Monday, September 11, 2017

Back to School!

How is the summer over already?!?? I'm glad we were able to fit a lot of fun things in even with all of the house chaos, but man, did that summer go fast!

We did something really smart at the end of the last school year: because we weren't sure if/when we'd be moving, we ordered school supply kits for both boys through the school. Staples puts them together for you and ships them directly to the school with everything they need, and it comes labeled. The price wasn't much more than we expected to pay for their supplies, and we took advantage of it!

However, as Paige is entering middle school, we had to buy hers. Thankfully we had a lot of hers either leftover from last year or in our school supply cupboard. I couldn't justify buying all brand new pencils and binders when some of hers still looked brand new!

Sorting through our supplies on hand

Does anyone else ever feel like kids grow more in the summer than any other time? Cause I swear my kids do. These pants were a little long in the spring:

The boys grew so much this summer that Nate didn't have any pants for school and Ry had just a few shirts. My house looked like a clothing store exploded all over it while we sorted through their clothes!

Paige had fun going through her clothes this year; this is her new favorite hoodie! She's making her "GRRRRR" face to match it ;)

And we of course had to do some shoe shopping! 

All three kids needed sneakers, and Paige needed some new flats. She doesn't wear sneakers for most school days (unless it's a field trip), and as her feet haven't grown in about 3 years, she had worn out her flats. We found this cute black lace flats that have sparkles on them!

We totally timed our shopping right; Famous Footwear had a buy one get one half off sale plus an additional 15% off coupon. We were so under budget that this mama got shoes, too!

Last Wednesday was the first day of school. This was the first year that my kids didn't have their picture taken together before school! Paige has entered middle school, and the middle and high school kids start an hour earlier than the elementary kids. I wasn't about to wake the boys up really early just for a picture, so separate will have to do this year.

Here's my 7th grader!!!!

And my 6th grader....

And my 2nd grader!

Okay Time, we can slow down now. Thanks!

Ryan wanted me to have my picture taken as we did a selfie! He is my mini-me!!!!

We are looking forward to being in our new house really really soon! It was sad knowing that this was the last first day pictures at this house...but being so close will be worth it!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Vacation Day #1: Travel and Museum

Day #1 of our vacation started out smoothly (we had hoped and prayed all the bumps were out of the way already). We left the house two minutes before we were scheduled to, and it was a beautiful morning for travelling...

...and falling asleep withing minutes of leaving the house!

We had hotel reservations in Virginia, about halfway between home and our house at the Outer Banks. We divided our trip down into two days last year, and it was such a great way of starting off our vacation! Our first year to the OBX we did it in one day and were exhausted and cranky the first couple of days. Not a great way to start a vacation!

Travel went really well. We made great time, and the boys did really well in the back of the car. They got to watch movies on a laptop and Ryan shared colored pencils so they could both color!

 Before we went to our hotel, we made a side trip to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center! This is the companion facility of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum!!! We had so much fun looking at planes, jets, helicopters, blimps....

A Ryan plane!!!!

A look of amazement!!!!!


I don't think the kids (especially Ryan!) liked it at all ;)

An astronaut, Mom! Look!!!!
Watching a video ofthe last time Discovery went into space

Watching space videos

Nate also participated in a paper airplane contest! Although he didn't win, he had a lot of fun participating.

Waiting to get started!

Watching and cheering from the side lines

Getting ready to throw his plane through the hula hoop

After we left, we had an hour or so drive to our hotel. Apparently museums tucker out little astronauts! 

We got to our hotel, checked in, had Chinese for dinner, and were asleep by 9!!!

Up next: Saturday morning fun and arriving at the vacation house!

Monday, September 4, 2017

New House Inspiration: Living Room

Next on my list of requested rooms is the living room!

This living room is a really nice size; she's a bit bigger than our current one (by about 30 square feet). And just like the master bedroom, we're not changing too much from our current set up for this room!

Here's the new room:

Back window, south and west walls

Back window, hallway to dining room/kitchen

Front window, front door

Front window, north and west walls
Here's our current living room; all the furniture will remain the same for the new house:

We love having blue living room walls, but I want to change it up a little bit for the new house by going a little darker. I really like this color! It's still light enough it won't feel like a cave, and it goes with the more subdued colors of our furniture and decor:

Okay, I'm trying something a little different for this blog post. It can get confusing when I talk about which piece of furniture is going where, so I'm hoping this helps! Let me know if it's helpful or distracting!

We love having our couch and love seat being perpendicular to each other. It really makes our living room feel cozy, so I'm really excited we'll be able to do it in the new living room as well! The couch will go flat against the west wall with the loveseat coming out in the middle of the room as a bit of a room divider. Our big arm chair will go in front of the front window (a shallow bay window! I love bay windows!!!!). Our rug and coffee table will be in the center of the furniture grouping, too.

Across from the couch is a wall where the staircases are:

 I love this idea for a TV wall! Our current one is a little similar, but I love the pictures on either side (I'd do smaller ones, though) and the basket of blankets on the floor next to it:

However, our inspector suggested we remove part of that wall to really open up the space a little more. While we love that idea (look how pretty it could be!), I really don't know where the TV would go. It might fit on that wall still, but we'd have to measure and see:

At the other end of the living room is where I hope the bookcases will fit. I really don't know if there's room for all of them on this small wall, though, so we might have to change things up a bit:

Did you notice one of the arrows points to a CLEANING CLOSET?!??? I think it's actually designed to be a coat closet, but it's so far away from the front door or the door by the garage (which is the one we'll use most), so it doesn't make sense for it to be used that way. Right now my cleaning supplies live in the bottom of my linen closet and on the top shelf of a laundry cupboard. My broom and mop just tuck in between my washer and wall in my laundry space, and the vacuum cleaner lives in my bedroom closet. It will be SO NICE to have everything all together!!! I'm hoping to have it eventually organized like this:

On the opposite wall will be our keyboard for the kiddos. 

Eventually we would LOVE to get a piano for them. Is it silly that I'm looking forward to decorating it? A plant or flowers, pictures on the wall, and candles on top sounds just about right to me!

For curtains, I'm thinking a cream or pale tan color with sheer curtains in between. We have that in our current living room, and I love how sheers let the light in but give a lot of privacy as well:

So far I've revealed the plans for the boy's room, Paige's room, master bedroom, new kitchen, current kitchen, and sunroom. Which should come next: mudroom, bathrooms, laundry room, office, kid's space or dining room? (Looking at this list makes me panic a little about all the areas I'm going to have to clean! Eek! :) )

Friday, September 1, 2017

Vacation Prep (AKA Needing a Vacation to get over Vacation Prep)

Oh vacation, how I love you.

Every year my in-laws rent a house somewhere big enough for the entire family to go stay and be together for a week. We've done Honeoye Lake twice, Autumn Lake (Adirondacks area) twice, and this was our third year in Salvo in the Outer Banks. We stayed in a different house than the previous two years and really enjoyed the new place!

Now I don't know about you, but planning for a vacation is hard. It's easier now that the kids are older and we don't have to worry about diapers and all the other baby things, but still trying to get a family of five packed for a week and getting two animals prepped to leave is challenging.

To Do Lists!

And this year decided to throw us a couple curve balls.

We knew this year would be a little different. Our house still has a For Sale/Sale Pending sign in front of it, and even though we don't live in a village or city, a lot of traffic goes by here everyday. We were a little nervous about leaving our house vacant for a week, but we took steps to make sure that it wouldn't look fully abandoned: our cat was going to stay here and our neighbor would check on him nightly, and some friends were also going to come and harvest our garden while we were away. It's not as much movement at our house to make it look occupied, but we thought it would be enough. (And it was!)

The one problem about the house still being Sale Pending was that we didn't know if we'd need anyone to come through the house for various appointments during the week, and one even got scheduled for the morning we were going to be leaving....meaning we had to leave the house SPOTLESS. That's hard enough to do on any given day, but trying to get your house spotless while trying to leave for vacation is a whole other level of craziness!

The biggest curve ball of them all we didn't even begin to expect.

We swung by my in-law's house on Wednesday to drop off some things, and my father-in-law commented on how our exhaust was sounding loud. We thought it was just a heat shield, so he said to bring it over early Thursday morning and he'd help Pete take a look at it.

Thursday morning came, Pete took the van over. I'm home with the three kids, babysitting an additional two, and trying to pack. Pete calls: the fixed the heat shield, didn't really see anything wrong with the exhaust, but there's a squeaking and squealing noise. They took it to the mechanic's, and the water pump is dying. And two front bolt springs (I think that's what they were??? Definitely part of the front suspension...) were completely broken and could cause real damage at any point....also known as, van isn't leaving the shop OOOOR going on vacation. Big $$$$$ flashed in front of our eyes!

So Pete and his dad checked into rental vans, and we didn't want to pay the price to rent one. We decided to take our car, and my in-laws graciously offered to take one of our kids in their vehicle so we wouldn't have to have three kids crammed in the back of our car. Thankfully we had fixed the car and it's issues earlier in the summer so all it needed was for the air conditioning to be recharged for it to be ready to go.

Even with all of the craziness and our plans going straight out the window, we are so thankful. We are glad Pete's dad had the wisdom and foresight to check our van, thankful there was space for Paige in their truck, thankful our friends and neighbors were able to look after our house, and just so thankful that we didn't try to take the van on vacation (we probably wouldn't have made it out of the state, or at least through definitely wouldn't have made it over the bridges and bumps on the OBX island!).

We were able to leave our spotless house at 5:58 Friday morning (two minutes ahead of schedule!!!!), with Paigey securely in the back of her grandpa's truck and the boys snuggled in the back of our car. We were Virginia bound for the night, and were praying that all the bumps in the road were already behind us!

Up next: Friday afternoon fun in Virginia!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

House Hunting FAQ

We've been getting a lot of questions about all the house hunting and selling process, so I figured I'd do a FAQ post!

New House:

Where are you moving to? Will you still be attending the same church?

York! Just twenty minutes away. And yes, as long as God allows, we will still be attending the same church.

Why are you moving?

To be closer to the kid's school. We transferred the kids last year, and it was doable, but with Paige able to participate in modified sports, both boys participating in Odyssey of the Mind, and Pete hoping to coach swim again, it just made sense for us to move. Our family does not function well if we're not home a lot, and just being on the road all the time was going to cause too much stress for us.

How many beds and baths is it?

It has 3 bedrooms (with the ability to be turned into 4) and 1 1/2 baths.

Is it going to be big enough for all of your wants needs? Does the new house have everything you want?

Yes!!! We had very specific things that we needed in a house: I needed an office, the bedrooms couldn't be considered glorified closets, and we needed a space for the kids to play and hang out with friends. I also needed room for a garden and we wanted a yard for the kids to play. I'm getting my office, the bedrooms are great sizes, the kids will eventually have space in the basement to play, and I will have an office in the basement as well. The yard is amazing, and I already know where my garden is going to be. We're also getting a mudroom and a sunroom! Score!

I think the only thing that it doesn't have that we really were hoping for is a 2 car garage. It does have one garage bay, which is definitely better than what we have now!

This house looks like it's in a village? Are you guys ok with that?

It's definitely going to be a change. While it's technically not a village, it is village-like. But the street is so quiet, I think we'll find it quieter than our country road we're on now. God was also showing us through the house searching process that He wants us close to the school, meaning that we have to be close to neighbors. We did hit the jackpot though, and will be next door to some pretty amazing people!

When are you moving?

No confirmed date yet. Possibly September?

How close will you be to school?

Well, we're at about 18 minutes away now. One of the last times I was at the house, I timed how long it took to get to school. With waiting for 7 vehicles to pass by over the course of my drive, it took 3 minutes.

We're going to be so spoiled.

How are you feeling about all of this?

Oh man. I don't know. I'm all jumbled up, and can go from laughing and being happy about all of this to crying within seconds. I'm really excited about my new home and getting to make memories there and make it a beautiful place for us...but I'm really sad about leaving my current home, all the memories here and our neighbors. It's our first house, it's the only home Ryan has ever known. We've put down roots here, and we're all really sad to be leaving it. But there is so much calling to us in the new neighborhood, we have so many friends in that area and we're getting established there, that I'm hoping and praying the transition will be an easy one.

I thought you wanted more land?

Our original wish list had a lot of things: 2 full baths, 4 bedrooms, a few acres, no neighbors, etc. But we realized we didn't need all of those things to be happy:

- We could be fine in a 1 1/2 bathroom house.
- The boys are ok sharing a room as long as the room is big enough.
- We have .8 acres right now, and even that can feel like too much to take care of (note to self: less flower beds at the new house!).
- It felt like God was calling us to be close to school, which means having neighbors.

So I guess my answer is yes, when we started looking we wanted more land, but as time went on we realized we didn't need it and would be happier with less.

A fixer upper? Really?

She's probably more of an "updater" than a "fixer upper" as it's mostly cosmetic work that she needs. We really liked the idea of building, but that was going to be at the top (if not above) our budget to get all the space we really wanted, and the timeline just wasn't going to work with our wants and needs. This way we get to move in before the snow flies (no more driving back and forth every day over the snow covered hills!!!!), and still get the benefits of making the house how we want in the areas that are most important to us (aka the kitchen!). So while it may not be ideal, we really and truly are getting the best of both worlds!

It sounds like you guys have a lot of plans for this house! What project are you tackling first?

Ummm.....we're not sure yet. We need to sit down and really figure out what is most important to us as well as what our budget allows right now. To see what all we have planned for the house, you can check out the blog posts here.

How quickly are you going to try and get all the projects done?

It depends on how big the projects really are and what our budget allows; we will be contacting contractors for estimates after we move in and get settled. We feel very strongly about paying in cash for all of our updates, so that really plays a big part in our timeline. We would love to have everything done in three year's time, but realistically will be more like five to ten (or so we hope; some projects didn't get done in the almost nine years we were here until it was moving time....). It will probably feel a lot faster than that in a lot of the house as paint will make such a massive difference.

Current house:

Do you know the buyers?

Nope. We know their names and that they just got married a couple months ago. That's about it!

How many showings did you have? How much are they buying it for? How many offers did you get?

We are unable to give out a lot of this information due to confidentiality concerns and because it still is fairly early in the process. Anything can go wrong at any time, and we'd hate for it to happen because we said too much. We appreciate everyone's excitement for us, and we will share as much as we are able to! Thank you for understanding!!!

Did I miss any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Summer Bucket List Bingo Update #3

We're slowly making our way through our bucket list!

Over the past week or so we've crossed off:

Dinner at Five Guys! This was Nate's biggest wish for the bucket list this summer, so it made perfect sense to have it double as his birthday dinner! The kids absolutely loved it and are begging to go back.

Pretending to be sleepy :-P

Dewitt Park and walk to Blondie's for ice cream with our friends! It was a great afternoon hanging out with our friends Jess and Aaron. We don't get to see them outside of church that often, and we really enjoyed catching up with them. We haven't really explored this park before, and I can definitely see us coming back to explore more, especially now that we know the secret path to Blondie's!!!!

Proof that Ry will talk to Jess!!! He loves pretending to be shy around her.

Aaron playing with the kids

Family baseball! Okay, so I wasn't feeling well and while I technically didn't play, but I was umpire, so that counts for something, right? Pete and Ryan were on a team against Paige and Nate, and while we didn't officially keep score, it was a really close game. We're really looking forward to our bigger yard so we're not playing around our vehicles anymore :)

While we probably won't be crossing everything off of our list this summer (yet again), I have to remember to cut us some slack. We've been so busy with house things, but I'm loving how intentional we've been about taking time to fit in some fun things along with the chaos as well!!!

What fun things have you been up to lately?