Saturday, July 18, 2015

Snicker Doodle Saturday

The birds are chirping and the sky is a soft smoky blue. I do love my morning birds calling out to tell me hello as the day breaks. When my nieces were little, I watched them for a weekend and I still remember the joy that then 3-year-old Ellie bellie had one morning as I got her out of bed and she saw the big sun coming up in the sky, exclaiming, "The sun ith tumming up, the sun ith tumming up!" I think of her most times I see the sun rising and embrace her simple joy.

It's Saturday and I'm home, and as Martha Stewart would say, "That is a good thing." You'll never get me to say that spending two Saturdays in a row at Walt Disney World is a bad thing, and oh, how fun it was!, but being home today on this hot sultry day of summer feels especially delicious. It's been a tumultuous few weeks since my last Snickerdoodle Saturday post! I don't even know where to begin to bring you up to speed. But every story is best spun from the beginning, so I guess I will head in that direction. Even though I want to blurt out the ending! ;-)

Both boys are working at school this summer. It is my oldest son's second summer to work away from home, and my youngest son I don't believe ever plans to spend another summer in Texas. He was already too hot when he was here in May for two weeks. ;-) We have adapted fairly well to all the change, and are slowly accepting and realizing that the boys are coming home, more than likely, only on holidays, if even then. Both sons traveled at spring break....Oldest son traveled one year at Thanksgiving....Both sons will be in Europe this Thanksgiving....Times change! We press on and we change with them.

On Saturday, June 6, Steve, who rises out of bed later than me when he is off, came out to the front porch where I was sitting, iPad in hand, reading glasses on, and said, "Am I crazy if I am thinking about how to move closer to Florida?" And that was the beginning of the end of life as we now know it! He worked Sunday, June 7, and I researched housing in Florida and emailed a realtor that day about listing our house. On Monday, June 8, he talked to his HR and was advised to talk to his boss in an already scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 8, but I chickened out! Quickly. I knew by Monday afternoon that I couldn't do it - couldn't leave Texas! We both decided it made so much more sense for him to keep working in his current market, and stay under his known and trusted management rather than move and start over.

But, an itch was created that needed to be scratched. So many hours alone in my big sprawling house have sewn seeds of discontent. I had fallen in love on Sunday with the idea of a smaller garden home, and Monday night after work, I ran north 12 miles to McKinney to peek at something I had found online during lunch - a little neighborhood of cottages. And I fell in love. And crazy as I am, my husband loves me enough to have agreed to meet me there in his suit, in the middle of grass and weeds in the hot Texas June setting sun, to check out the model and look at lots -- and hatch a new dream. We walked the model, loved it immediately, and decided it had definite possibilities for us. The next day I went back after work and looked again, knowing the realtor was coming to our home on Friday night. Going back for a second glance, because I was needing to know if we were going to change things up, or if I needed to cancel that Friday appointment. On Wednesday the 10th, we both went back to the new neighborhood again, and I had three visible and known confirmations that it was for us. Realtor appointment on.

We met with the realtor on Friday, put money down on the new home on Saturday, hustled the rest of the weekend for the photo shoot that was the following Tuesday morning, the house listed on Thursday the 18th, and we got an offer on Friday. It was a full price offer, but with a contingency, and that offer did not result in a contract. The house showed a total of 12 times from Thursday - Monday, and then the show traffic died. I told Steve that I knew God was saving our house for that couple, until they sold their house. Well, on Sunday June 28, we got a request for a second showing, and I looked up the requesting agent online, and saw it was them. I knew then I had them - like giving candy to a baby. ;-) And they came back with their second offer on our home and we accepted, signed the contract, and, gulp, we close July 30. Less than two weeks from today. 

It's been a whirlwind of activity. Lots to do, decisions to make, meetings to attend...Everything in the big house is being triaged: sell, store, or shuffle. The new house is being built and won't be ready until the super vague day of "January/February". {We will know more when ground actually breaks. The housing market here is off the chain and permitting right now is taking 6-8 weeks.} We have had our selection meetings. It took 4 of them. Ugh. Thank goodness we are "right-sizing", going down 35% on our square footage.  Five bedrooms to three. Two dining areas to one. Three living areas to two. But the change in the size of real estate is what is driving the three sell, store, or shuffle piles. And it's brutal. And seemingly unending. And getting down to the wire.

In the middle of all the madness of picking up and packing up our home, and dreaming of and designing our new home, we had to find a place for the little window of time in between. We decided if we were moving 15 miles northwest of where we live, that it would be logical to go ahead and head that way, and begin building our new life. 15 miles is a lot of ground in the metroplex. All "my stores" will change and of course our city changes, but we are in the same county. We were incredibly blessed by God to find just the right apartment for us, and it is on the first floor. I love that the name of the floor plan is called the Trinity. Our lease on the apartment begins 7/30. Most of my freaking out comes from trying to corral Scrap Central into the eating alcove at the apartment that will be my Interim Scrap Central. I, unfortunately, cannot take my built-ins with me, and I will have more cabinets at Scrap Central 2.0, and so in the apartment I will just have boxes and boxes of stuff everywhere. I am pulling a Scarlett O'Hara and deciding, everyday, to think about that tomorrow. :-)

House is selling, apartment is selected, new house is selected and in process. This is really happening. After having put off the tearing apart of my home for as long as possible, I finally gave way on Thursday. We broke down the dining room table and guest bed Thursday night. The media room has long been disassembled. There's a lot still to do. Both boys are flying home on 7/31 to help. To mostly help me. To give this mom heart have some family closure as we say goodbye to our home of the last 9 1/2 years. Yes, they will move boxes and some furniture. Shuffle things into the Pods and off to the 1,300 s.f. apartment. But, sweet hubby is compassionate enough to know that I needed them here briefly, for us all to be together one last time around hearth and home. 

I am excited. And giddy. And nervous. And curious. And questioning. And doubtful. And still excited. New color palettes, and a different floor plan, less space, and varying room configurations. It's overwhelming, and it's invigorating. The next several months will seem to go slow I know. Apartment living has its challenges I know. Moving into a new home is a lot of work I know. Things won't be the same again for a long time I know. 

But I am infinitely excited about the new possibilities that lie ahead. And I am making my to do lists like crazy in the meantime. ;-) Today is "big packing day one". Steve has knocked out about 80% of the upstairs. I am his big hindrance. His big sentimental "I want to keep that because ...." hindrance. It doesn't help that I have been somewhat in a state of denial. {If I don't begin packing, this surely isn't happening, right?} ;-) But it is. Thankfully, he is off all this coming week and will spend it doing stuff on the LISTS. And mom is coming Thursday and she will do stuff on her LIST. And the boys will come home after she lives and so the stuff on their LIST. And I have my LISTS and the management of all their LISTS. 

But right now, for this moment, I am sipping coffee in what we lovingly nicknamed Murphy Manor 9 1/2 years ago. Savoring the last few days I get to spend with her. Remembering silly adolescent boys, curious cats, a sweet Yorkie, crazy big family holidays. And later today I will scrap some. Going to work on my Month in Review layouts for April, May, June if I am lucky. It's getting down to the wire on how many more times I will create here. Putting off packing up Scrap Central, even while I deliciously dream of and design Scrap Central 2.0. 

Sometimes you get a little curve thrown into your life. And sometimes you ask for it. I know that life goes pretty fast. I know there aren't any do-overs. I know this is a big change for all four of us. I have a co-worker my age that is also building a home. She's going from 1,900 s.f. to 4,000 s.f. I can't believe she wants to. I am ready for some changes. I am ready for our little cottage. And in the meantime, in the wintery months in the small apartment, I will have my scrapping to keep me sane. Because no matter where you are, there is room to create. I knew my 2015 word, create, would hold much more meaning than I envisioned, and I knew from the beginning definitely it was beyond the 12x12 piece of paper. I didn't have any idea, though, that it would be about creating for us an entire new life. I thought maybe purge a few things, freshen up a few things. Ha, ha.

What are you creating right now? What's going on in your world? Do you have lots of lists going? Are you scrapping today? Are you with me? 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Departure Time? Someday!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

A month from today my baby boy will board a plane to Paris, France, tour it for a week, and then, after a short stop in Dublin, Ireland, head on to his campus of choice for his semester abroad study, a Christian campus in Lithuania. Every time I say Lithuania, I chuckle, because my dear sweet mother cannot say Lithuania. ;-) She puts a few too many L's in there. 

Andrew decided back in February that he would study abroad for this coming fall semester. We were absolutely fine with that decision. In fact, both Steve and I really desired that our sons would avail themselves of an opportunity that was never afforded either one of us. When we college shopped with our sons, an abroad program was on the Need to Know if You Do This list. Andrew had a fantastic first year of college and we have marveled at the strengthening of his confidence and interests, of "watching" from 877 miles his maturing into a young man. He had a game plan from the beginning when he proposed to us that he study abroad, and he has stayed at school this summer to work on campus and live free while doing it. 

Now, same song, second verse! About three weeks ago, our oldest son let us know that he was tired of putting it off, and he had checked into it, and he wanted to also study abroad. He finally said, "To heck with it!" and we agreed. #yolo Now, Philip had originally registered for Vienna for spring 2015, but he changed his mind and cancelled that registration in October 2014. I was inwardly very sad that he did that, but the sphere of influence gets smaller as the child gets older. Every time we broached the subject with him, he assured us it was out of the realm of possibility because of academic offerings and staying on track, etc., etc., etc. So, imagine our delight when he told us he was ready to do what he needed to do to make it happen! We asked, "When?" and gulped quickly when he replied "This fall!" Me, "As in August? As in 2 months from now?" and he happily replied, "YES!"

Okay. Okay. Two sons in Europe. Okay, okay. I can do that. No hyperventilating necessary. Breathe deep. May as well! If one will be gone for Thanksgiving, why not two? Knock it all out at the same time, right? Philip applied to and was accepted at their Florence campus, so now, yes, we will have both boys studying abroad, one in Lithuania and one in Florence. Yikes! Once we got over the initial shock of his late in the day proposal, we were both so very thrilled that our sons will have this opportunity! Simultaneously, no less!

And it made me ponder all of the things they will have the chance to do, and see. And it made me recall that, if you discount my 3 Caribbean cruises, where let's face it, so many ports look alike, I only have left North America once, back in 1986, which is nearly 30 years ago! Double yikes! When the boys were younger, we were all about showing them various scenic sights in the United States. And we would never dream of leaving them...and didn't want to take a "big trip" until they were old enough to embrace it and remember it....

So many domestic trips later, I have wonderful vacation memories, but a very empty passport! And now we are knee deep in two sets of tuition payments, so I am not sure exactly when I will get to Europe! But, I am going someday! {And I say Europe because I do not desire to go to Asia or Africa or South America. And I've already been to Australia. That was my 1986 trip.} When I was thinking about all of this, I thought to myself, "Where would I go? Where do I want to go? Write it down! Time is running out!" 

The list is long! Ireland is probably near the top of my list. And then Italy! Oh, Tuscany, Rome, Florence! Yes, please! Venice? Maybe. If you twist my arm. ;-) And London, yes! And Scotland, yes! And Paris? Oui, oui!! If for no other reason than to eat a croissant! And yes, I would like to see Greece I believe. Austria? Yes. I heard the hills are alive there! And Denmark for the tulips, and Belgium for the chocolate! 

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

I'm ready to have my great affair and move! I think that is a pretty good list. Fairly robust! I don't know as I will get to all of them. But, I decided I needed to document this desire to help make my dreams come true. I put down 4. I intend to eventually come back and do a companion page for this layout, adding 4 more destinations to my list. I'll add Ireland and Tuscany and Austria and Greece, I guess. And maybe before too much longer, I'll be planning a real itinerary and then someday maybe, just maybe, I'll actually scrap some photos of these places that I took, because I got there.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain

I don't want to have any regrets. I'm ready to explore, dream, discover! Have suitcase, will travel. Departure time? Someday!

My Europe Wishlist ~ Documenting My Bucket List ~ 2015

Layout featured in the July issue of  CREATE  by Scrapbook Generation
Sketch Credit: Scrapbook Generation 
Paper: We R Memory Keepers
Title Font: Pacifico

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer's in Full Swing & There's a Hot New CREATE Issue!

I look at the calendar and marvel over one half of the year being in the memory books already! I don't know about you, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer! We had an unseasonably and pleasantly mild June, and so when summer rolled into town at the end of June I was oh so ready! One of my favorite things is getting into a car warmed up by the sun. It's right behind wearing flip flops and smelling suntan lotion.

Of course, June held for the CREATE team another chance to work on our fun assignments. Getting the email every other month with our "To Do" list is sort of like opening a birthday present! You don't know what's in it, but you know it's something just for you, and it's gonna' be good! I love, love, loved my assignments this issue! I'm always down for anything to do with music and my beloved July 4 holiday. Additionally, I opted to submit for the featured manufacturer, We R Memory Keepers, and documented some of my traveling bucket list items.

Here are some sneaks of the projects. Be sure to check out all 277 pages of {free and amazing!} goodness at the magazine tab on Scrapbook Generation's website. I'll be back later to share the stories that I crafted with Pebbles, Authentique and WRMK paper pretties. I just get giddy when it's CREATE time!