Friday, July 31, 2009

Why this house TRUMPS the old one

We can't hear our neighbor snoring through the wall. The floor doesn't squeak loudly when you're trying to rock your fussy baby to sleep. The water pressure in the shower doesn't change when someone flushes the toilet. We don't run into each other in the kitchen--ever. The kids are not playing in my living room. We're not soaking wet when we run 20 bags of groceries into the house during a storm. THIS HOUSE ROCKS!

....but the number one reason why this house trumps the old is below.....

Peach Cream Pie made to perfection

For 6 years, I was CONVINCED beyond reason that I was a horrible baker. You see in Cambodia, there were no ovens, so in America growing up, our oven was used to broil meat but NEVER to bake. So my mother-in-law gave me great Ring family tradition baked-good recipes and I destroyed every last one of them. I thought I always measured something wrong or needed to upgrade my pans because everything I put in the old oven turned out horrible. Well, everything I've baked in my new stainless steel double ovens so far has come out perfect. I mean perfectly tasting, perfectly flaky, perfectly creamy...just perfect. I am REDEEMED! I CAN BAKE, YES I CAN!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Micah the Photographer

Micah saved me the trouble of taking pictures of the house to post (for all you folks who gave me such flack about only posting one picture...geez Louise) These aren't the best pictures, but they're definitely the most creative. :)

Here's my office leading to the upstairs. We chose the house because of the wonderful paint colors (minus the reddish finger blob on the left), custom trim and molding, oak stairs, and if you can see it well enough--the wood floors are this wide-planked distressed hickory.

This is Micah's view of the the front door leading into the living room area.

Ooops. Other way Micah! The dining room is behind him. :)

He redeemed himself in this photo. This is the sunroom, but is being used as a huge playroom. I absolutely adore this room because it keeps all the toys where they should be --in the toyroom! And there's french glass doors insulate the noise quite nicely!

One of the hangs up we had with choosing a house was most didn't back to trees like our old house. This one also doesn't back to trees, but it fronts to trees. This is the view we get from the front, and perfect for me in the mornings where I have my first cup of coffee before the boys awake!

Great job with the pics Micah! He seems to get better with more time. Here's him below begging me at the grocery store to take a picture of me instead of me taking a picture of them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We've Moved!

We are all moved into our new home! Well, sort of. We still have a lot of boxes left in the basement, but Soryda has been working really hard to get everything in the proper place. She got the kitchen and the boy's bedrooms in shape over the weekend so they can regain some normalcy. When I left this morning she was working on our bedroom, so I am sure that will be in great shape too.

It was of course sad to leave our old house. Here it is in its glory.

And here it was on moving day.

With the exception of the parent induced schedule variations, Micah and Caelan seem to be adjusting well. The first night, at bed time, Micah said to Soryda "I want to go home". Then on Saturday, he asked me "What happened to Tobacco Square?" But last night he seemed to be OK, and he is always really excited to see all of his things at the new house. Yesterday we had some of his (and our) friends over so he could see that they can find the new house too. On moving day, mom and dad brought dinner and helped us set up beds.

The letter helped too. Mom and Dad wrote Micah and note and we stuck it in the mailbox on Friday. On Saturday, I took Micah out to check the mail, and he had a letter addressed to him! He was excited about the letter, and the next day, he wanted to go out and get his letter from the mailbox again.
Soryda's mom took off work Friday and watched the boys all day while we moved. That was a stressful day. See the blog below. Anyway, it's nice to be in a bigger house, especially a nicer kitchen. There is more room, so we don't bump into each other in the morning. Plus, Soryda keeps wiping the counters and saying "I love cleaning granite." Here's a sneak peak at our kitchen. To see more, you have to visit us!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Top Ten Moving Day Mistakes

  1. Don't hire a mover whose truck decides to break down the morning of your move. (Yes, it really did.)
  2. Don't hire another mover where one out of the two-man team is smaller than your wife. (She could beat him up.)
  3. Don't let them base their estimate on a simple question like "How many bedrooms do you have?" (They estimated 2000 lbs. We had 10,000!)
  4. Don't let them bring two men, and then need to ask for two more. (Half way through, they decided they'd be here until morning so they called for reinforcement.)
  5. Don't work with a settlement company who calls you the day of the move and says "Uh...there's a problem." (They transposed numbers and apparently we owed $300 bucks, which of course we weren't busy on our moving day, so we had to personally hand deliver our check.)
  6. Don't worry about downpours.
  7. Don't expect your carpet to survive the boots of the movers, especially when it rains.
  8. The furniture will dent the walls in the most obvious places.
  9. Always expect at least one thing to break.
  10. Don't expect the move to take 3-4 hours like they said. (They started at 10:30 and didn't finish until 7 p.m.! Can we say hourly rate?)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Closing up a Chapter....

Well, it's official. We are now renters in the house we have spent six wonderful years. The first chapter in my married life, and the next chapter as a new mom. I remember the days we brought each son home, and once they were awake long enough, we toured our infant room by room, and introduced him to his new home. Some of the happiest times in my entire life have been here.

As I thought about this house, there were too many great memories to even count....

Our first tree trimming with a strange new husband.
December 2003

One of the biggest snowfalls
from our picturesque view - Winter 2004

Our first big dinner party for ten.

Our first family Christmas hosting all the Rings from North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, and Maryland.

We loved up on this house. Patrick with his power tools...(this whole tree came down by the way)

And me with my constant changing and re-arranging the house. I must have redecorated this house a dozen times since we lived here! Do not worry, I will channel this passion into a career one day.

An example of before....(actually it's also an after)

and then after (after)...
Just in time to bring home baby Micah to his new room.

One of my most fondest images is below:
Micah's first Christmas (where he could open gifts.)

And then Baby Caelan....

It will be hard closing the doors for the last time. We won't get a chance to open them again. I know I sound dramatic, but it really has been an era. I came home as a newlywed in this house, and also as a new mother. When I look back in twenty years, this house will hold my dearest memories. But it's not the end of the book, we're just turning the page to a very exciting new chapter. I can't wait to see how the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) writes it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Celebrating Baby Potato

Amidst moving an entire household, I managed to throw a baby shower for a mom in my small group. For those of you who know me exhaustingly well, none of you should be surprised. :) We celebrated the upcoming birth of Michelle's newest bundle of joy, "Potato", a name given affectionately from her 3-year old sister, Taylor. Don't worry, they won't really call her that.

We got to use all my collected tea cups and saucers, and it was a very lovely tea luncheon.

I have to say that co-hosting it with Amanda and Michelle (gals below) was awesome. The three of us worked so well planning it together and it seemed like we always complemented each other, and were always on the same page. A total dream team!

But it was mostly fun to be able to celebrate a new life, a new gift. This will be Michelle's third child, and there were so many wonderful people around her to love up on her and support her. And little girl Grande made out like a bandit with some great gifts!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Water Water Everywhere

It seems like Micah or Caelan, clothed or unclothed, have managed to find fun in water! Here's Micah with 3-year old best friend, Joshua, at the Landsdowne town center, the one in our new home!

Joshua's father, Andy, and all the kids at Dean and Michelle Grande's backyard pool.

Caelan and daddy enjoying quality time at Franklin Park in Purcellville.

We went with grandma and grandpa who live in Purcellville

Micah wouldn't go down the slide, but wanted to be near it as possible.

They had so much water fun, Micah was the first to show it.

And then Caelan...

And down goes Grandpa too!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Karen!!!

To sweet Karen, sorry we missed your birthday this year.
We would have loved to be in Seattle as planned on your special day. But from Virginia, we wanted you give you a shout out!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Basketful of Blessings--A Ring Story

Patrick and I have been humbled by the most High.
Our Portion.
Our Strong Tower.
Our Deliverer.

We asked for your prayers regarding the house situation, and He has been faithful. The two things that we didn't think would happen, not only happened, but was the best possible scenario for us. Glory to God. As I was driving, I was thinking of all that He did for us, and the Lord brought specifically to mind when He fed five thousand with only two fish and five loaves of bread:

"They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over..." (Luke 9:17)

Christ saved a basketful of leftovers for each disciple. This is exactly what happened to us. What little we had to offer, we gave to Him. He took it and multiplied our money and we received back above and beyond what we could ask for! We were already getting so much back from our realtor commissions, but on top of that, like what each disciple specifically needed---He supplied us EXACTLY the basketful we needed to make our transaction complete!

There's a huge uncontrollable factor in the house buying process and it's the home appraisals. Your appraisal is based on comparables of homes sold in the last six months, within a one mile radius of your property. According to the comparables, our home was supposed to appraise at $280K, thirty thousand less than our offer price. If it appraised that low, according to our calculations, we would have needed an additional $6,500 cash at settlement to ensure the sale of our new home. We were praying that it would appraise at $290K so we would be out of the water. And when it came back, the appraisal wasn't at $280, or $290, or $300 - it appraised at $310! We were in shock.

Patrick got on his knees on the cold, dirty, office floor and gave thanks to God for this miracle.

Before we started looking for a house, Patrick came up with a house price that would allow us to live comfortably, and honor God with our money. We were disappointed that every house we looked at was well above our magic number, until this housewas significantly reduced! It was still a little higher than our magic number, but closer to the goal. When the appraisal came in for the new house in Lansdowne, we had just simply prayed that it would appraise at our offer price. Well, always pray God's best because it's so much more than you dream! The appraisal came in at $13,000 less than our offer price.

Patrick got on his knees for a second time, because now that number was the original *magic number* we had budgeted for all along, confirming to Patrick that the Lord is in charge of this process.

After some negotiation, we came to a halfway point of the $13,000 appraisal difference, and so the new price of our house was reduced again by.....$6,500. Okay, I'm not a mathematician, but the numbers work for me. Twelve disciples. Twelve baskets. I just can't make myself think this was a coincidence!

I am fighting back tears at the thought that He clearly wants us to know of His provisions. In this entire process, while it was often painful for me, the Lord wanted us to be open to what He can do through us. Even though the disciples saw miracles before, they looked helplessly at only two fish and five loaves. And we know all the things God has done for us personally to deliver us, but yet we looked at this situation the same way. I believe God is saying to Patrick and I, "Think bigger, Rings!" And the only things the disciples had, they offered it to Him. He said, "Bring them here to me." Friends, no matter what your "only" is, when you bring all of your only to Jesus, He will multiply it beyond your wildest imagination.

We wanted this overflow to encourage your hearts that God is working. And He is in all the details! If everything else falls in place, we should be in our new home in two weeks! Wow!!!!