Please Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out 2020

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As with most years, 2020 has had its ups and downs. However, 2020 ushered in more downs than ups.

COVID hit and the majority of us experienced something we hoped we wouldn’t see in this lifetime.

Now 2020 is coming to an end and I realize that my list of highlights for the year has been over-shadowed by the pandemic. Yet, there are still some highlights.

First and foremost, we managed to stay well.

Lili turned 13 in April.

Naomi turned 11 in June.

Arryn turned 2 in January.

I won’t talk about my age or hubby’s age, but we had birthdays as well. 🙂

We sold our house and bought a new house.

We had some sadness in 2020 as well when we said good-bye to Arryn’s baby brother and our other two foster daughters. Then we closed our home and said good-bye to foster care.

We cancelled some trips that we were really looking forward to.

We had to adjust to staying home much much more than we are used to.

We have missed seeing our friends and family.

I’ve grown tired on on-line shopping. I never dreamed that would happen.

I am more then ready to say good-bye to 2020 and hope the door hits her on the way out.

I’m hopeful that 2021 will bring better things for all of us.

The COVID vaccine is being distributed and will hopefully allow us to get back to some sense of normalcy.

We now have two cruises scheduled for December in anticipation of a better 2021.

We look forward to traveling back to Illinois to visit friends and family this summer.

We look forward to having friends and family come visit us as well.

We are entering 2021 with positivity for a much better and safer year.

To all our friends and family . . . .

May 2021 bring you much love, health and happiness!!!

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Make Sure You Use an Awesome Realtor

Thursday: We close on the two houses in 4 days!!

Later Thursday: No, we won’t be closing in 4 days. We’re just not sure when we will be closing 😦

Even Later Thursday: We will close next Thursday.

Still Thursday: But what about the movers coming to move us on Tuesday? What about the utilities that will be in our name on Monday? What about the mail that will start being forwarded starting Tuesday?

Still Thursday: You can still move on Tuesday, but you’ll need to pay the Seller’s a little in rent.

And still Thursday: That super low interest rate you locked in . . . . you’ll still get that same rate but it’s going to cost more money.

Yes, this is what selling and buying a house can sometimes be like and this is the situation we found ourselves in. It’s just a little blip on the radar of life and more than ever, we are reminded just how important it is to choose a REALLY good realtor.

Honestly, I can’t even say we chose our realtor. When we were ready to buy a house after our move to Texas, I filled out a form on line and she responded. I felt very comfortable with her from the first time we spoke and she did not disappoint. She never complained about showing us 10 houses, then 20 houses, then 30 houses, then I lost count. Or at least she never complained in front of us. When we contacted her about selling our house, she came over and gave us her professional opinion on what we should do to increase the chances of selling quickly. We took her advice and in less than 48 hours, our house sold. She didn’t complain about showing us another 10, 20, 30 or however many houses we looked at this time around. Again, at least not in front of us. She has never made me feel like I was going crazy during this process, even when I felt I was going crazy during this process. That in an of itself is quite a feat. LOL!!! She has answered all our questions and when I’ve begun to worry about something, she’s explained things to me and given me confidence that we’ll get everything worked out. She has come thru for us, gotten to know us and in turn we’ve gotten to know her. She isn’t just our realtor, she is our friend.

When she called on Thursday to tell us that there had been a delay in closing, I knew she was much more upset about it than we were. She had covered all the basis and the delay was absolutely nothing on our end. Our end was secure and we were ready to close. Still, when you have other parties involved in buying and selling, you can’t always be assured they have covered all their basis. You can’t always be assured other parties are working with an awesome realtor like you are and when things like this happen, you realize just how lucky you are that the realtor who chose you, is simply awesome!

So, things didn’t go as originally planned. We will still close on the two homes this week. We will still move into our new home as planned (again, thanks to our awesome realtor and her negotiation skills). The next chapter in the World of Weeks will soon begin and the dedication will most definitely include our Awesome Realtor!!!

Traditions Change

As a child, our family tradition was going to bed Christmas Eve and having trouble falling asleep because we were too excited about Christmas morning. Somehow, sleep always came and we would wake up Christmas morning to gifts under the tree. Our paternal grandparents lived a block away and would come over with additional gifts for us. They loved spending time with us and I’m sure being able to watch our joy and excitement on Christmas morning was much better to them then the gifts they received.

Later that day we would load up and head to our maternal grandparent’s house where we would gather with my uncles, aunts and cousins. My grandmother was an awesome cook and we looked forward to every meal we had there, which was many. She would have turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, rolls, and desserts. So many desserts! I especially loved her homemade rolls which were to die for. My grandmother had 11 children. She and my grandfather were products of the great depression. Being able to cook was a necessity and with lots of practice had perfected that necessity.

Their Christmas tree was the silver metal kind with the rotating lights that made the tree change from red to green to blue to yellow. As a child, I thought it was the most marvelous tree ever.

Opening gifts with cousins was special too. It not only meant having new things to take home and enjoy, but also enjoying the things our cousins received on Christmas. At least for the time we were together celebrating.

Every year we would receive some things that we wanted, but we also received a lot of practical gifts. Clothes, socks, underwear and pajamas were pretty much expected, but very much enjoyed and appreciated.

I have only fond memories of our family traditions growing up and like all things in life, things change. This means traditions change.

To be continued . . . . .

Holiday Changes

2020 has caused some holiday changes, but it is not just COVID that has caused things to change. At least not for us.

This is the first year since 2017 that we have not had bonus kiddos at the table for Thanksgiving. It will also be the first year of no bonus kiddos at Christmas. Our last two left in July and there hasn’t been a day since that I haven’t thought of them or all the other kiddos that changed our lives since we becoming a foster family so many years ago. While we have taken breaks from fostering and as such have had holidays without our bonus kiddos, this time the change feels vastly different.

This is the second time in our lives that we have moved in the middle of the holidays. The last move was cross country, and this move will only be cross a couple cities but moving during the holidays means that things are changing. Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving surrounded by moving boxes and I’m guessing we won’t be completely unpacked by Christmas.

The quietness of Thanksgiving was a change and not just because we didn’t have any bonus kiddos. I got to talk to our son and later I talked to another family member, but our other family was silent. I received a sweet message from a dear friend, who I consider family. Other than that, everyone else was silent. I guess I now have a new meaning to “Silent Night.” LOL!!! While the quiet felt somewhat lonely, it was also much needed. Between hubby’s job, kids, homeschooling, packing, and getting ready for our move, a day off from the norm was a much-needed respite. A time to refresh, reflect and ready ourselves for the final push of packing and preparation for our move.

Christmas will also bring about changes. A new house, no bonus kiddos, rushing to get everything decorated (we are usually decorated right before Christmas), and shopping for gifts. Amid Christmas prep is unpacking and organizing our new home. This will also include shopping for and buying furniture, since we sold some older pieces of furniture and need to replace those pieces very soon.

While some changes have been less than desirable, I am thankful for my family. Hubby is my rock in more ways than he probably realizes. My kids drive me crazy, but mostly they bring a smile to my face and warm my heart in so many ways. Our life is truly full and at the same time I realize that a full life still has room to change, grow and make a difference. Not just a difference personally, but a difference the life of others. Hopefully, we did that with foster care, but I don’t feel like we’re done yet. There are many ways to make a positive difference in the life of others whether that be donating food to those in need, buying gifts for families that wouldn’t be able to celebrate otherwise, or giving of our time in so many different ways.

I do not know what the future holds, but I do know that holiday changes are inevitable, especially this year. While there is some sadness in those changes, there is also hope, love and happiness in what the future holds.

One Week Plus Eleven Days

Thanksgiving is one week from today. A day and season of thankfulness.

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In years past, it was a day for our family and extended family to gather. Although, Thanksgiving get-togethers have slowly become a memory of years gone by as our family began to spend the holiday with their other extended family. This year, COVID has guaranteed we again won’t be spending time with extended family. Yet, we are so very thankful that hubby, the girls and I will be celebrating our last turkey dinner in our house, surrounded by boxes and memories of the past four years. A day of cooking, baking, eating good food, playing some games, and watching Holiday movies as our family prepares to celebrate Christmas in our new home and in a new city.

Eleven days after Thanksgiving, we’ll move into our new home. There will be days and days and days of unpacking to take care of as we begin to organize and put things away. Top of our list is unpacking the Christmas decorations and decking the halls of our new home. With only a short time between moving day and Christmas day, there will be a lot of preparations to be made quickly as we prepare for the arrival of the “big” guy Christmas Eve.

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Time seems to be moving slowly and quickly at the same time as we make preparations for moving during the holidays. I can honestly say that we are all ready to get this move over with and settle into our new home ready to celebrate the Christmas season and New Year.

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Citysteading

For a long time, hubby and I dreamed of buying a house on some land in the country. I had dreams of the chickens, ducks, goats and guinea fowl that we would raise on our homestaed. We talked and planned and planned and talked about the animals we would raise, the fruits and vegetables we would grow and how we would work hard to become less and less dependent on outside sources for our food.

Then hubby’s back began to cause him problems and those problems grew until we realized that the physical labor required to homestead would not be possible for him.

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We gave up that dream and stuck with gardening on our little 1/4 acre piece of land in the small town where we resided. It was my happy place and I enjoyed growing food for my family.

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Then came our move and my dream of having enough space to garden was replaced with a pool to cool us off in the Texas heat.

I tried growing some things in containers, but container gardening on concrete during the heat of the summer proved to be much more challenging than I anticipated. I eventually gave up my dream of gardening in the city.

Now things are changing once again. We’re moving to a house that has plenty of yard space for a garden. My dream of homesteading has been replaced with my dream of citysteading.

After years of wanting to build keyhole gardens, I can make that goal a reality.

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I can grow tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots and so much more. I can try my hand at growing some fruit trees in containers.

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Maybe some tropical fruits that I can bring inside when the weather is cooler, like mangoes, lemons or oranges.

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The possibilities are endless and being able to dig in the soil once more is exciting. I look forward to teaching the girls more about gardening and watching Arryn experience it for the first time.

Even though my original dream didn’t come to fruition, my new dream of citysteading certainly can.

Pending

There are a few things pending right now.

One is this blog. For a long time, this blog was my journal, communication with friends and family, and a way to share what would one day become the history of my family. I blogged on almost a daily basis for a very long time, then Facebook took over. It became easier to share with friends and family on Facebook, then write a blog, yet my blog was always calling me home. So a few days ago I started giving it a make-over. It’s going to take me some time to get it set up the way I want it and even more time with a move on the horizon, but I’m excited to be back blogging.

Two is the sell of our house. We are now out of the option period and the sale is pending. There are a few more things to be done, but this is the final step before closing, so I’m back to sorting and packing things up in preparation for our closing.

Three is the purchase of our new home. Option period for the new house has now ended as well and the sale is in pending status. We’re waiting on the appraisal, insurance on the new house is in process and I’m making lists of everything in an effort to stay organized. I’m also back to packing more boxes and my dining room is quickly filling up with things I want to personally deliver to the house vs having the movers take it for us.

Everything is moving along nicely and with the sale now in pending status, let me introduce our future new home to you.

I love the stone and brick mix.
I have wanted a double oven for years and years. FINALLY!!!!
Love the use of space in the bathroom.
No pool at the new home, but a nice big yard and play set is better for our family right now. There is a community pool and the yard is large enough we could add a pool later. In the meantime, I plan to get back into gardening. There will certainly be a learning curve as gardening in Texas is very different from gardening in Illinois, but I’ll have a couple months to get everything set up and ready.

You can see more photos and information here.

We are excited and so very ready to get moved.

In 25 days, this is the house we will call home.

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