I Confess

Last week I showed off near-sparkling photos of my house a year after we’ve lived in it. Well, I have a confession.

It doesn’t look that way normally.

For about a week, Brian and I went back and forth on getting the house picked up enough to do that blog post, and in the end, I shoved all our crap around and strategically photographed the rooms. (while Brian laughed at me in the background)

Here’s a sneak peak into what it really looks like:

Those are what I like to call “standing” messes for the most part. That means, they’re pretty much always there, with a little variation. Except the kitchen counter with the fruit on it. Normally there is not that amount of fruit on our counters, haha.

Those photos might even be picked up a little from the usual. I couldn’t even bear to share my bedroom.

There, I feel better now, getting that off my chest.

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One Year Later

One year and a couple months, anyway. Last year right around this time I took photos of our new house. At the time, we had been in it for about a month or two, and we didn’t even have anything hanging on the walls yet. We weren’t completely unpacked and I hid off sections of rooms and only showed the glory of perfect unclutteredness in the new house.

Now here we are, one year later, older, wiser, and much more cluttered.That nursery has actually been used, cause yeah, we had a baby (though a year ago, the nursery wasn’t remotely finished).

I thought it would be fun to show you how our lives have changed in just one short year.

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Digging Holes

On my last day before starting the new job about two weeks ago, I had the day entirely to myself without Jameson or Brian. So I decided to plant bulbs.

See, we are internet deal shoppers, and Brian found a deal for a box of random bulbs for cheap. It took like 6 weeks to get to us, by which time we had forgotten we had even purchased them. They arrived and they said “plant as soon as possible”. So that is how I spent my day off, and by the end of the day I had a sunburn. It took a lot longer than I thought.

Before I start, I should mention that I am not plant savvy at all. But apparently I am not bad at it, when I am paying attention (for example, I had a spider plant which I almost killed, but now it’s thriving. As soon as I started paying attention to it and re-potted it [which was scary], it exploded with little mini spider strands).

Okay okay, there are photos in this post, stick with me. Here’s a teaser.

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My Favorite Non-Baby Baby Item

My favorite non-baby baby item happens to be a little wall decor piece. It has four swinging swallows hanging from a black box. Doesn’t sound attractive? It actually is, and Jameson loved it. He still enjoys it, but now that he notices color he’s been more fascinated with the owl and tree wall decal right next to my nursing glider. But for a long time, that swinging bird piece would keep him from crying whenever he noticed it. He’d just stare forever. It runs on batteries, and is super quiet. It has been running now for about 6 months and one of the birds just finally stopped, needing some replacement batteries which are double AA’s.

So I bought it from one of those places that send you a thousand catalogs and has some fun random giftables. But really, I had a great experience and I’d buy from them again. And as far as I know, Signals is the only place you can get the Swallows Kinetic Wall Art. Bonus: It’s on sale. (Here’s some more about Jameson’s nursery, and the leaves for his mobile are Bazzil from Overstock).

Jameson lately has also been loving the large red plastic cup we use to rinse him off during bath time. Something about that running water that he loves. Makes me tempted to get one of these… last time I looked it wasn’t available via Amazon Prime but it is now. Soooo tempting…

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This year was our first Thanksgiving in the new house. Brian and I were pretty excited to be hosting it as well! We used our dining room for the first time and had Brian’s family over. Brian made most of the meal and it turned out just perfect with no hiccups. It was our first time using the turkey oven bag, and it was great. We also made sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, green bean casserole, stuffing with apples, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, and the cranberry sauce staple.

The day before, we took the day off and visited 5 daycares. We were finally able to decide on one, based primarily on gut feel and location and teacher to child ratio. All of them were around the same price, even with a corporate discount I received from a lot of them in the area. Then I got my hair cut, and spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a table runner and place mats. (That was all me — Brian worked on the shed)

The shed is getting it’s finishing touches over the next couple weekends as Brian has friends coming to help put in the siding. Then all it needs is a proper ramp, which is planned for spring! I can’t believe it actually is getting done, and just in time as the snow is starting to come down here and it’s staying cold.

I spent Thanksgiving day cleaning downstairs and putting finishing touches on Christmas decorations. We didn’t have our Christmas tree yet but all other decorations were out and inviting. This year, I got some inspiration from work where the corporate headquarters entryway had some big bulb ornaments hanging from ribbon down the glass panes. I did something similar, purchasing the bulbs of course during double discount, and hanging them from the railings on the second floor so they hang down into the entry way. They look great, I am very happy with how they turned out!

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Nursery and Baby Shower

This past weekend was my baby shower, and we go lots of great gifts. I feel almost prepared now! Just a couple more classes (like the Baby Care class this evening) and a few more items (like the baby monitor) and we will be set!

Here’s a few pictures of our Peapod’s nursery:

The baby shower was great; Brian’s mom did such a great job. It was catered by the same company that did our wedding food, so everything was excellent (I’m still eating the leftovers!). We had crescent sandwiches, vegetarian wraps, cheese and crackers, fruit, pasta salad, swedish meatballs and of course punch, cookies and a cake! I had a lot more people come than I expected. A good friend who I haven’t seen in over two years, Sasha, came to visit. Also some of my old Centerville friends and a lot of new friends! Most of Brian’s family came as well, and my aunt Carol and cousin Stacey.  Sadly my mom couldn’t make it, but she did give me a gift to make me cry in front of everyone (a bonnet made from a handkerchief when I was baptized). See some pictures from the baby shower.

Yesterday I had my first Non-Stress Test (NST) and an ultrasound. I am now going to the doctor once every week and getting a NST each week because of the gestational diabetes. Luckily I am managing just fine with diet and so I am type A1 diabetes and only need to go in once a week instead of twice! The diabetes is a pain, but I have only broken the diet a couple times. I haven’t gained any weight the past two weeks since my last appointment, but the doctor says that is good and okay that I have some fat stores that are probably being burned up.

The NST is the same type of monitor they will use when I deliver. It measures baby’s heart rate and contractions. I got to watch the graph change when baby moved — the heart rate would go up. I also had a mild contraction while I was there and baby’s heart rate goes up then too. It takes 20 minutes so that is kind of a pain, and I had to wait to get the monitor since they only had a couple. But otherwise it’s painless and relatively easy!

The ultrasound was great! Fluid around the baby is normal, and Peapod is head down! The tech was nice and told us again when to look away when she was looking at the pelvis area so we still have no idea what the baby is. Brian needs to get working on some baby name ideas!

In other news, recently I got a new china cabinet which I am displaying my grandma’s glassware in! I spent about 5 hours cleaning all the crystal and it just looks fantastic. Grandma would be happy to see her glasses all clean and shining in the beautiful china cabinet, I just wish she was still around to see it.

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Done and Moved

We are a week into our new house! I love love love it. Moving was stressful and no fun, but totally worth it in the end. And the last thing you want to do after moving into a new house is clean the old, but we did and left it fairly pleasant I think.

We did decide to get the furniture from my parents the day before our official move, so that was good and meant we didn’t have to move old furniture we were getting rid of anyway. Tony took it off our hands. My parents furniture, while probably just as old, is in slightly better condition and reclines, which is excellent!

The house is practically like new, and they even steam cleaned the carpets before we moved in which is super! The puppy had a hard time for the first couple days, but is pretty good now. Staying off furniture and off the bed, and learning the electric fence. Not too bad thus far! Brian already is investing in a couple home improvement things, I’m not surprised. We got a new thermostat and a water thing for upstairs which I don’t fully understand but means that the water will warm much quicker and we won’t waste as much water waiting for the heat.

It’s weird having so many bathrooms! And a pantry and cabinets that actually hold everything we own! We have rediscovered some wedding gifts. Kitchen is pretty much unpacked, closet is pretty much unpacked. There’s decorating stuff in the dining room and the office still needs a lot of work (computer is not yet up and running). But the house is almost guest ready. I took some more days off (Friday & Monday this weekend) to do some extra unpacking, though I haven’t really gotten much done in reality so far.

I recently got a promotion at work and will be switching to the IT department on June 1. The position is a Business Analyst position and  I will continue working with the .com team in a different capacity, though continuing to manage our testing process for code releases.

I think next weekend Brian and I are going to look at bedroom furniture, and a little table for the entryway. Oh I just have to say also that the laundry room on the second floor is amazing. I LOVE it. And our neighbors seem really nice (at least one set; we haven’t really met the others). The ones we’ve met are named Curtis and Kelly. They are both pharmacists and are expecting their first baby in August (a surprise). They seem very nice and young, I think we will hang out.

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Just playing the waiting game now! So I will write about other stuff:

We spent Easter at my parents in Centerville, which was very nice. Everyone was home, and (maybe because I can’t let childhood go), I had my mom hide eggs and our baskets still. I love that part of Easter, it’s entertaining, and fun to have Brian do it too haha. My mom started writing poems for clues to hiding places back when we first move to the house on Sentinel Oak (what was that, some 10 years ago now?). Anyway, it is a firmly planted tradition now even though it only started after we were all older.

My brother is spending the fall in Florida doing the Disney program in his major, Industrial Engineering. We are all supremely proud of him, and I am excited he will get to spend some time away from school which I think is a very good thing. Not because he’s not doing well, but because I am a firm believer in studying abroad (or elsewhere in the US as the case may be). It’s awesome to gain new experiences like that.

My lightbox which I was using to photograph my jewelry was taken apart with some of our last showings (as we were starting to get desperate to make our house look big and inviting). Anyway, I have thus not taken any new pictures of jewelry that I’ve created, though I have done a few. The most recent one combines chain, which is a new thing for me. I am going to do another chain one soon that I think will be good enough to sell. I am still enjoying the hobby!

This upcoming weekend I am headed to Columbus for a (mini) reunion with old friends, and to see Jamie’s new house which will surely make me jealous! I am impatient and have noticed this month to be harder than before to try and stay motivated and positive. I am ready for this all to be over. We started packing in the house last weekend (Brian started packing the garage earlier); I put away all the rest of the books and started in the office closet which currently houses all my crafting items. This week I want to finish the office and take things off the walls. I hate wrapping stuff in bubble wrap, so I don’t want to wait til the last minute and get sloppy on those types of items.

I will post pictures of the new place once we are settled! My parents are giving us some furniture of theirs that we aren’t picking up til end of May, so chances are there won’t be pictures until then. They are giving us their old couches, my old day bed (less the mattresses), a gliding chair, elliptical and some other stuff. I am super pumped about it, it will be so nice to have like-new furniture!

Anyway, that is all that’s new on this end. Til next time.

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It actually already feels like old news to me, I can’t believe how fast things are moving!

So very shortly after my last post, we got a phone call from our realtor; apparently the guy who low balled us weeks ago came back looking for some further  negotiation. After some short back and forth and pre-approval on his end (he’s retired so had a fixed income), we negotiated to both our satisfactions. It’s still lower than what Brian paid for it 8 or so years ago, but it’s understandable considering the market. In fact shortly after we signed the contract, I started getting emails (Washington Post, I skim headlines) about the housing market being at record lows again, so all things considered I feel very lucky and the man should feel like he’s getting a deal. Our realtor said it was the cleanest offer he’d seen in a long time (no contingencies, etc.)

I was a little concerned about inspection; after all the house is really old and there are a lot of things that will need replaced at some point. The man only wanted a replaced electrical box! This was also excellent considering we already dipped very low from our original asking price.

Conveniently, this all started happening just before we sat down with the for-sale-by-owner couple; our “contingent” offer was much less contingent. We were able to say it would be just contingent on the current pending offer of our house, which sounds much better than contingent on some unknown pending sale in the distant future.

We sat down with them a number of times, for several hours each time, negotiating the price down and trying to get some amenities to make up for the higher price. We didn’t involve our realtor. It was a little weird, negotiating for the most expensive thing we’ve ever owned, sitting down at a table without an intermediary.

All in all, it’s a fair price for what we are getting (3 car garage, bigger yard, all appliances including washer & dryer, etc.., not to mention we negotiated for the dining room table, a small bedroom set and twin bed upstairs so at least we don’t have to buy guest room furniture any time soon, and a lower bathroom cabinet). I am particularly exciting about the dining room table because that is a luxury we probably wouldn’t have purchased any time soon and we would have had an empty room for a while!

The house is about 5 minutes or less from Brian’s parents; it’s just 2 years old and needs no work done; what we will work on will be for fun, for us, not because we have to. I am excited to plant flowers and make my own house beautiful!

So we are sale pending, not technically sold, but all inspections and appraisals are done so I expect no issues. We are supposed to close end of April, though I am wondering if we will be able to make things move a little quicker. Everyone has been very quick so far! Now, I am just waiting…

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March, Seriously?

Okay, I last updated in October, which seems like a ridiculously long time to go without posting. I guess you could say it’s been a whirlwind, consisting mainly of holidays and getting the house ready to sell.

So our contract with the realtor we have ends March 31. Hopefully he is super motivated to get this thing sold. We had an offer, but it was way too low. He was looking for a deal, but Brian and I aren’t desperate (yet). We have friends who took nearly a year to sell their house. If Brian and I get to that point, ask us again.

The first set of houses that we went and looked at were difficult for me. I had a hard time looking at things that I couldn’t have yet (probably would sell before we sold) and a hard time looking at houses that I hated as soon as I walked in them (waste of time). It ended on the worst note because we stopped at Brian’s co-worker’s house. Him and his wife had recently purchased a house at a great price for what they got; plus it was a new construction and just phenomenal. Brian and I, to get the tax credit, are not going to be able to build a house nor are there any new houses by that builder in progress to snatch up either so… I had fallen in love with a house that was an impossibility.

I got over it. This past weekend we looked at some more houses. We saw one with potential that was reasonably priced and then saw one that we both loved though it was huge and looked like it would get snatched up really quick. So I quickly put that from my mind (though it had an amazing craft room and bar…. sigh…)

Well, we found a house that we love above all others…. question is, will they take a contingent offer? (that is, go under contract with us that we will buy their house after ours sells). Things look fairly promising, but we don’t have a firm yes or no yet, after which of course we have to negotiate a price, time limit… etc… The house is closer to Brian’s parents and it also is higher priced than any others, but taxes are lower there and if we lock in that super low interest rate this week, the house is still well within our reach. The house is also for sale by owner and we haven’t gotten our realtor involved yet because obviously there is more flexibility that way. We’ll see.

This week I feel pretty optimistic. Ask me again tomorrow, it might be a different story but right now I feel really good about things. We had a good showing this past weekend and that realtor plans on bringing another potential buyer over. Snow is finally starting to melt so people will be able to see the yard hopefully by the weekend. The yard is the selling point.

So back to the new love of my life, this house. It has a three car garage, second floor laundry, 4 bed, 2.5 bath, unfinished 12 course basement (the basement is smaller due to the extra garage but still lots of good finishable space and ready for another bath down there too). It has an extra poured concrete spot next to the garage, and patio in the back. 1/2 acre lot which is considerable for the houses we’ve been looking at. Hard to move down from .9 acres to .25! But this .5 is do-able. Invisible fence already installed. Real fence along the back of the yard, all the same fence along the back of the neighbor’s on either side also. Beautiful kitchen, lots of closet space. New neighborhood, the house was built in 2007. Young people next door too. What more could you possibly want? Not a thing. This is nearly my dream house and everything we’ve been looking for.

Hope hope hope

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