Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrating Progress -- part 2

At the beginning of the month, I posted an update on our big home remodel project.  I wanted to put together another post with a few more current pics :)

before after remodel pics
The outside is finished.  Since the last update, the back of the house has been sided and most of the outdoor detail work has been done (caulking, trim touch ups, etc).  

The Living Room transformation to be a Living Room + Office is nearly complete.  See there is furniture! We're loving the new floors and fireplace.  A little trim work to do but my dad was here for several days this week to help with staining/poly for windows and so its very nearly done.  We are still tweaking the furniture placement and putting things on the walls, but so close.  The office has even been used for a full day of work this week.  The space in the spare bedroom vacated by the office furniture is being tested by a certain 5 yr old to determine if it would make a good playroom space :)

The front door or entry way is part of the front room changes above but wanted to show off the pretty window.  Next on the list -- new rug for the entry way and living room (aka shopping).

The upstairs family room also had a pretty big transformation -- a beautiful bay window.  It lets so much more light into the room, plus it is out far enough that we can see down into the trees on one side of the house and all the way to the apple trees on the other.  

I don't have pics of every window yet (not sure if I'll get around to posting the rest).  We added a smaller bay window to our bedroom which makes the room feel much bigger.  Our new back patio door is a nice improvement too :)

Of course there is still work to do.  The bedroom windows upstairs are still waiting on trim.  The stairs from the lower living room to the family room/kitchen still need to be redone to match the new flooring in the living room.  Overall, the project has gone fairly quickly, thanks to help from both sides of our family.  

I'm hoping we can get the last of the remaining tasks finished before beautiful spring weather arrives (finally) with the yard and garden beckoning for our attention.

One task at a time - making our house on the gravelly road feel even more like home.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Book While We Wait -- April 2014 Edition

As you know, we are buying a new children's book each month while we wait. Since the original post has gotten rather long to keep reposting, I'm trying something different.  I will still update the original list and have added a link near the header, but each month I will only post about the new book.  If you want to see the entire list, please feel free to click on the link at the bottom and review the other ones :)

ABC Adoption & Me by Gayle SwiftABC, Adoption & Me by Gayle H. Swift, with Casey A. Swift
I first heard of this book when it was suggested to me on Google+ after posting updates to our current book list.  The book creators were generous enough to send me a pdf preview of the book.  Once I read it, I knew this book belonged with the other books we've been purchasing while we wait.

This book was written by an adoptive mom and her daughter bringing together many adoption and family themes tied to letters of the alphabet.  I appreciate the wide variety of topics covered, the diverse families represented in the illustrations, and the different types of adoptions mentioned.  I think it will be a great book to read to start discussions in the future about adoption.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Weekend 2014 (photo overload)

We had a quick but full Easter weekend.  While we were only away from home about 30 hrs, we were able to see a lot of family and make some fun Easter memories.

On the way, we stopped at a unique WW2 museum.  It was an interesting stop and ended up with some fun pictures.
family museum stop

On Saturday afternoon was the cousin Easter egg hunt which is always a lot of fun.
outside egg hunt

Sunday after church, the kiddo had a scavenger hunt to find his present from his grandparents.  He was so proud of his decorated Easter eggs -- doesn't everyone make pirate-space-alien eggs to serve on a silver platter?  We also took our Easter family pic and visited with my grandparents.
family easter celebration

We had such a wonderful Easter weekend with our family!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Plenty of Outtakes

Sometimes my favorite part of attempting to take a picture of our son is the outtakes that happen along the way.

Before this:
Life on the Gravelly Road

Was plenty of this:
silly photos

Just how we live Life on the Gravelly Road.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lego Happiness

One of his favorite ways to spend his free time...
child playing legos

He might even consider singing "Everything is Awesome!"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Celebrating progress - home improvement style

I'm a list maker.  I love marking things off my list.  Sometimes I add things to my list just so I can have the satisfaction of crossing them off.

With large projects, I know I handle them much better if I can identify sub-tasks to "cross off" and celebrate.

So with our current home remodel, I'm trying to do the same.  I'm trying to understand all the steps/parts so I can better celebrate the progress being made ("crossing it off the list")... especially when you can't "see" a change (ie. 3 rounds of mudding and sanding the new walls).

We are far from done but here's some of the exciting progress.

All the new windows are all in.  The siding is just about complete on the front and partway on the back.  Hopefully the construction crew will be back soon (now that its a bit warmer) and finish up the back of the house.  Check out the transformation:
exterior home updates
So thankful that all the snow is now gone!

There are quite a few steps of interior work for the new windows, especially the bay windows we added and windows where the opening size changed.  These changes are well on their way.  The big bay window in our living room is one I'm most excited about.

The other big changes are happening in the main level family room.  The new wall is in, splitting the formerly long room in half to form a smaller family room and an office.  The new fireplace and surround are in, new lighting, ceilings in both rooms painted, and walls in the living room painted.  The flooring will be going in soon and the mantel is almost ready to be installed too.  (The office has a long ways to go, but we are working hard to get the living room done soon).  Still very much in progress but take a look...
remodel progress pictures
Its hard to see the size of the now smaller family room as the pics aren't quite the same angle.
Basically the window in the top and bottom left pics is the same spot.  
The lower right pic is the room that will be office on the other side of the new wall.

Lots of hard work has been done, with lots still ahead, but we will keep celebrating the progress here on the Gravelly Road, one completed task at a time.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New Spring Arrivals

fluffy adorable baby chicks

Dad brought home three new baby chicks to join our little flock on the Gravelly Road!  No names yet... just fluffy baby chick cuteness.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Practice, practice and more practice

I'm in the middle of a wonderful online photography class, in part to learn in detail how to use my DSLR.  I do admit that I'm loving learning the details behind what the camera is doing, what the settings mean and how to balance out all the different variables involved in shooting in manual.  (I also love that I'm learning this without reading the dry camera manual, plus someone is holding me accountable to practice, and giving me feedback daily).

It does mean that I need to take lots of pics to practice.  My kiddo is already tired of my "homework"!  So yesterday when we went outside he said I could only take his picture if he got to wear his ski mask.  So that is what we did :)

And yes, winter keeps making an appearance on our gravelly road.  More snow coming in the next few days.  It will be spring eventually right?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker

If you've been reading about our Life on the Gravelly Road for a while, you know I sometimes participate in Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday community.  Her blog is one I read frequently, full of heartfelt honesty and soul-deep encouragement for mamas in all walks of motherhood.

So when I heard she'd written a book, I was excited to hear more.
surprised by motherhood
"Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom" by Lisa-Jo Baker
I've only read the first three chapters, but it struck chord in me and I can't wait to read the rest.

You can read the first three chapters for free too.  Or maybe just order it.  Or I'll order it, share it with you, and then we can go out for coffee.  Because this is a book to share over coffee.

The first chapters reflect on Lisa-Jo's journey to motherhood, how it was impacted by her memories of her mother and how motherhood changed her life (in a good way).

Like Lisa-Jo says in her book,
“One, motherhood is hard. Two, motherhood is glorious. Three, motherhood is hard.” 

“Parenting is not for the faint of heart. And it’s especially not for those type A personalities accustomed to having all their ducks in a row, all their check boxes checked, and their sofa cushions, cereal boxes, and entire lives neatly arranged.”

This book has the potential to speak to new moms whose lives are changing by tiny-human-chaos-creators, experienced moms managing the chaos of a busy family, women mothering without their own mother in their lives, and those with empty nests reflecting on the powerful role of mother they played and continue to play in their children's lives.

Lisa-Jo's writing reminds me to reflect on my own motherhood journey...

The long wait for motherhood rocked my faith, caused me to lean into my Savior, and struggle to continue to cling to heavenly hope instead of attempting to guard my heart with earthly skepticism.

The arrival of motherhood challenged my problem-solving and formula-loving math brain. There is no formula in parenthood, no "one thing" that will prevent the tantrum, no clear guaranteed steps to raise a small person to be a successful adult.

Our current wait to adopt reminds me to treasure the now of mothering my son, teaches me to live in the moment instead of letting the "what if" rule my weeks, and makes it clear that God builds families with a plan that isn't always clear this side of heaven.

I'm reminded that even when this job of Mom feels so huge, so overwhelming, that God is always there, strength in my weakness, ready to pour grace and love into my life so I can pour grace and love into my son's.  This book reminds moms that they are not on this journey alone.

If you want to learn more about this book visit this page, which also includes a number of other blog reviews and even a few giveaways.  Or watch this beautiful and inspiring trailer for the book... warning tissues may be required.

What has surprised you about motherhood?  How do make time to reflect on your mothering and how God is using this part of your life to shape you and impact your faith?

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