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Now on to the rest of July. Wendy and Alan came to visit us with Nathan, who was about 18 months old at this point. He loved taking a ride in the wagon behind Simon's truck. Here Simon is checking to make sure Nathan is ready before he starts driving.
Nathan hanging on tight...
...but sometimes, Simon forgets to make sure everyone's ready before he floors it!
Toby holding little Michael, now four weeks old.
Nicole with Toby and baby Michael
Going for a bike ride on a VERY hot and humid July morning! We made it as far as the train station and we were all four covered in sweat.
And Toby needed a ride home - he was tired of the bike (even though he can't really pedal yet, so he was just sitting on it being pushed anyway! But I think the helmet was part of the problem - we're trying to instill good bike safety habits early).
Having breakfast at their usual hangout - at the kitchen desk in front of the TV.
Another trip to Pappy and Mimi's house, this one for the children's theatre; and naturally, we hit the rides again.
WHOA! After about two years of passively looking at houses, we decided at the end of July to buy our neighbor's house across the street! The morning after we came to an agreement, Nicole stepped just outside our front door before work and snapped this photo of the house that would soon be ours.
Some of you have listened to us talk about various houses over the years. We even put offers on two - lowball offers that we walked away from when they weren't accepted, which was in retrospect DEFINITELY for the best. We looked far and wide, at various school districts, etc.
We always had a certain lack of enthusiasm for the search, though, because we loved our house, had been living there for nearly ten years, loved our neighborhood, loved our town... and loved our low mortgage, which we would give up in a better school district! We would come back to our house after looking at others and say "oh, but we like OUR house so much better."
Up to this point, Simon and Toby were still attending the same daycare that they started in as infants. With both of us working full-time, we had ruled out complicating our lives by having the boys in two different schools. Simon was in a pre-school class at the daycare, but as the year went along, we became concerned about whether the environment was still what we wanted for him. After Nicole made the decision to go part-time, we realized that a big benefit to having extra time was that we could re-think our plan for the boys and school.
So, since we hadn't yet made any moves house-wise, we decided to look at the local Friends school for Simon to attend pre-K in the fall. He was accepted, and as a result we started looking closer to home for houses that kept us in our town (and in a low-mortgage situation, since we were now looking at private school tuition!).
All of this led us to look at our neighbor's house, and we decided it just made sense for us to take that opportunity. It wasn't a huge increase in mortgage or home size, but it would give us the extra space we needed, and we could keep everything else we loved about our old house - even many of the interior features are similar, because both houses were built by the same builder in the 30s! It was an easy move that just felt like home.
And to finish the saga about the boy's schools, we decided to move Toby to a new school as well. This decision was a little more difficult, because on the whole we had been happy with our daycare for years. However, Toby was going to "graduate" to a new room that we had some concerns about, and overall the class sizes had been getting bigger and bigger; so we looked around and found an option we're really happy with. Again, it's a little less conveniently located than our old daycare, but with Nicole's new schedule, we're able to make it work.
We weren't scheduled to settle on the new house until mid-October, so we had a couple of months to decide what to do with our old house. We thought about selling, but the idea of putting it on the market with two boys in the house was not appealing; and if we waited until we moved out in the late fall, we would been showing it empty, and realistically we would have waited until January to avoid the holiday. So we decided to try to find renters first, and boy did we make the right decision, as the market tanked a couple months later! This is jumping ahead a bit, but just before we settled on the new house, we lined up renters for the old house, which was a big relief. In December, WONDERFUL renters moved into our beloved old house, and we are now officially landlords!