Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Sweet Girl

I just love it when Ashlyn brings books from her class home. Today it was one called "Friendship Letters." Most of the letters were things like How are you today? You are an awesome friend. I love your hair. You get the idea.

Here is Ashlyn's. I think it shows her sweet heart and how she always tries her best at everything she does. I hope you enjoy it!

"Dear Julia,
I hope you had a nice Christmas. How many presents did you get? I hope you got what you wanted from santa.
Your friend,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A New Direction

I've decided to take my blog in a new direction. Since we've been here almost two years now, there's not many of the "guess what we discovered today!" entries anymore. We're settled and really enjoying living here.

With that being said, I've decided that this blog will mostly now have posts about our house. The things we find, the things we do, the things I do that I wish I hadn't done :) I'm sure there will be the cute stories about the kids too, but mostly it will probably be about the house - hopefully with lots of pictures.

I caught the bug of owning an old house just after high school when I saw a house that was built in the early-mid 1800s literally transformed into a masterpiece. The first time I saw it, it had no indoor plumbing, the floors looked like sandpaper, and the old pot-bellied stove in the kitchen. When the owners were finished, it was gorgeous! That was all it took for me. I knew one day I wanted to own an old house and make her into a masterpiece.

We've gotten a pretty good start on transforming our house and making it ours. There has been a lot of "behind the scenes" work, like plumbing leaks fixed, upgrading the electrical so that we can actually plug more than 2 things in upstairs, fixing a leaky roof that had been disguised with wallpaper on the ceiling, etc.

Hopefully there will be lots of pictures of works in progress. Today I finished taking down the border in the TV room and sanded all of the woodwork so that I can start priming it tomorrow. Feels like the start of another big project...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy "Balemtime's" Day!

That's how Ashlyn used to say Valentine's. I still think it's the cutest thing.

Britney and I have never really celebrated Valentine's Day. He always told me he didn't need a "certain day" to tell me how much he loved me. It bothered me at first, but he did a pretty good job of making sure I knew he loved me every day, so I got over it.

Our marriage has gotten so much stronger in the last 2 years. Being here, on our own, without our parents or other family members to run to when things get hard or we need to "escape," we've had to stick together and work things out. Ironically, I would say we've had fewer disagreements and arguments. Sometimes it's hard not to have that escape, but I wouldn't trade the way my marriage is now for anything.

Over the last year, we've seen couples go through various separations. Remember my posts about the Spittles? They were separated for weeks, but they were following God's plan for their family by adopting two more children. Watching them come back together at the airport was heart-wrenching! It was bittersweet to see the joy and the pain that that separation brought. And to witness the love that the whole family has for each other.

We've had other friends who also separated this year. Sometimes it was purely selfish motives, sometimes it was out of necessity. Some of them have gotten back together. Some of them we're still praying for that to happen.

As we've had conversations about all of these situations, the one thing that Britney and I always come back to is that we made a covenant before the Lord - for better or worse until death do us part. Neither of us takes that lightly. And because we've seen the struggles and successes of our friends this year, Britney decided it was time to celebrate Valentine's Day together. To reinforce that bond that holds us together.

So, whether your marriage is rock-solid or feels like it's on shifting sand, take tomorrow to make sure your partner knows that you are committed to that covenant that you also made before the Lord. Tell them you love them and then work on ways to show them that love that really speaks to them. The difference can be in the tiniest detail like making the bed or it can be in something huge like saying I'm sorry for a hurt that happened so many years ago. Whatever it is, take the time to figure out your spouse and then do it. Remember something my mother always told me: Actions speak louder than words!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Nothing Says "I Love You" Like...

Ripping out that bump-thing that was bugging you!

I decided to strip wallpaper in 3 rooms last weekend and "take my time" re-doing them. Well, I'm not sure yet how that's going to work out since I don't really know how to take my time at anything.

Case in point. I had been asking all week what Britney thought about ripping that "thing" out. I keep calling it a thing because I don't know the technical term and I'm too lazy to go find out what it is.

Anyway, yesterday I asked AGAIN if I could poke just a small hole in it to make sure there was nothing running through it (like pipes or wires). Britney said yes, so made a LITTLE hole in it, but of course we couldn't really see anything. So, my wonderful husband whacked a HUGE hole in it and declared that it could in fact, come down!

HOORAY! What a difference taking that thing out made. Everyone may not notice it, but I love how much more open our kitchen seems.

OH! And I almost forgot the best part! When he was knocking it out, he found an envelope from the people who owned our house for almost 50 years, the Nealys. It states:
"On Dec. 9th, 1958, Mr. Joe Kramer built this drop in our home. Our family are David 20 - Timothy 18 - Sally 15 - Mark 15 and Peggy Ellen 9 years of age. At this time we also put new green tile in downstairs bathroom. Ellen Nealy."

How cool is that!!! And, want to guess what my next question to Britney was???

Yep! What else can we knock down to look for another cool note!