It’s been a long time

welcome Drea

It has been a really REALLY long time since I’ve posted. And I’ve missed it… a LOT. I probably won’t have much time to post until life stabilizes a bit but I wanted to do a quick  update on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing!

It all started with selling our house, yay! I loved that house oh so much, I did. But here’s the thing, it was just not the right house for the stage our family is in right now. Three stories and two sets of stairs was rough when I had just one kiddo. I can’t even imagine what I would do now. Especially since the kitchen and living space were on the mid level of the home. Anyhow, we sold the house and had to make quite a few requested repairs. During that process we had to find a home to rent. My hubby fell in love with a neighborhood so we knew where we were going to rent and indeed that’s where we are at. I am already feeling renters remorse due to a few issues in the home and the fact that I can’t decorate like I would my own home. I will talk more about that another time.

Then the next thing I knew it was holidays one after the other! We moved in and Thanksgiving was right around the corner, then of course Christmas, New Years…. all that fun stuff.

Most exciting of all our sweet Drea made her appearance on January 12th! That story will of course be coming soon as well. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m super exhausted but so in love with this new tiny human that we created. I’m very grateful to have my mom here to help me transition through this newborn phase as this has been a bit rough (although better out than in, the pregnancy itself was more exhausting than Drea is!).

I will be taking a break for awhile until the newborn fog has lifted and then I will gradually start back in because it is so fun to have my thoughts recorded and it helps my productivity level as well.

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Dear Future Baby – 28 weeks

28 week collage

How far along: 28 weeks – pardon the pic… I put a little makeup on but didn’t even touch my hair lol. I’ve been avoiding these posts because I haven’t had the energy to get ready. By the next one I may look like I just got out of bed!

Gender: It’s a girl! I still catch myself saying “we are having another boy… I mean girl.” HA! I was really SO sure that we were having a boy.

How I’m feeling: I’m just starting to get heartburn a lot and I remember this from last time. I’m hoping it doesn’t keep me awake like it did with McKenna. I’m super tired but that might also be due to the packing up a 2,000+ sq ft house and keeping a half dozen or so other “balls” in the air.

Highlight this week: The highlight since the time I last updated here was definitely finding out that we are having another sweet little girl. It feels so good to be able to start giving back clothes that we don’t need (we amassed both girl and boy clothes).

Miss anything: I’ve missed drinking a lot more this time for some reason. I’m not really a big drinker to begin with so it doesn’t make much sense. It might have to do with all of the seasonal cocktails I keep seeing! I’m just gonna have to pin ’em and give them a try next year!

Movement: This little girl is definitely active. It makes me wonder what kind of personality she will have and I can’t wait to see her moves on the outside! I have a feeling her and McKenna are gonna be dancing all over the place as soon as she is capable.

Cravings: Give me all the pumpkin! I swear to my husband that my “pregnancy cravings” aren’t exactly cravings. They really tend to be things that I love no matter what, not just when pregnant. This is really no exception. Have you ever tried cookie butter from Trader Joes? Did you know they make a seasonal pumpkin butter?! It’s even better. I’m in love.

Looking forward to: I’m looking forward to being moved into a new home (with a yard!!!) before this baby gets here. I’m feeling incredibly grateful that the sale of our house went so quick and happened so smoothly.

What McKenna says about the baby: Brandon and I have pretty well settled on a first name for this sweet little girl that is joining us in a few short months but McKenna refuses to call her by her name. She says “NO! She’s just my little sister.” We aren’t sure what she means by this but at least she’s consistent?

DFB-28

 

Dear future baby girl,

I was so excited to find out that we are having another little girl. I have no doubt that you are going to have a BIG personality based on the way you move in my tummy and I’m interested to see those moves out here with us!

McKenna is so happy she is having a little sister and tells everyone that she comes in contact with about you and how you are going to be “hers”.  We are moving soon so that we can have a house with a yard for you and your sister and I look forward to holding you and loving on you in our new back yard.

Love, your future Mama

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4 perks to home renting!

4 perks to home renting

We have another guest post from Niki today.  This time about the perks to home renting! I’m really excited for this because…. we sold our house! Our house was on the market for 8 days and we got 3 offers and accepted one on Sunday morning – eeeek! The close date is flexible and they would like to get their hands on our house as soon as they can which means we need to find a rental ASAP! We are looking and put in an application that we hope to hear back soon from. Now I’m getting excited to think about all the perks of home rental while we take our time to decide exactly what and where we want to buy.

Hi, I’m Niki- full time Mama extraordinary to two boys three and under and a lifetime educator. My husband and I operate a small business out of our home, always an adventure with little ones running about! I’m not much for crafting, but I can coax a literate essay out of a 10th grader, make a mean apple pie and pack up a 2,000 sq ft home in less than a week, while balancing a kid on each hip!

So, you’re about to rent a home and you’re wondering what you’re getting into. I’ve owned and rented and feel at peace in the place we’re in now, as happy renters. Three rental homes (and countless lousy college apartments) in, here’s a list of what I wish I knew then that you can know now. Renting comes with some perks that aren’t often talked about.

 Perk 1

Perk 1-  never having to fix ANYTHING. If you find a rental with a great landlord, you’ll never have to lift a hammer or worry about the AC going out. In our current home, we’ve had new custom screens put on all the windows, our garbage disposal replaced, and exterminators and landscapers out. All at no cost to us, and within 24 hours of need arising. We have an amazing landlord and searched to find him. it makes all the difference, but getting it down in the lease and making sure you’re on the same page before signing is SO important. Plus, many landlords will give you sweet perks if you want to renew when a lease is up, like free carpet cleaning. Also, landlords can be talked into sweet little extras, like paying for the air and water filters. It sounds silly, but not having to pay for those is oddly satisfying.

 perk 2

Perk 2- Extra money doesn’t go to the house. When we owned a home, it felt like we were always saving up for something for the house- whether it was improving the pool, the yard, or redecorating. That doesn’t happen here. Extra time and money now goes to fun stuff, like our kids or date nights.  

 perk 3

Perk 3- choose your own adventure. Renting is fun because you get to try on neighborhoods and the idea of being somewhere. Renting affords you the adventure of trying somewhere new on for size. Interested in a new family friendly neighborhood, but not sure if the area is right? Rent, and if you don’t like it, you can move on, you love it, put a ring on it and renew the lease. Renting is like dating- you can decide how much of a commitment to make. Also, you get the luxury of portability. Home ownership is tough in that you’re stuck somewhere, but renting offers the flexibility of going ANYWHERE. Yes, you sign a lease, but you get to decide how long and it’s a hell of a lot easier to get out of a lease than a mortgage if need be- believe me, I speak from experience!

 perk 4

Perk 4-  This may seem silly, but I love it- the “I’m a renter” excuse. Walk past the cable guy at Costco, trying to get you to sign up, the landscaper knocking at the door, begging for business, the telemarketers trying to sell you on home phone. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate being mean to these people, but I can now genuinely say, I rent, I can’t deal with those decisions and I’m honestly shutting them down.

Dear Future Baby….

It's a

gender

 

Dear Future Baby Girl!

I am so excited to know a little bit more about about you! I could’ve sworn that you were going to be a baby boy, but I’m so excited for another darling little girl. It’s nice to know so that I can do some planning. I held onto a few of McKenna’s old clothes but not enough! Luckily I was gifted all sorts of baby girl and baby boy clothes. Now I can get rid of half of those clothes!

The only thing that will be hard is coming up with a name that will fit you. Your daddy and I tend to disagree about girls names so we have a lot of work ahead of us here lol. You are already a vivacious little girl in my tummy – jumping and kicking around! Wish me luck in finding a name that your daddy likes! We love you so, so much and can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Your Mama

What we’ve been up to lately

What we've been up to lately

It’s been a few weeks with no posts – eeek! I have so much going on and haven’t had time to put in here. We all know how it goes, life happens. So, let’s start with the fun stuff…

I had my gender reveal party! It was an absolute blast and I’m excited to post pics and the gender here pretty soon.

My house got listed for sale! It was a LOT of work getting our house ready and I will be posting about that, the process and of course the pretty pictures that I now have of my house.

I’ve started watching a little girl a few days a week to help out a friend who just got promoted and needs to go into the office more often now. It’s been great to have someone around McKenna’s age on a more regular basis to help McKenna get used to the idea of a new little sibling coming soon. She has never been the jealous type and has always shared really well… until the last few months. HA! I have some thoughts on this that I will share more of later.

This pregnancy has been all kinds of rough. I’ve gotten sick a lot, dehydrated several times and so worn down that I couldn’t do much more than sit on the couch and watch McKenna play. Things are going a little better now but I know I need to be much more careful about taking care of myself FIRST.

I missed capturing my thoughts and feelings here so I’m glad to be back!

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Dear Future Baby – 22 weeks

22 weeks

How far along: 22 weeks … and a few days – it’s been a week of me gettin’ the house ready and not wanting to get ME ready

Gender guess: Nobody has changed their minds (except McKenna who changes her mind every day) – I think it’s going to be a boy still and Brandon still thinks it’s going to be a girl. The ultrasound was earlier this week and then the gender reveal party is next Sunday so that’s when we will find out!

How I’m feeling: It’s kind of strange but besides being exhausted my body is feeling a little better. I’ve mentioned that Brandon gives me massages regularly but he has also started helping me do stretching to make me more comfortable and help me sleep.

Highlight this week: The highlight  of the week was getting our house painted while I was out of town. It doesn’t seem like it has to do with the baby but it does. We really would like to get into a house that fits our needs better and this is one of the things that needed to happen in order to get it ready to sell.

Miss anything: I miss being able to go in a jacuzzi. Sounds strange but I really like hot water.

Movement: So much movement! I can’t believe how much this baby does… and how often. I’m not complaining though. I really love feeling each and every movement.

Cravings: I haven’t really had any food cravings but my food aversions (meat, some veggies, anything that looks weird… ok most all food) have subsided some. That’s a huge relief because I am able to get more protein because of this.

Looking forward to: The gender reveal!! (yes still lol) We are finally about to find out!

What McKenna says about the baby: McKenna is having a hard time deciding whether she thinks you are a baby brother or a baby sister. She is pretty easily swayed by whoever she is closest to. If she’s with daddy she says it’s a girl and if she’s with me she says it’s a boy!

 

DFB-22

Dear future baby,

Pretty soon we will know whether you will be a beautiful baby girl or baby boy. We are beyond excited to find out… but even more excited to know more about you!

I can’t believe how much you move around in my belly. I swear you’ve been doing jumping jacks, karate kicks and whatever those boxing punches are called. It’s lovely to feel you and be reminded that I get to carry you around until you are ready to be here.

Love, your future Mama

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Gender Reveal Party Plan

It's a

The gender reveal is coming up this weekend!!! Can you tell I’m a little excited? As excited as I am, I’ve also been super busy (hence the absence last week) getting my house ready to sell. Last week we were able to book someone last minute to paint our house, and Brandon sent McKenna and I over to his mom’s house to be out of fume’s way. It was a nice change from scurrying around getting stuff done, but I had a toddler who didn’t want to sleep at all while there so it wasn’t all that relaxing.

Anyhow… the point is… that I procrastinated. I have had plans for all the things that I’m going to do for the gender reveal party for quite some time. This week I’m implementing most of it. Whoops! Lucky for me I have a wonderful MIL who came for a day to help me get a few things prepped and to keep Miss McKenna occupied while I ran the last few errands necessary.

Since it’s in the front of my mind I wanted to share some of the fun things that I am doing for the party. First of all, it is magic themed. Here is a little inspiration board for what I am going for:

party inspiration

Food: 1 / 2   Decor: 1 / 2    Costume: 1 / 2

 

McKenna is going to be dressed as a magician, and one of my nieces will be her assistant (to keep her on track – let’s be honest she’s a sporadic toddler). As the magician, she will be presenting magic tricks to reveal whether I am having a baby boy or a baby girl. We will see how that goes down but I’m super excited to find out so I probably won’t care during the performance.

I’m really excited to get everything together this week and to put my plans into action! I have a little bit of costume making to get done, a lot of shopping for food, and then putting up the decorations I got and making a few more for final touches! I’m wishing I had some magic at this point but it’ll be fun, so maybe just wish me luck 😉

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When (and why)I don’t always DIY

when and why I don't always DIY

As I’ve mentioned, we are preparing our house to sell right now and there is A LOT to do. If you’ve ever sold a house you know how much there is to do that you just didn’t notice. Over time you get blinders to those annoying little things that are a part of your home. Along with these little things we also just had a big monsoon which caused some roof problems. Agh! Part of why I’ve been MIA is because of the roof problems. Oh and there is also the pregnancy that is keeping me down low, and of course preparing this house to sell during the HOT Arizona summer…. Enough rambling and back to the reason for the blog post. I LOVE to DIY… or at least try my hand at it. That much should be obvious. So why would I NOT want to DIY something? There are a few good reasons not to DIY and here are some of the things that I am not going to be DIYing for the preparation of this house.

I have a long list of things that need to get done around here, including:

  • Small plumbing, such as tightening some small leaks, etc.
  • Filling screw holes
  • Cleaning
  • Painting the stairways
  • Filling the hole from the dog door to the patio
  • Deep cleaning the carpet
  • THE ROOF – ha!
  • Re-carpeting the master bedroom
  • Purging soooo much stuff
  • Reorganizing furniture

What we will be DIYing:

  • Getting rid of all the things
  • Cleaning and cleaning some more
  • Moving light furniture and styling with my realtor
  • Brandon will be moving heavier pieces of furniture that we don’t want in the house during the sale process
  • I’ve filled some of the screw holes already… I will get into that more in what I won’t be DIYing

What we will not be DIYing:

  • Plumbing…. I have actually tackled some plumbing fixes before, but seeing as I’m pregnant I don’t think I’m gonna be getting on the ground for fear that I won’t be able to get up!
  • Filling screw holes that require a step stool or ladder. Another thing that I could normally do, but I’m not stable to begin with and being pregnant I’m even less so
  • Deep cleaning the carpets. Chemicals upon chemicals – no thanks
  • Painting – I may actually do a few small areas that need touch up if they don’t require a step stool but if it does I’m out and for large surfaces I’m also out.
  • Recarpeting is something that I’ve never tried so I’m not gonna try at this juncture. 
  • We are getting our roof fixed, yay!

 

Some of these things are hard for me to pay someone else to do when I know that usually I can tackle a lot of these things. I have had to take a deep breath and be ok with not being able to do it all. The stuff we are doing is already a lot! We are up to seven nine SUV loads that we have brought to Goodwill! It’s amazing how much we have been able to get rid of. It has felt really good to unload a lot of stuff, and it’s even better seeing clear spaces in my home.  I’ve been really grateful to have some amazing friends and family who have helped me out and I know that without their help (and some professionals in the near future!) I couldn’t do this. In the beginning I was thinking that I could do it all on my own. It only took me a minute to realize that was ludicrous. Don’t be too hard on yourselves and be honest when you can’t (or maybe even don’t want to) do it yourself. 

 

 

Dear Future Baby – 20 weeks, halfway there!

20 weeks

How far along: 20 weeks

Gender guess: Boy is still my guess, girl is still Brandon’s guess… it’s not too long until we know!

How I’m feeling: It’s been getting harder and harder to get comfortable at night and thus I haven’t been sleeping much. I’m also super exhausted due to working on my home in preparations for putting it up for sale.

Highlight this week: The highlight of the week coincided with the worst day of the week, ha! Last Wednesday I was really ill and ended up going to see one of my midwives to ensure that the baby was ok and I was super stressed… but then after I got home from that he/she kicked! The baby has been kicking up a storm ever since. I’m loving those little kicks and it comforts me so much.

Miss anything: I miss being able to eat without everything sounding disgusting. I love me some food and lately I haven’t been enjoying eating at all.

Movement: As mentioned above, yes! I am so sooo excited for this.

Cravings: Nope. I have basically been forcing food down my throat for the baby but nothing sounds appetizing lately.

Looking forward to: The gender reveal!! It’s coming up quick and I’ve been working out the details of the whole party. I will put together some of the ideas I have and then I’m sure I will have a bunch of photos after the party!

What McKenna says about the baby: McKenna has been watching more TV lately than I would like to admit and her favorite is Doc McStuffins. Due to this she listens to your heartbeat every day and says that it sounds good!

DFB-20

 

Dear future baby,

It almost doesn’t seem real that we will have another little baby in our arms in just a few short months. We are so excited to meet you and to hold you in our arms. Your sister is beyond thrilled to have someone to help take care of.

Thank you for comforting me with your little baby kicks and letting me know that you are alright. I want to help you grow healthy and strong little one!

Love, your future Mama

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How to find the right rental home

tips for home renting

My dear friend Niki offered to share some of her wisdom about renting! Since we are thinking that renting will be our best move after we sell our home, I’m soaking up all of the information that she has. To start she is sharing how to find the right rental home to fit your needs, and next time she will share some of the little known perks that come with home renting! Take it away Niki!

 

Hi, I’m Niki- full time Mama extraordinary to two boys three and under and a lifetime educator. My husband and I operate a small business out of our home, always an adventure with little ones running about! I’m not much for crafting, but I can coax a literate essay out of a 10th grader, make a mean apple pie and pack up a 2,000 sq ft home in less than a week, while balancing a kid on each hip!

 

So, how to find the right rental for you or your family?

non-negotiable

First- decide on your non-negotiables and start looking at least a few months before you even want to start really looking.  Are you set on a certain area, a specific price range or a length of lease that you can’t budge on? Before you even start looking at houses, figure out what CANNOT change and then build your search from there.

trulia

The more flexible you can be, the more options you’ll have, but that can get overwhelming. So, play around on rental websites for a bit and see what’s out there. I personally like Trulia.com for window shopping, It lets me look at areas by maps and see what I can get for my monthly budget in different areas.  If schools are important to you, use Greatschools.net and stalk the heck out of the neighborhood schools, look in the districts you love for a house.  Look at different styles of homes and decide what you enjoy.

budget

 

Next- once you know a general area you like and a style of house you’re all about, start budgeting. Renting can be a bit pricey in the beginning. Figure in costs. Most landlords wanted a security deposit and at least one month’s rent up front. There’s also typically earnest money of at least a few hundred bucks to take the house off the market and and application fees of 25-100 dollars per adult applicant.

Moving costs can be pricey as well, so figure that into your budget. My best advice is put aside three months’ rent for your move in cost before you start looking. This takes the pressure off of you and gives you more flexibility in where you can move. Also, and we’ve done this- consider lump sums. Maybe you want a house, but think the landlord is asking a bit much for it. We’ve talked rent down by paying quarterly instead of monthly. Many landlords will take less for it total if you’ll pay a few months at a time. It gives you some bargaining power.

Ok, so you’ve got an idea of what you want and you’ve saved up some funds- the best advice I can give you as a renter is to find a realtor. I know this seems counter-intuitive, because it’s not like you’re selling, but a realtor can be your best friend in the renting process. They’ll set up viewings for you so you can see multiple homes in one day.

Without a realtor, you have to play phone tag with the landlords or the owners’ agents just to get in the door. You can easily spend a week trying to get someone on the phone to let you go tour the place, why not let a realtor do that for you? Also, landlords take you a lot more seriously with an agent.  To find a great realtor, ask around- see who your friends have used or even search online. 

 

Many landlords will allow you to move in fairly quickly, as they don’t like to have their home unoccupied. See if you can get your new lease to start a bit before your current situation ends. I’ve had it work out that I had weeks to move so there wasn’t any stress to get out and was able to move and clean up the old place leisurely.

redocorate

Ask about redecorating, if you like doing it, it can be worked in. Some landlords will let you repaint as long as you’re willing to paint back. My home now actually has walls painted in colors that I really like- grey on some, buttercup on others. It was something that set the house apart in my mind and made it feel different than other rentals. Also, see what you can work out with landscaping and bug spraying. These are essential in Arizona and many landlords are willing to throw them in for free so you don’t even have to think about it.


Renting can be fun and make your life easier. If you do your research in the beginning and set yourself up to be in a great situation from the beginning, it can make all the difference in the long run.

 

 

Thanks Niki! I have learned so much and I feel a lot more comfortable with the prospect of home renting thanks to your sage advice. Also, there are a lot of really great bloggers that rent and talk about how they update their home without making permanent changes. I’m already soaking up a bunch of inspiration since I know I will want to decorate to some extent.