Saturday, December 24, 2011

Finishing Touches

Ready and waiting for the family to come over for Christmas celebrations!

Last Sunday, DIL Karen and I went for a late afternoon walk and saw the neighborhood lights.

The street sign reminded me that our time at this address is soon coming to an end, not sure when exactly though.

As Mike says, "Everything takes longer than it does..." 
He has been up and down and on his knees countless hours this week laying the wood floor, which he offered to do himself. Even today, Christmas Eve he was at it this morning early and now again, every spare moment, determined to finish before Monday.

Son Sam and his coworker finished installing the refinished spiral staircase on Wednesday.

It is beautiful and leads up to what is going to be my area!

The deck is done as well.

However, as of yesterday there is only one functioning toilet and one light in the whole house. So we wait and keep plodding on.
I have gone out every afternoon this week, shopping, running errands, preparing. The gifts are wrapped, the letters and cards sent, some snail-mail, most via e-mail (so many that Hotmail became suspicious and blocked my account!)

Stockings have been replaced and filled with each one's choice sweets. (I was surprised and saddened to realize we had not retrieved the old ones.)

So, we are ready and waiting. Silly Santa leads the way down to the gift area.
One family member is here. I picked up SIL Diane yesterday to spend a few days with us. 
Brother and sister are watching the Colts play and win!  Mike, relaxing a bit before going back out to the house to keep plugging away.

One of the holiday events took place this morning--the Christmas Eve brunch at Stephan and Karen's.

Scotch eggs and Montecristos
We had a good time with the Monday Meal regulars, such dear friends. And got to see Matt and Kayla, the happy couple. (I can't believe I did not get a picture of him in uniform when they stopped by last Sunday.)

Kayla feels like a new person. Her braces came off this week and she got her hair cut.

I leave you with this greeting...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Almost here...almost there

Yes, Christmas is almost here, and we are almost there, in our new house.
This week we focus on the celebration, and later on the move.
Both require hours of shopping.

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon picking out the last of the light fixtures. So many decisions.

Later in the week I was asked what color the outlet covers should be.
Perhaps the title of this post should have been Decisions and Details.

It is always fun to get away Monday evening and meet and dine with friends and family at Chef-son's.
I had fun babysitting Zion all day so Mom and Elijah could visit her father.
Here is Zion, fascinated by Moe while Kayla is getting him to repeat "guinea pig".
In the end he was saying it over and over.

The dogs, Gryffin and Gracie, are entertained for long periods of time watching their new neighbor.

I can't remember much about Tuesday, except that I was tired enough to have to take a nap, always in the sun room with the wicker furniture with glass table tops.

Wednesday I went to a ladies' Bible Study Christmas brunch. The food and fellowship were wonderful! And I especially enjoyed looking at all the decorations and wondering what it will be like to prepare our new house next year for the annual Tour of Homes. Enough people have asked us to do this and it does seem the right response to a community that has seen us through the life-altering event of this year.

More meetings, shopping, decorating and wrapping presents.

I have enjoyed every aspect of this season, and every kind of decor...

...but my favorites are the nativities because they portray the amazing story of love we celebrate--the Creator of the universe entering our world as a human baby. .

Leah's Clay Nativity
Yesterday we attended the funeral of a five month-old baby taken suddenly. The service was so moving. The grandpa, our former pastor, and his sister shared some very meaningful thoughts. One that stood out was that only one baby was born into this world to die--Jesus, who came to give His life for us.

The State of the House
The various tiles are down in their respective areas.

Ship Room
This tile was chosen because of name and color: Argentina! See the blue? And where it comes from?

The painter should be finishing this coming week.

The deck is coming along.

Mike is laying the wood flooring.

The appliances are scheduled for delivery next Saturday. Really, on Christmas Eve?!

Next week I'll let you know how close we are to moving in. Meanwhile, have a very merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas is coming!

This week included: our town's Winter festival "Olde Tyme Christmas" with its Tour of Homes; a belated celebration of two birthdays (Malachi's 13th and Zion's 2nd); two trips to Fort Wayne (circa four hours each time) to chauffeur family members to necessary appointments; an elementary school's Christmas program (Elijah's at BSU's Emmens auditorium); a funeral dinner; and all the routine activities and those related to house reconstruction. In between all that I have been steadily decorating and preparing for Christmas.
So, in no particular order, here are the photos I managed to get this week.

After birthday cake, next best is anything Carz related!

One snowy morning

We made the paper chain at Thanksgiving dinner, each link has a written thank you to God.

The woodsy, snowy corner
Country Christmas
Dining room
Royerton Elementary Christmas program--first grade
Elijah is in there somewhere in the middle. The production was an hour and a half long, never a pause, very well choreographed. We enjoyed it but were kept busy entertaining the wiggly little one.

A brief respite--reading a book with Daddy

State of the House:

The doors are in and the trim is going up.
Mike is nearly finished with the heating system, making sure every aspect works right. He is very pleased with the efficiency of the new boiler which takes one third the amount of wood and heats up fast.
The flooring arrived and the very next day was reported to be unsuitable for radiant floor heating. We are grateful for this timely discovery! After several telephone consultations, Mike ordered the new material.
Today we bought most of the light fixtures. 

I will end with one final decor detail.

I enjoy seeing the sleepy Christmas bears every time I go up to bed.

Good night to all and have yourself a merry season of reflection and celebration.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snow and more...

 It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas...

Sunday a beautiful poinsettia was delivered to make our temporary home begin to feel like Christmas.
I decided to enjoy the season and began decorating our current abode as our moving date is so uncertain.

Mike gave son-Stephan an early Christmas gift so they could continue hunting together. (Muzzle loader season opened this weekend.)

Another shopping expedition and more decisions--counter tops and sinks for the vanities. Check that off the list. Hope we made the right choices. We also settled on faucets for every possible water outlet.
I have never paid much attention to the style, size or color of these necessary fixtures. Now I am learning to be more observant.

Tuesday granddaughter Kayla  and I were out Christmas shopping when it began to snow heavily. We left right away. No problem. We'd already been at it for over two hours. Both of us drove carefully and made it back safely to our respective homes. That evening I looked out to see how much had accumulated.

Wednesday morning the sun shone brightly through the sparkling trees.

First snowfall on the tree sculpture
The LITE (Life Independent Through Exercise) program for seniors, led by exercise science majors, is soon coming to an end so it was time to get at least one photo. This semester we've had the largest group ever and that has been so much fun.

Little by little I am digging out what Christmas decorations were saved and/or given to us. Here is my mere beginning with a small tree and Santa's train.

It will be a slow and oft interrupted process. Almost daily another decision is required. What style and color handles for the cabinets nearly led to an argument. What about toilets? Too many choices. Order grout color for the various tile floors, and blinds, and light fixtures for each area,...and on and on and on.

However, we made time to enjoy several favorite community events--two theater productions:
--A Christmas Carol, the musical at Taylor University
--Miracle on 34th Street at the high school.
--Sing Noel, a marvelous concert featuring international music and dance held annually at Taylor University.

We were uncharacteristically early which allowed us to listen to lovely, heavenly harp music while we waited to enter the auditorium. And doesn't the harpist look angelic?

How are you preparing your heart and home this Advent season?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Week

The LORD is near.
Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension, 
will guard your hearts and minds
in Christ Jesus.
(Phil. 4:4-6)

It was a good week of learning to be more intentional about being thankful in my heart and expressing gratitude. There were many great stories on Christian radio that reminded me of more specifics to include in thanksgiving.
Daily decisions are pressing now. Sunday afternoon we strolled through furniture stores with Sam and family. You'd think these were amusement parks the kids were having so much fun.

Monday Mike and I spent several very successful hours shopping at another furniture place. We finally found what we liked and ordered most of the remaining big items.
By afternoon I was feeling really sick, so instead of doing something special for new teenage grandson Malachi's birthday (like collect embarrassing baby photos and post them on Facebook), I stayed in doing nothing, missed the dinner at chef-son's, and called the clinic.

Malachi, age one
Tuesday I saw the doctor--ear and sinus infection worse and possible pneumonia from the sound tho' the xrays were clear. Just finished the second round of antibiotics today. Coughing spells are fewer now. On the mend at last.
I was really disappointed to miss the last painting class of the year. I was going to fix or finish a couple recent pieces and sign them, but alas, they remain thus.

Wednesday was little Zion's second birthday.

Zion, day one
 I was sick so did not host Thanksgiving dinner, instead Stephan invited us. I coughed my way through a wonderful family time. The food was great, just wish I could have enjoyed it more. Even so I had to try all three kinds of pie.

Perfect pie trifecta: pumpkin, chocolate, peach
SIL Diane spent a couple nights with us. Friday we took it easy. No Black Friday craziness for us! In the evening we watched Julie and Julia again. Such a great movie.
DIL shared a special deal on her blog. I keep buying and giving away her book with great responses each time, not only from those who deal with infertility. Go take a look at Hope for the Barren Heart (

Saturday already and I finally made it back to the house and took a look at areas painted with Basque Green, a color I chose by name more than loving the shade at first sight. It is definitely bold, dark, deep, masculine. And now I like it more than some of the blue shades.

Pottery display area

Ship Room (guest bedroom)
Kitchen cabinets are all in place--so much more storage space!

The siding is almost finished.

So while I've been sick taking it easy, the guys have been working long hours. Mike is at the house every spare moment. There are still issues with the heating system. He's had to drain the boiler five times so far.

"Not again!"
"in everything give thanks
for this is God's will for you
in Christ Jesus."
I Thess. 5:18