THE HOUSE

Our realtor is probably sick and tired of us at this point. We've been together for almost three months through I don't even know how many showings in five different surrounding towns, countless phone calls and emails, last minute "we want to see this house asap texts, three failed contracts, and soon to be two full blown home inspections.

She says she doesn't mind. I feel like she's just really good at her job. As in pretending we are excellent company even though we probably have a special ring tone that sounds something like a really annoying rooster.

We have a fourth contract on another house that I'm sure she is hoping and praying will work out so we can all just go our separate ways and then she can be all YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT I JUST WENT THROUGH WITH THESE PEOPLE.

And really, we've had things happen this go 'round that have been just weird and crazy and honestly WTF.

We are all ready for that day when we can be all, "You better sit down and grab a drink because YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS."

The haha funny but not really is that this house has been on the market all along. Through every house and failed contract and hours of searching MLS listings.

And there it was, just waiting, waving its hand frantically in the air like, "Pick me! Pick me!

We actually drove through the neighborhood about a month ago to look at a few of the houses for sale, including that one, and I was all, "No. I don't not want to live in this town. The backyard is too sloped. There's nothing here."

So that was the end of that until we ran out of choices and Tim was all, "We are out of choices. I'm going to go see of this house is okay before we drag everybody out there."

And by "this one" he meant a house a few doors down from the house we ended up loving.

He even asked if he should see the other house just because he was there and we were both like nahhhhh.

That was last Monday.

By Friday, I sent a text to our agent and said, "Let's go see this one (the one we had rejected twice now). Here we go again."

I say again because it was in the town I didn't want to be in and a house I didn't really want to see. But we had nothing else to look at. We had exhausted our options.

I think we have seen at least 25-30 homes, more if you count the ones we just drove by to see if we liked the area.

This is no small feat with two little ones and nap times and people who don't like being in the car, ever (here's lookin' at you, Hunter).

We had five houses to see on Saturday and the twice rejected house was the first on the list.

After walking in, I didn't want to go see any others.

This was IT.

This was THE HOUSE.

WHY DID IT TAKE US SO LONG TO SEE IT???

You guys. The room that will be Kellan's bedroom has this little reading nook they made by finishing off a small space behind a dormer window. It even has its own air conditioning vent, which hello, perfect for my book loving little furnace that is Kellan.

They had a perfect mix of living space and storage space in the basement.

They took care of their house.

You can tell when someone loves their home and keeps it nice versus someone who doesn't. We have seen and "felt" the insides of enough houses to know the difference.

This house was loved.

We walked around looking to see if there was anything that was amiss….and there wasn't. The storage space was even immaculate.

I almost left a note on the kitchen counter on the back of one of the flyers about the home that just said WE LOVE YOUR HOUSE.

Because we really, really did.

We told our agent we wanted to make an offer……and then we had to go see the rest of the houses on our list.

I didn't want to see anything else. I was done. But Tim was all, "We need to keep our options open because three failed contracts."

So, fine. Off we went.

In the middle of all of the driving and seeing the other houses, our agent was all, "Hard sell after seeing that one, huh?"

Well, yah. Obviously.

And then she told us that she called the other agent and someone else had already made an offer on the house that was perfect for us, but the owners weren't happy with the offer and weren't tied to it.

Small sigh of relief?

I mean we could have avoided this had we gone to look at this house the other two times we decided not to. We just like to add unnecessary drama to our lives, apparently.

After we sent in our offer, the other agent said he had to go back to the people who made the initial offer to see if they wanted to change anything or offer more money.

More waiting drama.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

And then finallllllly!!!!

We received the documents to sign to get a contract going to start the process of moving into the house that we knew was THE ONE.

(There was also a third offer mixed in there but whew. We beat them to the punch)

And then yesterday, it happened….

Wait…small sidebar first.

When we moved into our Arkansas house, we knew it was a house that had been loved. You can just tell. And we also loved that house. That has been our most favorite house ever and when we found out we were moving, we wanted to sell it to someone who would love it as much as we did.

Somehow, the right people found and bought our house. They had actually wanted to buy it when we did, but for whatever reason they didn't or we put the offer in first, I have no idea.

After they closed on it, they sent us a text asking some questions and when I responded I told them I hoped they enjoyed the house as much as we did.

Their response?

WE LOVE THIS HOUSE.

They also knew all of the previous owners (except us).

The universe made sure the right people bought our house and will love it and take care of it.

That's exactly what we wanted.

It sounds silly because it's just a house, but a house holds so many memories and important events in people's lives and there is a totally different feel when you are in a happy house.

End sidebar.

Yesterday, our realtor was over at the house because she had to let in an inspector and the family was there finishing up getting the last things out.

The wife came up to her and asked if she was the new owner. Our realtor said no and the wife went on to say that she said she had just felt connection with us/our offer, even though they had three offers.

She said that she was hoping I would be there because she really wanted to meet me to tell me about the neighborhood and show me where the kids lived and talk to me about the house and where they spent their time.

She asked our realtor if it was against the rules to ask about us or what age our kids were and gave her all of her contact information to give to me.

She hoped we would love it as much as they did and they were sad to leave.

They loved their home.

This is why that house felt like it was THE HOUSE the minute we walked in. It is the same kind of house we cherished in Arkansas and the same kind of house we have been searching for since we have been here.

The universe put this house in our path even though we rejected it more than once.

We should all know by now that if the universe is trying to get you to a place, you will get there. It will happen.

All of the failed contracts and wrong houses and inspection issues and driving everywhere and endless searching and feeling defeated over and over and over again.

It all led to this house.

The house that we were supposed to have all along.

I am so happy and excited about moving in.

It feels right.

It's perfect.

It's THE HOUSE.

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something from nothing

I want to write something funny but really I'm too tired for funny.

Apartment life with intermittent Sasquatch upstairs tromping around until the wee hours (what even are they doing?? These apartments aren't that big. How much walking and forgetting what you walked over for and walking back and raiding the refrigerator and whatever else is happening doing up there??) along with an almost eight month old who is going through some things like probably teething and trying to figure out how to sit down after pulling up on every single thing within reach leads to no sleep.

When Kellan was this age I read about how babies will literally roll over and put themselves into a crawling position in their sleep because their brains cannot stop making the body do all the things, even whilst unconscious, until they master the task.

With Kellan I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And it never happened.

Not once.

He woke up and practiced every letter sound there is, over and over and over, but there was never any of that crazy getting up to try and crawl away.

So, the other night when Hunter was totally zonked and out of nowhere rolled himself over and got into a crawling position and then started trying to pull up on me to stand all with his eyes closed, I was like ohhhhhhhhhhhh. So this is what they're talking about.

Yah. That was quite the surprise for ye olde mom over here.

I mean during the day Hunter will get himself standing, holding onto whatever, and then after a bit he will start crying because HOW DO I SIT DOWN???

He falls, pretty much. Not the slightest bit graceful. I guess the letting go and also getting into a sitting position is pretty technical if you actually think about all the steps you need to take.

I think that's what we're working on which is resulting in terrible naps and fitful night sleep.

Coffee me.

ALSO I'm basically one million percent mom + errand runner + chef + teacher + scheduler + house cleaner + whatever else it is I do all day because Tim + new job = crazy hours and incessant phone interruptions every day of the week.

It's difficult for everybody.

I appreciate all of his hard work to allow us to live the way we do where I can stay home, but that comes with sacrifices.

And so now I apparently just did something that made the font smaller and I have no idea how I am too tired lazy to fix it so FYI. I'm sure it'll fix itself after I publish it. Or it won't and we'll all be reading the small print from here on out (haha…punny).

I'm supposed to be making dinner, now.

Guess I better jump on that task because hangry is a condition every single one of us has and it's zero percent fun to have three people getting upset about nothing and a baby crying at everything because all any of us want to do is EAT but we are all too delirious with hunger to actually see that that is the issue and instead start blaming each other for ridiculous indiscretions that aren't even real.

the keeping room

I'm not sure if it's where we are living or the type of houses we are looking at or if I've just been living under a rock, but *apparently* the cool new (but not really because you'll see) thing to have in your house is a keeping room.

One of the first houses we looked at when we moved was a sell by owner type of deal. When we went to see the house, the entire family was there to show us every. little. thing. to try to explain why it was such an awesome place to live.

I appreciate the effort but I'd like to decide that for myself, since I'm the one who will be living here, now.

When we made it to the kitchen (because every room had a chapter of information to digest), the husband showed us this area off the kitchen and was all, "This is a keeping room. I had no idea what that was until we started selling this house. It was a room where they used to put pies to keep them warm."

He was really proud of this fact. He wanted everyone to know how amazing it was that they had a room that was supposed to be used to keep pies warm.

And so I'm looking into this room that had a full sized table and chairs and nice windows and I'm thinking, "What a colossal waste of space for a pie. Who even makes enough pie to fill this space? And even if one does make that much pie, it's probably only on Thanksgiving and even then you wouldn't want to use that whole space for pie. I can think of plenty things that need space during Thanksgiving and none of them are pies."

A keeping room.

What is even happening here?

Keeping rooms and movie rooms and full kitchens in the basement.

That has been the running theme during our house hunting.

Full on projector, giant screen, surround sound speaker system, mood lighting, recliner chairs. The whole bit.

And kitchens.

Two full kitchens in the house.

That's entirely too much work for me and another colossal waste of space.

One kitchen is enough.

Apparently the reason for all of this basement renovation is for the mother-in-law.

If you ask me, this upgrade to the mother-in-law suite has gotten way out of control to the point no one even sees her anymore because she's so busy in her full sized kitchen and movie room and separate garage entrance.

Everybody knows that the whole point of a mother-in-law is childcare. So why are we trying to take that away? What are we thinking? We're only punishing ourselves.

While we are on the topic of punishment, since when is it imperative for every bedroom to have their own full bathroom?

I had to share a bathroom with three boys until my mom made one for me downstairs when I was in high school. And even then everybody used it.

But now we all have our own bathrooms, complete with that many more toilets and showers and sinks to scrub.

Wow….have I gone waaaaay off course.

Keeping rooms.

It allllllllllll started with keeping rooms.

And turns out, they're not even for pies (a little FYI history link for you).

What a farce.

(But really we are probably buying a house with a keeping room and I have no idea how to decorate it. That's really what I wanted to say but that obviously never happened)

missed the turn, he did

We still haven't found a house.

Well, wait. Wait wait wait WAIT.

Let me rephrase.

We found one house that we absolutely LOVED and put a contract on it and then they decided they didn't want to sell it anymore.

We found another house that got all the way through inspection and then failed the radon piece of it in a big way. Nix that one.

We found another one and they don't want to sell it for a reasonable price and apparently are trying to make $150,000 (yes, I put the correct number of zeroes) off the sale of said house from what they bought it for a few years ago.

We ain't payin' for no college, unless it's our own kids, yo.

So. Off we go again today to see five more houses. Yesterday we saw two inside and drove by four more to see if we liked the neighborhood enough to explore more in depth.

We didn't, FYI.

Tim's company thinks we are being picky and are looking for a "dream" home and we are just like no. All we are trying to find is one that doesn't have holes down to the wood in the carpet, backs to a huge retention pond with a gate that has a door leading right into it in their backyard for small children to fall in, a door on the second story that leads directly to the hospital with a broken neck because they didn't want to upgrade to a deck option so when you open the door, there is nothing but a rickety wooden "gate" to keep you from taking a 15 foot drop to the ground below (why they didn't just put a window there is beyond me), wallpaper and paint in the darkest most awful colors….I mean we aren't going to be living here for lots of years. Only a few years.

And because we know we will be moving, we want a house we don't have to fix for 50% of the time we will live in it and only have 50% of the time to enjoy it. And then have to worry if we will get our money back out so we have money to put down on wherever we end up next. It's a vicious cycle and we know how to play the game and really, Tim's company, you should be more helpful.

It doesn't make it any easier that we are currently in a sellers market. So now, all these people are looking at their house through rose colored glasses thinking it's worth $150,000 more than it was five years ago.

(One hundred and fifty. thousand. dollars. I still cannot get over that.)

Capiche?

Anyway.

This morning while Tim was making pancakes and Kellan and Hunter were playing and I was drinking coffee, probably, I said what I have apparently been saying every time we are about to go see a house. Something exactly along the lines of, "I really hope we like one of these so we can put a contract on it and be done!"

Right after those words came out of my mouth Tim was like stop! You're jinxing us!

I was like what? No I'm not. That's ridiculous.

I told him I didn't believe in those sorts of things until he reminded me of all the old wives tales I made him do to try and get knocked up last year.

(Whatever. It worked.)

He saw that I knew he was right and so he looked at me like, "mmmmhmmmm you know you do."

Okay, fine. We all believe in those things.

Even if we don't want to admit it.

My favorite number is two and I prefer living in a house with an even address number.

THERE. I SAID IT.

Moving on.

Tim: "We need to try and mix it up a little."

As in, stop saying how much I hope we like one of the houses.

So I looked at him and deadpanned, "I REALLY DO NOT WANT TO GO DO THIS TODAY."

Tim's brain immediately goes into solve it mode. "I'll just go or you can go and I'll stay…."

I looked at him, waiting for him to catch on and he just looked back at me like what??? I'm trying to solve the problem! You don't want to go so just one of us can instead……..

Mix it up you said.

Change the words you said.

Missed the joke, you did.

And Tim, who is not one to like the fact that he missed out on a joke, was like, "You sounded so serious! It was so real! And whooooshhhhh! There was a left turn and I wasn't on it!"

For the rest of breakfast I was given the Actor of the Year award and Tim's brain was a broken record because he couldn't believe he could set up a joke so perfectly and then one second later, miss the bus.

Beep beep.

I am *that* mom

I am that mom who lets her kid wear whatever he wants. Mismatched socks. Shoes on the wrong feet. Shirt purposely backwards. 

I am also that mom who has no problem letting her kid wear costumes on any day he so chooses, to any place we happen to be going.

The grocery store was Gotham City today. Kellan made sure everyone knew the Night Stalking Vigilante was there along with Batgirl and Bat baby.

One grocery store employee was like, “I’m impressed you can even say vigilante.”

And I was just like, “You have nooooo idea what kind of vocabulary gold mine you’ve stumbled upon.”

If the store isn’t busy, Kellan will run in the open areas more than he will walk.

He will find the villains.

He will have complete conversations with people as Batman. I smile and play right along.

If we are all in, then we surely aren’t breaking character.

I am that mom and I have zero issue admitting to it. I encourage it. I allow it. I am not at all embarrassed by it.

I am proud of Kellan’s ability to bring the real world into his imagination and manipulate it in so many amazing ways.

Maybe once upon a time, before Kellan, I would have been appalled at the mere thought of one of my kids running around like that.

That sure was a silly thought.

Without having children, I would have missed the magic of a child being allowed to be himself and play freely.

The only way I can do that is because I stopped caring what others think. After a few days of mom life, I realized that trying to force a baby to do what “they” say he should do was not going to work. Kellan doesn’t play by those rules, and because of his determination to go against the norm, I’ve also thrown all of the books and advice columns out the window all, “This is not my kid. This will never be my kid. We are going to do this our own way. To hell with advice.”

And since then….life has been peaceful in that department. 

Though I’d be a millionaire if I had a dime for every time I heard:

“Your shirt is backwards.”

“Your socks don’t match.”

“Your shoes are on the wrong feet.”

“You’re wearing two different shoes.”

And to all those we just smile and say, “Yes, they are. That was the plan.”

Kellan picks out his outfits very carefully every morning. Every single item, head to toe, is planned out and has a reason and a purpose.

It is one of my favorite things for him to come out of his room to declare who he is for the day and see how he has decided to express that in his outfit.

There is no way I am ever discouraging his imagination and his desire to be who he is, regardless if society agrees.

Society has it completely backwards, if you ask me.

And really, I should know.

I live with Batman, afterall.

the picky eater vs the foodie

When Kellan was starting his transition from solely boob juice to people food, I had all of these really hairbrained ideas like purée-ing up a variety of veggies and making all sorts of fun meals and doing all kinds of fun stuff with food!

First purée Kellan tried?

Nuh-uh.

Second, third, and all of them went that way. He looked at me like, “If this is what people food is, I don’t want anything to do with it.”

(Really what I wanted to say was what his actual look said, but we are trying to be PG here)

I learned pretty quickly that there was this thing called baby led weaning and it basically went like this: put a food on the tray and see what happens.

The only acceptable foods were blueberries that I had to cut into quarters, a very specific brand of wheat toast with butter and cinnamon, yogurt with no fruit pieces, Cheerios (not the organic kind. General Mills, yellow box only), and probably one or two other things I am forgetting.

And during all of this I was thinking we were making progress and having some success and this is just how it works with  toddlers. They’re picky.

Then we went on play dates and lunch dates with friends the same age and OMG YOUR KID JUST ATE THAT??? HOW DID YOU DO THAT???

You don’t have to pack a special separate lunchbox of food?

You didn’t have to cut your apples a certain way???

They eat sandwiches????

You can order right off the menu?????

It was like seeing an impossible magic trick.

Not even kidding.

It took me ohhhhhhhhh probably until Mimi cut up Kellan’s toast “wrong,” to the point he wouldn’t eat it, even though it was made exactly the same way, for me to admit we had a picky eater.

Like level twenty when there are only five levels picky eater.

And nothing has changed except his repertoire of food. It has grown evvvvvvver so slightly.

It’s not like we don’t have him try new foods…over and over and over again. He still will not get on board with asparagus or grilled chicken or potatoes (unless they’re French and fried), or a large swath of other foods.

And we are brand specific, people. He knows the difference. He can smell if I used something other than what I usually do. 

This morning he told me his pancakes tasted different. Like “smoked pancakes” he said. And sure enough, because the temporary apartment we are living in doesn’t have a microwave (I know), I had to heat them up in a pan (barbaric), and one of them got a little too hot and burned ever so slightly with a little bit of smoke involved….and his astute senses sniffed it out.

The other day I tried using a new kind of bread and it had small seeds – completely undetectable if you’re having a sandwich type seeds – and he took one bite and was all, “Does this have….seeds in it?”

Yes.

I don’t like it.

Well okay then.

The only vegetables I can get him to eat are baby carrots and snap peas. Both have to be raw. The only acceptable meat is crock pot BBQ chicken and “sloppy beef” (sloppy Joe’s). Sometimes deli ham but only a specific kind from Whole Foods and it has to be sliced to a certain thickness. Oh! I can put spinach in smoothies and he’ll drink those. Or if we make juice with beets and carrots and spinach and apples and cucumbers he will drink it. But he will legit gag eating a spinach leaf. Or a cucumber.

He’s tried broccoli, asparagus, squash, tomatoes (reallllly doesn’t like those unless it is marinara), zucchini, salad style lettuces….salmon, shrimp, steak…..and he will protest and make the most detestable faces every single time they are presented to him.

We are pretty diverse with fruit…well really okay, let’s be real. Apples (no red or golden delicious or Granny Smith), watermelon, pomegranates, Asian and Bosc pears, peaches and nectarines, sometimes bananas and blueberries and grapes. That’s our diversity. We don’t eat bananas unless they are at that perfectly ripe phase. No soft blueberries or grapes and no grapes that “taste funny.”

I’d say he likes carbs but again….only certain kinds. We are specific with our mac and cheese brands, style of pasta for “pasta and Parmesan,” and he will sometimes have toast and a PBJ or grilled cheese.

He also only really likes a very specific kind of cheddar cheese. He says others are too salty.

Only some kinds of pizza places are okay. There was one restaurant in Arkansas where Tim loved to get the pepperoni pizza but Kellan would leave the table or ask him not to order it because he couldn’t deal with the smell.

So, if the point isn’t clear yet, Kellan is really particular about food. And we have just kind of accepted this as his normal. We always make sure we have a snack packed for him because eating at a restaurant is really a lost cause because he just eats his apples and milk and cheese we packed.

I want you to know and understand that that was the level where my bar was set regarding adventurous eating when Hunter came along.

Kellan knows what he likes and doesn’t and as long as I don’t forget the lunchbox, everybody will be fine. 

And so now, as we begin embarking on people food with Hunter, it turns out that he plays by a completely different set of rules.

Hunter is not at all interested in wondering what he’s eating. 

He just wants to eat it all.

Whatever it is you have, he wants it, even if his body is not physically or developmentally prepared for it.

He will yell at you and get very upset if you don’t share.

Sharing is caring, mom.

He loves eating all food.

He does not discriminate.

Just today he ate everything that Kellan loathes: oatmeal, cooked broccoli and carrots, and bananas waaaaaay past the perfectly ripe stage.

Now I experience the complete opposite ends of the spectrum at every meal and I am still shocked every time like what?! 

You want to eat that???

And you want more??

You like it????

You mean we get to order off the menu?????

(While Kellan happily eats his apples and cheese and milk) 

rugs to radon

You know when you had this whole plan and it all seemed like it was going to work out, so much so that you started putting a lot of time and energy into acting on the plan and then even started writing a blog post regarding some of those pieces parts about said plan….and then.

AND. THEN.

You’re so funny, universe. I know you’re actually looking out for us but really. So funny. Appreciate it and all but still. Here we go again.

SO. The plan gets a kink and the kink is so serious that you’re not even sure if you’re going to carry out the plan anymore.

Hello, welcome to my life, the current edition.

Of course this allllllllllll revolves around the hazmat house. And this time it’s actually living up to its name! Way to be a team player, house. I guess if you describe a thing a certain way enough times it ends up taking on those properties. Murphys Law or something.

Probably not Murphy at all but definitely some kind of law the universe has in place.

Anyway.

We are in the process of having appraisals and inspections and all completed and yesterday we received the radon report.

What’s radon, you say?

You have no idea what I’m talking about?

Sidebar: If you live in Colorado, I hope I’m not talking to you.

Quick science lesson for everybody else: 

And if anybody has a better lesson on this or if I am describing this improperly, please share.

Radon is a gas that is created by the natural breakdown of uranium in soil. It comes up from said soil into your house. When you have this gas in an enclosed and well insulated/sealed area like a house, it floats around until it exhausts its half life, which is around 4 minutes and that is plenty of time for the particles to get into your lungs. Having this happen day after day, year after year can cause lung cancer. Because radon is a carcinogen and carcinogens are super bad for your body. Radon is more prevalent in some areas of the country (looking at you, Colorado…and now apparently also South Carolina…) and it is also more frequently an issue when you have a basement.

Usually you have a radon mitigation system in your house to combat this. It is a pipe that goes from the ground to outside to vent the gas. It doesn’t remove it completely but it gets rid of enough of it to get it to lower levels. Still a carcinogen…just not as much. Really that sounds ridiculous but it is what it is…because radon is everywhere.

The hazmat house said it had a mitigation system.

The radon test result said that mitigation system is not doing its job.

Levels that warrant intervention are at 4…..okay really it’s way more complicated than you probably want to know.

Brass tax is the house radon levels are high and we are concerned. I don’t want any of us exposed to a carcinogen at levels that are putting us at a much higher than average percentage of developing lung cancer. 

Yes, we know the system can be fixed. But the big question is will it really BE FIXED? Yes, they’ll do another 2 day test and it that comes back as acceptable…and we say we will go ahead with the sale…….

Okay really. It feels like I’m trying to justify us eating bowls of fried sugar washed down with soda and driving around without seatbelts – and we do not do any of those, for the record.
The most accurate radon test is 90 days and if we decide to buy the house and then do the 90 day test and find out that radon is still a big issue….mitigation system or not….then what

Do you see where I am going with all of this?

And to think this post was going to be about the distress we were having about how difficult and confusing it is to buy an area rug…..one email later and look where we are now.