Christmas with the Klomps|
Phil's parents took advantage of some good airfares, and came out to visit us for an early holiday celebration around the second week of December. We did our usual trip to the Mall of America, and plenty of other shopping. Cindy made some excellent meals while they were here, so we probably all gained a bit of weight. Then we exchanged gifts on the weekend, and Annie and Shelby have some neat new toys to play with. We shipped back gifts for Leah's family and Troy, and they sent some shipments to us also. Thanks to everyone for the generous gifts.
Christmas at the Farm|
We packed up the van with the kids and the dog, and headed down to Cindy's Dad's farm for an extra long Christmas weekend. The sisters had a little get-together on Christmas Eve at Cate's house, and then the main event was the big family gathering at the farm on Christmas Day. There were lots of kids running around, a good holiday meal, and gift exchanges. If we add many more grandkids, it will become difficult to fit everyone. Thanks also to everyone for the gifts, and the certificates will definitely be put to good use in our new house.
New House Update|
The original estimate from the builder was for a completion date in April, but because of the extraordinarily good weather before Christmas, they told us that they are almost two months ahead of schedule. That came as quite a surprise to us, so we had to quickly get our current house ready to sell. The contractors at the new house are currently working on painting/staining, cabinet installation, and siding. After that they will move on to floor coverings, countertops, and fixtures, and that will make it pretty close to done. We are allowing them a little bit of slack by shooting for an early March move date.
Selling the Old House|
We got a painter in to do some touch-up work on the walls, then listed it with a for-sale-by-owner broker that we found through our mortgage company. We also found a discount realtor to list it on the MLS (multiple listing service) here in the Twin Cities. This gave it quite a bit of exposure to buyers, while allowing us to save money on the selling realtor commission which is usually 4%. Buyers or realtors would call us to make an appointment, and we would tidy up a bit, and sometimes take the kids and dog for a ride while showing it. After three weeks we had an offer, and it was sold. The buyer was also willing to close in early March, so that worked fine for us. If the buyer was not represented by a realtor, then we would also have saved money on the buying realtor commission of 3% which comes out of the selling price. In our case, they had a realtor, but it was a good enough offer, so we agreed. Now we get to worry about the move.
Annie and Shelby|
This winter the kids really had fun playing together with each other. They got used to playing outside a lot this past summer, but the weather is often just too cold to go outside during the winter months. They got outside to build snowmen at least once with Phil, but it's definitely a challenge for them to move around out there when they are all bundled up. In the new house we will have an unfinished basement for them to run around in on the cold days, and we can keep some of their larger toys down there too. But for now one of their favorite things is to make "forts" under chairs, tables, blankets, or whatever they can find. These spaces are just their size. Shelby knows a few more words now too, including "No way!" and "Mine!" which come in handy when her sister tries to take toys away.
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