Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We are so thankful to be together on this peaceful snowy day (5 inches, so far!); the first Christmas in our new house. Thank you for praying for us over the last few months. We moved into our new home just after Thanksgiving. The last few weeks have been very full with moving, unpacking, getting settled in, then each of us fell very sick, too.

In the midst of all of this, we also experienced a great tragedy in our extended family. This, in addition to deep sadness and grief, caused us to pull closer to one another, in gratitude for children and family and "every good and perfect gift from above" (James 1:17). With all this going on, I have had much to say, but have been too overwhelmed to bring it to this space. I hope to be back here more in the coming new year.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and very blessed and sacred day together; full of remembrance and awe for the greatest gift ever given- "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6) May you all truly know the love of Jesus today and always.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ultrasound today and its a....

BABY! Yay!

That's right! For all of you out there who keep asking what we're having... it's official.... we're having a real human baby. No more wondering if its a giraffe or porcupine or whatnot. Rest assured, I saw the critter squirming around in there today and its a little baby person of some kind!

All joking aside, baby looks good and we did not find out the gender. I initially decided against having an ultrasound for this pregnancy.  However, over the course of the last week I wasn't feeling a lot of movement from babe and a spirit of fear crept in. I made the appointment, just for peace of mind, I reasoned. Of course, since the scan this morning the baby has been more active than ever before. Kicking and punching, rolling around, going bananas! Tonight, for the first time, I could feel movement from the outside of my belly. So, I don't know... It's like the babe is telling me that the nosy old ultrasound wasn't needed, "if you want movement, well, here ya go!"

We are really so excited and thankful to meet this new little member of our family in March. Strangely, I feel more sentimental, emotional and excited about this baby than during either of my last two pregnancies. I can only imagine its because I know and understand the joy that lies ahead (unlike my pregnancy with Elijah, my first) and I am not scared about how I will handle another (unlike my pregnancy with Adah, my second). I am just, plain and simple, happy to be pregnant and grateful for this gift! So, please keep praying our little baby in the belly, there are still 20 weeks to go.

Here's a pic of how we're growing.
(I am working on scanning an ultrasound pic. I've yet to figure out my scanner.)

Sorry for not posting in a month. I've been debating about shutting the blog down. The day may be coming soon. Despite having a lot on my plate right now, I just don't feel like I have much to say.

We are still sorting through the details of buying the house that I told you about last time. So many details! If all goes well, we will be in the house before our lease runs out here at the end of the month. It looks to be about a 50-50 chance that it will work out that way. We appreciate all prayers on this matter, too. :)

I'll try to post more, thanks for hanging in here with me.
And thank you all for your friendship, love and support. Love you all!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Under Contract

After 6 months of diligent house hunting, Gabe and I are happy to say that we are under contract to purchase a house!

The house is in the Fairview area. It is a foreclosure and we think we got a pretty good deal for it. Its in  good condition, though it needs some updating, mostly cosmetic. Its on almost 2 acres and is about 1700 square feet. There is a small finished area in the basement that will be our homeschool room and a huge detached garage with electricity that will be Gabe's workshop.  The lovely large living room has a fireplace, big windows and nice hardwood floors. The bedrooms are small, but the common spaces are spacious and the yard is huge. The majority of the property feels private and enclosed with nice trees.  There is a little swing set for the kids in the backyard and plenty of space for gardens.These are all the good things about it.

There are a few downsides, too, because nothing is perfect in house hunting. We learned that quickly.  I blogged a while back about being prepared to make compromises; we did make a few. But, I am still satisfied with our decision. One down side: the exterior of the house was recently painted a deep "marinara sauce" reddish-orange from top to bottom and we hate it. It will take a lot of time and money to repaint, so we will have to live it with it for a while. We have an interesting neighbor situation, too. Its not terrible; though it will require a bit of landscaping to carry the private feel around to that side of the property .

There are many hoops to jump through before the house is officially ours, but we are hopeful that everything is going to work out. Especially because we had to give the required 60-day notice to the lovely Eastwood Village Apartments that we will not be renewing our lease. In other words, 60 days from today, we have to be out of here. Closing on a house can sometimes take 60 days or more. Therefore, we are praying for a speedy, smooth closing process. Ideally, we would close a couple of weeks before we have to be out of the apartment giving us time to paint and clean the new house before moving in.

Here is a link to the listing... notice the lovely chocolate brown and orange paint inside! We have our work cut out for ourselves, but hopefully, it will pay off.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hilton Head Island, SC

Vacation 2010: 
Resting, Sunning, Swimming, Biking, Hiking, Sanding, Kite Flying, Nature Watching, Recovering, Forgetting, Remembering.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dickinson Family Gathering

We had the opportunity to see all of Gabe's brothers and sisters together this weekend along with all of their respective spouses and children. I have so much I could say about the dynamics of such a big family. But as with all things lately, I just don't have the energy to put it into words. So I am going to keep with my trend and post a few pictures instead.

Barbara (Mom, Nana) with all of her children ( listed from the oldest who is 36 to youngest who is 23): Jessica in the red dress, Hope in the white shirt, Leah to the left of Barbara in grey, Jacob with sunglasses on his collar, Noah with sunglasses on, Gabe in the Piazza shirt, Micah right behind Barbara. (Gabe looks a little weary here; there were LOTS of pictures taken.:)


Barbara with almost all of her grandchildren ( We are missing Hailey, Micah's daughter who is in California). There 19 in all, with 2 more on the way. Gabe and I are expecting another baby in March and Hope and her husband Raul are expecting their first in December.  The ages of the children range from 5 mos to 16 years old. Cute family, huh?


  ♥The Dickinson that matters the most to me.♥

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Birthday Elijah Gabriel!

Yesterday was Elijah's birthday! My family drove up from South Carolina to surprise him. We all took a trip to Fun Depot for some birthday chaos. After the Fun Depot, we returned home for cupcakes and presents. We rested for a bit then drove to Hendersonville to have dinner with Nana (Gabe's mom), Aunt Hope and a few sweet cousins. I think he had a very fun day! In the midst of all the action, I only took a few lousy pictures.  I do have this short video clip to remind us of the day:

video

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy! On the day you were born, my ability to love grew one thousand fold. Suddenly I was needed and had a purpose in life:  to protect and love this tiny life. And though you're not tiny anymore, my purpose is the same. Being a mom, your mom has brought me so much joy and fullness. Over these last four years, I've learned what true sacrificial love/ agape love is... the love that loves despite what the other person does or says, how they treat you, what they do or don't do for you. And because of that, I feel like a better person. Being your mother has made me a better person. You make me laugh, cry and scream. You may make me happy and I am so thankful to have you in our lives.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Adah Lucia !

Two years ago today Adah Lucia was born! I didn't think it was possible to love another as much as I love her brother, but of course, I was wrong. Look at this sweet face! I never had a clue what kind of person she would grow to be. I still don't know! Its so awe inspiring to watch her morph into a totally unique person with a totally unique personality. Its so simply obvious, but who can understand it- There has never before been nor never again will there be another person like this one! How marvelous and thrilling to be a part of her life.
I am mystified by her. Who is she? What a gift to watch your child unfold before your eyes, revealing bit by bit who they were divinely created to be.

Here is a photo tour of her special day. It didn't work out to have a party for Adah today. Determined to make her day special anyways, I dolled her up and took her on a tour of her favorite people. First stop, Nana's house:


Then off to Greenville to meet my parents for a playdate at an indoor play center. 
Check out E and A's faces when they saw Mimi and Pop-Pop walk in:


 My folks took us to lunch at a adorable and delicious cafe, where we also enjoyed cake, candles, balloons and presents:


Lastly, we stopped by Daddy's work for another round of cake, candles and presents and of course, Daddy-love:



I thank God everyday for creating Adah and putting her in our family and for making her the amazing, bright, bubbly, sweet, beautiful girl that she is. I feel like the most blessed mom in the world to have such a special daughter!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two Days Off

Gabe had two days off in a row this weekend! Whoo! It was a first since starting his current job at Piazza. Since all of our days off in the previous months have been consumed with renovation, work around the house, packing, moving and house hunting, we were determined to make these days truly fun and restful.

On Sunday, we started the day by going to church. ( We haven't been in months also due to his job). We tried a new church and it was pretty great. I miss being together in worship, having fellowship with other believers and most of all hearing God's word taught and explained to me in an inspirational way. I hope it works out for us to visit this church again. Then we had lunch and came home for a long nap in the air conditioning of the apartment.

For dinner, we headed to Etowah to visit Gabe's family. Its also been months since he's spent time with any of them. We had a really sweet and fun time cooking out, eating and talking with people we love and miss a lot.


Our children really couldn't be happier than when they get to spend time with any of their 22 cousins (20 on Gabe's side, 2 on mine :) Gabe's oldest sister has 8 children, 6 of whom are boys. Elijah loves to play rough and tumble and rarely gets to truly cut loose with children of his own age. For the safety of others, he is usually required to play in toned down and more sedate fashion than he's naturally inclined. But with his boy cousins he wrestles, chases, tags, tackles, hits, kicks, drags to the ground and generally goes all testosterone! I was happy for him; its fun to see his true enthusiasm and toughness be allowed to come forth. I could see they were all hurting each other at times, but they were also laughing and kept going back for more. So I let him have the opportunity to be ALL BOY and I stayed out of it.



























Adah also loves a little wild play. She was thoroughly amused by running around in circles, falling down on the ground and rolling down a hill together with the little ones. At one point, I was a little concerned for her safety because she was laughing so hard, she was having a hard time catching her breath.


On Monday, we had a family day adventure. We decided to be tourists and took a 20 mile drive to Lake Lure. We spent the day baking in the hot July sun on the shore of the lake, swimming, splashing, and picnicking. What a blast! I really felt like we were out of town on vacation for a few hours.






We were all so happy to have some down time together. 
We made some good family memories, too. Good Times!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

- Home -

Happy Anniversary Gabe... this is for us... especially now, I love you. Its been a good 5 years... here's to many more and here's to HOME!



Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
Whistle
Her:
Alabama, Arkansas,
I do love my ma and pa,
Not the way that I do love you.

Him:
Holy, moley, me, oh my,
You're the apple of my eye,
Girl I've never loved one like you.

Her:
Man oh man you're my best friend,
I scream it to the nothingness,
There ain't nothing that I need.

Him:
Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie,
Chocolate candy, Jesus Christ,
Ain't nothing please me more than you.

Both:
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is wherever I'm with you.

La, la, la, la, take me home.
Mother, I'm coming home.

Him:
I'll follow you into the park,
Through the jungle through the dark,
Girl I never loved one like you.

Her:
Moats and boats and waterfalls,
Alley-ways and pay phone calls,
I've been everywhere with you.

Him:
That's true.
Laugh until we think we'll die,
Bare foot on the summer night,
Never could be sweeter than with you.

Her:
And in the streets you run afree,
Like it's only you and me,
Geeze, you're something to see.

Both:
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is wherever I'm with you.

La, la, la, la, take me home.
Daddy, I'm coming home.


(talking)
Him: Jade
Her: Alexander
Him: Do you remember that day you fell outta my window?
Her: I sure do, you came jumping out after me.
Him: Well, you fell on the concrete, nearly broke your ass, you were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you out to the hospital, you remember that?
Her: Yes I do.
Him: Well there's something I never told you about that night.
Her: What didn't you tell me?
Him: While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you, and I never told you til just now.

Both:
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is where I'm alone with you.

Him:
Home. Let me come home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.

Her:
Ahh home. Yes I am ho-oh-ome.
Home is when I'm alone with you.

Her:
Alabama, Arkansas,
I do love my ma and pa...
Moats and boats and waterfalls,
Alley-ways and pay phone calls...

Both:
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is where I'm alone with you...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bittersweet

Tonight is the last night we will call this house "home".   We are off to our "Summer Home"- the apartments up the hill from Gabe's work. We will continue to search for our long term home while we enjoy the pool and the air conditioned, low maintenance convenience of apartment life. No doubt our new home will be all the more sweet after 6 months in the apartments. Along with no maintenance we will have no yard, no view, no privacy. No matter! We are going to make the most of this- its a short term adventure in our long lives together!
And life is good as long as we are together.  


















                                                  
Elijah sleeps soundly.
Perhaps he did not care to hear the 6:30 am train,
blare past our house, one last time.

Adah, asleep with her pocket new testament,
psalms and proverbs. Bless her little heart:)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Plan B

19 days. 19 days until we need to be out, so they can move in. How did this happen? How is it that our house sold in a blink of an eye, but despite our relentless searching, we have yet to find a new house to call home?

Its on to plan b. We need somewhere to go. Even if we found our dream home tomorrow, the bank would need 30-45 days to close our loan, leaving us homeless for a month or more. On top of that, we just seem to be running into a variety of other barriers, impediments, hurdles, potholes, etc. It seems that Gabe and I mostly want different things. For instance, different houses. Financial frustrations abound. It doesn't help that Gabe only has one day off a week to go look at houses.

I would be disappointed and defeated if I didn't have such a Mighty God.

I am really not worried, maybe a bit wearied, though. 

As I write that, Galatians 3:9 comes immediately to mind, and I am encouraged:

"Let us not become weary in doing good, 
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

 So, yes.  Lets not become weary, but lets also be real. We can't be homeless.

We could stay at Gabe's mother's house, she has an extra room. My parents have offered their camper to us. Maybe we'll rent for a while, a long while, and save some more money. Maybe we'll just rent short term while we continue to house hunt. I am sort of dreaming of an apartment, of all things. I like the idea of no maintenance and most of all, a pool all summer long. Am I crazy? I hate apartments.

A house I rented many years ago is up for rent again. It sits at the end of a dead end road that backs up to Pisgah National Forest. I loved the summer I spent there. I often reminisce about that summer for many reasons, it was truly a great summer. One of my favorite memories of the house is of sitting on the deck at night listening to the coyotes and the katydids fill the night air with eerie music. And look, today its on Craigslist for rent. What of that?

I really just want to be settled somewhere with a break from the tumult and upheaval. I think we need to catch our breath for a bit and reevaluate. But what do I know? We truly are just taking it day by day and trying not to make any huge mistakes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An update and a ramble

We made it  through the very stressful trial of the home inspection and the subsequent price renegotiations. Over the last few weeks of anxiety and fret, Gabe and I have looked at each other, at different times, and said, "please make this stop, make them (the buyers) go away, lets just stay here and call the whole thing off."

Unfortunately, contract signed, that option is impossible for us. The buyers, on the other hand, can call the whole thing off.  For three weeks, they are given the opportunity to inspect the house and to negotiate repairs. They have until May 14th (tomorrow) to cancel the deal based on what they find in the inspections. Barring some MAJOR change of heart on the part of the buyers, who really want our house, this deal is going through. 

Therefore, in one month, we have to be out. Can you sense my excitement? No? Well, its because we have not found a house for ourselves. We have searched daily for our new home. And what we want just isn't manifesting. Our first dilemma came when we realized that what we want can be found, rather easily and affordably, outside of  the county we currently live in. Meaning, we can have our dream home but it would require a 30 minute or more drive to and from Gabe's work daily.

It was not an easy choice.  When committing ourselves to such a major financial burden, we want to do it because we LOVE the house we are buying.  However, Gabe is still working 14 hour days, to that we hate to add an hour or more round trip commute. That's thirty less minutes with us in the morning, his only time with the children. And instead of getting home at 11 or 11:30 pm, he'd be getting home after midnight. It doesn't seems worth it. So we have decided not to look outside of the 20 minute mark for Gabe, which is the greater Asheville area.

And since our price range is low for the Asheville area and we are faced with another dilemma: a nice house or  lots of land. You can have a nice house on a tiny lot in a crowded subdivision. Or you can get a dumpy house or trailer on a big beautiful piece of land. We realize that we might have to make compromises. We know we might not get our dream home this time around. However, we refuse to buy a house out of fear. The compromises we are willing to make must be accompanied by peace and a feeling of satisfaction with our choices.  If and when, we sacrifice our vision for this next house, we insist that it be for a very close 2nd best; and though a compromise, that we still LOVE it!

So now, we are just praying and waiting for the LORD to absolutely THRILL us ( a great prayer, prayed for me by my good friend Jennifer). We may be waiting for a while. That's okay.  In Ephesians 3, we are told that God "is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can think or imagine".  By golly, I believe it!

So this is our prayer, though by all worldly accounts, we won't be able to find this. We are not looking to the world for our provision!  Can I get an AMEN?

 Lord, If its Your Will for us, We would like a three bedroom, 2 bath house. A good sturdy house, it doesn't have to be new. In fact, preferably would be an old house, recently remodeled. It doesn't have to be so very large, but we would like room to grow into it for a while. Perhaps a basement that could be finished or a room over a garage? I would love a small, upstairs room with lots of natural light and nice view to make for a studio space and Gabe needs a garage or a workshop.  Please, please, a large-ish, mostly level, sunny lot for gardens and lots of outdoor play with dogs and children.  We don't mind painting or freshening up, but this time around, we need a break from a house in need of total rehab. We want a feeling of seclusion, but not isolation. We don't mind neighbors, but no subdivisions. We simply want a bit of land that gives feeling of peace and privacy.  And lastly Lord, we know where this gets tricky, but we need it to be close to town. No more than 20 minutes from Gabe's work and preferably, in the Fairview area. Oh yes, and can our monthly payments actually be LESS than what we pay now?  AMEN!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Under Contract

We put our house on the market last Monday. On Saturday, we received an offer to purchase our home from the second set of folks to tour our house. Six days! I can't say I am totally surprised. ( though I am feeling more and more stunned as the reality sets in). We really pushed hard to get our house ready and on the market by the end of April. There is a first time home buyer credit of $8000 available to home buyers who are under contract by the 30th.  We knew that first time home buyers were really our market, so we were prepared for the possibility that our house might sell quickly. Not to mention that Gabe did such a great job with the remodels and we priced it really well.  Tomorrow our house will be inspected, and if all goes well with that, then we are officially set to be kicked to the curb on June 15th. Six short weeks from now.

We are really excited, but also very anxious about what will happen next. I have very, very high and specific hopes for our next home. We are praying hard that we will find what we are looking for in the next two weeks. If we don't, then we will be looking for a temporary home while we keep searching! I'll keep everyone updated on how the inspections go and better yet, how the house hunting is going. Check out our MLS  listing for a great look at our finished product:)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Before and After

I know I've shown you guys some of these before. But we've made more progress on our house and I might go as far to say that we are finished (!) with the renovations. In fact, our house goes on the market Monday.  I would love to show the TRUE before pictures... the pictures of what it looked like when we moved in... but I'll need to figure out how to use my scanner to do that. Meanwhile, here are some mid-way before pictures and some after pics.












Monday, April 5, 2010