Hola, ¿Como Estas?

We just returned from a weeklong vacation in the Riviera Maya.  We took the boys and my parents and best friend along with her boyfriend met us as well. It was a fun, exhausting week of travel with two little ones.

First, packing for a family of four involved five pieces of luggage for a week, not including our carry on back packs!  As usual, I over packed for all of us, except my hubby, he’s on his own. I don’t have the brain power to pack for myself and the two boys and the hubs, so sorry, not sorry?  Traveling with a toddler, who sleeps with 14 monster trucks every night, and is still in diapers proves to be challenging and takes a carry on for the select few trucks we let him bring with us and the day time diapers, night-time diapers and the swim diapers!  Can I just get this kid potty trained yet?  That would eliminate one piece of luggage. Then we have the seven month old who needs bottles, formula, diapers, food packs, oat cereal and the list goes on.  While packing up all of our belongings, I was thinking “why are we doing this again?  Wouldn’t it be easier to stay home with all this shit (for lack of a better word)?”  After I thought I had everything packed up, we decided at 11pm the night before our 8am flight to weigh the luggage. While this was a good idea, because the piece of luggage with the food packs, was 56lbs, it also kept us up for the next hour or so figuring out how to make it all work so the luggage was under 50lbs.  So, it was time for food pack tetris, as my hubby called it.  The packs of food we had to bring for a week weighed ten pounds by itself!  We had to pack them into three separate zip lock bags and sneak them into the lotus crib we brought.  (The resort provided cribs, but we brought our smaller one to use during the day for Lil E to play in while we were getting ready or needed to contain him). Again, why didn’t we just choose to stay home?

Once we finally made it to the resort, all worries subside, or so I think.  I went into this “vacation” with relatively low expectations.  I knew that this week was going to be more for the kids than us.  While we were with my parents, this was their vacation too and they enjoy themselves at the pool with cocktails as much as we do. I’ve never been one to ask for much help because I just assume my kids are my responsibility, so why should I have someone else taking care of them.  Yes, I know my parents would do anything for them and loved spending every minute with them, but lets face it, they are two and seven months and they are exhausting.  I know, I’m with them all day, every day.  But, we forged onward and everyone had a fun time.

Let me tell you why I love any resort that is 1. all-inclusive and 2. has an apartment like setting.  All-inclusive is my jam.  Drinks and food are prepaid, making it so easy for these parents to keep ourselves and the kiddo happy.  Who doesn’t love room service every morning for breakfast?  AJ is now a huge fan or room service.  Luckily for him, he has built-in room service everyday.  So, maybe that wasn’t that much of an exciting moment as it is for me.  A few days in, we realized we also needed to “order in” for AJ so he could have dinner before we did.  This kept him happy while we dined out.  He could still enjoy some of the food and the occasional dessert we were eating, too.  We love our cocktails and we were still able to enjoy those as well; not like we used to.  This was more low-key cocktails at the pool than we were previously used to in our kid-free day.

I loved having two bedrooms with a kitchen and a balcony.  Having the two kids, made it nice to keep us and them separate at night.  However, we realized the reason we keep them in separate rooms at home.  Normally when Lil E cries at night, we let him try to cry himself back to sleep for about ten minutes.  We were so worried he would wake AJ since they shared the second room, we were constantly trying to check on him or I brought him to bed with us after a few minutes of crying, not something I normally like to do, personal preference.  Having the full kitchen was nice, not that either of us cooked anything, but if we wanted to we could.  It was nice having the space to store the ten pounds of baby food we brought.  I’m a huge fan of balconies, and this did not disappoint.  The first full day we had a thunder-storm roll in, so we sat on the covered balcony and listened to the music of the sky.

The first few days began early and we found ourselves at the pool around 10AM and we were there with the little fishies until the later afternoon where we thought naps should be happening.  Low and behold, Lil E did great with stroller naps, however AJ was not having it with a nap for the first couple days.  He was too hopped up on pool water to care about sleeping, ever!  I will say he slept mighty good at night though and that’s all I cared about.  We repeated this daily until we left.  A little pool time, then lunch by the pool, then back to the pool, then up for a nap, or more or less quiet time before we headed out for dinner.

My bestie and her boyfriend were able to take some time and explored Playa del Carmen and had a day at XelHa.  The hubby and I would have loved so much to do those things, but the littles held us back.  Could we have left them with my parents or taken them with us, probably, but the thought of dealing with preparing to leave and the actual act of leaving made us feel even more exhausted.  I think both boys are still too young for any kind of sightseeing at this point, especially if it doesn’t interest them.  Besides, who was going to aruge with the two-year old about leaving the pool so mom and dad could go shopping?  I wasn’t going to.  XelHa is fun, I’ve been there, but the thought of bringing them and then taking bottles and diapers and food and missing naps just made it not worth going.  Those places will always be there to visit so maybe someday we can take them back, when they are older.

We did get a couple of hours to ourselves, which was much deserved and much-needed.  Nick and I spent one dinner alone and one dinner with our friends.  We also had a spa date the night before we left for 90 minutes!  Anything spa related is also my jam.  It was nice to have a few hours alone and to interact with other adults.  Some days I forget that I’m in my mid thirties and not a toddler.  When I get around other adults, I wonder if I can even communicate anymore!

Not only did our vacation fall during Mother’s Day it fell during the anniversary of our engagement, five years ago and the anniversary of our Cancun wedding, four years ago.  It was fun to be there during those special times, especially since we were married in the area and then returned with our two love children.  We were hoping to make a pit stop to the place we said I Do, but decided to hold off.  We plan to go back and visit when the boys are older.

The resort had photographers taking photos daily, so we thought a quick photo shoot with us and the grand’s was a fun idea.  It didn’t cost anything, only to buy the photos, so we thought, why not?  We rethought that idea when it was the hottest time of day and we were fully clothed at the beach.  But, there was no way I was going to take family pics in our swimwear, so we sucked it up for 20 minutes and smiled through the sweat.  They ended up turning out pretty cute so we bought a few pictures to remember our trip.  I’m glad we did it on this trip because it was Mother’s Day and our anniversary so aside from our phone photos we have some cute family ones to hang and will serve as a fun memory from our first vacation as a family of four.

In the end, it was a fun time with family and friends.  But, it was the most exhausting week of our lives.  We spent the two days after we got back in our jammies, thanks to the rain we had here in the Arb.  Staying home and keeping our routine would have been so much easier, but I’m not one to shy away from a beach vacation.  We learn something new every time we travel with the babes and hopefully each time it will get better.  I think traveling with them early sets them up to be successful the more they are on a plane or in new places.  AJ already has a love for planes and enjoys going on them now.  It makes it more difficult on us, but seeing the smile on their faces, having the time of their little lives makes it worth it.  So much so, that I’m already trying to figure out what big trip we will take next year.  Leave me your ideas on a great family vacation below or thoughts on traveling with the littles!!

Cheers to traveling!

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Through the wonderful world of the Internet, I was asked to be a social media ambassador for Gold Fish Swim School here in Ann Arbor.  See my posts on my IG page.  For the past few months, AJ has been taking swim lessons on Saturdays. Here’s the experience we had at Gold Fish Swim School, Ann Arbor.

AJ was a little apprehensive on day one.  He was so excited about the lessons, in theory.  However, once we got there, he wasn’t sure how he felt about the lessons when we first entered the water, but his teacher, Meagan, ensured me he would be just fine.  She was totally right. I think AJ was most upset because he wanted to play with the toys and trucks in the lobby area.  Once AJ settled down and got a few hi-five’s from Miss Meagan, he made it through his first lesson swimmingly, pun intended.  After we left he was asking when he could go back.  From that point on, he loved each of his lessons.  I appreciated that he had the same teacher each week so it kept all of the little fishies comfortable.  I also liked the fact that the lesson each week was a little different.

In addition to the lessons, the facilities were so clean! There were plenty of changing rooms available, some with showers.  There was almost always a small wait to get into the rooms after the lessons were over; to be expected with several lessons happening at once.  Inside the pool area, were showers for everyone to rinse off after their lesson.  The lobby also provided balloons, gold fish snacks and tootsie rolls.  In case you forgot anything for the swimmer, they have a shop to purchase swim suits, diapers, goggles and even water shoes.

The staff were all friendly and helpful.  They do what they can to accommodate you for make up lessons.  My only issue was that the Saturday lessons were a little hard for us to keep up with since we were out of town a few times.  I have tried unsuccessfully for two months to get his lessons moved to Friday evenings because they are so full, which is good for them, but bad for you if you need to change dates and times.  That was the only downside to our experience with Goldfish Swim School, Ann Arbor.

In the end, the lessons and Ms. Meagan gave AJ so much confidence with the water and his skill level has increased. We could definitely tell the difference on our recent vacation.  AJ spent every day, several hours a day, in and around the pool for a week and we could see he would use some of the skills he learned during his lessons.  We could not be happier with our experience. If you are in the Ann Arbor area, I cannot recommend them enough.  With summer approaching and so many lakes in the area, now is the time to get your little fishy water ready!

Cheers to a fun, water filled summer friends…

**I was given free lessons in return for a review of our experience. All opinions are my own.**

Mid-West House Hunters…

Before we made the move to Michigan we started looking to buy a new home in California, more specifically, the Sacramento region. We knew at some point we would probably add another kiddo to the mix, so we wanted something just a tad larger to accommodate us, plus any family or friends who came to visit. Since we didn’t live near our immediate family it was important to us to have a spare room for them to stay in during their stay, it still is important, especially now. We also planned that when we had another child, AJ and the new babe would have their own rooms. The area we were looking at provided the size we needed, just every house was practically right on top of one another; I could literally see into the next house. The idea of our kids being able to look into someone elses house and someone being able to look into their rooms creeped me out. While I loved the layout of these homes, it wasn’t going to be a home I’d feel comfortable with the kids living in. The next thing we knew, we were talking about leaving the state! After researching where we would possibly be living, I became increasingly excited about Mid-West homes. The amount of space between the properties, the communities and the cost of homes had me doing side kicks. Then we started house hunting…

Let me start by saying I love looking at houses, maybe because I spend way too much time watching Fixer Upper, Property Brothers and all of the other home renovation shows. We began our house hunt process at the beginning of the year. We have been viewing homes mainly on-line to see what was out there. We have been doing our research on the city and community we want to live in. We have our parameters set up in a portal so we can easily view the homes that match our needs as far as size, location, and price. We want to be prepared as possible so we can quickly move forward once we find the right home for us. Just recently have we started going to look at homes.

A couple of things I’ve come to realize during our search are first, realtors, you really need to use a professional photographer or learn how to take photos yourself. Holy Cow are some of these on-line photos terrible. It makes me stop viewing the house you’re trying to sell. I don’t need to see photos of the plants at the house, I need to see the house. Second, when hosting an open house, try not to invite your whole family over and feed them lunch while those who are potentially interested in the house are trying to look around. Seriously, this happened at an Open House we went to. We felt so uncomfortable during that open house, even if we really liked it, we probably wouldn’t have put an offer on it anyway because of that experience. We felt like we walked in and the family was having a party we were intruding on. Third, don’t make potential buyers feel like you’re better than they are. I am so grateful for this youthful looking face I have, lol, but seriously sometimes I’m treated so differently than people who are older or look older. One realtor made us feel like we literally didn’t belong at their Open House. I felt like she looked at us like, “they can’t afford this house, what are they doing here?” Maybe it was just me, but this gut feeling made me feel terrible. The worse part, I was so excited to see this house based on the photos, then it ended up being something that needed so much work to get it to our taste that we did not put an offer anyway. So, you see, back to my first point, take good photos, because it can make a dump look like my dream house and it got me to go to your open house. Clearly someone saw potential in that house because it went pending a couple of days later.

I never imagined buying a house out here would be more difficult than California. Maybe I’m too picky, maybe it’s not the right time, but I didn’t foresee this search being so difficult. Once we started working with our realtor(s), they informed us that the inventory has been down eighteen percent over the last couple of years, pretty much everywhere we want to live. That poses several difficulties for us, one, there isn’t much to choose from. Two, it’s causing over bidding and bidding wars. We have clearly stated to one another and to our realtor(s) that we refuse to be put in that situation and if it comes to that, we will continue to rent. Who would have thought leaving California real estate, one of the hottest markets, we’d run directly into the fire in the Mid-West? Maybe that’s why I’m so disappointed, I didn’t foresee buying a house here to be equivalent to California.

Aside from the crazy market, I also didn’t see the Mid-West being as expensive as it is. From the homes I looked at previously, I thought, wow, this is going to be a cake walk. I will say this, we can definitely get more for our money here, but with our needs and the location we want to live in, I am still in shock with how much these homes are listed for. Granted, do I need a 3800 square foot house? No. But, based on our search, these are the ones that are popping up on our portal and are the ones that are definitely at the top of our budget, but are pretty much everything we would want in a house. Still, it’s more disappointing when a house is at the top of our budget and still needs a lot of work. (Yes, Bay Area folks, I know what you’re battling out there. Blame the tech companies). It makes me feel like I’m right back in California. Then that leads me down the dark path, “Why did we leave if we are going to spend the same amount of money on a house? We could be closer to family.” And so on. Then I remember this is an amazing opportunity for us and the kids.

New home construction. I am obsessed with new homes because they are, well obviously new and because finally builders know what families need. Large, open layouts are my jam and these new homes have it all. However, after driving to some of the new communities we find that we are compromising location and possibly the quality of the house being built. We were driving around during winter noticing the new homes being built. We thought “how is that house going to be in any kind of good condition with it sitting out here in the snow?” Just the frames of these homes were up so we were wondering how long they’d been sitting there and how much longer they were going to continue to sit  before anymore work can be done to get them built. We were also informed they have a shortage of mason workers here (anyone need a Mason job? Come to Michigan), so the homes sit as a wood frame until they can get masons out here to pour. So, currently we have been excluding new home builds. If we need to continue our search much longer, maybe they will appeal to us, but right now, we have no desire to buy anything that’s been sitting for so long.

Why not buy a fixer upper? Believe me, if they popped up in the size of house we need, I’d be all over it. However, the “fixer uppers” here are still trending toward the top of our budget. Some are cheaper, but unless its a huge deal, what’s the point in spending a ton of money on a house that we are going to have to put a ton of money in to? Remember, this is not a California market. I’ve done my research and it takes roughly double the time to see the return that we saw when we sold our home in Folsom. With that said, I’ve made it very clear that I don’t want to spend at the top of our budget if we don’t have to. Because if  we do sell in five to seven years, we aren’t getting that money back. Maybe we will make some, but it definitely won’t yield the return we saw before. My husband jokes, but is mostly serious, that I have anchoring bias because once I buy something for a certain price, I always refer back to that number and refuse to pay anything more. I still talk about that time six years ago, that I got a round trip ticket to Hawaii for $298. Now anytime we’ve had to buy plane tickets, I’ll I talk about is that ticket! Listen, I’ve already lost a house during 2008 and yes, I’m still anchored to that. It was traumatic. So, I like to be very cautious when it comes to the biggest investment, ever. The markets are too hot for another crash not to happen soon. I feel like with my luck, it would be the month after we bought a house at the top end of our budget.

We will continue our search. If we can find something we love, fantastic. If not, our next debate is whether we stay in this rental or find another one in the city we are thinking of moving to. It’s tough trying to find the perfect place, especially when we think about the boys. There are a number of homes that would have worked for the hubs and I, but they weren’t in a location that would be conducive for the boys. The options are endless and literally making me lose sleep at night.

Chip and Joanna, Johnathan and Drew, come to Michigan and help us find a fixer upper!

Cheers to adulting, friends…

He Not She…

“Will I ever not be sad that I don’t have a girl?” were the words I said to my hubby after bringing Emmett home. I felt bad for saying it and thinking it, but it’s how I felt. To be honest when Nick announced we had another boy after I delivered, I wasn’t even excited. In my head I thought, “seriously, again?” We’re three for three on the boys. Why didn’t I get the girl?

Before we knew Emmett was a he, I would walk through the girl section at stores and get so excited about the idea that we might have a girl and all the cute things I could buy her, the spa days we would have, the dress shopping for proms and a wedding, the list goes on, yet ends at the same time. That is the problem with not finding out the gender! If you think you’ll be disappointed, ya better find out because it will give you many months to adapt and adjust.

I have to say, there was a time, long ago, that I said I didn’t want a girl because she would take all the attention from me and I wasn’t sure I wanted a mini version of me running around. As I grew up and started a family, I thought a girl was the perfect ending to The Horton Four. Clearly God didn’t think so. After all, who was going to match me on holidays and in family photos? My girl was.

As we approach Emmett’s fourth month on this planet, I am less and less saddened by having two boys. Some day, a long time from now, I’ll get that girl when the boys find a wife. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get little baby girls to spoil if they are blessed with them, but if not that’s okay.

Maybe part of me is scared that I don’t know how to be a mom to boys. Heck, most days I’m scared that I don’t know how to be a mom at all and wonder why I was given this opportunity. I played with Cabbage Patch dolls, Barbies, danced and was a cheerleader. I know that stuff, I don’t know trucks and tools and dirt (gross). However, my monster truck jumping skills are now on point. And, when AJ sets me down to play with his tools, he thinks I’m the best at them. I don’t know all of their names, but that doesn’t matter to him. He just knows “mama likes to play toys.”

In reality, that’s all that matters. All that matters is that they know I will sit down and play anything they want with them and I’ll have fun doing so because I genuinely am having fun. As a parent we get the chance to be a kid all over again! This actually just dawned on me. It isn’t always pretty, but it sure is fun. I don’t remember what being a kid was like, but I’ll get some of that back through my boys. “My boys” does have a nice ring to it. I hope they want to hang around me when they’re older, go to dinner with me and call me just to talk.

I was worried that having two boys would be difficult to navigate in the love department. I thought how could I love them both the same? It turns out you can; it’s not hard. In fact it comes naturally.

While I don’t have dresses to help shop for, there will be suits and tuxes that need to be picked out and I’m pretty good at that, so I have that to look forward to. I’ll get to dress them like me, too. Because mama loves her some flannels and kicks, the boys can hop in on that action whether they like it or not. And, since I was a cheerleader, I’ll be there to cheer them on at their events and in life. I danced, so I can dance with them at their weddings and anywhere else they’ll let me.

To answer your question… Nope, we are done at two children.

Cheers to the boy moms out there!

Happy New Year… 24 days later

I had a chance to sit down and get some writing done…
I’m currently on a plane to Cali to attend a surprise graduation/ birthday party for one of my besties ( surprise G!), hoping I don’t end up with some other sort of illness to bring home. I get to see my family, my Obasan (Japanese for Grandma), and my aunt and Uncle since they’re in town too. And, again, my besties. We never saw each other this much when I lived in Cali, so maybe this move was legit after all? Since I’ve been MIA for a while, I thought I’d take this quiet, alone time to catch you up and maybe get some sleep. So here we go…
I was 8 months pregnant in August when we arrived in Michigan with baby two, another surprise gender baby, on the way.
Our very first visitor was my aunt who was out here on a work trip. It was so great to see a familiar face so close to our move date.
Next, I tried my best to get the house in order, keep AJ entertained, and not stress about being so far away from family and friends with a new baby coming.
Late September my in-laws arrived for their planned two week stay to give us some help when baby arrived. A week later my parents arrived for what was supposed to be a quick weekend visit for baby’s arrival.
My due date, September 29, came and went. No baby! We all had in our minds that this one would be early since AJ was, but nope. Five days later, on October 5, and after our parents kept extending their stay, our surprise gender baby was born. Another boy, Emmett Christopher made his debut, quite quickly after being admitted to the hospital. Two hours after being admitted and 10 minutes of pushing (which felt like an eternity because I waited too long to get drugs, so natural is how it all went down). And, to be honest, the contractions were worse than the actual pushing part. Maybe it’s because those lasted so long, I’m not sure. Either way, Emmett arrived at 4:15am, EST, surprising us all that HE wasn’t a SHE! For some reason we all just assumed a girl would be next, nope. I think in my mind everyone got one of each. After thinking about it, I know more couples with same gender kids than not.
After our discharge from the hospital, we brought Emmett home to meet his big brother, AJ. Not going to lie, that made me sob like a toddler who didn’t get to watch monster jam at his discretion (I may or may not be referencing my own child). I was so fearful that AJ would feel like we were kicking him to the curb and that he would be devastated we could no longer give him all the attention, all the time. I felt guilty for bringing this new baby home. I wanted to do anything I could to let AJ know we’d never let him feel any different. The thing that really put the wrench in my heart was getting home and AJ kept saying “baby Emmett.” Our parents were teaching him to say it while we were in the hospital. It was the cutest thing ever. Again, sobbed like a little baby. And, you know what, AJ has adapted so well; to the move, to Emmett, maybe not so much the snow, yet, but there will be enough around for a while to get him used to it.
My parents left the next day, since their 4 day trip turned into 9 days and had plans to return at the end of October to visit and help us, instead of going to their planned Hawaiian trip. I mean who wouldn’t want to trade Hawaii for Michigan? My in-laws stayed for about a month total. Can I just say that I’m so grateful to have in-laws I enjoy having around for a month! I mean, they practically took care of AJ the whole time, cooked and cleaned, let us get as much rest as we could before and after Emmett arrived. We sure do enjoy the time we get with our parents. Now that they’re so far from us, it’s extra special when they are around.
Nick went back to work right after his parents were gone, so it was just me juggling the two boys, alone, for the first time in a month, all. day. long. Goodness that took some getting used to. Like, who do I feed when they’re both hungry? Who do I comfort when they’re both crying? Whose diaper do I change first? I started wondering why I thought one baby was so hard. I immediately felt like a total idiot complaining about how hard one kid was. I was like that was a piece of cake, this two kid business is out of hand!
After that week, my parents arrived and took care of us in the same fashion my in-laws did – cooking, cleaning, caring for AJ. By this time we were starting to get into some kind of routine and adjusting to life as a family of four. My parents left a week later and we only had one last group of visitors on the calendar, my besties!
The following weekend, Nick went to a bachelor party in New Orleans (I totally gave him the okay to go and have fun with his boys; he deserved it). Emmett was one month old at this point. This was the perfect weekend to have my ladies come visit. So, the same night Nick was heading out, the girls arrived at the house. Does anyone else have friends they haven’t seen in a while, but it feels like you just pick up where you left off on your last visit? If so, isn’t it the best? I’ve had the same group of friends since high school, which was, dare I say, 19 years ago! There’s always a ton of laughter and they’re always down to help out in anyway they can. They too helped with AJ, got up in the middle of the night to ask if I needed help, went to Target with me and helped me deal with an over tired toddler who was having a meltdown. It was their time to go and that is when the homesick sank in.
It was then that I realized I live across the country from all of my family and friends. I can’t drive two hours to every event anymore. I can’t meet up for brunch or dinner with them. I can’t pack up the car and stay with with my parents for a week. Nope, this was my new life. Suck it up buttercup, you can do this, is what I kept telling myself. I feel like if anyone can handle this move, it’s me.
A few weeks later it was AJ’s 2nd Birthday, however we didn’t celebrate much. He woke up with some stomach bug that left him needing a bath as soon as he woke up on his birthday. (I’ll spare you the grimy details). I felt terrible for him. That weekend we were going to celebrate with his favorite dinner and brownies, but then he got sick, again. So, a week after his birthday he finally opened presents which we thought would make him feel better and it did, as much as it could.
Next up, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was our little family of four for both holidays. We missed our families, but got a FaceTime session in with everyone. We took a quick weekend trip to Frankenmuth to explore the largest Christmas Store in the World, Bronners and walk around checking out the sites in the cute Bavarian town. I had my first ever White Christmas! I was so excited. I love the look of the snow. It really makes everything so beautiful. Everything looks so clean and fresh. It was the first year AJ really started to understand the whole Christmas concept. He became quite fond of the “PPS” (UPS) man that kept coming with boxes of goodies, almost all addressed to him. We put up the tree and in the mornings when we would turn on the lights he would say “hi chritmas.” He enjoyed seeing Santa from a distance at the mall. We didn’t torture him with Santa photos this year. Maybe next time, mainly because I want to see him freak out, but I also don’t enjoy all the germs that comes along with a visit to Santa. Still he says “thank you Santa” when he plays with his gifts from Santa. In fact he does that with most gifts. He will say thank you “persons name” while he’s playing with the gift they got him. It’s so cute. And, it makes us proud as parents that he’s polite.
A few days after Christmas my besties and I met up in Viva Las Vegas for two days to see Britney Spears; we may have added a Magic Mike show in there last minute too. It was like high school all over again and I loved every minute of singing along to her songs. Even though we may have done more live singing than she did, it was still a good time.
I arrived back home only to be taken out by the flu; the one the flu shot doesn’t cover apparently, that would be Influenza A, in case you’re wondering. So what turned into a quick trip and back to hop back into mommy mode, refreshed after reuniting with my girls, turned into me being laid up in bed for an extra 5 days not being to get up and do anything. The next thing I knew, it was 2018! Am I the only one who thinks the way you are spending the last night of the year at midnight is how you’re upcoming year is going to be? Cause now I’m like “great, I’ll be sick in bed all year.” Unfortunately that’s been the case so far.
I do my best to get AJ and I out to socialize and play, but it seems to keep coming at the expense of our immune systems. If one more person tells me “it’s good for them to be sick now so they aren’t as sick later,” I’m going to lose my shit. I get it, but I’m over it. Did you hear me viruses, OVER IT! Cause the day after taking him to a new indoor play structure he caught yet another virus. Then passed it on to Emmett and lastly mama, aka, me. I’d say in the last three months we have been healthy about two weeks, total. Luckily I avoided giving anyone the flu at home; thanks Vegas, ya did me dirty, and not in the good way.
That brings us up to speed. We met with a realtor today to start prepping for our home search. The biggest “problem” we are facing in our search is that there are too many good areas with too many good schools to choose from! If that’s the worse of our problems we are doing really well for ourselves. We are looking forward to becoming owners again, ’cause this renting thing ain’t the business for us. And, I want to set down roots and finally decorate a house and have the boys in their actual own rooms. AJ has now started to say “not ours.” Yes, because if you break the blinds or write on the wall, we get in trouble kid. I’m just ready for something to be ours. So in the event he does break something or write on the wall, we can fix it at our discretion and much quicker than dealing with the chain of command to get things done.
All in all, we are doing well and can’t complain about this journey in our life. We do miss our family and friends terribly, but you’re all just a plane ride away, albeit a car ride was much easier to get to each other.
Stay up-to-date on my IG account, milknmimosas, for what’s to come (Arizona/Palm Springs, Monster Jam, Cancun, and house hunting to name a few).
Anyway, that’s what The Horton Four have been up to recently. We hope everyone has a fantastic, healthy 2018!

We Made It…

Here we are, just over three weeks in to our new life in Michigan. Boy howdy is time just flying by. I cannot believe it’s been this long. While we’ve only been in the house for two weeks, we spent about a week hotel living. It’s been quite the adventure so far. Let’s start from the beginning.

July 27th our house closed. Our home was no longer ours, our belongings were on a truck to Michigan, our cars were loaded on another truck on their way to Michigan and we were in a rental car in our driveway, house keys locked inside. No turning back now. We were heading down to SF, with a suitcase for each of us, for a few days before our flight out, for good. We stopped by Nick’s grandparents house to say our good-byes and have a nice home-cooked meal before we ventured the rest of the way to SF to stay with my family for a few days. Over the next few days, we were able to get together with friends at the park, who were also in town, see some family friends, ventured to Union Square and have the best dinner cooked by Obaasan. It was great seeing everyone before we ventured off.

July 30th we headed to SFO to hop on our plane. We’ve flown with AJ before, however not for more than 1.5 hours. The 4.5 hour flight was quite the doozy. We decided traveling all together would be better for us than to travel separate; meaning, Nick would go first then AJ and I would follow. Not sure what would have been the best plan. AJ stayed awake and as active as ever on our flight, until the last hour when he finally fell asleep. He was not super destructive, just overly active. Note to self, always try a red-eye flight with a toddler; but, what if he wouldn’t sleep on that either! EEEK! Once we landed and got all of our luggage situated, it was off to the hotel. We spent a week in a regular hotel room. It happened to be the same week as the Jr. Olympics here and there were literally no hotels available, so we were not only staying in a hotel style room, we were about thirty minutes from our rental house. We made the best of it and enjoyed running the halls of the hotel and playing in the parking lot. Luckily, for AJ, there was a giant excavator across the street that he insisted on visiting every day. By the end of the week, we were all adjusting to the three-hour time difference and ready for our belongings. And, I was ready to stop eating every single meal from a restaurant! I couldn’t wait to have a meal we actually made.

August 3rd, we have our belongings back and our cars! Once our things arrived, it was time to unpack. I insisted we only take out the necessities because by summer next year, we will have purchased something and will need to move again, and it will be on us to get that done ourselves this time. Can I just say how nice it was to have packers and movers!! Thanks to the hubbies company for hooking that up! It took about a week to go through all of the boxes and figure out what we need and don’t need for the time being. By the end of that, we started to feel settled. Now, during that time, it seemed this rental was falling apart at the seams, or should I say beams!

Every day we were finding something didn’t work in this rental house. We discovered there were bats living in the attic, the back patio was a tripping hazard for us and especially AJ, the dryer was old and the previous tennants didn’t take care of it so that fell apart, ruined some brand new sheets we bought, then eventually just stopped working all together. We weren’t able to do laundry for three weeks. Things were not looking good around here and I wasn’t sure how we were supposed to last until the end of June with everything going so wrong. All I could think was this wasn’t a house, it was a trash bag that I wanted to throw out. Luckily for us, the owners were apologetic and have since been doing their best to get everything in working order. Turns out the previous tennants just didn’t take care of anything, nor did they ever mention that anything was going wrong. While the owners are doing their part, I still cannot wait to own again.

In between getting things fixed around here, I’ve been trying to get AJ out and socialized in our new town (literally we live in what is called a Township). We have ventured to the Childrens Hands on Museum, the park, a new church, where we finally leave him in the kids room (for about 30 minutes before they call us to come get him), a library and as of today we went to meet up with a mom group at a coffeeshop. Tomorrow we will meet the same group for a stroller work out. I’m looking forward to growing in a community here and meeting new people, otherwise it’s going to be really lonely out East.

AJ has not missed a beat. He loves running around this new house and his room is so much bigger, so its been fun to have some play time in there with him before naps and bed time. Kids really are resillient. While it is a little sad that he won’t remember the first place he lived, seeing how well he has adjusted has made things a little easier on us. It helped that he did have some new trucks waiting for him at the door when we brought him here for the first time.

All in all, I’d say we are all adjusting well and are keeping positive on this new adventure. We are looking forward to our first visitors, next month, and then on to the holidays where I’ll get my first White Christmas, ever! I’m pretty excited about that, but I’m not sure if I’m ready for months and months of white. Who knows, maybe I’ll like it more than I expect. I’m trying to keep my expectations low, so that way I’m not uber disappointed by anything. I am really looking forward to a UofM home game at some point, mostly because I want to see Harbaugh coaching again. There really is so much to do and we are looking forward to seeing it all, in time.

I’m going to do my best to keep up to date on this blog deal because it’s the best way for me to reach our family and friends back home and let them know we are alive and doing well.

Cheers to new adventures friends!

Organizational Do-Dads…

I love, I mean love, love, love organization. If it’s not organized, I cannot function. Like, I literally cannot move forward until I feel organized; it’s paralyzing. I’ve been at work before and completely stopped doing what I was doing because I needed to clean up and organize my desk space. Once clean and pretty, I can focus and move on. I have a monthly white board, a weekly white board, lots of note pads and planners. Ask my hubby how many note pads we go through. I love lists as well; like you get a list, you get a list, you get a list and you get a list! Exciting right? I love when I complete a task and I can cross it off my list. With our upcoming move, I have to share some of my favorite organizational do-dads that are keeping me up-to-date.

  1. Day Designer Planner : I’m an 80’s baby at heart. I haven’t fell into the use of my phone for lists and calendars. I love seeing things on paper. I purchased this right when I found out we were moving. This planner is amazing! It has the month page and then it breaks it down day by day, with a schedule from 6am through 8pm. How amazing is that? You can write out your whole day by the hour. You also have the space to write out a weekly gratitude, to do next week, don’t forget, today’s top 3, tonight, and a notes section. It’s a hefty planner, but I love how you can break out your day by the hour, along with all of the other features. With everything we have going on between, listing our house, movers, appointments and events, this little gem is going to come in handy through 2017 for sure.
  2. White Board : Not only do I have a monthly white board, I have a weekly white board. The monthly one I use for our house hold appointments, events and reminders. The weekly one, which used to be at my desk at work, is now used to plan our weekly dinner menus. What a life saver this has been, especially with all that is going on. I don’t have the mental capacity to think of what we are going to dine on every single day for dinner. I need to plan that on Sunday, so I can shop on Monday for our meals. This allows us to know a) who’s cooking and b) what we are having every day so we don’t have to think about it for the whole week. The hub’s is great at making the healthier meals, I’m pretty good at the fatty, not so healthy foods. I try to do as much cooking as I can so that we can eat at a decent hour, which is also the reason for the white board. We used to eat after the babe went to bed, but we’ve really tried to start eating as a family so AJ will eat what we eat. It’s been so helpful with organization, but also in getting us to make sure we aren’t having cereal for dinner every day and we have stopped eating out as much, so that’s a plus too.
  3. Label Maker : I saved the best for last. This is seriously my most favorite thing, ever! I’m big on storage bins and some times I can’t find the clear ones, so my label maker has made my life so much easier since I can now indicate what is inside the bin. Heck, even with the clear bins I’ve started labeling them just so I know exactly what is inside if I’m not able to peer in once they are all stacked up.

So there you have my top three organizational essentials. Cheers to functional, cute do-dads. What are your favorite organization items? I could always use more ideas!