Building a home after his own heart

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Our Year: What an Adventure!

I meant to write sooner, but have been travelling more than I've been home over the last month!  This has been the fullest, most challenging, most rewarding, stressful, fulfilling, joyful year of my entire life.  (Prepare yourself for an incredibly long run-on sentence) In a nutshell: We spent it with our precious baby girl, lived in our one bedroom apartment for 3 months, moved to Ohio in mid February, lived with my mother-in-law (and 3 dogs) for 9 months, bought our own fixer-upper, worked our little booties off day in, day out for a month, joyfully celebrated on Christmas Eve after finding out about our new baby on the way, kicked the laptop off the bed and paid over $2,000 to get all of the pictures and business info off of the damaged hard drive, bought a mower off of Craig's list that ended up being a piece of junk and put a ton of money into it, experienced a huge loss of income when the worst drought in over 100 years hit Dayton and our lawn mowing business suffered, found out by a frantic driver next to our truck that our mattress had flown out a moment prior and upon turning around to retrieve it, someone had stolen it!  Those were just a few inconveniences in a long list of "inconvenient" situations.  Took 3 trips to Texas with Sadie in the car and one to Florida, one to Illinois, and countless trips to Bowling Green, KY.  We've met incredible people whose stories have challenged and moved us, prayed until we were blue in the face because we didn't know what to do, experienced God's provision first hand when we bought our first house, learned how to be content in any situation, got a little too close to a few possums and raccoons (it's a long story), and have fallen more and more in love with God and each other through each of these trials.  I have never felt closer to God than I have this year as I recognize more and more each day how desperately I need him and how much more I want him to take over my life.  We knew it was going to be a struggle for me to stay home, but God has provided Jimmy with a ton of work and just enough money for our family and a home that is perfect for us.  We felt that he called us, we answered that call, and he has blessed us in countless ways even through all of our trials.  He is such a mystery and always leaves me hungry for more of who he is.

3 month
6 months

9 months

My sweet little baby girl turned one a month ago.  When I came to the realization that we were nearing her first birthday, an uneasy feeling came over my stomach. I felt weak and heavy hearted.  So this is what they meant by "it goes so fast".  I have not been prepared up to this point for any of the milestones that are expected of a 3 month old, 6 month old, 9 month old... there's never enough time to wrap your mind around it!  Though the time is flying too fast, I would not wish Sadie to be a little baby again because it brings me joy and excitement to watch her learn something new everyday.  To see her enthusiastically take steps in my direction and hug me when she falls into my arms.  For her to blow me a kiss and cuddle before she goes to sleep.  She just started sharing her toys and food with me, which can get a little exhausting at dinner time, but I appreciate it all the same.  She waves and says "hiii" and waves to say "bye bye".  She says "more more" and "peees" and sometimes "all done" which is more often a sign when she throws her food off of the tray.  She hugs her little bear and yells at you when you're out of ear shot.  She jibber jabbers a whole lot of words that she is sure that you should understand.  I am so blessed to be her Mommy and look forward to see her peeking at me over her crib.  I just love my little booger.  It's still hard to believe that I have another sweet baby due in August.  It's funny how you somehow experience some of the same joys and fears as if it's your first child, but a sense of comfort in knowing that you've done it before.  I am just excited and anxious all at the same time.  I cannot wait to just meet him or her!  I love how close Sadie will be to her new sibling and I know that they will be good friends and just so sweet to watch together!

Our House: we experienced first hand how God works in situations even when we are SURE we know what is best.  I had been keeping an eye on this house since the spring and a little into the summer, we finally decided that we were almost certainly buying a house instead of renting and called a realtor to look at a few.  She first told us that finding a house in our price range was going to be near impossible, but we were pretty confident after doing a ton of looking online.  So after multiple requests, she finally sent us the listings.  We saw this house first and could see the potential even though there were quite a few unknowns.  After seeing a few more houses, we looked at it again and decided that day that we'd like to make an offer on it.

At the time, our realtor thought that since it was a foreclosure, we weren't allowed to have an inspection done until after our offer was accepted. (which seemed crazy??)  She thought it was unreasonable to make a $30,000 offer on this foreclosure listed at $45,200, so we finally moved it up to $37,000.  The bank counter offered at $45,000.  Thanks guys, you just saved us $200?  We had seen the price drop in the past and decided that we weren't desperate and would wait.  Our realtor frustrated us a little by giving us a hard time about not accepting the offer and constantly pressuring us to look at a higher priced house.  We stood firm and waited and noticed (on our own) that the house had been reduced to $41,500... so we tried every way of communicating with her to try to re-submit our offer, but we couldn't get ahold of her.  We were going to offer $40,000 because we were confident that this was the house we wanted and didn't want someone else swoop in with a higher offer.  Finally, she sent us an e-mail and basically fired us, telling us that we were a waste of her time and that she needed to know before submitting the offer that we were definitely going to buy the house even if something popped up in the inspection... ??  It was the strangest behavior and I can now only be grateful because so much happened to bless us afterwards!  So we immediately called the listing agent because we felt that he would be motivated to sell the place and work with us.  The first thing he suggested we do was get an inspection done (which was indeed allowed before you get your offer accepted) and while we were waiting for that, he'd go ahead and submit a $30,000 offer just to see if they countered on it. Haha!  So we got the inspection done and found out that apart from there being raccoons in the attic, there weren't any main issues that would hold us back.  So we decided after a week or so that we wanted the house!  We spent time communicating with the realtor and found out that day that a few others offers had already been submitted.  We asked what the highest one was and then offered $1,000 higher at $36,000.  The bank accepted our offer that day.  One amazing thing about it is that the other offer was a cash offer and our realtor was shocked that they accepted ours instead.  Long story short (yeah, right) the bank ended up paying for the attic to be cleaned out and the raccoons to be confiscated, paid to repair the damage on the outside of the house where the raccoon were getting in, repaired drywall in the inside and I think even had the floors cleaned!  On top of all of these repairs, which I'm sure were worth thousands and thousands of dollars, they called us into the office one day and had us sign a paper that said "Price to be reduced from $36,000 to $33,500."  We couldn't believe it.  The realtor was also blown away.  This was just another confirmation that God was directing us to this house.  We saw his hand working through each step, when we were sure we wanted it months prior and just couldn't seem to get our hands on it, and then seeing him save us so much money and stress during a time when we struggled with droughts and every problem you can imagine occurring.  My faith has increased so dramatically and I pray that we can continue to wait on him in the future.

We ripped out the carpet, scrubbed down the walls, doors, and surfaces, sanded down all of the ugly stripes, primed, and finally painted every wall, baseboard, and door.  Jim replaced the roof and installed brand new siding and shutters.  He did a little experimenting with some of the wires to try to get our lights to work again, which ended up being unsuccessful, but needless to say he's still superman!  We made countless trips to Lowe's and spent many a sleepless night working just to be woken up early by Sadie who didn't get the memo to sleep in.  We got a new front and back door, carpet, and Jim installed new floor in the kitchen.  It is an incredibly long list that has Jimmy written all over it.  We are so incredibly happy with our new little home!  God truly does give good gifts to his children and that isn't limited to material things, but the gifts I store in my heart, the lessons he's taught me this year.

Road Trip!  I don't think I could recount off the top of my head every trip we've taken this year.  Weddings, graduations, 100 year old great grandmothers, holidays a sudden need to see family... all reasons to jump in the car and go.  Sadie has been such a trooper through it all, though I've had a few meltdowns.  Running out of gas and getting stuck in unexpected traffic jams are all a part of the fun.  I grew up taking many a car trip and it just brings back happy memories.  It's always been a special thing for Jim and I, a place where we're able to spend quality time together and just enjoy each other's companies without too many distractions.  We've had many a memorable conversation on a good ole road trip.

5 Generations

My Family: I am so thankful for you!  For my little family of four, for all of my extended family... there are so many of you and I appreciate each of you so much!  I don't know if a baby has ever been so loved by so many.  

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2012

It has been an incredible year and I look forward to all that is to come in 2013.  I know that God is holding our future and that gives me peace and joy, knowing that no matter what happens, he has good plans for us and for our lives.  God bless you this new year!