Demolition Dreams

We’ve had Whistle Haven for ten days now and we have accomplished some serious demolition.  The house already looks completely different than it did January 9th.  In the eyes of Noah and Esther the house is just a complete mess and they can’t for the life of them figure out why this looks like a better living alternative to our apartment.  In my eyes, it’s a dream come true. Everyday I walk into the house and see my vision for what Whistle Haven can be come closer and closer to being a reality.

I really wanted to share some demolition pictures today so you could see how much has already changed but I just spent most of the morning editing photos while the girls are at Mother’s Day Out and I’ve got to run to a lunch date with a friend.  I don’t want to leave you empty handed though so take a look at the floor plan I’ve drafted that shows what the downstairs will eventually look like.

 

Here’s a video walk through I did before we began any work…

and for fun ML did one with the girls. It’s pretty funny to see what they consider the highlights of the house.

I promise to be back next week with demolition photos and maybe even start sharing what we are thinking for finishes.  It’s been a little bit overwhelming for me but so much fun!  And I want you to enjoy it with us.

 

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Meet Whistle Haven

Meet Whistle Haven!

Whistle Haven joined our family earlier this week and has already captivated our hearts and dreams.  This charming Cape Cod style home was originally built in 1979 and sits nestled on a spacious piece of land right next to the train tracks. Now that you are probably questioning if you are reading the MLS description or an actual blog post lets dig into the what, when, and why of it all.

Whistle Haven is a foreclosure that had been on and off the market for around six months before we found her back in November.  Everything inside of her still boasts 1979 and could scare the average home buyer away but from the beginning we saw past her outdated finishes and into the bones of a beautiful house that was just waiting to become a home for our family.

Michael Luke and I have always dreamed of finding an older home and fixing it up.  We are prepared to tackle this house like Chip and Joanna Gaines… minus the filming crew and shiplap, with plans to gut and transform the entire first floor of the house.

Since Whistle Haven is a foreclosure she was priced a good bit under what we were open to spending on a house so that leaves us plenty of room in the budget to customize our dream house.  Which means I’m having to give some serious thought into what’s the best kitchen layout for our family, what flooring and cabinets do I want to live with (for a while), and how much demolition do I need to do myself before I finally get those six pack of abs.  Floor removal  is a for real workout!

Michael Luke and I had no real intentions of buying a house until we returned from China to bring Judah home.  That had been our plan all along ever since we first moved to the Memphis area almost two years ago.  Why?  When we moved to Memphis we had already begun the adoption process so we had to update our homestudy and this ended up setting us back about three months… or more.  The U.S. government has approved us to bring Judah home to his bedroom in this apartment.  To bring him home anywhere else requires a complete homestudy update and resubmitting everything to immigration.  Which is a big setback!

Whistle Haven is perfect though because it will take us around two to three months to get all the renovations completed.  During this time our apartment will remain our main dwelling space.  We also plan to travel to China during this time as well. Once we return we will spend a little while at the apartment and then FINALLY make the big move to our new house as a party of five!  I cannot wait.

In the meantime Michael Luke and I will be tackling some of the demo and installation ourselves in addition to bringing in professional contractors, plumbers, and electricians to help us get this job done. The past few days while we’ve been working on things I’ve had the best time dreaming of what it will be like with all five of us living there.  Wondering what secrets the girls will share with each other in their bedroom. Imagining Judah toddling around the house or our family gathering in the kitchen for family dinners while I cook. And picturing Emma chasing after countless squirrels. It’s going to be fun.

Ever since we were newly weds… nearly ten years ago, we would drive around and look at houses. My favorite ones were always the older ones with character.  Everyone’s dream or ideal house is different.. For some it’s a new home. For others a city apartment with a view.  For me its always been an older home with character and a yard for a garden and room to play in. Whistle Haven posses all that.  So why name our house Whistle Haven? A house is so much more than just a building and because of that it has always been my desire to have one with a name. I don’t feel like a house needs to look like Downton Abbey or the White House to earn a name.  Every home should be entitled to its own name.

My prayer for our house is for it to be a haven for our family but also our friends and guests that visit our home.  This life is crazy busy but we all need a place for rest. To refuel. To recharge. We all need a haven.  The “whistle” part of the name was easy. This house sits right beside one of the main tracks into Memphis so train whistles are no stranger to this house.  The girls are beyond excited to have a view of the train tracks from their bedroom window and I’m reminded of the joy of watching trains when i was little.  Not many people request hotel rooms next to the track… but we always did growing up because my sister and I loved watching the trains so much.

So tell me, what’s the name for your home? Or if you haven’t named it yet what would be the most fitting name for your home?

 

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Christmas Break

For the non-homeschooling people out there you may wonder how Christmas break is different than a school week for my girls since we stay home everyday anyway.  Or, how is it different for me?

It’s no different for us than any other family. The girls seems to believe that no school for two weeks is going to be the most amazing thing ever!  When asked what they were going to do all day they each replied, “play”.  I told them they would probably get bored of so much free time and be begging for school to start back after the new year. We shall see.

For me, it’s an intentional break from staying caught up with the lesson plan and straggling the line between mommy and teach while trying to maintain cooperation and order in the classroom… dining room/ bedroom floor, sofa.  It’s two weeks to try to catch up on house cleaning and maybe even organize a thing or two.  It’s two weeks to plan stress free crafts, movie dates, and special excursions with the girls. Who knows we may even get a little crazy and skip quiet time one or twice!

Christmas break is also a reminder that this is my last two weeks free with just my two girls.  My last extended special time with them before Judah joins us early next year.  I’m soaking it up and making the most of by doing things like painting our nails and watching movies like White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life with them.

We are so excited about bringing Judah home next year but I know that enjoying this special time with just the two of them isn’t something to be wasted. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was enjoying my last few weeks with just Noah.

Adoption is a lot like pregnancy in that at first you don’t know much about your child. Then you get those first sonogram pictures or decide on a country and you really start to envision this child and picture them in your future. Next, you have the gender reveal or matching. Then. Then you can see those hands, the feet, the eyelashes, little bits of a personality and you are ready for to hold that little one in your arms and give them all the love that they need.

Well that’s where we have been since July….and why thinking of him lying in a crib with dozens of other little ones makes me sad and eager to bring him home.  God is using this time to remind me to pray for him.  To be thankful for the caregivers he has there and that he is being cared for.  To be thankful that we are only three to four months away from travel.  And to be thankful that last month we received an update on him with pictures and a twenty second video.  Twenty seconds… it’s not much different than what an expecting mom sees of her little one on sonogram. Enough to cause us to fall even more in love with the little on God is entrusting us with.  Enough to cherish.

So besides singing Christmas carols and drinking eggnog what special activities are you planning these last few days before Christmas?

Until we travel to China next year we are not allowed to share identifying pictures of Judah. Please know that we wish we could share his beautiful face with you but that we are just following guidelines.  To follow our entire adoption journey click the adoption tab above or use this link.

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