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We’ve had several small surprises as home owners, but nothing has made me lose my cool. That all changed last Saturday morning when I went down into the basement and found mold growing all over the walls.

Not only was it on the walls, mold was growing on many of the possessions we’ve been storing in the basement. Ironically enough, we put everything that was “extra special” in the basement instead of our storage unit to make sure that nothing happened to it.

Obviously this was a major bummer because we weren’t planning on renovating any part of the basement until a few years down the road, and ripping down the walls and taking up the carpet will be an added expense we didn’t plan for. More than that, I’m extremely sentimental and was so sad to find nasty, colorful mold growing on all of the signs and decorations I made for our wedding. I would be dishonest if I didn’t tell you that my breaking point was when I opened the box to my Frye boots and found them covered in mold. (Haters can add that story to their list. #firstworldproblems)

We think the mold started growing last week when we had lots of rain in Charlotte. Our house doesn’t have gutters on it right now, so all of the rain water just seeps into the basement. Add the fact that we don’t have power so there is no light or airflow to the basement, plus the fact that the sump pump hasn’t been running = mold city.

Anyway, I’m sure this is just the beginning of the mold story. At this point we’ve taken out a number of things that are “organic” (pillows, clothes, blankets) and my mom kindly took those home to Winston-Salem to wash them – remember, no washing machine. All of our wedding gifts and countless other boxes are still in the basement and I’m kind of dreading the day I open them. I have to keep reminding myself, “they are just things.” Hopefully most things can be cleaned!

After all of this, Jonathan and I have been laughing about the difference between guys and girls. When I found the mold I wanted to sit on the porch and cry, worry about what we were going to do, and wallow in the fact that I might have to throw away everything we were keeping in the basement. Jonathan on the other hand kept his cool and dove headfirst into figuring out what we needed to do to fix the problem. Laura = wallower. Jonathan = problem solver.

All that to say, we are proud new owners of a 50 gallon dehumidifier and have the sump pump is now plugged in with an extension cord from outside. We’ll need to tear down the fake wooden walls (luckily it is just brick behind) and rip up the carpet. First we need to figure out where to put all of our things while we do that!

If you have experience with mold in your home, let me know! I’d love to hear about what you did to get rid of it!

Time for a house update! The last two weeks were busy and we saw lots of progress. That was encouraging after a few weeks of plumbing and electrical work – obviously lots is going on but you don’t SEE much difference.

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Somewhere along the way, the construction crew sort of busted up our already-busted-up sidewalk. Our contractor kindly offered to replace it at his own expense, which we appreciated. So, they tore the old sidewalk up, along with most of the front yard (yikes), and poured new concrete. We would have loved to do something fancier with the sidewalk, like brick pavers, but since we were offered poured concrete at no cost, we went with that.

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The same day they poured the sidewalk, they also poured a new front porch! We raised the height of the porch about a foot from the original height to make it line up more closely with the door. The original porch was broken brick, which we tore up, then they covered it with gravel, and then filled in with concrete. Again, something like brick pavers would probably have been more attractive, but honestly there’s no room left in our budget for “extras” at this point.

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Speaking of the porch, they also finished up the brick work on the columns, and well as adding stairs. One detail that I love: When they removed the brick from the back of the house (original old section), they were able to save a bunch of it. So, they incorporated those old bricks into the new brickwork, which looks really nice. Bricks bricks bricks.

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The new section of the house got siding this week! This is just the primed color, but it’s kind of crazy because that’s the general color that we’re planning to paint the house. The wooden shakes in the gables were Jonathan’s idea and I think they add a lot to the design! The brick section of the old house will be painted to match the siding.

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Inside: walls going up! First up, we passed the plumbing and electrical inspections which meant we could move on to insulation. After the insulation was inspected, we moved on to sheet rock. It’s crazy how much the sheet rock changed the space!

DSC_0075 DSC_0076 The old plaster ceilings had a bunch of cracks in them and were generally a mess, so we pulled the down and replaced them with wall board. Much better!DSC_0092 DSC_0097 DSC_0118 DSC_0119 DSC_0123That’s all for now! :)

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June 13th, 2015 will always be remembered as one of the happiest and most special days of our lives. After all the months of planning, which was stressful and overwhelming at times, I was so happy to breathe and relax into the day. I could never write words to give justice to the day I pledged all of my love for the rest of my life, so I’ll mainly let the pictures do the talking. All the photos in this post are courtesy of our fabulous photographer, Amanda Castle.

laura meet virginia wedding hairlaura meet virginia wedding Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.23.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.24.08 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.24.20 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.24.31 PMJonathan and I decided to do a first look, which is untraditional for sure, but was absolutely perfect for us. I didn’t expect to cry on our wedding day, but when I walked down the sidewalk and saw Jonathan standing there waiting with his back towards me, I started crying big crocodile tears. Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.24.40 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.25.07 PM We stood back to back and exchanged letters we had written each other, along with small gifts. Jonathan gave me the most beautiful pair of blush pink pearl earrings and a matching necklace. He told me that he had picked them out on a trip to China 6 years ago, always intending to give them to the woman that would one day be his wife. Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.25.29 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.25.39 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.25.54 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.26.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.26.24 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.26.50 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.27.09 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.27.30 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.28.02 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.28.34 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.28.56 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.29.35 PM Above: Amanda got some absolutely wonderful shots of me and my mama. I know I will treasure these photos for the rest of my life! Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.30.08 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.30.37 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.30.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.31.05 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.31.21 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.31.51 PM Surrounded by our families and all of our closest friends, we were married by a dear family friend, Jeff Chetwood. Jeff and his wife, Jodie, are responsible for setting Jonathan and I up on our first date, and of course, we are eternally grateful. Jeff officiated my sister’s wedding several years ago and is also Jonathan’s brother-in-law’s father. It was so special to have him lead us as we made this covenant with each other and with the Lord. Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.33.06 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.33.28 PM It was so hot outside and all of our guests were absolute troopers for enduring the ceremony in the heat. Luckily all of the reception merriment was air conditioned! Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.33.50 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.34.09 PMAbove: Two new families! We are so blessed.
Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.34.56 PM Our first dance was to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. One of the first times that I came to Charlotte to visit Jonathan, he surprised me with tickets to see the Broadway musical, Jersey Boys. The song has been special to us ever since, and it was fun to surprise our guests with a little swing dancing in the midst of a slow dance. Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.35.31 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.35.45 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.35.59 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.36.25 PM I can’t express how special it is to have nearly every person that’s important in your life all together in one room. Elementary school friends, high school friends, college friends, Bible study friends, family members, sweet families that I’ve babysat for, and people that have loved me like I was their own child… It really was incredible. I just wish that there was more time to spend with each and every person!Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.37.06 PM

Above: Jonathan on Cloud 9 with all of his college buddies

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.37.33 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.37.50 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 3.38.53 PMAfter a wonderful night of delicious food – yes we did actually eat – and dancing with our friends, we headed off on our mystery honeymoon. I had no idea where we were going! But more on that in another post. Also, I’m working on a post with more wedding details and info on all of our vendors, so stay tuned for that. :)

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