Monday, October 22, 2012

A Little Bit of Lovely

In all the excitement of buying our first home, I never mentioned that our new home is in another city.  Not too far away, but far enough where we probably won't see our friends very often.

These last couple of weeks as I've picked kids up for carpools and listen to the chatter that goes on between  5 and 2 year olds, I'm overcome by a little sadness.  I'm going to miss our preschool carpool on  Tuesday and Thursday mornings with Robin and Mason.  I'm going to miss chatting with Heidi as she helps get the kids  situated in the car because once again, I'm running late. 

I'll miss picking up Evi and Cate for activity days.  I'll miss the arguing that always ensues because one of my sweet kids can be a little bossy and well who likes to be bossed around?

I know they'll be more carpools and new kids, and friends for all of us but I'll miss the friends we've made here.  We won't really be that far away but everyone is busy and even though we all promise to visit each other, I'm pretty sure visits will be far and few between but I make sure to tell all my shopping conscious friends that I'm just 4 miles from Aldis, Target, and Walmart.

Speaking of friends, I got to watch the sweetest little boy on Thursday while his mom took his big brother to a doctor's appointment.  So,  I threw  a last minute picnic potluck at the park.   We enjoyed a little bit of lovely weather, food, and company where I might of mentioned that I will only be 4 miles from good shopping just in case anybody ever wants to visit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It sort of happened on a lark

It sort of happened on a lark one afternoon. 

I called our bank out of curiosity to check on a loan to buy a house.   

Our very first house. 

I  got all the information and then my heart did a little skip and maybe a little dance and then I lived on the internet for the next three days just looking at houses: ranchers, 2 stories, new construction, and fixer uppers. 

Then I sort of changed my  mind because it all felt a little overwhelming to move and besides I remembered I wanted to buy a house in the same neighborhood as my sister in law, Jen, so we could hang out and shop at DI together and carpool and plan Thanksgiving.

And then I remembered that Jen lives in Utah and I live in Tennessee.  And that sort of makes carpooling a little more difficult.  So, I tucked that little dream of owning a home away for a little while longer.

Then a serendipitous thing happened.  We got a post card in the mail from a friend who had changed jobs and now worked at a mortage lenders.  I called him and gave him some information and then he sent an e-mail requesting more information.  Then I got cold feet and sent an e-mail explaining that we only wanted information and that we weren't interested in actually buying a house just yet.

 And then he called and explained a little more and I said okay and we sent him the information and then he asked if he could give our contact information to a realtor and I said yes. 

And then the realtor called and I said we're not interested in buying, we are just getting information and he said well just for informational purposes what are you looking for and I said  four bedrooms, 2 baths, a family room and at least .5 acres all for the same amount that we pay in rent currently.  Oh and preferably in my sister in law's neighborhood. 

A couple of days later our mortgage lender friend sent us a prequalified letter and 10 days later we were under contract for a house.

This house.

 With this backyard.  Perfect for a garden, a tree house, and maybe a small orchard.  Oh and 5 kids and a dog.  Because somewhere during all the nagging about having a pet I said the kids could have a dog when we bought a house.
 I heart it.  5 bedrooms, 3 baths, a family room, and .81 acres all for the same amount we currently pay in rent.  It's just the right size for us in a quiet neighborhood (until the new neighbors move in) on a corner lot with mature trees and plants.
 I never thought I would love a 1968 split level home.  But I do.  It has lots of potential.  I love the word "potential" too.  I've been using the word a lot.

The funny thing is, I didn't even want to see this house.  The listing pictures left a lot to be desired.   We looked at a number of houses.  Actually, I meant to say we wrote down the addresses of a number of houses and then we drove around looking at the neighborhoods where each house was located. 

The newer houses were stacked on top of each other.  No yards just lovely houses with little personality because every house looked like the next. 

We looked at older homes with larger yards but they were in need of repairs. 

We drove by another house in the same neighborhood as our house.  We liked that it had a larger yard then the newer houses and loved the neighborhood but the house didn't really appeal to either of us.  Then James suggested we look at Governorwood because it was in the neighborhood.

 As we drove by and beheld that lovely flat, mature yard, all .81 acres our hearts did a little skip.    

We scheduled a showing a couple days later to look at both houses in the neighborhood.  While the first house  was 200 square feet bigger, it seemed so much smaller.  The whole time, I was looking at the house I kept praying that we would really like Governorwood. 

Especially because our realtor said they were going to reduce the price another $15,000! 

And guess what?  We did! 

I love the exposed brick wall in the entrance and the wide landing where Jen (after looking at the pictures I emailed) pointed out I could put a Christmas tree.  She's so smart!  Now, if I could just convince her to move from Utah to Tennessee.  Then we could be neighbors and decorate the tree together!

 I love that it has a fireplace.  I wish it had a mantle.  Maybe we will add one later.
 The livingroom and dining room are open to each other and share a set of sliding glass doors.  The catherdral ceiling and windows help to make the whole space feel more open.
 The diningroom is slightly smaller than our current one but still roomy enough for our table.
I love the kitchen.   I will definitely be replacing the dated lighting and that pot hanger lurking in the background to the left.  So much potential!  I'm giddy!  There are plenty of cabinets and the whole kitchen will be getting an inexpensive makeover.
 Love these cabinets. 
 Not too crazy about the L shaped counter because it cuts off the eat in kitchen but that's not really a problem because the dining room is right off the kitchen.  I like that there are 2 entrances into the kitchen and that the one nearest the landing has a door.  (Just in case the kitchen is ever dirty when company comes over, I can close the door. Not that that would ever happen).
 Those poor unsuspecting neighbors next door!  I can already picture kids hanging off the balcony and speaking in their not so quiet voices.  But lucky us! 

I'm not a fan of sliding glass doors, but I adore all the light and ambience that these doors provide.  Eventually we will replace the sliding glass doors with French doors but I love how open the house feels.
 No proper house tour would be complete without a brief stop of the bathroom.  The bathrooms in our rental house have been the bane of my existence for the last 2 years.  The floors slope, the vanity in the kids bathroom was falling apart, and the tubs and caulking are in desperate need of replacement.  So, the fact that these bathrooms are in decent shape have me all excited.  So, excited that I don't even mind the dated  wallpaper and light fixtures in the upstairs kid's bathroom (except that's as bright as it gets, so I will need to do something about the lighting).
 Did I mention there are 3 bathrooms?  Which seems a little excessive right now but I'm sure I will it appreciate later.  For now, I just keep thinking that is 3 toliets, 2 tubs, 1 shower, 3 mirrors, 3 sinks, and  3 floors to clean.
 A playroom/familyroom was a top priority on our list of must haves.  I can live with small closets and bedrooms (which we will be living with) but we wanted a place where the kids could hang out. A  home for all their toys, art projects, backpacks, dirty socks that lay where they drop.  So,  despite the unsightly drop ceiling and wood paneling, I'm in love.  If only that fifth bedroom was a little bigger, we would only have one kid residing on the first floor. 
 Other than small bedrooms and the fact that the only way to access the backyard other than the front door is either from the master bedroom or downstairs in the playroom or garage,  this is the only drawback to our new laundry room.  Just a laundry closet but it's not a deal breaker.  I've got plans for this little area.
The kids have already squabbled over who gets which room, paint colors, and who has to mow the lawn.  Can't wait till closing in November! 

Now, who wants to plan to come over and help me paint?  Anyone?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

This year Cardi decided to forego orchestra and put her heart and soul into chorus.  I'll admit I was  slightly disappointed  that we wouldn't be careening to our near deaths at   Dollywood in the spring.  I had plans to master the roller coaster with lots of lamaze breathing but then that girl of ours had her first chorus concert last night and I forgot all about orchestra and roller coasters.

Despite the fact that we arrived late,  Meredith had no shoes, John was wearing my red socks on his arms in lieu of a jacket, and Bella was frantically trying to finish her homework  I was glad I got to listen to that sweet child of mine belt out tune after tune.  Even though just minutes before I was seriously contemplating whether bringing all the kids during dinner time for a twenty minute concert while James was away was really a good idea. 

Especially, because that sweet two year old of ours insisted on climbing over every seat in the theater whether they were occupied at the time or not.  I felt a lot of cold stares and more than annoyed glares coming my way.  But you know what?  Even though that baby girl of mine jumped up and down and tried to grab the camera numerous times and annoyed every single person around us,  I was glad I decided to load up the kids and sit through the drama that is sometimes parenthood. 

You'll be happy to know, I have bought another pair of shoes for my wiley 2 year old.  The second pair in less than a week.  I think whatever that mysterious force is that leaves us with only one unmatched sock has graduated to toddler shoes.

This kid  shivered all the way to the concert.
And because I have finally gotten around to posting again, I'll throw in a few more photos because you're such good sports like a  picture of my pioneer girl and that oversugared baby of ours on "Nerd" day

P.S.  Welcome to the family, Aaron!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, James!

James turned 35 yesterday. 

He's usually the birthday sign maker.  He makes fancy signs on the computer using publisher and different fonts. 

I use crayons and paper.

Luckily the kids inherited a little bit of each of our sign making abilities.  It makes my heart smile that they took this task very seriously and think their Dad is pretty cool.  He received the "Best Ever Dad" award and they used adjectives like amazing, dashing (I certainly think so) and genius.

I got a good chuckle out of the Albert Einstein picture. 

In between making the sign, they entertained themselves by dressing up their brothers and snapping a few pictures.  Who entertained themselves by destroying the livingroom.

 And then there's Meredith.  Who entertained herself by getting into my new lipstick (courtsey of the last time she got a hold of my lipstick).

It's a crazy good life.  So, glad I get to share it with you!  Happy Birthday, James!

We love you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I love fall

I love fall.  I love the beautiful colors that sweep across nature's canvas.  I love the weather that is not so cold that you want to hibernate  or so hot that you never want to leave the comfort of home.  Everyday seems like a good day to make warm muffins and drink in the season. 

It seems to be the only season that we actually make time to get away from the everyday and enjoy the great outdoors.  We took our annual walk around the arboretum exploring all the varieties of holly, not to mention the paw paw trees.  We've been toying with the idea of planting an orchard next year with apple trees and paw paws and maybe a pear tree or two.

And we enjoyed this delicious apple cream cheese bundt cake.  It's our annual tradition.
Happy Fall!