Moving In

2.26.2013

Over the last few months you guys have read about our struggle to find housing in California. It's definitely not easy trying to pick a place from halfway around the world. I first wrote about our house hunting adventures back in October. Then in January I shared our dilemma about commuting. At that time I thought it was pretty much impossible to find something that was in our price range and close to Jesse's work while also meeting at least a few items on our wish list.

As I mentioned before, it was more stressful than I imagined it would be. We really wanted to have something picked out before we left so that we could schedule our furniture delivery but we also didn't want to go into something blindly. Luckily, after tons of research and talking to several friends that have lived there recently, we were able to find a townhouse that is pretty much exactly what we were looking for! It's a little over 1500 square feet which is not huge, but definitely bigger than some of the places I had looked at before. It's also well within our budget, which is another huge plus!

Here's how it stacks up to our wish list:

-garage- 2 car garage. Yay!! (I doubt we'll be parking two cars in it though. We have tons of furniture that I don't see fitting in the house so we will either be storing it in one side of the garage, renting a storage unit or selling it) But at least we will be able to park one car inside! :)

-storage space- built in storage in the garage and walk-in closet in master


-3 bedrooms/2 baths- check!


-playroom/office area- Nope! For now we will use the tiny third bedroom as playroom/office.


-somewhat updated kitchen and bathrooms- check! I'm not talking granite countertops or anything, but at least they don't look like they're straight out of the 70's


-safe area- According to my research it is!


-yard or close access to parks for E- we don't have a yard but there are 5 playgrounds in our development and one is just right around the corner from our house. (The one problem is that they have sand but hopefully E will get over her sand phobia soon!) ;)


-washer/dryer hookups- yep! And a closed off laundry room. This may not sound like much but our house in Abu Dhabi had the washer and dryer in the kitchen and it was annoying!


-porch or patio for barbecuing and sitting outside- a small one but it's better than nothing


-close to Jesse's work (the closer the better)- not as close as we had originally hoped


-single family home or condo without upstairs/downstairs neighbors- not a single family home but it is a townhouse with neighbors on either side. I wish we could have gotten an end unit but I'm super happy that we won't have anyone living above or below us


-neighborhood that doesn't feel too crowded- I'm not sure about this yet. Our driveway is tiny and it doesn't look like their is a ton of parking but I know we will make it work. 


-walking trails/sidewalks easily accessible- yes! There are also hiking trails and a lake within a few miles! I am so, so excited about this!

-close vicinity to shopping/grocery stores/etc- Another plus! We'll have Target, Wal-Mart and Costco (among many others) within 10 miles.


So, as you can see, we got really lucky finding this place! I think the only thing we don't have is a pool but I'm sure we'll find one to visit soon. 

Even though we have only seen a few pictures and we haven't seen the place in person, I feel really confident in our choice. We'll be picking up our keys later this week and I am so excited! We're also expecting the delivery of our furniture and household goods that we left in storage three years ago. I can't wait to get it all unpacked and set up. I honestly don't remember half of what we stored so it will be fun going through all of it.

Most of all, I'm looking forward to getting settled and starting our new life in California. I feel like it's been a long process with lots of planning involved, but I know in the end it will all be worth it!

As soon as we are settled and have internet, I'll be sharing pictures of our new place! I hope we love it as much as we think we will! :)


Visitors

2.25.2013

Our time in Texas has been slow-paced and relaxing. We've been lucky to have so many of our loved ones drop by for a visit. Even though it's gone by super fast, I feel like we've made the most of our short time. Since it's already time for us to hit the road and head to our new home, I wanted to take a minute and document some of the visits we've had over the last two weeks. 






I am so thankful that Emerson has so many people that love her! We sure are blessed!

Trendy Tots: These Boots Are Made For Walking

2.22.2013

I was so excited when Megan announced the Trendy Tots link-up. It's no secret that I love dressing Emerson and I'm sure most of you have noticed that she is way better dressed than her Momma. Since we have been a warm climate for so long, Emerson has almost always worn dresses and other summery attire. I just love seeing her in pretty little dresses and they will always be my number one choice for her. But now that we are back in the cold, I have also adored all of the precious clothes that are made for colder weather.

My favorite looks over the last few weeks have included sweaters, lots of layers, skinny jeans, and BOOTS. I just think there is nothing cuter than a little toddler in boots.

 Outfit One (As featured on E's Valentine card)


(Sweater and jeggings from Old navy, boots from Payless)
Outfit Two:


(dress from boutique in Abu Dhabi, boots from Payless)
Outfit Three:

(tunic from Kohls, jeggings from Old Navy, boots from Target)

As you can see, Emerson has worn boots just about every day that we have been here! (Momma's been getting a lot of boot wear too!) LOVE it!

And while I've already done quite a bit of shopping for sweet E, there are so many cute things out there- I want to buy it ALL! My current favorite is Old Navy. Their jeans fit Emerson so well and I just love all of the cute stuff they have right now. Here is one outfit I'm eying:

Aren't the mini skinnies just precious? Eeek! I can totally picture E running around in them. Now if anyone has an Old Navy gift card just lying around feel free to send it my way! :)



A Sacrifice Worth Making

2.20.2013

When I found out I was pregnant with Emerson we knew that we would be moving shortly after her birth. We knew that we would be at an overseas post but we didn't know where. At that time I was working in the Consular section of the embassy. It definitely wasn't in my career field but it was a job and I enjoyed it. When it came time for me to come back to the States to get ready for Emerson's birth, I had no choice but to resign. While many women choose to work up until the birth of their children, that just wasn't an option for me. So without really planning for it I became a stay at home mom. After we moved and got settled I knew for certain that I did not want to leave Emerson in childcare or with a nanny. My initial thought was that I would stay home with E for at least the first year and then possibly look into setting up childcare.

But as each day went on I began to realize how much I loved being a stay at home Momma. I loved being there when Emerson woke up and I loved being the one to feed her and take care of her. I just couldn't even imagine being away from her. It literally made me sick to think about. As we approached her first birthday I started to entertain the idea of going back to work. I knew for sure that I wouldn't do it while we were still overseas but I did start looking for possibilities in the States. Even as I searched job openings I had this feeling that it wasn't right. I tried to reassure myself that Emerson would be almost two and that she would handle the transition just fine.

Over the next few months I continued to search halfheartedly but I told myself that if the right position came open at the time of our move that I would apply for it. I mean, if it opens at the exact time it must be meant to be, right?

And, of course, what do you think I came across last week? That's right. An opening for the job that I did before we moved overseas. The ideal job for me and the one that would allow me to see Emerson during the day if she were in childcare. Since seeing the posting I've clicked on the site just about every day and a million conflicting thoughts have gone through my head.

Most days I've felt pretty sure that I shouldn't apply for it and that the right place for me is to be home with Emerson. I do, however, have moments of doubt. I wonder if it would be better for our family for me to return to work. Not only would it allow me to get back into my career field, but the increase in income would obviously be a blessing. I also know that I would really enjoy the adult interaction and the chance to get dressed up every day. At the same time, I still want to cry at the thought of leaving Emerson. I have no doubt that she would be just fine in childcare but I'm not sure that I would be. My biggest fear is that I will regret it later on down the road. After all, we all know how short this precious time is. My baby will only be a baby for so long and I just hate the thought of missing a second of it.

Last night when I went to bed I just couldn't stop thinking about the job so I decided today that I would update my resume. Just in case. I have been doing my best to hand it over to God because I know that He knows what's right for us. I figured that I could just get my resume updated and then go from there. I have prayed for clarity on the subject and for God to open/close doors as He sees fit.

When Emerson laid down for her nap, I pulled up all of my old resumes and started working on brushing them up a little bit. Just as I was getting close to finishing, I heard Emerson cry out from the room next to me. I went in to find her sitting up in bed, crying and rubbing her cheeks, and telling me "boo boo." She's teething right now and her poor little mouth has been bothering her quite a bit.

I scooped her out of bed and she laid her sweet little cheek on my shoulder and patted my back. In a matter of seconds she was out again but I just couldn't put her back in bed yet. I decided instead to lay down with her for a bit so that I could make sure that she was comfortably sleeping. We laid side by side and even in her sleep, her tiny hand reached across, found my arm, and held tight. 

And it was at that moment that it become more clear than ever that I was already doing the job that I was meant to do. I am the one that is supposed to be there when Emerson gets up in the morning. I'm the one that is supposed to fix her breakfast and lunch and kiss her boo boos. I am her mommy and it is my job to be there so that is what I'm going to do.

Yes, we may have to sacrifice a little bit more than we would if I worked. I may not be able to buy designer handbags and we probably won't be going on any exotic vacations. We will have to live on a budget and our savings will build up at a much slower pace. Our house will be smaller and I won't be able to shop anytime I want to.

But in exchange, I will get to continue to spend my days with my daughter. My precious girl. The sweet baby that I love more than anything.

And to me, that is definitely a sacrifice worth making.

***Disclaimer***
This post has been in the works for months and months. It's something that's been on my heart and on my mind since before Emerson turned a year old. I have gone back and forth so many times and I have truly struggled over making a decision that is right for our family. PLEASE know that by sharing my feelings on the subject I am only talking about our situation. I am not in anyway criticizing anyone else's decisions. I feel like every family knows what is right for them and I would never judge another momma for a decision she made regarding her children. I also know that many people don't have a choice and that we are all in different situations. This post is about me and my struggle only!


A Little Update

2.19.2013

Hey y'all! I know I haven't been around much lately. We've just been soaking up every second of time with our families. It goes by way too fast! While I've been gone, this is what we've been up to:

-We've had lots of visitors and it has been so much fun seeing Emerson interact with everyone. Look for a full post on this soon with lots of pictures.

-I have enjoyed American shopping a little bit too much. What can I say? Target gets me every single time.


-Emerson got her first flower delivery on Valentine's Day. Thanks Aunt Michelle, Uncle Chris, Hannah and Melanie.


-We've been eating like it's going out of style. Fortunately we have been good about keeping up with our workouts so hopefully the damage won't be too bad. :)

-We watched Suits as it played for the first time. Man I missed American TV!

-Emerson is absolutely obsessed with her new stroller and baby doll. She has been pushing it around my parents house a million miles an hour.

-Mimi said "uh oh spaghetti o's" one time and it is now E's favorite saying. If she even hears the word spaghetti she says it.



-We've spent lots of time cuddling with the dogs. Grace still dislikes us most of the time and Izzy is a wild girl. It's so nice having dogs in the house!


-Emerson turned 21 months old yesterday. We are just three months away from the big TWO! 

Happy Valentine's Day 2013

2.14.2013



And just for fun, a little comparison to last year. Somebody please tell me, when did my baby get so big?

A Life Update

2.12.2013

Today marks one week since we've been back in the United States. It's definitely true that time flies when you're having fun! Since I haven't blogged much, this will be a little catch-all of everything that has gone on in the last 10 days or so.

The weekend before we left our awesome neighbors gave us a going away party. I was terrible at taking pictures but I did get this one of Emerson with her new Build A Bear named Dhabi (for Abu Dhabi.) She calls him Bobby. I told her that it's d d Dhabi with a D so now she says d d Bobby. She cracks me up.


On our last day, Brittney, Grace, and Sophia stopped by to spend some with us. As always, the girls were precious together.

Our time in Fort Worth went by so fast. We had an awesome time hanging out with Jesse's sister and her sweet kiddos.





The car buying experience started off rocky but we ended up finding a car that we love and we are happy with the price we paid. It's going to be our car for a long, long time so it's a good thing we love it.
We drove down to West Texas on Saturday. E did pretty good in the car but she was ready to call it quits after about 4 hours. Luckily the drive isn't too far so we made it here not long after that.

Since then, we've just been hanging out and enjoying our time with our families. Emerson is just loving being with her grandparents. Being home is the best feeling ever!

Things are starting to come together for our move to California so I'll be back later to update y'all on that. It's much easier to plan and get things organized when you're in the same time zone! :)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!



We Made It!

2.06.2013

There were time during our 25 hour journey that I thought I wouldn't be able to say those words. Haha! It actually wasn't all that bad and Emerson did much better than I anticipated. 
 Our trip through immigration was a breeze and then we waited in the Abu Dhabi airport for about 2 hours. While we waited, Emerson convinced her Daddy that she needed the Barbie phone in the souvenir shop. I think all she has to do is say please and give him her little nose scrunched smile, and she can get whatever she wants.



Our first flight (from Abu Dhabi to London) was 7 hours long and it was practically empty so Jesse and I were able to take turns sleeping stretched out in the seat next to us. We had a 4 hour layover in London and we spent most of it chasing Emerson around and letting her burn off some energy. We were able to get her to sit long enough to watch one show, which gave us time to eat and relax before doing 100 more loops around the terminal.

Then we boarded our second flight, which was about 10 hours. I think E only slept a total of about 5 or 6 hours so I was impressed with the fact that she only had one meltdown and it wasn't until the last 45 minutes of our second flight. She was just so tired that one minute she was crying and the next minute she was completely passed out in Jesse's arms. She was so out of it that I was able to strap her back in her carseat and she slept right through the landing.

Overall I have to say it was a much, much better experience than our flight this Summer. That being said, I am so glad that it is DONE! It feels amazing to be back in the great state of Texas! We're spending the next few days in Fort Worth with Jesse's sister before heading to West Texas to stay with our families for a few weeks. We're really looking forward to a lot of visiting and relaxation. 

Our first priority is trying to get adjusted to the 10 hour time change. We went to bed around 7:30 last night and Emerson was up by 2:30 AM. It's almost 6:30 AM and I'm betting she's going to crash very shortly. I'm sure that will be the cycle for the next few days but hopefully we'll get adjusted before too long.

While we're here we're planning on buying a car. We've been looking online and we think we've found the one, so hopefully it will be a smooth process. I hate car shopping and I especially the negotiation process so I'm hoping we can just walk in, make a deal, and walk out with our car. :) And we're praying that we have a better experience with this one and that we can put the Volvo nightmare FAR behind us.

Other than that, we don't have a lot planned. I'm sure we'll make a Target run (or two) and I'm betting we'll have a few bites of Tex-Mex here and there. I think we're both still in a little bit of shock that we are actually back in the United States for good. It was a long journey but it was SO worth it!


I Hate This Part

2.04.2013

So we've spent the last week suffering without internet. Okay, so I might be exaggerating a little bit. We haven't really suffered but we have definitely learned just how much we rely on it. We've spent many afternoons/evenings camped out on our neighbors front porch, soaking up all of their bandwidth. :0

Then today I bought my laptop over to the coffee table so E could watch a show and I heard my email ding, indicating that I had new mail. I realized right then and there that we could pick up our other neighbor's internet right from our couch. So, as you can surely guess, I am currently sitting on my couch and blogging instead of my neighbor's front porch!

We are very, very close to the end of our countdown and I have so many emotions running through my head. The last few days have been full of good-byes and that really is the part that I hate the most. I've noticed that I try to get them over with as quickly as possible. A tight hug and a few parting words are about all I can muster. If I let the good-byes linger too long, I will most definitely cry.

It's so weird knowing that people that are now part of our daily lives will soon become people that live all the way across the world. I think it's probably one of the worst parts of this nomadic life we've lived over the last three years.

I've been pretty good throughout almost all of the good-byes but I lost it tonight when we said good-bye to our best friends here in Abu Dhabi. They have been amazing to us and they have treated Emerson as one of their own. I can't stand the thought of not seeing them every day, so for now I have pushed it to the back of my mind. We've promised to keep in touch through Skype and email, but I know that it won't be the same.

It's crazy how you can be brokenhearted and incredibly excited, all at the same time.

Because beyond the sadness of the good-byes, there really is a buzzing excitement. An energy that is running through my veins and making my heart beat a little faster. I honestly can't believe that we are about to be home. HOME! In the most amazing country in the world. On the same continent as our family and dear friends. I have to say, it's a pretty awesome feeling.

There were times over the last few months that I thought that this day would never come. It felt so far away and unreachable. Yet here we are. Just like that. We've made it through and we're coming home. Even though the good-byes have been hard and the anticipation has been killing me, I wouldn't trade any of if for anything. It's been quite the journey and I'm so thankful that I have such amazing people that are so hard to say good-bye to.



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