Over the last two years, I’ve shared a little of our lake cottage with you. Today I am excited to share a little of the story behind it and why we felt so compelled to purchase a second home.

Growing up, we spent our weekends on the water. From morning to night, we swam, tubed, skied, enjoyed picnics on the boat, and most importantly, spent quality time together as a family without distractions.

Our love for being on water was a large part of who we were.  My mom planned to purchase a lake home when she retired, something we all looked forward to. At 54, she was diagnosed with a rare form of Stage 4 breast cancer.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that after a few short months, she passed. She never had the opportunity to retire or purchase her dream home to spend her days as she loved them most – water skiing.

outdoor entertaining

At 25, Chris was in his first year of medical school and I was working in Columbia, Missouri, operating my wedding and event planning business on the side. On occasion we’d find a day or two to escape to the lake and boat with friends, but without a boat and with very little money, they were few and far between.

Our love for the lake however did not subside. We lived with hope and intent that one day, we would own a boat and if at all possible, a lake house of our own where we could raise our family and make memories much like those joyous moments I fondly recall.

We didn’t want to wait until retirement, knowing all too well how short life can be, we vowed to make the most of each day we have.

modern bathroom with pedestal sink

After years of not only not earning an income as we {proudly} watched friends climb the ladder while we accrued debt, we had faith. I continued to work while building a successful business and eventually with the help of Chris earning a modest salary working a max of 100/week in residency was able to quit my day job!

We strived, we struggled and we renovated 2 homes investing a lot of sweat equity. I worked diligently to grow my business on evenings after the girls went to bed, in the morning before they woke and during the all important nap time which saved me for 6 years!

Through all of our joys and struggles, we felt more compelled than ever to have a lake home – a place to escape, unwind, unplug and spend uninterrupted time together as a family.

lake decor

It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t overnight and it’s not perfect, but I’m so proud of our little lake cottage. It’s a place of reprieve where the girls wake up and choreograph dance performances in lieu of cartoons, I hide the phone from myself and live in the moment and see my childhood in the joy and excitement of the girls’ faces as they get up on skis or feel a splash of water in their face for the first time of the season.

It’s the place where we entertain close friends and family to connect with them beyond a quick dinner. Large enough to comfortably sleep 10, but small enough we can see one another across the home.

champagne on boat

Dreams do come true. I wish my mom had the opportunity to make her dream a reality, but have loved making it our reality and sharing her passion with our family and hosting my sister’s as well.

I look forward to sharing before and after photos with you as well as upcoming projects we have planned next week!



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  1. Hi Julie, this spoke to me deeply. My mom also had a rare form of breast cancer and passed quickly after it returned 5 years after her initial diagnosis/remission. I truly believe in living life to the fullness and enjoying the mundane and everyday moments. I know how fleeting time can be and we are not guaranteed another day. Hope to build special memories with my young family! 

    1. I’m sorry, Jennifer. Losing your mother truly shapes your life, doesn’t it? I hope you squeeze in a lot of fun this summer!

  2. Oh Julie!  I so enjoyed reading this!!!  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 8 years ago and has been in remission for 7 years.  My heart breaks for you and the loss of your mom.  What a precious gift you are giving your girls….being present and sharing memories!  Wishing you a lovely weekend!  Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Thank you, Darci! I’m happy to hear she’s been in remission for 7 years! I’m sure your girls love making memories with her! Having girls of my own has eased the pain as I enjoy seeing life through their eyes and they often remind me of her. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you shared about your mom and took the time to comment. Have a beautiful weekend!

  3. I am so happy that you’ve been able to make your dream come true for yourself and your family.
    Each and every memory you make there will be that much more special.

  4. What a special place for your family!  I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I’ve lost my mom to Alzheimer’s. She’s physically alive, but she isn’t herself anymore. You’re so right about living each day to the fullest. My husband is a cardithoracic surgeon and we did the same as you- scraping by and living on a tight budget. Four years of med school and nine years of residency really makes you appreciate things. Enjoy that lake house and the special memories!  You guys deserve it!

    1. May fond memories of your mom help ease pain. I can’t imagine, but she’s so lucky to have you! I also can’t imagine surviving nine years of residency!!! Congratulations, that’s amazing! It truly does help you appreciate every gift. Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

  5. This brought tears to my eyes! I’m so sorry for what your family went through and as a 5 year (!) breast cancer survivor, you are so right to not wait if something is doable. Life is precious and short and the memories you’re making with your girls can never be duplicated or replaced. Keep the faith!

    1. Thank you, Emily! Congratulations on successfully beating breast cancer! Hope you enjoy a beautiful weekend!