The house we love…making home a house again.

the homePreparing our home for sale has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of sweat equity. We have spent nights over the last few weeks spending 2-4 hours a night painting, packing, staging, organizing, and rethinking our home. This home has done so much for us.

The next family who enters here as home will have freshly painted walls, a storage system in the garage, a deck out back, and new plumbing. They will also have the beauty that this old house puts forth. The walls of this home are bright, and spacious, and have held my children’s pictures, my children’s drawings, and my children’s school work. Now they are holding art that will help people see it’s potential. I am falling in love with this home again, but for the potential it has for its next owner.

The boys have packed away many of their belongings, prizes, and treasures. They have helped paint, helped pack and helped clean. They are as excited as we are about making this move. I will admit I was worried about the stress of a move on them, but they are handling it with understanding, and excitement. We have even taken them to a few open  houses. We want them to understand that we are not moving into every house we look at, but one of them may be it.

punch listLast week I broke emotionally and physically about this house. I had made a list with our Realtor of what she recommended we change to make it appeal to a large audience of buyers. The list was not crazy, just details like paint color, removing a lot of our “stuff” and setting the stage for a welcoming home.  I set a timeline for me. No one else imposed this timeline. And I was setting a super fast pace.  This punch list was consuming my life.

I needed my village.

I needed others to help me see the light at the end.

I sent a text and asked them to come over and lured them in with food.

They all responded, and Friday night I was out getting supplies. I grabbed a few extra rollers, drop cloths, paint trays, and sand paper. Saturday I fuel the bodyheaded to the super market to get food. Normally, I would grab the food whole, bring it home, and prep it. Today, I went for pre-cut fruit, veggies, and cheese. I also grabbed some guacamole, salsa, water, juice boxes for the kids, Arnold Palmer for my dad and brother (but really we all drink them) and hummus. I wanted to be sure there was plenty of filling mostly healthy food at the table so that no one would over indulge in something and feel bad. We also have a few diabetics in.the family so I needed to be sure we had protein and veggies. splurging on cut fruits and veggies and cheese meant that we could get right to work on the house. I think it was worth the little added expense! Plus, no dishes!

part fo the funWe had a busy day of fun and stress for sure! We were able to paint both of the boys bedrooms, the hallway, the stairway, part of the basement, move our packed boxes into the garage for moving to storage, and repair two sections of wall that needed to be patched. We even created a coat closet out of a linen closet that was not being used because of a new linen closet in the bathroom. We got a lot done. All I saw were the things we hadn’t finished.  I saw things we couldn’t finish. I saw a list that kept growing. I went to bed feeling overwhelmed.

I woke up with a sense of, “We can do this. Where is my list? Let’s check some things off.” I was ready to go again. I had forgotten that the most important thing for me to do is rest. I was burning the candle at both ends and unable to finish a task. I am choosing to rest a bit more, and that may mean it takes a little bit longer to get listed, but it is worth it.

We are not finished, but we are really close. stay tuned for pictures of our newly re-imagined house!Home heart

Lasting Impressions

one last time
one last time

This has been a journey. I am so glad we took this step because it brought us together  in a place that once tore us apart. I haven’t written in a few days because I was enjoying taking it all in. I am sitting in our living room on our last morning here and I am reflecting on the adventure.

all the guards and kids were so happy to see goofy!
all the guards and kids were so happy to see goofy!

We spent a lot of time at the pool. The pool here is the center of the resort. Lifeguards are also the activity directors.  They do a great job of engaging kids and adults alike. Activities range from water side races, to bingo, to trivia, to limbo, to nighttime mini golf with glow necklaces. There are also excursions you can  pay for and some that are free. You can always be busy here, or always just relax. These activities kept the boys engaged and gave the adults a chance to relax. There is so much to do that we did not even come close to doing it all.
This was wonderful, but there is something bigger here.

there is information everywhere about how to help the little dudes make it!
there is information everywhere about how to help the little dudes make it!

This resort is on the Atlantic Ocean. On this coast of Florida there are sea turtle nests everywhere. There are several sea turtle biologists who head out to the beach in the early morning hours. They ride their ATV’s and are equipped with an iPad (filled with information about each nest) and a few tools necessary for their job. They document any activity from a sea turtle nest. Sometimes they find a new nest or a recently hatched nest. They excavate nests, and often find a little turtle or two who didn’t make it out of the nest.

these scientists are dedicated to their work
these scientists are dedicated to their work

As guests here, at 7AM every morning we can trek to the beach and watch their work. For the last two mornings we have been down there and have had the privilege of seeing four babies being sent out to the sea! It is so exciting. The best part though is my boys seeing someone who loves their job. The employees at this resort love what they do.

three of the turtles we were able to see released
three of the turtles we were able to see released

If you really think about the challenge of saving sea turtles it is incredible that there are any alive. Out of the possible 115 eggs laid in one nest, 90% will hatch, and 1% will survive into adulthood. Those are astounding statistics. Nearly impossible. But yet, the species is being saved through the hard work and dedication of the scientists who have a passion for sea turtles.

the boys taking in one more sunrise
the boys taking in one more sunrise

This is important because we woke the boys up early every morning and headed to the beach to see what had developed while we slept. They grunted and groaned, but once there, they enjoyed it. I am hoping that when they see these scientists dedicated to saving these little guys/gals that they will see more than turtles. I want them to see that even the little things are worth fighting for. Even when it seems impossible, it is worth it. Those dreams they have, they can achieve them. Protecting those that can’t do it themselves, they can do that too. Nothing is impossible. I hope they see the hard work put in to make the impossible possible. I also hope they see it isn’t all work. Everything they want to achieve is worth it. Every friendship and relationship: worth it. Every belief they hold dear to their hearts are worth every effort to protect.
I hope they have lasting impressions…

our family left a momentary impression in the sand, I pray the sand left a lasting on eon us
our family left a momentary impression in the sand, I pray the sand left a lasting on eon us

For more information check out this website to see how you can help!

beautiful art on the building
beautiful art on the building

Barrier Island Center

Love and Marriage

Sunday morning Steve and the boys and I headed to his mothers church for 8:30 mass. It was interesting as her church building has become home to a new  church affiliated with the Lebanese Catholic Church know as Maronite Catholic. The service is similar to those we have been to in the past, but also, different.

The reason we were here this morning was wonderful. Steve’s mom and dad had their vows renewed during the mass. Their Father was wonderfully accommodating, and even had Steve and his brother and sister serve as witnesses. The “ceremony” during mass was to bless their marriage, and renew their vows. It was beautiful to be a witness to.

the happy still couple
the happy still couple

This did not originally register with me, but then Steve’s dad said something unique. He was excited about it being his wedding day, and said “how amazing that (she) got to be married in her church with her pastor? I feel so blessed.” What an amazing testament to love. He was so excited about how happy she was that he was talking about the day like it was hers.  Let’s be honest, it was. She was the bride, she planned it, she asked the priest, she did the leg work. He was happy to do it for her. For them.

I will be honest, vow renewals have never been something that I thought highly of. I just had this naive concept that if you were married, you were married. Why did you need another party? I was wrong. so wrong. Vow renewal is important to couples who have been together a long time, couples who have renewed their love for each other, been through a tragedy and seen the love that supported them through it. It is a testament to love, a testament to marriage that lasts. A testament to family.

After the ceremony we ate at Steve’s mother’s house and like a typical Sunday, there was a lot of food! while we snacked, we were watching old home videos. My father -in-law is king of the video camera. He captured everything from lazy Sunday afternoons, to holidays, to special events, to sporting events, to family fun. One of those special events was my wedding.

My wedding…

my "Aunt" and a very good friend singing a duet at our wedding (The Prayer)such beautiful voices, and so wonderful to hear again like this!
my “Aunt” and a very good friend singing a duet at our wedding (The Prayer)such beautiful voices, and so wonderful to hear again like this!

Stephen and I have been married for almost 13 years. I have NEVER seen a video of our wedding ceremony. EVER!!! so on this Sunday afternoon, we were watching Steve’s brother use the toilet, and then, in a blink, it was our wedding. Me in my pearly bow dress, Steve in a tux and a tiny goatee (no beard like today) and hair. It was a snippet of our day, but I cried, I sobbed, I was so emotional over a day, in our history.

And I was reminded why I love him, why I stay when things get rough, why we fight for us. Every member of Steve’s family said what a beautiful ceremony it was, and what  party we had after. How nice it was to be together with everyone. We had over 200 guests, and over half were his family. As I watched the part of the ceremony where Steve wiped a tear from my eye before kissing me, I remembered it, like it had just happened. How I was embarrassed and in love in that one moment.

I know we are blessed to be together, blessed to have a love that has lasted even this long, and what a blessing it is to be a couple who fights for each other through it all. Even when times get rough, I remember this:

our first dance
our first dance

And I remember why, and I am willing to keep fighting.

Love your loved ones while they are here. The videos we watched had many happy memories. They also included many family members and friends who have gone before. These moments made the whole day come into perspective. The moments we have, the love we share, and the people we are blessed with are never a guarantee.