I'm Nikki, a creative old soul who loves tea time, tip-toeing through gardens, mounds of books, swaying to records, watercolors, sunset walks with our three yorkies, and star-gazing with Paul. This blog carries snippets of my life with just us two (five with Rusty, Lucy, & Ethel) - I hope it brings you happiness as you snuggle in with something warm and delicious and begin reading. Enjoy, friends!

the blog!

If I had to choose:

It’s Been Over a Year…

It’s cold and deceivingly beautiful outside, the heat is humming throughout the house, and Josie Geller is trying to make it through high-school on the TV (Never Been Kissed, anyone?).

My annual renewal subscription for Showit (blogging and website hosting/where I design everything) just went through, so I’m attempting to put together a cohesive-ish blog post to justify the fee. If you’ve noticed, I have been a bit MIA (if you haven’t noticed, well done to you!) so here is me trying to breathe some life back into the blog.

I won’t lie to you friend, teaching has taken up the majority of my life, brain, and heart and I’m not too upset about it. I love my job. I simply cannot believe it took me this long to be brave enough to try and become a full-time teacher. I used to make up excuses as to why I didn’t really try to become a teacher, but the truth is, I was scared I wouldn’t be good enough or that I would interview and get rejected. Having confidence in myself has never been my strong suit. But, now that I’m in my own classroom with the most wonderful 23 fifth graders, I am who I am supposed to be. And as a semi-unfortunate consequence, everything else that used to encompass my wellbeing has fallen steeply by the wayside. I haven’t picked up a brush or drawn in 3-4 months; I haven’t blogged since last spring; and I haven’t even read a book for joy and comfort since the beginning of the school year.

The last time with my paints, sometime before Christmas.

Whenever I have the itch to blog, the thing I always want to write about is our travels in the last two years. And then I want to tell you about mini house updates or garden updates. And then I just want to share photos of the dogs. And then I want to just write to write, simply letting you know how life is going and hoping you’ll let me know how your life is going. So, let’s just start there, shall we?

Today is my day off. Thinking I would have spent it painting and drawing and writing and reading, I have actually been spending it dusting off the cobwebs of my websites. I feel that I have too many but I can’t justify getting rid of my shop, main site, and blog. It’s too much! They’ve been with me for so long! Instead of getting rid of all three, I’m redirecting traffic from my online shop to my Etsy store. I have had lots of positive growth on Etsy this year, so why not combine all sales on one platform? Life should be a bit easier, don’t you agree?

(I won’t lie to you, it feels weird typing to you again. What do I say? What do you want to read? See? I feel like a novice blogger again, randomly spewing out nonsense.)

I cleaned out my office today and found an entire box full of 2022 calendars. It’s April; those bad boys are going in the recycling bucket. I sold more this year than before and actually profited. Huzzah and thanks to you, dear friend! I don’t think I’ll be making another one any time soon. I began painting for 2023 as soon as the 2022 went off to the printer, but because I began a new grade level again this year (Kindergarten last year, 5th grade this year), I haven’t had many opportunities to paint. When I tried, I felt as if I should work and continue to perfect my teaching skills. Instead of giving half my attention to both projects, I’m choosing to focus on teaching until I feel good enough overall, especially with time management, and then I’ll see if I continue making calendars. Perhaps this is a step towards putting in any extra time on that someday-beautiful-dream-of-a-book I’d like to write. Who knows? I was talking to my students about it the other week and we all agreed it would be pretty “epic” (their words, not mine) if I wrote a teaching/short stories book with illustrations. Who knows what the future holds?

Our chaotic, enchanted classroom. We were decorating our room to look like The Secret Garden. ‘Twas a success.

We started a bowling league this past fall! It’s been the highlight of each week because luckily, we joined it with our best friends, and the people we’ve gotten to know each week have become such wonderful people in our lives. To top it off, my bowling average has continued to grow and I’ve finally beaten my 10-year-old self’s average (we used to be in a bowling league with our cousin and friends when we were younger). Don’t get too excited for me thought, I’m still averaging about 135. Paul’s at a 165…

I turned 33 earlier this week! Usually I spend my birthday enjoying the spring weather – not so much this year. However, I was spoiled rotten by my kids all day, enjoyed my weekly yoga class, and had a romantic dinner for two at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis with Paulie. So far, my 30’s have been proving to be my growth years. My mom was right (at least in my case): you don’t really start to discover who you really are until after you’re 26. Duly noted, Mother.

Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve shown you some befores and afters of anything! As you may remember, we moved into this creaky 100+ year old house nearly 5 years ago (time flies). A tiny piece of my heart broke and has stayed in our old house ever since. However, I’m learning that after about 3-4 years at a given location, I begin to fall in love with it. The same rule rang true at our first house. Anyways, we’ve been putting our own touches to this home since we moved in, and last spring we decided to make our kitchen more functional for us two. Our house is not a big house, nor do I want it to be. Our kitchen is not big either, but we don’t mind. However, there were a few changes we wanted to make to help it work better for us. We added a tiny dishwasher, put in a gas stove, removed some upper cabinets, hung up a pot rack, and installed a smaller, deeper sink, giving us more counterspace. I painted the walls, Paul installed bead board for our backsplash, and we even found a gorgeous antique buffet-like cabinet on Facebook-turned out to be our neighbor a few blocks down who was selling it! I’m thrilled with how it all turned out. It feels like a little seaside cottage kitchen. Now all I need is the sea…

Before, back in 2018.
Right before the changes began…
New cabinets, shelves, and sink.
A bit disheveled, but almost complete!
Ahhh. Much better. :)

We did some tree-trimming the other day, hoping to get more sunlight in the far back of our yard. I still don’t know what to do with the plain space behind the garage, but I’m hoping the extra sunlight will give me some ideas. Otherwise, I’m anxiously awaiting the beginning of gardening season. We put in a white picket fence around the front of our house so the dogs can run to-and-fro, through the backyard and into the front yard. I’m picturing big hydrangeas in front of it, or some hedges…I’m still not quite sure, but I’m excited to see what we come up. The tulips are already popping up out of the ground, bordering the one side of the fence. Hopefully the current freezing weather doesn’t damage them too much…

Here they are last year, bordering our previous fence. We had never planted bulbs before, so naturally we were thrilled to see almost all of them come up in the spring.

And as always, the dogs are fantastic. They still yell at us (mostly Paul) to wake up and feed them; they still cuddle together in front of the heater when it’s cold outside; they still make it uncomfortable in bed when they decide where they’re going to lay, which is usually in between legs and arms; they still get excited whenever they see us enter a room; they still give each other kisses when there’s nothing else to do; and of course, they still continue to make life so much better. Rusty just turned 10 last month and the girls turned 7 not long after. How can it be? It seems like yesterday Paul and I were picking up the “most mischievous puppy” of the litter down near Iowa and learned he enjoyed licking car windows and sneezing. And he turned out to be the little love of my life. I had no idea I could love another dog just as much, but those two little girls have proved me wrong. Right now, Lucy found the one tiny spot on the floor next to me where the sun is shining and is keeping watch over me. Silly Goose.

Rusty and Lucy.
Ethel Mae.

Okay, it’s about that time where I get up and finally get ready for the day. :) Next time, I’ll write about the places we’ve been and the seascapes we’ve seen. Perhaps the next post will be all about the sea. Oh, that sounds lovely.

Have a wonderful weekend, friend! If you’re celebrating any holidays, happy happy holidays to you! xoxo

  1. Gomathi says:

    Vow!! How artistic your story Nikki!! Can’t wait to hear more from you!!

  2. Tristan Murry says:

    Thanks for sharing and letting us live vicariously through you and your journeys :).

  3. Pamela Welter says:

    Happy Spring Nikki,

    I have missed you and am glad to see this post! I know how teaching can be as I used to teach Kindergarten. Your room looks so inviting and fun and a beautiful place to learn!

    That said, I do wish you would make another calendar – I am truly enjoying every page of the current one! You are so very talented with words and art, so keep writing and painting when you can.
    That Herb Brooks quote and skating rink was the perfect way to start this new year. I marveled at it every time I looked at it.
    Have you ever been to the Scheel’s in Eden Prairie? They have a robotic Herb Brooks there that talks and gives inspiring quotes.

    Thanks for keeping your blog going and writing. You are a sparkling light in this world!

    Happy Spring! I hope it gets it here soon – such cold weather and wind!!!

    I am celebrating Easter and remembering childhood egg dye time, hunting for Easter candy, going to church all dressed up with hat and gloves and new dress, family dinner.
    Blessings to you all*~*~*~*~*