Thursday, April 30, 2009

something old.......something new

We have been on quite a journey for the past month. Today marks the end of what has felt like a ridiculously long wait and its the start of a very exciting and fun time. We're MOVING!! We closed today on a brand new home! Our original plan was to wait a year and save money so we could have a big down payment, but with the way the market is right now and the interest rates being so low, we decided to strike while the iron was hot. Even if we saved for a year, it wouldn't add up to the difference between what the interest rates are now and what they might be in a year. And the most amazing part is the home builder/investment company we bought our new home from purchased our old house as part of the deal so we didn't have to put our house on the market and wait for a buyer!! It was such a smooth process and it took a lot of potential stress off our shoulders.

So, here's the skinny.....The house is in Raleigh but in a town called Garner. It's only 7 miles from downtown Raleigh which means that we are closer to civilization. It's further from Dan's work, but only a 15-20 minute drive, and he will be going against traffic so it should be an easy commute for him. The house is brand spanking new and built by a custom builder, has tile and hard wood upgrades and is really well built. We are on almost half an acre which makes me happy that there will be less yard maintenance. It has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a separate dining room and a huge bonus room and a deck & screened in porch. It is almost 2700 square feet and there is huge garage (Dan's in heaven) and TONS of storage in attic space and a walk in crawl space. It has so much more space than we are used to and I am so ready to spread out and not be so cramped. Maddie and Charlotte will be in the same room, but it is easily twice as big as their current rooms. We are having a fence built hopefully this weekend so our dogs can be unattended in the yard. The yard is beautiful!! There are trees....full grown beautiful trees! The neighborhood is about 50 years old so we have full grown plants and trees and there is character everywhere.....and we get the best of both worlds, a brand new house in a mature neighborhood. There is an HOA but its only $20/year and there are only like 5 rules. The neighborhood has a big playground and tennis pool, but maybe we'll get one in our backyard someday! Needless to say I am so thoroughly excited. We are moving in this weekend so the hard part is still yet to come, and we have appliances being delivered but they won't arrive until May 5th, so things could be a little hairy for a few days. I have been a busy little bee packing and packing and has been so hard not to say anything about this change in our life. Hard not to share the exciting news on my blog, but we wanted to wait until things were final and they aren't really final until closing. It has only been 3 and a half weeks since we put in the offer on the house but it has felt like an eternity. I'm glad I can share now!

Everyone who has heard about us moving asks the same question, "What about your garden?" I am bummed that I am leaving the garden behind. I have really enjoyed the process thus far and I'm just starting to see the fruits of our labor. I wish that I could take it with me, but honestly, this move is worth leaving my garden behind. And, its not like this was my one shot at a garden and I won't be able to plant another one. Dan and I are already talking about finding a spot to plant a fall garden. It may be difficult because there is a lot of shade, but again, I would rather have all those beautiful trees and all the glorious shade for my daughters to play under than have a garden. But, we'll see. I think I can figure out a way to have both! Also, in anticipation of our move I potted 7 tomato plants and lots of herbs so I can plant them at the new house once we get settled. So at least I'll have tomatoes and herbs this summer, and I have lots and lots of seeds.

Another issue we ran into were the chickens. I wasn't having much luck with my egg laying hens since they were all turning out to be roosters. I was thinking about keeping two, one I knew was a hen and another that I thought might be a hen, but with everything that has been going on, and the move and trying to settle into a new house and Charlotte's birthday coming up, Dan didn't know when he would be able to build a coop, and my chickens were getting huge and NEEDED to go outside. So, we found a new home for them all. I was sad to see them go. I really loved raising chickens and I am for sure going to try it again!! Now that I am a pseudo expert (lol) I know a few things that I will do next time that I had no idea about this time. Maddie didn't seem to mind them being gone, and my house is SO much cleaner. The chickens weren't dirty per se, but their bedding made a lot of dust that got everywhere. I must say that I did not enjoy them being in my house. When we try it again they will be in the garage, and not my kitchen!

I AM a little bit sad that we are leaving our current house. Not sad enough to not move, but this is the longest that either Dan or I have lived in one place since before we were 20! We've both moved around a lot and it was really nice to have this home and settle in. It was also our first home and you never get another first home. We also have a LOT of memories here, we brought both of our babies home to this house, we've spent countless hours working both inside and outside. It's a little bit hard to walk away from that kind of emotional investment. But, we've had a month to prepare mentally for this, and since this is a voluntary move (we're not being relocated for work or anything) it is more exciting than not. And I can honestly say that I am ready to get out of the country, I'm ready to not have stuff jammed into every inch of space and I am ready to have some trees. Who knew when I moved from California to North Carolina that trees would become such a big deal to me?? But there are a gazillion trees here and we ended up buying a house on old farm land with NO trees!! So, we're ready for this. Although yesterday I had to go to the store for some essentials and as I was driving home I thought.....This could be the last time I shop at my grocery store, and the last time I get gas at my normal gas station, and pretty soon it will be the last time I drive down this street to my neighborhood. It has thoroughly sunk in that we are buying a new house, but it hasn't sunk in all the way that we are leaving our old house.....especially since we technically still live here.....surrounded by boxes and very non functional, but its still home until Saturday!! I'm sure at some point I will mourn the loss of our little home, but for now I am stoked.

Well, that is my exciting news in a long nutshell!! Here are some pictures of the new diggs. Since these pictures were taken we had the entire inside of the house painted and obviously there will soon be a lot of furniture and stuff in it, so it will look a lot different next time you see it. Stay tuned....there will be more pictures!

Front of house

Hallway from front door to living room

Living room from upstairs landing

Eat in kitchen from upstairs landing

Eat in kitchen area

View from living room of hallway and front door
(bathroom on left coat closet on right)

Upstairs landing

Kitchen (all new appliances being delivered soon!)

Dining room from kitchen
(light fixtures are being changed)

Master of 3 windows

Master bath jacuzzi tub (hooray!)

One of the windows in the girl's room

Girl's HUGE walk in closet and attic storage access

Bonus room

Backyard view from deck

Deck and screened porch



Maddie says "yes," now. I know that seems weird.....she can say pretty much anything, but up until this point whenever you asked her a question she would always respond with "okay." "Do you want some milk?" "Okay." Now when I ask her something she says "yes" or "yea." It still throws me off a little because I'm not expecting it, but it sure does tickle me. I don't know why, but I think its really cute. She is getting to be such a big girl. Sometimes I have to remind myself that she is only 2 and a half because she is seriously as big as half the 4 year olds at her school. I need to remember that these little things are actually quite big, and that certain behaviors are age appropriate and that even if she looks 4 she is not. Boy, kids sure have a way of significantly marking the years and making time fly by.

Dressing up in Mama's stuff.....I found her like this lol!

Monday, April 27, 2009

First time for everything

Charlotte has an ear infection. It's the first one that we've had to deal with, and it totally threw us for a loop. Charlotte woke up from her afternoon nap with a fever on Friday. It was a battle to keep the fever down all weekend and was a bit scary on Saturday evening when it topped at 105.3. Yesterday we were fever free for the whole day, but she woke up in the middle of the night and it was back. So, we headed out to the Doctor today and were informed that she has an ear infection in her left ear. Boo. I feel so bad for her! I wish that we had taken her to the doctor sooner, but the only option on a Saturday evening is the ER, and I knew that they would torture her just to rule out everything on the planet that could be wrong with her. So, we have antibiotics for the next 10 days and then we have probiotics for another 10 or so days and then hopefully things will be back to normal.....whatever that is!! Poor baby.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Things are heating up here in North Carolina. It's been a little too hot for my taste (90's) and a little too hot for April, but no humidity yet, so I can deal! The heat and sunny weather may not be my favorite, but it is good for our garden! We have lettuce growing bigger and bigger and my radishes that just a week ago were dime size are now closer to quarters and bird eggs. I can see the tops of carrots and hope that they are growing big and straight below the ground. My tomatoes are getting tall although we don't have any fruit yet. Maddie is becoming quite the garden enthusiast and I have to keep my eagle eye on her to make sure she is on her best behavior in the garden. Most of the time she is good, but she has been "helping" me by picking radishes and they just aren't ready yet. She enjoys watering both the plants and herself.....but with the weather being so warm, it doesn't really matter if she gets all wet. She dries fast, especially when being pushed on the swings. And she is a slave driver on the swings! Don't let that adorable face fool you!! lol


It is SO lovely having fresh flowers in my kitchen! They brighten everything up and make me feel so very happy. I wish that flowers could last forever....I guess they could if I bought more flowering plants, but even then they wouldn't flower everyday! Or, maybe I just need to add the cost of flowers into my weekly budget so that I can have some to brighten my day everyday! for thought.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


We had a lovely day at the park. The sun was out and it was warm but not too warm and there was a fantastic breeze. The girls went on the swings for a good long while and then Charlotte and I layed in the grass enjoying the afternoon while Maddie followed around a bratty and bossy 6 year old all over the play equipment. With Charlotte only crawling it does put us in an awkward situation at the park....she wants to be independent and able to crawl around (no stroller sittin' for her), but crawling on wood chips is not so good and she isn't big enough or walking enough to play on the equipment. So we stick to the grass and leave Maddie to the slides and climbers. She hardly ever lets me help her anyway!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I only have 2 cabinets in my kitchen that are off limits to the kids. One is directly under the sink and houses all of our cleaning supplies and the other is the island cabinet which houses all of our snacky type items. Both have baby locks on them to keep the monkeys out. The rest of the kitchen is pretty much fair game. Yes, it gets annoying sometimes to have to put all of my pots and pans away, but the fun that Maddie and now Charlotte get from playing with them is priceless. I try to have as little as possible off limits in my house so that my kids can enjoy themselves less supervised and not constantly be in trouble for getting into things they shouldn't. Thus far it's worked for us. And what I've discovered is that when my kids are allowed to get the pots and pans out, or scatter the plastic ware all over the kitchen the phase ends sooner. They do it.....over and over again, but then it gets old and they stop doing it and move onto something else. Charlotte, welcome to my kitchen. Future Asian cuisine cook?

Blustery day

Phew. The power is finally back on. I was a little worried there for a bit. We have crazy winds today. CRAZY. They are only about 25 miles an hour but we don't have any trees around our house to block any of the wind so it hits us full on. It's the kind of wind that pushes your car around when you're on the road. The power was off for about 2 hours and our trash can blew over and it seriously sounded like the roof was going to be ripped off!! Thank goodness the girls are peacefully napping. Hopefully the power won't go off again, I don't like when that happens at night time. For now we are safe and sound and I have my internet back! I can't imagine what the winds must be like during a hurricane. Crazy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Happy birthday to me

Today was my birthday. I am now 29....closing the gap to 30!! It didn't really feel like a birthday because we didn't do much of anything out of the ordinary. Maddie went to pre school. We took naps. Went to the park. The older I get, the less significant birthday's's just another day. I wished that Dan was here to spend the day with me, that would have made the day a little more special. I ended up taking the girls to the store and bought some yummy cup cakes....Maddie's choice, not mine! I think she enjoyed eating one more than I did. lol Her love of frosting makes me happy, and at least they had the light and fluffy cool whip type frosting and not the hard super sugary frosting. I did get a lot of phone calls from loved ones which is always nice, and a super dear friend sent me some tulips!! So sweet, Rachel! All in all it was a good day. Happy birthday to me!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 1

Day one is almost over and miraculously things went beautifully. Charlotte did wake me up at 5:00 this morning needing her paci and it was hard to get back to sleep, and not very long after that Maddie came and woke me up for good, but that's not too bad. Both girls took sensational naps this afternoon and Charlotte went down to bed without a hitch. Maddie is currently watching Jonah and in about 30 minutes we'll read stories and she will be in bed too! AND.....I took a shower today! Woo hoo. I think that Dan had a worse day than I did, his flight from Raleigh to Chicago was delayed 3 hours and he missed his connection to Denmark and had to spend the night in Chicago. He will arrive in Denmark tomorrow morning around 9:30 which is late for his meetings. Boo. I really dislike flying and can't imagine being stuck over night somewhere and still have to take an 8 hour flight and not be able to sleep off the jet lag before heading into work. Poor Dan. At least it wasn't a family trip with all that and two small children. I am feeling very optimistic that the rest of the week will be as easy as today. *keeping fingers crossed*

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Single mom for a week

Dan took off not long ago for the airport. He is flying to Denmark for work and will be gone until Friday night. I am going to be a single mom of sorts for the week. I know that I can get through this, but there are some days when I count down the minutes until Dan gets home from work.....and there will be no count down this week while I fly solo. We seem to have Charlotte's teething under control, although there still aren't any teeth to speak of. Maddie has school Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which should break things up a bit. Hopefully both girls will be on their best behavior this week and not make me want to sell them to the circus! I know we'll get through it, but I can tell you already I would NOT like to be a single mom for real.....I don't know how they survive! Prayers are always welcome!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why, yes; I am making up for lost time!

So, I'm not sure if what I'm about to post is illegal or not, but if it is, please don't turn me in! Maddie had pictures taken a school a few weeks ago. We got pictures last week with the option to buy them. Her picture is good.....she is smiling, looks cute etc. but it's not a great photo.....maybe I'm just a photography snob? Anyway. They wanted $34.00 for 2 sheets. We don't really have $34 bucks lying around and the picture wasn't worth it. Soooo, I took a picture of the picture, edited it a little bit to make it a bit sharper/brighter and wa-la! Just for the record, there wasn't any kind of proofing water mark on the pics so I wasn't being sneaky and editing that off the pic.....just regular photo editing. Hopefully I won't get dragged off to jail for this! I felt bad not getting the pictures just because it was a documentation of Maddie in pre school that I'm sure we would enjoy looking back at when she's older, but being frugal kinda trims things like this out of our budget!

Charlotte the great

Charlotte is almost 11 months old. It is hard to believe that at the end of next month she is going to be a year old. Where did the time go? It's pretty amazing how 1 year can seem to go by so quickly and at the same time drag on. I felt like that during the 9 months of both my pregnancies as well! The days are long but the months fly by. Charlotte is growing like a weed. She is crawling all over the place although she usually stays as close to me as she can. She is pulling herself up, but not really walking while holding on. I'm not sure if she will be walking by her birthday, but that would be a lot of fun if she was! She is teething again.....or should I say still?!? I seriously wish she would just get all of her teeth at the same time and be a total crank pot for like 4 weeks so we could just get through it and then over it! It's just dragging on and on and on this way. Poor baby.....poor parents! Amazingly, Charlotte is talking! Not too many words, but along with Mama and Dada she also says "hi", "all done", "yay"and "cracker". I can't remember when Maddie first started talking (and I'm too lazy to look it up in her baby book!), but it was later than 10 1/2 months! While Grandma was here she taught Charlotte to wave bye bye and play patty cake. My child is now a genius!! Now all I have to do is potty train her and send her off to college! lol


We had such a great time while Grandma was here! Once she arrives it feels like she never left the last time. The girls fall right into a rhythm that revolves around Grandma. On the first night Maddie woke up at 4:00 in the morning and went to the den to find Grandma....she decided that they should watch movies together. Grandma wasn't into that plan and after trying to sleep with Maddie for about an hour she put her back to bed!! We didn't really do much during the visit, but it was so nice having company during the day and the girls had a blast playing with their Grandma!! It was hard when my mom left but not our typical tearful goodbye because she will be back in a little less than 4 weeks for Charlotte's first sister in law and two nieces will be coming as well! Yippee! I'm sure the next goodbye will be harder, or maybe not with so many extra bodies in my house lol! Just kidding. We love you Grandma, and we miss you!

preview of matching outfit cousin shoot
that will happen in May

We love our Grandma!

The tickle monster (Grandma)
was getting Maddie in the car

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


We celebrated Easter this year in a really mellow way. Dan, Maddie and went to church down the street.....Grandma stayed home with a napping Charlotte. We ate left overs for lunch and then Maddie hunted for Easter eggs in our front yard. She got her basket with a few toys and some chocolate (her favorite) and of course an Easter bunny! Charlotte did not get a basket or a bunny because she doesn't know what was even going on, but she did enjoy eggs....both plastic and real! We discovered that Maddie LOVES her some hard boiled eggs. We made 18 and I swear that she has eaten at least 10 of them!! We had a lovely dinner of grilled steaks and roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus. It was a really great day!! Too bad it was Grandma's last day with us. I think all the hard boiled eggs are gone, and most of Maddie's chocolate is gone too. I think next year when both girls can enjoy the festivites will be delightful! Until then, enjoy my roasted sweet potato recipe. Delicious!!!

Easter basket

Egg hunting

These purple flowers are chocolate chip plants


Playing with tiny chickies

Roasted sweet potatoes
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions, Rosemary, and Parmesan
(Makes 4 servings, slightly adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2002)

4 large or 6 medium tan-fleshed sweet potatoes (white skin)
3 medium red onions
3 T olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2-3 T chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F and cover a flat roasting pan with foil, then spray foil with non-stick spray or mist with olive oil.

Peel potatoes and remove skin from onions. (Sweet potatoes could also probably be left unpeeled, but I did peel them.) Cut sweet potatoes and onions into same-size pieces about 1 inch square. Place in plastic bowl and toss with olive oil, 1 T chopped rosemary, salt or sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Arrange in single layer on roasting pan and roast until vegetables are cooked through and slightly browned, about 45 minutes or longer. (I actually roasted my sweet potatoes and onions in the photo for about exactly an hour, but I like them a little crisp and well-browned.)

Combine fresh-grated parmesan and finely chopped rosemary in small bowl. Remove vegetables from oven and toss with parmesan-rosemary mixture. Serve hot, sprinkled with fresh parsley if desired.

County McCounterson