We truly are a family redefined. We are husband, wife, son, daughter, step children, biological and adopted children and most importantly, Children of God.

A friend pointed out that I needed to update my blog header. After our adoption from Ethiopia, I had updated it stating how the adoption of Sara Joy completed our family. Well... the journey continues. After much prayer, we have decided to follow what we feel is God's calling for us...we went to Ghana with the intention of adopting a four year old girl, Isabella Hope. Little did we know that she would be the catalyst to bringing home not only her, but her half brother and sister. We will now be adding not only Isabella Hope to our family, but also Mary Grace (9) and Gilbert (6) who we will transition to the name Nathaniel Timothy. The shock is wearing off and the JOY and EXCITEMENT are overwhelming. Now truly, our family is complete. The great part of journeying with God, is that it's always an adventure. He knows where we are going, and for us it is all a marvelous surprise. Looking forward to sharing our family adventures as we walk daily through life and as we venture off to Ghana to bring home Mary, Nate and Isabella! It's always an adventure redefining our family!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Projects

I'm working my way through a bunch of home improvement projects lately.  I think I bit off more than I can chew - as there are several projects, actually all of them, in different stages of "completeness".

The first project started was the sun room.  I've decided to make the sun room - which is currently grossly underutilized - into an actual living space.  It used to just be a "room" that really no one but the cats went into.  The treadmill was in there, some furniture - but really, no one used it.  We debated for awhile if we were going to "settle" into this house.  It's a bit oversized, but we really like the location.  At the beginning of our marriage, when we had Tim's kids coming over all the time, it was the size that was needed for our family.  But as they got older and stopped coming over, we've kind of grown out of it by a shrinking family.  We had to decide though, if we were going to stay or downsize... and I wasn't starting any projects until we made that decision.  Well, we must have made the decision, because I have projects, projects, projects underway!  The location of this house just can't be beat.  The subdivision backs up to the rail trail which I use all the time with Sara and Chara. It also leads directly to the fitness center, which I walk to with Sara and then they have a child care there that she loves.  I can take classes while she is having fun time away from mom with other kids.  We've also considered moving Anna (and eventually putting Sara) into a new school.  It's a Christian school right around the corner from our house which would be great.  Cameron will be moving to the school with the IB program, assuming he gets accepted, next year so it would be nice to have Anna closer to home.  I can walk over there and get her and eventually Sara right after school.  The proximity to stores and things like that, just can't be beat.  Chara's vet is right up the road from us - literally less than a quarter of a mile.... it all just works out good - giving me some independence an freedom when I'm here by myself.

Anyway, we decided to stay - so back to the projects.  It started with the under-utilized sun room.  I hated the look of that room.  It has one brick wall that really made the room look drab.  Combine that with the wall color that I hated and it made for a really icky room.  I never did anything with that room when we moved in, because I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do with it.  Well, the time had come to spruce it up.  I decided to paint the brick.  WHAT.  A.  CHORE.  I bought a gallon of paint for the one wall (mind you, that one wall had two french door sized holes cut in it on either side of the fireplace, so it's not really even a full wall) thinking that would be enough.  NOT HARDLY.  I will never, ever again paint brick!  It's awful.  I got it partially done and ran out of paint.  It's going to be finished this week, but I'll give you a sneak peak at where we are now:

Once I ran out of paint for the sun room, and before I went and got another gallon, I started ripping apart the laundry room.  Again, that is one room that I did NOTHING with since we moved into the house.  Those are the only two rooms I did nothing with.  But, the time had come.  I had dreams in my head of what I wanted the room to look like.  I went and picked out a nice light charcoal tile for the floor.  I picked out a paint color called "silver sateen".  It looks great with the tile.  The new washer and dryer I picked out are graphite colored... by the way, I LOVE my new washer and dryer :)  I ripped out the old floor and a sink and lower cabinet, pulled down an upper cabinet that I was going to paint and reinstall in a new location. I started on the floor tiling - wanting to do it all on my own - but Tim had to help me out.  I couldn't see it all well enough to make everything straight (and admittedly I was sick of adhesive being all over me).  After the tile was down, which ended up looking great, I painted the walls to be ready for the washer and dryer delivery.  Again - an unfinished project - I still need to paint the upper cabinet and reinstall, paint the large pantry-type cabinet, and install two shelves.....but here is the semi-finished product:

Finally came the swimming pool.  This will be my first summer home with the kids.  Summers in South Carolina are H.O.T.  I did not want to be home all summer without a swimming pool. The local fitness center has a swimming pool, but it's indoors and I didn't want to  have to walk the kids two miles everyday in the sweltering heat to get to it.  Plus, I wanted the kids just to be able to get out and play in the sunshine.  Really it's hard to do that in June/July/August and not die of heat stroke!  We've been debating a pool installation anyway, so we broke down and decided to do it.  We picked the pool and had them come out and get a general yard placement.  I decided to fence in the pool rather than the whole back yard... I guess I decided that for resale.  If someone has small children and wants them to have a back yard to play in, if we fenced in just the pool they could still safely play in the  back yard.  Our back yard is huge so there is plenty of room.  I think it will look really nice.  We are putting in a small patio area where we can have a table and chairs and then concrete along the pool for the sun deck.  We figured out everything we wanted and then went and ordered it.  The ground breaking happened this past Saturday and the pool was set in the hole today.  What an interesting project to watch.  It'll be another few days before it's "swim ready" but we are well on our way to having a place to swim!  Again, another unfinished project, but this is where it stands right now:

Tonight the pool will fill with 22,000 gallons of water (THAT will be a nice water bill this month :) and then in the morning they will begin to backfill around the pool.  It's moving along quickly.

When all is said and done, I told Tim I'm not leaving this house.  Unless something happens where we have to move for some reason - job related or something - now that we plopped that pool in, this is where we are going to be.  It feels kind of nice to finally get "settled" into the house that we have been in for almost six years!  The next large project is the kitchen... That won't happen for quite some time though.  We had to decide between the kitchen and the pool for right now, and I just couldn't imagine the kids enjoying a new kitchen as much as they would a pool:)  I'm afraid to see how I will be when that project starts though...

I'm  not a person who likes disorganization in a house.  I like order.  I thrive in an orderly environment.  Part of me needs it. Everything has to be in its place - or more than likely I won't be able to find it or will trip over it :)  I've been through a kitchen renovation once, and it was not fun.  This one will be even less fun.  I plan on ripping out a staircase and expanding the kitchen, totally relocating appliances, sinks, etc - expanding doorways.... all that good stuff.  It's going to be a MESS for quite some time when that happens.  Maybe the kids and I can just go live with my mom while that happens and I can be blissfully ignorant of all the chaos that is going on at home.  That would be great for the orderly part of me that doesn't want to be in the chaos..... but for the control-freak part of me that wants to make sure everything is done just so - being an hour and a half away from everything won't work.  Maybe we'll just have to come up with a compromise and stay in a hotel for the worst of it!

The next update will *hopefully* be pictures of all of my "projects" completed!

In Christ,