Monday, August 15, 2011

Has it been 6 months already?

Saturday marked the 6 month anniversary of us moving in. Its been busy and often crazy at times, but we are happy. As far as the house goes, I thought I'd mention how I'm feeling about the house. We're in a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house, and it hasn't been as big of a deal as I thought it'd be. Occasionally the one bath is a problem, but it really isn't that much of an inconvenience. We've actually managed to get 5 people and Damari up, showered, and out the door to church by 9:00.

Things that have been done:
-install dishwasher
-work in flower beds
-plant a small garden
-create 4-wheeler trails
-clear out area by the creek
-paint Damari's room room and furniture (I put wrapping paper on the back of the shelves for more color)
-sew and hang curtains in Damari's room
-paint Damari's furniture
-hang curtains in our bedroom
-install exhaust fan in bathroom
-other miscellaneous repairs that have broken since our arrival
-I'm sure Josh has done more, but I can't think of them right now

Things we still want to do:
-level the floor in dining room
-hang curtains in living room
-plant some fruit trees
-plant bigger garden
-plant wildflower meadow
-hang ceiling fan in Damari's
-paint other dining room and our bedroom
-add another bedroom and bathroom
-redo the kitchen
...and this list could go on forever!

I enjoy having so much potential. Before we had this property we would dream about where we would end up, what our property would be like. Josh and I used to constantly look at real estate, especially land. Every town we visited we would wonder if we would end up there and if it would be home. We no longer even consider properties we see for sale, we don't even look at other towns anymore. We absolutely love where we are! When we first moved, I didn't think we'd have anything to dream about, but thankfully, I was wrong. Now we discuss whether to fix up our current house or to build a new one. There are so many possibilities and its so much fun. I hope that we create many more memories on this land and that we are able to bless many people because of this land. God has blessed us and I pray that we can share the love!

I'm eager to see what God brings us in the next 6 months and many more!

In unrelated news, Josh and I are heading out to Camp Horizon this week and we are so excited!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

'Reflection' or 'The Simple Life'

Lately, I've been thinking of how blessed I am, in so very many ways. I believe that one of my favorite blessings is getting to stay home with Damari. That kid melts my heart, and I know he should, but really, he's awesome. Sure, we have our down days, but overall he really is a good kid.

The decision for me to stay home wasn't easy. When we first moved, I worked full time and Josh was initially working in Hendersonville Monday-Friday. That was a very tough and trying time for me, but we survived. Once Josh was home and we moved and settled in to 'The Farm' I was working 3 nights a week and Damari was in daycare. I hated him being there. Josh and I would pass each other in the driveway 3 days a week and the other days I'd spend catching up on sleep and all the housework. We were both extremely stressed. I'd be in tears numerous times a week due to the stress I had. I felt God wanted me at home and Josh and I talked about it and decided for us to make the jump.

After all, with my crazy schedule, Josh wasn't able to put in the hours he needed to for Graybrooke, so we solved many solutions at one time. Damari wasn't in daycare, I could tend to all the needs of raising a child and running a house, my sleep schedule was normal again, and Josh could pull the long hours needed to get a business started. We are fully trusting God to provide for us since we no longer have my steady income. I still work 4 hours a week, but that is a lot different than 36.

Anyway, back to my point, I am home with my son EVERY day. I love playing with him, teaching him new things, singing with him, laughing with him, coloring with him, exploring outside with him. He is really developing into a smart, funny, loving child. We have the tantrums at times and some days I want to scream and pull my hair out, but don't we all have those days no matter where we work? I love being able to cook a healthy dinner for my family (something that was rare when I worked full-time), keep the dishes done, grocery shop, do laundry and everything else.

Being able to stay home has opened me up to so many things. I had a garden this year for the first time and hope to have an even bigger one next year. I try a new recipe almost every week. I love to cook and really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. I've started making my own dishwasher detergent and once I use up all our store bought cleaners I plan on making my own. I no longer use the dryer regularly, I line dry our clothes. All in all I feel like I'm getting back to the real meaning of life. Things don't have to be so elaborate and I don't need the newest gadget or appliance or whatnot. (I do however, HAVE to have my dishwasher!)

I love my simple life and some days I still only see Josh in passing, but I believe that God will bless us for trusting HIM and that He will bless Josh in his long hours and hard days. If an emergency comes up, Josh is able to be there with us or for us. We make time to be together as a family and Damari gets several hours alone with Josh on Wednesdays when I work, which I think is so important and awesome! I look forward to having more children and cooking for a big family. I want to raise them to respect authority and treat women with kindness and decency. I want them to know that life can be hard and you have to work for things, everything isn't just given to you. I want them to want to help others and serve those less fortunate than themselves. I want them to be able to entertain themselves and enjoy reading a good book. I want them to value God and family and a simple life.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Sweetest Husband Ever

My sweet, sweet husband planned a trip for me last week. He told me it was a business trip and that we'd stay a few extra days to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. Our anniversary isn't until September, but my mom (aka babysitter) is off during the summer, so we take advantage of that time. Anyway, I thought we were going to Savannah, GA. I didn't have any other clues, until a day or two before. He told me we were flying and that I'd need my passport. So, we got up early on Friday morning and left by 4:30am. When we got to the airport, I saw that our flight was to Miami. We went through security and grabbed breakfast. Once we got to the gate, Josh showed me the boarding pass for the next flight. Our destination was Freeport. It took me a few minutes and then I asked, "Are we going to the Bahamas?" I got a smile in response and couldn't believe it! I'd never dreamed he would do something so extravagant while keeping it a surprise! You must now, that this same man proposed to me within 2 hours of buying my engagement ring because he was so excited. Regardless, it was the best surprise ever and we spent 8 days in the Bahamas. It was so relaxing and refreshing. The Bahamas are beautiful. We just laid on the beach, swam in the pool and went snorkeling. We had such a great time and really needed the break. I've never been away from Damari more than a night or 2 at the most and that has only been a handful of times. Damari had such a great time with his Nonna and he's only a little spoiled now. :)

Here is Damari after playing hard with Nonna. He fell asleep in the swing, holding zucchini muffins.

All in all, I can't believe that we've been married 10 years (almost). Lately we have truly been able to fulfill our dreams. We have 27 acres now and the sweetest, most adorable son ever! God has truly blessed us in more ways than I can count. I hope that we have 50 more years together and more children and dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren. My hope is that when we are old, we are still as much in love then as we are now. I also pray that we leave a legacy of love, generosity and respect to all those that encounter us!

Josh, I love you so much, thanks for being my best friend and sharing life with me!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend

I'm going to try this blogging thing again. If you follow, let me know, so I'll have more of a reason to stay committed.

So much has changed, most of you probably already know from word or mouth or Facebook, so I'll spare you the long drawn out story and skip straight to current events. :D

Mother's Day weekend consisted of my mom and Ricky, and Blake joining us on "the farm" for some fun. Saturday we grilled out hamburgers by the pond, rode 4-wheelers, rode the paddle boat, and just relaxed. We had a lot of fun just relaxing and listening to music and eating some good grub.

Damari went to check on our puddle of tadpoles (We have a spot where the pond overflows that frogs laid thousands of eggs a few months ago. We have enjoyed watching the process. They are now fairly big tadpoles, we expect to see their leg buds any day now.). While Damari was looking at them, he fell in the mud. I'll admit, I'm a horrible parent, I laughed at him. Nonna was closest and she wiped his face off (while laughing). I knew he was okay and the look on his face was priceless.

We concluded the night with a firework show by Ricky and Blake. We celebrated Mother's Day like the 4th of July. I guess we'll have to celebrate Christmas on the Fourth. ;)

Sunday we went to church and grilled out again, we had chicken and zucchini. It was yummy. Josh offered to take us out, but we opted for a more relaxing atmosphere at home. It was sad to see my family go, but I know they will be back for more fun on "the farm" soon enough.

Sunday evening, Josh and I went to the homeless shelter to serve some food with our church. We decided that since we don't really have a baby-sitter (and the fact that it was Mother's Day and I wanted to be with my baby) to bring Damari with us. I was kind of nervous at first, but several of our close friends and other Sunday School members were there to help with him. I'll admit, I believe he was a blessing. At first we just greeted everyone as they came in, but then Damari wanted to be with Daddy and ended up taking over his job. He would grab "agua" (water bottles) from the cooler and hand them to people. The smile on his face melted my heart. He loved helping/serving the people and I couldn't have been prouder. Here is a picture of us after serving everyone right before going home. I had to get a family picture of our first time serving all together.

I hope everyone else had as much fun on Mother's Day and got to share it with their loved ones!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New (possible) House

Brooke and I are trying vigorously to purchase a home in the Forsyth County area, but to-date, it hasn't panned out for us. Not that we couldn't find any homes we liked. The problem is that our selection is immediately limited because we have to qualify solely off Brooke's income (because I'm self-employed), and since we haven't yet sold our home in Monroe, we are limited in what we can finance. We know we can't afford our dream property (which is a lot of acreage. IE - 20+) until we have our other home sold, so we limited our selection to homes that could provide a decent place to live, while ultimately showing a return on our investment.

Day after day we've search for homes. We looked online for hours, driven thousands of miles around the area, and met our realtor for a walk-through on many properties. Needless to say, we're getting a little tired. We're supposed to be out of the house we're currently staying in February, which makes it pretty stressful not knowing where you'll be living in a month!

MLK day, Brooke and I spent some time checking out homes in the area, when we ended up in a town called Lewisville, NC. It seemed like a nice town, and while driving down the road we noticed a for-sale sign. We turned around and ended up in the driveway of a historic home built in the 1900's... 1908 to be exact.

The home is called the JJ Marshall House. Here's a photo I took when we approached the entrance. Even though it's not what we were looking for, as an avid viewer of the show "This Old House" and a builder/contractor myself, I've always considered the idea of working on a historic property, restoring it to it's original character.

We walked to the back door, only to find some papers that mentioned this house going to auction. We took a look inside the home, and the home needs aesthetic work; at least one of the additions aren't historically accurate (which means I'd probably reverse it at some point), but overall, it seems like a sound home.

We came home, logged-onto the auction website, and found out the auction ended at 4pm today (Tuesday). The website is setup like eBay. There is a reserve price (which is unknown), and a countdown clock. Today, all we've thought about was what our bid should be, at what time we should enter it, and how high we'd be willing to go. You can imagine -- this can easily consume your day.

At the end of the auction, we were the high bidder, confirmed via a follow-up email. Now, we just begin the process of a lot of paperwork, making sure the home will qualify for conventional financing, and all that "fun" stuff. Not really looking forward to that, but we've passed the first test!

Here are some pictures of the home, taken from the listing website. The porch on the front is not original to this home. I think someone was trying to turn this Colonial Revival home into a Greek Revival home....

We'll post more as we know it, and we'll surely let you know if/when we have it as completely ours.

This is one of the bedrooms, although with that awesome fireplace, I'm thinking this might be my home office. I could just imagine a fire burning behind me as I write something really important down on parchment.

This kitchen was added to the original structure. Not bad, but could be freshened up. This will probably be the 21st century part of the house.

This room was added to the original structure. I think it serves as the living room. We only spent about 10 rushed minutes in the home, so I'm not completely certain as to which function each room serves.

This is a shot of the front from Google Streetview. It's not too clear, and it's probably pretty old, but you get an idea of the front of the house. The right portion of the home was the addition.