Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pitfalls Of A Hotel

I guess this post could also be called "First-World Problems When You Travel With Kids"...

If you are blessed enough to have a per diem, then room service becomes your best friend. On this trip, we were "slummin' it" at a Hampton Inn, so we didn't have room service. Which in the grand scheme of things, isn't the end of the world, but at the end of a long day corralling little humans, it can be a killer to make them socially presentable and drag them to a restaurant somewhere. Heaven did smile down on us one night when we discovered that Papa John's delivered to the hotel. It was glorious!

People without kids clearly have no idea how filthy the little buggers are. Especially when you're doing all of your living in a small hotel room. I actually got chided by the cleaning lady one day for how dirty our room was. This woman, who bless her heart, could barely speak English, managed to communicate the words, "Bad. Room bad." Gee thanks, lady.

It's not like I thought we were nailing the cleanliness thing - we had used an ungodly number of towels after our one, 30-minute excursion to the beach, and they were all piled in the corner of the bathroom in a sopping, sandy mess. Evelyn had managed to dump out a mini box of Frosted Flakes on the floor near the AC unit, and another mini box of Fruit Loops near the door. The coup de grace was giving the girls their own bags of Cheetos and then allowing them to eat them in the hotel bed. Pillows, sheets, and duvet covers managed to get liberally smeared with orange stains. 

The moral of the story is, living normal life with two small children in the confines of a hotel room can get very, very sticky.

I won't even go into how you keep them busy and entertained on the days that it rains, although this morning, I did look at Evelyn, stomp my foot, and say, "No! I'm allowed to take a shower! You'll be fine!" She did not agree and spent the entire time, standing by the tub and crying. It was good times. 

Just some things to remember if you ever travel to a new city with your own littles...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Traveling With Daddy

 We have the best husband and daddy ever! Last week, Steve traveled to Boca Raton, Florida. I did a lot better on my stress level and how I interacted with the girls, but man, did I miss him! Like, a freakish amount. I may have cried more than once. Aren't hormones fun?

On Thursday, I texted him and asked him to be open to the possibility of us going with him during the second week. Honestly, I didn't think there was any chance he said yes. I assumed he would still fly and there was no way he'd be open to paying all the extra money for the girls and I to drive down separately. Plus, I wasn't even sure I wanted to drive 9 hours by myself! At this point, I was just desperate. 

Well, my awesome husband sent me an email, and he had worked it all out! He arranged it with his company for him to drive down with us, and he used his Hilton points to reserve a hotel room at the halfway point so that we wouldn't have to make the drive in one day. 

Car snacks on our way down...Bella was allowed to pick out powdered donuts, and they were a big hit! 

Our first morning, snuggling in bed. Florida always has really sporadic Spring weather, so even when it says 60% chance of rain, it never actually rains all day! Which was great for us! Our first day, we watched cartoons right after breakfast, and ventured out to the beach later in the morning.

The girls loved the water, and Evelyn is much braver than Bella was at her age!

I didn't worry about bathing suits at first - big mistake! Bella was covered head-to-toe in sand and water, so we sneaked back into the hotel through a side entrance and changed before heading back to the beach!

They were tuckered out on the way home!

We came back to the hotel for baths and met Steve for lunch.

Lunch was delicious at a place called The Cheese Course! Yum!

We came back from lunch and the girls actually took a nap! I couldn't believe it!

When they woke up, we grabbed some snacks and ate by the pool. It was raining, so we only stayed for a little while and ended up finishing our snacks in the room.

Tickle fights with Dadsy when he got home! I promise, Bella was here, too; she just doesn't like pictures.

Dinner was at Charm City Burgers - boardwalk-style fries and huge burgers!

The girls loved being with Daddy! Even the extra stress of having the girls at the beach and hotel room by myself was completely worth it when we got to see Steve everyday!

Walking on the beach after dinner

So close to getting all of us looking at the camera!

We loved enjoying the sunshine!

It was a very full first day, trying to keep the girls happy and occupied instead of stuck in a hotel room, but it was a fun day, too! Getting to see Daddy broke up some of the crazy! I'm so thankful we get to be with him this week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"Old" House Update

Okay, so here's where we are...

We are in the middle of our third contract - the first two fell through at various points in the process. It's been super frustrating and probably the most stressful thing we've had to handle as a couple. (A different kind of stress than our baby stories.) 

We counter offered back and forth A LOT with this current buyer, but finally settled on a price we were comfortable with. (And I'm pretty sure we hate their realtor simply based on principle. Also, I'm convinced he's a Russian mobster.)

The buyers are using an FHA loan, which includes it's own regulations - mainly an additional inspection, which is always stressful as a seller. Our previous inspection went really well in our favor, so we're praying for similar results this time, too.
On the plus side, we'll have the house sold and we'll close in April, so we'll never have to pay a double mortgage payment on the old house and the new house. On the negative side, even though we're thankful for the price and simply having it sold, negotiating a lower price means we also will still have some credit card debt from fixing up the house. 

I think right now, we're focusing on our perspectives - we want to be thankful for the house selling, and not focused on what could have been. And thankfully, Steve and I seem to have suffered from our "downward spiral of depression"-moments at different times, so we don't walk off the cliff at the same time.

Praying that our future inspections and appraisals go well!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Man Needs To Come Home

Steve's traveling this week. And I'm really missing him. This is the first time in a awhile that he's been gone for the full two weeks. Monday night, Mel came and ate dinner with us and spent the night. It was great to have her, but bedtime ended up being a little bit of a chuckle. I was just reminded over and over how God pairs us with a person who matches us. They're not perfect, but they "fit" us, does that make sense?
Steve and I have a bedtime routine. It's not carved in stone or anything, but I think all couples tend to fall into a pattern of how they go to bed. Steve and I may watch some TV or play a game; then when it's time to go to bed, we turn the sound machine on and lay facing each other for a little bit, talking. At some point, one of says we need to "roll", and we both end up rolling over and falling asleep. (We are not a "fall-asleep-cuddling-and-draped-in-each-other's-arms kind of couple.)
Let's just say that Monday night did not look like that for Mel and I. First of all, Mel's a night owl. And I tend to be exhausted by 7:30. I was really proud of myself, because I stayed up till 10:00 with her to watch a movie. But when the movie was over, I was done. She got twitchy just thinking of going to bed that early, so in an effort to prove how laid-back and flexible I was (Why do I even attempt this?), I told her to feel free to do some work in bed if she couldn't fall asleep. Guys, she worked on email until 11:30. Some of you may be fellow night owls, but most of you with small children will know that 11:30 is a death sentence. Small children wake up before 7:00. It was bad. Tuesday morning was not a good day.
Which brings us to Tuesday night...I thought that maybe having someone sleep with me who I wasn't used to was not the best idea, so I would try and tough it on my own. The problem is that I have an extremely overactive imagination, so anytime I've attempted to sleep in the house without Steve, I usually end up imagining someone walking down the hall to slowly slaughter us. And that pleasant thought tends to keep me awake until 2:00. Our house is a little smaller now, and all on one level, so I decided to try it. Right around the girls' bedtime, I had a moment of weakness and agreed to let the girls sleep in bed with me a for a little bit. And the hilarity ensued..
We watched a Tinker Bell movie until a little before 8:00, and Bella was completely passed out by 8:00 sharp. At 9:00, I was still lightly spanking Evelyn to get her to stop standing up to look out the window. Have you ever seen Ice Age? There's the scene where Sid the sloth tries to fall asleep on a rock and it takes him a full two minutes as he grunts and groans and repositions. Manny the mastodon finally yells at him until he lays still and falls asleep. Sleeping with Evelyn was just. like. that. Except it took an hour of her grunting, smacking me, and repositioning until she laid still. And she never really laid still. And when I yelled her name, she just tried to kiss me for an awkwardly long time before giggling and standing up again. Oh! And she grinds her teeth! It seriously sounded like she was chewing ice ALL NIGHT LONG! At 2:00 AM, I finally stuck my finger in her mouth to try and get her to stop. She was not pleased and it did not stop her from grinding more.
Which brings me back to how much I miss Steve. It's just been lonely around here. The house seems quiet without him, and I don't have anyone to talk to at the end of the day when I seem to need it the most. It's only been three days, but we are ready to have him home!

Birthday Fun!

Is there ever going to be a time when I'm not playing "catch up" on this blog? I know there will be again; I've just got to hold out for it!
My 31st birthday was about a week and a half ago, and it was a great weekend! The actual day was on a Monday, so that wasn't too exciting, but Steve took me out on Saturday night to a delicious restaurant called Aspens. We've wanted to check this place out for awhile, and it did not disappoint.
I had the lobster bisque, filet mignon, and garlic mashed potatoes. They served their bread with a fantastic hummus, so by the time we got done with that and I ate my lobster bisque, I barely has any room for my dinner! Everything was so delicious! I should have taken pictures of the food, but I left my phone in the car so that I wouldn't be distracted. In the middle of moving and selling the house, it was wonderful to take a night for just the two of us and go out on a date!
Monday was my actual birthday, and Mel came over to hang out for the day! Her schedule's pretty crazy, so it was fun to have her all afternoon. We ran some errands, ate lunch out, and she helped with the girls. That night, we met some friends at Taqueria Tsunami! This is absolutely my new favorite place! (Well, maybe not new; it has been for a couple of months now.) Trey and Whitney both came, along with Matt, Caroline, Mel, Bobby, and Jen! It was super fun! Ironically, we were the only ones who ended up not finding a babysitter, so our girls were there, too, but they did great!
I love all of my birthday goodies - both of our parents sent some fun birthday money, so I was able to get some new dresses at Target and a new Spring wreath for my door! Steve got me a gold wedding band to wear when I have on my other gold jewelry. (Yes, I like my jewelry to match; I know, it's weird, but I love it!) Whitney and Trey gave me skull head Salt & Pepper shakers! How awesome is that! I think Whitney intended them for my next Halloween party, but I have them out now because they're so cool! Mel's love language is gifts, so she loves spoiling people on their birthdays! She got me a new, mint scarf, chocolate croissants from La Madeleine's, flowers for my front porch, and a set of antique, ceramic birds. I was very spoiled, and I loved the extra time with our friends!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Getting Settled In

The new house is slowly but surely becoming home! We had small group at our house on Wednesday night, so it was fun motivation to get the living room and dining room unpacked. 

Our new couch from IKEA. Because it's me, pretty much everything else is from Target. I just can't resist...

The other side of the couch had a sofa table that us part of the entryway.

Looking into the kitchen. The previous owners left the chairs, which was nice. They're not my favorite style, but they're great for now!

Looking into the living room. I love the arches and I love being able to see everything while making dinner!

Looking into the dining room. The gallery wall was my labor of love! I had to have a gallery wall, but there wasn't much space for one, so it ended up here.  

Close-up of the gallery wall; I loved mixing family photos with art prints that we had. This is also the first time I mixed different colored frames, and I love it!

A close-up of our mantel. Siiiiggghhh...I love this mantel. I love everything about it. It just makes me happy. 

Okay, so that's all for now! The girls' room is really close to being done, and so is the playroom, but they're not ready for pictures yet.

Our room is still pretty chaotic, and the guest room and nursery are just stuffed with boxes, but we're getting there!

I love this house so much! If I can figure out where to put all of the random little pieces that have to be put away in a new home, I'll be just fine!

Our First Night

Mel brought the girls back in Monday around dinner, and spent our first night in the new house as a family! Trey was there in the afternoon and evening, feverishly helping Steve finish the girls' beds before bedtime!

In the midst of all the crazy, we decided that the move to the new house would also be Evelyn's move to a big girl bed!

We have a space that's going to be a nursery that we could have put her in, but we decided it would be better to just rip the band-aid and start from the beginning.

She has done great so far! I'm not exactly sure if she has figured out yet that she can actually get out of the bed, but that works in our favor, so I'm not complaining.

Things That Happened Our First Night:

1. Evelyn fell our of her bed. (Guess we should have taken the time to install the guardrails. Oops.)

2. Bella was up three different times, complaining that her new blanket didn't fit right. (Seriously, that first night felt a little bit like we had a newborn again. We felt like we were up every hour.)

3. An alarm clock (that was packed in a box somewhere in the Master bedroom) went off at 2:00 AM. That was good times. 

4. A picture that had been in the playroom fell off the wall, knocked over a table, and sent Steve and I grabbing for weapons!

So it was an eventful first night! We were dragging like zombies a little bit the next day, but luckily, I had the excitement of unpacking to motivate me!

Packing Up And Moving In

We finished packing on Saturday, loaded the U-Haul on Sunday, and moved into the new house on Monday!

Our bedroom was the last room to tackle. It seemed to never end! I just started throwing random stuff into huge boxes.

The back of the SUV packed full with fragile stuff and things we would need right away.

The driveway lined with boxes, ready to be loaded on Sunday!

Let's get this started!

Seriously, why does our eldest child enjoy spiting us so often?

Every moving experience should include Matt Rooke. I'm never moving without him again - he was a beast!

Bella got to ride in the back of the motorcycle as Steve pulled it up into the garage. She giggled and squealed the whole way!

Saying goodbye to our old house.

Mel took the girls on Sunday night since all of our beds were packed. Steve and I got to enjoy dinner out by ourselves before packing a few items, and sleeping on the couch cushions. Not the best night of sleep, but it was definitely a memory!

Monday was moving day! MOVING DAY!!! We closed on the house at 8:30, then headed out to buy some furniture. This was the fun part for me! My wonderful husband went along with everything! I mean, we knew out budget ahead of time, but it was so fun to actually go and buy the things I had been looking at and dreaming about for the last month!

Boxes and more boxes...

And more boxes...I'm so ready to get some things unpacked and feel more settled!

Daddy Daughter Date

We don't have internet at the new house yet, so these posts are going to look a little rough until I can get on an actual computer and make them "pretty".

Last Friday night, our church hosted a daddy-daughter date in honor of Valentine's. It was so sweet! Steve was really excited to have some alone time with Bella!

Bella and I went shopping and picked out a pretty new dress! Bonus: I think it's going to be her Easter dress, too!

New pink shoes!

Evelyn tried to convince us that she needed to get dressed in pretty clothes, too.

I couldn't believe we got sweet smiles from Bella! Usually, her "smile" looks like she's being tortured.

They had a great time! Steve said she pretty much ran the entire time, but I think you can expect that when they serve giant cupcakes!