The Work Process

I was feeling impatient with our home renovation. I just wanted it to be done.

But as I was looking at these pictures, I think I’ve changed my mind.

Doug didn’t grow up with his dad around, but by God’s grace everything turned out fine.

“Do you think he’ll remember this?” Doug asks me about Tom.

“I don’t know, but I think it will be a part of him even if he can’t remember it.”

I like how this house is becoming a way of telling our family’s story.

I will remember to look back at all that has been done instead of the work that is still to come.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Oh, my goodness. These photos are just…no words other than beautiful! I have an 18-month-old little boy so these pictures just warm my heart.
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  2. I love this. My favorite pictures of the 5 years of renovating we did are the ones of my kids helping and being part of the process. You are so right “I still think it will be a part of him even if he can’t remember it.”

    Have a great day, Rachel!

  3. I love that he is wearing the flowered gum boots to work outside! My son habitually grabbed the flashiest pair of shoes for DIY stuff too. It was a perk to have his little sister flip out!

  4. “I like how this house is becoming a way of telling our family’s story.”

    That is such an important thing to realize. I love your blog.


  5. That is so sweet!
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  6. That last photo choked me up. Such lovely memory building.
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  7. One of the great things about having kids for me has been slowing down and enjoying the process , not always focusing on the outcome , I love the photos of Tom helping with the hammer- what a great dad letting him be part of the process.

  8. How wonderful.
    These photos make me smile from ear to ear.

    We have a list of projects that seem to take forever…but this is the reason. And, I’m perfectly fine with it :)
    Dana @ Cooking at Cafe D´s last post…Where’d She Go?!

  9. One of your best posts. And you write a lot of great posts.

  10. This is teamwork at its best! :)
    Franziska´s last post…Kulinarisches

  11. I can’t get over the preciousness of these photos…so sweet.

  12. I love everything about this! I hope that as we have children, and watch them grow, that we will nurture this sort of patience and love, instead of rushing their childhood along so we can “get things done.”
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  13. Super hormonal/weepy today (my mom left this morning after a week visiting with us) and this got me. So sweet and yes, your home is now a part of your family’s history.

    Your post about painting the fireplace reminded me of my mom painting our red brick fireplace white when I was in middle school. I actually told her it would look really bad (grumpy teenager not wanting to help paint). Of course, I was wrong – it looked great.

  14. Oh, my, these are the things that are knit into the fiber of the being of that little man child. What bountiful blessings you’ll reap. Loved the pictures of God anointing the father with patience and love and time.
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  15. These are so precious, and don’t worry, he will remember that the best of times were “remember when we did all that stuff with Dad?”. I know, because I was my Father’s shadow every chance I received, and I can wire a house, set a 10 penny nail in two shots, and I love my power tools. Thank you Daddy. (he is 85 and still renovating). How I love my Daddy.

  16. This was an amazing post. I’m forwarding it to my husband, who also grew up without a dad and sometimes feels pressure to make every weekend The! Best! Weekend! Ever! for our boys. I have to remind him that sometimes helping dad around the house with projects is The! Best! Weekend! Ever!
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  17. Oh, those photos make me cry!! So beautiful!
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  18. A lovely post that brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  19. I second the comments, the post and pictures brought tears to my eyes. And even if Tom doesn’t remember these moments, Doug definitely will (aided by your beautiful pictures) and what a wonderful memory that will be for HIM in the years to come. A real gift for all of you.

  20. what an awesome post! i wish more people in our society today understood that precious, integral bond that exists between father and son, father and daughter and realized how important it is. men have been downplayed so much that they think they can step away from their responsibility with no repurcussions and we are the poorer for it.
    God doesnt make redundancies…both mom and dad are equally important. you have a wonderful POV as well about the job getting done!
    thanks for sharing!

  21. Celeste in Dallas says:

    Wow, amazing photos to treasure. Thank you for sharing.

  22. There is something wonderful about seeing a man being a dad.

    • I wholeheartedly agree! I hope when Doug looks at these pictures he can see how much that little boy loves him.

  23. Linda Peterson says:

    What absolutely precious pictures!

  24. This is lovely, and you are so right! This is a part of Tom even if he doesn’t remember the specifics. And chances are good that there will be more home projects in the future, so Tom will remember those even better :) I say this after watching my 7-year-old son confidently wielding a sledgehammer on our closet ceiling this weekend, while his proud father watched and reminded me to take photos. He’s progressed from being Daddy’s “assistant” to actually being helpful, and there’s nothing that delights our son more than hard work with Daddy.

  25. This is such a gorgeous heart warming post. My boys are 2.5 years and just love ‘helping’, such wonderful memories!
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  26. Oh my goodness. This almost made me cry. How lucky you are. :-)

  27. He may not remember specifics, but he WILL remember that his dad made time for him and that he was never pushed away because work needed to be done. Special pictures, special memories – thanks for sharing.
    Carrie @ Busy Nothings´s last post…It’s THAT Holiday…

  28. Debbie Jo says:

    Having these pictures will help your son remember these precious times forever. Seeing them will trigger all his senses surrounding this experience. How wonderful for all of you.

  29. My babies are 13 now. The years really, truly, absolutely are short–shorter than we can imagine on our longest days. We will have so many more weekends to work on our houses than we will have weekends to love our children this way. Thank you for the reminder–not only of my priorities, but of how much I loved those years when my kids wanted to be part of everything I did.

    (By the way, I love your house. Just bought a 70s treasure myself, so I really enjoy seeing what you’re doing with yours.)
    Rita´s last post…Is the 70′s split-level the new ranch? (Stop laughing, we’re serious.)

  30. LOVE! I have pictures of our daughter about that age, “helping” hubby build our fence…precious!!

  31. Beautiful post! It really did bring tears to my eyes! :)
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  32. I grew up in a house like this. My parents are still tackling amazing projects around the house. By doing these projects together as a family, my sister and I have learned how to do projects on our own, and to be brave enough to try to do renovations ourselves…failing forward as we go.

    So yes, he may not remember this exact moment, but he’ll remember what he learned.

    And if you’re lucky, some day you and your husband could be teaching your future grandkids, too. It’s pretty neat to be part of!

  33. If the phrase “like father, like son” is true, you’re a lucky wife and mom. These pictures are very sweet.
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  34. I remember when you were making Baby Tom a quilt for Christmas. Seems like that little boy can’t possibly be the same child that was the baby…

    Thank you for pointing out the beauty in picking the right lens from which to view the world — as always!
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  35. adorable post….to be treasured
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  36. I think he’ll remember it, if Dad keeps including him in projects. My dad showed me how to do simple carpentry when I was a child. Now that he’s gone, those moments are among my happy memories. I give gratitude to him every time I take on a little fixit project.
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  37. That is so sweet! One of my favorite pictures from childhood is standing on a stool “doing dishes” while my dad stands behind me and really does them.
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  38. Fantastic photos and post, thank you!

    And I speak as someone who has been chanting to herself for the last decade or so, “Process, NOT product”…

    They are our apprentices. That is our BIGGEST blessing.

  39. Great pictures! How special for both of them, and you.
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  40. Thanks so much for sharing. These pictures and the message are so very inspiring and heart warming. Thanks for the beautiful reminder of what is important.

    Love your blog – thank you.

  41. What a sweet post!! Father and son bonding time. Love it!!
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  42. Your husband is like mine — reversing a trend from the past and setting a new standard of fatherhood. Our boys are 19 and 16 now, and you better believe it becomes a part of who they are, whether they can remember the actual moment of their toddlerhood or not. Besides, your son will look at these pictures someday when he’s in the throes of adolescent angst and will know how loved he has been since before his memory — very, very valuable then and later. Give your husband a hearty “Good on ya!” from me.
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  43. So lovely. This makes my day!
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  44. Fabulous photos! What a great way of centreing yourself in the moment of life you and your family are in right now. It is so easy when we are involved in a project or a goal to just wish for it to be done, completed, finished. But all the joy is in the experience itself.

    You have a great blog, Rachel, thank you for sharing such inspiring moments from your life with us.

  45. Yep! I’m smitten with Doug, and for good reason as you can see. How sweet is this?!! Precious moments make all the hard edges easier to handle.

    You both appear to have a lot of heart. It’s surprising what comes through the photos. And your words just help to embellish these photos even more.

    Doug is giving to Tom what he maybe never got, and in turn is fathering himself. Good for him — and you.

  46. I love these pics! My son and husband spent many hours working on projects together from the house to working on cars. Now my son is almost 21 and has a daughter of his own.
    Living the Balanced Life´s last post…85 nuggets of wisdom from Relevant

  47. He may not remember what he did, but he will remember being involved. My oldest remembers working on Dad’s car, and my SIL used to keep a small hammer in her tote for her second son! And, Dad has precious memories, too! Loved the photos – they brought back so many memories for me, too.

  48. I love pictures of boys with their dads. They want to be like daddy, doing what he’s doing! I adore the pictures I have of my son and my husband fixing things together.

  49. Rachel,
    I am new to your blog, so I lack perspective. This was your first blog that I received by email, and I love this post. Clearly you struck a chord with many readers. Masterful blog post: a few words paired with emotional photos. A great story. Key points had impact. Nothing was overpowered by fluff.
    — kk

  50. I can’t believe how big he is! Such sweet pictures to remember that time by–I love the last one with him lying on Doug.
    Kait Palmer´s last post…Gone Bananas

  51. Becca Curtis says:

    Brought tears to my eyes – very sweet and a good tender love. The moments and the pictures=keepers.

  52. That’s so sweet. Sometimes, it’s more about the journey than it is the destination.
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  53. That was positively sweet. Thank you for sharing. :) The photos make me cry. :)
    Melissa´s last post…Halloween

  54. As the mother of a carpenter, your son shows extraordinary skills. He will remember this, I predict, because he will continue to show interest in working with tools – and with his father!

  55. Beautiful. I grew up flipping houses with my parents – and it was a really wonderful bonding experience. Frustrating, tiring and hard work, but bonding none the less!! I’m sure it will remain a part of your son, just like it’s a part of me. Thanks for sharing!

  56. What wonderful memories you are making!!! Just beautiful!!!
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  57. I woke up this morning with a terrible headache and have been cranky ever since. Then I read your post and saw your pictures. They made me smile. They are the most adorable pictures. I’m no longer cranky.

    Thank you for sharing.

  58. We’ve been doing a kitchen renovation and I’ve been feeling (with 8 week old baby now too, plus my sweet two year old boy) much the same. I have wanted and still want it done, but I kind of want another project for them to share too. We have some adorable three generation photos too – my dad, my husband, my son. My husband’s dad isn’t too nice to do that kind of stuff with (bad temper) and doing this with my dad has been a great bonding experience for the two of them. For the two year old it’s been wonderful just as you said so well. Thanks for the reminder to focus on the good part!

  59. It’s like how they say that people don’t remember what you say to them, but they will remember how you made them feel. Tom may not remember these moments but they are building his character and who he is and he will know he is loved.

  60. *sigh* Wonderful!

  61. Incredibly beautiful, in every way possible. I teared up, too, especially with that last one. Thank you for the perspective reminder of what it is that is truly important to “get done.”

  62. So cute! I love to see my little guy helping his dad. It’s so sweet!
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  63. Doug's Mom says:

    I’m proud of you, Son. Thank you, Rachel.

    Love to you both,

  64. These photos are just wow. The memories all of you are making are so precious. I have to admit that your pictures almost made me cry because we have been trying to have a baby for so long and the love you captured between your husband and son is indescribable (spelling?). It made my eyes sting with tears just a little bit but in a good way.

  65. I’m Rachel’s mom. Doug is my “new son” It does my heart good to see these pictures although the weeks that Doug and Rachel lived with us through making this transition I saw what kind of daddy Doug was. I always tell Rachel she chose well. Although I don’t tell her that often enough Doug chose well too.

  66. Found you through Simple Mom. These pictures (and the moments they’ve captured) are such a treasure. Thanks for sharing.

    Side note: I’ve been browsing your blog, and I LOVE it! You are an excellent writer (despite what you said on the podcast…you ARE)! :-)

  67. what a great change in perspective! I need that reminder to focus on being family WITH my kids instead of just getting things dones (I’m a very efficient person).
    How wonderful that your husband and son can be together in this way.. . .
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  68. Simply beautiful and just what I needed, I have to remember what you said “I don’t know, but I think it will be a part of him even if he can’t remember it.” Reminds me to include my daughter in the daily things I do, not just shoo her away to her toys and tv when I need to “get things done.” Thanks!

  69. Those pictures are precious! I love how it demonstrates that they don’t need fancy toys or “kid’s stuff”, they just want to be with us and doing what we do.
    Lily Shahar Kunning´s last post…Today’s Full Moon

  70. My breath caught in my throat.

    Thank you for sharing.

    And keep on sharing!