Thursday, April 30, 2009

Closed, Sold, Done!

Hello, friends! I've been missing you. For one whole day...but, it seems like forever. Heather, you flatter me, by the way. :)

Where to start? House is no longer ours. There are people sleeping in there now that we do not know and it always seems weird. We didn't love this house like our first.....we built that home from day 1 and were there for 4 years. This one, we bought and it didn't have everything we wanted, but we sacrificed in order to ensure lots of activity in this lovely area of the country. More ski trips than most natives can boast, camping, hiking, traveling through the Rockies, into Aspen and beyond.....we loved every minute.

We also brought a newborn home to this house....and two kiddos learned to walk on these wooden floors. So, we are leaving some milestones behind, but taking precious memories with us.

This house brought some heartache, though. A year and a half ago, my sister and closest friend, Caroline, was told by her doctors that she could no longer visit us in Denver due to the altitude not being safe for her body. Her Scleroderma and PAH require lower living and so as soon as we learned this news, Blake started the job search outside of Colorado. We were blessed with a few options.....the one he pursued brings us to Kansas and includes a promotion, too, so we are excited for the future ahead. Yay for frequent visits from Aunt Caroline!

Britney and I have grown closer than ever over the last couple of years, as well. Kansas City is a 7 hour drive from Dallas.....which will allow us to visit often and will strengthen the bonds in our kids that we have cherished between Carter and Trysten over the years. Cousins are so important in life. Some of my best memories include time with my cousins and I'm thrilled to provide the same to our kids.

We are at the hotel now and until Sunday, when Carter receives his First Holy Communion. Luckily, we found a suite/apartment type accommodation with multiple rooms and plenty of space. Absolutely needed for 3 kids! Took the fam out to dinner this evening at Hacienda Colorado and were reminded why we do not eat out. The two margaritas we requested (and drank only one of each) barely numbed the pain of a $90 tab....all for scrambling to keep kids quiet and orderly and not bothering other diners. It's just not worth it at this point!

Today, we learned the house officially closed. More sweet than bitter after this long 7 month single motherhood. We picked up some prescriptions, took Jack to his 3 year old well check, and completed Carter's withdrawal forms for the 2nd grade. Summer vacation starts at 3:25pm tomorrow for this lucky kid. Happy for that.....didn't want him to have to transfer to Kansas schools for just a couple of weeks. We're well equipped for the summer with his Bridge Workbook and lots of chapter books to keep him reading and prepared for the 3rd grade.

Back to the house.....a few pics before we said a final good-bye!

Loved the 3 windows in a row as well as the morning light in this room.

Stairs cut through the middle of the house going up to the 2nd floor and down to the basement, too. I love dramatic staircases and with time, we would have made this one beautiful.

Loved that kitchen island. Meals, homework, and lots of diaper changes. (Sorry to anyone who ever ate at our house. We used sanitizing wipes. Promise!)

A welcome gift and keys for the new owners.

It took me a while to like the construction of houses in Colorado since we were so accustomed to brick. Turns out this style is more suited for the weather. Who knew?

I loved our huge front porch on this house and also the colors......olive green with plum shutters and a plum front door. A bit funky, but toned down enough to blend in.

The drive out. Bye-bye house!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I Love Celebrities

Like my friend, Carrie!

Look how cute she and Hagen are in their debut print feature on DFW Kids Directory.

Click here.


Current State Of Life

This is what our house looks like right now:

We're doing well despite the transition of our posessions. The packing team has been fantastic.....well organized and very efficient. Blake has had the kids out each day having fun and keeping them busy. We move into a hotel this evening in Cherry Creek for the remainder of the week and until we venture out to Kansas!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kelly Corrigan On Unabashedly Bookish

Don't miss Kelly Corrigan's weekly posts on Barnes & Noble's new site, Unabashedly Bookish. Can't wait to see what perspective she'll bring!

She started yesterday, will post each Monday through June 1st, and videos will be included.

Click here to get started.

Jack's 3rd Birthday Party

Our middle child turned 3 yesterday. We celebrated on Saturday with friends and family. A last good-bye of sorts in addition to cake and fun!

Kiddos before the party......


Look at this cake. It started out with 3 choo choos plus candles and then Jack added the rest of the set. Dinosaurs were an addition as well!

Our precious birthday boy.

Present time.

I love when Jack puts his arm around Lainey. Not sure she feels the same.

We ended the evening with group pictures. Sad to leave friends and family behind, but we'll be back to visit.

The DeCoccos.

Our Colorado family.

Fuller family. Maddie was our babysitter and we'll miss her so much!

We celebrated again yesterday with cupcakes and ice cream and more gifts. Now, on to the house and more prep for Kansas. Last night in the house tonight!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Question Of The Week

We woke to huge snowflakes falling and a few inches of snow already on the ground. Hard to believe we're anywhere near summer at this point!

Had a great day skiing and we're now preparing for Kansas. The packing team is here and has started on the kitchen. Blake has the little ones out for a day of fun while I am at the house. There is a lot to organize.....packing clothes for our hotel stay....getting ready for First Communion.....keeping cleaning supplies in the house so that we can leave it in good shape for the buyers......maintaining Carter in school with 2 major projects due this week.....continuing to prepare utilities and such for our new home.....all the while living life here while we have it!

So, with that in mind, I'm still all for relocation. We had a great experience coming here to Colorado and now can't wait to get to Kansas. Yes, there are a lot of headaches and it's an emotional process on many levels, but to me, it is all worth it. Life is so short....I want to experience as many parts of the country as possible! And, I would be totally willing to go overseas, but it's not a possibility with Blake's career.

We have been fortunate enough over the past few years to make it back to Texas often and have had lots of visits here from family and friends. Kansas brings us even closer to the important people in our lives....while keeping us in a different part of the with seasons and an identity all of its own, which we love.

***What about you? Would you relocate? Have you? What are your thoughts?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Family Reunited

I got out bed today at 12:30pm. Didn't even know I could still do that!

Blake arrived last night at 7:00.....we welcomed him home at the airport in typical Starnes family style.

Looking for Daddy coming up on the escalator.

This one sums it all up.....

Lots to do today for Jack's party and then we're into the mountains tomorrow to ski. Last time as a resident of time, we'll be on vacation!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Last Few Days

Movers arrive on Monday! Here's the brief version of our next 10 days.

Blake flies in today. BIG reunion at the airport. Family fun tonight. Lots of shopping (kid free!) tomorrow for various things in preparation for Jack's birthday party and Carter's First Communion. Jack's party tomorrow night. Ski day on Sunday. Monday - Wednesday will be a combination of organizing the packing team while keeping the toddlers busy. Wednesday, truck drives out and we move into a hotel. Fun for the kids as we keep them entertained until mass rehearsal on Saturday....actual sacrament on Sunday! Reception to follow....back to our neighbors' house to pick up Batman and change clothes.....lots of hugs and tears as we say goodbye to the precious DeCocco family.....and we're on the road to our new home!

Another hotel stay and then keys and the truck arrive Monday morning. More days of keeping kids busy while I unpack and get us settled.

Whew!!!! I think I need a Red Bull.

3 kids with our traditional claim stamp engraved on the house we leave behind.

Here's to a busy weekend, lots of change and great things ahead!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One More Night Night Time

September 2006
Carter age 5; Jack age 5 months

April 2009
Carter age 8; Jack almost 3; Lainey 19 months

A different relocation.....Dallas to Denver.....but the same message. The first photo was taken the night before Blake arrived back to Dallas to move us to Colorado.

Fast forward 2 years and 8 months.....tonight is "one more night night time" before Blake arrives back to move us to Kansas.

Couldn't help but recreate this special night in honor of our family reuniting tomorrow! It's time! We're ready! See you tomorrow, babe!

Lainey Video

There isn't a whole lot to this video, but it makes me giggle because before I started recording, I didn't realize Lainey had a piece of grape stuck on her teeth, so she looks quite odd.

Blake taught Lainey to say, "Hellloooooo, Daaaaaddy!" while in town last and I was trying to get her to say it here.

She does see me zoom in at one point and thinks I'm going to take a picture......immediately goes into cheese mode.....fake smile, "Cheese! Got it." She and Jack have both taken on this language because when I take photos, I say just that......"Say cheese, kids. OK, got it." The things I'm inadvertently teaching this crew. Need to make some changes!

Bye Bye To Boulder

One of our favorite places for dinner, walks along the river, outdoor shopping, hiking and more. Love it!

Such a beautiful town and well maintained.

The kids love these playgrounds along Pearl Street. And, I love the shopping while they play!

Lots of old theatres and great architecture.

Historical markers tell the stories.....the kind of stuff I like to read.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


My darling little Jack is becoming a darling little handful. He's more defiant than ever, full force with a 3 year old attitude (which, in my opinion is entirely more difficult than 2), and everything belongs to him. EVERYTHING.

My keys.
My car.
My wawet.
My book.
My candle.

In addition to these new acquisitions, he also helps himself to anything within his reach - and out of it - as long as I'm in another room. And, if he wants something while I'm present, "Go up-tairs, Case."


While I ran up yesterday to put away laundry, I returned to find him downing juice boxes on the counter. Didn't look my way until he was finished. Even while I held the camera gathering evidence. I suppose making eye contact might incriminate him.

Happy Birthday, Caroline!

One of my favorite people in the world turned 30 today. My younger sister, my closest friend, our children's Godmother, our daughter's namesake, my reminder of all things good in the world. Happy Birthday, sweet Caroline!

Several pictures from the past few no particular order. If you have 30 minutes, scroll through them. Either way, join me in wishing Caroline a Happy 30th!

Starting with my absolute favorite. With Jack just after we moved to Colorado.

Ranger game.

At my parents' house before we moved. She's holding a frame Carter made for her.

Another the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. I love to see her laugh.

On top of Cheyenne Mountain.

With Jack at Six Flags Over Texas.

Carter giving her a teacher plaque. He thinks she must be the coolest teacher ever.

On the drive of all drives.....through the Rocky Mountain National Park. Unforgettable for many reasons.

At our neighborhood pool.

In town meeting her namesake, Lainey Caroline for the first time. Jack being Jack.

My two Carolines. Look at that monkey hair.

On a roller coaster at Elitch Gardens.

Blake and Caroline on one of those crazy rides.

And, after.

Fright Fest!

Dance machine with Carter.

With her precious boyfriend, Ryan.

First Christmas in Castle Rock.

On Carter's surprise birthday trip to Colorado Springs.

Sugar from Jack last Christmas.

Holiday in the Park with Ceason, too!

The gumdrop incident. Jack ate many, many drops and then walked over to the Christmas tree box and threw all of them up. Classic.

Skiing with Carter and Blake.

During one of our many attempts to annoy Carter with matching Caroline's house.

On one of our haunted hotel trips.....The Stanley in Estes Park.....where The Shining was written.
Another haunted travel trip to The Skirvin in Oklahoma City. Yes, we're weird. We travel throughout the United States seeking out historical and haunted hotels. And, ghost tours. And, we bring Carter with us. No worries. I'm saving for his therapy already. For now, he loves it as much as we do!

At The Skirvin, annoying Carter.

Oklahoma City Memorial.

St. Patrick's Day Festival in Bricktown.

Going on our own ghost hunt at a bed and breakfast in Guthrie, OK.

At another b&b.

This one is a treasure......Carter could not love her more.


The b&b in Guthrie. Haunted as well.

Christmas 2007.

Carter proposing to Caroline.

Opening presents.

With punkin Jack.

Duck race here in town.

A third favorite.....dancing with Carter on the 4th of July.

Fun in Caroline's lovely backyard. She's inspired us to look into an older home. So different from what we have now.

With Ryan at Lainey's baptism.

And, another favorite.

Can't wait to see you, Caroline. Just a few weeks away! Love you!