August 1, 2014


The proper name for the loan we took out on our house is a 203K Rehab loan.

My dreamy kitchen and dreamy baby

Long story short: We walked into our now house and I looked at my husband and said Oh hail no. There was no way we could afford all the work that needed to be done to this house. We loved the character, the location, the light!, the brick walls, the molding! etc. etc. etc. The layout was just perfect for our family. BUT THE WORK. I'm talking graffiti on the walls, carpets ripped up. A complete and utter disaster. The smell alone would send you soaring away from this house.

But, we applied for a rehab loan. And we were approved. Here's the beautiful thing in all this: If you play your cards right (also known as: your offer is accepted) you can get a house with awesome bones for really cheap and tie your renovations into that loan for a total mortgage that you and your family are approved for, and can afford.

It's incredibly strange to be picking out appliances, and paint, and all the tile in the world (sorry, babe) and it all be a part of the loan, the plan, and what we were supposed to be doing. It feels so wrong but so right. In other words: Rehab loan, I love you.

Caleb and I kept looking at each other during this process and saying things like: How can this be? What are we doing? Where is Ashton Kutcher? 

I feel like the best description of a 203K rehab loan is a magical, insane process. Banks should pay me for that description of it. It was the only way to go for us, if we wanted to restore a house, because we didn't/don't actually have a huge chunk of money just hanging out in the bank, for renovations. We needed the loan, and God bless the broken road, cause we got it!

Just a touch of the transformation. A small, small touch. 

Here's my version of the rehab loan process, from the girl who observed her husband and contractor working through it for the past six months:

The amount of money for renovations was determined by our contractor (and friend - it would be awesome to have someone you know doing this job for you, if you walk this road, as well) and then approved by the bank.

Every step along the way has to be approved by the bank. I actually was that not impressed with our bank's communication. We would definitely go with another bank, if we did this again. But my husband says we will never be doing this again. HA.

Caleb, and our contractor, along with this guy from the bank who specializes in rehab loans (I'm really great with titles) go over the big long list of renovations and he approves it. From there, you have six months exactly to get everything done. So from the day of your closing, everything on that list has to be done. There will still be, in most cases (and definitely in ours) things that need to be done to the house but everything on that list has to be done by the final walk through.

All the work is done in stages. So, for example, the bank will cut the first check for $10,000, or whatever was allotted, for demo and all that jazz. Once all that is done,  the guy comes to approve it, and then the next check gets cut. Maybe that's electrical and plumbing work, and restoring wood floors. All that gets done, and then gets approved, and then the next check is cut. And so on and so forth, forever and ever amen.

We had six checks in total, I believe. The process is bananas because of the timelines. Normally, the work we had to do would taken a lot longer than it did. So this means that my husband worked til 2 or 3 AM many weeks in a row to meet the deadlines. We, praise the Lord on high, made the deadline for our final walk through. If we didn't, I don't want to know what exactly would happen, but something along the lines of your mortgage being faulted and other awful things along those lines. Our house still has a lot of work to be done, but it's a dream come true for us. It's more than we could have asked or prayed for, and it already feels like home.

I couldn't be more proud of the work my husband did, and the hours and hours and hours, he poured into our house. He smiled and nodded with every tile, cabinet, open shelving, and vanity I picked out. I know he's breathing a big sigh of relief that he only has to answer to me now, not the bank. I'm not half bad compared to them, huh babe?

A big shout out to our contractor, and friend, Aaron Vielleux. I've known Aaron for my entire life so I feel like I can be a pretty good judge of his work and character. He's hardworking, has amazing attention to detail, and is so talented at what he does. We couldn't be happier with his work on our new house. Our new neighbors said they always saw his truck, but never saw him, cause he was always working. Pretty much sums it up. If you're local in, upstate New York, Aaron's your guy. You can check out more of his work here.

I have a whole slew of before and afters that I can't wait to show you guys! Until next time... Happy August, playas.

July 29, 2014


One year ago yesterday, our sweet Abram was born. Yesterday we celebrated his first beautiful year of life!

We just moved into our new house that we have been renovating the past six months on Friday. It only seemed right to throw a party two days after moving in. Boxes everywhere: check. No furniture: check. One year old boy: check. So much to celebrate: check.

I decided last week, HA, to throw an honest Abe party, for the most honest Abe I know. I saw these shirts, which inspired the party, and I wanted to purchase but it was a week before my little dude was turning one and they wouldn't make it in time. Lucky for me, Dana never fails me with her DIYs and had this tutorial with good ol' Abe's face. I followed her instructions and only botched three shirts along the way. Story Kate chose pink, of course.

I had big plans for breaking out my actual camera but that didn't happen. Probably because it was buried in some pile of clothes somewhere. Whoops.

Who knew that many years ago Avon sold aftershave in Abraham Lincoln figurines? Not I, but Etsy knew and I snagged two of these bad boys from these two vintage shops. I also hot glued pennies to a mason jar like a boss.

There are so many good Honest Abe quotes, but this one was the best of all, for my big one year old. "In the end, it's not the years in your life, it's the life in your years."

I made the best decision I've ever made and ordered from Moe's catering menu and cupcakes from Coccadotts and then made some pretty kick A cupcake toppers if I do say so myself.

I mean. C'mon.

I feel like Abe liked his cupcakes.

Happy birthday to my baby boy. I cannot believe you are ONE already! I am so glad you were born.