SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT

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“All children, except one, grow up.”  -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

The day we moved into our little apartment, Nick noticed the large tree looming overhead and excitedly declared his next project: a treehouse. I didn’t think much of it, until we went to Lowe’s and bought enough wood to fill his truck bed. For the past few weeks, there has been a slew of people coming over to help build this treehouse. Everyone pitched their ideas of everything they thought appropriate for a treehouse — TV, Netflix, Nintendo 64, a hammock, BBQ, handwoven furniture, a chess board, hanging picture frames, bistro lights, a love sac — and went to work. 

Over the course of a few weeks, what once was a bare tree has become a gathering place for people to work, chat, and watch movies. It always makes my heart happy to come home and see people in the tree playing games, swinging in the hammock or adding to the fort.

Above all accessories, my favorite part of this tree is its power to transform people. It’s like a one-way ticket to childhood. Everything is light, care-free and exciting. And the littlest details are monumental! I especially love watching the way people’s demeanors completely change once they set eyes on the tree and make their way to the top. On one occasion, this pixie-dust effect really caught Nick and me off-guard. 

When we moved into our apartment, we were warned by several people of this particularly unhappy woman living across the way. I’d never seen her before, but by everyone’s descriptions, I considered myself lucky. However, one afternoon this woman came outside to let her pet pig, Borris, out to roam the gravel lot. (I know, he’s adorable.) When she saw all the commotion on our front lawn, we feared she would complain. As she examined the mess and looked up to see boards hanging in the tree, she smiled and excitedly proclaimed, “That tree has been begging for a treehouse for the last ten years.” The treehouse was the perfect icebreaker for a really nice, genuine conversation. Now, thanks to the tree, it’s a happy reunion when we see her and Borris out and about on the grass. 

That moment left me wondering, who in the world have I married?

I think people might call him Peter Pan, the boy who encapsulates youth and joy. The boy who teaches others to fly on the whim of faith and fairy dust. This boy! He is the one to reawaken that child within us all! And how I love it! This treehouse is the perfect manifestation of J.M. Barrie’s (creator of Peter Pan) magic of Never Never Land. 

Barrie: “Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

 


 

ART WALL

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Voilå! The art wall is finished!

What started as a little art project evolved into two weeks of painting and crafting galore. What bliss! There’s something therapeutic about only thinking in the present. Thinking about the color on the paint brush. About the texture. About the medium. Ah! It was such a refreshing break and reminder to do things that make me happy.

And, despite the little fingerprints of paint I’m still trying to clean off of our furniture, it’s very exciting to have our place looking a little more like us!  I love the practice holes between all the crooked frames. I love the earthy tones. I love the subject pieces. To us, they mean something. An inside joke. A dream. A fond memory. There is meaning attached to this wall — and I’m in love!

 

 

AN AVOCADO A DAY…

 

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“Begin with the most frightening of all things, a clean slate. And then look, every day, at the choices you are making, and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.”
–Anna Quindlen

So today, I woke up and painted an avocado.

A little backstory, perhaps?

Day one of meeting Nick, I discovered his love and passion for building, creating, and chasing his dreams. You know those people who talk and talk about creating something great but just don’t seem to have the time or energy to do it? (I’m just as guilty as anyone.) Yeah, that’s not Nick. Nick is a doer through and through.

One such project on his never-ending to-do list is a small diner named, The Avocado. It will be a quaint, homey diner. We’re talking the finest homemade sandwiches with lots of ripe fruit and homegrown vegetables, and perhaps a few baked goods on the side for those as fixated with sweets as I am. AND it will be the only one of it’s kind, as genuine and sincere as a diner comes. No chance of franchising.

Back to reality.

Currently, I’m in the job-hunt and what-the-heck-do-I-do-with-my-life stage, yet again. To some, this is hard. To others, it’s seen as an opportunity — a gift. The first two weeks were difficult for me. In the last six years, I haven’t been able to look at a calendar and see a blank day, followed by another and another. It’s just bizarre.

And you want to know how well I’ve been coping?? About like this. The last few weeks have been nothing short of a roller coaster for me, and by default for Nick. Ask him. He’ll tell you. It will go from all laughs to tears in 30 seconds — it’s rather ridiculous at times. We both end up laughing at the thought of what this particular situation would look like from an outsider’s perspective.

It was after a morning conversation with Nick that my perception of this “free-time” changed. He was getting ready for work, and I just sat and watched him, the same way a five-year-old watches earnestly as her dad shaves before leaving for a full-day’s work.

He could see that long, distant look in my eyes. And that’s when he said it.

“You could really be taking advantage of this time instead of dreading it. When will you have another opportunity like this to explore your interests and rediscover your hobbies? Start a company! You don’t need an excuse nor should you feel guilty to do something for yourself.”

He left for work, and I sat processing his little pep talk. These past few weeks have allowed me to clear my head, refresh my heart, and seek some goodness. But that burning question that has impeded on all of my studies and hobbies, “What do I want to be when you grow up?” always seems to loom overhead, clouding any chance of peace. That’s when I decided to wipe away the frustration, and start on a fresh, clean canvas.

Rather than stressing out and wondering where I “should” be, I wrote a list of things I love. Things that give me purpose. Things that make me feel most alive. And I’m actually doing them–without feeling guilty.  I guess I was so busy speeding through life that I didn’t think to take a pit-stop, let alone enjoy the view. So while I’m putting my feelers out and preparing for the next life decision, I’ll give myself permission to rediscover my hobbies, and realign my heart with my head.

AND why you may ask, did I taint my new, clean canvas with an avocado?? It’s because avocados have rich, creamy textures. Because avocados have a striking, vibrant green complexion that will compliment our art wall quite nicely…AND because avocados symbolize fresh promise, Nick’s contagious “go-after-your-diner” attitude, and our goal to be DOERS not just dreamers.

So, here’s to our aspiring art wall. To actively listening to our hearts. And up next, to a much-needed photography class.

Cheers.

P.S. Any advice/tips/words of wisdom on how you stay true to yourself and your hobbies are always welcome.

MAMA’S GARDEN

 

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 Homegrown.

I dream of a day when I’ll send my toe-headed children to the backyard to fetch our homegrown vegetables and fruit from our small, but well-loved garden. Our house will be humble and cozy, and our yard a good mix between manicured and untamed. There will be a treehouse in our backyard that Nick will have built for all the neighborhood kids. Oh, how those kids will love Nick. We will have a large front porch dedicated for social gatherings and late-night rainstorm watching. Our hand-painted walls will be decorated by the finest “Homer-made” art, including oil and finger paint. We will make homemade jam and cookies often — meaning lots of messes and sticky cabinets. Hmm mmh. And the lovely sound of bare feet against the hardwood floors will be our soundtrack as there will be lots of dancing, jittering and wrestling happening at all hours of the day. It will be real. There will be lots tears and laughter and projects. Ohhh will there be projects. And we’ll end every night with reading, warm jammies and cuddlefests. Lots of cuddlefests.

…just daydreaming as I look through my mother’s garden.

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THE HUSBAND

Yesterday, I rolled over in bed to hear Nick on the floor typing on his computer. Before I could ask him what he was doing, I heard, “Everything you need to know before buying a … hedgehog.”

All I could do was laugh. I had expected to hear something more practical or… made of metal (at least). Which is the usual morning routine. That and the latest weekly obsession–this week being the string theory.

But I have to say, being married to Nick is FUN. I could try to think of a more romantic, elaborate way to describe this handsome man of mine, but honestly, I can’t. He’s passionate, witty and just plain brilliant. And that boyish charm. Gah!

Amidst the husband part, I scored a therapist, comedian, confidant, handy man, and best friend. Seriously. Although, marriage can still be scary and new at times, it’s so much more fun when everything is as open, loving, and humorous as it is with Nick. I’m in for an adventure, and that’s what I love.

Hands down, the best decision I’ve ever made is marrying this guy.

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MEET THE HOMERS — FIFTY

Blog about us picture.

I love lists. I think it’s a great way to say a lot without the need to embellish.

So, to avoid the small talk and excessive stories, let’s make a list.
What makes us, US!?!
Here are 50 things about the Homers!

1. He often smells of metal and lake water.
2. Her favorite movie is Ever After.
3. He has long toes. Like really long toes.
4. She loves handwritten letters.
5. They started to date after a flirtatious trip to the grocery store.
6. She loves the sun.
7. His skin does not.
8. They love the movie Moonrise Kingdom (Shhh, it’s the wifi password.)
9. She always forgets her passwords. Resets them. And forgets them.
10. He likes to build, build, build.
11. She likes to paint.
12. She hogs the blankets (every.single.night).
13. He puts up with her hogging the blankets.
14. Second to Chelsea is his love for legos.
15. She got her blonde hair and dark brown eyebrows from her great-grandfather.
16. He loves watching documentaries on space.
17. She idolizes Brene Brown.
18. They both fight for the yellow game piece.
19. She loves design and advertising.
20. He loves tree houses and dreams of building a treehouse bed & breakfast!
21. They only own a TV because it was given to them for free.
22. He cooks better than she does.
23. She started her own film company.
24. He dances when he’s on conference calls.
25. She is a planner.
26. He never sleeps in past 6:00 AM–no. matter. what.
27. They both love the mountains.
28. He’s still trying to convince her of the beauty of mt. biking.
29. He makes her laugh. often.
30. She loves to write.
31. He hates dancing in public.
32. She runs to cope.
33. They both graduated from BYU and met in Provo.
34. She can wiggle her ears.
35. He surprised her with a trip to California, where he proposed on the beach.
36. They LOVE a good podcast.
37. He does math in the shower.
38. She’s a sucker for a good deal.
39. He’s SUPER handy around the house. Like, he can fix anything.
40. She knows every word to any Shania Twain song. (Try me.)
41. She can’t wait to be a mother.
42. He speaks Portugese.
43. She is a feminist.
44. He gives her morning foot rubs.
45. She gets a little (a lot) grumpy when she’s hungry.
46. He never spoke a word until he was 13. Now he can’t stop talking. (haha, seriously!)
47. She likes to groom him with nose strips…when he lets her.
48. He drives (and builds) motorized couches.
49. She loves to squish and kiss his face.
50. They both love waterflight!

-Nick & Chels

Here’s a little snippet of “our story”:

 

BACKPACKING THE UINTAS: REVISITING THE “LIVING ROOM”

We packed our bags and headed East, to the great outdoors. One year ago, Nick invited me and a bunch of his buddies to backpack up to the most beautiful spot in the Uintas: Cutthroat Lake. Long story short, we built a living room out of rocks, nearby logs, and an old hatchet — AND the rest is history. It was finally time to make a journey back to the lake and see how the “Living Room” had held up over the winter months. This time, we brought an axe and more girls. Thankfully.

AND, most importantly, Nick and I are MARRIED!! It’s amazing how much life can change in one year.

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IMG_5269Our destination: Cutthroat Lake^^

THE CREW:

IMG_5184^^Britton and Jamie^^

IMG_5203^^Tim and Simone^^

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Nick let me borrow the pack he got when he was a wee boy scout. He was a pretty big 12-year-old, I’d say. I felt like one of those kids who attends summer camp sporting all their older sibling’s gear, hoping to grow into it eventually.

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IMG_5252Sadly, the only piece of furniture remaining from last year’s homemade living room was this rock reclining chair. Oh well. At least there is proof of last year’s hard work.

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HomermakersRise and shine!! So fun to get up with the sun and to hear how alive the world is — birds chirping and fish bobbing at the water’s edge. Seriously, this lake could go on living forever and never notice another human being, again.

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IMG_5357We ventured on a morning hike up to a peak, overlooking the lake. It was beautiful, sunny and just perfect. The crisp mt. air can cure anything. I’m sure of it.

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HONEYMOONERS

Collage Aloha! Our first week married was spent in the most beautiful, vibrant place I’ve ever laid eyes on– Kauai, HI. The greens were greener. The blues were bluer. And the land was so fresh and diverse — It was a dream come true. Upon arrival, our first item on the to-do list was a helicopter tour of the island. We had heard that this was a MUST-SEE, above almost everything else. Best. Decision. Ever. We were able to see the beautiful scenery and get an overall picture of the island’s unique vegetation (see pictures above^^). We then spent the remainder of the week exploring the island in search for those breathtaking beaches and areas we saw by flight.

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After a crazy summer of work and wedding planning, my main plug was for beach time. Solid beach time. We spent as  much time in the sun as Nick’s skin would allow:) I think we may have overdone the first few days, because it left the rest of the week spent hiding from the sun in search for fresh fruit stands. We couldn’t get enough of those ripe mangos.

AND above all else, it made me realize how lucky I am to be married to such a wonderful guy. I will probably tell you many times, but I married UP! I couldn’t stop staring at Nick the whole week. All I could think about was, “Did he really choose me!?” “My kids are going to look like him!?” “We are going to be together FOREVER!?” I woke up many mornings asking Nick, “Are you sure we’re married?” After about the third time asking, he finally realized, maybe I truly did need some convincing:) But really, I was so happy to be in a beautiful place with the ONE person I chose to spend the rest of my life pleasing, loving, nurturing, and tending. All that built-up emotional exhaustion and wedding stress just melted away with the sun. Oh how it was liberating to love so freely. Okay enough gushiness. (Though you should expect gushiness in a post titled “honeymooners”.)

Nick is quite the charmer. When we arrived at our first hotel, the ladies at the front desk gave us complementary snorkeling gear–for FREE! We were so lucky. Snorkeling gear was a GREAT incentive to get Nick to stay at the beach:)

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Once we maxed out on afternoons spent at the beach, we decided to trek up the Na Pali Coast by boat. This was the only side of the island we could not reach by car. Experiencing the magnificence of the high, rigid cliffs that drop into the clean, turquoise ocean was worth every minute of the long venture around the island. We seemed so small and minuscule compared to the grand presence of mother nature herself. It was incredible. We sped through sea caves, explored ancient ruins, and snorkeled the murky bay. Though we were as good as crisp by the end of the trip, it was an afternoon worth remembering.

Ahhh! I was in love.

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Our last afternoon was spent on stand-up paddle boards. Gah! It felt so nice to be in fresh river water. After feeling sticky and sandy all week, it was very refreshing to be in the sun and still feel clean. We owe more than a blissful afternoon to that lovely river. It was a conversation from this river trip that gave birth to THIS BLOG. We talked about what we wanted to be as a couple. As a family. Then…naturally, I decided to create a space where we could share our ideas. You know, help project (and be) more good in the world.

So, after nights spent brainstorming and tweaking code, here’s our blog. Here’s hoping to be a force for good.

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THE BIG DAY

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July 18, 2014

The day was so full of emotion — I about burst! We were surrounded by the dearest of friends and loved ones. The crisp morning air, so full of excitement and fresh promise. Nick, his demeanor so calm and gentle. And my mother, always at my side, so nurturing and emotional with each embrace.

As I changed and prepared for the ceremony, I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe my eyes. Me? I’m the one getting married. I dreamt of this day, but never imagined it would come. But it had. And I was there. Every step and brief conversation had meaning, almost as if life stopped and started again in slow motion. We sat. We talked. We moved from room to room. When my thoughts would run away from me, Nick would squeeze my hand or whisper something in my ear to bring me back to him. And we were there–together–with everyone we love, making promises we’ll cherish forever.

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