Making Moves

The wait has finally ended, as have our days in a small apartment with none of our own stuff. Over Labor Day weekend we moved into our new house! Of course our camera is currently holding the good pictures hostage.

new house

After closing on the Thursday night prior to the holiday weekend, we drove up with our first load of clothes and such from the apartment. Josh continued our tradition of carrying me over the threshold of our new house. We cleared out our cars and walked the kids around the house again as it had been nearly two months since we were in it last.

New house living room

Ella and I picked up a pizza and we had a little picnic in our new kitchen.

Kitchen picnic

Josh’s parents were nice enough to come up for the weekend to help us get somewhat settled which was really nice. They were even on board with having a ridiculous amount of Mexican food after my 20 miler. Even though I never wanted a hot tub, I really enjoyed the one in our backyard that night.

hot tubbing

Ella really enjoyed playing with her grandparents. She was so sad when it was time to say goodbye.

We have a lot of furniture to buy so we have some empty rooms and incomplete rooms like Ella’s which desperately needs a new dresser. We’ll get there.

Our neighbors have been very welcoming. We even had one bring over muffins. I thought that only happened in movies. It was so sweet. There seem to be lots of kids in the neighborhood and just a 10 minute walk from our house is a great park and a swimming beach which we will be able to utilize more next summer.

Weaver Lake

I’m so excited to be settling in. The return to some normalcy will be great. I may even have a chance to get back to blogging. Imagine that.

 

Long road Minnesota

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We’ve made it. We are officially living in Minnesota as of yesterday. The drive took about 17 hours total but we did get to stop in Lincoln for a few days. We are exhausted.

Now I just have to figure out how to get anywhere without relying on google maps and what to do with two kids and a dog when it’s raining.

So behind on everything here including Anderson’s nine month update and news of a big fall race for me. As we get settled they will start popping up.

Packing a House Without Fighting – A Few Tips

Today movers will arrive to fill this with all of our stuff:

moving 2

We have been amazed by the amount of stuff we’ve acquired over the past several years. Even with carloads of donations being dropped off at Goodwill, selling baby clothes and equipment, furniture and such, our house still looks like this:

moving 1

Needless to say, the packing process has been painful, especially for Josh who has been doing the brunt of the work since I’m not done working until Friday. Here are a few tips (in no specific order) on how to not kill fight with your significant other while prepping for a move.

1. Hire someone to do it for you.  I know what you’re saying, duh! We got quotes for full service moving companies that would box, load, transport and store our stuff until we find a new house. Estimates were coming in at $12,000-18,000, plus additional fees for each month of storage. Ouch! Even with the relocation money, we figured it couldn’t be that hard to pack up ourselves and save some of the money for getting a new house up and running. We were wrong.

2. Find funny things to reminisce about. Our office was probably the best room to pack up. I found a whole box of old pictures with gem like these in it:

halloween 2008 senior luncheon

Nothing lightens the mood like laughing about how awkward we were, how crazy we were or how stupid we were (hello 21st birthday shot notebook. Yikes!).

3. Add a cocktail. We’re not huge drinkers, though after the last few posts you may think otherwise. Sometimes you just need something to take the edge off. After all packing up all your possessions and your life as you know it is stressful.

4. If that doesn’t work, work in different rooms. Together time isn’t necessarily the best thing while packing. It’s definitely not advisable when packing styles or speeds are not aligned. If you’re starting to snap at each other about bubble wrap vs. brown paper padding, you need to move to a different room.

5. Take breaks. It just took me five tries to type breaks instead of breasts. Wow, must still be thinking about organizing my breastmilk for donation the other night. Back to my point, everyone needs a break. The other night Josh went for a ride with John, the night before I fed Anderson and went for a run. Physical activities and time spent away from packing tape, boxes, bubble wrap and Sharpies do wonders for stress levels.

6. Set daily goals. Before we go to bed at night we’ve been talking about tasks to accomplish the next day. Josh has a set and I have a set. When I get home from work we talk about where we stand and how I can best help once the kids are in bed. This keeps us from getting to the point of standing with a box in our hands just staring at the chaos around us.

7. Breathe. Passing out is not advisable. Seriously it will really cut into productivity levels. But then again, it may temporarily relieve you of your job. You may want to go that route if you’re desperate.

It’s been a stressful few weeks for us, but we will get it done. The last boxes will make it into the truck even if we have to put it on there ourselves. Whether or not we can fit the stuff we’re taking to the apartment in our cars and still accommodate the kids and dog, that is another story. Maybe I should think of my non-argument strategy for that too.

House Hunting Begins

Well good news, we sold our house in a matter of hours. Even better, we only had to clean once and don’t have to deal with shuttling the kids and dog around during showings. Icing on the cake, we’re getting $9k above our asking price and the buyer is paying closing costs! Though our best case scenario, its sad knowing someone else will be living in our house after we close on the 9th of June. Here are a few pictures for the curious:

house 1 Hosue 2 House 4 hosue 3 House 6 House 5

Last weekend while our house was busy, we had a very busy trip of our own to Minneapolis. We had two major goals:

  • Find somewhere to land when we get to town in a few weeks
  • Find the area we want to live in

I’ve been stalking various locations on the internet for weeks, well, months now but there is only so much you can determine from pictures online. We got hooked up with a Realtor who offered to drive us all over the northwest metro area. He was well prepared for the kids. Built-in DVD player with movies on hand, yes please!

First order of business was finding temporary housing. We definitely do not want to unpack all of our stuff twice. Ideally we wanted an apartment or condo that was furnished, leaving us responsible only for bringing clothes, books and toys. We toured two and decided on one in Minnetonka. In addition to meeting the furnished requirement, it’s also pet friendly (can’t forget about Lucky), has a pool and newly updated fitness center. It’s also nestled in huge trees and near a lake that offers a playground, picnic area and swimming. I plan on us being outside a lot this summer.

With that accomplished, it was onto city and house touring. We gave our Realtor some parameters to try to help narrow down options.

  1. Good schools are a must. Private schools are an option we may look into when the time comes, but we don’t want it to be our only option.
  2. Three bedroom minimum, four would be better so I can have a dedicated office. I’m going to try out consulting for a while. Having a work space is a must.
  3. Easy access to running trails and parks.
  4. We like communities that have a lot of community events – parades, art walks, etc.
  5. Under 30 minute commute for Josh.

With that he took us around Maple Grove, Plymouth, Osseo (cute but not great schools) and Minnetonka. We toured almost a dozen houses over two days. Most of them had some of the desired features but we didn’t find one house with all of them. Ella however, judged every house by two things – pink items and bathrooms. She had to use the bathroom in nearly every single house, even if she’d just gone five minutes earlier. Her favorite house was one that had a pink castle on the wall of one of the bedrooms. Any house that had no pink, she was not interested in. Priorities…

On our way to the airport Josh and I drove around a bit more. We found a neighborhood we loved in Plymouth that was about $80-100k out of our price range…of course. We also like Wayzata’s charm. When we get back into town permanently, I’ll be hitting it hard with our agent, bringing Josh only to those houses I think could be the one.

I have a feeling it’s not going to be nearly as much fun to be on the buyer’s side as it was on the seller’s. Minnesotans, city guidance is welcome!

The House That Became Home

A house is just a building. A shelter from the elements, a place to keep your stuff and to lay your head down at night. That is how our house started. It was to be our three year house. After all we never really wanted to live in Longmont, it was simply the place that was in between Fort Collins and Boulder (where we were working respectively) and within our budget.

Jess and Josh bought a house

When we bought it, we walked (side note: Josh actually carried me over the threshold) into a house that had holes in the carpet, pet stains, linoleum, wall paper in the bathrooms, a bright red Husker bedroom and another bedroom that had only backer board on the floor. Beer cans and bottle tops were strewn about the dead lawn, signs of one last party before the previous homeowner had been booted during the foreclosure process.

Slowly we made it our own. We spent evenings and weekends laying wood floors, painting walls, removing wall paper, laying tile, etc. The years started creeping by and before we knew it, we hit the three year mark. It came and went, with it, our plans to uproot. We thought, oh maybe next year or the one after that.

Here we are 6.5 years later. The house we bought has become our home. It’s been filled with joy, sadness, laughter and tears. It is the house we came home to after we got married, the house we brought our babies home to. It’s where Ella learned to walk and Anderson to crawl. Each room is filled with memories of moments that are not significant in the grand scheme of life, but have left an impression in my mind and heart.

family xmas morning

This week we did the final preparations to put our house on the market. It sparkles with the dream of becoming a home to another family. The first showings are tomorrow. We’re hopeful that someone else will walk in the front door and realize that it is the house that will become their home just as we hope to have happen this weekend when we’re in Minneapolis.

Leaving our house on the day we move is going to be really hard. There will be laughter as we recount the good times and tears (mainly from me) as we say goodbye to our first home.

*Totally on the verge of tears just writing this. Oye, I need to get it together! I’ll post pictures of our listing once it’s up!