Holiday Season 2016

 

Every time I come in to make a post, I am shocked at how long it has been since I last updated!  We had so many pans in the fire over this past year that I didn’t feel like I could post an update until we actually had a completed area. However, all of the areas were completed right around the same time, as we were preparing for my parents to come for a visit in October. So, get ready for a nice big update!  I hadn’t realized just how much we really did accomplish until I looked through these pictures.  All of that groundwork is finally turning into finishing touches, and  our house is truly starting to feel like home.

 

So, here was our very first, really big, challenge!  That great big step!  Here is the progression as we finally got it out.

Now, here is our brand new entrance!!!

 

We turned our old living room into our new dining room, and our family room into a media room/family room.

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Then we decided to take our old dining room, and turn it into a guest bedroom. It has a daybed in it that comes out into a king-sized bed, and folds away easily when we don’t have guests.  This room has become a very sweet sitting area.

 

And of course, my favorite room remains this one right here…  I will forever cherish my library.

 

And now, we are thoroughly enjoying our holiday season.

Stay tuned as we begin to work on the bedroom end of the house, then the kitchen, and the outdoor patio kitchen that we plan to roof in.  All over the course of the next couple of years.  😉

 

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November 2015-March 2016

Our family has experienced many life events since my last post.  We have made some nice gains on the house, but I haven’t taken time to blog them here in a while.  So, lets go back to just before Thanksgiving to start.  One major accomplishment (at least in my own personal opinion) was the accomplishment of our library.  I totally love my new library!  Brian installed a new floor, and we now have the bookshelves, new ceiling lighting and fan, and curtains to make the room super comfy.  Now I just need to organize the built-in desk and shelves with the computer system and all, and this space will officially be my paradise!

 

We also finally painted and put some of the walls into our master bedroom, and even added a new ceiling fan/light fixture so we could finally move our bed out of our “soon to be” dining room and into our own personal space.  This was a huge sense of accomplishment!

After completing the library we took time off for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas).   Unfortunately, our oldest daughter had an emergency the day before Christmas, and she has been in the hospital experiencing multiple surgeries ever since.  However, we have made some nice gains while she is in the hospital, and we are hoping these will make a wonderful homecoming when she makes it home.  We completed most of the wheelchair shower/toilet room for the girls.  The only item left of this list for this room, currently, is the custom cabinet for over the toilet.  We plan to come back to this soon.

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The kids needed a place to organize their “toiletries” in their sink area.  So, we got one one completed in this area for them.  Now they just need some cute personal hand towels and wash clothes, and their cute little space will be complete.

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We then had to take a bit of time and cost to repair our foundation (and level our house) before we could move on to floors, walls, ceiling repairs, or the outdoor concrete work we have been preparing for.  So, one of those very costly, but not very visible “investments” had to happen next…

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“18” piers later on three sides of our house, our bank account reflected a bit of sadness. However, our house is now level!  So, after another month or so we were finally on to the outdoor concrete work as we wait for the house to finish settling into its new level state…

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I have to admit; while costly, this part was a bit more fun than the foundation repairs!!!  We now have a ramp going into our Living Room (Family Room), and easy access in and out of our front door and back yard with the wheel chairs.  Our kids can freely access the playground any time they wish.  Brian will be working on building a metal roof in time.  I want to be able to sit outside during a rain/thunderstorm and enjoy the sounds of the rain hitting the metal roof.  We will also be building an outdoor kitchen in the future.  All things in time…

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One last fun update is that our son has begun to join his dad for some of his jobs.

My husband started his own business, about a year ago, doing Handyman and Construction for others.  He is known as TexanBrian, and can be found at http://www.TexanBrian.com if you live in the West Houston area of Texas.  Happy 2016 to all!

We are off to a running start.  We are now moving on to tiling floors, and then will begin putting up new decorative walls where we had to remove walls to expand areas.  Stay tuned for an update as soon as we complete the main flooring we are planning to tile (and a couple of carpets in the Master bedroom and Living Room) this next month (pretty much everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room, and guest bathroom).  We will likely tackle the kitchen next year…

July 2015

Yes, I know it’s been quite a while since I have updated this blog.  Truth is that we have started a few different projects; although some have not been so visible that I could take pictures and have the result reflected for others to see.  Others have been small projects that we could only really do partially because we have such pressing areas that need our attention at the same time.  I love to post updates when I can show a beginning, middle, and end with clarity.  I have come to realize that this house will not likely come together in this fashion with clear and decisive pictures all in a time organized row.  Therefore, I have decided to simply post at least one blog update per month that shows what we have focused on for that month.  We will all (mostly speaking for myself) just have to accept that the final results will come in bite sized chunks.

One small size project that Brian completed a couple of months ago was an installation of a new wall microwave oven, and a new (to us) wall convection/standard oven (some good friends gave us theirs when they upgraded).  This required Brian to rebuild the area behind our fireplace to install these in place of the old ones.  All that is remaining is to stain the wood of the bottom drawer he built the color we decide on when we renovate the rest of the kitchen (this will come much later on).  Our kitchen renovation will be a very major undertaking, so will be one of the last big projects.  Again, parts of it may be complete as part of other projects, but the major portion will not be complete til near the end.

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Our first major project (that I have not yet blogged about) took most of last month. Brian created and installed a full house water system.  This system filters, clears sedimentation, and softens all water that comes into our house as it enters the main lines.  This project alone was a big one.  However, we have galvanized pipes all through our house.  These pipes are majorly corroded and rusty.  This means that many of our pipes had to be replaced with copper tubing.  Brian attempted to only replace the ones that were the worst for now (planning to do all individual areas as he renovates those areas otherwise).  Unfortunately, some of those pipes were found to either be too plugged to be effective, or had small leaks building up.  He ended up having to tear out some walls to replace some of the pipes immediately.

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Fortunately, we can now drink water from any faucet in our entire house, and it is fully filtered and wonderful!!!  We will still need to replace some galvanized pipes as we focus on the bathrooms, but this system has made an enormous difference in our water situation already!

Now we are on to dealing with the kids bathroom situation.  We have been delaying this project due to the very magnitude of completing it with the designs we came up with.  We knew the project would be huge, and we would need to focus on it to completion.  Remember, our first “small” part of temporarily “fixing” some of the accessibility issues resulted in Brian and Christopher knocking down the wall to the bathroom sink area.

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Resulting in this…

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However, we couldn’t remove those posts right away, due to this being a major weight bearing wall.  So, now we started the rest of this project off with Brian building some major beams across the attic to support the roof, etc.  Then, down came the beams and the wall dividing the sinks from the tub/toilet room.

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Now, we directly moved into the next major phase of this project.  The door to the tub/toilet room was not wide enough for wheel chair access.  To give the room necessary for this, we would need to take some of the master bedroom… and the back corner of Christopher’s room so we could move doors down and widen them.  This would give a little extra room to the bathroom as well.

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And here is the view from the master bedroom (and the back corner of Christopher’s room).

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Again, we had to deal with some weight bearing walls, but not to the extent of the big long one for the sink area.  Then, the beams came down…

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And up goes the header to our bedroom door…

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And, this is where I must leave y’all for now.  You are fully up-to-date with our current status of projects on this brand new fixer upper house of ours.  Stay tuned, and I will plan to post another update as soon as this project is complete.  This may be later this month, or possibly into next month.  As you can see, we have our hands a little full. 🙂  BTW, Brian started his own company “TexanBrian” a couple of months ago.  He now does this kind of work for anyone interested in hiring him (remodeling, additions, patios, handicap accessibility, etc…)!  Just visit him at http://www.texanbrian.com for more information.  FYI, Brian is an electrical/mechanical engineer with an MBA in Technology management.  He is incredibly good at all he does! 😉

 

The Step is History!!!

Our major hurdle since purchasing this house in the middle of November has been the big long step just inside the front door.  Remember???  It spanned the entire wall blocking wheel chairs from accessing any direction at all…dining room, living room, or hallways to bedrooms and bathroom.  Here’s a little reminder of this…

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Brian rented a jackhammer for a day, and tested it above to the right-hand end.  It worked!  So, we waited until March and rented it for a full week.  Here is that week…

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Can I just say we had more dust than I would ever like to experience again in this lifetime???  We put up plastic, blankets, etc…and we are still dealing with a thick coating of concrete dust everywhere throughout the entire house!  I have been focusing on small areas at a time, and just trying to work my way through.  However, I am still working as a home care visiting nurse throughout the week.  Getting it all done has been a bit challenging, and will likely take a while yet to accomplish.  However, here is where we are presently…

IMG_20150405_185001524 IMG_20150405_185018156 IMG_20150405_185027755 IMG_20150405_194800319 IMG_20150405_194900026  We have the carpet removed from the living room, and have the front door lowered. Brian even added a temporary ramp into the raised den so that the girls can easily access it until we remove the carpet and lay down the wood grained tile throughout the house.  Here they are enjoying this tonight…

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We have a long ways to go.  However, we are so incredibly grateful for the amount we have accomplished thus far!  The “step” is gone, and this is an accomplishment we won’t soon forget!

March 1st!

Today was nothing short of a total and complete blessing on the Goff Household!  We have an amazing church that does a special day every year called “Caring for Katy Day”.  All of our church takes that day to go out into the community to literally be the hands and feet of Christ. In other words, we love on people in our community!  You can read a little more about it here…  http://kingsland.org/caringforkaty-m 

This was our church parking lot this morning (Sunday Morning):

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Here is where two of those many many classes were this morning!

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They were loving all over US!!!!!!!!!    As you are all likely aware of by now, we have a LOT to do on this “new” house of ours.  These classes (one of them was Brianca and Christopher’s class) decided that they wanted to make it their mission this year to come and help us put a dent into all of the work we have ahead of us.  Therefore, they took on the back fence,

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the gate going into our back yard,

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all of the landscaping out front,

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and even the ramp going to our front door.

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We had them only run the ramp up to the first step, however, because Brian will be taking out the remainder of that step in front of our front door in just 2 weeks from now.  At that time, he will be lowering the front door to the bottom step.

The only thing left to add is how we got from the “before” pictures to the “after” pictures…so here goes:

The Fence:

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The Gate:

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The Landscaping:

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And the Ramp:

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And of course…all of the FUN in between!!!

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This was a day that was truly blessed for all who were present!  Our family will never forget the day that these wonderful friends came to bless our new home with so much love and joy!

February 2015

This is just a quick update with lots of pictures.  This is a month that we have focused on getting the kids rooms started with their murals.  We spent a bit of time preparing walls and re-doing closets/closet doors/bedroom doors.  Our focus is all about wheel chair accessibility!  We have a close friend who also happens to be an artist.  Natalie and her friend Sean have started creating some amazing murals in our kids rooms.  The girls will eventually have a forest of fairies and wildlife, complete with a sunset and sunrise.  Our son will eventually have the Sesame Street characters on a Safari in his room.

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Their rooms are officially off to a very fun start!  We also completed painting our Den…

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I started painting this room, and Brian finished it. 😉  As you can see, he is worn out. Now the kids enjoy having their Physical Therapy in this room. 😉

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We have started working on the back fence.  It is now completely down, so with a major apartment complex behind us we were needing to temporarily put up some privacy curtains in our Den.  We plan to eventually purchase some pretty blinds and valences to put here in the near future.

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Our friends from church have decided to spend Caring for Katy day with us this year!  They will be helping us this coming weekend with putting up the new fence, building a ramp at our front door, and planting our front gardens.  Here are the pictures of how the front of our house looks now.  Stay tuned for how it all looks after this coming weekend (March 1st)!!!

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January 31, 2015

This is just a quick little post to share our most recent event.  We had a little shift of priorities on our “To-Do” list.  As we were bringing in Brianca’s motorized chair a couple of weeks ago, it “bumped” the sliding glass doors that lead out to our one-and-only ramp.  Though it didn’t do any “visual” damage, the doors would no longer open/close without major effort.  Therefore, our plans to put in new French Doors just moved up from about a year off to right now, and our plans to jack-hammer out the remainder of the step inside the front door just pushed back for another month or so!  I have to admit, these sliding doors were not a favorite for anyone…even before they became difficult to use.  We never seemed to be able to get them clean enough to see through well, and that quite honestly drove me a bit nuts. 😛  Anyhow, we now have a couple of strong young men helping Brian to install a new set of very pretty french doors!  They have built-in blinds, and will be much easier to use for our purposes.

Our only real draw-back is that the step will have to wait a little longer to get jack-hammered out.  However, we have more than enough projects to keep us busy until we are ready for the “costly” ones again.  Each new project that we move forward with proves to be quite exciting.  Even the small changes have major impact on the excitement within our home.  We never expected to complete everything quickly.  This house is a special project for our family that will likely unfold over several years time.  This is okay, because  the memories are a precious part of the journey.

Lucy

Lucy

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January 2015

As you now know, we have a “brand new fixer-upper” house on our hands!  We are totally loving life in our new home!!!  We made the decision the first week of December to put the bigger projects on hold until  after Christmas.  We just really wanted the entire season to be a major celebration with Christ, our family, and our friends so we could truly praise Him for all He provided for our family.  Going into 2014, we never would have believed how it would end…selling what we believed to be our dream house and going on to make a purchase solely with the equity pulled out from that house for our new home.  We knew clearly the challenge that was presented to us when presented with that final decision, but we also knew that we had little choice at that point (or desire, really) to limit God’s great power.  Well, we clearly see, feel, and experience this amazing miracle on a daily basis from the moment we sold the other house (just a couple days after listing it) to finding this one (just 3 weeks before everyone anticipated us to be essentially homeless) right up to this present day.  Brian held tight to his belief we were not to lease an apartment, and our only “plan B” was a hotel if we could not find another home in time.  However, our God is NEVER late!!!  We went directly from one house to the other.

The exciting part is that the surprises keep coming!  On Christmas eve, we made a discovery that we had a fully operational gas log in our fireplace.  Our dream was to save up to purchase a gas log in the future (hundreds to buy and install the size needed for this giant fireplace).  So, we opened the glass doors, moved back the iron curtains to place a clean burning log into the fireplace, and discovered the most beautiful sight we ever could have beheld!!!

Gas Log

Gas Log

It didn’t burn totally even for the first couple of days, but now it looks so real and gorgeous that we have had it running every single day since its discovery!  Our Living Room has become a precious quiet and restful place.  Even our kids feel the serene quiet of it as I often discover them quietly sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace doing a floor puzzle or looking through a book instead of in the Den watching TV.  What a treasured gift, indeed!

So, our Christmas was truly special.  We had so very much to be thankful for.  We pretty much did just one main very special gift for each of the kids,  Lucy and Chris had a couple of extra little things to go with their main gift.  However, not one of the kids was disappointed at any part of how we did Christmas this year.  As a matter of fact, they seemed far more happy and content with how simple we made it all this year than I can remember them being in previous years.  Our focus was strongly where it belonged…on whose birthday we were celebrating.  Our focus was also strongly on how fortunate we were simply to have this place to call home.

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So, moving on…we are now into 2015, and the many projects are not going to do themselves.  Our first and most important agenda was to gain some sort of accessibility for the two wheel chairs to pass that giant step that extends from in front of the front door all the way over to the hallway…essentially blocking the wheelchairs from getting to the hallway, bathroom, or the office (our 4th bedroom) area.

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So, Brian rented a jackhammer for a day on the first week of January…and the result was that he blasted out enough of the concrete to fit the chairs through to the hallway and essential areas, for now.  He will revisit this project in the future when we get some of the other vital areas started.

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On to the next vital necessity…a bathroom that the wheel chairs can actually enter.  The kids bathroom is wonderful with double sinks, built-in cabinets, a separate room for the tub and toilet, etc.  It also had a very narrow door, and a hall-like layout.  The chairs could never even get near the sinks let alone the tub area.  So, Brian got out his handy-dandy sledge-hammer, and got all his frustrations of life out on that wonderful wall between the hallway and bathroom.  The process is as follows:

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Chris greatly enjoyed this therapy session right alongside of dad!  Here are the results…so far:

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Our poor dog was hiding under the desk the entire time…

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The plan is to completely customize the cabinets, sinks, counters, and tub/toilet area (which will become a shower and toilet area).  This wall was a weight-bearing wall, so he will build a pillar and remove the studs.  Once he cleans up this area as much as he can, and finishes reconstructing the plumbing and electric, he will move on once again before completing it fully.  Our den is “raised”.  The wheelchairs do not have access to this room at all just now. So, I will finish painting while he constructs a ramp going in.

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Flooring throughout the house is a plan for much further on.  We are trying to refrain from ripping up as many of the carpets as we can until we are ready to start flooring.  However, some areas were just too hard to keep.  We are slowly, but surely, moving on through this house and turning it into our brand-new fixer-upper “Dream House”.  It will have all of our dreams within its very walls.  The kids will have essential roles in bringing it all together as they work alongside of us in the process.  They will discover the beauty that can come from our hands through the love of our Lord!  He is building a new dream within our family, and we are anticipating the excitement as it all unfolds over the coming years.  An old chapter has closed, and a new one has only just begun.

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Moving Day!!!

All I can say is WOW!  What a journey we are in the middle of!  What amazing friends we have!!!  What an amazing God we LOVE, Serve and Worship!!!!!!  We are well on our way to debt freedom.  We now have our very first mortgage-free home, and together our family will make it a truly beautiful home.  It is FAR more than we ever dreamed possible (and this is the understatement of the year)!  We were up against the kind of odds that anyone in the Houston area would strongly validate!  Those around us stated that what we expected to accomplish was truly impossible.  They were concerned.  We looked a little over-the-top kooky for a little while there (even to ourselves)!!!  Lets just say that true Faith can appear a bit extreme; even to those who are deeply devoted to our Savior.  The amount of money we had to work with in order to make this purchase solely with cash essentially left everyone (and I mean absolutely everyone!) believing that without an all out total miracle (like one of those in the days of the bible) we would not be able to find a home to purchase that was not in a very dangerous area; and a very small and unlivable home at that.  This just proves that God gives great gifts!  Obviously, He couldn’t waste a moment with that many highly concerned eyes watching how this incredible situation would unfold.  We have had lots of friends stopping by helping, praying, and thoroughly loving on us!  We have definitely been down in a pretty deep valley over the past couple of years.  We are finally starting to climb up a very glorious mountain out of those depths we so recently thought for sure would forever encase us.

Fireplace

Fireplace

Kitchen

Kitchen

Breakfast Room

Breakfast Room

Breakfast Room

Breakfast Room

Dining Room

Dining Room

Dining Room

Dining Room

Girl's Room

Girl’s Room

Christopher's Room

Christopher’s Room

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bath

Master Bath

Master Bath

Master Bath

Family Room

Family Room

A wonderful man named “Kevin” came from our church (Kingsland Baptist) to install this ramp out our back patio doors for our girls.  Lucy uses it many many times a day!!!

Lucy

Lucy

Sand Time!

Sand Time!

This home will require a great deal of TLC (the “cosmetic” portion), and many hours of sweat equity (the “foundation” portion), but it is so completely worth it.  It has personality and potential coming out of its rafters!  What we initially thought was going to be a “stepping stone” home (all we ever thought we could pull off with the equity we pulled out of our last home) is now viewed as very likely our forever home!  We can see incredibly beauty hiding just under the surface, and waiting to be revealed.  We will reveal it!!!

Our first, and very major, order of business is to remove the step from just inside the front door that blocks every possible direction from wheel chair access.

"The" step

“The” step

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Brian is working hard to knock this step out.  He has been attacking it with a sledge hammer, and is now planning to obtain a concrete cutting saw. He is determined!  With motivation like that which seems to be radiating out of every one of his pores right now, I have no doubt that this step will soon be history!  In the meantime, he worries about Lucy’s “sense of freedom”…

Ramp?

Ramp?

So, here was his attempt to mobilize her (mostly on her little butt, but she is happy!).  This happy girl and her thankful kisses puts daddy at peace with the world.

So, I now have also created my “corner of happiness”.  Our family has named this special corner Café ol’ Leesa.

Café ol' Leesa

Café ol’ Leesa

I LOVE this little corner alcove in our Breakfast Room!  I was trying to figure out where I would put this little bistro style table that used to sit in our Master Bedroom in the other house.  I also had this big commercial coffee maker that I couldn’t seem to part with, and it wouldn’t fit on my new kitchen counters without blocking the cabinet doors from opening.  Suddenly it came to me that I could combine these two wonderful creations, and create my little dream corner! How perfect is this!  This puts “me” at peace with the world…which seems to have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the family.  Fancy how that works. 😉

So, here is pretty much our starting point of this brand new amazing adventure we are now embarking on.  I will post little updates and pictures as we progress.  Enjoy!  BTW, I love feedback… 😉

Countdown!

This is just a quick update…  Brian and I were very excited to find the house we are buying listed on house selling sites, but listed as “under contract so no longer showing”!   We decided to share these wonderful pictures with all of you.  Hope you enjoy!

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We are just 3 weeks away from our closing date on this house.  Our closing date on our current home is just 2 weeks away.  We are very close to some seriously life changing moments!  Stay tuned for the initial inside pictures.  We will have fun posting pictures as we have fun transforming this house over the coming months and years!