Monday, April 14, 2014

A Weekend to Stop & Smell the Flowers!

It was an absolutely beautiful weekend and it makes me long for continued Spring temperatures, and not this crazy weather that fluctuates from 80 degrees one day to 35 degrees the next. 
Last week the carpet was ripped up in the family room of our new house, and replaced with hardwoods (per our request in the housing contract) so we scheduled a showing with our realtor to see the house again.  They had just finished the floors on Thursday so there was still a little cleanup to be completed and there was dust everywhere...but it made me so excited to move into our new place in about a month!   My parents & our in-laws also met us at the house to see the updates and then we had a fancy, schmancy dinner at Wendy's!  ha!  We ended the evening outside with our neighbors...Elyse LOVES our neighbor kids.  We'll certainly miss the fabulous people who live next to us when we're gone!
I can picture LOTS of fun times on our back patio! 
Saturday morning Hubby had to work so Elyse & I spent the morning at home doing laundry, packing a few boxes, and finally heading outside to enjoy the sunshine.  My tulips are BEAUTIFUL or were.  Thanks to the wind, rain, and cold temperatures I don't think they're going to last much longer.  However, I took advantage of the sunshine and snapped a few pics of the flowers & my beautiful girl! 

I can't wait to plant more tulips at our new place!
Momma...I really want to pick these flowers!
Momma, I smell the flowers! 

Think she was close enough?!?

Saturday afternoon Elyse took a nap & then we headed out to do a little furniture shopping & to pick up a piece I had already purchased for the new house.  We met up with my brother, SIL, & their little girl Harper...who Elyse absolutely adores.  After a quick pizza dinner, we headed to a nearby park so Elyse could play in the beautiful weather.  They had some great slides & climbing areas for kids her age, and she HAD A BLAST!!!  The sun was setting which made it difficult to grab very many good pictures, but I did snap this one as she came down the tube slide! 
Oh how I love Spring & Summer weekends when we can just hang out outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.  It's those times when I'm reminded to not take any moment for granted and to enjoy the simple, relaxing moments that will be gone in the blink of an eye.  Elyse might want to pick my flowers, or she might literally want to smell them...but I truly need to take a breath, relax, and recognize how truly blessed I am in this world. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rainy Opening Day @ Busch Stadium

Well, it's official.  We're crazy. 
Last year Hubby & I decided to attend Opening Day in St. Louis as we are both pretty diehard St. Louis Cardinals fans.  We bought tickets the morning of (which made them really cheap), drove 3.5 hours up, watched the game, and drove 3.5 hours back.  We had such a fun time that we decided to make it (budget & weather permitting) an annual tradition. 
We had made tentative plans to go this year, but then the weather started looking REALLY questionable so I had basically convinced Hubby to stay home and save our money for something house related.  However, when it came down to it, we already had babysitter plans for Elyse and had already taken the day off work...and the weather LOOKED like it would pass just in time for the first pitch. 
So....we packed a backpack full of extra clothes, donned all of our red Cardinals gear & headed out.  This year we weren't quite the rookies that we were last year & instead of trying to do anything else...we simply drove straight to the ballpark to get a "closeish" parking spot.  Which we succeeded at doing...for $40.  Yeah.  $40 just to park in a lot that normally would cost maybe $15.  Oh the joys of Opening Day! 
The new Ballpark Village development
We parked, layered up, grabbed the umbrella, and headed to find something to eat for lunch since we arrived at the ballpark nearly 4 hours before gametime. We had very slight hopes of eating at the new Ballpark Village development...but after seeing the line just to get in to the general area and overhearing a conversation about a 6-hour wait...we decided to opt for a warm, dry table at TGI Friday's just a couple of blocks away. 
After lunch it was time for the gates to open so we headed back over to head into the ballpark. The incredibly CRAZY thing about the entire day is that NO. ONE. CARED.  It steadily rained all morning and most of the first three innings, but thousands of diehard Cardinals fans were milling around outside the stadium, sitting in their seats with ponchos, and umbrellas, just soaking up the electric (even in the rain) atmosphere of Opening Day @ Busch Stadium.   

Part of the line for the 6-hour wait!
St. Louis is known for having amazingly loyal fans, through good seasons and bad...but let's be honest...we're good a whole lot more often than we're bad in the recent years!  Last year's National League Championship definitely made for an excited crowd on Opening Day!

I had told Hubby that if I was going to go that I wanted to spend a little extra money for seats that had a climate-controlled dining/bathroom area so that if I started to freeze I could take refuge in there.  We also managed to get INCREDIBLY lucky and our seats were actually covered by the overhand.  So while many people were stuck out in the rain...we put our umbrella away and waited for the festivities to begin! 
The tarp is coming off!!!  yay!!!

Ozzie Smith aka the Wizard making his way to the other Hall of Fame members--I remember watching him as a little girl!

Even with the rain they had an incredible showing of a bald eagle who made multiple circles around the ballpark and then landed back on his handler's arm.  It gave me chills just watching it! 

One of my favorite views in the world! 
Even in the rain we had an absolute blast, and Hubby even allowed me a little bit of Pottery Barn shopping afterwards before we headed home.  I can definitely see this becoming an annual tradition for the two of us...definitely a great way to ring in Spring!  What better way than at the ballpark?!?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

See you at the Circus!

This past weekend the circus came to town and Hubby decided that we should take Elyse to her first official circus performance.  I honestly wasn't sure what she would think about it, just because it was such a different atmosphere...and sometimes she's pretty unsure about completely new experiences! 
We ended up waking her early from her nap, and she fell back asleep in the car while we drove so she was still a little groggy when we headed inside.  Thanks to a fantastic friend, we had some great complimentary seats & to my surprise, Elyse LOVED it! 

Watching the ladies perform the aerial acts!

Momma...look at the girls! 

Completely captivated!

The best smile I could get...she was WAY too focused for pictures!

Watching all the action!

She was dressed in true circus attire with sparkly red shoes & everything!
At intermission (which was actually almost 2 hours into the show), they open up pony rides, elephant rides, and camel rides on the floor of the arena.  I really thought Elyse might want to go see all the animals so I encouraged Hubby to take her...I never dreamed she would WANT to RIDE the ponies!  Thanks to our ridiculously generous friend, we also had some complimentary ride passes! 

The best family picture I could manage!
She got right up on that pony like she'd done it a thousand times and LOVED EVERY SECOND!!!

And she was not the happiest of campers when we told her that she couldn't ride again! 

She even asked to ride the elephant, but the line was TOO long!

Thing those cheesy grins look alike?!?
Overall it was a wonderful family afternoon.  We left not long after intermission just because it seemed to be lasting forever and we had already been there for over 2 1/2 hours!  However, we finished off the evening with dinner out & frozen custard for dessert!  I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my Saturday! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

A House Showing...Who Does THAT?!?

Sometimes things happen in life that just leave you utterly & completely speechless, and while you might be really tempted to be incredibly angry, it's hard to do because of the shock you are experiencing. 

I had one of those experiences this week. 

Wednesday evening we had our third house showing of this entire house-selling process.  And to be honest, I'm completley unfamiliar with it as I have NEVER been involved in the house-selling game.  However, I do know that there are certain things that you just DON'T DO. 

So...on Wednesday evening the showing was supposed to happen around 6.  Hubby, Elyse, & I had dinner out and we came back home around 7 assuming that the prospective buyer would be gone...and they were.  So I pull into the garage, walk into the house and the first thing I notice is that most all the lights are still on.  As suggested by our realtor when we left the house for closing I left all the lights and lamps on and then once the showing agent leaves, they normally turn all the lights off just as a courtesy.  Well...this didn't happen. 

Secondly, I quickly notice that Elyse's Fisher Price ride on musical car is sitting in our home.  Which might not sound like a big deal, but it becomes a big deal when that musical car was actually sitting out in the garage and is currently used as an outdoor toy.  Who does THAT?!?

Next, I realize that part of Elyse's pull-along train is laying in the middle of the living room.  Definitely not where I left it when we left the house.  Who does THAT?!?

Then...I walk into the office turned play room.  Elyse's toys are normally stored & organized on a shelf or neatly placed in the floor along the wall.  No less than 1/4 of her toys had been pulled off the shelves and laid scattered around the floor.  Yeah.  Seriously.  Who does THAT?!?

I quickly called our realtor, who was absolutely NOT the showing realtor, and asked her if this was normal.  She of course was as shocked as I was & very apologetic, even though it was not at all her fault. 

I thought this was everything, but later on in the evening we also realized that our computer had been turned on.  Thankfully the computer is SUPER slow and takes forever to boot up, so it appeared that nothing had been messed with or done.  Yeah.  That happened too.  Who does THAT?!?

I was so shocked and appalled that someone would play with Elyse's toys, turn on our computer, etc.  that I failed to actually take any pictures...I just picked everything up as quickly as I could so I wouldn't have to see it all anymore.  However, you can bet that my blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.

The semi-funny thing about the whole thing?  We sold our house to them.   The house is going under contract today.  But not for a second will I forget that their children played with Elyse's toys!!!!  I mean WHO DOES THAT?!?!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life Lately via Instagram

We don't really have a whole lot going on right now...well besides house related stuff.  And to be completely honest I have lost a little bit of my blogging motivation; however, I love having this to look back on as a record of our daily I will plug on and keep updating it. 

1.  Spring seems to finally have sprung around here..and we had some quality outdoor time over the weekend.  I really am going to miss our neighbors when we move.  We have such a good time just hanging out in our driveways and watching the kiddos play. 

2.  Elyse is in this stage where she wakes up from her nap but isn't always ready to actually be up...which means we wrap up her nap with some pretty fabulous momma/daughter cuddles.  Check out those eyelashes and those pouty lips...this momma isn't complaining about some extra snuggles!

3.  We had two house showings last at 10 am and one at 6 pm...and I refused to clean my house twice.  So...I plopped Elyse in front of the tv so I could finish picking up early in the morning, we went to a friends' house to play during the showing, came home for nap, and then she watched a bit more tv while I made a few more adjustments before the evening showing.  We had some great feedback, but no offers yet.  I'm getting a little impatient...mainly because having a house for sale with a two year old is a lot of work! 

4.  Yesterday was Opening Day...what?  Is Opening Day not a National Holiday in your house?  Of course we all sported our Cardinals colors in celebration! 

5.  I've decided that when buying a new house we should really have some sort of "new home" registry so that I can replace all the stuff that I got back when we were married!  I've got my eyes on a new bed (ours is only a queen right now I'd love a King-sized), a new living room area rug, a new dining room table, a new entertainment center......but I'm for sure keeping all of Elyse's furniture, our couch, and our oversized that counts for something right?!?  I'm trying to use self-control until we actually have possession but it's oh so hard!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moving on out/up/over...

Well, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have heard our most recent family news.  We bought a house, and put ours on the market all within about a 48 hour period. 
It's probably no secret that we've been discussing our future home possibilities for the better part of forever the last 18 months.  We've had future children on the brain, and we've been wishing that we could host family gatherings & small group for a LONG time.  Our current house is great, but it's just not as big as we would like.  And in all honesty, we thought our next home would be one that we built.  Last Spring we even chose a builder, met with an architect,  had some beautiful house plans drawn up, purchased a lot, got our financing in order, and basically had a start date in place.  And...then we got the estimate back from our builder...which just happened to be nearly 30% over budget before we ever put a shovel in the ground. 
Obviously, God had other plans for us besides building.  The rug was pulled out from under us in August, and we've been house hunting ever since.  We honestly aren't worried about our current house selling, so we really wanted to wait until there was at least a house with some potential on the we weren't left in limbo.  Because I can tell that with EVERY. FIBER. OF. MY. BEING.  I did not want to rent.  I would rather have stayed in our same house than have to rent a duplex or apartment or even consider living with my parents or my in-laws (love you all, but we all know this can end badly!) 
So...practically every day, multiple times a day, for the past 4-5 months I have been checking the local listings for a house that would fit our needs.  There have been a few pop up, but we only went and actually even looked at 1-2...granted, I'm SUPER picky and really wanted something that was move-in ready with not a LOT of work cosmetically. 
So...after being discourage, and frustrated, and Hubby reassuring me, and being more discouraged, and resigning myself to the idea of renting, and mourning my dream home, and Hubby reassuring me...we finally just decided to list our house to see what would happen.  And hopefully a house would come on the market and timing would work out perfectly. 
Our actual for sale sign
Well........we were scheduled to fill out the listing paperwork & have listing photos taken on Tuesday, March 11.  The Sunday before that, Hubby was looking at the listings and took a second glance at a house that had actually been on the market for 57 days already.  He thought it might deserve to be seen, so we set up a showing for the same night as the listing paperwork was to be filled out.   It's located in the same town, but across town and has about 600 sq feet more than what we have now.  So...we went with our realtor (who's also a great friend)...and we loved it. 
Actually, we liked it.  After the showing, and the listing paperwork, and the photos...we had our thoughts to ourselves and we had practically talked ourselves out of it because of the size of the kids closets.  Seriously.  Not even joking. The kids' closets.  First World Problems right there!
However, we prayed about it, and decided to get a third party's opinion on the we set up a second showing on Friday with my parents.  And we loved it.  Really loved it.  Like couldn't imagine my family NOT living there loved it. 
And so...on Saturday, less than a week after we had first seen it, we made an offer.  And bumped the listing of our house up by 3 days. 
A picture after we made our first offer!
We offered, they countered, we countered back...and they accepted.  And the race is on to sell our house on or (preferably after by a few days) the closing date of our new home.  Fingers crossed! 
Rest assured there will be many, many, many more photos of our new home and lots more updates...but for now, here's a few from the initial listing.  Did I mention it's brand new?  Has 4 bedrooms & 2 1/2 baths, plus a formal dining/turned office?  A fabulous backyard?  And backs up to a field?  Oh...and our HOA dues include access to the neighborhood pool and playground?!?
Love the entryway!
 And brace yourself for this next's truly beautiful!
Yeah, that's going to be my new kitchen.  Those cabinets on the right side?  The same number of cabinets I currently have...with double that space on the other side, plus a full pantry! 
 And maybe my second favorite feature after the kitchen...our back porch.  Sod has been laid now and the yard leveled out.  My not normally sentimental husband mentioned that he can see us sitting out on this back patio and watching the sun set.  Ahhhh....I can't hardly wait!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Weekend with my Girl!

This was definitely a girls' weekend in every way...except it wasn't me & a bunch of girlfriends, just me & my sweet little girl!  Hubby headed out Friday morning for St. Louis to watch the 1st round of the NCAA tourney with his dad.  Games were held on Friday & Sunday, which means he didn't get home until after 9:00 last night. 
So...almost 3 whole days for Elyse & I to spend together!  Now for LOTS of mommas out there I realize that this is a pretty common thing...but for us, it's like a once or twice a year occurrence.  Hubby & I just don't travel overnight that often without the other and Elyse is definitely not used to having just one of her parents' around. 
In the past these nights might have caused a little anxiety about how it would all work out, but not this time.  I was actually pretty excited for some extended alone time with my girl, and it certainly didn't hurt that Daddy left us some fun money....or that a certain movie-based babysitter arrived on Friday!  Perfect timing! 

Friday I left work a little early & we headed to the park to enjoy some swinging & sliding & running around.  Elyse was successful in obtaining her first grass stain of the year & she also climbed up the big slide & went down all by herself. 

We finished off the evening by meeting Mamaw for dinner, and then of course...our first Frozen viewing at home.  This girl is SERIOUS about her movies...and practically didn't move the entire time.  Except to reassure me that Princess Anna, or  Queen Elsa depending on the scene, was going to be ok.  I'm not sure if she was really worried about me, or if it just made her feel better to say it out loud.   
Saturday morning I had considered going to a two-hour Zumba party...but a donut breakfast & some extended playtime with this little cutie were just too hard to pass up!   She played hard all morning by herself just going from puzzles to books to stuffed animals and she even paused at one point to sing Jesus Loves Me to her Doc McStuffins doll!  Momma wasn't fast enough to catch it on video...but it was one of the cutest things I've ever seen!  I guess even Doc needs Jesus!   
Saturday morning also included the second full viewing of Frozen so that I could take a shower!

 Saturday afternoon we had a birthday party for one of Elyse's best buds and then we headed out for a little bit of girl-time.  Some shopping at the mall and Target, & then dinner at Chick-fil-A with Mamaw, cousin Jackson & Aunt Lauren.  We finished up the evening with the last 35 minutes of Frozen and then it was off to bed.

Yesterday morning we went to church, then out to lunch with Mamaw, and then home for some playtime & naps. 

We finished up the evening with small group, a bath, and then another quick 30 minutes of Frozen before Elyse headed to bed and I waited up for Hubby to get home. 
He did pick up some flowers for us on Thursday before he left!
Elyse & I definitely survived the three days at home without Hubby...but we were definitely glad to have our entire family back under one roof!