Sunday, July 21, 2013

Buying a house...

Well, we have finally found a house that meets most of the "have to haves" and most of the "want to haves".  I know it's crazy, but it has 6 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, & a 3 car garage.  What the heck were we thinking??? LOL  Well, in our defense, the "guest suite" will be my office/scrap room.  With working from home, I do need a designated area. (probably about 5% of the room...) The rest will be my scrap room.  YAY!  I have been on pinterest non stop to find perfect rooms.  Now if only I had the budget for that!  Eventually...  We absolutely LOVE the layout of the kitchen and family room.  The master is upstairs (not my favorite - I like it to be separate from the kids), but that was definitely not a deal breaker.  It is huge though.  I will have enough space for a settee by the front window to read.  Very excited about that!  Ray will take one of the bedrooms as a computer room.  The kids will each have a bathroom in their rooms.  That leaves 1 HUGE bedroom for guests.  So, as crazy big as it sounds, we will use most of the rooms.  The house is in Chuluota, but in a neighborhood.  It's a pie shaped lot on a pond.  We will have to clear a little of the palm fronds to have a better view, but other than that, it's exactly what we were looking for.  The only thing it doesn't have is a pool.  We have already started working with a pool company to design our dream backyard space.  That will be exciting and expensive! ;)  We have started boxing up all our stuff in preparations for the movers on the 30th.  We really don't have too much to do.  I boxed up all the videos and my scrap supplies yesterday.  It's gonna be hard not to scrap for a week and a half!  Can't wait to get in there and put up my decorations and paint the walls the colors I want.  Sooooo sick of living in a rental!  I can't believe I lasted 9 months!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fun in Florida

Well, I haven't posted in a while because we have been so busy discovering Florida!  We've had so much fun with our visitors and we've been going to all the parks.  We got season passes to Seaworld, Universal, & Disney.  It's soooo much cheaper to do that, especially as Florida residents (still seems weird to say!).  We are absolutely loving being able to do things outdoors.  I got the bikes out (definitely need to get a gel seat!!).  It's so nice that it's so flat here!  We put up a bird feeder and have gotten so much joy out of watching the birds!  The squirrels are driving me nuts though!  I have to get a squirrel resistant feeder.  Ray found a job in Orlando and just started this week.  It's been an adjustment, but things are finally getting back to normal!  
I started scrapping again.  There's a groups of scrappers here in Florida like we had in PA.  I've only been able to go twice, but I've met some really nice people.  We will be scrapping again next week.
Sean is working a lot at Smokey Bones and Katie is busy with school and volleyball.  I am still the taxi driver!  I think there are days when I spend more time in the car than anywhere else.
Katie had a mini volleyball tournament today and then we decided to pop over to the parks.  I had a slight headache, so we stopped at the Wawa by SeaWorld and got some ice tea and advil.  We stopped by SeaWorld for about an hour to see the dolphins.  We found out there are 2 pregnant dolphins and 3 babies in the dolphin nursery right now.  Honestly, I could have stayed there all day!!  It's so calming to me.  I love watching them swim around and interact.  Katie was riding the Kracken while we were at the nursery.  Then we popped over to Hollywood Studios at Disney for the "May the 4th Be With You" celebration (Star Wars stuff... lol)  They had a very nice fireworks display over Mickey's Sorcerer's Hat with the Star Wars music playing in the background.  It was pretty cool!  I went on Tower of Terror again!  I wasn't as scared, but it did make me a little nauseous this time.  I let Ray and Katie ride it again without me!  We also took 2 drawing instruction sessions.  We drew Dopey and Chip (from Chip & Dale).  I love learning to draw from them.  The illustrators are kinda goofy too!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our New Adventure

Well... the new adventure sure has been that...  We have finally accomplished our goal of moving to Florida!!  It took a while to sell the house in PA, but we did it!  We had to put a lot of work into it and some extra things (selling a house is NOT fun!), but it's done.  There were many days that I had 2-3 different contractors in the house at the same time.  Trying to work with Pack Rats for the pods has been a nightmare.  They have made multiple mistakes and their system doesn't handle changes well.  Our movers were FANTASTIC!  Terry and Pat from Kauffman's Movers are the best! 

We decided to rent instead of buying right now.  The timing wasn't right to buy with getting Kate into school, so we found a great house to rent for now.  We will start looking after the new year.  I actually need a break from looking at houses anyway.  They are all starting to run together.  We finally decided on looking for a house with 1/2 acre+.  After all the BS we had to deal with in PA with a BAD neighbor, I don't want to be able to see or hear a neighbor here.

We had a pretty easy trip down from PA to FL.  (Other than the rain, the ENTIRE way down and the van being packed with not an inch of spare space in the back!)  We stopped in VA to visit with Chrissy and Seth before stopping in Richmond the first night (Monday).  We then drove to Savannah, GA to stop the second night (Tuesday).  We made it to Oviedo in about 4 hours the next day (Wednesday).  We met with Paul to look at rentals on Wednesday afternoon.  We picked one and had the contract that day.  We moved in Saturday morning, which was good since that was when we needed to check out of the hotel!

It also had a pool with the enclosure.  It is my retreat.  I find solace out there.  I am finding more and more that I need to sit out there a few hours a day and soak in the sun to really feel good for the day.  It's been a challenge living with only the items we were able to bring in the van.  We have been sitting on the folding chairs that we use for soccer games and sleeping on air mattresses... and I am Sooo sick of it!  I don't even want to talk about how challenging it was making Thanksgiving dinner with hardly any supplies.  I am please with how it turned out.  Our dining room table was 2 desks put together and we ate on paper plates, but we were all together and that's what really matters.

The house has an amazing view of a lake. (I would think of it as a pond, but down here, it's a lake.)  We went for a walk around the lake behind the house. 3 Sandhill Cranes were visiting (we usually see them at the golf course). We have a resident Egret (whom we have named Eugene). He was hunting for clams (we thought it was for fish, but at closer examination, we found tons of clams!) There were countless butterflies and dragonflies too. I picked up a pine cone and much to my surprise... we found what we think is a green anole. Amazing what we have in our backyard!!

Having to get Kate enrolled in school really motivated us to get what we needed done.  We had our driver's licenses that first Friday and had Kate in school on that next Monday before Thanksgiving.  She had 2 days of school and then a 5 day holiday!  We became Platinum Pass holders for SeaWorld, one of our favorite places on Earth!  We have been there 3 times already!  Kate even got Ray to go on the Manta.  A benefit of having the Platinum Pass is the "Ride Again Privilege"... Once you ride a ride, you can ride again without having to get back in line.  Kate rode the Kraken 15 times the other day!!  I can't believe she didn't get sick!  We also get preferred parking.  It's almost mean to drive past all the people walking from the back of the parking lot as we get a spot, literally, right up front... almost!

Ray and I went for a walk down Lockwood and stumbled across the Little Econolockahatchee River (people around here call it the Little Econ).  It was amazing.  The color is an amber color.  I have never seen that color in a river before.  It's called a blackwater river and it's from the tannins from decaying vegetation in the water.  The banks are all white sand too.  So different from what we are used to!

We joined the YMCA yesterday.  Kate and I went this morning before school.  I took the water aerobics class and Kate worked some machines.  I was, without a doubt, the youngest one in the group!  I think the average age was 65 - thanks to me bringing the average down!  I think before I was there, the average age was 75!  The ladies were extremely welcoming though.  I was able to get a really good workout too.  I am feeling it in my legs, but not my knees.  I love working out in the water.

We finally got one of the pods today (11/29)! YAY!  We haven't had a chance to completely empty it, but I actually have one of my small totes of scrapbook materials!!  It's not everything, but it's a start. LOL.  I can't wait until I have all my supplies and I can be creative.

I got a call from a coworker today letting me know that our office (in Reading) is no longer open... and that my old boss and co-founder of my old company was let go.  We knew it was coming, but definitely didn't think it was going to be this soon.  It's the end of an era.

(update as of 12/2/12 - We received the 2nd pod yesterday.  Everything is unloaded and about 80% of it is put away!  We are exhausted!!!  We have the last pod coming tomorrow.  I can't wait to get it unloaded have everything put away.  Life can get back to normal... at least as normal as we get!)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Well, we have the house up for sale.  It's been on the market for almost 3 months.  It's a tough market and I am trying to stay patient... Ray is still looking for a job.  The overseas job fell through.  It was an extremely long 9 month process, all for naught.  It's a difficult time to be looking for work.  He has a few prospects, so we are keeping our fingers crossed.  We've had a busy couple of months since I last posted.  Keeping our house ready for showings all the time is exhausting... but it's the cleanest it's ever been! :)  I have been working in Wilkes-Barre 2 days a week.  It's a very long and boring drive.Kate has been playing volleyball with the high schoolers this summer... and doing VERY well!  I think she has found her new love.  Sean is still dating Brianna and he's working at Smokey Bones.  Ray and I decided in May to make a lifestyle change.  We knew we wanted to lose weight, but we want to do it the right way.  We started counting calories and using the fitness pal app.  Ray is down 37 lbs and I am down 23 lbs, to date.  At first I was a little frustrated that he was losing more, but he is walking every day and really working hard.  I am so proud of him.  Kate graduated 7th grade with flying colors.  She finished the J-Stroke volleyball season (thank goodness).  I can honestly say that she improved, but she was not happy that a few of her teammates quit and they didn't win a single match.  She had a great basketball season.  Coach Marty loves her play and tenacity!  She had a very successful soccer season this fall.  She made the varsity team and actually played most junior varsity games to help them out.  She hates sitting on the side lines!  The coaches really appreciated her dedication.  We went to Florida in April to look for houses.  We determined the neighborhoods and schools we want to live in.  We got a great feel for the neighborhoods all times of the day.  We looked at a few houses and have a few in mind.  We will be ready to move on them as soon as we hear something.  We aren't taking any major vacations this year with the potential move, but we went to Hershey Park, went on Uncle Mark's boat in the Cheasapeake, and went camping.  We went to the Flower Show in Philly again this year.  It wasn't the best, but it was definitely enjoyable.  Ray turned 50 in June.  Hard to believe!!  He still acts like a kid!! ;)  Dad retired at the end of June.  Mom through a surprise retirement party for him and invited old co-workers from Penco and Eastern Lift.  She also invited old neighbors and family.  It was a great time!  I got to see people I have seen in years!  And the best part was that she actually pulled off the surprise!!  I don't think Dad has every been surprised before... he usually figures out when we try to surprise him or what we get him as gifts.  We had a very nice time on 4th of July with Michelle and Randall at Jeremy & Carla's house in Wyomissing.  The parade was nice and the fireworks in West Reading were FANTASTIC!  For being such a small borough, we sure do put on a nice display.  I have been participating in the Berks County Circle Journal.  It's been nice getting together with old scrap buddies and being creative.  I can't wait to have a dedicated space for scrapping again.  It's been so exciting since the Summer Olympics started!  I get so emotional and patriotic during the games.  GO USA!!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

busy weekend

1/20/12 - friday - normal school and work day. kate had bball practice until 6:00.  kate slept over at hannah's house.  i was wiped out, so it was an early bedtime for me! 

1/21/12 - saturday - SNOW, SNOW, and more SNOW.  yuck!!!  luckily it was only about 3-4 inches and it was very light, so it wasn't too bad to shovel.  mike and michele got a late start coming over because of shoveling and stopping for an extra inner tube for sledding down their big hill at home.  the kids had a blast sledding.  kate wanted to build a fort, but didn't get much help, and it's a lot of work to do by herself.  she decided to build a ramp for them to catch air.  it was pretty cool!!  mike made me a cake for dessert to celebrate my bday.  it was so sweet!  we love spending time with them!

1/22/12 - sunday - we walked outside and it was 19 degrees!!  ugh!  we went to olivia's friend bday party.  it was at the painted plate in west chester.  the kids got to decorate a ceramic item.  they were surprisingly good.  olivia absolutely lives in her pink cowgirl boots, so it was a cowgirl theme.  the cake was awesome!  she was so cute in her hat and boots.  we rushed off at noon to get kate to volleyball practice.  while she was at practice, ray and i ran to boscov's to get him a blazer, pants, and shirt for our meetings in VA on thursday.  we came home to watch the flyers play against boston.  always a great rivalry!!  we are tied 5-5 in the 3rd... very nerve racking!  hartnell has a hat-trick!!  it's been a very hard hitting, high scoring game! i LOVE it! going to OT... the refs have been very bad today.  now it's going to shoot outs... makes me VERY nervous!  we lose in the SO. bryz needs to stop the shooters! ugh!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


we've been busy, but i really have been slacking with updating the blog...

1/10/12 - it was corey and gidget's anniversary today.  sent well wishes to them thru facebook.  it was a normal crazy tuesday... kate had basketball and then volleyball.  ray wasn't feeling well so i took kate to volleyball.  i have been trying to get to know some of the vball parents.  i have been talking with alyssa's mom, serena.  she's a hoot. watched day 2 of 3 in a row for the sixers - got a W!!

1/11/12 - wednesday - regular day of work, school, and bball practice.  day 3 of 3 watching the sixers. it was a tough loss... still in first place though!!

1/12/12 - thursday - regular day of work, school, and bball practice.  watched the flyers beat the islanders, but it should not have been that close.  i spent some time labeling my cricut cartridges.

1/13/12 - friday - it was corey's bday today - sent well wishes to him thru facebook.  work, school and kate had a bball game at brandywine heights.  we got our first pay from health equity and they messed up a few things... charged me too much for insurance, took money out for hsa contributions, and didn't take out local taxes.  i headed out there alone because ray had a second technical interview with hutchinson recruiting.  it went very well!  when we got home, we had family movie night.  we turned the lights out and turned the audio up.

1/14/12 - saturday - today was the berks county scrappers winter fun crop.  i went with kim and aunt sherri.  i only got 2 pages and a few flowers... but i don't usually expect to get anything done!  i had a great time catching up with scrap friends i don't get to see.  ray and kate did some running around getting new school binders.  came home and watched the fly guys - they lost, but gotta watch - win or lose.  kate was exhausted... she passed on out the couch.

1/15/12 - sunday - slept in!!  it was SO nice!  took kate to vball practice while ray started working on cleaning out the attic.  when we got home, i went through old totes of crafts and the kids' school work.  it was a walk down memory lane.  ray started scanning old docs.  he is really doing a great job of getting rid of old things that we don't have space for.

1/16/12 - monday - MLK day - non-banking day, but still had to work.  got some things straightened out with the paychecks.  kate had off from school, but we worked on kate's science fair display.

1/17/12 - tuesday - this is probably the craziest day of the week.  i had a crazy day at work with deposits since yesterday wasn't a mail day.  ray got bloodwork and ran to the store.  i ran home to make french toast for dinner before getting kate from bball practice, then off to science fair to put the graph & chart on the project (since she forgot), and then to vball practice.  they have been working on some team building activities and they are definitely working.  kate said to me that she really likes the girls on her team.  i am so happy!!  we came home to grab dinner and watch the flyers.  they beat up on the wild 5-1!!!  ray got AWESOME news today.  the recruiters called and the technical interview went very well.  we have to go down to virginia next week for them to interview me to make sure i can handle ray being away for so long.

1/18/12 -  wednesday - worked and then went to kate's bball game.  they played reading and we killed them!  kate's vball coach (from wyo - coach wentzel) and his wife came to watch kate play.  she was so happy to see them.  i love that she is so involved in learning plays and communicating with the coaches.  she runs the plays on the court and it was neat to see her talking strategy with coach baer.  ray and i are going to virginia wednesday night (my birthday) for the interview on thursday.  kate has a half day wednesday and then we will drop her off at mom's.  mom will then take her to school on thursday morning and go to her game and bring her home until we get home.

 1/19/12 - crazy day at work.  busy the entire day... traffic was ridiculous today.  people we driving like idiots and i was very frustrated!!!  i have to fill out a packet of psychological profile questions for the recruiters before we go down next week.  they came in the mail today.  there are ~600 questions with 3 essays.  it was the same packet ray had to fill out.  kinda silly if you ask me... but i did it and in record time!  ray will return it to them tomorrow so they can review it before we go next week.  kate had a bball game vs oley tonight.  the schedule said at the high school, but it was at the oley middle school.  uncle mark was there to cheer on kate.  she loved it!!   after the game the girls had a pizza party and cheered on the senior high girls jv and varsity at home.  they had a scrimmage during half time.  they got to play in the new gym in front of 50-60 people.  what a cool experience!

Monday, January 9, 2012

basketball game

work was very crazy today.  this was my first day doing deposits full time at work.  needless to say, the day FLEW by!  kate had another basketball game today.  uncle mark and aunt sherri were able to go too.  she is always so happy when they can come.  we won 22-5.  kate had a good game.  she scored a basket before we got there (i was late because of work) and caused a few turnovers.  she was playing tough defense all game.  aunt sherri commented on how calm she is when she is running a play. 

kate loves having her hair braided when it's wet so it is crimped in the morning.  she looks goofy when the braids are in, but looks cute when it's out.  so, i put the braids in tonight while we watched the sixers beat the pacers!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

good cook...

not much happening today... kate had volleyball practice today (pictures are blurry because it's in a church with poor lighting and i took it with my iphone) and then after we looked for new basketball/volleyball shoes at dick's.  we couldn't find any that she liked in her size... ray and i worked on cleaning out some of the attic and old paperwork.  i made meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy for dinner.  kate was helping me with the potatoes and asked me how i became such a good cook.  it made me so happy to think she thinks of me as a good cook.  i can't wait to help her have a love of cooking too.  we then went to volleyball scorekeeping training.  it's extremely confusing at first and the girls are responsible for doing it during the tournaments.  i think it's good to have them involved and i am sure they will catch on very quickly.