ALOHA.

Okay look, before you start coming after me with pitch forks forged from beach umbrellas, I am in Hawaii with my TWO CHILDREN. There are no vacations with children. Only trips with varying degrees of scenery. Granted, the scenery here is pretty spectacular… And we are here for my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday, so we do have our family to help… But traveling with kids means still having to get-up at 7am, be in the room by 7pm, and balancing a piña colada in one hand, with a sippy cup and baby wipes in the other. So I just wanted to preface these pictures with a small sprinkle of reality to prevent you from completely hating me. Or actually, go ahead, Hawaii is the best.

For starters, there are rainbows. In this case, double rainbows. Stella informed us she had never seen a rainbow in real life, which I realized is because she grew up in California WITH NO RAIN.

Stella was also pretty excited that you get jewelry made of flowers. I mean, even Queen Elsa doesn’t have flower jewelry.

Sutton was just excited to play with an empty left over water cup because he’s a second child and is content with such things.

Meanwhile, I was happy drinking cocktails from large pineapples.

The kids love the ocean as much as John, but my pale skin requires me to make 5 minute breaks in the water and 55 minute breaks under the umbrella.

(Tankinis forever, amirite? Nothing like the beach to realize you have a mom bod.)

After we all got our fair share of sunburn, we decided to take a day trip to the Dole Plantation. Which basically consisted of a ride on the Pineapple Express and giant cups of magical ice cream called Dole Whip. Which I didn’t get a picture of because I was too busy eating it.

We’ve been actively trying to get a group shot these last couple of days, and so far, it is just not happening. Stella and I managed a semi-decent mother / daughter shot, and we were able to get one pic with my mother-in-law. But considering we are a party of 11, we are operating at 50% capacity at best.

So today is our last day.. we are trying to soak up the sun (in 5 minute increments) and enjoy the views. John and I even took Sutton on a hike.*

(*a 30 second walk up the grassy bluff)

 

It’s always hard saying goodbye to vacation, but it’s also a nice feeling to miss your home. More specifically, my house. And my bed. And my shower. And my wine fridge. Heading back to real life, and a VERY REAL DIET, tomorrow (right after the plane ride of snacks).

LA DAYS.

We spent the weekend back home in LA. I was worried coming back for the first time.. I’ve been so homesick and had just started to (kind of) find my footing in Nashville – so was I going to get on beloved land and lose it? Feel like I could never go back to Tennessee? Thankfully, I think I’m good, and don’t need to abandon my new life. But the other good news is that I don’t need to abandon my old life either. It was ALL there: Our friends, our family, our favorite Mexican restaurant, sushi, my old Target (don’t think I didn’t pay a visit).. It was a nice reminder that moving doesn’t mean LEAVING. You come back and it’s just as good. As much as things change, they still stay the same – and thank goodness for that.

It was a weekend of so many hugs.

And yesterday we spent the entire day swimming at my parent’s house, hanging out with my brother and some of our friends. It was basically the most perfect day ever.

For old times sake, Dashiell even brought his skateboard and rode around the tennis court like we were back in the 9th grade.

And to add to my perfect day: I was able to buy WINE on a SUNDAY, and at TRADER JOES. It was thrilling, really. I wanted to buy a whole case, but as my husband pointed out, the money I’d pay in shipping is probably more than just buying wine in Nashville. He’s just trying to rain on my cheap champagne parade.

HOUSE TOUR.

It’s been a big two months with our big move. Into a big house. With a lot of big rooms and even bigger closets. So naturally I’ve spent all my time happily arranging, organizing, and styling my house until I got it just right. And if my kids could just live in a separate building, it would STAY just right. But at least the constant cleaning up qualifies for exercise.

Since so many people have been asking for pictures, I thought I would take you on a little tour room by room. The only thing I’m leaving out is the lower level since that won’t be finished until the end of the year. In my dreams, that will be where our au pair lives. In John’s dreams, it will be some kind of music room and movie theater. In Stella’s dreams, it’s where Queen Elsa turns it into a Frozen ice palace. In Sutton’s dreams, it’s where Queen Elsa turns it into a Frozen ice palace because his big sister said so.

[ ENTRY ]

When you enter the front door, the dining room is on the right, and the office is on the left.

To the right of the entry table is a powder room. It’s fairly unremarkable except that it houses the pages from a 1920’s French magazine that I found.

[ OFFICE ]

The office is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It has huge windows, pitched ceilings, and is just not a bad place to spend time at the computer. I think this room was intended to either be a formal study or formal living room, but we had this desk built into the wall so it could function as a proper office.

[ DINING ROOM ]

The dining room is also one of my favorite rooms in the house because I’m a sucker for a coffered ceiling. We kept the room in a gray scale to compliment the Jim Marshall photos hanging on the wall. My husband, being a photographer, was insistent that ONLY Jim Marshall photos hang in this room. I’ve always loved these pictures, but now that we live in Music City, they feel more at home. Particularly the one of Johnny Cash giving us the finger from San Quentin.

In between the dining room and great room is a butler’s pantry.

[ GREAT ROOM ]

This room is the heart of the house. Living in an open floor-plan was new to me since our previous home was built in the 30’s and was so compartmentalized. But I’m finding that large open spaces can be just as cozy.

The doors off the great room lead out to the back porch. I’d take a picture, but it’s too hot. Sorry.

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[ KITCHEN ]

The kitchen is right off the great room (like everything else?) so we spend a lot of time here. It’s also where the food is, so we’d spend a lot of time here regardless. I love the mercury glass pendant lights, the beveled edge subway tile, and the marble herringbone backsplash. But again, I also just love any place that has food in it.

Our breakfast room (otherwise known as the place we eat all our meals since we never use the dining room) is adjacent to the kitchen.

There’s also a door leading to the back porch, and yet another dining table. We try to eat outside when it’s not 10,000 degrees which so far has been about 3 times.

[ MUD ROOM ]

Look… I am a Californian girl. We don’t have mud rooms. So just allow me the indulgence of loving EVERYTHING about the smallest room in the house.

[ GUEST ROOM ]

Since we now live so far from our friends and family, I tried to create a guest room that people actually wanted to stay in while visiting. Like checking into a nice hotel.

[ LAUNDRY ROOM ]

Nothing particular to note. I just think it’s fun doing laundry rooms.

[ MASTER SUITE ]

This is my favorite part of the house. As it should be.

Okay… MY BATHROOM. I can’t.

Also pretty excited by my closet…

I even let John share it (a small section) with me!

[ UPSTAIRS PLAYROOM ]

The kids own the entire second floor. Their playroom and bedrooms are upstairs which means so is the mess. It’s basically the best.

The best part about this playroom is right behind the above doors. It might look like cabinets, but it’s actually a humongous storage room that doubles as a secondary playroom. It also houses toys that don’t need to be out all the time.

It also gives me a place to hang Stella’s artwork because you know it’s not going on the fridge.

Stella and Sutton’s rooms are right off the playroom, and I love the wall that separates them. On the right side, it’s a drawing of Tinker Bell, and on the left side, it’s a drawing of Michael Darling dressed as Indian Brave, and both are flanked by Sweet Dreams and Sleep Tight.

[ STELLA’S ROOM ]

Can you guess what her favorite color is? You’d be correct if you said pink.

The branch above her dresser is a piece of the large cherry blossom tree decal that used to be in her room. I cried when we had to take it down for the move, and I smuggled a piece of it in my suitcase!

Here’s Stella’s closet. I hope she never accuses of me of not doing anything for her.

And her bathroom.

[ SUTTON’S ROOM ]

Sutton’s room has ONLY the toys Stella can’t lift or isn’t interested in. Virtually everything else has been stolen.

So that’s what our house looks like. For now. Because you know I love a project.

CHEEKWOOD BOTANICAL GARDENS.

Being so far away from friends and family means we get visitors. Which means I’ve done more touristy things in the last 7 weeks here than most people have done in their whole natural Nashville lives.

Cheekwood is one of the places I insist people visit because it is truly the most magical place I’ve ever been. There is an exhibit right now with Spanish artist Jaume Plensa that cannot be missed. There is no point in describing it because it’s indescribable. So I’m just going to leave these pictures right here…. Enjoy.

LAST DAY IN LA.

I feel like I have to document my last day as an LA resident, but the truth is, it’s been the hardest day of my life. The amount of goodbyes killed me – but Stella having to say goodbye to her friends at school is not something I will ever forget. The kids made her a memory box and we had a popsicle party. They hugged and opened their arms wide to show how much they would miss each other. They made little mementos and brought cards.

Meanwhile……….I was on the sidelines bawling and sobbing and convulsing. There are moments where I question why we are doing this, and today was one of those moments. Not because I question Nashville, but because the move is tearing people apart and causing so much sadness. I’m trying to focus on the positive, but today is a hard one.

            

IT’S ALL HAPPENING.

It’s hard to believe that this is the week we move. John is already in Nashville to meet the moving trucks, and we move out there as a family on FRIDAY. Which leaves me 3 full days to wrap up my entire Los Angeles life, say goodbye to my friends, try to remind my family that we are not moving to Australia and that we will still see them all the time, and somehow manage to keep my kids fed and bathed in the process. I’m overwhelmed. No, that doesn’t seem to be an appropriate description for how I’m feeling. I get overwhelmed in traffic. This….this is different. This is more like, it’s cocktail hour somewhere and does anyone have some xanax kind of a feeling.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not overthink the week ahead. But in trying to not think too far ahead, I’m also trying to not think too far behind. Because when I start to think about our life in LA, our home, our families – well, no amount of wine really dulls that pain! Although A for effort, because I’m really trying to see if I can make it work.

Here’s the last pic of us as a family in front of our house in LA. Red door and all. I loved that house so much and what did I say about not looking behind???? Tears. Gotta go.