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.

Received bids

Chose builder/general contractor

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

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.

Not much since it was the rainiest May on record

Continued to get utilities put in place

Worked on selecting interior finishes

Continued to work on selecting finishes, specifically plumbing

Foundation work, piers were poured

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


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!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Will is 9!

Today is Will's 9th birthday!

He's in 3rd grade and growing up so fast!

 Here are some of Will's favorite things.

Favorite food: Turkey, cheese, and mayo sandwich

Will's favorite drink is root beer

Favorite fruit: apples

Favorite veggie: green beans

Favorite sport to play: Baseball

Will's favorite sports team is the Texas Rangers. 

Favorite toys: baseball cards, Legos, Texas Rangers Captain Dreamlight

The best show on television according to Will is Arthur.

Will's favorite thing to learn about in school is math and science.

Will's favorite thing about school is seeing friends.

If Will could go anywhere in the world, he'd go to Cooperstown, New York because he wants to see the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Will's favorite color is blue

When Will grows up he wants to be a MLB baseball player.

His favorite book is Little House on the Prairie

Favorite holiday: Christmas

Favorite animal: Dog

One of Will's favorite memories of the last year was going to watch 
 the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in Houston at Minute Maid Park.  See more from that fun trip here.  

Will really likes Texas Rangers baseball and any MLB games that are on TV

We plan to celebrate Will's 9th birthday this weekend bowling at Splitsville with friends.  

This evening we watched our niece in the volleyball playoffs and before the game Will wanted to eat at Chick-fil-A and get a cake pop at Starbucks. 

Happy 9th Birthday, Will!  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Good Works

One of the ways we know we are pleasing God and doing his will is by showing a life full of good works.  

The following Bible verses focus on how we can do that.

We don't live for ourselves.  We were created for good works.

Ephesians 2:10
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

The next verses gave me something to think about while I was preparing this.  Verse 19 caught my attention "take hold of that which is truly life."

In the context of Paul instructing Timothy to tell those who are "rich in this present age" he wrote,
1 Timothy 6: 18-19
"They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life."

We are all rich when you stop and think about it.  We shouldn't let our riches or attachment to this world interfere with missing out on "that which is truly life."  We need to be about the business of good works instead of storing up earthly treasures (Matthew 6:19-21).  Serving God and doing good to others is of more value than anything we could ever attain here temporarily.  That is truly life.

It's okay for us to expect Christians to act like Christians.  If we are walking in a manner that is worthy then we will bear fruit that is pleasing to him.  It should be evident in the lives of Christians.  I might add to these verses in Colossians the reminder about the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5--love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (I didn't even have to look that up in Galatians, I just sang the song I learned years ago in VBS.  Are you singing it now in your head?)

Colossians 1:9-10
"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worth of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Do you guys ever get tired?  We all grow weary.  Life is exhausting, but don't give up!  Keep planting seeds, watering and waiting patiently.  When we're tempted to give up and forget it all--we need to remember to hang in there.

Galatians 6:9
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Hopefully these verses will encourage you to stay the course and continue to seek opportunities to do good.  We're all given different talents.  You've been give the perfect set of circumstances to allow you to have unlimited possibilities for good works to honor and glorify God.  I can promise you that you've been an encouragement and example to someone and you didn't even know it.

Hebrews 10:24
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works"

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Happiness is...

Happiness is my boys saying silly things.

Last week I celebrated my 38th birthday.  Mark and I were discussing buying something I wanted for my birthday, and Will overheard us.  When he heard our discussion, he chimed in and said, "Yes, you should buy it! Buy whatever you want because it's your birthday."  How cute and funny is that?  He's got a generous heart, especially since he doesn't have to pay for the gift.

On Saturday morning I usually buy donuts at the local donut shop.  It's not something I have time to do during the week so it's our special weekend treat.  When I woke up Saturday morning, I rested on the couch while the boys watched TV.  Once I was fully awake, I asked them if they wanted me to get donuts, and Ben's reply was priceless.  He dramatically said, "Yes!!!  I thought you'd never ask!."  I thought it was so cute that I had to write it down.

Here are a few pics from my birthday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

38 Reasons to be Thankful

Today's my 38th birthday!

I can remember turning 16, 18, and 21, and now here I am turning 38.  In the past I've shared lists of random facts about myself on my birthday. {Here they are when I turned 33, 34 ,and 36.}  I don't have a list of random facts this year.  It gets more difficult each year to come up with something original for those types of blog posts so instead of spending time on that, I decided to list 38 things I'm thankful for.  

38 Reason to be Thankful on my 38th Birthday

1. Y'all know my faith is important to me.  All of the blessings in my life that I'm undeserving of are a gift from God.  I'm grateful for God's grace, patience, and forgiveness and the love and sacrifice of Jesus.  I'm thankful for the Bible to guide and direct us.

2. My husband--Mark and his unconditional love.  He makes me a better person and God knew I needed him.  He's handsome, intelligent, humble, funny, and always up for an adventure.  Mark is the love of my life and my best friend.

3. My precious boys--Will and Ben, they are my purpose and make me want to be a better person.  I'm the luckiest to get to be their mommy.

4.  My grandparents--Being raised in a Christian home by people who set an example of faith and honored God in their lives

5. My extended family--my in-laws, brothers, sister, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, and cousins

6. My health and the health of my family

7. Being a teacher-- Having a job where I see my husband often and my children have the same schedule

8. Living in a country where we are safe

9. Friends--ladies who get me and make life fun

10. Our home and the new home we are fortunate to be building

11. Social media and the relationships built through it

12.  The teachers who help educate my children

13.  Bible class teachers at our church who help teach our children God's word

14. All of our travel memories.  Some of the best moments in my life have been spent on trips with my family.  

15. Going through hard times because it's made me appreciate the good times that much more

16.  Being raised in a small town because it's made me value the simple things in life

17. Having the opportunity to live in a big city and travel to big cities because it's shown me there's a lot more out there

18. The ability to attend ETBU and graduate from Texas A&M

19. Imperfections because they keep me humble

The first half was serious, and I could only think of so many meaningful things.  The next part of the list includes things I'm definitely appreciative of but they are also things I could live without. 

20. Tex Mex

21. Makeup and good hair products

22.  Social media because it's a distraction from life

23.  Freezer meals on a weeknight when I'm tired and don't want to cook

24. Cherry limeades from Sonic or Dairy Queen

25. Good music

26. Romantic comedies--chick flick movies

27. Getting a good deal when I'm shopping

28. Netflix

29. Pinterest

30. Candles that smell good

31. Coffee and tea

32. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's

33.  A clean house

34.  Photos--professional, from my iPhone, my DSLR and any others,  I love photos of places we've been and photos of my family!

35.  Cooler weather when we've suffered through the heat of summer.  Fall is my favorite season.

36. A good book

37.  Cardigans and scarves

and last but not least

38. Being surrounded by an abundance of love


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