looking back

Renovating a house while parenting—that may just be the second hardest thing I’ve ever done. I love taking a sad, neglected house and turning it into a bright, happy space. It’s like making a new friend. But dang it, what a grueling process when littles are involved. There are very few projects I can undertake when both boys are awake. And when nap time rolls around…one of two things happens. I start a project, stars in my eyes. An hour in, I hear the dreaded cry. Drat. My heart thumps erratically. I desperately need a half hour. Thirty more minutes, and the project would be done. Thirty! Am I really expected to wash the roller and scrub paint flecks off my fingers when I’m ALMOST DONE? The other scenario involves a tired mama and a couch. Need I say more?

Sometimes I daydream about a new house, one with clean, bright walls as far as the eye can see. What would that life be like? I start to dream in earnest. A few minutes later, I decide it’s a boring dream and move on.


Our house isn’t a dump. We’re not waging war against mold, tearing down walls, and gutting bathrooms. It’s just a place that hasn’t been loved or appreciated in a very long time. A friend recently reminded me to enjoy the process. This is a reminder I could hear on the hour.

Enjoy the process.

Enjoy the process.

Hey, you. Enjoy the process, m’kay?

On that note…Drew and I just celebrated 1 year in this house. I could tell you about all the hundreds of projects still left. I could point out my celery green kitchen and tell you about how one day, it’ll be a creamy yellow; or show you the fugly linoleum in our master bath that I’m itching to replace. But instead, I’m going to celebrate what we’ve done so far, because seriously, we’ve done a lot. Several rooms are even (almost 100%) finished. In honor of that momentous occasion, I’m going to take you for a walk down memory lane. Here’s what we’ve done so far…

Floors – installed hickory wood floors / carpet on stairs

Paint {Behr Swiss Coffee}

Replaced ceiling fixture

Sanded & stained hand rail / spray painted hardware matte black

Installed new 4” trim

Painted closet door and trim {Behr Tanglewood}

Re-painted (interior) front door {Behr Polar Bear}



Floors – installed hickory wood floors

Paint {Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray}

Installed new 4” trim

Installed ceiling fan

Installed blinds

Bought corner TV cabinet / painted it {Behr Silken Pine} / new hardware {Anthropologie}



Floors – installed hickory wood floors

Paint {Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray / Behr Swiss Coffee}

Installed new 4” trim

Installed new light fixture

Installed blinds



Painted tile grout

Replaced back door



Floors – new carpet

Paint {Behr Sawgrass / Behr Churchill}

Installed blackout shades & curtains

Switched out gold door knobs for new matte black knobs



Paint {Behr Swiss Coffee}

Painted vanity {Behr Silken Pine}

Installed new vanity light fixture

Hung towel bar, towel hooks, accessories basket, etc.



Mulched/weeded front flowerbeds

Bought two planters for front stoop & kept plants alive and happy during the summer

Stained back deck

Stained screened-in porch

Bought compost bin (garage sale score!)

Built raised garden bed (Costco score!)

Bought a large outdoor shed for Drew’s workshop


The projects I’m proudest of:


Gorgeous 4” trim installed in the living room, foyer, and dining room. I didn’t personally install the trim, but I did watch the two tiny people so that Drew could make the magic happen. And I painted the trim and quarter round prior to installation—that was possibly our most genius idea of 2018.


I painted the doors in the downstairs foyer and upstairs hallway a creamy gray (there are 6 doors total). It’s hard work painting a door a color other than white. It’s even harder painting trim a dark color (Watch the floor! Don’t get a drop on the carpet!). At this point, I’ve also re-painted most of the other interior doors—they were either really dirty or this weird yellowing beige.

Back deck / hot tub

We’re in the home stretch – the hot tub is fixed, the deck is stained, we just need to order a hot tub cover and install the trim around the tub itself. The hot tub was a disgusting mess when we moved in. Drew spent so many hours researching hot tub repair, ordering parts, and working on the tub. The result? It’s fixed. I honestly can’t believe he did. I would’ve thrown in the towel on day 1 (can you tell hot tub repair isn’t my thing?).

All in all, that’s quite a lot accomplished. Please remind me of this list in January when I’m agonizing over how much work there’s left to do, okay? And you can always yell Enjoy the process! while you’re at it.


365 days


It's been awhile. 

And when I say "awhile," I mean almost a year. Guys, when I take a break, I take a BREAK. A lot has happened in one year.

Four days after I wrote my last blog post, I gave birth to a beautiful little boy who threw us for a loop with his head full of dark hair (I thought we only made blonde, almost bald babies). Our house offer fell through and in a crazy twist of events, my husband and I found ourselves making an offer on the house across the street from my sister and brother-in-law. We closed on a rainy weekend last November and dove right in: ripping out carpet, laying wood floors, and painting walls. Three days later, Drew and I drove Aliksas to the hospital. He had spiked a fever and was refusing to nurse. Needless to say, our first week as homeowners was pure chaos.


In typical Viktorija fashion, I took my sweet time adjusting to two under 2 (guys, it's HARD). The first five months or so of Alikso life are a blur. Survival and caffeine were my buzzwords. I don't pretend that my situation is anyone else's. I am a creature of habit and change is hard. I've been seeing the term enneagram tossed about on social media a lot lately and at some point, I really ought to figure out my type. But for now, I can honestly say that for me, parenting two littles has been the hardest thing I've ever done.

Aliksas slept through the night by 8 months, until a quick bout of sickness kicked that bucket over and Drew and I found ourselves in the middle of the most intense sleep training session. Our second kiddo is stubborn. At the time, I swear it took us months, but in reality, it was probably a few weeks of tears---so many tears. He did not know how to self soothe and by gosh, he had no plans to learn. 

And finally...a new normal. For so long, it felt like we flew home from Fairbanks straight into a crazy buy house / have baby / close on house / keep two kids alive / oh wait, we were gone for 6 months so now we have to make new friends roller coaster. It was a heck of a ride: painfully slow, but sweetened with the sounds of baby coos and toddler laughter.

Drew's back at work. I'm teaching piano lessons one day a week. While I wouldn't say either one of us is quite at the top of our game (sleep wise), Aliksas is graciously granting us a full night's sleep, with a prompt 7AM wake-up. Every spare second that we're not spending with the kids, Drew and I are tucking away to work on house projects. Guys, sometimes it feels like we actually have 3 kids. The third one is really tall, really needy, and looked so darn sad at adoption day. There isn't a single surface of this house that we don't plan on updating, so just think (or don't think) about how much work that entails. On the plus side, I'm amazed at how much we've gotten done.

The last bit of news is this: several months ago, my creative juices started flowing again. I wasn't sure which way to channel the colorful swirl of creativity. Writing? Picking up an instrument? Diving back into photography? Pulling out my dusty watercolors? So I sat on it. Finally, I decided to overhaul my blog (the new blog says hi).

The bottom line is this: I want to write. I need to write. It's my way of making sense of this small corner of the world: family, friendships, parenting, love, all of it. By choosing the words and shaping them into sentences, I am able to organize my thoughts into something cohesive; to see patterns, shapes, and shades of color that I may never have noticed. 

But I'm rusty. It's been a while. And I'm not exactly sure what to write or for whom; whether it should be a private thing, a submission kind of thing, or what. I remembered this space, but then found myself questioning the validity of a blog.

"Isn't it just a way to write for someone? To put the words out in a public space and feel like as long as I'm hitting the publish button, I'm legitimizing my writing?" I said out loud. To which my husband responded, "Who cares?" 

He's right. Who cares? I need an outlet: a clean, white space for my pent up words. And for right now, this is it.