Tag Archives: house

The (Unofficial) House Tour

17 Jul

I was going to wait to show you our new house until everything was in its place, but you might be waiting… for a very long time. So without further adieu, here it is. Prepare to be very underwhelmed by picture quality. (But this is the unofficial tour after all.)

We are in a development of ~ 20 houses about 5 miles west of Baxter.

Here’s our street:

20140717_193648And how our driveway looks when you drive up:

20140717_193655I mostly love that you can’t see our house from the road, but it does make meeting neighbors a little bit trickier. I’m guessing a lot of people buy a house like this because they don’t want to meet their neighbors (or at least not very much), but we do!

Here’s what the view is looking back toward the road from the middle of our driveway:

20140717_193549The front and back of our house:

20140717_194233 20140717_194315And our awesome view of the Gull River from the big picture window:

20140621_124234

Now, for the inside. This is your view walking in the front door:

20140717_200013And if you turn around, here’s the front entryway:20140717_200028It’s a very open floor plan, with the living room, dining room and kitchen being pretty much all one room. On the other side of the wall next to the refrigerator is the laundry room, and next to that is a door to the garage. There’s also a closet over there that we’re using as a pantry (love!).

upperfloor

The open door in the bottom right picture is the ‘book nook’ (my office/guest room):

booknookAfter that doorway, the hallway makes a T. To the left is the master bedroom and bathroom:

master

To the right, is Emma’s bathroom and bedroom.

emmasroomWe got her pink curtains hung up!

That does it for the upper floor. The stairs to the basement are right off the dining room/living room area. The first thing you see when you get down the stairs is the wall with the built-in bookshelves:

20140717_200654After you ’round the corner’, you see this:

20140717_200705

It’s a very long, skinny room which makes it a little interesting to arrange. This is how the previous owners had it, so we’re trying it out. Right in the middle of the room along the left wall is a sliding glass door that leads out onto a concrete patio. A few more pictures of that room:

basementI haven’t used the elliptical once yet. Sad.

The tiled space above is what we’re planning to one day turn into a 5th bedroom. To the right of that space is a hallway that leads to the downstairs bathroom and the 4th bedroom, which is currently Travis’ office:

office.jpg.

And that’s it! Whew, that took a lot longer than I thought it would. But I finally got wise and used an online collage maker (befunky). Why did I not figure this out before?!? So much easier.

The Real Meaning of Home

26 Jun

Since our lives for the past 4-5 months have revolved around houses, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of what it means to be “home”. Not having our own house for 3 months has shown me how much of my comfort and ease in life is derived from having a place to call home – and it makes me more appreciative for how Jesus not only gave up His earthly home during His ministry, but also gave up His heavenly home to come to earth for us. Having a home is a precious thing.

But for us Christians, our home is not here on earth. Second Corinthians 5:1-10 are some of my favorite verses, and I have thought about them a lot lately. “We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” Jesus has promised us a heavenly home with Him: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

So our ultimate hope for a home is in heaven. But here on earth, a lot of us are also called to have earthly homes. If everyone were nomads or missionaries, society would not function! For those of us called to stay (in our current season at least), what should we do with our earthly homes?

This is what God has been teaching me lately: A house is a tool. It’s a means, not an end. It’s meant to be used to rejuvenate those who live there, to entertain and host friends and family, and to make memories in. It is fun to decorate and paint, but those also are just a means of creating an inviting and relaxing atmosphere, not an end in itself.

So what does this mean for me in practical terms? It means having people over and not worrying about tracking dirt on the carpet. It means hosting play dates and not overreacting if something gets broken or colored on. It means letting God lead us to use our house in the ways He sees fit, and not staking our claim to our “own territory”.

It also means keeping practicality and functionality in mind. With 2 dogs and young kids running around, a brown couch is much more practical than a white one. I plan to decorate and organize in a way that allows Emma to reach the stuff she can have and nothing more, so I don’t have to be constantly telling her no. If we can find something that fits the bill of what we would like for a certain use in a thrift store or on Craigslist, we buy that instead of something brand-new or name-brand.

For me, it also means valuing gifts and things with sentimental value. That’s the problem with trying to make a room look like the ones in a catalog: it would often require getting rid of things I’ve been given, because they don’t “go with the decor” or “aren’t my style.” This is something I’ve learned from my paternal grandmother: Cherish gifts. A home is more about memories than picture-perfect decorating. And soon, Emma will be painting “beautiful” pictures for us to hang on the walls!

I read Luke 12:23 yesterday – “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing” – and it made me think, “For life is more than decorating, and a home more than furnishing.”

It’s easy for me to get so focused on decorating and re-creating Pinterest rooms that I forget: A home is a means, not an end. It’s not a competition to have the cutest house. Beautiful decorating means nothing to kids.

I’ll close with this excerpt from one of my previous blog entries:

When I admire people in movies (like J. Lo in The Wedding Planner) who have every piece of their life in place with predictable schedules and unvaried routines, I fail to realize that they’re paying for that perfection – with human relationships. I mean, how often do those same perfect people have an intimate marriage, loving kids, and open their homes to others?

To truly embrace the presence of others in my life, I have to let go of perfection. Because a life filled with relationships is messy. As Emily Walker wrote in her post The Messy Table:

My table is not perfect, but it has done the job it was meant to do very well. Life has been lived at it. Lessons have been learned at it. Memories have been made for decades, right there at that table. It tells the story of lives being lived, not life missed out on in the name of perfection.

That. Exactly.

When I think about what kind of mother I want to be someday, do I want my kids to remember how well-kept our house was, elaborate our dinners were, and how we were always running around doing stuff?  Or do I want them to remember how I played with them in our backyard, dropped whatever I was doing to listen or laugh, and didn’t get mad when they trampled little dirty footprints all over the carpet? Obviously, I want to be the latter.

And here’s what I’m learning: I don’t become the peaceful, patient, loving woman I want to be by being perfect and on top of things. Rather, I grow to be that woman as I learn to let things go. If I expect the house to always be orderly, I get frustrated when something is out of place. If I map out my schedule for the day and a wrench gets thrown in, I’m mad.

People who exhibit the fruit of the Spirit aren’t isolated from problems and frustrations. They have just learned to embrace the messiness of life. Be content in chaos. See each moment for what it’s really worth – not a time for getting things done, but a time to connect with and serve others, and to be filled with the joy of knowing Christ. Instead of running around checking off my own to-do list, I need to walk through each day with God, trusting that His grace is sufficient – He will provide the energy and wisdom to work when I need to, and to rest when I need to.

I am praying that God uses our new house for His purposes, and that we embrace those purposes whole-heartedly.

7-Year Anniversary Celebration, Part 1

7 May

Last weekend, Travis and I spent a night away from Emma for the first time since she was born. As we drove away from Travis’ parents’ house, I almost cried but after that, I was fine. We did call to check in that night and the next morning, and Emma did great! That was a relief.

Travis and I enjoyed ourselves as well. We drove down to the Brainerd area on Friday to look at houses. After that, we were starving so instead of cooking dinner in the kitchen of our hotel room like planned, we ate at Grizzly’s. Sufficiently stuffed, we checked into our hotel at Cragun’s Resort, then walked along the lakeshore for a bit before enjoying a free drink and live music at the resort bar.

We went back to the room to get our jacuzzi on. So fun! We drank wine and talked about houses. Then we watched part of the Wild vs. Blackhawks game and hit the sack. We were dialed!

Saturday morning, I read blogs in bed while Travis slept in and then we drove to Caribou Coffee for coffee and breakfast sandwiches. We took our coffee with us and went down to the lake again.

image

It was kinda chilly though so we I didn’t last long. Back up in the room, I sat by the fireplace until it was time to checkout.

We had lunch with a girl I knew in college. She lives near Baxter with her husband and daughter who’s just a few months older than Emma. It was fun reconnecting and they gave us the lowdown on the area.

After lunch, we stopped at Fleet Farm, then drove up to the house we were interested in to talk to a neighbor about the neighborhood. It seemed like a great place and we went back on Monday to see it again but someone put an offer on it yesterday, so back to square one. There aren’t many other houses on the market in our price range that we haven’t looked at so it might be a while before we find a house. I’m definitely ready for life to resume a more normal feel, but trying to be patient and trust God’s provision.

We got back up to Nevis about 4:30 on Saturday. It was good to be away for a night but I enjoyed seeing Emma again.

Emma and I are hanging out down in the Cities this week visiting friends while Travis is out of town on a work trip. It’s a little overwhelming because of all the running around but it’s better than staying in Nevis by ourselves!

Emma’s 13 months today but I don’t have a post ready. Guess that one will be a titch late. Later!

Our house is under contract!

25 Feb

Our house is under contract! It was only on the market for a day before we received a full-price offer. We accepted the offer with a 30-day closing and right now, are in the midst of inspection items and a looming appraisal. If all goes well, our closing date is March 20, and we give possession on March 22.

I can’t believe it’s actually happening!

I finally told my boss and co-workers that I’m moving to Minnesota. Most of them were not surprised. Hmmm… guess I’m not that good at keeping secrets. But they were all happy for me, and sad to see me go. Our departure is definitely bittersweet.

Since my mommy brain is mush, and I won’t remember this stuff next month, let alone a year or more from now (I’ve probably already forgotten stuff!), here’s what we did to our house to get it ready to sell:

  • Packed up and filled a storage unit with about 75% of our stuff
  • Repainted our kitchen cabinet doors
  • Removed all closet doors and treated with Liquid Gold
  • Replaced all family pictures with landscape scenes
  • Puttyed, sanded, spackled and painted the office ceiling, and spots in the hallway, kitchen, master bedroom and laundry room
  • Scraped, washed and painted the exterior soffit and fascia
  • Hung small piece of wood between roof and fascia for new gutters to be installed
  • Had new gutters installed
  • Painted:
    • The hallway and one wall in the living room
    • Both bathrooms. Twice. (FYI, pastels are not in.)
    • Two walls of the master bedroom (We used a color that we had a full gallon of, but no idea why or who bought it)
    • Half of the laundry room (Half was semi-gloss, half was flat – we have no idea how that happened)
    • The laundry room doors and trim
    • The bench in front of our house
    • The china cabinet in our kitchen
    • The master bathroom vanity
  • Finished the windowsill in the master bathroom and added a piece of white trim above the tile
  • Replaced the front exterior light fixture and house numbers to be more modern
  • Had the carpet replaced (which involved removing everything not attached or contained within a piece of furniture – including our closet organizers, pictures on the walls, bed headboard, file drawers, and low closet shelves – and then putting it all back; we hired them to move the furniture itself)
  • Replaced the toilet seat in the main bathroom
  • Spent 3 whole days deep-cleaning our house with a toothbrush and bleach (I actually took work off to clean our house.)
  • Bought new throw pillows for bed and rug for kitchen
  • Bought new nightstands to replace our crappy makeshift ones: a nightstand we rescued from the curb, and a garden table

This is what happens when you leave many house projects only half finished. And totally slack on cleaning.

And that list doesn’t include all of the ‘re-dos’ we had. Our house project mantra was, “Two steps forward, One step back.” For example, when staining the windowsill in the master bathroom, Travis taped off the vanity. When he removed said tape, part of the fake wood veneer came with it. So we had to remove the vanity and paint it. After painting said vanity, we tried to hang it back up. Somehow, we didn’t get one of screws in the right place and it literally busted out a 3-inch chunk of sheet rock. The vanity is now held up with 3 screws instead of 4. In the midst of that debacle, we scraped some of the new paint off the vanity. OMG!!!!

Another instance: Travis and his dad redid our main bathroom last February. In the course of that project, Travis repainted the door trim. We didn’t even know it was possible but that extra coat of paint made the bathroom door no longer shut. So Travis pounded on the trim, busting it loose from the wall. After a few finish nails, the trim was anchored and the door shut, but now the trim and surrounding wall needed to be painted. Again.

Those were the worst things, but there were other little ones like having to repaint a piece of baseboard that was now uncovered by shorter carpet. Or touch up trim in the hallway that had had paint seep on it from underneath the painter’s tape when we painted the walls. Or another one of my favorites, having to repaint the kitchen drawers because someone dripped red wine all down them, and it wouldn’t come off without removing the paint along with it.

But it was all worth it to have our house sell so fast. It was really helpful to have a Realtor with an eye for decorating and staging.

The buyers are a young couple buying their first home. I like to imagine that they’re newlyweds and just starting out like Travis and I were when we bought this house, our first home. I hope they build lots of memories in it – that they host barbecues on the deck in back; play horseshoes and narrowly miss hitting the neighbor’s shed; climb up on the roof to watch the Carnation Festival fireworks; get their hands dirty doing landscaping and gardening; have fun decorating the inside; rock out in the garage while working on their cars; spend cozy winter days on the couch watching the snow come down thick; run hundreds of miles on the neighborhood greenway; walk to Dairy Queen on summer evenings; and so much more. I love this house. And even though it has been a bugger at times (ripping windows out with sawzalls and having the heavens open while half the house is sans shingles), I will always remember it. Actually, those bugger things are some of the best memories.

Now that I’m crying, here are the pictures posted with our listing. (If you’re interested in what the house looked like before, click here.)

l779e9044-w0x l779e9044-w1x l779e9044-w2x l779e9044-w3x l779e9044-w4x l779e9044-w5x l779e9044-w6x l779e9044-w8x l779e9044-w10x l779e9044-w12x l779e9044-w13x l779e9044-w14x l779e9044-w15x l779e9044-w16x l779e9044-w17x l779e9044-w18x l779e9044-w19x l779e9044-w20x l779e9044-w21x l779e9044-w22x

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.

– Arnold Bennett

Christmas Festivities + House Projects

18 Dec

Things have been pretty busy over here, but life is good!

Wednesday night, we had our Christmas celebration with our care group. We ate dinner together as usual and then played a huge group game of Apples to Apples. It was a lot of fun! Travis and I both won a round.

Thursday night, we went out to dinner with Travis’ company at The Fort in Morrison. It’s a small company (4 men + Travis) so we all had fun chatting and laughing about the crazy stuff that happens on the road.

Friday, I had lunch with a friend and then went to the church to set my table up for the women’s Christmas tea on Saturday.

20131213_141239 20131213_141246 20131213_141253Saturday, Travis worked on the soffet and fascia while I ran errands and frantically baked some Bagel Bites right before leaving for the Christmas tea. The tea was a lot of fun though, and I got to chat with some new faces. Right when the tea ended, I packed up my table quickly, drove home to nurse Emma and then turned around to take her to the babysitters for our date night. We went out to eat at Rock Bottom Brewery and then to Avs vs. Wild game. It was a pretty tame game – the teams were so evenly matched that not many surprise plays happened. But the game ended up going into overtime and a shoot out, where the Wild won!

Sunday, Travis did some more work on the soffet and fascia while Emma napped and I cleaned our house for the first time in way too long (oops). I also picked some friends up from the airport.

Monday, it was in the upper 50s, so we had Charlotte watch Emma while Travis and I painted the soffet and fascia. We got it scraped, washed and painted in about 6 hours!

20131216_115114This shows all the scraping we did.

Tuesday, I took a half day off from work to help Travis put a second coat of paint on. Painting is done! We went from white to a dark brown based on our realtor’s suggestion. I never would’ve thought to paint it dark brown but we think it looks nice! My neck is so tired from looking up for that long.

housepainting1 housepainting2We’re not quite ready for the gutters to be installed – Travis has to add a piece of wood for them to hang the gutters on – but we’re very close!

So that’s what we’ve been up to around here! Next up is packing for our trip to Minnesota. So excited!

Master Bedroom Update

1 Aug

This was a house project that I’ve been meaning to do for over a year. Our master bedroom used to have shelves on the walls, like in this picture:

But I was getting tired of the knick-knacks and then one of the shelves fell off the wall at least twice and ended up breaking. Time to replace them (12 months later).

I made my anniversary map project with the plan to hang it up in the master bedroom eventually. Last summer, I found a bunch of plain wooden frames at a garage sale for 25 cents each and this summer, I bought a can of off-white spray paint to redo them. With some other cute wall decorations on sale at Kohl’s and Hobby Lobby, it came together.

On the left side:

(Obviously, I still need to replace one picture but I haven’t been able to find a vertical picture for it yet.)

On the right side:

 

The ivory frames in this picture are the ones I spray-painted.

Also since the time when the first picture of this post was taken, we have painted 2 of the walls in our bedroom blue (because we replaced the windows) and installed dual rods, so that we could still have the sheer curtains but also have heavier ones to block out the light in the morning:

It felt good to get that project done! One down, 100 to go.

 

 

Our Busy Weekend

6 Jun

Some more pics from Saturday’s race (courtesy of my dad):

(Those last 4 are stills from video that my dad took, so that’s why they’re not the best quality. I included them because I actually look like I’m running!)

After the race, we walked around the Taste of Louisville festival for a bit before deciding to redeem the coupon on our race bibs for a free margarita at Old Santa Fe. Travis and I put on flipflops and changed our shirts and we enjoyed al fresco dining. I wasn’t very hungry so I ordered guacamole and chips, which were delicious.

Then we went home, showered, napped/watched TV until we decided to go do some shopping. Our first stop was the auto parts store. Our Focus died a few weeks ago and Travis has been hard at work trying to fix it. Nothing he did seemed to work so he finally gave up and brought it to a mechanic. Turns out that the things Travis had fixed actually had been broken but there was one more piece to the puzzle. It’s a tough part to get in and out (as Travis and my dad discovered first-hand on Sunday) so instead of paying $500 for the mechanic to do the work, Travis decided he and my dad would tackle it together.

Our next stop was Sam’s Club to look at Garmin watches. For my birthday! My parents are SUPER generous and said that they wanted to buy me a Garmin for my birthday (in July). Since they wanted to make sure I got the one I wanted, we picked it out together. Sam’s Club didn’t have any though. 😦

Then it was off to Walmart (I had seen Garmins on their website but they’re not in the store). No luck there. On to Gordman’s, where my mom and I spent a solid 45 minutes deciding which pillows to buy for our new couches (as an anniversary present from my parents – they think of any excuse they can to buy us things 😉 ). We were heading to the register with our final selections when I noticed one of the pillows had a tear. After calling to another store and finding out they had one, we went over there to buy pillow #6 of 6. Depressingly, those pillows didn’t end up working out so we had to return them anyway. But the others worked great!

While at the second Gordman’s store, Travis and my dad went to Home Depot and bought a stand-up, rolling tool chest that Travis had wanted. I told Travis he could buy one since he officially PASSED his Professional Engineer’s exam! Since they took a while doing that, my mom and I wandered around Gordman’s and found some shoes to buy. After my successful purchase last summer of b.o.c. sandals, I decided another pair for $35 (instead of $60) was in order.

Finally, we were on our way home. Unfortunately, I had had a massive headache for the previous hour or so. When we got home, I went straight to bed, only getting up to eat dinner. Not sure why my head hurt but it could be a combination of not drinking enough water, not replacing electrolytes well enough and not taking a nap.

………………..

The next morning, I felt better. We went to church and then ate lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, a salad bar place. Travis had talked to our friend that works at REI about Garmins and learned that REI sells them in the store. So after returning the pillows that didn’t work to Gordman’s, we headed downtown to find me a Garmin.

After much hemming and hawing, I decided on the 210. I had previously wanted the 405/410 until I learned that they’re no longer making them (and REI didn’t even have any).

The 210 comes with a heart rate monitor. It tracks all the basics: pace, time, splits, distance. You can view your elevation after uploading your data.

I also looked at the 610 but it was too expensive and I didn’t feel like the extra features were worth $150 to me (though they might to someone else). I decided against the 310 as well. Even though it being waterproof made it appealing, I didn’t feel that made up for the less-than-appealing humongous square display. Plus, it would probably be too big to wear with a wetsuit during a triathlon anyway – so what would be the point?

I think the 210 is really cute.

I took it for my first test “run” last night (I ended up walking most of the 2.5 miles because my legs were so tight/sore!). I really like how it fits and the distance/splits seem accurate but I was a little frustrated with the pace display. Thought I think that’s because it was displaying my average, not current, pace (which would explain a lot). I’ve been too lazy to actually get out the manual and figure out how to work the thing so I can’t really make a judgment until I do that.

In addition to the Garmin, my mom bought me a shirt to wear for the marathon.

The last picture is loading weird, but the lines are actually horizontal on the shirt.

The shirt is REI brand and is actually designed for backpacking, so I can get double use out of it. It’s 90% Polyester, 10% spandex so it’s very stretchy and is wrinkle-resistant. I also LOVE that fabric “texture” and figure that I can probably get away with teal + pink for the race. I’m going to test the shirt out on my 12 mile long run this weekend.

Post-REI, we headed home so that Travis and my dad could work on fixing the Focus. While they did that, my mom and I shopped for and hung a picture collage in the living room. When we got new couches, the arrangement of our living room changed quite a bit so the pictures had to be moved around. This is what we came up with:

One of the frames we bought (that will go in the middle on the left) didn’t have a wall-hanger so I have to work on that still – as well as putting pictures in some of the frames.

The canvases on the right need to be put in black frames and then they’ll be hung up above the loveseat.

The car and picture projects lasted until about 8:30, when we finally grilled up some elk burgers. Around 11, we went to bed and my parents (sadly) left the next morning to fly back to Minnesota. It was a short but sweet trip! Thanks Mom and Dad for your overwhelming generosity with everything. We are very blessed by you.

Happy National Running Day!