- You are constantly talking and surprising us with what you know how to say. Your new favorite phrase is “because, that’s why.” You repeat what we are saying all the time and it is hilarious. You ask about everything around you constantly and are often pointing things out. Such a little sponge.
- You have a new found love for “that people”/“the guy” aka the neighbor. You are constantly watching to see if he is on the mower.
- You have four teeth coming in right now. You are constantly chewing on your fingers. Which is fun during the COVID-19 pandemic where everyone is freaked out about germs.
- You are so rotten. You do things you know are wrong because you think it is funny. Mostly this consists of playing with your food when you are done eating. You definitely like to be the funny guy and look for a reaction, especially from your sisters.
- You still do a great job playing alone by yourself but prefer to play with your sisters. This often means playing “house” with them. The other day you and Zella had “our first weeding!” You wore a “dress” and, as Zella claimed, got a baby for your weeding.
- You love to learn and sing new songs. Your new, current favorite is “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gumdrops.”
- You are finally doing better sleeping through the night. We still give you soy milk at school just to be safe but you are back on regular milk at home. Every once in awhile you still “wake-up” crying in your crib but I no longer think it is related to tummy troubles.
- You hate vegetables. We can usually get you to eat corn and sometimes raw carrots but that is about it. Even if we hide veggies in food, you typically find them and spit them out.
- You love to be outside! Riding bikes and playing ball makes you so happy. You also love looking at the different birds and animals in our yard.
- You are such an animal lover! You have never met a dog that you didn’t like. You are constantly curling up next to Bentley and laying all over him. He usually enjoys the attention. Roxy on the other hand doesn’t even like it when you are next to her.
-If you can’t tell from your pictures. You LOVE pockets and are constantly putting your hands in pockets of pants and jackets.
Ryker Eugene, you are such a doll baby. We love you so very much and I can’t imagine our family without you. You are oh-so loving and silly. I hope you always stay our little man.
- You just had your well child visit in the middle of the pandemic. You had to wear a mask the whole time and came in at the following stats: Weight: 49.6 lbs (46%) and Height: 4’ 2in (88%)
- You did such a good job at your doctors appointment on talking to the pediatrician and not being shy. This is a huge step for you!
- You started e-learning about a month and a half ago and will continue this for the new few weeks. You have done a great job with this. You are such an academic star and it is so great to see how you think about things.
- You are very innovative and constantly trying to come up with solutions to problems (even adult problems.) The other day you were trying to help come up with a plan for how to get mommy’s car into the garage when it was having issues. Such a little problem solver!
- You are usually a great sister! You love to help get things for Ryker and Zella and can even be found overstepping your boundaries to where we have to remind you that you are not their mother.
- You are still a guys girl and have a lot of friends that are boys. One in particular lives in our neighborhood and you constantly tell us how he likes you.
- We had plans to have your first friends birthday get together this year but have postponed any plans until the world changes a bit.
- We just transitioned the way you pray each night. We usually ask you what is something you are thankful for and what is something you want to pray about. We moved into you having the words for your whole prayer. It is a small transition but it makes me so proud of you. To hear you pray like a big girl just warms my heart!
- You are still pretty terrified of bugs and such, we work on it often. Being out on the land is helping. A few weeks ago you feel in love with some worms that you kept as your own until you accidently killed the. This weekend we found a snake swimming in the stream and you eventually walked up to it!
- You have now lost three teeth in total and have another that is loose.
- Quarantine did not stop you from having food from you favorite Mexican place for your birthday. Three years in a row now.
- You have such great inflection in your voice when you read aloud and are constantly reading over tough words with ease. Last night you read the word “competitive” without any hesitation. I love that you are a little book worm!
- This past year you have been working very hard on controlling your emotions. When things don’t go your way you tend to immediately shut down. You have made progress in your small group through school and working with mom and dad.
Brynzlee Grace, you keep us on our toes. You make us look at this world a little differently. You challenge us, delight us, and make us think. We love you so very much. Happy year number SEVEN, baby girl!
Since we have almost lived in our house for a full year now, I decided it would be a good idea to keep track of what improvements/upgrades we make to the house each year. Something to look back on. We shall see how well I keep up on this.
Before we even moved into our house we had someone lined up to come put cabinet and drawer pulls on our kitchen and bathroom cabinets/drawers. This is something that Davis wouldn’t do but that we knew we wanted. We found these black finish pulls and nobs from Amazon.
Right after moving in we put up towel bars and toilet paper holders in all of our bathrooms. We had opted to get a credit for all of these items and light fixtures from the builder so that we could take the time to get exactly what we want. We (I) may be a little picky…hence the reason why we STILL don’t have many light fixtures up.
Next on our list was to tackle our yard. It was a mess. The builder had run out of money in our budget for the yard due to unexpected added costs that came with the removal of the shed that was first on our property. That left out the grading and seeding of our yard.
“Before” picture of our yard
Another “before” picture that shows the uneven yard
This made a huge difference and the grass came up pretty quickly which is awesome when you have dogs to let outside. The landscaping company that did the grading and seeding also finished a retaining wall on the side of our driveway. We eventually added mulch and some boxwoods to the front landscaping beds but that was it for 2019 yard improvements.
After the yard made us feel like we were living in a house and not a mud pile, we moved on to all the exciting things to spend money on...or more like boring and practical things. We had a back-up sump pump and water softener put in. We also had a water treatment “thing” put in. I don’t know the technical term for this “thing” but I do know that it stopped our well water from stinking to high heavens.
We added a deck to the back of the house and took off the huge 2X4’s blocking the back door off our kitchen. We put a new grill (the old hand-me-down grill broke in the move) and our patio furniture on the deck and enjoyed quite a few dinners on the patio before the weather turned too cold.
We put in light fixtures in three out of our 4 bathrooms and are still looking for the perfect set for our master bath. We put in a dinning room light and found sconces for either side of our fireplace. We are still on the hunt for our main flush lighting throughout the house.
We painted Ryker’s room but still do not have anything hung up on his walls. Sorry, dude. We are waiting to paint other rooms until after our one year walk through.
We spruced up our front porch by adding a rug, a few rocking chairs, and some potted plants. We got the rug and rockers for a deal at At Home. The porch is such a cozy spot to unwind now. (The huge window peeking out of the right hand corner of the picture was also used to replace another floor to ceiling window that had a broken corner.)
We finished out our 2019 improvements by adding gutter guards at the end of the year.
It was a busy year but has been fun making our forever home perfect. Next, I plan on sharing some of my project goals for the upcoming year.
I realized that I never wrote about the process of how we got where we are today, in our forever home that I lovingly refer to as #RoeAcres.
In October of 2017 I wrote about my “30-Life Crisis” and how we had started casually looking at land and houses as well as talking to builders and never went further. I decided I should probably fill in the gaps between “casually looking” at houses and posting pictures of us living in #RoeAcres.
In 2017 we did meet with a custom home builder, with our amazing realtor at our side. Although we were “wow”ed by the possibilities, we still weren't sure we would be able to get what we wanted in a price that we felt comfortable with. To sum it all up, I was craving character and uniqueness in a house which means adding more and more cost.
We continued to look at houses but couldn’t find anything that gave us everything we were looking for. The thing that was tugging at us both was land. We knew we wanted more land to raise our kids outside on. We had (and still have) dreams of a garden, a pool, a basketball hoop, etc.
The problem with land is that it isn’t cheap and it isn’t the easiest to find in this area. Add in the fact that Bryn would be going to school in the next year and we needed transportation to that school to be practical. There was also the need of having a home with good internet access for Nathan to be able to work from home when needed. This eliminated some of the “country” houses we were looking at.
We continued to look and continued to meet with more semi-custom builders. The next builder we met with had great floor plans and options but again, came at a price that was too high.
During all of this searching we had come across a two acre lot that was in a perfect location. It was closer to both of our jobs and still close to things like our Dr.’s offices, grocery stores, etc. The neighborhood was in town but considered outside “city limits.” The lot had been put on the market a year before when the house next to it sold and the buyers didn’t want the second lot. Even with all of these positives, the lot had several things that made us nervous.
My loves in front of the shed on the property
For starters, the lot was awkward. It had beautiful ponds with a creek in between that gave off the best rushing water sounds but the back portion of the property was in a flood plane. Was that a risk we were willing to take? Would this affect the area where a house would go? Speaking of visualizing where a house would go, this lot had a huge shed built into the side of a hill directly in the front of the property. Do you know how hard it is to try to visualize something when you have no idea what it looks like AND there is a building in the way? It is nearly impossible.
So we waited and we talked to another semi-custom, on your lot builder, Davis Homes (a local Indiana company.) We walked away from our meeting with Davis and thought, this is something that might actually work. And we continued to visit that two acre lot. It became a little bit of an obsession. Something that nagged at us and wouldn’t let us forget it. We talked to neighbors on either side of the lot about what it looked like when the back half of the property would “flood.” We mapped out how a house would work on the land. And finally we made an offer and bought the land in February of 2018.
It was a big step. We went through the design phase with Davis. This process was intense and lasted about six months. We changed a ton of things on the existing floor plan and were constantly waiting to hear back on what could and couldn’t be done. We went back and forth with several different materials trying to stay in budget. We were exhausted but whenever we would visit “the lot” it all seemed right.
There were several times during this process where I thought, “We have lost our dang minds” but the land…as Moana would say, “it called me.” I realize that I sound like a crazy person and I can’t explain it any other way. I do believe that #RoeAcres is where we are supposed to be. I don’t know why and I may never know why, but I do know that this place just feels like home.
I am thankful for this journey and that I can look back and think “it was all worth it.”
To be continued…