Monday, December 30, 2013

Time: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Another year has come and gone.  Another chance for reflection on what has been and anticipation of what is to come. Time is a funny thing. We say we never have enough,  we use it as an excuse and yet we also recognize its value enough to read books on how to manage it.  Time is ironic.  It can stretch out every painful second of a tragedy,  bad experience, or dull meeting but then it will whiz by when you are visiting with long-distance friends, trying to accomplish everything on your to-do list,  or just taking a "short" nap.  And then you have God who is outside of time and that just blows your mind.

So how do we cope?  How do we maintain our sanity?  How do we find a balance? 

I think if we can learn to recognize each year, month, day,  hour,  minute, and second as a gift,  then we can begin to truly value and make the most of each moment. And I am totally preaching to myself here too!

I'm sure you've been asked the thought-provoking question,  "what would you do if you only had 1 day/week/month to live?  Tim McGraw even has a hit song about it. When we answer that question we never say worry, be jealous, argue, stress out, etc.  And yet, how many minutes, hours, and days do we spend engaged in those sinful wastes of time?  (again, preaching to myself here too!) I know some people (my husband and brother come to the top of the list) who are admirable role-models of what it means to live in the moment and focus on what's really important. I aspire (and quite often fail) to follow their example, but I'm not going to give up because 2014 is a new year, a new chance,  and a new gift of time. There will be wasted minutes and stress over such wasted minutes,  but every morning when I get out of bed, I receive another opportunity to live that day to its fullest potential. And as a wise teacher once said to a certain precocious red-head,  "every day is new, with no mistakes in it yet! "

So in looking back at some of the good times from 2013, I was reminded of big, small,  and even just-another-day occurrences. Here's a few highlights:

January--surviving teaching full-time Kindergarten (two half-day classes back-to-back)
February--signing the papers on Valentines Day to begin building our new home
March--home construction began
April--teaching 3rd and 4th grade math in the afternoons
May--spending a day sightseeing around eastern Washington with friends
June--moving into our new home
July--being a bridesmaid in my friend Jill's wedding
August--the Color Run with my family
September--starting a new school year at a new school and two new grades
October--coaching volleyball
November--a birthday weekend filled with fun activities
December--a quick weekend in Seattle to see all my girls

And with another year upon us, here are some of the good times I'm looking forward to:

January--Disneyland!!!  and the kick-off of Wyldlife
February--our new couch arriving
March--March Madness
April--a trip to Ireland
May--seeing my brother graduate from college and seeing Wicked
June--finishing my second year of teaching
July--being a bridesmaid in my friend (more like my sister) Abby's wedding
August-- being a bridesmaid in my friend Katie's wedding
September--new school supplies
October--hopefully coaching again
November--turning a quarter of a century
December--the Christmas season

Monday, December 23, 2013

Our New Home Photo Tour

I have sat down and worked on this post several times over the past 5 months. It has been on every to-do list I have written (which, if you know me, is a lot of to-do lists!) It really just takes a day off of work and no school-related things to even think about to get it done. At any rate, our new home tour is finally done!

Okay, this is a LOT of pictures coming at you! I did my best to show the house as if you were walking through it and to give reference between pictures so you can piece it together. I hope you enjoy!

This picture speaks for itself :)

Entryway as you come in the front door.
This was not part of the original floor plan but rather just a large family room when you walked in. We added 3 walls to make an office and entry way both with closets. I have a vision for this entryway someday and the bench/organizer we are going to build!

Entryway from the other side.

What you see when you look straight as you come int the front door. 
You can see the opening to the office on the right. 
Someday we may put sliding barn doors or French doors in the opening.

First look at the office.

The other side of the office. The added closet could make this a bedroom someday if needed.

Our desks fit perfectly! It was meant to be. :) 
We have plans to build a built-in corner-desk-for-two at some point.

A good sized office. We have said a couple times recently HOW
glad we are that we added this to the floor plan.

Next as you walk down the hall, there is a bathroom and closet to the right.

Plain bathroom, nothing too special...yet :)

I love having this closet for all my glass serve-ware, candles, and cleaning supplies.

Another perfect fit! This wall was meant for my Entryway Table.
This is the first thing you see when you walk in from the garage, 
so we keep our purse/backpack on the bottom shelf.

This is the view as you come in from the garage. Not bad huh?

Standing in the kitchen, looking back towards the front door.
The first part of kitchen you can see is what I call Command Central. 
I envision this being where we keep family binders, phone chargers, mail, etc.

To the left of that is the fridge. We got the kind that has a seal over no fingerprints!
You can also see the door to my pantry.

Inside my pantry! One of my favorite things about this house. 
It's kinda bare now (as far as pantries go) but I have many Pinterest ideas for this one day too.

Moving right along to where the baking happens. Mmm, I love those colors.

Above and below, the cupboards are filled with items related to baking. 
This little counter area is called my baking station.

I love my gas stove and convection oven!

Lots of cupboard space. The one to the left of the oven 
goes all the way back to the wall on the left.

My stainless steel sink (so much nicer and deeper than the one at our rental!)

We keep the dishes and glasses in the cupboard on the right--very convenient for emptying the dishwasher.

We added the peninsula/raised bar. I canNOT imagine my kitchen without it. Look at all that extra counter space, not to mention 4 drawers and another deep cupboard!

The raised bar. I need to find bar stools soon. Oh and I love my pendant lights!

After the kitchen comes the dining room. We opted out of a house with a separate dining room. 
We are not fancy and formal like that.

And then there's the family room.

 Minimal decorations on my piano "mantel" and also the perfect place for the mini grandfather clock that my brother-in-law made for us. We plan to add some little corner shelves below it to make that wasted space behind the door to the basement less wasted.
 Other side of the family room.

Through that door (two pictures up) you can get to the basement. 
We are SO glad we added a basement.

It is unfinished but we look forward to the project of finishing it in the next couple years.
This little utility room is for the water heater and will also serve as our network room eventually. Hubby did all the network and cable wiring in the house himself and it all terminates here in this room (where the black and white cords are spilling out of the whole in the plastic). He has plans to finish that all up and add a server. Being an IT guy and all, he enjoyed having control of that aspect of our house.

The pool table that made it successfully down the stairs thanks to 7 strong guys.

We plan to turn this into our REC/media room someday with a projector, big TV, and nice comfy sectional couch.

Another view

From the other side

There is a big storage room under the stairs as well, which I believe is practically full (we have a lot of stuff :s)

 Coming back up from the basement, this is the view of the main living area from the other side.

Looking out the slider at our patio.

Back yard to the left. Notice our beloved AC unit :) and try to ignore my pitiful dying flowers.

No neighbors behind us yet. Trying to decide if we want to put the fence up ourselves or wait a little and see if someone moves in who wants to put the fence up.

We plan to build a little waterfall and pond in the back corner someday.

I love how this gets shade in the afternoon and evening! 
It's so perfect for grilling, eating, and relaxing in the heat of the day.

As you come up the stairs to the second floor. The Master is the door on the right and the door on the left is Bedroom #1.

This is Bedroom #1. I love the built-in window-seat chest and the bookshelves. This room will eventually be the nursery when that time of life comes for us.

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom--we changed the original floor plan from a soaker tub, shower and 1 sink to a tub/shower combo, 2 sinks AND a linen closet! Yes, I'm biased but I think this is a way better layout and the builder should consider changing the floor plan :)

Extra-high counter tops which is SO nice for us tall people.

Lots of natural light comes in.

First (and still the only) thing to be put on any of the bare white walls. A gift from my brother two years ago just waiting for a permanent living place so it could go up. It is my life verse.

Here's the added linen closet I was telling you about. No Pinterest-worthy organization or anything but love the extra space.

Master walk-in closet! LOVE this so much.

Eventually I think I want to re-model it with 2 rods (one above the other) on one wall and some built-in shelves, drawers, shoe rack, etc.

Leaving the master, at the top of the landing looking the other way. The big open space is the loft which goes off to the right as well. Bedroom #2 is that door on the right. The closest door on the left is the laundry room, the 2nd door on the left is a bathroom. Facing door is a closet and the hidden door across from the bathroom is Bedroom #3 which is our guest room.

The loft! The couch is no longer here as my college brother took it for his place. I love this space so much and have great visions for it being an awesome play area etc. for our kids one day.

Bedroom #2 is filled with all my childhood furniture, books, and toys that my parents had been keeping while I was in college. This will all come in very handy if we have a girl.

Bedroom #3, aka the Guest Room. Seeing as we have had 4 different guests already, I should probably really think about getting some curtains on the windows...oops!

Guest room still.

The closet--for now it is storage for games, extra linens, and household items.

I love having the laundry room upstairs SO much.

It's a good-sized room and I also have dreams to Pinterest-ize this one day.
 (yes I just made Pinterest into a verb)

Upstairs bathroom. (P.S. it is not easy to take pictures of bathrooms to A. get it all in one shot because how many pictures of bathrooms do we really want? and B. to not get yourself in the mirror.

And for the final "room"--my husband's favorite--the garage.
We have a 2-car main stall and then added a 3rd tandem stall.

The back part of the 3rd stall is hubby's shop. With our 3rd vehicle currently in the front part and bikes in the back, we are realizing we need to get a shed for a lot of the stuff so that there is actually room to work and create fun projects. The door on the back wall goes to the backyard.

He built this shelf with his dad in one day.

From the back, looking towards the front.

And looking back towards the entry into the house. When you walk through that door you are standing right in front of my little green table.

And that's all folks! Thanks for taking the tour. :)