Friday, March 25, 2016

"Made In Germany"

Our new "Made In Germany" order is on its way but takes 36-40 weeks to arrive. We will be a family of five later this year!!!!! We are very excited to welcome another child to our family! (I am also excited to not be having a baby in the cold of winter!)

Speaking of excited, the girls are super excited. They really want a little brother and have named the baby multiple times already. The give "the baby" kisses and hugs, which makes me happy. We will see how much they love their little sibling when the baby actually arrives.

This will be our first delivery with the military so I will try to keep the blog updated with how it differs from a civilian birth. It's been a rocky pregnancy so far but I'm hoping things get easier from here on out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Staging a house for a quick PCS Sale

Have you wondered how to stage your house so you can sell it quickly when you have to PCS on short notice? I am here to show you how I did it and received a full price offer within 48 hours of listing.

We had been slowly working on remodeling the house over the last few years but when we got Scott's training date for OTS about 3 weeks before he had to leave things really got bumped up! I had fractured the bones in my toes in lots of crazy places and was just really getting mobile by the time he left for training and I had to get a lot of the painting and things done without him around. Then we found out that we were moving overseas and Scott was supposed to report to Germany just 5 days after graduation without even coming home! (Things didn't go exactly like that, but that's a story for another post!)  It made for a crazy summer! BUT, we were able to get it all done with a lot of help from neighbors and our family who lived a few hours away and made lots of trips down to help us.

We rented a storage unit for some of the big things and de-cluttered like crazy before putting the house on the market. We took down almost all personal decoration on the walls and replaced them with generic decorations so that anyone would be able to picture the house as theirs. I know for me I have a hard time looking at someone's house and picturing it as mine when pictures of the family are looking down at me from every wall!

I stalked Tai Pan Trading, Hobby Lobby, Walmart and a few other local home decor places and bought almost everything on clearance. Most of the pictures for the walls I was able to get for less than $10 a piece, some for just $1. Do I love all of them with all my heart? Not necessarily but they are fairly generic and made the house look finished and decorated without distracting from the house itself. The one thing I splurged on was the large mirror in the living room over the fireplace since the fireplace was the big focal point in the room and the mirror needed to be a specific shape and color to tie in in with the sconces above the fireplace.

When painting I chose very generic colors, sands and dark creams that wouldn't turn off a potential buyer and I used the same color in multiple rooms so that things would flow nicely. I left all the extra paint in the basement for the new owners.

When I was choosing a realtor I interviewed several on the phone. I ended up choosing our realtor because I got a good vibe from him, he worked locally, had great recommendations from people I know, he wasn't intimidated by needing to sell in 5 weeks and he used a professional photographer. The photographer part was really important to me since I didn't want cell phone pictures used in our listing!

This is what our lovely historic home looked like after I stripped wallpaper for weeks and painted like there was no tomorrow (cause there really wasn't, we had a deadline). Borrowing a carpet cleaner from our neighbor and doing all the carpets myself saved us a ton of money and made a world of difference with our old carpets.

The view from the street

The Backyard/garage
(it's hard to see but there are 3 fruit trees growing back there). I bought a zillion mums to plant in the backyard and in the pots on the front porch. Flowers are an easy way to fill in empty areas, add color and interest to your yard and make it look finished.

The Entry Way 
Notice the very generic picture over the chair? Cost me only $7, it's huge and it tied in all the living room colors from the other side of the room.

 Living Room
We kept the mantle very simple and used the rule of odd numbers to be visually appealing.

Master Bedroom, just off of the living room
This room had the weirdest carpet (not quite as weird as it looks in the photo though!) and wallpaper but replacing carpet wasn't in the budget nor did we have the time. And there was no time to paint this room. So, we replaced the bedding with a solid color that appeals to a wide range of people and made that the focus along with a few black and white prints of Venice to tie in to the black and cream pillows on the bed.  The framed prints of Venice came from Tai Pan Trading at $3.50 each. There is another one on the wall to the right of the camera.

 The Girl's Room 
I do wish the photographer had let me move the items from under the bed before the photos but he was a speedy photographer! This is the same creamy sand paint from the living room with simple white curtains and solid colored bedding. There are cute, generic girls room pictures on the two walls that you cant see.

We had already finished the bathroom a few months before all of this craziness, thank goodness. When we bought it the bathroom had the original pink tile and floral wallpaper and the tiniest bathtub. This was the biggest project as it had to be gutted and totally redone. All of the finishings are very neutral. This is the only bathroom so we had to make it look good.

The Kitchen
This was the other room that we didn't do as much to. I did paint all the trim and doors white since they were a strange almond color and very dingy looking. Did you know they sell wallpaper glue in little tubes so you can reseal wallpaper that is beginning to peel along the seams? Pretty cheap and it makes a huge difference. We cleaned and sealed the wallpaper, painted the trim and doors and just made sure everything else was squeaky clean and uncluttered.

Downstairs Bedroom 
We always used it as a playroom but staged it as a bedroom for the listing. Aside from the solid colored bedding and the pictures on the walls everything else we already owned and just re-purposed.

Downstairs Storage Area 
The basement is only half finished and this is the unfinished storage area. The laundry area is in the other half of the open space in the basement but wasn't really photo worthy. All the shelves are the same type and we tried to just made everything look neat and organized.

 No pictures were taken of the other massive bedroom in the basement. It was the final project that I finished the night before the house went on the market. It is twice the size of the other downstairs bedroom and we used it as a craft room/office. There is also a very large pantry in the basement that didn't get pictured along with an under the stairs storage area where Scott kept his tools. Not every room has to be pictured in the listing. It can create a desire to go see the house and see what else there is that wasn't in the pictures.

With a tight deadline we had to be selective about what things we were able to get done. I couldn't get it all done so I picked the things that I thought would have the biggest impact and made those my priority.  For example: I really wanted to take down the wallpaper in the kitchen but then I discovered that the ceiling had white wallpaper on it (who wallpapers the ceiling!?!?) that overlapped the wallpaper on the walls and I knew that was just too big of a project for our time frame. Would I have loved to have the whole house perfect? Yes, but if just wasn't possible with our time frame.

It was a super crazy process but getting that full priced offer within 48 hours made all the sleepless nights, paint splattered clothes, trips to the storage unit and fast food worth it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Four Is Better Than Ten

Four broken bones in one foot isn't the way I had hoped to start out a week where I had planned on making some serious progress on getting our house ready to sell. Life threw me for a loop, for sure! 

After a less than graceful descent down some stairs, the ensuing trips to: the Insta-Care, the Emergency Room and a podiatrist, I finally had my foot fixed up and sent home. A week has passed and I get more x-rays tomorrow and will hopefully know more about how long healing will take.

It's been a long week of staying off my foot and trying to rest. I always think that sitting around with nothing to do but watch movies and read books would be great but its not! I keep looking around at all the wallpaper that I want to be stripping and the walls I want to be painting and it's driving me a bit bonkers!! Asking for and accepting help is incredibly hard for me but I am very grateful for the wonderful family and friends that have brought by meals for us and checked in on me!

My view over the last week! 

An interesting hiccup of the situation is that a month ago I signed my girls up for swim lessons that started today. Guess who is now going to the "Mommy and Me" swim lesson with Thing 2 in my stead for the next few weeks? What do you want to bet he's the only dad lucky enough to be there?

Don't they make a cute group? Scott has been a life saver in so many ways over the past week! Our house has never been so clean! (puts me to shame) The girls love all the extra one-on-one time with Daddy and they really thrive around him. The longer we are married the more I love and appreciate this awesome guy, he truly is my better half!

He even had the girls pick out flowers to cheer their mommy up. They were so excited to bring them home for me!

This is my first broken bone so I am curious, what bones have you broken and how long was the recovery?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Most Inspirational Woman I Know

There are some people in life that you meet and never forget. My mom is one of those people. Her warmth and love touch everyone she meets, however brief that meeting. Her laugh is infectious and comes easily and often. Happiness just seems to follow her.

(My mom at my wedding reception)

When I was little and people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I most often said I wanted to be a mom. Nurse, dancer, singer, etc... were also sprinkled in there occasionally but I always came back to being a mother. There is a very simple explanation for why I wanted to be a mom. My mother is THE BEST.

If you were to look my name up in the dictionary the word stubborn just might be listed as the definition. Despite this my mother has always loved me and showed me unconditional love, even though I didn't always see it or appreciate it. The definition after her name would be love, joy and patience.
(mother's weekend my first year of college)

My mom's brain is overflowing with knowledge. When she wants to know something, she learns it. She knows a little bit about just about everything and more about the things she really cares about and she has the memory of an elephant, she never forgets! Not only does she know things but she possesses the ability to explain things on different levels. She gauges her response to each persons understanding and maturity and is a magnificent teacher.

As the youngest of seven I spent quite a bit of one-on-one time with my mom and leaned on her and learned from her in so many ways (definitely a mommy's girl). She taught me how to bake, and sew among other things and now she teaches those things to my girls.

I don't think she has ever killed a plant in her life, she has the greenest thumb you'll ever see and willingly shares that knowledge and love.

My parents instilled in me a love of reading, and every time my kids are with my mom they are begging her to read to them and she happily obliges, mush to their delight.

She is committed to serving others and finds joy in giving.  She serves everyone around her, with a smile. When each of my babies has been born she has come down and taken care of us all! I couldn't have done it without her love and support and gentle way of teaching me what I need to know to be a good mom.

There are some people in life who seem to always find joy in something.  My mother is one of those people. I am so blessed to have her as my mother and the grandmother to my children. She inspires me to not compare myself to others but to just be myself as a wife and mother and reassures me that that is more than enough. I love you mom!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Air Force Job

We finally heard back!!! Yay!! You might remember from some previous posts that over a year ago when Scott was accepted into the Delayed Entry Program he was initially offered a job that he was okay with, signed the 8 year contract and then when they realized he was colorblind they withdrew that job offer, understandably. They have been looking for a new job to offer him and we have been waiting patiently (well..mostly patiently!) for them to find one.

It had been so long since we had heard anything definite that we had started looking into other career options when Scott got THE PHONE CALL a couple weeks ago. They called on a Thursday afternoon with the new job offer and gave us until Monday to decide if we wanted it. It was a long weekend of introspection, research into the job and praying. Monday morning Scott sent off his acceptance letter and received his training date for O.T.S. at Maxwell A.F.B. Wahoo!!! This new job offer really opens up the options of where we could be stationed at, which is exhilarating!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I'm still having a little trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that it is actually going to happen and that we are headed for an Air Force life. Overall we are very excited and looking forward to the opportunities this life will bring.

I've been busy trying to make a plan for getting the house de-cluttered, garage-saled (is that a word?) and ready to sell. I am a bit of a pack rat so this is rather time consuming! Also, I am trying to get all of our paperwork super organized and throw out anything I don't have to keep. I don't want to be moving things around with us that we don't need or use.

 I've also been doing some (okay, a lot of) reading about moving with the Air Force and looking into different bases. I think that Scott might secretly think my spreadsheet about the pros and cons of different bases is a bit silly, but it helps me remember, in all this chaos, what I've read and heard. I want us to be prepared to make good choices with Scott's dream sheet when the time comes. We would love to live overseas or near the coast in the U.S. Lets be honest, who wouldn't be excited about the idea of putting Hawaii, Florida, Washington, Germany, Italy etc.. on your dream list!  We will have to see what options he gets to choose from to make his list...  If we actually got one of the ones I'm leaning toward right now we would be overjoyed but we will be happy wherever we end up. Finding joy in the journey is something I am striving for. 

(It's more than that but still a bit crazy)

I have loved reading blogs by military spouses and getting their unique take on the Air Force life!
Which bases have been your favorite and which would you try to avoid?