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This Christmas was our sixth together, but our very first as newlyweds.

And, of course, it was our very first at Livingston!

If you’re a follower of the blog or Instagram, you know that nothing follows the prescribed timeline in this home renovation life of ours.

Over the past few months, our renovation budget needed replenishing. Matt’s office remains unfinished, our walls are still without baseboards, door frames lack doors, and our bathroom is alllllmost to the finish line with mainly shelving installation to go.

And suddenly, over two weeks ago, our nearly 100-year-old furnace bit the dust. The company that is scheduled to install a new furnace provided us with a couple of space heaters. But it simply wasn’t enough during below-zero Michigan wind chills. Our old home was not well insulated, especially with its lack of winterized windows and doors. Oh, and I can’t forget the plateless light switches and outlets. I couldn’t believe the drafts coming from those spots!

While losing heat is not safe or ideal for any home, I was most upset that it happened right when we were about to decorate for Christmas. And that we’d have to wait almost three weeks for a new furnace to be installed.

My entire life, I’ve had an obsession with decorating for all seasons, in all spaces. We’ve left the walls empty at Livingston for several months because we simply hadn’t gotten there yet. We were finally almost there. Christmastime, just when Matt would arrive home from tour, felt like the perfect opportunity to deck the walls. But then our uncomfortably cold, curtain-separated spaces just didn’t seem worth decorating, for Christmas or otherwise.

It might sound ridiculous, but it’s true…walking on the floors with anything less than house shoes was difficult. We bundled up with layers of sweaters and sweatpants and still put our robes on overtop. (I wish I had pictures to show how silly we looked!)

Despite all that, we have a victory to share.

We left pipes dripping water to prevent any bursts, covered the heck out of our windows, installed plates over every outlet and light switch, hung curtains in the doorless frames, and filled the breezy gaps between the exterior doors and the chilly inside of our home. Day after day, extra space heater after extra space heater, our house became comfortable again. Soon, we were even able to take down the curtains separating our living spaces.

And that meant that we could comfortably prepare our home for Christmas!

We have been using fresh herbs in our cooking–particularly in soups, which we’ve been hooked on this winter!
This beautiful work was created by Shelby Kregel.
Our captivation by northwest mountains and trees has made its way into our winter decor.
This view in White Salmon, WA was painted by our grandmother. She’s a gem, and so is this painting she sent home with us!


This winter, we’re featuring photos we took throughout our vacation out west.



Shoutout to our dear friend Julia Mason, who made us some painted wooden ornaments!



Perhaps the joy of overcoming the brutal cold made decorating that much greater.

We were so thankful to have our first Gabriel Christmas together in our new home.

Wishing you joyful holiday season and a wonderful new year!


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