I can't believe it's been over 6 months since my last post!
A lot has happened since May.... New house, new cars, new job, two big trips and two sets of visitors! Phew!
At the end of last year we decided to make our lives here more stable. Instead of being on a temporary 'ex-pat' contract we decided to change to a local contract. We sold our house in the UK (to the tenants who were living in the house at the time) and started looking for one here. After renting two different homes here and moving three times in as many years, it was a relief to finally have some control. We are still on visas that will expire in a few years so we have started the long (like two years long) process of applying for green cards. If they are granted to us, they will give us the chance to stay here for much longer.
In the spring houses here were selling really fast! After many evenings dragging the kids around house after house we finally found one we loved! It's a 4 bedroom house on a court with finished basement and private back yard (and we back onto a park which is great!) A friend knew the people selling so we heard about it the day it went on the market. We put in an offer two days later when we got a chance to view it. So did three other families! Thankfully we got our offer accepted. Offers here are legally binding. If you submit a written offer and it's accepted, you have to buy the house (unless something comes up on the survey). The same for selling. Unfortunately the process wasn't quite as smooth as we'd hoped but two months later we got the keys to our dream home. Yep just eight short weeks! The process here moves so quickly. There are no lawyers involved so the realtor does a lot of the work and earns every cent of their commission! There are strict time schedules for surveys etc so it was pretty stressful getting everything together but so worth it. We even met the seller at the final signing of the paperwork and he was so good to us - giving us his contact details and advice on things around the house.
Here is our house a few weeks ago during a snow storm:
To help the kids settle into yet another new home, we let them choose the colours for their rooms and even help with the painting! They did a great job with their paintbrushes!
As well as repainting their bedrooms, the laundry got a makeover as our new appliances left a big gap where the walls were not painted. We had a few weeks between getting the keys and moving in so we decided to go ahead and paint the living room and kitchen too. Before we knew it we had repainted almost every room! The colour scheme went from browns and yellows to blues and greys. We got a great local handyman/decorator in to help as we ran out of time after the first 3 rooms! We also enlisted the help of a designer from a furniture store called UBU in Grand Rapids. For a small fee, she came to our house, discussed colour schemes and layouts etc then a few weeks later I went back to the store to choose tables, chairs and even wallpaper and artwork. It was a lot of fun and I would highly recommend her and the store.
Add in two new cars, a change of role at work for Jeremy (he is no longer working for the global department) and a new role for me at MOPs (I am on the steering team as the finance leader) and we'd already had a pretty crazy summer by the end of June!
I'll update you on the rest of the summer and fall later!