December 31, 2014

Most Memorable Moments of 2014

For everything, there is a season.
And a time to every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die.
A time to laugh, a time to cry.
A time to build up, a time to break down.
A time to plant, a time to reap.
A time to cast away, a time to keep.
A time to dance, a time to mourn.

Those words come from Ecclesiastes 3 (not in that particular order), and reflecting back on the last two years, I can see how true they are.The transition from 2013 to 2014 was rough-- with our family dealing with sickness and loss. Yet, with all that difficulty that was only a season. Twenty fourteen has taken my family and I to a different season in life. The season of laughter, dancing, gaining, building up, birth, and reaping. Through prayer, faith, and family we're able to look back fondly at 2014 and recognize that it was a year of blessings.

Here are some of our most memorable moments of 2014:

10. Gardening for Dummies
      This year I attempted a garden for the first time. It took a lot of help from family to make it happen (as well as a lot of hoeing,tilling, and patience). While not as successful as I had hoped, it marked the beginning of my-so-called farmer life.
Dad teaching me how to use the tiller.
Planting marigolds around the garden's border.
My tomatoes before they were eaten
(and not by me but wildlife).

Cucumbers and lettuce were my best harvest.

9. We're Going to the Chapel... and going, and going...
       Two thousand fourteen brought a lot of weddings. Our refrigerator was decorated with one save the date after another.  Wedding season began in March with our good friend Samantha and ended in November with her sister (and also my friend) Brittany. While pregnancy caused some complications for us to be able to attend all of the weddings this year, we did get to attend a few. So, congratulations to all my newly married friends and family (Wells, Browns, Morrisons, Matlocks, Muses, and Belchers!) and know that we're praying for a long and loving marriage!
At my friend Samantha's bridal shower (March 2014).

My cousin Zac's wedding (July 2014)
8. Aloha
     Speaking of pregnancy complicating things. When Walter and I booked our trip to Hawaii in July, we had no idea that my pregnancy symptoms would kick in full throttle causing me to gag even at the name of Hawaii for months afterward. While I still don't have warm fuzzy memories, I can at least admit it was memorable. (Instead of trying to block it out of my mind.) Even though I don't know if I'd ever go back, I have to admit the scenery was spectacular.

7. We Went Gothic
     After we had owned our home for a year, I had these ideas for a first year homeowner photo shoot. Some were just too elaborate to pull of, but this photo just worked. Plus, I'm pretty sure it got more likes than anything I ever posted on Facebook.

It was really hard to keep a straight face by
the way.
 6. Crossing the Finish Line     Also in the spring, I finally ran my first 5K! I say my first 5K, because Walter ran track and cross country in high school so this was nothing new to him. The race was a color run held in our small town to raise money and awareness for child abuse. It was a lot of fun. Even though we didn't place, we did get interviewed by WYMT news immediately after crossing the finish line. The interview still makes us laugh with embarrassment to this day.

5. Snow Day
    You may wonder why this is so memorable. I had waited for a big snow all winter, and, one February day, it finally happened. Unfortunately, we had to beat the clock because the temps soared to 50 degrees-- quickly melting our winter wonderland. With limited time, we made a snow day bucket list and did everything we wanted to do from building a snowman to sledding before it disappeared.

4. Class Dismissed
     After two years of some enjoyable and some not so enjoyable courses, I finally got my Master's Degree! I'm pretty sure we celebrated the occasion at least three times.

3. The Reconstruction Era Finally Arrived
     This was the year we were able to start rebuilding! First the basement posts were replaced. Then the walls and headers were rebuilt. Soon after, we had new gutters, plumbing and windows. Simply put, we were finally gettin' stuff done.

2. Nephew after Nephew

Baby Smith

Baby Wahlstedt
Last year, Walter and I were an uncle and an aunt to our precious niece. That changed this past July, when my brother and sister in law had their second child-- a little boy. Then, this December, his brother and our sister in law had their first son. It's exciting-- especially considering...

1. Baby Wahlstedt
    ... this year we found out we are having a boy, too! And all within months of each other. Yes, this July, we found out we were expecting our first child. He's already loved,  not only by us, but also our family. This Christmas, he already received some presents and he isn't even here yet! (People are already thinking about you little one.) We can't wait to meet him, so bring on 2015!

Our baby--coming this March!

Happy New Year!

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 
We've already spent two days with family and today we'll be spending time with even more family! 
We are blessed!

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9: 6-7

December 22, 2014

My Grown Up Christmas List

Remember the days when toys topped the list? Where when we looked under the tree, there were quite a few little packages we would open that were (somewhat) budget friendly?

Well, when our little boy gets here that might happen for us again. However, I don't think Walter and I have exchanged budget friendly gifts since he gave me one little package that contained an engagement ring. Growing up is expensive. 

Our Christmas list this year was simple--whatever we needed to get our house completed. Specifically, that was: plumbing supplies, a plumber, windows, getting the windows installed, a wood burning stove, rock for our fireplace. 

Don't think this lists comes without packages or comes without bags. Lots of packages have been delivered to us. Big packages. Expensive packages. (As I type, one Christmas delivery of gravel is being poured). While not what you'd think of as traditional gifts, everyone of them have been worth it because it is one step closer to us having our home completed. 

Here is the progress we've made:
We now have a second bath upstairs plumbed
and ready for water.

The plumbing labeled in the basement.

Ready for our washer (basement)

First floor bathroom plumbing is now complete.
 Last Monday, our windows were delivered and were completely installed by Tuesday. We ordered Sun windows with wooden interior and aluminum outside. The wood on the interior is unfinished to give us options. The windows were custom fitted to the rock making them feel huge when looking out from each room.
Downstairs bedroom

Windows around fireplace (half completed fireplace)

Our new picture window in the living room.

This was the window layout before.

In the kitchen we had two of the windows made shorter so we could
keep the lighting, but have lower cabinets. You can also see the
kitchen plumbing.

Upstairs bedroom

Windows at the top of steps
Here's the exterior view:

Windows upstairs before

We are very happy with the progress and, just like I had hoped last year, I hope to be in here by next Christmas!

November 21, 2014

November Chalkboard

I haven't drawn on my chalkboard in about five and a half months. But last weekend, I had the desire to decorate a bit (but not get out the Christmas decor yet). This time of year the weather (and the stores) always trick my brain into thinking it's time to decorate for Christmas. Yet, traditionally, we don't decorate until after Thanksgiving, and I want to keep it that way. To compensate, I have to allow myself to do something decorative. 

I really liked this design because it begun with a widely known Christmas lyric, but changes last minute to a Thanksgiving message. (Please excuse my horrible leaf.)

Season's Eatin's! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

November 18, 2014

Real Life Fixer Upper

Today, I'm off for a winter day. (I can't call them snow days where we live because there is hardly snow. Our roads just ice over when the rain freezes.) I had promised an update last week, but because I've hit the nesting stage of my pregnancy, I can't bare to sit still during the weekends. For the first time in my life, I enjoy things like washing dishes and doing laundry! However, I told myself I would relax today. So, after I cleaned the bathroom, changed the bedding, did another load of laundry, washed the remaining dishes, vacuumed the floor, and put dinner in the slow cooker, I am kicked back on the couch playing Sleepless in Seattle while I type this post. (Also, I've been thinking about food for at least an hour.)

Our second bath is located upstairs. It'll be small, but enough for a tub/shower, sink and toilet.
While I've been working inside our little cottage, Walter has been building our second bathroom, fixing termite damage in our wall, and mapping out the plumbing. Plus, we've been running around picking out stone for our fireplace, deciding on a wood burning insert, and trying to figure out what kind of front door to purchase. 

This past Saturday, we got some family members to help us clean up so that our window crew and mason can come actually reach the places they need to reach. 
Dad and our sis helped us sweep up what wasn't picked up by Walter's cousins a few days ago.

As you can see, we didn't work them too hard.

 As exciting as all that cleanup was, it almost felt like Christmas when Walter came back with a truckload of our fireplace stone. We had to go up to camp to pick up some strong backed helpers to help us unload it. I didn't take any pictures of the stone out of the box. That'll come later. As in when the fireplace is being put up.

What she is carrying are just accent, not our actual stone.
That's all for now! Hopefully, we'll have more updates soon. Time for lunch!