...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Welcome to House*Tweaking’s first ever S.M.I.L.F. Week!  What’s that?  You don’t know what a S.M.I.L.F. is?  Well, it’s a stylish mama I‘d like to friend, of course.  And I’ve got a long list of them. They are blogging mamas with incredible style, great senses of humor, inspirational blogs, cute kiddos and beautiful outlooks on home life and beyond.  In honor of the impending Mother’s Day holiday, I asked some of my favorite S.M.I.L.F.’s to answer a few questions related to design, kids, and life in general.  I’ll be sharing their answers with you throughout the week.  I know with kids AND work AND house projects AND blogs these women are busy bees, so I’m very grateful to them for taking the time to participate in my nosy little interview.  Thank you, S.M.I.L.F.’s!

Anne & Emily from Bloom

Today I’m featuring Bloom creators, Anne and Emily.  I love them for their simple and practical outlooks on life, for being honest and real moms, and for making life after childbirth beautiful.

{Anne and her family minus new baby}

{Emily and her family}

H*T – What do you do for a living, where do you live, and who all lives in your home?

Anne – I’m a stay at home mom in Ashland, Oregon.  I live with my husband, Taylor, and my three sons–Blaine (5), Roger (3), and Carter (2 months).

Emily – mom to Henry (6) and Lilian (2.5).  And wife to one Nate the Great whose age shall not be disclosed :)  We live in Southern Oregon and someday we’d like to share our home (yard) with a big dog, some goats, some chickens, and a bunny (for Lily).

H*T – What’s your favorite baby/kid item in your home?

Anne – My current favorite baby item is this basket.  Our little baby sleeps in it–so presh!

H*T – What’s your #1 piece of advice for mixing kids and style together successfully under one roof?

Anne – Some things in our home are more kid-friendly than others.  Our living room furniture is a bit nicer, and we have a no-jumping-on-the-furniture rule in there.  Our playroom couch is fair game.  Jump on it, use the pillows to build a pirate ship, whatever.  I think it helps kids respect certain things if they know they can be a little more carefree with others.  Also, we’re really big on fixing up thrifted furniture – tables, desks, dressers, buffets, etc. – so I have things that look nice but don’t give me stress.  Also, as far as style is concerned, I really think kids’ spaces should reflect that kids live there.  I think they should be colorful and playful and childlike.

H*T – What’s been your biggest surprise since becoming a mom?

Emily –  I feel more at home in myself as a mother than I ever did before.  I also feel like being a mom has made so much more room in my heart for love.  Goodness, I could really go on about this – I keep typing things then deleting them :)  I’ll also say that it’s been surprising how very, very tricky mothering can be.  I feel like the love comes as instinct, but the discipline and the teaching really take a mindful, careful effort. Also a little surprising how quickly the laundry can pile up!

H*T – What do you and your hubby do to keep the spark alive?

Emily – We’re pretty religious about a date night once a week.  We need that time to reconnect.  And I think we both go out of our way to remember each other and just keep trying to do small, meaningful things that say, “you’re still my favorite.”  I’ll vacuum out the car for him (he looovves a clean car); he’ll bring me a box of junior mints.

H*T – What’s your favorite activity to do at home with your kid(s)?

Emily – I love to crawl in bed with my kids and read to them.  We do it most mornings and most evenings, too.  It’s the best time of our day.  And it’s when I get the clearest glimpse of what’s going on in their little minds.

H*T – What’s your favorite time of day and why?

Anne – Right now my favorite time is 7 a.m. I’m lying in my bed with my baby, both of us half asleep.  The other children are still asleep and my husband is getting ready for work.  It’s just me and my babe snuggling on a cozy white bed.  Love that.

H*T – How do you unwind after a busy day?

Emily – I know this might sound crazy, but the most soothing thing for me at the end of the day is to clean.  It gives me time to think and restores a sense of calm and order.  I also like to pull a homemade chocolate chip cookie out of the freezer and eat it without any little people asking for a bite :)

H*T – What do you hope to teach your child(ren) about home and family life?

Anne – One of the biggest things I’m trying to teach them is that we’re all on the same team.  The world is hard enough.  Coming home should feel safe and warm and full of love.  When my boys fight I remind them that they are brothers and they need to stick up for each other and take care of each other, not be at odds with each other.  I’m hoping this will continue to develop as they get older!

Emily – I hope to teach them that it is really joyful.  And totally safe.

H*T – What home-related items would make it onto your Mother’s Day wish list if money wasn’t a concern?

Anne – Oh I always have a zillion things on my home wish list.  Lately I’ve been dreaming of a new kitchen table with a drum pendant shade (isn’t this one cool?) to replace the current hideous light fixture.  And, if money wasn’t a concern, I’d pay a professional to recover the ugly thrift store chairs that are cluttering up my living room since I’m too busy and intimidated to tackle them!

Thanks, Anne and Emily!  Don’t you just adore that West Elm basket that Anne’s lil’ one sleeps in? And Emily and her husband’s conscious efforts to indirectly say, “You’re still my favorite” are pretty darn inspiring.  What do you and your significant other do to keep the spark from fizzling out? Share away…

images:  1 & 2) Bloom

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