Thursday, October 29, 2015

Our New House!

Since we finally got our keys today, I thought I'd share some pictures of it in all its retro glory. Every inch of this home is original to 1976, so it's like stepping inside a time capsule. We'll be spending about 5-6 weeks renovating it, so we definitely want to have lots of good before pictures. 

(looking at the view from the driveway)

This home is in the Bennett Valley area of Santa Rosa. From the beginning, Ed has wanted to live here. It's right at the base of Annadel State Park, full of tons of beautiful trails.

(walking into the backyard)

We saw this home on a lark - an open house when my parents were in town. 

But, there was just something about it that drew us in. 

It was hard to put my finger on it, because it needs so much work and it was way earlier than we'd wanted to buy. 

(our ancient oak)

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. 

We visited it again 3 more times before we put in an offer. We even did a walk through with a specialist to talk about any issues with dry rot that he'd noticed to make sure we were making a good choice.

When we put our offer in the first time, we didn't get it. They decided to go with a flipper who offered all cash, instead. 

But, lucky for us, the flippers backed out - realizing it was too big of a job to make a real profit.

(intensely outdated family room)

In the couple days where we'd thought we lost the home, we did a lot of reflection. We saw a few more houses in the area and realized that our main concern, the unusual backyard, was a given in this hilly area. 

(this wallpaper will be staying for a while!)

And, we realized that some of the things that were most important to us about this house were hard to find. 

We loved the floorplan of the home, it's privacy, the space, and the location at the end of a quiet cul de sac in a very quiet neighborhood. 

We had just come to the realization that this house might have been our best option when we found out we were back in. So we went in with a stronger offer and got the house!

(view from the master)

The past month has flown - it's amazing how quickly time passes when, in addition to buying a house, you are working full time and taking care of a baby. 

Definitely stressful, which was why we never wanted to to buy a home in the fall when we were adjusting to our new lives here. But, it's worth it to get the right house. 

(our massive master bath, with a tiny little shower)

Since we put in the offer, we've kept an eye on the market and have felt nothing but relief - there has literally been no other interesting homes on the market, and everything we've seen has made us so thankful we got our home for the price we did - it certainly seems like it was a steal.

Evan's crazy retro bathroom. 

Since the offer was accepted, we've been trying to figure out how we're going to remodel it. Our current plan is to redo the entire downstairs (paint, floors, kitchen) and leave the upstairs and outside alone for now.

That means we'll get to enjoy our kooky wallpaper for a while yet :). 

This lamp is one of my favorite details in the house - it will be in Evan's room of course!

Evan's room - we will be doing new carpets upstairs before we move in, though. 

Ed's new office, or the jungle room, as we call it.

This is the picture that sold me on the home. These beautiful windows with a yellow magnolia tree outside.

Moving day can't come soon enough!

I can't wait to bring Evan into the home we bought for him. For our family :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

One and a Half

How on earth is Evan already 1 1/2 years old? It's like we blinked and he became a toddler. These past 6 months have been beyond crazy and wonderful and I'm going to do my best to recap our little boy's last half year.

Weight - About 28 lbs. Pretty exciting that he's gained almost 5 pounds - he's certainly loving food and has been growing like crazy. 

Height - Not sure on this - he measured around 30 inches, which would mean he shrunk, but he's pretty fussy when he's measured, so I'm hoping the next measurement will be more accurate :)

Clothes wise, we're in 24 month, but some is definitely too big, especially if he's in disposable diapers instead of cloth (like at daycare).

He's gotten 3 new molars, all in the last month, and is now up to 11 teeth. 


In the backyard in Bavaria

Evan is so, so much fun these days. He has such strong likes (and dislikes) and can actually communicate with us about them. 

Headed out to the dance floor at the Oktoberfest, and watching the band.

He number one love is definitely music. He puts his little pointer fingers in the air and jabs them up and down when he dances, and he also does that when he wants us to put on music. 

His favorite Pandora station is the Beach Boys, and he loves singing along to Barbara Ann ("Ba ba ba"). 

One of his many tasty German meals! 

Food wise, he's still the same awesome eater. Veggies and fruit usually trump everything else, but now that he has molars, proteins are getting to be more popular. Freeze dried mangoes remain his number one snack, but he also loves yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and other dairies. In Germany, he loved saurkraut and sausage. He is so his mother's child - he loves parmesan and tries to eat it straight when we give him any. 

Practicing steps in Oregon

Evan started taking steps over the summer and was officially walking a couple weeks after we moved into our home in Sonoma. It has been so fun to see him walk and climb. He still loves popping up, but also loves trying to hop, stamping his feet, and spinning. 

Evan still loves books so much- it makes my heart so happy. I'm especially impressed that he will sit and listen to books with lots of words. I often read Harry Potter while nursing him before bed, and he will actually ask for it. His other favorites are "Ira Sleeps Over," "Have You Seen My Potty?" and "All Aboard, California." And, anything with owls. They are by far his favorite (every time he sees one, he says, "hoo hoo")

The German Sea

He also just loves being outside. It is one of the things I am happiest about with living here - he can have outside time every single day. His favorite, though, is playing in sand. At the beach, in a sandbox, wherever - it's simply the best!


Evan napping in Bavaria

Can you believe sleep is still on this list?!? We keep getting better and then worse. Evan was doing great, sleeping through the night, even, and then I went back to work. Then, he almost was back and got an ear infection. I feel like we are so close. Now that he's recovering from the infection, he's back to just waking up once, so we'll see.

Of course, he's gotten 3 molars this month, with more teeth on the way, so it's no surprise he's miserable half the time. We're moving in a little over a month (eek!) so I'm sure sleep will be a mess for a while longer. Good thing he's so cute.

In general, he's a pretty easy going boy. He doesn't like the black cat that comes and peeks in our patio window and doesn't like when I leave for work in the morning, but otherwise he's pretty awesome.

Important Events:
It has been a full 6 months. We've traveled all over, including Germany, moved in to California, I've started work, Evan's started daycare, and we've bought a house. Busy doesn't begin to describe it. But, Evan has been amazing through it all. We're so lucky. 

Leaving our Arizona Home

Seeing Kortney Graduate College!

Traveling to Germany (outside our Bavarian Home)

Vacationing in Oregon

Moving into our new home

Headed to his first day of daycare

Our soon to be new home!

Happy at our favorite park

The biggest two are probably walking and communicating :). He was on the later side with both of these, which had started to stress me just a little (more with the talking), but just like always, he does things when he's ready, and it's the perfect time.

Evan walked first. He started taking steps this summer. His first steps were actually in our hotel in Schonefeld, Germany and witnessed only by me, for once. Then, no walking for a month. He started a few more steps here and there on the second half of our trip, with some great ones in Oregon, but didn't officially start real walking until we settled into our new home. It was pretty perfect timing actually! He's just a fantastic walker now, and so fun to watch. Totally worth the wait!

(video to come)

Evan's language has finally exploded after such a long wait. He's been saying dada for months, teasing me. He's been able to babble mamama, but when you point to me? Dada. He still does that some, but the last couple weeks now will point to me or pictures of me and says mama. It's wonderful. He can also say  ball, baboon, wallow (wa-wa), uh uh, uh oh, shoes, na-na (banana or just food) bubble and more all the time, it seems. He also signs for book, food, milk, please, thank you, more, music (jabs fingers in air), again and I love you. It's just so fun to be able to communicate and makes him a much happier baby. 


Driving in Germany

When we told people we were going to be nomads with a one year old for almost 3 months, people thought we were crazy. And to be honest? We were a bit. I'm really hoping that somehow this will help Evan be a flexible child, but it was rough. We switched locations on average every week, but sometimes as often as 3 days, and in certain places we couldn't let him cry at all. As a result, we were pretty much back to newborn status with sleep- waking every 2-4 hours all night long and nursing every time he woke up. We also did a ton of driving - literally the entire length of Germany, from Arizona to Southern California up to Oregon and to our new home, with lots of branches along the way. 

Happy moments towards the end of our flight home

Also, flying with a one year old as a lap child to Germany? Pretty crazy. The flight over actually wasn't too bad - I just had to hold him the entire time, which was exhausting. The flight home was not as good. It was a longer trip, and Evan was just done traveling, so he was fussy. Thankfully, there was a very sweet flight attendant. Also, on both sides, the airlines inexplicably lost both the stroller and the carseat! It was a nightmare. Especially coming home- we had to have my dad go to target and buy another carseat for us to use so we could get home from the airport. 

Picture Kortney sent me at work of all the fun they were having

And, once we finished our traveling, there was the transition back to work for me. Luckily my sister, Kortney, was able to watch Evan for the first month and a half to ease the transition before he had to start daycare. It was definitely rough, especially the first week - Evan wouldn't sleep in his bed - but overall, it was much better than I feared. 

Our "new" oak tree at our house

The last big challenge has been that we jumped into house hunting way earlier than expected. So, balancing new jobs for both of us with weeknights/weekend dealing with house stuff, and giving Evan enough quality time has been pretty intense. 

So, all things have been wonderful, just challenging. As are most great things worth doing, right?

Mommy Successes:
My Classroom Helper

I'm a teacher again! I have really enjoying getting to be back in the classroom. My class is lovely, I'm really enjoying my new school, and I like being able to think critically and complexly again. Of course, I literally fell asleep on the floor after my first day of teaching. It's been exhausting still getting up with Evan during the night and then waking at 5am to go teach. Add in 30-45 minutes of commuting each way, a full day of teaching where I'm trying to cram in prep during any free moment, and it makes for an exhausting life. 

View from the ship

Plus, we had a huge field trip a month into the year. I spent the night on a 1800s ship in the San Francisco bay with my kiddos. It was my first night away from Evan, which was huge source of stress, both for Evan's sake, and for mine, since I'm still nursing and had to figure out pumping on a 200 year old boat. Long story short, it all went great. Ed's mom came to help him with Evan, and Evan did just fine (or at least that's what they told me) and I had a wonderful time with my students. 

Daddy Successes:

Ed also started a new job! He has been having such a fantastic time - his classes and coworkers have been great, so it's been a really positive transition. With my return to work, he's also taken on being the primary caregiver for Evan. He's now in charge of Evan's mornings, getting him to daycare, and doing a bit more of the cooking and cleaning. It's been really nice to become more "equal" parents and he's doing a fantastic job. 

Best Moments:
It's so hard to choose, with six months to look at. Here are some of the top ones:

Celebrating Evan's Birthday in California:

Celebrating Mother's Day:

Evan's First Wedding:

Dressing Up as a Bavarian Family:

Hiking the Partnachklamm, a gorge in Bavaria:

Evan's First "Real" Snow (Ed has decided that the tiny bit in Orange County over New Years doesn't count compared to the Austrian Alps):


Hoisted up during my field trip

Redwood National Park