August 8, 2013

one last conneaut post

This is my first full week of being "back to work."

While the start up to the school year is generally pretty gradual, it is still a bit of a shock ...  So, I find that my mind is constantly wandering back to the lake.

Much like Pearl did every day that we were there ...

Bathing suit: Osh Kosh B'gosh (thrifted for $1.50)

She and the small "beach" were inseparable.

I wish (my) summer didn't have to end so soon!

August 6, 2013

baby bear (gets bigger)

Last summer at the lake, I took a photo of Pearl in a white beach hoodie.

As luck would have it, she ended up with another white beach hoodie this year ...

My little cub is growing up! 

August 5, 2013

the rock collector

I don't know if it is all three (almost four)-year-old boys or just mine, but Malcolm is very big into gathering and "collecting" things right now.

Whether we are hanging around the house, or talking a walk around the block (or doing any other benign activity), he will inevitably gather up a group of items and declare them his "collection."

Last week, while we were at Conneaut Lake with my family, Malcolm got to it right away ...

Down at the beach one sunny morning, he and the husband were milling around on the shore, looking for rocks to throw into the clear water, when Malcolm found one that he liked ... 

So he hung on to it.

He then proceeded to find dozens more and declared them all his collection.

"Come see my collection, Mom!" he excitedly called to me when I made my way down to the lake that morning.

The "collection" wasn't hard to spot.

There they were, lots and lots of rocks, lined up carefully along one of the neighbors' docks.

It's good I snapped the above picture because, every day since we've returned from the lake, Malcolm has asked to look at his collection ...  Better an image on a computer screen (and eventually a tangible 4x6 print) than a box full of rocks in our living room!

Now if only I could get him interested in collecting something that will grow in value and help to subsidize his (eventual) college education!

August 1, 2013

girl on a mission

Our vacation at Conneaut Lake was a bit busier this year ...   

(Having two active children to chase around is no joke!)

From the moment we climbed out of our van, Pearl wanted to do everything that her brother was doing.

She wanted to run down the lane.

To walk out onto the dock.

To throw rocks into the water.

To feed the fish and the ducks.

To explore every room of the cottage.

To roam the backyard.

To climb on anything that was on her level.

Shirt: Miniwear (thrifted for $0.50)
Shorts: Healthtex (gift)

She definitely got into a lot this year, but, as always, it is so fun to watch her grow into a little girl right in front of my eyes.

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).