The Pierce Home Project: The Messy Middle Stuff

It's been too long since I've updated you all on the #PierceHomeProject. I sat down last week and wrote out a long and detailed blog about how busy and crazy February has been. And of course I forgot to save the draft and it's all gone(score 1 for Mr. Messy).

I'll spare you the details(mainly because I don't fully understand what went down myself), but Thomas and I found out that we only had until February 12th to get all the repairs down required by HUD(Housing and Urban Development). 

There was some miscommunication about what needed to be done and to what timeframe we'd been given. We were under the impression that we had until April 12th to have these repairs done, while the government was under the impression that our house would be livable by February 12th... Oops! (Score 2 for Mr. Messy)

The good news is that we got an extension for our deadline which is now April 12th!
The bad news is that we still have loads to do and that might require some band-aid methods.

Viewpoint from the kitchen looking into our living room which wasn't always visible. We knocked down the wall that divided the two rooms to make an open floor plan and added a beam. 

Viewpoint from the kitchen looking into our living room which wasn't always visible. We knocked down the wall that divided the two rooms to make an open floor plan and added a beam. 

The band-aid method is pretty simple. It's quick fixes to meet the standards of HUDs requirements long enough for them to inspect and approve, that later we will rip off and repair how we'd like them to be long term. 

And while putting "band-aids" on problems is far from ideal, our deadline is approaching very quickly and a lot of these fixes will require some TLC if expected to last long term. Which we simply wont be able to get to do for every repair on our list.

Gutted kitchen and makeshift work tables.

Gutted kitchen and makeshift work tables.

We've also run into several problems that we wouldn't have noticed if we hadn't decided to take the plaster off the walls. 

There was a crack in the bathroom ceiling that we decided would be easier to fix by replacing the entire ceiling(which was already poorly installed) rather than patching. 

Lucky for us(sort of being sarcastic here) we found out that the pipes were completely out of whack. The material had been recalled back in the 80's and was never replaced. So it's a good thing we found it, but these are the problems that push us back even more. 

So for now we are doing all that we can to fix things properly with in reason to our timeframe.
We've been ripping out damaged hardwoods, repairing the subfloors and laying new ones, fixing electrical problems and hopefully getting to insulate and hang dry wall soon! 

Dining room area, gutted and being rewired. Old, damaged floors about to be ripped up.

Dining room area, gutted and being rewired. Old, damaged floors about to be ripped up.

Mr. Messy is doing his best to get in the way but that's not stopping us. 

As nerve racking as it is we are SO excited to move onto the next phase-putting the house back together!

Prayers and good vibes are appreciated! 

November 14th 2014.

Wow! What an amazing day it was! Cold...but amazing.

On November 14th 2014 Thomas and I celebrated our first day of marriage with all of our family and friends in the backyard of my parents house in Goochland.
Everyone was swaddled in fleese blankets, holding warm glasses of hot apple cider, while songs of FleetFoxes and Ray LaMontagne filled the air with soft, Autumn melodies to compliment the red, orange, green, and brown of the trees (the colours nature picked for our wedding). 

Beer bottles stuffed with baby's breath, pie from Costco, a wedding gown handmade by a friend, and bridesmaid's dresses from the sale rack at Target made for a very simple wedding. But we wouldn't have had it any other way. 
To us, a wedding is not about floral arrangements, a fancy venue, or a three course dinner (though our friend Geoff completely spoiled us with his amazing culinary talent). To us a wedding is about the two of us becoming one. Thomas and I probably would have eloped if it hadn't been for the incredible relationships of our friends and family. If it wasn't for them I think the two of us, even having each other, would still be quite lonely without them.
I learned in the four months we were engaged that a wedding isn't just about the two of you. It definitely revolves around you, but it has so much concern with the people who help bind you two together. 

To put it into perspective...

Throughout the four months we were engaged we had one of our best friends, Jamal, become an officiant so that he could marry us. All the while praying for us and meeting with us. His wife Maria took our engagement photos, met with me so that I could vent, did my hair and make up for both the engagement photos and the wedding, AND she even lent me her veil to wear during the ceremony! 

Our friend Geoff (aka Cheoffry) saved our butts when our caterer came back with a price that was double what we agreed on. He made the most wonderful dinner of BBQ sliders, roasted veggies (with rosemary=my FAVOURITE), and a mac and cheese bar. Yes you read that correctly. MAC AND CHEESE BAR!! With toppings like asparagus, mushrooms, and bacon! I mean if this guy turned every SweetFrog into mac and cheese bars I would cry...with tears of JOY. He also had some hors d'oeuvres of brie cheese, nuts and grapes (that I may or may not have walked away during picture time to go munch on..).
Juilana and David (my doooods) assisted him in the kitched, preparing and replenishing. 
Of course he couldn't have all the fun cause Mama McKeel made her delicious butternut squash soup to contribute to the feast. She also made the best trailmix bar that we snacked on the entire honeymoon.

We had beautiful flowers arrangements done by our friend Billie Jo. THE sweetest lady you could ever meet! She met with me to go over things which was mainly the fact that we didn't have the cash for oodles of arrangements. So she got her creativity on and cut greenery from her yard and even had her kids fill up grocery bags with pine cones to decorate! All I had to do was order a bulk of roses and baby's breath from Costco and she took care of the rest. Along with the other sweetest ladies Kathy Jones and my Aunt Kim, they arranged the most beautiful flowers we could have asked for!
Billie Jo also directed the ceremony. She made sure everything ran smoothly. And it was perfect!

Our premarital counselors Scott and Heather discipled us through our engagement. Man they had so much knowledge to give us in just a few nights out for dinner. They gave us so much perspective and preparation. 

And for even more perspective...

My friend Daniel showed up last minute in the planning proccess when we didn't have anyone to record our wedding on video. He even brought a friend with him to get different angles. 

Our family friends, Dave and Linda, bought us Vera Wang cake knives! (because I would never have thought to put out knives for the pie. Let's be real.)

Another couple, Dan and Lisa, lent us tents in case it rained. If you know how much it costs to rent tents! What a blessing!

My brother Evan suprised us at the alter with a beautiful song he had just written.

My aunt and uncle, Kim and Chris, were sent by God from NC to VA to keep the stress down and meet everyone's needs. Seriously they were lifesavers. 

Carlton and Nathan DJ-ed (is that a word?). And they were boss at it.

Our friends Thomas and Jonathan were ushers for our guests and mothers. When you look at the photos you will recognize Jonathan by his mustache...and how he pretends to scold his girlfriend...

And Preston Tran! He wasn't feeling his best that day but still took such BEAUTIFUL photos of the day! And my bridal portraits. These pictures that I will hold on tight to forever as such a treasure.

Oh I could just go on and on! It was a cram packed four months. I won't say it wasn't stressful. But what an outstanding day! And it will go down in our family's history. Not because the food was tasty, or because the flowers were pretty, or because we had lots of guests. I will always look back on our wedding because of WHY. And that's because of everyone who made it happen. And WHY they made it happen. Because of love and community. That, in my opinion, in why anyone should have a wedding. To celeberate with everyone you love.

It was one of the best days of our lives. Certainly the best first day we could have ever had as a married couple. And it's all because of love. 

Everyone mentioned, and not mentioned (There are so many of you!) we thank you so much!