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Tea for two, two for tea!

I always wanted to have cute newborn photo's, picture perfect yearly birthday photos and well, life happened.

For months I have been dreaming about a photoshoot with our girls. One that was whimsical, child like and captured them perfectly. One that they probably wouldn't be willing to do in just a few years time...

A tea party!
 I was originally bummed to not have the golden evening light that was in my vision. But the colors and composition that were captured on this cloudy morning were perfect. Thank you Cassie Fortman of Yellow Bird Photography for giving me such beautiful memories!
Lace table cloth (it's actually an old curtain panel): $2 at New Horizons Thrift Store
Tea cups and plates: $0.99 each set at New Horizons
Fruit tray: A gift from the girls great grandma DeBekker
Sugar bowl: From the collection of Grammy Reed
Red tea pot: A wedding gift Tim and I were given 8 years ago
Headbands: Gift from Aunt Alyshia
Dresses: $12 on Amazon
Shoes: Hand me downs


Shoes she was really unhappy about wearing in the sand: Hand me downs.
My favorite of Alexandra.







 This is my favorite of Karoline.







 This one is in the running for the large canvas print.







This is what was happening between shots. It was rather chilly when the wind blew.






Excavation, buried treasure.

The Builder's Wife Chronicles...

We started excavation on the lot Monday (June 11, 2018). There was much excitement leading up to this monumental step in our build. Tim was like a kid on Christmas. He hardly slept, didn't take a lunch break and subsequently may or may not have been tired for the next three days.
*Shout out to High Country for financing our build.
We stopped by shortly after they started and were surprised to see the hole was already rather large!
At the end of the day the progress was impressive.
Unfortunately on day two we ran into buried treasure. Sometime around 1950 Fireman's Bluff development was a dump. When it was decided this would be a residential neighborhood all of the trash was to be removed and the area back filled. Unfortunately they missed a spot. A big spot, right where our house is going to stand. 

Our excavator spoke to whom we bought the lot from to see if they would assist in the payment of over digging and backfilling the lot. He was greeted with a big, "No." When we bought the lot we were given a soil sample that said everything was good. Sometimes tests aren't foolproof. 

And do not complain as some of them did. - 1 Corinthians 10:10

That night I read the girls their devotional. This was the headline verse. The body spoke about choosing to see the rain or the rainbow. 

I am proud that neither Tim or I got mad about the finding of trash during excavation. While yes, this is a large addition to our budget. It's just money. Money is a tool. And thank the Lord this is something we can fix. We choose to see the rainbow.

Now we know it is all done properly. Our house will be safe, sound and ready to sand for years and years to come. 

A big thank you to Anthony Lippis of Lippis Excavating for quickly and efficiently making sure our house will be on solid ground.


Karoline Turns Six!

Sweet Karoline, 

Somehow another year has flown by and you’re six! 

This year we asked a lot of you. We moved away from our home and you started Kindergarten. You managed all of this better than I did. You, my girl, are strong, brave and courageous. Your dad and I are beyond proud of you. 

My hope and prayer for you on your birthday is that you know how much you are loved. That you may learn to expand your comfort zone and try new things. 

Watching you learn and listening to you laugh are my favorite.

We love you, sweet pea!












The Builder’s Wife

When we decided to move to Canon City it seemed like a quick decision. From the time we, "pulled the trigger," to the time we closed on our house was about two months. Apparently this is just how we make big decisions (we were married two months to the day after our first date).

However, I find comfort in knowing this plan, this big move, was orchestrated long before we decided to sell our house and say goodbye to the big city.

I want to take you on the journey of how we came to where we are today. There have been several seemingly little moments that have taken place over the last seven years that have been reminders of faith. We are blessed to know that God's plan for our lives is far greater than what we can even imagine.

Please enjoy the story of how I have become, The Builder's Wife.

Tim and I grew up in the same small town of Canon City, Colorado. After we got married it was no surprise that both our families use the same accountant. Seven years ago my mom was in a meeting with our CPA, Linda, dropping off her yearly tax forms. This was the first time she had spoken with Linda since Tim and I had been married. I imagine their conversation went something like this... My mom most likely mentioned that Tim was a hard working guy and that she was happy I had found someone like him. Linda's response reciprocated that Tim is indeed is a hard worker. She said, "His gift is his hands." Since she has known my husband, his family and their work she could say this with confidence. She knows that anything he does in the construction industry he does right and efficiently. "His gift is his hands," has stuck with me all these years.

Around this time we made the decision to leave home. The construction industry was slow and we were ready to step out on our own.

We moved to Denver and started our family. After two years of renting we felt it was time to buy a home. If you know anything about the Denver market in the last five years you know it has been, and still is, quite insane. Thankfully, with the help of Tim's aunt and uncle, we were able to secure a realtor who knows the market better than the back of his hand. His guidance was (and continues to be) invaluable. With his help we put in an offer on a house (only after looking at hundreds online and spending numerous days out viewing homes). Our offer, while it was the highest, wasn't accepted. The seller needed a rent back option and we were unable to give that in the terms.

Defeated we began to search again. We were getting desperate and a bit deflated. Then we got a phone call. The buyers, that were selected for the home we had made an offer on, didn't qualify for their loan. Our realtor said in all of his years he hadn't seen a scenario like this and we were very fortunate to get the house. From then on out we always viewed our house as a gift. We had a home in a beautiful neighborhood. One that we loved at first sight.

Shortly after we moved into our house I started baby sitting for our neighbors. I would pick up their twins after school and hang out with them until their parents got home. Karoline was about 18 months old and Tim was on swing shift, which had him working in the afternoon. It was a good fit. It was there that I saw two of Dave Ramsey's books. I asked if I could borrow both. At the time we were comfortable and doing fairly well but we knew we wanted better control over our finances. We had no credit card debt but we were a one income family in a two income city.

Thinking about it now I am in awe at how quickly we dove into those books. We both read a different one and would tell each other about the highlights and the key points. This is when we feel like a seed was planted. What would it look like to be completely debt free? How would that feel?

A few years and another baby later and we couldn't shake that question. It was a common theme in our conversations and always in the back of our minds. We began to throw out ideas. A key component to our dreams became the knowledge that our home had gained a sizable amount of equity in the four years we had owned it. Our house was our gift and maybe the gift was that we would be able to use the equity to do something. We referred to Matthew 25:14-30 and the parable of the three servants.

How could we make our money make us money? We looked at lots in Evergreen,  Colorado. We dreamed about ranches in Westcliffe. We seriously considered selling everything and moving to Hawaii.

Around this time it became apparent to both of us that we were going to need to make a change in Tim's employment situation. His promotion position was putting him in dangerous scenarios on a daily basis and it wasn't leaving either of us feeling comfortable with his employer.

I asked him, "What is your dream job?" His response has always been the same when I ask this question. He has wanted to build houses since the age of 15.

We started to seriously look at South Carolina. My aunt and uncle live there and were helping us formulate our dreams and plans. Simultaneously, we became addicted to Fixer Upper. The thought of buying a foreclosed home in an area where our equity would afford us to do a renovation project completely debt free was extremely appealing. We thought if we could get a flip under our belt then we could potentially build a home with the profit. However, the idea of uprooting to a new state was a bit overwhelming.

As the days and weeks went on we knew a change was coming. We still didn't know what.

Then God gave us another sign. While we were working outside and the girls were playing, Karoline came to get us to look at her sidewalk chalk drawing. Nothing out of the ordinary, so we took our time getting to her artwork. There it was, she had drawn our house. It wasn't a standard, square base and triangle roof with a few doors and windows. It was a floor plan. A very close replica to our home. Tim and I were both impressed. I could feel his heart swell and I can still see his face when I think about that day. Later he told me, we have to do something. We have to have a family business that she and her sister can contribute to down the road if they want to. We need to be working together on something.

***

When Karoline was one I took her swimming at the home of a childhood friends parents house in Canon City. His parents lived on Dalmatian Drive. A cute neighborhood with a brick and stone covenant. The yards were manicured and the sidewalks were in perfect condition. It was lovely. Yet, as we left their house I noticed one dirt lot left on the cul-de-sac. It stuck out like a sore thumb. I wondered why there was no house there. I looked at it for a few moments and moved on.

God works in amazing ways, I now know why there was no house there. That lot was meant for us.

***

"Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law." -Romans 13:8

This is the verse that we leaned into as we continued to search for our next step. We felt like this was the way we were and are supposed to live our lives. Debt free. As we continued to press into this idea we decided that moving home to Canon City would allow us the freedom and comfort to make our dreams a reality.

Thanks to the equity we gained when we sold our home we were able to pay off our truck, van and motorcycle. Our three debts and mortgage were gone. We were completely debt free. We made the decision, almost like a pact with each other and God, that we would no longer take out a loan on a depreciating asset.

In our transition we began looking at lots in town to build our home. It wasn't until we decided to move forward with paying off our debts that we found the perfect lot. The last little lot on Dalmatian Drive.

Come to find out the lot had sat for all these years because there were two utility lines running right through the center of the property. However, the organization that owned the lot was ready to be free of it and recently paid to have the utilities rerouted. When Tim called on the lot he was pleasantly surprised to be speaking with a gentleman that he had known since high school and had worked with many times since. This is the essence of a small town.

We were able to make a full asking price, cash offer on the lot. It was accepted.

We are eager to start building our home. Tim has put a lot of time into the plans and preparations that come with building your own home. On April 19, 2018, we got the phone call, my husbands hard work had paid off. Our construction loan was approved! The joy in his voice is something I will hold with me forever. It was unsurmountable.

One day I told Tim, "I'm excited to be the builder's wife, it has a nice ring to it."

I've had the hardest time getting to the creative point to write this. Last Fall I went on a women's retreat and was told, "God Gifts and Satin Silences." One day I would like to write a book. Until then blogging is my platform and this is my gift.

If you've stuck with me this far I hope you've enjoyed reading about the seemingly small moments that have brought us to where we are today. I believe God had this plan in mind far before we ever did.

To follow our building process jump on over to my husband's website where I will be blogging as the Builder's Wife to chronicle the process from start to finish. My first post there will include a 3D rendering of our home and the blueprint of our house!

The view that we will see from our living room and kitchen
The west side of the lot looking east. The slope of the lot allows for a walk-out basement style home.
This is the front of the lot looking north-west. This neighborhood is called "Fireman's Bluff." The girls love visiting the lot and are quite content to play in the dirt.
The last little lot on Dalmatian Drive. The lot that makes me, The Builder's Wife.
April 27, 2018, after signing our construction loan paperwork. Construction is set to begin in the next 3-4 weeks and we are thrilled!