Settling

It happened! We finally bought our new home.

Thank you for your patience while we get unpacked and settled into our new place. We are so thrilled where we are and couldn’t be happier. We took a much needed break to relax and enjoy our new space. It isn’t finished by any means, but I don’t have any more boxes to unpack. (That’s a victory in itself!)Pictures still need to go on the walls and nearly every wall needs to be painted, but we have time for that, right?

I mentioned how this home was an answer to prayer, and I guess now is as good a time as any to explain what exactly happened. This was a long process for us. We originally decided back in July 2015 that we would need to prepare for our next home. We decided that once we paid off all our debt and saved enough money for a down payment, we would list our current home in Connecticut. So fast forward to April 2016, all of the above were completed. We prepped our house for sale, got it listed, and waited. And waited. And waited.

Hundred of showings. Dozens of open houses. One lowball offer. And so our house stayed on the market for what seemed like a lifetime. Not to mention, we had our third baby at the end of May, so our life was a little crazy. Now that I look back on this past year, I don’t know how we did it. Our life was so up in the air, with a newborn, and it was hard to plan anything. We knew God had a plan and were completely content in that. However, how long would this be? How long would we need to wait?

The interesting thing about moving is we originally weren’t planning on relocating to New Hampshire. My husband got a promotion this past August, but was offered it back in March. The timing worked out well (and completely divine) because we knew that when we listed our home, we would no longer buy in Connecticut but relocate. Connecticut had been so good for our family (friends and church), but we were looking for a place closer to family, a little slower pace, better cost of living, and better schools. I grew up in Southern NH, so we knew it was a good move for our family. Plus it would be closer to my husband’s corporate office and more central to all the branches in his company and close to airports. 

So back to the waiting. We listed our home on April 15 and didn’t get under contract until December 5. It was long. It was painful. But we grew. We knew God had us staying where we were for some reason. But even though we knew that, it was still hard to be joyful through the entire process. I wish I could say we were happy and content through it all, but I would be lying. But ultimately we were confident in Him and are thrilled where we ended up! 

We put an offer on a home at the end of December, but it didn’t go through. What at first was very discouraging at a time where nothing was going to plan, it turned out that  And was another God thing too. We wouldn’t be where we are now if we bought that place. We ended up closing on our home in Connecticut on January 21, and the entire earth heard a sigh of relief. Our family packed up and moved into my parent’s house in New Hampshire.

I am so thankful we had a familiar landing pad, because our poor kids had been in a state of limbo for so long. Even though as parents we put on a brave face, kids can read through that. The first couple weeks were tough for Levi (age 2), but it was an awesome transition in general. Even considering the whole dynamic- my dad and husband work together, from home, and my mom works from home. We have three kids under four, so that brings a certain level of noise… I am so thankful my parents graciously opened their home to us and all of the activity that comes with us! We had such a wonderful few months with them. In Connecticut we were 2.5 hours away, so there’s only so many weekend trips you can do. This was such a great time to spend with the grandparents, making memories and enjoying time together.

We waited (im)patiently while living at my parent’s for homes to come on the market. The unfortunate part about moving in January is that there isn’t much to choose from. But then finally, FINALLY, on March 28 (my birthday! Best present ever!) we went under contract with our new home. And then time FLEW. Before we knew it we were closed, e packing up the truck and moving in, rain and all. We were so desperate to put down our roots again!

It was a year. We listed our last home on April 15, and closed on the new one on April 21. One year of waiting. One year of limbo. A year of lessons and stretching. But we are even more grateful now than if we didn’t have to wait! 

Shout out to my amazing husband who has been my rock and strength through it all. He’s done more unpacking, organizing, cleaning, and building than I have, on top of his full time (plus!) job and traveling. I am so thankful for him.

So please forgive me as we find our new normal. As the house comes together I am slowly finding my motivation to blog again. If you want to see more details of our day, go check us out on Instagram and my Instastories. I am also so excited to add in another passion of mineto the blog- interior design- now that we have a home again! Stay tuned for updates on our place and what we’ve done so far, including our current project of finishing the basement!

 

 

What to do with Young Children During Showings

Congratulations! You put your home on the market and have successfully prepped for a showing. But, now what do you do with yourself and the kids? Here are some tried and true ideas for what to do during a showing!

Play dates: I tried to schedule playdates around showings so the kids would be entertained outside of the house. We had a fun activity to pass the time during the showing, and we could spend some time with friends.

Park (during summer/nice days)

Chick fil A/indoor playplace (rainy/cold days)

Library

Errands (Grocery shopping, post office, etc.) Although let’s be honest, this one is less than ideal. Errands with three (young) kids is inviting a disaster…

Car Movie Theater: the biggest hesitancy to do things with my kids is the sheer frustration of the bucking/unbuckling and jackets, hats, (times 3!) in the colder months. Something that worked well with minimal effort was to keep the kids buckled in and put a movie on the iPad/phone/device. The big kids are occupied and I bought myself a few minutes of relative quietness. I would just need to entertain the baby!

Hope this helps fuel some ideas for what to do during a showing! Do you have any suggestions of what worked for you? Share below!

Life Lately

To put it simply, life has been a bit overwhelming. I took an unintentional but much needed break from blogging and IG and all that. Here is one of the main reasons why…

We moved!


But back to chronological order. Scarlett had her first visit to the ER a few weeks ago. The kids were being a little wild and despite my attempts to calm them down, it finally ended up with someone getting hurt. Scarlett smashed her face into a glass vase and ended up getting two stitches. She was so tough! My angel of a friend watched the two younger kids and I was beyond grateful. The ER had a crazy wait before we even got to see a doctor! She was so calm and didn’t even cry during the procedure. “No crying, just tears.” She said.
Right when we got admitted. Even with a sliced lip she’s the cutest!


Watching these girls bond is the best thing in the world!


We were then hit with the plague. Eloise got it first, but Levi got it the worst. The poor thing was down for the count for a loooong time. Then Scarlett got it, then Eloise again. December was a tough health month!

Poor Levi. He was so bad off for a few days! I didn’t mind the cuddles though.

We took a short day and a half trip to New Hampshire to go to Marcus’ work party and to check out some houses. I had everything packed, but somehow the suitcase didn’t end up in the car. So after we got to my parent’s house we went and saw a few houses, then ran to TJ Maxx and the grocery store for party clothes and diapers. Nothing like forcing you to be a little more flexible, right?

So on Christmas Eve we decided to put an offer on one of the houses. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t meant to be.  Apparently someone as crazy as us submitted an offer on Christmas Eve too? We ducked out of a bidding war. No point in overspending on a home.

We had such a wonderful Christmas! We stayed home with the exception of my run with my sister. There is nothing like relaxing and enjoying the day with your kids.

Marcus and Eloise when she had round 2 of the cold on Christmas Day. A man and his baby=cutest ever.


Eloise turned seven months old! She is now crawling, pulling up, and moving more than I have the energy for. She’s obsessed with the cats and will scream at them. We love her so!


Our friends from Florida came up for a week and we showed them what winter in New England is all about! We took a 24 hour trip to NH so they could experience snow.


Eloise is still unsure about it.


While at my mom’s house I discovered this gem. I’m the baby on the left: Eloise is the spitting image of me as a baby!


We made a trip to NYC on the train the next day. Because we are crazy like that. But we had a great time!  We didn’t get to bed until after midnight that night. It was  totally worth it!

Somehow Eloise slept the entire time on the train. One less baby to chase=thankful!

The kids and I at dinner. As crazy as life is with three kids three and under, it is totally worth it!

Date night with my sister and brother in law and our friends! Went to a new restaurant in New Haven called Olives and Oil. So good!


I am trying to take more individual pictures of my kids. It’s so tough to when they are all so young! Can you even stand how cute they are?!

This girl. So sweet. So caring.

How handsome is he? And so smart. So silly.

Marcus’ grandfather’s health had declined. Marcus went to Maryland Sunday night and was able to spend the last days with him before he passed. He was a great man!

Packing, crawler edition.

How to pack a house when your kids are young: screen time FTW.

The big day finally arrived! I’m still in denial we moved out. We will miss our first home!


And that’s been the past month. So now we are settling into my parent’s house and waiting (im)patiently for homes to come on the market. Levi has figured out how to get out of his crib, so we are now battling the escapee toddler syndrome. Please, oh please send advice my way. How did you get past this stage? All the tactics we used with Scarlett have been futile. Help!

Prepping for a Showing When You Have Young Children

Prepping for a showing is hard work, nevermind adding children to the mix. If you are considering selling your home and you have kids, let me just say a little prayer for you right now because yeah… it isn’t easy. But it is totally doable! Continuing on with the home selling series, we are moving onto how to prep for a showing.

Plan Ahead

More than likely, you will have some lead time before a showing. I would do as much work as possible ahead of time so that when the showing was close, we wouldn’t be stressed. If I had a day’s notice I would vacuum, mop, and declutter as much as possible the night before. The more cleaning I could do when the kids were sleeping, the better! The day of the showing I would do the final cleaning and tidying, but when the kids were awake I was far less efficient.

Have Designated Drop Zones

Prepping for showings was a lot of work. Adding children (miniature tornados) takes that to another level. If I was cleaning for a showing, no doubt that there would be a mess made where I just cleaned up. Usually we were pressed for time trying to get out the door, so we had designated areas where we would just throw things. We had a junk drawer and cabinet in the kitchen, the dryer in the bathroom/laundry room, laundry basket in the master bathroom, and laundry baskets in the kids’ rooms. The house looked clean, which is all that mattered! Was it organized? No. But I just dealt with that later.

Give the Kids an Activity

In order to prepare the house how I wanted for a showing, I needed some dedicated cleaning time. Sometimes (a lot of the time) that meant cleaning when I was home alone with the kids. While cleaning with kids is great, all moms know that it isn’t exactly the most productive or efficient method. What I would do is have the kids near me (in a bedroom or living room) and give them toys and ask them to stay there while I tidy. This usually worked out pretty well. I could clean the bathrooms while having the kids in earshot, but not have them underfoot. If I was downstairs and I needed to mop, I would set up an activity (nothing complicated or messy) on the kitchen island and that would occupy them while I did my work. Or there is always the option of a show/movie. You gotta do what works to get things done! Were they always perfect? No. But it helped most of the time!

Get ready, then Get Out!

As soon as the house was ready, we would leave. Even if it was a few hours before the showing: the longer I was home, the bigger the mess that was made. Especially if we were approaching a mealtime. That is just how life is with kids! I would do as much as possible and then get out of the house for the meal itself. Any parent who has kids knows that the mess only increases exponentially when food is involved!

Be Reasonable

When we first started showing our home, I went a little overboard with cleaning and decluttering. I went as far as hiding the cat food and water bowls, drying rack, and turning every light on in the house. In hindsight it was unnecessary and only added more stress. People who are looking at your home understand that you actually live there. Leaving daily-living items out won’t stop them from liking your home. Put laundry away, open the blinds, and pick up, of course, but don’t go overboard like I did.

Ask (Or Pay) For Help

We are so fortunate to have a great group of friends and neighbors. I know for a fact that I could call on them if I needed an extra hand cleaning or watching the kids. Do yourself a favor and ask for help if you need it! That is what friends are for. Showing your home can be very stressful, so any extra help you can get is great. If you don’t have friends around or no one is available to help, consider paying someone to help clean your home or watch the kids for a few hours. A few dollars can go a long way to help preserve your sanity! Consider it an investment.

 

The reality of having your home on the market is that you need to be flexible. You won’t always have a lot of time to prep for showings. My biggest piece of advice would be to never turn away a showing. Even if you only have an hour to prepare, do what you can and let it be. They might love it regardless! I am a licensed realtor myself, so I am speaking from experience. (And if you do have real estate questions, feel free to contact me!) I really hope this helped. It isn’t an easy feat, but it can be done. And as long as you hire a good realtor and are realistic, your home should sell in no time! Good luck!

Have you missed the other posts in the series? Check out Selling Your Home When You Have Young Children and We’ve Been Keeping A Secret.

We’ve Been Keeping A Secret…

Some of you know that our house has been on the market. What you may not know is that it has been on the market since April. April 15, to be exact. Our family had entered a season of waiting. Patience. Anxiety. Confusion. Hope. Having your home on the market for eight months can be taxing on you mentally and wear on your relationships. So. Many. Showings. But after nearly eight months…

We are under contract!

 

This was a lesson for us in being patient in God’s timing, not our own. We thought we would be moved at this point. We thought we would already be in a new home. Honestly, I thought we would be under contract before Eloise was born- six months ago. But God had different plans. I will be completely honest and admit that this has been very hard for me. Patience has never been my strong suit. But, this pause in our lives has caused me to draw closer to God. We saw the doors open so clearly to move and put our home on the market, only to have it sit. But I learned that instead of leaning on my own understanding, I need to go to God first when I am confused. Reach out to Him when things aren’t how I planned. That is the wonderful thing about having a relationship with Him- He knows my heart. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He wants me to lean on Him when I am weak. He is fine that I am not strong. His blessings are not dependent on my works or merit, and he loved me just the same!

This was our first home. The home we brought all our babies home to. The place we celebrated four (almost five!) Christmases. The place we lived when my brother came home from the Army. The home where we saw four anniversaries. We celebrated many birthdays, had lots of parties, holidays, and basically any excuse to have friends over. We had many dinners with friends and sleepovers. But our time at this home and chapter of our lives has (finally) come to a close.

So if you are still with me, here is part two. We are moving, but not staying in Connecticut. We are moving to…

New Hampshire!

We are so excited to move to be closer to family. We love Connecticut, but we are in love with the idea of more land, lower cost of living, a slower pace of life, and of course, family. We have been in Connecticut for seven years now, so it will be a huge adjustment! Not only are we moving near family, but we are moving in WITH family. Until we buy a home, we are moving in with my parents (gulp). But honestly, we are so thankful we have a familiar landing spot while we get acclimated! Stay tuned for more updates on our adventure!