Thursday, June 23, 2011


Change is good. Well, that's what I keep telling myself!

I am in the long, tedious process of going through all of our crap and deciding which pile to put it in: Garage Sale, Storage, Apartment. Yep. We are moving in the next couple of weeks! A bit of the story if you haven't yet heard it....

We started off our marriage in Clearwater, the town my husband grew up in. In fact, Clearwater is kind of The McMillen's town. His Grandad, Parents, and all of his Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins grew up and went through school in Clearwater. It's also no secret that I hated living there. I am from a small town myself, but this was just extreme. Total Mayberry run by a bunch of Barney Fifes. People would stop me in the grocery store to talk to me and I would have NO idea who they were, yet they knew me because I was a McMillen. *cue Twilight Zone theme song*

So, what has changed that makes me willing to go back? Several things. For starters, I am now a Mommy and suddenly Mayberry sounds kind of nice. I have grand visions of being super involved and active in the community, making friendships that have certainly escaped me in my current town (possibly the most un-friendly town I've ever been a part of and I'm sooo excited to make my exit!), and being an advocate for my kids and what I expect for their education. Oh, and then there's also the whole part that my in-laws are giving us 5 acres to build a house on. Across the street from them. *cue Everybody Loves Raymond theme song*

The land was first offered to us years ago, and at that time it was 10 acres. Our answer was immediately HELL NO. But thanks for asking. Neither of us wanted to move back there, and we certainly weren't interested in living so close to the parental units. His parent's sectioned off 5 acres and sold half of the land to some of their friends and Ryan's brother had plans to build on the remaining 5 acres. About 6 months ago, his brother decided not to build there afterall and the land was again offered to us, this time as a last chance offer as they were going to sell it if we didn't want it.

We had been looking for land for quite a while in various small towns in the area and were not finding exactly what we wanted. We were getting frustrated. Our initial reaction to their offer was again, HELL NO. But then we stood back and looked at it a bit more logically. First, the land is FREE. Hello? Second, it is beautiful! One of the problems with the land we had been looking at elsewhere was that it was ugly, or next to a busy highway, or with terrible views, etc. It wasn't until I actually walked back onto the property that I knew that it was Home. Totally gorgeous!

So, here's the plan: Ryan's parents also happen to own a six-plex in Clearwater and they rarely have a vacancy because the rent is so affordable. We were stressing about having our house on the market and keeping it "show ready" at a moment's notice with having two kids and two big dogs. When the in-laws had a two bedroom apartment become available, we jumped at the opportunity! We will be moving out over the next couple of weeks, leaving our house for the most part "staged" with our belongings, taking the essentials with us and storing or selling the rest.

We are hoping to have our house listed by August 1st. There are a lot of good selling points to our house (4 bedroom, 3 bath, backyard backs up to a pasture, nice neighborhood, small town, etc.) so we are really hoping it moves fast because paying rent and a mortgage won't exactly be fun. After the sale of our house, the plan is to remain in the apartment until next summer or fall and then begin building our home. We have been following Dave Ramsey and will be following his advice of saving, saving, saving and being able to close on the house with only a 15 year mortgage.

Is it going to suck to have two toddlers and a newborn in an apartment? YES. Am I crapping my pants that there is no dishwasher? HELL YES. Will it be worth it when it's all over? YES. Short term pain for a long term payoff.

Monday, June 20, 2011


We like to give our kids names in utero. We never revealed their actual names until they were here and famly came in the room and through tear filled eyes, I got to say, "this is Tucker Shay" or "this is Chloe Noelle." I loved that part of it, even if it drove eager friends and family crazy. It's special to me.

Tucker's name in utero was Hanky, named after South Park's Hanky the Christmas Poo. I don't even know how it came about, but it stuck so well, we accidentally called him Hanky a few times after he was born, too.

Chloe's name in utero was Tater. I had a hard time coming up with her nickname and Tater was suggested by my sister, Jill. We didn't refer to her as Tater nearly as much as we did Hanky, but it was still fun to have a little nickname.

So, when I got a positive pregnancy test in May (surprise!), I started to think of nickname possibilities for this baby. As silly as it sounds, I'm gonna go with Gravy. I kind of figure, I have my sweet boy, I have my sweet girl so this baby is just, well, Gravy.