Friday, February 17, 2012

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home At Last

Wow... it's been a roller coaster last 6-7 months! Jon started the interview process at Central State Bank in October and had a job offer the beginning of November. We got our house listed that first week in November and Jon moved into an apartment in Muscatine over Thanksgiving weekend.

In what we thought was "bad" timing for listing our house in North Dakota, we've seen blessings abound! Our house was on the market for almost 6 months before we closed on it April 22nd. What felt like the longest winter of our lives was really long - Grand Forks didn't get a LOT of snow compared to other years, but it was by far the coldest winter we spent living up there. And the cold weather combined with the timing of "holiday season" meant the housing market came to a stand-still. We had many many showings, which, for me, were steady doses of encouragement and reminders that God hadn't forgotten about our need to sell our house. He sent many timely showings which I believe kind of kept me going and gave me hope.

So while we were working on selling our house up in Grand Forks, Jon was spending a portion of most weekends down here house hunting for us. I wish I had kept track of how many houses he went into and checked out for us. We had a couple that stood out at different points in the process but I am so thankful for the fact that time allowed us to not rush into buying what we thought would be best right off the bat. Jon had a chance to get more familiar with the town, the neighborhoods, the feel of different houses, etc.

Early in March we decided to change our search parameters a little bit and this beautiful house became an option for us. Jon saw it a week or two before we the girls and I headed down for our March visit. When we all saw it every single one of us fell in love. We looked at it twice while we were over a long break that week and spent the second half of the visit in Harlan (due to predicted storms in North Dakota). While we were in Harlan waiting out the storm up north, enjoying celebrating Tru's birthday and hanging out we got an offer on our house in Grand Forks. After a flurry of text messages, phone calls and emails by the time we left to head back up to Grand Forks we had an accepted offer on our house up north as well as an almost officially accepted offer on our new house down in Muscatine. We were able to celebrate the good news with both of our families when word came back that our offer was accepted to buy this new home. It was truly a delight to have had the four of us all together for those few days of craziness of house selling and buying.

So our last drive up to Grand Forks was much easier knowing it would be our last trip north. And most of April was spent finalizing all the details that go into selling and buying. A bit stressful but it all worked out perfectly. We drove down to Iowa on Thursday, April 21st, closed on our house in Grand Forks on April 22nd, spent Easter weekend in Muscatine all together as a family, started the girls in school on Wednesday, April 27th, closed on our new house on Monday, May 2nd, had our "stuff" delivered on May 3rd and we've just been busy jumping into life in our new town since then!

It's been a bit crazy the past several weeks and I'm hopeful that by the time school gets out in early June that we will be settled into more of a normal routine. We are absolutely loving our new house and neighborhood. The neighbors to the north and south of us are very nice and we're starting to get to know them. The "neighbors" in our backyard are wonderful - Horses! There is the top part of a pasture right behind our fence and we've gotten to know our 4-legged new friends. They love carrots, bread and our grass. :) Bailey seems to love them as well. She tried to be tough at their first meeting but after a few barks the horses just kind of stared her down and she backed off immediately. Now she loves to run out and see if they are at the fence so she can eat grass with them. I even caught her nuzzling one of them the other day. She gets a bit excited when they whinny or snort, but if she tries to bark at them they remind her quickly that they are the ones in charge. The girls are in love with them as well and love to feed them. They enjoy the fact that the horses will come over just for a good petting as well.

The other exciting change that comes with living in this new neighborhood is the fact that there are built-in friends right around the corner. A few days after moving in, 3 of the neighborhood girls came over to check out the horses and our girls went out and got to know them. There is a 4th-grader, a 5th grader and then a middle schooler as well. I foresee our girls hanging out with the other 2 younger girls a lot. They stopped over last night and played for a bit and then the girls and I walked them home so we could figure out which houses they live in as well as to have a chance to meet their parents. Bria was grinning from ear to ear last night when we made it home and to bed. She is beyond excited to have met these girls and seems to have a lot in common with them.

Emmy will be the youngest kid in the neighborhood, but I think she'll hang out with Bria and the other girls most of the time and get along just fine. And she's already been invited to a friend's birthday party this weekend so she's jumping into the world of making friends quickly. She's still missing her best friend a lot, but thanks to the wonders of technology they can skype and email and call eachother whenever they want to. Emmy is very excited to get to skype with her tomorrow after school.

So, that's life for us in a nutshell the past month. It's been crazy, but so good! And although spending the long winter apart from Jon was definitely not on any of our lists of "favorite things to do", good things have come from that as well. Jon was able to really dive into his new job and responsibilities and really focus on getting a handle on things at work. And the girls were able to really come to grips with the whole moving "thing".... they had time to process it, accept it, and to be very excited about it. I haven't heard anyone say anything bad about being here. God has blessed us with an amazing house in an incredible neighborhood and we are all just very thankful. I'm very much looking forward to the next few weeks of trying to settle in here. We have a lot of things to do as far as sorting through and organizing all our stuff in our new and different space. I'm not a "honey-do" list type of person, but Jon's list of things to help me with or for him to do is definitely growing! So we're going to take these next few weeks and really focus on finishing up the school year for the girls, trying to get a handle on what to do with our stuff and just getting used to all living together again. Once summer starts we're planning a trip back over to see our families for a weekend and really going to focus on just relaxing and enjoying each other this summer.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Emmy's 1st Grade Music Program

Last night was Emmy's music program. She was so excited and we got there really early to get the best seat so we could get a good video for Jon to see. By the time the program started and the warm temperature in the gym and the bright lights..... Emmy was one tired little performer! So some of her usual "spunk" was hiding, but she did a great job and had fun, even though she tried to take a mini nap when they would get to sit down between songs for a minute. :)

So her she is, and there are videos below of all her songs....

Spring Music Program Parts 1 - 3

Music Moves Me:

Rules For Living:

Words of Wisdom:

Spring Music Program Parts 4 - 6

I Like to Sing Scat:

Maizy Doats

Jelly Bean Blues: