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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.

Home Improvement

Sara: Lately, during these “dog days” of summer, Justin and I have found ourselves watching HGTV. It’s fun to watch others find their “dream” home and see the decisions others have to make. However, we have to be careful when watching HGTV, because sometimes it makes it easier to be discontent with our house or to wish we had a fourth bedroom or better storage.

Justin: Often, the very concept of the “dream” home in these shows is synonymous with let’s go overboard. Rarely, does a couple seem willing to sacrifice and prioritize their needs and their wants for functionality and simplicity.

Sara: Watching these shows has motivated me to try to further personalize our home. While I never expect to have the custom designed walk-in-closet coveted by so many on HGTV, I can work to organize and decorate in a functional and practical way for our situation.

One of my goals this summer is to declutter the house, and I’ve managed to give away or sell a lot of items I can’t imagine using or needing. With the extra cash, we bought Gus some outside toys, including a playset with a slide and a swing for our front tree.

Justin: While not an extreme home makeover, these two items have been a great addition to our home. While we used to have to load Gus in the car for a 15 minute drive each way to the park, we now have a park in our own yard. Gus loves his swing and we get to spend more time together as a family outside.

Sara: As I’ve been sorting, I’ve also been determining what I want to do to our house. A couple weeks ago, I finally bought new living room curtains that I’ve been meaning to replace since we moved in. I’ve also redecorated our main bathroom. Most importantly, I have been asking myself how I can make our home more restful and functional with a toddler.

Yesterday, I had the great idea to finally get around to hanging up the rack in the kitchen for my aprons. After we got married, hanging items moved to Justin’s realm of expertise. I anticipated this project would only take about twenty minutes, so we started in about a half hour before Gus’ nap.

Due to the irregular placing of the studs in our kitchen, forty-five minutes later, both Justin and I were frustrated the project was incomplete. Of course, throughout the entire process, Gus wanted to “help” Daddy by looking at his drill.

Justin: I am not Mr. Fix It anyway, but home improvement with a toddler makes things about 10 times more difficult because placing a tool in a location that was not easy for Gus to get at also often meant placing it in a location that was inconvenient for me as well.

Sara: Typically, during these projects, I’ll help Justin by handing him his proper tools. This time, I was more distracted by trying to keep Gus out of trouble so an already unsmooth project became more difficult.

At the conclusion of the project, I realized Justin and my relationship has come a long way since we’ve gotten married. At one point, I would have been upset at his frustration with the challenges of the project. Now, I simply appreciated how hard he was working and thinking to make my vision a reality.

Despite the additional challenges, I absolutely LOVE the way my aprons now hang. After putting some more time in organizing the rest of the kitchen, I feel like it’s a great place to work and I can easily find the items I need.

My kitchen still may not fit in the category of “dream kitchen” on a HGTV show, but it’s more functional than ever.

Justin: One of the qualities that I appreciate about Sara is that she values finding ways to simplify our lives and can be satisfied without having to have the dream house. This has allowed us to make other sacrifices for our family, such as allowing Sara to stay home with Gus.

Sara: As I spend most of my hours each day at home (and many of those hours in the kitchen), it’s especially important that our items are well-organized to take advantage of our space and to make day-to-day living as smooth as possible so I can spend more energy on Justin and Gus.

I just hope I can find as functional of a solution to store Gus’ toys in our living room!