little feet, little hands, little baby

To celebrate my blogs new appearance I wanted to look back at all of my different title taglines that the old original template lived through. These taglines changed throughout the past 3 years as our life has evolved and I love the story it tells.

After three years of blogging, I decided it was time for a blog facelift!

To celebrate my blogs new appearance I wanted to look back at all of my different title taglines that the old original template lived through. These taglines changed throughout the past 3 years as our life has evolved and I love the story it tells.

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The blog started with a post titled “Home is where one starts from” – a line from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. This was a fitting beginning to our story having just become husband and wife and going through the process of buying our first home. I can remember that time like it was yesterday, eagerly anticipating our life ahead with such excitement and wonder. The reason I can remember the feeling so well is because today I am still filled with the same excitement for what is to come. Our next chapter was bringing home our French Bulldog, Rooney, and realizing that our hearts grew in size as our new love for this silly boy filled them. “Puppy makes three” was a fitting tagline for our new chapter as our life as doggy parents began. I couldn’t imagine how dull our life could have been without our sweet bundle of Rooney in it. He makes us smile every single day and that totally makes up for all of the mischief he gets into!

That leads to the present tagline and the title of this post – “little feet, little hands, little baby”. This is a line from Dave Matthews Band’s song, So Much To Say. Bryan and I both have a strong love for Dave Matthews Band and the line just seemed to fit this next chapter perfectly when we welcomed our daughter, Lucy. Lucy’s entrance into our family has truly been the most amazing chapter of all. I cannot put into words the amount of love we have for her. To honor this current tagline, please find my photos below which reflect the line by showing Lucy’s “little feet, little hands”, our perfect “little baby”. 

 

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

6 Things I Learned about First Time Home Owning

Back when we first bought our house I wrote a similar post called 6 Things I Learned about First Time House Buying. Now that we are coming up on our year and a half mark in our humble abode, I didn’t want you all to think the learning stopped at buying – oh no, quite the contrary, we have learned even more tough lessons throughout our first year and a half of being first time homeowners. Don’t get me wrong, owning a house is rewarding and having your own space is priceless…but the little things along the way make me wish that I could just phone up a landlord and have them fix things for me, for free (lucky for me, I do have my dad for that)!

Back when we first bought our house I wrote a similar post called 6 Things I Learned about First Time House Buying. Now that we are coming up on our year and a half mark in our humble abode, I didn’t want you all to think the learning stopped at buying – oh no, quite the contrary, we have learned even more tough lessons throughout our first year and a half of being first time homeowners. Don’t get me wrong, owning a house is rewarding and having your own space is priceless…but the little things along the way make me wish that I could just phone up a landlord and have them fix things for me, for free (lucky for me, I do have my dad for that – thanks dad)!

1. There are certain seasonal things you must do. Picture this, your first few months in your house, the Christmas tree is lit, the stockings are hung…and it is the coldest winter EVER. In the winter of 2014, temperatures dropped to record lows and the average temperature was in the single digits. Ah, nice for us we were warm in our heated house (side note: gas bills that winter were astronomical). One cold night it was time to go get the trash can from our finished basement walk out…and what is this I feel? Why am I sloshing through the carpet? After much panic (half of our basement had flooded), a plumber found a hairline crack in one of the PVC water pipes in our wall. How can one TINY sliver of a crack do so much damage you ask? Well, it shouldn’t have cracked in the first place. It turns out we hadn’t turned the water off that goes to the outside water spigots. The pipes froze and the pressure cracked the pipe. After telling everyone about what happened we learned that it was common knowledge to turn off the water to the outside of the house as soon as the temperatures started reaching freezing levels. So as one new home owner to another, if you are clueless like us, PLEASE make sure you turn your water off to the outside every winter. In the end, insurance came through and last spring/summer we were able to repair the basement (laid tile, installed new carpet, and painted). We still have a long way to go with decorating that space (Bryan’s FIFA man-cave), but when we do I will be sure to post our transformation! Oh another thing on this topic – make sure you change your air filters every 3 months (this also helped that gas bill problem I mentioned earlier). We may or may not have just learned this lesson as my dad practically choked to death on black dust while discovering that we hadn’t changed ours since we moved in.

2. Lawn maintenance is no joke. Bryan and I have the opposite of green thumbs. I am always envious of the people with beautiful gardens and perfectly manicured lawns. Bryan cuts the grass and uses the weed-wacker but that is the extent of our lawn maintenance. If you were to look at our yard in its current state you would probably faint. The backyard weeds are coming through the cracks in our brick patio and the “bushes” that used to be pretty when we moved in are all dead and overgrown. We still have a turtle shaped plastic sandbox sitting in our yard from the previous owners. We have also just received a notice from the gas company that they can’t get to the meter because the bushes surrounding it are overgrown (how embarrassing). This spring, we have decided to focus a lot of our energy on fixing up our yard. Hopefully it is a somewhat enjoyable process – progress updates to come.

3. You can never keep too many spare light bulbs in the house. Every time a light bulb goes out, it seems the moment you replace it another one goes out somewhere else in the house. It’s a conspiracy I tell you!

4. PAINting is a PAIN. How do those people on HGTV look so darn happy as they paint all of the rooms in their house? In our house it’s a lot of near quitting, achy backs, and yelling when we accidentally paint the ceiling. However; the positive side of PAINting yourself rather than hiring an expensive painter is that it is an affordable way to transform a room. Through all the sweat and tears of actually PAINting, the end result far surpasses how you felt while doing it. We have also learned that it doesn’t have to be perfect, in the end only you will notice those imperfections. Each time we paint a room we swear up and down that we will be hiring a professional for the next time we paint, but so far this hasn’t happened.

5. Things you never think would break, do break. It’s pretty much never-ending repairs when owning a home. It’s honestly more humorous than anything. From the kitchen island detaching from itself, the guest bathroom shower rod falling to the ground during a guests shower, the ceiling fans/lights breaking for no reason, and much more – we have been forced to learn how to be handy. Just last week we came home to a buzzing sound on the main level. After investigating the entire house and googling all sorts of worst case scenarios, it turns out that the UPS delivery person must have pushed the doorbell a little too hard and when I went to the door to look at the doorbell I found it completely smashed in with broken plastic all around it. The buzz was coming from the chime box that is on the wall and the fact that the doorbell was pressed in so long before we figured out the problem was enough to blow out the transformer. There was also that time that we couldn’t figure out how to get all the smoke detectors (which are all linked together) to turn off so Rooney hid in the basement while Bryan ran around the house yanking them off the ceiling, un-wiring them all, and ripping the battery back-up out of them (which have since been repaired/replaced). See, humorous right?

6. Through all the mishaps, the good outweighs it all. Bryan and I have learned to take all of the challenges that happen with home owning as lightly as possible. There is no point of getting angry at the situation or blaming each other for things that go wrong. Every homeowner has similar stories and from them they too have learned lessons along the way. We are so fortunate to have our family behind us and they are always there for us whenever we need advice or repair assistance. As I said in my intro, owning a house and having your own private space is rewarding. Over the past year and a half in our first home, the memories we have made are ones I will cherish forever. This home is the beginning of our story as a married couple. This home and fenced in yard enabled us to get our puppy and turned us into a little family. We have an investment now, responsibilities that help shape us and mature us, and we look forward to bringing our future children into this home someday.

Until the next time we learn a lesson…

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Crossing the Threshold!

The past few days with settlement and the big move have been exciting, new, exhausting, eye-opening, busy and oh so worth it.

First and foremost – we are officially homeowners!

Our Home

The past few days with settlement and the big move have been exciting, new, exhausting, eye-opening, busy and oh so worth it.

On Thursday we had our settlement. At our settlement we signed what seemed like a zillion papers (Bryan forgot how to sign his name by the end of it and I had hand cramps) and we met the previous home-owner (who was absolutely amazing). After that we were handed the keys and they were mostly all Washington Redskins patterned house keys so Bryan instantly knew it was fate that we were meant for that house. After we finished our settlement of course we uploaded the standard keys-in-hand photo to facebook: keys Afterwards we headed to the old house to meet my dad to bring the first load of stuff over. Thursday night we unloaded what seemed like thousands of boxes and then we returned to our old house for the night.

“A custom in marriage: the husband carries his wife over the threshold of their new house or home. i.e. he lifts her up and carries her through the doorway into their new home.”
Crossing the Threshold

Friday I started to set up the kitchen and let me tell you, trying to figure out what dishes should go where, and what drawers should hold what was so tough. By the time Bryan was home from work I had organized the kitchen and the bathrooms. The cable guy then came and hooked up our TV/Internet so we were set.

Saturday was MOVING DAY. We loaded all of the furniture into the trailer and the guys made a few trips back and forth carrying all of the heavy pieces while I went back to the old house and packed all of my clothes (an equally hard task if you knew how many clothes I have). By about 5:30 all of the moving was done (phew) and then I cleaned up a little and then we had our first visitors – my Mom and Stepdad. My amazing mom brought us food – because if you opened our refrigerator at that point you would have found nothing. We then shared a bottle of champagne to celebrate. It was wonderful having our first house guests and we look forward to many more. Saturday night was the first night we spent in the house and that is when the realization hit that we were homeowners and this is where we would build our lives together!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

The Walk Through

Sneaking a quick post in today – ONE day until we settle and we are happy to report that there were NO SURPRISES!  Our HUD-1 final settlement statement came in at the amount we expected (actually a tiny bit UNDER which was an extra bonus).  After work we met up with our realtor and did our final walk through and there were no problems to be found – in fact it was even more perfect than I remembered it!  The biggest surprise to me was how big our walk in closet is – I literally forgot about the details of the house since we haven’t seen it in so long! We also found out that the previous owners are leaving us their lawnmower and trashcans which will save us some money that we otherwise would have had to spend immediately!  All-in-all a very good pre-homebuying day!

Seeing this also out front put a HUGE smile on our faces:Image

 

Almost Time to Sign on the Dotted Line!

It’s moving week!

As promised, this past weekend was spent packing! Luckily with my work, I have off every other Friday so the 3-day weekend was VERY helpful. Knowing we would be looking for a house within the year following our wedding – we decided that all of our AWESOME wedding gifts would just stay in their boxes. This was such a good idea in hindsight (though hard because I wanted to use all the new stuff) because packing things that are already in boxes is so much easier then wrapping them all up. Though we are just starting out with little to no furniture – we are going to have an amazing kitchen thanks to our wedding gifts so I think we will just live in there most of the time!

Other than packing – I also managed to restore a piece of furniture! It has been something I have wanted to start for a long time, and with my dad’s instruction while doing this piece, I think that I can tackle many more projects in the future. The piece I restored was an old medicine cabinet that came from my great grandma, Nonna’s house. It has been inside of my dad’s house for a long time and with time comes discoloration. Bryan and I sanded it down and then repainted it with a fresh coat of white paint and cannot wait to put it in our guest bathroom. I am so excited to continue to learn how to restore furniture.

So what is on the schedule for the rest of the week? Well, tomorrow we will be doing a final walk through of the house. I am so excited just to see the house again since it’s been a month since we saw it last. I will be taking some photos for my “before” pictures too while we are there because come Thursday there will be our moving stuff everywhere in boxes and it will no longer be a fresh empty house. Thursday is settlement day! We will be meeting with our attorney after work to sign the papers, hand over the checks, and get those keys in our hands! Once settlement is finished, we will head over to the house with my dad to unpack the first round of boxes and then Friday while Bryan is at work I will start unpacking! Then, the weekend will be used for all the heavy lifting – our furniture! It will be a tiring rest of the week, but all I can think about is how exciting that first night we stay at our new home will be for us!

Still, keep your fingers crossed for us that there are no surprises these next few days with the walk through and settlement!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

My Thoughts on Packing

Why is packing the worst thing ever?

When you have as much junk from the past as I do from never having to condense or prepare for a REAL move – it can take forever! I spent most of my weekend trying to de-clutter and sort through my stuff. Well, realistically, it was an hour of de-cluttering, an hour of complaining about de-cluttering, an hour of watching HGTV dreaming about having a house, and then back to de-cluttering again with the new motivation after watching the nice homes on HGTV. Vicious cycle.

The categories of piles were KEEP, SELL, DONATE, TRASH. I don’t know if it is just me or what – but somehow I get emotionally attached to EVERYTHING. Do I really need to save my history notes from high school, my very first video camera that only records to VHS, my Halloween costumes from the past 10 years? Luckily I was able to trash a LOT of it. I have bags of clothes to donate, and I have a stack of things to give to my dad for his next big yard sale. On the other hand, I have a collection of old cellphones (maybe I should consider opening my own vintage Verizon store?) that are still tentatively in the keep pile, and don’t even try to get me to be able to part with these stuffed animal’s Bryan has won for me over the years in the claw machines!

we love you, jennifer

For now they will just live in a box in our storage room until the next time I have to de-clutter!

As this week continues I will continue to de-clutter, clean, and pack. Luckily for Bryan, he has already moved many times so he doesn’t have anywhere near as much as I do. For now I will just keep telling myself that the less we have to move, the easier it will be on us. In the end it will all be worth it!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

What are some packrat items YOU have that you can’t bear to part with?