A More Livable Living Room (Part II)

I did not know that my husband was handy when I married him . . . but I am tremendously blessed by Andrew’s ability to tackle any project and do it well.

He left you in his latest post with our new beautiful built ins – all put in with his hands . . .

And we lived with them like that for quite a while . . . but with the birthday coming it was time to stop lazing around . . .

And get them decorated.

I am not a decorator.

I was slow in the process.

I tried books, but did not like the look . . . so we went with very few books (we have other bookshelves being planned).  And we went with some items that are meaningful to us . . .

Each shelf has little insets of meaning . . .

And little personal touches . . .

Reminders of who we are and who we hope to be . . .

Within these shelves you will find . . . the first letter Andrew ever wrote to me, my family Bible, a book of Common Prayer from the 1800’s, Shakespeare’s entire collection, scripts of plays that I have been in, reminders of how we want to have open hands, intentionality, and Colton’s adoption cup.

We love our shelves, the storage, and the possibilities ahead.

Happy Decorating.


This post was featured on

Linking to Organize & Decorate Everything


Putting Together a Little Nautical Party

We had a little birthday party last week.  We wanted to have a bit of a Nautical feel for our little guy who loves the ocean, the beach, and boats . . .

We kept it simple.  I made three crafts.  Bought a couple of things and borrowed a couple of things.

I am not crafty, but I am inspired to make things look and feel festive, so I searched online and was inspired to make a couple of pennants for our little guy.  I found my inspiration here and made a “Happy Birthday ” pennant.

And one that said “Colton” and had pictures of him growing up over the past two years.

The second craft we made were little boats from Michael’s.  I saw them here, and began working on them days in advance because of their warning . . .

I thought they would be much smaller.  I recruited help from my Mom and Colton . . .

I finished them off with Andrew.  We decided to use real paint brushes rather than the ones that came in the kit.  We painted them all blue and white and I wrote each guests name on the stern.

We had a lovely little regatta around the table . . .

The final craft I did the night before.  I was inspired by my favorite bloggers at Young House Love to make these tissue pom poms

There were tutorials all over the web.  I used ten pieces of tissue and a pipe cleaner.

I did head to the Christmas Tree Shops and got a couple of boats and some buoys for under $20 total.

One boat fit right into our Spring/Summer Mantel . . .

And then I borrowed some oars and a boat from my Mom . . . 

The boat was the big hit of the day.

Happy Birthday to our little sailor!

Linking up to Organize and Decorate Everything , Tatertots  and Jello & Home Stories A 2 Z


This blog post was featured on . . .

A More Livable Living Room

We love our house. It has been an absolute gift into our lives. After renovating our previous condo, it was nice to move into a place that only needed painting. And over the past year and a half we have slowly found small places to make improvements. We built a patio outside, put in a walkway, added a shed, tidied up the garage and updated the fireplace.

But one of the areas that has never quite felt complete is our living room. It has a great fireplace and beautiful french doors. But the far side has always felt like unusable space. So, while I was between jobs, Liza and I came up with plans to add some built-ins.

Our living room before

Sharpteam Living Room before

First up was to remove the baseboard and the crown moulding to make room for the new addition.

living room renovation

After putting in the base cabinets, Colton decided he needed to check everything out and make sure it was up to code.

living room inspection

After a week of hard work, the cabinets and shelves were in and finally painted. About a week after the below photo was taken I was able to finish off the crown moulding and added in the bench seat.

Sharpteam Built-ins

We love the feel of our living room now. And Liza did an incredible job decorating the shelves, which I am sure will show up in another blog post.
(note the future blog post teaser 🙂 )

Summer Week 1 {Birthday Week} : Write a Letter to Colton's Birthmother

Colton is adopted.  It has been a journey that has stretched us and grown us.  It is a miracle story.

Colton’s birthmother chose us through a private agency.  We walked through her pregnancy with her, went to doctor’s appointments, loved her and ached for her circumstances.

Three weeks before he was born she found his birth-father and decided she would raise Cole.

We heard from her just after he was born, when she learned that she would not be able to raise him she asked that we adopt him . . .

Then she changed her mind again and wanted to raise him and have him go into foster care.  He did.  His goal was reunification with his birth mother.  We never got to see him or talk with her.  All the doors closed.

Four months later, on the day we were closing on our new home we received a phone call from the Department of Children and Families asking us if we would still be interested in adopting Cole.  We were overwhelmed and knew it was meant to be.

In January Colton’s birthmother, though she had been out of touch for months, went to a court hearing and requested an open adoption.  It was then that she found out he was with us, we were all excited and were ready to enter into an open adoption with her . . .

But after that day we have never heard from Darla again.  Once she knew he was with us, she never made contact with any one again . . .

We had agreed to letters and pictures and two visits a year.  We have been out of touch all of this time because there is no way to be in touch with her.

For Colton’s birthday week we spent time together as a family reflecting on Darla.  And Andrew and I wrote a letter to her, knowing she may never read it . . . hoping that someday we will see her again . . . .

A letter to Colton’s Birthmother:

June 2011


Dear Darla,


We think of you often and are still hopeful for the day when we will be able to be in touch regularly.  We named our little guy Colton Ian.  His name means, “from the dark town into God’s grace.”  We know that the months you carried him were challenging for you and that you carried him through the dark places into the light.  We named him to honor you.


Colton turned two, and there is so much we would like for you to know.  We have narrowed it down to three simple things . . .


The first is that he is healthy, Darla!  He is so healthy and active.  He loves running and climbing, and he hit all of his milestones.  He is a wonderful talker.  He learned baby sign language when he was little, and once he started talking he added words to his vocabulary daily. We know how hard you worked to help him start off in the world in a healthy way, and he is healthy.  Thank you for all that you did do to protect and care for him.


We also have longed to tell you that you were most certainly right . . . you told us that you knew he would be a happy little boy, and he is!  He is such a happy little guy.  Colton finds the joy in everything.  He loves laughing and singing and hugging.  He wakes up happy and goes to bed happy.  And if something happens during the day that is hard, he finds a way to joy so quickly.  He shares with other children, and if they bump him or knock him down, he is quick to get back up and find joy.  You knew him.  He is just as you said he would be, he is a happy boy.


And we want you to know that he carries pieces of you.  We see you in him all the time.  When we first met him we could see you so clearly in his four month old face.  And to this day we can see you and we think of you.  I think he carries the best of you in him.  We tell him about you and how you loved him and wanted him and protected him.  He knows your name.


So as we celebrate Colton turning two, we also celebrate you, his birthmother.  We celebrate all you sacrificed to bring him into this world.  We believe that the world is a better place with him in it.  He is amazing.


We all miss you.
Andrew, Liza, and Colton





Summer Week 1 {Birthday Week} : Happy Birthday Celebration

Our Saturday Adventure this week was to celebrate Colton turning 2.

He is a big fan of boats, so we had a little Nautical theme and invited family to celebrate:

There was even a real boat to enjoy . . .

Lots of family came to celebrate . . .

Cole loved having his annual cupcake

We are so grateful to all who have walked with us as we have walked through these years with our special little man . . .

Happy Birthday Colton!

Happy Second Birthday Colton!

Colton awoke on his birthday and headed downstairs where he saw this . . .

Papa Brad sent along a bike and Meema a helmet and it was the perfect start to the day!

Then we headed out for a family breakfast at our favorite breakfast place, the Beach Street Cafe.

And then to another favorite place . . . Singing Beach . . .

Once home again Colton continued to learn about presents.

This music loving boy received a guitar for his second birthday!

And for much of the rest of his birthday he played the guitar . . .

[vimeo 25538606]

Colton definitely had a Happy Birthday . . . but it is birthday week here, so there is still more ahead . . .