Kelsey and I first started corresponding back in January. Of 2015, that is! Yes, sometimes home tours take a little longer than a few emails back and forth! But this one is so worth it.

Yes, Kelsey’s tour is well worth the wait, and not just because her interior style is fresh and inspired. If we had done the tour back in 2015, her baby Finch wouldn’t even be mentioned! I’m glad we waited for the little guy.

So please help me welcome Kelsey and her super cute family!

Hi, everyone! We’re Team Williams. My husband, Eric, and I met in college. I was literally the girl next door.

He’s an associate financial planner, and loves riding his bike and trying new craft beers. I’m an editor for our church, and love blogging and shopping. He’s an early riser; I’m a night owl. He’s a planner; I’m more spontaneous. He’s a spender; I’m a saver.

Our first date – which I didn’t realize was a date! – was to a Christian rock concert. We’ve been best friends for 14 years and married for ten. We have a daughter, Rooney, who is five, and a son, Finch, who is almost two. We love music, and both of our kids are named after bands we listened to in college.

Rooney is a classic first-born. She wants to please everyone, is a rule-follower, and care-taker. She is the best big sister. She loves art projects, preschool, and temporary tattoos. She’s very tall for her age and is naturally athletic. She wants to be a maker when she grows up, which to her means a baker/chef. She’s happiest when she’s eating.

She does not like toilets that automatically flush or getting her hands dirty. She’s a thinker and very cautious. She takes out the recycling without prompting, and likes to organize the shoes in our entryway when they get out of hand. She folds her own laundry because she wants it to be perfect. She can’t wait until she is old enough for Harry Potter. We are so blessed by her!

Finch is a hurricane. He has the energy of four kids and is absolutely fearless, which is an interesting combination. We often find him making a mess in the bathroom or climbing on top of the kitchen counters. He’s such a social little guy, loves being in a crowd, and likes to show off by climbing, running, jumping, etc. At the end of the day, he gives the absolute best snuggles, hugs, and kisses. He makes us laugh so much, and is the perfect bookend to our family.

We kind of jumped into the house search before we were financially ready. We were newly married and felt pressure to buy a house for equity. We looked at about ten houses and knew immediately when we walked into this one that it was The One.

Once we learned the floor plan was called The Rockstar Ranch, we were completely sold. It was a new build so we were able to choose some of the finishes like flooring, paint colors, and siding color. We’ve been here ten years and are still pretty happy with it.

Our neighborhood is wonderful, with lots of young families, and kids always running around and playing together.

I love our house but I’m not sure it’s our forever house. I have had vivid dreams recently of buying an older (less cookie-cutter) home and fixing it up…someday!

We live in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa. The winters get long, but it’s a really great place to raise a family: good jobs, low cost of living, safe communities, great schools.

I’ve lived in Iowa my whole life. I grew up in a very small town without a single stoplight, and I loved the simplicity of that life. But now I really enjoy living in a bigger city and having access to several Targets! There are a few parks, restaurants, and ice cream shops close enough for us to bike to when the weather is nice, which is one of our favorite things to do as a family.

Both of our kids go to bed at 7:00 pm. I think it’s really important for their health and also for our sanity as parents.

One of my favorite things about our ranch is that our master bedroom is on the opposite side of the house as our kids’ bedrooms. We love having some adult-only time at the end of the day to connect. We spend this time watching TV, writing, reading, or just talking.

Sometimes we’ll sneak back into their rooms and watch them sleep for a few minutes. There is nothing better!

I would describe my style as Scandinavian mixed with mid-century modern. I prefer a lot of clean lines and lean toward minimalism. I love mixing black, white, and wood with lots of plants and little pops of color.

I think minimalism is good for kids – and everyone, really – in lots of ways. We all seem happier when our house isn’t full of clutter. I want it to be cozy and comfortable and a place for us to make happy memories. We want our kids to love our home and to want to bring their friends here.

I started my blog, Snappy Casual, to share outfit inspiration, but as our family has grown, so has my range of topics. Now I write mostly about our family adventures, child development, and home decor. It’s essentially a diary for my kids to read some day when they’re older.

I consider myself our family historian and take very seriously my duty to take pictures and capture memories. I keep up with it much better than a physical baby book!

I use Instagram as a family scrapbook. It’s my favorite social media platform! I get so inspired by the other moms I follow. Every six months or so, I print 25 of my favorite photos to hang on a wall in our basement. I’d love to get it completely filled someday!

Our kids are three years, three months and three days apart.

It was really hard for me when Finch was born because they were in such different stages. Rooney wanted me to take her to the park and Finch just wanted me to sit on the couch all day and nurse him.

They have always adored each other but are really just starting to be able to play with each other. I love having one-on-one time with each of them whenever possible, and being able to focus solely on what they need from me at the moment. Honestly, I find it difficult to manage both of them at the same time!

I work outside the home four days a week, with Wednesdays being my day at home with the kids. This schedule has really helped me to feel more balanced between the time I spend at work and with my family.

My favorite part about living with kids is having a front-row seat at the evolution of humans. It is really quite remarkable how quickly babies turn into toddlers and then into kids. It also amazes me how different their personalities can be from such an early age.

I hope my kids remember that I almost always chose playing with them over chores – which can drive my neat-freak husband nuts at times! I’m on the floor with them a lot. They love to wrestle and be chased. I know they won’t want to play with me forever, so I try to embrace it.

The hardest part of living with kids – at least for me – is that I am rarely alone and it is rarely quiet!

As a night owl, living with kids also means I get out of bed every morning before I want to. But I’m 100% certain I will miss these days when they’re old and grown!

I wish I had known that the reason your kids don’t come with a manual is because you’re the only one who could write it. I wish I had known that it gets easier.

I wish I had known that I wasn’t the only person that struggles with motherhood. It’s been a constant refining process and I am always learning something new.

Postpartum was a difficult time for me both times. I literally felt like I was drowning. But, thank God, it gets so much better.

–-

I’m not sure why, but this line – “I wish I had known that the reason your kids don’t come with a manual is because you’re the only one who could write it.” – totally got to me today! It’s so true what Kelsey says, how parents get the best tickets in town to the greatest show on earth. I loved this one. Thanks for being here, Kelsey.

It’s interesting to me what she said about buying this home before they were financially ready for it. I’ve talked to a lot of people lately who are either totally into the idea of building equity in their property, and those who think renting is the new black. One friend describes renting like casual dating, with no strings attached and a complete absence of the term forever!

So I’m wondering: renting or buying? On which team are you?

P.S. – Are you living with your own kids in a unique way? Are you interested in sharing your home and experiences with us? Let me know! We love to be inspired! And it’s a lot of fun…I promise! I should also mention, I have a goal to bring more diverse points of view to Design Mom this year. So if you don’t see yourself or your community reflected here, let’s make it happen — send in your details, or recommend a friend! Take a peek at all the homes in my Living With Kids series here.


Photo credits: iPhone snaps by Kelsey. Professional photos by Haverlee Photography.