We are back this month with another Heart & Home! To view previous posts in this series, click here.
I think as moms we all have a deep desire to create a warm and happy home for our families to grow in. We want the space to be uplifting, beautiful, and remind us of who we are. Wife, mother-of-four, and artist, Courtney Richard, has done this in every corner of her Baton Rouge home. Each picture of this home will have you gazing and taking in every detail, amazed at all there is to see. Courtney has an undeniable talent for art and design, but even more heart and passion as a mom. She is a mom who knows how to turn each day into a special event, always has a craft up her sleeve, throws the most unforgettable birthday parties, and will give you the warmest hugs. Truly an inspiration in finding beauty in everything, I hope you will enjoy this tour and getting to know this lovely woman.
Q: Tell us a little about you and your family.
A: Hi! I am married to one of the best men I know, Scott, and I am momma to 4 kiddos. Scott and I will have been married for ten years in June. We got married young, at 21, so we would always tell people that we were going to start trying to have a baby when we had been married for five years. Well, by the time year five rolled around we already had three babies and one more on the way! We have two girls and two boys, Emma Kate is 7, Georgia is 6, Owen is 5 and Jude is 4. And, yes, it was a crazy few years. Good crazy. We have reached this glorious new “season” that allows for a little more free time. All of the kids are pretty independent and they really do love playing together. That gives my husband and I a little more time to do some of the things we love: I paint, he works with wood, and we both love a good DIY project and really enjoy doing that together. Thank goodness because about eight months ago we bought a house that needed lots of love.
Q: What do you love about living in Baton Rouge?
A: My husband and I both grew up in Baton Rouge, and we are actually living in the same area where my husband “roamed the roads on his bike when he was little” as he would say. I love being able to show my kids where I grew up, drive them by my old elementary school, take them to an LSU baseball game (where I sort of lived when I was little). Baton Rouge is home to me. I’m proud to call it my children’s home. Since having kids, I think my favorite thing about Baton Rouge is the park system. We have access to indoor play areas, outdoor parks, and splash pads. I like that we can get out, meet new friends, and we get to have fun for free. I’m thankful that our city invests in our children and our community in this way.
Q: Describe a typical day for your family.
A: Can I just be real honest and admit I don’t really have a schedule? That was one of the things that I loved about the idea of home schooling. I know plenty of people, probably most people, have a schedule and it works wonders for their family. I’m sort of a go-with-the-flow person. My kids are too. We are late sleepers over here. We get up around 8:30 and we do breakfast and that’s usually when my kids have their TV time (we aren’t big TV watchers but can I just say this makes my morning better!!). I home school my girls in the morning or in the afternoon while my boys nap. I just decide that based on our schedule of activities for the week. We love to “do school” at the park, the zoo, outside in the yard. This gives the kids a chance to play/explore while I’m working with each child individually. If we’re out, I try to be home by three so we can have some “free play” time while I get ready for dinner. I do have to say, I’m getting a little more organized when it comes to dinner and that feels wonderful!!! I don’t like to cook, I sort of hate it. But, I do it without complaining…so no judging 😉 I have found that having my meals planned for the week makes it so. much. easier. While I cook, my girls set the table and we usually eat around 5:00 or 6:00. After dinner we just visit and hang out as a family until bedtime routine starts. All the kids are in bed between 7:30 and 8:00. I LOVE my kids but can we just talk about how awesome bedtime is?!? Hallelujah!! My husband and I just talk, play games, watch movies, anything after the kids are in bed. I love that I get to wind down and visit with my man before the day ends.
Q: What led to your decision to homeschool? What do you love most about it?
A: My husband has always left the decision of how to educate our kids up to me. He totally has a say in it and gives input but when it came to making the decision to home school or not, he said it was my call since I’d be the one most affected by it (since I’d be doing most of the teaching). I felt like home schooling might be right for our family a year before my oldest started school. Honestly, I was too scared I’d mess up, it would be too time consuming, we’d be totally alone, etc…We ended up putting her in the sweetest, private school,r and she did great. The community there was awesome, her teacher loved her job and she poured herself into those babies. At the end of the day, it came down to the fact that I missed my girl and she really missed us. I missed having her all day long to craft, learn, bake, and play. I knew once she got to higher grades she’d come home with homework and our quality time on weeknights would be even less. In January of last year, I made the decision to try home schooling for at least a year. If we didn’t like it then we would go back to traditional school. We’re only half-way through our first year, and we are all enjoying it. I love that I get to see my girls have their “ah-ha” moments; I like that we can wake up and school right away or wait until the afternoon; I love the bond that I see growing between my kids. So far, home schooling is a great fit for us.
Q: Now onto your beautiful home. How intentional are you in the design of your home?
A: I’m very intentional with the design of our home. I want our home to be beautiful, fun, and comfortable. I like a house that “tells a story”. I try to fill our home with items that are important to us. I want a place where all six members of our family are reminded that they are loved, that they have something to give and can be free to be themselves. Most of our furniture was built by my husband, painted by me, or passed down for a few generations. I like to decorate with art that we have made, a painting my husband and I did together, something my kids colored/drew or photos of us. I like looking around and seeing memories and not just something that’s pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pretty things!!! We all have some stuff “just because” it looks like it was made for our space. We spend so much time in our house…it’s where my children learn, it’s where I paint my art, it’s where my husband comes to relax after a long day away from his family…to me it is important to make my house a place we want to be. I want people to “see” us in our home and to feel comfortable and welcome too.
Q: How has your style changed since having kids?
A: I like my style much more now than when I didn’t have kids! I think there’s just something about being a momma that makes you realize who you are. It challenges you to be who you want to be. When we were first married I liked our home but I just used what was given to us. That’s really all we could afford. Once we started buying or making things for our home my goal was to only do it if I loved it. As I began to figure out who I was, I figured out what I liked and my home just sort of evolved with me (I say “me” because my husband is one of those that really doesn’t care about what I do to the house…thankfully!!). I think our house is a lot more fun now, too.
Q: It is easy to see you are a crafter at heart. How do you find the time and inspiration?
A: Now that my kids are older, I have more “free” time than I did when we had really little babies in the house. My kids are all close in age so they play together all the time. During the day we do school, I have quality time with the kids, and if I want to do something creative I let them play for a couple of hours while I get to work. Sometimes I set up a project for them to do in the same room I am in. Other times, I just put on music and do my own thing. If they want to help, I let them (usually I just let them “help” with something really small). I read something one time about including our kids in our “every day” and it just made sense to me. They feel included and they get some of my attention. Then usually want to run off and play once they have “helped” a little.
Q: What is your favorite part of your home?
A: My favorite part of our home is the living/home school/kitchen area. It’s not one big open space but it is very open. We spend almost all of our days in these rooms and for the most part I can see what’s going on with everyone no matter what room they are in. I just like these areas because that’s where we “do life” the most.
Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned since becoming a mom?
A: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned since becoming a mom has been about my identity. I want so badly for my kids to know who they are and to be that…no matter what “that” is. Wanting this for my kids and constantly reminding them of who they are in Christ made me evaluate how I think about myself. It’s so easy to see the stuff you do wrong and let that make you feel like you are less than who God made you to be. It’s really easy to look at other moms and see their gifts and talents. I’ve tried really hard to stop comparing myself to other people. I started to feel encouraged to use my own gifts to bless my family…uniquely, like no other mom could bless *my* family.
Courtney, thank you so much for letting us peek inside your home and sharing with us. I can definitely agree with her about the wonders of bedtime, can’t you?! And as scary as four young kids sounds to me, I love the idea of always having built-in playmates. Any other moms relate?