White Christmas!

Merry Christmas friends!! I hadn’t planned on making another post so soon but our wishes for a white Christmas came true in a big way! We were hit with a decent sized snowstorm yesterday and while I was also hit with a decent sized respiratory virus (thanks Atom for sharing your man flu), I wasn’t going to let that stop me from enjoying every minute of this winter wonderland. This storm made the last one look like nothing! We were expecting 3-6 inches of snow.

After the morning Christmas Eve service at church we went home and changed into our show gear and drove a few blocks to our favorite little park (normally we walk or ride our bikes but definitely not in this weather. It was snowing pretty hard). We had so much fun sledding down some small hills we found and just jumping around in the snow and being silly. (Next time we were told to hit up Memorial Park for the big sledding hills!) It was so peaceful. We were the only people out at the park. No one else was around. I think I told Atom I just couldn’t get over how GORGEOUS this all was. I was so giddy!

When we got back home the plows had been out and our streets had been plowed, making them safer to drive on thankfully. By the late afternoon the sidewalk was completely covered and rising. The snow didn’t stop all day! I jumped on the house renovation Facebook page & filmed a super quick live video in the snow. There is a link to the Facebook page on the blog site if you haven’t seen it.

These next 2 photos were taken at 3pm yesterday afternoon. The parking lot at this point was already completely covered and if you look to the right you can see that the concrete parking blocks were almost covered with snow.

This morning we got up and we were all delighted to see we had gotten even more snow overnight and our parking lot was mid-calf deep with snow. After our children opened their gifts and we had our home made orange cinnamon rolls we couldn’t get back into our snow gear fast enough & barreled out the front door. It was quite a bit colder than yesterday with the wind but we had a ton of layers on & with the building blocking out a good portion of the wind we were good.

The morning started out pretty windy and gloomy and my cat mask came in quite handy.

Then a short while later it was all sunny skies and absolutely gorgeous. Still pretty darn cold but we didn’t care, we were having an absolute blast making snowballs and snow angels and jumping through the parking lot snow.

Also, we built this pretty awesome snow mound.

Hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday! I’ll be making another post later this week with a finished side project and then it’s back to major renovations & getting the kitchen done! YAY!

Theresa

Be Still.

We had our first “real snow” a couple weeks ago. It was absolutely magical and terrifying at the same time. We had a few small flurries that melted before they hit the ground before then that were neat but literally you had to squint to see the snowflakes. Haha. Growing up in Southern California we would visit the snow in the local mountains annually and I would go skiing every spring break with my aunt and uncle to either Mammoth or Lake Tahoe. So this whole snow thing isn’t new to me or Atom. He actually lived in the mountains when he was in second grade for one year so he was pretty young but he has a photographic memory (which is a blessing and a curse) and can tell you every detail about it.

The weekend we were forecasted to get our first real measurable snowfall was my work weekend at the hospital. Lucky me. Literally up until this point I had never in my life driven in snow or ice (as I’ve mentioned in my previous post). I’ll admit I was a bit bummed that I was going to miss our daughters first experience with snow. However I was so thankful for technology and knew Atom would get so many photos and video and we would have the rest of winter to make up for it. Our boys had seen snow a few times already from a couple previous trips to the Southern California mountains in previous years.

I had been watching the forecast like a hawk, something I was quickly realizing was hilarious because it literally changed by the hour and was in no way accurate. Saturday morning I had set my alarm 30 min earlier than usual to give myself ample time just in case I needed it for my whopping one mile commute to work if it was snowing (I know I know). I got myself all bundled up and opened the front door and let out a literal gasp. IT. WAS. BEAUTIFUL!!!!!! The sun hadn’t even come up yet but it was just light enough to see the huge fluffy snowflakes falling lightly around me and it was just a light dusting on the ground. I am so glad I got up early so I had this moment to just be still. I was the only one up & outside at this time on a Saturday morning. You guys I was in tears it was such a moving moment for me. It was different. This time was different. Yes I’ve seen snow so many times before growing up and as an adult on vacations and such but something about this time felt so real. Probably because in a way it was like I really was experiencing it for the first time as a person living here. Living in a place that has all four seasons.

Then it was time to REALLY experience a first. DRIVING IN SNOW. Thankfully it wasn’t a lot of snow. It was lightly coming down & the roads weren’t bad at all. I went super slow and being a weekend I was basically the only car on the road & I made it there just fine. Yay! My coworkers laughed as I skipped outside more times as I could count during the morning to dance around as it was snowing.

Atom sent me some photos from the first round of snow on Saturday when I was at work.

The snow tapered off that morning and then it started to pick up that afternoon & I’d be lying if I’d say I didn’t start to panic a little bit that night when reality set in that I would indeed have to drive home that night with much more snow and now ice on the ground. I’m not an anxious person by any means but I was getting pretty nervous. I got some really good pep talks from my coworkers and fantastic advice and went really slow and pushed the snow button on my suv (thank God we upgraded to a 4×4 vehicle before we moved here) and I made it home okay. My legs were jello when I stepped out of my suv because my whole body was so tensed up the whole way home. I had Atom drive me to work on Sunday. I’m so glad I did. The roads in town were basically a solid block of ice at 6am. I know eventually I’ll be okay & I will become okay with driving in snow & ice but I really need to find an empty parking lot (larger than mine) and learn how to safely correct and all that stuff. That is on the absolute top of my to do list for the next freeze.

Our kids wanted to spend basically that entire weekend playing in the snow and after a quick trip to the store to outfit all 3 of them from head to toe in snow gear (sorry kids- you can’t wear flip flops in the snow) they were as toasty as can be. Some of the neighborhood kids came over and they all had a great time playing together. They used their snowball molds that my parents got them (which apparently took some quick work by the dads because there wasn’t *that* much snow so they used the snow shovels to create piles of snow so they could create snowballs) to have a snowball fight and make snow angels. Or if you’re Atom, just take a nap in the middle of the frozen parking lot.

Stewart wasn’t too sure what to make of this cold white stuff.

Atom has been a busy bee working on sewing some snowsuits for Stewart for when we take him for his nightly walks around the block when it gets really cold. He definitely isn’t a fan of the colder temperatures here. He’s a Southern California pup at heart. Haha. He especially likes his buffalo plaid long sleeved pajamas. Spoiled pup. Also, he’s overdue for a haircut.

Hard to believe Christmas is one week from today! Time is just flying by! This is definitely a busy time of year for everyone. I remember Atom & I talking about how we weren’t sure how Christmas would look for us here this year because we wouldn’t be near our extended family. To our surprise we have kept pretty darn busy! Our little princess turned four this past week and we had a small party with some of our new friends and neighbors. They helped us spoil her and make her feel special. Afterwards the adults continued our newish biweekly tradition of game night that has been a source of a lot of fun and laughter for the past couple months.

Today after the kids got home from school, our oldest & I came down to the kitchen and baked some Chex mix which has become one of our favorite holiday traditions. It is in the oven as we speak and smells so good. He went back up stairs to finish his homework while I’m waiting on the timer to ding and I’m sitting still just reflecting on this verse from Psalm 46:10,

Jesus said, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

When things seem to get super hectic and out of control it’s a good reminder to just be still. Take a moment, like I did in the snow.

We will be spending Christmas as just our little family for the first time ever this year. For as long as I can remember we have spent it with my extended family. It definitely stings to be so far away this year. There will probably be tears. As a matter of fact there are tears as I’m writing this very sentence. I can’t help it. I’m human and I love the dickens out of my family. But I tell you one thing, my family is AMAZING. Like seriously I couldn’t have asked God for a better family if I tried. They have made the transition here better than I could have imagined. The letters, care packages, surprise visits, FaceTime calls to the kids, texts, I could go on & on.

We will be starting some new family traditions of our own in addition to continuing some traditions from both of our childhoods. Atom will be making his grandmothers orange cinnamon rolls from scratch for breakfast Christmas morning and there will be some sort of movie marathon upstairs on the third floor (movies TBA). We will attend Christmas Eve services at The Well church where I’ll be playing guitar with the worship team (join us at 11am!)

Unfortunately it doesn’t look like we will have a white Christmas this year according to the forecast but it’s definitely true the saying that if you don’t like the weather in Indiana, wait 15 minutes because it will change!

Merry Christmas friends! Wishing you the most wonderful holiday and joyous season!

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6

Winter is coming….

It has been quite the busy fall season for us and at the moment I have some time to sit down and finally post an update on our progress and life in general. This post will probably be long & a bit jumpy as I’ll be kind of all over the place and sharing quite a few photos as well. Hope you can hang with me.

I’ve mentioned it in the past how much I’ve enjoyed watching the seasons change here. It’s NOTHING like in San Diego. Here there are real seasons. San Diego is amazing and beautiful year round, but there is just something breathtaking about watching spring change to summer and summer change to fall and fall change to winter. I started taking photos of my favorite tree along the side of the building towards the end of the summer and I’m kicking myself for not taking more earlier from when we first moved here. Watch the progression of the leaves changing.

Back in October we took the kids to a local Apple orchard/pumpkin patch (Phil’s U-Pick. HIGHLY recommend it!) It was such a neat place! It was huge and the orchard went on forever! They had over 30 different varieties of apples and we picked our own as well as pumpkins right off the vine. Atom & our oldest made the best apple pie I’ve ever had from those apples!

Halloween was definitely an experience for us. It was 33 degrees that night. The complete opposite of everything we’ve ever been used to. In San Diego costumes are planned so as to not be too hot in them because it’s usually in the 80s & 90s. Nope. Not here! Our kids piled on the layers and hats and gloves to go out trick or treating. We had a zombie, grim reaper and a witch. I’ll let you guess who was who. Oh and we had a Uni-Kevin.

They got a bit creative with their pumpkins as well.

Also in October I experienced a first- sleet. I was at work and had just clocked out and was walking to my car with some coworkers. I saw this white stuff on the asphalt and had no clue what it was. It didn’t look like snow nor ice. I asked what it was. They started giggling and said it was sleet.

Now I’m sure the majority of you are laughing your heads off at me right now. And that’s okay! Yes I’ve seen snow. Quite a few times actually. I grew up skiing in the California mountains (Lake Tahoe and mammoth as well as Big Bear) with my aunt and uncle and countless trips to cabins and the snow growing up. But I’ve *never* driven in it. Never driven in snow or ice or sleet. This will be a new experience for me. And frankly it terrifies me. I’m so glad I live a mile from work and have a 4 wheel drive jeep. I’m sure I’ll learn and adapt and everything will be just fine. I’ve gotten some really great advice from our friends & coworkers here.

Funny story- one morning about a month & a half ago I walked out the front door to go to work at 6:45am like any other day and I got in my car and turned it on and noticed the dew (heh) on my windshield. I flipped on my windshield wipers to get rid of it (typical California girl thing to do) and IT DIDN’T MOVE!!!! It was ice! Not just a little frost, like a thick sheet of actual ice. What the heck Indiana?! Seriously go ahead & have your laugh at me. It’s okay. I totally have it coming. I panicked and wasn’t sure what the heck I was supposed to do! I didn’t have an ice scraper and basically just turned my heater on & waited for it to melt & then went on my merry way. I have since rectified that situation & have a scraper & a windshield cover thingy so I’m ready now! Haha! I remember walking from the parking lot to the hospital entrance one morning and seeing the grass completely frozen and it looking like the most beautiful green & silver glitter. I wanted to walk on it & touch it but didn’t want people to think I was nuts. Next time I see that I’ll for sure be all over it!

A San Diego friend of mine, Becca, who happened to have moved 45 min away from us came over to visit at the beginning of November and it was so great to catch up and have some girl time! She is also a wicked talented photographer and snapped a few photos of me. I’m the worlds least photogenic person & she made me look & feel beautiful! If you’re in the northeastern Indiana area, check out her website! Rebecca Danielle Photography She is super talented and so good at what she does! Book a session with her! You won’t be disappointed!

The kitchen is the project that is going to take the longest when it comes to the renovations. We’ve been joking that it’s going to take 10x longer than the bathroom did. Which in all likelihood it will. And that’s okay. At least we have a fully functioning gigantic commercial kitchen in the basement. This upstairs kitchen is literally being built from the ground up. Completely from scratch. The ceiling in the basement is being torn down little by little (as much as will fill up our dumpster each week) underneath where the kitchen is. The carpet has been removed in the square where the kitchen will be built and Atom put up plastic to sand and finish the wood floors. You can see Kevin wasted no time trying to climb it. Silly kitty.

Atom sanded the floors until they were smooth.

We fell in love with the natural look and patterns of the wood.

Atom ended up choosing to seal the wood with oil (not sure the exact name of the stuff) and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Eventually the entire living room floor will look the same when the rest of the carpet comes up. Here’s what it looked like right after it was applied.

And after it dried for a week.

Close up. There are still a few spots that need to be touched up of course and will be done next before the cabinets and countertops are built.

Another furball joined our furry farm in November. Karen the Bengal has stolen ours (& Kevin’s) hearts and fits right in! She is hilarious and loves to snuggle.

The Christmas season is upon us. When we first moved here I tried to imagine what it would be like and really couldn’t picture it in my head because it seemed like it was so far away. It feels like I just blinked and it’s here. Crazy. We had a nice quiet Thanksgiving with just the 5 of us and cooked the meal together. We smoked a turkey and had all the traditional fixings. We watched Elf while eating our feast and then brought down our Christmas decorations to start decorating. Atom & the boys brought down a few bins and we quickly realized we were missing ALL of our outdoor lights. We had 2 giant tubs of outdoor lights that somehow either got left behind in San Diego or lost in the move. Atom & I scoured every inch of the building looking for them & they were gone. We were bummed but we still had our tree and all of our other decorations etc. Lights can totally be replaced. So it was all good. Kevin watched with anticipation as Atom took the tree out of the bag and assembled it. He had never seen such a sight in his short life.

We put the tree up and Kevin & Karen were in it within 30 seconds. I was so proud. Haha.

A couple days later I went to Costco & grabbed some lights to put up. We decided to not spend a ton on lights this first year and wait until the after Christmas sales to stock up for next year so we can go all the way around the building & make it look spectacular. Our few lawn decorations made it from San Diego which made the kids super happy!

This past weekend has been pretty rough for me. Friday I had a second heart procedure which ended up being quite a bit more difficult than the first, and in turn my recovery has been more brutal. My entire medical team is seriously amazing and took such awesome care of me and I can’t thank them all enough. Not just because I happen to work for the same hospital system, but because the care was really just *that* excellent. I’m on the mend & feeling better every day. Now if we could just get my stupid heart to behave itself this time that would be great! 😉

It’s supposed to snow next week and our kids are chomping at the bit! Our youngest has never seen snow and she turns 4 next week as well! We’ve had a couple flurries (I think that’s what you call it?) where there are a few snowflakes that basically melt before they hit the ground but that’s it. We’re ready for the real stuff. Or maybe not. We’ve definitely been acclimating to the cooler weather here. It was 50 degrees a week ago & we walked downtown to Antiqology in just long sleeved shirts to get ice cream! WHO AM I?!?!?!

I wanted to leave you with this absolutely stunning panorama photo Atom took of the sunrise from the roof last month.

Life is beautiful friends. Get out there and live it.

~Theresa

Thankful

We have so much to be thankful for this year, especially over the past 7 months. While we had a “sort-of” plan laid out before we moved here but we weren’t exactly sure how or when things would come together for our new life in Indiana. We leaned a lot on our faith and trusted that God wouldn’t have led us here without a plan, even if we couldn’t see it with our own eyes. I’ve spoke about it before about how blessed we have been here and welcomed into this community with open arms. I am thankful for our new friends that we have met since arriving who now feel like we’ve known forever. I am thankful for our church community. Gosh I am so thankful for them. Atom & I knew from the moment we walked in the doors last October when we were here for one weekend that this was our new church home. I am thankful for my women’s bible study group that I was invited to join back in June with 3 other wonderful ladies and we all attend different churches. I am thankful for our neighbors. We all look out for each other and have game nights and fun taco parties & epic broomball tournaments together. I am thankful for my job, I love my hospital so much. My coworkers are some of the most genuine and caring people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Not to mention they are HILARIOUS. When my alarm goes off at 6am I look forward to going to work. No dread or sadness. I am thankful for my health (and my health insurance!) Even though it gets dodgy at times and lately incredibly frustrating I am thankful that I am alive and kicking! I am thankful for my family back in San Diego. We all miss them terribly but they have been absolute rockstars in keeping in touch through letters to our kids, phone calls, texting and FaceTime dates. My parents and grandparents have visited twice and my sister and nephew as well and it has made the transition so much easier on the kids. The look on their little faces when they get a card or letter in the mail is priceless and warms my mama heart. I am thankful for my group of mommy friends (#nbbadmoms) from our previous church and no distance can break our bond. We still group text and send snapchats and videos to each other 5 million times a day (& night!) I am thankful for my kitties, which I know sounds silly but they have helped me personally a ton. They are hilarious and frustrating (#dammitkevin) and loving and know when I’m having a bad day or not feeling well they will snuggle up on my lap or in my arms at night & purr away. I am thankful for our three amazing children. They have handled the move and transition like champs and are absolutely thriving here. I am thankful for my husband. To say he is my rock is an understatement. Since we have literally flipped roles he has done a stellar job taking care of the kids and tackling the massive renovation project. I am constantly in awe of all that man can do, and he is doing it 100% by himself. Thirteen and a half years of marriage in the books and I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.

Last but not least, I am thankful for YOU! Our readers and followers have been awesome and have blessed us so much. Your support and kind words seriously mean the world to us. We don’t feel alone in this journey and look forward to comments and messages that come in on an almost daily basis! Being able to connect with people from all over the world who have followed us from the beginning as well as new followers and friends has been such a humbling experience.

THANK YOU for being here. For following along. For believing in us. We hope you stick around as we continue on this journey- together.

Theresa

p.s. Winter is coming……..

Journey back in time

Y’all know how much I love learning more about he history of our building and our town. History fascinates me and even more so from the mid 1800s until the early 1900s. Those who know me well know that my absolute favorite tv show of all time is Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. I remember being a child glued to the tv every Saturday evening at 8pm. I was determined to never miss an episode. I was very thankful when the vcr plus came around & my parents purchased one so I️ could record the episodes on vhs tapes if we weren’t home and watch them over & over. When I was in middle school my parents surprised me with a visit to the set of the show. It was between filmings so we were able to walk around the entire set up at paramount ranch in the Los Angeles area. Talk about one of the best days of my entire childhood!!! I still have a small piece of rope that I found on the ground & shoved in my pocket. It’s currently hanging from a light in the library.

We found an old program from when the building was dedicated back on September 15, 1927 not long after we moved in.

The booklet is really neat because it tells a bit about the history of Freemasonry which came to Huntington in 1851. They were in a building that was downtown and subsequently a few other buildings before what is now our building was built. The Masons were very active in Huntington and even laid the cornerstone of the court house in 1904 and were in charge of all of the ceremonies as hundreds of Masons and Knights Templars from surrounding towns came to help.

For over 20 years the Masons in Huntington were looking forward to when they would have a home of their own. Several attempts were made but were not successful to acquire a piece of land to build on. Construction began in 1926 & the building was finished and dedicated a year later.

This page in the program in particular talks about a man named Dr. Abner H. Shaffer who was 99 years old at the time the building was finished was not only the oldest living member of any Masonic lodge in Huntington county, but also had the honor & distinction of being the oldest in Masonic years, having been made a master Mason in 1857, seventy years prior. Pretty amazing.

The day of the dedication looked like it was one heck of a celebration. I like to think back as to what parties in the early 1900s looked like. They had a grand parade which spanned 17 blocks around the downtown area! I wish I could have seen it because I bet it was quite the grand affair!

Following the parade there was a special dinner in the temple banquet hall (aka basement) for all of the visiting & local members that was put on by the ladies of the Order of the Eastern Star. Prepared and served out of the commercial kitchen that we now use daily. After dinner there was what looks like a meeting for the Masons themselves and then a dance at 9:30pm. Oh to attend a 1920s dance!! I’ve had literally hundreds of people here in town that I’ve met tell me they’ve all attended either a meal (fish fry, pancake breakfast etc) or a dance of some sort in the basement at least one time in their lives. I absolutely love the connection that the building still to this day has with its community.

The owner of Antiqology here in town sent me a few photos he had found of the inside of the building from when it was dedicated. (Which is an amazing ice cream & soda pop shop- if you haven’t been there YOU MUST GO CHECK IT OUT! Good stuff & good people!) These are the same photos that were printed in the dedication program to show off how visually stunning the building is inside & out.

Here is what was known as “The Main Lobby” which we call the second floor foyer or entrance to our home. The ceiling still has the same painting and the same light fixtures today.

“The Men’s Lounge” which is now our living room & main living area. This photo is taken from the corner of the room which will become our upstairs kitchen. You will also notice the black walnut table and most of the furniture in this photo we now own. It’s absolutely amazing what good shape all of the furniture is still after almost 100 years!

And of course the library. I’ve done multiple posts and a video about the library. All of the light fixtures in these photos are still in use today.

“The Grand Lodge Room” is exactly just that. Grand. Grand in every sense of the word. It’s massive and takes your breath away the first time you see it. The flooring is different now and the chairs on the stage and along the right side of the floor level were taken as well as the two freestanding pillars to the Masons new location. We removed the arches on the stage as they were starting to fall apart. All of the stadium seating on the upper level is still there and in immaculate condition.

The next photo I want to print on a larger scale and frame to hang on a wall somewhere in the building because it’s so cool. It was taken in November 1959. There are a few really interesting things about this photo…..

First, check out the car! Seriously awesome! Second, the sign is different than the one that stands there today. The newer one is very similar but a slightly different shape. Third, the little tree to the east of the building! That tree today towers over the building & is a good 6 feet taller than the building itself! And fourth which is the most obvious- the house directly next to the building. It is no longer there. I’m not sure when it happened (if anyone knows please let me know!) but at one point the property went up for sale and the Masons bought it, tore down the house and turned the area into a paved parking lot.

Here’s a photo taken today for comparison.

So many things in & around the building have changed and stayed the same at the same time. While we’re updating a lot of it, we will continue to try and maintain its integrity as much as possible.

I’m still imagining what the day of the dedication must have been like! Too bad I don’t have a time machine to witness it firsthand!

Cheers friends!

Theresa

45 minutes and 19 seconds that started it all

Atom & I closed escrow on the building back in September of last year. It’s super weird to think we have officially owned this building free & clear for an entire year! The two of us flew out here one year ago for a 4 day weekend to get the keys & figure out how the heck we were going to winterize a 20,000 sq ft building. Y’all know we failed miserably at that but it was definitely a learning experience!

I was driving Atom batty with all of the million photos I was taking and subsequently uploading to Facebook. One of my friends (actually I think there were several of you) gave me the not so gentle nudge to do a live Facebook video of a walkthrough of the building. I had never done a live video like that & to be honest I wasn’t too keen on the idea especially since it had been 2 days since we had taken a “real” shower (no shower in the building remember?) and we had just been sponge bathing. Not exactly prime video material 🙈. I decided to just go for it because I knew it would end up being easier rather than uploading all of the photos one by one and could explain everything as I went along. I’m the furthest thing from shy so that wasn’t hindering it haha. It was one year ago today that I posted on my personal page that I would be going live & at what time. I hadn’t even thought about making a separate renovation page at this point. I didn’t know what to expect. I figured maybe a few people would tune in. I HAD NO IDEA how far the video would go. I had over a hundred people watching the entire thing live with me asking questions as I went along which was pretty neat to answer things in real time. After the video was done & uploaded to Facebook for people to see who weren’t able to tune in as it was happening I was shocked as to how many people were liking & sharing it. Once we were back in San Diego it was recommended that I make a separate Facebook page for the renovations (link is to your right if you’re on a desktop I believe & at the bottom if you’re mobile). I’m so glad I did. Naive me thought just my friends would “like & follow” it. Nope. Not even close. Yes, many of my Facebook friends did that, but little did I know how many people were actually interested in our renovation project. One of the first things I did after making the page was link the live walkthrough video and people starting liking & sharing it. A LOT. As of tonight there have been over 17.3k views. Whoa. Also, the page organically started gaining followers. We are about to hit the 7,000 follower mark very soon. IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?! I actually made a post awhile ago asking where everyone was from that is following my page and there are people from every corner of the world who are watching & along for the ride. I need to make another post like that since there have been thousands of new followers since that initial location post.

Aside from being recognized all the time as “you’re the one from the video!” and “you are the one from the paper!” I have been most surprised by how many people recognize me within the social media community. I’m in a ton of groups on Facebook for everything from my career as a Respiratory Therapist to mommyhood to planners to cats (#dammitkevin) to old house renovation and the list goes on & on. People who I hadn’t even personally shared our journey with had already either seen the walkthrough video or the Facebook page itself after it was shared by someone else who had found it through someone else. A total snowball effect. Wild.

I wanted to upload the video to YouTube so those who don’t have Facebook could still watch it. We had an issue of someone making fake accounts and purposely disliking my previous YouTube video of the glitter desk, which I found hilarious & doesn’t bother me one bit. If someone doesn’t like any of my videos it’s all good. A thumbs down isn’t going to ruin my day. Just goes to show how miserable of a person they truly are. Those who want to watch the videos and choose to like them will do just that. One bad apple definitely isn’t going to bring us down.

Anyway, now that the video is up I wanted to share the link here in case you missed the original walkthrough video and want to see what the building looked like before we made it our home.

The video that started it all…….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFWll0yhKLc&t=6s

Have a great week friends!

Theresa

You’re welcome, Kevin

Atom & our boys built a catwalk last week. Literally. All four (yes four) of our kitties like to be up as high as possible. In our house in San Diego (pre Kevin) we had a really tall cat tree & a high shelf that the cats loved. Lately, Kevin has been trying to jump up on (or in) as many high places as he can get to. #dammitkevin

At first they built a sort of cat tree up the wall with repurposed wood & carpet that was ripped up from where the second floor kitchen will be built. Needless to say the cats loved it!

Our boys really like building things and Atom enlisted their help to take it a step further (in typical Atom fashion) & designed and built a high playground around part of the living room. After a trip to the hardware store to buy more wood, rope & anchor screws they got to work. The entire thing was built while I was at work so I wasn’t able to take any during photos.

The wood will eventually be painted to match whatever color we decide on when we scrape & repaint all of the walls & ceiling. Atom added a section that was a bit wider than the rest with a comfy pad for them to nap on. He will also be adding strips of the carpet on top of the wood for better traction.

It took the cats a couple days to figure out how to pass each other while going from one end to the other. At one point Kevin took a flying leap from up top to the back of the sofa. #dammitkevin

Kevin really likes napping up there. He’s so cute & quiet & STILL while he sleeps. LOL!

It’s seriously like a cat superhighway. They are really enjoying having a high place to go/escape to & reign over their humans. Especially when Stewart (our one year old yorkie) wants to play & they don’t. Haha.

They are a bit disappointed that the walkway stops at the other column. I have a feeling we will eventually continue the bridges all the way around that section of the room to make it a giant square. Agnes (all 20 pounds of her) voiced her annoyance.

The other cats are very patient with the Tasmanian devil that is Kevin. Even when he wants nothing more to play whack-a-mole with them.

I really like how it turned out & I know the cats do as well.

Okay now back to kitchen building!

Theresa

6 months in

Six months ago today we arrived in Indiana after a grueling 36 hour road trip. It is hard to believe we have lived here for half of a year! This little town has absolutely stolen our hearts and we are so glad we landed here. We have been incredibly blessed and have been welcomed here with open arms. And it has been quite a wild ride. I still can’t believe we live in a 20,000 square foot 4 story building!!!

I have been thinking about making this post and what I would talk about for awhile now. Every time I would start to write it I would start to feel a bit discouraged because we both thought we would be farther along with our renovations than we are. Having a rather large internet following of our project led to us (or at least me) feeling like I had to maintain our renovation schedule & stay on track or we would let down our followers and family/friends. I’m sure there are some people out there who will be the first to laugh and say “I told you so.” It made me sit back and really reflect on how far we have actually come.

We started this journey with exploding water pipes that had frozen during winter. I’ll admit that there was a moment of “what were we thinking in taking on this project?!” Thankfully that feeling only lasted a moment and I got my head back in the game. We then made the decision that from that moment on we would not let any frustrations or unseen bumps in the road deter us from making our dreams come true.

I want to make this recap post about what we have accomplished in the past 6 months. I actually sat down and made a list of what we have done since arriving in Indiana and beginning this adventure. Each project that we have tackled of course meant 5,000 other smaller projects that needed to be done in order to finish the main one. Any homeowner will agree with me on that one! We are just doing it on a massively larger scale. Atom tore out everything in an old pink guest bathroom (except for the urinal) and rebuilt it into a stunning cedar plank/horse trough country themed one. Updated water lines were run and new water heaters installed. The former office on the second floor was cleaned out and layers of decades old linoleum scraped, original wood floors sanded and our daughter was thrilled to have her own room which was like a castle in size compared to her room in our house back in San Diego. Her room hasn’t been painted or decorated yet, but she couldn’t be happier to have her own space.

Brand new custom double doors and lighting were put up at the entrance to the second level from the stairs. Definitely made the 6,000 sq ft second floor feel more like our “house.” Atom knocked down part of a wall to make a laundry room just off the foyer on the second level. Photos of that will come soon, after it’s finished and the barn doors hung. We installed 10 fully infrared security cameras that cover the entire outside of the building. With a building of its sheer size we wanted eyes all the way around, especially for when we have a business or whatever. Up on the third floor Atom and our boys took down the arches on the gigantic wall and sanded/painted it to make a 20 ft movie screen. They hooked up our projector and surround sound stereo system which made for an incredible Star Wars viewing experience.

We transformed an old beat up desk that was left behind in the building into a glittery masterpiece. That was quite a process and we had fun doing it. The library has been unpacked and organized and is now a place of retreat and crafting fun for all of us to enjoy. Atom removed all of the old acoustical ceiling tiles in the basement (all 360 of them!) and took down the metal grid that held them up. He is currently working on smashing out the drop ceiling in the basement to give it more of an industrial look and eventually the plaster will also be taken off the walls to expose the original gorgeous brickwork. Our next big project that is in the works is starting to build a kitchen on the second floor.

In addition to what we have done to the building we have been making so many memories and starting new traditions here. We jumped in head first at our new church and are both very involved. I started singing/playing guitar on the worship team within 3 weeks of living here. Atom has also recently joined the worship team playing the mandolin and electric guitar. I helped start a women’s ministry along with an amazing group of ladies and I’m super excited to see where the Lord leads us. We hosted a block party back in July to officially meet our neighbors in our surrounding block. I became the “taco fairy” and have made many mystery taco drops to new friends to bring a smile to their face and a taco to their tummy. We were interviewed for a front page story of the local newspaper. I accepted a job at a hospital which I absolutely LOVE and have been working full time, enjoying every minute of it.

I still get recognized often while at work from people in the community who saw the newspaper article from a few months ago. We have made some amazing friends here and while we miss our friends and family back in California, having friends who accept us has made our transition here so much easier. We hosted a taco party a couple weeks ago for our new friends and had an epic broomball battle in the basement.

Our kids have settled in and are thriving here. They have also made friends quickly and enjoy making the building their playground. Having 2 parking lots is also highly convenient for outside play time. Our neighbors next door put up a basketball hoop and all of the kids have a blast playing together. They are really good about keeping us on our toes!!

We have also encountered our share of challenges since moving here. While we have zero regrets after making the cross country move, it hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows. I’d be lying if I said it was. Y’all know I keep it real. Atom and I have both had our fair share of health scares over the past 3 months. I am incredibly thankful for our health insurance and we have both received absolute top notch healthcare. My body is still rebelling (my heart and lungs are a-holes) and isn’t used to the different climate here yet but I’m sure as time goes on I’ll adapt. We also had to deal with some cyber-stalking issues which have thankfully been resolved (fingers crossed). I guess that comes with the territory of having a large internet following. We don’t have time for jealous people who want to tear others down. We will never stoop to their level nor will we let it get to us.

One thing that I have absolutely loved is watching the seasons change. It was spring and still pretty chilly when we got here Easter weekend. We surprisingly got used to the summer humidity pretty quickly. Fall is now here and I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT. There is this one tree along side the building that is absolutely stunning as the leaves have been changing colors.

Atom & the kids made a HUGE spider and foam graves to decorate for Halloween. I’ll admit it’s super creepy at night.

The weather is cooling down and the fields are being harvested. It has been so fun watching the farming season from seed to now being plowed. Just another reminder of God’s love and provision for us. Winter is going to be interesting for these city slickers, but we are looking forward to experiencing it together.

Six months down and a lifetime to go!!

Cheers friends! 💜

Theresa

My Library is a work of heart.

Without a doubt the library is my absolute favorite room in the entire building. The first time I saw it when we were doing our initial walk through my jaw literally dropped at its beauty. Everything about it. The gorgeous perfect wood paneling, the wall to wall glass front book shelves, the dreamy drapes on the etched windows, the original light fixtures……. I was in awe.

As soon as we put in our offer to buy the building I started dreaming up plans of what I wanted to do in the library & how I wanted to set it up. I claimed the library as *my* space. Haha (just kidding). I had a craft room in our house back in San Diego & definitely wanted another creative space that was all set up for all 5 of us to use & enjoy. But at the same time keep it as original as possible and definitely still as it’s intended purpose of a library. Over the past 2 months it was my turn to be plagued with health issues. I’m so glad Atom is back to his healthy as a horse self and we weren’t both struggling at the same time! Things got pretty bad with my health and I had to undergo a procedure on my heart on Sept 22nd.

I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful and grateful I am for my new medical team. I know it said it before but it was a huge source of anxiety for me (and I am NOT an anxious person) to have to build an entirely new medical team after having a rock solid amazing one for many years back in San Diego. The procedure ended up being a bit more complicated than my Cardiologist was anticipating and I ended up spending 2 days (one night) in the cardiac icu afterwards. Typical Theresa fashion— Go big or go home.

The care I received was incredible from start to finish. However my recovery wasn’t as quick as anticipated or hoped, but not really all that bad either. Thank goodness for that. We should know in another month or so if the procedure was a success or not. Fingers crossed!

The first two weeks after my procedure I couldn’t lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. Super frustrating. Since I was pretty limited Atom told me we should take some time to finally get the library/craft room unpacked & organized. After we finished the glitter desk the library took a back seat to the other projects (like finishing the bathroom, putting up the double doors to the 2nd floor entry & starting the kitchen). I had avoided the library altogether because the daunting pile of unpacked crafting & office supplies & boxes of books was too much for me to even think about unpacking & I would just get frustrated & walk back out. We had started to go through things in the library a few weeks prior but we had only spent a couple hours before having to stop to do other things. After my procedure we decided to just buckle down & get it done. Atom got me all propped up on the sofa with pillows & blankets in the library & we got to work determined to get it done. He opened boxes & I pointed to where things should go. There was a bit of shuffling things around a few times until we figured out the layout, especially with the bookshelves. I’m sure over time I’ll rearrange things until I get it exactly how I want it but for now I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

We used the 2 sections of shelving closest to the windows for all of the super old books that were left behind, along with my small collection of antique creepy dolls. The middle 2 sections contain my crafting supplies. I’m a huge paper crafter as well as a planner. To say I’m crafty is an understatement 😉. The last 2 sections contain all of our books that we brought from our previous house. Underneath in the wood front cabinets are office supplies & other crafty things for the kids. All separated & organized.

This old Royal typewriter was left behind & I definitely wanted to put it on display (with one of our 3 year old daughter’s pieces of artwork she lovingly shoved in the case) on top of this little cabinet that was also left in one of the offices in the building. This cabinet is full of all of her crafty stuff. Crayons, paper, coloring books etc. She thinks it’s the best thing ever to have her very own craft cabinet. The vase was given to me by my very best friends before we moved. They all wrote on it and I absolutely love it. Also on top is one of Atom’s bronze sculptures. He is just so talented in everything he does. This particular sculpture (which is sporting one of my survivor buffs) was on display at the San Diego museum of contemporary art which Atom took me to see on our first date back in 2001. He has a whole series of sculptures that once the holidays are over will be on display on the mantle in the living room.

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our tobacco leather sofa (which came from our house in San Diego) is something we will cherish forever. My parents threw us a huge going away party before we moved and had everyone sign it and had it matted and framed. The map in the center is of San Diego. I couldn’t bring myself to look at it or read it before we left and this past Monday was the first time I took the time to read every single word. There were a lot of tears.

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hair is one of 4 that are the same & are original from when the building was built. Also another typewriter that was left behind and a not so beautiful metal file cabinet. 😜

The little typewriter table our daughter has also claimed as her own “desk” as she calls it was left in an office in that is now her room. I found that doctor bag from the turn of the century at an antique shop when we first moved here. You can’t really tell in this photo due to the glare from the lighting but that window is completely etched and is beautiful.

This corner is kind of a hodgepodge at the moment. The white desk was my grandmothers and I’ve had it since I was a child. It needs a complete sanding and will eventually become a second, smaller glitter desk to match my huge one that is the centerpiece of the room. My 2 favorite ikea raskog carts are on wheels & can be moved wherever I want them. The teal one holds all of my planner supplies & I haven’t quite figured out what will go in the cream one yet. Then there is my giant basket of completely unorganized washi tape. Any fellow crafter will know that struggle!!

And of course the glitter desk. I’m so darn happy & proud of how this desk turned out. If you haven’t already read one of my previous posts it’s all about the glitter desk & the process we went through to transform an old desk into a glittery masterpiece.

The other corner has a tall metal cabinet (also from an office downstairs) that contains nothing but paper. No joke. It’s PACKED with all kinds of scrapbooking paper of all sizes & colors & types. Another old chair that’s in great condition from the 1920s that my cat has claimed. I keep a little pet bed on that chair for her which I removed for the photos.

A few of these “House Rules” posters were found in different rooms in the building. I wanted to hang one in the library & I’m sure I’ll eventually get it framed but for now it’s stuck to the cabinet (tape is inverted so it’s not touching or damaging the poster itself).

Another one of Atom’s bronze sculptures I hung on the wall. Many people find this one creepy which is probably why I love it so much.

And last but not least, I laughed so hard when I pulled this out of an old box of photos from our previous house. For those who don’t know, Atom was a child actor. He did a lot of extra work (non speaking roles) in Hollywood growing up in his adolescent and teen years. He has been in both movies & tv shows as well as even winning a regional Emmy in 1999. When we first started dating in 2001 he gave me a signed copy of his current (at the time) head shot. I’ve kept it all these years & it definitely deserved to be framed & hung on display.

We can now say we officially have 2 rooms (library and guest bathroom) COMPLETELY DONE!!

Wait, I take that back. Eventually we will rip up all of the carpet to finish the original hardwood floors but that’s more than likely going to be quite awhile until that happens. Probably years.

If you’re on Facebook, I filmed a live video in the finished library over on my house renovation page if you want to see more inside the cabinets etc. There is a link to that page here on my blog.

I can’t wait to get back to crafting between renovations! Who wants to come over for a craft night?!

Theresa

Guest Bathroom is DONE

Well friends, the day we thought would never actually arrive has finally come. The guest bathroom remodel is officially FINISHED! It has become an ongoing joke between Atom & I that the “super quick bathroom remodel” that just never seemed to end is now done & what we naively thought would only take a few weeks took just shy of 5 months. Which seems like a ridiculously excessive amount of time for a bathroom remodel, even considering we literally ripped everything down to the studs & rebuilt it from the ground up. But when we actually sat down & realized how many other things/projects/life that were simultaneously happening, it wasn’t so bad. Also, you have to remember that Atom is doing ALL of the work by himself. 100% of it. Nothing has been outsourced or hired to be done. Not one bit.

If you don’t remember what this groovy pale pink men’s bathroom looked like before here’s a reminder:

We’ve had the fully functioning shower/tub for almost 3 months which made everything else take a back seat of sorts and not be rushed. (There is a previous post where I showed the finished shower & that whole process). There were quite a few unforeseen obstacles that happened while building this bathroom, the major one of having to completely run new water pipes for the east side of the building which was no easy feat in itself. After smashing out the walls, all new PEX piping was run from our main water line that comes into the building up the walls and into the bathroom (and other places as well).

The shower was framed in and Atom built the walls entirely out of cedar plank. It was completely waterproofed and sealed. Oh and of course the 200 gallon horse trough we turned into the worlds largest (& tallest!) bathtub. He built all of the fixtures etc out of galvanized steel parts. We wanted an industrial meets country theme for this bathroom.

The vanity was also built out of cedar and sealed. We wanted to keep with the galvanized theme so we used smaller buckets as the sinks, varying heights for our varying sized children 😉. (And small buckets for a clothes hamper and trash can)

Atom also built the cabinet and towel rack, keeping with the cedar theme.

Here’s a panorama photo of the bathroom all finished:

Close up of the tub/shower:

The door will eventually be painted but we haven’t quite figured out what color yet & we probably won’t make that determination until we decide the color scheme of the adjoining room which will become a rec/game room.

The window curtain is actually a matching shower curtain that happened to be the exact size of the window. I thought it added a fun different style to the mix.

That darn urinal. Yes it’s still there much to my dismay. Atom tried to take it out but we discovered that sucker is set down 12+” into solid concrete so there was no way on God’s green earth we could break it out without having to completely break out the entire floor and re-pour concrete which we weren’t willing to do. So it’s still there. It’s kind of funny to have a giant urinal in a guest bathroom but whatever. Maybe I’ll hang a plant on it. It’s fully functional & our boys think it’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. That is, until it’s time for them to clean it. Haha.

Atom ran new electrical wiring as well, adding separate light switches for the 2 wall lights as well as an outlet next to the sink on the wall. Here’s also a good view of the sinks & their urban faucets that Atom created.

We wanted to keep some original touches to the bathroom so we kept the original toilet paper holder and re-attached it to the side of the shower enclosure.

Another really neat thing Atom discovered was the column of brick that went up the side of the wall. It was previously covered in plaster. Atom chipped away all of that plaster and used a wire brush to show off the bricks. I LOVE this part!

Here are a couple more views from other angles. It was super tough to get everything in the photos. The floor had to be scraped from decades of random paint and stuff on top of it. Atom spent countless hours on his hands & knees hand scraping the floor. His grinder wasn’t getting the job done so it came down to good old fashioned elbow grease. He had to patch quite a few places on the floor from where the old stalls were as well as holes from where the radiator once was under the window. That cement had to cure for 28 days before we could use the concrete paint on top of it.

We are definitely keeping the doorknob on the door. Every single door knob in the building is like this one. And each one has its own individual skeleton key that works. Pretty incredible.

I still need to add a few “decorative touches” to the bathroom but haven’t quite figured out what yet. I’m sure that will come with time.

So there you have it. Guest bathroom now has an official check mark next to it on our mile long to do list of projects. There are still 5 other bathrooms that will eventually be remodeled as well. But for now, it’s time to start building our kitchen on the second floor. Our hope is to have it done & functional by Christmas. Fingers crossed!

Theresa