Wednesday, December 27, 2017

August 2017

After finally getting settled into the new house, August started the month of making the house our own. While we love the floorpan of the house, there are many cosmetic things we aren't so fond of but they weren't deal breakers. The easiest thing to tackle first was the paint. We spent 2 solid weekends this month painting the worst of the color offenders.

The first to go was the dining room. It was an awful pea green color that you saw first thing upon coming in the house and it drove me crazy. We had decided on a dark blue color and then my friend convinced me to lighten it up a bit. However, the blue we ended up with is pretty close to Carolina blue and Todd being a NC State fan, was not thrilled once it dried. But, it makes the room look so much brighter and fresher and will be toned down with our furniture and curtains so Todd will live with it for now.

The next offender was the orange sitting room off our bedroom. The color was just too jarring for a bedroom area. It would have been an easy job, except for the fact the prior owners painted the ceiling orange too. We painted it the same light blue color as the dining room and it felt so much better right off the bat.

We painted our bedroom the next weekend in the same color as the sitting room. I know I took pictures of the room after but they seem to have disappeared. It was a goldish yellow before we painted it so the blue was much more soothing and relaxing to be in afterwards.

We celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday at her place on the lake and the kids had a lot of fun. It was an 80's themed party and the kids weren't down with the 80's style of dress. So, we just went with bathing suits and that seemed to work just fine.

Since my sister-in-law likes to celebrate her birthday the whole month, we also went to an afterwork type of party with live music and drinks with her and her friends. The kids were not so thrilled because they were bored but the adults had a great time enjoying the music.

With the impending arrival of Kindergarten and the need to get in and out of a seat quickly, we went ahead and moved Mason to a booster seat before school started. I was not super thrilled with the decision but I knew it was necessary for the car pool line. Mason on the other hand was lovin it. 

Before we knew it, it was time to go back to school. Aubrey was ready to go back to school and see her friends. She hates living so far from most of them and she always looks forward to being with them again.

Mason ended up with a later start date due to staggered entry so I got to enjoy him at home a few more days. I was dreading his first day because I knew it would be another one of those bittersweet signs my baby was growing up. Mason however, had zero reservations and was ready to go to school with his big sister. We did all the preparation the night before and he was ready to go that morning. I was glad to get to walk in with him that first morning and before I knew it, he was shoving me out the door. I only had a few tears as I walked to my car and headed to work so I was proud of myself. Mason loves school and his teacher so I think his transition to elementary school was a success. 

Aubrey wrote Mason a very sweet note before he started school. 

And just for giggles, here are pictures of the kids the day Aubrey started Kindergarten and the day Mason started. I can't believe how much they have both grown since then.

As much as I hate the return to school because it means early mornings and car pool lines, it was nice to get back into a routine and have some structure back in the picture.

July 2017

After the absolute madness of moving and traveling to Disney World in the span of 2 weeks, July was a much quieter and relaxed month. We spent a good bit of time unpacking boxes and settling in but had a lot more downtime than we had the past 3 months.

We took a trip to Lake Lookout for Gma's birthday.

We celebrated July 4th in the neighborhood. We spent a good chunk of the day in the pool, then invited some friends that live in the neighborhood over for dinner. When it got dark, we realized some neighbors spent a lot of cash on fireworks and launched them in the green space of the neighborhood that is within sight of our house. So, we walked to watch fireworks and it was so much fun. 

We spent lots of time in our new neighborhood's pool this month. The kids went to the pool with he nanny about 4 days after we closed and afterwards it was a daily request to go swimming. Both kids made a lot of progress with their swimming due to having such frequent access to a pool and I am grateful for that. The pool was one of the deciding factors in picking this neighborhood and well worth the price of our HOA fees.

Mason participated in our church's youth soccer camp and he said he had a lot of fun.

After being in the house about a month, we let Aubrey have the first sleepover here. It was craziness having 3 8-year olds in the house but they had a lot of fun and that is what mattered.

It was nice to enjoy our summer in the new house and new neighborhood. After so much busyness, just being able to sit still and soak everything in was such a blessing to us.

Such a bittersweet post to write

Many people knew that Todd and I were really unhappy with our housing situation for a long time. We bought our first house together in Huntersville in February 2007, months before the market tanked. Housing prices were really high then and so we struggled to find what we wanted in our price range and only had about 45 days to find one because we sold the house in Mooresville and had to be out. We did find a house, but were never really thrilled with the neighborhood because it had almost no amenities and was really a starter neighborhood. But, again, prices in Huntersville were high and we had such a tight time frame to work with, so we took what was available, even it was never our favorite. We made a deal that we would stay in the house for 5 years and then move on.

Weeellllll, no one really predicted the housing market tanking. And it hit our neighborhood hard, making many of the houses rentals over the years. When our 5 year goal came up in 2012, we weren't willing to sale because the value hadn't recovered and we weren't willing to lose money on the house. So many rentals in the neighborhood also made things dicy because renters have no incentive to do upgrades to the houses and don't care about the values of the homes. So, we held out, waiting for things to improve. The desire to move never left, especially as we watched neighborhood conditions start to deteriorate over the years. Finally, towards the end of 2016, the values in our neighborhood had recovered well enough for us to start discussing selling. We had made quite a few upgrades to the house over the years and knew we were finally in a good place and could make a good profit instead of losing money. On April 12th, we felt financially ready and took the leap to call a realtor friend I met through Aubrey's school. We started the mad dash of getting the final touches on the house to get it on the market towards the end of April.

We also started to tour a few houses that we wanted to buy in the mean time. Houses at this time were being snapped up within days of going on the market and we wanted to get a jump on the search. I was pretty upset because again we were facing limited choices in our price and size range and I wondered if we would have to settle for something we didn't really want again. We did find a house that we loved in a neighborhood we wanted to be in and we placed an offer on April 24th, even before we officially listed our house. However, the seller's realtor encouraged the sellers not to take the offer because our house wasn't listed yet, and houses were going so fast in Huntersville. I was disappointed but understood and hoped for the best once our house went on the market. 

Wednesday, April 26th this sign went in the front yard.

And it was game on quickly. We had so many showings that weekend and got our first offer on Saturday, the 29th. We were excited at first, but then mad when we realized the offer was for 10k less than our asking price. The market at this time gave them no room for that offer so we started negotiations. That went back and forth Saturday afternoon and overnight into Sunday, the 30th while we went out on our own search for a new houses. We were within about 2k of our lowest acceptable price and the potential buyers backed out Sunday morning. Oh, I was crushed. But, our realtor came back very quickly and said another offer was pending so we held on. We had a dance completion to go to that day so we packed up and went to the competiton all while biting our nails and anticipating a phone call. I was sitting on the floor of an auditorium getting Aubrey ready to dance when Todd texted to tell me we had a new full price offer on the house but they didn't want to close until the end of June. Deal breaker. There was no way we could wait that long to close. Most sellers were wanting closing to be in 45-60ish days. That would put us at almost 75 days. So, the battle began again before settling on Monday afternoon, the 1st at a slightly lower offer but closing on June 15. We also got the buyers to agree to let us stay in the  old house until the 17th so we had plenty of time to move and settle the new house since they weren't moving in until August.

Side story. We sold our last house in Mooresville to a lady from California. She wrote a check for our house and it blew our minds because we couldn't imagine having that kind of cash in the bank. So, we  laughed when we realized our new buyers were from California. However, they were first time buyers so no major check writing this time. The shocking part of this transaction is that they bought our house sight unseen. The made an offer on a house they had never even stepped foot in. They based their offer on the fantastic drone video our realtor had made for us. Their realtor came in to see the house during the inspection and one of the buyers came sometime later in May. But, his wife never saw the house until the day they moved in. I would have serious issues with that myself, but I guess when you are buying a house clear across the country, you do the best you can.

Back to the main story. Once we had our signed offer on the old house, we had to find our new house quickly. By complete luck, the house we placed an offer on the week before was still on the market. At 8:00 that Monday night we placed our offer on the the house and by 10:00 pm we had reached a deal with the sellers to close on our new house on June 15. Our realtor deserved so much for all the work she did for us that day. We can never thank her enough.

Then, reality set in. OMG, we were MOVING. Finally, after 10 years of not being happy with our housing situation, we were finally packing up to move. The months of May and June were a bit of blur, between the normal family life I blogged about already and packing 10 years worth of stuff. There were lots of bittersweet moments that filled those days. Like Aubrey's final last day of school picture in front of the house.  Last days on the swing set (we left it for the buyers).Tears from the kids about leaving the only house they had ever known. Planning for new bathrooms and kitchen and a bonus room. And the never ending stream of boxes and packing tape.

There was was plenty of drama along the way with both houses between setting up the mortgage (realizing Todd's social security number somehow got linked to another guy that lives in Maryland), getting our house to appraise, and then negotiating repairs to the old and new houses.

The closing for the old house got bumped up to June 12th so the transaction would have time to clear and hit the bank in time for us to close on the the new house on the 15th. It was strange to walk into the bank and sign our house over. It was very unceremonius but still felt sad to sign our name to those papers. Everything cleared on the 14th and we got notice the transaction was done. We were officially renters for 4 days and so thankful we had that time to get ready to move.

Before we knew it, it was June 15th. We came to the new house for our final walk through that morning and it was high drama. We realized the upstairs AC wasn't working, the sellers didn't put up a mirror they were supposed to put up, they took all the curtains with them, and they didn't leave a mattress they promised us. I had to leave quickly for an appointment and left Todd and the realtor to settle the drama. Our realtor started threatening to not close (meaning we had no house to stay in after the 17th) and luckily that motivated the seller's realtor to push the sellers to into action. Finally, at 2:30 pm, we signed what seemed like a 100 documents and were handed the keys to our new house. We started moving a few things that night including the beds because we had to get the dogs out of the old house per the contract which meant sleeping in the new house. The next day was a blur of boxes and sweat and 500 trips up and down stairs. But, it was so amazing to celebrate this milestone in our lives and enjoy the fruit of our hard work.

Picture of our new house from the MLS

On Saturday, the 17th, I went back to the old house for the final cleaning and walk through. We had to be out of the house by 4:00 pm and I had about 5 hours to clean it. Of course the vacuum cleaner decided to die so I had to make a mad dash to Target for a new one, which cut my time down to about 4 hours. I started panicking about being able to finish on time when an angel in the form of my mother came over to bring food and help me clean. We cleaned like fools and at 3:40 an agent from the buyer's realtor's office comes over for his walk through. We were just wrapping up when he came in. We had to rush and get the final things packed in the car before we had to lock up. I packed up the car and shut the front door and the tears hit. I was really surprised by the tears and posted this on Facebook. 2 months and 5 days after calling our realtor, we closed the chapter on this part of our lives and it just seemed so unreal to me then.

10 years of praying and hoping led us to the house that we hope to be in for at least the next 20 years. It still shocks me sometimes when I drive into our new neighborhood and realize its ours now. I have messed up a few times and driven to the old house on auto pilot. But, we have enjoyed living here so far and are so excited to make all new memories here.

June 2017

This is going to be a short post because I'm saving up most of June's activities for a big post about a big change in our lives. But, I can't skip the whole month because there were a few things that happened that deserve a separate post.

Aubrey's last day of school was in June and it seemed to sneak up on us so fast. I think all of her 2nd grade year just went by so fast because so much was going on. She had a great year and for once was actually ready to move on to the next grade level.

Once the kids were out of school, our nanny introduced them to the joys of a hammock and they were in love.

Todd and I had a much, much needed date night in June and went to do a wine and paint night. It was so much fun to do one with him. 

I think in my May post, I mistakenly said Aubrey wrapped up her dance season. Technically, the studio wrapped up the season, but the competition team kept on moving in preparation for their big summer performance in DISNEY. Yes, we made our 2nd trip of the year to Disney World. Yes, Disney World, in June. The weather was miserably hot but the girls danced their heart out at Disney Springs so it made the trip entirely worth it. Plus, we invited my mom to tag along so she could watch the kids enjoy another Disney trip and she had a great time as well.

So, more about June coming up next....

May 2017

As usual for our family, May was pretty crazy. There is always so much going on as schools and extra  curricular activities begin to wind down for the year.

Mason's t-ball team wrapped their season at the beginning of the month. Mason's ball skills improved so much this year, but Coach Todd seems to think he'll need one more season of tball before moving up to coach pitch baseball. So, we'll be back again next year.

Aubrey's dance team wrapped up their season with their final competition and dance recital. I'll be honest, though. After watching 4 dance competitions this year, the recital was a little anticlimactic for me. I will never get tired of watching Aubrey dance, but sitting through another 4 hour dress rehearsal and recital was just not as much fun as competitions. But, Aubrey was excited to get her 5th year of dance trophy so that made it a little more exciting.


The biggest tug at my heartstrings moment of the month was watching our little guy graduate from preschool. We have had someone at Assurance Preschool for the past 5 years so realizing that we were moving past the preschool phase was so bittersweet. He was so excited and so ready for Kindergarten but it still caused a few tears to pass this momma's eyes to see him walk that stage.

We celebrated Memorial Day weekend by taking our last trip to the HFFA pool. The kids love this pool and I was sad to give up our membership, but better things were on the horizon that made it a little less sad.

We had our first lake visits in May and it was so beautiful. Sometimes I wish we lived on the water but then I remember how expensive it is and how I'm not super fond of creatures that live around the lake, so I stick to living on dry land instead.

So, May kept us pretty busy and even more busyness kept us going in June....

Thursday, October 19, 2017

April 2017

April was the start to lots and lots of craziness in our life that deserves its own whole post so this month's post will be a bit skimpy because we were so focused on that craziness.

Before the craziness started, we got to spend lots of time at the baseball field because Mason started his 2nd season of t-ball. Todd sort of ended up being the default head coach, which meant he got to pick the team name. So, of course he had to go with our favorite Braves. Unfortunately, I missed the first game because I had training for work (again, a whole other post. Different than the crazy post I listed above. Lots of craziness I tell you) but there were lots of people to cheer him on and I received lots of pics. I did get to go to most of the other games but missing that first one still hurt this momma's heart.

We enjoyed a beautiful Easter day at home and church before going to my in-law's house for dinner. The kids were super excited about their Easter baskets  but also balanced that with tons of questions about the meaning of Easter. It was a hard discussion to have with a 5-year old about Jesus dying and coming back but he seemed to be ok with that simple of an explanation. 

Aubrey went 3D with their letter this year and it was so cute.

Turning a holiday into a math lesson by counting his eggs. 

The only other child-related even this month was taking Aubrey to the American Girl store at South Park for a party. She was so excited that we finally bought some bangs for her doll Abby. 

So, 2 more posts will come later that will connect back to this month but I've got to get prepared to write them. Because, serious changes started this month and I can't wait to share.

March 2017

March started busy season back up for us. We spent quite a few dance this month in an auditorium with loud music and sequins.....aka dance competitions and shows. I competed dance from ages 9-15 so I knew they would be early mornings and late nights so I was mentally prepared for the long days. But, it was so much more fun as an adult to be there. As a kid, I was always nervous and stressed about performing well so I never really watched the other dances. I really enjoyed watching the other teams dance this time and getting to relax while someone else stressed about their dances. Oddly enough, I wasn't really nervous for Aubrey because I knew their teams would do well. She competed 2 dances with her team and then 1 large production number with the whole troupe. Their teacher is an amazing choreographer and has such a talent with dance and works so hard to make these girls good. And it shows. They racked up so many awards with the various dances and it was so fun to see.

In a cruel twist in weather, after having a nice February, March returned to cold and yuck, including another snow. This one was much smaller than January's, but enough for the kids to gear up and go outside to play.