Saturday, May 10, 2014


I have the greatest Mom in the world. Seriously. No offense to any of you reading this who have moms or are moms, but no one holds a candle to terri. Really. I love my mom for a million little things, but here are a couple dozen big reasons why I love her so much.

I love that she's about the cutest thing you've ever seen. Even when she's wearing a brooch on a sweatshirt or children's sandals, she's still pretty stinking adorable.

I love how much she loves my dad.

I love how much she selflessly loves her kids. All five of us.

I love how much she loves her grandkids. All ten of them.

I love our "bits". After that weird early teenage years/arguing with each other every day phase was over, it was "Hey remember when you used to hate me?" and she'd reply, "I never hated you, you hated me!" Then for a while when I'd tease her she'd say, "You're gonna miss me when I'm gone!" To which I'd reply, "Where are you going?" Now on our Tuesday morning calls after she says "Good morning! How are you?" and I mockingly say it back she says, "Are you making fun of your mother?" To which I reply "I wouldn't do that!" And then before we get off the phone she asks me what kind of shoes I have on. None of these things are probably funny to anyone else, but they make me laugh.

I love her faith. She isn't just a Christian, but she really knows and loves Jesus.

I love how humble she is.

I love how smart she is. Beating her at Scrabble is nearly impossible. I think it's because she can un-jumble letters like no one else. In fact, once I gave my fourth graders a word jumble I found online which didn't have an answer key to it. After no one could figure it out, I said, "Hold on kids" and I called her on my cell phone.  I read her the letters and in about 15 seconds she gave us the word.  My students were in awe.

I love how talented she is. The cross stitch things she's done are just beautiful, and she can sing better than anyone you've ever heard.

I love what a good cook she is (and that she makes things on request when I come home).

I love that she doesn't care about things that don't matter. So if she's coming over and there's laundry that needs to be folded or dishes in the sink, she won't even notice.

I love how cute she is when she gets things messed up. Sometimes she will say "She's up a tree without a paddle" or "You've made your bed, now you've got to eat it." Or when she's texting and her iPhone autocorrects, she says "Stupid spell check!" It makes me laugh so hard.

I love that growing up she always wanted all my friends to just call her "mom" (or "terri" at the very most). No formalities in our house.

I love how much she loves the Reds. I mean I like them. I love watching in person, and I will watch the playoff games, but this woman will listen to them on the radio if they're not on TV and at any given moment can name you all the players and probably tell you their batting averages. It's pretty impressive.

I love her sense of humor. She's not a joke teller like her dad was, but when she says something funny, it's really funny.

I love the way we can sometimes look at each other and silently know we are thinking the same things about someone.

I love that she's a perfect balance of the storytelling of her dad and the "Do you like it? Well, you can have it if you want!" of her mom. It's like a little bit of Mamaw and Papaw Wells all rolled into one.

I love how when she texts me she often throws in a bonus PS that's semi-related to what the text is about. I know that's Papaw Wells coming out in her, but I think it's about the cutest thing in the whole world.

I love that she's addicted to her iPad games and if I don't play my turn she will text me or call me to let me know she's waiting.

I love that she brought me up with rules and values. I am thankful that she loved me enough to set boundaries and hold me to high standards.

I love that she taught me life skills. I have known how to budget for groceries, paint a room, and balance a checkbook all before I could even drive a car.

I love how she's so strong, and she's made me strong. I don't even think she knows how strong she is or what a great example she's set for me, but she's fought through some seriously tough crap, and she's about as much strength as you could possibly pack into a 4 ft 10.5 in body.

I love the way she let me be my own person, and continues to support and praise me every chance she gets.

I love that I know whatever I do and wherever life takes me, she will be in my corner cheering me on.

She's the greatest mom a girl could have and I am so very very lucky that she's mine.

Happy Mother's Day Mom! I Love U!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

(Belated) Adventures in Real Estate Part 4: The Cutest House on the Block

For years, I spent my Sunday afternoons the exact same way... Watching endless hours of House Hunters on HGTV while I looked at houses for sale online.  I knew that while I did love my little townhouse, I certainly didn't want to stay there forever.  One Saturday evening in early May, I found myself watching a House Hunters marathon, and instinctively, I picked up my iPad and opened the Zillow app, which was set to filter new listings in Lexington.  That's when I saw it... The Cutest House on the Block. OMG, it was adorable.  It was everything I wanted in a house: an older home, hardwood floors, a fireplace, back deck, and a porch swing! It was even on a street I'd always loved, and the icing on the cake: walking distance to Commonwealth Stadium. I fell in love. 

As luck would have it, there was an Open House scheduled the next day. Sunday afternoon at 2 rolled around and the storms rolled in.  I thought it was ridiculous to get out in the downpour to see a house I probably wouldn't even get, but I decided to do it anyway.  When I got there, it was even cuter in person.  The rooms were just big enough (I am not a "this master bedroom isn't big enough" kind of girl), the closets were a good size for a house built in 1920 (I am not a "where's the walk in closet?" kind of girl either). The master bathroom (!) was huge, but the kitchen threw me off.  I actually stood in the corner with my arms crossed for long enough that the owner/realtor came over and said "Can I answer any questions?" I replied with, "Yeah, how do you cook in here?"  It just seemed so SMALL, and it didn't even have a dishwasher.  Hmmm... maybe this wasn't the house for me.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I emailed the owner and asked her the dimensions of the bedrooms, which happened to be almost identical to my townhouse. Monday morning at work I was showing everyone the listing on LBAR, and then I got an email from the owner that someone was about to make an offer.  I was so sad! I hadn't even called a realtor to get my townhouse listed yet! So I decided to go ahead and get that started... but before my realtor could even get my townhouse listed, the Cutest House on the Block was "Sale Pending."  Then I was REALLY sad.  As Cinderella (the 80's band, not the Disney Princess) says "Don't know what you've got til its gone..." I'd lost this house I loved.  But the kitchen was small.  And it didn't have a dishwasher.  I don't think I wanted it anyway (I told myself).

I decided to go ahead with the house search, as I had my townhouse listed, and I really did want to move.  I looked at several houses in the same general area... but nothing that I really loved.  Then one day my realtor said he had a new listing to show me in that area.  "Where is it?" I asked and he replied with an address that sounded very familiar.  It was The Cutest House on the Block.  It was back on the market.  We went the next afternoon and it was cuter than I'd remembered.  I could see myself here.  It had everything I wanted.  And while the kitchen was still lacking a dishwasher, I swear it grew in size from the first time I'd seen it.  Plus, I can wash dishes by hand. Heavens, I'm only feeding one person, and sometimes that person just wants a bowl of Lucky Charms!

It had been several weeks and no one had even looked at my townhouse yet.  I wasn't sure this trying to move was a good idea.  I prayed about it and figured it wouldn't hurt to talk to the bank.  The loan officer asked if I was going to move before I sold my townhouse.  I'm pretty sure I looked at him like he had seven heads and said something profound like, "Ummmm.... NO!" However, for some reason, they ran my preapproval with my townhouse mortgage still listed as a monthly expense. It came back preapproved for just over the list price of The Cutest House on the Block (at this point, I realize I could begin to abbreviate it as TCHOTB but I don't want to). So while I knew it wasn't logical to proceed in buying a house when I already owned a house, I did have some options at this point.

I decided to put an offer on the house, contingent on my townhouse selling.  After a touch of back and forth (where I found out I couldn't have the pot rack or the porch swing!), we had a contingency contract signed. Once my contingency offer was accepted, I had to decide if she got another offer, and I had the chance to pull my contingency, would I do it? It seemed ridiculous. I decided to pray about it.  I prayed a LOT about it, and I just really felt like God would work out the details.  So, I called the bank, then my realtor, and decided to go ahead and pull the contingency clause out myself to get the ball rolling.  After all, I did want to be in by football season!

So six months ago today, I signed my life away, and got the keys to my house.  My REAL house. The Cutest House on the Block.  I couldn't move in until she got the rest of her stuff out, which was that night, but I was so anxious (and have such good friends) that we brought over one truckload and one Equinox-load at about 10pm. We brought in the washer and dryer, cleaning supplies, and several boxes. I gave the McCartys the tour and then for good measure we took the first pic!
Lucky for Ryan, he has this thing called a regular job, which might require him to work weekends.  His wife, however, does not have that luxury and I was thankful for that.  On that Saturday, we attended the UK Women's Football Clinic...

Painted a refrigerator... (I wish we had a picture of us trying to get the fridge outside!)

Seriously, how awesome is this?

Where we learned about the dangers of DIY...

We also moved a full size cherry bed, mattress, and box spring (another thing I wished I had video of), wandered around Lowe's for what seemed like forever looking for approximately three things that we COULD NOT FIND, and then drove off from the drive thru window of Chick Fil A with only part of our order.  Yeah, we were tired.

I'm blessed that in the hottest summer ever (do you guys remember that thing... "hot"?) somehow that day, the weather was wonderful. Because of that, and because somehow I have pretty amazing friends, the next day three more people showed up to help me move! Even better than that, two were guys and the other is the strongest girl I know, (thanks again Bret, Micah, and Amanda!), so by about 4pm on Sunday, I was in.  And by IN, I mean in the middle of boxes. That's when I called in reinforcements by the name of Whitney.  I still say that had she not come over, my dining room would be filled with boxes to this day.  After three days of moving I couldn't even think straight.  I said "I can't do it! I can't decide where all the things in those boxes go! I can't!" And sweet Whitney, who probably thought I was acting like HJ, picked up one thing and said "How about this bowl? Where is this bowl going to go?" And she kept me out of the boxes and just brought me things one at a time until it was all put up.

So that's the story. Six months later I couldn't be happier.  Oh, and a few notes for the road: I unexpectedly got a raise at work enough to cover the townhouse mortgage, then I found a renter who signed a 2 year lease. Also, I found out that the day I put in my contingency offer on this place, there were two other offers that were supposed to come in, but they both backed out at the last minute.  When God works out the details, He does a really good job! :)