Monday, April 11, 2016

New Mercies


Lamentations 3:22-24
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."


Each day we have...
constant love
endless mercies
the promise of hope in a God who will provide


Some days more than others I need to know that I have these promises from the Lord.

We all have our reasons to need this encouragement, but hopefully this week you will recognize these truths in the moments when you need it most.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spring Break 2016

Last week was spring break for us, and we headed south down I-35 for a quick getaway.  We had the perfect excuse to take a road trip.  One of my best friends from college had a baby and I wanted to visit her.  Being the baby hog that I am I couldn't hold the precious little fella enough.

When in Austin...
You visit the State Capitol of Texas.
When I'm not a wife and mom, I'm a history teacher, more specifically a Texas History teacher. I love any chance I get to visit Texas landmarks. 

We visited the Capitol on Sunday afternoon after we attended Brentwood Oak Church of Christ in north Austin.
The boys enjoyed our quick tour.




After our tour of the State Capitol we were going to try to eat at one of the well-known BBQ places around the area. Guess what?  So was everyone else in Austin that afternoon.  First we went to Franklin's but the line was too long.  We drove to Micklethwait, but they sold out.  Next we tried Stubb's but they weren't serving at that time.  Our BBQ luck had run out.

No problem, because our nephew is now a student at the University of Texas and he was going to give us a tour of the campus.

Y'all know I'm an Aggie, but even this old Aggie could appreciate seeing the UT campus.  If I wanted to get sentimental and reflect,  I'd tell you that our nephew Max was the age of Ben when Mark and I started dating.  That's so crazy because now he's studying at UT and living the college dream.  We're so proud of him.  Someone please tell me where all those years have gone!


We headed to Gruene (pronounced green) and our plan was to eat at the Gristmill since we weren't able to get any tasty BBQ earlier in the day.

The boys and I in front of Gruene Hall.  I think it's the oldest dance hall in Texas or maybe it's the oldest one still in use.  We didn't go inside because it was crowded but we did hear some good music being played.

Huge live oak trees in front of the Gristmill Restaurant in Gruene.




On our way home from Austin, we stopped by the Magnolia Silos in Waco.
Yes, THE Magnolia Silos that are seen on Fixer Upper.
About a year ago, we went to the Magnolia shop on Bosque but I hadn't had a chance to visit the new location. 
The weather forecast had projected storms on the day we planned to visit and the crowds were low.  I think they were very low compared to what others experience.  We didn't have to wait in line at all.

I purchased a few items for the new house.  The kids played outside and had a blast playing a pickup game of baseball with other kiddos playing in the outdoor area.  Chip and Joanna did an awesome job of creating a space that everyone in the family could enjoy.  Mark and I especially liked the food trucks--crepes and coffee from Common Grounds.


Sorry for the blurry iPhone photos.  It's the best I can do right now with limited internet access.  

If y'all are wanting a house update...we're hoping we move in less than a month.  Follow along on Instagram where I share more regular updates. There's more than I can begin to blog about, but one day I promise I will try.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

#letsbuildafarmhouseTX Update 2015


If you've been reading my blog since the beginning, then you know Mark and I have dreamed about building a house on our land in the country since we got married.  It's taken us 10 years to decide what we wanted and about 3 years to make it become a reality.  We started from scratch.  We had house plans drawn to perfectly fit our land.  Before we started any of the building process, we got bids from different custom home builders and we selected the builder that was right for our project, budget, and family.  Our land in the country was a blank slate when we moved forward with building.  There were several things that had to be done before we were ready to build.  We didn't even have a physical address (also called a 911 address) or any utilities.  Once we took care of all of the start up, which included getting electricity, water, putting in a driveway, and having dirt work done by a bulldozer to build the house pad, we were ready to go.  Since our home is completely custom, I've often told people it is a blessing and a curse. The fun part of a custom home is that you have unlimited choices. The stressful part is that you have unlimited choices. Did that make sense?  Many people are frustrated when building a new home because they don't feel like they can personalize it.  With our home there are endless possibilities and it is 100% a reflection of our style.

If you're new here, and the title didn't give it away already, our style is farmhouse, which most of you already knew.  Have you ever heard the song by Barbara Mandrell, "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool"? I feel like, "We Were Farmhouse When Farmhouse Wasn't Cool".  We started planning this home about 3 years ago (before Fixer Upper) and we didn't know the farmhouse style would become so popular.  It doesn't bother me that so many people are building homes that are this style.  It is classic and timeless in many ways.  There are numerous benefits of building something that's a popular style and one is that finishes are readily available.

I haven't been as good about blogging about the process as I thought I would be.  I plan to share more of the specific details about finishes on Angela's blog Unexpected Elegance.  For now I've put together a timeline to help me remember all that's happened this year in regards to our new home.

Photo taken in November

Here's a timeline of how things have evolved.

2015
January 
Received bids

February
Chose builder/general contractor

March
Worked to get utilities, address
Link {here} to a blog post as we prepared to start the dirt work.

April
Dirt work for house pad
We were very fortunate that we had a few days of dry weather to get the dirt work done because May brought record amounts of rainfall to Texas.

May
Not much since it was the rainiest May on record

June
Continued to get utilities put in place

July
Worked on selecting interior finishes

August
Continued to work on selecting finishes, specifically plumbing

September
Foundation work, piers were poured

October
Foundation was poured
Decisions were made about exterior siding, exterior doors, etc.

November
Framing 

December
It was a BIG month!
Soooo much that I don't even know if I can keep a record of it all. 
Follow my instagram @redbirdblue and you can see progress updates.  I've kept a record and dated most of the photos so I can remember all of the details.

This photo below was taken (by my mother-in-law) around December 19, 2015 and shows the progress made to this point.  We don't have a rigid timeline of when the house will be complete.  It could be end of March or sometime in April, and if it is sooner then we'll be pleasantly surprised.  We have a place to live currently and that takes away the pressure of needing it completed by a certain date.  

Of course there have been challenges along the way, but overall we couldn't be happier with the house.  We feel very thankful that this home has become a reality.  I know I say this often, but I truly mean it.



Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015


This year the boys received more electronics than in the past.  I guess they are growing up (boo hoo!) and the days of receiving all toys is slowly fading away.  

They asked for PS4 games (they saved their money and purchased a PS4 earlier in the year), 
baseball cards--for Will, football cards and Pokemon cards--for Ben.
They also got a new Nerf glow football, basketball, and glow basketball goal set, and hoodies, movies, and Santa still brought them each a Disney Pixar Cars car.  Their stockings had candy and flashlight glow sticks and a headlamp, which came in handy for the scary tornado situation that occurred the day after Christmas.



Here are a few pics from Christmas Eve.
The boys exchange books.
Mark and I also gave the boys some books we thought they would enjoy.






Can't go to bed on Christmas Eve without checking the Santa Tracker. 



Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

These photos were taken this fall 
and used on our Christmas card.









As always, Lauren, our friend and photographer gets credit for making us look good.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thanks For the Memories

This is our house in 2003, a year after it was built.  

Here's a final photo with the boys taken on Sunday after church in front of the house that was their first home. 

Today is a big day for our family.  We are scheduled to close on the sell of our home.  It's been a whirlwind the last few months, and I've been unusually silent on the blog.  There are several reasons why.  The main focus of our lives lately has been preparing our home to sell.  It feels strange to share some personal details of our lives, even though I'm open about things, the sell of our home just didn't feel right to blog about.  The other reason I've been distracted from blogging is that things are full steam ahead on construction of the new house.  Throw moving to a temporary home into the mix  and I don't know if I'm coming or going.  I haven't even had time to stop and process all that is happening, which may be a good thing.  There's no time to worry about things, we just have to get it done and move on.  

I don't have very much time, but I wanted to take a minute to slow down and reflect on the last 13 years in the house that's been our home, I feel overwhelmed with emotions.  This home has been full of such wonderful memories.  I can't even begin to describe how many happy moments I've experienced here.  I stood for a moment in the middle of the empty living room trying to think of all the good times, and the memories flooded through my mind.  It felt like a movie montage--all the faces, people, and moments.  Maybe one day I will write down some of them, but for now, I can only say that I am grateful for these four walls and the roof over our heads.  It's been more than just a shelter, it's been a home for my family.  First a home for Mark and I, and then for us as parents to Will and Ben.  It's hosted beloved family members who are no longer with us and numerous family and friends who we plan to have as guests at our new home where we will hopefully make many more happy memories together.

I'll be honest, as I sit here and type I'm crying and I can't stop the tears from coming down my face.  I think it's because of all the emotions I feel right now.  It's difficult to process the letting go of the tangible reminder of all of the memories I associate with this home.  Even though I'm sentimental with a touch of sadness, I mostly feel love and gratitude for the memories of all the good times that I have to cherish from this home.  It's been better than I could have imagined.

Thanks for the memories sweet first home.  
You've been good to our family. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Will's 9th Birthday Party

On Saturday we celebrated Will's 9th birthday by combing two of his favorite things--bowling at Splitsville and the Texas Rangers.  We've been busy with the construction of our new home and selling our current home, but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to celebrate Will's birthday.  This year's party was a little smaller than ones we've had in the past, but with all of the craziness in our lives right now it was just perfect.

We celebrated Will all weekend.  He had cupcakes with his class at school on Friday, and then Friday night he had his best friend spend the night and we took the boys to see the Peanuts Movie.

Here's Will before his party started.  I didn't know there would be so many MLB and Texas Rangers party decorations available.  I was lucky enough to find it all at one stop at Party City. 

The marquee wishing him a happy birthday.





Family and friends who are like family helped us celebrate


Such a fun group of boys!



Happy, happy, happy with new baseball cards to add to his collection.

I can't believe that the boys are 9 and 6.

Happy Birthday, Will!
We love you so much!  You are a wonderful son and you have such a good heart.  You're a great big brother and a good friend to others. 
You're our favorite 9 year old in the whole wide world!

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