building the new house {interior pics #1}

Now that we have sheetrock I'm starting to feel like this whole house thing is really happening! :) We were able to design it ourselves inside and out, and I love how the floor plan feels so far. 

Here's what most of the downstairs is looking like lately {except for now we have texture and some paint, yay!}:

The entryway:

The living room:

The kitchen:

The dining room:

The schoolroom:

It's not much to see, but it means so much to me! hahah! Here's the pantry {and all the angels sing, Hallllellujah!}:

And the small den will likely serve as the library/guest room- I'm envisioning large bookshelves surrounding that window:

We covered all the floors so that we can try to stain them after all the painting is done. I will let you know how that goes! It's crazy how covered in mud those plastic sheets are now. I hope we saved ourselves lots of work. ;)

It's going to be fun to see it all come together in the next few weeks! :D

do, read, learn, and be goals for this week {jan 19}

It's funny how moving to a temporary/in-between place changes your day. Pretty much since we've moved, it has been survival mode for me. Kind of like we're camping through the fall and winter with only a tiny bit of our regular stuff {though we did get a microwave last month! yay!}, just waiting for the house to be built a little every day and working on it our spare time too.

BUT! The sun has been shining again for two whole days now and I've been so excited to see the gray disappear! Lord willing, we're getting closer to warm, sunny days and a regular life routine again! I can feel it! ;)

My goal-setting skills are pretty rusty these days, so if I get most of this list done, I'll be a happy camper for the next week or two. {pun intended! haha! :D}

put clean cover back on couch {the white couch gets sooo much dirtier since we only have one place to sit! haha}
reorganize bookshelf
wipe down/clean inside of new dresser
sweep house daily
run at least 1 load of clothes + fold 1 each day {these may not be the same load, hahahah!}
have girls pack unused toys for moving
ship one box/return
make bread and 2 bread maker kits
write two notes
clean out 3 boxes of toiletries in prep for moving {whenever that may be, hopefully soon!}
exercise 5-6 days
make cleaning zone lists for kids
declutter and pack miscellaneous items under the sink into a box

Discipline: The Glad Surrender^ by Elisabeth Elliot: 2 chapters
daily Bible readings

Psalm 139:4-6 with the children. {I pretend the made-up hand motions are for them, but they're really for me!! hehehe}

prepared-  I want to be more on top of dinners this week. While we haven't been eating out as much as we normally would on busy weeks, dinner has been whatever I can scramble up quickly. The days I know exactly what we're having are mentally easier for some reason- like I know what I have left to do already {phew!}. :D

And really, I want to get ready to move. It may be jumping the gun a bit, but moving four months ago was so hard and this time I want everyone to be thrilled at how easily we get to move to the new house, whenever it happens. :)

^= Amazon affiliate link

a short game, this made my week, and a sigh of relief for 2015 {life lately in pics}

If you ask me, January's appearance was more than a welcome sight. I'm excited about 2015, and I'm extremely happy 2014 is over. :) Is it terrible to say that? I'm not sure, but it's definitely true.

I can't believe how fast Christmas comes and goes these days. We had a quiet little Christmas in the cabin- my dad came over and we had our traditional taco soup lunch. :) Kids are the best. They're always excited about Christmas- even when we have a barely-decorated tree. :D

They are growing up, aren't they? :)

We took two {much-needed} weeks off of school, and used one of our days to make a trip to Costco: :D

We always make a trip out of it since we can eat there for less than $20! :D

You won't believe it {I couldn't!}, but they had the BEST cantaloupe and honeydew melons I've ever had- in December!

So weird- it seems like they should be out of season? I won't ask why though- those melons made my week. :D

Speaking of seasons- we've gotten our fair share of cold and rain lately! On New Year's Eve it was in the 30's. {Cold for us Texans, I promise!! ;)} Luckily, we had awesome fire-building friends to share the night with:

The cold winter days have certainly kept us inside a lot more. My mom and her husband came down for New Year's Day and we distracted them for a few minutes with this quick game my brother gave us for Christmas. ;)

And before we knew it, it was back to regular life. :)

Oh, that munchkin. He's 17 months old today! He's always busy doing something {usually eating}:

And on a random happy note- the grocery store decided to lower the price back down on my favorite California rolls! They went up $1 and I refused to buy them for a year. {weird how $1 makes a difference, but it does to me!}. I was thrilled to have these back in my life this weekend:

See, 2015 is already looking up! hahaha ;)

How is your January so far? :D

Costco ice cream- yes or no?

Believe it or not, the family loves it but I'm not a fan myself. ;) They used to have these chocolate-covered ice cream bars though- those were the best!

Even better than ice cream: sushi- yes or no? :D
Yes- I like the cheapest version the best! ha! :) I don't need any fancy meats, just give me nori, ginger, and rice and I'm a happy camper! :)

building our house: exterior part #2

It's about time for a house update, wouldn't you say? :D

Here's what the house looked like when I shared last time- we were a couple of weeks into framing here:

And then, week by week, a little more happened- we got windows:

And then came siding and a door- it started to look like a house here!! :D

Ahhh, getting closer:

After priming- this color change was a big moment I couldn't wait to see:

AND then!! :D After Rob painted it Benjamin Moore's Linen White:

It's starting to look like our house!!

Here's what she looked like after adding paint and a roof:

{this one might be blurry because Zane came out the door and I ran over to make sure he wouldn't fall!}
Ahhh! :D If only this house-building business were as easy as gathering the pictures, right? ;) Though at this point, I've only had to have meetings, make decisions, and pick up trash, so I've had it pretty easy. Rob on the other hand, is a different story... ;) He caulked, filled, and painted the whole thing! Now we're almost four months in, and can almost see the light at the end!

From here, for the front exterior {alone} we have to get bricks, stairs, a rail, and shutters on the windows, stain or paint on the posts and door, and get electric outlets, a door knob and porch lights.  And I thought we were almost done outside before I made that list! hahaha ;) Our bricks were delivered this week, and our septic tank was installed {it was super-sized for our family apparently!} Monday. YAY!

As for the interior, we have drywall and taping and bedding inside this week, and are waiting to hear back from the cabinet guy. It won't be long before we are in there painting like crazy people. :D

You know one thing I didn't anticipate slowing down construction? Hunting season! I forgot we live in the South where everyone leaves early on the weekends and holidays to hunt for deer. :) Rain has slowed us down quite a bit as well. But from what I hear it's harder to build in the winter altogether no matter what. 

The upside of unexpected delays has been seeing the Lord generously provide us with good deals on our kitchen and plumbing supplies! If anything had gone faster, we would have had to commit to our fixtures ahead of time and pay full price for them. 

So when I want things to hurry up, I have to remind myself that my timing is never better than God's. He has graciously provided for us exactly what we need time after time. It's incredible. He's incredible. And so kind to us. :D

We are so excited. :D

when desires and goals become ultimately important

I love a fresh start, but I've really struggled with setting goals for this new year. I normally LOVE making them and diving in, but this time I feel myself pulling away from my normal desire to be all-in. 

I want Jesus to be absolutely first in my heart, and I know my own tendency is to let what I want to do take over first place because I am determined to follow through, no matter what. So I've been in this middle place of uncertainty when it comes to setting goals for 2015. I've written them out and am praying about each one to see if they are truly good ways to invest my life this year.

This quote from Matt Chandler made me stop and consider how I go about this whole goal business:

"Here's the reality outside of Genesis 3. When any desire, be it a desire for a man, a woman, a desire for a job, a desire for comfort or an achievement is elevated higher than it should be, then that person or that thing we're desiring will rule over us. Any desire we demand and make ultimate actually ends up controlling and ruling us. Hear me. What is your ultimate? Whatever it is, it is ruling you."

I know this has happened to me over and over again. Desires for material things, desires for accomplishments, desires to maintain a particular appearance- even desires to be a certain number on the scale have overtaken my life and controlled me for YEARS. My heart is constantly yearning to DO something- my flesh always wants to invest and be passionate about something that makes much of ME, but the Spirit is at war against my flesh, quietly whispering, "Mandy, don't go back there. Don't set up a golden calf to feel the comfort of the old days. Have faith in my promises."

Oh you guys, I want Jesus. I want Him more, but I tell you in my heart this war is raging right now with the new year- and if it's raging inside you to do more, be more, have more other than Jesus, I want you to know that you aren't alone in this battle. The flesh may be strong, but the Spirit brings light to the darkness and overcomes it!

He is our strength, even in our fleshly weakness- He is strong and delights in us- He bought us with a price!! Let us not go back this year into serving ourselves!! I am praying for your {and my!} strength to stand firm in the Lord, moving toward the day when we see Him- not shrinking back, but leaving behind earthly desires and pressing forward in the strength of the Spirit, who was so freely given to us so that WE CAN BE FREE in Christ this year, and through eternity!

I would love to hear from you- how are you keeping Christ first in your heart when earthly desires creep in? How have you done it in the past?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16