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Thursday, March 30, 2017

We bought a new house - unexpectedly!

We're 2 weeks into the house we didn't know we were going to buy when 2017 rolled around and I have to say, this has been one of the best "surprises" the Lord has had for us!
From the second we moved into our first home in October of 2014, we knew we wouldn't be there too long. 5-7 years MAX. A normal amount of time to be in your starter home, right? The only problem with that plan was that we didn't even want to be there for 5 years. Not even 4! Or 3! We were down to move as soon as there was any significant appreciation in the dang place because, even though we grew to LOVE those 1,350 square feet, we wanted to be in a "forever" type of home more. Everyday it was like one of us had ants in our pants. Sometimes I would be the "content one" living there, totally fine with projecting our way through the cute little place, and then other days I would text Chad saying "it's time to sell, I'm over it!"

So in January (2 months ago), I took our big beast doggy on a walk around the neighborhood. I noticed that there was a house for sale in this one cul-de-sac that I've always really liked, so I told Chad about it when I got home. The only problem with it was that there was no pool - something that we SWORE we would have in the next house due to the major lack of community swimming options here in C Town. I finally found the house on Redfin, only to see that it was under contract already. Even though it was a long shot (and Chad was shaking his head at the thought of moving into a non-pool home), I sent the listing over to our realtors anyway, just in case it fell out of escrow. It was well priced too! My thought was that we would have a way larger down payment on that place than we had had for our first house so hey, our mortgage may have been lower. Great thoughts, right?!

The next day our realtor called us to say that that particular home was only days away from closing escrow, but that they had just picked up a listing in our actual dream neighborhood, so hey! Did we want to take a look at it before it hit the market? I said, "sure, why not?" and that same day, after I picked Carter up from school, I lugged the 3 kids over there and hey-o, LOVED IT!

When I got home to tell Chad about it, my tone was more incredulous than "let's seriously buy a new house." I really didn't think it would work out. First of all, the price point seemed out of range considering our new car purchases and the general mid-point that we were at in our Dave Ramsey Baby Step #2 life. Secondly, we were informed that the ONLY way we would be able to get the place is if we sold our current house for way over market value - yeah right, how was that going to happen? Lastly, the house seemed like a GIANT undertaking, maintenance wise. There was the pool, which (now that we were faced with the real possibility of owning one) made me nervous because who the heck knew how to take care of one of those? The previous owners had installed an extensive amount of solar panels, which apparently, one has to get cleaned once a year (who knew?). There are vaulted ceilings, so how about that air conditioning bill in the heat of summer? On top of all of those ACTUAL concerns, I wasn't a huge fan of the flooring and just KNEW we would have to completely start over in terms of decor (furnishing the backyard, as well!). Our dog was a thought too! My gosh, we would have to train our already-sensitive beast to function well within a new neighborhood. But more than anything, I was concerned about the utility bills and if we were being classic Chad and Nicole: jumping head first into an albeit awesome purchase, but still a VERY large buy.

Chad seemed undeterred by every problem that came up, though. He was thinking, "God wouldn't lead us into a bad decision," but I was like, "yeah, but what about free will! We have the choice to say no to this (super awesome) huge house! Should we be saying no to ourselves?" Real theological debates, you know? Bahahahaha. But he felt great about it anyway so he told our realtor to "Make it happen, captain," and off we went into selling our place.

Within 24 hours we had 3 showings before it hit the market, had a sign set up in our front yard, a photographer came through for the listing - ALL WITHIN THAT FIRST DAY. We were in shock. The next day, we had a handy man completely ravage our home with repairs - sending Snow into a frenzy of uncomfortableness. Within 2 days we had a few offers, one of which was full price - ZING! It was insane.

Escrow went smoothly, but no joke I was still a non-believer up until the VERY last few days of the whole thing. I didn't pack ANYTHING because truly who knew if ALL of those ducks that were necessary were going to line up? Everyone involved in the transaction had a contingency except for our buyers. So our buyer's loan had to close to allow our loan to close to allow our seller's loan to close on THEIR new house to allow THOSE seller's loan to close on THEIR new house. I mean, plenty of room for something to go awry, right? But in the end, it all worked out!

There was a gap in occupancy, so we stayed at my parents' house for 4 nights and then we moved the heck in here! It's been awesome. I feel like the pool has provided us with an actual life change. I keep calling the place "Club Cisneros" or "Resort de Cisneros" - it's like we moved to Puerto Rico and have been enjoying some luxurious outdoor lifestyle all of a sudden! And all of those utilities I was so concerned with? The gosh dang amazing solar panels takes care of it all. I mean - heyyyyyyyy-oooooooooo. We kept their gardener and hired a pool guy so that way we wouldn't mess this place up - hahaha. During the gap in occupancy where we had to stay at my parents' house, we signed Snow up for this insanely extensive training where he would be boarded for 2 weeks - how great was that timing? So he got trained (we got trained when we picked him up) all right before bringing him to a new house and new neighborhood. Truly great.
The Lord works in mysterious ways! We are very thankful for how all of it worked out. One of the biggest blessings was how we just "jumped in" to the selling of our  house without thinking too much about it. THAT was way more work than I ever thought it would have been, so I feel blessed to have been so naive about that process - otherwise I just wouldn't have done it considering we have a very young baby. I'm happy we had no clue about that process because otherwise we wouldn't be enjoying life here! We would still have ants in our pants at the old place. Very cool! Thanks, Homeboy Jesus!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Catch up: 5 + 7!

Well gosh be-darnit, the kids' birthday's have come and gone! We are now mind-blowingly the parents of a 7 year old man beast and 5 year old sass-princess. It's incredible! What in the heck?! Since for 4 + 6 we had a big ol' party at our house last year, we decided to let them each pick one friend to go with them on a day of adventuring on their actual birthdays. We also decided to go small(er)-scale because when planning it all out, I was super pregnant with Grace and we just had no idea how we would be doing with a new baby - party planning seemed out of the question. Anyway, it was honestly such a blast!
For Carter, him and his buddy Ethan (who's our neighbor and his classmate - got to love elementary school where your friends live right around every corner!) took off for a good 8-9 hours with Chad on my big man's birthday. The plans for the day were to go to Nickel Nickel - this awesome arcade that has been revamped from when Chad and I were kids! How cool is that? Anyway, apart from the general coolness of the day, this particular arcade only accepts nickels for the games - NICKELS! I meeeeeeeeeeeean... 5 cent games are okay by me! Hahaha. So the two of them Nickel Nickeled it up for hours and hours and hours, then went to an elaborate lunch of Carter's choosing: SUBWAY! My first born angel wanted Subway above all else for lunch - again, OKAY BY MAMA OVER HERE! After lunch they returned to the arcade for more fun and then headed home where the girls and I had slaved away making Carter a 4 tiered chocolate cake.

I do have to say though, it was SOOOOOOOO STRANGE to just be at home NOT with the birthday boy this year. When we have parties, they're always way before his actual birthday given it's proximity to Christmas and even when we don't have parties, of course our entire family is together. This year was just so different in that regard! Like the whole day when the boys were gone it's like I had this pent up energy like "OKAY! THIS IS CARTER'S BIRTHDAY! IT'S A FUN, FUN, FUN, FUN DAY!" but Carter wasn't there to hug and squeeze! I called my parents to ask if they could come over for dinner that night just to make it even more birthday-ee for our big guy once his friend went home. So once Chad and the boys got to our house, we sang happy birthday, opened gifts and then his bud left with his parents. Next we all ate dinner with my parents and had a jolly good time.
HOW IS HE SEVEN?!!!!!!!!

For Miss Dakota, we had this amazing day planned out at Downtown Disney where her and her little friend Riley from preschool were going to get princess make overs at the Elsa and Anna Boutique followed by Sprinkles cupcakes and Starbucks! I mean, how could you go wrong with that combination? It was SO FUN.

The way the whole day went was Kota and I left the boys and Grace at home, then headed down the street to pick up Riley and her fun mama. Then the four of us headed to DTD, all while it was raining just a bit. The girls looked soooooooo sweet in their little princess dresses while walking up to get their hair, make up and nails done! OH MY GOSH it was darling. As they got made-up, Jessica and I took 40,000 pictures because it was the cutest thing ever.
Next we headed over to Sprinkles to get the "IT'S YOUR BDAY" set of twelve cupcakes, then went right on over to Starbucks where we ordered up a storm. When we sat down, we lit up 5 candles for Miss Riley because it had actually been her birthday just days earlier, and then we did the same for Kota - it was SO FUN! Jessica and I enjoyed warm coffees and it was so merry!

As we were heading out of DTD, the girls asked if we could do a quick run through of Build-A-Bear where unexpectedly, Jessica treated the girls to adorable reindeers! HOW SPECIAL AND FUN WAS THAT?! It was truly the cherry on top to a wonderful day out. As we headed back to Corona, we said good bye to our birthday buddies and headed home to our boys and babe. We then relaxed while Chad and I chowed down on more of the Sprinkles cupcakes, trying to chill out before New Year's Eve celebrations began down in Ladera at the sister's house.

It was soooooo much fun with Kota! Again, it was super weird for all of us Cisneros's not to be together on her birthday, just like it was odd for Carter's, but ya know, it was all awesome!

We are so proud of these old kids. It will be fun to see what Grace wants to do on her 5th and 7th birthdays! So insane that she seems so far away from those ages, but I just KNOW it will whoosh by and before we all know it we'll be hanging out with HER friends. Insane!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Christmas 2016!

While I was scouring my brain for a reason to write some Cisneros family facts up in here, I realized I hadn't recorded a dang thing about this past Christmas! What on earth?!

What did we do, what did we do?! Well of course, on Christmas Eve we headed down south to the ol' Paplia home to celebrate. This is such an amazing night every year - not only is it relaxing and cozy, but the kids run rampant. There are so many grandchildren now - 6!!!!! They literally just run around the house like wild banchees while the adults drink eggnog and wine. It's fabulous. The gift giving is always very on point as well - mama over here got a massive truck load of legit TOWELS! This present prompted my niece to let me know that "they are just towels!" Oh, my dear niece. I told her that in 20 years I'll buy her towels and see the tears of joy well up in her eyes bahaha!

On Christmas Day we woke up to Santa's generosity in the forms of several hundred Pokemon cards, a trampoline, and a cool, all-her-own play thing for the little one. Funny fact - Chad and I heard the kids wake up when they did because their door makes a squeaking noise when it opens. We both sat still in bed and waited to hear the screams of excitement upon noticing Santa had come. Instead of letting loose yelps of mind numbing happiness, Carter said matter-of-factly, "Kota, Santa has come. Go wake up Mom and Dad to let them know." Chad and I both looked at each other, a little worried about the coolness of Santa's gifts on our minds, but then Kota came bursting through the door with a huge smile on her face and told us to GET UP!!!!!!! So then we felt better hahaha.

That day we had Grandpa Ernie come on over to hang out with us then at night Grandma Cheryl came over to spend the night. It was great! Totally relaxed and awesome. Love these wonderful people!

It must be noted that Chad got me a few scotchmallow bars and I love him so much for it. He wrapped them in a huge box and labeled it "Mama Bear." I mean, it was awesome - the exact type of gift I always talk about wanting: nothing too crazy, just something sweet. They're my favorite bars from See's and he remembered from years ago! I love that guy. He got me a few other small, sweet things and it was the best year ever in terms of gifts between the two of us. I mean, can you really beat a few BACON SPLATTER SCREENS? Yep, I got him some of those - 3 to be precise, for each of his cooking needs, thank you very much. The simple gifts are the best gifts!

Also another thing. This was our THIRD Christmas in this house - can you believe that that's the MOST CHRISTMAS'S IN A ROW WE'VE EVER SPENT IN ONE PLACE IN OUR ALMOST 8 YEARS OF MARRIAGE?! This was a very exciting fact to us. Several times throughout the season we both repeated how cool it was that "THIS IS OUR THIRD CHRISTMAS HERE, ISN'T THAT SO AWESOME?" After the years of hip-hopping around OC, having 3 sets of Christmas time photos in the same place really does give ya the warm and fuzzies. This isn't our forever home so it's not like we'll get 20 more Santa visits here, but it sure does make a couple feel settled. The best ever!
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