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2013 December » The Adventures of Noah and Lia
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Dec 312013
 

I’d intended to share this as things progressed but life got in the way. While exciting to us, it’s not a custom build so there’s not a ton to write about. We had probably 10 major decisions to make and then just watch it take shape.

1. Pick a location and lot – We went back and forth and back and forth about building vs. buying and when it came down to it we just didn’t find anything we wanted to buy so we were going to hold out and just rent but kept looking at new builds just in case. Then this neighborhood came along. Initially when we looked they only had small lots and we were set on 1/2 acre or more so we kept looking but right before July 4 they opened up some larger lots and that was it. We only had 4 to pick from and ended up going with the one with no premium with a nice flat back yard. We’ll have a few different backyard neighbors but we’re okay with that. Half an acre on mostly flat land…with room for a volleyball net (which was part of the picking criteria funny enough) – perfection in our eyes.
2. Pick a Model – at the time, the builder offered 5 models. When we looked at the neighborhood initially and priced things out with the smaller lots, we’d settled on the Jefferson Square. It had the right features and was at the right price. When the larger lots opened up the base price went up but we still loved the Jefferson Square. It really was a no brainer for us…there were only two models we liked and could afford and the Jefferson was one.
3. Pick an elevation – even within the models, they had different frontal configurations (or elevations in builder speak). Some were all brick, some were all siding, they even had a cottage-ish feeling one that was pretty. In the end we liked the mix of stone and siding which was actually less expensive than the all brick so it made it even more affordable.
4. Pick Architectural options for that model (bigger bathroom, 3rd car garage, sun room) – this is where it got a little fun. The models came with a base configuration and we could add architectural options. We opted for a sun room off the kitchen which also gave us a bigger bathroom off the master. We also added the third car garage (we can’t have sheds in the neighborhood so the third bay will be our “shed”). A few windows in the basement and that was pretty much it. We didn’t go crazy. The base model was so much larger than our last house that we didn’t want to add more than we really needed. I didn’t want to have to clean all that extra space:).
4. Pick siding/stone/exterior colors – this was actually one of the harder decisions. You see a 4in x 4in square of siding and a 2ft by 2ft square of stone and are expected to envision that on a full house. I’m pretty good at imagining but this was tough. We changed our mind twice and spent hours touring other neighborhoods by our builder in order to try to get an idea of what we were looking at. I don’t think my husbands nerve’s rested until he actually saw it up on the side of the house done. That said, we’re really happy with our choices.
5. Pick insides (granite, cabinets, floors) – Granite and cabinets were pretty easy to pick. Floors however took us a long while..and may trips to the store to try to find bigger swatches of the flooring to compare to. Again, you’re working with like a 2ft by 2ft square of flooring and have to imagine that throughout your house. I was pretty set on what I wanted…DH on the other hand struggled. In the end he’s very happy with our choices but it was not without some stress.
6. Electrical/Audio viz options – The house has a base elec package that matches code with the area. Then you can add lights, fans, pre-wires, alarms, surround sound etc. We tried not to get crazy with this but hubs loves his audio stuff. So, we ended up with a surround pre-wire (since he didn’t like their speakers) that took us over an hour to decide where to place the pre-wires. I’m still not positive they’re in the right spots but it’s not the end of the world to have to change it at this point. Just a PIA. We also opted for the alarm system on the house for extra piece of mind. Plus it has door chimes to let us know when the kids open doors – so important to me as they get older.

Ultimately, I’m really glad we only had a few options to pick from (for the most part). There are a few things I really wish we would have had a choice on (like the sink…it’s a 50/50 split undermount and I would have preferred an 80/20…) but for us, who are so indecisive when it comes to stuff like this, the limit was welcome and necessary. Since this is our long term house, anything we don’t like, can be changed in the future (like hardwood in the hall way upstairs, upgraded carpet once the standard stuff wears out).

Over all, it was a great experience. The builder (Ryan Homes) did a great job of responding to our wants and needs when they could. The nature of these types of builders and the speed in which the homes goes up means that we don’t have a ton of flexibility even in places where it seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal but they definitely did what they could. Also,DH was very attentive and was at the house almost daily once the walls were up which allowed us to catch a few things before it was too late (or to ask for small alterations while it was still easy to do them – like raising the shower head). I would say that they were able to accommodate 90% of what we asked for. All in all the house is beautiful and we couldn’t be happier with it.


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Dec 302013
 

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a full update on Noah and I don’t even know where to begin. He’s just a little boy now. It’s crazy. He’s independent, sensitive, stubborn, and so damn smart. He retains so much knowledge

– 39lbs, 42in (I think – he’s tall!), wearing 4T/5T for the most part, size 10 shoe.
– 3’s room at daycare with his own “share” day and he LOVES it! Wednesday is a very important day in our house.
– Loves playing outside and riding his bike (sans training wheels). He tells us when he sees people without helmets that it’s dangerous.
– Very excited for our new house and yard (and basement for his trains). He was constantly packing up things prior to the move to make sure they were included.
– Loves Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder and most recently monster trucks and he can find them on the tablet (and computer when we let him have access).
– He can use a computer and mouse as well as we do!
– He needs his milk and carrots before bed (it’s a stall tactic but who am I to deny milk and carrots)
– He’s in bed between 8 and 10pm depending on his nap during the day – he’s still having a few accidents at night but generally because he’s sleeping so deeply he just doesn’t notice.
– I always listen out for “noahisms” but frankly he make so much sense when he talks that I can’t remember the last nonsense phrase he uttered. He says things like “take care of yourself mommy” as I walk out the door. Or in response to me pouting because he called me a bad mommy, he turns around and says, “I’m sorry, you’re a good mommy”. Or “your beautiful mommy” (which of course melts my heart).
– He always wants to help with Lia. He tells me that he’ll get her and take care of her.
– He loves to pack his backpack with supplied (paper plates, plastic table ware, and usually Lia toys) for our trips around the neighborhood. He packs snacks and food too for the two of them. He likes to be prepared.
– His tantrums have taken on a new level of intensity which is just payback for what I did to my parents as a child I’m sure. Screaming till he’s blue and crying till he’s purple is par for the course. Thankfully they don’t happen that often but when they do…EPIC!
– I’ve been working with him on making up stories and using his imagination. On the long car ride home I’ll start a story and try to get him to add to it. We’ll go back and forth and make up something totally non sense…then he asks me to repeat it.
– Lately he’s been a bit OCD about cleaning things. He’ll look at a room and tell us that we’ve made a mess and that we need to clean things up. Totally fine *most* of the time.

I’m sure I’m missing things but…I just can’t get over the fact that he’s mine. I love just sitting back and watching him talk or interact with other people. I don’t know when it happened but at some point he became a little man capable of holding fully coherent conversations on subjects that feel beyond the realm of an almost 4 year old. Sometimes I forget that he’s not yet 4 because of how articulate he is (then he throws an epic tantrum and I’m brutally brought back to reality).

Every time I think we’re at the best age, he grows a little more and I love the new age more than the last.

(I promise pictures soon…the move is over, the holidays are almost over, and I may actually have time to go through the hundreds of pictures I have accumulated lately).

Dec 292013
 

My goodness, I think this is the longest I’ve ever gone without a blog post since starting this thing 4 years ago. I attribute that to packing and living in limbo as the house finishes…that and our longer commutes which mean earlier mornings and later evenings to try to fit everything in. I have so many pictures stacked up from the last few months that I need to share and will hopefully some day.

Anyways, trying to stay on the wagon with posts for Lia (and trying to get one out for Noah before he turns 4 in 2 months!!)

Lia these days is just hilarious. She’s monkey two in the monkey see monkey do pairing:) Noah does it, she follows right along including bebopping to the music in his head and sliding down the stairs on their bellies. The interactions with them are becoming more frequent and deliberate and it’s so amazing to watch. He loves his little sis and she thinks he’s the coolest thing out there. He can get her to talk better than we can these days. Our rides home in the car consist of Noah asking Lia to repeat words after him and her actually doing pretty well.

She’s talking more but still pretty garbled. You can clearly hear Apple (which I’ll count as her first word), Shoes, Thank you, mama, dada, dadoo, baba (noah), nana (banana). If she’s hungry or thirsty she smacks her lips and sticks out her tongue. Pretty darn obvious on what she wants.

If you ask her a yes/no question she’ll respond by shaking her head one way or the other. She does this best when you ask if she’s hungry or thirsty and then show her what you have to offer to eat/drink. As for eating and drinking, this kid has an appetite! I remember all the problems we had with Noah and eating. She shows none of that.

Her fine motor control is pretty good which makes up for her not really talking. She’s using a fork quite a bit of success. I found her putting Noah’s plastic screws into the right holes in his tool box. She loves to pretend to feed you and eat with you. Plus just the other night I found her in Noah’s room coloring with him and holding a pencil correctly to draw scribbles.

Sleep is still hit or miss. Some nights it’s easy to put her down and she’ll sleep the whole way thru. Others I struggles to put her down. Most nights she’ll sleep straight thru, others she’ll perk up but put herself to sleep, still others – rarely now thankfully, she’s up for the duration….Those are always fun mornings.

I love in the mornings when we go to get her we find her bouncing up and down. Then before you pick her up, she bends down to grab all of her blankets so that she can get one last snuggle after you pick her up. Then she struggles to be let down so she can go find her daddy.

She LOVES her daddy….the calls of “dada” from her room in the AM (or PM when she should be going to sleep) totally melt my heart (and his). She has him wrapped around her little finger for sure. Many nights she won’t go to sleep for anyone but him. I watch him melt every time she yells his name or runs over for a hug.

Life is so full and days have been passing by so quickly. I’m trying my best not to let things pass so quickly in my head and to savor all the moments – good and bad. When I find myself wishing away the hours when they’re being particularly naughty I try to catch myself and shift back to soaking it all in. She’s our last and as those baby years slip away I don’t want to forget any of the experiences.

And just to keep with tradition:

Weight:24, almost 25lbs
Length: 33 inches (i think)
Head:19 inches (110%!!!)
Sleep:Hit or miss….
Eating: Anything and everything:)
Sizes: Size 5 shoe, likely a 6 soon. 18-24 clothes…I need to buy more 24 mo pants.
Milestones:Just recently she had one of those leaps (where she wakes at 4am talking up a storm) and since then more words and clarity have appeared. She knows fully what she wants you to do but just can’t articulate it yet. Pointing, grunting and crying usually gets the point across.

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