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Archive for the ‘House buying and moving’ category

So this is the first entry on this blog in 4 1/2 months which is rather shameful. I’ve been meaning to put something up for about 3 months now. And I think there’s just been so much to say that I’ve been a bit paralysed… where to even begin? So I will just sum up.

First of all, as the five people who still pay any attention to this blog are already fully aware, we’re expecting our first child at the end of December. I knew this when I wrote the last entry way back in early May, but it was too early to be public news then. And now I’m 5 1/2 months pregnant, and my ever-growing bump makes it all too apparent.

First trimester wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but it was certainly no picnic. I didn’t experience all that much nausea – and when I did it was usually only late at night – but I just felt really blecch every evening. The most annoying symptom was that I felt ravenously hungry all the time but there were very few foods that I actually had any desire to eat with the result that I lost about eight pounds during the first trimester. (Here’s The Kid at 14 weeks.)

The day I started my second trimester it was like a switch flipped and suddenly I just felt normal again which was such a relief! And with just a week and a half left to go, second trimester has been great! I don’t have any basis for comparison, but this seems to be a very active baby. It’s not unusual for her/him (we’re not going to find out which until she/he comes out) to be kicking and wiggling most of the day whilst I’m sitting at my desk at work. The Kid seems to really like to kick its dad. Whenever it’s kicking in one place and I put my hand on my tummy it often stops. But when James puts his hand on my tummy, The Kid immediately kicks right in that spot. I’m sure those are kicks of affection rather than aggression. 🙂

So it seems inevitable that “one more voice in the human choir” will – at least to some degree – become a Baby Blog which may well mean that new content appears on it with greater regularity. We shall see.

August was a fun but slightly mad month with two weeks in the US (finally met my gorgeous niece, had a wonderful time with dear friends in Nashville, and celebrated my brother Jeffrey’s marriage to the delightful Courtney) and then five days at Greenbelt which, despite some heavy rain and rather too much time spent working, was once again a highlight of our year.

And then a week and a half after getting back from Greenbelt, we finally completed on our house! After 4 1/2 months of one delay after another, we got the keys on September 6. Two weeks on, we still have quite a lot of our stuff in boxes – mostly for lack of furniture to unpack things into – and I’m trying to be very zen about it all. It helps that we have a functional kitchen and that our living room is something of an oasis. (We got that set up within a couple of days of moving in so that we could at least go in one room, shut the door and forget about the huge pile of boxes just on the other side.) We also have a wonderful bed from Warren Evans (which we would highly recommend) and I have been sleeping remarkably well for 5 1/2 months pregnant. We still need a lot of furniture and there’s definitely work to be done in the house (the kitchen especially needs a lot of help) but it sure is wonderful to have our own place again!

I’m planning to post some house photos on Flickr soon. In the meantime, check out photos of my spectacularly adorable niece, Leah Marnae.


It’s official: I’m leaving my job. I turned in my letter of resignation yesterday. There’s a lot of reorganization and movement going on in my department right now, so even though I won’t actually be leaving until May, we’re hoping to hire my replacement within the next couple of months, and HR had to have my letter before they can post the opening. Thus, the submission of my resignation letter four months in advance of my actual departure date. It’s one more thing that makes all of this seem very real and very final. I’m sure that when May rolls around I’ll be more emotional about the whole thing, but for now I’m mostly just excited. Twelve years is long enough to work in one place, I think. I’m ready for something new!

We’re taking steps to get our house ready to sell. It’s so hard to know when to put it on the market, and we’re hoping our realtor will be able to give us some good advice about that next week. When we bought our house in 2004, it had only been on the market for six days when we put in our offer, and we had reason to believe another offer was on its way in. It’s a great house – beautifully decorated, in great shape, new furnace and automatic garage door, great back yard and deck, in a fantastic location with lots (like the Fulton Farmers Market) in easy walking distance, etc., etc. However, the housing market is a lot different now than it was three years ago, and we have no idea how long it will take to sell.

In other news, as James blogged shortly before the holidays, we’ve purchased our first (of many!) flights for our summer around-the-world trip. And last weekend we got fourteen different travel guides out of the library. Lots of reading to do in the next couple of weeks! Thank goodness for GRPL and the online renewal option.

Yes, it’s true. After two months of drought, I’m blogging again. Don’t expect a deluge, however. Things are pretty busy these days.

So in the last two months we’ve moved into our new house (photos here – click on the rooms to see them) and have been having a great old time furnishing it. We’ve also found that owning a house zaps a lot of time. It’s quite something, really. We had a lovely little housewarming party on September 25 thanks to the amazing generosity of our great realtor Linda.

Also my sister Erin got married on October 2. It was a freezing cold day for an outdoor wedding, but at least it was sunny and the reception was in a cozy, closed-in shelter house complete with a fire in the fireplace. The bride was glowing all day. It was a great celebration!

And we continue to pull together all the last-minute details for our own wedding celebration on October 22. I’m really looking forward to it, but I’m also looking forward to it being done and our lives finally slowing down a bit. It’s amazing what a hectic, busy month September was! We’ll be honeymooning in northern Michigan (Bellaire, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Mackinac, etc.) – a location neither of us has been to. Should be a good time and beautiful that time of year. And even if it rains all week, it will be a whole six days together with nothing else to do!

In the meantime, James is improving his computer programming skills and looking for work – full time or freelance. If you need a web developer and have any leads, please get in touch with him. He’s set up a portfolio (with all his contact info) over here.

That’s a summary of the news from the last two months. I’ll post after our October 22 event if not before!

p.s. No word on James’ green card yet. The vigil continues…

It’s something, huh?

James and I are in the midst of all the joy and stress of buying our first house. I’ve lived in rental properties (four different ones) since graduating from Calvin and never really even considered buying. It made sense to do so now, a major reason being that if we do eventually decide to buy a house in England we want to have some equity built up as housing costs there are astronomical – at least compared to West Michigan.

So about a month ago we contacted Linda – a friend of my aunt and uncle who is a realtor and has helped a few other members of my extended family find houses. She faxed me a list of about 34 properties in the general area that we had specified (in short, within about 10 minutes walk of central Eastown). We selected a few to look at and were at first a little discouraged about what we were finding in our price range. But then a couple came along that we were more optimistic about and could see ourselves in. We started taking second looks, and then we found it: The House.

I fell in love with it immediately upon entering and just got more excited as we walked around. The listed price was toward the top of our price range but it was in such great condition. There was nothing that needed doing immediately; the floors, paint, appliances, roof, yard – all in great shape! James was excited about it but didn’t have the immediate emotional reaction that I did – which is okay because he’s a guy. 🙂

Next comes the securing of a mortgage lender which ended up being a pretty easy process for us. One of my co-workers highly recommended her and her husband’s mortgage guy, and after meeting with him and finding out that this was actually going to cost us a lot less per month than we were expecting, we were ready to move forward. [Side note: my conversations lately have been peppered with all kinds of terms that I hadn’t had a clue about a month ago like PMI, ARM, disclosure statements, etc.]

The day that we made the offer I had to work, but James and Linda spent a good two hours in the house looking around and writing up the offer – after which James was really excited about the house too. They came over to my office around 1:00 that afternoon so I could sign the offer papers too. Linda faxed them to the listing agent shortly after. And we waited. And waited. And waited… The offer expired at 10:00 p.m. Linda called us at 10:30 to say she still hadn’t heard anything. At midnight we finally went to bed. Thankfully I managed to sleep despite the suspense. Linda called at 7:30 a.m. to let us know that there had been a counter-offer. We decided to accept it. Later that evening Linda called us to let us know that she had heard from the listing agent and we were all set. Pending inspection and all that, the house would be ours.


The tentative plan is to close sometime after July 23 and take possession the last weekend in August. I think it’s going to be a little frustrating not to be able to move in earlier, but it will all work out. We’ve been doing some furniture shopping now that we know what sort of space we have to put the furniture in. It’s a lot more fun that way!

It’s kind of strange that I’m so excited about having hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. I kinda think this is worth it though.