Friday, August 31, 2007

Hope Alumni Whitecaps BBQ!

Last night Ron and I went to Fifth Third Ballpark for the Whitecaps game. Hope Alumni who registered were also able to enjoy an all-you-can eat barbecue beforehand. The weather was absolutely perfect, although it got a little chilly when the sun went down, and I was wishing I had a long-sleeved shirt.

We also got to spend some time with Amber and her husband, and another couple they live with, which I didn't realize until last night, but the other guy was someone else from the Pull team. Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and although we are in touch through blogs, we haven't seen each other since... the early 2000's? Well, it's been at least 6 years....

Last night also reminded me of my complete lack of Hope Alumni wear, and today my mom and Lucy and I went to Hope's bookstore to purchase a couple items. Lucy even got another (pink) Hope shirt (which she has to grow into a little bit). Then to Russ' for lunch. I have to say, being on campus is definitely very different now. Students were wandering around, most of them talking on cell phones, and the smell of lunch was wafting from Phelps Hall, and The Kletz while we were in the DeWitt Center. I love being around Hope, but I find it harder and harder to relate to the current students. I am a lot older now, and it's weird how much times have changed. Amber was telling me about how the housing department is having trouble because students are "learning" all about their assigned roommates through social sites like Facebook or MySpace, and are trying to switch! Definitely not a problem my class would have encountered. To them, I say, TOO BAD! Give each other a chance and you might be surprised at how many different people you can get along with! Kids today...

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Today I actually packed up a significant amount of stuff from the kitchen. Ron brought home some more boxes and I figured if they are going to be sitting around, I might as well fill them.

We're still shooting for a close date on-or-around September 14. The only thing that has me concerned is there are a few more hoops to jump through regarding our loan, as we are building in a renovation loan (known as a 203(k)). It gives us a chance to make the changes we want immediately, without really adding much to our mortgage payment. After that we will continue to pay for updates "out of pocket" for all the little things. Anyway, it requires a lot of paperwork, estimates, and whatnot - all managed through a licensed contractor we know. We've done a lot of leg-work with getting estimates (roof, cabinets, appliances, flooring, etc.) and now we're just hoping that everything remains on a timely schedule... either way we will be moving out of here by the end of September! So we're hoping everything goes through alright and we have some time to get at least some of the work done before we have to live there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Walking (Kind Of)

Please excuse the jams we have her wearing (culottes?), she is a goofy size right now where pants that fit her waist are too short, and things the appropriate length are too loose...

Anyway, she can take a few steps on her own now! She can also take many, many steps while holding someone's hand. It's so cute to see her walking around with her daddy. She seems to be enjoying this new perspective on the world, but still reverts to crawling when she needs to get from A to B as quickly as possible.

We're excited to be moving just in time for this new phase of her development, since it will be much easier to keep tabs on her the way the new house is laid out, with a very open great room. I was also just thinking about the fact that it is pretty likely that Lucy will have little or no memory of her first home here on Taft, even though it seems like so many significant things have happened to her here. We'll just have to show her all the photos... more here.

Instead of Packing, I Will Blog

A little while ago we went through a lot of our "junk" and threw much of it away, starting putting things in large Rubbermaid bins and labeling them. Many bins-full are stacked in the basement and should be easy to deal with when it comes time to move. However, we haven't done much else since then, and today I began filling a couple of boxes with miscellany from the kitchen. Kitchens have so much random stuff! I filled two boxes and don't even feel like I've made a dent! We're not packrats either... It almost makes me want to throw together a garage sale at the time of our moving. It might not be that difficult to do... heck, I'd even give some things away for free just to have less things to move.

The other problem is I have some items that I like, but don't really feel like will go well in our next house. I guess if I'm on the fence about it, I'll pack it and assess the situation later. They can always be used as "white elephant" gifts at the traditional Thanksgiving Bingo night at the Hiddemas!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Out in the Country

Snapshot of Ron and Lucy at the Woodcraft picnic this afternoon.

Friday, August 24, 2007


A couple hours ago we took Lucy over to my parents' house to spend the night there (we're going out tonight), and we hung out for an hour or so. While we were there Ron tried standing Lucy up (we're always trying to see what she can do), and she took 3-4 actual steps toward me. I turned her around and she did the same thing on her way back to her daddy. She never did that before! She kept her balance and took controlled steps like she knew what she was doing! Then she did it a few more times. It is so exciting because it just happened out of the blue, and we weren't expecting her to be taking steps quite yet.

I'm really happy that Ron was there to see it, since he works and I'm usually the one who spends the most time with Lucy. It was just how it worked out. Anyway, no camera in hand, but possibly tomorrow we'll try to get a video clip of Lucy performing her new talent.


For the longest time, when Lucy would show definite signs of needing a nap, I would put her down and she would often yell for a few minutes ("ahhhh"), but it was obvious that it was forced and that she wasn't really suffering. She didn't want to take a nap, but eventually she'd settle down and fall asleep. Since her yelling didn't always get us to come to her "rescue", she has given up on it and replaced it with all-out blood-curdling screams that make me think shutting the windows might be a wise idea. Luckily, these fits don't last as long (I think energy output is greater, and she runs out of steam more quicky...). So our naptime routine is as follows: horrific sounding shrieks of terror followed by silence. What must the neighbors think?

Project Playlist

You may or may not have noticed that I have a music player on the right hand side of this blog (under my list of Blog Buddies). It is from Project Playlist, a site that allows you to borrow music from the Internet, insert it into a little default player, and post that player to your MySpace, Facebook, Blogspot, or whatever. I've seen a few people getting them so I decided I need to hop on the bandwagon before it becomes old news. I wanted it on the side there, but it wouldn't fit properly. I shrunk the player, but the text size seems to be set in stone. I will have Ron look into this. I just threw a few cool songs up for you enjoyment, but I hope to switch it up from time to time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

5 Years!

I just realized thanks to my friend Sam that the 5 year reunion (class of 2002) is coming up at Hope College. This fall's homecoming weekend has a couple of events I'd like to go to, and I'm really looking forward to seeing Sam and Clay, and who knows who else from back in the day. Okay, 5 years might not seem that long, but it totally snuck up on me. I am very excited about celebrating homecoming at Hope and seeing some old friends!

Note To Self

As I was lying in bed last night it finally hit me that Lucy could have been seriously hurt earlier that day when she pushed on a screen too hard, causing it to pop out of the window! From there it would've been about a 4 or 5 foot drop to the driveway. I guess at the time we just scooped her up and got her away from danger, like "phew", but later on I was thinking about the way things could have gone. I tried to brush that dreadful thought from my mind, because I know it won't be the last time we have a near miss. I hate to think of all the times growing up where my sister or I could have been injured, or worse, during everyday play and exploration, which I am sure caused our mom tremendous stress and fear. The fact is, we survived. There's only so much you can do to keep kids safe, and accidents will happen. Stupid, neglectful, could-have-been-prevented moments will rattle your cage enough to be more vigilant as your child becomes more and more determined to get into trouble. So, note to self: make sure baby does not throw herself out the window.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Megan & Jason

Yesterday my cousin Jason and his long-time girlfriend Megan finally tied the knot! Their wedding was at a church in Grand Haven and their reception at Grand Haven Golf Club. Megan and Jason clearly had the time of their lives! We wouldn't have missed it for the world, and we're so excited that she is "officially" part of the family - although it seems like she has been for several years. I can't wait to see what life has in store for them.
Photos Here

Thursday, August 16, 2007


We went to the house again, and met the inspector there to go over the place from top to bottom. Here's the lowdown:

1) Original roof - the house is 21 years old. It's showing its age, although for an original roof, he said it's in good shape. We're going to replace it.

2) Wood siding has a certain appeal, but it is showing signs of damage, minor spots of rot, etc. in places, so we're opting to replace it with low/no-maintenance vinyl, but try to match the current look.

3) Mold (!!!!) in the basement. In a small area of the would-be "workshop" (which isn't the finished area, rec room, or bedroom) there is some mold. Inspector told us that mold, being a living organism, is tricky to remove because when it feels attacked, it can actually shoot invisible spores out which will fly around and find a new place to grow. Yuck. Either way, we're not taking our chances. We'll have it removed properly by a company.

So, the mold will be removed before we move in, and the roof and siding done this fall. Must have a safe, healthy environment for our child (and us, of course).

4) Back deck isn't in great shape. Some boards are questionable, and one even broke when the inspector stepped on it (he's a big guy, but c'mon!)...

I know, it sounds like there's more bad than good... but that's not really the case. We feel that we're still getting this house for so cheap, that investing in some of these things will certainly pay off in the long run. The interior renovations may take a little longer, but fixing up the exterior right away will do a lot, we think.

5) Lots of spiders.... ewwww. I guess that happens when a house sits empty for a year.

All in all, we still think it's a great buy. The neighborhood is really nice and the property overall has a lot of great features. We're going to be turning that house around over the next year or two to be something quite a lot nicer. I'm sure the neighbors will appreciate it.

This is a photo of the great room. We want to add stone around the fireplace up to the ceiling. Of course paint, put in new light fixtures, change some flooring...

Like I posted about before, we must have some kind of desire to renovate, since this is going to be a lot of work. I'm sure at times we will feel overwhelmed and wonder if we got in over our heads. Maybe we are taking on more than we should, but eventually we'll get it to where we want it to be.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Night Lights

Yeah, that's right, we have Christmas lights on our back deck. Ron went for a swim this evening, and I happened to grab my camera so I could experiment with different settings in the dark. I'd like to try a similar effect with traffic, fire, lightning, or stars.

More Photos Here

Have a Nice Day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Better The 2nd Time Around

Today we met with our mortgage guy (who is AWESOME) and filled out lots of paperwork... we're not going to have any problems with the loan, but there are so many things to sign and go over. Some of it seems silly, but I know it's all necessary for legal reasons ("this form just says that you received the form blah blah blah... sign here"). I remember the process last time was much more difficult due to unexpected confusion on Ron's credit report - several of his dad's (also named Ron) accounts were listed there and it was seriously harming our score. They have different middle names so I think it was pretty lame that so much could be messed up, but alas, it happened and it took a while to get it all straightened out. This time around is much smoother by comparison...

Also, last time, our mortgage guy was intimidating and mean, and was patronizing to me, and all in all we got a bad 'vibe' from him. By the way, vibes are usually very real and very accurate. This time, we're dealing with someone who was recommended to us by our Realtor (who I've known basically my whole life) and he is someone who you can just talk to, joke around with, ask lots of questions, and expect honest answers. We are so excited to be dealing with a better person - in case you're interested, it's Rob Eddie from Northern Mortgage.

Our home is being inspected Thursday. The buyers will be present, and they go through everything with a fine toothed comb, so it's a tad scary for us. There shouldn't be any real problems, but it's kind of the last major chance for this to all fall through. While that's happening, we're having the new house inspected (so we'll be there, and I'll try to take some photos). The tentative closing date is on or before September 15. Then we get to paint, clean carpets, and start moving things in!

Monday, August 13, 2007


I just checked Amber's Blog and her post got me thinking... (it's worth linking over to check it out). Anyway, a message like that (about living life to the fullest... and so much more) can easily resonate with any one of us, no matter what is going on in your life, and it sparked a thought about where Ron and I are in our lives. Right now, obviously, Ron and I are at a turning point, committing to a home to raise our family in, a community to live in, etc., not to mention the work we are taking on to make that house "our home".

I remembered our meetings with our pastor before we got married, and going over our comparabilities, incompatibilities, goals, dreams, and so on. One thing he noticed about us is that we are always dreaming, scheming, planning for the future - which is great - but he advised us not to sacrifice the present in the process. It's true, we couldn't just pick out a "normal" house that would be easy to move right into. We had to find one that requires a little more imagination... okay, maybe a lot more imagination. We'll always be thinking about things we want to do someday (even if they might not happen)... the idea is not to miss out on life in the meantime.

Thinking back on the last 3 and a half years here, it sure has flown by, but so much has happened. The time we spent remodeling took a toll on us emotionally, physically, financially... in the end we aren't really getting much "Return on Investment", but that's okay. That's not why we did it. We made this house better for the next people, and we satisfied something inside us doing so. It brought out the best in us, the worst in us. It was a very revealing way to spend our first year or two of marriage.

Anyway, this isn't really about home-improvement... it's about having dreams, and goals, and trying to make them happen, even if people around you think you're crazy! We hope that we never run out of things to dream about. I remember pastor Randy saying that he hopes we always have that spirit. It's really easy to lose it. We might have to work for it, but it's worth it - not for the end result, but for the experience of getting there. I'm excited about the future, but I'm just going to make an effort to "enjoy the journey" as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


Well, pending inspections (which should be no problem) our counter-offer was accepted. We even ended up sliiiiightly higher than I was thinking we would, due to Ron insisting that we go for it. Their Realtor had called our Realtor twice since they put their offer in (yesterday) to find out our response, so it was obvious the buyer was anxious about it too.

We went over the initial offer early this afternoon, wrote our counter offer, and by this evening it was settled! Kind of makes your head spin!

We also checked out the foreclosed house again, just to go over the details a little more. We put an offer on that one, and will order an inspection very soon to make sure there are no red flags. If everything goes through with this, we will be raising a future Hudsonville Eagle!

It's exciting but also very scary now that the wheels are in motion. I hope everything goes smoothly... I just can't believe we're actually going to be in a different house by the time Lucy turns 1. Crazy...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Let the fun begin....

Well, the good news is, we got an offer! The bad news is, they are offering quite a bit less than our asking price. That's to be expected in this market, I suppose, but it sort of hits ya hard. The other thing is they want possession at close, and since we can't close on another house until after ours is officially sold, that's just not going to be possible. I can't believe they threw that one in. We're going to counter-offer tomorrow probably, and that will be part of the counter, as well as the price issue, that we need at least a week or two of transition time.

Now they don't want the pool removed. Okay, fine with me! Maybe they want to sell the whole shebang on Craig's List.

Anyway, this is very nerve-racking, because it's such a mind game and I don't like dealing with people that way. I want to find an agreement that makes us happy, and makes them happy(ish)... but it seems like we have some wheeling and dealing to go through before we can relax. I guess we should be happy the offer came in! Now it's just going to be a challenge to get everything timed right (on top of finding the "right" house and making sure we're not buying a total lemon). Phew...

Someone Loves Our House!

We heard from our Realtor, and she said the couple "loved" the house and probably wants to put in an offer. She said they won't offer the asking price (duh) but we, of course, don't know yet just how low they'll try to go. Ultimately we can counter offer, but we also don't want to be pushovers. She said they "aren't interested in the pool" and would probably want it to be removed. Eek! Maybe we can sell it on Craig's List or Bargain Corner "you remove". We're just not necessarily willing to fill in the hole where the deep end is, or take care of the other landscaping issues that would result. And what about the deck(s) around the pool... it could be a huge job. However, if it means selling the house, we're willing to consider doing it. I hate the idea of dismantling the entire deck structure... all that wood would have to be hauled off the property. Anyone want a 28' above-ground pool?

Also, the crazy house we are interested in has expired, so we're waiting to see if it is relisted at a new price or what. We're leaning toward it - living in a house that we'd be updating over a longer period of time - although I wouldn't be too geeked about the horrendous kitchen (Ron doesn't think it's so bad). If we saved up and took our time, it could be a really cool house. Do I sound like I'm obsessing? Ha ha - it's just that we might get an offer soon, and we're going to have to make a decision. It's a big decision to commit to any new home, let alone one that is going to require some work. Especially with a child, and possibly another one in the next year or two. Well, it's just nice not to have "projects" hanging over our heads, but I guess with any house we moved into, there are going to be things we'd want to change.

I have a feeling if they loved our house, and their Realtor said they might be faxing an offer (either last night or today???) that we will be reaching a turning point in this home selling/buying situation, which is kind of scary... but it's what we've been hoping for ever since we decided to list our house!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Now We Wait....

I just wanted to mention that last night, for our showing, our house never looked better! The basement even looked good (anyone who's been down there knows that it was pretty scary... and Ron cleaned it and it's actually a livable space now!).

The Realtor left her card, but we hope to get some feedback soon. The people who saw our house are already pre-qualified, and do not have a home of their own to sell - those are 2 very good things! We're anxious about it, and trying not to get our hopes up, but we really hope it turns into something!

The house we saw on Knollview is definitely interesting - it would take redoing the whole kitchen, but it has a lot of potential, and lots of space... I think we'd want to look at a few others before jumping into anything, but right now it's Ron's favorite. Funny how we keep finding new houses. It makes me realize that no matter when ours sells, we'll find something we love!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Ron found this in the yard this morning while he was walking around barefoot. I know it's been dry, but come on! This is a prickly pear cactus, part of the Opuntia genus. It's funny, lately our yard has been so dry, Ron joked that we should just give up on a lawn and make it a cactus garden - we could have nice big rocks laying around, maybe a Joshua Tree, and lots of cacti! How pretty.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Picking Up

Why oh why don't we keep the house clean all the time?. We've been slacking since lately we haven't heard much about people wanting to see our house. Boo. I just got an e-mail from our Realtor saying that someone wants to come tomorrow at 7 PM. So, we have a little time to get things ready, and I want to make the most of every chance that someone might be interested in buying our house! Almost all our fliers have been taken, but I'm afraid that many people take them to look and then never pursue. We're guilty of the same. I will keep that in mind next time we stop by a house for sale.

We found a couple more houses we're interested in - one is for sale by owner, and the only complaint is the kitchen isn't very big at all (and we've been spoiled by a large kitchen here). The other is a weirdo contemporary house in Hudsonville that is a foreclosure. We looked in windows but couldn't see bedrooms or anything, so we're going in it tomorrow morning with our Realtor. It would need some work, but with the right adjustments, it could be a really neat property. Nice neighborhood too (In case you're familiar with the area, it's on Knollview).

Alright, I should be cleaning, not blogging...

Three Years

Yesterday was our 3 year anniversary so Ron took me out for for an evening in Holland - I wasn't clued in on where we'd be going, but I had a couple guesses in my mind, which turned out to be correct! At least he chose the things I would've wanted to do! First we went to dinner at Via Maria, our favorite Italian restaurant (on 7th Street), and we had a very nice dinner. As usual the server we had was outstanding and he got a very nice tip. I ordered way too much food, so we took some with us when we left.

After dinner we went to see She Loves Me at the Hope Theater in the DeWitt Center. Basic plot described on HSRT's site:
As anonymous pen pals, Georg and Amalia love each other as much as they loathe each other in person. We're the only ones who know the true story. In one of the sweetest and most beautiful musicals HSRT has ever done (last mounted in 1986), the songwriting team behind Fiddler on the Roof gives Hungarian embellishment to a favorite story told and retold in movies including "The Little Shop Around the Corner", "In the Good Old Summer Time", and "You've Got Mail".

It was pretty good, pretty funny, and I'm always amazed at all the work and passion that goes into theater productions.

We got back to the car and discovered that in the summer heat, our wonderful leftovers from Via Maria had turned the car quite smelly. Of course the food itself would be questionable, so sadly it had to be thrown out. What a waste! Oh well...

Then we went to New Holland Brewing Company for a "night cap". The place was pretty slow on a Tuesday night, but that was alright. We sat at the bar and had a couple drinks... and also saw Barry Bonds hit his 756th home run. We stayed till about midnight and headed home. I love that place.

It was nice to get dressed up (any time I go as far as to put in earrings...), and have a grown-up evening. I only almost fell two times in my heels (I don't think anyone saw... what's up with the polished wood floors!?). But really, it was a very nice night, and I love that we were in Holland - where our relationship really started out. There are a lot of memories around there, and it's fun to look at how much our lives have changed in just a few years.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Scary Dream

Yesterday Lucy woke up from her afternoon nap (she hadn't been sleeping long), with a panicky sounding cry. Well, I can't quite describe it, but we both thought she sounded scared (not hungry or tired or any of her usual cries). We both went to her crib and she had a worried look on her face and was all sweaty! She was very clingy and after drinking a bottle she settled back down to sleep (in my arms, which NEVER happens anymore!). We were both pretty sure she had a nightmare. It seems early for that type of thing, but according to Ron's Internet "research" it is possible, even at this age. I wonder what it was about, or which experiences are jumbling around in her imagination. The world can be a scary place for a baby, I suppose, and some of it is unavoidable (doctors visits, strangers, big noisy street cleaner, whatever...). Anyone else have this happen with an infant? I know 10 months is young. Just curious. It's another "first" for Lucy (as far as we know), to wake up crying like that from a nightmare.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

So, How'd She Do?

We are so proud and amazed by Kelly's accomplishment! I can't imagine how she feels, but seeing her come around that last corner and run through the finish line was incredible! I'm so glad we were able to be there.
Photos Here

Friday, August 03, 2007

Triathlon Eve

Tomorrow morning my sister will compete in the Whirlpool Steelhead 70.3 Triathlon in St. Joseph, MI. This is a half Ironman length race that involves swimming, biking, and running (like any triathlon, in that order). She has been training for what seems like forever, and tomorrow is the big day! My parents, Ron, Lucy, and I will gear up early tomorrow morning (I think I'm getting up at 3:30 AM) to try to be on the road by 4:30 or 5:00. That way we can find a place to park, and hopefully see Kelly before she goes in the water. The course covers a large area, and we're going to try to be at various points through the race to cheer her on. It's going to be a long day, and hopefully Lucy doesn't give us too much guff!!! ha ha. I think she'll do alright :) She'll have plenty to see!

We're going to try to take lots of photos and even a few video clips. Kelly's planning on finishing - as long as she isn't taken away in an ambulance for some reason! Let's hope that doesn't happen! It's a huge accomplishment just to show up for such a race and put forth the effort. We're all really proud of her no matter what, but I do believe she will cross the finish line...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007