Since money has now changed hands, we are actually in contract to build a house!
We are moving about 5 miles away, up one exit on the highway, and on the other side of 35. It has been an interesting few months looking at all the houses and going back and forth between existing home or building.
- existing homes usually have a better house to ‘stuff’ value, like, for the same price as a new construction you ALSO get an outbuilding or a finished basement or a larger house.
Problem is, every house we liked was on land that we didn’t like and vice versa. We also have pretty strict location limits because I want to stay in the district and keep close enough to the school to avoid changing. What we found was good land in a good location for a good price that came with a builder. The builder seems decent and we liked the model homes we toured and he is also very local and is willing to listen. When I asked for a more energy efficient house he told me that modern techniques were very sound and he uses good materials. That isn’t what I was getting at exactly but the fact that he listened when I talked passive solar and flipping the house layout to take advantage of winter sun gives me hope that this can be collaborative. He also thought our carport idea was cool too, I do like them so far…
A timeline at least has a start now, finish in the spring. Hope to sell this house in early spring to make a smooth transition. Between now and then I’m going to be talking to some solar contractors and figuring out the world of solar farming. The land is 4 acre (1.5 hectare for my metric friends) and very sunny – currently a corn field. I wish there were some trees, but, we can plant those. Step one was talking to our energy company and they don’t do it personally and pointed me at local companies that do. I would love to make our house run on just the energy we produce but I need to learn the ways and hows of it. It will be a fun project I hope!
That is the big news of the month. All the other things are a bit crazy. I’m behind on Halloween costumes, vote yes campaign is doing well, kids are all good, Lars is on a diet so is working out a ton, he has a goal to bike to Duluth (180ish miles) in the spring so he is biking a lot. I choose busy nearly every time over bored!
I had a very productive weekend! Not only did I get quite a few things sewn, I also found all the garb in storage. There was a vague worry that an entire box of the current sizes had been deeply buried in storage but I got it out without too much stress. We might not have perfect wardrobes, but, we will have enough I think.
My plan today is to finish evaluating the pile for who fits what and triple check that each pile is enough of the right things. Have you ever rushed to pack for a trip and just figured you would take your clean laundry basket? That does not work, by the way, you think it should be a perfect week of clothing but it really isn’t. Same concept with my totes of garb, you feel like a pile the height of my child would yield outfits for the week but some years they grow tall and need skirts and some garb is too warm and you get the idea… the only way is to stand there with each child and try on all things in the size range.
The end goal is to have everything packed and delivered to the person packing the trailer by Wednesday. I feel like an important step, the ‘pack the car’ step will be missing from my life this year, but, I have done extra packing plenty of years so I don’t think my lifetime average will be negatively impacted.
Thursday the plan is to have a clean up the house and hang out day. I hope my plans actually work out and there are no crazy departures from the normal schedule the next few days.
This is probably not the wild and crazy fun blog this week. I’m just going to pack and parent. Next thing after I publish here is to make the list for packing, it has been bouncing in my head but with the house rearrangement, there are not as many notebooks as there once were. I have done this dozens of times but it still looks daunting before you start. I may go and buy New Totes! that will jump start the process. My old ones are getting beat up anyway~
Just in case you thought we did nothing fun all weekend we did head out to the mall for a little fun. We had a mission for a special bottle for a friend and since we were at the mall we got milkshakes and went on some rides. Just enough to be fun, not so much that they got crabby. Pizza dinner and back to work but I’m glad to be as far along as I am. All things I sew now are bonus, I don’t totally NEED anything and that is a nice feeling.
I also got a new phone! My old one was 5 years old and the battery was down to almost nothing. I had been hesitating because I like all the info and pictures I have on my old phone and didn’t want to start over but they guy at the store had a transfer machine so my new phone is identical and it feels nice to have a phone working all day again.
I’ll try and take a picture of all that I created this week, I’m pretty pleased with myself 🙂 Now I need to get breakfast and the day going, my ‘screen’ time is up!
This is totally not a guide to what-to-do in NY, like I said yesterday visiting my parents is not your normal visit to a person or place. For the sake of completeness I do want to write what we did so I don’t forget.
This is not in order… it is in the order they uploaded and I don’t have time to mess with them so without further Adu;
Muddy Puddle days at a local farm we go visit most visits. This is a really cool event where for $4 kids get to dive, slide and generally romp in mud puddles. We nearly didn’t go because the morning was rainy and cool but our friends really did and so we wanted to spend time with them more than avoid hypothermia and fortunately for all it turned around and it was gorgeous and sunny and perfect. Miss Math has a much better picture when they were all head to toe mud, this is a post mud one after we hosed them down.
Many trips to the beach and we learned that Prima loves to dig in the sand. She loves to dig in anything but sand makes the most gratifying hole when you are a 2lb dog.
We had a morning brunch in the park with my friend Pete and Will and Greta and their various spouses and children. Again, awesome weather and the kids all click and play so well they were begging to see each other again. (Good thing we visit for Christmas too). Pete gets the boy scout award by being the most prepared friend I have. He makes me feel disorganized by comparison because while I can fish out a band-aid from my mom-bag, he had a full on med kit with 19 sizes of band-aids and none of them were covered in cookie crumbs or sand (like what is at the bottom of my bag)
Another yearly stop to the Holtsville Science Center where they have a rescue zoo. All the animals are rescues one way or another. This time the peacocks were in full bloom and chasing around the hens who were ignoring them. We also saw some pretty active bears and the normal crew of other animals.
An absolutely unique opportunity happened this year – we happened to be in town for the PROM! so 20 years after my prom, I’m taking a picture of my 2nd youngest cousin get ready for hers. Sayville does something pretty cool. Part 1 – they do a mass picture event at the local pretty picture park (where I also did my wedding pictures). This is so fun because parents are invited and you see all the kids and it saves figuring out where else to do pictures. They did the same for my prom and I loved it then too. Cool thing 2; now they REQUIRE you to go to the prom in a giant party bus. The buses leave from the picture spot and I think this does three great things; takes out the cost of limo (and the pressure to have a limo), limits pre-prom drinking risks, and keeps the schedule rolling better because you don’t have various traffic jams coming and going to the prom. This is a newish thing and I like it but, I still love my prom limo experience… The kids were entranced with all the dresses and they were like cheerleaders LOUDLY commenting on how much they loved this dress or that one. I think they brightened quite a few teens day but none more than their A#1 cousin who was most pretty overall.
On our very last day we met up with Pete and his girls and my nephews and we ran all over a nature trail. We scared away most of the nature but had a great time. Pete brought the good camera so I may get better than my 2 random snapshots.
One of the unplanned great coincidences was that my cousin Antonia and her 3 kids were visiting the same time we were! We hung out a few times including the twins first active beach experience. Twin 1-year-olds are a challenge but Antonia is young and quick so running in separate directions was a fun test for her. They are the sweetest little people who are at that mobile but ‘idiot’ stage and as an aunt, I found it nothing short of adorable.
I have to say Miss Math is the ABSOLUTE best friend about making time for me and I am forever happy for all the time she creates for me. This trip 2 other friends made really awesome efforts to come see me. I missed getting a picture of one who drove 4 hours in traffic to see me for 3 hours, but here is my other. She left as soon as work ended down south and drove the night to get to Sayville the morning I was leaving and texted at 6am that she was there and needed a nap and to call repeatedly until I woke her up. We spent an hour or so catching up and seeing her pregnant belly and she saw all the productions of my pregnant belly plus the puppy (she has been a superb pup mom forever)
I put this on Instagram too, this is my trio solo. We went on plenty of beach and playground trip just us while the rest of NY was still in school. They may fight, they may drive me crazy sometimes but if you think about it, who can you spend 24/7 with all the time? We did do something every day but it was not a rush-rush vacation so there was plenty of time just us or just us and my parents. I am not quite at the read a book stage of parenting, I still need to have eyes on them too frequently but it is nice that there are times I can just sit and relax. 2 weeks is a pretty long time to be gone but not long enough to feel like we fit in quite yet. I end up missing my stuff, my car, my routine and to all the busy people who found time for me I know how hard it can be since usually, I have a really really full routine. The break was nice but I’m glad to be back here even if I have zero family, all my friends are from the past few years so no ‘remember when we were’ conversations or history and my network is 1/12 of what it could be if I had stayed in my hohometown. Moving here was a good decision but not an easy one but as always, I’m more glad for what I got to do and who I did get to see then sad about what I missed or leaving it behind again after 2 weeks.
Bye bye guys, so glad we had this trip and everyone has an open invite to visit us!
Yes, yes, yes… we made it back. Reasonably easily even!
Last I posted we were in the vacation land of NY where I had made nearly no plans but managed to fill the days with friends and family. The trend continued, I am super lucky to have friends that will twist their week or weekend to work me in and my sister even scheduled her house warming for when I was there so not only could I help warm her new cute house, but, see a ton of family and mutual friends all in one spot. Above is one picture, I’ll do a post with more pictures and the ‘what we did’ list for posterity, but, the nature of travel and visiting is on my mind and I have a few thoughts ~
When one visits a place like a tourist they never expect to see friends, maybe some old friend is local and you do a lunch or something to catch up but usually, you are there to visit the PLACE.
When one goes to visit a specific person you see a TON of that person and the I must say, people who you spend 24/7 with on a visit like that are like ‘next level’ friends. However, while you are visiting that person/family you do some tourist things but somehow even if you have 10 other friends in the area, unless they are mutual to the person you are officially visiting you don’t see much of those other friends.
What we do is a hybrid because we go ‘home’ the people we officially visit are my parents because we stay there. The hybrid part is that there is a mix of people I see quite frequently while I’m there almost as much as if I was there to spend the week with them, and, people that I see once or twice – more like the standard visit a place model. Balancing the two styles plus also wanting to cram a little culture and adventure like visiting a place and time to see all my giant family ends up getting hard but I would not trade it for anything. I hate when I have to miss something or a timing just won’t work but I also choose to focus on all the positives possible. If I see an old friend for 20 min, that is 20min more than nothing!
I also told myself this is my only break all summer because the rest is all about house market, possible move, camping trips, and full-time parenting. I got dumped directly back into the soup because the dream of the house selling on day 1 didn’t happen and so when we got home it was not the recovery day and luggage explosion it was scrub and clean and get ready for more showings. We are in the low season of the summer for sales since it is prime graduation and holiday season the spring rush is over and the end of summer rush before school is yet to begin. I’ll consider this week a practice and time to get a routine down that keep the house clean and kids happy (good wishes welcome!)
The timing of our return was also because of a very special day. Today, June 29, is a milestone birthday for Lars and we had to be home! We had to compromise a bit on the day because I had an afternoon work meeting that I had to go to but we spent a nice morning together seeing the house we might buy again, then he took the girls to the zoo and I did the work thing, and now the kids are playing and Lars gets a nap and we have a baby sitter coming in an hour so we can go out together. I also scored on the birthday gift. We did the normal t-shirt and little things but I got an instant pot, something he has never really heard of but given his cooking hobby I took the gamble and I won. The best gifts are things you don’t know you want and/or something you would not just buy yourself. The girls and I found it and my sleep deprived, travel tired brain recognized that this was IT and we got it.
So now you are all up on what I’m doing. I hope to get back on a routine soon but who knows, that might change tomorrow. The stay at home life is never dull if you’re doing it right.
Last week you turned 5 and it happened to be in the middle of us getting ready to move so it was not an ideal day but I think you really did like it. Becki took you out for the day and you came back tired and happy but 5 year olds don’t stop – you went right out to Jujitsu with your sisters and came home exhausted and ready for cake (brownies) and bed. I wonder if your whole 5th year will be as crazy.
You are the child I think I have spent the most time with. Somehow though you feel like you need me most still. It is a little the age, a little bit you. When I am around and something goes wrong I am the embodiment of a bunker, a band-aid, and teddy bear all in one person. I have seen you work out problems and not fall apart so I know you can, but, I don’t mind being here for you always.
Preschool is over for the year and you did great. Not a bit of separation issues beyond an extra hug every day. Your teacher Ms. Kayla was fantastic and loved you and you loved her. Now you know every letter and number and can write most of them very well. You love to write actually, you write all the time. Sometimes even on walls… Your hobby right now is to cut interesting shapes out of paper so your cutting skills are very good. When you draw and paint, and that is as often as I let you, you are making people and families and noticing odd little things about a person and adding them into the pictures. Gone are the days of abstract, hello 10,000 pictures of our family 🙂 You are also getting decent at sounding out small words when you are in the mood, I hope you have fun in Kindergarten next year.
You did great with the carpool and you and Reilly are super good friends even though you are pretty different kids. In school you made some true friends, friends I get the feeling we will be seeing a lot of over the next 6+ years. I love when kids make friends completely outside of family influence – these are not the children of my friends or the siblings of sisters friends. Selfishly, this usually means new friends for me because cool kids usually have cool parents and 5-year-olds can’t do playdates alone. You think you can though, you think you can do nearly anything your sisters can and your TV and music taste has been artificially aged. Where Niamh was singing Laurie Berkner and Disney at this age, you sing “Way down Below” and “Cheap Thrills”. The best was when you sang the same bit of another song; “1,2,3 your gonna come back to me, I’m the best baby you will ever ever see” when you were sure it was just a counting song for babies. Oh well, that is what happens with #3. You also have a better vocabulary and listen to audio books intended for kids 8+. I never know how much sinks in but we recently listened to a Greek Myth book and just yesterday you told me that Zeus was God’s (Baby Jesus God you made clear) Godfather. I’ll take that, seems like a realistic situation…
As #3 you do tend to almost always have sisters around but this past two years you had significant time as the only child all day while they were at school. Yes, we did tons together and you did want (and get) books and snuggles but for large chunks of time you like to do your OWN thing. You don’t even want the puppy out with you. I’m not sure what fantastic game is going on but you will swing on the swings and run around the yard for about 40 min happy as can be. Same with your room – you go in there and have elaborate games with all the toys. Eventually, you get bored and want to do things with me and there is almost always things to do. You are probably the best at cleaning and loading the dishwasher because we do a lot of that. Sometimes you even do chores all on your own, other times you still claim to be the baby. Your view on life is usually 110%
Speaking of babies. You still LOVE them. You don’t actually have to have your 2 baby dolls at ALL times anymore and you actually are ok with missing any favorite toy at bedtime for the most part, but you still love them. Our friend had a real baby and we would watch him and a real baby was a horse of a different color… you did have some jealousy for sure but you also had that internal protect the small thing instinct and did plenty to help him be happy and me take care of him. I’m really glad we got that experience for you and I’m glad we could help a friend.
Jumping over to gross motor (ha ha) this was a big year for you. You can now swim pretty ok; we started in January and you didn’t really even want to get in the pool and now you bob and actually swim. You are well on the way to really swimming, thanks, YMCA. You are learning your bike but like your sisters, you are faster on a scooter or even just running. You can monkey bar the whole way across and you will jump off way too many things. You started Jujitsu 2 weeks ago and you’re not quite sure about it but I needed time to pack so you needed to go. You also just started archery and knife throwing with Dad, he says your are pretty good. For a large chunk of the summer and fall, we did Pokemon hunting, great reason for a walk and we walked all over town, miles a day most nice days. I’m glad to have 3 active girls and I hope I’m a good role model even if I can’t do the monkey bars.
I’ve been writing on this for a few days so it is getting long. I should really stop so here are some quick other things that were you at 4; you still wanted to sleep with me and would often sneak in around 3am. You fall asleep really fast most nights but 1 in 10 you stay up until 11. You still have allergies and all colds turn into nasty chest issues and you need your machine. Your favorite color is changeable, you love Addie and Reilly as your friends, and you still take baths mostly and are growing out of hair twirling so we might see you with longer hair someday. In your 4th year you went to Hawaii, NY, PA, ND, WI Dells and WI in general, and all over MN. You are not the weakest link on a road trip and you are getting pretty good at operating all the electronics solo. There are still tantrums but you actually lean more toward surly sadness. You mimic and tag along and drive your sisters crazy but you also play with them – the destruction phase is over. You still put way too many things in your mouth and absently pick at things until they are in bits. We get you gum to try and help and it actually does. Your well child is today and I expect them to report that you are 40lb because we just weighed you at the vet Tuesday. You love to snuggle and cuddle and even if it is tiring for me, I am still the answer to most of the problems of the world for you.
Hello! Guess what? I have a 5 year old! and she isn’t the oldest, she is my youngest. Fiona, my change baby (not that change…) is again having a birthday in the middle of a giant life change. She will get her birthday post and I’m also full of other post too, much like the pairing down of possessions one wants to move I have had to pare down what I can actually do in my life. My normal workouts have been dropped to what I can do while they are at swim lessons and 2x other people have brought them so I could do more house stuff. Blogging is on the casualty list too and unfortunately, so is watching TV or reading so busy with all the things! Today I’m going to use my WHOLE computer hour on the blog so get ready for lots of words.
I am getting feeling flashbacks from other times in my life when many important things were going on at the same time. I used to make lists of the major things and their due dates and I did actually get every paper turned in, was on time for every exam, and moved out in good order in college. This is a whole new level of the game though because those things were black and white – move out meant take all your stuff and put it in the car and drive home to Long Island. This time I can’t just clean sweep it all, I need to stage in my wake AND we are living her AND we don’t know where we are actually moving to OR when.
So to the people that I’m not there for like normal, I am very sorry… I hope this is all for the good and I can get back to being a good friend again.
On the positive side – I am not pregnant! that was not actually a concern at all but this would be WAY worse if I was and when you are in birthday season you think about that 9th month and the tiny baby and resulting world shift and this is not that. It is something different, but, it holds the same promise of a new beginning and the waiting and the uncertainty of ‘when’ and ‘what’ have a lot of similarities. I also have kids that while not totally helpful are big enough to not need my constant care. 5 years ago I was starting the stay at home mom life and that was another giant shift in my life. All 6 little eyes on me for all the things. No break, not a lot of help, and the brain activity of trying to make all the things work in a new envelope of time without dropping too many important things too often. Like I said, I am having feeling flashbacks because this is not the first time I’ve done something stressful of juggled things or worked with
Like I said, I am having feeling flashbacks because this is not the first time I’ve done something stressful of juggled things or worked with uncertainty and major decisions. Thankfully they are all things I think I managed to get through pretty well and hopefully this one is no different.
Sine this is my blog I’m going to pat myself on the back for my yesterday achievements. 5 years ago I produced a person from my body who knows the alphabet and can do the whole monkey bar solo but still eats boogers. Yesterday I got up early to do my contract work, then greeted the birthday girl. We made pancakes and whipped cream and sang and she was happy. Dealt with some sister jelly attitude without losing it. Got all kids and pup into the car and to carpool on time and to school perfectly. Had coffee with a Vacation Mom who took Fiona out for her birthday (and my work day) and they went to the zoo and dairy queen while I finished contract work, got all the things on cabinets or walls or hooks in the entire kitchen level packed or put away or in the sell/donate pile. I cleaned up days of ignored kitchen.
In the afternoon I met the kids and kept working on the kitchen. When the painter got here it was at least at 90% ready and coincidently Lars was done working so we did Fiona gifts outside under our favorite tree. She loved everything from everyone, 5 is a happy age. She was as happy with the pack of gum as the scooter. They played and I went back to chipping away. I paused to help all 3 girls get ready for jujitsu – you heard that right all THREE of them went to jujitsu with Lars. The plan was for them to get birthday dinner out after as well as a trip to storage and be home for cake. I moved on to the green room where I started packing and styling the giant built in book case while the kitchen was painted. I threw in a batch of brownies that was done just as they came home and we sang happy birthday with my parents on the iPad on our back deck and then the girls enjoyed our long daylight with playing outside until nearly 9. Not done yet! I actually looked at Zoe’s folder and noticed she was on the 1st for snack in June and I actually remembered in the store on Tuesday night so I had things in the house to make the final cute class snack. Niamh was the trooper on this, delaying her own bedtime to help me do them. The day was finally over and the living room was enough together we could actually watch 1 tv show.
In more full truth, because that really does have the ring of super mom, I’m like a duck with the frantic feet but the top level looks pretty good. We did gifts on the lawn and ate on the deck because there is not one place to sit in the entire kitchen because the table and chairs are holding all the things either unsorted or normally on a wall that plan on going back. I put in brownies 15min before they got back because I completely forgot until that second. Seeing Zoe’s snack day was more happy accident than good parent that looks at all the papers in the folder. Gifts were purchased 2 days in advance via amazon and 1 I knew would be late and 1 just didn’t show up yesterday… the others were gotten in a walmart trip the night before that I made after seeing a house. I’ve gone to lots of hardware and paint stores in the past 2 weeks but we are pretty low on groceries – good way to get the refrigerator and pantry clean!
I think that I’m doing ok but there are pinch points where I just wish it were easier. I am making progress but the list is still very very long. Vacation mom and Lars are both makigng it much better and I’m happy we have a painter friend who can help us because if I was doing this all alone I would be a giant mess and I’m glad his wife is ok with him being here so much. The goal is to have the house ready to have pictures on Tuesday and start showing when we are gone to NY. I’m torn between wanting to be here to make sure the house is perfect and wanting to remove 3 kids and a puppy from the equation…. Any crossed fingers or good wishes are welcome as we keep doing the do.