We’re three months in, now, being a family of five. Life is starting to find its rhythm again.
Our house has become such a comfortable place for us!!! Thinking back to the house searching…wondering if we’d ever find anything suitable…and then that day when we walked into this cute little place and [liked] it right from the start–without trying so hard like I was doing for the other houses! :)
It felt like home from the beginning, but it keeps becoming more and more home-y the longer we’re here. It took me a few months to be able to unpack everything, and there is actually still a small pile of boxes to my right. There are things to finish, yet; but we are sooo grateful to be here!
I’m going to start with the kitchen, and hopefully work my way through the house this week. No promises, but we’ll see how far we get. :)
This was the kitchen as we saw it on our first visit. We deliberated whether or not to keep the cabinets. They were still in good condition, so we considered painting them. The wall space was somewhat limited and the cabinets here included a lot of dead space. Because I do a lot of cooking with having weekend guests quite regularly we decided to redesign.
Notice the partial wall beside the refrigerator. We took that out to give us a little more space as well.
Steve took out the tile. It was another decision we deliberated quite a bit. We had a very, very tight budget for repairs, so we had to choose the improvements that were most important to us. We tried to keep that to needs instead of wants. The tile was still in good condition which made it seem less necessary. But with as often as things get dropped and with as little as we like having cold feet, :) we decided it was a good move for our family. We have been soooooo glad we made this change! Tearing out the tile was easier than Steve expected it.
The walls patched and ready for painting:
Finding the perfect shade of aqua. :) Fresh, not too dark, not baby-ish… I thought I had found the right one, but after the first gallon went up I wasn’t so sure. By now I can’t remember what I didn’t like about it…too green? I’m don’t remember. Anyway, I used that swatch and compared it to others, and chose Artisan Well from the Martha Stewart line. It seemed like the right color, but was too deep. I had them remove 50% of the color. When that went on the wall I loved it, but it was still dark! Oh, no. I knew I wanted it lighter, but hated to ask Steve to paint another coat since the painting in this room could’ve been done at this point. If I could’ve been doing the work, I wouldn’t have thought twice. He told me he would paint it, but to wait a few days to see what I think. After a few days I knew I could live with it, but I would LOVE it if it would be lighter. :) He convinced me that he really didn’t mind repainting, and I was off to Home Depot. This time I got 75% of the color removed and ordered only a quart. I mixed that with a 2/3 gallon of white and maybe a 1/6th a gallon of the paint with 50% color. :) Anyone want to do the math to see what amount of paint I should’ve removed?? It was soooooo much more what I wanted. I liked it instantly, and it gave me the fresh, cool feeling I was hoping for.
Oh, this is a story in itself. The week we moved I was pregnant and still hardly had enough strength to keep up with basic housework. I was determined that somehow by using enough willpower I would suddenly be able to get.that.packing.done! Really. Months of spending time on the couch fade for that week. :) I tried my best the first of the week and got a few boxes packed and taken to the house. The first night I took over a load from the linen closet and was so pleased that I actually contributed!!! But…the next day I was so tired out. I tried to push, but couldn’t do too much. By Wednesday, I couldn’t do anything except lie on the recliner. Three different times people had spent a day helping me with some packing, but the kitchen was hardly started, the bedrooms weren’t touched, and there was a lot everywhere!
I am normally pretty organized and on top of it when it comes to packing because I like to know where to find things after we move. This time? Sorry. Not happening. How would this all get moved? We were hoping to move before the baby came, and were also pushing to move before we’d need to make another rent payment on the house we were living in.
We were going to try to start moving on Friday. Steve thought some of the guys from the mission would come help him with furniture, and he could pack and move the rest little by little over the next week. The whole situation felt really big to me. I keenly remember lying on the recliner….feeling so alone…and staring at allllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the things that needed to be packed up! I sent a text to several friends asking them to pray for me.
Instantly my phone started dinging with promises of prayers. I started crying just knowing that God was going to take care of this somehow. One of the ladies from our support team asked a few more questions…within a few hours she and her husband decided to come help us move! They brought their two daughters who so wonderfully kept the boys and two other young girls. Another friend came up Friday night, too.
It was quite humbling to sit and watch them work, but there really wasn’t another option. Anytime I mustered up the strength to be up and around I started having hard contractions every few minutes. I still had well over a month until my due date. Susan was such a good mom-figure for me, and kept insisting that I sit and rest and let them take care of things! I look back to some of the incredible gifts of love that people gave us, and still, they amaze me. It is always so appreciated when someone helps, but I’m starting to see clearly the way God cares for us through others. There’s something about being at a place of desperation…and rescued.
Okay, I got waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay side-tracked. So here are pictures on moving day:
Seeing these pictures makes me feel really spoiled because I’m seeing how much I have. I have had my eyes focused so closely on little things, and when I straightened and cleaned and took a step back…I saw it all in a new way and liked it even better than before. I wish I could show you the tiny crowded kitchen spaces in most of the houses we were considering. They were really what I was expecting and what I was willing to live with, but this is better than my dreams.
You might notice most of the appliances changed as well. There were appliances from the previous owners that had been left here. Since we didn’t have our own we decided to use the mishmash collection that was here. They were cracked in places and filthy, but we didn’t think we had money to invest in others, and..I really want to learn to be content with less. The first weekend I kept thinking the fridge wasn’t quite cold enough. We hadn’t had it running before the day we moved and thought at first it might need time to cool off. Two days later I was SURE it wasn’t ever going to get cool enough. I bought a thermometer and at the coolest setting it was only getting the temp down to the 50’s. Uh-oh.
I had thought that after we moved I could kick back, but instead were off to go appliance shopping. We tried a few Craigslist ads and discount stores…spent a whole evening without finding anything we felt good about. Meanwhile more food spoiled. The next day we zipped off to a Sears outlet and found a model there that was like a dream.
Steve had unloaded our refrigerator and gone out the door when I went to start another load of laundry. A few months before moving we had gotten a set from a Craigslist seller. We had used the dryer for a few loads before, but this time it wouldn’t start. Steve has also learned to fix appliances since working at CoR. He tried a few things, though, and couldn’t get this one to work. For a little while I ended up washing laundry here then hauling it to the mission.
Later that week Steve bought a part he needed in order to hook up the dishwasher. Doing things like this aren’t something he’s done before. I’m proud of him for learning to do so many things to save us costs! Anyway, after spending a long time getting all connected…we found out it didn’t work.
Normally I wouldn’t consider a dishwasher a necessity. It isn’t. Considering my physical and emotional state, and at the time, Steve’s maxed schedule, and being alone and all…well, it wasn’t hard to convince me to buy one. We waited until Saturday. Quickly read up on reviews for dryers and dishwashers. Checked out some ads. Ended up back at the Sears outlet.
We bought a dishwasher at the outlet then headed to another outlet center 45 minutes south where we found a dryer we liked. Sighs of happiness….
until…we ran the first load of our stockpiled dirty through the wash, and ran the dryer. Hmm, it ran; but it didn’t tumble. Wow, would this ever stop? Oh, I forgot…sometime in all of this Steve lost his phone as well.
Steve took returned the dryer, and after coming back with -another- model, we finally, finally had functioning appliances. At one point during all this, I completely lost perspective. Again I turned to my friends…who promised to pray, who reminded me to carve away minutes whenever I could to spend with God, who shed tears with me across many miles, and who even managed to make me laugh in the middle of it all. I’m sure you can understand, though, if I say I am just really, really, really happy to be settled into normal life again!