Moving is stressful. Period. And everything always takes longer than you think. And it’s a roller coaster ride, with these emotional highs – whether they are really positive things or those things that just drive you crazy – followed by emotional lows OR pure relief when something you’ve been worrying about turns out to be not as bad as thought.… Read more →
On a plane once again…headed back to New Hampshire…after a very FULL, very HOT 2 days of house hunting in our new city. First let me say our Realtor was…awesome. Simply awesome. If you are ever in the market for a home in St. Louis OR in DFW, seek out Laura Garafola at Keller Williams. Seriously. She is a WORKER! Here she is – she’s is a bundle of energy and a ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ kind of person – which is EXACTLY what you need when doing this under pressure. And boy were we under pressure. The Littles had sent us on a mission to find a home with “great bedrooms” and a pool, and we didn’t want to disappoint!
So day one…saw about 9 homes (you lose count after a while). Two at the top of our list. One at the VERY top of our budget. It was beautiful, but it’s a seller’s market right now – as it seems to be every time we move – and we just had no wiggle room should there be a multiple offer situation; and…as fabulous as the home was, the master bathroom was a bit weird!
The second option was pretty and had a ton of potential with little work, but I just wasn’t in “love” with it – and I really wanted to be! So we headed back to our hotel room feeling a bit stressed and a little discouraged.
Inventory low, prices high, hot as hell! But as we caught our breath and a few ‘zzzzzzz’s’ in our hotel room, she drummed up about 20 more listing WITH pools for us to visit on day two.
We started early, and went at them efficiently with optimism that had waned from the day before. And suddenly, there it was. Our home…both Steve and I just knew it. But we also knew it wouldn’t be easy.
Just on the market, it was already in a multiple offer situation. So reaching to our extensive experience in HGTV watching, we decided on the offer, then carefully drafted a heartfelt letter to the sellers about how much we loved the home and wanted to make it ours. We even included a photo of our precious Littles to show them who would be sharing their home should they decide to choose us. Emotions running high, Laura submitted the offer and promised we would know something that evening.
Tick tock, tick tock. Steve and I decided to head to our favorite Tex Mex place, Pappasito’s Cantina, for some beef fajitas (yum!) and a glass of wine (or two…or three). We checked in wondering if this would end up being a celebratory dinner or one we would always remember sadly.
Shortly after getting there and getting served their famous chips and salsa, we got the call. But before I tell you about that, just take a look at this photo – come on! YUM! Best chips and salsa – ever!
Ok…the call…drum roll…
We GOT the house! I guess I really had no idea how high my emotions had been running, because I just sat down, and tears just started streaming! Happy tears, of course – just knowing that we’d be able to go home and tell the Littles that we had gotten what they wanted!
Needless to say, dinner turned into a celebration, with our server Blake enjoying our reverie and showering us with some free wine and a free brownie dessert! Laura joined us there for a drink and some signatures, and we enjoyed every minute! We even got the full “Mariachi” treatment! Here are some photos that clearly show our level of excitement (and our amazing food)!
So we’re on a plane – the hubs and I – just the two of us. Headed to DFW to “power shop” for a new home. Sounds fun, right? Sure! I LOVE house hunting! Especially in Texas, where the homes are big and beautiful, and have the rustic style that I especially like. And the model homes – new construction – yessss! Love that more than just about anything!
So this should be a piece of cake, right? Well, maybe not so much. First, let me state for the record that I am a (very) nervous flyer. And to top that off, I am having major anxiety about hubby and I flying alone…together…and leaving the Littles behind. I always tell him I want to take separate flights, you know, just in case. But when you are married to a guy who has spent his entire life in the airline and travel business, of course you sound a little ridiculous making such a request. “Safest way to travel” I know….
So I am channeling my inner Dierks Bentley – not “getting drunk on a plane,” but more like “drinking wine on a plane….to get calm on a plane….away from my Littles…” Those of you with this fear will completely understand.
Toss in the fact that before bed last night, my ultra super sweet favorite baby boy in the whole world was a little sad about our leaving, and actually said to me quietly, “what if you don’t come home?” Gaaaaaaaah! Heartbreak and fear completely consuming me as I hugged and kissed him, promising that I would never leave him – ever!
The Good Lord above probably got 10 years worth of praying last night from me…and I had all 3 of my precious Littles snuggled up in bed with me for what was a very short night…up at 3:15 a.m. for this early flight…on which I am still praying and drinking wine.
The upside to all this? I ought to be ultra relaxed when the house hunting starts in only a couple of hours!
#LoveDelta #EconomyComfort #MissingMyLittles #HubbyRelaxed #CaliforniaMerlot
Showing a home…not hard, but, ok…a little hard. It always has to be clean, picked up, things put away (even if there are things just jammed in a closet), clutter removed. In other words, while you are still living there, it needs to look like you are not!
Family photos, kid photos, all personal photos need to come down, replaced by a fresh coat of paint – presumably so the family looking can envision their own family here instead of yours. I get it. But it’s not as easy as you’d think. See our newly painted foyer and hallway, which used to be a gallery of Littles photos!
Of course, my hubby, anal-retentive as he is, LOVES the thought that everything is A-W-A-Y, out of sight, and if left up to him, NEVER to be seen again! Of course, with Littles….I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E!
So here’s how you sell a home, and get it ready for moving, with Littles:
1. You tell them that the house is being shown and everything has to be put away or the people looking at the house will take everything! (That, believe it or not, is enough to ensure they are cooperative and protecting their ‘stuff’)
So this little scenario needs to be taken care of:
2. When you do have a contract, you DON’T UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES tell them that it is sold! First of all, they won’t understand why you are not immediately vacating the home for a new one, AND second, they know enough to understand that means no more showings so the CRAP can come back out and overtake the house without threat of disappearing!
So long story short….mums the word! Even though we are under contract, as far as they are concerned, we could have a showing any…minute…now. So they sort of acclimate to everything being gone…for now. Gone…but not forgotten.
Trust me…it works!
House hunting. Stressful for most, but not for me! I know it when I see it. A good girlfriend of mine will attest to this very fact. I remember her being completely stressed out when she and I went looking in model homes for our first home in Dallas. We walked into a model home, probably one of the first we looked at, and I knew it was the one. I vividly remember her saying, “but you really should look at some more!” But I was resolute, and Steve and I began the build. She is probably still shaking her head about that to this day (you know who you are)! But we made it our home for 3 years and loved every minute of it. It was a great house.
The same happened when we moved to New England. We did see several homes that time, but that was largely due to the sticker shock that comes with moving from Texas to the NE area – we had to be eased into the idea that we could (and would have to) spend 2.5 times what our home in Texas cost! Seriously! But when we found it, that was it! No question, no hesitation – and once again, brand new! I am so spoiled!
So here we are, headed to Texas this week for yet another house hunt, and don’t you know I have already found exactly what I want online! Does that mean I’ll actually GET it? The jury is still out on that one, but I am tenacious if not patient. So I just may have, wink wink, signed a contract on a home I haven’t even seen in person yet, but somehow I just know it’s the one. No worries, it has some contingencies, like “we have to see it first” this week.
I will be channeling my “Scarlett O’Hara” and imagining my baby girls’ and their friends prom photos on a glamorous Southern staircase! Drop a pool in the backyard (an absolute MUST down there) and it will be our little family oasis!
The cat is out of the bag. Which means, in short, that we’ve told the Littles we will be moving. That, in itself, was, let’s say, interesting. Colton went straight to tears, Lauren then immediately joined him – but I believe that was more about loyalty to her most admired and loved brother (they are so close) than it was about the move – and Taylor, in her usual optimistic and life-loving style, fist-pumped in the air while shouting “YES!”
After some discovery about why Colton was upset, we learned a few things. First, he will be missing his good buddy, Seamus – but we promised that we would appeal to Seamus’ mom about a possible future visit to the Big D! Second, I think he believed that we just “move” on to a new place, leaving everything behind, including his beloved LEGOs! But after a lengthy explanation of the process….moving company, packing everything up, loading everything in a truck, and driving to our new home, where we would unpack everything and all would be well, things seemed to calm down.
Bottom line…the LEGOs will be there, little man! I promise!
Once that was all settled and Big Brother was happy, Lauren seemed to get right on board with the whole thing; and Taylor, who has been bugging me for a guinea pig for weeks now, has settled comfortably on the promise that once we get settled in our new home, we will welcome a new pet named “Cinderella” or “Twinkle Toes” or whatever she decides on at the moment of acquisition.
A visit to Pottery Barn Kids has inspired the Littles’ imagination about what their “new” rooms will look like, which makes me both excited about pleasing them and fearful for what shopping demons I have created! Bunk beds, princess bedding, big-boy desks, night lights, and more…oh, my!
Remain excited, and grateful for the Littles’ confidence and self-assurance…we must be doing something right!
I admit I am one of those moms. It’s official. Yes, the one who feels so bad that her girls have an early January birthday (translation: post-Christmas, cold, snowy, sucky time for a birthday), that she agrees to throw them a half birthday party in the summer. So there it is…the 5 1/2 birthday party…Princess themed, of course! And in true mommy fashion, I completely overdid it. I’m writing this on Monday morning (the party was Saturday) – through bleary-eyes, wondering why I am so physically exhausted. But then it comes to me. I am exhausted because I wanted them to have the best Princess party ever, and went so crazy with it that even I was sitting eagerly with the “real” Princess Aurora to get my face painted!
I must say, though, I truly believe every girl has an inner Princess just waiting to come out, and by the looks of them, they all came out at this party! Sparkles and princess gowns were everywhere, and they sang, danced, laughed, limbo’d and twirled right along with Aurora – it was a sight to behold! I think I reverted back to being five myself, except that I got to drink Sangria, while all the pint-sized princesses had to settle for Shirley Temples!
There was Princess food, a Princess pinata, a Princess bounce-house, Princess face-painting and balloon animals, balloons galore and more! It was a day I hope and pray my girls remember forever. I know it’s a day I’ll remember forever for sure! There is nothing like the feeling of watching their sweet little faces light up with wonder or giggle uncontrollably at the Princess while she worked her magic throughout the room. Even the boys were enamored! It’s magical!
Yes…one of those mommies…who just loves them more than anything in the entire world! Enjoy some of the photos from this special day! And if you happen to be in the market for a Princess Aurora (or others), check out Urban Circus Events – they did not disappoint! www.UrbanCircusEvents.com
Anyone who knows me knows that my Littles are my life – and while I’m sure there isn’t a parent out there that doesn’t feel the same, I truly don’t remember life without them, nor could I imagine it. Getting them here did not come easy, though. My husband and I routinely joke that we spent our entire young adulthood trying NOT to get pregnant, then when we wanted to, we couldn’t. Anyone who has struggled with infertility knows the frustration of the “routine” – you know, that one in which you use every drugstore test, calendar and the like to pinpoint the exact timing of ovulation, followed by the demand for hubby to “produce” NOW – only to find out those couple of weeks later that for another month, it didn’t work. No baby. While it seems comical at times (imagine notes left on the counter telling him to wake me up upon his return after midnight from a long day of travel), it really is a roller-coaster ride. The ups and downs can be crushing, and can cause stress in any relationship, as you spend too much time trying to figure out what’s wrong, why it’s not working, and who is to blame.
Most fertility centers will not even consider seeing you for treatment until you have been trying for at least a year with no success. So that year passes slowly as patience wears thin. For many, formal medical treatment is not even an option, mainly because of the incredible financial implications. In our case, we were lucky. We were lucky enough to live and work in a State that mandates coverage for fertility treatments in fully-insured medical plans, so we saw very little financial impact of treatment. For others, the costs are simply not feasible, leading to an even greater feeling of helplessness.
For those who do have insurance or the financial means, there is still the chance that treatment may not work – and this can be devastating to couples who want nothing more than to grow their family. I can’t even imagine the grief that must accompany multiple treatment attempts that fail. It must be like experiencing the death of a loved one each and every time. In our case, again, we were lucky. Despite being told that we had a very slim chance of conceiving without IVF ICSI (sperm injection into eggs), we conceived the very first time with an IUI (intrauterine insemination, or what I like to call “the turkey baster method).
10 months later, Colton was born and changed my life forever. When he was about 9 months old, we returned for another attempt with an IUI, and lo-and-behold, our twin girls, Lauren and Taylor, were conceived. We were overjoyed then, and have been every day since. I consider us blessed beyond belief, and have made a promise to myself to help others in our situation to experience that same joy.
Until I have the financial means to launch our own foundation to help others, I plan to support a charity called the Cade Foundation, and encourage anyone who knows the joy of children to do the same. As as a special fundraising opportunity, I am committing all profits from sales on my website from now through the month of August to the Cade Foundation. I welcome you to visit the site and “shop” – or donate directly to the Cade Foundation on their website (below). If you have been blessed with children, enjoy every minute. If you are struggling to conceive, I encourage you to reach out to the Foundation so that they may consider your request for aid with treatment.
https://stephaniegrant.myrandf.com (my website)
http://www.cadefoundation.org/ (The Cade Foundation)
Wow…I can not even believe it, but…I have absolutely NOTHING planned for this weekend! When does that ever happen? Never! I am now in a quandary – what to do? Of course, in Living the Littles world, there is always activity – 3 young ones make that a simple fact. And then there’s the laundry, chores, grocery shopping…the normal stuff. But with no appointments, dinner or party plans, deadlines, I am feeling a little strange! Lost, even!
Why is it we feel the need to fill up our days with extracurricular activities? Have we completely evolved out of the need to just have a lazy, relaxing day? If we have, I think we all need to rethink what we’re doing before we run ourselves straight into the ground! I see it all the time, day after day. Parents running (or really driving) around, rushing from activity to activity, trying desperately to keep it all together while they manage school, kids’ activities, a career, a marriage, a household – honestly, it’s just too much!
For the past month or so, I have been in simplification mode. I have moved the Littles to a school much closer to the house to cut down on all the driving, I have purged dresser drawers and closets of the excesses of clothes they have grown out of, and even simplified some of our home decor to minimize the clutter. All that excess and drive can make you lose sight of what is simple and good in life, like the sheer act of snuggling quietly with a little one and having a long, personal chat, or feeling your shoulder muscles relax while you stop and breathe deeply for a few minutes, or having a quiet moment with God to say “thank you” for all His blessings in life.
So despite my brain’s running list of things I could get done this weekend, I think this once, I will dedicate one whole weekend day to simply soak in life – a little sun, a lot of fun with my precious Littles, a little food, a lot of family. Blessings. And no one else. Simple. Beautiful.