First things first, I took a giant leap of faith in myself and decided to embark upon a new career path earlier this year. Upon returning from maternity leave, I began a series of interviews that ultimately led to a job offer in a field that is vastly different from anything I have done before. Thankfully, I am still with the same organization which has made the transition much easier. It's always nice when you don't have to start completely over and are able to see the same friendly faces day after day. My new role offers more flexibility and allows me to utilize my degree, get involved with the community, and hopefully have an impact in something that I am very passionate about. It really is a win-win. I have successfully survived my first month and have dove in head first with the utmost confidence in my abilities knowing I have a great organization behind me. I feel like the sky is the limit, and I'm incredibly grateful for this new opportunity. Thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated as there is a great deal of (local) travel involved!
Let's see...what else? We traded in my Explorer for a 4Runner this summer, and I am in love! I have always wanted a 4Runner but could never afford one (since they hold their value so well), so when we stumbled upon a fairly new one that was in great condition and in our budget we went to see it immediately. Now, test driving a vehicle with 2 kids is certainly not a fun experience (more like car seat rearranging hell) and waiting for the dealership to work through financing paperwork by yourself with 2 kids is probably even worse, but the rush of accomplishment I felt upon signing those papers was totally worth it. Although we completely destroyed the waiting room, left a trail of Honey Grahams through the main lobby, and walked out of the place looking like the Hot Mess Express, I felt like a total badass pulling off the lot in my brand new-to-me ride. But my moment of glory was quickly shattered by Taylor's screams of hunger and Logan's dirty diaper, and before I knew it my 2 year old was throwing french fries on the floor while I was changing what may have been the worst blowout ever in the back of my brand new car. Ah, motherhood.
We made another slightly larger purchase at the end of the summer when we closed on piece of land in Ashland, Missouri, a small town about 20 minutes from where we currently live, where we plan to build our forever home. We decided early on that we did not want to send our kids to Columbia Public Schools (mostly due to the size and ever-changing district lines) and decided that Ashland would be the perfect place to raise our children based on size, community, school system, safety, and distance to work. After watching every decent house in our price range sell within 24-48 hours of going on the market, we quickly realized that building was going to be our only option. We went back and forth on whether to build on a smaller sized lot within a subdivision (similar to our current home) or buy a few acres out of town to provide ourselves with a little bit of privacy. At the end of the day, we decided that building within a subdivision would allow our children to be closer to school, the park, and their friends. And when we found out that our best friends had purchased a lot in the same subdivision we were interested in, our decision was made. We ended up buying the lot adjacent to their property, so we will literally be next door neighbors to four of our favorite people in the entire world. I couldn't be more excited! Well, I guess I could if we weren't waiting until Spring of 2018 to break ground, but life is expensive and we hope to pay off our land before building which is basically like buying the most delicious looking cheesecake, sitting it on your kitchen counter, and then telling yourself you can't eat it for 18 months. It's just not fair.
Aside from buying things and making big life plans, we have mostly just been enjoying this amazing weather and some bonding time with the kids. Jake is gearing up for his rush season which will completely consume his life in about 5 weeks, so we have been making the most of our weekends by alternating trips to visit friends and family (and pumpkin patches) and spending leisurely weekends at home (complete with neighborhood walks and trips to the park). Jake's mom and step-dad came to visit in late September, and we celebrated not one but THREE birthdays in the same weekend. Of course, Taylor's took top billing with a carnival themed party that she is still thanking us for. The kids and I had our first bout of sickness last week, so that was fun as well. I'm looking forward to a couple weeks of health before the next round hits. Tis the season!
All jokes aside, this life really is oh so good, but if it could slow down for just a moment I would really appreciate it. One thing is certain, 2016 has been very good to us, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.