Sunday, August 25, 2013

The move to Virginia, part 1

Ross and I drove out to Virginia by ourselves in early April to find a place to live. It was a little tricky figuring out all the logistics of how we were going to do this, but luckily both sets of grandparents were ready to help. While Ross finished his last week of work at Marquette, I took the kids to Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, where we were meeting Grandma Bonnie and Papa Jeff at Uncle Jesse and Aunt Sarah's house. Grandma and Papa drove the John and Lila back to North Dakota with them for a week-long visit. Meanwhile, Halley, our poodle, was enjoying some quality-time with Grandma Robin and Papa Harry, who also live in Minnesota.
So, back to the house hunt....Ross and I weren't sure what to expect from the rental search in Virginia. We'd done a lot of looking online at homes and townhomes in Alexandria and Springfield, and we thought we'd found the perfect house to rent in Springfield. We were so nervous that the house would be rented out from under us!
It was still available when we arrived in Virginia, but we ended up falling in love with a much newer (and newly renovated) 3-story townhouse right down the road from the house instead. The townhouse met all of our needs/wants and more.....3 bedrooms, a large kitchen (especially compared to the small one in Wisconsin), an area for the kids to use as their playroom, and a garage (we have a 2-car garage.....a luxury in this area). And, if you can believe it, we now have 2 full bathrooms and 2 half bathrooms (compared to 1 full bathroom and 1 half bathroom in Wisconsin). We are swimming in bathrooms here.
Some added perks are the deck right off the kitchen, the huge grassy common area a few doors down where the kids can play, and a playground adjacent to the common area. It's amazing to think that this townhouse has the same square footage as our Wisconsin house (2,000) because we were so sure we'd have to downsize in Virginia to be able to stay within our housing allowance.
The floorplan is unlike anything we'd seen before, but we love that it's so different. The first floor just has a small entryway and a finished basement-like area with a half bath. But you have to go up a half-flight of stairs and then down another half-flight of stairs to get to the basement from the front door. Interesting, right? The second floor is very open. There's a living room and dining room area at the front of the townhouse, a half-bath and laundry room in the middle, and the kitchen at the back. The third floor has all three bedrooms and two full baths. We are very excited to now have a master bedroom with an ensuite bath, hooray! 

For some reason, we still haven't taken a picture of the outside of our townhouse. And we don't have pictures of every room as they look now, but we have some 2nd-story pictures that we took the day we got the keys back in April.

So here's the kitchen....refinished cabinetry, brand-new tile floors, stainless-steel appliances, and granite countertops. Disregard the enormous light-bulb hanging from the ceiling....the previous owner must have had her dining table in the kitchen, but the new owner extended the countertop in order to have counter stools instead. We bought counter stools after we moved in, and we now eat breakfast and lunch at the counter every day! 
Here's the room adjacent to the kitchen, which we decided to use as an office/sitting area (with one of our televisions, too). We ended up buying some new furniture to fit the space. 
The dining room/living room combo. We decided to put our kitchen table underneath the chandelier (for obvious reasons), and this is where we eat dinner every night. We would put my mom's large hutch next to this table. The other half of the room would become our living room, with my mom's sectional against the wall at the back.

Another view of the dining/living space.

Yet another view of the dining/living space. 
My job this week is to actually photograph the rooms of our townhouse as they look now!! And get a shot of the exterior and our street.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back to the blog, again

It's hard to believe it's been 9 months since I last posted on our blog, but it's true!! Time flies when you've got two kids and you're getting ready to sell your house and move across the country. Because I'm so behind, I'm just going to start with a couple photos from the day we closed on our Wisconsin house -- March 29th. That seems like a good transition because these are the last photos we have from Wisconsin.
John and Lila did a really good job of dealing with all the craziness of putting our house on the market, keeping things tidy for showings, and moving all our stuff out. We'd been talking about the move to Virginia for so long that I think it was no big deal when the time finally came. Here are the kids in the front yard, all ready to go.....
On the front stoop.....notice that Lila has no socks or coat on in this photo, despite the fact that there's snow everywhere. She was having a 2-year-old moment.
In front of the "sold" sign.....we were so, so glad that we got a full offer on the house just one week after we started showings. The house has a fantastic location and was completely move-in ready, so it almost sold itself, really.

Notice the house in the background of this next's the home of Mr. Cliff and Ms. Linda, the greatest neighbors ever! We all miss them a lot and are so glad we got to visit them about a month ago when we were back in Milwaukee for a wedding.
The fully-loaded Mercury's hard to believe how much stuff we can pack into that car.

One last look at our house and street before was our first home as a family of four! Despite all the many hardships we faced during the 21 months we lived there, we absolutely adored this place. We will always feel blessed to have been the stewards of such a grand old (1941) colonial. And who knows.....we may move back to Wauwatosa some day and fall in love with an even older house!