were hand me downs from somewhere. White denim was purchased. Mom helped (mostly did) recovered them and put those nail heads in one by one. She is amazing. They sat in her house for a year covered up with sheets. Who has white dining chairs…….me I guess🙂

I have so many plans for this room.

We have already had many friends and family sit around this table eating and playing cards or games, laughing and making memories. It will be a favorite room.


2 rooms down, many to go. Stay tuned.

Thanks for checking in!


Charma Dawn

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30 minutes and a $1.99

There once was a cute little white cabinet. Nothing too fancy pants about it.

It sat in storage for a while knowing that it would someday find a home in the old house. Maybe a bathroom, maybe a laundry room. Much potential but a little plain Jane.

The day comes. The plain little cabinet with hang in the powder room. However plain just won’t work

Not knowing exactly what I wanted it to look like. It was clean. It was painted fresh.  I let it sit empty. It would come to me.


Walking through Walmart. A glance down down fabric aisle. Can’t hurt to look right?

And there it is. You know when you know it. The right color. The right print. It was  like the lightbulb moment right?

Pick it up

Get it cut.

Look at the sticker

$1.99!!! Go me!!!

Perfect and cheap. My kind of purchase.

I need  something to wrap the fabric around so I think about foam board. Gotta love Walmart, one stop shop. $2.50 for a piece of foam board. Don’t think so. It a $1.00 at dollar tree. No time for  Dollar Tree today.

Now that I have the fabric, I just want to get it done. No time for the Dollar Tree so the next best thing is to hunt through the hoard. Bam, cardboard. Free. Yes.

Measure.     Cut.     Repeat x 3.

img_1622Cut the fabric. It took longer to find the spray adhesive than it did to make the whole thing.


So pretty.

Now all I need is to put stuff in it.


So find yourself something that just needs a little pick me up and get busy. Easy Peasey.


the girl who is ready to finish painting the windows in her bedroom so she can have curtains. YES PLEASE!!!!!!

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