Wild Animal Kingdom

Emma and Reagan’s Room is finally completely done!  My parents came over a week ago and installed the window seat and cushion, and as a surprise to the girls, zebra striped curtains and valances!  They’ve been talking about having zebra striped curtains ever since they started talking about designing their room over two years ago.  My mom had extra fabric and made them each a pillow for their beds, as well, and they are thrilled!


Reagan was very quick to arrange her new pillow from Nana on her bed, and she loves sitting in the window seat.

We spent quite a bit of time Sunday rearranging their stuff and reorganizing.  Their room is very clean and they both *promised* me it would stay that way!  I guess time will tell.  🙂

The Special Ornament

We have a few Christmas Traditions we observe as a family.  One of my favorites is the day we go to the mountains to get our tree.  This year was cut short  little bit as we didn’t have a lot of time to get it done, but we still spent a great day in the mountains and we found a perfect tree.  Closely related to getting our tree is decorating it.  We make hot chocolate and decorate the tree.  When we’re done decorating, we all snuggle down and watch a Christmas movie.  This year it was How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey.  Funny!

One other annual tradition is the new family ornament.  Each year we get one new ornament for each of us that is specific to that year.  Each ornament is labeled with the person’s name and the year.  I am posting pictures of two of our most recent ornaments because I had to special order last years’ ornament and they didn’t arrive until after Christmas and never made it on the tree.  Our tree is pretty eclectic – gold styrofoam stars, Santas from my trip to Haiti, Princesses from Disneyland, etc.  There are  lot of earthy/woodsy ones, but there’s some really quirky ones, too.  You get the basic idea – if we’ve had a special event duirng the year, the ornament represents it, otherwise, it’s whatever we find that we really like.

This year I found these really quirky birds, and I immedately loved them.  Usually I purchase a little higher quality ornament because it is ment to keep as  memory; however, this year, they were very inexpensive.  They have real feathers worked into their gold glitter covered styrofoam bodies.  Very kitchy, but great anyway.

Last year we had this tiny little project we decided to undertake.  It was just a little one, and it took just a little bit of our time, but I decided to commemorte it with an ornament anyway.  Since we spent the greater part of the year building the TOD Family Dream Home, I scoured the Internet until I found the *PERFECT* ornament.  It took forever (which is part of the reason they didn’t show up until after Christmas, but it was totally worth it!  I found these great old-fashioned glass hammers.  You can’t get much more perfect than that!

I just wanted to include a few pictures of some of my other favorite ornments.  Sparkly icicles, moose & tree covered balls, pine cones, and – yes you’re seeing correctly – a moose using an outhouse.  We have fishing and hunting ornaments, angels hand-crocheted by my Aunt Mary, tons of sparkly lights!


I love our tree – it’s just us!

The Door

The front door of our house is {red}.  My favorite color – Aaron’s least favorite color.  When we decided to paint our new home dark gray with white trim, he indicated that he thought the door should be white, too.  I really wanted a colorful door, but I could not think of any color that would look better than {red}.  It took FOREVER, but I finally convinced Aaron to let me paint it {red}on the condition that if he still absolutely hated it we could change it.  He doesn’t hate it, actually he really likes it – sometimes you just have to see something to “get it”.

This {red}door opens up into our foyer and great room.  The {red} is warm and inviting – something I hope our home is.  {Red} is the color of love – the foundation of our family.  {Red} is a strong color, and we are a strong family.  {Red} is the TOD Family.

If you look closely at the doormat in this picture, you’ll see it is very unique.  It was a housewarming gift from my parents; handmade by my dad.  Can you see what the different tones of wood illustrate?


Here’s a closer picture.  Can you see it now?  The “TOD” spelled out in darker wood in the center of the doormat.  I cannot imagine how long it took my dad to come up with the pattern to get our name “just right”, but I am so grateful he did.  This beautiful piece of artwork now sits in front of the {red}door welcoming visitors to our home.  It is exquisite!


This last picture is just to show the level of craftsmanship and detail it took to make this mat.  Each tile was vertically drilled, then thick wire fed through the entire width of the mat to hold each “row” in place.  So much very hard work – appreciated so much because it was done with love for us.


I am continually amazed and inspired by my dad’s creativity and talent.

Open House


You are invited to an Open House/Housewarming Party!

Sunday, July 26, 2009
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Aaron & Amy Tolar’s Home
81690 Pleasant View Road

We were finally able to schedule the Open House Party for our Dream Home.  If you have followed the construction process and would like to see the final result, you are welcome to come.

Please e-mail me if you need directions or have any questions.

And So It Ends

I posted a major update on our Dream Home Blog tonight.  The construction process is slowing down – it’s nearly at a stand-still.  Not because of any problems or hold-ups, but because we are pretty much done with it!  We have several loose ends to tie up, and once they are done my parents will be leaving, taking Luna, and moving back to Cove permanently.

They will be living in their lovely home that they’ve given up for the past seven months to live in a 20-foot camp trailer on our property.  Since graduating from High School, I’ve never lived with, or within minutes of, my parents for more than two months at a time (summers home from college, after Emma’s dad and I separated, etc.).  Quite frankly, I liked it that way.  I liked being close enough to go home when I wanted or needed to, but I liked being far enough away that we weren’t able to just drop in on each other.

I’ve changed my mind.

I don’t want them to go home, even though I know they are ready to go home.  I am feeling extremely selfish, and I want to drag the project out just so we can keep them around longer.  I can honestly say I am going to be very sad when they do make that final trip home, and I am sure I will be home-sick for them for quite some time.  That realization makes me very happy because it means our relationship has grown stronger and closer through this construction process when it could have been tested and strained.  I have had a unique opportunity to get to know my parents again; not as Mom and Dad, but rather as Burr and Donna.

More than ever, I am very thankful that we are only a short, two-hour drive away.

For the time-being, I am going to treasure every day of work we have left until they pull up their temporary roots and move back to Trickle Creek Corner and get back to their own lives.


Thank you , Mom and Dad, for everything you’ve ever given me.  You two truly are amazing, and I love you very much!