Posts Tagged 'Our Home'

September 28, 2014

Well….we’re in the new house! We moved in two weeks ago from today. We closed on a Thursday, and moved some cabinets and garage stuff Thursday night and Friday. Saturday we moved EVERYTHING else! Phew! We survived, but it was rough. Jason and I had joked before the move that we knew it would be stressful and that we would probably fight, but yeah…it was rough. 😉 I am the kind of person that wants to get things done… I want things done right… I want things done RIGHT NOW. My parents were keeping the kids for the weekend, so I was determined to get the house pretty much put together before they came home. I was a bit of a slave driver, and I’ve learned that sometimes I need to let some things go. Luckily we are still married (HA!), and our new house is starting to feel more like a home. I still can’t wait to hang pictures on the walls and get some curtains up downstairs, but I’d say it’s looking pretty good for two weeks out!

Before I post pictures of the new house, I want to share some final ones of the old one. I was surprised that it wasn’t as hard to say goodbye to it as I thought it would be. It really didn’t feel like our house anymore once we got all our furniture, pictures, curtains, etc. out. The hardest part was actually when I went back days after the move to take down Peyton’s wall decal. I just remembered how much time I had spent finding the perfect one when I was pregnant, and the time my mom spent actually putting it on the wall. All those nights I rocked her to sleep looking at it, and holding that Bible verse so close to my heart – “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” Yeah, that was tough to take down.

As I’ve mentioned before, Peyton had been saying that she wanted to live in the old house and not the new house. She still said it after the move, and so I took the kids back through the house one more time once it was empty. I knew I was risking making it worse by taking her back. Luckily once she saw it empty and realized all her things were at the new house, she has been TOTALLY fine with living in the new one! She even says, “Ricardo lives in the old house,” every time we drive by the old one. I’m so thankful that she’s transitioned well!

So here is one last peek at the first house that was “home” for our family…

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Now here is a little tour of our now furnished new house! I promise to post more pics once we do all the finishing touches!

Front of the house:

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We had sod in the front yard, and seed/straw in the back. I am the official grass watering person since I’m home more, and I have to say that I’m pretty proud of how our yard is coming in! Go me!!! 🙂 Here are some pics of the back yard. A HUGE patio and a fence are coming shortly!

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Kitchen and morning room…I am a bit obsessed with our new bar stools and ceiling fan! 🙂

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Family room. Everything is from the old house expect our new IKEA coffee table ($25) and end tables ($7). They were a STEAL, and I don’t care if the kids destroy them!

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Dining room. I thought this was going to be empty FOREVER, but my mom and I saw this great table and chairs on a Facebook yardsale site. I knew it wasn’t in our budget right now, so my parents gave it to us for Christmas/birthdays/everything this year. 🙂 The mirror was from the old house and will soon be hung in here.

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My make-shift mudroom until Jason’s dad builds us our cubbies! I’m so excited for the real deal! Luckily I had all of these pieces at the old house, so they work for now!

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My photography studio/office. All those pictures that we need to hang on the walls? They’re in here for now! I’m so excited to have a closet to store all my photography gear instead of in a garage!

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Downstairs powder room:

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Master bedroom:

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Master closets. We share the big one for clothes, and have all our shoes/bags/STUFF in the other one!

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Master Bathroom:

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Aiden’s room. My mom is going to re-paint the baseball wall where his crib is. And of course we need to hang all his baseball memorabilia stuff.

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Peyton’s room. Oh, Peyton’s room. I bought her new bedding for when we transition her toddler bed to a full bed to match the green walls that were in the old house. Everytime we talked about painting her new room green, she would correct us and say, “No…PINK!” Needless to say, she won. Luckily the bedding has light pink, hot pink, and pale green in it. I had bought all hot pink accessories in her nursery since she had green walls. Now her entire room is…well…pink. Oh my word is it pink. I would still prefer to paint it green, but the girl is happy. As my mom was painting it she said, “Oh grandma! It’s BEAUTIFUL!” So pink it is, and pink it’ll stay. (Until she hates it!)

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Kids’ bathroom…the only room that already has pictures hung!

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The kids’ little nook by their room. I need to figure out how to fill all this space! The bookshelf looks so little here:

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Extra bedroom. No, I’m not pregnant! We’ll see if this ends up being a nursery or a guest bedroom. For now, it’s empty! 🙂

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Upstairs loft (AKA Jason’s man cave). I’m too nervous about the half walls to let the kids play up here alone right now. Their toys are mostly in the basement, so Jason lucked out and gets this all to himself! (FOR NOW!) Oh, and Sadie hangs out up here, too. 😉

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Upstairs laundry room:

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Well that’s it, folks! Hope you enjoyed the little virtual tour of our new digs! 🙂

September 07, 2014

It is with a heavy heart that I must share that Lei Lou will be getting her doggie angel wings on Monday. For those of you who may not know, Lei was Jason’s dog that he got looooong before me. He also had another dog, Hogan, who passed away in the summer of 2011. So when we met, we ended up with THREE dogs (since I had Sadie), and ever since we’ve been one big dog-lovin’ family. Not gonna lie…three shedding dogs proved more than my patience could handle on many days. Even now, I struggle to keep up with the hair of two. But I digress… 😉

Lei is a pretty timid dog, as she is most happy just laying on the floor and watching what everyone is up to. While Sadie lets the kids sit on and play with her, Lei knows better than to put up with that craziness! It’s funny, because the kids know that she doesn’t like that stuff and (usually) leave her alone. Lei listens, comes in when called, and hasn’t chewed up anything since I’ve known her (I know this wasn’t the case when she was a puppy!). However, she sometimes gets up on couches and beds (the dogs aren’t allowed on furniture), and her hair gets EVERYWHERE. Seriously, this dog sheds so much that I’m surprised she’s not bald! She also decided to mark her territory and peed in our bed…TWICE! While those may not be the best memories, I can always look back on them and laugh.

For anyone wondering, Lei has had some tumors growing on her for the past few years. At first we were told they were harmless, but they keep growing and multiplying. We took her to the vet earlier this summer, and they tested the big one on her leg. It was confirmed to be cancer, and the vet said there’s not much we can do for her at this point, especially since she’s around nine or ten years old. She gave her a max of a year to live. 🙁 We decided that now is the time to put her to sleep, mainly for two reasons. First, her leg tumor keeps getting bigger and harder. It is also filled with blood, and the vet said at some point it will rupture and she will die. We don’t want to risk that happening, for her sake or the kids’. Secondly, we are moving this week. We are hoping that with all of the changes and the new environment, the kids *might* not notice her absence as much. We are so sad to have to do this, but know it is best for everyone. We don’t want Lei to be in pain, and we also need to keep the kids in mind.

Lei, we will miss you so much. I know you have seen your dad through LOTS of things in your lifetime, and I know he is grateful for your loyal companionship. You are so lucky that you two found each other. No matter where life took him, he chose to continue to take care of you. I know this is probably going to be hardest on him. Please be sure to give him an extra dose of comfort from Heaven. Peyton and Aiden love you dearly, and will miss playing with you, feeding you, and having you watch over them. I know that you will continue to watch over them from above, and we tell Peyton that you will soon live in her heart instead of her house. Thank you for being a friend to Hogan, and now to Sadie. I know she will miss wrestling with you and having you sit by her cage until we let her out. I hope that you find Hogan up there, as I’m sure he’s been waiting patiently for you to join him. I hope you can both run and play together again – Hogan free from his hip pain, and you free of tumors. We will think of you often, and there will always be a missing member of our family. We hope to give you a good last few days on Earth, and pray for strength when we have to say goodbye.

Okay, now I’m crying. Pictures! Let’s move on to pictures…

To give you some idea, here is the biggest tumor that is on her leg. It has gotten even bigger since the picture was taken. 🙁

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Sadie and Lei have been best buds. I so worry about how Sadie will do once Lei is gone. As Peyton says, “Sadie’s going to miss her friend!” 🙁

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Here are some pictures of Lei just hanging around our house. She HATES having her picture taken, so that’s why she looks so sad. (You can also see one of the tumors on her eye…poor girl!)

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Annie (my photographer friend) came a few weeks ago to take some pictures of our family in our old house before we move. I can’t wait to show you the slideshow of her visit once she’s done! But for now, here are some pics she took with Lei in them:







On Saturday I forced my family outside to get some pictures of them with Lei before she leaves us. I’m sure I’ll take some on Monday, too, of everyone saying goodbye, but I don’t want to feel pressured to capture them when I’m sure we’ll all be sad. So for now, some happy pictures from our last weekend with Lei!

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These next few pictures break my heart. Jason was talking to Peyton about Lei going to live in Heaven. We’ve been having LOTS of talks about this, and she knows that she’s going to live with Jesus. She tells us that Jesus is going to come down and get her at the vet and take her to Heaven. However, Peyton also thinks that she can visit her “up in the sky” and that Lei can come back to live with us. 🙁 Please pray for her heart during this sad time. This girl has such a love for Jesus already, and I’m hoping that knowing Lei is with Him will give her some comfort.

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I love how they both have similar expressions in the following two pics. Like father, like daughter!

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Okay, I need to move on to something else before I spend my entire Saturday night crying. I stopped by the house a few nights ago and took some pictures. This is the last house update before we move in, so the next time you see it we’ll have furniture! 🙂 Here’s a little tour, room by room…

Grass sod and landscaping are in and front door is painted, so the front is pretty much finished:

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The almost finished kitchen (with electric!):

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I’m so excited to have a real pantry! It’s the little things… 😉

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Morning room (where our kitchen table will go):

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Family room:

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Mudroom, which will have cubbies in the future:

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Master bedroom:

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I tried talking Jason into just using this closet…

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But he said no, so we’ll be sharing this HUGE closet, and then using the other one for shoes, hats, bags/purses, etc.

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Master bathroom:

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Upstairs laundry room:

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Peyton’s room:

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The kids’ little nook by their rooms:

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Kids’ bathroom:

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Aiden’s room:

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Backyard now has seed and straw (dirt will soon be a patio!):

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Thank you to everyone that has shared in our excitement. We can’t wait to share our new home with you! Please keep us in your prayers this week, especially on Monday when we say our goodbyes to Lei. Also for the end of the week, that the kids will transition well and not freak out too much about leaving the old house. 😉

August 31, 2014

Before I go into house update stuff, I want to take a minute to gush about my wonderful hubby. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary on Wednesday, and I never got around to writing a dedicated blog post like I had for our first and second anniversaries. I guess having two kids three and under and an upcoming move will do that! But I need to write SOMETHING, no matter how crazy life is these days.

We went out to a nice dinner at one of our favorite places (Tony’s), and it was so nice to enjoy a meal with just Jason. I joked with him that he could’ve just taken me to Larosa’s or somewhere, and it’d be a treat without kids! He insisted that it’s important to celebrate milestones, and I so love and appreciate that about him. Of course the evening ended with me swinging by the new house, smelling gas, and calling Duke to come out and check. Our brand new fireplace had a gas leak, so that was a fun little surprise… 😉

We joke that we have packed so much into our three years of marriage – two kids and now a new house. While I have loved seeing our family grow and change, I am ready for us to take a little breather after the move is over. I am looking forward to just enjoying my hubby and kids, and settling into the house we plan to call home for a LONG time (if not forever!).

I feel so blessed to have married my best friend. Someone I can talk to about anything, who loves me as much when I don’t dry my hair and have PJ’s on as he does when I get dressed up, and puts up with me even on my worst days. I love how much I look forward to date nights, and know that we’ll never run out of things to talk about. I love that we share the same dreams, work together as a team, and genuinely enjoy one another’s company. Of course we have our moments that we get annoyed with each other and lose our cool, but we always offer each other grace and forgiveness and move on. I also love that I’m married to a man that is not afraid to say, “I’m sorry!” Marriage, like most things, has its up’s and down’s. I am so lucky to have such a great guy beside me for the ride. 🙂

Okay, are y’all sick of my sappiness yet? Sorry, I had to! I’ll move on to pictures of the house updates now…

We have a driveway, sidewalk, and stairs to our front door (and lots of them!):

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Carpet is in upstairs:

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Finished dining room, which will be empty for who knows how long until we can afford to get furniture! :

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Laminate flooring meets the fireplace tile:

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My favorite room in the house….our gourmet kitchen! :

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Quartz counters are in:

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Can’t wait to move all my photography stuff out of our garage and into my new studio in the den!

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We are set to close on Sept. 11th! We will be moving in on the 12th and 13th. So two weeks from tonight, we will be officially living in the new house and our old house will be empty. It is such a bittersweet feeling, and I’m sure I’ll be feeling pretty emotional these next two weeks. As I said in my post when we were selling our house, I know it is time for us to move on. Yet it is SO HARD leaving the house we started our family in. Please keep us in your prayers that this transition goes smoothly! Peyton still insists that she is going to keep living in the old house. So yeah, this might be fun… 😉

August 22, 2014

We are FINALLY on to the fun parts of building our new house! You know, the things that I spent HOURS mulling over, trying to decide the perfect choices for every.little.detail. These updates literally happened overnight. I went to the house one day and they were putting up siding, installing cabinets, and all the doors/trim…at the same time! Today I went by and saw they were installing our flooring. When I came back late tonight (to close the windows that were left open before the storm hits!), they were done with the entire first floor! As fast as it’s all coming together, I am a little confused as to why our close date has been moved back…AGAIN. We were initially told we’d be in by mid to end of August, no problem. Then we got moved back to Sept. 5th. Now our closing date is set for Sept. 11th. (What a date, huh? Guess we’ll never forget it!) As much as I am dying to get in there and start making our house a home, I am choosing to look on the bright side. First of all, I haven’t packed one single box. So yeah, there’s that. Also, the buyers of our current home have been super understanding and are in no rush to move in here. Well, I know they WANT to move in here, but their lease on their apartment isn’t up until October. So it could be so much worse! 🙂

As promised, here are some pictures of the house progress…

Outside of the house is complete (minus driveway and landscaping, of course!):

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Kitchen cabinets are in! I worried these would be too dark, but I love them so far!

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Fireplace, upgraded Craftsman doors, and trim:

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Master bathroom vanity, shower/tub, and vinyl floors. The kids bathroom is pretty much the same, but with a shorter vanity and standard shower/tub:

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And the newest update….FLOORS! We decided on these laminate floors for the entire first floor. We debated getting real hardwood, but since we are dog owners, decided it wasn’t worth the price when we knew they’d just get torn up. I picked these because they actually have some texture to them, and look pretty close to the real thing, if you ask me! I can’t wait to photograph little ones on this floor in my new photography studio! Yipee!!!

Note: The floors were FILTHY when I stopped by to take pictures, as they were still installing them. I’m so glad I went over when I did, though, because they covered them all so I wouldn’t have been able to get a good picture.

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I am SO happy with how all of our selections are coming together! If you’ve ever built a home (or remodeled, for that matter), you understand how much thought goes into all the decisions. Oh, and the fear of making a mistake that comes along with the process, too! I cannot WAIT until I can see everything complete, knowing that this is the house our family will call home for a LONG time. You know I will continue posting pictures of the building progress until then. I hope I’m not boring anyone! 😉 Seriously, thanks for sharing in our excitement!

August 07, 2014

We had a pretty busy month of July (still can’t believe that it’s already AUGUST! Sheesh!). We drove up to the U.P. of Michigan to stay at Jason’s family’s lake house. Peyton was so exited to go, as she remembered the boats, sand, and horses from last summer. Aiden didn’t quite know what to expect, but he had fun once we got up there. He was NOT a fan of the ten hours it took us to drive there though. The poor guy kept pulling on his car seat screaming, “Out! Out!”

Here are the kids taking their first boat ride of the trip. Aiden had stuffed his mouth with grapes before we took off; hence his funny expressions in some of the pictures!

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Man, I wish we could take a daily boat ride to get the kids to nap everyday!

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We rode the boat to the Islander for lunch, and the kids hung out by the fake moose. Peyton loved him, Aiden not so much…

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Unfortunately it was pretty chilly/overcast/rainy for a good chunk of our trip. However, one nice morning we took advantage of the sun shining and played in the sand by the house. The kids were in love, and could’ve easily spent all day playing out there. We were all bummed when the rain clouds moved in…

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Aiden LOVED watching all the boats drive by. He’d yell, “Boat! Boat!” and point them out. Yep, I’d say he’s got some Hamberg in him! 😉

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We rode over to Mackinac Island on our last full day. The weather decided to cooperate, and we were so happy! Here we are on the Pursuit ready to set sail…

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The kids had a blast walking around Mackinac and seeing all of the horses and bikes.

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It has turned into a tradition to take the kids to sit on a horse. Last year Peyton cried and Aiden didn’t even try it, but this year both kids loved it! They even walked them around in a circle. Hopefully in a few years the kids will be ready to ride the horses around the island!

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We ate lunch at the Gate House, and the adults enjoyed their first rum runners (YUM!). After lunch we walked around for a bit and then sat outside at the Pink Pony. The adults enjoyed some more rum runners, and the kids enjoyed some ice cream!

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A picture in front of the sign and then ready to leave the island…

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As you can see, we had a great trip! We are so thankful to have a place to visit every summer and to continue the tradition that Jason grew up with. Thanks so much for having us, Mike and Colleen! The kids can’t wait until next year!!!

Now to switch gears to…house updates! Before we left for Michigan, we made sure to swing by the house since they had just insulated it. I wanted our family to write on the insulation before they dry-walled as a way of personalizing our new home. We wrote hopes for our family, and the kids had fun scribbling! 😉

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Unfortunately they didn’t do much work while we were gone, but got busy dry-walling once we were home. Here are some pictures of that progress:

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They also finished bricking the front, and are ALMOST done with the stone. The rest will be siding:

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I stopped by today and noticed that they put the first coat of paint on. They will do plenty more coats, but you can get the idea of the color. It’s called Tony Taupe, and I love it!

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I know I didn’t include any pics of the den (AKA my new photography studio!) last time, so here is a quick one. You can’t really tell much from it, but I am super excited to have a dedicated space for my business! (AND a dedicated closet to store all my backdrops, floors, and props!!!):

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I hope to have lots more to share soon! Our closing date is now September 5th, which is later than they had originally told us. Bummer. But luckily the people that bought our old house don’t need to be out of their apartment until the end of September, so we can continue renting back to avoid the double move. Yay! More updates to come…

July 11, 2014

I know I may totally be “that person” that overly shares about the building of their new home. However, I’ve had a lot of people ask about how it’s coming along, and I personally always love seeing pictures of the process of others’ homes! So for anyone that is curious, I’ll periodically be posting House Updates on the blog. The last time I posted pictures of the new house on here, they had finished the foundation and were starting to frame. Now the framing is finished, they have begun putting brick on, and the plumbing and electrical are almost complete. So here are some pictures! (Not pictured are the mudroom and the den, which I will use as my photography studio!!! I will try and get pics of those next time!)

Outside of the house:

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Kitchen/Morning Room:

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Family Room/Fire Place:

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Front Door Entrance/Dining Room:


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Upstairs Loft (AKA Man Cave and Playroom until we finish the basement!):

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Master Bedroom and Bathroom:

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3 Kids Rooms (No, we’re not pregnant again…hehe):

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Upstairs Laundry Room:

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We chose the lot we did because there is a tree line behind us, and then a park with a basketball court and soccer and baseball fields. No houses behind us, which is nice! Views of our backyard:

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We hit one (major) bump along the road. The builders poured the foundation about two feet higher than the plot plan called for. Jason and his dad noticed it right away, but our contractor kept making excuses and assured us it was right. Well…after contacting the high up’s at MI, they came out and measured and found we were right. The problems this would cause would be that our driveway would have a huge slope to it (not ideal with small kids, and small cars could bottom-out on it), and our backyard has a huge slope to it, too. The solution? They agreed to dig up our garage floor, dig it down a foot, and re-pour it to decrease the slope of the driveway. They will also bring in as much extra dirt as we see fit to level out the backyard. (Oh, and we’re also getting a new contractor! :)) Here’s the mess from digging up the concrete garage floor…

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Next steps are insulating, drywall, and then all the fun stuff! Hopefully we’re still set to close towards the end of August. Can’t wait! 🙂

June 16, 2014

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a personal blog (or personal pictures, for that matter), so I figured I’d do a little update!  Especially since my mom is in Ireland and has been dying for pictures and updates on the kids! I have been busy doing fun summer stuff with Peyton and Aiden, and my photography business is starting to pick back up now that the weather is nice. On a business note – I’ve been good about blogging all of my current spring sessions. I still have a TON of sessions from last year that I need to blog. So if you see some random fall pictures pop up on here, that’s why! I am super excited about a bunch of births I have coming up. Even though those take the most time (to photograph AND edit), they are my absolute favorite. I get giddy in the weeks leading up to a birth! Okay, now on to all my personal blog stuff…

In case you missed it – we’re moving! So yeah, that’s been another crazy busy thing going on in our world. We ended up having two second showings, and one made an offer pretty quickly. We accepted the offer on our house before it had even been on the market for three weeks. I know God had His hands in the entire process, because it all worked out perfectly. I started talking with the girl who is buying it on Facebook, and I am super excited to see our old house go to a sweet family! They have a little boy around Aiden’s age, and they said that the baseball room was one of the deciding factors in buying it. I am SO excited that the baseball wall won’t be painted over and that another little boy can enjoy it. I am looking forward to having them as neighbors, since our new house will be right down the street! We are set to close on June 23rd or 24th, and will then rent back from them until ours is ready since their lease isn’t up until September. So our house is officially…

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While I am super sad about this chapter of our life coming to a close, I am so excited for the new one that’s ahead. Before we say goodbye to our old house, I have asked my wonderful friend and mentor, Annie, to do a special lifestyle session in it. I can’t wait to have pictures of our family “doing life” in the house that we grew our family in. I look forward to sharing those pictures with all of you, as well as hanging some of them on the walls of our new house to remember where we’ve been. Speaking of the new house, it’s coming along! I will post some pictures of the progress further down in this post. 🙂

The kids have been lots of fun lately. Sometimes I mean that sincerely, and other times I mean that sarcastically. People weren’t joking when they warned about the terrible two’s and the (even more) terrible three’s. Peyton’s been in between those two phases of life for awhile now, and testing every ounce of my patience. Aiden is starting to show signs of the two’s (tantrums, whining, clinging, etc.), so having TWO kids trying to exert their independence and opinions has been a blast. I wasn’t thinking about that when we decided to have kids 18 months apart! Even though we have our rough days, for the most part they are joys to be around. For every tantrum we have, we have HOURS of nice playing and happy kids. I will talk plenty more about Miss Peyton in a week for her annual birthday post. I also have some hilarious pictures to share of her being…well…HER! 😉

Aiden seems to get more fun by the day. He babbles all the time, and is starting to talk. His favorite words are “bayball” (baseball) “guck” (truck), “Sadie,” “Thereitis!” (“There it is!” all squeezed together) and “Dae doo!” (Thank you!). He is all about baseball, which is a good thing because he really doesn’t have much choice. 😉 He still loves to cuddle, and continues to be a mama’s boy. While part of me wants to break him of this, the majority of me just wants to enjoy it. He and Peyton are quite the team these days. They are constantly running around, wrestling, and playing together (and by playing, I mean sometimes fighting over toys! Ha!). He has a personality and opinion all his own, and it’s been fun seeing him become more independent. This boy continues to have my heart, and I have such a hard time saying no to that sweet face. I mean, just look at those blue eyes and long lashes!!! Love that boy to death.

Here are some of the things we’ve been up to lately. Brace yourself for tons of photos. Seriously. I told my mom I’d post lots of pics of the kids while she’s away, so here goes…

First of all, I have to take a minute to say “Happy Father’s Day!” to Jason. He is absolutely the best daddy I could’ve asked for to our kids, and we are so lucky to have him. Here he is with the kids after his baseball game yesterday. Love these three!

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The kids love playing on our back patio, especially when we get out the water table and pool!

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Peyton has always loved watching daddy cut the grass. Man, I’m going to miss this back yard!


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We frequent many of the local parks in the spring and summer. Both kids sure love to swing!

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We go for lots of walks in the neighborhood. Peyton usually walks, and Aiden still rides.


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On one such walk, Peyton said, “Look mommy! All these worms are sleeping!” 😉

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We went to our first Touch-a Truck event of the summer. Aiden loved to look, but was not a fan of sitting in the trucks.

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We spend a lot of time just hanging around the house. They both love brushing their teeth (and want to do so together). Peyton loves helping wake Aiden up from his naps by climbing in his crib. Aiden loves to read books, and Sadie likes to listen. The poor dog also gets sat on like she’s a horse a good portion of the day.

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We check out the progress of the house daily. The kids love walking down there and watching the workers.

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(Peyton LOVES to collect rocks every time we go down there!)

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Normally I try and do a specific post for each holiday, but I am so far behind on Easter that I’m not even going to mess with it this year! So here are some pictures and quick descriptions of what we did. We had a great day, and loved spending time with family!

The night before Easter, we dyed eggs. We tried an egg spinner contraption that was great for Aiden. Peyton enjoyed it, but it was a little too easy for her. I think next year we’ll go back to normal egg dying techniques!

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Easter morning was pretty standard – each kid got an Easter basket and they looked around the house for eggs. Peyton was all about it, but Aiden must’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed because he cried during most of the activities. 🙁

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We went to my parents’ house for presents and then had lunch at Bravo’s with my Grandma (the kids’ GG Marianne). Peyton especially loved her new backpack filled with sand toys and Frozen toy!

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We went to Jason’s uncle’s house with all the Hamberg’s for dinner. Peyton, Aiden, and Blake had fun looking for eggs hidden outside! They also all got Easter baskets filled with lots of goodies from Grandma Colleen and Papa Mike.

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As you can see, we’ve stayed pretty busy! I promise to blog about Peyton’s birthday (and her Pinkalicious party!) and more house updates soon. Thanks for reading about the Hamberg happenings! 🙂

April 03, 2014

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Five years ago, at about this time of year, I felt prompted to move from the apartment I was living in and purchase a house. Jason and I had just started dating, and my dad encouraged me that since the housing market was so low, it was a great time for me to go out on my own and buy. After looking at a few houses online, my friend Mandi suggested that I look into building in her neighborhood. As it turns out, it was actually cheaper to build a BRAND NEW house than it was to buy most pre-existing ones. During the whole process, I felt like I was falling right into God’s perfect plan for me. There was a lot just three doors down from my wonderful friends (the Sparks’), and I was able to build a beautiful new home that I could afford on my teaching salary. Really, the only thing I had to compromise on was a basement (for budget reasons), but I was young, single, and so excited to be out on my own I didn’t care. When I moved in, I had so much room that I didn’t know what to do with it all! I remember thinking how empty it looked, and the OCD in me was happy that everything had a perfect spot.

Fast forward to present day, and that house that was so roomy for one (well, two if you count Sadie!) is now home to my wonderful husband, two kids, and two dogs. Every cabinet is full, I use half our garage to store photography stuff, kids toys are everywhere, and we are maxed out in terms of space. I knew we’d have to move, but I didn’t know when that was going to be. Just like five years ago, God has been whispering to my heart the last few months. At first, He prompted me to list the lot Jason and I had bought about two years ago. It was the perfect lot, in a perfect neighborhood, in a great school community. His dad (a custom home builder) was going to build us our dream forever home. The idea of selling the lot made my heart hurt, and even more so, I knew it would devastate Jason. Yet after reviewing our finances and our decision for me to stay home for a few years with our kids, we came to the realization it was for the best. We couldn’t afford the house we were going to build for at least a few more years, and we were outgrowing our current home so quickly we didn’t think we could wait. So, we put it on the market to see what would happen, expecting it to sit for at least a few months. Well, it sold….in a week!

Next up was Jason’s Deer Park house that he lived in when we met. We decided that once the lot was gone, we were going to wait for our renter’s lease to run out and then list that. Once that house sold, we would think about listing our current home. I reached out to our fabulous renter and asked what her plans were, fully expecting her to say she wanted to move. She said she wanted to stay another year! We were so excited, as she really is the best tenant we could ever hope for.

After those two things fell into place, we decided to see what was out there in terms of a new house. We went out three different times with our awesome realtors to look at pre-exisiting homes in the areas we were interested in, and didn’t find anything to write home about. Either we loved the inside but hated the yard, loved the yard but would need to renovate the inside, or loved everything but it was way out of our budget. We wondered if we had made the right decision in selling our lot. Then one night, Jason suggested we go to the model home in our current neighborhood and inquire about some of their market homes. Somehow in that discussion, we ended up walking through a model home in another community and fell in LOVE with the Nicholas floor plan. Better yet? We could get the house we loved, with tons of upgrades, for less than we probably would’ve spent buying pre-exisiting and WAY less than what we would’ve spent building on our lot. We initially struggled with what to do, but in the end, we felt this was the direction God was calling us and we followed.

We signed the paperwork to build, and shortly after, listed our current home. It has been on the market for less than two weeks so far, and we’ve already had four showings and a successful Open House. We have gotten such great feedback from everything, and the people that saw it last night are coming again tomorrow. We are crossing our fingers that they make a good offer, but also that they are okay with us renting back from them for awhile! Our new house should be finished in mid-August, and so we may be living with my parents until then if need be.

Every step of the way, I have felt God’s hand working. I KNOW He wants us to move. I know that when I built this home, I never intended for it to hold a family of four, and of course knew it wouldn’t be my forever home. Yet the idea of moving is breaking my heart. So I decided to write a little letter to the new owners, whomever they may be. Of course they’ll probably never see it, but I just had to share my thoughts on this big life change for our family. So here goes…

To the new owner(s) of our home,

First off, let me tell you how lucky you are! We have loved this house, and it has been so good to us these past five years. We haven’t had any issues with it, and we love our neighborhood. So much so, in fact, that we are building here again!

I’m assuming that when you came for the showing you liked what you saw. I’m sure the kitchen caught your eye, and you could picture yourself on the back patio entertaining friends. You saw that the carpets were clean (you have NO idea what a feat this was with two kids and two dogs!), and that all of the bathroom fixtures were in good shape. I know what you saw, and I am so happy that you fell in love with our home. I want to focus the rest of this letter on what you DIDN’T see. Because there’s no way you could possibly know what this house has meant to my family and me by just visiting for a half hour.

Let’s start downstairs. That kitchen you saw that you loved so much? You didn’t see the hours it took for me to pick out just the right cabinet/laminate floor/counter top combo. I think I went to that design center at least three times to make sure I was happy with the finished product. Those long extended counters into the dining room that set our house apart? I got the idea from my best friend’s mom, and my wonderful father-in-law ordered and installed them. It was quite the afternoon project!

Into the backyard, you’ll see the huge patio that my father-in-law did with his concrete guy. At the time I wanted it to be big to fit a table, grill, and have plenty of room to entertain friends. Nowadays, it’s mainly used by my two kids on nice days. Did you see the playhouse? They love that thing. The patio is the perfect size for riding bikes on, too. Oh, and the fire pit and retaining wall? Let me tell you – THOSE were some PROJECTS! My hubby, dad, and father-in-law worked for who knows how many hours to make our backyard perfect. We joked that if a tornado were to come, that retaining wall would still be standing! Jason and I have had a lot of important conversations around that fire pit. While I was pregnant, we talked about what life would be like once our daughter was born. Later, we decided for me to stay home with our kids for awhile. That silly fire pit symbolizes a whole lot for me.

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Moving upstairs, you’ll see my daughter’s green room that my mom and I painted together. I was on my hands and knees with my big belly, but it felt so good to make that room a nursery for her. You probably noticed the wall art above her bed that says her name and “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” I searched Etsy for hours trying to find the perfect thing to put above her bed! That bible verse struck home for me because she was not planned, but has proven to be the most perfect gift we could’ve ever hoped to receive! (Sorry for the awful picture! It’s all I could find that shows her name on the wall!)

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Our son’s room has a giant baseball painted on it. That was a Pinterest idea that my baseball-obsessed husband saw and made me promise to do! My poor mother got roped into duplicating it, and I think she did a great job. I love sitting in that room and rocking him to sleep while singing “You are my Sunshine.” He is the sweetest little guy, and quite the cuddler. He’s too young to say, but I’m pretty sure he loves his baseball room!

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The house you bought holds many special memories for me. We brought home both our babies there, and I can still remember where we set down their car seats for the first time. We got married while living in that house, and traveled through the many up’s and down’s that our first year of marriage had in store. We built our family there, and most every memory that’s worth remembering happened in that house.

Both our kids had their first bath in the kitchen sink. Our daughter loved watching the Kings Island fireworks from her bedroom window in the summer (yes, she was often still awake at 10:00…don’t judge! HA). Our son did the funniest “gorilla scoot” across our kitchen floor. Our kids had tea parties in the family room. They had dance parties in the loft. I found out I was pregnant in our master bathroom. I would curse the dogs for getting so darn muddy in the backyard. We opened Christmas presents, dyed Easter eggs, and passed out candy to trick-or-treaters there. We made that house a home, and you will never be able to see how much love those walls hold.



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I will cry the day we pack up and move out. I am crying now, writing this letter, just THINKING about the day we move out. I know God has led me to know it is time. It is time for our kids to have a basement to play in. It is time for a fourth bedroom so that we can potentially grow our family if that’s His plan. It is time for more space, and more memories in a new house. Yet I will always hold this one so close to my heart.

I encourage you to paint the walls in ways that fit your family. Hang up your own pictures. Invite friends over to sit on the patio. Make time for fire pit nights that might lead to deep conversation. Bring home babies, if that’s in your life plan. Tuck them into bed in those rooms, and sing them lullabies. Celebrate the holidays there, and most importantly, make your own memories there! Our time in that house is up, and now it is your turn to make the house your home.

Not to sound creepy, but know that we look forward to living down the street. When we go on walks or to the pool and pass your house, I will tell my kids, “Remember when we used to live there? That was such a great house!” I hope that they, too, will hold a special place in their hearts for our first house. More than anything, I hope that you will be blessed with the same joys in that home as we were!



And now some pictures of our family in front of our new lot! Peyton is very excited for them to start digging the basement. Every time we go past it, she says, “They gotta dig a hole!”

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