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.