A Different Kind of Anniversary

As the leaves change color and the weather cools, it feels more and more like the Madison we moved to just about a year ago on the money. It was October 25 last year that I drove out of the parking lot at Frito-Lay for the last time. We had a good-bye tour – with friends and church family. We packed up the house, turned the key in the lock on the front door and never came home again.

Staring ahead at the road before us, we knew it would be difficult and tried to preemptively remind ourselves to keep the faith. We knew it would ultimately get easier.

Life in a 2-bedroom apartment was no picnic. Work for me was like starting a new school. Work for Andy was elusive at first. I remember making my way to the grocery store on the evening of Day 2 and crying in the produce section. A clerk stopped and asked if he could help me find something – like I was somehow at sea because I couldn’t locate the olive bar.

We started to make the most of it. The apartment became settled. We looked for, and found, our new home. After closing, we used to pack the boys up and come visit the house. There was no furniture in it, just a welcome mat and a roll of paper towel. Sometimes we’d bring food, sometimes not. Mostly, we’d just come sit on the kitchen floor while the boys chased each other through the house and soak in the feeling that it was going to be OK.

It’s hard to believe that was all less than a year ago. Starting new is scary. It’s scary to leave friends and hope you’ll connect elsewhere. It’s a scary thing to quit on sure money and have faith that you were competent enough to find it again.

When we were in the thick of this transition, the Barenaked Ladies song “Odds Are” was in heavy rotation on the radio. It became my theme song. If you’ve never listened to the words, they basically tell you that everything you’re afraid of? It’s probably not going to happen. It’s certainly no excuse to never try. Odds are everything’s going to be alright.

And you know what? Everything totally has.

Paint Conundrum

Difference between this husband and wife, summed up in a single conversation. 

Background: We close on our new house this Wednesday (yay!) and have been discussing painting the upstairs bedrooms before we move in. 

Andy: “I just realized, I don’t know how we were planning on being able to paint before we move in…”

Me: “I think I know where you’re going with this.”

Andy: “… all our stuff is in storage.”

Me: “I was TOTALLY just thinking the same thing! Ha! And yeah, I don’t really know what to do about it.”

Andy: “Well, I know I can get to one of our ladders, but it think we’re going to have to buy all-new paintbrushes.”

Me: “… Oh… Nope, I was worried that we can’t get to any of our bed linens so that we can pick paint colors.”

First Week at the New Job

What a WEEK it has been here! What a week!

I just spent the last five days feeling like a new kid at school. (Down to the new shoes I wore!) I’m learning lots and lots. The new place is amazingly similar to my old job and strikingly different all at the same time.

OM

Wouldn’t you know it? It snowed my first day! Madison’s first snow, as it would turn out. (The picture above, I snapped on the morning of Day 2.)

Let’s cut to the chase – the people are so amazingly nice. Welcomes have been warm. My team is really great. There’s a lot of talent here and folks are just as sweet as they can be. Case in point: On Thursday, I asked my team where I could get a great cake or dessert for my mom’s birthday this weekend, and our technician said, “Sounds like you need me to make you my chocolate eclair cake tonight and bring it in tomorrow!”

WHAT?!? I swear you only read about people this nice! Because guess what I have sitting in my icebox? A completely magnificent piece of homemade pastry that I had no hand in making.

We have also been enjoying expanding our brand loyalty outside of our original terrain. :)

weinermobile bank

This picture sets me in a fit of giggles EVERY. TIME. (This is a bank, actually. It was a part of my welcome basket that was sitting on my desk my first day.)

The only damper in the week is that I’ve been taken down sick with some sort of bronchitis/sinus thing. I prayed for this thing to be mild, but no dice. I think I’m getting better, but it was stressful to be meeting tons of people and trying not to alienate them with my grossness.

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Andy has been rocking it at Mr. Mom this week. He arranged for daycare (the boys start part time next week) and otherwise generally kept our two boys cared-for and happy.

photo 1

They’ve been making a habit of getting out and about at least once a day. We’re not letting a little cold weather cloister us in the apartment. When you’ve got two boys, you have to give them room to run!

birdie

You also need to get them matching HATS!

snow

:::SQUEEEE::::

zach morris

Also Baby Reid needs a haircut. This angle doesn’t look so bad,  but it’s all party-in-the-back, ifyouknowwhatimean.

Can you believe this little chubby angel is turning 1 in TWO WEEKS?!?!??!?!?!?! This year has gone lightning fast. Where did my baby go?

And also? Minor detail…

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE TOO. Haha. It’s in a great area of town that, quite frankly, we were pretty resigned to the idea that we wouldn’t be able to find a house there.

Then… there it was.

house

I don’t have my own pics of it – just what’s on the MLS listing. Just rest assured, it’s perfect. It’s basically my dream house. Room for us, the boys, guests, guitars and old Hugo.

Basically, we’re all settling in here just fine. We close on our old house in McKinney next Wednesday, and then our exodus from Texas will be complete. I can’t really believe all this has happened so fast. Keep Andy in your prayers as he looks for jobs. Things are starting to take shape there too! Keep you posted!

Houses and Home

I can’t believe it’s Friday! This week has gone so stinking fast it makes my head spin.

House hunting [the day before yesterday] went well. Andy stayed behind with the kids while I screened through 12 homes. I narrowed it to 5 places, and he’s going to go see them on Sunday.

It’s funny to be home shopping after actually having been a homeowner. Andy and I are both a lot more sure about we want, what we need and what we really don’t want to settle for. Knowing that, I really started to feel like I was on that show “House Hunters”. “House 1 had lots of space and I loved the basement, but the location is a little further out from the city than I was hoping for. House 2 is older but has tons of charm. I’m worried it would be too small for our family. House 3 has a great yard and location but the kitchen needs updating.”

You know.

Nothing was perfect, but there were some good ones in the bunch!

Today, I took care of the kids while Andy focused on the job hunt. We bundled up and went to the park.

Reid

Lots of colors to be had here. 😉

Graham and Reid had so much fun at the park. We even found a piece of equipment they could both ride on!

bike

It’s so perfect. Reid can’t believe how amazing this is and Graham is making sure Reid is staying on okay.

Also? Intervention isn’t needed for the boys’ clothing, I promise. Reid isn’t looking *as* bad here, but we need some better coordination in the outerwear department. I’m working on it. :)

Later on, we took another walk outside while Andy was doing some grocery shopping. This time, I knew the boys needed to wear at least proper coats.

Reid has some growing to do to grow into Graham’s old coat. Hee.

puffy jacket

This baby, I tell ya. I am reduced to mush at his merciless cute attacks. Speaking of. he tried to eat his dinner tonight by pushing it through his face and coating it in his hair.

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We had tacos and – I kid you not – there was hamburger floating in the tub when we were finished bathing him. Gross, absolutely. But it was cute when we started.

Oh, oh – and we’ve got a line on daycare! That happened today. We visit (or, should I say Andy will visit – because I will be at work!!) the place on Monday. Found a place that looks good on paper and has availability. Woohoo!

That’s about it from here. On to the weekend!

Day 3: Getting Better, I Think

I was all pumped to write a light-hearted post tonight. Today was better! Much better! Breaths of relief, sunshine, downtime, progress… the whole nine yards!

But Andy and I had words while I was putting Graham to bed, and now he’s out running errands so… no resolution. We all know how great *that* feels.

No need to air the laundry, of course. The tiff was just that… a tiny thing. Built of stresses pent up from appliances that aren’t great, an apartment that’s just a liiiittle too small and things that are just generally out of order with no ease of established process. We don’t have the steps to the dance of keeping a household down here yet. Every so often we bicker like newlyweds. 😉

I’m going to unhealthily compartmentalize that for a second so I can update you on Day 3. :)

Today, we took heaping gulps of hope for a more comfortable future here, in the form of starting to look at child care options, putting together a list of houses to start viewing [tomorrow!!!] and getting pre-approval for a mortgage.

And also, it stopped raining and the sun shone brightly this afternoon. It was like living in a book, it was that perfect.

More on the two items: daycare and houses.

Daycare is going to be a bit different from what we’re used to in Dallas. Apparently most folks do in-home daycares here. It’s going to be far different from the highly-structured, big-classroom settings that Graham has dealt with. Part of me loves the idea of the kids being in a more intimate, homey setting. The other part of me worries about Graham’s school-readiness. (Mostly because I knew we had that box checked and double-checked with the program he was in back in Texas.) Either way, for Andy to get to a place where he can interview for jobs, we need some sort of childcare set up for part time. We’ve got a call in to two different in-home daycares and a visit scheduled with a center-based daycare tomorrow morning at 9:30.

Houses. Oh, houses! We’ve learned a bit more since we last toured homes in September, so we sent our realtor a few revisions – mostly to area & school requirements – to our search criteria, and he sent us a large list to scan through. The revised list of homes on the market that he sent back had a bunch that were doable and a handful that we’re actually excited about. Tomorrow, one of us (cue a heated game of rock/paper/scissors), is going to preview 12 homes to see if they’re worthy of calling Home.

Also had a talk with a mortgage broker, one that our local realtor highly recommended. He gave us two thumbs-up on the loan pre-approval, so we should be ready to make some offers if/when we see something! He also offered to get Andy in touch with local businesses and circulate his resume a bit. Normally I’d be a little “yeah, yeah…” at this, but the guy’s office is located on the Capitol square downtown, so I feel like he must have some sort of street cred to back that up.

Not much else is new. Hugo’s still refining the art of sullying the common greenspaces on command, so send him – uh – urgent(?) thoughts if you have a moment. We also made it out of the house in a semi-big way this afternoon. We walked the mall this afternoon and ate dinner out at a brewhouse. Not too shabby. Felt GREAT to be out!

Will keep you posted on progress tomorrow! Wish us luck!