Evergreens No More

Ben’s been hard at work on the yard. Most weekends, and many evenings, you’ll find him wielding a chain saw or an axe or some other manly type tool.

Now, thanks to his hard work, we can see our property from the back of the house!

Last week, he took down the trees that had grown in front of the enclosed side porch (on left in photo below). Now that they’re gone, we can be in that space and watch the deer in the yard. Today, he took down the trees on the opposite side by the garage. Pictures of tonight’s project are below. 20140707-221416-80056196.jpg

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Creating a Fire Ring Area

When we purchased our home last fall, there was a small section of dead ash trees and other shrubbery on one side of the yard.

trees

This is an area where Ben is working to remove dead trees and clear an area for a fire ring. This is how it looked in June 2013.

This spring, Ben has been working steadily to remove the dead trees and other growth to create the perfect space for a fire ring!

trees

This picture was taken in May 2014. It’s a slightly different view from above, but you can see that the space is clearer.

The long-long-term plan includes a fire ring, seating area and outdoor food prep area.

The short-term plan is to clear enough space for a basic fire ring and probably some camp chairs.

Bring on the roasted marshmallows!

1960s Home Renovation Update

On Sept. 1, Ben and I got possession of our 1960s split level.

Check out this post to see what it looked like when we bought it.

Since then, lots and lots and lots of wallpaper has been removed. Yay!

My grandpa also very graciously volunteered to paint, and finished the entire lower level.

Our good friend (and carpenter!) Jim came down for a day and installed two new exterior doors for us.

Some guy named Frank repaired some holes and cracks in the walls.

Here are some pictures showing some of the changes, as of Oct. 13 when I took these pictures:

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Here’s a couple of good befores and afters:

eat-in kitchen

eat-in kitchen

eating area in kitchen, looking toward garage door

eating area in kitchen, looking toward garage door

This view is looking toward steps that go up to the main floor; two doors go to a craft room and a spare bedroom; steps go down to basement.

This view is looking toward steps that go up to the main floor; two doors go to a craft room and a spare bedroom; steps go down to basement.

downstairs family room

downstairs family room

The Beginnings of a 1960s Home Renovation

It has begun. Ben started renovations on our newly purchased 1960s split level.

Old wallpaper. Outdated draperies. Stinky carpeting. Wood paneling. Overgrown landscaping.

And we love it!

If you’re new here, let’s catch you up on things.

We sorta unexpectedly sold our first house in April.

Then, we moved in with my in-laws.

We searched for a house that needed to meet several criteria.

Our new place fell into our laps!

Okay. Back to the renovations. Here is what we started with:

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Since then, Ben has removed almost all of the wallpaper (which came down much, much easier than all of the horror stories we’ve heard led us to believe it would) and some chair rails; and he started on basic maintenance of the landscaping.

How to Make Living With Your In-Laws Work

If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that since we sold our house so quickly, Ben and I (and our littles) are living with my in-laws until our new place is ready.

Whenever I tell anyone this, I generally either get looks of horror or looks of sympathy, with the same tentative ”So, how’s it going?“

people

You live with your in-laws???

I promise you (and not just because my mother-in-law reads my blog) that it’s going fine. Really, it is.

I know what you’re thinking (because people say these things to me): “Really? Really it’s going fine? How is that possible? I couldn’t take it!”

My in-laws are great. They’re easy going and fun, and they have good perspective on life in general. I started dating Ben when I was 16, so I’ve been around a while (nearly 16 years), and they put up with me really well. I am, by far, the most high maintenance person living in the house at the moment (and at the moment, there are eight people).

Maybe I just have the World’s Best In-Laws. In the case that I do, and you are stuck with the Second Best In-Laws, here are some suggestions for how you can make your situation work:

  • Be flexible. You can’t go imposing your schedule on other people when you’re living in their house. You like to eat at 5:30 p.m. on the dot? Well, you may need to bend the rules a little bit.
  • Accept that people do things differently than you do. Maybe they don’t do laundry like you would, or dishes like you would, or clean like you would. Maybe they only brush their teeth in the middle of the day, and you brush yours in the morning. Whatever. It’s okay.
  • Maintain perspective. Do you have a roof over your head and a warm (or cool, whatever your preference) bed to sleep in? Yes? Oh, okay. Then maybe it doesn’t matter so much that you had to wait 10 minutes to use the restroom.
  • Keep communication open. Something really bothering you? Then talk about it, nicely, before it escalates into a very avoidable tense situation. You’re not going to win every battle; pick them wisely.
  • Remember Colossians 3:23-24

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Have you ever lived with your in-laws (or your parents)? How did it go? What advice would you give to someone going through the same situation?

It’s Official: We Found a New Place

pretty backyard

It’s official! This backyard view will soon be ours to enjoy!

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about sharing too much too soon, but with closing scheduled for the end of July, Ben and I are feeling quite optimistic about the new house we found!

We sold our house in April, moved in with Ben’s parents in May and learned about this house soon after. It was a for-sale-by-owner situation, and it wasn’t advertised. In fact, we found out it was going to be for sale through a coworker, and we were blessed to make a deal on it before it went on the market!

As soon as we saw the location, we were sold: five acres on a quiet road, conveniently located from my job, the school and our church.

The house was built in the late ’60s and only had one owner. Though it is in dire need of an update and some routine maintenance, it’s been well cared for by the family who owns it.

The woman who owns the house wanted to meet us before the sale was final. Ben and I met her this week, and although she is sad about leaving her family home, she is a sweet lady who wants us to pay special attention to her columbine plants, asparagus plot and a beautiful tree by the driveway. We’re more than happy to oblige, and in fact, we love fresh asparagus!

We are feeling very blessed with this situation, and it has been so obvious throughout this entire process that God has His hand in it. From the way a buyer for our house fell into our laps, to the graciousness of Ben’s parents in welcoming us into their home, to the way in which we found our new place, we’ve experienced God’s favor.