Friday, February 26, 2010

A Place to Call Home

Our PCS is coming up...and the housing market in the area is HOT. We had no idea how hot it was until we got to the area and started house hunting though! We are so glad we came early and looked though. For example, the first day we looked at houses, we missed out on THREE houses that day just by being late. Seriously, one house we were going to look at had a contract on Monday (we got here on Tuesday), a house we really liked but had some things we didn't like that prevented us from jumping on it right away had a contract coming in that night (sight unseen), and we were at another house when we heard that the next house on our list had gone under contract an HOUR before. In all, our real estate agency sold 41 properties in TWO DAYS. Crazy, right???
Day one was filled with LOTS of houses, most new, but a few pre-owned. We liked some, but none really jumped out at us. We knew we were going to need to sacrifice some of the things we wanted, but didn't want to sacrifice as much as some of the houses required.
We went back to our friends' house and on the way there, saw the neighborhood going up across the street from their neighborhood and talked about looking there since we had increased our budget a little since first looking into them.
We looked at more houses online that night and talked to our realtor. He mentioned the new neighborhood as well, and we agreed to look there first the next morning and then go look at the other houses.
The neighborhood is only planned to have 21 homes in it. Basically, two cul-de-sac streets. We pulled in and went in a few houses. One was HUGE and we really liked it. It was priced a little more than what we wanted to pay, but we kept it on our list. The upstairs was Brian's dream come true and I was pretty happy with the downstairs. The yard was a little small, but it had a view of a small lake on another property. It was definitely more than I wanted to clean though! LOL
The next few houses were nice, but didn't really jump out. I really want a playroom downstairs for the kids...most houses here have two stories and I don't think the babies are going to be spending much time upstairs without me or Brian, so I wanted them to have a place for playing without destroying the living room. This was pretty high on my priority. Brian wanted a "man cave" area. Most houses have a bonus room, so we were pretty sure that would end up happening!
We finally made it around to this house:
It was the same house as the model home (which wasn't open at the time, but we really liked the outside).
We walked in and on the left was the dining room. The color is a little off since I was dealing with some stress from having a 1 year old who is teething pretty hard! It's sort of a blue/green sea foam. Does that even make sense?
Here's the stair case right as you walk in,
and a view up the stairs. The door closest to the stairway is the laundry room (kinda small, but who really spends much time there anyway, right?), the next door is the Master and then you have an open loft area (Brian's "man cave"). The other 2 bedrooms and the bathroom are to the left, down the hall.
This is to the right as you walk in the door. The carpeted area is the family room and there's a hallway to the right that goes to the half bath and the garage. There's also a closet over there and another one on the wall to the left across from the hallway.
Here's the family room with the electric fireplace. In this area, it is either gas or electric. VERY few houses have wood fireplaces and those are usually really old. The electric is more for ambiance, but I think we'll be fine with that. Oh, and Brian really likes that this room is pre-wired for surround sound and wires can go through the wall for the T.V. to be mounted above the fireplace.
This is the view from the living room. This whole living area is what sold us on the house. Open living spaces really appeal to us! The door to the right opens to the back yard and covered patio (Brian is already looking into how much it would run to screen it in). The second fireplace is in a room they called a "keeping room." We will probably use it as a kid area...but not decorated like a day care. LOL Brian already has plans to put a second flat screen up above the fireplace. He has visions of two football games on at the same time.
A different view...the double doors are the pantry and I think I can already envision Austin doing homework on the computer at the desk (or playing games!). The door down the hallway is the garage door. Did you know the governement is trying to "outlaw" garbage disposals? None of the houses in this neighborhood have them! We are supposed to get one though because it was in the contract. :-)
A view of the living room, breakfast "nook" and kitchen island. Oh, and our handsome Austin!
The rest of the kitchen. The cabinets are a dark brown and we want to upgrade to granite at some point, but are not sure of the price at this point. The arched doorway is to the dining room in the front of the house.
And can I say that I am REALLY excited about this stove going into our kitchen???02263073000
Our bathroom...tile floors and nice tub and shower. The door is to the toilet room.
The cabinets in our bathroom and the door to the closet (HUGE!). There's also a door to the attic space that we plan on putting up some drywall to make into a storage space for army junk. LOL
Another bad lighting/white balance picture, but I was rushing to get to Colten. Our lot is the biggest lot in the neighborhood. We are at the end of the cul-de-sac and it's sort of the back corner lot. I couldn't get anymore pictures since I also had the problem of a battery dying!!! Anyway, we are planning a fence out back (kind of required with kids and dogs) and possibly sod since the soil here is very sandy and it's hard to grow grass. Brian also wants to extend the patio and put in a fire pit.
Overall, the house hunting wasn't too stressful. Most of the stress was the kids, as they got tired quick, and Colten skipped his morning nap both days since we were out and about. Teething wasn't easy for him and that made things worse, especially the second day. Our realtor was awesome though. He was very knowledgeable and got us everything we wanted (closing costs paid by builder, fridge, model home appliances (ie. that awesome range), ceiling fans in extra rooms (5 total), and a garbage disposal (which was featured on the listing, but not actually in any of the homes). Not to mention that he was really patient with the kids and their antics (ie. Austin dropping things off of balconies, ringing doorbells multiple times, etc).
So, there it is. Our house, but soon to be our new home! We are very excited and can't wait to move in!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Snow Fun

When we got back to NWA on Sunday, we passed by JB Hunt Park on our way home and saw all kinds of kids sledding down a great hill. We got home, unloaded the stuff, and the boys left for some more sledding fun. They were gone for 2 hours and came back happy, but tired. Austin has really fallen in love with sledding and wanted to go again the next day, but also wanted to make a snow man.
The next morning, during Colten's nap, we all three headed outside to make the snow man. The snow was still a little powdery for that, so we got out the sleds (we have an old Flexible Flyer from when I was a kid) and let him have some fun in our driveway. The tire tracks from our vehicle had frozen over the night before and provided the perfect tracks for the sleds!

At some point, Austin decided to eat the snow (we made snow ice cream the night before, so maybe he thought it would taste just as good?). He was having a blast making snow angels and just rolling in the snow!
Then, it was back to sledding.
Finally, the snow was starting to melt a bit so that it was a little more wet and we were able to get it packed enough to start the snowman. We worked really hard on the bottom, but the middle and head were a lot easier as it got warmer. Finally, he was done, but Brian wasn't!
Brian decided to make a bigger snowman and made his HUGE base. Of course, stopped rolling on the other side of the yard, so he and Austin pulled it over with the sled.

Austinw as really proud of his first snowman!
Colten woke up and I got him dressed and ready to go out. His first snow experience wasn't that great, so I was hoping he'd like it a little better this time. It was really bright out, so I think that bothered him a lot.
He also doesn't have the proper shoes or clothes to really play out in the snow, so that could be another reason he's not too thrilled about it!
Nonetheless, he did warm up to it a little and played some catch with Daddy (notice the nice Hawaiian football?)
Then he posed for some pictures with Daddy.

And yes, in case you're wondering, I really need to hire someone to follow me around so that I can be in some pictures with my kids and husband!!! I seem to be missing in a lot of pictures, but that's just the way it is when you are the one that always thinks to capture this stuff in photos!
Oh, and I am completely done with I type this, we have the white stuff on the ground AGAIN and Austin was home from school today because of it. I'm done...when is Spring coming to our area???

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

21st Percentile???

We went to the doctor on Monday for both of the kids check ups. Austin went happily, knowing that he wasn't going to have any shots, and Colten goes easily because he's too young to fight it!
We get there and get both kids are weighed and measured.
Austin is 47.5 pounds and 45.5 inches. (about 90th and 95th percentile respectively...I had to look it up since they didn't tell me that at the dr office).

Colten was 23 pounds, 10 ounces and 29 inches. That's about the 66th percentile for weight, but only the 21st percentile for height! Yes, we have a short little boy with this one! :-) Oh, and his head circumference was in the 60th percentile (but I can't remember the actual number).
Both boys are doing great. Colten had one shot, the polio vaccine, as we are doing an alternative vaccine schedule with him. This appointment would have been the big MMR shot (among a few others), but I am waiting until at least 18 months for that one. If anyone has any questions about our alternative schedule, feel free to e-mail me...we think it's really working out well! Colten hasn't been nearly as cranky as Austin was after getting shots (we did everything on schedule with him) and has never had a fever from any of his vaccines. Totally worth it, in my opinion! Plus, we have the ability to narrow down a particular vaccine easier if he ever has a reaction. We will definitely be following the same schedule with our next baby as well!
We go for Colten's next appointment at 15 months...right before we move to North Carolina!

Little Rock Snow Day

With the ice and snow we got while in Little Rock, plans were changed a bit and Daddy went out and bought a sled for Austin. The day before the weather hit, we had gone in there to get a few things and I saw some sleds and almost picked one up. I knew I should have, but for some reason just didn't. It would have been better for the boys to sled together, but when Brian got back to Wal-Mart, there were only two kinds left, the disc kind being one of them. The other was some flimsy sheet of foam and we both thought it wouldn't last.
When Daddy got back from Wal-Mart, he and Austin got bundled up for the cold weather. Luckily, Yaya and Bobo had found some snow pants before we even got to Little Rock and had them sitting in our room waiting for us! Austin's red pair were a tad* big, so I had to roll the pant legs up inside of themselves and they ended up working perfectly. (*I really think the red pants would have fit me...just to show you how big they really were!)
When the boys got outside, they weren't real sure where to sled. Bobo's yard was WAY too steep to sled on (at least for Austin!), so I went across the street to their neighbors house and asked her if we could sled in her yard. She was nice enough to let us, which was really good because she had the perfect beginning slope for Austin.
He looks a little scared in this picture...and I'm not even sure it was the first picture I took of him before he went down!
But, he sure did love doubt about it!

Then, at some point, it was Daddy's turn.

I think Austin was a tad cold, don't ya think?

Excuse the snot...
He had a blast and was ready for a bigger, better hill after a while, so Daddy loaded him up in the car and drove over a couple of street to see if they could find a better hill. They did and came back an hour or two later, happy, but cold.

Friday, February 5, 2010


It's what Austin has been looking forward to since Christmas! Yes, we are in full "want mode." We keep trying to show him WHY we celebrate birthdays and especially Christmas, but I guess the idea of new toys just takes over in a kids mind!
Colten isn't a pro at unwrapping gifts right now, but he sure loves to see what's under the wrapping paper!
Austin is obviously a pro and doesn't care of it's wrapped or in a bag.
I really thought this picture was really cute. Colten just loved this helicopter!

Party Cake

Colten and Austin were supposed to have a birthday party on Saturday, the 30th at our house. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans.
With a huge ice storm coming our way, we postponed the party until the next weekend and headed down to Little Rock to avoid the ice. Our fear was another power outage and hotel expenses. We just didn't think we could handle two dogs and two kids while holed up in a hotel. It wasn't fun when Colten was a newborn, so we knew with two active kids it would be much worse!
So, our plan was to have a few of our friends over to Brian's parents' house, again, the ice had other plans. Little Rock got a bit of the ice as well and no one wanted to take any chances and get out on the roads. Completely understandable, so we just had a small party with just us and Yaya and Bobo.

We opened up presents first, then introduced Colten to the wonderful world of sugar!
He obviously knew that it was something good because he was getting quite upset as we started singing Happy Birthday to him instead of handing over the cake. Finally, the song was over and Daddy started putting the cake on the tray and didn't even get it put down before Colten had his hand digging in!
The first touch was a little different than he's used to I guess and he looked to us to see if he was ok to continue.
It didn't take him long to realize that he was actually allowed to dig in like this and shoved handful after handful of icing into his mouth.
He finally got into the cake part and by now was in sugar la-la land.
He's pretty proud of himself by now and has done some damage!
Can this boy be any cuter???
Finally, we pulled the cake from his fingers and got an "after" photo. He definitely wanted more and was licking his fingers and trying to get every bit of cake off his tray before we washed it off.
There was another boy who was happy to get some cake that day! IMG_9094
I have to say that Austin did a great job at rolling with things and not being too upset about his friends not being able to make it over. This boy is awesome!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Birthday Morning

Colten woke up to the traditional birthday decorations in our house. He loved it. He would go out, then come back in, then go out again and in again.
Over and over. We always decorate with streamers and balloons for birthdays and I always like to do a doorway with streamers. The kids love running through them, even if it gets annoying throughout the day as we adults have to walk through them as well!

After walking into the living room, he spied the balloons we had on the floor for him to play with. This boy loves balloons! Then, he finally spotted it! His very own couch!

He's been needing his own chair or something. Austin had one similar around the same age and loved it, so we figured Colten would too. We weren't wrong! He doesn't really like it to be in the sofa position though...he will go up to it and pull it out into the bed position and then sit down. Even if someone has just put it back into the sofa position, Colten thinks it has to be in the bed position! He does this with a few other things too...he definitely has his opinion on how certain things should be!