Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thomas Update: 11 Months

This month just flew by.  You're all over the place playing, but at the same time you like to stick near me as much as you can.  We took you on your first visit to the ocean and you slept in the hotel crib with no problem!  You still use a binky, but you're mostly happy.  Luckily you like to ride in the stroller, so you get to adventure with us.  You still seem like my little baby, and it's crazy you'll be one so soon.  

Weight: ???
Length: ???
Feeding:  We are down to the last few purees.  After watching you grab food that wasn't yours and eat it, I've decided you don't need things cut up as much as I thought.  You love bananas, any kind of meat, crackers, and any fruit.  You're still trying to figure out how to drink from a sippy cup better, and can finally eat a pouch without a huge mess.  You're down to nursing first thing in the morning, and then around 2:00 and bedtime. 
Sleeping: Most nights 9-8 or so.  You like one long nap around 11 or so, but you go with your brothers' schedules and nap when you can. 
Communication:  Waving (mostly good-bye)!  I think you also say dada.  Every now and then it sounds like you'll say a word, but none that are too clear.  You will sign "more" but you'd rather just yell.  You'll clap whenever I ask (and liked the concerts we went to this month where you danced a little).
Likes:  you love balls, playing in sand, crawling up the stairs (not down), ripping paper, music
Dislikes:  not getting to crawl around at will, you really hate laying still for diaper changes
Growth Milestones:  You are pulling yourself up on everything, everywhere now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Peonies: 10 years later

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary a few weeks ago, and I hate to let it pass without mentioning it-better late than never.

When Theo's school calendar came out last summer, I admit I was pretty bummed to see that his last day of kindergarten was on our 10 year anniversary-which meant no fun trips on our proper anniversary.  But, our trip to AZ back in October was pretty much our anniversary trip, so that was okay.

I helped Theo celebrate/mourn his last half day of school (he was sad to be switching schools), and then we headed up to the zoo to kill some time until Brian finished working.  Then we met him in National Harbor for dinner out (Mexican of course, like so many of the meals our newlywed year) and playing in the sand.  There was a fun DJ, dancing, and lots of people-watching to be done and it turned out to be a great evening (gone is the phase where we couldn't stand to take the kids to restaurants, thankfully). 
Brian did surprise me with a peacock box filled with jewelry, but I considered our new home to be our anniversary present to ourselves.  And, he doesn't have to buy me any flowers in the spring anymore because our new home came with peonies!  I worried about whether the home we chose was the right one, but when I realized that the green bushes in the front were actually peonies about to bloom, I knew we had found the right place.

Ten years ago, I picked peonies for my wedding bouquet, and Brian has always claimed he would plant me some when we ever bought a home.  They take a while to get established and aren't easy to move, so we never tried them at our rentals.  For them to already be growing and weeks away from blooming when we finally closed on a home was pretty clandestine.  I knew we didn't make a mistake in getting this house.

Our House Story:

Back in February, we had the hardest time finding our home.  We'd assumed we would get a townhouse, and must have looked at over a dozen.  The first two that we put contracts on went with other buyers (even though we offered asking price), and we were just about to give up when we viewed a couple new townhouses (neither of which wowwed us).  Our realtor had mentioned a single-family home that wasn't back on the market yet (it had been for 60 days in the fall), but that she knew wanted sold.  I didn't want to even see it, because there was only one full bath.  But at the last minute, she asked if we wanted to see it and I looked at Brian and said "yes" in the same moment he said "no".  

After seeing the house (and more importantly the yard and location) on a beautiful, unseasonably warm day we said we'd sleep on it.  We decided to go ahead and make the offer (third time's a charm apparently!) and minutes later we got the email confirming the job offer that we'd been waiting on (the exact letter we would need for the mortgage).  I am still amazed that we were able to close in 28 days, and that the original owners could be out by the time we needed to be in.

So, seeing the peonies was like the cherry on top when we moved in, knowing we'd made the right choice.  (The sticker on the door "Sherry's room" also helped confirm our decision, since that is my mother's name and I was planning to keep a room as a guest room.)  

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

First 100 Days

We have officially been homeowners for 100 days now. Like all the politicians with their "first 100 day plans," I too had some lofty goals, most of which went to the wayside as soon as we actually moved in.  Everything works in our house, but the original owners didn't really update much in the last 40 years so there are plenty of things we can do.  But, so far I feel like we've really only installed a microwave, washer and dryer, replaced some outlets, and refinished the deck.  The numerous trips to hardware stores makes me think we got more than that done though.
At move-in.
I think we moved in the perfect season, because I was just enthralled with the beautiful spring blooming all around us when we moved in.  There were a dozen (somewhat overgrown) bushes blooming all over our property, and those of our neighbors.  We went on adventure walks and found both beaches that are within walking distance, and other than a little too much rain (and pollen, and tree debris) it was a beautiful spring.  Which was great, because we had to spend a lot of time outside raking up leaves, trimming bushes and re-staining our patio.  After always living off of main roads (with the accompanying noise of traffic and sirens), it is SOOOO quiet here in comparison.  As I write this at 5:00 am I do hear birds chirping though.  Always chirping.  I may end up becoming a bird watcher here because I get to excited to see them.  And we also hear the occasional swoosh of a golf ball taking off because we back up to the tee here.

Our only two "before-and-after" shots so far.

Removed some of the lattice, re-stained lighter, and hung baskets in the new windows.
 Got rid of the ugly exhaust fan, and added a microwave.  We do NOT have enough counter space for any other kind of microwave.
The actual move was just about as crazy as we would have expected.  Our amazing realtor and mortgage agent pushed through our closing in less than 30 days, which was amazing considering the difficulty and paperwork involved in getting our type of loan.  A bad appraisal almost put a stop to the whole thing, but in the end everything worked out and we got the keys with about an hour left on our lease at our old place.  We are always the procrastinators around here.  The carpet cleaners ended up being a no-show, the new place ended up not having a washer and dryer, the owner and manager of our last place were late showing up to close out, and it was starting to sprinkle while we were unloading the truck, but everything worked out.  Brian's parents came out and were very helpful in getting us into the new place, especially when we needed to be at both properties at the same time.  The boys were all pretty good about the whole thing.  My favorite moment was once Brian got the moving truck, and Elijah just started carrying things out without even being asked to help.  He was pretty excited about his new home.

Moving Truck: 24 ft (plus, used every inch of space in the vehicles)
Storage Unit: 15 x 15 ft (just in case we didn't close in time, used it to store some things as we packed them and so we wouldn't have to rush to fit everything in the moving truck perfectly)
Movers:  paid 2 hours on each end to move all the heavy furniture
Boxes:  about 20 large, 30 medium, and 40 small boxes, plus about 40 plastic totes/crates
Distance between homes:  2.3 miles (not quite the 2304 of years past)

What I Wish I Had Known/Done:
  1. Really do pack the "when you get there" box.  I didn't think it was necessary, and ended up not having toilet paper and other basics for a while.  And after all the physical moving of all our belongings, nothing felt better than the first shower in our new house.  Having the supplies for that all in one box would have been helpful.
  2. Label bedroom doors 1, 2, 3 etc. so it is easier to tell people which room furniture (especially heavy dressers) and things need to go to.  We realized we all describe the rooms differently.  The "front room" means different things to different people.
  3. Apparently have back up cleaners in mind.  I'm still pretty angry our carpet cleaners kept claiming they were on their way when we started calling them, and they never showed up.  As a stipulation of our lease was we had to have the carpets professionally cleaned at move out, it added extra stress when they completely failed to show (and never even apologized for not showing up).  Luckily we found a guy to come at the last minute.