Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We'll (soon) Call This Fixer Upper "Home"

A quick update...

We got the house! It's not official until July 1, our expected closing date, but we're pumped. It seems like it might be a good idea to get some rest before the hard work begins, but there's no time for rest! We're jumping right back into "life on the isthmus." Our days are filled with swimming lessons, ultimate frisbee, paperwork (for leases, a closing, a mortgage, my new job, my dietitian certification, and 4-year-old kindergarten enrollment) and some fun outings!

Here is a link to some pictures of our fixer upper. Hopefully they stay posted for a bit despite our pending purchase. Before you take a peek, know that we are not going to live in it during the renovation! God provides: we just signed a lease for a 3 bedroom house 0.1 miles away from our new house. We can stay until May 31, 2016, although hope to be out by January.

Yesterday I facetime-d with Nate's sister, Anne, who is living through (and in) a renovation. I could feel the weight lifted from her shoulders when I told her that we are not planning to live in our new house while we remodel. Check out her blog post from yesterday for a beautiful video tour of their house in progress. You're amazing, Anne, and I can't wait to visit and drink a glass of wine together, regardless of the state of your home.

After checking out the rental house on Monday, we walked over to the new house and walked around the outside. The neighbors came out and were thrilled to hear that someone bought the house. I was excited to meet them - they seem so "Madison" - telling me that they only have one car (a Prius) and are lucky enough to bike to work, which for the woman happens to be Louisa's new school, Lowell Elementary.

All these bits of good news have been great distractors to the crazy hours when I'm home alone with the three kids. They are all so wonderful most of the time, unless Louisa and Cora are racing to close bedroom doors (so Ries doesn't stress-poop on the carpets), push elevator buttons, or demanding me! pink/purple/orange/green!!! as I'm taking cups/bowls/plates out for a meal or snack. Sigh. On the bright side, Cora and Peter are consistently napping at the same time most afternoons while Louisa has a quiet time (which is an actual nap 30% of the time) in her room. Naps, glorious naps!

If these kids drive me too too crazy, I remember some funny things Louisa says, like yesterday's quotes:

1) Mom, when Cora and I turn 16, we'll have to buy some bigger dress-ups that fit us! 

2) I've never had a day like today. (What do you mean Lou?) Where we go to frisbee first and then eat dinner. Have you had a day like today, Mom? (Yes, Louisa, I think I ate dinner after frisbee games a couple of times) Oh, was it before I was born? 

Or maybe I just watch this:

or this:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Life on the Isthmus, Take 2

Before we moved to California and renamed our blog "Life in the Valley," it was called "Life on the Isthmus," which is actually fitting again while we're in corporate housing. We're living in a nice, 2-bedroom apartment in a new complex a couple blocks off State Street. For those of you who haven't been to Madison, State Street is long strip of restaurants and shops that connects the University campus to the capitol building. Despite having three kids and a dog on the fourth floor of a high-rise apartment complex, we kind of like it! The kids and I have already walked to the library, the park/beach, the children's museum and two different ice cream spots. Our single B.O.B. stroller is serving us well, with Peter in the infant carseat and Cora wedged onto the front triangle "seat."

The fantastic kid zone in the central library

Not sure if it's quite true, but I like the idea

The terrace, our first stop for Babcock ice cream

A view of the capitol and the isthmus, near where we were engaged in 2006

Silly sisters at the beach

We'll be in the apartment until we buy a house, a process that has been mostly enjoyable thus far. Nate and I agree on our preferred neighborhood, which is east of the capitol, called Atwood-Schenk. This neighborhood has an awesome community vibe to it and is walkable to restaurants, shops, parks and the lake. The only downside to the neighborhood is it's popularity. For-Sale signs are hard to come by and when you do find one, the houses are expensive or run down, or both. But we're trying to be patient because living there would be a great compromise between wanting to be in Madison while working in Waterloo (Nate). I have to clarify whose working where, because I just accepted a job today! I'll be at UW Health's new facility on the far east side, called The American Center. I'll work 3 days each week as an outpatient dietitian, starting August 3rd.

But back to the fun stuff: the house hunt! I'm reluctant to post these photos, because we'll find out tonight if it's still a possible purchase or not, but here is the house we want to buy. Our first offer was very low and as a result, rejected outright. We waited a few weeks and planned to wait longer, but heard that the seller received another offer last night. So we jumped in with a more competitive offer. This one has kept Nate up at night while he envisions gutting and rebuilding. We're pretty sure he (and some contractors) could make it an amazing house for us. Never fear, those of you who might wonder if we've considered what we'd be getting ourselves into. We've prayed and talked a TON about the immensity of the project, and we really want to take it on! But again, we'll soon see if it's in the cards or not, because they may reject us again or bring a counter offer that is higher than we're willing to pay.

I'll leave you with some photos of some apartment happenings. We're super proud of Cora for becoming a "big girl" (as we call being potty trained) during a huge transition time. As every mother knows, it's so awesome to cut your diaper (buying or washing) budget in half!

Yay Cora!

Peter manages to catch his naps anywhere he can

This looks staged, but Louisa could sing and dance with Peter all day

See Where Our Pictures Were Taken