My baby Colton…

Colton…what can I say? He is my first born, the love of my life! He was the sweetest little baby, calm, docile, and so incredibly cute! I spent every waking minute with him that I could, and rocked him to sleep every night. I really struggle to find the words to express what he means to me and how he makes me feel. It’s hard to imagine that this perfect little person came out of me…he is truly a gift every microsecond of every day.

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Not to mention, he is just…handsome! I know I am his mommy, but I seriously could just stare at him all day long! He has this perfect, sweet, beautiful face and big, giant blue, sincere eyes that can melt anyone’s heart in half a second!

Since I am chronicling our move to Texas, I want to make sure I spotlight each one of our Littles and their reactions to this first really major change in their little lives.

So once we knew we were moving, we waited a bit to make sure everything was falling into place before telling the Littles. But once everything was all set, we decided to go ahead and sit down with them and let them know we were all headed South.

Colton’s immediate reaction was to start crying…honestly I think he thought we were just leaving – and not taking all of our “stuff” with us – so that meant his precious LEGOs would be left behind! Once we convinced him that everything would be packed up and coming with us, he seemed to be ok.

Since then, he seems to be taking it in stride, but I know my baby boy, and know deep down he is still trying to work it all out. He is his mother’s son – a thinker – emotional. You can tell it all in his eyes in his photos…they are deep and vulnerable.

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And I can tell it’s working on him. He has been SUPER snuggly and clingy lately, which, of course, I love, but also means he is looking for that security he is used to. So I keep hugging him close, reassuring him that everything is going to be ok…

He has been stuttering more lately – an issue we had about a year ago but went away – and I’m sure it’s just a stress reaction. He has always been the little one that doesn’t like surprises – likes to know exactly what to expect, how it will look/sound/be, and so I fully expect once we are there, all of this will settle down.

He remains the sweetest, most gentle, caring, loving young soul I’ve ever met, and I am so proud of him and who he is becoming. I look forward to being his stability, his rock, his MOM…forever! I will most certainly update his progress as we get settled in to our new life!

Stay tuned!

NO room for error!

So we are on official final countdown! After all the anticipation, preparation, excitement, and so on, we’re now down to the wire! We leave – driving – next Saturday! T minus 10 days and counting! There are blessings in life, big and small, and while God has been busy with all of the bigger things in life, He has found… Read more →

The mystery of change…

It’s been a long time since we’ve had change of this magnitude in our lives. Well, that’s not really true – having the Littles was certainly a huge change, but even so, it’s been at least 6 1/2 years. Change is a funny thing. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some do it easily, some cannot deal with it at all. I would say Steve and I are a pretty good balance. We handle it pretty well, and actually look upon it as a good and needed new adventure. While it can be stressful, we do our best to remain positive and upbeat about it, and also tend to get quite a few laughs in during the process. I also tend to worry a lot, but that just motivates me to power through what needs to be done.

What is rather remarkable, though, is the way other people handle our change. Seriously, it’s so interesting! As a psych major, I guess I’ve always been intrigued by how people behave and react to certain things, and then I try to figure out where the reaction is coming from. Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes I’m baffled. And sometimes I’m disappointed.

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So I thought I’d jot down some of the reactions we’ve encountered so that I will remember them the next time we have a major change, and then I won’t let myself be surprised when some of these present themselves. If you are reading this, you may recognize some of these from changes in your own life! I do believe they have more to do with the person reacting than with us personally. So here goes…

1. Genuine joy, elation, excitement! LOVE this one, of course! These are the people who we know truly love us, support us, and know the struggles and joys we’ve had over the years. It also includes our closest friends down in Texas, because they are truly excited we’re coming back!

2. Genuinely happy, but sad at the same time – the “Bittersweet!” I love this one too! These are our family and friends who are genuinely happy for us and support us but are sad that we will be leaving the area. We have made such wonderful new friends here, and I will miss all of them and the chance to build closer relationships over more time. Truly, we are grateful.

3. The “Bewildered.” The ones who just look as us like we’ve lost our minds, and ask questions like, “what do you mean, you just ‘decided’ to move?” “Who does that?” This one is kind of funny to me!

4. The “Inspired.” Those who are inspired to rethink their own situation and life and location – who suddenly realize through our experiences that they could do it too! I love when it gets people thinking!

4. The “Debbie Downers.” “Oh, it’s so hot down there!” “You know the entire state just flooded! Yes, the entire state!” “I could never live there – there are no seasons!” “Watch out for all those tornadoes!” Need I say more?

5. The “Haters.” These are the people I’m most sad for. You know, the ones who really just cannot be happy for anyone, no matter what? The ones at work that I know are secretly planning which office supplies they will confiscate from my desk once I’ve made my final exit? The ones who have absolutely nothing to say – and I mean nothing. Like they just quit talking to you. And the saddest part about this group is that they don’t know what they are missing out on! I mean, come on – we are FUN!

I think that’s all so far – if I think of more I’ll add to the comments. Onward and upward! Focusing on the positive and all of the amazing people we have in our lives that are allowing themselves to share in our joy. We are truly grateful for all of you, and look forward to long (even if long-distance) loving relationships with you! 

Join in the conversation! Register and comment! Love to hear your thoughts – any others you can think of?

 

 

 

The nickel-and-dime-ing has to stop!

So nothing will grate on your nerves more than nickel and dime-ing when you are negotiating the biggest sale of your life! It may sound completely petty, but honestly, it gets to a person! So back and forth with the buyers of a whole….entire….house….finally ended satisfactorily today! Yea! But not before we agreed to giving up our refrigerator, washer/dryer, playset,… Read more →

The lost summer…for the grownups, that is!

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 →

HOT, tired, and grateful!

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!

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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!

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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)!

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IMG_3860IMG_3861IMG_3865Today, on the plane, nothing but gratitude and relief. God is good! Can’t wait to get moved in and have visitors!

 

 

 

 

 

The house-hunting trip…and all that entails!

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!

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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

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How to (not) tell the Littles we’re moving…

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!

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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:

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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!

 

I know it when I see it…

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!

So wish us luck in our “hunt,” and stay tuned for more updates! We are truly excited! Snip20150718_1

The cat is out of the bag…yes, Littles, we are moving…

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!

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