Thursday, June 21, 2018

5 Tips for Buying Your Dream Home


We have officially been homeowners for a year and almost three months.  In just 45 days we started the house hunt, put an offer in on two houses, got our offer accepted on one, got the house inspected, agreed on repairs, waited, waited, waited and finally closed on our dream home.

But it felt like so much longer.

Here's my five tips for buying your dream home.

1. Patience.  I have friends that closed faster than us and friends that endured a painful 90 day closing.  House buying is a lot of back and forth and waiting around.  It really isn't much fun for those who don't have patience (my husband..).

Can we just pause for a moment and reflect on the fact that all things "adulting" require WAYYYY too much patience?!

2. Know what you want.  That market in our town is INSANE.  Unless your house has some really extreme negatives or you've priced it for more than it is worth and aren't willing to budge (the first house we offered on)... houses don't stay on the market much longer than a month in this town.  Our house was on the market not even 48 hours before it had 3 offers in on it.  There is absolutely no time to think on it, so you have to know what you want and be willing to make a quick decision.

3. Figure out your giving points.  Originally Rob wanted a 3 car garage, a basement and a second living area.  In this town... our options were EXTREMELY limited.  Our first day out looking we saw 4 houses.  Only one had all 3.  We knew if we wanted to quickly get into a house we needed to figure out what could go as a priority.  For us it was the 3 car garage, as long as the garage was not a standard 2 car garage.  Our home has a 2 car oversized garage, a basement and a second living area.  And I'm happy to report we are all content.

4.  Find a good realtor.  We went with someone I had already met through a playdate I hosted at my house.  Tori was quick and dealt with everything we threw at her.  We are the people that know what we want and aren't afraid to be a little bit aggressive.  Tori kept us in check and got everything done and submitted quickly.  Luckily we didn't have any real negotiations (since there were 3 offers, they asked for best offer from the get go and then picked the best one for them... we won!) but I'm confident no matter what Tori would have been able to get us what we wanted.  A good realtor is key in this very stressful time. You want knowledge and confidence.  Both of which we got.  Plus we came out of the deal with not only a house, but new friends as well! I will never stop thanking you Tori!

5. Don't invest all of your time and energy into making something work that isn't going to happen.  From the very beginning Rob told me to keep an open mind.  He knows that I get attached easily to the idea of things.  We put an offer in on one house.  It was the layout we wanted, but needed some major updating.  They had it priced well above what we wanted to pay for it, so we shot them an offer and they came back to us with a very weak counter.  It was clear they were not going to be negotiating off of their price.  So we walked away.  (They sold it almost 6 months later for what we originally offered them...) Being able to do that is a HUGE deal when it comes to buying a house.  Because we weren't overly invested it wasn't a major loss for us.  Nothing is ever a given until you sign on the dotted lines at closing.

House buying is stressful.  In the year since buying our house we have had small projects and large projects.. there is always something to do.  But having our own space at this time in our life after years of renting is worth it in so many ways.

Do you have any home buying advice?



always,
amanda
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day.


I have known my husband for 11 years this fall. Been dating my husband for 10 years this winter.  And been married to my husband for 9 years next spring.  Somewhere in there it dawned on me that this man would be my person.  My best friend.  My other half.  The one I would start and raise a family with.  Here we are, 3 kids later... and I can honestly say I've never once doubted what this man is capable of and how much he loves the kids and I.  I hope he feels this way everyday, but I really hope he felt how much we love him on Father's Day.

It was a low-key day consisting of brunch, a round of golf (for him) and naps (for the rest of us), finished off with dinner with my parents and sister and an extra large fishbowl of beer to celebrate fatherhood.  Naturally.  The girls, dog and I gifted him a personalized coffee mug that will probably become a new pen cup at work, along with a card personalized by Grace herself.  I don't think a single thing we gave him meant as much as the girls telling him on repeat all day long "Happy Father's Day!"  There is just something about parenthood that humbles a person.


Growing up I always had a good model of how a father should be.  My parents are still married.  My dad is an encyclopedia of knowledge and wisdom.  My parents successfully raised two daughters, that I would say aren't a burden to society (well, my sister maybe - ha ha - just kidding, Erin!).  My dad worked his butt off to instill a good Catholic foundation, the true meaning of hard work, and the word respect.  To this day I am still forever thankful that he's there for me as my dad and holds the special title of "gaga" (Grandpa) in such high regards.

Being surrounded by these men (among many, many others) both on Father's Day weekend and everyday - I can say I am very very lucky.


One final note from Father's Day and the weekend as a whole --- a special thank you goes to my husband for holding down the fort with all three kids Saturday afternoon so that I could go drink wine with my mom and a crew of other ladies from the country club.  We were driven to KC Wine Co. (local friends - you MUST check this out!), given a flight of wine, a free drink of our choice and the most amazing scenery to unwind with.  It was a great afternoon away from my crew, and would not have been possible without my husband, super dad.  So thank you, babe.

Happy Father's Day to all the people lucky enough to call themselves a dad.  You deserve all the love, laughs and beers, on Father's Day and everyday.



always,
amanda
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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Emily | Two Month


Our sweet little lady is already changing SO much... and we've somehow reached the 2 month milestone.  Sometimes it is still hard to believe we are parents to not 1, not 2, but THREE little girls.

Emily at two months...

.You are 13 pounds, 2 ounces, in the 85th percentile and 22.5 inches long, in the 46th percentile.  An ounce bigger than Brooklyn and a pound bigger than Grace at the same age, but a full inch shorter than both your sisters at this stage.

.You gained FIVE pounds in a month.  Mama is so so so proud of that fact.

.You are wearing mostly size 0/3 month and some 3 month clothing.  Kansas decided to straight up skip spring so we are rocking the onesies by themselves with a hairbow most days.

.You are wearing size 1 diapers.  We have one more box and if we haven't already switched by then, I think we will be headed into size 2 diapers.

.You LOVE your milk and still demand it almost immediately once your eyes have fluttered open.  Except for at night, you nurse every 3 hours mostly.

.You sleep in 7-8 hour stretches through the night from about 11/12 to 6/7 in the morning.  Wake up long enough to nurse and then go back to bed until about 10, on mornings we don't have any activities.  It is glorious, and also something Mom's chest is trying to adjust to, still.

.You started handing out more smiles this month, but they usually have to be really coaxed out, unless you are Grace that is.  You love your biggest sister.

.You love to just lay on the floor and watch everyone and everything.  But are not a fan of tummy time unless it is on top of someone.

.You coo at us every once in awhile and will carry on a "conversation".

.You still have a witching hour that starts about dinner time and goes until you crash for the night where you just want to be in someone's arms and not put down.

.You do not like shots... and you are mama's only baby that has had super tender thighs after shots, to the point that you cry if someone touches them.

.You hold your head up and love to be propped up to see the room.  You also recently started putting weight on your legs when you are held up.

.You have developed the most delicious rolls, that are a pain to keep clean sometimes.

.You spit up quite a bit.  I think you just over indulge and get a little greedy.  We are working on it.

.You "nap" about twice a day... sometimes more, sometimes less.  And have just started showing signs of stirring when your siblings are too loud.

My little bean... I love you so.  I promise I am soaking in every last aspect of you being so little.  You are just the sweetest and mama will never get over how quickly you calm down when you find your way into mama's arms.  It is the best thing about being a mom.  You round our family out so perfectly and I am counting my stars that God chose us to be your parents.

To read about Grace at two months, click here.
To read about Brooklyn at two months, click here.



always,
amanda
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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Schools out for Summer (+ OUR BUCKET LIST)

We've been out of school almost three weeks.  Grace finished her first year of preschool mid May and we already miss the routine that comes with school. She was only going twice a week... but I wasn't hearing "what are you we going to do tomorrow?" five times a day.  After hearing that phrase no less than 100 times already... I am counting down to school starting again this fall.  Yep, y'all, I am THAT mom.

First and last day
(Next year I vow to do a better comparison picture so I can see how much she has changed and grown in the last year.)

Anyway --- Grace's first year of preschool was a success.  She is going to a private preschool that comes highly recommended here in town.  We had her in the twice a week program from 9 to 11:30.  Just enough time to get some energy out and provide me a chance to run errands with one less kid to load and unload.  A welcome break, if you will.  Grace's teachers were absolute saints... and took great care of my girl.  We will miss them next year, especially since one of them is on to the retired life of a grandma!

This summer I hope to keep the kids active by getting out of the house at least once a day.  That way we feel productive - but not overwhelmed.  To help I came up with a summer bucket list again this year that we can hopefully accomplish easy peasy with one big activity a week.

Our 2018 summer bucket list...

-Go strawberry picking
-Go to Deanna Rose Farmstead
-Complete the summer reading program through the library
-See a movie at Memorial Stadium
-Swim lessons
-Gymnastics
-Picnic at the lake
-Go to the fair
-Go to the zoo
-Spend an afternoon at Wonderscope
-Run through the sprinkler
-Build a fort and watch a movie in it
-Take sister pictures of my girls
-Have lunch with Grandma
-Learn the alphabet
-Teach Grace to write her own name
-Practice Grace's speech diligently
-Learn the difference between left and right
-Potty train Brooklyn
-Attend Vacation Bible School
-Go to the farmers' market

I hope to have this list wrapped up by the last day of August.  So let's goooooo.

How are you keeping your kids occupied this summer?!



always,
amanda
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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Curse of the Coloring Book - A Review


Many months ago I accepted an offer to review a book written by one of America's finest, a veteran, a Vietnam veteran.  I didn't think it would take me an eternity to finish the book, not because I didn't like the book... but because at the end of the night I can often barely keep my eyes open to nurse the baby, let alone read a chapter in a book.

But I did it.  And here I am to tell you all about Curse of the Coloring Book, by Howard L. Hubbard.

The synopsis...

"When Herald Lloyd, an attorney and family man, learns he's been cursed with a catastrophic legal-malpractice lawsuit, his recurring Vietnam War flashbacks flood his consciousness, and he medicates his post-traumatic stress with alcohol.

He was reckless to quit college to join the Army.  Mocking the war, he bought a GI Joe Coloring Book and half-gallon of whiskey, for a drunken send-off with his fraternity brothers.  Vietnam hurls Herald into becoming a decorated combat platoon leader, commanding stressed oddballs and misfits like Dogman, who walks point and only barks to communicate.  Now he must fight again, this time to save his client, law practice, and family.

Was the coloring book cursed?"

Inspired by a true story, this novel will bring you in time and time again.  Just as you think you've heard it all when it comes to the Vietnam War, the stories shared in this book will take you right back to a different time and a war most young Americans could never imagine.  There is love, infatuation, family ties, war stories, gore and victories that take you through every lawyers worst nightmare, a malpractice suit.  Of course, I will not tell you how the book ends.  But you'll be hanging on to every word hoping somehow, someway one final victory is to be had and the coloring book is not actually cursing Herald's life.

I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who enjoys war stories mixed with a little bit of civilian life.  Most everyone will find something they are hooked on in this book and you absolutely can't go wrong with that.

Buy it here.

I received this book for free, in return for an honest review.



always,
amanda
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