Life Lately

So here we are, already at the end of April! These last few months have flown by and it stresses me out greatly that this baby is due to arrive in less than 2 months!! We literally have nothing prepared. The other day I walked up to the attic to grab something and I saw our rock and play, sitting there in the corner collecting dust. “Oh….I should probably grab that to wash….” I thought to myself, as I turned around and walked back down the stairs. And that’s basically been the extent of my prep work. I have, however, bought a few gender neutral newborn outfits to bring to the hospital and to get us through the first week or so, if baby is a boy, before we will need to buy new clothes. I have not, however, even considered washing them yet so….baby steps. 🙂

unnamed1Here is the last bump picture I snapped at 30 weeks (tomorrow marks 32 weeks). This pregnancy has definitely been my most uncomfortable pregnancy. I was talking to my sister-in-law the other day and I was saying how, with each pregnancy, you feel the same discomforts, they just start earlier and earlier. So like with Leah, I only felt super uncomfortable the last month or so. And then with Claire those same discomforts started a little earlier, maybe around 32-34 weeks and with this one, by 30 weeks I was definitely extremely uncomfortable. This baby literally feels like he/she is trying to burrow deep into my belly button so I feel like I have a knife stabbing through my stomach for most of the day. My belly button, which is definitely a bit deformed after Claire, is stretched to it’s limit and is constantly bruised from being ripped from the inside.

Complaints aside, (I know, pregnancy is tough…who would have thought?! 😉 ) I am feeling relatively good! I am still working out at the gym 3x a week and the days I don’t go to the gym, I try and take a 2-3 mile walk. Basically my goal for each weekday is to hit at least 10,000 steps and 30 minutes of activity. I love having a FitBit so I can see exactly what my activity level is for each day! And then on the weekends I take it easy and am not as strict about my steps.

unnamed2So a few weeks ago I told Brett that I really wanted to do one more overnight away before the baby came. We started looking around the area for places to stay when we heard that his aunt and uncle, who had bought a house about 2.5 hours north of us, were bringing up a truck of furniture from Brett’s grandparent’s FL condo, which included a few mattresses that we wanted. Brett’s grandparents have owned a vacation condo in south FL for over 30 years. Last summer Brett’s grandpa sadly passed away and his grandma lives in a care facility with Alzheimer’s. A few years back they had bought all new mattress for their vacation home (including a new king and a few twin mattresses) and we told Brett’s mom that, when they sell the condo and start getting rid of the furniture, we would be happy to take those new, barely used mattresses, off their hands!

This was perfect timing because we had been thinking about switching Claire to a big girl bed before the baby came. We already had her bed frame (we had bought a matching frame when we bought Leah’s, knowing that they would be sharing a room) and we just needed a mattress. So, we decided, instead of a baby moon, we would take a mattress moon!! I found the CUTEST B&B (pictured above) about an hour and a half north of us so we drove up Friday, spent a lovely night exploring this quaint little town, eating a delicious Italian dinner, and staying at the most adorable bed and breakfast I have ever seen, before heading the rest of the way up to Brett’s aunt and uncle’s new house on Saturday to grab the mattresses.

unnamed3unnamed4unnamed5The girls were SO excited to take down Claire’s crib and replace it with her new big girl bed!

unnamed6unnamed7I would say there was a bit more getting out of bed on Claire’s part those first few nights (she loved climbing out of her bed and into Leah’s bed) but she is starting to get better and better about staying in her own bed, although I still find her in the strangest positions (and rarely on her pillow/under the covers) when I come and check on them at night before we go to bed.

unnamed8Last weekend we had Brett’s brother and his family briefly visit us for a quick 2 nights. They were coming back from a spring break on the coast and decided to swing through Asheville before flying back to New York. This was their first time visiting and the girls had a blast! Nothing excites the girls more than spending time with their cousins. One thing Brett and I LOVE about living in Asheville is that there is always so much we want to show people (not to mention places we want to eat at!) when they come to visit. Asheville is seriously amazing and it’s always hard to pick and choose what we should do when company visits. Hopefully we gave them a fun little taste of Asheville that will entice them to come back for a longer visit!

unnamed9unnamed10unnamed12unnamed11(And yes, my sister-in-law and I are both pregnant!) Her first is 7 weeks older than Claire and now her second daughter is due 9 weeks after our baby. So fun!)

unnamed12We had a fun and busy Easter! The girls were Easter egg-hunted out by the end of the weekend! We went to our church’s Easter egg hunt on the day before Easter and then on Easter day my parents took them to an Easter egg hunt at the Biltmore Estates and then we had a hunt in our yard after dinner. Lot’s of fun for these girls!

unnamed14unnamed15unnamed16unnamed18They were very excited to find that the Easter bunny had left their favorite candies in their Easter eggs; marshmallows, jelly beans, and Easter Bunny poo! (M&M’s). 🙂

unnamed18Leah started swim lessons this week!! Although she is super confident in the pool with a floaty on, she hasn’t yet learned to swim independently so we felt like it was finally time to learn! She was so excited, yet so nervous, for her first class. When we got into the pool and it was loud and echoy and kids were crying, she totally panicked and wanted to leave, but with a little encouragement and a little ignoring (if she looked at me with panicked eyes I had to look away and not make direct eye contact so she couldn’t tell me she wanted to get out of the pool!) she relaxed and she ended up doing great! This girl really does love the water and I think it will be no time at all before she’s swimming around like a little fish.

So there you have it! Some Becker happenings over the last month. 🙂

Home

It’s been 2 months since we moved into our new house. Two months of unpacking and slowly settling in; learning all the creaks and noises that come with living in an old house. When we moved to Asheville 4 months ago, I never imagined how stressful it would be to find a home for our family. Before we moved from Florida I would lie in bed at night and imagine what our house in North Carolina would look like. I imagined beautiful old, creaky hardwood floors and charming character throughout the house. After living in an eternal summer for the past 4 years, I imagined a roaring fire in a wood burning fire place and pumpkins sitting on our front porch. Basically, I imagined a house that was filled with the warmth and love of a home. And then, when we moved here and experienced first hand how tight the housing market was, my “dream house” slowly slipped away and I realized that I would happily settle for A house! Just any house that I could make a home for my family. But then, just when I had given up hope and had whined to Brett that “it looks like we will be living with my parents forever!” we found a house. And not just any house, but rather my dream house! A house with beautiful, sloping hardwood floors and glass doorhandles. A house with a large front porch; perfect for fall pumpkins, and a master bath with a big, claw foot tub. When we walked into the house for the first time I knew that we had found our home. The home where we will witness Claire walking for the first time, the front porch where I will take Leah’s first day of school pictures, the home where our family belongs.

When we were up visiting Brett’s family in New York a few weeks ago we had a lot of relatives ask to see pictures of the house, so here are a few!

^^Side note, this is the very first house that we moved into that Leah’s room was NOT set up as a nursery, rather it went right into being a big girl’s room. Even though we were slowly in the process of transitioning her nursery in Florida into a big girl room, most of the decor was from when she was born. When we moved in, Brett and I went out and bought her new dresser and bed frame and I am slowly trying to find some big girl wall hangings and decor for her room!

I’ll tell you what…God is good. Right after we fond our house Brett and I were browsing at an antique shop and I found a wall hanging that said “Thank you God for blessing me far more than I deserve.” Without a second thought, I picked it up and told Brett “We’re buying this” and it now hangs right by our front door as a daily reminder. We both feel so blessed to be living in a beautiful home, in a beautiful neighborhood, and in a beautiful city. We both felt, from the beginning, that God led us to Asheville and I continue to see evidence of that on a daily basis! Yes, moving has had it’s ups and downs and daily struggles, but overall we are LOVING Asheville and I am so incredibly thankful that we took this leap of faith and made the move!

Around the house.

IMG_0236 IMG_0237 IMG_0248 IMG_0249 IMG_0251 IMG_0255 IMG_0257I know I haven’t posted many pictures of the house yet, mostly because I feel like it’s been one never ending project. Every time I take a picture of a room, it changes a week later. Basically nothing is in it’s “done” stage Instead, we are still fully immersed in the “currently under renovation” stage. But a few things we have done lately…
1. We finally hung the shelves in Leah’s room which houses all her “these are not things to play with” items.
2. My EXCEPTIONALLY talented husband built me gorgeous open shelving in our kitchen. I have been pining after open shelving for years. My “Home” Pinterest board is FULL of open shelving ideas and, since we’ve been married, I’ve talked to Brett about one day having open shelving in our kitchen. So, when we moved into our new home and totally gutted the kitchen I saw a perfect opportunity to make my dream a reality. Luckily, I married a man who is gifted when it comes to woodwork so I just told him what I wanted and how I wanted it to look and BAM, suddenly I’ve got my gorgeous dream kitchen open shelving. 🙂
3. Animal crackers are such a staple in this house that I decided to house them in a pretty glass container. Which only makes me eat them more often.
4. Over 2 years after getting married I finally found the perfect frames at IKEA to house some of my favorite wedding shots. I now have 2 of these frames hung in our entryway, welcoming guests into our home with our love pictures.
5. Brett and I spent two very long Saturday’s painting our entryway, family room, and dining room a perfect shade of greyish/blue. I LOVE the color and I am amazed by how much brighter the house now looks.
Up next…we want to tackle painting the floors. If anyone remembers me mentioning this before, we have terrazzo floors throughout the house (minus the bedrooms which we carpeted when we moved in). Although we eventually want to put in hardwood floors we have a LOT of square footage in this house which equals a LOT of $$. So until we can save a little more to tackle that project, we were thinking it may be fun to paint the floors! Some of my inspirations:  d86e260105964115ad31fe544b590aa321fee6527ed0c4fe7e513b69717d41aa df00afce918516ffabc238debbebf87e ec7174649249094c248c9708ddc852bfObviously this would be a lot of work, but it would be a ton cheaper than putting in hardwood. And I love the look so we are going to research more on how we could do this on top of terrazzo floors!
I’ll keep posting more pictures as our house continues to come along!

Kitchen Update

Oh man, this kitchen project has been a huge one. And we still aren’t done….we’re getting closer, but there’s still a lot more work ahead. When we moved in there were 2 huge projects I wanted to tackle right away, the kitchen and the floors. The kitchen was a lovely avocado and yellow monstrosity from the 1960’s, complete with a vintage stove top and oven that didn’t even work. The floors are a lovely poured terrazzo which, although we keep hearing can look gorgeous when re-finished, are an ugly orange and brown 1960’s inspired speckled mess that we have no intention of keeping. Weighing our priorities we decided that new carpet in the bedroom and getting a working and updated kitchen needed to happen first, so for now the terrazzo floors in the family/dining room and den will have to stay. The bedroom carpet we had professionally installed, but the kitchen we wanted to do ourselves (or as much ourselves as possible) in order to save some big bucks. To give you an idea of just how horrible our kitchen was, (and I promise, these pictures don’t even do it justice) here are a few before pics (I apologize for the crappy Iphone quality and the fact that there is stuff everywhere. My excuse is we were still in the process of moving in when I took these photos!!)
image image2 photo1The kitchen is a good size, but was closed off from the rest of the house in it’s own room, which is odd since the family room and dining room has a very open concept. We decided to create a half wall into the dining room to create more of an open concept, without losing much needed wall space in the kitchen. Luckily for us, my parents are EXTREMELY handy and have had their fair share of remodeling and house flipping projects so they came down for 8 days to help with the construction. Hubs and his dad ripped out the cabinets, stove and oven before my parents arrived so they were basically starting with blank walls. We thought it would be an “easy” project until my dad arrived and decided to totally gut the kitchen; walls, ceiling and floor.
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We set up a temporary "kitchen" in our back den!

We set up a temporary “kitchen” in our back den

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My parent’s worked like crazy (we really know how to treat guests when they come and visit, let me tell you) and I am shocked at how much we got done in only 8 days. My dad gutted the entire kitchen, hung new drywall, knocked down the half wall, redid our electric, put in recessed lighting, painted and hung the cabinets all in 8 days. (With the help of hubs when he wasn’t working). Phew!!! My mom was the babysitter for Leah while I was working and then she and I laid the tile floor on my day off. Here is what it’s looking like today:
IMG_1295 IMG_1296 IMG_1298 IMG_1299 IMG_1300I am LOVING it so far!! It’s so bright and open and I cannot wait until it’s functional. We still have a lot to do; get an oven/stove, (so yes, we are still living gourmet over here with our microwave, electric wok and panini maker…) install the countertops, get hardware for the cabinets, put a countertop on our half wall, put up the trim, and (down the road) replace the old fridge and dishwasher with new stainless steel appliances, but we are finally getting close to having our brand new kitchen! Hopefully, in the next few weeks, I’ll be posting pictures of the finished project!

Home

IMG_1236 IMG_1237 IMG_1244 IMG_1245 IMG_1248 IMG_1251 IMG_1252 IMG_1253It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here in our new home. I’ve never felt this feeling of having done so much, and yet still having SO much more to do. We came into home ownership knowing that we were buying a fixer-upper. And, so far, we are happy with our choice. We love a good project. Do you see that kitchen up there?? Now that’s a project. One very looonngg difficult project. I’ll be posting some pictures of what it looked like when we moved in and how it’s slowly taken shape over the last few weeks. Let’s just say that I’ve been doing dishes in the laundry room sink for the past 2 weeks. And we haven’t eaten anything that hasn’t been made in a microwave, panini maker, or an electric wok in what feels like a very long time. At this moment, that lovely new island is our one and only thing in the kitchen besides the fridge. Hubs and my father-in-law were nice enough to temporarily place it in the middle of the construction zone last weekend so we at least had some type of cabinet and counter space. Not that you need much when your current idea of cooking is popping a veggie burger in the microwave.

Besides the kitchen craziness things are coming together. New carpet has been installed in the bedrooms, Leah’s room is painted (thanks to my mother-in-law!) and my sister and I spent a very fun weekend sanding down an entire guest room furniture set (queen size bed frame, 2 dresses, a mirror AND 2 end tables) and painting it a sunny yellow. So good things are happening. And hubs and I have been so blessed to have some amazing DIY help from his parents, my sister, and (coming next week) my parents. Nothing brings family together quite like ripping out an entire kitchen, right??

But amongst the craziness, the unpacking, the cleaning and the many, many streaks of paint currently in my hair, hubs and I are loving our new home. I love our happy, tree lined street, our huge, sunny front window, my new walk in closet, and our back yard fruit trees. Yes, we have a long road of work and projects ahead, but nothing is sweeter than being together and being home. 

Home

ImageLast night, after months of house hunting and paperwork, hubs and I finally signed a million and five documents resulting in us now owing the bank a boat load of money, but also in us finally having a HOME. Sitting in an office and signing paperwork wasn’t the most romantic Valentine’s Day date we’ve ever had (although, check out those sweet fancy chocolates the title agency gave us in celebration!) but, in a sweet way, closing on Valentine’s Day will ensure that we will never forget the day we officially bought our first home.

It’s been a long road to home ownership for us. We began casually looking at homes while I was still pregnant, and started seriously looking soon after Leah was born, once hubs diligently went through our finances, seeing what we could afford, and we were pre-approved for a loan. Although we had a very do-able budget for our area, I think the beginning of our house hunt was extremely eye opening for me. I had visions of this perfect first home; a house with tons of historical character, beautiful wood floors, a bright airy kitchen and just a general sense of “homeyness” that I would get right when I walked in the front door. Until I quickly realized that my dreams were not the South Florida real estate reality.

About a month into our serious house hunt hubs and I found a home we both fell in love with. It was a foreclosure, in a pricey “dream neighborhood” we wouldn’t normally be able to afford. The house was perfect. It had the beautiful, 1930’s historic charm I was looking for (huge, heavy glass plate french doors to die for) and was bright, airy, and (the kicker) minutes from the beach. It was pretty much love at first sight. We put in an offer, but quickly found out that another offer was accepted. I was devastated and, after that, I couldn’t look at other homes with an open mind, I just kept telling Brett, “But it’s not THE house….” However, losing out on the house turned out to be a God-send when we later found out that the house was being put  back on the market, due to extreme mold and termite damage.

A few months later we found “the one;” a big, spacious home for our family to grow into (hear that, hubs? That means we’ll need more babies). The house had everything we wanted: numerous bedrooms, a large backyard, a great school system….etc. The only issue? Well, let’s just say the house was last decorated in 1962. But, you know what? We like a project. And I am so excited to roll up my sleeves and start making that house our home. First up, a total kitchen re haul right after we move in.

So, after weeks and weeks and weeks of waiting on paperwork to be finished, and extreme frustration (and eventual move from) a loan company I will not name, but will say rhymes with Bells Largo 😉 we finally own a house!!!!

Now the fun begins…and we will be packing up and moving this coming week.. Stay tuned for many MANY before and after pictures.