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God Bless This Home

04/04/2013

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I had a blog post written that I was going to post on Monday about how the processes of Ali’s adoption and building our new house had been occurring simultaneously since November 2011 and both got completely wrapped up last week when we received our daughter’s new birth certificate in the mail AND closed out our construction loan and began our conventional mortgage. BUT. The latter ended up not happening for a million frustrating reasons. It’s not going to happen this week or probably next week, either. It’s been a busy, stressful week around here and I’ve had moments of wanting to pull my hair out.

I needed to stop and remind myself of the truth. 

We live in this beautiful home—a blessing we never expected to experience at this point of our lives. God has given us favor over and over again in this process, just as He did with Ali’s adoption and back when she was in state care. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He never gives us more than we can handle. We have so much to be thankful for. In addition to our beautiful girl and our home, Jason and I have a great relationship, we have wonderful family and friends, we have jobs that we love, we have a kitchen full of food and closets full of clothes. We have more than enough; overflow to share. We are abundantly blessed.

We haven’t received any calls from DCS regarding foster placements yet. I’m surprised. Also, I’m relieved. Mainly because of the mortgage stuff. Also because of some upcoming travel. Even if we did get a placement, I’m sure we could overcome those challenges with a new temporary family member along for the adventure. It’s comforting to know that God’s timing is always perfect.

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We’re Home!

12/11/2012

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Friday was moving day. It felt so different than when we’ve bought houses in the past…we would close at a title company, get our keys and let ourselves into our new, empty house. This time we’ve been in and out of the house almost daily for the past 6 months while it was constructed. On Friday Jason was cleaning the windows while I moved a few things over from my parents house. Then the last inspector from the city came and we paced around nervously while he walked through the house. Our site supervisor Scott put the last of 4 final inspection approval tags on the kitchen counter as he walked the inspector out. And that was it: we’re allowed to move in! Jason and I looked at the 4 final inspection tags on last time and gave each other a high five. Go time.

We met the movers at our storage unit and spent the rest of the day—the rest of the next several days, really—slinging boxes, moving furniture and unpacking. We are physically exhausted but oh-so-happy to be finally in our new home. I had hoped to sneak over early Friday morning and take final photos of a clean, empty house before we started moving in but it didn’t happen. Why? Because early Friday morning the tile guy, Peanut, was finishing grouting the fireplace and the bathroom; John, the painter, was doing touch-ups and Scott, our site supervisor/problem solver extraordinaire was putting the final touches on our front porch railings. In other words, the house was not clean or empty.

When we arrived back to our house, my mom had set up sloppy joes in her crock pot for us, as well as dropped off a bunch of food to get us through the first couple of days. She’s the best!

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After her afternoon nap, my parents brought Ali down to check out her new room. She hasn’t seen most of this stuff since she was 7 month old…so basically, she’s seeing it all for the first time. Who needs Christmas gifts!

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She was so excited about all the “new” toys that she climbed into her toy box.

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…and assembled:

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The first morning in our new house!

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On Day 2, my sister-in-law Ginger came over to help while my niece Eliza played with Ali. After they left, my parents and Jason’s parents helped us unpack and move more things from my parents’ house all day. It’s so wonderful to have such an awesome family to help us! I was too preoccupied to take many pictures on Saturday but I did snap this one of Ali. Nana (Jason’s mom) was unpacking a box with Ali and found some of my sunglasses…

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Day 3 in our new house: Sunday.

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Ali seems to really like her new room. It’s one of the most complete rooms in the house. All that’s missing are things that hang on the wall: pictures, book ledges, curtain rod, etc.

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Ali also seems to love her playroom (AKA the den) and it’s nice to have 2 rooms in the house that are mostly kid-safe.

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The hall bathroom is for Ali and guests:

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The living room is pretty much a big mess because the two couch pieces of our sectional and an armchair are being used in a home staging project. They’ll be back in a few weeks. I’ve been meaning to write about that. I’ll do that soon…

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Meanwhile, this is our makeshift couch: a pile of old blankets and pillows on the floor. Lucy approves.

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LuLu can be a very anxious dog but she seems to be adjusting really well. To my knowledge she hasn’t peed on anything or had any seizures so that says a lot for her.

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The kitchen is almost mostly complete, however it’s still a big mess because it’s the heart of the house. (Note the tool box and cleaning supplies on the counter, the step ladder in the dining room.)

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I really, really love how the kitcehn came together.

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We’re planning to add a tile backsplash at a later date.

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The coffee and tea bar is pretty much my favorite thing ever.

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After three days of hard work, we decided to use our last bit of energy on Sunday night to set up the TV so we could properly relax. It involved a mount that fixes to the concrete fireplace with a floating shelf below the TV. I’ll tell you about that later. We don’t have cable or internet yet, but we could use the DVD player so we found our box full of Seinfeld DVDs.

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Random: Any Nashvillites interested in a beautiful, big, heavy gold vinyl sleeper sofa? I was planning to use it in the den but it’s too big for that room so we’re selling it. It’s on craigslist for $100. Sold! Thank you to Mark and his wife. I hope you enjoy it!

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New Home Update – The End is Near

12/06/2012

Weak, I know… it’s the day before we move in and I really (still) don’t have time for a proper blog post. Instead, here is a dump of photos from my iPhone from the last week. I promise a proper “New Home Update” or perhaps… “New Home Tour” next week!

We had our first meal at our new house last Wednesday. We ate pizza as these guys were installing our granite countertops.

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Den/Playroom … I still don’t know if this wall is chalkboard paint or if it’s just painted black. Our contractor needs to ask the painter.

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The fireplace is not quite complete (though as I’m writing this, it’s getting finished). Lights and fans are all in.

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Bathroom vanities, medicine cabinets and sconce lights are in. Plumbing fixtures, too, but I guess I don’t have a picture of those yet.

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Ali playing in the playroom.

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And in Jason’s studio closet/recording booth.

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For the past week or so, as soon as Ali is asleep for the night (at my parents’ house where we’re living) Jason and I head over to our house to work. One night we assembled this MASKROS light from IKEA. It’s means “dandelion” in Swedish. I wonder why?

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Jason is so excited about having a gas range. I think he’s fired it up about 15 times just to make sure it’s still working.

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We had a gorgeous first weekend in December with sunshine and highs touching 70 degrees. After a bday party in the morning, we stopped by Jason’s favorite garden center. They had everything 40% off so we decided to go for a few big things: two arborvite and a topiary.

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Ali was zonked out in the van during the entire plant buying process.

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Naked house.

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Dressed house (though still scantily clad.) It was dark when we finished up so the pictures aren’t the greatest, but we’re still very pleased with getting a start on our landscaping.

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Later that night we went to Home Depot to buy closet shelving. We had the most awesome lady helping us. She was so cheerful and patient. She took all of our measurements down and did the math so we’d have little waste, and she even took the time to label each shelf with the measurement so we’d know which was which when we got home. You just don’t get customer service experiences like that often enough!

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A few daylight pictures from Sunday…

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Yeah, still looks pretty bare.

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My tea and coffee bar! I’m excited about this.

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The 4 yellow stools I ordered arrived this week. I love.

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Jason and I spent another evening cleaning. This kitchen is now sparkling clean, even the insides of the cupboards! Ready to unpack this weekend.

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The kitchen is missing a few things… the doors for the corner cabinet and the metal chase for the vent hood above the gas range. The chase and vent hood are stainless but have a white protective sticker on them. (That confused me for a minute.)

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Jason and I (mostly Jason) made this walkway in the courtyard with super, über, really-really heavy paver stones. Eventually we’ll get a load of gravel and we’ll build a gate.

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As of the writing of this post (Wednesday evening) we’ve passed 2 of the 4 needed inspections. We have the other two scheduled for Thursday and Friday. It’s all starting to get REAL!!

(PS. WordPress has new photo upload software. Yay! Made this post quicker. 😉 )


New Home Update

11/29/2012

It’s been 2 weeks since my last update so there is a lot to share. Two big things: our wood flooring is all done and our kitchen cabinets and appliances have been installed. This week the electrical is getting finished, the countertops are being installed and the plumbing will be done. All of that makes for a pretty much finished house. I’m a little behind in my picture taking so next week I will probably have pictures of a completely finished house. We’re moving in next Friday. Holla! On to the pics:

Den/playroom

I’m loving this fancy pull out trash and recycling drawer!

There will be doors on the corner cabinet up there, they just didn’t have the right hinge with them.

Those upper cabinets of the pantry will have white doors sometime this week.

That air compressor around the corner is a bit scary…

Blowing kisses at the granite yard

We chose these slabs of kashmir granite

Ali knows this is her room. She runs up the pink wall and slaps her hands on it, babbling incoherently. I think she approves.

Master:

Next kids room:

Ali’s room:

Master bedroom

Cherry cabinets stained a walnut color (I don’t remember the name of the specific finish)

I love the white ice appliances in our house as much as I did in the store.

I’m realizing I haven’t taken many new photos of the laundry room or Jason’s studio – those were the last rooms to have the flooring finished. I also haven’t photographed the bathrooms lately. We did have one little snafu with the tile in the master bathroom. We didn’t order enough the first time around so we had to get some more. The tile company sent the wrong color and the tile guy installed it anyway. (What the ?!) So that needs to be scraped up and the tile company promises the new tile will arrive by the end of this week. So, no big deal but a small set back nonetheless. It may or may not be fixed by moving day, but it will be fixed soon.


New Home Update

11/15/2012

Well things didn’t go quite as quickly as we had planned this week. The hold up has been getting the electric connected by the electric company, passing the city inspection and then getting the gas company to come out and set up the meter which involves a lot of people coming out and is completely out of our control. We didn’t have any problems, it just took longer than we were hoping and as I’m writing this on Wednesday night, we still don’t have gas (should be hooked up tomorrow) which means we don’t have heat, which means they can’t put the wood flooring in yet, which means the kitchen won’t go in until next week… which means… we probably won’t be moving in Thanksgiving week after all. The house should essentially be done, but there is a series of inspections the city has to do before we can get an occupancy permit and with it being a holiday week, it’s unlikely they will all happen before Thanksgiving. We can’t move in without an occupancy permit. The good news is that we were originally hoping we’d be in by Christmas and getting in by Thanksgiving was just a nice surprise. We don’t have any rush except excitement. Thank God we have a place to stay at my parents’ house for as long as we need.

So, what did happen this week? The HVAC was installed along with the hot water heater. We got power! At the point of me writing this, about half of our lights are installed. Door handles were installed. Jason and I took the master key on Tuesday night and had new specialty keys made for ourselves. We also picked up some LED lights to put up on our light shelf, but we need to get more. We guessed on the 100 lights/33 ft. set.

I had to run out to the hardware store to grab a couple of lights for closets that we had forgotten about. Jason was out of town and happened to have horrible reception while I was at the store so I couldn’t even consult with him. This was the picture I sent him to say, “I got these. OK?”

Outlets and some fixtures are in.

We were going to get fans for every bedroom but we decided to save money and get some cheapos for now and we’ll replace them one at a time later on.

We still got a nice fan for our bedroom and we’ll have one in the living room as well.

This is a silent “door bell” in Jason’s studio. Remind me to tell you about that later.

The HVAC looks like it was custom painted to match our house. It was not but that would be cool, wouldn’t it?

We like dimmers. We’re going to have a lot of dimmers.

It was foggy one morning while I was walking Lucy and I took this pretty autumny photo.

Lights! Jason, who is a perfectionist (I love that about him!) is straightening one of many crocked door handles.

We got these squarish door levers and it’s really noticeable if they’re a little bit off.

Jason is checking out the hall bathroom.

This is the first time we’ve really been able to see the tile and paint color because this is the only windowless room in the house and it has always been dark until now. That’s precisely why I wanted a light airy color on the walls (SW window pane) and I’m really happy with how it goes with the light gray tile and white tub (we’ll also have a white toilet, white vanity, white sink/countertop.)

Only 1 of 4 lights was installed so it’ll get a lot brighter in here.

We turned on all of the lights that we could and ran back outside in the cold to see what it looks like lit up. We have lights in the eaves around the house so once they’re installed it’ll really light up at night.

We have 2 workable outside lights on either side of the garage.

A custom house justifies custom keys right?

Kitchen:

Living room:

From mudroom/office (green room) pocket door looking toward the living room, kitchen and dining room:

Next update I should have pictures of finished tile work, finished hardwood floors, finished lighting, finished kitchen … hopefully a finished house!!


New Home Update

11/08/2012

Last week the concrete was poured for our back patio and our driveway. The painters finished their work inside and outside. And the house had major clean-up done inside and outside as well. All of that was finished in time to get the house ready for a modern architecture home tour that took place on Saturday. Our house was 1 of 5 on the self-guided tour. The tour was good promotion for our architect and our builder but it was also fun for me to hear people’s feedback, questions and encouragement. I put Ali in play clothes and she finally had a chance to really explore the house, the driveway and the yard. (Usually there are too many hazards everywhere to let her just go and be a curious toddler.) I also had a chance to chat with some of our neighbors. I’m really thankful we get to stay in the neighborhood that we’ve loved for the past 6 years. We’ve got great people living all around us. I also had a ton of time to talk with one of the guys from our construction company and I’m again so grateful that we found them—such good, honest, hard-working people. Integrity is somewhat rare in the contracting business. On to the pictures (mostly taken before the inside was cleaned.)

The concrete guy was really sweet and offered to help us put Ali’s handprint in the patio. She kept trying to grab a handful of the concrete so it didn’t come out great, but he did his best to clean it up and he carved her initials and the date before it was dry. My parents built a house when I was a baby and all 5 of us had our handprints in the back patio. I always loved to put my hand in the prints to see how small my hand used to be, how close it was to growing into my big brother’s print and how small my hand was (and still is) compared to my dad’s.

Front door, entry, dining room (looking through the kitchen):

Kitchen and dining room:

Pocket door!

Living room:

The natural light in the great room is ahhhhmazing! (Credit for excellent design goes to our architect, Ryan Thewes.)

Kitchen:

The den/playroom:

Ali’s room:

Future kids room:

Front door (second door is a coat closet)

Again with the amazing natural light! We’re hardly ever going to need to turn the lights on during the day here.

My office and the laundry room. It’s green.

Jason’s studio. It’s not very photogenic yet.

Garage lights:

Electric meter is ready to go. Yeah, we don’t have underground electricity here. We have ugly wires that go from one corner of the house to a pole across the street. It ain’t pretty.

I got a new doormat at Target special for the tour. And now it’s filthy…but at least it was welcoming!

I love getting to watch Ali transform from a baby into a kid.

Walking all around like she owns the place! Oh wait, she does.

Next up HVAC, Electricity, Gas? Tile?

Next week we should have wood flooring, tile work, plumbing, kitchen cabinets. We’ll be living here in 2 weeks. Ack!


New Home Update

11/01/2012

This week was not quite as exciting as the one before. Jason and I gave our brick mailbox a makeover to match our new house. He cut and chopped up a bunch of firewood. (Yay for wood burning fireplace!!) We got our garage door installed. Some siding was repaired by the front door and the roof that cantilevers over the front porch. Our gutters were installed. Jason and I piled up a bunch of leaves, swept out the garage and assembled IKEA bathroom vanities. (No pictures of those last three things.)

While the painters were painting the trim, they also primed this wall black for chalkboard paint.

We stopped by on Saturday morning to find the garage door being installed by a guy from our church and his sons. That was a fun surprise.

The gutters were installed on Tuesday.

These don’t seem as intrusive as I thought they would.

Spontaneous family portrait:

The next step is a bunch of steps that happen all together and involve permits and codes and red tape: electrical finish out, gas finish out, HVAC installation. Soon after the house is climate controlled, we can have the wood floors installed. Any time in the next week or two the painters and the tile guys can finish their work. Plumbers will be back to hook up toilets and sinks and finish out the fixtures. The very last big project will be the kitchen installation and it’s scheduled for November 14th. Less than 2 weeks away! We’re anticipating moving in right before Thanksgiving.

I feel the urge to start packing!