Monday, August 19, 2013

back to school

I feel like this summer just flew by.  I cannot believe school has already been underway for a couple of weeks now and that Andrew is in FIRST grade!!  Where did the time go?  Wasn't it just yesterday he was born 6 weeks early, weighing just 3 lb 13 oz and had his first open heart surgery??  To think of everything we've been through the last few years, I just cannot help but think back to those scary times and feel so proud when I see him today.
We all attended Back to School night the night before school started.  The kids brought their supplies and met their teacher.  I love this night so much because it is a time for us to get a "sneak peek" into his classroom and meet the teacher when she's not busy with 24 kids the next day!  Andrew found his desk and was very happy it was right in front.
Kerigan wanted to go to school too!  Ha!  This is the first year Andrew has had a desk with space inside.  He is used to a table with materials on top to share, so he was fascinated with the inside of his desk!  I'm sure he will need some major lessons on keeping it clean and organized- HA!  He's probably going to be like those kids that drive his mama crazy in MY classroom when their desks get so out of control I have to dump them!  Ha!
This is Mrs. Nichols.  We hoped, and prayed, and hoped some more that he would end up in her class.  We have heard nothing but the best things about her and we really wanted Andrew to have a good year this year.  I think we are off to a great start!  And I always take the teacher picture on back to school night so I don't have to bother her the next morning!
We found his locker and he was so thrilled that his name was in GREEN!  He said "Mom!  My favorite color!" (Because of the ninja turtles... you know).
Daddy and little sis
Me and my big first grader!
So the next morning everyone was up and excited for the first day!  I love this picture of him.  He looks so happy and excited!
And this... too precious for words.  I was taking his picture and she wanted to go over and hug him- oh my heart!
Kerigan misses her Bubba all day!  She is sort of like a lost soul, wandering around here.  Sometimes she asks where he is, or she'll say "Bubba is with his teacher?"  Then when we go pick him up she gets so excited and gives him a huge hug (just like this one) in front of all the kids and teachers at his school.  Andrew is proud of her and loves to hug her.  I hope he will always feel this way.
The last few days after we dropped him off, Kerigan has asked to go to Ladybugs and get a backpack.  She is obsessed with backpacks.  This could be partly because of Dora (the backpack song...oh lord), but also partly because she is seeing all the Princess, Dora and other girly backpacks all the girls are wearing at Andrew's school.  Ha!
In front of his school
In the mornings the kids can play outside (supervised) until the bell rings.  Andrew loves this.  It helps me get him out the door on time- I just tell him we aren't going to have time to play outside and he moves right along!  Ha!
On the first day I let Kerigan play too because I wanted to go in with Andrew.  So now every day she asks to go play!  Poor thing she wants to be a big girl so badly!
Andrew in line with his class.  The little boy behind him is his favorite new friend, Eli.  His mommy was our realtor!  I was so happy they got in the same class- we just love their family!  
I loved this picture of him putting his things away like such a big boy!  I didn't go inside the classroom with him.  He wasn't really wanting me to hug him or hang out for long- Ha!  I continued to go in with him the next couple of mornings, and the morning after that he finally said to me when we were driving there "Mom, did you know for first grade you don't have to go in with me.  For first grade you can just drop me off and leave.  That's what first graders do."  Ohmyheart!  I love that kid so much but I'm afraid I am cramping his style!  Ha!

And that was the last morning I went inside.

I was so happy and excited on the first day of school when I got back in the van and there was a text message from Mandy asking me to come over for breakfast!  I was so thrilled!  It was so sweet of her to make us breakfast and we chatted and Kerigan had free reign on all of her daughter's babies and dolls!
We were so goofy setting the timer on her camera but I wanted a picture of us!
Kerigan was having a blast!  She loves "Manee" and Emily and Grace.  She was definitely wondering where everybody was, but she was enjoying having everything all to herself!
We had to laugh when we found this note from Mandy's daughter!  Ha ha!  So cute.
When Andrew got home that day he had some surprises he had been wanting.  He had asked for brownies the other day and I didn't have time to make them so I thought I'd save them for an after school snack!  He was so excited.

While it is definitely different and maybe a little bit scary to be starting school in a new town, we are so blessed to have already made such nice friends and that Andrew already has some friends in his class.  His teacher is wonderful as is the principal and staff at his school.  We are feeling welcomed with open arms.
First grade favorites
Kindergarten favorites

Happy back to school Andrew!  We love you and are so proud of you!  It's going to be a great year!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

the big move

I have to say, the moving process is one I do not enjoy, and I hope we NEVER have to do it again!
It was one of the most stressful times we've had as a family.  The whole process of trying to sell our house, buying the "perfect" house, not to mention the packing, moving and unpacking.  I feel like I will be unpacking boxes for the next 10 years.  And that's not a joke!  Ha!
Craig kept trying to tell me we have too much stuff.  I always just felt like it was all organized and labeled and in it's "place."  But now, trying to find new places for everything is no easy task!  I think part of the problem is that in our old house, we had an unfinished basement.  This was never a good thing in my mind, because I felt like we never had enough living space.  But in our new house, we have a great basement- but every inch of it is finished!  We had to turn a bedroom into storage and it is exploding.  Conclusion- I have WAY too many things in storage that I never need or use!  My goal is to tackle the storage room once I get most other things in their place.  It's going to be a big job!
We couldn't have done it without the help of Craig's family.  His dad brought his truck and stayed for 3 days making trips back and forth with the trailer.  Two of Craig's brothers came to help load and unload.  They were a great team!  Here they are eating Buffalo Wild Wings on paper plates at our old house on our last night there.  We had nowhere to sit!  Ha!
And finally... our new house!  This is us on closing day- July 24.  This same day 10 years ago, my dad passed away.  I know without a doubt that dad had a hand in this one!  It's kind of hard to tell, but the house is white and it has blue accents (door, shutters, etc).  I am not a fan of blue.  At least not unless my house overlooks a lake or the beach!  Ha!   Several projects need to be done outside and inside, but we are slowly tackling them.  I am not really ready to show many "after" pictures, but many of you keep asking to see pictures... so consider this the "before" tour!  I've realized it's going to be a long process to the "after" part!
Just to give you an idea of how much stuff we had!  The garage was packed to the brim except for a tiny walking space!  You can also see the blue accents a little better here.  
Pictures like this just give me anxiety!  But I had to show what it was really like!  Ha!  And I don't have an after picture yet, but let's just say we have gotten through enough of it to park one car in the garage!  So that's a plus!
Anyway the outside needed a serious make over.  So we had the shutters and all the doors painted black and the front door red and I just love it now!  It needs a little landscaping help but it's getting there.  We also plan to change the outside lights on the garage to black ones, and add house numbers on a black plaque which I think will tie in nicely with the shutters.  Obviously we need to water the front section of our grass, but it's been 100 degrees here for over a week now and I think it's just struggling!  I love it so much more from the outside now.  That vent on the peak of the garage going from blue to blending in with the house... amazing difference!  Our neighbors are all commenting about it, too.  

I love so many things about this house (and there are several things I don't love... but they are all on a list to get changed eventually!)  but one thing I loved most is how open it is.  So come on inside... here's the tour everyone has been asking for!  And just keep in mind there are no "after" pictures yet!  And ignore the boxes!
This is looking at the front door from the foyer.  That's the dining room off to the side.
It's getting a major paint job/make over.  So no after pics yet!  But that border has gotta go (and the color!)  I am not loving the double chair rail either.  Here's a little peek from Pinterest on what I'm wanting to do...
I am going to try to incorporate the double chair rail, since I can't remove it without ruining the wall.  I am going to add some "fake" wainscoting to make it blend in.  Then the top rail I will paint the same color as the upper wall- this is Svelte Sage from Sherwin Williams.  My favorite color in the world.  And yes I'm also searching for a new chandelier like this one.  The other one isn't really my style.
When you enter the house you can see upstairs.  I just love this!  I can't wait to decorate for Christmas!  I fell in love with this the minute I walked in.  This is the "wow" factor I was looking for that reminded me of our other house, but it's even more open.  That is Kerigan's room upstairs on the right, and our room is to the left.  The laundry room is past Kerigan's room on the right.  Everything feels so open, which is why I don't mind Andrew being on the main level.  His room is just to the right in this picture- under Kerigan's room.  He feels close to us because of the open floor plan.  And our newly added security system makes for some better night's sleep too!
Our entryway is way too big and awesome for a little light like this!  It's way too dinky for the space.  Ha!  I want something big and dynamic here.  I miss the gorgeous light in our old house that I picked out!  We are eventually going to replace all the lighting.
Overlooking the foyer from the upstairs hallway.
We've had fun exploring our new house!  Thank goodness for Craig's brother Jason (aka "handyman") because we would be lost without him!  Andrew and Kerigan had fun showing their cousins their new house!
After we moved in I think they came over 2 days in a row and a third time to help with some major projects we needed done right away, like changing some ceiling fans, and hanging our TV... because, you know, that's the most important thing!  Ha! 
The kids just love our house.  Here they are overlooking the family room/"great" room.
I love that you can look down and overlook the family room.  And one of my favorite things about the house is that brick fireplace and white built ins.  I loved all the white trim and crown moulding too!And thank goodness I liked the paint color of most of the house, because painting these walls would have been next to impossible!
We will be getting a TV for above the fireplace that will cover that space, but our other one had to go in the basement because it wasn't quite big enough to cover the space.  So for now we all hang out a lot in the basement, which is fine because it's finished and we love it down there!
The other "wow" factor in the house is these windows.  I fell in love with them- and actually this whole room.  It has a ton of natural light and we don't really need window coverings.  I will probably put blinds on the bottom windows only- the ones that go up from the bottom and down from the top, but it's not high on my list because I really don't mind them not being covered.  They are high enough off the ground from outside that no one can really "window peep".  It looks really beautiful when you are driving from the road, especially at night when it's all lit up inside!
The kitchen I don't LOVE.  I love the appliances- they are fairly new and all stainless steel (fingerprints!  Ahhhh!) and all Jenn Air brand.  I love the double oven but am not crazy about the gas stove.  Especially right in the middle of the kitchen.  Most people think I'm crazy and they love it, but I think it's in the way!  I'm not a gourmet chef so I don't need that high tech of a stove.  I just want a ceramic top over by the microwave and I want to pull this island out! There's not much storage under it anyway because of the gas hookup.  I'd like an island, but one I can actually use with space on top and storage under.  And maybe turned a different direction.
Luckily one of my friends is a kitchen designer! (Are you taking notes, Erin?? Ha!)  I want to redo the backsplash and counter tops too (They are white ceramic tile and navy counter tops- not so much my style).  It just needs some updating.  I'm not crazy about the maple cabinets but hope they will look much better with some warmer colors in there.  If not I may have to get brave and Pinterest some ideas for painting them dark!
This is Kerigan's room.  Her room is also getting a make over- made to look just like her old room at our other house.  I love her walk in closet and attached bath with tub.  It's super nice to have!
And this is the little man's room.  It's a work in progress as well.  He loves his new loft bed (and it's full size, which is so nice).  He loves the little area underneath to play with his Legos and things he doesn't want Kerigan to touch!  I plan to do some pirate things on the walls, but he loves his new lamp and Pirate pillow shams so far.
I still need to work on this a little bit, but I bought this for super cheap that someone had made- it looked like a pirate sail.  It had the letter "B" on it, so I had to get creative and change it to an A.  And I don't sew, which is why it is a little "off" and not hanging straight!  Ha!  I'm going to add more fish netting and try to make it look better but Andrew thinks it's really cool!
This is our basement looking one direction.  I love it so much!  There are 2 other bedrooms (one we made into storage) and the walkout is amazing.  Having the kids be able to run in and out and play out there is so great.
This is looking the other direction.  Yes, there is a kitchen in the basement!  Kinda cool.  We keep some extra snacks in the cabinets and pop, juice boxes, etc in the fridge for the kids.  It's nice not having to go up and down when we need something.  Not sure I'll use the oven much, but who knows!  Ha!
This cracks me up- the first few days we were lost without TV so the kids cuddled up to the portable DVD player!  Ha! (And for the record, no we don't watch TV all day, but when we first moved in and the house was a total mess and nothing was unpacked yet, it was necessary!)
After we finally moved our TV here, we plugged it in until Uncle Jason could come help hang it!  But hey, Mickey Mouse is on, so it doesn't really matter where the TV is, right??  Ha!
I am still experimenting with the arrangement of the basement.  This is one way I've had it.  Lots of space for nerf gun wars!  And that ceiling fan has also got to go.  Who hangs a ceiling fan right in the way of the TV??  And seriously?  Who needs one in the basement anyway?  It's pretty cool down here all the time!
And this is another way we put the shelves next to the TV which works better for storing all our equipment (Blue Ray, Wii U, etc).  So that is most of the inside!  I still need to hang things on the walls and get our master bedroom/bath organized, but it needed to be painted so I am waiting for Craig to finish that this weekend.  I will do before and after pictures of it once it's done.  Hopefully soon!
But here is a little sneak peek of Andrew enjoying our jet tub!  And when I posted this on Facebook I quickly learned we are not supposed to put bubbles in a jet tub!  Who knew??  So this was the first and last time for that!  Ha!  But the kids still love taking baths in it!

And now for a peek at the backyard.  Another work in progress...
Here is daddy putting together our new play set.  Now that we have a fence it is so nice having a place to send the kids outside and not worry about them running away!  I love Andrew hanging upside down on the swings.  In his pj's.  Ha!
I love the large patio area, great for riding bikes and scooters, and we have a table down here that we have had many snacks and picnics at.  I plan to paint the table and chairs in bright colors!  It's on my list!
And just because she's cute!  Ha!  There is a joke going around Facebook that I don't buy my kids clothes because they are always in pajamas when I post things!  Ha!  But in the summer, after just moving in and trying to get unpacked and settled, that's kind of how we roll!
Here is a back view.  The doors on the top and bottom have now all been painted black.  The blue just couldn't stay!
And even farther back... this is actually all our yard.  For some reason the previous owners decided not to fence much of the yard.  So more on the list... expand the current fence to make the fenced area a little bigger.  Kerigan is mad (and in jammies!  Ha!) because she wanted to go to the park so she followed me out as I was taking pictures!  She's silly!
This is probably another one of my top favorite things about this house.  The view, and the large deck.  This patio set barely fit on our other deck and there was no room to get in and out.  Now we have it, our grill and a picnic table for the kids up here with plenty of extra space!  I love it so much.  To the left there is a pond and a nice park for the kids, and a walking trail that goes around the pond.  It is a perfect location.  And just beyond the hill where the street goes between the houses is Andrew's school.  Definitely within walking distance.
One of our many (messy) nights enjoying ice cream on the deck!
And enjoying a gator ride around the walking trail one evening after dinner (blurry because they would not stop moving for a picture!  Ha!)

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  I feel like we still have a ton to do, but we've also gotten a lot done in a short amount of time.  We moved in a little over a month ago.  The kids seem to be adjusting well and are enjoying our new surroundings.  Although it does break my heart just a little bit every time Kerigan says "Mama, let's go home," when we are here.  I always gently just tell her, "honey, we ARE home."  Sigh.  I am sure it will just take a while for all of us to feel that way.  But we are getting there.  

It's a work in progress too!

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