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 market...so 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 home...so 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 so...now 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 picture...it'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! 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fishes in the Ocean, Fishes in the Pool!

Before Christmas Hubby & I were discussing various activities for Elyse to enjoy this Spring, and the one that we were most interested in was swimming lessons.  My parents have a pool & I'm a beach lover...so being able to swim is a must! 
I actually ended up with gift cards for 3 months worth of swimming lessons for Elyse for Christmas and we finally got started back during February.  Our facility limits the classes to 4 students, they keep the water super warm, and we also have access to weekly family open swim time on the weekends which is a nice bonus! 
We started out and are currently still in the Babies & Me class which is where I'm still in the water with her. We'll move up to an Aquababies class soon...but for now I'm actually enjoying the activities while being with her in the pool.   The first few weeks she was not quite sure of what was going on as it was such a new environment.  Hubby went with us to snap a few pictures, but Elyse constantly just kept saying..."OUT!" so he couldn't really get all that close!   

The second trip Elyse was more excited to go, but this time she REALLY wanted out once we got in.  And she kept hollering DADDY!!!  So...he left and went to the viewing area to hide while we had our quick 30 minute lesson. 

And then finally on the third trip she was COMPLETELY COMFORTABLE.  She's getting so much more at ease & willing to be by herself in the water or to kick off on her own while she's in her little pink ring.  I don't think it will be too long before she transitions into the next class where she'll really start learning to kick and paddle on her own. 

We have enough gift cards to get us through the middle of May, and I really hope we can continue going even after summer arrives.  It's such a fun time for us and lots of time Hubby goes along with us and we make a family date night out of it.  Our little fish is learning to LOVE the water...can't wait until summertime so we can enjoy the pool even more! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blessed...Not Lucky.

It's St. Patrick's Day & I'm behind as far as blogging goes.  But with all the "lucky" talk going around, I thought it was only appropriate to recognize how blessed I truly am.  Because after all, even though this blog is the Lucky Layman's, it's really the lower tag-line that means more to me..."not lucky in anything special, just incredibly blessed by God." And blessed we are. 
We are so blessed to have the opportunity to make so many memories with our family of three.  Life has certainly thrown us a few curve balls but we've been able to manage them as gracefully as possible.  We've been able to recognize in some amazing ways how perfect God's timing is and how he provides some amazing protection over us and our family.  

Just in the past week we have been reminded over and over how God truly does have our best interest in mind & how if we simply seek His will & guidance for our lives we will experience blessings overflowing.  It has nothing to do with luck, and everything to do with having our eyes, hearts, & minds focused on the one who blesses us beyond measure! 
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us," Ephesians 3:20

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Swinging, Showering, Swimming, Sunshiney Weekend!

Oh it was a wonderful Spring Weekend!  Saturday was a little rainy, yucky & cold...but yesterday & the promise of more beautiful weather this week made it totally worth it! 
Friday evening we spontaneously decided to stay at my parents' house for dinner & to allow Elyse to enjoy the sunshine.  She LOVES her swing at their house and couldn't get enough of it! 
Saturday morning Hubby headed to work while Elyse & I headed to a baby shower for one of my besties...she is having her second little boy at the end of April & I had volunteered to help out with some of the shower food.  The shower was "sprinkle" themed and we served brunchy food.  My proudest accomplishment were the mini-pancake stacks.  How cute are they?  A Pinterest idea for sure, but they turned out even better than I thought they would! 

The hostess did a great job with the decorations, but sadly this is the only decor picture I managed...FAIL. 
 I also didn't snag any photos during the shower other than this one of Brooks (the older brother) & Elyse having blueberries together...maybe one day we'll be able to say this was one of their first dates!  ha! 

Saturday afternoon we just stayed inside and rested up for the evening. I've mentioned that Elyse is taking swimming lessons...post still to come...and the place where she goes offers open family swim on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday from 3-5.  We met up with some mutual friends who have a little girl only a few days younger than Elyse and had a blast swimming with the kiddos.  Elyse is getting so much more comfortable in the water...but her favorite part of the swimming lessons/swimtime is always getting to see Dori & Nemo in the fishtank.  Such precious kiddos! We finished up the evening with pizza & froyo...a perfect family night out with friends! 

Yesterday we had a great church service & then came home for lunch & naps.  Well...a nap for Elyse.  Running for Hubby.  Painting for me.  It had been WAY too long since I had done some touchups around the house so I finally got to work.  The windows were open, and it was just an enjoyable afternoon. Oh how I love the smell of fresh air flowing through the windows!
Hubby had a meeting back at church later in the afternoon but Elyse & I took advantage of the sunshine and Daylight Savings Time with some much deserved playtime outside!  Our neighborhood is full of older kids and she was definitely running around with them like she belonged! 
What toy should I play with next?

Riding in style! 

Trying to figure out this whole tricycle thing..

She'd really rather sit on it than ride...ha! 

Fresh sidewalk chalk is the perfect picture of Spring!

This is apprently serious business!

Contemplating going back to play with the kids...

She decided that if she didn't say "bye bye" to the older kids then she didn't need to go inside!

This picture makes her look WAY more angelic than she is!  But I love it!
 While we were outside I realized that my crocus were blooming...a sure sign that Spring is on its way!  Yippee!