Friday, December 27, 2013

Post-Move Update

The washing machine is swish-swashing away within earshot of me on this computer.  I think the contents of that washer feel how I feel right now.


Out of sorts.

And soapy.

Well, I guess I don't really feel soapy...

We have been Columbia, SC residents now for almost a month.  We're mostly settled in the house.  All remaining boxes to be unpacked are either in the garage or in the attic.  I feel free to take my time unpacking those things since they are out of sight.

We paused our house-settling process to incorporate a little Christmas into our lives.  This was our first Christmas completely solo.  Scott's parents came down before Christmas.  My parents will be down next week.  But on Christmas morning, Scott and I were the only adults responsible for pulling off Christmas.  That was a truly frightening thought to me!  Thanks to the in-laws and their sleigh car-full of gifts and stocking stuffers, Christmas happened here.

 The weekend before Christmas the weather was in the 70's!
 So we enjoyed a little back porch Christmas.

Anyhoo...  now that the holidays are almost over, January is sprawling out before me and intimidating me a little.

In case I didn't mention it before, I got a new job!  It starts January 27th.  I'll be working two night shifts (12 hours) per week in the NICU.  One of the thousands of emotions I feel right now:  excited.  I am excited to get back to work.  I like earning a pay check.  I like being a nurse.  I'm scared/intrigued/looking forward to the challenge of starting a new job.  But that isn't until the end of January.

This time off of work (last day at my last job was November 23rd) has felt like another maternity leave.  By the time it's over, it will have been about as long as one.  Except there's no newborn to contend with.  So this maternity leave has come with a lot more sleep. Phew!  I like the fact that I don't have to set an alarm to get up in the morning.  Granted I have two kids to take care of that for me, but they are not as early risers as some of ya'lls crazy kids are. We usually get up around 8am.  

I love and loathe the lack of structure in our lives.  Scott has structure.  He goes to work every day.  Me and the kids?  Not so much.  Routine, we have.  Structure, we do not.  Most days we don't leave the house.  We could, yes.  But it seems like so much EFFORT, so I don't take the initiative.

I haven't been very intentional about getting together with people here yet, either.  Mostly because everyone is busy with the holidays.  Maybe in January I'll reach out a little more to the world around me!

I can think of a lot of things that would be fun to do:  join some sort of kids-gym for a month where James and Reese could play.  Go to the zoo.  A lot.  But since I'm currently funemployed (thanks Brooke for the new term!), I need to be super conservative with money.  How come I can only think of fun things to do that require money??  C'est la vie, I guess.

Scott said the other day he's having a hard time reading me these days.  I told him I bet he is.  I feel like the only signals I'm sending are static-y ones!  Jumbled.  Out of sorts.  Trying to get my bearings.  It's not all bad, mind you.  It's just a transition time and that is taking me some time to get used to.  

Sooooo that's where we are.  The kids are doing great.  They love the house and the room to play.  Scott loves his new job.  And me? I'm coming around...slowly but surely...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Customer Service

As new home owners, we've had a few repair/estimate people come out to the house to fix things.  I much prefer to online-chat with someone to set up the appointments instead of making phone calls to mind-numbing phone trees of customer service.  Here's a snippet of some of the conversations I've had:

I don't think this guy's name is really Charles Robinson.  I also don't think English is his first language...

This one made me laugh because "Karl" apologized multiple times for me having to wait, when his responses were almost instantaneous.  No waiting involved.  

How about you?  Do you call customer service people?  Chat online?  Smoke signal them?  Write them a snail mail letter??

Monday, December 9, 2013

Reese: 13 months

This little person just turned 13 months old yesterday.  At this rate, next week she'll get her driver's license.  Sheesh.

Reese Katherine is so much fun.  And by fun I mean exhausting.  :)  This girl is into everything all the time.  She is a crazy fast crawler, not yet walking.  She pulls up on furniture, legs of adults, or anything else she can grab.  Not a whole lot of cruising going on, but she enjoys hanging out while standing.  She sleeps through the night regularly.  God bless her for that.  She's a one-nap-a-day kinda girl.  She could stand to take two, but she just won't give in to go to sleep twice during the day.  She still takes two bottles a day.  (we stopped nursing at 6 months)  She has at least 8 teeth and is working on her first molars.  I can see a few white points of the molars through her gum line.  I would say eating is her favorite activity.  Well, that and following around her brother.

I can't quite get a non-blurry photo of her.  

1) I'm not a good photographer.  
2) She's in perpetual motion.

She says "I!" instead of "Hi".  No "h" involved in that word for her.    At least she uses her whole face to say it.  She waves hello and bye-bye.  I've heard her say "plap plap" while clapping her hands (or feet).  Also "Yay!"  Not too many other intelligible words yet.  Although she talks a lawt.  Remind you of anyone? *coughcoughMEcoughcough*

We were at my in-laws house for her first birthday in November.

I made her a cake like I made for James' first birthday.  I think she would've enjoyed whatever kind of cake we had, regardless of what it looked like.

While we were in Virginia visiting, she terrorized the dogs.  I don't think they minded too much, actually, since she loved to feed them from her high chair.  

We got to see a fire truck reeeeeeally up close.  That was more of a fitting present for James, though.

Speaking of presents, she got a super fun car for her birthday!  (I told you she'll get her license soon.)  She didn't get much of a chance to ride it thanks to her older brother.

The possessed eyes in this picture seem fitting for James who  immediately repo'ed her car.

We had another celebration with my family a few days later.

Reese did NOT cry when we sang happy birthday to her, unlike James.  We lit a crazy big candle and sang.  She looked questioningly around at everyone like "Are we okay with this?  Everyone good?"  Then her face changed from uncertainty to "THIS IS AWESOME!"  Of course I didn't get a picture of that.

Reese, you are a joy to be around.  I can't wait to continue to get to know you as you grow up!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

That Time When We Moved to Columbia, South Carolina

*notice the U-haul in the upper right!

This apartment complex, The Ashborough, in Raleigh, NC is where Scott and I called home for the first 5.5 years of our marriage.  We lived in three different apartments within this complex.  Both times I got pregnant, we moved into a slightly bigger apartment.  You can see why we had to get outta there.  I might have gotten pregnant AGAIN!

We were happy there, but eager to move into a HOUSE.

Scott got a new job in Columbia, SC.  We'd been saving for a while for a downpayment on a house.  In this case "a while" = 3 years.  We were ready to look into buying a home!  I'll write more about our home search and financing journey in another post.  Fast forward to the week of Thanksgiving.

My mom hosted an incredible Thanksgiving dinner.

Side note:  It stresses me out a little bit to think one day I'll be responsible for creating such holiday feasts on my own.  I'd hate for my kids to grow up telling stories about "Thank goodness McDonald's was open on Thanksgiving Day..."  a la Christmas Story type stuff.  But the gap between what I'm capable of making right now and what my mom or mother-in-law can make is Grand Canyon-esque. <sigh>

Scott made us his very first pumpkin pie (pictured on the right).  It was so.very.good.  Well done, hunnee!

Thursday we feasted, then finished packing.  

Friday, the move began.  Our goals for the day were 1) pack the truck, 2) clean the apartment, 3) drive to Columbia.  We had already moved most of our belongings downstairs into the garage for easier truck-loading.

Please take note:  The vast majority of everything we owned was in this garage when I took this picture.  Not a wall-to-wall-packed garage.  A stuff-loosely-stacked-and-scattered-throughout garage.  I know this will be the last time all of our belongings fit in a 17' U-haul.  That makes me a little bit sad, actually.  I'm the opposite of a hoarder/pack-rat.  I love throwing stuff away and getting rid of stuff.  The idea of accumulating MORE stuff makes me sad!  

Back to the move.  Friday we* loaded the truck and we** cleaned the apartment.  

*Scott, Scott's Dad Bruce, my dad Steve, my brother David.

**My mom Anne and I.

Can I just tell you how much husbands LOVE IT when wives walk around taking pictures of work instead of actually doing work? 

Nestle is soooo helpful.

This picture is to document where Reese slept from about 6 months of age until we moved.  Her pack-n-play fit in there nicely. Hey...some of our grandparents slept in dresser drawers.  My kids slept in a bathroom.  To each his own...

Despite James and Reese's superior moving skills, we opted not to employ their services on moving day.  Gail, my amazing mother-in-law, and my amazing mom were on kid duty at my parents' apartment while the move took place.

About 3 pm on Friday, November 29th, we turned in our keys to our apartment and began our drive southbound to Columbia...Scott, Steve, Bruce and I, all driving separate vehicles (because we LOVE to waste gas!).  Anne and Gail stayed with the kids in Raleigh for one more night.

We arrived around 6:45 or 7pm.  Yay!  Goals met!  We didn't unload much at all that evening.  That's what Saturday was for!  We did take a few minutes to set up our brand new king sized bed.  We love it, by the way.  If you come visit us, there's room for a whole 'nother person in between us!  That's where you can sleep. :) 

Walking into the house from the garage.
The living room.  The walls are "softer tan" from Sherwin Williams, not yellow as they look in this picture.  I'm happy in this house, but not yellow-walls-happy, not THAT happy, sheesh.

Saturday's goals were 1) unload the truck and return it, 2) get the kids' beds set up and functional.  That morning we got the truck unloaded quickly.  It was fairly easy to do since we put most of it in the garage until such time as we figured out where to put it all.  The beds didn't take too long to locate linens for and assemble, so we were all set! Saturday goals met!  Yay!  I seriously should have printed out agendas for us all.  Next time...

The grandma brigade arrived with children in tow in the early afternoon.  James immediately loved the house.  He ran around looking at stuff and pointing at it all and squealing.  He also loved the outside.  The fact that we can go outside now without being in a parking lot is pretty amazing to me too.  Reese seemed less phased by it all, but she's only a year old.  What does she know. :)

Here we are a week later and we are feeling fairly settled.  All the urgent boxes are in from the garage.  There are some we may never bring in from there.  The house to-do list is a mile and a half long, but the initial funds for such are gone.  We'll have to save for stuff and budget accordingly.  You know...the Dave Ramsey way.  It's how we do.

I absolutely love this house.  Just being in a HOUSE is so amazing to me!  
  • No neighbors upstairs to hear morning and night.  
  • No downstairs neighbors to worry about hearing us as my toddler practices Dora-the-explorer marching around the house.  
  • I have a mailbox at the end of my driveway!
  • I have a driveway!
  • I have a great garage for storing all the don't-need-now-things.
  • I have an attic!  I've put a lot of stuff up there just because it's there and that excites me.
  • I met a neighbor and her little boy who is James' age while we were playing outside in the cul-de-sac.  Yay for meeting (nice) neighbors!
  • I have a deep enough sink to wash high chair trays in.  This singular fact makes me blissfully happy.
The list could go on and on, but needless to say, we are happy.  We're getting settled and we're happy.  I'm still in the interview process with a couple of local hospitals, but it looks promising.  I'll get a job soon, at one place or another.  Scott has a long, grueling 10-12 minute commute to work to a job he is loving so far.  Pray for him.  There is a Krispy Kreme donut shop less than 10 minutes from my house.  Pray for me.  And for the nutritional status of my children.

If you need my new address, please email me at baacuff at mac dot com.  How do you know if you need my address?  If you are reading this, you need my address!  You need to send me a Christmas card!  Or just a note to say hello!  My preferred love language is quality time together or receiving snail mail.  Please love me.  Come see me.  Send me mail. Or both!