Saturday, July 23, 2011

If These Walls Could Talk

They would certainly have great insight into the last four years surrounding our lives.

As we pack up our things and prepare to leave, I feel like this is an appropriate time to reflect on what we have been through at this house…

-       Uncertainty – So much of our time in Greenfield has been cloaked in uncertainty. When we first arrived in September 2007, we had just recently purchased the Epcon Franchise and had settled in on a construction site (which is NOT where we are currently building) and were just beginning to realize that the housing bubble had officially burst. Fortunately, our passion for building and our stick-to-it-tive-ness won out in the end and we continued down the path of Timber Run. It has been an incredibly long journey fought with fears, tears, uncertainty and a much doubt, but we are finally at a stage that we are comfortable with where we stand. Truly, I don’t think it has been until the last 6-12 months that we have felt at home here in Greenfield.
-       New Friends – Oh this is probably the best part! While we haven’t had the parties we used to have with our friends in Ohio, we have made some great friends. I think the lack of “parties” is so much of that is due to our having kids now. Jana, Tom and the kids have made some great memories in this house. Here are some pics of my favorite night in the backyard with Jana, Tom and the kids…

Then, there are the other friends we have made through Rotary, preschool and just being around town. I feel very lucky to have been welcomed to town.
-       Old Friends – We’ve had some great times with friends from our pre-Greenfield days coming to visit. My favorite visits are Eric and Sarah Baker. The first time they came to town was when Sarah was pregnant with Oliver. We call that weekend “flea-it-nam.” Trigger ended up with fleas and then Martini (their dog) ended up with them too. Of course, I had to work that day, so Sarah ended up doing laundry and Eric and Tom flea bombed the house and bathed the dogs. I can’t remember if that was the same trip that we decided to go the farmer’s market and drove in to find two vendors set up. Either way, not a super fun visit. We did manage to make it to Tuttle's though. 
The next time they came to visit was a little better except that Tom decided that was the weekend he was going to put in the firepit – with Eric’s help. I remember thinking “Welcome to our house…here’s a shovel…now get to work…” By now, Oliver was born, so the kids had fun with him.
On their third visit, Sarah was again pregnant, and so was I. We decided to make a trip to Conner Prairie (why not? We were 8 months pregnant and it was 95 degrees outside…) The kids had a blast and we did get some good pics…

The last time they were out to visit was probably the best visit. All five kids were here and out of the womb. The bigger kids played nicely and the adults were able to chat.
-       Politics – Tom will talk politics all.the.time. And, we are pretty staunch conservatives. However, I will say that during our time in this house, a truly historic thing happened with Barack Obama’s election to the highest post in the land. I went to a sales conference the day after he was elected and someone asked the trainer what he thought about the election (he was a known Republican) and he said something truly enlightening. He said, “Even though I may not agree with his politics, one thing is certain, a truly remarkable thing has just occurred in this country – a black man has been elected as President. No longer can any person say ‘I can’t because…’ Or ‘Things aren’t fair because…’ A black man was just elected as president.” We witnessed history. Plus, I can remember when Sarah Palin was running as Vice President too. While I didn’t necessarily agree that she was the right choice, she was a major motivating factor in how I decided to run and train for my first half-marathon. I decided that if she could do it with her five kids, running a vice-presidential campaign and parenting a special needs child, I could probably make it work.
-       Birthdays - Every one of the kids have celebrated all their birthdays here with the exception of Josie’s first.  While the big celebration may have been at school, in Ohio or elsewhere, they usually woke up here in this house on their big day.
-       Firsts – songs, words, smiles, steps, day of school – Josie was 18 months old when we moved here and Tessa was two months old. Josie sang her first song in our kitchen and Tessa and Jack both took their first steps here. I can remember first day of school photos for Josie at Bradley and tucking them into bed the first time out of cribs too. It’s amazing that four years later, we still have the same bedtime routine as four years prior, right down to the rainbow song that Tom made up one night.
-       Births – Who could forget that Jack spent his first night home in this house? I remember the day before he was born like it was yesterday. Mom was here and we were working on cleaning the back porch and getting ready for the 4th of July celebration we decided to have here instead of at the lake. I remember pulling into the driveway and seeing dad’s car and then having an extremely strong contraction and realizing I would probably have Jack very soon. Then, I can remember bringing Jack home to a back porch full of family. And, all the work that they had done – painting, cleaning, landscaping – and how full of emotion I was that I couldn’t even speak. Then, of course, just the memories of newborn Jack on the couch with me and in the little bouncer are enough to bring this mom to tears.
-       Celebrations – Aside from our birthdays and births, we have had so many things to celebrate here. Tom and I stood in this kitchen when we heard that Katie and Jason were expecting Clark and then again when they found out about the twins. The kitchen was also the gathering place after our Preview Party for Timber Run at which we took in reservations for our first homes. We’ve toasted every contract and every closing in this home too. We were also fortunate enough to host Christmas this year with all the fixings.
-       Business Plans – Oh boy. This is where I could go on and on, but I won't for fear someone may steal our ideas. :) Tom and I have probably solved the world’s problems 100 times over in this house. He especially, has enough good ideas to get a think-tank working overtime. For now, we’ve settled on kicking tail on Timber Run and working on a few things that are in the wings and may be discussed on a future blog post.  J

In the end, a house is simply four walls to protect you from the heat, cold, rain and snow, but really it is so much more than that. It is a place to capture memories with family and friends. Our house at 1122 E 500 N has been that memory catcher and virtually the foundation for starting our family and will not be forgotten. As much as I’m looking forward to building a new home and moving on to the next chapter in our life, I reflect with fondness on our days in this home and hope I can continue to cherish the memories built here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Extra Cup of Coffee

Sometimes an extra cup of coffee just feels so good. Today is one of those days. The kids have now been gone for three days and I'm missing them pretty badly. The first few days were fun (among the extra work we were doing) and we felt pretty footloose and fancy-free. But, by last night, Tom and I were pretty pitiful - staying at work until 6, picking up food to cook and watching a movie. Pretty much like every other night, except we stayed at work late. Fun stuff.

So, this morning, I'm taking the time to have an extra cup of coffee in front of my computer before I get showered and moving on the day. It's completely quiet here except for the hum of the dishwasher. I slept as long as I could this morning (8:45) and then worked on a few things for work, picked up around the house, did dishes and I'm about to put away mountains of laundry. But, first, I'm taking a second to enjoy the peace since it doesn't seem to come around these parts very often.

Today kind of begins a crazy three days. Today, we have a customer orientation at 4 for our newest homeowner, Third Wednesday at the Clubhouse for our existing homeowners, an HOA meeting in the middle of that to determine our next homeowner representative on the board, then a preschool board meeting to round out the night. Tomorrow, I have a Rotary board meeting at 10:15, then regular Rotary at noon. The kids are coming back somewhere around there and going to the sitters right away (don't get my guilt started), and then we have a closing at 2PM. The girls are supposed to have gymnastics at 5 (not sure if we'll make it) and then I have Bunco that evening! Then, finally, Friday is the house closing! Then, we pack.

The house is in pretty good shape as far as packing goes. We're having movers come to help with the heavy stuff but they're also going to move our dressers fully packed and put all of our closets into wardrobe boxes. So, all that I have left to do is fill some bins with the decorator items, finish up the kitchen and tackle the bathroom closet. When mom was here, we hit the garage, the kids' closets and most of the kitchen. I may have mentioned this, but we took three car loads to the Goodwill and filled up three dumpsters worth of trash. I'm guessing I probably have a day left of packing, or maybe two days if the kids are around. :)

It's been nice to have the kids away this week. Tom and I have really been able to focus on work, which is extremely busy these days. We've squeezed in a little fun too, but I do feel like these few days have given me the illusion of having everything under control. I said illusion because I know it's really not, but a girl can pretend.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You Don't Know How It Feels

Oh yes I do... (refer to post title - yes - Tom Petty's CD just happens to be one of the old CD's found at the garage sale that made it's way into my car)

So, we're always telling our customers, just list your house! Try it out and see how things go! Things will never change if you don't make the effort! Well, we took our own advice and got the house listed. And, it went well or so it would appear on the surface. Under contract in 40 days and closing about 30 days after that. Really couldn't have gone too much faster.

Now, to dig a little deeper. The stress of inspection issues, waiting on the appraisal and preparing the new rental house have been enough to drive a person insane! I'm still not ready to document all the back and forth and probably won't ever be ready. I'm shoving those memories deep inside my sub-conscience. But, it is a good lesson in patience and really good for us to see what our customers go through when they sell their home.

I've always known that moving is one of the top life stressors. There is no doubt in my mind now. I found this article discussing the particular stress on women and children to back up my stressful reactions to seemingly little things. I'm ready for next Thursday when we truly hand off the keys and can begin to get settled in the new place.

Now, about that new place... We are renting a house from good friends that were in the process of fixing it up. Tom and I just went over today and it looks great! Brand new paint job, brand new floors and I feel like I'll have a new house. It's just a little taste of how I suppose moving into the new house will actually feel.

We are in the middle of going back and forth on a building lot right now too. That paired with the closing/packing/moving of our house, closing on three Timber Run homes in July, starting to brainstorm on the new house and life in general have created a bunch of work, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. We'll get through this just as we get through everything and then we'll look back and say "I can't believe we did that!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

House Staging on a Budget

I follow a couple of blogs covering a wide range of topics. Believe it or not, this post on staging a home did not come from a builder, real estate, sales or even a design blog. It came from The Happy Housewife's Blog. It's one blog in which I really read almost every post. I think it's because I love the idea of being a true housewife with a full housefull of kids. Plus, she homeschools her kids, which I think I could never do so I'm always intrigued by those who do.

Either way, she has some great ideas about staging your home for sale. Check it out!

House Staging on a Budget

Just Like Mom & Dad

A few months ago, the Athletic Director at Greenfield-Central mentioned at Rotary a few programs the school puts on for the community. One such event is the G-C All Comers Track Meet. It’s a great way for the high school kids to stay in shape over the summer, but it’s truly open to everyone. Initially, I thought, wouldn’t that be fun for Tom and I? Then, I thought heck no. But, I’ll sign the girls up.

We’ve always thought Tessa would make a good runner. That girls has serious endurance! We’ve seen her run for long distances and she just keeps chugging along. And, Josie’s such a good sport, we knew she’d have fun. So, we went.

Both girls were stoked for the race. Josie picked out an outfit and Tessa wore her white sequined princess shoes that have been worn all summer. Today would be no different. It was nice because we did know two other families there with kids in the race too. And, one of the families was in Josie’s preschool class. So, they were very comfortable.

Their event was just for kids and was 80M. They started at the real starting line with a gun and everything. We think the gun scared Tessa a little bit. Here are the videos of both girls.



Tessa actually had a better time, but just by a little.  They all got medals which was really cute. Josie even wore hers today to the sitters. You can check out the rest of the event results at G-C All Comer’s Blog.

Here are some photos as well. Josie got a little shy afterward so her photos are as great but I love this one of Tessa.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Melt Down City

Good night. What does 95 degree heat, lack of sleep and a 6PM gymnastics class do to two kids? Let's just say there is a lot of crying and nonsense going around in our house tonight. Why the girls feel the need to writhe around as if in immense pain when I deliver the bad news of no TV tonight, I have no idea. It must help them express themselves.

Anyway, a few funny comments arose out of the sleep deprived rantings of this evening. First, has nothing to do with any of this. I left the butter out on the counter after fixing Josie's grilled cheese - easily 3/4 stick. I came home to an empty butter dish. I asked Tom, "What in the world did you make that used all that butter?!" "Huh?" he says. Oh great. Trigger, our dog, must have put his front legs on the counter and licked the stinking butter. At closer look, yep, those are tongue marks. Nice. Reminds me of a few years back, right after we got Trigger, and the same conversation occurred after I had laid out chicken breasts to thaw while I jumped in the shower. I got out of the shower and no chicken breasts. I said to Tom, "Did you marinate those already? I'm surprised they were thawed out." To which Tom replies, "Did I marinate what?" Ugh...dogs...

When we were in the car on the way back from gymnastics tonight and Tessa starts crying about not playing soccer. Mind you, we have not had them on a team for over a year. She and Josie start arguing about when they played, their coaches, etc. Finally, I said, Tessa would you actually like to play soccer again? She says, "well, I really want to get a new uniform but not really play in the games." Josie then says, "I really want to play again! But, my favorite part of playing soccer is half-time!"

By the time we get home, I've had enough. For more of a back story, it is steaming hot here and it was hot in the gym too. I tried to get out of the house with the three kids today and only made it through one and half stores (of my planned 5) before I decided this was a lost cause. Both girls are really giving me a run for my money. Then, as I'm checking out at CVS, both girls have run in opposite directions (Tessa is putting a bag of M&M's in her mouth) I get a tap on my shoulder, "uh, ma'am, he's going to fall out." Turn around - Jack is standing up in the cart. Out of his buckle. Mom of the year...right here.

Fast forward to arriving home from gymnastics. I deliver the news about no TV tonight and the writhing ensues. It was really more Josie than Tessa, although she joined in for good measure. At one point, Josie put on her panda ears from VBS, mid-fit, and I couldn't keep a straight face. Where did that come from?! She also screamed (rather sassily) at one point, "Tomorrow we get to watch two shows before bed!" I said, "Josie, you've watched TV all day today. I get to tell you when you can or cannot watch TV." She says back, "But Mom, that's part of our bedtime routine!" It is not, in fact, actually part of the routine, however, perhaps we do that too frequently. :)

Either way, they're all upstairs now. Tom's reading books and I'm having a beer. I deserve it today.

(And, by the way, Jack got another tooth! He got his second middle tooth while we were at the lake - July 4th ish - and his third upper tooth yesterday!)

Success! In More Ways Than One!

I haven't written much this week because it's been a true roller coaster of emotion. We had some issues with the inspection report. I won't go into them now because they're all a thing of the past. But, needless to say, I wasn't too sure the house sale was actually going to go through. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, we received word that we would have official paperwork soon, which we did receive. We sent it back to the agent yesterday afternoon and are now official. Well, except that the appraisal has to go through. I'm not too worried about it but it's still one more wild card. Closing is scheduled for 7/22 and possession on 7/28.

I'd be worried about getting out, but I'm compartmentalizing and only thinking of a room at a time. We made awesome progress on the garage getting ready for the sale. Now, we just have to get all of that sale stuff out! I'm trying to decide how to handle it all - donate? auction? It seems like a lot for one organization to get and it would be so much better suited to sort it out. But, calling AmVets and having them pick it all up is so easy.

The garage sale was very successful! We still have a bunch of stuff left but sold over $800 worth of stuff, so we must have gotten rid of a lot too!

Today has just been a recoup day for the kids (they're exhausted!) and a catch up day for me. Laundry, dishes and calling various places about the move has certainly kept me busy. Now, we're off to run a few errands in the scorching heat! Later, the girls will go to gymnastics. We'll probably do three classes this week since we've missed so many!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Just a quick post to make sure this is feeding over to Facebook. I truly impressed myself today by linking the blog posts from our new website to our Facebook page. The web deveopers that designed the page said it couldn't be done. Well, I showed them! So, I decided to go for it and link my personal blog too.

It's the little things in life that give me such pleasure... :)

Vacation - Part Three

On Wednesday, we headed to the lake for a little relaxation before the family arrived on Friday. Tom took the girls golfing on Thursday morning while Jack and I putzed around the house. When they got back, we all took a boat ride and stopped at the beach. We pretty much had the beach to ourselves with the exception of one really whiny girl out in the water. The girls had a blast and kept walking out into the water to see how far they could go (with life jackets) and then they would squeal and say things like "Tessa! Help! I can't swim!" Then, when they got back to shore, they looked at each other and said, "Hey! We're alive! We're alive!" It was the funniest thing, but if the beach had been more crowded, I wouldn't have let them do it. :) Thursday night, Tom and I cooked up some yummy crab legs.

Friday was the day that everyone arrived. But first, we took off to Mt. Vernon for coffee at Sips and to pick up a book or two at Paragraphs. Josie remembered it from last time (two years ago) and remembered the book we picked out, Dinosaur Stomp. Steel trap that girl! After a final trip to Walmart for Jack's birthday gifts, we headed back to the house to meet Gram and Pop. Matt, Sarah, and Matt's friend, Jack, arrived shortly after lunch. We had a great afternoon boat ride and swim.

Tessa even had a nice little boat nap.

Then, the Besch's arrived! We went back out on the boat since everyone was having so much fun!

Arlene arrived later that evening too and we had pizza for dinner.

Saturday morning started with rain and thunder. Bleh! But, the boys took the girls to the golf course for a likely annual outing. Now, mind you, this golf course is hillbilly heaven and I think only serves Jack Daniels (Tom's not convinced it's not just Wild Turkey in a Jack bottle) and Budweiser in a can. Regardless, the girls are thrilled to be a part of something so fun! The big girls and Jack hung out at home and waited for the rain to clear and took a mid morning boat ride. After a big lunch of pulled pork, my dad's specialty, another boat ride was in order. This time, Ryan and Nicole both took on the tube! Ryan was super airborne and Nicole stayed on a remarkably long time!

After dinner, it was time for a little photo shoot and then fireworks of course!

We let the girls stay awake for the first time this year. Tessa loved the fireworks but they were a bit too loud for Josie. Now, mind you, Josie was absolutely exhausted! So, maybe she'll watch them next year! I went to bed with the girls right away to try to catch up on a little sleep!

Sunday was a much lower key day. We took the boat out, went swimming and everyone took naps.

Sunday night was the big birthday celebration for Jack. He was seriously the cutest baby ever. He got some great toys and we all loved watching him play with them. Our favorite to watch was the basketball hoop. He would make a basket and all of us would cheer him on and then he would clap and yell too! It was adorable! Finally, we sang to him and let him eat cake. He had a blast. :)