Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ode to my In-laws...

There is an old saying... something along the lines of "you don't just marry the man, you marry his family." I've heard horror stories. Awful, horrible things about awful horrible people. Things about in-laws that I'm not sure how marriages could survive. I'm sure a lot of people can relate, and are probably thinking about their crazy in-laws (or should it be out-laws?) as they read my words. Me? I can think of only one time when I was actually upset/angry with my husband's parents, and that was when they left us in AZ to move to SC. With a 6 month old baby. Like we were supposed to figure the whole raising children thing on our own. I know, I don't know what they were thinking, either.

It is weird how things happen. As they were leaving, we were busy planning to follow right behind them, but we held back. Something just didn't feel right. It was maybe one of the smartest things we ever did, on account of that whole lousy economy thing. I don't know how long it would have taken for us to find jobs, or to have health care for our sweet babies once again, but I'm glad I didn't have to find out. Instead, we held out for a ridiculous 2.5 years. Over those years, my feelings bounced back and forth to those of sadness (that my children weren't getting to see more of J's folks) to feelings of justified indignation. I knew J's parents were sad to not be a more regular part of their grand babies lives, but they were the ones that had left, after all... right?

Then, in October of 2011, the bomb dropped, and what most would see as some strange curse was actually a complete blessing for us. J and I both being laid off from the same company equaled two severance packages.. enough for us to move our lives to SC to be closer to J's parents, and land on our feet. And we did. Every potential hurdle we faced we overcame. Every obstacle was easily avoided. We made it here, and we've started to make a life here. We founds jobs quickly. We love our neighborhood. And now, we are becoming permanent residents through the purchase of our home.

All this to say that I couldn't imagine having done any of this without J's folks by our side. Ma and Pa In Law, as I lovingly refer to them. It would be more than enough if they just loved the crap out of our children. And they do. But they do so much more. They love us, to start with. J and I can be difficult to love, so I have a great appreciation for that. I'm sure there is a lot of eye rolling going on behind the scenes...  the shared glances of "you have got to be kidding me!" But they tirelessly continue to put up with our nonsense. They kept us under their roof for over two months. Let us fill their space with all of our crap. Endured the long nights of Johnny crying at night for no particular reason for. ever. and. ever. They let me warm my butt by their fireplace every morning when it was -52 degrees outside. They helped us move out into our own place, helped us get established, showed us around, introduced us to the neighbors. They spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to help us make our space more livable. Pa-in-law faithfully drove his tractor down the street to cut our grass any time he cut his own. Ma-in-law volunteered making meals for the boys in the evenings, which I especially appreciated when I was too tired to think after a long day of work.

As if that weren't enough, they have risen above and beyond with this whole "buying a house" thing. Have a crazy financial circumstance but still want to get a home loan? Ma and Pa-in-law knew just the person who knew just the person. Oh, and an appraiser. And an inspector. Bam. Need to buy a fridge but don't have the time to do the research? Never fear, Ma-in-law to the rescue (with her trusty side-kick, and our new neighbor, Miss Ann). Have a formal living room full of boxes you never unpacked from the time you moved from Ahwatukee, to Maricopa, to Gilbert, to SC? Don't even sweat it. Ma-in-law will come spend a few hours with you on a Sunday afternoon and get the entire thing (save one box) banged out in no time. Oh, and she's also got a plan for your entire move to go smoothly. And don't worry, you can eat dinner at her house for a few nights since your kitchen will be in transition.

All they needed to do to earn my love was adore my children. They do... to the moon and back... and so much more.

No. You can't have them. They are mine!
{Susie (aka, Ma-in-Law, Grammy, Grandma, or as this little fellow now calls her, Namaw) w/ Johnny, shortly after he was born}

{Mike (aka, Pa-in-Law, Papa, and now BaBa per little Johnny) w/ Mikey}

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our New Home: Interior Tour!

I was lucky enough to get to spend some time this afternoon walking through the house to get a better idea of  how I wanted to get the new place situated. I also took that opportunity to take lots of pictures. These are truly "before" photos, and I can't wait to see the differences over the years as we make this place our very own!

Without further ado, here is House, on the inside!

Come on in!
Welcome to the Foyer! I've never really had one of these. I've got so many ideas for our entryway! From here, you can step up in to our living room!

It is hard to tell from the pictures, but this is a really nice sized room with plenty of natural light from the HUGE window. This is where the super comfy sectional and our TV will live!
From the living room you can see the stairs. Lets go upstairs next!
These stairs lead to all the bedrooms! The first one you'll run into is Johnny's room!

And then moving on down the hallway you'll run into the guest room...

Moving right along, you'll run into Mikey's room.

Exiting Mikey's room, if you were to take a look to the left, you would find several closets and the boy's bathroom.

And at the end of the hallway, you will find our bedroom! The closet is unusually large for homes built in this area, but we are happy!

Heading back downstairs...
At the bottom of the stairway you will find yourself facing the dining room. I LOVE the big windows in this room, and am super excited to share many meals in this room!

If you back up and turn right, you will find yourself peering down a hallway with some closets... (aka, my future pantry!)
Straight ahead you walk in to our eat-in kitchen!

I really am inclined towards tearing off cabinet doors, painting cabinets white, and making everything nice and open. But then my father-in-law points out how unique the cabinets are... how this maker is no longer in business, and how they were custom built for the home. Bah. Brown probably hides dirt better :)

Anway... leaving the kitchen, you can walk down the steps and on the left find our super awesome (indoors!) laundry room! I'm digging the coat hooks!
If you were to continue heading straight (instead of turning left into the laundry room) you will find yourself in our family room. I'm not sure if the wood paneling will get to remain in its current state, or if I will paint it white to lighten the room up. I'm glad this fire place has a mantel to decorate!

From here you can walk straight into the garage, and out into our magnificent yard!

Can't wait to get the keys on Friday!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Our New Home - an Exterior Tour...

Oh, hello! What is that, you say? You happen to not be tired of my endless rambling about our newest most exciting thing ever? Sweet! Feel free to follow me around the outside of our new house. I would take you inside, but we don't get the keys until 11am on the 27th. But that night? I promise to give you the in depth look on the inside of our baby that you've been dying for! In this case, she is just as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.

Meet... House. Yeah, I know, the name is boring, but we've been waving at her and saying "Hi, House!" every morning and afternoon since late May, just hoping that she would be ours eventually. I think me and God were on the same page on this one. 

{side note - I forgot my kit lens at home - you are stuck with the images my 50mm was capable of taking, hence the lack of pictures of the actual whole house from all angles}

 So, this is the front of House. Taken from the street, because I actually had to be that far away to get most of the front of the house in the shot. Even still, some of the garage is cut off, as well as part of the living room. There are 7 windows on the front of the house alone! So. Much. Light. Our place we are renting now has 4 windows on the front, and they are small and let in hardly any light at all.
 Here is a better look at just the front door. I'm madly in love with the fact that I've got french doors. I'm not madly in love with the walk up to them. If it had just been raining, you would have to go mud boggin' to come a knockin'. I don't want to lay a whole mess of concrete in my beautiful forest of a front yard, so I'm thinking that pavers or flagstone will do the trick.
 Directly above the front entryway is where two of the upstairs bedrooms are. There are a total of 4 bedroom's upstairs (including the master) and a 5th bedroom downstairs that we plan on converting into our home office. While there are a lot of things to love about this house, J and I just went dopey over these wood shingles that go around the entire 2nd floor. As it turns out, these shingles are actually called "shakes." Whatever they are called, I didn't see these things on the houses in Arizona!
 Are you tired of looking at windows yet? No? Good! Because these are the windows that look directly into my living room. I don't know how I'm going to fit a Christmas tree and our 3 piece sectional in front of those windows, but it is going to happen somehow!
 2 things. I could swear there were no numbers on this front door when I took pictures a few weeks ago. Also, the hardware on the front door is some fantastic brassiness. I'm probably going to have to paint those black to match my awesome black numbers and black shutters.
 This, friends, is my garage. Actually, it WILL be my garage... once we install a garage door. And that is the door that people will be using to avoid mud bogging if I don't get those pavers installed ASAP. The garage actually has two storage areas on the left side that can be locked up, which will be an extremely handy place for J to keep his tools. Also, please notice the adorable little trash can corral. I'm not sure that ours will fit in there, but it is worth a shot! 
 I love this view of House! Right now you are seeing the garage to the left, and the patio off the garage to the right. You can also see the door that leads from the patio straight into the Family Room/Den (yes, that is a wood burning fire place!). I have many grand schemes for this patio, mostly involving lots of potted plants. I might also need to learn how to build a big water fountain, because this patio needs the sound of trickling water. Directly above you will find the nice big window into what is likely Mikey's room (to the left) and one of the windows into the Master Bedroom on the right.
 Completely skipping ahead out of order is a snapshot of the "camp fire" portion of our backyard. Don't get me wrong - I'm stoked to have this, and I think it will lead to many fun nights roasting marshmallows with the boys as soon as they are a little bit older. Strictly from a convenience aspect - what a great place to burn all the leaves that will be falling from my 8 million trees.
 This is a good look at the back of House. The pretty windows closest to us are looking right into the family room. The sliding glass doors on the deck walk you right into the kitchen. That sweet little door right in between? That belongs to our mudroom/laundry room. It is hard to tell in this picture, but that door is seriously narrow. Up on top you will find the 2nd set up windows that look into the Master Bedroom. I love this view of the house. It makes me giddy to inhabit this space and make it my own.
 I told you it was a narrow door! I'm not sure I'll be able to walk out this door in my current state, lol. And isn't our little deck adorable? Just big enough for our little family and a grill for cooking out!
 Do you see the beautiful Dogwood Tree I get to spy every morning when I wake up? This yard is amazing!

 This is the part of the tour where I stand in the middle of the manicured part of the backyard, and spin in a circle taking pictures of the woods that are part of our lot. No joke - there are probably snakes and all sorts of not fun animals out there. But I still love it, snakes and all. 

 This isn't the most glamorous view of the house. That teeny little window is the one right above the kitchen sink. I was sort of hoping that the big fat window right next to it (and shown right below) was the window living above my kitchen sink, but I was wrong. The house we are renting now has 3 windows into the kitchen, but is still soooo dark. I'm hoping the big ol' sliding glass doors let plenty of light into my new kitchen.
 These windows look into my formal dining room. I guess only windows on the front of the house get shutters. Poor side windows.
 I bravely wandered into the forest so I could show you a picture of my lawn. I believe I was being eaten alive by mosquito's at this point.
 And now we've arrived back at the front of the house again! 
 Looking out on to the street from my front yard.

 My next door neighbors fire ant colony.

 Millie looks gorgeous against the green backdrop of our lawn!
 Wood, yet again!
 Farewell, house! Next time I promise to take pictures of your insides, too!
I took this picture from my in-laws deck. You can see our Master Bedroom window from here!