New Home

Thursday, November 26, 2015

We seem to have been asked a lot why we chose to move, and why it happened so suddenly.  I shared in a previous post about how we had always wanted to live in Clovis but couldn’t afford anything when we started looking for a home the first time. We spent a little over four years at Delbert and we learned a lot. Not to make it sound bad, but I had the idea that Delbert for us was like Egypt for the Israelites. That time in slavery gave them time to build up and become a mighty people, and Delbert sure was not slavery but it definitely was our time to become a large family. Well large to us, going from a family of 2 to a family of 5 in 3 years, and the number of adults being outnumbered by the number of small children makes it sure seem large. Anyways, we prayed about it and the answer was most definitely yes, go to Clovis…so we did.

            We started looking for a house before Delbert went on the market, and on the first round of houses we looked at we found one we loved. Avignon, the house I never knew I wanted. First the area just felt right,  like the spirit was telling me these are the schools your kids need to go to (don’t even get me started on schools and curriculum and indoctrination and how I should home school, that is a different story all together). And second, holy crap that house was perfect. The floor plan was amazing: you open the door to a small entry way with a half bath and closet next to it, then you come into this huge living room which leads you into the kitchen and then a formal dining room. Back it up a little, back to where the kitchen and living room meet, you have the stairs and the door to the garage. Upstairs are a master bed and bath (don’t even get me started on how awesome the master bed, bath and closet were), and then three rooms and the laundry room (yes, a laundry room) and linen closet. Sure it was going to take some work to be exactly what I wanted it to be, but what house doesn’t? The floor plan, that is what I fell in love with. You walked in and I felt like you could breathe, the layout flowed perfectly for how we live our life.

            Of course it was out of our price range by $15,000 and off the market by the time we got home. I was heartbroken. Every house we went to look at hardly compared. We put most of our time into getting our house ready for showing and getting our ducks in a row so that when we did find the perfect house we were ready. And for the record, this whole process was made bearable and even fun by Robbie’s Aunt and Uncle Dean and Michelle, they are really good at what they do.

            We did find another house; Cromwell was in the area we wanted with a huge backyard and a layout and square footage I could compromise with (especially since it was in our price range). I guess it is common to accept offers contingent on the sale of your home (because we wouldn’t have the 20% down payment until we sold Delbert), but Cromwell was not meant to be. From what I understand they had not done what we were trying to do, they had bought a new house and now had two mortgages and didn’t want to risk selling to us because who knew when our house would sell?

            That was Saturday. The next Monday night Delbert went on the market, and of course the entire day I was fretting and pulling out my hair with the worry of “what if no one wants to buy our house? What if I can’t keep it clean? What if someone does want to buy it and we can’t find anything in Clovis? What if we have to live in an apartment for awhile because I’m being stubborn and don’t want to settle for anything less than I LOVE IT?”…and so on and so forth. Tuesday I realized I didn’t have anything to fear. Tuesday night Robbie met us at the park with dinner (because cooking would have meant the smell of food and dishes, and I didn’t want to risk the smell or not being able to clean up in time) and we had 3 showings. The next day I was out of the house by the afternoon, we had 5 showings that day. By Wednesday we had had 5 offers and had accepted one. Well that was fast. It happened so fast I could hardly believe that it had happened.

            That was when we started to not like the people that bought our house. First impressions aren’t always right, so who knows what they are really like, but when you get the same first impression over and over you kind of assume that it is correct. They wanted to see the house again before they signed the paperwork, which meant I had to clean and get all my kids out of the house again. I tried really hard to be a good sport about doing it Tuesday and Wednesday, but by Thursday I was done and my kids were done. So here I am trying my best to get out on time, and they show up 15 minutes early and just stand outside making me feel super awkward. If I had shown up early for a showing I would have driven around the block a couple times or parked down the block until it was time, but I guess that’s not everyone. Of course it takes me another 10 minutes to get my kids out the door, and if they had shown up on time we would never had crossed paths.

            A week later their mail started showing up. Not even forwarded with a yellow sticker, full on their name and our address beneath it. Either they are presumptuous and rude (which would be the second time) or na├»ve thinking that we are good people and wouldn’t open their mail and steal their identities. Of course we try to be good people, and we didn’t open their mail (or throw it away like I wanted to for a split second) and we set it aside for them.

            That weekend or the next we found Purdue. It was small, smaller than Delbert by like 50 square feet, but I loved it (still not as much as Avignon). It was way below our price range and in the area we wanted. Dean and Michelle ran the comps, and it was WAY over priced. From what I understand the woman selling it had taken out a second mortgage, or refinanced, or something. She was trying to make some money back. We thought “Purdue is for you!”, but no, “Purdue is not for you”…it was not meant to be with that unreasonable seller.

By that point I think Robbie had found Tivoli on Tivoli has the exact same floor plan as Avignon, but instead of a fourth bedroom it has a den in the master bedroom (which works even better for my craft room and Robbie's office than a fourth bedroom). When you search you can put in different parameters and options, like price and location and square footage, so that way you’re not looking at things you can’t afford or in places you don’t want or houses that are too small (or too big). This house had never shown up in our searches because it was out of our price range for the month that it was first online. But then after a month of not getting any offers (at least to my understanding) they did at least $10,000 worth of upgrades with wood laminate flooring and granite counters and tile backsplashes (new appliances?) and dropped the price by $10,000. Even then it was $15,000 out of our range, but that equates to only about $75 more a month on your mortgage. So we went back through our budget and we found $75. And of course now we’re getting our hopes up, houses can go so fast. It was Sunday by that time, and we already new that we loved the house because we had seen the exact same one at Avignon, so Robbie’s aunt and uncle met us there are we walked in and said done. Or at least we hoped we would be done. It had everything or the potential to have everything I ever wanted (except chickens and bees, and maybe a clothes line, because it’s an HOA, but you learn to make compromises).

The offer was written up and because it was a trustee situation (apparently we only buy houses from people who have died) it took them awhile to get back to us with a yes or a no. Those three days of waiting were killer. I thought the weeks prior trying to find a house were bad, but this, this was bad. But they accepted our offer! And we were in business.

And then we had some more issues? Problems? I don’t know if those are the right words for our interactions with the buyers of Delbert, but lets use problems for lack of a better word. This is when we started having problems with them, again. They had verbally agreed to give us 2-3 days after escrow had closed to move out, but then changed their minds. They wanted the keys when escrow closed and to have us out of there. In order for us to be out of there since we didn’t know when escrow would close, we had to move on a weekend when we could get the most help. The seller of Tivoli was really nice and agreed to let us move our stuff into the garage (not into the house, since it wasn’t ours yet) that way we didn’t have to have two different moving days, with people moving stuff into a pod or some storage unit and then moving it from the pod into the house or from the storage unit into a truck into the house. That’s just too much moving, so we were really grateful to the seller of Tivoli even though it still wasn’t optimal circumstances. We were hoping to sign paperwork on the 7th for Delbert, move our stuff in Saturday the 8th, and then have everything closed on Monday the 10th. But we got a call saying they were out of town, or something had come up that we couldn’t sign paperwork.

So there we were, partially moving into a house that isn’t legally ours yet, with the fear eating us alive that the buyers of Delbert were backing out, and then we really would have been in a pickle. We had at least 15 people come and help us, and they are all amazing. We filled the biggest Uhaul and 6-8 truckloads worth of stuff. When we moved from our apartment into Delbert we only filled the bottom of the largest Uhaul, just to give you some perspective as to how much stuff we’ve accumulated. All weekend we were at my parents, and of course the babies get sick, and we are practically incompetent with worry. By Monday we get an agreement to move into Tivoli and pay rent until the paperwork was signed, because we were assured that we had nothing to worry about. With my family and Robbie’s family we made quick work of moving everything from the garage into the house where it belonged, and even got some bonus things done like unpacking the kitchen and putting in my washing machine and syncing my garage door clicker with the garage and the gate. But of course just because someone tells you you have nothing to worry about doesn’t make it any easier to stop worrying. I figured I’d stop worrying when the paperwork was signed, even though I knew worrying would do me no good. I did my best to focus on my kids and unpacking, instead of worrying. It helped, but I don’t think I got any sleep the next two weeks from worry (besides the fact that the babies were sick and up all night, that had something to do with it too).

Finally Delbert closes! And then Robbie’s aunt tells him a funny story, about how on the 7th when we were told that the buyers of Delbert were out of town and had to mail in paperwork wasn’t true, but that they had stormed out throwing a fit about how the closing costs were not made known to them. So they bluffed their way into a better interest rate. They had bluffed and said they weren’t buying our house. But they were already sending their mail there…and there are going to be the same expensive closing costs for any house you buy. You are an adult, suck it up, it’s expensive to buy and sell a house, you deal with it instead of acting like my toddler and throwing a fit when you don’t get exactly what you want. I’m grateful they did everything they could to get them to buy our house, so that we could then buy Tivoli, but man, what kind of a world do we live in where that kind of behavior is acceptable? From what I understand the buyers of Delbert are Indian, and the man doing their paperwork, the man they stormed out on, was also Indian, and when they stormed out they also were complaining about how the Indians are out to get them. Don’t ask me how that makes any sense.

I guess there are a lot of other things that Robbie and his aunt and uncle didn’t tell me about the buyers of Delbert because I would get so upset about it. When everything was said and done aunt Michelle told me a few things like how they called her and apologized for their behavior and then the next day called and told her she needed to pick up the paint that we left. I’m sorry, but when you leave a house you leave the paint that is painted on the walls as a courtesy, just like you don’t take the light bulbs or the blinds. If they didn’t want the paint they could have disposed of it themselves, because by this time I think paperwork was done, escrow was closed, they had the keys and owned the house. Our realtor is not in the business of trash disposal. And with that story, she then said there was more but didn’t tell me because I was visibly upset. Of course I’ve never met these people, and hopefully I’m mistaken, but they do seem to be awfully rude.

Then it took a few more days for Tivoli to close. Someone had checked a box that said they had to come out and re inspect the downstairs smoke and carbon monoxide detector instead of just accepting proof through photographs, and they had never come to re inspect…so that was an entire days hold up, and another day of rent. I don’t even know what the next day was, or the next day, or the next…but finally we closed. It’s ours.

What a process. But now that it’s over I’m really happy. I love it.  I love my family, and I can’t wait to make this house into our home. I hope we’ll be here for a long, long, long time.

Finally, some pictures!

Why hello beautiful! We've got dead lawn because with the drought that is allowed, but you have to keep the shrubs and trees alive. Not like we're going to do it anytime soon (I'm just now getting this blog up, you think we have time or money to redo a front and back yard?) but in order to redo the front and back yard we have to plan it out and get it approved. I'm so excited to get some drought resistant plants in! And a walkway for the garbage cans.

The front door and entry way. One of the reasons I haven't taken pictures, besides the fact that I have three babies always at my heels, is I just kept forgetting and when I would remember that lighting would be terrible. We get beautiful lighting part of the morning and afternoon but as soon as the sun goes down it gets really dark and I didn't want to take you on a tour with nasty fluorescent lighting. 
Here is the half bath downstairs. I love half baths.

 And here we go counter clockwise

 Hello backyard! I love that it's small but not too small.
It wraps around on the left too. Indy doesn't think it's big enough.
 Hello stairs and door to the garage. And gates. We now have three gates. They save lives, but also kill toes and shins...and little baby heads as they accidentally get closed by a big brother before they cross the threshold.
 The kitchen and dining room. It's supposed to be a living room, but we use it as a formal dining room, and I'm loving it.

Upstairs! I love the perfect balance of the upstairs and downstairs.
Three doors in one space. Linen closet, that I can actually use as a linen closet! Twin's room and bathroom, left to right.
 Part of the twins room. I was starting to feel silly about taking pictures of my house.
My beautiful growth chart that my awesome friend Kristi Vanderslik! We love it.
Jacob's room. I had a little bit of paint left from the old house, and this brown that matches that carpet is all over the house! I couldn't stand it any more, so I decided one day to use what I had. I painted one wall in Jacob's room and one wall in the twin's. I couldn't have done it without my awesome brother Kyle.
A laundry room! A small, beautiful laundry room!
 The messy kids bathroom. And a door to the toilet! One kid has to pee and one kid has to brush their teeth, no one is yelling unless the other has to take a shower :)
Lo and behold, my craft room. I still can't really believe that Robbie just let me have this room. Of course we're going to share it, whenever he gets a desk and a monitor...but he works at work ya know?  I'm loving it so much!
 And the master. It's so big!
It's so big I have a full wall that is empty. (I'm thinking a comfy chair, and different desk, etc etc)
 The master WALK IN closet!
 The bathroom, my favorite part is the shower is so much bigger it's almost impossible for me to bang my elbows! But it's not too big. And the soaker tub not is a God send.

So anyways, this is our home. I love that we can walk to the schools and to a great park, I love Clovis, and I love my family. Life is so good. I don't exactly know why we were supposed to be here, but I do know that this is where we are supposed to be. It feels so good. It feels so right.

Jacob is Two Years Old

Monday, July 27, 2015

He isn't two until August 5th, but we had to celebrate early with the move and I don't want to forget. Early, late, I can't seem to get posts "on time". But this makes me happy, so here we go.

He has always been one to all of a sudden do things, and then once he figures it out its his favorite thing to do for at least a week. Right now it's jumping, especially off the couch. And running, especially around the couch. It is the cutest thing. I'll sit the twins far enough away that they can see him and not get in his way, and every time he jumps or runs by they think it is the greatest thing...and lets be honest, it is. 

He is starting to use all sorts of words, but not many of them without encouragement. Done, snack, baby, book, ball, doggie, kitty cat, daddy, mama, nana, banana, shoe, sock, mooooooo, woof woof. It's getting to be a little unbearable how cute it is. Every time a baby cries or I cry, he is right there patting you somewhere asking "Okay? Okay?". And of course he understands everything you say, and then when you ask for a confirmation that he understands he nods his head and says "okay".

The whining has begun, and we are trying to keep it from being his only form of communication. We're trying to redirect it, have him take a deep breath instead of whining or crying about it, and use his words and try to help him figure out what it is that is wrong or what he wants. I explain that it's okay to feel sad when you don't get your way, but it's also good to get over little things and everything will be okay, and you don't have to cry about it. I'm finally feeling more alive and less like a zombie, and I think the extra love and attention I dedicate to him is helping. If you think about it, basically the last year of his life my main focus has been the twins. 

To sum him up, he is a child that loves people and loves life. He loves play dates and going to the park because he loves seeing different people and the adventure of it all. The park with a splash pad is the best though, the kid has no fear of water (I haven't taken him swimming this summer, kind of been busy with moving, but we'll see about the pool and if he likes that too). He is starting to consistently want to climb the jungle gyms and slide down the slides, with no help from me. I just let him go and have fun, of course always keeping him in sight (when he's out of my sight I really freak out and have to calm myself down, and then he comes around a corner and I immediately am relieved. Why are there blind spots at parks?) He loves the daily routine of playing with the dog, eating and drinking, brushing teeth (maybe he doesn't love that one as much as the others) and combing his hair, which is curly! I can't keep it straight to save my life. I need to cut it that's for sure, but I can't bare too...and I think I packed our hair cutting kit away and I don't want to just take scissors to him. He loves getting dressed, playing with his toys (I don't think he has a favorite, just a favorite of the day, and anything new is the best), helping brother and sister. He loves helping me pack, or should I say unpack. He doesn't like bugs, like at all. I took him outside to show him a snail, and he hid behind me. He doesn't like being too dirty, like when food from a meal gets on his hands he freaks out, or he won't eat some things if he can't figure it out with a spoon or fork because he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. This is starting to stop a little since he's outside so much and gets so dirty, but not all at the same time. He stepped in dog poop (the one that was hidden and I missed) and just stood there like a flamingo calling for me. He loves buckles, any and all buckles, and he buckles the buckles on everything. He can't get into his car seat without buckling it first (I know, right?), and the babies can't get into theirs until it's buckled. He's so proud of himself and I'm so proud of him that one is easy to laugh about. He loves taking cups and filling them with the filtered water from the fridge, and then trying to drink it and it goes all over him and all over the floor, and he smiles his huge open mouth smile and stomps his feet up and down dancing in the puddle around him. And sometimes before I can get a towel down he slips a little, and then I kiss wherever he banged himself and hold him. To me he will always be my little baby, even though he is all grown up (at least he thinks he is). He is just a happy kid, and fills my life with joy.

So with the move we had to move some things around (ha, get it? I crack myself up), including his party. We were going to do it on August 8th, but then it looks like we are moving on August 1st and I didn't want to have his party at our new house because one we'd still be unpacking and two, Fresno people have this funny thing about driving out to Clovis. It's like I'm moving out to the wilderness, or another state or something. So we had to bump it up to the July 25th...which gave us only a week to tell people about it...and it was Pioneer day...and everyone and their mother was out of town...and something serious happened to everyone that was in town so they couldn't come. But I was stubborn. I didn't want to do a party in a new house that I had yet to really move into, and I wanted him to have a good second birthday party because he didn't have a first one (I was super pregnant and wanted to throw him a great party, and Robbie said no because he didn't want me to stress out about it. We both said our way or the high way, and so we chose the high way. He got three different cakes at three different times...)

Thank goodness for my parents, Robbie's grandparents, my one friend who was able to come and another who finally made it. If it wasn't for them the party wouldn't have been much.

I learned a few things, like I can't stand sweets that early but kids can! It was nice and cool from 9-11, but I couldn't take the candy I'd put out, or the cupcakes. So you either have a pool party in the afternoon/evening or you have more appropriate treats or and actual lunch if you do a party in the morning. You live and you learn. 

I also didn't get many pictures of what I did, or a picture of us, I'm working on this whole taking pictures thing. It's hard to document when you're trying to live in the moment, you don't realize you wanted a picture of something until it's long done. Maybe I'll make a list of the pictures I want to take before it starts next time. So you'll just have to take my word for it that the food was adorable and the games and decorations were cute.

But I did get a lot of pictures of what actually mattered, Jacob having fun at his birthday party. So all the things that didn't go as I wanted them to, they didn't matter in the end because he was happy.

 He's loving to copy everything you do, like where your shoes (even if they're high heels) and carry around a case like daddy.
 Kisses from nana

 He and his friend loved the jungle gym
 Of course he can say bubbles, as you can see here

 Took you long enough to get us juice boxes...gosh

 I saw this on pinterest? Making your own bubble wands out of pipe cleaners. The bubble solution made them too heavy and the circle wouldn't stand up straight, so we fixed it by putting them in straws. The pipe cleaners are by far the best bubble wand I've ever used. 
 Say hello Dorothy! There was a swedish fish in each cup and if you got the ball in the cup you could eat the candy. By the end they just wanted the candy.

 Sweets in the morning don't bother him 
 Oscar's trash can toss was a lot of fun. Next time I'm going to use the big #10 cans.
 They went back to each game more than once but I think bubbles were the favorite. I also think he may have eaten more soap than actually blew bubbles, but maybe not on purpose. All except pin the nose on Elmo, that one wasn't very popular. That's okay, I only spent 20 minutes of my life making a giant Elmo head. It was a cute decoration if nothing else. And coloring. Only Shelby wanted to color.

 He tried so hard, I don't think he got any bubbles. I thought it was better to just wave the wands instead of blowing, but he insisted. When he tried to wave them he waved them too hard.

 Even grandpa tried to eat, I mean blow the bubbles.
 He kind of got it eventually.

 I stopped putting fish in there after awhile. How do you like that throw?!

 I didn't get any pictures, but the little one year old friend that came, she was doing what Jacob is doing with the cups. Something so simple can be so great.
 He actually blew out his candle! Don't even get me started on my stupid cake that was too crumbly to frost. Stupidsd sdhghek. 
 But look at that smile! It was worth it.
 He does this funny smile where he sticks out his lower jaw...I don't know what it is or how long he's going to keep doing it.
 Opening presents was so fun. He loves his books from nana, and the animal magnets he got from his 1 year old friend. (I love them too, just so you know :)
 But the cars. He got a noisy one that moves and a heavy good looking one, and those two cars were by far his favorite. Vroom vroom
 He's been obsessed with bicycles, every time he sees someone with one he wants to try. So here you go

And to end, he was helping me clean up. He is OCD apparently. I had them separated, red yellow blue repeat, and he took them apart and organized them by color. He will also neatly put your shoes in front of the door for you when we're going outside so you can just slip them on. 

This kid, I love him.