Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sold! Part 3 -- Heading South and a Safe Place to Land

It has been a while since I have blogged because I have been so busy with these two little ones! They both take long naps in the afternoons, but this time is for cleaning the house, which is a wreck by noon each day, getting laundry done, and making dinner in advance. The 5-7 pm hours when I would usually make dinner are occupied by Lily's cluster-feeding. If you have had a newborn in your home you are familiar with this "happy hour" fuss-period which visits us every evening for the first month or two.

Don't be surprised if it takes me a while longer than usual to respond to messages; unless they are sleeping, it is impossible for me to answer emails or write.

I left off last time in the beginning of June where we had just accepted the offer on the Bell Lake Road house and realized we would have to move out within weeks. (My dates were a bit off in the last entry, it was more like June 10 that we found out we'd be selling the house, not June 22.) Nothing was packed, and we had no place to go as of yet. Lily was scheduled to arrive in less than two months, as my every expanding belly reminded me every time I looked in the mirror (or tried to see my feet!).

We had begun seriously looking for a home in Tampa, but we just couldn't find anything we liked. We settled on putting a deposit down on a rental home in my parents' neighborhood, for a move-in date of July 5. We were set to close on Bell Lake Road on July 10, so that would give us a week overlap to move our things in to the rental. The rental home (actually a duplex) was dark and cramped, but they were willing to give it to us for a 60-day term, with an option to continue month-to-month, while we looked for a house to buy. Plus, it was safe, clean and affordable. We disliked the thought of bringing home our new baby to a place that didn't feel like home at all, but we had no other option.

Meanwhile, Ryan had been seriously considering the prospect of a new job in Sarasota. He had considered the job before, because it was all-around a better position (pay, time-off and opportunity for promotion were all better than his current job) but we just couldn't justify the hour commute. He would have more time off, but the drive would result in a net loss of time with the family, which would wouldn't accept.

Now, however, we realized we had nothing tying us to living in Tampa any more. We did some exploratory searching in Sarasota/Bradenton and quickly learnt how well the real estate market was doing down there. Homes in our price range seemed to be snatched up by voracious buyers the day they were listed.

We looked a little further north in a suburb of Bradenton called Parrish, which is off the exit for Ellenton Mall. Here we found more homes for sale, but the market was still red-hot. We were shown one that we loved that was on a quiet cul-de-sac. It had a huge yard (the lot was nearly a half acre) and four bedrooms-- our two primary criteria for our home search. We got really excited and called the realtor, who gave us even more reason to be excited: after 300+ days on the market, the seller was willing to lease the home to us with an option to buy at the end. This would mean we could move in quickly and live there while all the inspections and appraisals took place. The thought of setting up our home in time for Lily to arrive was irresistible. The only thing holding us back from making an offer then and there was the appraisal of the Bell Lake Road house-- the buyers had said they would walk if the house didn't appraise at the contract price. Not to worry, we thought, because the house had already sat on the market for 300 days and would surely hang around a few days longer. We went to bed that night positive that this would be our future home.

A few days later, the appraisal came through, and we were officially "turned loose" to put in a bid on any other home we desired! We were thrilled, and called the listing realtor the very next morning to discuss putting in an offer.

"We went into contract with another buyer last night."

Our "dream home" was gone, big yard and all, and we were left to start over from scratch. Searching for a home is such an emotional rollercoaster. You cannot help but get excited and imagine yourself and your family playing in the yard, making friends with neighbors and exploring the local schools and parks. You start picturing your furniture in the living room, and even begin searching online for a new piece that might fit that one "weird space" you noticed at the showing.You start to wonder what the grocery store might be like, whether good churches are in the area, and how long the drive will be from your "new home" to work, the mall, and other destinations.

And then, in an instant, it's gone, just like that. And you  have nothing to do but accept it and move on.

In hindsight, our "dream home" was not our dream home at all. A week after our big disappointment, we found the home that we ultimately bought, and we see now how much better off we are than we would have been there. For one, that huge yard we were so excited about would have had to have been fenced immediately (the property bordered a lake), which cost alone would have been $8k-10k. Maintenance of a yard that big would have been another huge expense we couldn't have afforded. More importantly, though, the neighborhood didn't offer much, despite high HOA fees: there was no community pool or other amenities. Also, it was fairly new, which meant no "mature landscaping" -- and we are not fans of the "desert look" of one skinny little oak tree planted in the middle of a huge, barren yard.

We landed at last in a home in a development about five minutes down the road, which after living here a month we can tell you we just adore. The story of how we found the house is blissfully dull and not worth detailing: we found the house online, drove down to take a look, decided it was perfect, and went into contract that night. Our only sticking point was the moving date: we absolutely wanted to move in before Lily was born, and somehow the sellers agreed to be out less than three weeks from signing (closing date: July 17). That gave us exactly two weeks to make the house a home before our newest family member would arrive (August 1). From there, everything just kind of fell into place with no hiccups or problems.

Our new neighborhood, Harrison Ranch, is a perfect fit for us. We have a great community pool and playground, miles of walking trails and tons of "mature landscaping." Our yard is fenced with the see-through rod-iron fencing that allows us to enjoy the nature preserve behind our house. Most of our new neighbors have already stopped by to meet us, many more than once, and one family even brought us a pasta dinner and brownies after Lily was born. We truly love our new home and couldn't be happier living here.

I just celebrated my 29th birthday with a great meal out with my sweet husband. We did the same thing last year for my 28th birthday. If we were told then that in just one short year we would be living in a new home over an hour away from Tampa, with a new baby, and with a new job, we wouldn't have believed it. We literally had no idea this is where life would take us in just one short year.

Thanks for sticking with me while I shared the story of what we've been up to in 2013! We cannot wait to find out and share with you all that God has in store for us in the year to come.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Lily's Birth Story

I am at this very moment sitting in our new house (more on that very soon!) with my new baby wrapped snuggly up against me (we are HUGE fans of the Moby Wrap around here), enjoying all the richness and newness of this next chapter of our lives, which began on a very humid morning, six short days ago . . .
Lily and me at the time of this blog post
Last photo taken pregnant, at exactly 39 weeks.
 Thursday, August 1, 2013, 4:50 am. Ryan and I are set and ready to go from Mom and Dad's house in Tampa. We spent the night because they live close to Florida Hospital Tampa, and dropping Logan off there so early in the morning would have required leaving our home at about 4:00 am.

8:20 am: Lily Ryan Husmann takes her first breath, entering the world, at 7 lbs, 8 oz, and 20 inches long. Her cry is so loud and so robust that she sounds to my ears like a little pig squealing from across the operating room. This is what Virginia Apgar would call a "lusty cry." Little Lily earns a 9.9 on the Apgar Scale, 0.9 higher than her big brother did nineteen months ago.

8:30 am: I meet Lily for the first time.  Blessing of blessings, I am actually able to hold her and look at her, which I missed during my surgery with Logan's delivery because I was so weak from the anesthesia. This birth experience was so much better than Logan's delivery, which I can hardly remember.  I was not able to breastfeed Lily on the operating table and I give kudos to any woman who is able to pull off that little feat because I struggled just to keep my arms around her as I was being sewn up behind the big blue curtain.

Dr. Bray holding Lily at the end of the surgery.
Breastfeeding Lily for the first time.

9:00 am: We are in wheeled back into the recovery room (still on the labor and delivery floor), where we stay for a few hours to make sure all our vitals are good. I get to breastfeed Lily at last, and she nurses for almost 90 minutes without stopping. One thing she and big brother have in common, a love of good food!

9:30 am: Logan arrives and meets his little sister for the first time. There are no words for the explosive joy and warmth this moment brought to Ryan and me.

Logan, meet Lily!

Logan could not get his hands off his little sister from the very beginning and
kept trying to climb up the side rail to get a better look at her.

I am in love with her beautiful dark gray eyes and messy tangles of jet black hair.
 11:00 am: We are all rolled down to the Mom-Baby floor and Lily gets her first bath from the nurse. She must stay in the baby warmer for 20 minutes after the bath, but this does not keep Daddy from covering her with kisses while we wait for her to return to our anxious arms

Daddy giving lots of kisses to Baby Lily as she warms up in the baby warmer after her very first bath.
We have been so richly blessed by this birth experience, and have really come to embrace the peace of knowing that all of our children will be born in the same way, by C-section at 39 weeks. We love that this is our story. True, it was handed to us by events beyond our control, but we have surrendered and made it our very own, and by doing so have come to cherish the special way we bring our children into the world.

I will be posting more photos of the rest of our hospital stay and our first few days at home very soon.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
Lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your path straight.
Prov. 3:5-6