Sunday, July 29, 2012

Still Alive

Hey all.

Just wanted to stop by quick to give you a quick note to calm any fears you might have that I had dropped off the face of the earth.  I'm here, but I swear to you that I am just.....BURIED. 

Between accepting an offer on our house, finding a new house and making an offer on it, inspections on two houses, consultations with a moving company, appraisals on both houses, trying to find a new job, researching doctors and dentists, still holding multiple showings at our current home, reporting for jury duty, and still parenting and going to work......

Yeah.  It's been busy.

And now the Olympics are on. 

I haven't worked on Project Life since we accepted an offer on our house.  It's just been so crazy, y'all.  What I really need is an afternoon to just encamp myself at a restaurant with free Wifi for a few hours to just plow through my PL photos and get caught up.  And as soon as that's done, I need to type up about five blog posts about all this craziness. 

Thank you for grace.  Thank you for patience.  And thank you for understanding that unfortunately, blogging has just had to take a back seat for a bit until things settle down a bit in our world. 

At least I can leave you with a smile.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

You Had Me at "Pergola."

We have found our new home.

Evan and I went to Waukesha for three days this week for a whirlwind of house hunting.  We toured 16 houses in the first two days.  The variety of things you see when shopping for a house can really be amazing!  We saw lots of houses that didn't necessarily have anything "wrong," per say....but they just weren't for us.  Then there were some that had some major issues.  Let's talk about some of the highlights, shall we?  Just in case you weren't stalking my Instagram feed this week.

This house started out promising.  Large living space, cool exposed beams in the family room, and a nice yard.  But things quickly turned sour when we went downstairs.

Ugh.  Next!

Oooo....this could be a cute little yellow house!

Fireplace? Yes please!

But alas, the upstairs level held nothing but goofy shaped bedrooms and a bathroom that left me befuddled.  No mystery why this little gem has been on the market for almost a year. Boo.

Then we came across this house:

I was smitten.  It had 4 bedrooms, a fireplace in a separate living space, built-ins in the dining room, and a basement ready to finish off just the way we wanted it.

It was lovely and I could really see our family there.  We added it to our short list, but were a bit apprehensive because it was listed for well above our price range.  If we couldn't get the sellers to come down significantly on price, it wouldn't work.

Next we saw a really cute house with an awesome lower level, but a main floor that left us perplexed.

Then came the house with the nasty cat smell and the curious electrical cord hanging out of the downspout.


I'll spare you photos of all 16 houses we viewed, but I suppose you might want to hear a little about the winner.

It was House #16.  No joke, it was the very last house on our list of tours.  The budget busting house I talked about earlier was still on our short list, along with this beautiful home that knocked our socks off (part of that effect coming from the high price tag).

I mean, honestly.  What's not to love about this:

And this:
And this:

Well, it turned out that the sellers of this house were not open to negotiation on price at all, so this one was quickly tossed out of our pile.  That left us with this house at the top of our list:

This house has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.  The second I set foot in the door and saw the beautiful cherry hardwood floors set on a diagonal, it had my attention.

And then there was this great room with a corner fireplace.

And a fabulous little 3rd bedroom that would be perfect for a certain baby I know.  Ok, so I have to take the name down from the wall.  That's about the extent of the work I intend to put into this bedroom.

After seeing another bedroom that is plenty large for my two big boys who bunk and a master bedroom complete with cathedral ceilings and a master bathroom, I stepped outside and saw this piece of loveliness.

Hello, Pergola. 

It was all over, folks.  Evan asked if I had been downstairs yet and I told him I was scared to go down there because I feared it would be the deal breaker that would end up being a massive letdown in an otherwise incredible house.

Luckily, the basement is exactly the kind of space we were looking for.  Yes, it is unfinished, but it is configured in a way that is perfectly set up for us to finish it off the way we want.  We'll create a family room, an office, a third bathroom, and storage.

Every step I took in this house felt right.  I got tingles all over and the best way I could describe it is that is just felt like HOME.  I knew it was the house for us. 

We viewed the house a second time on Thursday and wrote our offer before we left town.  We waited nervously until Friday afternoon when the sellers submitted their counter offer.  Their terms weren't anything outrageous, so we signed on the dotted line.

Pending the outcome of the inspection on our current home and the inspection at the house we're purchasing, we have found our new home!!! 

So, things are about to get pretty insane.  In addition to all the inspections and appraisals that have to take place, we also need to get our arrangements made for the move, I have to find a new job, a school for Isaiah, a doctor, a dentist, and I have to buy a washer and dryer.  Oh, and did I mention I have to report for jury duty on Monday?  Awesomesauce.

Thank you for being so patient and for understanding that my blog presence is going to be somewhat scant for a while.  As soon as things settle down a bit, I will be looking forward to getting back to a regular posting schedule and to getting caught up on Project Life.  In the meantime, things are just going to be nuts

Nuts, but exciting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gone Hunting

Dear Blog Readers,

Please excuse my absence from Project Life Tuesday today.  I've gone hunting.

Wish me luck.

If you want to tag along to see how we're doing, follow me on Instagram as I'll be sharing tidbits throughout our adventure.  My name is slkooiman


Sunday, July 15, 2012


Have you ever found yourself so completely bowled over by everything happening in your life that you end up feeling just....paralyzed?  That's how I've been feeling for the last couple of weeks.  I tell you what.  Trying to keep a house in the condition to sell when there are three little boys running around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.  There was even a day where we got a call requesting a showing for the afternoon a mere 20 minutes before we were to leave for a day at the waterpark.  We scrambled around like crazy people to quick-clean the house and whip it into some semblance of showing condition and then cut our day in the water and sun short so we could get home in time to collect our dog before the showing.  It was crazy.

But it was worth it.

As it turns out, the folks who came to the showing that day liked our house enough to come see it again last Monday.  I set out fresh baked cookies and a note on a Project Life card welcoming them to their new home.  They made an offer on Friday night and we accepted it without making a counter-offer.

Pending the inspection and appraisal......OUR HOUSE IS SOLD.

We are absolutely overwhelmed right now.  Knocked flat by the incredible blessings the Lord has given us.  Because of his perfect timing, we were able to save up a down payment for our new home.  Thanks to his magnificence grace, we didn't lose any money on our house despite selling it for significantly less than we owe on it because Evan's company has offered him an extremely generous relocation package that covers the loss on our home. 

And now we are whipped into a frenzy, planning a trip to our new city to look for our new home.  In a whirlwind of three days, we plan on viewing as many houses as we can that fit our criteria and we are praying that God moves us toward the one that will be our new home.  It's so scary to think that in little more than a month, I will be packing up everything we have and I will be moving my family to a city I know nothing about to start what feels like a brand new life. 

I still have a ridiculous number of things to tell you about, friends.  I am just in awe of how God has completely taken control of this whole situation and how clear it is to me that he has been preparing me for this transition for weeks.  Gently, and ever so carefully, he has started to transform this heart from one that worries and frets into one that prays and trusts.  Instead of freaking out, I am wrestling with feelings of anticipation and apprehension.  I wouldn't say I am worried, but I am a bit nervous.  There are so many things that have to happen now and I just feel so inadequate when it comes to making it all happen.

Now, more than ever, I need Him to guide me and strengthen me.  I need to remember that He is in control and will not lead me into harm.  I must understand that my plans, even on my very best day, are nothing compared to the amazing plans that God has for me and my family.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

As we move forward into this new chapter in my family's story, it is my deepest hope that we do so by trusting God to take the lead.

It's so exciting, my friends.  As busy as the next couple months are going to be for me, I look forward to sharing this journey with you.  Just promise to give me a little grace when it comes to the frequency of my posts and I will do my very best to keep you updated. 

Off to scour the MLS listings now.   If you can spare a moment to say a prayer for our family during this stressful time of change, I sure would welcome it! 

Talk soon. 

P.S.  Do you want to tag along on our house hunting trip?  Follow me on Instagram and I'll be sharing photos as we search for our new home!  My name is @slkooiman.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Glimpse Into My Day

We stay-at-home moms live a charmed life.  While our husbands are off at their places of employment, toiling away and earning the paycheck that supports our way of life, we get to sit around the house in our pajamas all day and eat bon-bons while we scour Pinterest for new craft projects we can make with clothes pins and pipe cleaners.

Let's just pause a moment and all do a collective eye roll and enjoy that little trip to Crazytown together, shall we?  All my sister mamas who stay home raising their babies know that it is not all roses and sunshine.  We get to experience the good, the bad, and the poopy. 

Here's just a little glimpse into an average day in my house full of three crazy boys. 

I love them fiercely, boy oh my word are they wild!!  :)

Wouldn't change it for the world.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Project Life Tuesday - Week 26

The Mom CreativeHello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday! This is my third year of doing Project Life and I have found it to be so beneficial to have this post planned every week because then I have a standing deadline to get my photos done!  Some weeks might have more photos than others, some weeks will be missing days, but the goal remains a simple one: To provide a glimpse of our life and preserve it.  This isn't meant to be stressful.  It's a wonderful way to simplify scrapbooking and memory keeping.

If you're looking for inspiration on what others are doing with their Project Life, you can check out my board on Pinterest and be sure to link up on The Mom Creative!

Click on any photo to view it larger!

Kept things really simple this week mostly because I had zero time.  I didn't want to fall an additional week behind, so I opted for less photos and a simpler layout just to make sure I got it done on time.  I still documented our week and its highlights, so I'm ok with that.

Isaiah's face during his haircut just cracks me up!!  :)

The right page is mostly about our family outing to the waterpark and then with a couple spots about Thomas turning 10 months old. 

This is the last layout for my first album of 2012!!  I still need to finish up the cover page and the back page and I also want to do a coin collecting page protector with June's Instagram photos as well, but I just ran out of time to do all that for this edition of Project Life Tuesday.  Stay tuned!  Hope you all are still enjoying this project as much as I am.  Stick with it because it is so worth it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Case of the Mondays

There is so much to tell you, friends. 

In my planner, I have a list titled "Blog Ideas" and I have at least 6 things written down.  The problem is that I feel paralyzed.  I have so much I want to write about, so much I want to flesh out and work out through words, but I hesitate to share because a great deal of it is very sensitive stuff that has the potential to really wound people I love.  So, I've been quiet.  Unfortunately, these issues are really prevalent in my world right now so I am left feeling like writing about anything else feels inauthentic. 

I can tell you that we had a 2nd showing on our house this morning.  I was so incredibly excited because we hadn't had a 2nd showing since back in November!  Could this finally be "the One?"  I scrubbed and cleaned and made things beautiful.  I baked cookies so the house would smell delicious.  I did this:

But, then I read an email with our showing feedback it said the buyers weren't interested in making an offer.  So I ate a cookie and pouted like a petulant child.  Now I need to make for darn sure I go for a run tonight so I can burn off that stupid cookie.

It has been so tremendously hot.

That was the screen shot from July 4th and we have since had some relief, thank goodness.  You should see my lawn.  It is an embarrassing shade of brown.  It's no wonder we can't sell this place!

My baby is refusing to nap today.  I expect this kind of junk from his big brother, but Thomas?  He usually naps at about 2:00, but here it is 3:25 and still no dice.  I'm less than impressed, sir.

More than anything else, I want to tell you all about what God has been doing in my heart.  I know that sounds so cliche, but there is some serious transformation happening here.  Between the 4th of July holiday and prepping the house for 2 showings since, I haven't had the time to sit down and really give this topic the blog time it deserves, but I most definitely will be soon.  So so excited to tell you about it.

On the agenda for the rest of today:
Figure out what to make for supper
Throw that plan out the window and serve sandwiches.
Finish laundry.
Edit the photos of my Project Life layout and get the blog post ready for tomorrow
Watch True Blood
Put that dang plate of cookies away so I don't go eating another one

See you tomorrow.  :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Now and Forever

Eight years ago, I walked down the aisle and married this incredible guy. 

My sister-in-law asked me a couple months ago, "Are you still happy you married my brother?"  I told her it was the second best decision I have ever made in my life next to accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior.  And you know the really amazing thing?  One might not have happened without the other.  You see, I am fully convinced that July 3, 2004 changed my life not only in that I was now a married woman, but that God was laying the ground work from something far more remarkable.  At the time, I was a young woman who was brought up "religious," but I didn't really know Jesus.  Little did I know that God would use my marriage to change all that.

Our first year was, in a word......DIFFICULT.  We struggled, fought, screamed, and hit rock bottom.  I don't know about my darling husband, but the dreaded "d-word" had floated around in my brain more than once.  Evan and I were both convinced we had made the worst mistake of our lives. In a move of desperation to save what might be left of our young marriage, we sought the counsel of those wiser than us and we were led somewhere that seems so obvious now.  We prayed.  We found a church and got involved.  God put his arms around us and rescued us. 

That's not to say that our marriage was magically healed and I woke up as a Christ-follower.  Far from it!  Marriages certainly take a Herculean effort to be successful.  But we learned early on in our marriage that if we didn't include God in our relationship, we would surely fail

God gave me this man not just as my partner for life, but as the one who would ultimately lead me to Him.  I will forever be grateful for that first year of disaster that ultimately brought us so much closer to one another and kindled a faith that has eternal consequences.

Nobody gave me this advice back when I was 17 years old and "so in love," but if I could, I would drop this little pearl of wisdom in the ear of every young person I know: 

Love for each other is NOT enough.  Marry someone who loves God more than he loves you.

Because a man who loves God, who seeks His will and craves to live a life that honors his Father, will treat you like a treasure.  He will strive to lead your family with honor.  He will raise your children with integrity.  He will take responsibility for his actions and put your needs before his own.  He will love you and cherish you, now and forever.

Happy Anniversary, Evan. 

I am so thankful that God gave me you

Project Life Tuesday - Week 25

The Mom CreativeHello and welcome to Project Life Tuesday! This is my third year of doing Project Life and I have found it to be so beneficial to have this post planned every week because then I have a standing deadline to get my photos done!  Some weeks might have more photos than others, some weeks will be missing days, but the goal remains a simple one: To provide a glimpse of our life and preserve it.  This isn't meant to be stressful.  It's a wonderful way to simplify scrapbooking and memory keeping.

If you're looking for inspiration on what others are doing with their Project Life, you can check out my board on Pinterest and be sure to link up on The Mom Creative!

Click on any photo to view it larger!

I think this week could best be described as cute

Left Page:

They're just growing up so darn fast!!  This page is mostly about how my little guys are not so little anymore.  Thomas is crawling, Micah is potty trained, and Isaiah is constantly trying to be one superhero or another. 

8.5 x 11 Insert:

Just a couple keepsakes from Father's Day in this insert.  I found this little questionairre on Pinterest and I asked Isaiah the questions about his Daddy.  It broke my heart a little bit when he responded that his Daddy's favorite thing to do is "work."  I love the picture he drew of the two of them.

Of course, Micah had to make a drawing for Daddy too!  They got to show him their artwork via Skype since he was still stuck in China on his special day.

Right Page:

I didn't notice until after I had taken the photo that the card on the bottom right was askew, but I was too lazy to retake it!  :)

Micah was in the mood to cuddle after his nap and somehow I managed to pull off this miracle photo with my phone (which doesn't have a front-facing camera, I might add).  It just makes my heart melt.

And....then there's this one.  That's my Micah!

All three of these photos came from Saturday.  After we took our boys to see "Brave," I headed out for a little solo shopping.  I was overwhelmed to discover that I now fit into a size 6 pant!!!!!!  People, I was a size 16 in January.  Go me!!

I hope you have a great week!

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