Big news: We’re moving!

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So that is the biggest news. Matt finally found his farm that he has been pining for for years. Like I mentioned in my last post, Matt has been looking for a long time, and he is READY to go. And, to be honest, with Charli heading to kindergarten this fall, the time is definitely right. After spending 18 years in the city, he is ready for a slower-paced life once again. (I’m not sure that happens anywhere you live if you have 3 kids, but let’s pretend!) I’ve been here over 10 years now, and I would totally stay, but I have always valued the way I grew up (small town in IN) and said I would move if he found the right place. So a little about the place. First, he found it by randomly driving past it, and it was a For Sale by Owner property. The house is next door to a good friend of Matt’s, a couple we’ve known for years; they were at our wedding and they are even clients of Matt’s! Well, Matt has always loved Wray’s farm. They are the ‘cool’ country people that make the most of it. They have an orchard, and a pumpkin patch, and she cans, and has an amazing garden. (her kids are college-aged, so she has time for this sort of thing – I’m just hoping she sends me her leftovers from the garden!) So, that is an immediate bonus – neighbors we already like and will enjoy being neighbors with!!! Besides the neighbor situation, the seller was selling the exact right sized piece of property that Matt always wanted. 15 acres. Not too big, but big enough to raise a few cows and have some space. A few of Matt’s other ‘dream’ property requirements included a stream on the property, for some of it to be wooded, etc. Can you believe it that this place has all of that? His final two requirements were that it be priced reasonably and that the house be nice enough that I would buy in (or that we could fix it up and basically stay even with what we are paying now for our mortgage in the city), and it actually met my standards!!! And it has space for an office and each of the kids can have a bedroom. Now, we do plan on doing a pretty major addition to the house, as it is about 1,000 sq. ft SMALLER (yikes) than our house is now. But, the good thing is that it has all the necessary elements and we can survive in it until the addition comes to pass (hopefully spring). The town the property is in is called Big Rock. It has about 1,100 people. Quite different from the City of Chicago, where we live now. It will definitely be an adjustment. We plan to close 6/30 and then move in officially at the beginning of August, in time for Charli to start school there.

Our concerns (mainly mine, to be honest, Matt just thinks all this will work out [and it probably will, somehow]) revolve around child care and connectivity to the outside world. Sadly, our nanny for the past 5 years, Steph, can’t come with us, so we will be losing her. Very sad about this… Hopefully we’ll find someone as trustworthy and good with the kids to continue doing the nanny thing. (Although I think the country-folk will be looking at me with some quizzical looks, because from what I can tell, no one does the nanny thing out there – they all take kids to some sitter’s house. I just don’t want to do that!!! Come to me!!! I want to be present for all the wonderful things kids do before they grow up and go to school, since I actually work at home!!!) Charli will be going to school in the fall, so she’s not my main concern. We also plan on putting Ellie in a preschool program, so she will likely be gone a few days a week as well. But, I’m definitely not ready to let go of my baby yet!!! She just turned 6 months on Monday, and I still want her close. As for connectivity concerns, that is mostly about me being able to have a strong, fast, data-rich connection to the internet. I have to have that to do my job effectively, and we are a very connected household. The kids are on our devices quite often, and our data needs are not small potatoes (especially with me working at home – I’m always sending big files, etc). And, I have been spoiled by city life and easy-to-come-by connectivity.

On the flip side of buying a house, we have been working diligently on getting the house ready to sell. We inked the deal right before we went on vacation (bought the house with no contingencies [yikes]), which also coincided with my quarterly planning cycle (crazy amounts of work) just to make things crazy (of course!). Due to all that, we really didn’t get started on getting everything ready to sell until we got back. We put it on the market last Tuesday night, but it’s been kind of quiet unfortunately. So far, in the first week, we’ve had 3 couples through. Not the flood I was hoping for. But, we got a glimmer of hope last night, since our realtor heard that the people that were through on Sunday were going to make an offer. We haven’t gotten it in our hands yet. Things have been hot in our neighborhood, so we’re still hoping for good things. I don’t know how long I can keep up this level of cleanliness with 3 wild children in the house. It is HARD!!!

So that is what Matt and I have been consumed with. Besides that, family-wise, we had a vacation to Pennsylvania over Memorial Day weekend to go stay at my cousin’s lake house, a few more birthday parties, Grandparents Day at school, Mother’s and Father’s Days, and the end of school at St. Ed’s. Phew! All went well except for one minor snafu with the vacation. We had bought plane tickets to fly to Philly, and we missed our flight. We were seriously maybe one minute too late to check in our bags and they wouldn’t let us go. We went standby for the next flight and were denied getting on by two super late passengers that squeaked in right before he was going to give us the tickets. At that point, Matt was done and wanted to wait for our confirmed flight that night. But, on the way home, we looked up how long it would take to get there in the car. It was 10 hours. While we weren’t totally prepared for a cross-country trip at that moment, that is what we ended up deciding to do. We stopped by home, grabbed some snacks, pjs, drinks and blankets and hit the road. Matt drove the whole time, while I tended the kids in the back. I only almost lost my mind a couple times, but overall, I’d say everyone did WAY better than I ever expected. On vacation we spent time with family, went out on the lake, went to Sesame Place and went to Gettysburg’s Memorial Day parade. We had a great time!!!

OK, now kid update.

Charli is good. She finished up her preschool years with a graduation on 6/8, where they performed a few songs and got their ‘diplomas’. She received her first bouquet of flowers, which she liked. The kids also did a performance for Grandparents Day in early May, and my parents were able to come to that. It was sweet. Since my last post, she took swimming lessons again and Irish Dancing lessons. Swimming lessons got us a little farther down the path to comfort in the water, but she still doesn’t like putting her face in and hasn’t passed to the next level yet. Irish Dance lessons were lots of fun for her though. Now that is a workout. She walked out of there every time having worked up a sweat. I’m very excited for her ‘recital’ at the Irish Heritage Festival in July. I think she might just jump around and not really know what she is doing, but I think it will be cute. She gets to wear the cute little outfit and everything!!! Not too much new is going on with her, she’s just growing up all the time.

Ellie is also good. She has been to the orthotist (the person that fits her for her orthotics) a few times, and just saw Dr. Gaebler again last week at the NICU follow-up clinic. As a side note, she is 25 lbs. Still a peanut!!! She wears the boots regularly at night now, with no more protest than ‘not yet!’ when I try to put them on before our usual ‘between books’ time. I tell her when we are going to do it and she’ll agree. She likes strapping herself in. She also knows how to take them off, and will sometimes in the night. I hear that velcro releasing anywhere on the top floor of the house!!! If she takes them off herself I usually leave them off, seeing that I’d probably have to fight her to get them back on in the middle of the night, so I don’t do that. She also is supposed to wear the inner boots during the day, which she does when she actually has shoes on. We’re getting better at that, but not 100% like we are supposed to… But, both the orthotist and physiatrist think she’s getting better. So does the physical therapist. The braces are seemingly doing what they are supposed to in terms of keeping her looser, increasing her range of motion, stopping the pigeon-toed walking, minimizing the toe-walking/running, and the tendency she had of bending over when she walked and the knees falling inward. She is straightening everything up and walking in a more balanced way. So, obviously, that is good to see!!!! As far as the NICU follow-up clinic, we had an audiology appointment as well. She passed her hearing test with flying colors this time, and showed no fluid on her left ear like she did last year. During the NICU follow-up visit, we found out that she is right on track for a regular almost 3-year-old. Her speech is right on track, as are her mental capabilities!!! We knew this to be true, but it’s fascinating watching them test her. She recently has started pronouncing Charli correctly with the hard r (it was more like cha-lee before) and just knows so much now. She actually asked me if I was going to put her leftover pizza in the microwave the other day. She knows most of her colors already, a lot of nursery rhymes and songs, the ABC song and various other things. She loves to eat pizza, french fries, chips (she’s my salty snack kid), and bagels. She still loves being outside, watching the ‘wheels on the bus’ on the iPad, and loves to swing in the swing on her stomach. She is starting to get weird on her naps, so that may be over before I’d like… She is just becoming aware of the potty, and has successfully done a #1 in the potty so far, but she’ll usually tell you right after she’s done. I hope she’ll figure it out by the end of the summer so she can go to preschool!!!

Kate is still a really good baby. She has started rolling all over the room, and scooting herself backwards all over the place. She still has an awesome smile, and her hair is just coming in, since she rubbed it all off!!! It’s looking pretty blonde, and her eyes are still baby blue! Our newest project with her is to start making her go a little longer between feedings. We are still working well together with me breastfeeding, but we are getting ready to start her on some real food this week!!! She just turned 6 months old! She weighed 14.5 lbs. and is 24 inches long. She still wakes up in the night wanting food, and we are going to start curtailing that as well once we start her on food.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Hopefully we’ll be new homeowners next week and we’ll get an accepted offer on our current house!!! Fingers crossed!!! Here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to…

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