finally: a house tour!

(Alright, so Deric and I are going to see how long we can go without Internet at the house. We'll cave eventually, but considering our phones have their own data and the only other thing we really use the Internet for at home is Netflix, we're doing just fine. But until then, blogging will be hit or miss because I can't blog from our home computer without wi-fi, which we have occasionally when we rent a hotspot from the library.)

I thought I'd share the photos from the listing of our house. Nothing major has changed except for arranging furniture so you're basically up to date on our progress over here. ;) We do, however, have almost every box unpacked! The only boxes left have decorations in them and those really aren't a priority. On a side note, I can remember starting to paint trim in our house in Tennessee two days after moving in, and having almost every room in the house painted within a few months. But that was before we had kids. Its currently requiring a lot of my patience to be ok with how slowly change will happen this time around. And of course its not just the kids: owning our home this time around means spending plenty of cash at Lowe's on boring things like downspout extender things, window well covers...even toilet paper holders (not sure why there weren't any...?).

On to the photos, as well as our initial plans for each area...

The exterior: great porch with a view of our cul-de-sac and the single tree on our property.
To-do list involves filling in the landscaping, repainting the door which is pretty scratched up, painting the sidelights white, either replacing the lights or simply spray paint them oil-rubbed bronze, and adding planters on either side of the door. We'd also love to beef up the columns and add a railing. The boys and I hung up a bird feeder we got at the Port Hope Mercantile and while the birds haven't noticed it yet, we're hopeful they'll find it soon! We noticed hummingbirds flitting around the tree the other morning so we may get a feeder for them as well. We did snag two plastic Adirondack chairs from a neighbor who was getting rid of them, so now I'm getting into a habit of waking up before the boys and bringing my Bible and coffee out to the porch in the morning! Its fantastic.

When you walk in the front door, the stairway is immediately to your left and this room^^ is to your right. (Next to the stairway is a hallway leading straight into the breakfast area.) If you remember, the layout of the house is what I loved most and I still love it. This front room is the boys' playroom and it has worked out perfectly. We've set up our Expedit (cubby) shelves for their toys and they have plenty of space to play without toys being in my way while cooking, etc....most of the time. We're working on "no toys in the kitchen!" after a few stray balls have almost knocked pans off the stove.

The to-do list in here is very simple: paint the walls and hang some artwork. Done! On that note, we plan to paint the entire downstairs a light gray. Since its so open from one room to the next, we'll keep it simple and every room will be the same color.

The room connected to the playroom (with the red curtains) is a formal dining room and will be utilized once Deric builds a table for us. Right now its the train table room. ;)

The heart of the home! This photo was taken from the hallway leading in from the front door. Through that doorway is the dining room/train table room.

We've got plans for a chalkboard wall on the room to the left of the peninsula in the photo below. We've even got the paint but have yet to get started. It'll be a fun spot to write Bible verses that we're memorizing and write captions for photos of the boys, etc. as well as give them a place to draw just for fun.

To the left is the dining room and playroom; to the right is the hallway to the front door and stairs. A closet and half bath are off the hallway.

To do list:
-paint the kitchen cabinets white (DIY, so that'll be an adventure!)
-eventually replace countertops; they're warped in the corners
-paint the walls gray
-replace flooring with slightly better laminate (let's be honest, no hardwoods are happening over here!) The flooring in the U of the kitchen has had water damage and some of the boards are pulling apart from each other. And between the cabinets and floors, there's a *lot* of cherry going on!

The kitchen leads right into the breakfast area, which easily fits our table fully extended to seat ten people. We love how easy it is to have friends and their families over! Again, major selling point on this house for us was the layout-- we wanted to be able to accommodate plenty of people for meals, and the space has worked great so far. I also love that I can prep meals and clean up without being removed from either the kids or friends over for dinner.

There really isn't much to be done in this area since flooring is lumped in with the kitchen. We'd love to swap out light fixtures eventually but that's really all we'll change. Deric did install a transition strip between the carpet and laminate since it was missing. Oh, and he added a screen door to that back door which has been very helpful! That door leads down two steps and out onto our back patio.

To get your bearings: kitchen is to your left and that hallway leads to the front door. The closed door leads to our unfinished basement and the open door is our laundry room and entrance from the garage.

The living room fits our big ole sectional! Deric mounted the tv over the mantel and besides that, this room doesn't require much work either. We do need to figure out a way to hide cords and hook up the DVD player, etc. but besides that, painting the room gray and adding art work will finish things up. We'll also find seating for the far corner where the seller's tv was.

Off the living room is what's become our office. Its maybe 7 by 7 ft, perfect for our computer desk and other home office supplies, as well as my sewing desk and craft supplies. I'm so excited to have a designated space for both office and crafting because we never had space for either of those in our last house! As a result, paperwork wasn't organized at all, and my sewing projects took over our dining room table. Now that we've got the room, I'm working on getting our paperwork organized into filing cabinets and setting up my craft supplies so they're easily accessible to me.

To do list:
-paint the walls gray (surprise surprise!)
-hang artwork
-organize household paperwork
-organize craft supplies: shelving, pegboards...who knows.

The hallway bathroom is pretty basic. For all three of our bathrooms, we need to.. 
-hang a towel holder by the sink (not over the toilet!)
-replace those towel bars with a shelf instead
-paint the vanity a fun color--maybe a deep blue
-paint the walls gray
-frame out the mirror
-replace light fixture over mirror

The entrance from the garage to the house is also our laundry room, with just enough space in the corner to be a drop zone for shoes and bags. We desperately need to figure out a game plan for hooks and storage before winter adds tons of jackets to the mess. (That trash can was left to us--how sweet!--and is now in the garage.)

-build shelving and hooks along the "mudroom" side of the wall
-create shoe storage
-replace wire shelving with cabinets to hide laundry supplies
-paint the other side of that door a bright color because its really scratched up!

Heading upstairs!
At the top of the stairs you'll turn left to our master bedroom. Its bright and spacious and we *love* finally having a master bathroom as well as a walk-in closet. Remember these are listing photos so the fish bedding isn't ours! ;)

To do  list:
-paint the walls, maybe a light blue-green
-rehang curtain rod higher and wider; hang curtains
-add artwork
-get matching nightstands (I painted one of our nightstands a few years ago and don't love it enough to paint the other one!)
-replace the fan down the line: up close its got a strange painted finish on both the center part and the blades

Bathroom to do list:
-paint the vanity either white or a light color
-paint the walls either gray to mimic the rest of the house or the same shade as our bedroom
-replace shower fixtures--the seller actually left a new set in the closet! the current faucet and turn-y thing (?) are rusted and cloudy
-replace the light fixture
-frame out the mirror
-replace the towel bar over the toilet with a shelf
-pipe dream: replace the linoleum with tile

Down the hall are three bedrooms. The two smallest bedrooms belong to the boys and what we want to do in their rooms is strictly decorating: repaint the rooms (once I decide on something!) and hang artwork and decorations that reflects each boy's interests and personality. Its fun and sad at the same time to be planning a 'big kid' room for Jake now, rather than his nursery! I've got so many frames with baby pictures and handprints, etc. that I'm not sure will go back into his room. So far he's told me he wants some of the photos of himself as a baby, but I know he'll want other art as well.

Jake's room (above) is the only bedroom that has a fan. Deric's already installed one  in Reid's room and we'll install one in the guest room shortly. We also need to hang curtain rods in all of the bedrooms since the old ones are those white metal bars that curve to the wall and almost clip on to the bracket. Not ideal!

Y'all, this guest room is awesome. I want it to be my own room. ;) Look past the orange walls! Its spacious enough that friends of ours visited from Tennessee and their family of four was perfectly comfortable. The closet in this room is huge as well; I think its meant to be the linen closet for the whole house since there is no linen closet in the hallway.

To do list:
-repaint (I know, what a shock!)
-install a ceiling fan
-install curtain rods & curtains
-hang artwork & make it comfortable for guests

And our very last stop on this wordy and photo-heavy tour...the hall bathroom. I know I said I want to paint the vanities in every bathroom a fun color, but if I chicken out I'll at least paint the vanity in here a deep blue. Its fitting since its a kids bathroom...it should be fun. My plan is gray walls, a white and blue shower curtain and gray bath mats (got those from Target), and a deep blue/gray color on the vanity. I wanted to replace those towel hooks with oversized letter hooks for the boy's names, but then realized there's really no where else to hang towels unfortunately. I may try for behind the door to the hallway but that may lead to puncturing the door if they swing it open forcefully. We'll see.

There you have it! If you survived the length of this post I'm impressed! Now I'm all motivated to start a project or three. ;) Deric and I love to do projects together and we're grateful that we have an outlet for our hobby. We're just so thankful for our home and we look forward to putting our stamp on this house over the coming years!


we're home!

Big news! We finally found a home that we love and we moved in over Father's Day weekend. (We haven't had Internet hooked up yet, which is why this is a bit late!) And of course, we've been a bit busy unpacking and getting a few projects taken care of so I haven't had much free time to sit down and update the blog. But the story of how we bought the house is such an incredible answer to prayer that I have to write it down so I don't forget it.

So the listing for the house popped up on a Monday afternoon. I remember sitting outside watching the boys play and checking the real estate apps *again* when I saw the listing added. There were no pictures yet but the description was good and the location was great. Around 10pm, photos of the house were added to the listing and I told Deric that I could buy the house sight unseen-- the layout of the house was just what I wanted. Our realtor set up a showing for that Wednesday (the seller blocked out showings for the first day) and we came to look at the house at 2:30pm. When we stepped out of the car, our realtor told us it was "highest and best offer by 7pm tonight". There were 11 showings of the house that day and by mid-afternoon, they'd already received a few offers over list price. My hopes were dashed because the house was already at the top of our budget--but it was listed well under comparable homes in the area, which is why there were so many offers already. We looked at the house and loved it, but I felt like there was no point even making an offer when we knew we wouldn't go over the list price. But Deric (thankfully) decided to make an offer and Deric wrote a letter to accompany the offer as well.

The seller had until 8pm the following day--Thursday--to choose an offer. Our realtor called us mid-morning and let us know our offer was rejected; we had submitted the lowest of six offers and of course, the seller had chosen the highest offer. Deric and I were both disappointed but for some reason, we both had a peace about it. I just kept praying that God would somehow work it out; after all, our offer was still good until that evening!

That night, we were reading books to the boys before bedtime when Deric's phone rang. It was 7:45pm. He jumped up and told me it was our realtor, then left the room to answer it. I tried to stay calm and finish reading the book--in soothing tones, get these boys to sleep quick!--and in about a minute or two, he came back in the room and said, "We got the house!" Y'all, I thought I was going to throw up. I quickly told him to tell me everything about the conversation and it was pretty straightforward. The financing for that highest offer had fallen through and the seller had liked our letter and decided to accept our offer. He didn't even go with the other higher offers! We put the boys to bed and went to the living room to go over every detail of Deric's conversation with the realtor and I tried to get myself to stop saying "This can't be true!" I texted my family and a few friends who had been praying with us for a house and I just couldn't get over the shock of it all.

Fast forward through inspection (great!), financing paperwork (smooth!) and we sat down at closing with the seller. He told us that he had accepted that first offer before reading our letter. After reading it, he said he wished he could have accepted our offer but of course couldn't go back on the other offer. And later when that buyer's financing fell through, he said he felt like God wanted him to choose our offer. We'd been praying for that same thing and all I can do, even now, is to thank the Lord for providing a home for us. Not just a house, but the first place we looked at that really felt like a home for our family. We hope to stay here for a long time and we pray consistently for God to show us how we can use our home to take care of others.

Three weeks in, the majority of boxes are unpacked (except for the room I'm currently sitting in!). The boys love having a playroom of their own (and I love that too, no more toys in the living room!) Deric's already learned how to cut screens for windows and we've made a few runs to the hardware store. We've met some neighbors and taken walks around the neighborhood. We discovered a greenway on the edge of the neighborhood that runs through most of the town. All in all, we are so grateful every day for this home and look forward to raising our family here! (House tour coming next!)


the boys' birthday bash

We celebrated both boys' birthdays over Memorial Day weekend and lucked out with beautiful summer weather! We were also lucky and had both sides of our family plus some good friends celebrate with us. We grilled hamburgers, put out all of our yard games and toys and enjoyed time with our friends and family!

I always ask Jake about his birthday cake about a month beforehand because his answers change often, but with enough time I can figure out what he really wants by what he answers most often. ;) This year the options were almost tied between a robot, a jet, a dragon and a castle. I had to discourage the castle and dragon a little because my cake baking/decorating skills are pretty limited and thankfully he stuck with the robot idea the longest. So that's what we did! I spent the day before the party making the cake and it turned out exactly how I hoped!

So Jake really wanted the number 6 on his cake--even after I explained to him that usually you would put a number 4 on the cake for your 4th birthday, he was still adamant about putting 6 on the cake. So I asked him how people would know how old he was turning and he said "I'll just tell them!" And then I asked why he wanted the number 6 instead of number 4 and he said "Well, I really like being 4...but I really like the number 6!" So we ran with it, and I love that little detail.

Easy decorations-- just taped photos on cardboard numbers cut from the many moving boxes we have! I got a little carried away choosing photos and printed out about double the amount I actually needed, but I love displaying photos at our house so they'll be put to good use!

Reid got his very own cake and I really expected him to go all in with it. Surprisingly he took his
time mashing it in his fingers and didn't eat much, but he had just eaten a huge lunch. Guess I should have told him to save room for cake. ;)

The afternoon was plenty warm and the kids were thrilled to run back and forth between the very warm hot tub and the very cold pool while the adults went back for seconds on the birthday cake. ;)

The adults and bigger boys played quite a few rounds of Kuub. I've honestly forgotten how to play it but sometime I'll have to relearn because they had a lot of fun!

And now--somehow-- we've got a 1 year old and a 4 year old!

Reid is ONE!

Reid is ONE! Its so hard to believe. He is the best and busiest little boy and I barely remember life before he joined our family. Reid moves nonstop and loves loves loves to climb up and down on things: stairs, pillows and anything else he can get himself onto. Its the cutest thing to see him climb up and immediately turn around to get back down. He'll so carefully scoot over to the edge, stretch his little toes to the ground and slide off. And he's so proud of himself! He's developed really good balance as a result so thankfully I no longer worry about him when I see him doing this.

 He loves to get into anything Jake is working on and thinks he can keep up with Jake at the playground. He never stops trying to climb up slides and ladders and as a result, I have to keep a hand on him every second that we're at the playground. He pulls himself up and cruises around furniture and just the other day, got himself standing up about ten times in a row! We were playing in the backyard and I don't think he liked the feel of the grass so it was good motivation for him to try out standing!

Reid babbles all day long--and has learned "mama" but he doesn't associate it with me, so I don't count it as his first word yet. Hopefully soon! ;) He refuses to learn the sign for "more" and prefers to just grunt and point with both hands at whatever food he wants next. Just yesterday he learned to give high fives and he loves to give them!

He loves drinking out of water bottles and I got tired of sharing mine with him so he skipped the sippy cup phase and graduated straight to his own water bottle. Deric is absolutely his favorite person and Reid cries so hard when Deric leaves for work! He wakes us up pretty consistently around 6:15 every day and he is such a joy to see first thing in the morning!

On the morning of his birthday, we let him open his birthday gift (in the very festive Amazon box). Deric, Jake and I picked out a pillow pet for him. (Jake got one from a friend at his first birthday and he sleeps with it every night so I figured it'd be a good "toy" for Reid to have as well.) We had to narrow down our choices and Jake chose the bumblebee because he liked that it rhymed with "Bee-dos", one of the many nicknames we have for Reid. So a bumblebee it was!

After dinner we took the boys to get ice cream and let Reid try his first ice cream cone. Totally thought he'd love it but he took a few bites and then had a great time crawling around the table to visit everyone. 

Jake, however, was perfectly happy to celebrate Reid's birthday with ice cream. ;) We all love our Beats Baby so much!


Mother's Day!

My first Mother's Day as a mother of two! This time last year I was nine days away from meeting Reid and honestly, I don't even remember what we did to celebrate last year. I probably just took a nap and didn't cook dinner. ;) This Mother's Day was equally as low-key and that's exactly what I wanted. Deric always wants to get me a gift and every time I tell him to save (our) money, that all I want is to relax and not do any of the typical chores for the day. And that's what I did! We grilled out for lunch with Deric's parents and his aunt and uncle and it was a beautiful day, the first day that really felt like summer! That alone made me so happy.

Watching the boys play with Deric-- Jake running around after him and Reid either in his arms or asking to be picked up--made me so grateful for my family. Even though some days lately have felt incredibly long as I spend my time trying to keep Reid from falling into or off of *everything* while fielding so many questions from a curious four year old, I still love this phase of life and the chaos that is a natural part of it. And Deric is absolutely the best husband and father for us, so gracious to me when I need his help and so engaged with the boys.

Reid would *not* keep his hands of Jake and thankfully Jake thought it was hilarious, as we all did. You can see Deric pinning his hand down in the photo below. These three guys are the best people to spend my days with!