Friday, March 20, 2009

Heading to Fergus

I'm heading to Fergus Falls for the weekend! I'm going to be able to meet with a bunch of people about some wedding stuff, and really looking forward to doing that in person instead of just over the phone. The time will go quick as always, I'm sure, so I'm guessing I won't get to see everyone I would want to, but it'll be still be fun to be in town -even if it's for a short visit!


I have a special request to put out there for anyone in the Fergus area: I'm looking for a place to stay for me and 2 or 3 of my bridesmaids during the few days leading up to the wedding. I have Brent and his guys all taken care of, thanks to the amazing Ellis' family, but am looking for a "girls place" to stay. Any ideas?

What would be ideal is if you happen to know someone who's going on their summer vacation that week and we could just use their house. Or, if you knew of another family with good basement space that's out of the way, or something along those lines. I'm not sure if I'll arrive on Wednesday or Thursday, July 8th or 9th and then I'll, of course, not need to stay after Saturday :) but probably having it available for the girls until Sunday would be nice.

We're all highly responsible, completely trustworthy people, who are mostly looking for a place that we can come-and-go pretty easy since I'm sure we'll be busy running around with wedding stuff. We'd just love a bed and shower, and are trying to save on costs.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Home, Sweet, Almost-Home!

We bought a house!

One of the first questions we contemplated after Brent and I got engaged was the obvious "where will we live?" I have a short-term lease on an apartment and Brent is currently renting a townhouse with a couple of roommates, so we knew we'd find a new place together. The bigger question was whether or not to rent or buy? It's hard to pass up the great rates being offered now, and the many options of homes for sale, but buying means cash down and renting means we wouldn't be committed more long-term. Well, after much discussion we both decided that buying is always best -if we could find the right house. We did!!

We spent quite a bit of February in meetings either with the realtor or a banker, and early on found the house we both love. After we decided to put an offer on it, our offer was accepted without even a counter-offer, but then after the home inspection there was a bit of negotiating going on. There is quite a bit that's updated, but a few things that need to be fixed, and we found out last week that the sellers are going to fix everything we're asking for! What a blessing!!!

When I uploaded pictures as a group, they loaded in backwards order of what I thought, so some of these might be confusing in figuring out the layout. I guess we'll have to do a video tour once we move in!

Here's the 2 1/2 car garage that Brent LOVES! It's a man's dream. New, clean, and big! In fact, when I saw it for the first time I said "you know when my dad sees this, he's going to want to move in!"
The front room is currently being used as the dining room, but we'll make it the living room which makes most sense in the layout of the house.

A view from the stairway of the foyer where you can see the new living room on the left, and then the dining room is just to the right of the picture.

From the foyer looking into the living room.

An angle of the living room from the dining room. I love leaded glass windows and this house has some beautiful ones!

This is what will be the new dining room, located between the living room and the kitchen. One of the two porches is out that door.

The foyer, taken from the doorway to the living room. You can see the downstairs bathroom on the left, and you can also see the beautiful staircase with amazing woodwork.
The downstairs bathroom. I love the bead board and have good painting plans.

The claw foot tub is just to the right of the door.

The kitchen was recently redone. It has great cabinets with a huge amount of storage. The window by the plant is a large window with a window-seat. There's a good dishwasher and fridge, but we'll plan on getting a new stove sometime soon.

The fridge is located just inside the butler's pantry, and is across from a built in hutch.

Looking from the sink back towards the dining room on the right and the back entryway and basement on the left.

The leaded-glass window on the stairway landing.

The top of the stairs, which leads to a loft area.
I love, love, love all the great woodwork in this house, and this wall on the stairway is the best. Such great detail!

From this angle you can see the foyer, then the living room on the left, the dining room on the right and the kitchen through the dining room. There's also this little bonus room to the right of the dining room but I didn't upload a picture of that. It has a big woodstove in it currently, but the seller are taking that.
The top of the stairway/loft area. I think we'll eventually use this as an office or library or something along those lines. The bigger guestroom is on the right and you can't see if from this picture but on the left is the smaller guestroom/office. The photographer is standing in the master bedroom doorway.
The smaller guestroom/office.
The larger guestroom. Come visit us anytime!!!! I really mean that!!!!
The master bedroom.
Still the master bedroom. The window overlooks the backyard.
This picture must have scanned in strange, it's all a little squished. This is the upstairs bathroom, which has one door to the hallway and another door directly to the master bedroom. It needs a paint job soon and will probably end up yellow -my favorite color!

Behind that shower curtain you might be able to see the maroon tiles that I don't like at all. We'll re-tile eventually, but in the meantime, can you paint tiles?
So that's our new house! We'll close the end of April and Brent said that I should be the one that gets to move in so I can start getting everything all settled, and then he'll just take over my lease until our wedding. We're pretty amazed at how well everything has worked out. It's been very evident that the Lord has had His hand in all this!

I really mean it that you're welcome to visit anytime -you know I love being hospitable!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Curious George.... I mean, Curious David

Guess who's TWO? That's right, David turned two on Sunday! Brent and I got to head back to the Twin Cities to help him celebrate.

His parents hosted a little birthday party for him, held at my parents house. They decided this curious little guy should have a Curious George-themed party. Very fitting! He was honored by the presence of family and friends, and we all had a great time!

The house filled with food and people.
Lots of ballons, a "2"-shaped pinata, and a Curious George birthday cake.
David had a lot of fun opening his presents. Here he is BEFORE the big pile of wrapping or tissue paper was strewn about the floor.
I think this guy's name is Handy Manny.
David would plop the present down in his mom's lap to get "help" to open the present.
He was really appreciative of people's generosity and wanted to dig right into each present!
My mom and dad gave him this great tricycle that has a handle on the back. Looks like fun!
The lovebirds during the party.
"Someone" is always a goofball..... How do you think our wedding pictures will go? :)
David's other grandparents gave him this cool "Cars" chair. He loves it! Looks like he already knows how to lounge pretty well!
The chair also folds back so he can drive it. Now he just needs to remember to face forward while driving!
Better watch out for this climber!

After the people left, we just hung out as a family for a bit. David has really warmed up to Almost-Uncle Brent and it's so fun to watch them together! Here they are in the living room having some fun together. Sorry about the sideways screen, I can't remember how to change it! You'll hear that David's learning new words all the time, and he said "more" a lot as Brent would throw him in the air! I guess in preschool he's also been playing "Ring Around the Rosie" so that's what he's doing at the end, and then goes quickly to "all fall down!" (sorry about the bright sunlight going through the mini-blinds)

David's Birthday from Kari Swanson on Vimeo.

It was so fun to see everyone again, hear all of David's new words, and help him celebrate turning two.

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's March? Already? Are you sure?

Has anyone seen February? It seemed to disappear for me and I can't find it anywhere! It turns out that I only had ONE blog post in the month of February and I looked back at my archives and it turns out that's the least in a month, ever! No wonder people have been checking in to see if I'm still alive and well!

Well, yes. I am alive and doing quite well! I'm not on my own computer at the moment, so you won't get any pictures with this post, but I can still share a little bit about my last month.

I'm here in Appleton, and getting settled into life around here. Brent and I are figuring out our "normal routine" and then find that it changes often! :) Isn't that true for most people?

I've been off of orientation at work for about a week and it's going well so far. I like my unit, the patients we have here, and the people I work with. I think it will be a good fit. I get to work with both adult and pediatric patients, so I'm thankful that I didn't have to give up either population. I'm working 11pm-7am three shifts a week. I don't have my work days all in a row, so that means my sleep/schedule is a bit messed up because I go back and forth a lot either sleeping at night or during the day. But, the bonus is that I get to have my evenings free to hang out with Brent, so that's obviously a huge blessing!

February was filled with a lot of appointments -for something really fun! I'm going to wait with posting any more about it until things are more finalized, but hopefully you'll get to read about it soon!

February was also filled with lots of wedding planning, as you might imagine. This has been a little stressful at times, but overall I'm still enjoying it. I will admit, though, I can understand why people elope! :) I think things are going much better for me now that we have most of the main stuff taken care of -which mostly involved making sure that the people we wanted for stuff were free on our date and now reserved for us. Then, I can take each item individually and work on making specific decisions as they come up.

The other harder part of wedding planning has been that I've been basically doing it all alone here in Appleton. Don't get me wrong, Brent's been great and super helpful, but as one friend put it, I've been doing it without "feminine input". That's so true! He'll listen to anything I want to talk about, but I'm not sure he has a strong opinion about this shade of red or that one.... :)

Just this week I've been having a couple of separate email conversations with friends about different topics, and at the bottoms of those emails I wrote "I wish I were having this conversation with you while sitting around my dining room table!" It's so true! I am a person who thinks best while processing aloud, and at this point a lot of our wedding planning is happening by email.

I think I'll really like it here in Appleton, and feel like I'm starting to find my niche. In February we were invited over to one of Brent's co-workers home and I really enjoy him, his wife and their kids. I'm looking forward to more time spent together. I also got together with one of Brent's friends that I had been Facebook friends with and it turns out we have a lot in common, and a lot of fun together! We've also been spending time with Brent's family, and his friends around here. Two of his groomsmen are friends from here and I really enjoy both of them and look forward to times we can get together with them. Slowly but surely the friendships are coming!

It was really hard for a while, to be in a new town, with a new job, a new apartment, a new church, and even a relatively new relationship, and not have really anything familiar like my family, my friends, or my church family around. But, after I realized that those are all the major stressors in life and I was experiencing them all at once, I was able to let go of a lot of that stress and just understand that that's the way it is for now. I can do a pretty good job of making myself feel a certain way! And the truth is, I know that things like friendships take time, and I can see down the road to when I will have close friends around here, so I can just spend this time enjoying life in the process.

So, that got to be a super long post. Sorry about that! For those of you who stuck with it, thanks! :) I guess the length is to make up for the lack of posts in February!

After Brent's done with school on Friday we're heading to the Twin Cities for the weekend for David's SECOND birthday party. He'll be TWO already... Can you believe it? Watch for some fun pictures from our time there!