Sunday, March 1, 2015

Idaho Update

As most of you know from my previous post, we have toyed around with the idea of moving to Idaho for years.... and these dreams might be coming to reality soon (now that Tommy is back at his old job and working remotely from home).

Guys, I think this is really going to happen for us!

We packed up the kids on Saturday and drove straight to Idaho to look at houses and then drove back that evening. I gotta say, the drive seemed really easy and didn't drag on forever.  Of course, Tommy drove the whole way, so it was a lot easier on me. :) If I can handle driving to Idaho and back with both kids in one day, surely I can handle driving just one way to visit family, right?

And the kids were fantastic! I mean, they both had their moments here and there, but we were basically in the car all day and they were such troopers.

Anyway, we looked in Eagle and Star. Meridian and Boise are both nice too, but we both want a little less traffic and a little more country.

We looked at so many great houses! I think the hardest decision we have ahead of us is choosing between so many great options. We have a few option we are looking at.

Option 1: Star- Big house, not a perfect location. 5 bedrooms, plus a huge bonus room, plus an office, plus another open loft space, plus a little craft room and over 4,300 sqft! I told you, it's huge!

I'm actually quite obsessed with this house and we've been stalking it on Zillow for a long time. However, I don't LOVE the location after seeing it in person. It is the first house in the neighborhood, right by the road. It's not a big, busy road... but still not ideal. And it's really not in a neighborhood. It's just a street with a cul-de-sac. Again, not a big deal. But it's not ideal. If we are going to be living in a "neighborhood", I would prefer it to be a bigger neighborhood with a park and more opportunities for friends for the kids. The owner was there when we stopped by to look at the house and he said the neighbors are great and all the kids just play in the cul-de-sac together, but he could have just been trying to sell the house, too. ;) It also has the smallest backyard out of all the houses we looked out, but the space is spectacular. Built in grill and eating area, in-ground trampoline, a heated and cooled playhouse, awesome porch, raised garden beds.

Tommy also said, if we are going to buy in a neighborhood, as opposed to on some acreage, we should buy in Eagle. This house is in Star (a little more "rural" than Eagle). But so big and beautiful with many custom upgrades (the owner is a builder and added so many cool features to it, and he was LDS, too!).

Option 2: Star- Acre house, needs new paint and carpet. 4 bedrooms plus an office/formal dining room, plus a huge bonus room. Around 3,700 sqft.

We've always wanted a little land and this house would be great for us! The kitchen is brand new and beautiful but the rest of the house would need new carpet and paint and we would have to put tile in the master bathroom because there is carpet in there right now (yuck!). Our real estate agent thought we could go in with an offer for less than $15,000 of the asking price, so that would be nice and free up more money to fix it up. There is also water damage on one of the window sills and the molding is chipping in some parts...we just aren't sure we want to do all that and spend money on it, and who knows what else we might find at the inspection! Luke said he likes this house the best because it has a "playground" (play structure) in the backyard. :)

Option 3: Star- Acre lot, build a house. Waiting to see the final cost and if we can get approved for that type of loan (its a construction loan as opposed to a mortgage). Beautiful views.

I mean, this is the dream right?? If this does work out that it is in our budget (our wonderful real estate agent promised that it would... she's crunching numbers for us right now) and we get approved for the proper loans, then why wouldn't we do this?? The lot is right across the street from the acre lot mentioned above and has even better views of the mountains since it's facing a different direction. I guess we just have to decide if we are ready to not be in a typical subdivision and be more out in the country.

Option 4: Eagle- House still being built, in a big, nice neighborhood (swimming pool, huge soccer field and park, golf course, walking paths, nice community). Possible HOA restrictions and other annoying things. 4 bedrooms, plus office, plus bonus room. About 3,000 sqft.

This house is not finished yet which means we could pick out everything/colors that we wanted. We definitely love that idea! The house sits on a quarter acre lot, with a hill behind it, so no backyard neighbors! It's in a beautiful neighborhood with every amenity (we would be at the park everyday!), but it seems like the HOA is really rigid and we hate that! We would have to put up a rod iron fence, which means everyone could see into our backyard from the sides, which we hate, also! But the house is a great layout and in Eagle, which we like.


Overall, I'm still feeling bummed about being a little farther away from my family and friends than we already are, but after making the drive with both kids, it is totally doable and I can always fly to see them, too. Even with my mom living closer to us now, I still feel like I would get to see her around the same amount as I do now. I would just have to work a little harder for it.

But as bummed as it makes me to think of being a little farther away from family, I'm so excited for the possibilities in our future! I know I have to do what is right for our family and kids, and I just know that staying where we are now is not the right place. I feel like it was the right choice at the time to move here back in July, but that it was just a stepping stone to where we are supposed to be.

I just keep thinking about my poor mom. Thinking about my own children growing up and moving away from me one day makes me want to burst into tears. And here I am, trying to move farther away from my own mom! Am I crazy?? I love my mom and I am SO close to her (and my sister and the rest of our families!). I guess I have been feeling a lot of guilt about it lately. But I just can't think of any where else that we would love and would be affordable for us, that isn't too far away. Idaho is farther, but it's not stupid far. I would work hard to make sure that the kids still saw our families all the time.

We haven't made any decisions yet, but we will have to decide soon so we don't lose any of the houses we like. Now that this post turned out to be much longer and more detailed than I intended I'm wondering what you all think....Which house would you choose (I feel like we are on an episode of house hunters! haha)? Do you still feel that your kids are close to your family when living farther away from them? All of these houses would have plenty of room for guests to come visit! :)

I guess we have a lot of prayer and research ahead of us.;)

Monday, February 23, 2015

8 months

Ellie turned 8 months old last Friday the 13th! The last time there was a Friday the 13th, my little Ellie belly girl was born. It was fun to reminisce about that day again. Seriously one of the happiest times I've felt (you know, AFTER all the excruciating, unmedicated labor pain. *shudders*).

Almost anytime we go out somewhere someone has to say hello to her or comment on how sweet or cute she is... obviously I agree. ;) Most people think she is around 4 months or so though, because she is so petite. Seriously though, she's not that small! And on the other hand, people are always mistaking Luke for being much older than he is because he's pretty big for his age! So funny how they can be so different like that, but their faces are definitely so similar! They both look just like daddy. haha 

At 8 months Ellie:

  • Weighs about 14 pounds. She is pretty skinny but has long legs and arms. She doctor keeps saying she is just going to be long and lean! (she also said at Luke's appointment that he is on track to being 5'11'' to 6'1" when he is older!)
  • Wears mostly 6 month clothing, though she still wears her 3 month onesies and some 3 month tops/sweaters. 
  • Wears size 2 diapers. 
  • Loves eating finger foods (little rice puffs, eggs, cheese, bread, etc.) and feeding herself. She is starting to get picky with the baby food (she's not fond of green veggies, but still likes sweet potatoes)
  • Crawls super fast and EVERYWHERE!
  • Pulls herself up onto a stand onto anything she can! She also falls a lot now that she is standing up, which I hate! It breaks my heart to see her starting to get little bumps and bruises now though. We really have to watch her now.
  • Can clap and thinks it's so fun. She will even start clapping when she is upset and crying about something, its so funny. :)
  • Waves hello! It's the sweetest thing. I swear she is trying to say "hi" also, because we always say hi when we are waving hello.
  • Says "mama". :) Mostly just when she is crying and wants me. We are working on getting her to say "dada", too.
  • Went through a bad sleeping phase because we've all had colds, but is sleeping a TINY bit better. Honestly, I love rocking her to sleep at night and for naps. It's a special time when we can both slow down and just be together and relax, but having to wake up all night with her to rock/nurse her back to sleep is taking it's toll. I know I have to do some form of sleep coaching with her soon, I just have to figure out what I want to do and set up a game plan. 
  • Is still a great napper, luckily. Naps 2-3 times a day.
  • Loves sitting on her knees (it's so cute!) but doesn't really like sitting on her bottom. Both of my kids preferred to be on the move, rather than sitting, at this age. She is super wiggly!
  • Likes to move all around and try to get away during diaper and clothes changes.
  • Hates getting her picture taken nowadays. I swear, anytime I bring my nice camera out she just starts crying! lol 
  • Seriously can't fall asleep without twirling my hair in her fingers... just like her brother at this age! (I swear these two are becoming more and more alike very day!).
  • Loves playing with sports balls and anything in her brother's room. :)
  • Has one pupil bigger than the other most of the time. Has anybody else's kids experienced this?I asked her pediatrician about it but, of course, her eyes weren't doing at her appointment, but the pediatrician just brushed it off like it was nothing.  Hmmmm.

Ellie is SO much fun! She has her hard days like every baby, but I'm so grateful for her sweet spirit and all the joy she brings our family (I know... I've said that a million times!).

Ellie is always on the go now and it was so hard to just get a picture of her sitting for her 8 month photo! lol Here are some of my favorite outtakes. I was actually sweating from trying to get a picture of her! ;)

And, as per usual, here is a photodump of Ell...

^Love this one of her with Grandma Cheryl (my mom)! Two of my favorite ladies. :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

An update and a new/old job.

Tommy got a new job!!

Well, sort of...

Since starting his new job after moving, the previous company he worked for had been trying to get him to come back. They finally gave him an offer that was hard to refuse, and since he still had so many friends that worked there, we decided that he would go back to working there! 

He was able to finish up things with his old(new) job and start his new(old) job (are you confused yet?) at the beginning of January. We are so happy with this decision, even though now that means that he is working solely from home (the pay increase trumped this). We are just so glad that we have enough rooms so that Tommy can have his own office! However, we are renting a small rambler right now and his office (and the kids' bedrooms) are all close to each other right by the living room and kitchen. Our kids think it's so fun to spend all day squealing, screaming, crying and generally just being loud, so I spend all day trying to keep them from disturbing Tommy, while Tommy spends all day trying to work through the noise. ;) Thank goodness for noise-canceling headphones, right?

So what does that mean for our family? Will we be moving back to Maple Valley or the Puget Sound?

No. It's just not the right place for us. 

Will we be staying in the Tri-Cities?

We don't know. Maybe, but probably not. It's been great here, but we don't know that this is where we want to settle down and raise our family either. 

So where would we live?

We have always toyed with the idea of moving to Idaho. We would love to own a little land some day and we could definitely get more house for our money there. 

With Tommy being able to work from home, our children being so young still and not in school yet, and being in a position to buy a house, we have the opportunity to live anywhere in the US we want to, really.

Idaho (we like the surrounding Boise area), would be a good fit for us, without being too far away from the rest of our family. I just don't know. Being away from family is the one thing holding me back. I want more than anything for my kids to grow up being close with all their relatives! I know that Idaho wouldn't be crazy far, and we would still be able to visit a lot (Tommy said I could go back and visit everyone once a month if I wanted! lol), but it just makes it a little more difficult.

I've also been seriously considering moving to Arizona or someplace with lots of sunshine because we just can't stand the grey weather this winter!! But Arizona would be even farther from our families, so I guess that's out! ;)

But really, we can't stop looking at houses in Idaho. We are planning to go look around the area in person soon. Like within the month, hopefully. 

Our lease is up in July and we plan on buying a house again then, or possibly sooner. With all the noise in this house, we are hoping for sooner. :) It just depends on when we find the right home for us. We have lots of planning and praying to do, I guess!

What do you think? Are you still close to your family far away (we would be 5.5 hours from my mom, 6 hours from my sis, almost 8 hours from the rest of my family, less if we were flying)?Have you ever lived in the Boise region of Idaho? Where would you live if you could pick somewhere in the US? 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

7 months

Ellie turned 7 months old last week! I really love this age... it is SO fun! I'm not going to lie, months 4-5 were a little rough with Ellie. I had a hard time with Luke at that age, too. But Ellie is back to her sweet self and I'm so happy!

This little girl just lights up a room, I tell ya! She has always been sweet, but she is starting to get such a funny little personality now. :) 


At 7 months Ellie:
  • Can CRAWL! It is so fun watching her explore the house and get around on her own now.
  • Just finally tipped the scale to 14 pounds, according to our scale at home. Her next doctor's appointment isn't until 9 months, so I'm not sure of her percentiles. I'm sure they are in the low range, which is normal for her. Luke weighed 19 pounds a 7 months! lol
  • Is getting really good at using her pincer grasp. 
  • Sits up on her own, but falls over a lot still and would rather be on the move than just sitting. 
  • Eats solids at dinner with us, but mostly still just nurses for food. At this age, eating solids is mostly for practice and exploration, than nutrition. I am going to up her solids this week though and start trying more chunky foods but...
  • ...still no teeth! :) Luke got his first two teeth at 7 months, so I'm sure Ellie will get some soon.
  • Loves trying to eat or drink whatever I have, and will take a bottle if it has breastmilk or water or pretty much anything EXCEPT formula! I've been trying to get her to drink formula for a while, just for if I need to leave her with Tommy or someone or emergencies, but she won't take it. I have a breastpump, but it takes me so long just to get the tiniest amount of milk out... so I have to plan way in advance if I need to leave a bottle of breastmilk for her, so I can pump a little bit each day. It's a nice medela pump, so I'm not sure what the problem is.
  • Rarely spits up anymore.
  • Has lost her baby breath. :( :( But she still has that delicious baby/kid scent when I smell the top of her head and I love it so much!
  • Loves sticking her tongue in and out and giving kisses/sucking on people's faces. She loves sucking on anything really. :)
  • Loves playing copy cat. She'll grunt, then I'll grunt, and we go on and on like that. She thinks it's hilarious.
  • Is becoming so cuddly and it makes my heart so happy! 
  • Is not very ticklish, except for right under her armpit kind of by her ribs. 
  • Does really well in her carseat and in the car, usually.
  • Starting to sleep MUCH better! She has always been a great napper, but was having a rough time at night for some reason. She would fall asleep fine (yes, I put her down "Drowsy but awake"!) but would always wake up a bunch after that and all night long. Now she is going to sleep and staying asleep or settling herself back to sleep after a minute if she does wake up. Thank goodness!
  • Does this adorable squinty thing with her eyes and sticks her little tongue out at the same time. I have a picture posted of it above.
  • I don't know if I've ever mentioned that she has a "stork bite" birth mark at the nape of her neck, just like her daddy and brother do. She also has a little one right between her eyebrows, but you can't really see it anymore.
  • Is obsessed with my hair. She is always pulling it or trying to eat it and getting slobber in it. It makes me want to just shave my head off, but I love my hair right now and I really want to keep it long! I think I had already cut my hair short by this age with Luke. haha I just have to stay strong this time and not do it! But I am kind of digging the long bob style right now, too..... ;)