Friday, July 29, 2016

More house work and a break to the park (Isaac's Basketball too)

The tasks continue to get checked off the infinite list. The pace of getting things done has seemed to slow but that is okay and a good thing. This week I worked on getting the garage straightened up in hopes of getting a spot for one car in there. We are selling our old billy bookcases and have sold two that are getting picked up this weekend with another potential buyer coming Sunday to look at the other three. 

I saw this idea on pinterest and we tried it out for our lawn tools since there really isn't room for them elsewhere. We were lucky in our 2.5 car garage at our other home, didn't realize how good we had it. Tuck-under garages stink! But I guess we can't complain we have an attached garage now!

My craft space is still a work in progress. Picked up a large Kallax shelving unit at Ikea when we got the girls'. I set it up one day during nap.

Got it up on blocks (since it's in our basement) and starting to organize to see what else I want to get. I plan to get another door, 1-3 more drawer units and three more fabric baskets. Oh and a frosted plastic bin or two for the yarn.

They left a stack of these stepping stones on the other side of the house so we filled inbetween the larger ones that were already in our backyard.  You can tell it goes small, big, small, big. But it's nice to have the stones closer together and more in line with our gait.

While organizing the garage I also got the fridge/freezer they left cleaned up and ready for the recyclers to come on Monday. Found this little gym in it! LOL How ironic they had a pet crayfish named Daisy! Daisy Jr. none the less, haha. Had to take a picture as proof before it went in the garbage. 

We also did some more pruning of the trees out back in the alley and our driveway. There's much more to do but we only get done what we can while the kids ride their bikes in the driveway or play Tball in the backyard. 

The first week we lived in the house it was SOOO hot. We did make it to one park that week but we all almost melted and were on the brink of death. (I did not get any photos of that adventure). This week has been really nice and with a shorter to do list at home I was excited to get out and explore the 'hood. We have been to this part before, glad we did a lot of exploring of the neighborhood before we moved since unpacking has consumed most of my time and brain power. Thursday morning we walked to Park Siding Park. It was rather chilly this morning but still good weather for park play.

Got to watch a long train on our way. As well as a shorter train on our way back. This park runs along the Kenilworth trail and train tracks. This is the purposed site of the light rail that is planned to be added in the future at some point (2020 is the estimate at this point, but four years ago it was 2016). Many things coming up that have postponed it such as cost of riding through the wet lands of the chain of lakes.

We made it to the park and Mary bee-lined it to the swings. This girl LOVES the swings. I need to look into getting a set for our backyard... but man they are pricey!

Video of Mary swinging, when I first asked her if she wanted out she said "NO! I want to swing!!"

Emma is a fan of the swing too, but her love is more of an echo of Mary's.

While pushing Emma I looked over to discover Miss Strong girl making her way across the little monkey bars! Isaac ran over to save her "I'll help her! I'll get Mary!"

Thursday night Isaac had basketball. It was so fun to see him explore a new sport. I think he enjoyed it and he sure likes playing with our hoop more at home. I raised it up when we got home and he was pretty excited for the new challenge.

Here he is shooting some hoops before the official practice started

And here he is during practice learning to dribble down to the basket. He's a natural :-)

When we got home we played in the back yard til Kyle made it home from a late work meeting. I picked up the wet grill cover to place back on the grill and a huge toad hopped out! We captured him for a bit to let the kids see and pet him. It was pretty cute watching them oooh and aww over him. I didn't get a photo of them with the frog but luckily he didn't hop off too far and I was able to get this before we went inside.

The house - back story

This was written earlier but I do not want to post until after closing.

May 30th
It's amazing how the details are coming together on our home. We have the inspection in two days (Tuesday, May 31st) and I was going back through my emails and calendar to get dates together to write this blog. Everything is lining up more so than ever that this is OUR home. 

We first saw this home on April 17th (!!! first sign - our anniversary) via a random open house. We loved this neighborhood and stopped at a few open houses this day. It was out of our price range so we would have never requested a showing with our agents. Our comments about this home to our realtor was as follows "had some really nice add-ons but a bit over the top and not very usable in our opinion. Also the basement was dungeon like and you had to walk a maze from the attached garage to get to the stairs inside"

At this point, this home had been listed for five hundred and some days. We thought something had to be wrong with it. Given the way the market currently is with houses selling within 24 hours of being listed and people questioning why a home is on the market more than a week we thought we might actually have a chance. 

We continued our house hunt and boy did we sort through a ton. It wasn't until May 5th that we asked to go see the house again with our agent this time. We had dinner at punch pizza, which pizza had become our house hunting tradition somehow by accident. We just loved the neighborhood of this home. We saw it again and could really picture it as home and who's room was where and what'd we use each space for. We knew then we needed to put an offer in. We were knee deep in getting our house ready to list and knew we wanted to present a strong offer since we would be offering lower than their asking (our max, which wasn't even an option weeks before). 

We had our professional photos done on a Tuesday, May 10th and that evening we both thought "we need to get our offer in, let's not wait til we sell" both knowing we would probably have an offer come Saturday, four days later. 

Wednesday we get a call that someone had put an offer in!!!?! Seriously after 500 and some days, why now?! So we threw one together too. Not as strong as we had hoped being that it was contingent on the sale of our home. We also wrote a letter with our offer explaining our situation and that we had seen the house weeks before but waiting to get ours sold and we had a young family, etc. The sellers actually took quite some time to contemplate the two offers they had just received. The other buyer offered more but they really wanted to choose us, in the end they did choose the other buyer because he was able to close fast, more money, and no sale contingency. This was pretty depressing for us. We had such strong feelings that we belonged in this house and it was such an emotional roller coaster. We listed our home, sold in two days and continued to look at houses. We started to seek out cheaper priced homes that we could add on to or renovate. We were getting desperate and the last thing we wanted was to buy a home out of desperation or settle for something we wouldn't be happy for. There was something wrong with every one (like there is) but nothing was striking a cord and now we had the stress that our home had SOLD and we had no where to go. Luckily our buyers didn't ask for a super fast closing and choose two months out. Which gave us about a month before we would need to start looking for rentals. 

I continued to spy on our Drew house listing and wondered why the inspection process was taking so long because the house was still listed as 'active contingent - inspection'. Typically it's: the buyer has 5 days to get an inspection, then 2 days to come back to seller to re-negotiate if needed, then the seller has another 2 days to get back to potential buyer. That weekend we were about 7 business days out and I had a funny feeling, but we kept going on because we obviously didn't get that house. 

We saw another house that was very promising going into it. I had looked the photos over so much the night before at work and had a great feeling about it. It was actually a few blocks down from the Drew house but on the St. Louis Park side (which we would have preferred). It had an open kitchen and an amazing main level. It did only have three bedrooms but we could make three work. We were even talking about what we would offer going in, it had been listed a few weeks so we knew it was over priced a bit. We had three showings set up that Saturday morning and the first was this Joppa house. It had a tuck under garage and before starting out we had pulled up to it in the van... it was a little small. Once we toured the house and made it to the basement we decided to even see if the van would fit... it wouldn't. Uh OH! The bedrooms upstairs were good side except one. The master was small which was okay, it had enough space for us. There was a bigger one that would be great for the girls or even three kids, but the third was pretty small. There was potential to build out above the back room to add another bedroom and the master had a private master bath which was important to us. But that garage... So we decided NOT to put in an offer and see the other two houses. One of which had an offer put in so if we were interested we'd need to submit something for that right away. We weren't fans of the house. The third was also a bust. Our agent talked with the Joppa agent who replied "just have them make an offer, the sellers are motivated to sell". With that we thought well if we could get this at a lower price the things that are wrong aren't that bad as we could fix it. So the plan was to contact a couple contractors to see what could be done with the garage as far as widening the opening. 

Sunday came around and I remember having a break down during my workout, it felt good to cry and to just surrender. We volunteered at church that morning and when she asked if anyone had prayer requests I raised my hand. Just for prayers in our search, prayers for patience and comfort during this stressful time. (As our three kids were running around the room, they could definitely see our struggle.) That afternoon I was taking a nap on the couch while the kids were down just before I had to head to work. The phone rings and I look at my watch (caller ID on my fitbit), it was Brent! Kyle says "how did you know that?" lol. He says "I just got off the phone with the agent from Drew. ::gulp:: are you guys still interested in the house?" Well of COURSE!!!! Turns out the buyer they chose over us was being "difficult to work with" "making ridiculous requests" "the sellers said they should have gone with their gut the first time and choose you guys" So we drafted up our same offer (which verbally had improved from our previous written offer when we were at the table with the other buyer) and turned it in Sunday evening. Monday we heard back that they were canceling the contract with the previous buyer and then by Tuesday we had confirmation that we were in a signed purchase agreement with the Drew house!!! Talk about answered prayers! 

We did find out the requests the previous buyer was asking the sellers to repair. One being a missing section of the sewer line that goes out to the street (which would not have been detected in a normal inspection) and two a crack in the fireplace. Both of which the sellers said they would be taking responsibility for and fixing prior to our closing. 

June 12th.
Picking up where I left off, I will catch you up to speed following the inspection. The night before the inspection we were doing some online digging. Trying to get more story on this house and why it had sat empty for so long. I had first thought they downsized into another house just south of this area (we had their address from the tax records). But then discovered they had actually UPGRADED to a brand new house in a highly ranked high school district. Then Kyle came across the husband's career, which happened to be a vice-president role at his very own company! My how the stars continued to align. So our thoughts of "What is wrong with this house?" "why hasn't anyone bought it in two years?" shifted back to "it's waiting for us" "we had the twins and God knew we'd need a house and this neighborhood is awesome so here it is"  There was only one other offer put in on this house in it's two year listing (beside us and the buyer we were up against) back in August of 2015 and not sure what happened either they or the sellers backed out during the inspection process.

Day of inspection came (finally, time felt like it was standing still). I met the guy there are 1:00. Took us an hour just to do the outside of the home, then we moved inside. Another hour for the upstairs and main level. Then about two hours for the basement (which was unfinished but also housed all the mechanical.) Nothing too alarming was revealed. There was some rotting trim around a couple exterior windows. The windows are updated, installed in 2009 but they didn't replace the trim and frame at that time. There was some water damage in the corner of one room in a closet due to flashing not getting installed on the garage roof. The problem has been fixed but they did not repair the wall. Lucky for us it's in a closet and possibly a DIY if it's not too bad once we get the drywall off to inspect the few studs it could have effected. The plumbing is a mix of copper and galvanized and being unused for two years probably hasn't helped matters. Water pressure is fine but taking a shower while someone else turns on a faucet or flushes a toilet won't be feasible so we will need to get that galvanized updated to pex, probably sooner than later. The electrical was also a mess, the breaker-box was unorganized and a lot of the rooms did not have ground outlets, so we would like to get someone in to clean things up, cover junction boxes in the basement, cap some lose wires and make sure all the outlets are grounded and capable of handling power for this digital age we live in. The garage is also a little tight (those darn tuck-unders) but the van fits! There were some other things that inspectors point out and will be good to be aware of or DIY projects in the future. A few other things not revealed by the inspector that we want to get done soon would be to have the trees trimmed, groomed, and cleaned up a bit and to have the stucco siding cleaned, repaired in some spots, and repainted.

We also got report of the chimney inspection the sellers had done in response to the previous buyers complaints. The professional report checked out, however our inspector did point out some cracks in the back bricks that are not an issue until we decide to use it. Which we would probably have fully serviced anyway at that point. So another thing in the future we can cross when the time comes. They also had the sewer line looked at and there is a piece missing about 65 feet away from the house toward the street. They will be getting that professional repaired and will be providing us the receipts prior to closing. Knowing that we are getting this house for less than we could any other house in this neighborhood and that they are addressing the sewer issue we choose not to request any other work be completed by the sellers and to move on to the next step: appraisal. We could tell from some of the work that was done previous that it was either not done correctly or just cheaply. We did not want the sellers getting something fixed just to please us and then we have to turn around and get it done again. So we were happy taking the responsibility of getting done what we wanted to get done and having it done to our sanctification.

The appraisal is set for Tuesday and we are hopeful that will go well.

July 29th
We've been in the house for two weeks. Can't believe it's all over. We had anticipated July 15th for two whole months and then it has come and gone. I have already blogged about moving day. I don't have much else to add to this but realized I had written it and might as well share.  

The appraisal went fine, they got the sewer line fixed the week before we closed and the rest is history :-P 

Zucchini Pie

A friend gave me this recipe ( while we were chatting about using up CSA veggies. I changed just a few things to what I had on hand. Turned out pretty well, I'm surprised. 

I used my food processor to shred the zucchini and a kitchen towel to squeeze the liquid out. 

2 zucchini, shredded and squeezed out liquid
1 large green onion, whites & greens chopped 
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup of low fat milk 
1 tsp EV olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400° 
Combine zucchini, onion, & cheese. 
In smal bowl combine dry ingredients. In another small bowl combine wet ingredients. Then mix wet ingredients with dry until combined. Now pour over zucchini mixture and into greased pie pan. 
Bake for 30 minutes. 

This didn't seem to be kid approved by my kids but I liked it! They were excited when they heard the word pie but then refused to try it. Makes a great adult side dish. :) 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

More tasks getting accomplished

Another trip to Home Depot, just me and Mary this time.

When we came home Kyle had learned the hard way how slippery the deck was when wet. This prompted a cleaning, yuck did it need it. No wonder our feetsies were getting so dirty. It's like a new deck now!! (Gotta do the balcony next)

We also put carpet pads under the rugs. And I put some foam insulation around the exposed copper pipes in the pantry. 

Besides all the house projects that come with a new, older home. We have enjoyed making the space our own. Isaac and I rearranged his room on Saturday and we picked up the girls a new furniture piece at IKEA. Isaac got their old dark brown two by two shelves. 

Isaac's now

You can even see the few pieces of vinyl I saved from the old house. :)

Sunday I finished up the hooks in the coat closet

Got the dining table cleared and we had dinner on it for the first time!!

Put in the potty chair toilet seats we had at the old house.

Then Sunday night we had a lovely walk in our neighborhood! It was a gorgeous evening.

Sweet video of the girls saying boat:

Sunday we also got a new motion light installed. The other was broken.

Today I cleaned off the balcony deck and just cleaned around the house. It was a nice relaxing day with an early trip to target and an evening of games while we waited for daddy to get home from a late night of work. 

Friday, July 22, 2016


I've been able to get lots more unpacking done the past few days. Living out of and around boxes is really getting old so that was my motivation to get them out of our living space. As of now (Friday night) we have a couple little boxes on the dining table, a few in the dining room, one in the living room of wall stuff and a couple in our bedroom. Other than that they are all in the basement which is stuff that isn't super important to get out right away anyway and needs a little more thought and organization. Or not... Maybe some of it never needs to come out of the box and in that case I'll prob just pitch it in a year :-P 

I had a gal come yesterday to pick up some boxes so today I drug them all out to our driveway in the alley and posted a curb alert on Craigslist. A few hours later every bit of it was gone except the TV boxes. Whoo hoo! 

Wednesday box stack:


Ventured out of our comfort zone for a fun lilac rug in the kitchen. 

Now with the living room cleared out we could roll out the rug we picked up at Costco earlier in the week. We had a safe neutral picked out but then Kyle and I decided we both wanted to go with this one instead. $99 for a new rug, yes please. 

Miss Mary being silly on the moving men. 

I got the girls down for nap today just in time for the stucco guy to arrive to give us a bid on the exterior of the house. 

Once he left I was in mad dash mode to organize and unpack all the toys while the girls were out of the picture. 

I got them all sorted out into three bins which will be our rotation toys. I did this before but had a list and would pull out certain items from a big toy box. It is going to be so nice just having them in bins and putting away and pulling out a new bin. No more sorting through a list. I like to have a toy from various developmental categories: music, sorting, manipulatives, animals, science, imaginative, etc. 

And since everything was tidy it was a perfect time to snap photos to share the play areas. 

The library: 

The kitchen: 

Art easel and toy bins: 

Legos, window blocks, balls, & trampoline: 

I also got the girls' dressor mounted to the wall and forgot to mention in my previous post that we cleaned out the dryer vent. Boy was it packed! The clothes weren't drying, not to mention a fire hazard. Clean now!! 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

New home!

Last Friday was closing day! We had spend the week running trips back and forth to the new house trying to help speed up the movers on Friday and to help reduce the cost of paying the movers. We got 8 trailer and 8 van loads moved over from Monday evening to Thursday morning.

Quite the haul. We had moved everything that was to be in the basement (minus a table and chest freezer) so the movers just had the main level and upstairs to bring over. We did have three big piles of boxes in the garage that we had them take up to each level, once they were over at the new house.

Okay back to Friday. We started with a breakfast of what was available. lol. CSA cucumbers and CSA cheese! It was actually good.

Oh and some carrots and hummus for the girls. Last meal in our old house!

Movers arrived at 8am and our Nanny arrived shortly before. The kids got to watch the movers get started then she took them in the van off for the day to get our from under all our feets. They are great at being involved and 'helping out'. Not needed today though. Our buyer arrived at about 8:15am to do his final walk through, so that was fun getting to meet him.

We helped by taking apart some funiture and cleaning up as they cleared rooms, but they moved fast and efficent. Totally worth it! They did all the furniture, took it apart, padded and protected it and the heavy lifting of course. They were pretty much done by 10:30 when it was time for us to leave and head to our closing. We had pre-signed for the sale of our home so we didn't have to attend that at 9am and also wouldn't have met our buyer if he didn't have his walk through as we were moving out.

We had to leave in a hurry as we were almost running late to our closing. We arrived, signed a bunch of papers, had a great chat with the sellers. Who the husband happen to work at the same place Kyle does but only 20 years longer :-P We chatted for about 10-15 minutes after the closing then we headed to grab lunch, we were starving. Grabbed food for the kids and Emily, met them back at the old house and went over to the new house where they got to eat in our new kitchen! The movers had already started and pretty much had all the big furniture in before we arrived. I had everything, I mean EVERYTHING clearly labeled and also gave them a floor plan so they knew which rooms were the kids and such. It paid off to be organized because every minute we saved was $$ we were saving as well.


It's ours, it was surreal that moving day was finally over but we have been waiting for this day for months.

This was my fitbit read out from Friday! 42 stairs!!!! Crazy!

Saturday was spent 'relaxing' (well the kids), playing, and unpacking. The kids were thrilled to see some of their old toys. Isaac and Mary were especially happy about the library being back!

We realized earlier in the week when we were making the trailer loads that we own a LOT of books. And to think we actually downsized as we packed them up getting rid of at least two boxes.

They were so happy to paint again!

This isn't even half, maybe not even a quarter of the boxes! This has become the box corner, will be nice when it's cleared out. I posted free boxes on a few garage sale sites and a lady came today, however I already have it filled back up from things I've unpacked today.

As if we needed more boxes, haha. But I waited to do a lot of the new house needs ordering until we moved because I didn't want to have to move new purchases. These were trashcans for under the sink.

And here they are! I installed them on Monday morning.

I also set up my 'office' in the basement which will also be my craft area. The floor is a hodgepodge or rugs, laminate flooring I had left over from a photography set up and carpet scraps. Works for me!

Mary's painting was pretty great Tuesday morning, pretty proud of it.

Playing outside Tuesday morning before heading to Home Depot then a park play date.

These kids! Home Depot trip.

We've been busy bee's unpacking and ticking away at our task lists. One task was hanging hooks in the kids' bathroom for their towels.

The entry way coat closet is pretty narrow making it hard to hang coats on the shower curtain rod they had hanging in there. So instead we installed hooks!

Tuesday I trimmed the backyard trees. I didn't get a before photo, but they were hanging down and low enough even the kids had to duck to get around them. So much cleaner now.

Also chopped down a huge bush that had grown over the step on the south side of the house.

And more boxes! Wednesday morning before that gal came for boxes. I ended up piling them right back up throughout the day getting through boxes. I should have counted but there are SOOO many!

I also got the books unpacked on Wednesday

We've also:
cleaned the gutters
tightened a toilet
put up a new shower curtain
replaced a melted light cover
replaced the ice door plate on the fridge 
cut some duct work that was in the pantry (photos to come when that project is finished) 
Replaced the master shower head (which worked out great because we had an extra head laying around from when they installed a low flow one at our old house) 
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