When we moved into our new house in 2012 we had so many things that we needed or wanted since we double the living space of our largest rental over the years. That last part of 2012, our resources went into things that were immediately needed for the new house. We got a lawnmower and other lawn equipment, a kitchen table, and bedroom furniture (and the coordinating mattresses) for both Brady and ourselves. We went into 2013 with hopes of Andy getting a new car, but we ended up with a new baby (whom we love very much) and new patio furniture and a grill for outside. 2014 is here and there are still many things that we need and want.
Last Saturday, Andy went to get my car serviced at the Kia dealership. Izzie had gotten up very early with no hopes of falling back to sleep, so he took her with him (pictured at the top of the post). When he got home, he called for me to come to the garage. I assumed Izzie was sleeping (which she was) and he wanted me to carry her somewhere quiet to finish sleeping. I was not prepared for what I saw.
Instead of my van in the garage, there was this silver Sorento. Andy explained that it was a test drive for the day while they had my car.
At Christmas, we had finished paying off my car, so it was definitely time for Andy to get a new one. As it is, if one of us needed to take one of the kids, the other adult was stuck in the house with the other kid. The Camaro is not car seat friendly and while some argue that it's possible, what is NOT possible is getting a rear-facing car seat in the backseat. On top of that, the rear wheel drive deems it unsafe in my book so my kids have never been in it. If my car needs serviced for several days, we had to ask the help of friends in dropping it off and I was then stuck in the house for several days. It was not an ideal situation, and now that we have two kids and Brady getting older, there will be more times when we need to split up with the kids.
Andy started looking at new cars back in 2010 when we moved to Michigan the first time. We had imagined my Saturn Vue lasting until we had a second child sometime after Germany. He was at that point also looking at the Kia Sorrento, but every week or so would change his mind as to what car he liked. My car was very unreliable, leaving us stranded on the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard the week Brady was due to be born, so when it started making noises again in South Carolina in early 2011, we decided to dump it before it died again and wasn't worth the trade in. I knew I wanted my Kia van long before we bought it. Andy happened by the Kia dealership in SC, saw they had just had a used one traded in, and jumped on the deal. This meant his car search would be put on hold until after Germany.
He knew that this was definitely the year, so he's been searching cars for months and I had assumed he'd just get a sedan that could fit a car seat. He really liked the hatchbacks we had in Europe and I figured he'd go for one of those. He shocked me when he started looking at Ford Escapes. I had never thought of him getting an SUV. He was pretty keen on the Escape, but then started considering the equivalent GMs. He brought the Kia home for a test drive and let me take it out as well. Being used to Kia's and larger vehicles, it was very comfortable for me. He brought it home with both car seats, and it was plenty comfortable with even the rear-facing one. He had been waiting for the Auto Show to scope out a car, but the deal they were offering on the Sorento was pretty good, so he decided to go out and test drive the others he was looking at and was going to make his decision.
After test driving and not liking the Escape, he made the deal on the Sorento and brought it home! Since he needs basically a commuter car, he got it as a lease with the option to buy in three years. Now it's time to get it its own car seat!
The next new item on our list also has a back story that goes back several years. When we moved into our larger Oakland apartment back in Pittsburgh, we needed real couches and not the futon from my small apartment. We went to the furniture store and picked out a nice sectional and I was thrilled with it. I was working the day it was to be delivered and got a call from Andy. The apartment building had a service elevator that had to be used for all moving and deliveries. The larger piece of the sectional didn't fit in the elevator and they took the couch back to the store. My first thought was that they could've taken it up the stairs. Andy told me that they wouldn't carry it up stairs. I thought that was suspicious since you'd expect them to take a bedroom set up to a second level in your home. He hadn't thought of that and already let them go. I made him call the store and we found out that they will only carry items up three levels and of course we lived on the fourth floor.
We measured the height of the service elevator and went back to the store where they'd offered to do an exchange. We found one where the sofa measured that it would fit in the elevator. I was again not there when they delivered them. They made their way into our apartment, but I found out later that the sofa didn't fit into the elevator either and Andy had to pay the people that work in the building $20 per flight to carry it up for us. I was kinda mad because we could've done that in the first place and ended up with the sectional I wanted from the start. Since then, I've hated the couches we have.
Our front room (pictured here) has been unfurnished since we moved in almost 18 months ago and now has those old couches residing there. This room served as a kind of storage area for things that didn't really have a place to go, but we didn't want to put in the basement storage room due to damper air. This situation really bugged Andy, so he's been very impatient about getting a new couch for the family room where we spend most of our time and do all of our entertaining.
This is our family room (minus couches). It's very open concept and due to the large patio door placement, there are only so many ways to situate the TV and couches.
We like to entertain and often have family and friends come to visit, so we wanted something large that would accommodate a lot of people.
We normally barricade Izzie in the family room, but because of the open concept, gates are impossible. We had the car seat turned on its side between our couches and then two of our kitchen chairs laying sideways to block the other opening. We moved the couches out last night so while waiting for the couches arrival this morning, Izzie had a lot of freedom and soaked up every minute of it.
Ta da!!! The new couch! We wanted a sectional all those years ago and finally got one, but way bigger (since we have much more space). I had always assumed I didn't want leather, but after having microfiber and seeing the water marks from wiping away stains, I was ready for something that wouldn't look terrible after a spill.
As for new adventures, this is going to be a jam packed year for us and some things have already happened! Above you can see Brady at Monster Jam. He LOVES monster trucks and we thought this year he would be big enough to really enjoy the monster truck rally. He was so excited and is still talking about it.
He is also big enough for his first chores. He normally is my big helper for me during the day, but now he puts away the silverware from the dishwasher.
The rest of the year is jam packed (or at least it seems so right now). We have something going on every weekend until mid-March. This weekend, we are headed to the North American Auto Show here in Detroit. We are two weeks away from Brady's birthday party, less than four weeks away from his actual birthday, five and a half weeks from Izzie's birthday, and six weeks from her party.
Andy had some time off he had to use before April, so we decided that instead of burning it on a few three day weekends where we just hang around, to do something special on Brady's birthday. Andy has only not been with us the full day on Brady's birthday once and that was last year. His previous birthdays have luckily fallen on weekends. Living in Michigan, the week of Brady's birthday (President's Day week) is mid-winter break and the schools are off for the whole week. This isn't something we had growing up in Pennsylvania, but is so nice because it allows for travel in the winter without missing school. Since he doesn't have school, we are surprising him with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park in Sandusky, Ohio. His birthday falls on a Wednesday, so Andy took off Wednesday through Friday and that's when we'll go. I can't wait to see his face!
We will go home for Easter at the end of April, then Andy and I will head solo to DC on our anniversary so Andy can be in his best man's wedding. Less than a week later, we are headed to California! We booked our airfare two days ago, so it's official! We've been planning this trip since my brother accepted to Cal Berkeley almost four years ago when Brady was three months old. We will see my brother, Chris, graduate in Berkeley, while we explore San Francisco (none of us have been). Then we will head down the Pacific Coast Highway to the Santa Monica Pier, spend three days in Disneyland (I haven't been in almost 20 years and a lot has changed), go south towards San Diego to do two days at Legoland (which wasn't there the last time I was in Cali), have a free day to do the beach or whatever else we want, then spend our last day at the San Diego Zoo (which I loved as a kid). I'm so excited for this experience for my kids and Andy as well since he's never been to California. This will be Izzie's first trip on an airplane.
We will recuperate in June, and our Virginia Beach big family vacation is already booked for July! I am greatly reminded of the year when Brady turned 1 and we lived down South. We traveled everywhere! Last year was slow because we had Izzie and she was still so young, but now we are making up for it. I'm looking forward to this summer now that Izzie's bigger because we will be at the pool every day. We can go outside (weather permitting) and the kids can just play. Last year, I wanted to keep Izzie inside in the AC and I had to hold her anytime we went out. It's going to be an amazing summer! We'll have to plan some small weekend trips here and there in the fall as well.