Deck the House

… with lots of deck space. Falalalalaaalalalalaa.

See what I did there?

Anyway, you probably figured out what’s happened at our house…

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Concrete stairs!

Not what you were thinking? Okay, well this is definitely not where this post is focused but we did get our stairs finally finished and they also added a sidewalk out front. All of this progress has been both cool and frustrating. It’s cool because we get to see how things come together and the process behind everything. It’s also frustrating because people kind of live on their own timeline here. All of the unfinished pieces were supposed to be done by May 1st. Whelp it’s May 5th and we still have a wonky yard, left-overs from various projects all over the place, the AC is still missing and the list kind of goes on and on. BUT we’re hopeful that everything will be done in the next week. Crossing our fingers!

So let’s talk about the fun new view of the back of the house. Here’s what it looked like before:

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And here’s what it looks like now!

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Ahhh. A deck!

We negotiated a bigger deck than the standard 10×10 into the purchase of the home and I’m so so so glad we did! Originally we had wanted to do a 10×15, but when we did the measuring etc. we realized we’d have to build a deck over the downstairs office window, blocking all of the light we were getting downstairs. To compromise, the builders built it with the same square footage, but didn’t build over the windows.

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Right now we’re planning to build a small seating area at the bottom of the stairs, with raised garden beds along the edge. I’m sure plans will evolve as we go along though so it’ll be fun to see what actually gets done.

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Remember the wind? This is where our chairs live right now because otherwise they get blown around on the deck. It’s kind of ridiculous. We also are too afraid to leave the umbrella on the table for fear a gust will blow it away. We’ll have to figure out a solution for that.

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See my cute little “greenhouse”? Yeah, it’s awesome. The black pot will house our little deck salad garden. The girls love growing, and picking cherry tomatoes so we’ll plant that plus lettuce all around the edge and voila! A salad garden right on the deck!

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It’s also pretty awesome for Barbie dance parties and little girls to have tea and taco parties. We’re not sure if/when we’ll stain the deck but for now, we’re just enjoying the extra play and relax space we have.

And maybe we’ll find a way to use the “leftovers” that got forgotten…

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Anybody need a hodge-podge of lumber pieces?

Actually… I probably do… let’s be honest.

 

 

 

Home on the Range

Perhaps my title is a little mellow-dramatic. Deal with it.

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We’ve been here now for a little over a month and we’re coming to realize how much this feels like home now. We were back in Minneapolis last weekend for Tim’s Ironman Bike Ride (his 6th year running!)…

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Stud.

…and we kept commenting on how it was great to be back, but we missed “home”. Words I thought would come out of my mouth, oh never. So clearly, this whole none-stop-wind-on-the-prairie house is quickly settling into our hearts and making itself comfortable. There’s still a lot to be done, but the work needed is much different from the kind we were doing in the previous house. Not better or worse, just different. Also, I find it completely charming that the girls call this house the “red house” and in all of there pictures now there’s a little red house somewhere on the page. Be still my melting heart.

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Being a new home, there’s a lot of this kind of stuff lying around. The builder has happily come and picked up some of it, but not all of it, and every time they do a new project (ahem… the deck) more stuff gets left behind. Will it ever end? It better because I’ve got big plans for grass on this little plot of dirt. Time to clean up kids, Mama’s gotta try her hand at l-a-n-d-s-c-a-p-i-n-g.

DSC_4112But a new home also comes with a lot of fun little extras that we really appreciate. Say it with me, “A.C.” Huzzah! We haven’t needed it yet (which is good because the unit’s not installed yet) but when we do, I’ll be really happy we have it. People tell me it’s windy here until it gets hot… and then the wind decides it’s bored and goes elsewhere. Okay then, good thing there’s a splash pad up the road.

Also, can we just talk about the view?

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This is what it looked like the day we moved in. This is what it looked like two nights ago:

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It’s seriously ridiculous that there’s this much space behind our house. Eventually this will be developed into more housing, so this view is not here to stay. But for now we’re soaking it in and enjoying the peace that comes with living outside the city.

I’ve gotten a couple of questions about why we decided to go with a new construction home, since we clearly loved our little old beauty in Minneapolis. Honestly, it’s mostly about re-sale value. We know this is just a temporary move and older houses in this area are much harder to sell than new construction homes. It was also a timing thing, we had about two months to pick a house, sell our previous house, pack and move and the idea of finding a house that needed updating like the last one was just too much, especially since we knew Patrick would be a newborn at the time of the work.

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One of the things I did get with this home was the open floor plan I’ve dreamed and dreamed about. I can be cooking in the kitchen, chatting with people sitting at the bar or dining room table, and watching the girls destroy the living room and make spit pictures with their fingers on the T.V. screen. It’s glorious.

DSC_4127Also, the fact that these windows are super energy-efficient is amazing. A-mazing. It’s a good thing too, because the wind (did I mention the wind?) threatens to blow our house down every.single.day. We need good windows to keep us warm. One of our neighbors told us that the wind is pretty brutal in the winter time. So the windows are very much appreciated. I’m also pretty in love with the vaulted ceilings. It’s amazing how large this space feels just because of the ceiling height. The only issue, I want it all painted a different color… so that’ll be an interesting endeavour.

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We have three finished bedrooms right now. The girls’ and Patrick’s (right now operating as the guest bedroom) are mirror images of each other. They’re both a really great size and the closets are huge! Huge for us anyway, I think they’re probably standard sized closets, we’re just use to Minneapolis standard sized… aka capsule wardrobes only. I’ll have more pictures of the closets later as we’re putting new closet systems in them to accommodate clothes/toys/general chaos.

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And our bedroom is pretty awesome too. The ceiling is what made this room. It’s actually a pretty small master bedroom, but it also includes a walk-in closet (what?!) and a bathroom so it works great for us. Now I can say things like, “the master suite” and sound all snooty like. I told Tim that even though we have two bathrooms now (there’s one by the kids’ rooms) I’m still going to make sure I fight him for one in the morning… you know… for consistency’s sake.

Now, the greatest part about the house, you know, except for all the other great things I’ve talked about, is the basement:

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So down here there’s room for three more bedrooms, another living area, and a third bathroom. Aaand my head just exploded.

Our plan is to make one room into an office, complete with french doors to let more light into the large living room, one is going to be a play room for the kids, and the third will be the actual guest bedroom with a guest bathroom. I love this basement because it’s not a dark cave, there’s beautiful windows in each room to let a good amount of light in and the idea of being able to finish a basement is exciting. And scary. But mostly exciting! We’ll post pictures once everything’s all framed up so you can see our “vision”, or rather, the builder’s vision and how we’re continuing that with our finishes and last-minute details.

Anyone else taking advantage of beautiful weather this week? Any gardeners out there want to give me some tips on raised garden beds?

Cheers!

30 Days Young

As I mentioned  we will be doing a month-to-month photo with Patrick, just as we did with his sisters. This one kind of came about because I forgot to take a really good one of Patrick when he was first born, but found a pretty great one of him and Tim and the month-to-month evolved from there. So, without further ado… here’s the newborn pic:

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Toes!

Anyway, and here is the big (little) guy 30 days later!

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I also have one with the month on it:

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But I think I like without better.

Patrick is chubbing out like a champ. He started smiling about a week ago, and is cooing up a storm which melts my heart every time. Every. Time.

Happy one month, little man!

The Dust is Settling

I’m finding time to blog! Boom! Super mom.

I was able to get quick snapshots of our home before everything started being moved in but I’ve temporarily misplaced those photos so today is going to be a bunch of pictures of my kids. Because I can and who doesn’t love pictures of squishy newborns? That was a rhetorical question.

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I promised I would share Patrick’s birth story and on his one month birthday (plus one day) I thought it would be fun to relive his birth  with all of you. Maybe not in all the nitty gritty details, because ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s still a little weird to think that we’re now a family of five! We recently purchased our awesome minivan (can’t believe I used “awesome” and “minivan” in the same sentence) to accommodate all of us. Going from a Prius to a minivan kind of makes me feel like I driving a giant boat down the middle of the road. But this boat comes with heated seats and a DVD player for trips so I’ll take it! We’re pretty blessed with these three kiddos, and we wouldn’t change anything.

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Patrick was actually due on March 15th, however as we got closer and closer to his due date I began to worry about the timing of everything. Both of my girls were one and half/two weeks late, which put us solidly at moving weekend. If there’s one thing that’s not on my bucket list, it’s have a baby when you’re supposed to be traveling to your new home in a new state. So, after a lot of discussion between Tim and myself, and my doctor, we decided it would probably be best if they set me up to be induced the weekend he was due. I know there a lot of people out there who are against ousting a baby before they’re ready, but we put a lot of thought into our decision and decided this was the best option. I wanted time to heal. I wanted our baby boy to have time to acclimate a bit to being outside the womb before we threw him in a car seat and moved him a couple of hours away from the home he was used to etc. We also wanted the girls to get used to the idea of baby brother before we uprooted them to a new house.

There were a lot of factors that went into our decision, and we weighed all the pros and cons very carefully.

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So at my doctor’s appointment on Thursday (the 12th), my doctor set up the appointment for induction the following day but she warned me that because it wasn’t a medically necessary induction that it might take a couple of days before they were actually able to admit me.

On Friday, March 13th (I know, right?) I called in at 6:00am to ask if they’d be able to uphold the appointment and the nurse on the line said, “Oh sure, come on in!” Ok then.

We then dropped the girls off at my mom’s house, and headed to the hospital. My plan was no medication, just break my water and let’s see what happens. Yep, that’s how I plan things. Very vague. I didn’t want pitocin, and I wanted to try going without any kind of pain medication as I had with the girls. I’m not against pain medication at all, but I generally don’t need it until the very end of labor, and at that point it’s always too late and not necessary because baby comes very quickly after it becomes “too much”.

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So, they broke my water at 8:00am and then… nothing. A lot of walking happened. A lot of looking at all the cute baby gifts you could buy… I realized I didn’t have a nursing cover, put that on my list of things to still get… but not a whole lot of labor happened.

Here’s the deal with pregnancy, and everyone tells you this but you kind of shrug and say, “Yeah ok”: every pregnancy is different. Every labor is different. With Sophie they broke my water and she came an hour later. With Charlotte they broke my water (it always needs a little bit of help) and she was born four hours later. So when three hours had gone by and my contractions were very irregular and I was still up moving around and totally fine, I started to get a bit discouraged. The nurse suggested we try pitocin to get my contractions to regulate and really start to work but I was like no, maybe in an hour. I was worried that pitocin would be too much intense-ness in too short a time and I wouldn’t be able to continue to control my breathing and manage them well. So we walked so more, and then just decided it was movie watching time. And by movie I mean HGTV, because I can’t help myself I just love a good DIY.

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Around noon Tim got some lunch, and I got a couple of saltines to “refuel”. They would have let me have more but I was beginning to feel like we were actually making progress and I have this ridiculous fear of pooping while trying to birth a baby. So I did a saltine instead of real food. Always do the real food. When 2 o’clock rolled around, my contractions were beginning to come on hard and strong and I finally caved and asked for an epidural. Like I said, I’m not above pain medication.

However, the epidural never happened, because an hour later it was time to start pushing. After about three minutes of pushing, Patrick David was born at 3:13pm on 3/13/15. Wish we’d had a four leaf clover or something too just to round out all the luck that was happening this day. Is it too late to walk under a ladder? Quick! Someone drop a mirror!

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At 7 hours of labor, that makes him my longest labor yet. Maybe after four pregnancies, my body is just more apt to take it’s sweet time. I’m just glad there was a doctor and nurse in the room when it was time to push because with Charlotte, we weren’t so lucky. Tim had to yell for the nurse as I started push (seriously, there’s no controlling it) and the nurse caught our girl. So having a team there was really nice. After having gone all morning and a good portion of the afternoon without decent food though, I was really exhausted and extremely hungry!

Patrick was 8lbs 15 oz and 22 inches long. He had black fuzzy hair and dark grey eyes, and was absolutely perfect. We were already so much in love with him, and having him finally here to hold and snuggle was beyond amazing. I will tell you something though, the nurse and Tim started joking about having number 4, and after having just pushed out this 9 pound kid, I was having none of it. Too soon, kids, too soon.

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We spent two nights in the hospital recovering. I feel like I recovered really quickly this time around, which is great because we were set to move two weeks later! Time is just flying for us right now.

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The girls love him, most days. We threw a lot of changes at them within a really short period and they’ve been doing great with everything. Patrick sleeps like a champion right now, waking probably three times a night. A rested mommy and baby means a much more calm household around here.

At one month out now, we’re settling in to our house really well. Tim is enjoying his new job, which is awesome, and the girls are exploring their new surroundings and finally starting to call Patrick by his name, instead of “baby” like they did when he was in the womb. The random tantrums are beginning to dissipate and I think in general we’re all starting to get comfortable with the new rhythm of our new lives.

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I will be doing month to month photos for Patrick like I did with Sophie and Charlotte too. I’ve got his birth photo done, but haven’t had a chance take a one month picture yet, I’ll update when I do. It’s gonna be a good one! I’m trying to decide if I want to do a second set of month-to-months with all three kiddos, hmmm… things to think about. Thoughts?

Thank you for all your prayers and love as we’ve made all these transitions in our lives. We have felt the support from young and it has helped tremendously. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

Checking Off the List

I swear, I’ll never find time to blog again. The fact that I’m getting an opportunity now is slightly ridiculous. It’s all happy chaos though, so I wouldn’t change anything!

First.

We had a baby!

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Patrick David was born on 3/13 at 3:13 pm (seriously) weighing just shy of 9 pounds.

As far as the name goes, I left it up to Tim for the most part to pick his name. Of course, I threw out a couple of helpful suggestions along the way and in the end we both loved Patrick, it just happened to be that St. Patrick’s day was only a few days after he was born. David is after my father, who passed away when I was 15. It was a very special moment for me when we decided to include my father’s name and we think it’s pretty perfect for him.

So far, Patrick is doing great. He’s a champion sleeper, eater and pooper and his sisters love him. We’ve had a couple of temper tantrums from the girls since being home, but there’s a lot going on right now, so we kind of expected it. Otherwise, it’s been a really smooth transition and everyone is adjusting well.

I’ll have more on the birth story later.

Second.

Our house went on the market last Thursday, we had 43 (!!) showings from Thursday to Monday and by the evening on Monday, we had offers on the house! So, as of Tuesday morning, our house is sold!

Our realtor was amazing, we had a lots of help from family getting the house prepped and ready to go and when you take a look at the “before” pictures, we can’t believe what’s been done to the house in only a year and half.

Front:

Front Yard

 

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In the front we ripped out the dead hedges, sloped the yard down towards the sidewalk and laid sod down. It was nice and green in the summer/fall, but now that it’s winter (although arguably very warm for Minnesota in March) the grass is looking kind of lame. I’m sure it’ll be lovely when spring gets into full swing.

Living Room / Entry / Dining Room:

Living Room

 

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Of course we ripped up the carpet immediately. We pulled paneling down, sanded and re-finished the hardwoods, tore out the old bar and installed a bench in the entryway. We painted, added trim and all those little projects that happened in between. The wallpaper in the dining room is original. It’s the only wallpaper that stayed in the house. I still could never figure out how to position furniture in the living room/front porch area because of the dividing beam but now that’s someone else’s issue to scratch their head about. 

Office / Stairway:

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The real champion of this picture is the staircase. The first photo was taken after we ripped the carpet up, but you can still see remnants of it on the stairs and you get a good look at the old banister.

The funny thing about the banister is that when Tim put the new post in at the bottom, it fit perfectly into the spot where the original post had sat, before the previous home-owners remodeled in the 70s. Maybe it’s kind of like how everyone’s about white trim right now, but the nay-sayers (is that how you spell that?) are all, “Wait ten years and you’ll be sorry you painted your wood trim white”. Maybe, nay-sayers (neigh-sayers?). Maybe.

Girls’ / Extra Bedroom:

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Unfortunately this isn’t even kind of an accurate picture. Normally there would be bunk beds and lots and lots of toys. But you can still see the wallpaper is down, the floors are re-finished and it’s pretty adorable now.

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Again, not accurate. This room was first an office, then was being set up for the baby’s room. When we miscarried it turned into a storage space and then when we found out we were expecting again, it was back to being prepped for a baby. THEN we had to hastily take everything out and turn it into a usable bedroom for showings. Thus, for the last two weeks, Sophie and Charlotte have been sleeping in separate rooms. They’ll be sharing again in the new house so I hope they’re not getting used to it.

Master:

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Bathroom:

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The bathroom was the last thing we worked on, right before we listed the house. Everything was in working order, but not everyone appreciates a yellow toilet and vanity so we decided to update a bit. We replaced the toilet and vanity top. We also swapped out the hardware and light fixture. We painted the base of the vanity so it tied into the nice crisp new toilet and then painted the whole room a warm cream color to refresh the walls. Not too shabby and it wasn’t too expensive either.

Eat-In-Kitchen :

Kitchen 1

Kitchen 2

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The kitchen was the definition of “making it work”. The only thing we did in the kitchen was take down the wallpaper and add a bench and table to the little nook off to the right of the kitchen. Nothing else changed. But the kitchen had GREAT space for a city kitchen and I had so many plans for it. All the plans!

Third.

We’re less than two weeks away now from our move-out date. I’m getting a little misty eyed thinking about it, but we’re very excited to move, and get settled in the new home. We’ve had our baby, we’ve sold the house and now, it’s time to wrap things up and get ready for more big changes.

So, for now, we say goodbye to our little house. Our little piece of paradise in the city. The first house we bought together, the first house we owned. This is where Charlotte learned to ride her bike. This is where Sophie started to learn to read. This is Patrick’s first home, even if it’s only for two weeks. We are sad to leave, we will miss our neighbors, our friends, the parks, the restaurants, being close to our families and our beautiful city. We’re excited for what lies in store, but for now, we’re just soaking in the last few days here and hoping for sanity as we move our family of five to South Dakota.

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Cheers!

30 Days and Counting

You guys are awesome. Thank you for all the encouragement and love you’ve showered on us during our time of transition! We love you all!

So we’ve got a couple of big events running at us full throttle.

#1 Baby boy is due in about two weeks, so we’re patiently (read: extremely UNpatiently… why does the last month of pregnancy always feel like a million years long??) awaiting his arrival into this world. With my babies being notoriously late, I’m hoping this guy shows his sisters how it’s done and comes sooner rather than later. Come on, baby! Mom and Dad want to meet you!

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#2 Our house is going up on the market in about one week, so we’re painting, purging, cleaning, and trying to simultaneously enjoy the last couple of weeks we’re spending in this amazing house. We’re sad to be leaving it. We never thought we’d only live in this house for a short one and a half years. It feels so bittersweet to be putting it up on the market, but we feel incredibly blessed by this new adventure so we’re taking it in stride.

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#3 We are going to be moving to SD in one month. One. Month. So on top of, you know, having a baby, cleaning our house within an inch of it’s life, and generally trying to pack and prepare ourselves for the move, we actually have to MOVE. Yikes!

The good news is, over the weekend we made an offer on a house and it was accepted! So, barring any unforeseen issues, we’ve got our future home picked out.

The interesting part? It’s a new construction home! Yep, we’re leaving our charming, loved, old home for a completely new, never-been-lived-in house.

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Whomp, whomp.

Alright, so right now it’s kind of looking a little… unfinished, but by the time we move in a month from now, we should have a pretty close-to-finished home. I love the red exterior. It’s really fun in person, it just kind of looks dingy in this picture.

The one thing about this new construction home is that since everything is brand new, there won’t be a lot of the “work” that we’ve had to do with our first home, which is probably a good thing since we’ll be balancing a new job for Tim, as well as our new bitty family member. That being said, there’s a whole unfinished basement we hope to tackle while we’re there to make room for guests that might come out, as well as adding an office/craft room (CRAFT ROOM!!!) and other items. It also means we have a whole outside of our home that will need landscaping which might be something fun for us to explore. I might even go crazy and plant a fruit tree. Does fruit grow in South Dakota? (Just kidding)

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Look! Open concept! Also the appliances haven’t been picked out yet (sorry about the photo quality, we forgot to take pictures). This kitchen overlooks the dining and living rooms which is awesome. It’s a great gathering space. Our house now is pretty open for its age, but the kitchen is still very segregated from the rest of the living space on the first floor, so I’m really excited for everything to be together like this.

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They’ll be building a deck out that back which is exciting! The house is painted completely tan, which is something I’m dealing with. For those who know about my obsession with grey and white… this tan and mahogany combo is going to be a challenge for me. The house is beautiful though, even if you can’t tell from the photos, so we feel incredibly blessed we were able to find it. Tim said I could paint the basement grey. I’ll take it.

Also, did I mention it has TWO bathrooms?

What?!

I might still fight Tim for the bathroom in the morning, just to uphold tradition. It’ll bring us closer together I think.

More updates to follow.

Home Is Where…

We’ve got some pretty exciting news to share, and you all already know I’m pregnant so it’s not that (Baby bean will hopefully be making his appearance in the next couple of weeks!).

In January, Tim went on a pretty amazing snowboarding trip with some friends of his.

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And yes, in case you’re wondering, I was completely jealous. However, it was a great vacation for Tim and a break from his pretty intense work schedule, all the natural stress that comes from being a husband and father (although he assures me he was really excited to come back home afterwards), and gave him some time to do something he really loves but normally has very little time to do, snowboarding.

Almost as soon as Tim returned, he received a phone call from his supervisor at work explaining that there was a pretty exciting opportunity opening up if Tim was interested in pursuing it. Of course we were thrilled by the idea that Tim had been considered for this opportunity and a week ago, after three weeks of necessary interviews and conversations with those involved, we received word that Tim had in fact gotten the promotion!

Woo hoo! Go Tim!

The promotion itself is pretty awesome news, but there’s more to it than just that. Part of this new job is relocation. We’re moving!

… to South Dakota.

Okay, so it might be slightly more exciting if we were moving to Hawaii or the Florida Keys or something but this is still really amazing news for us!

So, though we’re completely pumped about this new opportunity for our family, I’ve got pretty mixed feelings about the move itself. First, we’ve got two months to figure out what we’re doing. Second, we’re in the process of deciding whether or not to rent or sell our house. The tables are tipping towards selling but, let’s be honest, we love our house! We had so many plans! It definitely wasn’t our plan to stay in this house forever but being here only a year and half seems like we’re breaking up with it prematurely. It’s like when someone fakes you out of a handshake… you’re all, “oh man!” Thirdly, let’s not forget, our baby boy should be arriving sometime mid-March. There’s a lot of things in motion right now, and it’s got us slightly overwhelmed.

Either way, we’ve begun the task of finishing some of our less extensive projects, and begun researching our options.

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Last weekend we also took a trip to our new city and scoped out the area. We found an amazing restaurant that has the most delicious caramel rolls I’ve ever had (and Tim’s basically a caramel roll connoisseur so we consider ourselves pretty good judges of caramel gooeyness), visited the lakes in the area and walked through a couple of potential housing options. We didn’t find “the one” yet, but we’re hoping something comes on the market soon.

For now, we’re taking it a day at a time and hoping we can tie up all the loose ends without going insane.

Also, if you’re in the market for a house in Minneapolis, we might have a pretty amazing one for you to take a look at! Just… give us a week or two to get it spiffed up, first ;)

Cheers!

Jen