This time around, we’re using a realtor referral from my close girlfriend. Not gonna lie, it feels really cool to have a realtor who is my own age. We’re texting, having fun conversation, and we trust that she knows what we’re looking for.Continue reading
This is a House Blog, right?
Months ago, I had started to write up a post on all the big projects we’ve done in the last 7 years. Long and boring much?
So instead, here’s the timeline:
2014 – New Water Heater installed
2015 – New Hardiplank siding installed in Natural
Big Bucket list trip to Rome, Paris and London
2016 – All windows replaced with Thermal Double case windows (22 altogether)
Big Bucket list trip to Japan
2017 – Recovery trip to Hawaii
Puppy Fitz is adopted
2018– A&Z are born
Nursery is done!
2019 – Flower beds installed
Back deck is replanked
Landry closet is converted to a split laundry/walk-in and pantry
Doorway is widened into dining room
Escape trip to Amsterdam/Paris
2020 – Pandemic Year
Backyard is resodded
All trees trimmed back
Bathroom lighting and chandeliers replaced/rewired
Vents, light switch plates, accessories replaced
Moving Phase I initialized
Now you’re all caught up, reader.
Moving, Phase 1
After our twins were born, we threw around the idea of passively, maybe, possibly looking for a new house. At the time, my mother was living with us and was proving to be a bit of a disgruntled roommate.
We started wishlisting what this new house would entail: an in-law suite (priority), a big enough office space for the two of us to share, a bigger kitchen with an island instead of a breakfast nook, etc.
Then my mom decided to move out.
Then the girls turned two and started pushing the boundaries of our living space.
Then the pandemic came and house-bound all of us.
Then the market started exploding with all of these available houses?! (WTF)
We’ve lived in our home for 7 years now, and we’ve upgraded/remodeled/touched up every (reasonable) space of this investment.
What was the real tipping point besides all of the above? The kitchen.
The kitchen is due for its first actual remodel, and that’s not something we want to take on in a home where our time is limited. I’d rather save our time, effort, and cash for customizing our next (I’m not going to say forever) home.
So after the back and forth and dates and Zillow-stalking, I’ve started “Moving Phase 1”. What does this entail?
- Decluttering, as if it wasn’t already a pandemic thing. I think I’d already done a pretty good job of letting things not pile up. I do declutter seasonally, but this is like a ruthless editor with a red pen. We went through the basement last weekend and probably donated/trashed/consolidated until we had at least 7 empty Rubbermaid totes, and a space big enough for the girls to roller skate in, if they were actually coordinated enough to skate. I went through the fridge, pantry, dining room, hall closets and Christmas decorations. Next are guest room closets and the Master suite. All of the extra basement furniture is in a temporary storage unit.
- Fixing odds and ends. We’ve laid sod in our backyard, trimmed back all of the trees on property, replaced air registers and bathroom vents, changed out chandeliers and ceiling fans. All little details to update the space and make it look a bit more uniform and polished.
- Depersonalizing. This I got from one of the 10 home design emails I get everyday. When staging your home, you want the space to look inviting but not like you. The next homeowner needs to be able to see themselves living there, so pictures, personal collections, pet and kid stuff all has to be out of sight.
The plan is to contact a realtor and figure out financing by February, setting us up for a move in May. Fingers crossed it won’t take six months like finding this house.
In true Passion Planner fashion, I’ve kept a month-by-month checklist on my phone to track Phase 1 progress
New Workflow, Who Dis?
I’m writing this from a very quiet hotel room. I’m on my last work trip of the year, and after some productive alone time, I’m left with a ton of thoughts scrambled in my brain and the tiniest baby hotel notebook to brainstorm it out.
I mentioned earlier that my biggest goal for 2019 was just to time mange. I used Fringe Hours to help set my 40-hour (plus 10% travel) work week around the girls’ schedule. That meant not splitting my focus when I’m exclusively with them, and using the hours that they are sleeping or with the nanny to do the bulk of my work.
This gave me a solid window of time (9:45am-4pm) where I only have to be at work, and as soon as they wake up from afternoon nap, they are my only priority. When Troy’s time is available as well, then we can split tasks until they go to bed. Any sleeping/cleaning/me-time/us-time is reserved for 8pm-8am. I make it a mandatory that I get out of the house at least once for a longer period of time over the weekend to do whatever it is I may need to do, and Troy has the same opportunity as well.
Twelve months later, we have the girls on a very good schedule and I am able focus and be more time-efficient. While this has been great for my postpartum sanity, I also adopted a “Done is better than perfect” mindset. Next year, I want to switch gears, which brings me to The Passion Planner! (Not an ad, just really excited!)
I’ve been looking for a bullet journal/weekly planner hybrid to plan my days, but also to do some goal setting. My current planner (a standard weekly agenda from Staples) was transformed this year with highlighter for the girls schedules, color-coded pens to differentiate work and home tasks, and lots of stickers because I admittedly am a terrible doodler. I also had small Post-its for my #101in1001 goals, big Post-its for my monthly goals, and Post-it lists for seasonal planning.
All of this I want to synthesize into a workflow, a daily schedule where I can build and plan for both the short-term and long-term. Super nerdy, right?
Which brings me back to this hotel room. While I have an talent for planning and lists, consistency and motivation have always fallen by the wayside. One of my authors is a life coach, and she has really been my inspiration to help build and exercise my executive function. In the last couple days, I’ve done a deep dive into productivity podcasts, blog posts, and Pinterest tips. I’ve also been doing follow up on social media tools and webinars that I want to start incorporating into my work skillset.
I imagine the new workflow might look something like this, jk…
The Passion Planner gives me my basic weekly timetables, but leaves additional space for goals/braindumps/squiggles, anything I need to commit to paper. Some people get creative with their planners, in additional to their Passion Roadmaps.
I’m looking forward to this building process and seeing what new toys I can play with.
Just Blog Already…
In February, I was at a work conference in Vegas and I brought my best girlfriend along. I work in the Higher Education field and I love being surrounded by people who are doing amazing things on their campuses and beyond. My girlfriend was also feeling the inspiration and one afternoon, we starting mapping out her plan for a new blog.
This past week, she finally put the plan in motion and was daunted/terrified/intimidated by the process of starting up this new venture. I admit, I might have overwhelmed her talking about tagging posts and scheduling and domain names… and content creation and target audience and visual elements… and social media and Introduction vs. Personal Bio…
We have a tentative work day scheduled to get the blogging basics down, but naturally my mind drifted back to this little space. If I’m consulting and helping her build a new online identity, I should probably spend a little time working on my own.
My goal for this first year of working mom-hood was to just time-manage, find a way to get back to single-life productivity while having twin infants and a full household. At the one-year mark, I think I fulfilled that goal with the help of family, a part-time nanny, and my husband’s new job that allows him to work most of the week.
I will be the first to admit that this does feel like cheating. With both parents working from home who can also afford outside help, we didn’t have to compromise as much of our time or our professional lives to make our family function.
I knew that our unique situation would allow me the freedom to create a schedule and work-life blend. It also makes our home a little more egalitarian. I did not have to make sacrifices as the female, my husband does an equal share and spend equal time with the girls, and we are both able to get out of the house as needed for time alone.
So now that I have a new 2020 planner (and have #101in1001 items like “Start a bullet journal/planner hybrid” and “Instate a weekly blog time”), it’s time to put that plan into motion.
Here are my Motivational Prompts to get back to blogging:
- Writing comes easier the more you do it.
I work with authors. They have writing goals. Write often. Make it a habit. Just get the words down.
- If you are not excited about what you’re writing, no one else will be. If you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t feel like work.
- Ideas have their own lives.
If you put your great idea on the backburner for to long, it will find someone else. (As per Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert)
- So it is written, so it shall be done.
I found that the more I write and share my goals, the more I get them done. I posted about every run I had training for my last race. I took photos of my accomplished goals and shared them on Twitter and Instagram. If I want to make a shift and start reaching for higher and higher goals, writing about them makes me accountable and motivated.
This blog doesn’t really have a target audience or a mission. I don’t have a content calendar, and I’m not trying to monetize. It’s about building my home, literally and metaphorically. It’s not inspirational or influential, but if it fills that need in genuine way, then I’m happy.
#101 in 1001, Round 2
Start: October 1, 2016
End: June 29, 2019
Create a 2nd list of 101 things to do. (10/1/16)
- Everything important not completed from my first list.
Buy a carMarch 2018 Buy an instant cameraJune 2018 Create a P+T photo albumJanuary 2019 – Japan and Europe photobooks
- Finish styling our first house, inside and out
- Frame and hang all of our art
Get a rain barrelJune 2019 Get a second pet for the familyOctober 2017 – Fitz
- Finish landscaping our front and back yards
Host ThanksgivingNovember 2018 Make emergency kits/food storageJune 2019
- Scan all of my mother’s photos
- Scan/file/back up our photos
Start a gardenMay 2018 – Ongoing! Sustain a lemon tree in AtlantaMay 2018
- Throw a Quentin Tarantino Party
- Buy a pair of Louboutins
- Buy my first investment handbag
- Have a dress made for me
- Get everything on Nina Garcia’s 100 list (24 to go)
Invest in a pair of good hiking bootsHiking shoes will do for now
Continue trying to visit every state(13 to go, got HI and MI off the list)
- Go back to Montana
- Go back to Paris and stock up on beauty products
Go on a fitness-based tripWanderlust Festival April 2019
- Go on a girls vacation with more than one other person
Go on a trip with my momAugust 2017 Go on a west coast road tripJune 2019 – Oregon Coast
- Go on an overnight hiking trip
- Go south of the equator
- Go to a Black Tie function
- Go to a cranberry bog
- Go to the FL/GA game in Jax
Plan a surprise trip for Troy’s 35thApril 2019 – Asheville, NC See a fjordOctober 2017 – Hood Canal, WA
- See a glacier
- See the Northern Lights
Start planning a trip for my 35th– Surfing in Coasta Rica August 2020!
- Take a photo with a giant Redwood or Sequoia in California
- Take another bucket list trip
Take Troy to PortlandJune 2019
- Travel abroad for Christmas
- Visit 3 new countries
- Blow glass or create a stained glass ornament
- Buy a substantial piece of art
- Create a substantial piece of art
Get my library cardOctober 2016 – Fulton Co. Library
- Complete a 642 Things to Write About journal
- Complete a Wreck This Journal
Go berry picking, then make jam, then can itJune 2017
- Go for a full day at the spa
Learn calligraphyApril 2019 – GA Pinners Conference
- Learn darkroom photography
- Learn stick shift
- Learn to pick a lock
- Re-read Portrait of a Lady
- Read every Jane Austen Novel (3/7)
- Read the entire Dark Tower series (1/7)
- Read the Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide
- Read Women in Love
- Read 50 books (Only got to 32… I blame being pregnant and tired…)
Reinstate Netflix DVD’sOctober 2016
- Watch the rest of the 100 best movies of all time
- Re-learn how to play Cribbage
Ride a VespaJanuary 2017 – Hawaii See a Broadway PlayApril 2017 – Waitress See Mariah in ConcertFebruary 2019 – Las Vegas
- Stay up all night and have breakfast at 3am
- Take an oil painting course
- Go to a rave
*Bonus* Watch another Oscar Best Picture ShowcaseFebruary 2017
Health & Fitness
- Bowl a 150 average
Complete another indoor TriJanuary 2019
- Do an early morning run every day for one week
Do another 3-day refreshFebruary 2017
- Do a juice cleanse
- Finish a 10k in under an hour (Best time 1:02)
- Learn to play golf
- Learn to snowboard (better)
- Learn to surf (better)
- Nail a crow pose and yoga head stand
- Ride a mechanical bull
- Run another Disney half marathon
- Stay at 120 lbs except if pregnant
- Take regular boxing classes
Try acupunctureMay 2017-May 2018 Visit a chiropractorSeptember 2017-ongoing
Professional & Finance
- Create a Living Will
- Develop an idea for a novel
- Be a guest blogger/writer on someone’s website
- Be part of a startup company
- Learn how to code
Pay off my entire Student Loan DebtMarch 2019
- Reach 700 Twitter followers
- Take a grant writing class
- Take an online class
- Write an article for a magazine
Be a part of the SMS Centennial– SMS Alumnae Board Secretary 2019-2021
- Organize one big St. Margaret’s fundraiser
Buy someone the absolute best birthday giftJanuary 2018 – Troy TSA Pre-check Complete another 52-week giving challenge and donate (most) of it2017
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter at @CoxswainPatti to keep up.
2016 so far…
Since my last post (almost a year ago, ouch…), we’ve visited Maine, NYC, Japan together and are finally circling back around to getting this house presentable.
We’ve have a handful of family visits just in the past 6 weeks, so we’ve been working overtime to get our yard and guest rooms up to par.
We are now the proud owners of 6 small boxwood bushes, 3 fully-mulched flower beds, 2 porch topiaries with pots, a recently-trimmed 15ft. camellia bush, and a new trash can. It’s a super smart trash+recycling can, so I can’t contain my excitement.
On the bright side, our yard looks great and you can tell all the afternoons we’ve put in are starting to pay off. However, like most home owners know, the work will never be completely done. Now that we’ve exhausted all the projects we can do on our own, we have begin our long-term investments. These include:
- New vinyl siding to replace the original wood siding
- New thermal windows. All of the windows are original to the house and 100% of them have broken seals.
- Deck refinishing. While the support structure is sound, many of the slats are cracked and/or bowing. I’d like to replace these with composite slats that are waterproof and weather durable (and also not an ugly brown).
- New garage doors. Along with the siding, these doors are original, made of wood, and are painted a rather unappealing antique color.
Most of these projects should be done in the next year and I’m estimating a good $25-28K should cover it. Any idea where to find it?
While I know real estate investments can be very profitable if handled correctly, this house was not meant to be a short investment. We love out house, our neighborhood and our town, and unless something amazing comes around the corner, we are planning on staying in this house for the next 5-10 years. No need to have the return on investment, or how good the market is (or is not), or the what-do-we-do-if-we-have-more-than-two-kids talk.
More photos of the house to come, probably when more family comes to visit and we have to emergency tidy up again…
Birthday Dinner #2
Saturday night, M had a birthday dinner at her home in McLean. It’s such a great house, and she and her S.O. have put a lot of work into it. So for part of her birthday, she has excited to host her first seated dinner party for 13, plus one five-year-old.
I was excited to help her set up, and it gave me a chance to use all those non-practical skills: setting up a cocktail bar, flower arranging, cheese platter feng shui…
It was a really great mix of people and great conversation. I will not be hosting any seated dinners with china and crystal anytime soon, but I do have family coming to the house in two weeks. Let’s get out the fresh flowers and deck furniture.
Just kidding, I don’t own deck furniture yet…