The Homestead

But first, a picture story…

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The concrete slab looked really small and I had to keep reminding myself that it was actually 2400 square feet.

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Once the walls were up it started to feel a little bigger…

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Interior walls!

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And the trusses go up… (Lesson learned: never stack windows in the Alabama heat… they warp.)

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It finally looks like a real house!

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Galvanized aluminum roofing

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Hardiplank vertical board & batten siding going up

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Choosing green paint… the top is Benjamin Moore Eucalyptus Leaf and the bottom is Guacamole. We chose Guacamole. ūüôā

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Patrick poured and stamped our porch. This is while the concrete is still drying…

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Patrick “antiquing” the porch. You can see where Alston wrote Emma’s name in the concrete…

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An “after” photo of the porch with the first coat of seal.

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Drywall in the master bathroom…

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Master bedroom…

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French doors to the back…

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Paint crew! We chose to have all of the rooms painted the same color (except Emma’s). We chose a nice neutral grey/beige – Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige.

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The front porch goes up!

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Side view of the porch…

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Our first pieces of furniture…

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Living Room

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Master Bedroom (and front door staining room)

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Emma’s room

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Living Room (again)

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Kitchen (in progress)

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Custom vanity in the master bathroom…

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Kids’ bathroom vanity…

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Emma Marie arrived December 2, 2015

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The exterior (almost done!)

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Back and Side view…

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Side view (french doors to the kitchen)…

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We spent Christmas “camping out” in the camper and Neece & Poppas’s… it was 72 degrees and Santa left his gifts outside. A Christmas to be remembered, for sure.

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January 4th – we spent our first night in the house!

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The floors may still be dirty, but at least we have a television. I mopped the floors at least 8 times before they were livable “clean”. I’m still finding spots of dirt in less obvious places.

Building a home is hard. It is frustrating and discouraging and can be downright depressing.

The bank process took forever. First there was the purchase of the land, which was its own weeks long process, and then there was the construction loan. Don’t get me started on construction loans. Of course we had to sell our house to be able to manage any of it, because Patrick and I are regular ol’ people who couldn’t afford a mortgage, a land payment and a construction loan. The banks are real picky about stuff like that. Especially when one spouse is self-employed. I had no ideas of grandeur about this process and i knew it was going to be hard. It was. We didn’t let it discourage us, though. We stuck with it to follow our dreams. And when God tells you to do something, you do it.

For many months before we sold our house, I started to feel very unsettled about where we were in our life. It was almost like I felt stifled by the everyday stuff. I knew our family was supposed to be somewhere with land and not in a neighborhood. I knew that we were supposed to be closer to Patrick’s hometown and our friends with children. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be struggling to get through the everyday life of being a working mom. (But that’s a story for another day…) So we sold our house (which took about 6 months), packed up all our stuff into two storage units and moved in with my parents. Who then decided they wanted to sell their house, too. So we moved to Patrick’s mom’s. We stayed there for about 8 months. 8 months. No matter how much you love your family or your in-laws, 8 months is a long time for two momma hens in one house. I know people did it back in ye olden days – crammed all their immediate into one tiny house – but its not ye olden days. So in May of 2015, we started house-sitting for another family member. And ended up staying there for another 7 months. 7 months! Bless them. We love them so much for sheltering us as long as they could. They really are like a 5th set of parents to us. And it was actually really fun, until the pregnancy nesting kicked in and I had no home to nest in. Every pregnancy instinct that says, “Get ready! The baby will be here soon!” had to be stifled while I said, “Shut up, instincts! I don’t want to think about the fact that I’m extremely pregnant and have no home. Let’s just pretend its not an issue.”

So what took so long?? We didn’t hire a contractor and did a lot of the work ourselves. (When I say ourselves, I mean that I ordered stuff while Patrick handled all the subcontractors.) We thought that as long as we did as much as we could ourselves that we would save money. We hired people we knew since Patrick has lots of connections in the homebuilding world. And we did save money. But when you save money, you lose time. You have to pick. Get it done faster for more money, or save money and get it done whenever your people can squeeze it in between their real jobs. That was all cool until March, when we found out I was pregnant. Then we had a timeline. We needed to be moved in by Thanksgiving. We were so close. Mere weeks from it. Those last 9 weeks were killer. Inspections. Those inspections killed our Thanksgiving deadline.

When I went in for my 36 week check-up (sometime during the last week of October), the doctor said she expected Emma within the next week. Our house was pretty much finished but weren’t close to being able to move in. Luckily, Emma did not make an early appearance. Nor did she come by her due date. I think she could sense my panic at not having our own home and decided to stay put. But on the morning of December 2, she decided to make her grand entrance. That is also a story for another day.

So we had a baby without having our own home to bring her to. Then we spent another Christmas in a home that wasn’t ours. And let me tell you, I cried. so. much. I think even without the pregnancy and postpartum hormones, I would have shed just as many tears. But people kept telling me how strong and patient I was. The word longsuffering comes to mind and now I understand that Bible verse a little better…

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

I didn’t feel strong or patient, but I know I must have been. God was teaching us a lesson. I’m not even sure what the lesson was, but there was one tucked into all of those months of waiting. And to be perfectly honest, there were times when I couldn’t remember why we were causing ourselves so much trouble. God had given us a vision – he placed those desires in our hearts. I know this because I was perfectly content with my little family in our cute little home in a quiet little neighborhood. Until one day I wasn’t. So I tried to remember that there was a purpose for everything. And finally – FINALLY – on January 4th, they turned our power on. And we had heat and hot water. And that was all I needed. We had already moved some of the larger furniture into the house. We sat a tv on the floor, hooked up a dvd player and called it home.

So we officially began this journey in January of 2014 when we put our house on the market and moved into our new home in January of 2016. 2 years to realize a dream. But we did it!

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18 Homeless Months

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We’re coming up on the two year anniversary of selling¬†our city house to prepare¬†to build our country house and I’m feeling especially thankful to have a home to call my own. For 18 very long months, we relied on the hospitality of our families while we went through the very long and frustrating process of building. During those 18 months we had¬†two first days of school, a fourth & sixth birthday, a fifth & seventh birthday, two Christmases, and we were blessed with one brand new baby sister. Thankfully, we moved into our forever home on January 4th and 2016 has been oh so good to us already. I want to recap on everything that I’ve missed, so bear with me as I rewind a little.

Laundry Room Mini Make Over

For a while now, I’ve been going through our house, one room at a time, and organizing and getting rid of stuff that we don’t use. I’m also trying to find uses for stuff we already have and discovering things I had completely forgotten about. I started small with the pantry. Then moved on to the coat closet in the living room. This past weekend I tackled the laundry room. I found things I had tucked away for later and decided to find a use for them now. What used to be my least favorite room in the house is now one of my most favorites. I actually enjoy spending time in there now.

Before (The horror!)

After

It could still use a little work, but I’ve kept it this way for quite a while, so I’m pretty proud of myself.

{I started this post a REALLY long time ago and decided it was time to add the pictures and share.}

suburban gardening

We’ve decided that you don’t have to have a farm to have a vegetable garden, and we planted one in our front yard. We made cute little raised beds from rough pine pickets and wooden stakes that we picked up from Home Depot. Then we filled it with veggie plants that we picked up at the local Farmer’s Co-Op. If you have the choice, I highly recommend buying your herbs and vegetable plants from a Co-Op. The prices are much better and they have a wider selection.

We’ve been working outside most weekends, completing a little project here and there. We took down the chain-link fence and have replaced it with a cute wooden fence. (Pictures to come.) Alston usually helps daddy while Eli hangs out on a quilt or in his pack-n-play.¬†

I have three prize tomato plants that I grew from seeds. I’m extremely proud. As big as the plants were, we haven’t gotten any tomatoes yet. I read online that it could be from improper fertilization. Several gardening forums said to shake the tomato plants. Yes, that’s right, shake them. So I did. Patrick thought I was crazy. Low and behold, we have lots of little green tomatoes growing now.

So far we’ve only managed to get a few banana peppers and a single jalapeno, but everything is very healthy and I expect we’ll have quite the little harvest soon enough.¬†

Tackled

Hello, my name is Beth, and I’m a Pinterest Addict.¬†
Thankfully, I’ve dedicated myself to completing some of these wonderful projects I’ve pinned. Here are a few that I’m really proud of…
Homemade Curtain Rods 
Super easy! The supplies can be found at any home improvement store and cost less than $10. The rod is much sturdier than any store-bought rod and won’t bow under the weight of your curtains. You can paint them any color you want or leave them as is for an industrial feel. I will never buy overpriced flimsy curtain rods again!

DIY Curtain Rod Pinspiration
Eggshell Seedlings
I used to buy seed starter kits, but these are so much cuter and practically free!
Egg Shell Seedlings Pinspiration 1, 2
Twiggy Frame
I had every intention of putting chicken wire in this frame, but its oak, and the staple gun wasn’t cutting it. So instead, I used these store-bought sticks I had stored away and some hot glue to create this little beauty. I found the frame for $2 at a thrift store and painted it black. I used old stuff I had laying around for this project, so it ended up being free.¬†
Twiggy Frame Pinspiration | Chicken Wire Frame Pinspiration

Photo Ledge
I showed a picture to my wonderful husband and he whipped up this beauty in less than 30 minutes. The lumber cost less than $10 and we already had the white paint. He measured out where the studs were, and marked it on the shelf. He pre-drilled the holes in the shelf and then screwed it directly into the studs. I originally wanted this for the living room, but decided it would look much better in the kitchen. I’m in love. We plan on adding hooks to the bottom so I’ll have somewhere to hang my collection of aprons.

Picture Ledge Pinspiration 1, 2, 3
I currently have about 543 other ideas pinned, so I’m sure I’ll have plenty to keep me busy for a while. Unfortunately, that won’t stop me from pinning more…