December 31, 2016

2016 Year In Review

When I think back to January of this year, it feels like a lifetime ago. So much happened in 2016.

I remember simplifying birthday parties. I didn't send invites. I didn't book a party room. I didn't make treat bags. We did a simple outing with friends complete with cupcakes. The end. Easy peasy.

I remember finally taking the plunge to get my handgun permit. I scored a 100% on both the written and shooting portions of the test, which was a big deal for me.

I remember attending another Ted Cruz rally with my girl and voting together several times this year. I was more politically outspoken than ever before. I remember becoming increasingly frustrated with the Republican party. I am a conservative through and through but I proudly voted 3rd party for the first time ever. I don't want there to be any question about where I stood in the 2016 Presidential election. It wasn't with Trump or Clinton, that's for sure! In a way, this political season also made me more patriotic and it saddens me to see some of the things happening in our culture and our country.

I remember Baron. That dog made my life, my home, and my marriage absolutely miserable. I tried mind over matter more times than I can count. We also spent an obscene amount of dollars for training and other recommendations. In the end, plain and simple, he was not a good fit for our family. We made the very difficult decision to return him to the breeder. My only regret is that we didn't do it sooner.

I remember our monthly Lego dates, which usually include Starbucks. My girl is so big, she can now order on her own and pay with the app. Like she's grown or something. Sigh.

I remember creating the "new" urban garden. It was so much prettier than the redneck garden but got off to a rough start #BecauseBaron. I tried cucumbers for the first time this year and made my own pickles for the win! The best part was how hard Mike & Skylar helped me work to put it in. After replanting THREE TIMES, I did finally get a red tomato.... in September. Bless.

I remember seeing the Lord continue to provide for us. There were some months where I almost had more work than I could handle and Mike received 2 promotions this year. His provision is just amazing!

I remember sending Skylar to Bama. I'm so thankful for my friends & family who love on her while she's with them. My favorite project was a quilt she worked on with her Aunt Sheila. She also has a special bond with my cousin Angie and her dog Sheldon. I also remember trips to Big Lots with Aunt Nita & Uncle Bill and all the "treasures" she brought back.

I remember being a part of 11 births this year and working with 3 postpartum families including a set of twins. I literally think of at least one of my doula clients/babies every single day. They are always with me.

I remember working on some really cool VA projects this year including several books, product labels, web design, and graphic design. I really do enjoy helping my clients grow their dreams. Brainstorming, project management, and execution are my best assets and I love that I've created this job for myself.

I remember this is the year I lost 35 pounds with Trim Healthy Mama. It changed everything I ever thought I knew about food and nourishing my body. I will take what I learned and keep it with me forever!

I remember prom. Somehow I got tricked into doing hair for two of my favorite grown girlies. They both looked beautiful and I was honored to be a part of such a memorable event.

I remember afternoons on the lake and new friendships that were formed this year. This is one of the things I'm most looking forward to next year.

I remember sending tLG to summer camp for the first time. I woke up every morning and stalked Facebook for glimpses of my girl. She had a blast and immediately asked to sign up for next year.

I remember spending 4th of July in Bham. We were welcomed home with a gigantic bonfire and made countless trips to the creek while we were there. One of my favorite memories of the year was K-Diddy with all his girls (+ Colton) on the 4-wheeler.
I remember me and my bestie carting our children (plus a few) around town for an epic Nashville mural tour on one of the hottest days of the year. We are awesome and our kiddos were troopers!

I remember a family field trip to Foster Falls and another to Roan Mountain at the end of summer. Both were just the relaxation and time away that I needed before the start of school.

I remember the Summer Olympics. We celebrated with both an Opening and Closing Ceremony Party. We moved all the TVs to the living room and dubbed it "Olympic Central." We even brought a mattress down to the living room so we could watch 24/7 if desired. Being an Olympic Fan is exhausting but I love it so much! We also studied the Olympics and the athletes as a part of our homeschool kickoff.

I remember Skylar starting swim classes. She had been asking since the summer. Between the Olympic Trials then Rio, she was relentless. She made the Jr. Swim Team after just 4 classes. Two months later they asked her to try out for the competitive swim team. I will always remember how hard she worked and how far she came in such a short time.

I remember donating my hair for the 4th time (11 inches) and finally getting a short hairstyle that I liked (shout out to Lindsey at Hair By Design).

I remember our annual beach trip with mom. We look forward to this tradition every year. I think we found our largest shell collection to date including a few crabs and a gigantic clam. Traveling with Skylar is still one of my most favorite activities.

I remember that Skylar's favorite country we studied was Australia. I also remember how excited she was for the 1st day of Co-Op. Unfortunately, I was at a birth but her second mommy, Victoria, had it under control. So thankful for my village.

I remember our week-long vacation to Orlando and finally getting to visit Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The private wand-choosing ceremony was definitely a highlight, as was our poolside dinner at Shamu Stadium. Unfortunately, our trip was cut short due to Hurricane Matthew. After the hotel debacle (no rooms except for a gross smoking one) we ended up having a sweet day in Chattanooga before heading home.

I remember Halloween when our tribe showed up and our kiddos had the best time sorting and trading all of their candy in my living room.

I remember purging our home for #tinyhouseprep. We had a floor plan picked out but, after traipsing through the tick-infested woods of Middle TN for almost a year, we still couldn't find the right piece of land.  Instead, the Lord led us to a little house and 6 acres near Providence in Hermitage. I remember doing the happy dance when our contract was accepted and then holding my breath for 2 months until I was 110% sure we would actually close.

I remember a family vacation to Gatlinburg where we had no set agenda. It was so relaxing and we even worked 3 big puzzles together. Turns out it was the calm before the storm of us packing up and moving in with our in-laws as we started our remodel, both of which have gone surprisingly well.

I remember buying our new house on my birthday! Best present ever. Mike bought me a chevron hammock and Skylar got me a chevron key, which was like icing on the cake. I remember uncovering beautiful hardwood floors and a lot of hard demo and cleanup, but we are ready to enter the new year by putting it all back together.
Overall, 2016 has been good. I tried to simplify as much as I could. My lifesavers have been Shipt, Any.Do, and Amazon Subscribe & Save. As I approached the end of the year my new motto has been #iCanDoHardThings bracing for the adventure of buying and remodeling our new home. I've realized that dreams take work, and I'm willing to do what it takes to make this one happen. As much as I'm a planner, I've also learned to just let things play out the way that God wants and to be content during the waiting.

I'm super excited for what 2017 will hold. It's going to be a rebuilding year for sure!

December 2016 in Pictures

Saying goodbye to our old house. 
 Was especially hard parting with my little redneck garden. 
 Cmas party with the Gainey's. And my crazy kiddo!
 tLG built us this little lego nativity. I LOVE it!
 Decorating the tree at Grandmas.
Cheers to you #TeamWilson for selling our old house!
 We bought a house (and 6 acres) for my birthday!  
 My new chevron hammock!
Look at these floors. Just like my grandmothers! 
 Here comes our construction dumpster. 
 We thought we would never fill this thing up. Wrong! Already need another one. 
 Decorating cookies. 
 She's reading the Boxcar Children series
 Build-A-Bear shopping with her cousin

 Love my little cutie sporting several of her Cmas gifts!
 Future home of the BFF (Bishop Family Farm) garden
 Books read in 2016. 
Lost 35 pounds this year. Go me. Love THM!

December 2016 Update

Oh December. There is actually very little to report but BIG news nonetheless.

This month we finally sold our home. The closing got delayed daily by over a week but we said goodbye to the house that we've owned since Skylar was 3 months old. It's really the only house she's ever known. That home that has seen us through a lot of ups and downs over the years. That house and neighborhood served us well. In fact, it's the neighbors that I will miss the most.
We've moved in with Mike's parents, which has gone surprisingly well if you ask me. They might disagree. Ha! While our routine is all out of whack (mainly due to the holidays) I do feel like we've found a groove of sorts. 

We bought our little dream home on my 37th birthday. I'll never forget it. Mike and Skylar both gave me chevron-related gifts, which tickled me to no end. I was also still giddy about the house. Ha!

We got to work right away on the demo, which is now complete. We uncovered beautiful hardwood floors that we plan to refinish. We also took down walls and closets to reconfigure the layout and give us more open space.  It was in rather BAD shape to begin with but, for the most part, it has good bones. There's also that 6 acres, which is what we were really going for! Our contractor starts next week and we are so excited to see the little house come together.

We had Christmas here in Nashville and have really just laid low and close to home this month. Although, I do feel like I've run all over town picking out cabinets and lights and doors and tile and appliances and well, all. the. things.

Mike was promoted for the 2nd time this year, and we are so thankful for his hard work. He's getting settled in at his new site but it's been quite a transition in addition to all the other "fun" we've had going on.

More December pics here.

As we close out the year, I've also written my annual reflection post of my favorite 2016 memories so be sure to check that out as well.

Here's to 2017!

December 15, 2016

Home Sweet Land

Today, for my birthday, I received an amazing gift. A house and 6 acres. This little purchase has been a prayer of mine for what seems like forever. For almost a decade, I've had it on my heart to live a more simple, natural lifestyle. Yes, I'm a proud "crazy, crunchy lady."  I needed space of the wide, open variety and wanted a house of the tiny variety. We've been looking for over a year with no luck. I was starting to think I was doomed to subdivision life forever, but God had something unique planned for us.

This little place isn't at all what I had originally dreamed of. It's better! One of my favorite parts of loving Jesus is watching Him surprise me. It's so much easier to let go of my type A plans knowing that His ways have always been above and beyond what I can imagine. This house is no different.

For starters, it's not tiny. I adore tiny house living. Seriously, I could totally do it. But, it became apparent while we were pairing down that my people can't. They can simplify but can't do bare minimums. Bless, I still love them. God gave us a good compromise. The house on this property is 1250 sq ft. It's not big. It's not tiny. It's little. 2 BR, 1.5 BA, plus an office. It's perfect for us!

Secondly, it's not in the right area. I had previously limited our search to Joelton and White's Creek. Based on my research, I truly believe that area has a lot of potential in the next 5-10 years. However, I was coming to terms with no longer having grocery delivery and the proximity of other retail shops. That's right, I'm the granola girl who LOVES modern conveniences. Our new place is 5 minutes from Providence where there is anything my heart could desire. Best of all, we are still in Davidson County (we are RIGHT on the line) which comes with some perks. It's also closer to Mike's family and closer to our homeschool co-op.  We are excited to get to know the Mt. Juliet side of town. Send us your favorite places and local businesses!

Also, it's not 10 acres. It's six. However, it's as flat as can be which is a huge blessing. Many of the properties we looked at had lots of acreage but only a small section was usable due to steep inclines. Plus, we would've had to do a ton of development work just to get the land ready to build. This property is ready to play on starting this weekend! It's a BEAUTIFUL lot with many mature trees, but it also has ample open spaces (helloooo garden!), and a wooded area too! It's basically the best parts of all the properties we've ever looked at, combined into one. I can't wait for everyone to come see it!

Oh, it's more than I budgeted. I had a specific number in mind and this property is basically double that. Ha! It's still well within what we can afford just not my original price point. But, the Lord already had a plan for that too. Mike received another promotion at work just 2 weeks before we closed. I really do love His surprises.

Finally, there's an extra house. Yep! This land came with not one house, but TWO. I still can't believe it. That NEVER happens. While we plan to remodel and live in the little house, there's a larger second house on the property that we can tackle at a later date to use as a guest house. His wonders never cease!

This property was the final house in a LONG list of properties we have seen over the past year. I've spent more time on Real Tracs and PACTN than I care to admit and don't even get me started on the times we have traipsed through the tick-infested woods of Middle TN.  I can't exactly explain it, but the Lord promised this house to me the day we saw it. There were a couple of times in this process that I seriously still doubted this land would be ours. There were various hiccups with inspections, appraisals, and bank risk-benefit ratios. Every time I just kept coming back to Psalm 25:25 which says "All day long, I put my hope in you."

This morning we signed on the dotted line. It's ours. We have a pretty big remodel ahead of us. We are taking it down to the studs to get it up to snuff. Very little can be salvaged. Basically, everything will be custom, just like in my tiny house. Except better. Again, the Lord is so good to me.

I can't wait to get started! In fact, we are starting tomorrow. You aren't even going to recognize this house when we are finished with it. But you better get used to it, because this is where we plan to retire. Happy birthday to me! Homestead here we come.


Stay tuned for our next adventure!

P.S. I can't say enough good things about the folks at Team Wilson. I was very hesitant to use a large real estate firm but they came highly recommended and were top-notch all the way. Seriously, they do it right over there! We never felt lost in the process and had constant and personalized attention. We truly felt loved and cared for. I was convinced that no one else would see my vision for this property (because it's a little rough) but they have been truly and deeply excited for us! 

P.S.S. Because of the condition of this property (and the extra house) we ran into a few bumps along the way. I was feeling pretty discouraged. Hunter said, "Don't panic. We've got a plan and your dream is going to happen." He was right. They are super connected with amazing resources that were such a blessing. I felt like I was holding my breath for months. Now, looking back, I realize there was nothing to be worried about. Should I ever have another crazy house dream, I would trust them again in a heartbeat!