July 31, 2013

the long and the short of it

So, after two years of on-again off-again shenanigans, our first home finally sold.

The amount of money we got for the house was disgustingly low (the Cleveland market really and truly tanked when the real estate bubble burst), and the amount we had to pay the bank to get out was alarmingly high, but I am proud to say we did it!

And, in early March, we found what we thought was going to be our next home ...  A large, short sale in a great school district with four bedrooms, three and a half baths, a big, open kitchen and living room combination, and a finished basement.  It was everything we had hoped for (and more!) at a deal of a price, and we were content to wait it out.

Although the title of "short sale" would imply a quick process, it only describes the fact that the bank will be "short" money at the end of the sale ...  So we moved into our temporary rental, made it feel as "homey" as possible, and waited to hear something about our new place.

Months passed (something not unheard of with a short sale), and while we casually looked for other, normally listed properties, we still held hope that the gears were moving.

But they were not.

Despite extra help (and annoyance?) from our realtor, the realtor representing the seller did not receive any information, or progress, from the bank that held the home's loan ...  And although the seller signed off on our offer (days after we made it), the bank never responded.

With our short sale unexpectedly off the table (and mysteriously gone from all the real estate websites I frequented), we were back at Square One.

So, the "casual" looking  became more serious.

We stretched our budget to increase the number of properties we could look at, yet the more houses we saw, the more we felt like we would never find anything that felt big enough within our comfort zone.  We thought we might have to just give in and settle on something that was "good enough."

I know.  I know.

Total "first world problem" right there ...

But after the time and effort it took to finally be in the position to buy a new house, we wanted this next one to be it ... 

The one we'd live in from here on out.

The one we'd ultimately raise our family in.

And despite some negative attitudes and the feeling that maybe we should have just stayed put a little bit longer (so as to save more money toward this next house), we pressed on ... 

And on.

And on.

Luckily for us, this little adventure in buying and selling has a happy ending.

At the tail end of June (if you're counting, that's about four months after bidding on the short sale), we got some great news from our realtor ...  Another realtor he knew was about to list a property that met all of the items on our "wish list" and was actually within our budget!  So we checked it out (prior to it even being on the market) and decided that it was the one for us.  After some back-and-forth negotiations (and a successful inspection with only some minor-ish issues that needed addressing), we're excited to call it "ours" (home!) in a few short weeks. 

Although I'm definitely not looking forward to the stress of packing up everything (again) and dealing with the scheduling that surrounds moving trucks and the delivery of our "pod" full of belongings, I can't wait to finally put an end to this journey!

A very happy end (that is really just the beginning).

July 29, 2013

wishful thinking

We just got back and I'm already wishing that we were back at the lake ...

I can't wait for next year.

July 25, 2013

exploring the planet trail

Before the ridiculous heat wave last week (which sucked out my motivation for anything other than sitting around and doing absolutely nothing), we took a little family hike in the Cleveland Metroparks.

Our trail of choice is usually the "Planet Trail" (which is within the Rocky River Reservation for any local readers who may want to check it out) for a couple of reasons ...

First is Malcolm's (and, let's be honest, my) nerdy love of the solar system. I personally enjoy that the planet plaques are not just posted willy nilly, but rather positioned to scale, as if they were really floating out in space ...  It's crazy how large some of the distances between the planets are!

Tee shirt: Circo ($4.00)
Shorts: Jumping Beans (hand-me-down)
Socks: Unknown brand (hand-me-down)
Shoes: Sperry (thrifted for $2.00)


Second, not far from the walking trail is a little playground and "decorative" fountain that also provide lots of entertainment for our kiddos.

As long as we come prepared (with extra clothes and beach towels), we always leave with two, exhausted kids ...

Which ultimately makes for two happy parents!

July 23, 2013

eight is great

On our eighth wedding anniversary (today!) I thought I'd take a moment to list eight reasons why I love the husband and am still so glad I said "I do" those many years ago ...

(In no particular order)

1. He is my very best friend.

2. When we were in the early/just friend stages of our relationship, he was able to look past my late-90's fashion choices (Overalls?!  In public?  And I think that's a scrunchie around my wrist ...) and to the beauty that was beneath.

3. Although there are times when he thinks he's way more funny than he actually is, he always knows how to make me laugh.

4. He is an amazing cook ...  And understands that desserts are the way to my heart!

5. He enjoys traveling as much as I do, yet knows how to just take in the scenery and not overdo it.

6. He works hard for our family ...  Both when he is at home, or away at work.

7. He supports me in all of my endeavors, no matter how crazy they may seem.

8. He is partially (50%, to be exact) responsible for these two little cherubs ...

Happy anniversary, Honey!

Here's to eight (plus infinity) more!

July 22, 2013

getting closer

The wheels are turning ...

And we should be in our new home by the end of August!

(Maybe I'll feel motivated to write about the whole experience one of these days ...)

July 11, 2013

on writing and growing

I'm not sure why, but I just haven't been in a writing mood, lately ...  Even though there is plenty to talk about as our summer has already been filled with parades, fireworks, trips to the zoo, and the first of two family vacations.

Part of me is torn and wants to diligently keep up with the "obligation" I have set for myself with this blog, and the other part is completely content with just living life and ignoring the computer altogether.

Even so, as Thursday rolls around, I feel compelled to get a post up (and show off some Pearl cuteness from the zoo last week) ...

 Tee-shirt: Old Navy (thrifted for $0.50)
Shorts: Carter's (hand-me-down)
Shoes: Stride Rite (hand-me-down)
In all of the summer activities that we have busied ourselves with, both the husband and myself have noticed that Pearl doesn't act the slightest bit like a baby anymore.

Her attitude is all toddler ...  Wanting to explore and get into everything (and mimic her brother's every move).

Her legs seem longer and stronger, and she has become quite the expert climber ...  Scaling stairs, furniture, and even the toilet when we aren't paying close enough attention.

It's nearly impossible to believe that, last summer at this time, she was just starting to show a bit of spunkiness.

She's come such a long way (in such a short time) and I love being able to experience every moment!

July 4, 2013

dino-mite duds (for the fourth)

Whenever I can create an outfit for Pearl that is just girly enough without being obnoxiously so, I am a happy mom ...  And, as I've said many times before, she doesn't have to be pink and glitter encrusted in order to look cute.

So, I was especially excited when the little dinosaur shoes I purchased long ago (for her) finally started to fit!

Yes, they came out of the boy aisle, but what science teacher's daughter can't appreciate a good dinosaur?

Especially when they pull together a whole outfit ...

Ruffled tank top: Old Navy ($1.00)
Shorts: Circo ($0.75)
Shoes: Circo ($6.50)

She definitely has the spunk to pull it off!

July 2, 2013

an interview with malcolm (almost four edition)

During one of the hottest days last week, the kids and I were spending some time on the porch and I got the bright idea to "interview" Malcolm.

Here are some of his favorite things ...

Favorite Color: Orange
Favorite Shape: "Half moons, crescent moons, full moons ...  They all my favorite."
Favorite Fruit: "Bananas, of course!"
Favorite Lunch Food: Macaroni and Cheese
Favorite Dinner Food: Noodles (this usually means spaghetti and meatballs)
Favorite Dessert: Gummies, cakes, or pies
Favorite Drink: "Lemonade at Gramma's house, that's my best drink."
Favorite Movie: A Bug's Life
Favorite Game: Hide and Seek (although I don't think he's ever played it before!)
Favorite Train: Gordon
Favorite Stuffed Animal: Peach (the starfish from Finding Nemo)
Favorite Bug: Lady bugs, thorn bugs, caterpillars, and butterflies
Favorite Animal: Seals and reindeer
Favorite Plant: "Droopy flowers, of course ...  And tulips."
Favorite Thing at the Park: Walking on the tires

Favorite Thing About Dad: "He chases me."
Favorite Thing About Mom: Getting hugs and kisses
Favorite Thing About Pearl: Reading books with her

Hopefully, I'll remember to try this again next summer ...  And see how his preferences change over time!