My third little guy. He is surprising. Unpredictable. Passionate. Tender. And goodness he melts me.

12.15run-0112.15run-02We ran the Color Run together in 2014. He enjoyed it, but really wished it was just straight running…no fluff, just run, which is so like him.Β  He has been wanting to do a traditional 5K this year and our calendar just didn’t sync up, until this weekend. When we walked outside and it was literally freezing, I was kicking myself for not making this run happen sooner. He, on the other hand, was pumped about the weather.

He’s been running a mile every week to train for the 5k. Honestly, he probably didn’t need to train but I wanted to see how serious he was about running. His brothers bailed on training. He kept with it. Consistently putting in his mile each week. This weekend his race finally arrived.

He ran pretty much the whole thing and was already talking about the next 5K before we even crossed the finish line.

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The running bug has bit him hard, so it looks like I’ll be logging more miles too. As long as he wants me to and as long as I can keep up – I’ll run by his side.

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  • Southern Gal - Those photos of you and him just melt my heart. I’m glad he has a mom who will be his running buddy!

  • Heather - My 7 year old daughter just ran her first 5K last week, training over the week like your guy. She comes from a long line of runners (not on my side!) Fortunately, her dad coaches cross country which allowed me to cheer on the sidelines. I’m in good shape, but she was flying and ended up winning her age division. I think we’ve been bitten by the running bug too and are already looking for the next race, including a color run.

  • Julia - Both my girls were into sports (soccer) at a young age, and in 7th grade did a year of cross-country at school “just to keep in shape”. Well, they both ended up dropping soccer and have run ever since. My oldest is now a freshman in college and is prepping to do her 3rd half-marathon, and my youngest (a 10th grader) can’t wait for track and field to get started in February. When the running bug hits – just go with it! What a great sport!

  • Allison - Love running with the kids! Check out this amazing kids running club that I am a part of. You can start your own team if there is not one by you.
    http://www.minimermaidrunningclub.com and http://www.youngtritonsrunningclub.com

    Focuses on not just running but building self esteem and character in our kids.
    Happy Running!

  • Kimberly Dial - This is so awesome. Who knows, you may have an Olympian on your hands!

My driver’s license was expired.

I kept putting off renewing it because the idea of going to the tag agency with five kids sounded horrible. It is also a rare day that my hair is fixed and I am ‘license picture ready.’ Spending time on the weekend to go also did not sound fun. I just kept delaying.

Over the weekend, Chris encouraged me to just go take care of it. Saturday morning I grudgingly got in the car and drove to the tag agency. I was so grumpy about it. As I complained in my head about the hassle of getting a new license, I began to think about how it felt 20 years ago to get my first license. I couldn’t get to the driver’s testing place fast enough or get that license in my hands quick enough. As soon as it was issued, I posed for a picture with my first license. The magnitude and meaning of that little piece of plastic was not lost on me.

Then I got older.

What was once overwhelmingly exciting became a hassle.

I forgot the magnitude and the meaning. It was just an ordinary, mundane thing in my wallet.

As I approached the tag agency last weekend, it all hit me again. I can drive!

It is an unbelievable privilege to not only drive, but to own a car and have the means to pay for insurance, gas, car seats. By world standards, I am in the minority. Of course, there are plenty of reasons many people do not drive by choice and for practical reasons. The point is not driving, but how easily the things that I was once was astounded by can become mundane. When I lose perspective of just how incredible the little and ordinary things in life truly are, excitement is often replaced by hassle.

I don’t want to live that way…I want to live in the excitement of seeing the beauty in the mundane.

I walked out of the tag agency and snapped a photo of me with my new driver’s license…because HELLO, I can drive!

12.15license-01

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  • Haley - Great perspective! My boyfriend didn’t get his license until he was 22 because of lack of people to teach him. While he took his test, it was so fun sitting in the waiting room watching the excitement of the kids coming out and proudly telling their parents they passed. It’s kind of like we shouldn’t just have childlike faith, but we should also have childlike excitement because all of the opportunities we get are pretty freaking awesome.

  • Heather - A couple of years ago, I went to vote and the volunteer said I could not because my license had expired. I just hadn’t noticed in the midst of the business of life and let’s be honest, I’m not going to remember a date 10 years from now. So I went to the DMV to take care of it. Well it happened about 2 weeks shy of being 6 months expired! When it’s more than 6 months, people have to retake the written and driving test!!! So I am sitting there with pimply, anxious teenagers thinking, “Please don’t make me take the test again.” Fortunately, I was just in time and was able to get away with a vision screening and a new photo. I was so thankful I could drive (legally) again!

  • Jessica - I love your perspective (and I feel your DMV pain). It reminds me of a snow storm we had years ago and how when we finally made it to the store, we were dancing in the aisles: electricity! food! four walls other than the house! PS – Great hair!

  • Jessie D - You look super cute in that pic :)

  • amber - Well. I needed to hear that! I am in the same boat with my license. And how funny that I would find conviction here over that. Lol! But. The once exciting things that have become mundane has become a real struggle for me this past year. I was just thinking that over. So refreshing to know we’re not alone & that if we keep fighting to see the bigger picture, that mundane stuff really becomes beautiful again.

  • Jenny B. - Congratulations! πŸ˜‰ You know something weird? In recent years, I have heard multiple parents lament how their teenagers are not interested in getting their licenses. They put it off until they’re seniors, and are basically forced to do it. What?? I am not sure what to make of it. I’m interested to see if this shift continues, and what my own kids will think when they are old enough to drive. My 6-year-old has plans to live at home forever, and says he’ll only need to drive to “the inventing store” once so he can buy stuff to invent machines that will do everything for him. After that, he’s just going to stay home. Anyway… :)

  • Kristina - I’m in the same boat! My license expires in like 2 weeks… I keep putting it off. One skill that I do appreciate often though is my ability to confidently drive a stick shift. So many times I’m crossing town and I think to myself, 10 years ago I would’ve been stalling at every intersection ;P

  • ranee - Love this! :)

  • Kelly - And I love your shirt! Been on the hunt for “the plaid shirt for me” (including looking at thrift/consignment stores at the big boys shirts after you mentioned borrowing your sons.) Haven’t found “just the thing” yet though. :) Kelly

  • Karen B - I learned this lesson recently in a little bit different way. I’ve been driving for 40 years. But recently we moved to Japan for a 2 year assignment with my husband’s company. Not only did we not have a car (at first) but you had to have special lessons and tests to be able to get a license in Japan. And, it’s NOT EASY!!! Took me two times before I passed the test. Now that I finally have my license, I’ve driven once. Where we live is a subway, bicycle, walking lifestyle. It’s also really scary to drive here. I did make it to the grocery store the other day and will be taking baby steps as i progress further. The things we take for granted in the U.S. are so very many!

  • AshleyAnn - Kelly – my shirt in this pic is from Old Navy

  • Alisa - It really is a gift.
    Although we all take things for granted, it is just what we do while we go through our days.

    I’m a single mumma or 3 kiddos. I have a brain disease that is slowly stealing my vision.
    I also have a range of other symptoms that mean I am not able to drive.

    Parenting 3 children. Getting them to school, activities, doing family things. Running errands. Every little things takes planning and effort.

    My children don’t know any different, but gosh they still complain.
    I am used to it. But some days I want to stomp my feet and just moan. Especially in winter and I have to walk 20 minutes to my littlest guys school, to then turn around and walk back with him again.

    Not that I want to make this a woe is me comment.. Because I am actually very grateful and blessed to be here and I don’t feel sorry for myself.
    But just a YES.. celebrate that license… Because I would so love the gift of taking that picture.
    It would make my life a whole lot simpler. :)

    Happy holidays from little old me from New Zealand

I have received a few questions about my ‘new’ sink. First, I am crazy happy with it. It is more perfect than I imagined it would be for the space and the functions of our family. Secondly, it is not a sink that everyone would be thrilled to own.

Here is the story of my sink:

I was not looking for a new sink, but I’ve never really liked our previous stainless steel sink.Β  My friend Jaime of Restore House (her online shop is open now!) opened my eyes to the beauty of old sinks. When my daughter and I were visiting another friend’s shop, Southern Hospitality, I saw my new old sink sitting out in the yard. It was love at first sight.

I sent Chris the picture below and told him I found something new for the house. His response was, “where are you going to put that?” I responded, “Our bedroom.” Sarcasm isn’t my greatest attribute.

12.15sink-01I rushed home to measure the sink area of our kitchen and was semi-confident the sink would fit. Thankfully, it fit perfectly.

sink212.15sink-0212.15sink-0312.15sink-04The sink has several chips on it. I considered re-finishing it before we installed it. However, the cost to refinish it was more than the cost of the sink itself. I had also read that cast iron sinks can chip easily. Considering the amount of people in this house, the chances of us chipping the sink are pretty high. So, I am embracing the chips. I bought a new faucet to match them! I figure I would rather live with it for a while and then decide if I want to refinish it.

The other downside to not refinishing the sink is that the glossy finish in the sink basins has worn off significantly. This means that it picks up stains easily. For now, I am just using Bartender’s Friend and am fine with the not so perfect white in the basin. If I decided to refinish the sink soon it will be more a result of the staining than the chips.

One issue we have had with our butcher block counters is water always on the wood near the sink. With so many people washing dishes or piling things up, it just happens. The extended draining boards on this sink are saving our counters. Though we lost about 2 feet of wood counter space, we are able to use that space now without worrying about wet stuff on the wood.

All in all – a vintage cast iron sink is not for everyone, but it is just right for us.

12.15sink-06

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  • Ilse - I think it’s absolutely beautiful!

  • Southern Gal - When I saw the title of this post, I immediately thought of the chips on the cast iron sink in my house growing up. It bothered my mama so much, but I came to love it. What I wouldn’t give to have that sink in my own home now. I totally get it.

  • Carrie - I love it! The chips add character, right? πŸ˜‰

  • Rachel - We got a very similar sink from a family friend about a year ago. It was just hanging out behind her shed, I was so excited when she said we could have it. I love it so much, I always joke with my husband that if we ever move the sink is coming with us!

  • Byron - “…and was semi-confident the sink would fit.” –of such comments are really awesome home improvements made!

    I love the extended draining boards; I’m always getting water everywhere around my sink. They would be *ideal* for any kitchen I am in!

    Really great sink. Nice pick-up!

  • Melissa M - Love it! The first house I lived in after getting married had the same sink. Bar keepers friend is the best. I know have an old stainless one with the side drains and love it also.

  • laura - i have a cast iron sink, too, and you’re absolutely right on the stains. i give it a good bleach scrub about once a week and use car wax on it – the car wax helps a ton to help keep stains at a minimum. and it makes it easier to keep clean, so double-win.

  • laura - oh good gravy – about once a MONTH, not once a week.

  • Katie - We had a cast iron sink once. The best product I found to keep it clean is Comet Soft Cleanser with bleach.

  • AshleyAnn - Laura – thank you! I will try that :)

  • Krysten - It is Beautiful! I have an original Farm sink with a drying tray on one side in my home. Everyone has told me to tear it out and start new, but I refuse. I love it!!!
    Our of curiosity though, does yours have a garbage disposal? I haven’t been able to find one that fits the smaller drain hole on mine.
    My next project is to take your idea of bowling lanes for counter tops and add those to my kitchen!

    LOVE IT!!!!

  • Emily - I love it! And I am all for living with things for a while before you change them. We painted our subfloors chocolate brown (thanks for the tutorial and motivation for that, btw :-) ) and after being in the house a few months now, I’ve decided I like the tone of the 1978 window casings better than the dark tone of the floors (we have dark wood laminate in the kitchen so I’m not just comparing it to flat paint :-) )

    Embrace the imperfections of your perfect sink, and if you decide to refinish, I look forward to the tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

  • Jeanne - I love the new sink and to have black faucets to “match the chips” is brilliant! The size is great too. I found caste iron holds heat longer than stainless – another plus.
    http://doodlet.me/

  • Mandy - Love love LOVE it!

  • Kate - We had the exact same sink in a tiny apartment my husband and I rented when our daughter was first born. I loved it! It looks great in your kitchen!

  • Katie - I LOVE this sink! One of the first things I noticed were the chips, but it’s one of the things I like most about it. I love knowing a piece has been well loved, and like thinking about all the life (and dishes!) it must have seen in it’s existence:)

  • AshleyAnn - Krysten – it fits our previous garbage disposal perfectly!

  • Kim at Thistle Dew - Ashley! I have that same sink in my kitchen! My dad took it out of a house he remodeled, and I claimed it! We went with a very tall faucet so my biggest pots would fit under easily… But I like your choice, as it would match my chips too!
    ?

    Love your blog!
    Kim ??

  • Krystina - Do you find the barkeeper’s friend works well with the stains in your sink? I was just looking at my bottle last night thinking about using it in my bathtub which is white (or used to be white…) and is stained because of a particular dog who loves playing in the dirt.

  • Melissa @ Bless this Mess - In love!!! We are building a new house right now but I want so much for it to feel well loved. I’m now on the hunt for this sink’s twin! It would be perfect :)

  • Leila - I love your sink! Many years ago in my tiny city apartment I had a big stainless steel version of your cast iron sink. I loved the wide drain boards, even though obviously it cut down on precious counters. I could put a cutting board on one side if I needed “counter space” and I could put my dish drainer on the other side without worrying about water. It’s the best old-fashioned way of doing things! Bravo on your choice; I have been nostalgic for that old sink for more than 30 years!

  • Jenny B. - Love it!! When I saw your first Instagram of it, I started searching. :) I found some reproductions that look very close to what you have (you know, in case I decide I must have one and can’t find an actual old one). πŸ˜‰ We currently have a cast iron white sink (c. 2000), and it has a chip and the glossy finish has worn off considerably. I used to use Bar Keeper’s friend, but now I use Clorox Clean-up. I’m constantly amazed at the miracle of bleach. I wipe down the sink (just to get rid of crumbs and whatnot), spray on the cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse. No scrubbing, and the stains magically disappear. Now, if you have qualms using a cleaner that contains bleach, then obviously, this is not for you. My kitchen does smell a little bit like a swimming pool after using it. But, if you are OK with bleach, then it’s great. The Bar Keeper’s Friend is still good for those gray scuff marks that can be left by pots and pans. The bleach doesn’t always get rid of those. Anyway, I love the sink (and your new backsplash and pulls!).

  • Robyn - I love it!!!!

  • AshleyAnn - Krystina – I think it works well for stains. It doesn’t remove them completely. Some others have suggestion Clorox with bleach for stain removal…

  • AshleyAnn - Jenny – thank you for that suggestion!!

  • kimberly oyler - i drove through newton last week and stopped at the mill, aka the craft weekend antique place and they had a sink exactly like this! i wanted it so badly. guess i need to get myself a house. or just come use yours!

  • Stephanie - Hi! I like that you embraced the chips-I thought right away how the new faucet matched them!! We have a sink just like this, the best way to make it sparkle is a Mr. Clean sponge πŸ˜‰

  • Vicky - I have the same sink and we love love it! The built in back splash and drainboards are fantastic. Ours is chipped too, but not much. It adds character.

  • Mrs Mike - I love it! I think it compliments your kitchen beautifully. :)

  • Abby - My great grandma had a sink just like that. Love it!

  • Dawn - What color white did you use to paint your cabinets? We are looking for the perfect white :)

  • AshleyAnn - Dawn – Just the plain glossy white from Walmart :)