Friday, February 24, 2017

Pressler Drive House Renovation

At the end of November, we sold our first home. In the year and a half that we lived in this home, we renovated every space of the house. I realized I never did a Before and After post, so I wanted to write one before we find our new house. We are currently living with my in-laws while we look for a farmhouse. When we sold our house, everyone told us we were crazy to leave our newly remodeled home that we worked so hard on. Ben and I talked about it last week, and neither of us actually miss our Pressler Drive home! We had planned to be missionaries, so I think we were prepared for a life of moving, and we are not the type of people who become attached to things and places. But we are also excited about what's next... a farmhouse with land and animals for our kids (and us!), so leaving behind our Pressler Drive house feels right.

Exterior Before: The Pressler Drive house was on the market for two months before I even clicked on the picture on Zillow. Because it was so ugly on the outside that I wouldn't even look at the inside. One day, I was feeling desperate and going through every single house in our location and price range, and when I clicked on this house, I realized I had never looked at it before! That was the day I thought, "Why not?" and Ben and I went and looked at the house. My friends told me they thought it was cute. I still thought it was ugly, but it felt "right." So we put in a lowball offer, the owner countered, we accepted, and voila! we were first time home owners!

Exterior After: I suppose the funny thing is that for as much as I hated the exterior, to the point of even refusing to look at the listing for two months, we did the least amount of work on the outside of the house. We had bigger plans, like dormers and a grander entrance. But then we decided to sell, so we settled for smaller changes, like new window shutters, door color, landscaping, and a faux garage carriage door.

I don't have any "before" pictures of the exterior backyard, but we put a lot of work in out here. It was in bad shape, and we heard from neighbors that the previous owner only mowed the lawn once or twice a year! 

Kitchen Before: When we walked in this house for our showing, I turned to my husband and was like, "So yeah, we can take this wall here down and move the kitchen to this point here, right?" Because the kitchen was so small! I have lived in a house with a smaller kitchen than this before, but since this was going to be our home for a "long time" (ha!), and because I have a handyman husband, I was definitely dreaming of a bigger kitchen. And a bigger kitchen we did!

From this "before" angle, you can see the hallway to the right in the picture. That hallway led to a utility closet and half bath behind the kitchen. We moved that in order to increase the kitchen size.

This is looking into the kitchen from the living room.

Kitchen After: All my kitchen dreams came true! I always felt so calm and happy when I was in this kitchen. Ben worked so hard to make this kitchen happen (and I worked hard on painting cabinets and walls and keeping kids out of his construction zone).

The farmhouse sink was from ikea, the kitchen cabinets were unpainted from Menards, and we inserted beadboard and painted them Benjamin Moore white dove. We made the pantry door, and the butcher block countertops were from Lumber Liquidators.

Living Room Before: The living room before was separated from the kitchen by a half wall. I wanted a complete open concept, so we took the wall down, put up a faux beam, and white washed it. 

Living Room After: After opening up the living room to the kitchen, we put down new flooring (and salvaged the old floor, which had been poorly laid, and put it upstairs), painted the walls, put up trim and crown moulding, and bought new window treatments. We also put up an awesome diy galvanized tub light in place of the old boring fan.

Fourth Bedroom Before: When we moved into the house, it was a four bedroom. We changed it to a three bedroom, and we used the fourth bedroom (which was located downstairs) to increase the kitchen size and add a master bathroom and closet. Basically, we split the fourth bedroom in half, and half of it became the new utility room and half bathroom, and the other half became part of the master bathroom and closet.

Fourth Bedroom After: We moved some of the old kitchen cabinets in here and put them above the washer and dryer, and we bought a new sink and toilet because the old ones were in poor condition. And new paint on the walls, of course.

Master Bedroom Before: The master bedroom was one of the last spaces we renovated, so I lived with old, gross carpet, dust-covered window blinds, and dingy walls for over a year!

Master Bedroom After: We gave the room a fresh coat of paint, laid new carpet (Ben actually laid the carpet himself with a friend who does it as a side business), put up new window treatments, bought an awesome new ceiling fan, and took out the sliding door closets. We also closed off the previous door to the room and created a new entrance.

Master Bathroom Before: Technically, there was no master bath before. This bathroom had a door both to the master bedroom and to the hallway, so it was a shared bathroom. Don't you love the 1990s decorative window?

Master Bathroom After: Using the space from that fourth bedroom previously mentioned, we rearranged the layout of the master bathroom and made a walk-through closet from the bedroom to the bathroom. We built the sink vanity (it actually wasn't complete in the picture below which is why the faucet on the left is sideways!), installed a jetted tub that Ben subway tiled, laid new tile flooring, and bought new lighting and a new toilet. Oh, and pretty, new shower curtains never hurt a space either!

Playroom Before (2nd Bedroom)

Playroom After (2nd Bedroom): We installed new doors (that we painted white right before moving), laid new flooring (the laminate hardwoods that had previously been downstairs), put up new trim, and painted the walls.

Girls' Room Before (3rd Bedroom):

Girls' Bedroom After (3rd Bedroom): This room had the softest, ugliest carpet ever. It was definitely screaming early 1990s. We replaced the carpet right before moving (waited as long as we could so that the girls wouldn't ruin it), hung new trim, painted the walls, and bought new doors.

Landing Room Before: The landing room was just an awkward space at the top of the steps that was bigger than a hallway but smaller than a room.

Landing Room After: We used the landing room as our craft room/library. It was really the perfect space for it (although, I may need a bigger library in our next house. Books are the only thing I don't mind collecting!). In this space, we put a fresh coat of paint on the walls and laid new flooring (the same that was in the playroom). 

Upstairs Bathroom Before:

Upstairs Bathroom After: We bought a new toilet for this bathroom, but the sink and bathtub were in good-running condition, so we just cleaned them up and put a fresh coat of paint on the sink vanity. We painted the walls and laid new laminate flooring.

And there you have it... all of the Befores and Afters of Pressler Drive. We truly enjoyed our time in this house. We had wonderful neighbors whom we miss. We lived at the end of a quiet drive where the girls could ride their bikes and run around. And we made the house into a place we truly loved. When I look back at these pictures, I feel proud that we breathed life into an old, dirty, dingy house. Renovating was hard, but it was also fun and rewarding! We were thankful to pass this house on to a great young couple that we trust are caring well for it, and we are excited for our next adventure and praying hard for a farmhouse soon!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Violet's Development (6 Months)

Sweet baby Violet is half a year old. I blinked and it happened. I'm so thankful we decided to have another baby. Sure can't imagine my life without her!

5 Months
Violet learned how to roll both ways this month. She is best at rolling from back to stomach. She loves to be stretched out and to be held so that she can stand on her feet. 

Typical Schedule:
I didn't do well at keeping track of her schedule this month!

6 Months:
Violet has started scooting herself backwards and in circles! She rolls over often now. She started her first foods (avocado, pumpkin, banana, and mango). She suddenly stopped taking a pacifier this month, and we stopped swaddling her arms to sleep. She started holding on to toys and has gotten good with her hand control. 

4am- Nurse (back to sleep)
6am- Nurse (back to sleep)
8am- Nurse (up for an hour and a half)
12pm- Nurse (up for an hour and a half or two)
3pm- Nurse
5:30pm- Nurse (naps around 6 for 45 min)
7pm- Nurse
9pm- Nurse
(Violet typically takes three naps, but sometimes four. She often takes a longer one now, close to two hours. She still nurses quite a bit- more than my other babies have at this month- but I haven't been as strict with scheduling her for a number of reasons. She usually nurses 7-8 times a day)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Brielle's Development (4 Years Old)

Happy 4th birthday to this sweet girl! She turned 4 on January 25. 

Personality: Brielle continues to be our sweet one. She loves her baby sister (as is evident with all the pictures), to the point that she overwhelms her. She's helpful and caring. She is really great at sharing. She loves to just sit with people, and she will give anyone a hug. She struggled with good-byes and goodnights, and she usually gives hugs over and over until you pull away and tell her you have to go! She has lately become quite the tattle-tale. She loves to tell on people and get them in trouble #notsosweet. She is our clumsy one. She has hurt her lip pretty badly three times this past year! 

Funny/Sweet Things:

-To Sophie: "I don't want your dreams on my cup. I just want my dreams on my cup." (she meant germs, haha!)

-Me: "What do you want for Christmas, Brielle?" Brielle: "I want baby Jesus."

- Brielle: "Where is baby Jesus now?" Grandma: "Well, he grew up and was a man and then he went to heaven, and now he sits at the right hand of the throne of God." Brielle: "How did he get there? Did he take a place?"

-I'm drinky right now." (She always says drink instead of thirsty!)

Education: We still aren't doing any formal education with Brielle. We have family time every morning, where the girls and I together learns hymns, poems, verses, and folksongs. Through that time, Brielle has learned parts of many songs, poems, and verses. She knows nearly all of Psalm 23 and several poems. She knows and can write the letter B. She also knows i and l, so she writes her name as "Bill" hahaha! We better keep working on the r and e! She can count to 12, and then she starts skipping numbers and eventually says "a billion!" 

Loves: Her family, hugs, candy, being fed (so that she doesn't have to do it herself), holding Violet

Dislikes: Saying goodbye, Not getting to be with a person she likes, Not getting her way

For her fourth birthday, we just did a little celebration with the Miller grandparents (who we are living with right now), and then we went to the circus again, so we did a celebration with the Walton side of the family that night.

(Brielle really struggles to make decisions, so she took forever to answer some of these! She also has some very silly answers)
What's your favorite food? Applesauce
What's your favorite thing to play with? Toys ("be more specific") A door ("okayyyyyy")
What's your favorite movie or show? Peppa Pig and Daniel Tiger
What's your favorite song? The Wheels on the Bus
What"s your favorite verse? The Lord is my shepherd... (went on to say the rest of the verse)
What's your favorite book? A Bible story
What's your favorite color? Purple
What's your favorite Bible story? God (she's really got the classic answer down)
What do you like to do with Sophie? Play with her shirt ("Play with her shirt?!? What?")
What do you like to do with Lyla? Socking with her ("Socking? What is socking?") Like where you throw a ball to a sock ("What? Do you actually play that with her?!") Mmhmm
What do you want to do when you get older? Go to Alan's House (What? Does she remember she said that last year? We don't even live by Alan anymore!)
Okay, what do you want to BE when you get older? A firetruck man and I want to have a firetruck
What's your favorite animal? monkey
Who're your best friends? Weston and Calvin and Daisy ("What about your other friends?") Oh yeah, Calvin and Daisy's mom and dad and Weston's mom and dad." (haha! I was trying to get her to say Jaeda and Emma because that's who she usually says)
What makes you happy? People smiling at me
What makes you sad? Someone jumping on me
What are you really good at? Making Violet smile at me


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Word of the Year: Rejoice

Last year I decided to have a word of the year. Really, it was just a word that was on my heart that I felt the Lord asking me to focus on, and so it became my word of the year. This year I wanted to choose a word as well. I realized that choosing a word helps me to focus on that area. So last year, when my word was believe, I focused on believing the Lord in the big and small things, and I was reminded quickly when I wasn't believing.

This year, I didn't feel any particular word being pressed on my heart, but the word rejoice came to mind, and I knew that would be a good area to focus on. Isn't it so easy to ... well, so easy to not rejoice. Maybe it's because we do the opposite and we complain. But sometimes it's just because we go about life and we miss the little good things, or we forget to recognize when God answers a prayer, or we are so focused on the future that we forget the good happening now.

As I was thinking about the word rejoice, of course the first verse that came to mind was Philippians 4:4. Rejoice always. I certainly don't do that. I love how, if you keep reading in Philippians 4, it says, "do not be anxious about anything." This spoke to me because anxiety is usually my first warning sign that I'm not focusing on the Lord... and therefore, not rejoicing. The interesting thing is that this verse commands us to make our requests known to God. Rather than being anxious, we should make our requests known to God, and then peace will guard our hearts and minds, and we can freely rejoice. 

But, of course, we also have to know why we are rejoicing. As believers, we rejoice because Christ died for us and as a result has provided reconciliation with God. There are a lot of reasons in our world to not rejoice... a lot of hard things, bad things, mundane things, sad things. But when I keep my mind on Christ and not on this world, I can rejoice despite what's going on in the world and around me.

So, this year I want to focus on rejoicing. Right now, we are living with family and don't have our own house. We've had a lot of sickness this fall and winter. I really want to be able to go to Papua New Guinea and visit and help some of my friends there, but the Lord hasn't opened the doors financially for me to do so. I am a mother to four children five and under, and it's exhausting, not always rewarding, and I often fail at it. I want to live in the circumstances the Lord has put me in, believing he can accomplish big and beautiful and incredible things, but rejoicing when things aren't as I wish. Rejoicing always. 

If you've never heard the song Rejoice by Dustin Kensrue (or if you have), you should listen to it below. I love this song and find it incredibly encouraging. Here is the third verse: 
All our sickness, all our sorrows
Jesus carried up the hill.
He has walked this path before us,
He is walking with us still;
Turning tragedy to triumph,
Turning agony to praise,
There is blessing in the battle
So take heart and stand amazed.