Living With Kids: Jacey Prupas

January 21, 2014

By Gabrielle.

I know you’re going to enjoy Jacey’s story. She’s a mom working as an attorney, trying hard to reconcile her innate style and decor leanings with the reality of living with tiny stain machines! Her family is also living in a home affected by the burst of the Reno housing bubble, but they’re just fine staying put. With their family close-by and their children attending the very same preschool as Jacey did, they’re certainly not stuck. Such a wonderful way to view an often stressful situation, isn’t it?

Friends, please help me welcome Jacey and please enjoy this tour around her home.

Q: Please tell us all about the family who lives here!

A: My husband and I live in this home with our two children, Lauren (5) and Cooper (3). We are missing our dog, Edna, an English bulldog, who is now enjoying life up in the clouds according to the children.

Lauren has two speeds: all out and asleep. She loves to talk, do arts and crafts, swim, and bike…really, anything and everything. She is a real pistol. She is currently obsessed with salons, so every Saturday she sets up a manicure station, a hair station, etc. throughout the house. My husband and I then text relatives and friends asking (more like begging) them to come over to get beautified. My son Cooper constantly has painted toenails and fingernails. Just when we thought Lauren had tired of the salon business she recently added a photo-booth in the laundry room to document everyone’s makeover. When I recently asked her why she was working so hard at the salon business she replied, “I am earning money so we can buy a new couch…the ones we have now are really dirty.”

Cooper is my little love bug, but now that he is three he has turned into a real rascal. He is generally relaxed, quiet, and perfectly content playing alone. He is never shy to tell anyone how much he loves them. He is an absolute gem.

My husband and I have been married for seven years. We are both attorneys and met while clerking for the same judge here in Reno. The judge saw the spark between us, set us up, and eventually married us at a wonderful ceremony in Napa, California. When my mom asked if he was the one, I said, “Yes, he’s perfect.” Indeed, my husband is perfect in so many ways, partly because he is nothing like me. He is patient, forgiving, soft spoken, and relaxed. All in all, the four of us make a great family.

Q: How did this house turn into your home?

A: We purchased this semi-custom home at the height of the housing market. We never expected that six years later it would be worth nearly half of what we bought it for. Thankfully, it is a wonderful home we can live in for the next 20 years and raise our family. I think just in the last few years (right after our son was born) my husband and I really started to embrace this home. Probably because we knew our family was now complete. We started to invest in more furniture, window coverings, and art. We knew we were going to be here for the long haul.

Q: What makes you love where you live?

A: Reno, Nevada is a bit of a hidden hot spot. Both my husband and I were raised in Reno (and both of our parents are still here) and we knew we wanted to raise our family here as well. Reno is a close knit community; my son goes to the same preschool I attended, and our children play with the children of our childhood friends. A lot of people come back to Reno after college to raise their families.

Our home is only 20 minutes from Lake Tahoe – which provides hiking and waterskiing in the summer, and snow skiing in the winter – Donner Lake, and only three hours from the Bay Area. Needless to say, we love taking advantage of all of that. We also enjoy taking advantage of the university’s free music concerts in the summer, the annual hot balloon air race, the rodeo, and the annual rib cook off.

Q: How do you describe your aesthetic? Do you decorate with your kids in mind?

A: To be frank, I really don’t decorate with my kids in mind, but my husband constantly gets in the way and brings me back to reality. Currently, we are engrossed in a lengthy discussion about new couches. I have found several couches I love (the current ones have so much chocolate milk, Oreo frosting, and peanut butter stuck to them that it’s actually difficult to find a clean spot of fabric on them), but my husband stands in the way.

The discussion goes something like this: Me, “Look at this fantastic comfy couch!” My husband, “The couch only has one seat cushion which means only one flip-over after a stain…that is not practical.” Thus, I am still looking for a great couch with my aesthetic, but reality is slowly setting in and I’m coming to terms with the fact that my husband will only let me buy a couch that is vinyl or plastic. Needless to say, my aesthetic is not exactly kid friendly. I like a lot of white, glass, and and clean lines.

Q: Tell us about your work, and describe a typical day merging work with home life.

A: Both my husband and I are attorneys and we both work full time. Our life is hectic. We both constantly rely on each other, our loyal nanny who has been with us since Lauren was born, and all of the family we have in town, especially my mother who has the children once a week. Unless one of us is traveling for work, both my husband and I leave the house around 8 am and don’t come home until 5:30 or 6pm.

We have dinner together almost every night. We both try to fit in as much as we can during the day so when we come home for dinner, we can give the kids 100% of our attention. We do rely on the nanny a lot to get certain errands done and to start (or actually cook) most dinners. We usually get a few texts from the nanny sending us pictures of what the kids are up to during the day, which we both really enjoy because it keeps us clued in as to how the kids are spending their time. Although we are both exhausted by the time we get home from work, those two hours before bedtime are precious. We talk about our day at dinner, take baths, we might play a game or two, watch a little television, read books, brush teeth, and go to bed.

Q: Is it difficult to find balance? How do you manage on the best days?

A: Yes. Yes. Yes! We manage by not taking things too seriously, by relying on the nanny and family, relying on a lot of coffee, and a good episode of Homeland every once and awhile to finish the day.

Q: What traditions and memories do you hope your children will carry with them from their childhood house and how you’ve set up their home?

A: I hope they learn that family and love is the most important thing in life. My husband and I try to enforce that with nightly dinners while talking about the highlights of our day. I also have pictures of family all over the house to remind them of everyone who loves them. I want them to reflect on their childhood home with loving memories.

Our kids also love to ride their bikes in the cul-de-sac, have water fights with the neighbors, set up lemonade stands, bake cookies, and do crafts. In fact, on the weekends the kids rarely like to leave the house, which can be a bit overwhelming for both my husband and I since it sometimes makes us feel like prisoners in our own home. I am grateful, however, that my children love their home and feel so comfortable there.

Q: If you could give other families style and decor advice, what would it be?

A: Inspiration and great ideas are everywhere nowadays. It seems every magazine, newspaper, television show, and blog has great ideas about style and decor advice. Seek them out and gather ideas that work for you. Although it’s difficult to do sometimes, especially for me, make as much of the home as kid friendly as possible. Spills are easier to clean up on hardwood floors, vinyl or leather furniture is easier to clean than fabric, printed sheets and towels hide more stains and dirt.

With that said, I think it’s important for children to have a space in their home that they can claim as their own and where they feel the most safe. My daughter’s room is her sanctuary. It is a place where she uses her imagination, keeps her most sacred pictures and toys, and a place where she always belongs.

Q: What is your absolute favorite thing about living with your own kids? What surprised you most about becoming a mom?

A: My absolute favorite thing about living with my children is having them come into our room in the morning all groggy, and cuddling in our bed with me before the day begins. We get to talk about their dreams, what’s in store for the day, and what we want for dinner when Mom and Dad come home.

I also love the things they say. Recently, my son just started calling the coat hooks at his school “hookers.”

What surprised me most about becoming a mom is how my children constantly teach me patience and to really live in the moment. I never expected to know how relaxing and enjoyable it is to build a lego castle with your kids. They really make you pay attention to the little things.

Q: Please finish the sentence: I wish I had known…

A: I wish I had known so many things….How much I would love my children so unconditionally, how tiring parenthood really is, and how difficult it would be to be a mom with a full-time career. If I had known these things, however, I might have had a second thought about becoming a parent. I am glad I didn’t hesitate and jumped in eyes closed, feet first.

I’ve come to understand that being a parent is a journey that is supposed to teach you patience, unconditional love, and loyalty. These are things that no one can tell you or teach you; you have to experience them for yourself to fully understand it….and to cherish it.

–-

Jacey, thank you so much for showing us around your home; your views in Reno are divine, and your thoughts are just as lovely.

Friends, I’m curious to hear from those of you who work long hours outside of your home. Do you have a difficult time reconnecting when you come home at night – maybe find yourself cleaning up from the day you’ve been away, and always feeling like you’re playing catch-up with your kids –  or do you have hard and fast rules like Jacey and her husband for the hours your family is able to spend together? I always love your perspective.

P.S. – Are you interested in sharing your own home with us? Just send me a note! It’s a lot of fun…I promise! Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here.

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January 27, 2014 at 6:05 am

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 fromutahwithlove January 21, 2014 at 9:55 am

You have a lovely house and seem to have an even lovelier family! Your daughter sounds like a real go getter. I think it’s so great that you support and encourage her.

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2 Brooke January 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

Thanks for this perspective. I work full time as a family practice dr and have a toddler. Sometimes the internet if so full of beautiful homes/blogs written by designer moms I feel like I am falling short because my home is very much NOT perfect. My husband has to remind me that I go to work every day and that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to make my home all sparkly on top of my other duties.

My big struggle is that after a day of listening to patients, answering messages etc by the time I walk in the door I just want to be left alone. . .but my cute little girl wants me to hold her, my husband deserves my attention, dinner needs to be cooked and so on! I am trying to find ways to outsource the things I don’t enjoy (we are looking into hiring a cleaning company etc) so when I am home all of my focus can be on my family. I am also trying NOT to multitask. If I need to answer work messages, or make a grocery list, or attend to any of the million tasks required to run our lives, I (try) to find an independent activity for my little girl or ask my husband to focus on her for 10 mins. Then once I am done with the task I tell Maggie I am done and then give her all of my attention until the next task comes along. This has really helped me so I don’t feel like I am spending all of my time halfway playing with her but getting frustrated because I am not “getting anything done.”

Thanks again for this series!

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3 m January 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

Your response sounds like what mine would be if I were in your shoes. Most people seem to paint too rosy a picture of doing it all. You absolutely need to hire help for the mundane tasks. I am a SAHM and my house only looks Pinterest worthy when we have guests over and my kids are in school full time now.

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4 Kristin January 21, 2014 at 9:57 am

I love this home tour! So nice to hear from a family with two full time working parents. I can relate to the challenges. Your home is beautiful and the views are amazing!

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5 Jessica @ Little Nesting Doll January 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

I’ve worked full-time in an office and I’ve worked from home and I’ve been a SAHM in the course of the nine years since I became a parent. I think there are pros and cons to each situation, but you have to be honest with yourself and make your situation work for you (whether it’s by setting rules about how you’ll spend your few precious hours after work, or by setting rules about how much time you can spend on Pinterest ignoring your kids when you’re not working anymore!)

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6 mary m January 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

I feel like we’re always playing catch up. Both my husband and I work full time, but due to our schedules, we’re only all home together 1 day a week, and only both gone 3 days a week.

I miss the days of no activities for the kids and staying close to home. Now, we have an activity of some sort almost every day after school and often on Saturday’s.

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7 Ellen E January 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

Great home tour!
I especially love the robot duvet/comforter in the kid’s room – super cute! Source?

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8 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Thanks! I found the duvet cover in the Land of Nod catalogue.

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9 Tricia January 21, 2014 at 10:41 am

Any chance you have the name of the artist that did the trolley and purple toned painting over the washing machine? They really resonated. The robot print is awesome as well!

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10 Tracy January 21, 2014 at 12:26 pm

I’d love the name of the artist, as well! Do you know in what city the trolley/tram car is? The tram car looks exactly like the ones in Helsinki, Finland.

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11 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm

The artist for the trolley painting is Russ Wagner at russ@russwagnerart.com, http://www.russwagnerart.com

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12 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm

My husband and I found the trolley painting from an artist that was selling his work in Golden Gate Park (San Fran) a few years ago, I will try to find his name. He was very talented and very reasonably priced. The other painting in the laundry room was done by one of my best friends from high school as a house warming gift.

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13 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 8:55 pm

The artist for the trolley painting is Russ Wagner at russ@russwagnerart.com, http://www.russwagnerart.com

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14 Lynne January 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

Beautiful home, and a lovely family! You guys sounds like wonderful parents. Thanks for sharing your photos!

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15 Shannon { A Mom's Year } January 21, 2014 at 11:11 am

First of all, I love the story of how Jacey and her husband were introduced and then married by the same judge!

This is a beautiful home–I’m intrigued by the room with the washer and dryer and the big table. (Was it originally intended to be a laundry room? Did you re-purpose?) I can relate to the unexpected pleasures of Legos, or in our case, hours and hours spent building train tracks for Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends!

I admire how you’re making life work for your family, with a nanny you love and grandparents and life-long friends to support you. I read this quote from Sarah Lacy recently and it really resonated: “Every woman I know who feels like she ‘has it all’ — and there are many — has done it in a unique way.”

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16 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Thanks, great quote too! Part of the reason we bought the house was because of the HUGE laundry room! We can do the laundry etc., while the kids can do crafts etc. at the table (and I don’t have to worry about the mess throughout the house…)! Plus, the laundry room is so spacious that it can store all the crafts AND cleaning supplies!

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17 Stoich91 January 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

“hookers” *dies laughing* Only kiddos…

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18 Heather January 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

What a beautiful house and family story!

Thank you for highlighting a family where both parents work full time!

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19 Carrie January 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Absolutely beautiful home! My husband and I are also both attorneys with hectic schedules, so this tour provided a very welcome perspective for me.

Do you have any source information for the closet system pictured? I am looking to do the same thing in my son’s room, and I really like the clean lines of this one. Thank you for sharing!

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20 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Thanks!! The closets were done by California Closets, it was pretty much the basic white model. You can design them any way you want. Plus, I took the doors off, makes it much easier for the kids to get their things.

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21 MM January 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Lovely home, and a nice to see a feature with two parents working outside the home full time, keeping it together and embracing a great design aesthetic (white and glass) — even if it is not traditionally kid-friendly. So soothing, crisp and nice. Love! I also love the sweet story of being set up by a judge! My husband and I both work outside the home and every night is a mad dash home to more madness.

With a great au pair help, family, and outsourcing cleaning, we keep it together so we can focus on our kids at night. We have dinner together pretty late, but it’s an important family time where we all reconnect and share our day.

It works for us because we do have outside help, but also because all the kids (no matter how small) have their daily tasks (making beds, organizing the pile of shoes by the door, hanging up coats, picking up the toy room), which keeps the clutter at bay. Working long hours can be a trick — but arranging your schedule/travel the best you can and doing a job you love helps!

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22 Tara Jane January 21, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Love your house and story. I think that if you AND your daughter are obsessing about new couches you need to go for it! I love the spotted light fixture, what is the source?

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23 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Thanks, I agree about the couches! The light is orginally from Oly Studio, but I found it at a second-hand shop in Reno (Red Chair).

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24 Steph January 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I loved the “hookers” comment and your laundry room is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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25 lisa thomson January 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

I want your laundry room!! :) Lovely tour. Thank you.

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26 Kate S. January 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I just wanted to give you a high five for the Reno shout-out! I live here too and it truly is a wonderful place to live…and you have a lovely home!

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27 R. Pyper January 21, 2014 at 5:43 pm

This post was really a bright spot in my day. My little family lived in Reno while my husband completed his pharmacy rotations, and I miss it every day. Your view of the hills almost brought me to bittersweet tears! Hope you are enjoying the blue, blue sky Reno has this time of year. Thanks for sharing your story.

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28 gail January 21, 2014 at 6:14 pm

love the series! love that you’re posting more again, gaby! thanks for showing a home with two parents who work outside the house. it’s the same in our family. i’m a doctor and my husband is a graphic designer. i wouldn’t trade it for the world, but like all things, it’s balance and sometimes, our apartment is a little less tidy or the laundry piles up way more than we’d like!

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29 Design Mom January 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm

So glad you like the new format, Gail!

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30 Melissa January 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Loved the tour, the house, the honest reality of juggling careers and kids and finding time for family life. Really resonated. I loved each room–the were modern but cozy and lived in. Is there any chance you might remember where the IRobot poster is from? My little guy is a huge robot fan and I’d love to get him a poster like that for his room. Thanks!

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31 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Thank you! I found the poster on allposters.com. Just Google “vintage robot poster” and you’ll find some great choices and at reasonable prices. Good luck!

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32 Dawn January 21, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I was lucky to work part time until my kids were in junior high. Though they are now in their late teens, we still eat meals together, watch movies and play the occasional board game. Even for parents who work full time I suggest getting involved in their kids school. Never miss parent teacher conference, volunteer with the PTA, go to the after school activities. When your kids see that you think school is important they will too. And read together! We read to our kids through seventh grade. Reading books above their reading level and discussing story content is a great natural teaching tool.

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33 Rosamond January 21, 2014 at 8:19 pm

Loved this tour! My husband and I also work full time outside the home (with hours longer than those described here–doctor/lawyer), and it is refreshing to read one of these interviews that I can relate to more on that level. I know it’s not the focus of this blog generally, but I love hearing about how other busy professional couples make parenting and home life work well for them.

I think your home looks really lovely, comfortable, and welcoming, and I especially love that Asimov poster in your son’s room. Your living room looks great in the pictures, but I say go for a new couch if you want one! I think light/white couches are so pretty, but we just got a new dark charcoal colored one to replace our old olive colored one–I think fabric can hide stains well as long as it is relatively dark and the fabric has some significant texture to it (something like tweed is good, with its shadows and color variation). I figure we’ll just have to brighten it up with pillows and throws that are easier to wash and keep clean. Good luck in your sofa hunt, and thanks so much for sharing your home with us!

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34 Addis January 21, 2014 at 9:02 pm

I too was excited to see a family with 2 work-outside-the-home parents featured! I generally enjoy all the home tours but this one gave me hope that I too can one day have a warm and stylish home one day if I keep chipping at it. I especially loved the gallery walls and art.

I manage enterprise technology projects and my husband is a Market Manager so pretty busy schedules in our home. We make it work by staggering our work schedule around 8 to 4pm daycare, a weekly cleaning service, doubling up on meal preparation over the weekend and lots of microfiber towels to clean up spills/crafts. I am lucky to commute via train so by the time I get home, e-mail is managed and I am ready to hear all about my daughter’s day and even play games or go for a walk after dinner :)

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35 Jacey January 21, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Ahh, so inspiring!! I love hearing about all these parents (both) working full-time….I am not alone!!!

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36 Sara January 22, 2014 at 8:26 am

My thoughts exactly, Addis! Thank you, Gabrielle, for featuring this family. It makes my little family (where my husband and I both work full time) seem more “normal” :)

Beautiful home, Jacey! I love all the gallery walls that you have.

P.S. I try to very, very rarely bring work home (I’m in higher ed); I so treasure the time to snuggle with my babe, to watch Game of Thrones with my husband, and to enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day.

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37 Barchbo January 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm

I felt the same way! Your home is beautiful, Jacey!

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38 Julie January 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm

What a beautiful home. Sounds like your family has wonderful values, and what a gift for your children to grow up near their grandparents. The world needs more families like yours!

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39 OverSF January 21, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Photos in this article of Jacey’s home provided by http://www.OverSF.com

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40 Jacey January 22, 2014 at 9:40 am

Thanks Jake!

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41 Bettina January 22, 2014 at 12:48 am

Like those commenting before me, I much appreciated seeing the home of two full-time working parents. I could so relate to what you said about your kids playing with your frinds’ kids. What has really helped us is that our daughter generally likes our friends’ children. Also, some of her friends’ parents have turned into great friends of ours, so we can easily blend “kid” and “adult” activities.
This kind of life can be exhausting though, particularly if – like me – you don’t like coffee all that much…

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42 Arrica January 22, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thanks for the tour. Lovely home.
I adore the last painting of the dapper dad and son. Might I ask where one might find it?

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43 Jacey January 22, 2014 at 9:39 am

Thanks!! One of my best friends from high school painted that picture for me as a house warming gift. Not sure if she is still painting, but I’ll check…..

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44 Apryl January 24, 2014 at 12:45 pm

I like to tell my friends that Reno is “Secretly Awesome”. Because seriously? It’s amazing. Reno has the most amazing thrift stores (my mid-century teak dining set was $30 at Savers. For reals. I know.) We live in the old Southwest hood and I love it SO MUCH!

Fabulous house, BTW.

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45 Apryl January 24, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Oh yeah, PS, we have an English Bulldog named Hannah (she came pre-named. Sorry to any Hannah’s out there!) She’s stinky and fabulous. Aren’t they great dogs? Sorry to hear about yours living in heaven now. :(

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46 Erin January 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm

It ruffled my feathers when DesignMom said she’d like to hear from others who worked similar”long” hours outside the home. Describing the time away felt judgey, and I’d call their hours average, not long. You are lucky if a job is 9-5, so when you factor in a commute, 8:30-5:30 sounds normal for a fulltime job, not long.

My husband and I have fulltime careers outside of home and have two little boys. We make it work by having a school we love, nanny we love, nearby family who give us lots of help and love, a cleaning lady we love, grocery delivery, and Internet shopping. When we aren’t at work we are enjoying our family–not cooking, cleaning or running errands. We have a very happy family. While it does take some discipline and time mgmt and money to make things run smoothly, the result is that we are very content and happy w our lives.

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47 Design Mom January 27, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Hi Erin, I can see how the phrase “long hours” might ruffle your feathers. But please know, I’m no stranger to working full-time outside the home. That was my life for many years in New York while my kids were very young, and though I loved it, and can picture myself working in an office again someday, I did find the hours long. Honestly, I find the hours I work at home “long” as well, and it requires constant effort to try and separate my work time from my family time. So if you felt judgement, please know it wasn’t intended. I am a big advocate for women finding fulfuling careers — either in or outside the home. In fact, that’s a huge part of what Alt Summit (which I am a founder of ) is about.

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48 Karyl January 27, 2014 at 10:13 am

Thanks for this posting! Lovely home and family–so happy to see a wonderful family with great style (love everything!) and makes their situation work for them. Hmmm, we live all over the world and have have no clue where to retire. Will have to add Reno to my list of places to consider on top of Las Vegas, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Miami or Ft. Lauderdale, Austin, Lincoln and Irvine, oh and maybe the DC area. My husband and I both work and live overseas. We both work full days but get home reasonably early, so when we’re home, it’s all about the kids and dog. We hold daily playdates, but still sneak workouts in. I try to do my food shopping on lunch breaks and one evening a week, do workouts, haircuts and such errands during lunch breaks, cook easy meals from http://www.skinnytaste.com, our nanny is great and does a lot around the house also. Weekends are all about playgrounds, pool or beach, or anything the kids want to do. What helps me a lot too is keeping a small Moleskine planner with me at all times, and I have a To Do list on my IPod or IPad notes that catches everything else I forget. I mail that to my work email every night before falling asleep. I have a long list of Mom shortcuts and plans that I follow to make my life as efficient as possible in order to do what we do.

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49 Auntie G January 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

At times I feel very clever about my best coping strategy, and at times I feel very pathetic LOL – but my best trick for managing our family’s lives in our almost-three kid, two WOH parent family is that I take one weekday every two weeks or so and either work from home or use a vacation day (depending on that week’s work schedule) to get caught up on housework and errands. Admittedly, I am lucky that I HAVE the kind of full-time job which allows me to do this. And on the flip side, we are sadly not the kind of family that takes extended vacations EVER *sigh*, so it’s not like I’m “using up” vacation days that I’d actually be vacationing somewhere with. But at any rate – it works for me; most of the places I need to go are much less crowded than they are on the weekends, I can concentrate IN my house because my children are with a nanny or at preschool, I’m less distracted on weeknights when we are together as a family, etc. And the MOST important part is that, uh, I don’t usually tell my husband when I’m taking the day for errands. Otherwise I end up with a list of HIS errands to take care of! ;)

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50 Jacey January 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

A simply brilliant idea that I need to try….!

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