Monday, December 26, 2011

moving and holidays

We're finally in!
But far from settled I would say.
Ever since we moved in it has been non-stop chaos.
There has been something to do every second of every day.

The day of our move was completely hectic.
We had family over helping us pack and get last minute boxes ready for the movers to take out to the truck.  The movers were fantastic.  They totally amazed me with the things they could carry out of the house.  It's like, if you're a mover, you have to have super-human strength.  It was pretty incredible.  They were carrying the bulkiest, heaviest items I own like it was no big thang.  Although they did admit that our dresser (filled with clothes) and credenza were incredibly heavy.  
Unloading wasn't much faster or easier.  The whole process took 6 hours.  But all-in-all I would suggest hiring movers.  They were extremely helpful, and we would still be moving our furniture over here if it weren't for them.  They were really friendly too, so that helped.

They even let Haven help take the bed apart!
Since the move I have been on a frenzy of cleaning, organizing, unpacking, figuring and re-figuring where things will end up calling home in our new house.  And the day before Christmas Eve I was hit with a 24-hour stomach bug that stopped me in my tracks.  That really stunk because we were having people over for Christmas Eve dinner so they could see the house.  So the next morning when I was feeling about 85% better I started my all day whirlwind cleaning and organizing.  A lot of boxes ended up in the garage and in closets just so we could make it presentable for company.

Luke woke up Christmas morning with the same illness and was pretty much out for the count for the entire day.  Sleeping on the couch while we opened presents, and then sleeping in a basement bed while we all had Christmas dinner.  Poor guy. :(  I actually felt lucky to have gotten it when I did.  But Christmas ended up being pretty low-key and uneventful anyway, so he didn't miss too much.

At the end of the day I was pooped.  I hopped in bed around 10:30 p.m. and it felt like 2:30 a.m.  I'm looking forward to some slower days but don't expect those for a while.  We still have some things to get out of our townhouse and haven't had time to do it with everything going on, especially my and Luke's sickness.  Hopefully we can make some progress or even finish up with that today.

I can't wait to get into the normal swing of things and get back to my regular blogging.  I'll try and keep ya updated in the meantime.

Monday, December 19, 2011

the last night...probably

I'm sitting in my house,
girls asleep,
writing a blog,
for the last time.

No, no, no, I'm not quitting blogging,
I'm moving tomorrow...probably.

There are so many details that go into building a house,
especially when it comes to closing,
that everything comes down to the last second.
I have movers scheduled to come tomorrow (Tues),
and I may have to either push it back a few hours
or possibly even until the day after tomorrow (Weds),
because we are waiting on the underwriter to do something or other that I don't understand.

Anyway, 
I am trying to soak in the last few precious moments at my first ever house.  It looks a little ramshackle right now with all the boxes and things strewn about.  But that's okay.  I don't mind.
Just trying to enjoy it.
The things ahead are sweet; these moments are fleeting.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

finishing touches

I had to drop off the hardware for our cabinetry at the house yesterday,
so while I was there I snapped a few more pictures.
At this point in the building process there is something new to see 
every time I go out there.
There were painters doing touch-ups, 
and, to my surprise, our appliances had been installed.
Does that scream "Almost finished!" to anybody else?!


Kitchen with granite and appliances installed.
Hardware yet to be installed on the cabinets/drawers.

Pantry door and interior shelving installed.

Look at that beautiful sink, granite, and faucet.  Love it so much.

Surprise!  Appliances installed.  I didn't expect that at all.

The door on the left is to the mud room/laundry room (with access to the garage),
and as you can see, the toilet and pedestal sink were installed in the bathroom.
On the right are the stairs leading to the second floor.

View coming down the stairs into the living room.
What a nice construction door. ;)

My pride and joy.
Our custom master walk-in shower is finished.
It's the biggest shower I've ever seen.

View from living room.
Front door and entryway,
on the left you can just see the entrance to our dining room,
and on the right is the kitchen.

Our beautiful front door being stained.
I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!*

One half of our finished basement.
This is really weird because the paint looks olive green in these pictures,
but in person it's more of a charcoal grayish-brown.

I love the view out of my kitchen window.
We were able to keep that amazing tree and fully plan on decking it out with Christmas lights.
Won't that be a beaut?!

Look!  Running water!

Like I said before, toilet and pedestal sink were installed.
Again, that's beauty to my eyes.
Obviously, there are still a few paint touch-ups that need to be tended to.

Stairs were carpeted and banister was installed.  Love the wrought iron.

They are working on wrapping the posts on our wraparound porch.
Beautifying them, basically.
It is so exciting to see the progress we have made.
I will have to post the pictures we've been taking throughout the entire building process, so you can see them start to finish.

What do you think?

*Name that movie!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

in moving limbo

Right now I'm feeling kind of stuck in moving limbo.
We don't have a LOT of stuff, 
and we've already packed up most of our excess junk.
So I am feeling this pull and tug in opposite directions,
one side saying, 
"PACK EVERYTHING NOW!  
You're going to regret it later if you don't!"
the other side saying, 
"Whoa, whoa, whoa.  You may need that."
This is also why I am bad at packing for trips.  
I go through the same inner turmoil.

We only have one week before closing.  That's right, we're moving a week from today!  Eek!  Before Luke left for work this evening* we decided that we're going to just pack up our entire kitchen and eat out for the rest of our meals until we move.  Doesn't sound so bad to me. ;)
So that's next on the agenda, pack up the kitchen ENTIRELY.

Also, we are moving from a 1400 sq. ft. house to a 2500 sq. ft. house, so we're definitely going to be needing some more furniture and just more things in general to fill the space.
My mind is in overload, and oh yeah, it's almost Christmas.
That's almost beside the point this year. Well, not really.  
I just haven't had a lot of time to think about it.
I can't wait until we are all moved in.  The actual moving day makes my mind freak out, so I try not to think about it too much.  

One step at a time... Breathe in, breathe out.



*January 10th, Luke gets to switch back to NORMAL hours.  Yes folks, he's going to be sleeping at night like regular people do.  He has been on an overnight schedule on and off for the past three years, so we are elated that he gets to go back to his afternoon shift (1 p.m. to 11 p.m.).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

wrapping up

Our new beautiful home is nearing completion.
I can't believe this process is coming to an end.
It is so exciting that we get to move into this house that has been just a dream for so long. (Well, not that long actually.  The builders were really fast!)
Our closing date is December 20th, so we're really getting down to the wire.  
Only 12 more days!
I hadn't been in the house for about a week because there are locks on the doors now so not just anybody off the street can walk in, so when we went in yesterday I was amazed at how much the builders have accomplished.
Here's a few pics I snapped with my iPhone.



Our cabinets came in!  There will be black granite counter-tops.
And I am very pleased with the color of the wood floors.




The view from the kitchen into the living room.
The wall color isn't exactly what I thought it would be, but I still like it.

Master bedroom.  Love that color.


The view out of our master bedroom.
  
Custom walk-in shower in the master bathroom, tiling partially completed.


Shower, tile flooring.

Parker's bedroom.  The perfect purple color.
View out of Parker's perfect purple room.

Haven's pink bedroom.  Again, very happy with how the color turned out.
And this is her seeing it for the first time.

Sadly I forgot to capture any pictures of the basement, which is looking beautiful.  I'll try and get some of it tomorrow when we're out there.

What do you guys think?






Thursday, December 1, 2011

the truth about your hairstylist

two things that surprise me:
1. How quickly a person can choose a tattoo artist.
2. How quickly a person can choose a hairstylist.

while this post is not about tattoos, 
it really ties into what i have to say.
I don't have any tattoos.  I am not against tattoos.
I may even get a tattoo someday.
But the idea of choosing a tattoo that you're supposed to be happy with for the rest of your life is daunting to say the least.
okay, say you have overcome that colossal task.
you have found something that you are going to look at when you're 80 and say, "that was a good choice."
i doubt that will happen, but let's move on.
you are then left with a second colossal task - 
choosing your artist.
when I think tattoo artists I think Kat Von D,
but I have a feeling that's like asking Picasso to paint you a picture,
spendy.
So you can't afford the artist you want, do you then go to plan b and pick somebody you don't really want?  
that sounds like a good idea for a permanent piece of body art...


for a post that wasn't supposed to be about tattoos, 
this sure looks a lot like a post about tattoos.
my bad.


One thing I didn't realize before enrolling in cosmetology school was that not everybody was meant to do hair.  
What I mean by that is, sometimes a cosmetology license is an illusion.
Just because somebody went through a year of beauty school,
that does not make them a hair expert,
that does not make them fashionable,
and that does not make them good at doing hair.
think of it this way, if a person with absolutely no artistic ability takes a year's worth of art classes, does that make them an expert?  proooobably not.
I was recently in a financial class* we are taking at church and mentioned that I'm a licensed cosmetologist, and have done hair out of my house in the past.  Within seconds I had two or three people asking me if I could do their hair.  
While this is flattering AND good for my pocketbook,
I couldn't help but notice how quickly these people trusted me with their hair just because I have a cosmetology license.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't trust me with your hair,
but there are people out there that you absolutely shouldn't. 
Some girls that graduate cosmo school I wouldn't let touch my hair with a 10-foot-pole.


True story:  I worked at Cost Cutters for two days a couple years ago.  This is in no way something I thought I would do**, but this particular Cost Cutters is a 5 minute drive from my house and I just thought it would be the responsible thing to do.  I had to drive a couple hours away to train for the job.  They went over their policies and procedures, and had me cut the hair of a male mannequin, and showed me a couple of their techniques.  
Let me emphasize this:  I cut ONE mannequins hair and I was in.  
They basically told me that the more haircuts I did, the more money I would make.
That sounds great, but it ends up taking the fun out of doing hair.
It turns the salon into what I like to call a chop shop.
Basic philosophy, cut hair as fast as you can.
Do you really want that in a stylist?  
Do you want them to get you in and out as fast as they can?  
I had a co-worker tell me that she could do a male haircut in 8 minutes.  
8 minutes!
When I go to a salon, I want the experience.
I want it to be therapeutic.
I want them to take their time with me, and leave feeling refreshed,
and with a nice haircut would be a plus.


So do yourself a favor and do a little research before you let just anybody touch your hair.
That is, unless you're a guy.
In that case, you can probably disregard the second half of this blog.




*which i mentioned here.
** I see myself working in a high-end salon/spa.  not a cost cutters.  call me a snob, whatevs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the new house frenzy



We are very excited to move into our new house.
But there are so many loose ends needing to be tied up that I am going crazy!
Financial details, packing, planning, and on top of it all
CHRISTMAS!!
We sure picked a great time of year to move. (note sarcasm)

So much to do, so little time.
The actual building of the house is right on schedule, but now we are behind on some of the financial details and our closing date may have to be moved from December 20th to December 30th. Boo.

On top of all that, there are so many unexpected costs that arise in the building process.
Change your mind on one little detail and there's usually a fee.
And we are moving from a 1450 sq. ft. house into an (approximately) 2500 sq. ft. house,
so there's furniture to be bought.
When we actually do move in there will be movers to pay.
And of course, our house payment is going to be increasing by quite a bit.

Let's just say I am excited for it to be January.
I am usually all about Christmas, but this year it is just stressing me out.
In January, I plan on two things: saving money and dieting/exercising.

Luke and I have been taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University,
and we would recommend it to everybody.
I was really hesitant to take this class, but I am so glad that we did.
I have always been pretty terrible with money.
I never saved any money, and would just spend money as it entered my account.
I can't count how many overdraft charges I received.
Now I am excited about saving money.
I want to build and build our savings and have enough money to buy some bigger ticket items if we need them.  
Sorry, didn't mean to get on a financial soapbox.

Diet and exercise.
I'm actually excited about this, believe it or not.
I am sure when I am in the midst of it I won't be so excited anymore,
but right now I am excited to get started.
I am saving myself some trouble and not starting until the holidays are over-
that's wasted effort if you ask me.
The reason I am so excited to get started is because one of my best friends is getting married in April.  She is definitely a beautiful girl, and she has lots of beautiful friends.  I am lucky enough to be one of her eleven bridesmaids.*  
But like I said before, her friends are beautiful,
and then there's me.  No, I am not a self-loathing, insecure person.
I am just one of two girls that has children,
and the body to go with it at this moment.
And I really don't want to be the fat bridesmaid amidst a stunning group of girls, with perfect bodies, toned stomachs, tight butts, and athletic arms.
That sounds a little exaggerated, but it is really how I feel.
I used to have that body, but now I have two kids in replacement of that body.
My goal someday is to have the kids AND the body.
And that is why I am excited to start my diet.


*Yes, eleven bridesmaids.  Some people are shocked by this and have to take a moment to process.  I personally think she is incredibly blessed to have this many close friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!



I'm thankful for my wonderful husband,
my two beautiful girls,
God who loves me,
my great big family,
and a turkey hangover.

What about you?  What are you most thankful for this holiday?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

breaking dawn review

SPOILER ALERT
(Also, if you're not a Twilight fan this may go right over your pretty little head.)

After my last post, raving about how excited I was to see Breaking Dawn
I thought I better let you guys know how I liked it.

Well, it was fantasticbut let me elaborate.
It's difficult to take the word of a Twilight enthusiast,
because I don't care what the quality of the movie put before them,
they would tell you it was the greatest movie ever made.
So I am taking a step back and bringing you an honest opinion without gushing...too much.

Breaking Dawn starts with an invitation to the much-anticipated wedding of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen.
The wedding is so beautiful.  White flowers cascading from great big, mossy trees.  
The whole cast is in this scene, which is very fun to see them all together.
And Stephenie Meyer makes a cameo as a wedding guest.

They whisk off to their honeymoon on Isle Esme.
The house is absolutely stunning on the private island.
DREAM honeymoon.
And hey, my favorite part of the movie. ;)
It kind of dragged on, but I appreciated that because I knew what was coming wasn't going to be quite as cheerful.

Then comes the pregnancy which completely changes the feel of the movie.
Bella begins to look completely emaciated, loses her coloring, and develops awful dark circles around her eyes.
This part I thought was actually quite amazing.  The effects used to make her look as awful as she did were pretty incredible.  She looked terrible - which was the point.  The make-up staff certainly knew what they were doing.

The birth scene was very poignant and well-done.  They really did this scene justice.  I had seen interviews with the cast saying they were all very proud of this scene - and they should have been.  They did a great job.  I remember reading this part of the book a few years ago, and thinking "How in the world are they going to pull that off?!"  Well, they did.  Kudos, guys.  I mean, uterus biting?  How do you make that work?  I think the fact that they didn't focus on it too much, and instead focused on the joy of Renesmee being born was what made it work.  And then obviously the shift to Bella almost dying took your mind off of the absurdity of vampire birthing.

Jacob's imprinting scene was quite sweet in my opinion.
In all of Taylor Lautner's interviews he had seemed so embarrassed about this particular scene, but I really think that turned out well.  He had this look of admiration and just like he "knew" she was the one.  It was perfect.

Waiting for Bella to wake up was agonizing as a viewer.  I was thinking to myself, "What is going on?!  Why isn't she waking up?  Did they forget that she makes it through?"  

But the ending scene is perfection.  Her eyes open and they are blood-red.  
Ahhhhh, can't wait for next November.

Until then, I'll be going back to the theater for seconds (and thirds, and fourths).
I'm in love.

Here is my Rotten Tomatoes review:

This movie was so well done.  Definitely the best of the franchise so far.  Being a Twilight fan, I loved it.  I can understand how non-fans wouldn't love it.  But fan or not, you can tell that these actors are invested into their characters and attention is paid to even the smallest details.  They took their time to satisfy the details of  the book.  The birth scene was both intense and tastefully shot - showing neither too much nor too little.  The wedding was gorgeous and emotional.  There was just enough humor.  I applaud a job well done to everybody involved.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

almost time

If there's one thing you should know about me,
it's that I'm a die-hard Twihard.
Although I don't even like to think of myself as part of that group 

Anyway, 5 days til Breaking Dawn comes out and I am stoked.
This is the pinnacle of the entire Twilight franchise.
I am by far the most excited for this movie of any of the movies.
It's got your wedding AND honeymoon scenes.
Need I say more?

Here's a few vids I've been watching this week gearing up for next Friday's big release:








Love.

I.
Can't.
Freaking.
Wait.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

first word

Parker said her first word last night! 
"Mama"


What a heart-melter.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

scattered

things have been so scattered lately.
i haven't really had a set time to blog or even a subject to write about lately.
life has been mainly about:

watching our house take shape



hanging out inside...




a black cat named Snowball likes to hang around the neighborhood,
kind of fitting for this time of year.

the weather's been a changin'



and noses have been runnin'



baseball we've been a watchin'


i've been experimentin'





and tonight, we're goin' trick-or-treatin'

 
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