Monday, November 23, 2015

Fence and Videos of Angela

The only big news around here: we just signed a contract to have a fence built. We are very suddenly not feeling rich anymore :)
We're excited, though. After researching online, we thought that we could only afford a split-rail or agricultural fence- 4 ft tall with wire mesh to contain the kids and dog. We got some quotes from local contractors and found that a 6ft wooden privacy fence would actually be cheaper than we had expected. When you're spending $8000, why not go all the way and make it $11000 and get a good, quality product? It should help the property value, last longer and help us maintain healthy distance from our single, male neighbors on either side. It will be safer for the kids- they won't be able to climb it as easily and creepers from the street won't see them out playing in the yard. It should be up before Christmas!

I haven't taken a lot of pictures lately, but Natalie took this one of me before I left for the gym this morning.

Here are a few videos illustrating Angela's development:

Kind of late sharing this one, but the week of Halloween, Micah taught Angela to do an evil laugh

She's learning all of her body parts. Just can't figure out where mom is!

She's been using a lot more words, especially the important ones like "cookie", "juice"

And this was hilarious. Micah and I were talking about Angela's cute little curls, and a minute later we looked over in the family room to find Natalie trying to curl her hair with her toy tongs. Bwahaha.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Treat Yo Self

Rushed and a bit unorganized photos from my camera:

Micah's bonuses and stipend/travel reimbursements have all come through now and we are feeling silly rich. We plan to hang on to some for savings, but we're also just enjoying spending money on quality things that we will get good use out of. It's nice to let loose after so many years of being a tightwad!

I set a $2000 budget for Micah to get a riding lawn mower. So, here he is on his $2800 mower.

He also spent several hundred on other tools. We now have stuff to take care of our yard.

Last weekend, Natalie had her first primary program. She said her part in the microphone very loud, kept dancing to the songs and giving me two thumbs up in the audience.
Also, Angela is in nursery now. They love her because she is a sweet doll.

Our stake also had an amazing family fun festival last weekend. I didn't get many good pictures because it was raining half the time, but we had a great time. Natalie rode a horse and did bouncy houses and we rode a little train around the parking lot.

Micah was gone last weekend in Atlanta defending his thesis. He passed. It is over. Hallelujah. He celebrated his return by destressing with a good friend and some nice, mindless dominance over nature.

Micah's buddy Alex visited to help Micah get the yard under control. Here is a portion of the brush they cut from the back of our property. Some had already been hauled away by waste management and some is still out in the back yard and needs to be hauled out to the curb. It's hard to get perspective- this pile is about as tall as me. It was a massive amount of growth they cleared. 

 We tried hard to stay out of the way. We went to the zoo- here's Natalie being a sea turtle.

We also played water table a couple of times
We had an issue with the a/c- it took 2 days to get it fixed and our home warranty only saved us a little bit of money. The problem was a coolant leak, guy put a sealant through the system and filled the freon. We're still hoping it will die completely so that we can get the unit replaced under warranty. It's like 20 years old!

We love watching our neighbor's chickens. The girls always want to go out and feed them bread, they're so entertaining. Excitedly looking forward to getting our own once we've got a handle on a few other things.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tidbits... with Photos!

We closed on the house Friday at 4pm, went straight to the ward Halloween party, spent Saturday running errands, Micah cleaned the church, Natalie had a birthday party, we got an estimate on a fence and we moved some of our stuff out of the apartment to the house, then went trick or treating. Sunday was cleaning and getting the last things out of the apartment, then Monday, the movers arrived. I've been rushing to get this place in decent order so that I can host preschool tomorrow and Micah is leaving to drive to Atlanta after work tomorrow so he can defend his thesis and he is still working on his presentation. To say the least, we have been busy. So, here are a few pictures...

This is a little kid mannequin. I found him/her in JC Penny at the mall. He/She had stripped naked and was hiding in the women's clothing section. Ah, kids.

Natalie asking the ocean to carry her away

Which Jack-o-lantern is better?! And for the record, we carved on Monday and they were moldy by Friday. This heat and humidity!

Here's our family room, off the back of the house. It used to be a screened porch, the previous owners finished it and put it under air. It has the square footage of our previous living room, dining room and kitchen combined, so it's a nice little space.

Paper pit for the kids to play in. Bought these couches and pictures from the house sellers, btw.

The living areas downstairs are all in decent shape- still have plenty of boxes in the garage to unpack slowly, but all the essentials are in place for us to live comfortably. Our bedrooms, especially mine and Micah's, are still disasters. Here is one small example of why I can't get anything done up there (that's Micah's shirt I had just put away)

Aaaaaaand, finally, here are the dining room set and hutch we bought from the sellers. With leaves, we can comfortably seat 10 in here :)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Some Tidbits

A few interesting details about our new town to give you all a real sense of the place.

Melbourne and Palm Bay are full of Mexican restaurants, medical offices and furniture stores. If you drive around, that is what you'll see. If you look closer, there are also a lot of churches of all different kinds. People here must be very religious, in poor health from enjoying too much rice and beans and they break furniture a lot.

Baking here is a little bit different because of the heat and humidity. Bread rises much faster. Coconut oil stays completely liquid in my cupboard. Brown sugar from the store has hard lumps in it before I even open the bag for the first time.

It rains almost every day. But, it rarely rains for more than 5 minutes. So, every single day is incredibly bright and sunny with random, brief rain a constant threat. The playground always has puddles. Always.

There's a lot of redneckery around, but the hicks here are a little different from the ones we're used to. They put monster wheels on their trucks and dress in camo and have pro-firearm bumper stickers, but they are also really into fishing and lounging at the beach.

Everyone here smokes. Left and right, any time I'm out in public or around our apartment complex, people are lighting cigarettes. Didn't see that so much in Atlanta.

Tons of folks out on bikes- not just by the beach, pretty much everywhere. Very bicycle-friendly place. Also, lots of people here have boats, motorcycles and RV's.

There are homeless people everywhere. Either that, or a lot of greasy-looking, skinny folks like to loiter while toting around backpacks and carts full of stuff. Especially around shopping strips, parks and the beach.

Lots of residential areas are very mixed- gated, recently developed neighborhoods are right across the road from old, crumbling, tiny houses. Lots of really old and really new homes, big and small, all thrown up against one another in most areas of town. I was worried about the road we're buying on because there are a few old, grungy, ill-kept homes on our street, but now I see that is pretty normal for here so I don't feel as nervous.

Friday, October 23, 2015


We visited the zoo last Saturday and ended up enjoying it enough to buy a membership and return again today. They have lots of pictures to put your head in for a photo op, which is Natalie's favorite thing ever...

And they had tons of Halloween decorations up, which was very fun

The zoo is much smaller than Atlanta, but still has some awesome exhibits, like the giraffe dock where they come right up to you. They actually have employees lining the walkways nearby because you have to back away from the edge when the king of the herd (pictured) comes by- he can swing his head and easily hurt someone. They had quite a few Cheetahs, which were very exciting, as well as an aviary with multiple rooms full of birds who come right up and land on you and you can feed them seeds on sticks or cups of nectar. The only thing I didn't love was how draining the heat was- the girls were fading after only an hour and a half! Fortunately, they have a neat little kiddie pool to cool off.

There is a confusingly huge concentration of furniture stores near the place we're staying, so we went to get a feel for what pieces we might like to plan on buying once we're in our house. We will have 2.5x the square footage of our last home, so we may have a few empty rooms for a while as we collect pieces. One exciting development- I reached out to the buyers through our realtor to ask if they planned to get rid of any furniture. They're downsizing, so I figured that it wouldn't hurt to ask. It turns out the want to get rid of a lot of stuff, so we're going by tomorrow to see what we might buy from them.

In other news, our temporary housing situation has been up and down- as of last Friday, Harris had not responded whether they would cover the cost of extending our stay. Our 30 days was going to be ending on Monday, so over the weekend, I was researching some alternative places. We asked the relocation company how much it would be to pay ourselves to continue in our apartment, and it was pretty pricey. We could have stayed at a 3bd house nearby from airbnb and saved about $500. We decided to go ahead and commit on Monday that we would pay ourselves to continue to stay in the same apartment to spare the hassle of moving our things twice, as well as putting out kids through one extra adjustment. Then, we found out on Tuesday that Harris approved our extension and so they are paying over $2000 for us to keep staying here and the cost of storing our belongings before the delivery. It was just amazing because if we had been focused most on trying to save money and moved to another accommodation, Harris likely would not have covered the bill because they will only pay their relocation company, who only does business with certain approved facilities. So, there was some anxiety and uncertainty, but it's all worked out so well. Another nice perk- we close on our house on 10/30 but the moving company's closest available date to deliver our stuff was on 11/2. If paying ourselves, we were only going to stay until 10/30 and then spend the weekend in a house with no furniture or bedding or cooking implements. Now that Harris is paying, we asked to stay until 11/2.

 While I was in the shower the other day, Natalie found my camera and went on a shoot. Here are a few of her best pictures:

We've gone to goodwill and salvation army thrift stores this last week and they are LAME. They have tons of clothes and glass things and curtains, but hardly any toys! We did find a few good books that are keeping the girls from going crazy. I tried to get a library card but was told that I can't until we close on the house. If I have to read Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See one more time, I'm gonna go crazy! And the girls are so sick of the toys we brought. I did find this little partial set of dominos for $.19 and it has entertained them for several glorious hours!

Natalie has been trying hard to get attention lately and not always in the best ways. Daddy say her down on Sunday to discuss some ways to get positive attention. He drew this for her reference and put it on the fridge.

When you go from one to two, life requires a bit of adaptation...


Monday, October 12, 2015

Too Good to be True!

Getting a house is all falling into place so perfectly, it almost seems too good to be true. The sellers of the property we wanted- the one we saw on our house hunting trip back in August that was overpriced- accepted our offer, $35,000 below their original listing price. No back and forth about it- they just straight up took it. We were able to get our loan application in quickly and we're on track for an October 30th closing. We had our inspection within a few days of being under contract and found a few issues- some rotted wood around one door frame and a few windows, but we planned to replace the windows anyways since they are original to the house (1977). Otherwise, the inspector said that the place was in really good condition for its age, which is exactly what we wanted to hear. While we were at the house during the inspection, I felt so happy picturing us living there that it almost brought me to tears. I love our house! I love that it has 2 stories! I love that it is 2 miles from Micah's work! I love the great big yard and the way that the front door faces west so that the back yard will have shade in the afternoon and evening! I love that the bonus room over the garage looks like a room from a doll house with white beadboard wainscoating and the walls tilting in towards the ceiling along with the pitch of the roof! I love all the closets and storage space! I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get the picture.

In case you haven't oogled at it yet...

Some other things are going not-so-well. Natalie's been a pretty big mess lately. She's totally regressed with her potty-training and she is being super in-your-face loud, like screaming at me all day and getting super impatient if I can't immediately give her my undivided attention. She has had tantrums in primary and had to be brought to me twice this last Sunday and once the Sunday before general conference. Overall, she's just been unbearably obnoxious and I'm struggling to get her to understand that the consequence of being annoying is that I want to pay attention to her even less.

We've had a few bumps- bad days and bad moods and a bad car battery- but otherwise things are going alright. We still haven't heard back from our relocation coordinators whether we will be able to stay here in our temporary apartment until our closing date or if we'll be kicked out next Monday and have to stay somewhere else. Micah's first paycheck came on Friday and we celebrated by going out to eat. I've started organizing a budget now that I know what our paychecks will look like and it's sooooooo nice- I can't help but feel that I'm forgetting about several huge usual monthly expenses because there's such a cushy distance between our income and expenses that I'm just not used to!

Finally, some pictures:

This is rush hour on the main road by our house. It's the most amazing feeling in the world to be able to leave the house at 4:30 and not worry that I'll get stuck for an hour in traffic.

Angela climbs on the table. All. The. Time.

I'm learning to make balloon animals. I've got the dog down, worked a bit on a cat and a bear. 

Snuggling in a homemade tent

Daddy daughter technology usage

We have breezeway trash pickup. The girls love helping Dad put the garbage out in the container.

Micah's halloween costume arrives. Natalie and Angela are Elsa and Anna. I'm going to be either Sven or a snow flurry. I didn't have anything ready to wear to the Witch Way 5k I did this last Saturday with the girls, so I borrowed this costume. Unfortunately, I didn't get any good shots because we forgot the camera.

Natalie. Eating pumpkin roll for breakfast, because... October.

Angela's favorite spot to chill

Painting time!

The girls love to play hide and seek. Natalie can never wait until you find her, she jumps out once you get close and yells "here I am!!", but Angela seems to understand it a little better. She just goes in a closet or something and waits there until you find her. Here she is hiding in the bathroom cupboard waiting patiently to be found. Look at those sweet little feet!

Sometimes it's just too hot to go to a playground. Who thought this was a good idea?

Angela was helping me make enchiladas. I turn around once and she was taking chunks out of the cheese block!

And finally, one of the reasons we're looking forward to having hard flooring in every room of our house: so Angela can figure out how the heck a windup car works.
And, yes, Angela growls like that all the time. She still doesn't have many words. But she will roar to get her point across!