April 23, 2015

Renovations begin!!

Woo HOO! The renovation process on our house has BEGUN!!! I'm so excited. Today we took down two walls. One that had glass and wooden doors built into them as an entry into the "formal living room. ( and don't forget the glorious "alter" in the corner that also had to go..)

 and then the wall between the formal living room and the dining room.  It turns out the wall between the two rooms had been added in at some point which is CRAZINESS so we UNdid some work there. 

so out came the sledge hammers and drills and down came some walls....

It already looks a million trillion times bigger and more open!!

April 13, 2015

another little piece of my heart

Last week Tabitha had a anaphylaxis reaction to....something. We've narrowed it down to peanuts, tree nuts and strawberries because she embarrassingly had had ALL those things before the reaction started! In my defense ( though, is there really a defense in these cases?!?) she's had strawberries and peanuts on an almost weekly basis for a long time! But lets just say I've had a crash course in allergens and will hopefully make no more rookie mistakes.

Anyway, there is really nothing like sitting on a hospital gurney with your non responsive daughter in your arms as no less then six people swarm around her. Someone shoving an Epi-Pen into her thigh.  It is a nightmare. I will not forget it for a long time. Thankfully, this story ends happily-with a little girl running laps around a pediatric ward ( thanks steroids!) in her Minnie Mouse PJs happy as a lark. But it got me thinking...

Parenting is seriously the scariest most heart rending thing a person can do. Every day is allowing little pieces of your heart to just run around outside your body and it is an exercise in absolute faith ( and exhaustion) that we get any sleep at all! Tabitha has given me two major scares in her short life not counting the 9 month scare before she was even born, and with each one I just find myself spending a multitude of time in thanksgiving. We have truly been exceedingly blessed and I want to share one of the better blessings with you now.

I am at the very end of my first trimester with another little Wilson! Are you surprised? Or are you like my mom who was like, "Ok, yeah whatever...we knew this was coming. When should I mark my calendar?"
Well it doesn't matter because honestly I'm surprised. Not that I don't know how babies are made and we had stopped playing 'defensively" and basically since we've been very blessed in the past I did have an idea what might happen....but more that I didn't know if I was ever going to BE ready for the whole "getting pregnant, being pregnant" thing again.  To be perfectly honest the last three months have been down right rife with inward turmoil from guilt to grief to fear to joy to general nausea ( oh, that might have been just normal). I have felt it all.

I hope I don't need to go into why I felt all those different emotions. I hope I don't need to explain because I hope you know as well as I that children are a little piece of your heart-when you have trouble having them it is heartbreaking, when you lose one it is heartrending, when you have one it is heart exploding.

My own heart did not start beating normally until I'd had an ultra sound at 10 weeks and had the doctor check ALL AROUND IN THERE. I wanted every single nook and cranny searched before I gave a sign of relief. But luckily just one baby. And yet? A little part of me was sad...because I'll always miss having twins. It is ok to miss what we won't have. That is ok. But the overall emotion was relief. Relief that we saw a beating heart and that there was just one. Sure, sure, you're all saying, "But what are the ODDS you'd go through something like that again, Abigail?!" And I'm here to tell you, "What were the ODDS that it would happen the first time?!?" I'm a firm non-believer in odds.

So here we are friends! Mostly excited, still suffering a bit from PTSD when it comes to ultrasounds, will I ever EVER be able to look at one normally without hyperventilating a little bit about the status of my child?! The most fun part so far, hands down, was telling Ransom who can't WAIT to have a little brother a little sister is ok too, I guess. And while Tabitha could care LESS because when we told her there was no mention of cats whatsoever, I know she's going to love being a big sister.

And so there you have it! One more "new" thing to add to the pile of new things for the Wilsons in 2015....a new car ( which also proves the "if you build it they will come philosophy because I was NOT pregnant when we got that van!), a new house and now a new family member due to arrive in October....but don't worry...we've got at least one more "new" to surprise you with!! Stay tuned.....

April 07, 2015

The House: Part 3

This post is part of a three part series: The House Story. If you'd like to catch up, you should read Part 1 and Part 2
And now for our exciting conclusion....

So we walked into the house, and it was definitely not love at first sight, like many houses we had seen in our housing search, it was very dated in its decor. ( the area where we are moving was mostly built during the 60s.) In fact, come to find out, the house is the EXACT same floor plan is a house my mother grew up in. But, the difference between this not-updated house is that it was in incredibly pristine condition. Sure, it looked like an episode of I Dream of Jeannie, but I didn't feel the need to take a sledge hammer to the shower, which is what usually happened if we viewed a house that hadn't already been renovated. 

This was a new experience, a house that, yes, I would want to do some serious updating in, but that didn't give me the heebie-geebies. And so we walked through the house, and walked and walked because it JUST. KEPT. GOING. It was HUGE. One side had the typical Master bedroom and master bath along with two more good sized bedrooms with ANOTHER bathroom....and then clear on the other side of the house, through the kitchen, and past the laundry room I found....another bedroom AND another bathroom. All on its own. With its own laundry room exit. I knew immediately that we could make this house work. I was virtually tearing out walls and painting kitchen cabinets-I didn't even wait for my usual bedtime routine! I could definitely make this weird house work. The back yard was large and had a great climbing tree, the front yard was nice and had a nice flat driveway for bicycles and scooters and as I mentioned before it dead-ended into a park. 
But then there was the price to consider.
But isn't what you're thinking...

It was ridiculously low.( yup you read right) So low you would think that maybe there was something MAJORLY wrong with it, or that they hadn't done their homework on the area ( or they didn't really care too much). Whatever the case we made an offer knowing that it would be a battle to get noticed, since with that kind of price and that kind of house it was going to be like bees to honey. One thing we had learned was that this particular area was a sellers market, everyone was clamoring for these houses! In fact, the house we had seen earlier in the day with a veritable island in the back yard already had five offers and it was in its first day on the market. EEK. 
So we made our offer on this I Dream of Jeannie house and I COMPLETELY redid it that night as I laid in bed. I could definitely make this house great, and it was amazing how we had gone from "closet sized" office as an extra bedroom, to "normal sized" office as an extra bedroom to an ACTUAL bedroom plus a bathroom-and not just that, it seemed like it might even be cheaper?! It seemed too good to be true. 

On the second day we learned our suspicions were right on. Investors were coming out of the woodwork making offers on this house. We didn't think we'd be able to hang with the big boys but we waited some more. And then we found out why the house, though 1960s chic, was in such immaculate condition. It was OWNED BY NUNS. 

That's right. Two elderly Sisters had been living in it, and now it was being sold by the larger contingency of nuns ( an order?! They've got names for this sorta thing). The greatest part is that along with that vow of poverty, nuns apparently don't spill soft drinks on carpet or put nails in the walls. They also don't really like investors. They wanted REAL LIVE BUYERS. And that is where we came in. 

I quickly wrote up a "we are an awesome family" letter with a family picture attached in the hopes that while we may not be able to offer the big bucks we CAN promise to bake cookies for our neighbors and pepper the neighborhood with bicycles and sidewalk chalk. And so we somehow stayed in the game. And we waited and waited. 

Unlike the other houses we had made offers on, where we found out if our offer was accepted or not within 48 hours at the most, this took days and days.  Almost a full week went by and we had heard not a PEEP. In fact, exactly a week after we had made our offer I moaned to our babysitter about how long these nuns were making us suffer. And she helpfully gave me the perfect visual. She said these nuns were very much like the Nuns in The Sound of Music who slooooooowly showed the Nazis around their Abbey. From then on I envisioned the nuns slooooowwllly floating ( clearly they floated since they did not cause ANY wear and tear on carpeting) around praying about who to sell their house to. I figured it was perfect. If I had learned anything from our other house offers was that if this house wasn't for us then the door would shut. So all the better having BOTH parties praying over the deal, right? 

And then one afternoon I got a text message from our pastor who knew we were looking for a house and who use to do a lot of realtor work. He had promised to be on the lookout for the perfect house for us. In the months of looking he had yet to send us anything he thought was worth looking at but that day he sent me a link to a house... and of the 100 or so houses in that area that he could have seen and sent to us...he sent us the Nun house! I immediately laughed and messaged back that we had already made an offer on it! It now seemed TOO PERFECT. 
And so 10 WHOLE DAYS went by! They had to extend the option period. It was ridiculous! 
But FINALLY they accepted our offer and we officially were buying a nun house!! A huge nun house with a perfect place to allow people to stay with us and Be. 

Now, I know I'm not one who likes numbers very much but I think it is worth noting when we finally close in the next week ( seriously, they have floated along slowly at EVERY step! Nuns clearly have an ETERNITY to make decisions) we will have a house that is 400 square feet bigger than the previous house ( which was bigger than the first house by quite a bit) and it is....drum roll going to cost significantly less, like the cost of a brand new car less. It is truly unbelievable. 

So, now I'm changing my prayer card. I am now praying for all those who will get to be a part of our new home, who will, for whatever length of time, get to be blessed by our house ( I'll probably need a new name other than "nun house"). I can't wait to share our great blessing with as many as we can! I am also hoping that this story will be a reminder to my future self, and maybe to you too...that when we think something is perfect and it just doesn't work out, maybe just maaaaybe that is because God has something else in mind and maybe the waiting is to get that better thing ready to go. And maybe His timing is always perfect. And if He's given you a dream, like a house or a baby or a country or a mission or a person than I really really suggest you stick to that dream, because it won't just be you fighting for it. The Lord is faithful too and He always wins His battles.

And as for pictures....I promise those will be coming and coming in droves. You are going to get to LIVE this renovations with me people,  so get ready for more than you ever would have wanted.

April 06, 2015

The House: Part 2

If you missed it, you'll really need to go read the First Part  to this story, so that you can get the FULL EFFECT of what my story is trying to portray.  And once you have gotten yourself fully caught up and "in the zone" of our story, let us continue with....

I HATE HOUSE HUNTING!!! OMG IT IT AWFUL. For one thing, since the beginning of time I have had the unique "problem" of decorating and redesigning imaginary houses in my head. And now that I was faced with REAL houses that might POSSIBLY become my own, every new house that we went to see I would immediately go home and lay in bed and redo and decorate and position furniture in until Kingdom or Dawn came. ( It was always Dawn...). It. was. exhausting. 
BUT the real problem came when we would actually put an offer on a house. Oh boy. I thought it was bad before, but then things got REALLY serious in Abigail's Imagination World. 

The first house we found that we were interested in had fruit trees in the front yard, had been renovated fairly recently, had three good sized bedrooms and 2 and half bath ( the half bath being off of the kitchen in the laundry room, just in case you HAD TO GO while you were doing a load of Whites), and Dun Dun DUNNNNNNNN. A little office off of the kitchen/dining room. "It would be "perfect" for a little "guest room"!!"  I thought to myself! AND because it isn't technically a "bedroom" I bet the taxes are cheaper!! HOORAY! It is the PERFECT HOUSE! Except for the tiny detail in the back yard. What's that?!?! A POOL!?!?! IN THE BACK YARD? INCHES FROM THE BACK DOOR!?!?! 
*sigh* yes. And no matter what my realtor told me about how "awesome" pools where, my many years of lifeguarding could only see my children floating facedown. 

But. I couldn't get past the fruit trees, it being in our price range ( pretty important) and that teeny tiny "guest room" that, to me and my prayer card meant it MUST BE MEANT TO BE! 

So we put in our offer and we waited. And I repositioned furniture at night, and showed pictures of the house to my friends during the day. I could HARDLY WAIT to see if it would be ours! Sure, I kept having flashes of drowning children and the niggling feeling that I would never really be able to sleep well knowing I had a DEATH TRAP literally in the back yard, but I researched safety fences and waited. 
We did not get the house. 

I was devastated. Mostly because I was tired of moving furniture around in my head, because at the end of the day I was really quite relieved that a Pool was not in our future. At least for at least 5 to 10 more years. 

Weeks passed and we found another house. It was on a horse-shoe shaped street, where the two ends dead-ended into a park. The house was towards the "U" part of the street ( so definitely no thru traffic here!) and was gorgeously renovated, and it didn't have a pool. It had MORE CLOSETS THAN I CAN COUNT. ( seriously, I was giddy about the closets) AND AND AND!!!! It also had an "office" off the laundry room/kitchen that would make the perfect "guest room!" AND this one was BIGGER! HOORAY! This house was DEFINITELY for us!!! I loved, loved, loooooved it. Nevermind that the whole backyard was terraced and Brett was worried the kids might fall, or that the front yard was at a drastic 45 degree angle...IT WAS PERFECT.  We made an offer. And I started to mind-decorate every inch of the house in my head.  I was sure this was the one. I even had little "good moral there, God!" blog posts written up about how this house had an even bigger "guest bedroom" than that last house and how I had just needed to be patient! Good, one God, good one! The wait was longer this time, and there was even a little negotiating- they wanted a LOT for the house, and we ended up going up more on our offer than we ever thought we would before the floor finally fell out. 
We did not get the house. 

And so ALL OF FEBRUARY went by and NOT ONE new house, in our price range and in the area that we really felt like was where we were suppose to be, came on the market. NOT ONE. 

And then March happened. Two new houses came up and we went to look at them even though the pictures did not look promising. We had spent weeks now, widening our search and wondering what was going wrong, so we were feeling desperate. The first house was "Ok" but had the craziest back yard I've EVER seen. Imagine an "island" of dirt smack dab in the middle!...yeah. It was special. 
And so on we went to the next house. It was the COLDEST day we'd had all year and I really just wanted to go home and cuddle by the fire, but I felt committed to doing our due diligence....

The second house of the day just so happened to be on the other side of the horse-shoe street as the last house we had put an offer in.....in fact they literally backed up to each other and shared an alley! That was a curious coincidence....So I walked in the front door....

STAY TUNED to the exciting conclusion of The House.....Part 3!

April 03, 2015

The House: Part 1

If you know me at all, than you know I love a good story. So it will do everyones heart good to know that at the end of last year Brett and I decided to take the Large Adult plunge and buy a house. And that that particular decision has resulted in, what I think, is a doozy of a story....soooo....If you will allow, I would like to tell you the WHOLE story in ( probably 3) parts....it will be worth it, I will mention the Sound of Music at least once and spoiler alert there will be a happy ending. 

The Beginning....

It is important that we go ALLLLLL the way back to 2003 for the beginning of this story or I don't think you'll fully appreciate it. So lets go back in time to 2003 when I was at University in New Zealand and I was on an ( perfectly enough) Easter Retreat with a bunch of my friends. As with many of these types of things, we would rent out a ( ridiculously beautiful because such is everything in New Zealand) camp ground for next to nothing, we would all sustain on Cheesy Sandwiches ( melted cheese on toast) and Tomato Sauce ( ketchup, but better) and French Toast for the mornings and we would study the Bible and worship together and play touch Rugby during breaks ( not me, but you know, OTHER PEOPLE).  It was idyllic. I know I learned a few things in my classes in college, but if I could give my kids a college experience than THIS PART would be the part I would include. Annnnnyway, during one of our Quiet Times, when everyone found a sunny corner to sit by themselves and spend time with the Lord, I had one of the most direct conversations I've ever had with Jesus. It was as Clear as a Bell. And what the Lord said to me came from 1 Kings 8, where Solomon dedicates the Temple to the Lord. When I was reading it, I felt strongly that I was suppose to have a house like this. Nope, not a house incrusted in gold- although that might be very Caesars palace of me- but a house that was open for people to come and get what the Needed. If the "skies felt closed up" to them, they could come to this House and find clarity, if they were "sick and tired" they could come for rest and renewal. It they were lost, the could come to find their way. It would be a House where people could Be.... 
I was very excited about this future goal, but at the time I lived in a small dorm room, so it was clearly a "future" type thing...but it stuck with me for many years until 2006. 

In 2006 I was sitting in my apartment having a much anticipated "Define the Relationship" conversation with a Holy Hot Guy ( a HHG if you will) who I very much wanted to date ( yes, it was Brett) and who I was very excited he was finally making his move. He was slow to speak in just about all situations and so the conversation was going...well....not as I had expected. Instead of going all Rom-Com on me and professing his undying love and devotion Jane Austen style, he was giving me an ultimatum of sorts. It went something like this: "I've been learning a lot the past few years about the importance of Discipleship and Community in our Spiritual growth and maturity, and therefore I will probably always want to allow guys ( *cough* cough* don't forget the girls, Brett!) to live with me if that is what is needed, and if you can't handle that...." 

I'm not sure if I let him finish. I was SO EXCITED that there was a guy sitting across from me who not only loved Jesus but also had the same "open house" policy ( which, incidentally is kinda hard to find in this particular society) that he might as well have been quoting some sort of soliloquy about my sparkly eyes. And so....we got married. RIGHT. THEN. Just kidding. But we did get married and we did have a very open door policy. In our 8 years of marriage we have had countless people stay in our house for long and short periods of time. The longest I think was about 7 months, and while it hasn't always been as "totally amazing" as my 2003 dream would have imagined ( Read: Dirty Dudes lounging on my couch. ) it has been exactly what it was suppose to be. 

When we moved to San Antonio we moved into a pretty great house, and I truly believe it is where we were suppose to be these last 2 years. And while the house is plenty large ( definitely considering my limited cleaning desires) it did lack in the  "set aside" place for people to stay with us. Sure, we've been able to house short term guests but I feel like for people to really feel comfortable-particularly since we've added two small people who don't know the meaning of "privacy" into the picture-we needed a set aside place for visitors. 

SO....see?!?! Look!! I've finally made it back to the Point At Hand!!! When I made my prayer card for 2015 . I wrote "A House big enough for People". And I knew that meant, an extra room/bedroom set aside from the others for letting people Be. And so I began to pray this prayer as we began to search for a house in earnest....And I knew it had to be a God thing for such a house to exist for us because 1. Brett and I don't like debt. 2. We aren't made of money. So basically we knew "mansion" was not going to be in our price range....

Stay tuned for Part 2 of The House Series!! ( wherein I will discuss one of my Biggest Fears, and we'll be reminded yet again of God's sense of humor)