House update and a kitchen sneak peek.

Even though it seems like things are moving in slow motion (at least for us) with this house buying process, it actually hasn’t even been two weeks since we signed on the dotted line. The truth is, we’re making progress everyday. We’ve had the inspection done, ordered our homeowners insurance, ordered the appraisal, filled out and signed what seems like ten million forms and invested lots of money already. We’re at the point where we’ve accomplished everything we possibly can until the appraisal comes through.

Speaking of the appraisal. Since we’re going with a VA loan, the house has to be approved for purchase through an appraisal done by the VA. We’ve done a ton of research on what the approval entails and honestly, we’re a little nervous about it. You see, the house has a few small problems that we knew about prior to making an offer and that we’re prepared to repair ourselves. Our only concern is that these problems could cause our appraisal to fall through leaving us at the mercy of the sellers who would either fix the issues or back out of the contract. The good news is that the odds are in our favor and there isn’t anything we can do about it anyway, so rather than dwell on what I can’t control I’m going to embrace positivity and excitement and share some of the ideas that we have for our little cottage.

Refinishing the hardwood floors throughout the downstairs is the very first thing we’re going to do (before we even move in). They’re the original floors and just have normal wear and tear so we called around and got quotes from flooring companies but ultimately decided just to do it ourselves. We also have to raise the stair railing in the upstairs before we move in. The first time we looked at the house I noticed that it seemed dangerously low and that was confirmed by the inspection. Apparently railings and banisters should be 36 inches high and ours doesn’t meet that requirement so we’re going to attempt to¬†raise it ourselves. The next big upgrade we’re planning is installing central air but that won’t be done immediately – just by June ūüėČ But all of this is the boring stuff that I wish we didn’t have to spend money on so let’s talk about the fun upgrades.

I keep teasing Josh about phase one and phase two. Phase one is what I plan to do immediately and phase two are upgrades I have planned for later. Having phase two is essential for me because I change my mind a lot (ha! poor Josh) and because we need the time to save up the money for each phase two project. Besides lots of painting throughout the house, the kitchen is the main area I plan to semi reno right away and I have ten million pins and idea books on Pinterest and Houzz as inspiration. Without further ado, here’s the kitchen now via our inspection photos.

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.31.34 AM

First thing’s first. We need to get that fridge and stove matching the dishwasher. I’m hoping to buy new appliances right away but it honestly just depends on our other expenses. If everything goes as planned we will be able to as soon as we move in but it really comes down to Josh’s apartment/house situation. We have to make sure he’s taken care of before we make a pretty refrigerator our priority. Besides those obvious upgrades, what you can’t see from this picture is that half of the wall, from the baseboard to about the bottom of the freezer, is actually painted tile. I don’t understand why you’d blend the tile into the wall but I plan to strip it¬†while praying that it’s beautiful underneath. If it isn’t pretty, clean, white tile I’m going to paint it white (phase one) and the rest of the dreary gray a nice pale blue, like this,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.54.43 AM

Also similar to this picture, Josh and I are going to take out¬†all of the top cabinets.¬†They’re just not practical for us, ¬†in size or location, so we’re taking them down and installing floating, open shelves like this,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.59.11 AM

Another thing you don’t see in the inspection photo are the light fixtures. Directly above the sink is an ugly old-fashioned jar light and in the center of the room is a ceiling fan. We plan to switch out the jar light for a pendant light ¬†and upgrade the fan with fixtures kind of like these,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 9.45.25 AMThe last part of phase one is updating the cabinets. They look decent in the photo but actually, they’re finished with some kind of high gloss paint that isn’t my favorite. Josh really likes gray cabinets and since we’ll be getting rid of all of the gray paint throughout the rest of the room, we may go with darkening up the cabinets a bit. We’re also changing out the hardware for brushed nickel bin pulls and knobs kind of like this,

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.15.33 AM

So obviously, we like a bright, clean, farmhouse style kitchen which brings me to phase two. Eventually, we plan to change out the countertops for either quartz or butcher block, upgrade the sink to big, beautiful, ceramic white farmhouse sink and, depending upon what we do with the tile on the wall, either do a subway tile backsplash or bead board. I can’t wait to get started!

Asking for good thoughts, positive energy, crossed fingers and prayers as we wait for this appraisal! Eeekkk!


All of the details.

I’m not really feeling this blog anymore and I don’t know how much I’ll be using it from this point on but I thought I’d write out a quick little explanation for the latest development in our lives.

We bought a house in our home town.

No one knew that we were even planning it (besides a couple of friends who helped us out with some things) and no one knew that we were making trips back to Ohio to look at properties or go through the purchasing process. Josh and I chose to keep it a secret because we wanted to work through the entire thing, just the two of us. We looked at several houses back home and decided on a very small and inexpensive 3 bedroom house in a great location. We based our decision on location, price, potential for renovations (we’re crazy about home improvement projects) and opportunity to become a rental – because, this move may not be permanent.

For the next 18 months, the kids and I will live full time in Ohio while Josh shares an apartment in NY with a coworker and makes weekend trips home. I know some family members are concerned with Josh driving back and forth but it goes without saying that his safety, as well as the safety of every person in our family, is above and beyond the most important aspect of our lives. Josh is a very experienced traveler (having driven our family across the entire country four times) and has made the drive from New York to Ohio over 20 times already, with no issue. We’ve done research on safe vehicles and plan to fly him home once a month so he gets a little break. Also, since he’ll have his own apartment (versus living in the barracks as we had planned last fall) the kids and I will come to him some weekends.

As of right now, our plan for our post Coast Guard life remains the same as before. Next summer Josh will begin to look for civilian jobs and then we’ll go from there. This move isn’t necessarily our “settling down” but it is a huge opportunity for us in many ways. We’re all very excited for what lies ahead.

Of course, moving home after living away for almost 7 years will have it’s challenges. Josh and I are very different people than we were when we left and, really, have never lived as a family back home. It will be an adjustment to be surrounded by friends and family (a welcomed adjustment) again as we’ve gotten used to living on our own and only visiting people, pretty much, by appointment. It will also be a huge adjustment living separately from each other for most of the week.

As for the house, we have so many plans and can’t wait to get started on all of them. One of the best things about Ohio is the crazy, insane low cost of living which will allow us not only to afford to live separately but also to be able to do a lot of upgrades on this little cottage. We purposefully kept our budget very low (our mortgage payment will barely be more than our van payment) so we never feel stretched and so hopefully, we end up having made a great investment.

Currently our timeline puts us moving in around the beginning to middle of April. When we asked to be released from Coast Guard housing, we requested a June 1 check out date so the boys wouldn’t start at a new school until the new school year. But due to the CG’s summertime transfer season we were told we’d need to be out by May 1 so that housing would have time for the turnover on our apartment. In turn, we asked for April 15 so the boys have more than 30 days at their new school (not much more but it’s the best we could do).

The kids (Ruby included) are beyond excited for this move. Our house is one street over from our town’s park and public pool and directly behind the Dairy Queen so the location screams kid friendly (the boys call the house the DQ house). We’ll also be just two blocks away from Josh’s favorite pizza shop so the location also screams salami and pepperoni ūüôā The kids are excited to be a part of the community, close to friends and family and to live in a house again versus an apartment. ¬†Ruby knows that some of her favorite people live in Ohio so she keeps asking if she can get her boots on to go to “Hio and pay with Mia and Chelsea.” Josh and I are excited for babysitters ūüėČ

Our inspection was this morning and we’ll receive the report tomorrow. As long as there are no serious issues, our appraisal will be done within the next few days and then it will be a 30 day closing from there. My fingers and toes are crossed!

My thoughts on Texas: almost a year later.

I can’t believe it but it has already been nearly a year since we left Texas. I’ve talked a little before about our experience in Texas and what we went through to try and leave Houston but with all of the time that has passed comes a new perspective on the situation.

In case you weren’t following along all the way back in 2011 and 2012, I’ll quickly catch you up. During the summer of 2011, Josh was selected for recruiting, which is a special duty and allowed us to get our “picks” far earlier than most people. We researched areas all across the country and turned in our dream sheet.

1. Memphis

2. Houston

3. Houston

4. Seattle

5. Seattle

6. Pittsburgh

And so on. We really wanted Pittsburgh because we wanted to move back to our home town but we also decided that if we didn’t get it, we were going to make it an adventure and move somewhere we’d never been. We figured that we may as well use our ability to travel to see as much of the country as possible. A few months later, Josh got a call from the detailer who said that he had been slated for Pittsburgh (pencilled in to take that position) but unfortunately, he had just gotten a call that the Pittsburgh recruiting office was closing (thanks to all of those awesome budget cuts). ¬†This meant that Josh got to pick from the leftovers. Great! ¬†

The leftovers were Arlington, VA, Woodbridge, VA or Jackson, MS. Great!¬†I may have shed more than a few tears. We quickly did some research and decided that Jackson was really not for us so it was between the two Virginia positions. The position in Arlington was at the Coast Guard Recruiting Command which meant that Josh wouldn’t actually be out in the world recruiting new Coasties. Essentially, it wasn’t a job he wanted so we decided we’d go with Woodbridge. Even though it wasn’t our hometown or the great adventure we were looking for, we had friends who lived there and we knew it was a nice area (DC suburb). Josh called the detailer and told him what we’d decided ¬†but there was new news. Apparently one of the guys who had gotten Houston was now backing out of recruiting so our number 2 pick was officially up for grabs again. We decided to take it and 8 months later, we were on our way to Texas.

Finding a house was a little stressful. We wanted to buy since the economy in Texas is incredible and the cost of living is dirt cheap but because I was due with Ruby in the middle of March and we were moving in June, the timing was terrible. I refused to leave Ruby with someone at just a month or two old and Josh refused to look at houses without me so buying was backburnered. We ended up finding a brand new, beautiful house in one of the best school districts in one of our favorite suburbs, on Craigslist. It was on the high end of our budget but it was perfect and the move was just a month away so we decided to sign the lease sight unseen. In June of 2012 we made the drive from Cape May, NJ to Pearland, TX.

We lived in Texas for 9 months and during that time I truly believe I was depressed. Really depressed. To begin with, I was still nursing Ruby during most of that time so my hormones were all¬†over the place. I was crying at the drop of a hat. I remember Josh and I were driving one evening and a Kenny Chesney song came on the radio. I immediately started bawling because I knew that at that very moment, all of our friends from Cape May were at a free, on the beach, Kenny concert. Hearing the song was a reminder of everything I was missing. I was extremely¬†lonely. I went from being an active part of a community that I loved to living in a giant, empty house and knowing no one. Under normal military circumstances you’re thrown into friendships either from living in a military community or the insta friends you make from the people your husband works with. It’s typically a very social environment out of necessity. But in Houston there wasn’t any military housing and since Josh worked in the city, all of the people he worked with lived in different surrounding areas. Houston is a huge city and the suburbs are sprawling so the people we clicked with lived relatively far away.

On top of all of that, during our move our belongings got lost. We spent over three weeks waiting for our things to arrive. It was misery and very expensive. We had to buy new things (a bed and air mattresses, bathroom necessities, cooking and eating supplies, etc) and ended up spending a lot of money out because by the end of the day, the kids and I would just need to get out of the house. Playing outside was only slightly feasible because I was scared to have newborn Ruby out in the 110 degree weather for too long. Aside from the obvious negativity caused by living in an empty house with three little kids, any military wife will tell you that when you move, especially to a completely foreign place, all you want to do is make your new house a home. I felt trapped and unsettled for the entire first month we lived there.

As for the house itself, we were completely let down. What looked like a brand new, nearly unlived in 2300 sq ft home turned out to be a completely wrecked, uncared for mess. The house was filthy. The owner had told us that it was only she and her ex-husband who had lived in the home so we imagined the three bedrooms aside from the master to be perfect. What we found was that she and her husband had¬†11 cats and two great danes. The walls were never painted past the builder grade chalk white and were filthy. The hardwoods were not done professionally and were damaged in several areas. The carpeting was disgusting and the kitchen was worse. Our landlord didn’t end up charging us a deposit so we went with it. I spent those three weeks scrubbing from floor to ceiling and painting half of the house.

After the initial issues were resolved, I knew I needed to work on what was wrong with me. I had loved being involved with Cape May elementary so I dove into Parker’s new school and volunteered as the room mom. We joined the Y and I got back to running every day. We got the kids signed up for soccer and preschool and swimming lessons and just tried to settle in. We took a weekend trip to San Antonio with my mom to see my little sister graduate from Air Force bootcamp and when we came back I got a part time job working at Starbucks. I wanted to try and put myself out there so I could meet people and maybe make some friends but choosing a place where the average worker’s age is 20 years old, probably wasn’t the best choice. I hated it. I felt like I was babysitting every night I was away from my kids but I stuck it out for three months because I didn’t want to quit.

We celebrated the holidays completely by ourselves and I was miserable. We’ve never spent a ton of time with extended family because we moved away when we were so young but up to that point we had never done holidays alone. This was when it hit home that we were all the way across the country from everyone we loved. We couldn’t afford to pick up and go home anytime we were feeling homesick and our family couldn’t afford to come visit us the way they had been for the years before this.

I was in a bad place. I felt like I was trying everything I could to make my situation better but nothing was working. Parker didn’t like his school as much as he had loved CME and Josh wasn’t the biggest fan of the Texas culture but¬†no one¬†was at the point I was. I was crying constantly. It was so bad that Josh was practically begging me to go to a doctor but I just kept blaming the problems on other things and promised Josh that once those things were resolved I’d feel better. I was just stressed because the house was a mess and once it was finished I’d feel better. I was just stressed because we were tight on money and once we got our finances in order I’d feel better. I was just stressed because I was lonely and once I met some people I’d feel better. Looking back, things¬†were¬†getting better and better the entire time we lived there but my attitude didn’t keep up which is why I think it was depression. There was no cause for my feelings except possibly something hormonal and the time it takes to work through the adjustment period that every move brings. I was talking to my friend about all of this a few weeks ago and she said, “You really¬†thought the problem was Texas?” and at the time I really did. But looking back now, I know that the problem was just me.

By the time things were finally starting to turn around for me, it was time to move.¬†You can read about that here.¬†Josh and I still talk about Texas all the time and even though I said when we left, “There isn’t anything I’ll miss about this place.”¬†there is. I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling badly for being the cause of our family moving unnecessarily, especially because Josh despises New York and¬†because he made a really great friend in Houston whom he still talks to and misses (and who just mailed us some Whataburger ketchup!!). But I can’t say that I regret moving because we’ve had some amazing experiences while living in NYC. I guess Texas will always be a “what if” for me. The good news is that one of my sisters moved to Austin a few months ago and my other sister is moving there in August so we’re planning a big back to Texas vacation for next year. First stop, Gringo’s (sorry Josh).¬†

* If you linked back to my past posts you would see that two years ago I thought I was the¬†consummate Coastie wife. That’s laughable. ūüôā¬†

2013 in Review

2013 was seriously the fastest year of my life. It wasn’t the best year but it was certainly better than last which is really all you can hope for. I know I’m a few days late but I thought it would be fun to go through my ten gazillion photos from this year and write a recap of all of the exciting things we experienced throughout 2013. We had lots of ups and downs, laughs and cries and some once in a lifetime adventures that I hope we never forget. Like,

Brazos Bend National Park with aunt Lisa and Cindy¬†and lots of wild alligators…¬†

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-02at83826PM_zpse74a3012.png

We took the ferry to Galveston Island…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-02at84005PM_zps47789dd8.png

Parker had his first experience in batting cages which led him to fall in love with baseball…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-02at84318PM_zps2adce8a4.png

We surprised the boys with a basketball hoop and then played basketball everyday for the whole month of February…

 photo IMG_1511_zps000a5bfc.jpg

I hosted a Valentine’s Day party as the room mom of Parker’s 2nd grade class…

 photo IMG_1584_zpsd7e57c51.jpg

Theo celebrated Rodeo Day (the first day of the Houston Rodeo) at Preschool and rocked his pants Texas style (always)…

 photo IMG_1701_zpsdec8c2af.jpg

and then we went to the Houston Rodeo which is definitely one of my favorite times from 2013 (writing this makes me miss Texas!)…

 photo IMG_1911_zps959a6dfa.jpg

 photo IMG_1918_zps609df2f2.jpg

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-02at90416PM1_zps1ab460c2.png

We went strawberry picking in March…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-02at90607PM_zps13a797ad.png

The boys and I went to the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences…

 photo IMG_1987_zps4305f7a6.jpg

 photo IMG_1981_zpsf0a3f700.jpg

I registered for the San Antonio half marathon but found out we’d be moving to NY before the race so I ran the 13.1 miles on my own anyway…


Ruby turned one…

 photo IMG_2071_zps8c9052a0.jpg

and then a few days later we packed up and moved to New York…

 photo IMG_2182_zps136d40f3.jpg

and while we were on the road we stopped at my aunt’s house in South Carolina and celebrated Theo’s 5th Birthday…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-02at93551PM_zps6dd6a4e0.png

and then celebrated Easter with more family in Ohio…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at82603AM_zpsfd0cf3dc.png

The boys played their first season of little league…

 photo IMG_2405_zps946ffc7e.jpg

Josh surprised me with a Mother’s Day weekend trip to Cape May…

 photo IMG_2896_zpsc103897a.jpg

 photo IMG_2895_zps328e0b77.jpg

 photo IMG_2862_zps020610ad.jpg

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge with my sister…


And Josh and I snuck away for a date at Citi Field…



Josh had a little too much fun at a Coast Guard celebration in Cape May…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at84752AM_zps396196c9.png

We spent lots of days at the Jersey Shore…






 photo IMG_6023_zpsb55af336.jpg

 photo IMG_6032_zps703e0a15.jpg

We went to Coney Island and watched Joey Chestnut win the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on the 4th of July…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at85947AM_zps2cae1945.png

One of my blog posts was read by thousands of people and cross posted on The Huffington Post…

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 8.43.37 PM

We took the boys back to Westhampton Beach to see our first home away from Ohio…


We all went to the All Star Fan Fest in Manhattan…




And met up with some friends at Liberty Science Center…


We painted. and painted. and painted…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at91231AM_zpsbbfbed88.png

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at91404AM_zpsa60338d1.png

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at91623AM_zps69580c95.png

Josh was selected to help carry the flag at the MLB All Star Game…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at92023AM_zpsafe8c25f.png

Where he got to meet and chat with Bryce Harper, Erin Andrews and Jason Grilli…



We took a weekend trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and visited Charlottesville and Monticello…






Josh turned 30 and we celebrated with friends in NYC…

Screen Shot 2013-08-11 at 8.18.48 AM

 photo IMG_5885_zps32fefcfa.jpg

 photo IMG_5879_zps42e2e261.jpg photo IMG_5894_zpsd3173790.jpg

We took the kids to our first Yankees game and boo’d ARod (silently)…

 photo IMG_6130_zps9c1ac02d.jpg

We went to Cape May to celebrate a sweet friend’s 5th birthday…

 photo IMG_6305_zps638be2f1.jpg

My blog was featured in Exit Zero magazine in Cape May…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at94847AM_zpsd91cfe01.png

Josh made a cameo on the Today Show…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at95039AM_zpsba343fc4.png

Parker completed his first food challenge when he ate an entire quarter pound burger and fries…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at95333AM_zps80139856.png

We spent Labor Day weekend in Ohio and took the kids to the Canfield Fair…

 photo IMG_6321_zpsd4d4ba04.jpg

 photo IMG_6348_zps47e9bb2d.jpg

 photo IMG_6407_zps91f70ad0.jpg

We spent a day at Sesame Place…

 photo IMG_6483_zpscd5ec1b7.jpg

 photo IMG_6518_zpsf3dca00d.jpg

Theo started Kindergarten and Parker started 3rd grade…

 photo IMG_2362_zps68975fd7.jpg

 photo IMG_2369_zps015822e7.jpg

 photo IMG_2370_zpsad6d2714.jpg

Josh and Parker saw the lights to Heaven on September 11th…

 photo IMG_6572_zpsd76d2fea.jpg

We ended baseball season with one last Mets game…

 photo IMG_6626_zps4f5d888a.jpg

We took a day trip to Mystic, CT and Westerly, RI…

 photo IMG_2648_zps980e9968.jpg

 photo IMG_6759_zpsf3231faf.jpg

 photo IMG_6706_zpsf82999b7.jpg

Parker turned 8 and we celebrated very low key with pizza and ice cream cake…

 photo IMG_2718_zps656090b0.jpg

Theo lost his first tooth…

 photo IMG_2773_zps281824c6.jpg

And his second…

 photo IMG_3203_zps4481d760.jpg

We went apple picking in Princeton with some friends…

 photo IMG_6824_zps1c6031a6.jpg

 photo IMG_6855_zpsc8036df9.jpg

The Pirates made it to the playoffs…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at110007AM_zps297dbad8.png

We went trick or treating with old friends on the Washington Street Mall in Cape May…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at110228AM_zpsadb98aae.png

We celebrated Halloween at home with fun treats, crafts, movies, school parades and trick or treating around the neighborhood…

 photo IMG_3117_zpsa5f531d8.jpg

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at110559AM_zps3b084ddc.png

I put up my Christmas tree WAY too early…

 photo IMG_3193_zps3776efc7.jpg

The boys took a dare and streaked in the snow at uncle Craig’s house…

 photo IMG_3225_zps934bc2f2.jpg

Ruby’s hair grew long enough for a pony tail…

 photo ScreenShot2014-01-03at111226AM_zpsd9ce532e.png

We went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then made Thanksgiving dinner together for just the 5 of us…

 photo IMG_3373_zps807b69d6.jpg

 photo IMG_3391_zps69b393a7.jpg

We kicked off December with a day in the city with some friends…

 photo IMG_6921_zpsb4ba545b.jpg

 photo IMG_6924_zps9c29f4a7.jpg

 photo IMG_6943_zps117d57d4.jpg

Parker had his first school newspaper contribution published…

 photo IMG_3461_zps28cc080f.jpg

and learned how to schmooze…

 photo IMG_3664_zps407331ad.jpg

We skipped school and went to Macy’s to visit Santa…

 photo photo-116_zps113e89a4.jpg

We spent Christmas in Ohio where Parker and I landed ourselves in the ER on Christmas morning…

 photo IMG_3850_zps06c55296.jpg

 photo IMG_7097_zpsca16814f.jpg

 photo IMG_7144_zpse8c97a06.jpg

We celebrated my 28th birthday with my little sister…

 photo IMG_3908_zpsf0c7d6fc.jpg

 photo IMG_3916_zps6ecf6057.jpg

I walked passed Ruby’s room and finally really realized that we’re living with a little lady now…

 photo IMG_7178_zpsb9a71b0a.jpg

And we rang in the new year with some sushi, ice cream, games and movies.

 photo IMG_3926_zpsdca3c360.jpg

 photo IMG_3946_zps80fe7222.jpg photo IMG_3954_zps66032b46.jpg

This way too long post with a gajillion photos still only shows parts of our year. We had lots of visits with family, made new friends and got caught up with old, went through phases and tantrums and moody days, hit milestones and entered new stages but the year is over and it’s time to begin a new! Bring on 2014 – Happy New Year!

A day trip to New England: Part 2

Part two! So after spending our day exploring adorable little Mystic, CT we decided to cross the state line and check out the beach in Rhode Island. We made our way to¬†Misquamicut¬†Beach across from the Long Island Sound – you could actually see Block Island. It was beautiful but the best part was the great play ground that sat right on the edge of the beach. We all played for a while before heading out to put our toes (or entire body in Theo’s case) in the water. I love that our kids are beach babies. I never felt the ocean until I was 17 years old so it’s really special to me that Parker, Theo and Ruby have spent most of their lives around water.¬† photo IMG_6706_zps527d4074.jpg

 photo IMG_6721_zpsa6dd1560.jpg

 photo 72a925c4-3825-449e-a70a-63e6fab980d4_zps4d7bc2dc.jpg

 photo IMG_6738_zpsaf766d5b.jpg

 photo IMG_6744_zps232b2551.jpg

 photo IMG_6746_zps303bdbfc.jpg

 photo IMG_6759_zpsb4b9219d.jpg

 photo IMG_6750_zps073c43ad.jpgI’m so glad we get to visit so many awesome places. This day was fantastic.

A day trip to New England: Part 1

Just in case you haven’t noticed, Josh and I are not sit around type of people. Sunday is our day to lounge, watch football and hang out around the house but every Saturday we wake up and hop on the computer to find what we can spend our day out doing (if we don’t already have plans). Living in New York takes this to an entirely new level because there is¬†always¬†something to do. For any Coasties reading, I highly recommend trying to get stationed here as long as you don’t have kids or at least don’t have school aged kids. Even though the traffic sucks and the cost of living is high, the experience of living here is truly once in a lifetime.

But we actually didn’t even spend our day in NYC. We debated between an art festival in Brooklyn, making the drive to Montauk or heading north again to Connecticut. Brooklyn was out quickly because we figured parking would be tight at a festival that brings in over 200,000 people and we didn’t want a repeat of last weekend. After going back and forth between the other two options, we finally decided on driving to CT since we’ve been to Montauk a few times before. I wanted to go to New London to visit the Coast Guard Academy and watch a football game but Josh wasn’t very interested so he suggested checking out Mystic and then crossing the state line and heading into Rhode Island too. We went with his idea and left the house by 9 am.

Of course what was supposed to be a two and a half hour drive turned into a three and a half hour drive because of traffic but luckily Ruby slept for most of it and the boys brought along a couple of movies to watch. If you’re wondering how our kids feel about spending so much time in the van traveling, for the most part, they’re fine with it. All three of them have been making trips like this since they were born (Theo even traveled in a cross country drive from NY to CA when he was two weeks old) and while they’re no strangers to the road, we do bring along lots of entertainment for them. Long drives like this one are some of the best times for talking as a family too. We’re all stuck together and, a lot of times, in new surroundings so there’s usually plenty to talk about.

Once we finally made it to Mystic it was clear that the drive was completely worth it. From the quaint little shops to the draw bridge over the Mystic River to the sail boats filled with children to the unbelievably beautiful Colonial houses that line the streets, this town is picturesque. Which is probably why I came home with over 100 pictures to upload from my camera. Of course we had to stop for lunch at Mystic Pizza where the walls are covered with photos of Julia Roberts and the trailer for the movie Mystic Pizza plays on a loop.  photo IMG_6681_zps38fecd1c.jpg

 photo IMG_6677_zps52b67fca.jpg

 photo IMG_6689_zps48f6e84d.jpg

 photo IMG_6678_zpsab6b10e5.jpg

 photo 4789cec3-2029-4009-960a-4037ce83cf2b_zps01afaf0e.jpg

Afterwards, we took the kids for ice cream at one of the local, homemade ice cream shops on Main Street (because we can’t ever go somewhere new and¬†not¬†try some of the ice cream) and ate our cones as we walked along the river. Ruby was in heaven pointing out all of the boats and dogs.

 photo IMG_6676_zps5cd954f2.jpg

 photo 603eb26b-6a81-4c80-919a-f1360dd4d849_zps755bbdb3.jpg

 photo 4142ceee-6565-4122-9581-fa0f378f2b42_zps7e19f7d6.jpg

 photo f7ca3398-124a-4383-945b-28fdeb3fc9a3_zps32f842fe.jpg

 photo ae03a4e6-f3bf-472f-9247-d18d0ae1a112_zps26efb06e.jpg

 photo IMG_6679_zpsc9757b27.jpgWe checked out some of the seaport and then let the boys explore a local toy store that ended up being incredible. So incredible that Parker kept cracking me up as he repeated over and over, “I made a mistake coming in here.” since I told them that we were only looking and not making any new purchases. In a very large contrast to last weekend, all of the kids were perfectly behaved and we had an awesome time exploring a new place. Our day wasn’t over yet though as we headed to Rhode Island to finish it off at the beach.

To be continued. 

We’re moving. Again.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that New York City isn’t the best place to raise a family when you have small children and live on a modest budget. Of course we knew this when we decided to move from Texas but our motivation behind the decision was just getting back to the east coast. Before we moved, we looked into living in a few different suburbs but ultimately chose to live in the Coast Guard community in Staten Island because of three things: an easy commute for Josh, being a part of a CG community again and money. We ended up spending around $3000 on the move and didn’t want to stretch ourselves thin with the added cost of a security deposit, first and last months rent, utilities set up, etc. (you don’t have to pay any of this if you live in military housing). So we came into this with an open mind and the understanding that we may be moving again.

After months of Parker disliking school (which has never been the case for him before), a baseball season that was less than enjoyable because of issues with the league and a summer spent paying hundreds of dollars (tolls from living on an island) to leave Staten Island, Josh started mentioning moving again. Anytime we’d go somewhere out of the city, whether it was back to Long Island, the Jersey Shore, upstate New York or back to Ohio, Josh would talk about how our lives would be better if we lived there instead of here. Every time, I would agree with him but then back out by the time we made it home because I really¬†don’t want to deal with the hassle of what goes into moving. But as the new school year approaches and I’m reminded of how unhappy Parker was just a few months ago, that hassle has begun to seem more appealing.

Last weekend was my tipping point. Going back to our hometown for the weekend, spending time with family, hanging out with friends and watching the boys do some of the same things that Josh and I enjoyed during our childhoods made me miss everything that our kids don’t have here in New York. The entire drive from Ohio, Josh and I talked about our options for moving out of the city and weighed the pros and cons for everything. We continued to talk throughout the week and eventually brought up the idea with the boys. Immediately they were both on board.

So here’s where we are now. After looking at every option, thinking about this nonstop¬†from every angle and planning out what we can gain in the next few years, we’ve decided to move back home to Ohio. I know this decision will be criticized but Josh and I truly believe this is what will be best for our family both short and long term. Moving back will provide the kids with the opportunity to live for a few years surrounded by family and longtime friends. They’ll get the small town environment that we had in Cape May, good schools, tradition, extra curricular opportunities that they don’t have here, a house with their own yard and the experience of living in the country. Consecutively, Josh and I will get all of that plus a large pay raise and the opportunity to decide if moving back permanently is something we want to do before making a commitment to the decision. Of course their are cons that we’ve discussed as well, with the biggest being that Josh will only live with our family three days a week but that will mostly just effect Josh and I. When you look at our schedule Monday through Thursday (the days Josh will live in New York), there are only 16 hours total that will be missed spent with the kids. Josh’s schedule as a recruiter is lax enough that he will never miss a holiday and if there is a special occasion, he can take leave.

We’ve also considered living in a suburb, moving back to Cape May and moving the kids and I to an area where we plan to look for jobs in a few years when Josh’s contract is up. While those options will be in the back of our minds, we’ve decided that moving to Ohio will have the biggest positive impact on our family. There are a lot of factors that play into what will be the best timing for a move including how this school year goes, available houses, CG matters and a few others but right now our loose timeline is either Spring break or the beginning of summer. We’re all excited about another new adventure but in the meantime, we’re going to make the rest of this year in NY something to remember ūüôā