The Summer of the House

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I have dubbed this past summer ‘The Summer of the House’. That’s all we did all summer: mess with houses. We found the new house in mid-May, had the paperwork done by the end of the month, had a vacation (thank God we had that planned prior to finding the house or there would have been no vacation this year!!!), then once we got back we worked on the old house for a few weeks getting it ready to sell. Once it was ready, we had to keep it pristine (very difficult with the kids and traveling) for a few weeks before we got an offer. We listed it June 16, had probably 7 showings and 3 open houses (one open house we had we already had a contract, but we had already advertised the open house, so we had to have it) and got a contract July 10. We actually had another offer prior to that, but we never got close enough on a sale price and it fell through (but it was better for us in the end to not come down to what they were asking for). We purchased the new house on schedule on June 30, and once we had it in our possession, Matt was out here every chance he got, working on the outside of the property. We were then out here most weekends, and we spent the long 4th of July weekend out here. Once we had the house sold, we moved from keeping it pristine to moving mode, and we planned a move out here for August 4. We had to get here before Charli started school on August 14. So, that’s what we did. We worked out here every weekend before we moved, and then moved at the beginning of August. My Mom and Dad came out and helped (Mom packed with me while Dad ran a few trips with the truck back and forth), and we packed up the majority of the house in about 3 days. The unpack is still going on. Sigh. Losing a lot of square footage has stumped me in many ways, as well as a severe lack of wall space for pictures/art. There is just some stuff I’m stashing in the basement until the magical addition comes to pass. The closing for the Lawndale house has gotten pushed back from the original date of 8/28 to now 9/16, which is frustrating… We were very ready to close 8/28, and the fact it keeps getting pushed back because of the bank is annoying. Fingers crossed for 9/16!!! [update from when I started this post… The sale has fallen through. We are back at square one. We are crushed.]. I would really like to close that chapter and focus entirely on this project!!! Matt has accomplished a lot of really nice things so far here. He has taken the ‘deer fence’ down (the former owner kept deer) entirely around the property (this was a HUGE job) and mowed down a lot of the weeds that had grown up inside the enclosure. He also has pulled out truckloads of JUNK that the former owner just dumped into the woods. Most recently, he’s been clearing the creekside. With all of this work, he has managed to work off a whole bunch of weight!!! Check out the pics taken of him at the start of the summer vs. the end!!! The new weight-loss trick – buy a farm!!! 🙂 I have actually lost a lot of weight, too. Last week, I weighed myself and I weigh less than my wedding weight!

Past the house stuff, we have obviously gone back to school, Charli to Hinckley-Big Rock as a kindergartener, and Ellie just started preschool at a local place called Building Blocks!!! I hired a new nanny, her name is Sam, and she’s been with us for about a month now. The kids seem to really like her, and so do I (hence the reason I hired her!). We also have had another round of birthdays – Charli’s 5th, Ellie’s 3rd, and my 39th (YIKES!). We had the girls’ birthday party at Blackberry Farm, a nearby kids’ amusement park, for lack of a better term! We have had 2 sets of pictures taken – one family photo shoot, and then the annual sister pictures. Charli danced in her first Irish Heritage Festival, which was adorable, we have been to a couple birthday parties, and we joined a church and thus have finally planned a date for Kate’s baptism! We also have purchased a truck and an enormous lawn mower, and we had a new water softener and sediment filter installed. So, just a few things have been going on…

As far as each girl goes, Charli had another birthday and started kindergarten. She is 5! Things seem to be going well at her new school. She takes the bus to/from school everyday, which is so grown up!!! While we hyped the bus quite a bit for her, I was so nervous to just let her get on that bus! I had even concocted a plan to put her on the bus, and then go to the school to make sure she was ok, but I held myself back. I didn’t know if people would be nice to her, help her, if she was going to be scared or get lost. I didn’t go, even though I totally wanted to go. I had concocted this plan the night before while talking to my Dad. When I didn’t do it, I texted him and he told me that letting her get on that bus without me was just one of the thousand times I’ll have to let her go throughout her life, into situations, places, with people that will make me nervous as a parent and that fear lasts forever. It’s just part of the deal! I had a never thought of that before. How all those times that I did things for the first time and my parents just had to let me go. Deep thoughts… Good one, Dad. Anyway, Charli seems to be making new friends, but she does miss her old friends at St. Ed’s. She has just started playing soccer, and Matt is the coach. I find this hilarious, not because I don’t think he’d make a good coach, but because he swore up and down that he would never coach anything, ever. And now the first time someone asks, he says yes. He’s a big softie sometimes!😊 She does have a little homework that she has most nights and Sam has done great in making that happen right after school. I think she is finally getting close to being interested in reading, which makes me happy. She often tells me she’s reading while looking at books and offers to read to Ellie. It’s like she’s finally realized that words are everywhere!!! On another subject, she is a great driver! She and Ellie were given a Jeep by the O’Donnells for their birthday, and this is a battery powered vehicle where you push the pedal and steer… She is a pro! (Ellie, not so much!!! But she is a very willing passenger…). I think they like to pretend it’s their little golf cart like Wray and Patti’s (the neighbors). Also, we went to a pool with some of her friends a few weeks ago and she was willingly going under! This is big news!!! Again, it makes Mom really happy that she might actually learn to swim just yet! Upcoming events: the Big Rock princess contest at the Plowing Match (it’s our town’s version of a festival/fair), another family birthday, and maybe a few trips to IN for various things.

On to Ellie’s news… She turned 3 and just started preschool! It’s two mornings a week in a church basement, with a teacher named Mrs. Shawn (her first name). Ellie loves to say that her teacher is Mrs. Shawn. I think her favorite thing there is a play McDonalds. I am excited about the fact that they usually have a float in the Homecoming parade and she’d be on it. Love it!!! How cute will that be?!?  As I now know from Charli’s experiences as a student, I know nothing about what is going on there, but that is normal. I hear about the McDonalds and Mrs. Shawn. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll piece it together at some point!!! Otherwise, we have found her another place to do physical therapy. No more person coming to our house, unfortunately. We are taking her to St. Charles weekly. Her new therapist’s name is Mary, and Ellie seems to like going to ‘play’ there. We have recently been to see Dr. Gaebler downtown, and her PT is still recommended as are the orthotics. Probably more everyday use, too. Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. She even starts sentences with ‘Actually, …’ Compared to where we were last year, she has made a complete turnaround. She even has started learning her letters at preschool already! I think she might be a smart little cookie! Or at least interested in school!!! She is still feisty as ever, and has a quick temper sometimes.

Ah, little Kate. Her news has been growing by the day, seemingly! Just these past couple weeks, right around turning 9 months, she got 2 teeth and started crawling! She has also started eating all kinds of food (not just baby food!), and started pulling up on things. So, Matt dropped the crib (can’t have any babies escaping!) and we’re thinking of baby proofing again. She also has said Mama and Dada, and she LOVES her mama right now. Crazy baby love! (it’s so fun and I secretly love it!)

OK, I have got to get this posted. I started this a month ago, and I just don’t know where the time is going! I’m going to post pictures through the start of school and then I’ll pick up another post soon. Will have to report on our fall doings!!!

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