Sunday, July 15, 2012

And So It Begins . . .

We did the final walk through of our house at 10:00 on Friday.  We closed around 11:30 (after FINALLY finding out the paper work was complete, and swinging by the bank to get a certified check).  My amazing friend Jessica kept Kaden for me all morning.  Thank goodness.  About half way through signing our lives away, I thought, "Thank goodness I am not trying to entertain Kaden right now."  It would have been a nightmare.  Seriously.  After we signed the papers we swung back by the house to pick up the extra keys (the seller was still moving things out . . . such a long story . . . but again, let me stress that I never want to purchase a short sale again).  I went back to Cary to pick up Kaden, then took him to the new house to nap in the pack-n-play while I started cleaning and prepping for painting.  The house is filthy.  Not dirty.  Filthy.  It terrifies me that people were living there before we bought it.  The pictures don't do the filth justice.  I am constantly telling Kaden not to touch anything, and trying to get him to stand on blankets I've spread on the floor instead of the carpet (we are going to be replacing all of the flooring, but are trying to get the painting completed first).  Here's a quick photo tour.  I brought the wrong lens, and quickly realized I couldn't get any wide angle shots, but it is what it is:

This is the outside of the front of the house.  I actually stole this one from the realtor's website, since I forgot to take any pictures of the outside of the house.  Woops.  The eventual plan is to replace the front door.  We are also going to paint all of the shutters black.  The landscaping, of course, will also go through some major changes.  We probably won't get to the outside of the house until fall, since so much work needs to be completed on the inside.  It is by far the roughest house on the block.  Our neighbors seem very friendly and very excited that we are doing work on the house.

I had already swept, shop vac-ed, and vacuumed before taking the photos downstairs, so it doesn't really showcase the state of things when we walked in.   Picture a lot more dead bugs (the exterminator came on Saturday afternoon . . . I set that appointment up the minute I knew we were getting the house).  I will try to get some close-ups of the carpet later.  These photos make it look so much better than it looks in person, which is saying a lot.  The downstairs has a really open floor plan.  This is the family room area, looking into the dining room.  The pass through window goes into the kitchen. We are planning on replacing all of the downstairs flooring with pre-finished hardwood.

There is a half bath to the right.

 This is looking the other direction.  The open door goes into the half bath.
 Here are some photos of the kitchen.  It's going to go through a major overhaul.  We're just not sure what that will entail yet.

 The sliding doors open to a two-tiered deck.  There is a fenced backyard.  It's a small yard, but it's a yard, and it's fenced.

 When you go upstairs . . .
 There is a bonus room over the garage.  This is going to be a guest room for now.  Eventually, when we add another baby to the family, this will also double as an office space.  (Notice I'd already started putting up potential paint samples on the walls.)

This room is going to be Kaden's spot:

This is the upstairs bathroom.  It has a tub/shower combo.

 This is our bedroom:
 And yes, that really is a pink bathroom attached to a brown bedroom.

Double vanity!!! YAY!!! (It's the little things, folks.)
 Garden tub (I am so excited for bubble baths, when I get it fully sanitized, of course).
 Shower, and door leading to walk in closet (YAY!  Not sure where Chad's stuff is going to go . . . just kidding . . . kind of).  The toilet is on the other side of the shower, before you get to the closet.
There's one more bedroom (which we will use as an office), but Kaden was sleeping in it when I took the pictures, and I forgot to get one later.  I'll have to remember to get one tomorrow.  It's a real gem.  All the walls are bright green, the ceiling is yellow, and the trim is bright blue.

Up close and personal with some of the filth (this is what Chad found when he changed the air filter upstairs.  Not sure it's ever been changed):

And now we get to the part where I brag about my in-laws, and you wish they were your in-laws.  They are awesome.  Amazing.  They drove to Raleigh on Friday evening just so they could help us get started on our renovations.  It gets better.  They brought a cooler.  With snacks.  And drinks.  Joy kept Kaden entertained after he woke up.  She even took him home and put him to bed, so we could keep working until after midnight.  The next day, she kept him all day again, and Bruce helped us work, work, and work some more.   Here are some shots of us working on Friday night:  

 I'm looking hot in my painting garb.  Also, after looking at this picture it makes complete sense why my back is in severe pain now.  What was I thinking with that posture?  

 It's amazing what a little paint can do.  It already started to feel TONS better with just one coat.

And because I can't resist, here are some pictures of Kaden "climbing the Daddy mountain" on Saturday before we went called it quits. (Have you read The Daddy Mountain? Super cute children's book.  Go read it to some little cub of your own.)

 My two best one boys:

Our beautiful ceiling fan that my in-laws bought us as a house-warming gift.  It's the same light fixture we had in our den in Kinston, and I LOVE it.  I didn't like anything better than the one we used to have, so we bought the same one.

Everything downstairs (except the kitchen--going to do that in one, big overhaul) has been painted.  We are going to install crown molding eventually, along with chair rail, and picture frame molding in the dining room.

We made a big dent, but there is still SO MUCH left to do.  I am freaking out.  Seriously.  I leave for Utah on the 24th of July, and I won't be back until August 28th.  Chad's going to be moving our stuff on his own.  Not to mention how much needs to be completed before I leave.  Luckily, I'm the only stress case in the family.  Chad seems pretty calm, so hopefully it will work out the way he is envisioning it, not the way I am.

We took a welcome rest today, since it is Sunday.  We went to our new ward (in our church we meet in congregations based on geographical regions, so we will be attending a new congregation) and loved it.  There were lots of friendly people, and lots of young families.  Kaden even stayed in nursery for the first hour without crying.  There were twelve kids in there, so lots of friends his age.  I still had to miss Relief Society (the meeting during the last hour of the three hour block), but one hour without a break down is progress.  We're excited to get to know people, and really put down some roots.

P.S.  Today, Kaden ate an apple whole, instead of having me cut it into slices.  It was a milestone.  He is such a sweet boy.  He has been a real trooper the last few days, especially considering he spent most of Friday and Saturday without any Mommy or Daddy time.  I love this little bean!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep

It turns out that old cliche is true. 

I once promised here that the next house I bought would be move-in ready. 

Oh, ho, ho!  How funny I am! 

Tomorrow, we are closing on a house.  Or should I say renovation project number two?  (Or number three if you count our rental property.)  Well . . . we are closing if all the paper work gets completed by the end of today.  During the two and half month process of getting our offer approved, I've been repeating over and over, "We will never buy a short sale again."  (Hmmmm . . . I feel another cliche coming on . . . never say never?)

It turns out that my husband and I are crazy.  Two gluttons for punishment. 

While looking at numerous houses, I realized what a sick person I was.  Chad once confessed to me on a drive home from a walk-through of one house that he was almost sad to think about buying a house that was move-in ready, because we wouldn't be able to leave our mark on the place.  I felt the same way, despite my vivid recollections of experiences like the ones I documented here.    That's how I knew I was sick.  Demented in the head.  Not only that, but when I saw places that were fixed up, I kept thinking, "I could do everything they've done  in here."  Neutral paint and new tile just aren't that impressive when you know how much it will cost to do the same job on a cheaper house yourself. 

Of course that's not the only factor that has contributed to our purchasing of a home requiring a ton of blood, sweat, and tears.  For one thing, I really want to stay at home with Kaden full-time, and so I'm willing to sacrifice my visions of an over-sized, perfectly-remodeled kitchen, and a giant backyard--for now.  Even though there are days when I want to pull my hair out from the frustration of enduring numerous toddler tantrums, I can't imagine not being the one who reads him his stories before his nap.  I just love watching him learn and grow each day.  If there's a way for me to stay home, I want to do it.  

Is our new house the perfect house?  Well, it really feels like it is the perfect house for our family at this phase of our life.  And hopefully, once all the renovations are completed, it will feel even more so.

I have six jars of sample paint sitting on my kitchen counter.

There's a bucket of joint compound sitting on the table.

Bring it.  We're ready. 

The butterflies have been going crazy in my tummy all week.  I'm so excited to start a new chapter of our lives.  It's time to make another house a home!  

Friday, July 06, 2012

Allow Me to Tell You How I Really Feel . . .Or Write it in a Letter

Dear NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe,

I have found you.  At last, after years of searching, we're united:  me, the crusader, and you, the Mecca of the classic cookie.  Bernice and I have tried a lot of recipes together, but few have brought me the joy that your sea salt-sprinkled goodness has.  Despite the fact that no one at any store (even the promised Whole Foods) knew what fèves were, my chosen combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips were utterly dreamy.  I'm in love with a cookie and I don't care who knows it!

A woman with melted chocolate in the corners of her mouth, and an accompanying milk mustache

I hate to write this directly under a declaration of undying love.  It seems unfair to cast you in the shadow of such grandeur.  Even so, it must be said that you are disgusting.  Nasty.  You in no way live up to your Ben and Jerry's-esque name.  I felt such kinship when I read the blog post of your author.  When she proclaimed that she gained 65 pounds with her first pregnancy, I though, "Ah! A woman who knows her desserts!  I can trust her!"  Sadly, you were a flop.  So much so that we didn't even finish baking you.  Your batter sat on the counter.  I added a few spoonfuls of sugar.  Then an entire cup.  Nothing could be done.  A garbage disposal funeral was your fate.  Adieu!  I shall stick with smaller helpings of calorie-filled goodness in your place.

A woman who prays her metabolism will never fail her

Dear Directions,

Why do you appear on some things and not on others?  Today, I read you clearly on the back of a bottle of hand soap.  Then, when inspecting canisters of dry shampoo in Target you were no where to be found.  I know how to lather and rinse my hands in the bathroom sink, but something about the idea of a shampoo that requires no shower slightly terrifies me.  Help a sister out!


Dear Lady I Almost Collided With in Target,

I realize I almost hit you with my shopping cart, but I didn't.  Therefore, it would have been nice if you're, "It's OK," following my apology had been pronounced in a kinder tone.  Have I almost been rammed into by a psycho in Target before?  Yes.  And when she said, "I'm sorry," I pretended it was, indeed, OK.  At least pretend.  That is all.

The woman who was trying to remove her sunglasses and feed her toddler goldfish crackers at the same time, instead of watching where she was going

Dear Elmo,

I love that Kaden pronounces your name Melmo.  He is infatuated with your "Emotion in the Ocean" song.  I know it by heart and frequently sing it, even when Kaden's not in the room.

Kaden's Mommy

Dear Hand Wash Only Label,

LIAR!  Equivocator!  Great deceiver!  For months you have lain in the bottom of my hamper.  Why?  Because I am too lazy to wash you.  Today, I carefully washed the skirt in which you abide, following your directions exactly.  Cold water?  Check.  Hand wash?  Check.  And what happens when I lay you flat to dry (also per your directions?) what was once a cream skirt with a black pattern is now a cream skirt with a bleeding black pattern.  If you wanted to be dry cleaned only, why didn't you just say so?  I wouldn't have held it against you, you just would have had to wait for a few more months in the bottom of the hamper.


My friend told me about this link-up, which prompted me to write letters this Friday, but as you know, this is one of my favorite kinds of posts to write on my blog.  I've been contemplating starting a second blog of daily letters.  What do you think?  Would anyone read it?  


Thursday, July 05, 2012

4th of July Miracles

We almost didn't go watch the fireworks on the 4th of July.  Almost.

It was over 100 degrees yesterday and nothing about sitting in the heat with a squirmy toddler (at way past his bedtime) sounded appealing.  Then, it started pouring buckets around five o'clock and nothing about sitting in wet grass from seven to nine with a squirmy toddler (still at way past his bedtime) sounded fun.

Only it stopped raining, and the sun came out, and we remembered that the North Carolina symphony was giving a free concert.  A few diapers were tossed into the diaper bag, and we rushed out the door in a very uncharacteristically spontaneous fashion.  I'm so glad we decided to go.  I don't have a single picture of the blessed event, but I want to remember it forever, because it was such a simple, happy evening.

Someday Kaden won't be a blond-headed toddler anymore.  Someday he won't live with me, because he will have a family of his own.  Here are the things I want to remember about yesterday when I am old and gray and missing my baby Kaden who is all grown up:

--We paid $5 to park and we parked in the parking lot that was the furthest away, so it would be easy to get out after the festivities.

--We pushed Kaden Fox and his stuffed fox in the jogging stroller to the park, and on the way we saw four deer jump across a stream.

--Even though it was still humid, the rain had cooled everything down to low 80s, and we even enjoyed a slight breeze.  

--Kaden threw sticks into the lake while we waited for the fireworks to start.  Some other kids let him help them feed the ducks.  Chad and I took turns taking Kaden on lots of walks to help him get his wiggles out before the fireworks started.

--The NC Symphony serenaded us with patriotic music.

--Kaden ate vanilla wafers in my lap while we watched the sunset.  He pointed out all of the colors he saw in the sky, while cookie crumbs spewed from the corners of his little mouth onto my arms and thighs.

--Kaden was scared of the fireworks at first, but then he warmed right up to them, clapping and smiling after each big boom!

--While we lay on our green army blanket and watched the fireworks, Chad whispered in my ear, "I really like our little family," and I whispered back, "Me, too."

--On the way back to the car, they were giving out free Chick-Fil-A sandwiches (the ones they hadn't sold during the concert), and I totally scored one for each of us.

--Even though there was a swarm of mosquitoes above us from the moment the sun went down, I made it through the evening without acquiring a SINGLE bite.  And we had no bug spray.  This is a 4th of July miracle, considering all mosquitoes adore my blood, but Southern ones seem to crave it with a vengeance.  

--Kaden woke up this morning talking about fireworks and how they go, "BOOM!"  He has been talking about them on and off all day.  It makes me so happy that he remembered the outing.

Happy birthday, America!  Yay for happy family memories!
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