the one where we throw a grad party because someone insists on growing up
{ where I paint every day } The Living Room

{ new + old }

I am experiencing a full-fledged mix of emotions these days, friends. 


We are in our new-to-us-old-home, in our new town. Our charming neighborhood has welcomed us and embraced us with open arms. This summer has been cool enough to throw open the windows and enjoy fresh air.


Our things are slowly finding new spots in this place, and it is beginning to feel like we live here.


 I am absolutely in love with our little screened in porch, just off the living room.  Jay and I sit out there almost every night. 


The girls have already made friends and had sleepovers. Aside from Annmarie's fall from the zip line and consequent broken arm, surgery, and hospital overnight on move-in day  (great story! we'll tell it forever!)  this summer's move has been much more fun than they expected. 


We live a few houses down from their wonderful school. They can't wait to start back in twelve days.

See? On the whole, feeling very, very blessed.

And then August hits me like a truck.

On Sunday, August 3, it will be three years since I held my baby girl.  

[Commence with chicken bone in the throat and ugly, snotty tears.]

In twelve days when Annmarie begins kindergarten, I will be left with the reminder that Darcy didn't make it. That a stupid knot strangled the life out of her before anyone could do anything. And it hits me. I should have a three year old at home with me.  The quiet will echo. 

Deep breath. 

In many ways it is good that this was the summer of the big move.  My oldest starts college at the end of the month. She chose to stay close to us, which is nice.  (And, YES, we are insisting she live on campus.) Annmarie gets to start school at the same time as her peers. Fidget is young enough still that transitioning to a new school is more of an adventure than a nightmare. This is a new city for all of us. Columbus is a fresh start and has plenty to offer.  


We uprooted Darcy's rose bush from our Missouri home and brought it here. (That was kind of a funny adventure. I wish I'd taken photos of our traveling rose.) It's called an August Bloom, even though it blooms all summer. I'm sure we will find the perfect spot for it in the garden.

I needed to get out of that old house. Away from the heartbreak. The distraction of the many (MANY!) projects in this house will be good for my healing heart. I am looking forward to journaling that renovation process here. Is there anything as fun as before and afters? 

I also want to thank you for reading this far. The blogging community that I've called home for the last seven(!) years and the life-changing friendships I've made in that time mean the world to me. People are awesome. 

Have a wonderful day, friends. Hug your babies and be kind to yourself. xo

I'll be on the porch. 






love you! and can't wait to visit!

Tracy Harris

It is always good to have a fresh start. It sounds like you are truly enjoying the new experience. You have a wonderful family, Chris, and will make this new home the best yet. I cannot wait to read and see the new rooms and the renovation that take place. I too love before and afters!!


oh, sweetheart. I didn't know you then, but I love you now. keep breathing. xoxo

Alicia A.

I love you, friend. Big big hugs to you.

Nora and I are thinking of a road trip...


Embracing the past and future is sometimes hard, but you'll handle it with grace. Your home looks lovely already complete with lots of love. Be gentle with you and shed tears when you need. Sending a prayer your way xo

Also, your porch rocks! Drooling over your fun with a redo!

Chris Hoelter

You amaze me in so many ways, not least of which is your ability to open your heart and share it with all of us.

Bridget Salampessy

My first blog comment.. :)
For as long as I have had the pleasure, blessings to know you and your family, you are an amazing, strong beautiful woman. I hope this new home will bring you many memories full of love and laughter. Your blog is beautiful.. Take Care..


Chris, I love that you share your journey and are honest and open about your struggles. I'm glad that you're able to find comfort in the sharing and I love reading your thoughtful writing. Your new home looks amazing and I too love fresh starts and new shared adventures like you're all having together. Take care of each other. I appreciate the way you stay in touch. Sending love to you and yours. Xo kc


Beautiful post. Can't wait to see the before & afters.


Sending hugs.


We've been in our new home for a year and we're still finding new spots for old things :)

I'll be thinking of you on Sunday.


So happy for your new beginning and praying the healing continues...
thinking of you this weekend.


I've been thinking about you...xo.


I'm so so sorry! Sorry for the heartbreak that you have had to endure! I like to think Ms Darcy was so amazing and full of grace and peace and love that heaven couldn't bear to be without her. Until you meet again! Xoxo

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