Sunday, April 24, 2011

Joy to the World

A few years ago, when I was at Mizzou and attending The Crossing, we sang "Joy to the World" in a Sunday morning service during the Easter season.

The song is, of course, traditionally played during Christmastime, and it's one of my December favorites. Yet there was something incredibly moving and memorable about hearing that music in April, contemplating the lyrics and their meaning from a varied perspective. A poignant reminder to recognize the Nativity's connection to Calvary....

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the baby who would save the world; at Easter we celebrate the man who by His death and resurrection, did.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

"Up from the grave He arose" to the world!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Buried Treasure

In the midst of doing again this morning what has quickly become my least-favorite hobby...that is, wallpaper removal...I discovered a little surprise under the guest room border.

I sent a photo of my find to Bobby, with a caption that included: "No, we can't keep it." Truthfully, it was such a vast improvement from the layer above it that I considered for a brief moment the possibility of it staying. (Yes, that's how tired I am of removing wallpaper.) But then the moment passed, and of course, off it went. ("Off it went" makes it sound like it didn't put up a fight. Oh, it did. And won, actually. The room is only halfway done. I couldn't take it anymore.)

That second layer was unexpected, though it shouldn't have been. (Every other room tackled thus far has had at least two layers of paper to deal with. Lovely, I know.) Although I was a bit disheartened to discover another layer, it made me smile to think about the little boy (we'll assume it was a boy) who must have once called that room 'his'. I'll bet he loved his sports-themed room!

This was the first hint of any previous resident of the home besides the elderly woman who lived there before us, though I know there were several before her. It was fun to feel as though I was uncovering a piece of the house's history, and I'm curious to see what else we'll find as time goes by.

I'm sure we'll leave our own mark on the house, for future residents to remove enjoy discovering. But one thing is for certain...that "mark" will not be in the form of wallpaper.

Goodness, that's awful stuff.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Before It Gets Better

It has get worse before it gets better...right? That's the thought process we're operating under these days as we tackle the initial few projects at our new house.

Our thinking is that before we move-in a few weeks from now, we want the kitchen update to be done. (Well, not "done", as in "completed/finished/ta-da!"...but, far closer to "done" than the rest of the house.) The kitchen tends to be the nerve center of many homes, and ours is no exception. When the kitchen is "live-able", groceries have a place to go, food gets made, people get fed...and my world turns a little easier. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen...visiting, eating, entertaining...and we really want that to be a place that is updated, functional, and soon as we move in.

Our suspicion is that if the kitchen is a comfortable place to be while other rooms around the house are, well, not...we'll be much happier with the process.

With that said, Bobby and I exchanged a couple of "what have we done?" looks over the weekend. At this point the kitchen has reached the point of no return, and to be honest, it's a bit overwhelming. (Hello! We started with one of the biggest projects in the house!) There's a lot of work to be done to turn it into the space we want it to be.

But, 80% of the wallpaper in the room has been stripped (don't get me started on wallpaper) and the cabinet doors and their hardware have been removed, sanded, and are ready to be primed and painted. It sounds strange to say that the room is looking better (since it really looks more like a construction zone at the moment), but truly, I think it does. I'd like to believe that most of the hard work is done...we shall see.
We have a long way to go, but the goal is for the cabinets, specifically, to be move-in ready in the next couple of weeks.

Here's hoping! (And, sanding & priming & painting....)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It Had to Go

During this past weekend's cleaning spree, we removed the tri-fold doors in each of the guest bedrooms, which was, in my opinion, major progress in making the spaces feel more open and less dingy. We also took down lots of wood shelving and cabinetry, which also helped to lighten the feel of the place. Progress!

However, my favorite project in the modernizing effort thus far has been the removal of the stained glass panel in the guest bathroom. 

Not to say that stained glass isn't beautiful, but, well, I just wasn't loving it in this bathroom. Ever since the first day we toured the home, I knew it had to go. And, as Bobby would confirm, I've been very anxious to get it done.

So on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the muscle and know-how of Bobby and his brother, we made it happen.

But, she didn't go down without a fight....

Thanks to super-long screws coming and going from three or four different directions, plus the difficulty in getting to said screws...well, let's just say that the project wasn't without a fair amount of frustration. But, the guys persevered, and a crack in the ceiling was the only casualty. Oops.

Finding myself unable to assist with this project, I had to find something to do to entertain myself keep myself busy while it was taking place. So, I may or may not have started de-wallpapering the room. (The first layer, that is. Yikes.) As as result, the guest bathroom is perhaps becoming one of our more pressing projects.... It happens.

In any case, I'm oh, so happy to report that the stained glass in the bathroom is no more. (I'm also pleased to report that it was removed without breaking and is salvageable. I'm sure someone will find a nice use for it!)

Now, doesn't that look much nicer? I certainly think so!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Cleaning Day"

My parents had the fantastic idea of having an organized "Cleaning Day" to help Bobby and me with the initial work that comes from purchasing a home. So, this past Saturday, we did just that!

And what a great day it was.

Grandma and Mom brought over delicious breakfast casseroles for all of us to enjoy, and we got right to work! (As did the sellers, who had arranged to stop by that morning to pick up lots of belongings that they hadn't removed before closing. Long story...but it all worked out.) Together with our families (I believe there were 10 of us?), we spent the day disinfecting, weeding, organizing...the works. And the place already looks vastly improved.

Grandpa did some work in the garden and discovered our very first harvest...a lone asparagus! (The first of many, I hope!)

On top of many, many other projects, Bobby cleaned and emptied out one of our two storage sheds.

My dad weeded a flower bed, and discovered a rock border that we hadn't known existed. Bobby's stepmom cleaned out a fountain in the yard that needed serious attention, and his dad power-washed the deck and walkway.

My mom scrubbed the bathroom top-to-bottom, and cut liners with our grandmas for the kitchen cabinets. My sister, Rachel, and I removed dated wall shelves and cabinetry left-and-right. (I discovered during that time that she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to removing screw anchors from the walls. The girl doesn't mess around.)

On Sunday, we continued the fun (really, it was fun!) with Bobby's brother, Joey, and his grandma. Bobby mowed his very own lawn for the first time with his brand-new mower (it seemed like a critical purchase), and Joey used the Weed-Eater all over the property. We all spread mulch around the backyard trees and flower beds, and spent lots of the time in the yard weeding. Another productive day!

Thank the Lord for our families. We owe a BIG THANKS to every one of them for volunteering their weekend time to work with us...and to Grandma and Mom for making sure we didn't go hungry! We can't wait to enjoy our now freshly-cleaned home and weed-free less-weedy yard with you in the days ahead! (Bobby's itching to buy that new grill, so you know what means...!)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Now It's Ours!

What a whirlwind the past few days have been! We finally bought our home on Thursday, and have been hard at work ever since as we begin to make it "ours". Here's a few photos of our new place, as promised!

Closing time! 
Proud homeowners!
Living Room
Breakfast Area
Guest Bathroom

Bobby and I absolutely love it, and we couldn't be happier with our purchase. In many ways, it already feels like home!

However, we have a long list of projects that we'll be tackling in an effort to update and upgrade. As you can see, the house needs lots of love...but we're already making major progress. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Exciting Day!

Today is the day we have looked forward to for so long. Today we close on the purchase of our first house, and we could not be any more thrilled. Truly, I don't remember the last time (besides my wedding day) when I was this anxiously-excited, full of adrenaline and anticipation for the fun ahead! (I woke up and played Semisonic's '90's jam, "Closing Time", on YouTube for Bobby. Sure, it's about a different kind of closing time, but it still seemed like the right thing to do. He really enjoyed it, let me tell you.)

I picked up the cashier's check from the bank, and though a somewhat stressful withdrawal, it was fun. (Who knew spending thousands of dollars could feel so good?!) What a blessing to be able to write a check such as this, mindful of and thankful for the opportunities we've been given and the sacrifices we've made that have led us to this point, able to do what we're doing today. We've worked hard! And now we get to celebrate, and celebrate big time.

We're headed to do the walk-through shortly, and check on the siding project (!!!) that has taken far longer than any of us expected. Oh, well. It's looking incredible, and has changed the entire "look" of the house. (Photos to come...soon!)

We're going to be homeowners in a few short hours. Wow.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Graces

I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to highlight the new business venture of my special and incredibly-talented friend, Becca. At the risk of seeming vain, I think I've found an obvious opportunity....

Together with her dear friend, Meg White, Becca is a co-owner of Springfield's latest event-planning service, 'Events by Social Graces'. Today, Becca highlighted Bobby's and my wedding on their blog! What an honor!

Clearly, I benefited from Becca's know-how throughout the wedding planning process, and on the 'Big Day', I had every confidence that I was in good hands. She did a fantastic job, and I was worry-free.

I have long-admired the style, expertise, and, well, "social graces", that Becca and Meg posses, and Becca's parties always inspire me. I'm so excited to see what the two of them come up with next, and hope that Social Graces enjoys much success in the days ahead!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Great Day!

The sun is (finally) shining.
It's Friday.
Bobby is back from his week in St. Louis.
We're headed out of town shortly for a weekend in Kansas City to celebrate Natalie, the bride-to-be.
Our tax refund found its way to our bank account, one week before we close on our house.

As Bobby likes to say, "this is a great day!"