It seems fitting to post again on the bloggy after a while of quiet, because today officially starts a new chapter for the Clingerman family! In November my always-in-the-know hubby randomly found a listing for a house on craigslist that was super close to us, and had 7 bedrooms! As a big family we are always sorta eyeing houses with more thank 5 bedrooms because they are pretty hard to find, especially in our price range. We’ve always sort of dreamt of a home that has a full basement so there was extra room for romping around and for peace and quiet all at the same time – our cozy home right now is a 3 bedroom house with less than 1200 square feet, and with the boys inching closer and closer toward teen-hood we have really REALLY started to feel the squeeze this past year. Anyway, the home we found was a short sale, but it was a HUGE house with a price of only 250,000 and so curiosity got the best of us, so g and I hopped in the van and drove the 3/4 mile to the house.
We were instantly in love with it, even just peeking through the windows, we had sort of wondered if there would be like gaping holes in the floor or something, but instead I looked through those windows and saw… well I guess I sorta saw my dreams (sniff, sniff… I’m such a sap!). We ended up deciding to just call the realtor to see inside the very next day – the house has a full basement so we really did not know what we would find (g was crossing his fingers there was standing water or something in there, just to keep us from doing anything crazy I think) – but we found instead that it was an amazing space, really amazing, that needed a whole lot of cleaning, paint, and random little things. My brave husband decided to make the call to a lender…with in a few days we made an offer (actually under the list price since with short sales those tend to just be random numbers), and that is when we started counting days, and pennies! The house was a short sale, so we were mentally prepared to wait, not to mention that we needed to build a down payment, and QUICK! Anyway…. it is a VERY long story but lets just say it went like this “good news you get the house!”, “wait, roadblock, you totally can’t have the house”, “wait, we can totally handle that! you get the house again!”, “oh, bummer, it totally can’t happen…” And so on and so forth, for SIX MONTHS! This was for me was such an emotional rollercoaster, but it was also a continuous lesson in faith. It was just personally really growing for me to set my sights on something, something so special that I wanted with all my heart, and then just hope and pray for it, and trust that there is a plan for us – and with out a shadow of a doubt, I know there is.
I have been joking that this house is “our baby” because the time and energy and hopes and dreams we have poured into this home over the past six months we probably could have adopted a baby or heck even birthed one! LOL (not that we want a baby, we’re pretty set with the human babies we already have)! So, yesterday after we were handed our key, I cried the tears of a mommy holding her baby for the first time, and then took a zillion pictures, because everyone has been so sweet and supportive and I’ve really felt the thoughts and prayers of all our friends as we waited this home out.
Now, I am very proud to show you the BEFORE pictures of our new house, the biggest project EVER, but our dream come true:
The house is surrounded by huge trees, nestled in the back corner of a cul-de-sac, that is off of a dead end, this house really feels tucked away from the world.
After you step through those beautiful front doors – here is what you see:
The living room is sunken down a step, I love the banisters and Those AMAZING windows, just begging to be freed from all that lace!
Here is what the little entry area looks like, on the other side of that door is where the door to the stairs is:
Off the side of the living room is a room that I think is intended to be called the “dining room” but for us it will be a room with instruments (can NOT wait to have a piano to play!), and some cozy chairs by the window to curl up with a book:
On the other side of the dining room and right down a little hall from the door is a “great room” that will probably hold a big table and some bookshelves:
notice fireplace number 2:
An incredible sliding glass door to the back yard, the windows/doors in this room are super nice and were purchased using one of the three mortgages on this house! Lucky us, we get to keep them with out a loan ourselves
The view from the eating area into the dining and living room:
There is a chair-height counter bar off the kitchen
(notice the patchwork floor repair, one of the repairs we had to make to the house ourselves in order to get the loan)
I LOVE that there is a desk built into this kitchen, I’ve always dreamt of having one!
And off the kitchen there is a little laundry room with it’s own window:
Here is the half bath that is to the right of the entry:
And here is the hallway from to the upstairs bedrooms:
Since this house is massive – there is space for both g and I to have our own office spaces! Since I’m a crafter and he’s a computer geek we can actually use the space:
This lovely room will be the space I now have dubbed my studio – I’m SOOOOO excited to have this space, cant wait to tear down those bears and paint this room a bright clean white that I can just fill to the brim with creative energy and inspiration!
The master bedroom is pretty simple, It is not a huge room but it will be the first time we will have had a master bedroom that didn’t need to be another space at the same time – no bookshelves, no computer desk, no random storage – just a lovely space to sleep in peace :)
The master bedroom has a bathroom off of it –
The master bathroom is not huge, but this is more counter space than I have ever had! Also, the best part of the master bath is what is on the other side of it:
This pretty wood room has a hot tub (it may need a little tlc, we will have to see) but it also has a sauna! I never would have ever imagined having a sauna in my home – it works too!
The other fabulous thing upstairs, is our 3rd bathroom – this lovely room has no one living out of it – there are other bathrooms that we will use for personal stuff, which means I have all these pretty little cupboards to store things that would otherwise be shoved somewhere inconvenient – I’m thinking first aid supplies, medicines, hair clippers… lovely organization, I really can not wait to have a home for everything in my new house!
Ok, whew – that is a lot, but guess what – we are only half done!!! Now we go down the stairs to the basement:
If you come down the stairs and turn right, this is the hallway to 2 of the bedrooms and a few other fun surprises:
First off, is this huge room with nothing but shelving and the water heater/furnace (lovely storage space!!):
Then on the right side of the hallway there is this little alcove with book shelves and a desk:
And the boys bathroom, that I can not wait to paint some color other than disgusting pee-colored-yellow!!!
In the back there is also a washer/drier hook up, can you imagine how lovely it would be to have a separate washer/drier down here??
Next is Gareth’s bedroom!! This is the biggest room in the whole house actually, and we picked it out for him right away because he has been such a trouper sharing bedrooms with younger brothers for so long – he is currently rooming with a spunky little preschooler and let’s just say I really feel for him!! I don’t think he has yet quite grasped what it will be like to have his own room!
Reece’s room is right next to Gareth’s interesting paint techniques huh??
Now if you go back down the hallway this is what you’ll see:
First off there is a KITCHEN!! Seriously.
And then there is a big cozy family room :) (hello fireplace number 3!)
off of the familyroom/kitchen is Tennyson’s bedroom (yes this is perhaps the brightest pink ever):
There is another random surprise down stairs, a small 8th room that has no windows or closets – I think we are going to set it up as a room for guests :)
As if this house isn’t already awesome enough – it also has an amazing yard – the house is built on a double lot, and there are trees everywhere, it really is amazing.
I love the way the house looks from the back yard:
Lastly, this house has something else totally amazing -
An in ground pool!!! It doesn’t have a heater, and it currently houses tons of over grown goldfish LOL – but being there working in the sun last week we realized that we are going to want to get that pool ready for swimmers sooner rather than later… G has always dreamed of having a pool of his own, and the boys are old enough now that I think it will not give me a total heart attack (it’s totally fenced as well). It is seriously like the icing on the cake – we are in awe that we can call this place our own.
I’m sure you noticed that this house is going to be a total project, there are lots and lots of things that need cleaned or fixed or upgraded. But we will just go at it one bit at a time, when we move in a lot of it will still be out dated and imperfect, but it really does not matter to me, this is our home, it is our dream home and when I look around inside all I can think of is just how wonderful. Honestly after 6 months of waiting and biting our nails, we are all really excited to dig in and make it our own.
I’m really hoping to post some of my diy make over pics here as we go, so hopefully I will be back with more to share soon! We would like to be totally moved with in a month, so it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get ready to get things done!
It’s hard to believe that that time has come, but my little T is now officially a preschooler. I wasn’t sure if he even needed preschool (Gareth and Owen were never in preschool and i think it was right for them), but toward the end of spring last year it just became super obvious that Tennyson needed something more to do with his time than just talking to me non-stop!
He has been SO excited about starting his school, and so when the big day he was here his energy was contagious:
When we got into his class room, he looked nervous for a total of about 5 seconds before he got all excited again :)
I had to snap a picture of this, he’s just one of the adorable little students now :)
When I picked him up, he was happy as can be, asking right away when his next class was. So I used bribery in the form of fruit snacks AND a danimal to convince him to make this little video for me:
Today was much anticipated for me this year! Summer has been long, and loud, and I’ll be honest and say that I was REALLY ready for some space from the boys, so the first day of school could not have been more welcome!
Gareth is going into 7th grade this year, it really is crazy to try to comprehend – but its been pretty clear that that kooky middle schooler stage has set in, so I guess I can wrap my brain around it!
He was certainly the LEAST enthusiastic about the whole back to school thing, and 5 minutes before we had to head out, he was in this position sneaking in some z’s on the couch:
I really did try to get some enthusiastic back to school shots when he was headed to the bus, but this is as much as my moody middle schooler was ready to give:
In all seriousness though, Gareth is an amazing kid – he just keeps making me proud, and I am so looking forward to seeing what grade 7 brings for him!
Owen and Reece leave almost a full hour later than Gareth, so here they are together ready to start 3rd and 4th grade:
Owen was trying to withhold a smile from me, but with some serious effort, I managed to wrestle this one from him:
Last year Owen tested into our district’s gifted program, so he is going to be involved in a pull out program one day a week where he goes to a different school where they do some cool “enriching” things. I’m super excited for him and can’t wait to see how it goes! (also, super proud of him!!)
Reece was SO excited about going back to school, he has really been missing the routine of it all and he is a social little creature so I think some good social interaction will do him well!
To me, Reece has gone through the biggest change physically this past year, just look at a comparison of him from this year to last year’s back to school photo:
This past year has been full of struggles for Reece, from an ADHD diagnosis to school struggles and issues with some peers. He has worked REALLY hard to work through it all, and I really do feel like we are starting out on a really positive foot this year. S I’m hopeful that we will be able to help him have a little less stress for 3rd grade. Whatever way it goes though, Reece always continues to be a really amazing kid with an emotional IQ that you wouldn’t believe. Plus, Reece is just cool there’s no way around it – I’m excited about watching him grow through his 3rd grade year!
After the school bus came and went, I sat down on my couch in an amazingly QUIET house, Tennyson was still sleeping, and I just reveled in having some SPACE to be alone! I have had a hard summer and I’ve really needed some peace (peace of mind and peace of house LOL).
Next week T is going to be starting preschool (eek! can you believe it?!) and then I’m actually going to have several hours a week where it really just is ME, and I don’t think I’ve really had that situation on a regular basis since before Gareth was born! I’m excited, and nervous, but mostly just super excited. Can’t wait to see what this school year is bringing for the boys, and for their momma too!
It was a big morning at the Clingerman house! Son numbers 2 and 3 went away to their first time at SUMMER CAMP! I knew Reece was just totally cut out for summer camp, loads of people, fun, energy, but Owen took me by surprise by abandoning his “not a joiner” status and wanting to go too!
They stay over night 3 nights, and I’ve never sent them away anywhere but the grandparents overnight so I’m a bit overwhelmed with nerves – but I remember going to church camp when I was their age, and I have some of the most amazing memories of it!! So I’m just trusting that it will be a really positive thing in their summers!
Here are some shots from this morning when I dropped them off and they loaded up on the big yellow bus to head to camp.
So now I just hang tight for 4 days, and enjoy the little bit of extra quiet and space as I wait to hear first hand from then exactly how much fun they had!
As moms, I think we have all sorts of different things that challenge us – and for me recently I’ve realized that one of the areas I’m often falling short in is the area of structure/guidance and well, rules. There is nothing I want more as a mom I think, deep in my heart, than for my kids to feel happy and cozy and loved in our little home – all great important things, but maybe I’m a little “heavy handed” at times with the love and support – which can translate to my kids having loads of freedom and maybe also loads of self entitlement from time to time. I have just noticed lately that the kids start to get annoyed every time something cuts into their “free time”. It’s so silly, they have wanted to not go out to lunch with the family, to not go to eachothers’ sporting events, they even get a little panicky when I start making plans that are going to last more than a few hours – seriously… It is a little embarrassing that I had managed to let it this far!! I think that we, g and I, really do try to make our home a relaxing place, and our home life to be something that is a nice, safe, and warm – an enjoyable little bungalow away from all the pressures of the outside world… which, to look at it now, I still feel that way 100%! But, as with everything in life, it is all a matter of balance, and that is the whole point of this post.
I’ve been racking my brain, scheming and planning for the last month or so. How can I help shape the kids’ attitudes toward life outside of video games and lazing about? How can I start moving the kids out of a mindset of entitlement and to start seeing the world from a perspective of what positive things they should be doing, and away from what positive things the world will drop in their laps.
SO, this is my my first plan, and I think it is a step for us, in the right direction:
You may have heard the term “Mom Bucks” and ours are along the same lines. We call them Balance bucks, and this is what I told the kids: It is important in life, to try to find balance – we all have goals, ideas, activities that we want to accomplish, but sometimes we fail to get any of them done because it is so easy to fall into the trap of letting everything else fall by the wayside because sitting and playing games is so easy and so appealing. So, in the interest of helping us achieve a better balance this summer we will earn balance bucks for “helping”, “moving” and “thinking”, and those $$ can pay for time that we can just spend “sitting” on our butts playing games.
I went to the dollar store and got a handful of digital timers, then I printed up my “balance bucks” that I designed myself, as well as a little “balance” poster to hang next to the television and the computer. As an afterthought I added little signs hanging on the wall for each of the boys to put their “summer bucket list” on, for the goals and ideas they have of things they would like to accomplish with their time.
Since I put all of it together for myself I thought I might as well put it up here for any mom’s out there looking to dole out some free time of their own. It isn’t a perfect system by any means, but it is a quick and easy way to add some structure to your summer if you are feeling the need (click the thumbnail to find go to the full sized jpg and then right click and save).
It is a bit of a learning curve for all of us, at first they were earning a 1 to 1 ratio of sitting time for any of the other three areas, but it was still way too heavily focused on gaming, so today I’m tweaking it to earning 50% mom bucks for minutes spent learning (drawing, making things thoughtfully with legos, reading etc.), and moving (get out side!!!). But for “helping” they still get a 1 to 1 ratio because I can use all the help I can get around here!! (basically, chores, and extra help around the house goes in this category).
The biggest issue I’m running into actually has nothing to do with the kids, sometimes I think the one most resistant to this change is ME – turns out it is a LOT of work – I hate deciding what should and should not qualify for minutes, and so it is a constant question. I’ve told the kids we are still in “beta testing” (which they get thanks to minecraft!) so we are still sort of discovering how it works, maybe after things are more clearly defined it will help – I think still though there is a bit of a struggle, because it is a zillion times easier I think as a parent to just let them get sucked into games and not pestering me! I have no doubt thought that this is something that is going to be worth the work.
Owen has already finished the first Harry Potter book, and Reece has sorted several shelves in his room. Gareth is learning gimp and all of them have made tons of great drawings. Tennyson is on his own revised version of the balance bucks system that mostly just involves him playing along with his brothers and getting a random 15 or 30 here or there. I do know though that he has benefited from his brothers time not gaming, because they are playing with away from the xbox/computer too.
There you have it, my little summertime time management brain-child LOL – not rocket science, but I do think it is brilliant in its own little way. A good step along the way to some balance in the kid’s lives, and along the same lines, balance in my own parenting style.
If anyone does decide to get my little balance bucks a try let me know with a comment, I’d love to hear what you think!!