I'm a List Person...

So, I have had a whirlwind of emotions in regards to this move.  Both excitement and sadness.  I have never lived in a rural area before, I've never even really lived outside of Mesa.  It doesn't mean that I haven't dreamed of having an adventure living in a new place, or that I don't appreciate other places, or travel (I have been lucky enough to do some traveling).  However, for my living situations up to this point, life has kept me in the same area for a while.  So this is all going to be so new.

I've been thinking about all the things I will miss here and all the things I'm excited for there...because as someone who has lived all over the world (the awesome Becky Mecham), told me, "If you think you'll like it or if you think you'll hate it, you are right".  So I'm letting myself miss some things, but I'm trying to go into it happy and exhilarated for the changes to come. I have compiled two lists of things I'll miss and things I'm excited about, in regards to our move.  Enjoy!  You might learn a few things about where we live now and where we are moving to!

Things I'll Miss...
- The corner window in our kitchen, I had plans for Brett to build me a little breakfast nook underneath it
- The neighbor boy, about 6 years old, from the house behind us.  He talks to Landon over the fence when they are both playing in their own backyards, and he calls Landon "Jacob, Jakey, and Jake".  Not sure why he is so convinced his names is Jacob, but it's hilarious to eavesdrop on them "playing" and interacting together, even though a big fence divides them.
- The blackberry bush in Frankie's backyard.  It drapes over our fence, and she told us we can eat all the ones we can reach.  Besides the fact that they are the yummiest blackberries, it is too cute seeing Landon on his tiptoes reaching up and picking himself a snack.  He can gobble up endless amounts of those berries!
- Of course, all my local restaurants and amenities within a few minutes drive.  Can you say, Target and Costa Vida?!
- The citrus trees in my backyard, or any citrus trees close by.  Bowie is great for growing a lot of things, but citrus isn't one of them.  Good thing my parents have citrus trees, they usually have plenty to spare.
- Trick-or-treating, for my kids.  It's one tradition that is just hard to do when your closest neighbors are few and far between.  The church and schools do carnivals, but it just isn't the same.  I'm trying to convince Brett to make it our tradition to come to Mesa for Halloween.  He isn't super convinced yet, seeing as he lived in a rural area and doesn't feel as if he is "damaged" by his lack of "trick-or-treating".
- Having a hospital close by.  Mostly for the next time I have a baby (no, this is most definitely not an announcement, but I imagine I will work up the courage to add another one or two to the mix, eventually).  Because there is a pretty big chance of me delivering a baby pulled over on the side of the highway...which is less than ideal.
- Family and friends so close.  Of course, this is what I'll miss the most.  Thankfully, we will be living close to other family and friends, but still.  I'll miss my mom, let's be honest!  I don't think my mother-in-law will look at me the same way if I walk into her house "ugly crying" over how bad of a day I had.

Things I'm Excited for...
- A real-life Tow Mater.  I kid you not, Bowie has a rusty little old tow-truck that drives around town.  I will take pictures for proof.
- Having a tab at the gas station.  I mean, how cool is that? Pull up to the pump, wave to them inside, then they will start the gas pump for you.  I told Brett that I insisted on having a tab at the gas station, because if I'm going to live in a small town, I need to have some of the perks, ya know?
- Literally living up against a pecan orchard.  Have you seen a pecan orchard?  Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful trees for me to see out my window every day.  You can bet that we will be taking family pictures in an orchard this year (and maybe every year).
- No traffic or congestion on the roads.  I mean, Brett literally won't even have to factor in a commute at all, which will save him over an hour of driving time every day.  It's nearly impossible to have a traffic jam when the population is less than 450 people, and is very spread out.
- More animals.  We already have a pup lined up to move down with us.  We plan on keeping our chickens.  Who knows, maybe we will get a goat or a pig or something.  I mean, we are living on a farm, for Pete's sake!
- Star-gazing.  You really forget how many stars are out in the universe, until you are in the middle-of-nowhere and the sky won't stop twinkling.  I'm thinking many "date-nights-in" where Brett and I star gaze in our backyard.
- The fact that you can only pick up like two radio stations, and they are both country music.
- Cooler weather, due to the higher elevation.  I mean, we will be able to enjoy evenings together outside in the summer!  Plus, a little bit more of a distinct difference in seasons.  It sometimes even snows!
- School off during the County Fair.  Yes, that is right.  The kids get school off during the County Fair, so they can go take their pigs to compete, and stuff.  It's "small-town" and so awesome.
- "Country directions".  Actually, I'm not super excited about this one since I rely on navigation to get anywhere and can't read a map for the life of me, but it makes me laugh to think of hearing Siri tell me to "turn right at the tumbleweed and left at the broken fence".
- Brett building me a farmhouse picnic table. Or two or three (since I like hosting people for dinner).  I already informed him that this will be a project he will be heavily involved in (aka, a project he will be doing for me).

I haven't seen the inside of the house we are moving into yet (it's a leap of faith I am taking, moving into a place I've never been inside of).  But Brett promised me we can fix it up some, if it needs it.  I get to see it this weekend.  Hopefully I can add more to the list of "things I am excited for" after going inside!
I think Landon will fit in just fine...


The Power of Paint: Before and After

We are in the process of selling our house to a cute young family.  It makes me happy to think that a lot of fantastic memories will be created here and for this to be their home.  I am sad to leave this house though, if I'm being totally honest.  Even though we haven't lived here a whole entire year, I became quite attached.  We (mostly Brett, let's be real...) put a lot of love into starting to update and personalize this house for our family.  I envisioned a porch swing hanging from our back patio, and adding some cute little bar stools to our kitchen to serve up fresh-squeezed orange juice from our backyard trees to our sleepy-headed kids at breakfast-time...I had years of future memories playing out in my mind, that will never happen now.  But I have a new swirl of future memories that will take place in our new home, that are still wonderful too. I am so glad we at least got to experience one Christmas here though.  It makes it feel like we lived here, since we did, after all, have Christmas together here once.  

"Before and After" pictures are just some of my favorites!  They can be so inspiring and fun to see the dramatic change, since some things take time and by the end of a project, one might not appreciate all their effort because they forgot how much work and change they created to get the end result.  This house was built in the 50's and the original owner/builder of the house had lived here until we bought it.  So it was...outdated.  Very well cared for, but outdated.  And we didn't have much of a budget to just pour tons of money in at once.  So thankfully, we could slowly start changing things as our budget and time would allow.  

The best tool in our endeavors, was paint.  Paint is relatively inexpensive, pretty accessible, and has the potential for a dramatic impact!  I will share two examples of my two favorite rooms in the house in this post.  Our kitchen.  And our laundry/playroom.  

Check it out!

Our kitchen:

We took all the wallpaper down, instant update for sure!  Brett spent some time painting the cabinets (with a special paint intended for cabinets, so it is super durable.  Food that gets splattered and dripped on them, can easily be wiped off without chipping or peeling the paint).  We also replaced the cabinet hardware (we ordered it off of overstock, it was the cheapest option for the brushed nickel knobs and pulls we wanted, since we could order them in bulk).  We replaced the sink and faucet and painted the walls, and changed out the outlet panel fronts for new ones.  That's all we did!  Paint and a few small replacements literally took decades off of this kitchen!  The major appliances (stove, oven, dishwasher, etc.), flooring, cabinets, etc. are all the same.  It is so bright and light and I love the end result!  

Now, if we were living here long-term, here are a few things I would have loved to add/change about this room in the future: paint or change the kitchen door leading to the garage (maybe a darker charcoal gray for some contrast), add a backsplash (maybe subway tile), change the countertops to either butcher block or cement and extend the bar out more for a more comfortable "bar stool" situation.  I also planned on having Brett build me a few shelves and add a little open shelving near the "dining area", and also have him build a corner breakfast nook underneath this corner window.  But for only having lived here for 10 months on a tight remodeling budget, I think we did a pretty good job in a room that can cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to renovate!

The laundry room/playroom:

 As you can see, the carpet was extremely outdated (not to mention mildewy underneath the washer and dryer), so we are super glad that this was not the carpet throughout the whole house.  We ripped the carpet out and bought special paint that can be used on flooring (indoor or outdoor).  We simply painted the walls, the cabinets, and the concrete (with the floor paint).  I also added chalkboard paint to the lower 3 cabinets, for fun, and I love it!  The framed art are printables found on Pinterest.  If we were staying here long term, I planned on adding a play kitchen (a DIY from an old entertainment center), a growth chart that looks like a ruler to hang on the wall to document the kid's heights, a large corkboard to hang art projects and pictures as the years went by, and possibly an alphabet strung around the top perimeter of the room.  But look at the dramatic change, with just some paint!  

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek into this house and some of the work we did on it.  Even though we didn't live here very long, we will have fond memories of our short time here!


Heaven in a Cup: Dirty Dr. Peppers

Those who know me well, know that I love an ice cold Dr. Pepper!  Fountain sodas are normally my favorite, and I love just sipping on one throughout the day.  Soda straight from the can is my least favorite, but it's definitely the cheaper option, so I do drink canned soda more often now. I don't have soda every day, but it is definitely an indulgence (along with chocolate), that I treat myself to often.

Fountain sodas have been taking the back-burner though, since I discovered the awesome dirty Dr. Pepper.  Now, this can be done with Diet Dr. Pepper/Coke/Diet Coke, etc. but original Dr. Pepper has got to be the greatest option.

You just need a couple simple ingredients, and you will have a little bit of "heaven in a cup" after a minute or two.

Here is what you need:
A can of your soda (pick your poison!), ice, coconut syrup, a lime wedge, and some half and half or heavy cream.

Drizzle a little bit of coconut syrup in your empty cup.  Place a handful of ice on top, and then squeeze your lime wedge over the ice.  Pour your soda over the ice and add a splash of half and half or heavy cream.  That's it!  Use your straw to stir it all around, and enjoy!

You'll have to play around a little bit with the ratio of coconut syrup/lime juice/soda for your taste buds.  Don't start with too much coconut syrup, you can always add more!  I buy the coconut syrup at Smart and Final, for right around $4.  I know that the coconut flavoring can be harder to find in stores sometimes.  It's also sold on Amazon.

Invite some friends over and indulge in some dirty drinks on the back patio some Summer evening!


More Big Family News...

Oh boy!  Our family sure has had a lot of changes lately, and we are about to have another one!

We are moving!

And not just around the corner this time, but rather a few hours and a completely different lifestyle away...

We will be moving to a rural little unincorporated community of southeastern Arizona, called Bowie (pronounced Boo-ee).  The population is less than 450 people...that tiny!  It is about 20 minutes away from Willcox, Arizona, which is Brett's hometown.

Brett has a great job opportunity down there.  He will be working with his brother, Jared, managing the business side of a big pecan farm.  He will be dealing with things like inventory, quality control, and marketing.

There are no stoplights and no stores (aside from a tiny little drive-thru market.  Which I am kinda excited for, because as a mom, I have a new-found appreciation for drive-thrus).  Pretty much there is a post office, a small library, and a gas station.  And lots of space!

A lot of Brett's family is involved in agriculture there, so we are lucky that we will be living close to family.  Even though this is a big change, we will still have our built-in-support-system really nearby.

Landon at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Willcox, with his cousin

This will be a huge change for me, as I have been a "city dweller" my entire life.  Brett grew up in a rural area, although not nearly as rustic as this little town.  We will have to travel to his hometown to go to the grocery store (Safeway is about our only option there), for church, and for any eating out (which has very limited options as well).

I am excited and nervous!  However, with the internet so widely used, I feel like I will still be very connected to people, despite distance, and I can order almost anything I really need online (you can bet I will be getting an Amazon Prime membership!).

This will be an adventure, for sure.  I will have to become very organized and good at planning (especially for shopping), due to the fact that so many resources will be far away from me and less accessible.  I am sure I will make a big trip to Costco every 6 weeks or so (a trek that is an hour and a half to Tucson) so that I can stock up on some things.  I also anticipate trying every "knock off" recipe I can find on the internet, to replicate my favorite restaurant dishes in hopes of suppressing my cravings.

But I am so excited for my kids to get to grow up and have the freedom to roam around, dig in the dirt, and be surrounded by dozens of cousins.  Doesn't it just seem like the epitome of what childhood experiences should be?

I know some people think we are crazy, leaving a city life and Brett leaving a corporate job, to go plop ourselves in the middle-of-nowhere and live on a farm.  But honestly, this is really close to the kind of dream job Brett has hoped to have.  And this whole marriage and family thing isn't just about me.  It's about what is best for our family.  Brett spends so much of his time providing for our family, that if moving a few hours away will give him the chance to enjoy that more, I am more than willing to support him and be excited about what lies ahead.  Besides the fact that he is super excited about his job, we will actually get to see him so much more, too.  He won't have to factor in a commute, he will come home for lunch, and he will be working a stone's throw away from our house (for the occasional visit or treat delivery from me and the kids!).

So I hope you follow along with us, as we transition into this new phase of life.

Bowie is the hometown of Rambo!  No joke!  It will be our little "claim to fame".

If this sounds familiar, it might be because this situation will remind you of The Pioneer Woman.  If you haven't read her book, it is a hilarious and entertaining fast read!  I definitely recommend it.