Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Old house, New House

In the last 2 weeks, we closed on two real estate deals. We sold our first home in New York. It was bitter sweet leaving that home and passing it along. I loved that house. I worked hard on that house. That house was "done." But, I know that our friends who bought it will love that house too. Plus I'll get to occasionally see pictures of it. :)

A few days later, we closed on our new house here in Texas. And after all the issues we had with that closing, I seriously never want to have to close a real estate deal ever again. Or at least never use our terrible lender ever again...

Our new house in Texas is big, and beautiful, and we love it. Which is good, because it needs some love. Although the house is 8 years old, the original owners seem to have never, not once, purchased a can of paint or picked up a paint roller. Everything is brown or beige. Brown floor tiles, medium brown oak cabinetry, brick fireplace and hearth, brown granite, brown tiled backsplash (it matches the floor... no bueno) and super-flat, beige cheap paint on every single wall. Including the ceilings. Suffice it to say, I see paint in our future. Lots and lots of paint.

See all the brown? And empty cabinets? Still settling in here, but so much space in the new kitchen!

The day after we closed, Brian left town to attend his father's funeral. Which left me in charge of getting our family moved out of our furnished rental and 2 storage units that weekend. Luckily, our ward is big and helpful and we have a really big turn out to help get everything into the new house in less than 5 hours.

Once the help was gone, I found some of the kids toy boxes and got to work making an even bigger mess than I already had on my hands... because that's how moving in works.

Mt. Cardboard. In our main floor hallway. Impassable...
I went to bed exhausted... but everyone had an assembled bed to sleep in. With sheets on it. And blankets. I felt very accomplished, actually. So when Sunday morning came, and my kids woke me up too early, and I looked at the state of the kitchen and knew that I had NO IDEA where any of our dishes were, I packed the kids in the car, still in the pjs, for the nearest IHOP. It was Sunday, but I'm pretty sure Heavenly Father understood. 

Long story short, it was a long weekend. But we bought a new house, we had help, we got moved in, we broke the sabbath (kids gotta eat!) and then went to church anyway. Daddy came home. We survived... barely. And we keep wading through the boxes, trying to reassemble our lives here in Texas. It'll happen. Sometime...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Day of School, Again

Today, a week later than expected due to real estate uncertainty, Allison started school again. We are now, officially, a Rowe Lane Rocket family!

Allison was super brave and super excited (97% sure that I was more nervous than her). I hope she has a great new start here. :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Great Frigid Fiasco

Otherwise known as: Moving Day in a Polar Vortex.

Oh yes, my friends, you read that right. Polar Vortex. Capable of turning nearly any and all plans involving being in the North East into a nice big mess.

You see, our move was scheduled for January 6-8th. Two days to pack, one to load and then we could be on our way to Texas early on January 9th. Plenty of time to get it all done with little stress.  Ha...

What went wrong? Well, for starters, our assigned moving crew found themselves on January 6th in Atlanta with all flights cancelled. For ice. What? Ice in Atlanta? Seriously? So, they rented a car and drove all day and night long to Pennsylvania to pick up the moving truck which they would then drive to Syracuse and be to us and packing no later than noon on the 7th. Except when they got to the truck, the temperatures were so cold that the diesel fuel had frozen to a slush in the truck's gas tank. I didn't even know that was possible!

That being the case, it was no impossible for our crew to move us, so we got an emergency assignment to a new crew that had just finished a job in Boston. They hopped on the road and got to us about 6 pm on January 7th. Fully 33 hours after our move was supposed to start. They now needed to cram our 3 day pack and load into a day and a half.

Our crew was kind of awesome. They started working immediately and packed late into the night. The packed and loaded with high temperatures of 8* and negative windchills. I've never been more glad to hire movers. Ever.

By 4 pm on January 8th, nearly everything we owned was boxed (with varying degrees of care) and loaded onto a 53" moving truck. Surprisingly, we took up a LOT of the truck... about 2/3rd. Who knew he had so much stuff?

It was really strange to walk around our boxed up house. The house we put so much time effort into making ours. I think I'll miss that house. It was a really great first home for us. :)

Luckily, but the morning of the 9th the cold had lifted some and we have no trouble with delays for our flights to Austin. And the kids did amazing. Especially Lindsey. She spend lots of time playing with those great princess figures that Santa left her

 And then this happened. Best thing ever. :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Very Merry Day

Can I just say that watching your kids love the magic of Christmas is magical?

This Christmas was a little crazy. We spent many hours looking at MLS listings, trying to find a home to buy in Austin, on the phone arranging moving details and generally cramming too much into a short period of time. Sounds like life, right?

 Christmas Eve anticipation!

Christmas morning anticipation is worse! But can I just tell you how much I LOVE spending special days with these three little people. They make life fun (and hard, and frustrating, but the fun is usually worth it).

This little Beanie Boo was special to Allison. She saw it at Michael's just a few days before Christmas and fell. In. LOVE. She had to have it, but we talked to her about how Santa had probably finished his shopping and was working on wrapping and packing the sleigh. But, he's pretty magic, so he managed to slip it in her stocking. She was so excited to find it there.

This is a pretty big stocking for someone with such little arms. But digging down was totally worth it. Lindsey came out of the deal with... 

 ... Princess figures galore! Santa must know this little girl pretty well... ;)

 I LOVE the look on Carter's face here. Legos: best thing ever. Happiness (and hours of occupied time that does not require screen or batteries) in a box! 

I love this picture. I think is sums up and awesome Christmas morning from a kids point of view: watching a movie, in a sugar coma, surrounded by new toys.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Cheer

Skaneateles is an adorable town in the Fingers Lakes region and they do a beautiful Dickens Festival every year at Christmas time. Knowing we were leaving NY, we decided that we could NOT miss the Dickens Festival this year. Can you imagine how jolly, festive and Christmas-y it would be to wander around the cute little village in the upstate New York snow with actors in period Dickens dress around?

We'll have to imagine too, becuase it RAINED on us. And hard. We were soaked! So soaked that these native Washintonians broke down and bought an umbrella, which is basically renouncing your Washington-ness {never fear, however. We did our penance of 3 rain dances, and ten 12th man yells. They let us back in the club. ;)}

In spite of the rain, we did enjoy ourselves. The kids saw Father Christmas (Lindsey was not so sure she wanted to see him), met Scrooge at the library during story time, wandered the town for sweets and found hot chocolate (and an adorable photo op) at the Mirbeau Spa.

She would NOT get any closer... 

Three, smiling kids... a Christmas Miracle!

A few days later, we upheld our family tradition of making Gingerbread Houses for display slowly eating. Each year the kids stage and personality show through when we do these. (PS: look at those pretty, pretty white cabinets! I painted those!)

Allison was very planned and meticulous in her house. She even drew a sketch of what she wanted it to look like.

Carter was a bit less planned, and more about getting as much candy and STUFF on his house as was humanly possible.

Lindsey, true to 2-year-old form, was pretty much just concerned with shoving as much candy in her mouth as fast as possible. Get while the getting's good, and before mom decides you've had enough!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Terriffic Two!

This little girl. Who let her turn 2?  Where did my baby go? Seriously, I need answers!

Pizza for dinner. Birthday crown courtesy of Allison. Because you can't have a birthday without a birthday crown!

Owl Cake. 

She makes the best facial expressions. The series of photos I have from singing happy birthday to her is hilarious. She LOVE to be the center of attention and LOVED having "Happy Birthday" sung to her.

I'm telling you... best facial expressions!

Happy birthday, sweet girl! Now please stop growing up! Love, Mommy

Monday, December 9, 2013

What a difference a year can make...

For some reason, I found myself skimming old blog posts a few weeks ago. I think it was so I could get a "before" photo of my kitchen. While skimming, I happened upon last year's "holiday decorating" post and I was struck with how different my home now looks one year later. I knew how much work had been done, because I did most of it all by myself (2 hours of preschool/nap every day has been so productive!). But when you work on a project that evolves slowly, you tend to forget where you started and how far you've come.

So here's my house, pieces of it anyway, before and after.
Entry 2012

Entry 2013
 front hall/staircase, 2012

Front hall/staircase, 2013

(MESSY!) Playroom, 2011

(Less messy) Playroom, 2013

 Kitchen, 2011 (its one of the few reasonable "before" pictures of the kitchen I could find)

 Kitchen, 2013

 Master bedroom, February 2013

 Master bedroom, December 2013

Huge differences, right? I took a minute to think about all the things I've done to this house JUST this year. Its huge! In 2013 alone: *painted all the trim white *replaced 6 closet doors *painted 14 interior doors white *painted exterior front door teal *painted interior of all exterior doors charcoal *painted master bedroom *painted both halls and stairwell grey *painted brick fireplace & mantle white *painted the stained concrete hearth grey *painted the chevron-ed half wall over the fireplace *removed all door hinges and knobs and painted them oild-rubbed bronze *painted kids' and half bath *painted the kitchen and back laundry hall *refinished kitchen cabinets to white *Re-painted Lindsey's room (cause the color I picked in 2012 was ugly) *made new window treatments for kitchen, half bath and master bedroom *purchased new window treatments for living, dining, Lindsey's and Allison's rooms *new over-the-sink light fixture *new front porch light fixture

I think that's it for "permanent" changes. Quite a year, huh? And on that note: anyone want to buy a beautifully updated home? Move-in ready! 'Cause we're moving to Texas in 4 weeks... :)