Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Anchorage Home

Since we will probably move quite frequently, I decided to make little photo booklets of each house we live in.  I think it'll be fun for our kids way down the road to see where we all lived and where they grew up.  I'm still working on the Anchorage house, but this is why I made it a point to take lots of pictures (like I did for our first Houston house).

It all happened so fast I don't think I got to say a proper goodbye to our Anchorage home.  The movers didn't leave until late in the evening the last day and we frantically had to deep clean the entire house and rush off to meet the person to ship up my car before leaving for our flight the next morning at 3am.  It was not a restful, let-it-all-sink-in type of farewell.  

But here is our (old) home.  Isn't the exterior lovely?  It was actually the first house we looked at in Alaska and I was not a fan.  The curb appeal is terrible.  It looks purple (though it's really grey).  And every single house in the neighborhood is exactly the same.  But then we looked at about 40 more homes and I realized it wasn't so bad compared to Alaska standards.  In hindsight, it's covered with snow 8 months of the year anyways, so what does it really matter? :)
Let's take a tour, shall we?  

We rarely used our front door.  Except for guests.  But that's probably pretty normal.  Matt re-did the entry way (aka - arctic entry...keeps the cold air out).  Isn't it so welcoming?  He did a good job.
Our family/dining area.  We had to make sure our furniture fit in whatever house we purchased, specifically our large dining hutch we had just bought (can see in picture below).  Our living room was quite cozy.  I spent many a cold days on that couch sipping hot tea curled up next to my space heater (we owned 3 by the time we left).
I loved how open the downstairs all was.
Our formal dining furniture worked well for everyday use thankfully.  But now that we are back in the south it will probably have it's proper home outside of the eat-in kitchen.
This kitchen was more updated than 99% of the homes we looked at.  It was a bit smaller than what we had before (thus we had appliances stuck in various closets throughout the house).  I baked a lot of goodies in here.
And now for upstairs.  Our guest room with the bright orange wall I painted in the middle of winter.  Good thing I still liked it when the sun came back. :)
Maddie's nursery.  I'm going to miss this sweet room.  Hopefully we can duplicate it in our new house.

The landing.  The last two bedrooms are behind you (along with the stairs) and the master is down the hallway with the second bath on the left and laundry on the right.  I loved having the laundry upstairs.  So convenient! 
The guest bath (notice the second space heater).  

Our master.
And the lovely bathroom remodel of the master bath (which I guaranty helped sell the place and keep our marriage sane).  (And there is the third space heater in the bottom left.)
And then our back patio that we got to enjoy for, eh, 3 months?  
 In reality, here is what is looked like half of the time. :)
It was a great house in a great neighborhood. Sure, it wasn't my dream home, but we made it our own and made lots of memories there.  It will always be our first home purchase as a married couple.  The place we lived our first big adventure together.  Where we learned to endure negative temperatures and 20 hours of darkness a day.  And of course, where we brought our first baby home to.

I'm thankful God gave us a great house in Anchorage, made the choice so clear and blessed us again with a quick sell when it was time to leave.  It's been a bit more challenging this time around, but I'm confident He has something else great in store.  I'm just really learning patience until then...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Goodbyes are hard

Our house is currently in boxes and packed away in crates on it's way down to Houston.  Matt has started his new job and we have moved into our friend, David's, guest room.  Now if only we could find a house.  House #3 doesn't look promising after inspections so we are back to the drawing board of house hunting.  This has been an emotional ride.  And rather exhausting.
one last look at our living room

But before we took our final flight out of Alaska (at least for awhile, I hope to bring Maddie back one day and introduce her to her home state), Matt and I had an eventful weekend finishing up chores, running errands and saying goodbye to all the friends God has blessed us within the short 2 years we lived up in Alaska.  We had dinners and parties in our honor.  We certainly felt loved.  

The biggest thing Matt and I prayed for when we moved to Alaska was community.  We didn't know a single person within 1,000s of miles.  When I filled out paperwork for my new job, my local emergency contact besides Matt was our realtor.  We were that alone.  

But God quickly answered our prayers.  And He gave us incredible community.  I'm not a type of person that has (or needs) tons of friends.  I usually have a handful of close friends and I'm completely content.  Maybe that's my introverted side.  But either way, I hate goodbyes.  So it wasn't a fun weekend in that regard.

We met the majority of our friends at our church and most are recent "transports" to Alaska like us.  These ladies were such a blessing when I desperately needed a friend!   None of us had any family in Alaska so we became our own small family.  I love these ladies and am going to miss them dearly!

So many people impacted us in our time in Alaska.  It's crazy to think we are about to start yet another chapter.  I pray yet again that God will continue to bless us with meaningful, encouraging friendships...

...and a house to call our own.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

8 months

In the midst of our incredibly chaotic life right now, my baby girl turned 8 months old!  Her little personality comes out more each month.  She is full of giggles and smiles and high pitched screams (though we try not to encourage those).  And a little drama.  I'm not sure where that comes from...
She is experiencing full on separation anxiety.  She's always had this (she is such a mamma's girl), but it's getting to where I often cannot leave the room - or even set her down - without her getting upset with me.  She loves her daddy, but if she's tired, mommy is all she wants.   She still nurses about every 3-4 hours during the day and once or twice at night.   I decided it wasn't worth trying to wean her from night nursing quite yet with all the changes taking place.  As soon as we settle into our new home, I hope to get into better sleeping habits.  Is that too hopeful? :)
She loves drinking water out of a straw.  If she gets full, she'll start sucking the water up the straw and spitting it out just so she doesn't have to stop.   She usually eats real food (pureed fruits and veggies) twice a day.  This girl loves to eat.  And those little pouches of pureed food are the best.
We are on the verge of crawling.  I'm hoping she'll refrain until we get into our new house and get it all baby proofed.  But she can scoot like nobody's business and has started to pull up onto her knees.  But no hands and knees crawling just yet.
Maddie is such a joyful little girl.   She has been such a trooper as our world is turning upside down and her routine is completely out of whack.  Hopefully at 9 months we will be unpacking our new house and a sense of normalcy will return.  I hope.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

a whirlwind of a move

I'm not really sure where to start.  It has been a crazy two weeks in the life of this family.  I have yet to even process most of it.  It's so easy to be filled with anxiety and worry as we walk through this move.  I'm thankful that I'm just on this journey and God is in charge of orchestrating all the details.

First, we've sold our house!  We were a bit worried when we purchased this house because it had been on the market for a year.  One entire year.  For whatever reason it just wasn't selling and it was by far the best house we looked at.  It was actually a no brainer to us, since there weren't any other choices that compared to it.  We just hoped that we'd be able to sell it for as much as we put into it - we painted the whole house, redid the master bath, finished off the arctic entry, and made a little oasis on our small patio.  And within a week we had three offers on the place.  Three.  Needless to say, God blessed us big time with this house.  I'm still a little in disbelief.

I love when things work out so smoothly.  We were off to a good start.  Confirms that we are on the right path and makes it so stress free and easy.

Then we went to Houston for a house hunting trip.

We brilliantly scheduled a direct flight from Anchorage to Houston - the best.  Unfortunately it was a red eye from 8pm to 6am - the worst.  Especially with a baby.  Who doesn't have her own seat.  And you aren't sitting with your spouse.  And you have to house hunt the entire next day when you arrive.

I got no sleep.  Matt got a couple.  Maddie got about 5.  Maybe.  What were we thinking??

Then we had four days to find a house.  I didn't want to be homeless for an extended period of time, so we needed a house before we left.  It was a bit stressful.  Especially with a baby in tow.  Thankfully my sister and bro-in-law drove to Houston and went with us the first day.  They spent lots of time in the car while she slept or driving around and around the block trying to keep her asleep while we viewed potential homes.  Houston is big (especially compared to the giant population of Anchorage with 300,, what's 3 million?).  I think that made it a bit harder to figure out where we wanted to live.  There were so many options!  Do we live closer in and have an older, smaller home?  Do we live in timbuktu and have a fancier, updated home?  Plus, we really wanted a pool.  Maybe we were making things a little more difficult than necessary.  But coming from Alaska, I need a pool.  Maddie needs a pool.  Or we are going to melt.  Poor thing was dripping in sweat the entire time we were in Houston.  I like to think I'm not overreacting.  And being completely reasonable.  So no pool = deal breaker to us.

Then I got sick.  Like severe food poisoning.  It was terrible!  I don't think I've ever gotten food poisoning before.  That night was a disaster.  Our little hotel room, Maddie crying her eyes out because mommy is in the bathroom losing everything.  Matt trying to calm her down to no avail.  So we didn't get any sleep.  Again.  It took me a full 24 hours of our 4 days to be able to leave our hotel room.  This wasn't going well.

I felt like as every day passed we had a new opinion on what we should do.  We made offers on three different houses.  Three completely different, all over the map houses.  And God kept closing the door (which I'm thankful we didn't end up with something we shouldn't have!).  I did not want to leave Houston without a home.  But by our last day and we didn't have a house to call our own yet, I realized my dreams weren't coming true in my timing.   (This is where you'd insert the sympathy music.)

But thankfully after we left, we made another offer on a house.  Though we had to wait a tad bit longer than I would have preferred, we are finally in negotiations with a house that we are both really excited about.  I'm just praying that it'll work out smoothly from here or God will yet again shut the door if He has something better in store.  And my heart will be prepared to deal with that.

So now we are back in Alaska.  Our last week here.  We have one week to pack up everything we'll need for at least 4-6 weeks, clean everything, say goodbye to everyone :(, get our whole life packed into boxes and help throw a baby shower (yay!).

Think that'd be it right?  Hah.  Wrong.  We were hit with a record category 3 hurricane wind storm which not only uprooted a tree in our front yard but also left us without power for 36 hours.  A day and a half with a baby, no car (we've already shipped one), and no power.  That was fun.  So now I am down to one day before the movers come tomorrow.  Tomorrow!!  My list of to-dos just continues to grow.  I haven't even had time to get sentimental about leaving.  I guess that's what the weekend is for.

And maybe on our 9 hour flight back to Houston on Tuesday, I can start to process what just happened.