Thursday, June 30, 2011


Luke called the other lady's realtor today. I was hoping she would just say, "Oh, she wants to get things finalized now! No more waiting until July 10th!" But no, she did not say this. However, she didn't say anything discouraging either. Basically, the realtor said that she still wants to wait, but no one else is looking at the house and she does not see it selling in a week. She said the owner is really willing to work with us, so that is good. It's just not on my time table. Of course...nothing really is. Ever.

So, we will call her back in a week and see if she wants to wait the 2 more days until the 10th. Then, at that time, hopefully she will come to her senses and rent us the house! We do know that she won't be moving until after July 20th, so I am sure if we do get the house, we will be moving in on August 1 just as we are moving out of our house, but oh well. That will give me 11 days before school to get things in semi-order. Until then, I am obsessing about how I would decorate the house, furniture and accessories to buy, and what color I want to paint the walls. Unhealthy much? Yes, I think so.

I am also obsessing about what all we need to do in our own home before we can turn it over to our renters. Yikes. Surely I will be plenty busy with that. I am trying to develop a master to-do list to keep me going, and one that does NOT involve going to Pier 1 every other day looking for "necessities."

We need to order some moving boxes so that we can start packing and cleaning room by room. So, that brings me to...

1. Order moving boxes. Done by July 5th.
2. Begin packing rooms we do not necessarily use, which in our house would be the "office," attic, garage, and yard barn. I'd like this done by July 15th.
3. Next will come packing up the stuff we do not NEED to use daily in Noelle's room, the living room, our room, and the kitchen, as well as the bathrooms. Basically, everything needs to be packed up but the necessary furniture and a few outfits to recycle as we continue to live here until the end of July. I want this done by July 25th.
4. Then will come the cleaning. I think if we give it a good 3 days of hard work, that should do it. So, this should be done by July 28th.
5. I would like for the moving trucks to be here to get everything out of the house and our big furniture moved on July 29th.
6. I will have people come to clean the carpets on July 30th.
7. I will make one last look-through in the house on July 31st to make sure we didn't forget about something.
8. August 1-- turn over the keys!

Now, that's just the stuff for this current house. Hopefully the owner of the house we rent (wherever it is) will clean it pretty well, but I plan on having the carpets cleaned professionally and deep cleaning the house on August 1 (or whatever day we get possession).

As soon as we get an address, I will be doing all of this fun stuff:
1. Change of address with banks, credit cards, magazines, my job, and post office.
2. Getting new return address labels (thank you Vista Print)
3. Ordering change of address post cards to mail to friends/family (again, thank you Vista Print)
4. Getting utilities changed over to the renter's name and setting up utilities in our name in Muncie

All of this while doing 10 photo shoots (as of now), celebrating my birthday and our 4 year wedding anniversary, working in my room at school, and trying to have a little fun. YIKES!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The pieces are falling into place

Over the last week, we have had a few developments in our housing situation, and I am cautiously optimistic as I share them with you.

First, we decided last week that we were going to list our house as "For Rent" as we had four showings in three months while it was for sale. Depressing. Annoying. Frustrating. All of that...and we are officially ready for a vacation from the real estate world. We will try again in 3 years. We decided to rent it out under the strong advice of our realtor and some other friends who have had success doing it.

I made a little ad on Craigslist and posted it, thinking surely no one would want to see our house and our asking price was too high. Well, within 24 hours, I would say I had at least 10 inquiries, and over the past week, we are probably up to 20. We were all set to go with one of these people and begin the screening process, but a couple of sorority sisters of mine from college contacted me about renting the house, and by the end of Saturday afternoon, they decided to rent it! This makes me happy because I know that they will take care of it and we are not losing our Indianapolis "roots."

Their move-in date is August 1...which means that we have to be out of here by then! That gives me seriously one month to get everything packed up and organized and somehow to transported to Muncie to a location yet to be determined! We haven't heard back on the house we'd love to rent there, but we are thinking no news is good news because the realtor said she would call us if someone else wanted the house. I am assuming the owner just wants to wait until July 10 as she initially stated (don't know why when you have willing renters, ready to sign the lease at the price you want RIGHT NOW!). I am hoping that she decides this week to give us a call and tell us we got the place...but until then, I have to wait very impatiently.

I have decided to throw my energy into our new bedroom that we are creating. Luke and I (mainly I) decided that we would get new bedroom furniture upon our move to Muncie. Our bed was purchased for $15 at a rummage sale, and I used it in college and through our first 4 years of marriage. It has been painted 3 times. Our dresser is one I had in my bedroom at home and then in college. The "armoire" (which is HILARIOUS because I don't know if you could call it that) was found in Luke's basement at home and we painted it black and called it a day. Our mattress is relatively new as we bought it when we got married, so that will be staying. Everything else will be listed on Craigslist soon! Anyway-- Luke and I have different styles and ideas of what we want our home to look like. If Luke could have a house like the Jetsons', he would. I like modern, but I also like a little mix of rustic, vintage, and modern. I like clean lines, but not razor sharp lines.

So, after two full days of traipsing through furniture stores (with Noelle running around like crazy), we found a bed at Crate & Barrel that made our hearts sing. I would post a picture, but the picture doesn't do it justice so I will wait until it is complete. It is a warm, honey color made out of white oak and teak wood. We really love it and hope to find some beautiful dressers to compliment. I am thinking of going the "mismatched but I meant to do it" look. I don't know yet. But I am obsessed with searching for the perfect pieces, which will keep my occupied until 13 days from now when we hear about the house....not that I'm counting!

Things are coming together, but now I am freaking out about the move! This is crazy that it is really happening! I downloaded Martha Stewarts moving checklist, and I had to laugh as the first thing on the list is "HIRE A MOVER!" Hahaha, oh Martha...if we all had millions like you...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Our girl!

Noelle has been a non-stop, busy little girl as of late. She is on the go, into everything, and loving every minute. Her favorite things to do are to get in the cabinet under our bathroom sink and get into a mug of makeup brushes that I don't use. She loves to put them on her face and pretend like she is putting on makeup. I also find these not-so-cheap Bare Escentuals makeup brushes all over the house. I need to just get her a set of her own, but something tells me she will always like mama's better!

She LOVES books! LOVES them! She is almost always holding a book. One of her favorites to pick up and carry around is the Merck Manual, which is about a 5 inch think medical reference guide. She can barely hold it, and she brings it to us saying "book," wanting us to read it. Yeah, right honey! She loves everything about reading and being read to. If we sit Indian style (not politically correct, I know), she will start about 3 feet away from us, turn around so her back is to us, and "back it up," by walking backwards until she reaches our legs. She will then sit and listen as we read her a book. We usually don't get past the first few pages before she is up and wanting another book. In fact, a few nights ago, I read her about 10 different books before bedtime.

Noelle also loves to sit in her cute little rocking chair in her room. She will just go in there by herself and sit with her snacks or grab a book to read. It is so cute.

She also loves to play with the doctor kit I got her in celebration of Luke's graduation from med school. She always brings the big box to us and says, "out!" Her favorite instrument is the syringe. She likes to take out the plunger part and blow into the tube. We are not sure how she got that idea, but it sure is one of her favorite things!

We have started brushing her teeth every night now. We used to just do it when we gave her a bath (or when we remembered, which was seldom), but now we try to do it each night. She loves brushing her teeth! I think she just likes the fruity toothpaste, but it is fun watching her try!

She is just talking up a storm. We think she has about 15 words that we can plainly hear and understand. It's amazing how quickly she is picking things up. Her new thing is when we carry her into a store, she will say "walk." She wants to walk in the stores, not ride in the cart, which can be a problem when she wants to grab everything off the shelves. In Kiawah, she grabbed a jar of salsa and dropped it on the floor of a grocery store. It shattered and made a big mess. Thankfully she wasn't hurt, but I was embarrassed as I found the manager and told her. Oops!

Noelle is just the joy of our lives. Her laugh is infectious. Her smile is adorable. Her personality is sweet and a little sassy. I love her so much.

Crossing my fingers and toes!

This housing situation has been one of the biggest up and down roller coasters of our lives. I don't think we had any idea how difficult it would be to 1) sell the house we currently own or 2) find another home that we would like to live in. It's a lot like when I was trying to find my first teaching job. Before I graduated, I had a very specific set of criteria for my future job. I wouldn't teach a grade higher than 3rd, and I wanted to be in Indy (north side to be exact), blah blah blah. Then, as the summer went on and I wasn't getting any calls, I started to lessen my criteria. Well, I would teach 4th or 5th grade. Then, as it came to be about 2 weeks before the start of the school year, I gave up any criteria and just said, I WILL DO ANYTHING! Thus, I got a job teaching 4th grade in Muncie of all places. It has been a great fit for me for 4 years, and I am thankful that I opened my stubborn mind to the opportunity.

It's a very similar situation with the house-hunt. At first, I was very optimistic that we would sell by the end of May. HA! FUNNY, ASHLEY! I also said I couldn't stomach the idea of having renters or us renting a house in Muncie. Now, as the months have gone on and we have had a few positive showings, but no offers or anything close to that, I find myself this close (holding my fingers about a 1/2 inch apart) to listing it on Craigslist to rent and being done with it. I have already put feelers out on Facebook about it among friends. I am not opposed to the idea, as long as we do it the right way and have trustworthy people renting from us.

On Thursday, Luke and I will look at two properties to rent in Muncie. Yes, I said rent. Who knew there were other properties to rent besides BSU rentals? Luke has been working hard at driving around in ideal neighborhoods and writing down numbers of agents of homes that are for sale. He has called a page full of people asking if their clients would rent to a teacher and a doctor with an adorable 15 month old. Hey, we'll even let you give her a hug if you want. He hasn't had too much luck, but we do have a very promising house that we will see on Thursday. In fact, I can't WAIT to see it in person because the online photos are great. This house would be a great location, size, style, and fit for us. In fact, I love it already and am already attached. This could be bad news. The story is apparently the woman who is moving just got divorced and is moving to New York. She said that if it doesn't sell by July 10, she would "highly consider" taking our 3-year rental offer. The price is pretty fact she is willing to rent it for about $50 less than what her mortgage payment is, which is pretty nice of her. I am hoping that if we go and see it Thursday and LOVE it, that she will forget about the whole July 10 thing and just let us do it then.

So why are we now on the renting bandwagon? Well, let me list the reasons why renting will be better for us this time around.
1. We do not know how long we will be living in Muncie. It could be 3 years, 10 years, 30 years, or 5 years. We do not want to be held down to a property here the way we are being held in Indy. As lovely as our home is, we are having a hell of a time trying to sell it (as with many other people we know), and we don't feel like turning around and playing this game again in 3 years.
2. Do I really even need to list any other reasons? OK, I will. The idea of not being "responsible" for covering home repairs is pretty nice. Or praying property taxes. Or home owner's insurance.
3. There's something about not being "tied" to a property that is kind of liberating. I say that in the same breath that "owning" a home gives me great pride, but it also scares the shit out of me. Signing all those papers at closing is not something I want to do again for a little while. We might have signed Noelle up for an arranged marriage in those papers-- I don't know...didn't read them!

Now, I know the argument that we are not going to be building equity in the home and that we will basically be throwing away money for 3 years. I get that. However, we very well might be throwing away money on the house we currently own just to try to sell it, AND after 3 years in our home and putting on a new roof and siding as well as upgrading many features inside, we haven't gained hardly any equity in the home. We are looking at barely breaking even with it. So, I am not sure the "equity" argument stands unless you plan to stay in the home for 30 years. And who does that anymore?

So, please, lady I don't know with a really pretty house in a nice neighborhood that would be perfect for our little family...please have mercy on us and let this piece of the puzzle fall in place. Please?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vacation Recap

Well, it's been a solid week or so since we returned from paradise, a.k.a. Kiawah Island, South Carolina. This was my fourth time going and the first time with a child of my own! Two years ago, the last time we went, we were hoping that we could start a family very soon. We had already had the loss of one miscarriage, and we were praying every day that we would have a baby to bring to Kiawah the next time. Sure enough...our dream came true!

We had a great time with Luke's family. Of course, we greatly missed Abe & E, as they were unable to make the trip this year. However, we managed to have fun and relax in the 90 degree heat. We also managed to protect Noelle from sunburn, which was a major victory.

Here are some highlights of the trip.

Introducing Noelle to the ocean for the first time and watching her toes wiggle in the sand as she exclaimed "Wa wa!" We walked the beach in the mornings and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

Noelle took a bath with a couple of cousins. She also peed on the bathroom floor.

Noelle loaded down with SPF 50, giving her a nice "face mask."

We enjoyed a little carnival at the resort. Our nephews were fearless as they went down the large, inflatable slide. Noelle fell asleep before it started, so she stayed at home with Nona.

We spent the day in Charleston and enjoyed looking at all the shops.

Our nephew, Juda, was baptized while we were in Kiawah.

Luke and I got to enjoy a date night out on the last night to a nice Italian restaurant and a movie with Seth & Liz. The grandparents watched all of the kids....and survived!

We really had a great time, and we are already excited to return!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Who knew?

Who knew that watching calories and trying to eat more fruits and vegetable would actually lend itself to weight loss?

In two days, I am down 2.5 pounds. Only approximately 22 more to go... (nervous giggle)...

Feelin' Good

It started with the back of my insurance policy envelope and a black Sharpie. Sipping my 3rd Diet Coke of the day (yipes), I put pen to paper and began with one word. Mortgage. Next to it, I wrote the monthly amount. Beneath that, I wrote out all of our other "fixed expenses" until the legal sized envelope was full to the bottom. My stomach twisted into a knot, and I contemplated just sniffing the heck out of that Sharpie until my anxieties faded away (does that work? I have always been intrigued by "huffers"...), but as I persisted with finalizing this list of responsibilities, ending it with the $540 we spend a month on Noelle's daycare, I realized one very important detail.


It dawned on me that we will have TWO incomes very, very soon. In fact, Luke's first day on the job was today. We will be FAR from rich, but do you know how good it felt to realize that the sole responsibility of paying our mortgage, TV/Internet, phone, gym, life insurance, electric, gas, water, & Noelle's daycare bills will not only fall on my shoulders? Knowing that Luke will be able to contribute takes so much stress off of me.

When I finished my list, I smiled. I a list of bills?! Maybe those Sharpie fumes were working afterall...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Hello from vacation! I am writing this with a frosty, cold, alcoholic beverage next to me. OK, I lied, but it's a nice thought, right?

Anyway, I am on vacation in South Carolina...Kiawah Island to be exact. We are here with Luke's family, and we are having a great time. Noelle has now officially seen, touched, and played in the ocean. She has exclaimed "wa wa" many times (water), and she has enjoyed swimming in the pool as well. She has managed not to get burned, rockin' the SPF 50, sun hat, and swim shirt daily. She is pleasantly rosy-cheeked and sleeping in her pack 'n play as I type.

We have long-awaited this I believe we scheduled it in when there was still snow on the ground. Luke and I both have deserved some rest and relaxation, away from the stress of school, residency,  and the selling-buying-moving trifecta of horror. Unfortunately, my phone has not been ringing with people wanting to see the house while we were gone, even though we left it in pristine condition-- not an easy task to do when leaving for a week and with a bouncy 15 month old undoing all you have done. Whatever.

While we are loving it here and enjoying time with family in the sun, I must say that I am infused with a little guilt-- a little disappointment. I am disappointed in myself because I did not get my act together in time to actually look decent non-heinous in a swimsuit. It's pretty ridiculous that in the 15 months since Noelle was born, I have not gotten these last 10 pounds off my body. And it's not even like they are a "good" 10 pounds (as if there was such a thing-- but some women seem to get to choose where their weight goes and it isn't all bad). They are ugly, stubborn, jiggly 10 pounds that mock me as I stare at them in the mirror with my 2 piece on, wishing I would have just gone with the "mom uniform..." a modest one piece with a knee length skirt. I slap my forehead in stupidity and shudder as I make my way out the door. I have decided that I officially do not give a shit if my stomach is tan, so I am gonna keep that covered up for the remainder of the trip.

As soon as I get home?? I am gonna be hitting it hard to get this weight off. I no longer wish to torture myself on vacations that should be full of fun and frolicking without worrying about how unflattering of an angle you are working. At least now my schedule is wide open and I can work out whenever I want and not eat dinner at 9:30 p.m. like I was doing before school was out.

Cheers to a great summer ahead!