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October 23, 2019 / JustinKays Porter

Two Injections and Fall is Here!

Before I give you any updates, I have to say THANK YOU. Justin and I are so grateful for your generosity… If you know me, you know I am not usually at a loss for words. But I am quite literally speechless when I think of all the things you have done for us. The gifts, the love, the kind words, the support, the happy thoughts, the recommendations, it has all been received and so so so appreciated. I really can’t say anything other than thank you, even though it feels nowhere near enough. And please know that if I haven’t responded to your call/text/message, I will with time. I’m overwhelmed, but I’ll get there.

We are getting settled and our house is feeling more and more like a home everyday. We get so many Amazon deliveries that we are on a first name basis with our delivery people (again, thank you!!!). Pictures to come as soon as we figure out what to do with the mountains of cardboard that accumulate faster than yellow and red leaves on the sidewalk. It is definitely feeling like fall in Chicago; and by fall I mean what I would normally consider winter weather in California. This California girl is in for a ride awakening in the coming months!

Millie had her first treatment last Monday and her second treatment just a few days ago. The actual injection is pretty brutal, but it only lasts a minute and she recovers surprisingly quickly. As soon as the injection is finished, she is talking to the doctors and telling them (with a smile) to leave. “Byyyye!” This little girl is my hero and I am so impressed with how she continues to handle all of this. We think Millie has been more smiley and interactive than usual, but it’s hard to know if we are just reading into things. Back at home, she has been pretty afraid/unwilling to go play at the park for the last few months, and every day for the last ten days that we’ve walked by a play area she yells “play” and wants to get out

Ma has been here for a week helping out and visiting. While we haven’t been able to do too much fun stuff (2 kids, no car, and questionable weather put a damper on things!), Millie and Nate (and Justin and I!) have loved having her here. Justin was able to head west for some work events, and Ma and I survived just fine with the kiddos. Just today Nate has discovered that he can roll over multiple times in a row and actually move across the room. Which he loves and has me more than a little nervous about what else he will doscover, and how quickly he will discover it.

We are all doing well. Keep sending those positive vibes our way, we feel them every day ❤️

October 6, 2019 / JustinKays Porter


As many of you already know, we moved to Chicago. Today. And let me tell you, it’s been a day. Actually, let’s be real… it’s been the hardest few months I can imagine, so today was just a drop in the bucket. But we were for sure those people at the airport with WAY too many bags/strollers/carseats/etc and not enough arms! I had too many things to carry so I couldn’t even snap a picture of how ridiculous we were.
If this is coming to you out of left field, I’m including the original message we sent out as a kind of life update in this blog post. I’ve updated it so that it has more current information (quite literally with the words “update”. I know, I know… I’m real clever these days). I’ll try to post every few weeks to keep my loyal followers in the loop about what’s going on, but you know how good I am at keeping up with my blog. Maybe this time it will stick?
If you find yourself in Chicago, please let us know! And/or if you want to plan a trip, we’ve got plenty of space and our kids LOVE visitors.

A Letter to our Loved Ones (originally written 8/27/19, updated 10/6/19)

Hello loved ones,

We have some news to share. We suggest you get a fresh cup of coffee, crack a beer, maybe grab a box of tissues. Ready?

As some of you know, we have spent countless hours taking Amelia to visit specialist after specialist over the last six months. What started as concerns about walking delays and changes with her eyes has morphed into something a lot more serious. After each visit to a specialist, who would refer us to another, who would clear their schedule to see us as soon as possible, we grew more anxious and more nervous. And now, for better or worse, we have a working diagnosis.

Our sweet Millie has been diagnosed with late infantile metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD). I’ll save you the googling and give you a brief description of the disorder. MLD is a rare genetic disorder. In a healthy brain, myelin coats nerve fibers and helps to transmit electrical signals throughout the body. Myelin breaks down to a series of proteins and lipids, including a lipid called sulfatides. Normally, an enzyme further breaks down the sulfatides. In kids with MLD, the gene that produces said enzyme is either absent or doesn’t work properly, causing a build up of sulfatides. An excess of sulfatides is toxic to the brain and disrupts the transmission of signals throughout the body. (Please keep in mind that I am NOT a geneticist or a neurologist… So I may not have that totally accurate.)

And I’ll save you further googling: children with MLD have an expected lifespan of 6 to 8 years. Sorry to drop that bomb, but there’s no way around it. As the sulfatides build up, children lose skills they have acquired and quality of life generally declines. It affects every child differently; with some declining very quickly and others more slowly. There are bright spots in this story, I promise. We just have to tell you the bad news first.

There is currently a phase II clinical trial for an enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) being conducted in Chicago. By injecting the synthetic enzyme weekly, it can start to break down the sulfatides. However, it is unclear if the enzyme will break down the sulfatides that are already built up, or only break down the new sulfatides as they are created, and at what rate the breakdown will occur. Either way, the goal is to prevent further damage to her beautiful little brain. There is hope that some of the damage may be reversed, but it’s too early in the trial to know if that is a viable hope. Our doctors at Stanford and the doctors and trial coordinators in Chicago think Millie is a good fit for the study. We are working on enrolling her in the study and, at least temporarily, to start calling Chicago home. Weekly injections will likely make it too difficult to travel back and forth, but the study coordinators are working to open additional sites, including one in LA, that we might be able to transfer to down the road.

***UPDATE: We’re in the study! We have been accepted into the Chicago study center and are in the process of moving to Chicago.***

There are still so many unknowns, but we are feeling a bit better as we formulate a plan. Had we been given this diagnosis six months ago, there would have been nothing we could do because the trial is so young. Had we been given this diagnosis six months from now, it would have likely progressed too far for us to qualify for the trial. As far as timing goes, things could be worse. And we are so grateful to all those doctors who cleared their schedules to figure this out. Someone has to be first to beat this. Why not our sweet Millie?

Millie is happy. She is the same sweet, smart, sometimes sassy girl she was last week, before our world was turned upside down. She is continuing to learn and grow, picking up new words every day. As difficult as it is, we are working hard to remember this and treat her the same. There have been a lot of tears, a lot of lost sleep, but just as much joy as there was last week. While we wait, all we can do is love her and hope. Hope that we get accepted into the trial. Hope that things happen quickly. Hope that it works. Hope that we aren’t too late. Hope that our love is enough for the time being. Hope that the science is there. Hope for a miracle.

While we wait, we ask that you send your love and keep us in your thoughts. If anyone knows someone working on this study, ask if they can fast track us (just kidding! Kind of…). If and when we need something more, we will ask. We are operating on the assumption that we will get into the study, and moving ourselves to Chicago on short notice is not going to be any small task.

I know this is a lot to process and we are still struggling to process it ourselves. I may sound like I have it together (that’s the beauty of the written word), but we are on an emotional rollercoaster over here. Life with a toddler and a baby is crazy enough; adding this to our lives has been overwhelming, to say the least. We’re just trying to take it one day at a time, trying to keep our heads above water, and trying to keep our kiddos happy.

Thank you for reading, I know it’s not easy. This journey is not going to be easy, and we are going to lean on our support systems in the days, months, and years to come. So thank you all in advance for being here for us.

We love you all,

Justin, Kay, Millie, & Nate

A few additional things to consider:

  • Please feel free to share this information with friends and loved ones, but we request that this not end up on social media. Thank you for understanding.
  • Yes, this is a genetic disorder. And yes, we are in the process of having Nate tested as well.
  • ***UPDATE: Nate does not have MLD! He is not even a carrier for the disorder, so it’s not something he will have to worry about in the future.***
  • The disorder is thought to progress more quickly when kids get sick or injured. While we would love visitors, we request that if you or anyone you’ve been in contact with recently was sick, please wait to visit. And please respect my frequent requests to wash and sanitize!


October 6, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Burrows Progress

I know, I know… it’s been awhile. But we’ve been really, really, really busy! Instead of boring you with words or excuses, we’re just going to dive right in and show you some glorious progress photos.

The goal of this post was to take photos from the same vantage point as the original “before” pictures of the house and the photos from one year later (our house looked more or less the same in the one year later photos and right before we started this project, and that’s what we have to work with). But so many things have changed over the last four years that I found it difficult to figure out what I was looking at. I made the diagram below to show the vantage points of each set of pictures; hopefully it helps! And please excuse my amateur Adobe skills…


Alright, on to the photos!

View 1: From the entry, looking into the library. This room hasn’t changed much and at this point is serving as additional storage.



View 2: From the entry, looking toward the dining room and new additions.



View 3: Bedroom 1.



View 4: Bedroom 2.



View 5: Previously Bedroom 3, now master closet and laundry room (this is where things start to get weird!).



View 6: Previously kitchen, now looking into new kitchen.



View 7: Previously rear corner of the West Wing/ patio slab looking toward the garage, now from the great room looking toward the kitchen.



View 8: From the garage door (the location of the door hasn’t changed). Previously looking across the West Wing/patio slab, now through the kitchen toward the great room.



View 9: Previously, looking to the backyard from the edge of the West Wing/patio slab. Now, looking toward the backyard from the great room.



Like I said, we’ve been busy! Since the concrete pour, we’ve completed the framing, utilities (for the most part), and the roof. I wanted to get this post up now because things are about to start changing fast… we have insulation, sheet rock, tape/texture, and exterior stucco all scheduled within the next month! And then it will start to feel a lot more like a house and less like the bones of a house. But I do have to say, these are some damn good looking bones!

A few more photos to leave you with:


Master Bedroom


Master Closet (!!)




Great Room






April 3, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Concrete Pour

3… 2… 1… We have concrete! That’s kind of like we have lift off, because we are officially out of the dirt. Not that we are done getting dirty, playing in the dirt, or dealing with a house full of dirt; we’re just done digging. For the time being.

My dad and Uncle Todd spent most of last week preparing for the pour, and Justin spent every night checking and double checking concrete quantities and orchestrating the concrete delivery. I just bribed people to come help us with donuts and coffee. It all seemed to work out, and come Friday at 7 am we had 8 able-bodied gentlemen willing to help us schlep the concrete hose around the yard, trowel the concrete into submission, and drink all my beer!

To be honest, before everything started I thought we had a few too many hands. But everyone stayed busy and we were very grateful to have all the help. We were finished pouring concrete by 10:30. And when I say we, I mean those 8 able-bodied gentlemen. I mostly took photos and kept everyone “hydrated.”


We started with the footing under the house.

Then moved to the two footings on the front porch…

Then to the stem wall and interior footings in the backyard…



And finally, the troweling. Lots of troweling!

Thanks to Justin’s careful planning, we were very close on our concrete numbers. Sadly, we were about one-third of a yard short of concrete! That was enough for one of the interior footings to not get poured. So close, yet so far… but a quick trip to the depot and a wheelbarrow later, we were all set.

Throughout the morning, our abandoned septic tank became a blessing in disguise. It was the perfect place to clean out concrete hoses and tools. Without that, some part of the yard would have become a huge mess.

The rest of the afternoon was spent troweling and removing most of the stakes holding the forms up. Throughout the day, we had lots of visitors stop by to observe and direct the activities. We even had an impromptu dinner party later in the evening!


Saturday morning, Justin, Matt, and my dad stripped the forms while Kimmi, my mom, and I started backfilling around the new footings. We had arranged to have someone come pick up all of our used forms (thank you craigslist and Uncle Jeff!), so the guys helped him load up the truck. Then it was backfill for all six of us. All that dirt had to go back into that hole.

Because we had given away our used forms, we were able to get away with one light load to the dump with miscellaneous leftover junk. At some point during the activities (I honestly don’t remember when or how), a water pipe had broken under the house. I don’t have details for you, but it happened and my dad and Justin went under the house into the “dead dirt” to swear at it and fix it. My mom and I continued to backfill and clean up, and by the end of the day we had working water and about 90 percent of our backfill was done.


And that, my friends, is how you pour a foundation and clean up after yourself in two days. With lots and lots of help!!



March 21, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Starting to Take Shape

They tell me it’s now officially spring. So as I sit down to type, life almost feels normal with dinner simmering away, laundry tumbling around the machines, and the incessant sniffles that come with the season’s allergies. Then I walk outside to my construction zone of a yard to find Justin, only to remember that he is under the house digging footings… and then I realize this is my new normal!

Lots to catch up on. Since our last rendezvous, the slab was demo’d in the backyard.


The crawlspace and foundations were excavated for the addition.


The previously partially abandoned septic tank has been fully abandoned.


The new footings under the house and under the porch have been dug. (Sorry, no photos!)

Formwork and rebar for the footings have gone into the excavation.


Our concrete pour is scheduled for this Friday!!!

Now, if you just wanted a quick update, a handful of pictures, and an awkward anecdote from yours truly, you are free to stop reading and go back to your springtime duties (whatever they may be). If you’d like a few more details and photos, keep scrolling.

We had a crew out to demo the back patio slab in mid-February. With a bobcat and a jack-hammer attachment, a dump truck, and a handful of strong guys, they finished a job I was dreading in two days. Two days! Two days of madness, noise, and dust while I was toiling away at work. Sorry, neighbors… but it was so worth it!


The following week we had a crew out to cut our crawlspace down to grade and excavate the footings. It was more than slightly unnerving to see a giant excavator come through our side yard, but it made reality sink in that the project was under way.


After two and a half days of digging, hauling 40 yards of dirt away from our yard, and covering everything in plastic, it started raining. Literally, about twenty minutes after they finished the job the skies opened and it rained for two weeks. Dry January, dry February, then two weeks of solid downpour. Good for the snowpack and the summer, bad for the project!



When the rains stopped, we pumped the water out of the excavation and uncovered everything to let it all dry out. At this point, we noticed a big, rectangular-shaped soft spot between the interior footings. Justin did some digging around, and we realized that the old septic tank for the house was located at an awkward angle between our newly excavated footings. By some miracle, none of our footings or the excavation for our crawlspace led to this discovery. We couldn’t have positioned our footings better if we tried, and we didn’t know where the septic tank was to begin with!

Finding the tank wasn’t a big surprise. We knew the house had been on septic in the past and the previous owner had connected to the city sewer “under the table”… something we found out (and paid for) during the permitting process. We were fairly sure we would hit the tank at some point, but weren’t sure where it would be, what state it would be in, or what we would have to do about it.

Turns out, we found it roughly where Justin thought it was, partially abandoned (i.e., about a quarter full with a bunch of rubbish thrown in the upper three-quarters). After some phone calls and some hemming and hawing, we know we had to fully abandon the thing (i.e., completely empty it). Justin and my dad did most of the work in a day. And while I can’t speak from personal experience, I can say that shoveling sh*t did not look like a fun experience…


Next, Justin busted out the bottom of the concrete tank with a jackhammer. Another activity that looked not so fun. A few trips to the dump, a city inspection of the busted out tank bottom, and a look of gravel, the tank had been properly abandoned. And all I can say to these two guys is thank you. Because, for lack of a better word, YUCK.


With that behind us, we cleaned up the footing excavations and covered everything back up for another round of rainy weather. After another week of rain, my Uncle Todd’s return from a trip to Hawaii, and my dad’s second retirement, we were off and running to get the forms set and the rebar in. And when I say “we”, I really mean Justin, my dad, and my Uncle Todd. So, yet again, I must say thank you!

Nancy and Dirk, my parents, and Todd all came out on Saturday to help us finish things up. With all the help, we’re gearing up for our pre-pour city inspection on Wednesday. Think happy thoughts, and hopefully our pour on Friday will go smoothly!


Seeing the forms go up has been really fun. I run around the giant hole in our backyard (now bordered by plywood and 2x4s) and imagine myself standing in our new kitchen, in the laundry room, looking out the glass door from the master into the yard. I’m having a great time daydreaming and I’m sure anyone watching me thinks I’ve completely lost my mind. Flo follows me around and seems to have fun imagining with me, but Justin is probably tired of playing my game of “guess where I’m standing now?!” I still enjoy it though 🙂

And for those of you who made it to the end of this long-winded, picture-loaded post, you deserve a prize!! xoxo

February 8, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Prep Work & Purchases

It was 75 degrees today. So, naturally, I am sitting in my backyard typing this blog post in the soft light of a warm, February evening. The only sign that spring hasn’t sprung is the fact that it will be dark by 6 pm. And when it is spring, that slab will (hopefully) look a little more like our planned addition!


We’ve made some headway since I last checked in. Our plans have been revised and resubmitted to the City, along with a very last minute geotechnical report (it pays to be in the business!). This phase of the project has included lots of planning, lots of scheduling, lots of discussing, and lots of paying. Even though we haven’t broken ground and our house looks virtually the same, we’ve spent quite a few pretty pennies to get this thing off the ground. Permit fees, utility fees, school fees, design fees, fees, fees, fees!

But that’s all about to change. We will still be paying lots of pretty pennies, but things are about to start looking different. Like our money is going into our addition instead of the black hole of building department bureaucracy. But I digress. Before I get into what is planned for the next few weeks, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane…

When we moved in, the west wing had doors and windows, leaked like crazy, and served as additional storage (because, clearly, we needed more storage space?). After far too long of living with that, we finally tore it down and have since used it as a sun-drenched patio.

Now to the present. Justin and my dad demo’d the only remaining portion of the never-beloved west wing. The little blue stove and other miscellaneous crap that has been stored here have found new homes, mostly with other people.


With the patio cover gone, there is so much light in the bathroom! It gets me daydreaming about all the natural light we’ll have when the house is done. I know, daydreaming about natural light… this is my current state of mind 🙂 You can’t blame me; it’s been sunny and warm outside and I’m currently suffering from mid-winter vitamin D deficiency.


On Wednesday (drumroll, please!), the slab will be jackhammered out and the concrete taken to a land far, far away. The following week (weather pending) the crawlspace and footings for the addition will be excavated and things will really start to take shape! Flo is a little unsure about all this, but she’ll love it in the end.


One last thing to report: we recently purchased our doors, windows, and skylights. With the exception of the two windows at the front of the house, all of our current windows are single-paned, likely original to the house, and will be replaced. Plus, lots of new windows for the addition. The windows are nothing too fancy, but I can’t tell you how excited I am about remote-controlled skylights. When those bad boys go in, I’m just going to stand there with the remote for about 20 minutes like a kid in a candy shop!

January 23, 2016 / JustinKays Porter

Big Things Happening

Hi there! Nice to converse with you all again 🙂

Justin and I bought our house over three years ago and immediately started turning it into our own little slice of heaven. But wait, three years? How did that happen?! That means six birthdays, four Christmases, three wedding anniversaries, one FloPo, and countless home improvement projects. And now, we are in the midst of planning a massive addition and remodel to our house. Woohoo! Big things happening over here! And, for the record, I’ll claim that house planning has taken up all of my time and not allowed me to do any blogging for almost a year… Oops…


From the beginning, we had plans to add on to and remodel our 1,100 square foot house. It was only a matter of time, money, and an agreed-upon design: the latter of which proved to be more difficult than anticipated. After about two years of pinching our pennies and tossing around ideas, we sat down to design our dream home (within the constraints of our budget, the existing house, and the city’s many, many, many rules, of course!). Probably to the detriment of our project, we started planning and sketching before we had done any research on the city’s rules and regulations. Double oops…


Our original plan was to build a two-story addition over the existing concrete patio in the backyard (where there was once a lean-to with doors and windows that leaked like a sieve; remember that?). Two of the existing bedrooms would be combined into a master suite, the new first floor addition would be home to the kitchen and a living room open to the backyard, and the new second floor would have two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a laundry room. Sounds pretty peachy, right?


Wrong. Well, maybe it sounds peachy, but reality turned out to be a rude awakening. The city we live in has very, very strict rules on what projects are considered “remodels” and what projects would be considered “new construction.” By building up and out, we would land squarely in the category of new construction. Meaning buried utilities (even though the power pole in our front yard would still be there), interior fire sprinklers, higher fees, a community design and planning hearing… just to name a few of the costly differences. In short, if the project was deemed new construction it would push our timeline out another year or two while we could pinch more pennies. And that didn’t sound peachy.


Obligatory Flo pic

And to be honest, this wasn’t a bad thing in my opinion: I was never crazy about having a two-story house. While trying to plan our house in this configuration, we kept running into the same roadblocks: the upstairs bedrooms and bathroom were significantly larger than the downstairs, we couldn’t get the master suite to really function properly, the laundry room was upstairs… You get the picture. So we attempted to design our house as a single story and were instantly more successful! Where we had been stuck with the two-story conundrums for months, we were able to come up with a basic single-story floor plan in about a day.


Sometimes you need five monitors to plan a house!

Now that we had our basic floor plan, we spent the next few months refining the details and coordinating with the city to make sure we stayed under the “new construction” thresholds. We submitted architectural plans in July and, after a few back-and-forth issues with the city, we got our architectural approval in September on the day we left for an anniversary backpacking trip in Yosemite.


On another tangent, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning that Justin has done so much work over the past year… No architect hired for this project! Just my wonderfully talented and patient husband. And patience was of the utmost importance as I continually asked him to try different configurations and slightly altered details for the floor plan, kitchen layout, window placement… Over and over and over!


I think I exhaust them…

We submitted our building permit plans to the city a few days before Christmas and received our first round of comments back from the City this week (!!!). Call me paranoid or superstitious or crazy, but I didn’t want to post this until we had heard something from the City. I’ve been having nightmares that the City would send the plans back to us and say, “Just kidding! Your project is new construction. Please start over.” My dreams have been reminiscent of drawing the “Go to Jail” card in Monopoly. Okay, now that I type this and verbalize the thought, I think maybe I am crazy…


Yes, I think I am crazy.

Anyway, the point of this super long post is that we’re in the process of getting our building permit to make our house super fantastically amazingly wonderful. Yes, it deserves that many superlatives. We’re planning to do a lot of the work ourselves with the help of many friends and family members who have already volunteered their time and expertise. I’ll try to update the blog periodically with our progress, but we all know how those promises tend to turn out.

Here are the stats of our house as it is now, and our house as it will be (hopefully when it’s finished in about a year!):

  Square Footage Bedrooms Bathrooms
Existing 1,104 3 1.5
Proposed 2,092 3 2.5

Some of you may think we’re crazy for doing this and not increasing the number of bedrooms. But I would be the first one to tell you that we’re gaining a library (that may be converted to a bedroom in the distant future), a coat closet, a walk-in pantry, a laundry room, a kick-ass kitchen, living space that opens into the backyard, and a master suite. Without further ado, here are the existing and proposed floor plans:


I hope you are all as excited about the next phase of home improvement as we are! Any tips and tricks on construction, maintaining sanity during a remodel, and living without a functioning kitchen are more than welcome 🙂

February 17, 2015 / JustinKays Porter

November Adventures with Flo

Apparently my blogging resurgence has turned this blog into more of a lifestyle blog than a DIY blog… hopefully no one minds! In keeping with that new found theme, I’m starting a new series of posts. About our dog 🙂

In case you haven’t heard, Justin and I are head-over-heels in love and obsessed with the newest addition to the Porter clan: meet Florence!

I love this photo so much that Chels had it printed onto a phone case for me!

I love this photo so much that Chels had it printed onto a phone case for me!

Also known as Flo and FloPo. Born October 3 and brought home to Burrows the day before Thanksgiving. This post doesn’t need a whole lot of words, so enjoy the photos. And just imagine that puppy smell!

Sleeping peacefully with the litter mates

Sleeping peacefully with the litter mates

First car ride!

First car ride!

2014-11-26 _68 2014-11-26 _67

2014-11-27 _61 2014-11-27 _62 2014-11-27 _63 2014-11-27 _64 2014-11-27 _65 2014-11-28 _57

2014-11-27 _66 2014-11-28 _56 2014-11-28 _58 2014-11-29 _54

Celebrating Chelsey's birthday! Flo loves the champs...

Celebrating Chelsey’s birthday! Flo loves the champs…

Curled up on Justin's ankles. She does not fit there anymore!

Curled up on Justin’s ankles. She does not fit there anymore!

Watching 3-D movies

Watching 3-D movies

And yes, these are a small handful of photos from the few days she lived with us in November. My phone and camera have been completely overrun with photos of this little pup. I have no idea how that happened… but let’s just say there is a cuteness overload happening here!

February 11, 2015 / JustinKays Porter

California in January

It rained last weekend. Glorious, wonderful, plump droplets of water fell from the sky! For anyone who doesn’t live in California, you may be tired of all the wintry weather you’re encountering. But us drought-stricken Californians? LOVED it.

But that’s not what this post is about. You see, I was so excited about last weekend’s rain for a few reasons (all of them selfish, I might add). Here are my top five:

1. It did not rain a drop in January, and it is quite difficult to justify staying inside in your pajamas all day watching the rain when it is sunny and seventy degrees outside.

2. Whatever rain we can get might help get lake levels up so we can spend the 4th of July on the houseboat (if LA doesn’t steal it all first…).

3. Rainbows. Enough said.

4. Green hillsides are so much prettier than “golden” hillsides (golden sounds a lot better than brown, but we all know what I’m trying to say here).

5. California is thirsty. She told me so herself.

Enough of a rant about droughts  and rainy days. This post is actually about the lovely weather we had in January (surprise!). A few weeks ago, we spent a day at the beach in Seascape. In January. In shorts and t-shirts. Some people got sunburned.

Shorts, t-shirts, sunnies, and the sand a few steps away

Shorts, t-shirts, sunnies, and the sand a few steps away

The real reason behind the day trip was to celebrate my grandparents birthdays and anniversary. They are such wonderful people and have taught me so much, I won’t even try to put it into words. Let’s just say cheers to many more!

Love them :)

Love them 🙂

As much as we desperately need more water (and the forecast is looking mighty dry), I can’t help but be grateful to live in California and enjoy winter days like this. Not to mention the beachy, wintery sunsets.

Typical Kim and Matt picture... Matt trying to be serious, Kim trying to make Matt laugh, and a rather awkward resultant expression

Typical Kim and Matt picture… Matt trying to be serious, Kim trying to make Matt laugh, and a rather awkward resultant expression








May your memories of January be as warm as mine 🙂

February 3, 2015 / JustinKays Porter

Welcome to the Lounge

I have so much to show and tell you, faithful followers of a less-than-faithful blogger… Regardless of my serious lack of blogging and posting, I want to show you where the Lounge stands as of today. Don’t get mad at me for skipping all of the in-between steps, but you have to understand: with my recent track record, if you waited for me to show you every project before the Lounge reveal, you would be waiting for years. Instead, I’ll show you a photo tour of our favorite place to hang out. There are a few projects that I think deserve spotlight follow up posts, but I don’t want to tell you which ones for fear of disappointing you if they never come to fruition…

Keep in mind that when we bought the house, this space looked like this:


One year later, it looked like this:


Before & After (Progress) #1


Before & After (Progress) #2


Before & After (Progress) #3

Now, without further ado, it looks like this:

dart corner tv wall window


Yes, I promise you, each of those sets of photos are taken from the same vantage point (roughly). Remember how I said life got in the way of my blogging? Well, this is one of those “life” things. When it comes to choosing between doing a project and writing about a project, I tend to choose doing! Enjoy these photos, and come lounge anytime! If there is something you want to know more about, please ask ☺

And now, for a little more eye candy for this fine Tuesday evening…

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Welcome to the Lounge! More on this door installation here. We’ve done 95% of the work to get this room where it is (we hired out parts of the door installation and the tape and texture of the walls and ceiling); needless to say, it has been a labor of love! We started with the new tile floors, moved on to painting and installing all of the trim, and finally installing cabinets, homemade concrete countertop, and the tile backsplash. Even the light fixture over the pool table is a DIY! Most of the furnishings in the space are hand-me-downs (pool table, small bench, brown chairs), garage sale finds (rolling cart under the dart board, metal-topped table), or salvaged (hellooo rolling furniture cart). We did finally break down and buy the couch and gray chairs new, and they were worth every penny!

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We also turned an older refrigerator into a work of art with a few coats of chalkboard paint.

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How cool is that table?! I can’t get over this garage sale find… excuse me while I drool…

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We also created this cork surround for our dart board, and I love how it turned out! After drinking more wine than I care to admit and may hours gluing and nailing corks, it’s pretty cool.

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We had the pool table re-felted when it was moved from Roseville. We thought we chose a shade of gray for the felt, but apparently it’s more of a blue and matches the paint color of the walls almost identically (and I promise you, this was an accident but I love it!).

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A few close-ups of Justin’s latest lighting adventure.

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So that’s where we are. These photos were taken last weekend. And while we have a few small projects left to work on, we are very happy with how everything turned out. For everyone who helped, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Happy Lounging, xoxo