Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Day 2011 in Pictures

We started off with a craft: coloring the bingo cards we would use later in our V-Day game.

Then we moved on to our pizza party!

Complete with pink strawberry milk!

We played our bingo game, and enjoyed some of our treats.

Later we had the special cupcakes that we bought at the store (I could not possibly hope to make such beautiful cupcakes at home!).

After the kids went to bed, Mom and Dad had an amazing steak dinner and some treats of their own...

And here are the beautiful flowers that Dad brought to Mom :).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rambly Update

Well, I made some progress with packing yesterday, although it didn't really feel like it.  I packed three more boxes of books - all of our books are now packed with the exception of Kaleigh's books, and a few of Hunter's and my books because we will definitely need something to read in the next few months.  I also bubble wrapped some breakables which I had taken down and set carefully in boxes.  I'm getting rid of any knick-knacks that don't have sentimental value, but that still leaves a fair number of items that are purely ornamental.  Well, a few of them also play music.  Some of them will go nicely in Kaleigh's new pastel yellow and lavender room, but I haven't decided where the others will go; perhaps the library.

Hunter is on a quarter break right now.  It was actually supposed to be the week before last, but I lost track of time, and it worked out well because he got to start with the blizzard last week; so he didn't feel left out when all the other kids in the neighborhood had a snow day!

My husband just called as I was typing.  He was just surrounded by a car accident caused by the guy behind him reading a message on his phone when the rest of traffic came to a screeching halt.  The cars behind and next to Randy were in a collision; Randy was completely protected and was not even touched by any part of the accident.  I am simultaneously thanking God for keeping him safe and praying that those who were hit are all safe and not injured.

In two days the form we need should be available on the IRS site and we should be able to file our taxes.  For the first time EVER, I cannot wait to file.  I also can't stop thinking about the new house.  I'm a little nervous too, because that's what change does to me; but I know God has a plan for us and will get us through it, and I keep reminding myself of that.  One thing I'm really looking forward to in relation to the area to which we are moving is that I will be able to reconnect with a couple of friends.  Being where we are now has made it difficult to get together with people; this move will make socializing - for both me and the kids - more... convenient.  And while I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how great that will be for the kids (they do get regular socialization, but they are very social beings, and would do well with a little more), I'm beginning to realize that it will probably also be good for me.  I know, it seems obvious; but try to remember that I am not at all a social being; for the most part in general I prefer being alone.

For today, I suppose I will continue to focus on the living room.  There are a bunch of loose movies and cd's in there that belong elsewhere, but that would actually be a good thing for the kids to help me with.  I can probably go ahead and start packing up cd's, too, now that I think about it.  We don't use them all that often right now, and they're not as organized as they used to be either.  Might be a good idea to just start that one fresh in the new house.

Children are stirring.  Time to go make breakfast and do Zumba!  Happy Tuesday :).


Monday, February 7, 2011

Things to Do Today (and a little bit of randomness)

We stopped and got some packing supplies this weekend, so I am going to continue packing up the living room today.

I also have laundry to do, an assignment for my online class, and a class to go to tonight.

Our home inspection is on Friday.  As of right now, we are taking all the kids with us.  Ryan hasn't seen the house yet, so we are going to take him out of the afternoon of school to go along and see it.  I have some reservations about this, but it could be his last chance to see it before we move; and it's really Randy's decision anyway.

One other project I'm doing is furniture shopping comparisons.  We've been to two places so far, and I've taken down prices for the items we will need when we move in.  We have at least one more place to check out.

Our taxes are completely filled out; there are two things I am waiting for before I can send them in: the kids' new social security numbers and the 2010 adoption tax form that the IRS has yet to publish.  Then we have to print and snail mail them, but we will be sending them priority overnight, so it won't really be snailish.  Hopefully the IRS won't be snailish with them either.

Oh, and I could not call myself a proud Cheesehead if I didn't mention the Packers' awesome Super Bowl victory! WOOHOO!!


The kids' new social security cards came today.  They weren't given new numbers; their new names were simply assigned to their old numbers.

For those of you who think, "What's the big deal?" there are several people out there who know their old numbers.  All of these people are 100% untrustworthy.  I have no doubt in my mind that one of them will - if he/she hasn't already - use their numbers for any variety of things not the least of which is credit, because this person has a warrant out for his/her arrest.  One of the last things I want my kids to have to deal with is a trashed credit score before they are even teenagers.  

They also spelled my daughter's middle name wrong.  Even after I looked it over and confirmed that everything was spelled right on the screen at the person's desk. 

Needless to say, I have to go down there again and fix this.  But I'll be waiting until after we receive our tax refund, since I don't want to risk holding that up.

The bright side is that no one tried claiming them on their taxes last year, so I don't think anyone will this year either.  The person who might try that (same as above) probably doesn't file taxes, with that warrant and all.

Anyway.  BOO to government agency workers who don't care about doing their job well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Well, if by some miracle you haven't heard the news yet...


Of course, there is still the long process of home inspection and a multitude of tests, waiting for taxes, and all the paperwork that happens between now and closing on April 27.  So continued prayers for a smooth process are very much appreciated.

Now on to the juicy details I know you are all waiting for on the house.

It was listed as a four bedroom, three bath, which is what attracted us to the house in the first place.  We were only looking at four bedroom houses, because Randy wanted to make sure Ryan had his own room.  The fourth "bedroom" is actually not a bedroom, but an additional separate room in the basement.  In fact, the home is assessed and is being taxed as a three bedroom, two bath (a permit was never pulled on the building of the bath in the basement).  Ryan is not interested in making this room into a bedroom, because he does not want to sleep in the basement.  He does, however, have no problem continuing to share a room with his brother, especially given that the new room is much larger than their current room, and we plan to build the boys loft beds with desks underneath in order to optimize their space even further.

One of the "little" things where we see God's hand in this home for us: if the home had been listed (accurately) as a three bedroom, we never would have seen it.

As long as we're discussing the basement, let's start there.  It is a finished L-shape with tile floor, making it great for a rec room / play room / gathering area for get-togethers.   We also plan to put the piano down there (with the dehumidifier nearby of course), as well as the craft desk and craft storage.  The basement is also a walk-out, first to a railed/gated patio, then to the backyard.  There is a storage shed built to the side of the patio.  Then, the BONUS: the owner built the basement out under the (four car) garage and made it into a storage area and workshop.  The laundry, water heaters, and well tank (oh, yes, did I mention it has a well??) are also kept there.  

Another "little" thing where we see God's hand in this home for us: I had been keeping my eye out for houses that included outbuildings (knowing that this couldn't be a "must have" for us, or we might never find a home), because Randy loves to do woodworking.  I had been secretly hoping and praying that God would give us a home with a place he could practice this hobby that he hasn't been able to for many many years.

On to the main floor.  There is a lovely living room, where we can have an actual main floor family room (currently our living room is tiny and our family room is in the basement, which is fine but not very practical).  The kitchen is amazing, with ceramic tile flooring, an island and two-year-old granite countertops (something I have always wanted but never had much hope that I would have), a lower "desk" type section (perfect for bill paying), and an attached dining room.  The dining room walks out onto a beautiful deck (over the downstairs patio), which overlooks the back yard as if from the second story, since the basement walks out into the yard.  The two kids' bedrooms are down the hall from the kitchen, with the bathroom between them.  Now we've come full circle to the living room, where we find the front door and the stairway to the second floor.

The stairway - with it's contemporary black metal railing - leads up to a loft that overlooks the living room (matching black metal railing along the edge of the loft).  The loft will be an office and library.  There is a third deck that walks out off the loft - standing up there and looking over the backyard is like being three stories up.  Very cool!  Through the double French doors off the loft is the master suite - something I cannot WAIT to experience.  Imagining a bathroom in my bedroom is heaven after 
a) having to go downstairs from our bedroom to use the bathroom and 
b) having one bathroom for anywhere from 5 to 8 people.  There is also a walk-in closet (yes! finally don't have to keep our clothes in the kids' closets!), and the bedroom itself is about twice the size of our bedroom now. 

The yard is HUGE and filled with trees, some of which will come out.  The front yard is also decent and has a row of trees along the street, which is GREAT for us super-private people :).  The driveway goes up, turns 90 degrees into the garage, or goes straight to a hill down to the backyard - perfect for sledding in the winter.  There are also steps that go down to the yard or up to the main level deck.

This house is all kinds of perfect for our family - the main reason we know God's hand is in all of this!  The other "little" things are in the way the offer process went.  We wrote the offer on Wednesday after our second showing.  We gave him til Thursday, but due to his work (truck driving) and the weather wherever he was at the time, he needed the weekend to look at the offer and make a counter offer.  I spent the weekend panicking that we hadn't offered enough and he was going to find another potential buyer who would offer more than we had.  Then Monday morning came, and our Realtor called to tell us the counter offer was coming that evening.  Thankfully for my nerves, she already had the information on what he was going to counter offer (he's selling on his own, so doesn't have a Realtor working for him).  All he wanted was to take the purchase price up slightly (much more slightly than we expected!) and to remove the part about him paying for a survey showing the property lines.  We were so thrilled and happy with this that we didn't even have anything to continue countering with!  We were more than happy with his counter offer and signed it right away.

We also received our W2 the next day and did our taxes, which came out to be quite a bit more than we were even hoping for - let alone expecting.

God is so good.  Now I just need Him to give me the strength and determination to get the house packed and cleaned and purged (I intend to throw away A LOT while packing).

Please keep the prayers coming.  There is still that little nervousness at the back of my mind, and probably will be until May 1, when we have closed and are moved and the old place is cleaned, etc.


We have a house!!