New House: Kid Spaces

It’s not a surprise that kid spaces are the number-one priority when moving with two kids in tow. Though we’re still waiting to convert the attic to our much-anticipated clubhouse/craft space/guest room, the rest of the house has been converted for the littles.

On move day, we unpacked the kids’ rooms first to help them feel at home. It was comforting to them to see their favorite toys and books added to the shelves. They especially enjoyed seeing their favorite wall art go up and their curtains hung a few days later.

Here’s a glimpse of the kids’ rooms (hoping to get better shots of them soon so you can see the entire space):

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Both Nora and Carson got new rugs for their rooms (we have hardwood floors throughout the house and wanted the rooms to feel more cozy) as well as decals for the walls–they’re both sharing the Frozen decal pack as well as the Mickey Mouse one. The rest of the wall art was brought from the old house, though I have high hopes to make a cool wall of vintage baseball pennants in Carson’s room, and Nora’s room now features the pennant I made for her first birthday party.

We decided to forego a formal dining room for the next few years and turn it into a playroom. While I love to entertain and look forward to having a nice seating area at some point down the line, I am fully aware that our house serves as a preschool to our children for most days of the year. Also, we like casual entertaining so I don’t think people will think twice at eating at our kitchen table or a card table when we host a shindig.

Here’s the pic of the dining room playroom (notice our new comfy chair in the living room reading nook):

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We purchased the dining room rug at Target (as well as the cute pouf!). The chair is from the Ikea Ektorp series, which matches our love seat and sofa. With two kids and two cats, the slipcover system is very handy. The playroom also contains a craft nook and the play kitchen, which aren’t included in this picture.

Completing these rooms helps the house feel like home. It’s so nice to give the kids the space they need to play and explore as well as give them places to put their toys away. :)

 

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A Touch of Easter

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Lost in the shuffle of moving (aside from Nora’s soccer socks–anyone have a clue where those are?!) are the spring holidays and the fun crafts and recipes that can be planned around them. While I am usually capable of enjoying both Easter and Passover, this season has left me dead in my tracks. I am starting to worry about when I’ll get out to find some Easter basket goodies for the kids.

Nonetheless, Nora and I decorated our new mantel for the holiday and have made matzo bark and decorated construction paper Easter eggs to get into the festivities a bit. While it will be a scaled-back affair, the spring decor has me in a cheerier mood. And we have a few things on the wall now, as you can see above the Easter display.

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Selling and Buying a House with Two Kids in Tow: Settling In and Making Home Home

 

 

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Well, we did it! In the last five days, we’ve packed, closed, moved, and started to settle. It’s thrilling to be in the much-anticipated new house. It’s odd too. I am consfused when I wake up in the morning, I am unaware of what floorboards squeak, and I am still startled by the loud sounds coming down from our basement when the water runs. We’ve nearly doubled our square footage from this home to the last one, so the space feels massive (though it’s surprising how much stuff we already have to fill it!), and it’s fairly musty after being unoccupied for a year.

Our move went as well as could be expected. We were blessed with beautiful spring weather throughout the weekend, and help from grandparents made our move much more relaxing and enjoyable. We hired professional movers, which I highly recommend, as it saved Steve and me from ruining our furniture and stressing our muscles before the unpacking even began.

So much has happened that I can’t really write much at the moment. I haven’t digested all that we’ve done and haven’t yet taken any pictures of the house. I am happy to have this stressful and huge part of our journey done, though we still want to sell our first house and it’ll take many months to make our new place home. I hope to post more pictures and thoughts in the near future. Meanwhile, I’ll be working with the kids to create our new normal for the rest of the week.

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Selling and Buying a House with Two Kids in Tow: Just Breathe

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In 48 hours, we begin packing boxes in our old house.

In 72 hours, we close on our new house.

In 96 hours, the movers come.

Last night, Steve and I took the kids to dinner to get out of the house for a showing. We’ve had a surprising number of them pop up in the last week. While it’s awesome to think the house will sell, I have to say it gives me a false sense of hope; so far, nothing has come through and the showings are such a hassle with the kids. I can’t wait for these appointments to pop up next week and for it to mean nothing! We’ll be all settled in the new house and the old one will be vacant and ready for someone new. I can’t help but think that might help a potential buyer visualize living there.

I am anxiety-filled mess right now. There’s nothing more we can do to entice a buyer before we move. There’s no backing out now. There’s no way to avoid the packing/moving/unpacking days ahead. I’m dreaming about the closing. I’m trying to look at my spreadsheets that I’ve held so close throughout this process to figure out how the numbers will sort out, which is pretty impossible to project at the moment. Next week, when we’re living in the house, much of this will be behind us and make more sense. We’ll likely be making Easter crafts, playing with stored-away toys, enjoying our backyard. But there’s so much packed into the next 168 hours.

Just breathe.

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Family Notes

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Before the wheels fall off the family train with our upcoming move, I wanted to toss out some updates (not related to moving!).

Carson + Frozen = True Love. Like Winnie the Pooh a few years ago that enraptured Nora, the biggest kids movie of the year has caught Carson. He wants to watch it all the time and will not move a muscle during the entire flick. It’s a good thing to turn on from 7 to 8:30 p.m. when we’re freaking out about the move and Nora is sound asleep in her bed. It doesn’t happen every night, but more often than I’d like to admit. I keep promising myself that in the new house, TV time will be greatly reduced. But, at the same time, I really don’t feel guilty about letting C indulge in his first child obsession.

Spring Soccer Starts Tomorrow! Nora is going to try her hand (or, should I say, foot) at soccer starting tomorrow. It’s just a 45-minute program once a week for seven weeks, but I am looking forward to seeing if she enjoys it. In any case, it’s a great way to get outside and occupy Carson at a playground. We have been doing swim lessons since October, which we phased out a few weeks before the last session ended. Our decision came because the teacher’s more aggressive approach didn’t jive well with Nora’s personality. I feel fine with bailing a few weeks before the session’s end. Nora did months and months of swimming and, with our pool membership for the summer, she’ll get plenty of swim time this year. It’s been a learning experience for me — when to let your child quit.

 Checking Books Off My Life List. I just finished Donna Tartt’s The Secret History after a friend recommended it. It was a fabulous volume of literary fiction, and I did not realize how integral it is to the modern canon until after I finished it. It is on this interesting list from BuzzFeed and has become a hugely important book for the teen set (though I missed it completely as a high schooler; I was busy with the Salinger staples and Perks of Being a Wallflower, I guess). I am satisfied with having read this and Housekeeping this year; it’s time for me to get serious about paging my way through phenomenal books again. (Now that I am no longer knee-deep in the What to Expect series . . . ha!)

Just a few tidbits from our life before all hell breaks loose!

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New House: Digging In!

T-minus ten days until we move into our new house. Gone are the days of worry and agony. Here are the days of excitement and anticipation.

We’re moving in the day after settlement. After deliberation on whether to fix some items in the house before we move the whole family in, Steve and I decided that we were sick and tired of living in the showroom (our current and soon-to-be-old house) and it would be beneficial to our well-being to transition right away. Plus, we’ll be able to work on projects in the evening hours after the kids have gone to bed.

What I can’t anticipate is what projects we’ll decide to tackle first. We’ve been staring at the same sets of pictures for two months, and I look forward to seeing the house on the day of settlement, surveying our new home without the watchful eye of the Realtor.

Will the carpet in the attic come up first (with a fresh paint job)?

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Will we decide the vanity and blue toilet in the bathroom need to be taken back to the 1960s? (Until we have the money to redo the whole room, we’ll probably have to learn to live with that tub.)

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Will I really be able to live with this dull kitchen (would love to paint the cabinets white and tear down those shutters!)

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Will this fireplace ever look homey and clean?

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My gut feeling is that we can live with a blah kitchen and smoke stains on the fireplace, especially once we decorate with our cheery personal items. But who knows? Maybe the first floor will be needing more TLC than I expect, especially since we’ll spend so much time down there.

Other things on the immediate to-do list? Installing a new basement window for the dryer vent, replacing a ceiling fan in our bedroom, revamping the pantry. There’s a lot more, but we’re trying to not get too overwhelmed until we’re in the new place and have a chance to evaluate the most important (and urgent) projects.

In the near future, I’ll try to keep these posts focused on the new house and give you an update on the underwhelming situation with the old house after the big move. I want to make sure to enjoy this exciting time for our family!

 

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Selling and Buying a House with Two Kids in Tow: Ups and Downs

 

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Last Saturday, we ventured to the park that’s just a block away from our new house. It was a beautiful day and Steve and I could not have felt better about the jaunt over to the new neighborhood. The park was full of kids, the neighborhood was quiet and cozy, and our good friends ran past us as we were leaving. This happy feeling was welcome after experiencing a month or two fraught with the stresses of buying and selling a home (with two little kids, no less).

I have to admit I’ve been at a low point recently. It’s difficult to hear negative feedback about the house you are trying to sell (and that you’ve called home for some time!), it’s hard to wait to move on to the next phase of your life, and it’s challenging to be a stay-at-home mom juggling daily showings with two young children and trying to keep them occupied while many of their fun things are in storage.

At the beginning of this process, I was optimistic that we’d hardly notice a difference in our quality of life during this transition phase. Back then, I thought our house would sell in a month or less and that we might catch a break with the weather and get to go to the park while we were showing the house. As you would expect, that rosy plan did not materialize. We’ve been dismayed by the housing market around here (no one seems to be buying from what we can tell) and, rather than park time, we’ve been going to stores and restaurants to keep the kids occupied. While I factored in trips like this at the outset of this endeavor, it’s started to feel like we’re spoiling the kids and that our priorities are pretty mixed up, materially speaking.

I really want to stop wallowing though. In two weeks we close on our new house, and we could not be more excited about the move. It’s hard that the old house has become a bit of a burden, but Steve and I have formulated a plan to cut our losses at a certain point this spring. We may become landlords, but I refuse to do so reluctantly, so I am doing plenty of research on the topic currently.

Life has it’s ups and downs. When you’re bringing children into the world and trying to provide them the space and stability that they need, challenges rear their ugly heads. I hope that our current tribulations will be ancient history by the second half of this year and that we’ll be happily participating in life again. A natural-born optimist, this bump in the road can’t get me down forever.

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SAHM Thoughts

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It’s been several months since I’ve felt in my groove as a stay-at-home mom. Summer and fall flew by as I transitioned to my new role, but between winter and our moving endeavor, I’ve felt less than adequate in my full-time job at home with the kids.

However, on this first full day of spring, I feel like I am back. Maybe it’s the official change of season or the fact that our home showings have really slowed down and our day-to-day pace has become more normal again, but I feel inspired and re-engergized. Soon, I’ll be unpacking boxes in our new house, planning messy projects for the kids, cooking my favorite and new recipes, and settling into a new routine.

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What else is on my agenda these days? Figuring out a good balance of activities for the kids, crunching numbers in our budget for the new house, working on lining up new paid-work gigs, and dreaming of my brother’s summer wedding!

Spring, I’m happy to see you!

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Amidst the move drama, the leprechauns decided to visit our house today after a late-night coloring stint. Carson’s irate that he can’t eat more than one Rolo before breakfast and Nora seems tickled by the secret visitors.

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Hope you remember to wear green today!

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Selling and Buying a House with Two Kids in Tow: Taking the Long View

As you may have guessed from last week’s negative post, I’ve been a little down about the moving process. However, after a week of agonizing over it and thinking every call will be from the Realtor about someone wanting to buy our house immediately and with no inspection, I’ve realized I need to take the long view on this process or I will go crazy and push away friends and family in the process. 

We’re doing okay here, with plenty of people coming through the house (a good thing, even if it doesn’t result in an immediate buyer), an awesome house that we’ll move into next month, and enough money in the bank to ride out the time it will take to find a buyer (at least for awhile). The reviews of our house have been pretty good overall, and it’s really true that it just takes one buyer. With spring market starting to bloom, I would bet that a lot of people are taking their time finding “their” house, thinking that there will be a lot to choose from. I can’t control the timeline of selling this house, and we won’t make a reduction in price or a decision to rent until later this spring.

Most important, I am happy we have a house to move into next month. For the most part, it’s immediately livable, and, while we’d love to gut the bathroom, recarpet the attic, and install some new windows, those projects can wait as long as we need them to. There’s fresh paint on most of the walls, a kitchen with new countertops and hardwood floors, and a great backyard for lots of outdoor play for the kiddos this spring and summer. I’m even toying with not painting the kids’ rooms immediately–taking the long view!

A good friend of mine sensed my tension after a playdate with our kids yesterday. She sent me the most thoughtful message after our get together, and it really reassured me and made me realize that my stress is overtaking my life. So, I’ve decided to chill out a bit, drink more wine at night, and read some good books until we close on our house in April. Oh, and I’m working on the kids’ spring and summer wardrobes thinking that our house will probably be our main focus in the months to come. Gotta make sure they have clothes that fit!

In just a month, we’ll be sleeping in new quarters and I’ll be able to focus on making the house a home. Projects, baking, messy play, and normal life will commence once again. In the meantime, I’ll try to enjoy the nearby amenities in our current neighborhood.

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