a rough layout & prioritizing

right now our plan looks something like this: (start at right end) enter bus. living room with a hide away dining table, a pull out couch, and some extra seating.  kitchen complete with a bar, a two burner stove top, an oven, double sink and refrigerator/freezer combo. set up into hallway. bathroom on the left, complete with a composting toilet, shower and small tub basin and sink. step down into bedroom area where to your left our 2in1 washing machine and dryer sticks out from the bathroom wall, to your right are the stairs to the girls loft, and straight ahead our bed 

now that november is officially here, if prestons not sleeping or eating, he's at the bus. 
we visit him a lot, always going over our what seems like ever changing our floor plan (though we think we finally have it down...). you'd think planning for 230 sq ft would be a breeze, right? ok maybe you didn't because, duh it's not at all, it's sooo tricky! with that amount of space you feel a lot of pressure to distribute everything as efficiently and effectively as possible. 
we've had to think a lot about: where do we plan to spend most of our time? what is worth making space for? what can we do with out/or less of?  the answers to those questions have changed significantly since the beginning. 

for example. I originally was set on a small, but very aesthetic 'bedroom'.  one with a bed in the center, built in nightstands on the side and pretty, evenly dispersed sconces above, the hallway being centered to the bedroom because you know, those lines would look so clean and photograph so well! 
I could see it. 
Looking down our perfectly proportioned tiny kitchen down a sharp, white hallway to see our bed made all spick and span, light colored linens finished with beautiful pillows and a throw. 
you know, something like this 
or this
but in the back of a school bus 

as I started whipping up my version of our plan for Presto, it only took a couple sketches and measurements to realize that giving so much space and effort, essentially 'Instagram worthiness' to a place where we lay our heads at night robbed from other parts of the bus, places that we'd more likely spend our time as a family. 

my dream felt dashed at first, but it soon set in how silly it was to feel that way. Preston and I did not choose this lifestyle to make a style statement, we're doing to simplify, to make a more intentional life, to focus on experiences more than things. One of my first, but not my last servings of humble pie via bus conversion.

Maybe you're better than I and would never even waste a thought on this type of trivial matter!
I however find myself being swept up in the looks of things rather than the importance and usefulness, all. of. the. time. I believe there is beauty in art, in form over function, but I think in the right time and place. 
thinking 'bus' has majorly helped me shape my priorities. don't get me wrong, I love love love a beautiful, open, bright, textile full bedroom as much as the next dream-home, pinning mama, and I am sure I'll have a handful of things in the bus that aren't as useful as they are pretty, but what I do know is I will take much better inventory of whether or not they function for us, serve a purpose, or bring joy into our little space.

needless to say, my dream bus bedroom has changed significantly since the beginning. the bed will not be centered, but will be turned and pushed as far into the back right corner as possible. above us won't be a nice sconce adorned wall and 'spacious' ceiling, but instead only a few feet above our heads will a loft protrude, a loft where our little ones will rest their heads at night, and instead of neat little built in nightstands we'll find wall space in the front to keep journals and scriptures and to plug in phones (I never read or write in my bed anyyyyway). luckily style does not determine comfort, and we know we'll be just fine climbing up narrow stairs to tuck the girls in at night then rolling onto our own bed beneath. 

the loss of clean lines and aesthetic were quickly forgotten the day we took the girls to see their 7'x7' shared bedroom. they love it and are already so excited to move their beds in! 

with this change of plans we now can dedicate more of our precious space to the places we feel like we spend the most time as a family, our kitchen/family room - where we happily stuff our faces and do most our living when we're not outside or sleeping!

I truly believe that this process of simplifying will help me see more beauty in the everyday and long for less. 

now I'm curious.. 
if you were going to downsize, how would you prioritize your space? what sacrifices would you be willing to make? what things would you want despite the space if would take up? (ie. with two kids and a hard working husband, I chose to sacrifice a chunk of our little space to a 2in1 washer/dryer. I knew I could do Laundromats.. but would so appreciate having a way to have clean clothes no matter where we roam) I'm so curious to know!

happiest of days to you,

ps. I also will give myself some credit: though I won't be able to style things how I first imagined, I will definitely be able to make this space feel like home! home is where the heart is after all (and the food, and the pants-optional policy). take a look at all these fun bus spaces, the creativity and details! 
via my pinterest board | beauty in a skoolie |
some simple and beautiful bus interiors via my Pinterest board


We're moving into...

a bus?!

first of all - it's been exactly, EXACTLY three solid years since I've posted on here (I mean, my last post is of my maternity shoot, with RILO)! but what better occasion to  dust off the ol' blog & get back to writing than when you & your little family are on the verge of a major lifestyle change?!

turns out the 2017 total solar eclipse was a life altering experience for Preston and I, on so many levels.
Preston had been on what I called his 'bus' kick for a couple weeks (having an entrepreneur for your best friend/spouse, you get very use to 'kicks' i.e. business kicks, living in a tree house kick (which if you ask him is not a kick, its just a matter of time)) when we were invited to stay with and watch the eclipse with my cousin and her family in Rigby Idaho, which happened to sit in the *path of totality.
*if you didn't end up witnessing &/or geeking out over the eclipse... 
Path of totality: If the Moon's inner or umbral shadow sweeps across Earth's surface, then a total eclipse of the Sun is seen. The track of the Moon's umbral shadow across Earth is called the Path of Totality   
the path is narrow and only crosses over certain cities/states. if you were in that path you were able to witness the sun being completely, and totally covered by the moon (two minutes of sudden darkness, stars pop out, a 360 degree sunset. NUTS!) Whereas if you were even a mile outside the path of totality you could only witness the eclipse through special protective eyewear, and though all of the sun but a sliver would be covered, it would still stay light out. Diluted, but still very light.
Here's a capture of 'totality' from prestos drone 

as we were packing for our trip presto casually asked how I would feel about making a little detour to Driggs on our way to Rigby....
.....to look at a school bus (which would add an extra hour to our already four hour ride)
(insert rolling eye emoji here)
we'll just look! he said. it will be fun! he said.
ok, ok. obviously we didn't just look, and obviously it was so, so fun!
little did we know that Driggs, Idaho is what the locals refer to as 'Wydaho' since it boarders Wyoming and those STINKIN' MYSTIC TETONS!!! we were shocked as we went up and over yet another grain field that we were suddenly overlooking a beautiful valley sitting under this AMAZING mountain range. Neither of us had ever seen the Tetons before, we were so in awe (which is why we made a trip back with buddies just a few weeks later)!

anyway, tiny Driggs was hoppin' with eclipse chasers!
after cruising around town for a bit 🤓 we met up with Nick, the driggs-local and ksl-school-bus-poster. he pulled the old dog-nosed school bus from the backyard and begun telling us how he and his girlfriend Katie had bought the bus earlier that year with a bus-to-home conversion in mind.
they spent the whole summer working on it/camping in it in the sawtooth mountains, magical gyspsy couple - right?! but when a desire to go back to school came to them, their original life plans changed enough that owning the bus became unrealistic for the time. so heavy hearted, they listed the bus.

side note/funny story: when Preston first contacted the bus owner through ksl via text, they seemed pleased as punch that we were going to come see the bus. the next day however (as we were beginning our now five hour drive), he received a text saying 'we're not selling'.
come to find out presto had been texting Katie the whole time when suddenly nick got a hold of her phone and last minute declared they didn't want to sell. this was cleared up as she apologized and explained the situation and how he was feeling a lot more hesitant about selling, understandingly, having already put so much work into it.

so anyway, nick was so nice! he showed us everything they had done, the gutting, the rewiring, the engine work, talked about the plans they had had, and gave us some ideas of what we could do. then he handed us keys held together by braided leather and sent us & our kiddos bouncing down the dirt road for a test drive/a could we really do this drive.
(the girlfriend said that after nick gave us the keys for our test ride he told her he knew we were the right family to take on their dream, which she said she knew all along. awe!)

the couples sawtooth mountains souvenirs

taking our test drive

we packed the girls up, thanked nick and Katie assured them we'd get back to them asap and started our hour drive back to Rigby.
I know for a fact presto was sold on the bus, the idea, the build, the second he stepped on board and luckily for him, my hesitations were being overthrown by the sense of adventure we'd already felt from chasing the eclipse and road tripping to new places on new adventures with the girls. by that evening I was able to give him my answer.
OK, I said. (along with, 'and we can just sell it if it isn't going to pan out, right? ok. ya lets do it then. haha)

the next day we witnessed one of the most incredible things we had ever witnessed in this lifetime (the eclipse🌑) and the next morning bright and early (to beat the nightmare traffic situation coming out of Idaho - people who left the day of the eclipse said it took them 4-10 EXTRA hours to return home) the girls and I found ourselves caravanning behind our new home.
realizing we could look directly at the sun with out our protective glasses

Eddie was more interested in the snacks than she was the incredible celestial event that was taking place
another side note: I so wish I would have got a picture of the keys being handed over, or at least a photo of nick and Katie lovingly waving goodbye and holding each other in the middle of the dirt road as we drove away with the bus that day. it was so tender!
filling up our rides at 5am the next morning

So that's how we ended up with our bus, our school bus house (according to rilo)! and guys, we're getting SO CLOSE! There's so much work that's been done ..but still much more to be done.
All of Prestons rare spare time over the last two months have been spent raising the roof by 20 inches (by himself?!) and putting in insulation (once again, by himself)!
Now we are thick into the framing, appliance researching and purchasing, planning and plan tweaking. I'll post more about the progress and layout soon!

 I'm excited to keep sharing our journey. the how's. the whys! the what ifs? and the lessons learned.
stay tuned!

ps. we're just winging this bus blog documentation so let me know if there's anything you want to know more about - also, what should we name our bus?! and what color should we paint the outside of it because, if we ask rilo, she always answers with PINK -haha

 happy trails!



Playing Catchup: August 21st, 2014. A Maternity shoot

Here I sit with my sweet, little  Rilo babe sleeping on my chest. Last time I wrote, Preston and I were anxiously awaiting her arrival - not knowing she would be a 'her' (we were actually both pretty convinced we would be having a boy)!

Now that the craziest part of the year for the Smith/Tillotson family has passed (fall, namely Halloween, is INSANE for us. But, I'll get to that later), I am finally finding time to document what's been happening over the last couple months!

I'm so excited to finally be sharing these photos. I had wanted to take maternity photos all along but as Rilos due date drew near and Preston and I got busier with work and preparing our home for baby, I was hesitant that we would actually get to do them.
Within a couple days of her due date, and under the strong impression that she would not be arriving 'on time' we arranged to have our maternity shoot on August 21st (her 'due date').
We thought it would be a perfect way to celebrate/distract ourselves from the fact baby wasn't with us yet!

I am still completely head over heels with these photos and with the decision we made to get them. The last time Preston and I got photographed was at our wedding nearly two years ago!
Officially being mom now, I can say confidently that I will always adore these photos and the fact that they were taken at right before one of the biggest, and best game changers of our lives.
Looking at these I think they perfectly display how ecstatic Preston and I were to be parents!
One day when you see these Rilo, I hope you realize how you completely and totally changed our lives for the better since the moment we found out you were coming!

Photos by the lovely, sweet, and oh so talented Melissa Leavitt 


Life as of late (according to photographs)

todays post is gonna be a lazy one. 
i just want to show that we are still alive, very well alive and very, very well, and well, still pregnant, very pregnant (:

getting ready to witness the super moon along with every bug on utah lake (the photo fuzz, those are bugs, billions)

perks of living on the parade route: free, still frozen otter pops
the girls play fetch while presto skates
my handsome hiker

cheesin' in my parents prowler

timpanookee road

catching those golden rays
being serious and stuff
our view for the 24th of july (no wildfires were caused in the making of this photo)
they just got married and still love each other and stuff 
'the staggered band photo' with the greatest friends
'the semi-inappropriate' group photo thanks to the smiths