So busy!

We’ve had a lot of good news lately, mixed with some sad! We got our rental house, and Mike found a new tenant to move in right after we leave in June. Since he already has a new tenant lined up, we don’t owe him rent for July (which is when our lease is up) and he might actually prorate our rent for June, which would mean we get some money back.

Virginia was on a wait list for a preschool slot at the Elementary school by our house, but it was going to be a long shot that she would actually get a morning slot. I called around, and we were able to tour St. John’s Preschool in Kirkland. We loved it, and they had a spot for Virginia in the Fall! So we signed her up, and are so glad that she has a place to go in September! It’s a little church preschool, with three classrooms. They have a nice playground, and the rooms were full of fun activity centers. They go on four field trips during the year. I think she is really going to love it! When it was time to go home after our tour, Virginia told me, “I’ll miss you Mom, but I’m going to stay and make new friends!” I told her she will make friends in September!

Joe and I paid off my Scion early! That way we have an extra $250 a month from the car payment, and we’ll save a little on insurance as well. I’m excited to only have one small car payment from now on! I’m interested to see what our budget looks like after a few months in the new house. I know electricity and water will be more than we’re used to, and I think we also have to pay for trash/sewage. Plus the rent is almost $900 more than what we currently pay!

I went to Newport last weekend to see Molly graduate from Salve Regina. I couldn’t believe how beautiful Newport and her campus are! Molly lived in a big house with views of the water, right near campus and walking distance to a ton of cool shops and restaurants. She had five roommates, and they all graduated together on Sunday. It was nice to see my parents, and Rebecca, Carol, Jeri, Jack, Lisa, and Neil were also there. Uncle Rick and Phil came to Molly’s graduation party after the ceremony on Sunday. We had a ton of food, and two of Molly’s roommates families also came to the house. It was a really busy weekend, and I didn’t sleep much, but it was really fun. It was so nice to spend time with Molly in the place that she has lived for the past four years.

We get the keys in a few days, and will have two days to move over little things before we rent our U-haul. I have about 1/3 of the house packed up, and plan to get more done over the long weekend. I’m so ready to be in a big house, the kids are going to love playing in the backyard whenever they want!

While we have been very busy, but very fortunate in the past few weeks, both Cindy and Rick’s fathers health has been declining. We were pretty worried about both of them, and Papa Charlie passed away yesterday morning. Rick called me and I made sure Joe got a hold of him. I feel so bad for Rick, and for Nana, and their whole family. Charles had been going downhill for a while though, so hopefully they will have a little peace knowing he isn’t in pain anymore. It’s just a stressful time for all of them, with Gracie’s wedding only two weeks away! Everyone has a lot on their plates right now!

My dad called me this morning to let me know that my great aunt Jean passed away. She was 88 and had been declining as well recently. She’d lived in a nursing home that past two years, but we used to visit her at her house in Columbia over the years and we always thought it was so neat! She had a ton of old games like Battleship in the basement, and we loved looking around her old house. She always made chili and sweat tea when we visited, even though me and the girls were too picky to appreciate it! She made a lemon pound cake that my mom always loved! I hadn’t seen her in a few years, but she got to meet Virginia on a trip home once and thought she was very sweet!

Joe isn’t going to fly home for Papa Charlie’s funeral, seeing as it’s a holiday weekend it would be really expensive, and we’ll all be home in two weeks to see everyone. Rick, Cindy, Gracie, and Tim and his family are all with Nana right now, I hope she is doing as best as she can be.

We’ve got a busy few weeks ahead, but I’m looking forward to getting settled into our house and getting back to Tennessee. Virginia has really amazed me lately with how smart she is! She has my entire phone number memorized, and can spell Mickey Mouse (because they spell it during the show’s theme song). She stopped wearing Pull Up’s at night a few weeks ago, she’s a real big girl now! Luke says “yeah” or “nah” if you ask him a question. He climbs on everything!

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We got a house!!!

(We didn’t buy a house, if that had happened, there would have been a previous entry about us winning the lottery). We were incredibly lucky/in the right place at the right time, and are signing a lease on an amazing home! We went to the open house on Sunday, and we loved it so much that we turned the application in right then and there! We weren’t sure what our chances were to actually get it, I’ve heard horror stories about people putting in tons of applications to get a rental! The agent called us Monday evening and said that they’d started running our application and that we were the first choice to get the house! After being stressed out and waiting anxiously, the agent called us back Wednesday evening to tell us we got it! We get the keys on June 1st!

The house is on a cute cul-de-sac, with a two car garage! There is a play room, living room, dining room, and the kitchen is open with views to the living room and has windows that look on to the big back yard! There is a half bath and a full sized washer and dryer downstairs as well. Upstairs there are three bedrooms, a full sized hall bathroom for the kids, and the master has a walk in closet and master bathroom!

The backyard is a really great size, with room for a play set and the kids to run around. There is a really big deck, I’ve already picked out a patio table so we can eat outside when it is nice out! (I’ve also picked out a little pool and a water table for the kids, but Joe thinks I’m going overboard seeing as we haven’t even moved in).

I’ve been de-cluttering the house, giving things to friends and Goodwill. I’m trying to use up all the food in our fridge/freezer and pantry. The less we have to move the better! I’m going to pack as much as I can as soon as possible. Next week Joe is going to LA for a few days for a Destiny 2 event, and then I’m flying to Newport for Molly’s graduation from Salve Regina next weekend, so I won’t get anything done then. It’s going to be a busy few weeks, getting the condo ready, moving to the new house, and then we’re all going to Nashville!

I’m so excited to not have neighbors all around us. As I type this, our upstairs neighbors are watching an action movie very loudly. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Joe brought home flowers last night for me, and I think he has something to give me tomorrow! He spoils me!

 

Perfect Banana Bread!

I’ve made a few different versions of banana bread since being married to Joe. The kids love bananas, so we have them on hand frequently. They also love to say they want bananas, only to decide they only want to eat blueberries instead. I love that I don’t have to waste bananas when they get too ripe! Sometimes I make a cinnamon streusel topping, but I found a recipe the other day and it was pretty great!

It was a sour cream banana bread recipe I found on Pinterest. I’m usually wary of altering baking recipes before I’ve tried them, but I made some changes and was so happy with how it turned out! Instead of a loaf, I decided to make muffins (the kids love muffins). I’m saving this so I know to make it again!

SOUR CREAM BANANA BREAD

YIELD: 1 loave or 18-20 muffins

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: 50 minutes or 25 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 inch loaf pan or line/grease muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl (or stand mixer), cream the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix well.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in another bowl. Combine with the butter mixture.
  4. Add the sour cream, bananas, and vanilla, stir well.
  5. Pour into pans and bake for 50 minutes (for the loaf) or about 25 minutes (for the muffins).

*I sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top of some of the muffins, which the kids and I think make them extra delicious!

The muffins were a big hit! Luke can eat two in one sitting if I let him (or if Virginia licks the sugar off her muffin and hands it to Luke to finish…)

Weekend in Phoenix!

I went to Phoenix last weekend for Gracie’s bachelorette weekend, and I had a blast! I was flying standby, so of course I missed the non-stop flight I had hoped to catch. I got to the airport at the crack of dawn and missed the flight I wanted by one seat. So it goes! I got the next flight out and had to change planes in Oakland, CA. I wasn’t expecting it, but at least I got to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the sky! (It was smaller than I expected.) I landed in Phoenix and took a $70 cab ride to the spa that the rest of the girls were at.

The spa was amazing. I got into my bikini and put on a fancy robe and found the girls at the rooftop pool. They had saved me my lunch, which was great because I’d only eaten a Fiber One bar since about 4 am and was starving. We hung out at the pool and tried out some of the hot tubs. All the girls were super friendly. Of the 9, Gracie is engaged, 2 are single, and the rest of us were married. All of the married girls had kids, except one that was pregnant. So it was a fun group to talk to!

After the spa we hung out at the house. We had snacked all afternoon, and before we knew it, it was super late! We decided to get ready and go to a nearby casino, and we had a late dinner once we got there. One of the girls won $100 on a slot machine, but everyone else lost everything. I was smart and only lost $20!

On Saturday we hung out in the morning, and Brittany made bacon and eggs for everyone. Seven of us went on a hike, while Gracie and Beth stayed at the house because a friend from college that lived in Tucson was driving down for the day. The hike we took was supposed to be easy, but we took the “extremely difficult” trail instead and it about killed all of us! It took two hours to do the whole thing, and I wanted to give up a few times. Once we got to the top we all felt like superhero’s though! It was pretty amazing. After the hike we went back to the house and Gracie brought us all In and Out burgers. Nothing tastes better after a crazy workout than a burger and fries!

We hung out by the pool until late that afternoon when everyone started getting ready for the night. We had Gracie’s lingerie shower at the house and then went to dinner at a fancy Mexican place for dinner. Gracie was wearing a “Bride to Be” sash and we got a lot of attention. The bartender brought us out free drinks, and after dinner they brought out another drink and desserts on the house. After dinner we went to the “hip” part of town to a club/bar called Bottled Blonde. I wasn’t expecting much, and then we pulled up to this insanely crowded huge place! There was a line at the door, but Brittany walked us right up to the front to the bouncer, and he let us right in! It was pretty awesome.

Once inside, we had to hang on to each other so we wouldn’t get split up. There were people everywhere! It’s what I imagined a club at Panama City Beach to look like during Spring Break. We found a group of guys that had a corner to themselves with table service and they let us hang out with them! We could dance and hang out without being attacked by creepy people. We didn’t get home until 1 am, and I had to get up at 5 to go to the airport.

I rode to the airport with Becca, but we were on different airlines and went separate ways. My first flight was to Vegas, and it was wide open. I had two seats to myself and tried to sleep during the short flight. Once in Vegas I realized all the flights were oversold, and I started to panic that I was going to get stuck there. I was tired and crabby and just wanted to get home to Joe and the kids! At the last minute, they realized a seat was open and I literally ran onto the flight to Seattle. When I finally got to the house, Virginia and Luke were sitting in their window waving down at me!

I was so glad that I got to have a weekend away, and that I could meet all of Gracie’s friends before the wedding. They were all so sweet to me! It made me a little sad/jealous that I didn’t make friends like that in college. But I met Joe, so that is all that matters! Joe was amazing with the kids and they had a great time. Will was in town for the weekend to go to a Seattle Film Festival and stayed at the house. He wasn’t around the whole time, but I think the kids managed to wear him out when he was at the house!

As usual, it was nice to get away, but I missed my family! After I’d been home a bit, Virginia looked at me said (in an angry voice) “You left me! I missed you!!” I tried not to laugh and told her I missed her too, but kids weren’t invited on the trip. She’s a cute kid.