Monday, August 26, 2013

Time for School! Time for School! Time for School!

The boys had their very first day of school today and they were so excited! After we picked them up they told us all about their new classrooms, who they sat by and how you could buy chips at lunch. All it all, a pretty stellar day for my First Grader and Second grader!

Friday, August 23, 2013

It's been two weeks...

Since we touched down on US soil and I have to say, it's great to be back. We arrived August 8th/9th and luckily didn't suffer any jet-lag. Okay, let me rephrase that: The kids and I didn't suffer any jet-lag. B however slept WAY too much on the long flight over and his internal clock was all sorts of backward. We departed Italy at 10:55am on Thursday morning, landed in San Antonio TX at 8:30pm Thursday night (or what felt like 3am to us). However, I hadn't slept the night before we left so I was up a good solid 24 hours by the time we landed in Texas. The kids napped on the plane, but no longer than 2 hours (long enough for me to watch 'Pitch Perfect' uninterrupted). B however was in a seat all by himself as they couldn't get us grouped together (we were seats A-F on the plane but that left Ron sitting by a stranger rather than in a set of seats with one of us) and was able to nap much much more than I.

And I'm not gonna lie, I was ticked off. I was doing everything for the kids because a) I am their mom and always the first choice when they need water/potty/break up a fight and b) I was in arm's reach for 3 kids at a time. Every time I looked over and saw B peacefully sleeping I hoped that the person behind him would kick his seat-back. 

But little did I know, this worked out in my favor. Once we got off that last plane and settled into the hotel, I was O-U-T. He however, was restless. And for the first 3 nights we spent in Houston, the kids and I went to bed between 9-10pm and slept soundly all night. B was up at 2am taking Rascal and Lucca outside because they were all awake.

So, the kids and I did fine off the bat. We left San Antonio for Houston, got settled into the hotel here. Now when we landed in Italy, were in the hotel for 7 weeks so we know hotel-living. The room we have here is a suite; a kitchen, living room, one bedroom with 2 queen beds and a bathroom and another bedroom with a king bed and bathroom. It's nice but it's small. And as eager as we may get to leave, we have to wait 6-8 weeks for our household goods to arrive regardless of whether we buy a home or rent. So we unpacked, established some rules (like where toys go) and settled in.

Ron was adjusted by the fourth day which was great because he started work that day too. And he loves it! While he was at work, I was setting up meeting with our Realtor to look at homes. (We did leg work before ever arriving in Texas and knew which school districts we would consider, which towns and we had already been in contact with a mortgage banker and had a pre-qualification letter to buy our first home. Our Realtor already knew our budget and our must-haves so he literally just needed to start showing us homes). It took two days and 12 houses but we found ''the one'' for us and submitted an offer on the 13th. There was a day of negotiations (the biggest issue was the closing date...they wanted to wait until October 8th which just isn't an option for us) and we wanted a standard 30 days. We ended up negotiating to a date of Sept 20th. We set up a date/time for the inspection for that Friday and hunkered down to wait.

It's important to note, we weren't alone. Wednesday afternoon, Nanaw and Papa came to Texas! There was no way my mom was going to missing seeing us now that we were stateside. So we kept very busy. Children's museum, Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston Beach, we did it all and we did it Thursday- Saturday. (Pics to come, I don't have my computer yet obviously). So while we knew the inspection was done, we knew what the report was going to say for the most part...we just stopped and enjoyed the weekend.

Well apparently this made the sellers antsy. They are in contract to buy another home and it's contingent on theirs selling. So when the inspection was through and they received a copy/summary from their agent but didn't hear from us, they started to get concerned that we weren't happy. (We totally were but we just hadn't had time...Ron was back at work and we had planned to get in touch with our agent after he got off work Monday night to discuss what was next). Their agent called ours THREE times on Monday. They were offering to correct things before we could say anything. So we talked with our agent and came up with an amendment...lowering the asking price for a few repairs as well as them fixing two things prior to us moving in). We sent it off and Tuesday morning got word that they agreed. No countering, no negotiating, they gave us just what we wanted. Our agent drew up papers, we signed. Then our lender sent over the final locked in mortgage rate and break down and we signed. We're getting the house!

In addition to all the new house excitement, on Wednesday I got Ryan and Logan enrolled for school. They have their meet and greet tomorrow where they will meet their teachers and see the school. Classes start Monday! So we scrambled and got their school supplies together and they are ready.

So in two weeks we adjusted to jet lag, moved into a hotel, spent 3.5 days with my parents, went sight-seeing, put an offer on a house, enrolled our kids for school, got back to school hair-cuts, and signed the final papers to buy our first home. And we did it all with one vehicle as we still haven't found a beater car for B to use to commute to and from work. But considering all we did get done, It's been a pretty productive two weeks!

Throwback Thursday:

August 2012: A Preschooler, First Grader and Kindergartner
(School starts here on Monday, can't believe how fast a year went by!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My new little {kitchen} friends

When we moved to Italy, I sold most of my 110v appliances. We kept the Kitchen Aid mixer and the Keurig (we had to use a transformer) but the crock pot, toaster, etc...we sold. And then when we got settled in Italy, I bought 220v appliances knowing that I would have to take excellent care of them to be able resell when our time overseas was up. So that's what I did. I kept boxes and instructions and a few weeks before we left, I sold them to people who had just arrived. As I sold them, I held on to the money like a hoarder, knowing I would need to re-buy most of them once stateside. (Though some items...like the hand mixer and the 5 tower fans we owned I won't need again).

Right before we left, I also made the decision to sell my Kitchen Aid mixer...it was only six months old and a beautiful Aqua Sky color but it was a 5qt. When I upgraded to it from my classic white mixer last Christmas, We assumed it having a stronger motor would help me with my pizza dough and breads but I failed to take into account hat my biggest issue was making batches larger than the mixer could handle. You're not suppose to use more than 7 cups of flour and a single batch of my pizza dough uses almost 8. So I checked out the 600 series to discover that the beast can handle 14 cups of flour! Sold...at least in my mind. I knew I would have to get it stateside.

Today I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and to my great joy discovered they had a green apple in stock (aqua sky isn't an option in the 600 series anymore) and it's usually a mail-order item. Add in the 20% email coupon I had, a $50 mail in rebate and ta-da...mama brought home "the Beast" for WAY cheaper than normal.

And just to make sure he felt at home, I used a 10% off coupon for Target and got the funkiest Crock Pot (the French Bulldog collection for Target) I have ever seen to be his BFF. For now they are chilling like villains in the hotel kitchenette :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Home Sweet Home?

When I posted about moving back to the states, I wrote about settling down, buying a house and putting down roots. Back in June, we got in contact with a realtor. By the end of July we were pre-approved by a mortgage lender and had started looking at homes online. We were fortunate enough to have a few friends and acquaintances who were familiar with the area and could help make recommendations. We knew towns and specific school districts and schools that we wanted to be zoned into.

However, the area we are looking in is in high demand. Several of the houses we bookmarked and "favorited" were already sold by the time we arrived in Texas. So we met with our realtor ASAP. We got here Friday and saw houses on Monday.

As it turns out, online listings can be deceiving! Shocker I know. But when you have a "favorite" online and it still available when you arrive, its exciting. Then you see it in person and it turns out to be filthy, has stained carpets, broken counter tops and power lines running in the backyard...it's a disappointment (all one house!). Or is on a busy street. Or the neighborhood is all people over the age of 70. It's a let down. As a first time buyer I expected a "House Hunters" experience. Three houses and BAM! dream home. So not real life.

That first night we saw four homes, all busts (for the above reasons). Tuesday Ron went to work, the kids and I went with the realtor and saw seven more homes! We really liked one, but more of the neighborhood that the particular house. Tuesday evening I showed Ron the house and neighborhood and we agreed he would want to see the inside. We saw a handful of homes for sale and wanted info on those too. When I went to email the realtor, I saw an unread email from him. He found a listing that fit EVERY requirement/wish on our list in that neighborhood. We were really excited after seeing the area and I set up a time to see the house Wednesday morning.

So on Wednesday morning, the kids and I set off once more to view a house and I loved it. They loved it! Damn near everything about it. And I mean everything. (Only complaint is the wallpaper in the master bath). So I was thrilled to call Ron and say "you NEED to see the inside of this house".


Ron saw it after work and long story a little shorter, we submitted an offer. On the 12th house we walked through, we found "the one". After a bit of negotiating, they accepted our counter offer and we had a deal! If all goes as planned we will close on September 20th.

Today we had the home inspection and that went pretty well. A couple minor issues (corrosion on a pipe from the water heater means the pipe needs replaced & previous termite damage around the door) were found and our agent is working those out with the sellers agent. This could seriously...SERIOUSLY...be our "Home Sweet Home". While I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason (and I know this will work out the way it is suppose to) but man do I hope we get this house!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Life after Europe

We didn't live in Italy for too long (20 months) but due to my kids' ages (they were 5, 4, just turned 3, and 14 months old when we arrived in Vicenza) apparently they didn't remember as much about life in the US as I thought they would. We've been In Texas for about 36 hours now and here are some of their discoveries/joys:

-Just moments arriving in our hotel room, Connor starts hollering "Mom come here! Mom come here! This hotel is awesome! The bathroom has the coolest thing ever" so he literally take my hand, leads me to his bathroom and exclaims "our hotel has a clubhouse!"....while showing me the CLOSET.

Yep. Just a closet. But we moved to Italy 2 weeks after he turned 3, and our house in Italy didn't have a single closet anywhere. So to him, this door led to a secret room.

Yes, it's backward. I was jet-lagged and exhausted!

-Our flight from Italy took us to San Antonio where we stayed one night, and then drove to Houston. We stopped on our way and picked up Sonic for lunch. All the kids got wacky packs and I asked "Do you want French fries or tater tots?" All the boys immediately (excitedly) responded "tater tots". Except Maggie who said "what's that?" And I realized she had never had a tater tot. She had also never had the pellet ice, which fascinated her.
-Logan went to the bathroom and then came out to tell me that he was able to flush all by himself. "It didn't have two buttons mom, it has a thing hiding on the side and I could reach it!"

-We get to Houston, we're driving near downtown when Maggie wakes from her nap. I tell her that we are almost there and she is staring out the window. She says "what's that?" and I turn to see what she's pointing at...it was the overpasses. I had to explain that there were cars up there, which she then said "I not see them". She was fascinated by the skyscrapers downtown as well. It took a lot of explaining that they were tall building with offices and that the little squares were windows.

Other things were:

-the size of Target and the toy department (7 aisles of toys, not 2 like our PX had). Maggie went CRAZY when she saw all the LaLaLoopsies and the boys had the same reaction to the 2 aisles of just superhero stuff.

-Arby's at the airport...how did they make the fries like that and had they ever had them before? (it was Ryan and the answer was yes).

-There are yellow school buses just like in my book (Connor).

We have been stateside for less than 2 full days and they love it!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What we did today....



And then almost 11 hours later...
After that it was a hop skip from Hotlanta to good ol' Texas. We're here!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's the final countdown..

Just 3 full days left in Italy. It seems very surreal and explains the lack of posting. The house was completely packed up, we did the walk through with the landlord and B settled the accounts with the utilities. We're shipping the van tomorrow, B is selling the Mini Cooper tomorrow and the dogs get their USDA paperwork clearing them for for travel tomorrow. Busy Monday! Tuesday and Wednesday Ron will be busy at work while I forward the mail, get our medical records, organize the luggage and finish up packing. After the trip here and all that luggage we downsized considerably. 3 suitcases, 2 duffel bags, 2 carry ons and the kids each have their backpacks. Add in the two dogs and we should be busy and have our hands full yet not completely crazy.

As excited as I am to go "home" I am going to miss the amazing people I've met here, the mountains, the days trips and the wine for sure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 1, 2013