Saturday, July 28, 2012

FInally Home!!

Oh my gosh what a week (and then some) it has been. We were supposed to close July 20th but due to a silly complication, our closing was delayed repeatedly and we didn't close until late in the day on the 25th... which left just one day to get a bunch of things done in preparation for moving day!!

As soon as we had keys I looked all through the house... and in the window well of the basement found a tiny little bunny that had fallen in! I'm glad I saw him in time to save him. We let him go in the front yard (there are LOTS of bunnies in our neighborhood). That's our mortgage lady petting the bunny lol.

The first thing we did after closing was set up our front porch with the new furniture and enjoy some Starbucks on our new porch. It was something we had really been looking forward to and was a little welcome home celebration to us.

We brought lots of things over to the house ourselves, loose items mostly, since we were only moving two blocks... and had to clear out our whole bedroom for moving day. The big day was long and tiring, and we had movers!! LOL but just watching them and deciding where everything should go was a chore in itself. We moved from three places into one. We had half my grandma's basement filled up, a storage unit, and a lot at my dad's house. Luckily almost all of it is here now and there has been more than enough room for everything.

It is ME after all, so of course this is what I provided for the movers:

It took 3 guys 9 hours and 2 trucks to finish our move. I was scared to look around the house because I thought for sure it would be full. We breathed a sigh of relief when we saw our basement is still super open and we don't have all that much down there!

We have been setting up what we can here and there, putting new furniture together, unpacking a few boxes. It's only been a little over 24 hours since we moved in so there is TONS to do.  I will try to update often about progress as we settle in!!

Here's a little sneak peek at our bedroom:

I've logged 15,000+ steps per day on my FitBit the last 4-5 days or so..... I have been going non stop!!!

I know I announced on Facebook but not sure if I had a chance here on the blog... Ian has to start working the overnight shift. We just found out a week ago and now he starts tomorrow night and will be working 10pm-7am. Sucks :( We just moved in and have only had 1 night here. Now he has to stay up tonight and sleep tomorrow in preparation for his first night on the new shift. Things are so crazy right now!!

More SOON!

Monday, July 9, 2012

St Elmo Road Trip

Ian & I had visited St Elmo briefly on a 4x4 trip a few years ago. We wanted to spend time in this awesome antique store there, but the schedule didn't permit and I had sprained my ankle really badly at the time. We have always talked about going back, but with our temporary living situations and so many things in storage, what was the point? Now that we know we are about to more into a permanent home, we decided to finally take the 3 1/2 hour drive ... a fun road trip day, antiquing and photographing the ghost town!

Waddles is always riding shotgun for road trips and this time was no exception:

We stopped at the Spyderco store on the way. I wanted a pink Squeak ever since hubby told me about it. I had no idea I was going to walk out of the store with 3 new knives. And it was all my idea. What has hubby done to me?!

The haul.... pink Squeak on top. 2nd is pink Cricket which I already owned (and LOVE)... below that is my new carbon fiber Cricket, and lastly a Honeybee.

Finally we got on the road for real. Ahhhh the wide open road. We just love road trips, especially in the mountains!

Of course I had to stop and get a photo of my Cricket:

When we got to St Elmo, we spent a couple of hours perusing the awesome store. They have a small indoor store, but most of the goodies are outside!

They always have lots of hummingbirds hanging around too :) We found some great things for our house, but don't really have pictures of them yet, other than this awesome old window we brought home:

Once we get settled in I'll have to do a post showcasing the things we bought and where they ended up in our house :)

After shopping we spent some time just looking around the town and taking photos. It's so charming. It's all ghost town now but it is kept up. You can't go in any of the buildings though.

We had a really fun time. So did Waddles!!

We liked it so much we've already decided we should do this every year and come home with a few new treasures :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New House

Big news for the Stearns household....... we're getting one! A household, that is. :)

We haven't been actively looking necessarily, but we would look at houses on and off when something good came on the market. We only happened to check this house out because it's in our current neighborhood (where we live with my dad) and they had an open house. Who would have known it would turn out to be our dream house!?

We fell in love with it right away and made an offer. Unfortunately so did someone else, and the sellers chose the other buyer over us. For a week we were pretty much heartbroken... and then came the news that the other buyers backed out! We had an official back up offer in place so we soon found ourselves under contract and unbelievably happy :) Everything is going along great - we are past the inspection period and that all went fine. The only thing we have to still get through is appraisal, but we don't expect any problems since the house is under-priced. Assuming everything goes well.... we will be closing July 20th!

Here is our soon-to-be new home:

We are really excited. We've gone through inspection and appraisal with no problems. In fact we are getting lots of instant equity which is wonderful. Assuming all goes well, we close July 20th and we move in July 27th :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In Loving Memory

Neil Stearns 
March 13, 1954 - April 8, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Looking Back... Filling in the Gaps

Things have been pretty quiet here on the blog since August. It has been a pretty intense several months for Ian & Christie.

In August 2011, my (Christie's) mom, Kathy, had to have yet another back surgery. A major spinal fusion. We were by her side for 8 days post op as she dealt with numerous complications after the surgery... major blood loss, a collapsed lung, a pancreas bleed... and, ultimately, a blood clot that caused a heart attach which took her life. It was a major shock. She was just 63 years old, but her body was so weak she just didn't make it through.

It was such a whirlwind... my best friend flew out the next morning and we worked through the night putting tons of photos together of my mom for a slideshow at her funeral service. The memories were pretty overwhelming at the time... but I'm finally able to smile when I look at these photos.

My mom & dad on their wedding day

Mom & Me on my birthday (3rd? 4th?)

Mom & Me on my wedding day

There are so many more wonderful photos I wish I could share but there's a lot to get through here! My mom passed away on August 30th, 2011 and we had the funeral on September 3rd, 2011. Close friends and family members came from Texas to be with us, close friends came from Illinois, and many wonderful people came to my Mom's service. It was absolutely beautiful and we tried really hard to make it as happy of an occasion as it could be. Remembering her, sharing stories, and being so grateful to be together. My cousins have been estranged from my family for quite some time but had finally had a reconciliation just 2 months before my mom's death so having them here meant SO much.

My amazing friends Amber and Sarah got me through this. They are my sisters! We all wore my mom's hair flowers to her service.


Beautiful display at my mom's service with photos of her and flowers she would have LOVED.

Family gathered around at the get together we had after the service.... then me with my cousin Laura, who I haven't seen in many years.

A couple of weeks passed and everyone had gone home, but we didn't have a lot of time to rest. Before my mom's surgery, my dad and I had been in the process of looking for a home to buy in Estes Park so that we could start a vacation rental business. It just so happens that we were already under contract when my mom passed away.... so just about 10 days after the funeral, we closed on the house in Estes Park and renovations began.

Blank slate... let the renovations begin. We replaced carpet, put on a new roof, put in a new water heater, had some electrical work done, had it painted, and of course furnished the place and decorated it as well as supplied it with everything a guest could need.

I should also mention.... Ian and I moved in with my dad. We pretty much spent the night the night she passed away... and we never left. By that weekend we brought over our bed and clothes... but the rest of our things stayed at our townhouse until January since we were so focused on the house, the business, and many other things.

Before the house could be totally finished (we were waiting on painting)... it was time for our trip to Hawaii. Ian's mom planned the trip so that Ian's dad Neil, who has cancer, could enjoy a family trip back there. They hadn't been back since they had moved back to Colorado from Hawaii about 18 years ago.

The trip was amazing. We have over 4,000 photos so here are just a tiny sampling.

All of us at Kona airport wearing our leis (thanks to Melissa & John)

Ian, Melissa, John and Me at Hapuna Beach

Snorkeling with sea turtles at Kahalu'u Bay

More sea turtles at Black Sands Beach

Luau Dinner & Show at the Hilton Waikaloa

Neil, Shirley, Melissa and Ian at Hapuna Beach

Beautiful sunset at Kona Inn during dinner

Stunning Akaka Falls

The Hawaii trip was 9 amazing days. It was wonderful to see Neil enjoy himself so much. He wasn't cold, he ate better and even though he couldn't join us for a lot of things, he at least had a wheelchair so he could come along more often and see the sights. I'm so glad we went.

When we returned from Hawaii, we finished up the Estes Park House...

Once the home was finished we were getting into December. I put up a website and listen the home on popular vacation rental sites VRBO and HomeAway. Lots more photos at all those places if you're interested. It also has a Facebook page.

We started off in December having a few friends and family members stay so we could get opinions and work out the kinks. They left us some lovely reviews. We had our first official guests the weekend of New Years' Eve, another in January, two in February. By the end of January I had the house booked up for the entire coming summer. We have many reservations booked for this year already and are completely booked June, July and August. So business is off to a good start.

We got through the holidays which was NOT easy with the absence of my mom. In January, with the work finished on the Estes Park home, Ian and I finally had a chance to finish moving. We spent the entire month packing up our townhouse with lots of help from my dad. Most of our thing went into a storage unit and the things we need with us came here to my dad's basement. Before that was possible I had to get rid of all my childhood things to make room, so it was quite a process. By the end of January we had finished moving and no longer had rent to pay.

I had a friend visit me the first week of February. We thought after her visit, life would start calming down and getting back to "normal". However right before her visit, Ian lost his job!!! So once again he was on the job hunt.

Luckily that part didn't last too long and within a few weeks Ian accepted a new position, closer to home and slightly more money. Thank God!

However, some more sad news came our way. Ian's dad had a new PET scan which revealed that his cancer has spread all over his body. There are no more treatment options and we just have to wait it out at this point. We tried to all be optimistic about it as he doesn't want it to be a time of mourning. But just a week after this news, he went into the hospital with intense pain. This definitely brought us all to the reality of the situation. I worked my butt off to get a bunch of the Hawaii photos edited, cropped, printed and put into 3 big 300 photo albums (900 photos!) so he could look at them in the hospital, just in case. We all spent time with him and he was never alone. Ian, his mom and his grandma took turns staying with him overnight as well.


He spent a week in the hospital but was finally able to go home with a morphine pain pump and hospice care. He is doing alright so far and trying to keep himself, and all of us, in good spirits. His birthday is coming up on March 13th but not sure if he will be up to doing much.

As you can see a LOT has been going on. There's even more than what I've shared here but these are the highlights. We are really sad that it's only been 6 months since losing my mom, and we are looking at most likely losing Ian's dad this year. Where will we find the strength?

Now that we are somewhere caught up I hope to be posting more about things we are doing. Thanks for listening.