Friday, January 31, 2014

In the Details

We are one step closer to closing on our new house. Yesterday was our inspection and today the seller approved our requests for things to be done before closing.

Several people have requested to see more pictures since my initial post only had exterior shots. Since we do not own the house yet and I want to respect the seller's privacy, I am only including thumbnails of some of the details in the house.

This house has had some really great updates on the main floors. As I previously mentioned, we love the kitchen and many of the details and thought that was put into the updates. We also love the feeling of living in the woods, even though we are in town.

There are some things that need to be changed. Two of the three bedrooms upstairs are obviously for little girls. Since there are no little girls in our family, painting those rooms will be among the first projects we tackle. The master bathroom is partially redone and the entire basement needs work. Did I mention that there is a bathroom straight of the 1970s in the basement? Also, the garage needs Daniel's touch. I know he will be busy in the coming months getting things set up like he wants them. We are excited about tackling these projects down the road when we have time.

Probably the biggest charm of this property (for us anyways) is the terrain the house is built on. Also, as seen by the image in the bottom right corner of the grouping above, we seem to like really tall houses.

I will post more pics whenever we start making major changes to the house (a long time from now though!).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Late Christmas

One of the benefits of living where we live is that we are a lot closer to Daniel's dad and his wife, Esther. Their house is about 45 minutes from our soon-to-be house. While not next door, by any means, it is close enough we can meet up pretty easily.

Because of our crazy life situation over Christmas (i.e. being homeless), we were not able to meet up with Wesley and Esther during the holidays. Instead we met for dinner during the week shortly after we got moved into our temporary house.

They were sweet and brought Jack's Christmas presents – which he opened in the parking lot. He absolutely loved the remote control airplane (from the Pixar movie "Planes") that they gave him. He calls it his "helicopter" because it has a propeller on the front.

Wesley and Esther often babysit for Esther's grandkids, so when we meet up, Jack has the added benefit of a playmate. On this visit they had Aubrey (age 3) with them.

This past Sunday, we met up with Wesley and Esther after church for lunch at Logan's Steakhouse. It's sweet that Jack is actually recognizing relatives and he called Wesley, "Grandpa" without being prompted.

On the note of seeing people more often, now that we are getting settled on the mountain, I am realizing just how "small of a town" Signal Mountain is. I have run into my friend Courtney at least 3 times recently (outside of the Y or church). It is a nice perk of living in a small geographic area.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Daddy Playdate

Once again Daniel managed to get his 60 hours in before Saturday which meant that he was actually home for the entire weekend. It was nice to see him for two whole days but those long days during the week sure are hard on all of us.

I have been fairly slammed with freelance projects this month and was needing some quiet time to put the finishing touches on some of my work, so Daniel graciously offered to take Jack to the Creative Discovery Museum on Saturday.

I knew Jack would have a blast because Saturday was wild west day and there would be a miniature cow and horse for him to see at the museum.

Thankfully Daniel snapped a few pics of Jack's fun at the museum. It would seem that Jack was most interested in the water table and the playground on this particular visit.

I have to say that one of the reasons I always take tons of pictures is 1) Daniel doesn't take many pictures (as evidenced by the fact that he didn't get a single picture of the miniature animals) and 2) Although he did ask a stranger to take a picture of him and Jack with a horse, the stranger DIDN'T GET THE HORSE IN THE PICTURE!!! Which is EXACTLY why I hate to ask strangers to take pictures for me. 

Evidently Jack was not a fan of sitting on the miniature horse. Or he was sad because he intuitively knew the stranger was cutting the horse's head out of the picture?

Anyways, you can tell I am the mom of a small toddler at home because while my boys were away (besides working on my freelance work), I enjoyed a long, hot, uninterrupted shower. I drank an entire cup of coffee before it got cold and I even did the laundry. I'm a little bummed that I missed seeing the miniature cow, but having several hours of quiet to myself were AMAZING.

That afternoon, while Jack slept (and I continued working), Daniel enjoyed some time to himself by taking Sophie on a hike/run down to Rainbow Lake. He can't get over the fact that I took Jack down there with our BOB stroller. I didn't think it was that crazy...

Have I mentioned that we are excited that there are numerous hiking and running trails close to our new house? Our inspection is Thursday and we are counting down the days until we can move in!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chasing Unicorns

Our house hunting experience has been quite an arduous process. We looked at a ridiculous number of properties in person (not to mention the ones we drove by and crossed off of our list or the ones we perused on Trulia), and didn't feel like we had a good fit with anything.

It was starting to feel like we were chasing some magical unicorn that didn't exist. It didn't help that we were feeling antsy about needing to make a decision about where to live, while simultaneously being worried that we would miss out on the "perfect" house.

This week, we agreed that after our Tuesday house viewings, we would buckle down, make a list, check it twice, and choose a house to buy. If you know Daniel, this involved Excel spreadsheets and comparing numbers and assigning values to commute time, size of garage, property value, etc.

Late on Monday night (around midnight), I happened to check my email and saw a new listing from our realtor. Daniel was already asleep, so on a whim, I made the decision that we should view the new listing. I sent an email to our realtor and hoped she would be able to schedule the additional house for the next afternoon.

Fingers crossed, I went to bed around 1am.

After lunch, we met up with our realtor and took our upteenth tour of the Chattanooga housing market. Thankfully our realtor managed to schedule my last minute pick... it was the very last house we looked at.

That last house... the one I asked to add at midnight the night before? The brand new listing, that had just gone on the market? Well, it's our unicorn.

We walked in and I think we both knew. I was a little skeptical because it didn't have a usable yard (it's built into the side of a gorge with lots of rocks and trees). There are giant boulders and a deck and screened porch, but no real area for playing. On the flip side, it does have a playground and community park across the street.

It is an 1970s house that has been partially renovated. It has an amazing kitchen and fantastic trim work that we love. The basement still needs to be updated, but the garage offers a ton of storage, and we already have experience with renovating. The house feels like a cabin in the woods and just generally feels like us. It was the first house in the Chattanooga area that we really felt like we had a connection with.

It seems like it was worth waiting and dragging our realtor to close to 60 houses! As with most things that work out for the best in our lives, we are thankful for God's timing in this house hunt and that we waited for the right house to come along. If all goes well, we will be moving in the last week in February.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Creative Discovery Museum, age 2

Daniel has been working a lot lately. As in gone from our house over 70 hours a week. It's been tough for our family. Last week, Daniel was doing some testing at work (which meant even longer days), but it also meant he crammed in his hours in 5 days instead of 6, so he got to stay home on Saturday. Hurray!

Since Daniel was home (and it's been so cold out), we decided to take Jack to the Creative Discovery Museum in downtown Chattanooga. The last time we visited this museum Jack was about 10 months old. Looking back at those pictures reminds me of how little he was! While he seemed to enjoy the museum at 10 months, he really LOVED the museum at 26 months.

He loved the water table and learning how the bridges and locks around Chattanooga work.
Really, he probably just loved splashing in the water and Daniel had fun with the locks!

Then he discovered that he loved climbing in the playground above the water tables. With mommy in tow of course.

Then we found the music area and Jack had a blast with all of the instruments. He has been playing the drums on anything he can get his hands on... blocks at home are drums, plastic cups in the grocery story are drums, everything can be a drum!

After music, he went and dug in the dinosaur pit. There were so many kids that this activity was a bit overwhelming for Jack.

He had more fun pretending to be a baby dinosaur (his favorite make believe game).

We skipped a few other parts in the museum and headed upstairs where Jack loved the winter maze they had set up. He followed me through the maze and then worked his way backwards through following the EXACT SAME PATH that I had led him.

We even ventured out onto the upstairs patio and Jack played with the bubbles and learned about pulleys. We were just glad to get to spend some time playing outside of our house.

We decided to get a family membership and plan to go back to the museum at least once a week when it's not so hectic.

It was so nice to have Daniel home for two whole days this weekend. After the museum, we had a late lunch at Five Guys. There was a firetruck outside and Daniel and Jack were in little boy heaven.

After eating, Jack took a nap in the car while we drove around and looked at few neighborhoods we had not yet looked at. We have one more set of houses to view on Tuesday and then hopefully we will make a decision on what house to buy by the end of the week.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Where's the Joy?

I have come to the conclusion that stating out loud (or at least on the internet) that I intend to be intentional about choosing to have joy in my life may not have been a wise thing to do.

Since writing my blog post, I have had an intense chest cold that has lasted for more a week, Daniel and I have yet to decide on a house to buy (tick tock, tick tock) and Daniel (unexpectedly) had to start working 6 days a week. It's kind of hard to intentionally choose joy when I am sick, Daniel is gone 70+ hours each week and we have no idea where we will live in a month.

I am hoping that I will feel better soon. As for Daniel's work schedule, it is out of our control and we are going to have to make a decision about where to live. Hopefully in the midst of this harder-than-expected season of my life, I can still muster the ability to choose joy.

Jack sure has no problem being joyful.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Years with Family

This is the third year that at least some of our Canadian relatives have made the trek south to ring in the New Year with any of the Southern Lock Flock that could make it to the Nashville area. It is a tradition that I am growing to love. 

Over the course of several days, we all gathered at my Aunt Becky's house or my sister's house to visit and play games and enjoy good food.

This year, the Canadians requested that we do something with a Nashville feel. So my brother took a bunch of us to the Wild Horse Saloon in downtown Nashville for some line dancing.

It was actually a lot of fun. It cost $3 to get in and there was a live band and a guy that taught the dance steps. Also it is kid friendly, which was nice, since our cousins are all under age!

We had practiced the Electric Slide at my sister's house so that we had the basic steps down, and the dances were all a variation of these simple steps.

It was freezing the night we went out and my brother decided we should park at LP Field and walk across the bridge to downtown. Did I mention it was freezing! Even our relatives thought it was chilly! Thankfully the dancing warmed us up.

Afterward we went to Mikes Ice Cream shop for some hot chocolate to get warm before going back into the cold. My sister, brother and uncle make the cold trek back across the bridge to pick up the cars, while me, my aunt and cousins stayed warm in the ice cream shop.

I am looking forward to next year's New Years get together!

Family Hike at Fiery Gizzard

On Saturday we had originally planned to go on a group hike on the Fiery Gizzard Trail , but it was cancelled at the last minutes. So...