Stop and Pick The Dandelions + Our Living Room

You all know that we recently moved … AND that I am still unpacking 23790374 boxes… AND that I have severe ADHD when it comes to staying on task to just get the crap put away!!! I will walk into a room to put laundry away and see, for instance, a nightstand that NEEDS to be painted, stat. So I stop all necessary tasks and make it over. Or, I bake a batch of cookies because I get stressed and just need the sugar. Or, I go pick up God knows what kind of items that I sincerely do not need from Facebook or Craigslist because I have issues. Or, I swap out mirrors just because. Or…I spend days researching the history of our house and obtain copies of the Deeds all the way back to 1881! I mean, seriously, I have issues.

I don’t know why, but I work best when I’m under pressure and in a time crunch. So in true Stephanie fashion, I waited until the very last second to clean my house for my son’s “teacher home visit” {I feel like we are living in Little House On The Prairie time – I have never heard of home visits, but I was super excited about them coming} and my son’s birthday party with our whole family this weekend. I was stressing out, working up a sweat running up and down our gigantic staircase a thousand times and loading tons of donation boxes into my van. I finished in the nick of time – 18 minutes to spare! I quickly hopped in the shower and was ready when they got here. Phew!…oh and had freshly baked cookies ready!

However, before they got here, I had received the sweetest text from a new friend that had a message I definitely needed to hear!

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We had been talking the day before about unpacking, getting settled, discovering new plants popping up all over our yard … and the zillion dandelions we have – and the overwhelming feeling of them all.

photo cred: Natalie ๐Ÿ™‚

It definitely warmed my heart! Being new, not having my BFF, knowing anything about the area, etc is just hard a lot of days. It can really be lonely. Plus, not having everything in order or perfectly decorated for some reason makes me feel less adequate because I stay at home. I feel the social pressure of “you should have it all together” because I literally am home all day long.

I think that a lot of people can probably identify in some form or fashion. It may not be related to having your house all perfectly set, but rather it may be related to weight, health, kids, etc. Sometimes we just need a reminder to take a break and be proud of what we have accomplished! A little self-love and self-grace can go a long way!

Because our house is now clean…and who knows how long it will stay this way, I will take this moment to show you the section of our living room that has our baby grand piano. P.S. if you follow me on Facebook, thanks for the help in choosing which stain color to go with for the floors. We had all of the floors redone in the entire house before moving in.

My uncle, who married Clayton and I, recently passed away unexpectedly so my aunt let us have his piano. It’s a George Steck New York Lion & Healy antique baby grand piano. It goes great in our 1886 Victorian home! My mother-in-law had it tuned for us as our Christmas gift, a great gift idea because Lord knows we need nothing else, every again!

The piano sits in the staircase / foyer area that opens to the living room and dining room. The pictures kind of morph everything into looking smaller than they really are. If you notice my floor lamp is not even as tall as the built in bookcase on the staircase. The staircase is over 4 feet wide, so wide that it actually was dinged on the home inspection saying it wasn’t to code and needed a railing on the other side…no thank you!

The double entry vestibule is through that glass door. I’ve always dreamed of having a double entry front door – two doors to come through before coming into the house and I finally have it, 4 houses later! It was worth the wait!

The rest of the room then opens up to the formal living room. We have temporary furniture in there right now because we’ve rearranged a lot of our old furniture into other rooms. Likely there was a wall somewhere in here, way back when, but when the addition was put on to widen part of the upstairs years ago, it was probably taken out. Through my research, I’m hoping to find out when this addition was built!

The living room boasts the most unique and gorgeously (and extremely dirty!) fireplace I have ever seen in my life. Through some research my hubby did it is an Aldine fireplace and we believe it was made in 1906.

Aside all of the stress of moving and getting acquainted in our new state, I am beyond loving our new house and my new friends who lift me up and make me feel loved. Our house is not without it’s flaws by any means but I sincerely love it…and often times try to hug it! *my kids are slightly embarrassed by me.

I hope that you find just the encouragement you are needing on this day and that you take the time to pick the dandelions and enjoy them!


  1. Lisa Darr says:

    I love your blog-my granddaughter Ella is in your sonโ€™s class! We have to meet-
    Lisa Darr

    1. Thank you so much! You are so sweet ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love to meet!! Ella is a sweetheart!

  2. Ron Zarantenello says:

    I came across your blog after searching the internet for info on my Aldine Fireplace. I kept reading and saw the devastating fire your family has endured and I hope that you are on your way to getting back to your new “normal” soon. The questions I have may not be appropriate at the moment as you are rebuilding your home and I understand if you cannot reply. My 1905 late Victorian has an intact Aldine Fireplace very similar to yours with the exception that mine has the metal surround where your fireplace has red tile. My fireplace is missing the decorative (curved) grill / firebox cover. I’m wondering if your fireplace is intact behind that removable curved grill. I can easily remove the hearth cover (the very bottom metal piece of the fireplace insert and expose the ash area and the lower air chamber beneath that. In the bottom of the most lower cold air chamber towards the front/left, you will see “Aldine Mfg. Grand Rapids, Mich. cast into the metal. I found this when I was cleaning out my fireplace insert shortly after purchasing my home. Have you noticed the damper handles has “Open” and “Shut” cast into it? The Aldine “Grate” as the company advertised their fireplace insert can burn coal, coke or wood. I converted mint to gas by having a custom stainless steel tray in the shape of the coal grate area and then covered the gas burner with fireglass. We were able to get the gas valve and fittings installed just under the fire chamber. Also, the copper colored metal on your fireplace is much cleaner and shines more than mine. I have not yet tried to clean it as I do not know if it’s a painted finish or not. I will not follow your blog to see how your rebuilding/remodel is coming along. I’ve lived through many remodeling projects, the last two being my current 1905 home and another 1890 Victorian in my current Michigan hometown.

    1. Hi Ron! Thanks so much for your best wishes!! I apologize it’s taken me this long to see your comment!

      About our fireplace… yes, it is functional the way it is!! We love it! All of the pieces are in tact and all are there. I’ll have to share photos with you so you can see it!

      As far as cleaning goes – I have only ever used Shaklee Basic H2 on it. However, I would really like to clean it up and make the copper pop more when we move back in (still not there…August at this point, move in date keeps getting pushed back). In a Victorian homeowners groups I’m apart of on Facebook, many of the members suggested ONLY cleaning the copper with ketchup! Something with the acid – they said all other cleaners will strip and tarnish the copper.

      I’ll be sure to take some more photos of the fireplace to share with you soon and I’ll write an updated blog post about it! So happy you found my original post!

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