Our New Home

Since moving two weeks ago we’ve…

Lost the cat. (Can you  find him?)

“Helped” Grandpa fix the sink. (She’s holding the light.)

Had a birthday party in the mess. (My  cake is  in the left corner.)

And…

We got our first house plant! Unfortunately it was  growing under our  only working toilet. (Note: Not an April Fool’s picture.)

And Laelia has been blessed most of all! Volunteers from The Fellowship of San Diego built her a wheelchair ramp!

Ta da!

They also painted her room!

And they painted the closet.

And here is  Laelia’s real bed for those who worried about it from my April Fools post. ;)

Speaking of April Fools,  I like how a lot of you figured out my April Fools post right away  just because I said I got anywhere near a spider. Forget the human remains or pad-locked room with the decrypted bed, oh no, Alexis was  fearless in the face of  spiders? Must be false. :) Well you’re all right, I lied about killing the spiders with my fingers. In actuality, I cry in a corner while my husband comes to kill them. We kill about three small, harmless spiders a day. (I say “we” to make it seem like my crying somehow constitutes a consorted effort.) Although today Charley just went around killing spiders and says he thinks he got about 50. Dang.  We are starting to vacuum up webs in hopes  of getting the eggs too.

Things have been great but crazy lately! We’ve done a TON in the last two weeks, but have been too busy to think or sleep or get online much. (Or email back Laelia’s doctor who is trying to check in on her. D’oh.) Our home is so beautiful and we are so blessed. I was just walking through our new home last night and looking at each room and thinking about how much of that room  has been  given to us for no reason. In each and every room, without exception, 80% of what you see was a gift from others. For example in Laelia’s room (see pictures above)  her bed and bedding we got cheap when John married Megan and didn’t need it anymore, Laelia’s furniture cubbies and storage drawers were gifts from our friends when they surprised us by cleaning and organizing our apartment while we were in Philadelphia getting Laelia’s osteotomies, the books are mostly from when I was a kid or gifts from holidays, most of the stuffed animals are from hospitals, hand-me-downs, or holidays (ooh alliteration), the clothes are mostly from Laelia’s friend, Lily, (her mommy just dropped more off last night!), a lot of the toys are gifts from friends and family and Laelia’s “grandparents” who we really met after Laelia was born and aren’t related by blood, the dresser was a gift from ladies I hardly knew at the time who threw me a baby shower after I visted their church only a handful of times, the lamp was from Craigslist for $5 so that felt like a gift, even the paint job in the room was done by friends and the little kid furniture was my grandma’s given to me by Aunt Charlotte. If you take a walk around Laelia’s room you are left remembering at least twenty-five people and their generosity and love.

I feel like this is a Cinderella story and Laelia’s pumpkin is a new home!

Laelia can get everywhere now! She goes from any room to any other room. She can get off her bed and into her books. She can  roll up her ramp and get  into the living room. She’s moving more, scooting farther and doing more than ever before!

I love our home! I love our wheelchair ramp that’s almost finished! I love Fellowship of San Diego and David Powell for coming to fix things, letting us borrow all sorts of tools, helping facilitate the group of volunteers that came to clean and rip out carpet and paint! Then  yesterday they came with a big truck and hauled away all the trash and debris from the demolition. How did we get so blessed?! I feel like I’m in an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! Alan (from Fellowship)  also helped by coming over a few days and doing odd jobs. He’s helping to replace the window that some  hooligans (Yay, I got to use the word hooligans! It’s a great word. Under used. Anyway… that some hooligans)  broke the day after we got our home. Apparently not everyone knows this place is occupied now and they need to find another place to drink. They have been kicking the stucco off the front of the house and leaving their trash, including broken bottles, too.)

We also have an annonomous donor. Seriously! He or she has magically paid for a few needs we had by contacting my dad secretly. I’m super curious who it is but I can’t get my dad to spill! There have been a few big purchases that were just magically covered by this special “someone.” This includes the Roto Rooter bill (our pipes didn’t work) and a power drill. This person had previously given us some traveling money before Laelia’s last major surgery too. Wow!

I prayed for a home for years and years and now it’s a reality! We’ve done nothing to deserve it and it’s ours anyway! And it happened at just the right time. And it was only a 3% downpayment that we were finally able to afford after six years of saving! We could have gotten it sooner if Laelia’s medical needs had not cut into our savings so much and  so often, but then it wouldn’t have been as cheap since home prices hadn’t fallen as far yet! We bought it for half of the price it was a few years ago! Half! The timing was perfect! And we would have been happy with renting a house or owning something much less awesome. But we were blessed! I wonder what God wants to do with our home, because he’s certainly supplying for it. I feel like most of this place belongs to our community of friends and family. I want to give back and use this home for whatever needs come our way.

The only catch for having something big and wonderful was that it was older and a “fixer.” Being as naive as I am, I did not realize how much work a fixer was or how much time it would take to clean up something that had been abandoned for a year. (It’s  ours now, spiders!!!) My dad and Christina offered to fly down here to help, but I don’t think they knew what they were getting themselves into. Christina also took care of Laelia in the mornings because it was her spring break from preschool, so the timing was perfect. It’s nice to not be the only person making Laelia do her push ups for one thing. Christina also made all our meals, cleaned the entire kitchen (including all of the drawers and cubbards), and also cleaned a bunch of other random things including walls and shower doors. After they left (this last Saturday night) things don’t magically get picked up, dinner does not  magically get made,  dishes don’t magically get done and life is not nearly so easy. :)

Then there’s Super Fix-It Dad. (Cue super music.) :) By my estimate Dad has done about $6,000 – $7,000 worth of free  labor in the last two weeks. Here is a list of things he has fixed.

1. He built screens by cutting frames for four widows, and added screens or fixed screens for seven windows total.
2. He fixed the sliding glass door and added a lock.
3. He installed a cat door and then fixed the door hinge so it would open.
4. He fixed the sink in the kitchen by replacing the faucet, fixed the garbage disposel,  put up the paper towel holder, added a filter line to the fridge, a water line for the ice maker and replaced the water-damaged wood under the cabinet.
5. He installed ten curtain rods (we haven’t made the curtains yet).
6. He added a lock and dead bolt to the side door.
7. He fixed the gate outside by shaving the bottom so it slides and adding some screws to the post that was cracked.
8. He caulked the gap between the outside window and the wood edge so rain won’t pool there anymore.
9. He replaced sprinkler heads so the weeds can get watered I guess.
10. He reinstalled the closet doors and replaced the wheels on them.
11. Fixed the leak in the washing machine, hooked up the gas dryer.  (Both were $75 on Craigslist just because they’re beat up a little and are missing knobs. Score!)
12. Fixed the garage door.
13. Fixed some random base boards and trim.
14. Installed two toilets.
15. Fixed the lights over the bathroom cabinets.
16. Fixed the outside light.
17. Replaced the water pressure regulator and hooked up the garden hose reel.
18. Caulked the chimney.
19. Fixed the locks on the bedroom window.
20. Then there was our bathroom…

It had a cracked shower pan, so Dad was going to replace it.

Then he noticed  all the dry rot behind a smashed tile so he started to tear up the wall.

And he found termite damage!

It goes all the way up the entire wall!

So Dad had to tear out the entire shower and walls and wood!

Then rebuild from scratch.

And they didn’t make that size shower anymore so he had to build  new walls around a smaller one.
Then he put the doors back on.
Ta da!!! Two weeks later and around $6,000 saved thanks to Super Fix-It Dad!
Sorry I just had to share about the shower. Funny thing was that Charley went to use it for the first time and realized it leaked out the knobs. And Dad and Christina had to be at the airport in two hours. So two hours of quick work, super stressing and THREE trips to Home Depot and now it works again. He finished right before we had to walk out the door. Dad jokes that now he needs a vacation from his vacation. :) Good thing he’s retired.
So in conclusion, we love it here! So happy! Who wants to visit?!

3 Responses to “Our New Home”

  1. tam says:

    thanks dad! oh we want to visit! me me me!! I love me some california! maybe someday I will get out that way to see my family. they are in Santee and Escondido. so glad you and Laelia and Charlie have such a wonderful new place! if only we could FIND the right place! its a lot harder when you have this many kids and you want acreage and you cant pay more than x and you cant finance it if its more than x% agricultural. we may end up living in a tent in grandmas back yard!

  2. Lauren Spain says:

    Pick me! I want to visit too! Sigh, maybe someday. It seems our traveling days will be much more limited now that we have two kiddos. But I love keeping up with you via your blog! You’re Super Mom Alexis! I don’t know how you do it all. My hero(ine) :) God bless.

  3. Tracey says:

    Can I visit?! I’ve never been to California before! And I cannot wait to see what God has in store for your home (more kids maybe? :-D)

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