Hoppy Easter

Well, we found the time to get all gussied up and go to church today for Easter!  When we first found our house, we were thrilled to see that it was less than two blocks from the Queen Anne United Methodist Church.  The church is also the site of Red Wagon Preschool, where we are hoping Frank will go in the fall (we are currently wait-listed but being optimistic!).  So, we figured what better day to visit a church than on Easter Sunday!  We parked at the house, stopped for a quick photo opp., and walked down to the church. You can tell from the outside of the place that the church is small, but I was definitely not prepared for what we saw inside!  I was raised in a small country church with a regular attendance of about 125 people, but we always had 250 or so on Easter.  The QAUMC, however, had an attendance of about 55 today…and I’m pretty sure that was a big crowd!  Instead of pews, the congregants sit in chairs in a circle.  The altar is in the center and a small choir sits together in one section of the circle.

Despite the small size, however, the church was surprisingly high-tech.  They had a couple of giant video screens, a band with several instruments, and a “crying room” in back where you can take a chatty toddler and still hear and see the action.  There were about 6 or 7 kids in attendance, and the Sunday School teacher did a short children’s message at the beginning of the service and then took them all downstairs for crafts.  Yay!  The service was really nice, and I think we shook hands with everyone there during the “passing of the peace.”  By the time it was over, we were having such a good time that we stayed for the Easter Brunch people kept inviting us to.  Over yummy egg casserole and an assortment of pies, we learned the history of the church (including the fact that the church donated their pews to a congregation in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina — hence the lack of pews!), got the phone number of an 18-year-old babysitter, and provided the floor show entertainment (well, admittedly, that was all Frank).  All in all, a successful morning!

Unfortunately, because we stayed at church longer than we had planned, we got to the U-Haul rental place at 12:30…and they had closed at noon.  So, poor Heath had to move the entire contents of our apartment by car.  It actually only took him three trips, but still frustrating and tiring for him.  As I type, he has just returned and is devouring a pizza.  I’m about to head to the airport and fetch Gammie!  Next time I post, we will be moved into the house!  We can’t wait!!


It’s All Happening

Things are super crazy right now, with the move coming up on Monday.  Frank and I end up stopping by the house multiple times a day to check on our contractor’s progress, measure for drapes, pull up carpet squares, and many other tasks that present themselves.  We got a new garage door yesterday, at which point we decided I probably wouldn’t be able to park the Pilot in the garage.  Heath can get it in and out, but I’m too chicken to try yet.  I have a feeling I will be downsizing soon.  We may even go to one car, since Heath will be really close to his new office.  We have been mapping out bus and bike routes for him to try.

My mom is coming back on Sunday night to help with Frank while we move in.  Thank goodness for Gammie!  Poor Frank is very frustrated every time we go to the house, as he is not allowed to touch anything (wet paint), climb on anything (empty shelving does not a ladder make), or stick his fingers in any outlets.  I can just imagine how it will be when the movers are bringing in the furniture and boxes.

We are looking forward to the weekend and hope to have time to acknowledge Easter.  When Heath’s parents were in town last weekend, we took Frank to see the Easter Bunny at the mall.  As most kids his age are, he was a bit hesitant about the overgrown rabbit with goofy glasses and bow tie.  He wouldn’t sit in his lap without me, so I ended up in the picture.  I was looking especially whale-ish that day, so I will not be posting the photo!  Our new neighborhood has a big egg hunt on Saturday morning.  I hope the weather is nice for it.  We are also planning to go to church for the first time since moving here (so, basically since Christmas…tsk tsk).  Fingers crossed that we will get to do these things amongst the growing list of to-do’s.

As you can tell, I’m pretty overwhelmed!  Most days I just want to wake up a year from now and see us settled in our house with both kids, our dog, one small car, some good friends, new activities, maybe a new BFF with a sailboat and a house in the mountains…ok, ok that might be pushing it.  Oh, and I generally have a large glass of wine in this fantasy, as if there was any doubt!

A Familiar Face

My mom (aka Gammie) made her first visit to Seattle this past weekend, and it sure was great to see her!  It had only been about 6 weeks since we last saw her in Dallas, but the fact we hadn’t seen anyone familiar during that time period made it that much sweeter!  We had great weather while she was here, and she kept us busy as per usual.  We were able to take her to see the new house (more on that below) and the new neighborhood.  We also did a lot of walking downtown and made a visit to the Seattle Aquarium.  Frank loved having Gammie in town.  He has been looking for her the past couple of days, most often (for reasons I cannot comprehend) in the apartment complex elevator bank.  We are now looking forward to Heath’s parents’ (Mimi and Poppy) visit in two weeks!

Here are a few more pictures of the weekend with Gammie:

At the famous Pike Place Market

Heath and I got a date night at a fancy steak place!

High Five for the diver at the Aquarium

In other news, we are getting closer to being out of this apartment and into a house!  We found a great house a couple of weeks ago (not the same one I mentioned in the last post — that one turned out to be a real “fixer”, and we decided we would rather not spend our indefinite future demolishing and rebuilding an entire house).  So, the house we are actually buying needs far less work and is in the same great neighborhood, Queen Anne.  The neighborhood is only minutes from downtown and is full of older homes (1900’s – 1930’s) and lots of fun shops and restaurants.  The house itself was built in 1906 but has had a lot of updates over the years.  There are five bedrooms, including a large Mother in Law suite in the basement, three and a half bathrooms, and great living space.  We think it will be a great house for us for many years.  In fact, the sellers moved into the house about 25 years ago with their almost-two-year-old daughter and their second on the way.  They raised three girls in the house and seem to have put a lot of love into it!

Here are a few shots of the house:

Curb appeal!

View from the staircase into the entry and living room

Fun kitchen with art deco feel

In other, other news, things are still going smoothly with Baby Beans.  I am 21 weeks now and looking noticeably pregnant, which I much prefer to just looking “thick.”  I can feel her kick all the time and plan to get her on the list for both an audition for the Rockettes and a tryout for US Women’s Soccer.  I feel like she should have options.  Speaking of lists, I got Frank on a preschool list for the fall.  I could only find one preschool in Seattle that takes children at 2 that is not a co-op.  The co-ops are really big here, and though I am all for parental involvement and everything, I just don’t think I could make it work while also taking care of a newborn.  The school I found is only 2 blocks from the house, and he would go two mornings a week.  I haven’t heard yet if there is space in his class, but we are keeping our fingers (and toes and arms and legs) crossed that he gets in.  I know he would love it; he really loved Mothers Day Out in Dallas.  Not to mention how much I loved the few hours’ break every week.

That is pretty much the news from here.  We are continuing to meet up with friends of friends.  Frank and I have a playdate scheduled tomorrow with the wife and kids of one of Heath’s co-workers.  They also live in Queen Anne and one of their children will be in the same grade as Frank.  I am hoping one of these random meetings turns into a real friend.  It would certainly be nice to have someone local to call from time to time!

Holy Pink Princesses!

Let me be the first to introduce you to Baby Girl “Beans” Dixon!  Unfortunately, I don’t have a scanner here in the apartment, so I had to take a picture of the ultrasound photo in order to post it.  You can still tell that she is beautiful and looks perfectly content cuddled up in my belly.  We are so excited to add a girl to the family!  I am ready to have an even playing field in the battle of the sexes!  Although, I guess we are still outnumbered if you count Emmitt the dog.

We are settling in nicely in Seattle.  Frank and I have enrolled in Little Gym, so we have at least one scheduled activity every week.  He has moved up in Little Gym ranks to the Beasts class.  So far, we have been Bugs, Birds, and now Beasts.  They do more independent activities in Beasts, which means Frank does a lot of running away from the group and watching the window for passing buses.  But, he does still enjoy playing the tambourine and doing his forward rolls and shooting baskets and chasing bubbles.  I did notice this past week that there are a few other pregnant moms in the class, so I need to make it my goal to speak to these people.  I might just make a friend in this town yet!

The few acquaintances we do have in Seattle have been very welcoming!  We have had dinner with one of my law school friends and her daughter, a playdate and dinner with one of Heath’s law school friends and her family, and lots of quality time with our real estate agent!  The house search has been quite daunting so far.  With so little knowledge of the neighborhoods and city geography in general, we have had a tough time even figuring out where houses are located.  My first week here, I looked at so many houses that were so wrong for us!  That experience helped us narrow our criteria, and so now we are able to sit back and wait for new listings to come up.  I don’t want to jinx anything, but we actually saw one house yesterday that we liked enough to bid on.  If our offer is accepted, I’ll update with more details later!

So, as you can tell we are keeping relatively busy.  On our slower days, Frank and I like to walk around downtown Seattle.  We have been down to the Pike Place Market several times.  I even had the nerve to buy some salmon and produce from the vendors earlier this week!  Sure beats Kroger.  We finally made it up to the top of the Space Needle last Saturday.  What a great experience that was!  Short line to buy tickets (Frank was free!), short elevator ride, and there we were!  It was absolutely nothing like the 2+ hour ordeal that is the Empire State Building, and I was pleasantly shocked to say the least.  The view was gorgeous that day — sunny and clear.  You could even see Mt. Rainier, which (as crazy as this sounds) can completely disappear in clouds or fog.  I mean, this mountain is so HUGE; but, most winter days you would never know it existed!

This is a pretty good shot of Heath and Frank with downtown and Mt. Rainier in the background.

I’ll close with an apology about my sheer laziness regarding this blog.  Some days, there’s so little going on that I have nothing to write about.  Other days, I am so busy that I haven’t got time to write.  Plus, I must say I prefer writing on my desktop with the huge monitor.  My tiny netbook isn’t quite as comfy for blogging.  Anyway, I realize those are all lame excuses, so I promise to be more consistent.  I also need to take more pictures!  All I have to leave you with is Baby Beans and her creepy Skeletor smile!!

Yikes, girl!  Put some meat on those bones!!

We’ve arrived (and survived)!

We made the big move to Seattle on Sunday.  It was a long day, but Frank was a champ on the flight.  I snapped a few pictures of the momentous occasion: I think this was just prior to take-off.  He was very excited to be on the plane!  Actually, he was just excited to be with his Daddy, whom he had not really seen for three weeks.  Note the Dallas Cowboys track suit.  Fat lot of good that did us! He was a bit apprehensive of the moving sidewalk in the Seattle airport.  BTW, if any of you Mommies out there do not have this contraption which turns the carseat into a stroller, you must purchase post-haste.  I think it is called something ridiculous like GoGo Kidz carseat caddy.  You can get it from Amazon.com, of course!

Happy Daddy and Frank with all of our luggage…not including the 14 boxes we Fed Ex’ed to ourselves and the two suitcases Heath brought up two weeks ago. Glad we came in shifts!

Anyway, our temporary housing is pretty nice.  It’s a furnished apartment in downtown Seattle.  We are pretty close to a bunch of cute restaurants, shops, and bars.  I’m sure I’ll be hanging out in all of those places a lot.  Ha.  The weather has been nice since we arrived, and it is supposed to be sunny at least through the weekend!  We ordered a new stroller that is supposed to arrive today, so Frank and I are hoping to take a walk this evening to check the place out.

The good news/bad news is that Heath is already doing so well at his job that they’ve trusted him to travel to Dublin to negotiate a big deal.  So, after being here 1.5 days, we took him back to the airport today.  He’ll be gone for 8 days…I suppose this will force me to learn my way around!  Thank goodness for the GPS (or as our good friend Sarah B. would call her, “the Lady”)!  The Lady will be leading us through the winding streets of Seattle neighborhoods in no time!

We’ll start our house search in earnest tomorrow morning with the realtor.  I’m ready to find a place of our own, but I’m also glad to have a break from unpacking the 578 individual items that I sent off in that truck last Friday.  Yikes.

I’ll keep you all posted as things progress.  Thanks for all of the well-wishes and prayers over the past couple of weeks.  We are very lucky to have friends like you.  We can’t wait to have you all out to visit us!

Out with the old…

So, I feel like I have a pretty good excuse for not blogging the whole month of December.  As most of you know, the first half of the month was devoted to getting our house on the market, and the second half of the month was devoted to holiday travel and festivities!  The great news is that the house sold within 8 or 9 days of putting it on the market.  In fact we only had to leave the house two or three times for showings!    Now, I find myself in the throes of packing/donating/trashing all of our things.  Knowing our new house will likely be smaller than our current house (and having our resident packrat already in Seattle and out of my hair), I hope I’m able to throw a bunch of stuff OUT!  My mom will be coming to Dallas tomorrow to help out with the packing and childcare during what promises to be a pretty hectic week.  But enough dwelling on the dread to come…instead, we could look at pictures from our very busy and very fun December!

Frank has really become interested in “reading” lately.  He can climb up into the rocking chair in his room by himself and fetch his books.  Well, most of the time, they all end up on the floor, but he tries.  He especially likes the book of photos of his family.  He has gotten really good at identifying his grandparents and cousins.  His current favorite person in the world (besides Dadda) is my niece Lenzy (“Eensy”).  He can find every picture of her in the house.  His current favorite book is “Goodnight Gorilla.”  He likes it when we get to the page where the zookeeper’s wife discovers all the animals are in their bedroom.  The page is all black except for her big, white surprised eyes.  When we get to that page, Frank gasps his breath, makes his best look of surprise and exclaims, “OH NO!”  Every time.  It’s hysterical.

We stretched the holidays out for several weeks this year, wanting to make sure we spent as much time as possible with both sides of the family.  We spent a few days hanging out in Plano with the Dixons and Furreys, and we took our annual trip to the Galleria to people-watch and eat Mexican food.  This year, we had to go the Saturday before Christmas instead of Christmas Eve, and it was quite a bit more crowded.  Call me Scrooge, but I’d rather be anywhere but a mall on the Saturday before Christmas.

Next, our travels took us to Little Rock to visit the Vaughts/Kueblers/Smiths, etc.  We stayed almost a week, which is more time than we’ve been there for the holidays in a long time.  It rained the whole week.  No, I take that back…it POURED.  Like, the animals were pairing up.  But that did not stop us from riding the downtown trolley car to see Christmas lights or hanging out with Santa or having several family get-togethers!

Frank, of course, got a TON of Christmas loot.  Santa (“Ho Ho”) was very good to him.  Despite that, he still really loves to play with all of my “vintage” 1970’s toys when he visits my parents.  Here he is walking a pathetic little wooden doggie, which I’m sure is covered in lead paint and asbestos.

Frank was not the only one who had fun over the holidays.  Our very best friends here in Dallas (Jenny, Tiffany, Kallie, and Craig) took us to the Lakewood Country Club wine room (fancy!) for a going away dinner!  Mind you, I’m terrible at goodbyes, so I’ve already set up a lunch with the girls for next week, and then I’ll probably stop by their houses next weekend…I just don’t ever want to say the official “farewell.”

Okay, it’s selfish but the best part of the month of December was our trip to Turks & Caicos.  Just Heath and me.  No Frank.  No dog.  No parents.  No offense.  It was our first time away for that long, and we sure did miss Frank.  But he had a great time with both sets of grandparents and cousins, and according to all reports, didn’t even notice we were gone.  We had a wonderful time doing what we do best: lounging and eating.  Although we did go snorkeling one day, which was quite an adventure…

The cool part was Heath finding a second career as a conch hunter!  He seriously found six or seven of them (to everyone else’s one or zero).

The not-as-cool part was running into these baracuda.  Sorry for the quality of the picture; it was taken with one of those underwater disposable numbers.  Suffice it to say, these guys were scary and a little too close to me.  I spent the rest of the trip on the boat.

Other than our one day of adventure, however, we stayed close to the beach, pool, and eating establishments.  Here is a picture of us all gussied up for New Year’s Eve:

We even had a great view of a beach fireworks show from our private balcony!

Happy New Year, Everyone!  I hope your year is not as crazy as ours is likely to be. 

Because, did I mention, in addition to the moving across the country, we are also having another baby??  Yup!

Headed West

Sometimes life throws you a curveball and you actually swing at it. 

In case you haven’t heard, we are moving to Seattle!  This is truly one of the most exciting and, at the same time, nerve-racking events of my life…On one hand, it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen — all the water and the mountains and the gorgeous old homes and the rows and rows of houseboats.  On the other hand, it’s SOOOOO far from home.  I mean, it’s in the Pacific Time Zone for crying out loud.  If you want to get to Europe from there, you “fly over the pole.”  The NORTH pole.  Like where Santa lives.  But, on the flip side, it’s only a five hour flight to Hawaii, so that’s a plus…

I guess I should back up and give you some insight as to how we got here.  Sometime way back in August, Heath got a phone call from a recruiter.  As a lawyer, this is really nothing new.  I used to get calls two or three times a week trying to entice me to jump ship and join another (virtually identical) law firm in downtown Dallas.  I always gave them the same response: “Why would I want to go down the street and do the same boring  job for the same ungrateful clients for the same pay at some random place where I don’t even know anyone?  At least here I have friends.”  Heath, conversely, always chats these people up.  When he was at the firm, he would feign interest and gather all kinds of good information (who was hiring, why they were hiring, how much they were paying, why they thought he’d be willing to leave the firm, etc.) and then he would take all that info to our recruiting department and gossip about it.  Clever, I must admit.  Anyway, now that he works “in house,” the calls don’t come as frequently and they are usually not your top offers (“How would YOU like to be general counsel of The Michael Scott Paper Company?”)  What I’m trying to say is that this particular call in August caught his attention. 

The recruiter was from Seattle and she was calling on behalf of Amazon.  Dot Com.  And they wanted Heath.  Not that that should surprise anyone that knows Heath.  He’s kind of a big deal.  At first the offer was very flattering, and we joked about how we would just dump our entire lives here and move to Seattle and drink coffee and wear flannel and discover bands.  Haha, funny, right?  But, as I mentioned before, Heath has a hard time telling these recruiters to buzz off, so she kept calling.  Eventually, we decided it wouldn’t hurt for him to interview with them, brush the dust off his resume, and maybe get a free trip out west.  Of course, the first thing they did was give him a writing assignment.  Oh, wait, this is not as fun as a free trip, I thought.  He worked on it really hard, though, as he does everything.  He even let me “proofread” it, and of course I went nuts and tried to re-write the whole thing.  I was surprised at how much I missed that stuff!  Short-story-long, he (we!) knocked it out of the park, and he moved on to the next phase.

From there, everything started happening really fast — he flew out there and met a bunch of people, they called his references, he was getting phone calls from all kinds of muckety-mucks at Amazon at weird hours (ok, Pacific Time Zone hours).  Pretty soon, I knew we had moved on from the “haha, funny, right?” stage to the “oh wow, you’re serious?” stage.  Before we knew it, he had a real offer and people were calling us about setting up a house-hunting trip!  At that point, I freaked out just a little bit.  I mean, I had never even set foot in the state of Washington!  So, Heath convinced them to call the trip a “decision-making trip” instead of a “house-hunting trip” and that calmed me down some.  Although all we really did on the trip was look at houses!

We took the trip a couple weekends ago and made the decision shortly after our return to Dallas.  We are both giddy with excitement and scared to death at the same time.  We’re trying not to be super sad about leaving our friends and family behind, but that is definitely the hardest part.  We are extremely lucky to have such supportive families and loved ones, who have kept the guilt-trips to a minimum and the promises to visit to a maximum!  Heath will be starting the job on January 4th, and Frank and I will join him as soon as the house is sold (hopefully around the same time!).  We just love the looks of Seattle and can’t wait to discover all the hidden charms. 

We were saying the other day that Seattle reminds us of a cross between Little Rock and Chicago and Lawrence and Estes Park and Blue Mountain Beach…in other words, the places our hearts go to when we are happy!

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