Monday, January 21, 2013

Go west young man....

Every time I say things like "we're moving west" or "we're headed west", a Michael W. Smith song pops in my head and immediately I start to sing go west young man.... If you grew up on Christian music in your house hold (and car rides), like I did - you understand me. If not, so sorry - but not sorry because you weren't sheltered like I was....annnnyways...
We're moving WEST - yeeeeeeah!

It's literally been in the works for over a year now. Just praying. Constantly praying. Taking one step at a time. One.Step. It's been a long process, but we're starting to close in on the final stages. Of course, these next steps will probably be the most, where do we live? Jobs? Daycare? Full-time work? Part-time work?
I remember this conversation with Neil last summer and it went something like "what are we waiting for? Let's just make plans, and go for it." If you know Neil, he panicked. But I know Neil, and I started to come up with a plan regardless of the panicked-husband. Mind you, we are a family of faith, and knew all of this was tentative according to His plan and expected the possibility of doors shutting.

First up: Yard sale.
We just had too much unnecessary crap. Cindy (MIL) also wanted to get rid of stuff. (She's moving too, yay!) We decided on a date, and moved forward. We literally had 2 weeks to get things in order for this sale, and with it being the end of yard sale season here in Erie - we weren't too hopeful for a good turn out. Oh, and did I mention it was a 2-day yard sale???? My garage was PACKED to it's fullest. I did my best effort at organizing, taking things out, putting them back in, making sure all things were marked with a price...and then had to re-price Cindy's items...the sweet woman went to a website, and took terrible advice and priced things way too low. What I learned from my girl Nat, when it comes to pricing, think logically - think about what you paid for the item, how much use did you get out of it, and then what is it worth to get it out of your home. It's basic, it's genius.
Okay moving on.....we set the time for the sale at 8am. Opened our garage at 6:45am to start moving stuff out. Guess what? People were at the end of our long driveway 10 minutes later. Really? At one point, we had people up in our garage drooling over stuff and claiming things. (The things people will buy!) Well, by 10am, non-stop selling, bartering (arguing) for 4 hours straight, more then 1/2 of the stuff was sold. Yep, you read that right. Now, if I could paint you a picture as to how much stuff we had, you still wouldn't believe me. Our driveway is very long, and it was covered on both sides (to leave walking room in the middle of course) front to back...insanity. By closing at 3pm, 75% was sold. Blown away. The following morning was a bit more relaxed, got some donuts, coffee, chatted w/the neighbor who also brought stuff out for the day....and about 90% was sold by end of closing time. Amazed. Blessed. Sunburned. Exhausted.
The following photo was taken at some point during the 1st day, a TON has been sold already...

Next step: Sell house.

As much as we loved our cozy little home....

....didn't mean others fast would this sell? Our realtor is a childhood best friend of Cindy's - and with 100% certainty  if it wasn't for her, this house wouldn't be sold. Within 5 weeks, we were in a contract, with a "close" date of Dec. 7th. (We ended up not closing until Dec. 14th, due to the new owner wanting to put more money down...) After packing up our very 1st home, all I could do was smile and feel blessed by the time spent there. I mean, I had some breakdowns and like a million tears....but lets not get into that....
Josephine was born in this home, many parties & backyard BBQ's were hosted here....It all seems like a dream now....
After the house sold, Cindy was gracious enough to let us live with her until we move, and it's been quite entertaining. We have 2 dogs running around, an almost-2-year-old who doesn't get her way - but thinks she can...(she's funny)...and I have to say, it's been great! I miss my own bed, and my own space....but I really can't complain. We are so blessed with this little family we have....

One of the most difficult steps: Tell my job I'm leaving.
I work for the Authority of Erie County:
I have been BEYOND blessed, like there are no words to describe, just how amazing my job is right now. I work Tuesday-Thursday, part-time - with the greatest of people. My two bosses are truly amazing. I am going to miss them SOOOO much!!! I'm going to cry, so I'm moving on....

Final step: Move. Like, physically move.
Where to?
Um, I could get into the last couple of months where we were set on the Phoenix/Scottsdale area of AZ, where Neil was going to try a different profession....but I won't. I'll just jump to the part where Neil came up to me last Thursday during work and said "let's just try California, screw it!" The next day, as he was at Wayne Elementary (where he worked for 3 years), getting a referral letter from the principal - where he ran into some of his old students, who were beyond happy to see him again. It pulled on his heart strings, and it was a confirmation to him that teaching is what he's supposed to do. Can any of you picture him in an office setting? I can't. I never could. Since he is ready to go in CA, and certified, it's our best shot. He may have to sub for a couple of years, but it'll be worth it.

I am beyond excited!!!!
I'm going to crave the changing of the leaves....

and the cold weather in the "winter" months....
but isn't that what Big Bear is for????

This California girl is moving back home....
I can't wait.
My mom....
Salty beach air, warm days, cool nights.....

Now - we needs jobs, and a place to rent!
Neil is flying out in a few weeks to check out rentals...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

where have i been?

I have this blog to keep friends & family posted on the Hartman family, and I'm extremely behind.
Of course, now that I'm so far behind, where do I start?
I need to get my thoughts & photos in order, and I'll begin the recap.
Hopefully tomorrow.
Maybe tonight.
For are a couple photos of my crazy child:

I wonder where she gets the crazy from?

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Neil & I had high hopes that he would be re-hired as a school teacher in the same district he has taught in since 2008. We accepted this last year off, almost enjoying it - asking questions like "what is God teaching us?" Mind you, He's taught us a TON and we've run through every type of emotion you can think of. We've been positive this entire school year, actually anticipating the good news that he'll get called back. We felt this was just a short stint & things would be back to normal come Fall 2012. Now, staying positive has been a difficult task for one of the other (me) has been the positive cheerleader, since way back in the summer of last year. Oh, you'll get called most definitely in the beginning of the year, once they realize they need the extra staff. Also, saying things like This is kind of neat! You can check out all the different schools in the district....So on, and so forth after every passing month.
School year starts, weeks go by. Months go by....No call backs. Just subbing for my hard working husband - which he HATES doing. He recently started working at one of the facilities, where I work, so he has something to do over the summer. To myself (because I can't stress out in front of him) I can't help but feel negative, envious, jealousy....of those that don't have to deal with these types of issues....I hate that.

Well, about a month ago we heard some bad news. It's not looking so good. They've decided to close 3 elementary schools in the district & on top of almost 30 teachers retiring, they  need to let go of about 60 teachers/administration staff. Great. Up come the thoughts again, frustrations, questions:
Why is this happening?
Why did we move here?
Why did I leave my job in Temecula?
Why didn't we just try & stick it out in CA?
What's next for us?
Where do we go from here?
How do we overcome this?
Does Neil jump into a new profession?
Will this tight-financial-don't-spend-$$-on-anything!- lifestyle ever end?!

I'm dramatic aren't I?
So. I'm scared. Stressed. You name it. It takes every muscle in my body (surprised I'm not back to my dream size 7 by now) not to cry....
What do we do now?
Where do we go from here?
God - you there?

Monday, March 26, 2012

First Birthday Fail... phone crashed the day after Josephine's 1st birthday party. I have zero photos, except maybe a few blurred ones I got from my regular camera. Every photo, video, anything that was saved on my iphone - GONE. (Which includes Jos' first steps bytheway. I can't even talk about it, or I'll be a blubbering mess at work.)
*I would just like to say, I know this is my fault - that everything up until that day was wiped out. I should've known better & backed up my photos on a monthly, if not weekly, basis.

What kills me is, that night, after her party I thought: I should upload these at least to icloud before bed...and then thought, I'll do it tomorrow....
I had such a good time making her decorations. There were a lot of late nights, and trips to Hobby Lobby - but the personal touches meant a lot to me. I have nothing to show for it. Even though I fail her, probably everyday - she loves me. And it shouldn't matter that I don't have photos from this day - but I found myself in tears every hour on the hour since the moment I discovered I couldn't get them back. And it does matter to me. I feel like I failed her. This must seem so silly, but if you're a mom - I feel like you'd understand :) It's just, in this last year, I've learned so much about myself. Just in her one year of life, she's made me want to go above & be a better person. I just wanted this day to be perfect. For her. And it was! I just don't have the pictures to go with this great day....

I did bring my regular camera, and did take some pictures with it - but I went back to see what I had, it wasn't very much. I have some video from the day, so that's good.

Maybe this week I'll find myself in a better mood to post a more uplifting "fun" post about the party. It really was a good time, and we are extremely blessed by all those that came to celebrate the day with us....

Friday, February 3, 2012


Received a package today, that contains Josephine's 1st birthday invitations. I didn't expect to be emotional quite yet about her turning ONE. As I was making arrangements to have them designed by my friend Molly it was fun going through old photos and seeing her features change from month to month. So much happens, so quickly. I love seeing her learn something, practice, and then master. Neil is always saying "look at this little person." She's this precious, tiny, little person who is always thinking and doing. You can't keep her still. Which leads me to say...she's her father's daughter. Uh. Oh. Is it crazy that I can already tell? There is pure chaos just waiting to explode. I love it. Sometimes. Eh....she doesn't cuddle anymore, unless she's not feeling well - or like last week when she woke up in the middle of the night with what I'm assuming was due to teething...she let me just hold her. It was the sweetest thing. I just sat in her room, holding her, breathing her in. She shnuggled up into me and I just melted.
I can't believe in just a month & half I'll have a one year old...

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Little Visit

My parents came out for a little visit this past weekend and it was a really good time. They finally got to meet their first grand-daughter and were able to get in some quality time with all of us. We did a few things around town, but we mostly stayed in and just hung out, cooked & ate...
They arrived into Erie last Thursday night, and Neil had prepared his spaghetti & meatballs. Yum! Friday we headed over to our favorite restaurant - McGarrey's for lunch. Josephine was well rested from her nap, and hung out at the table with us...

My mom enjoyed her turkey reuben...
We spent the afternoon grocery shopping at Wegmans and then just spending time at home...
That night I was able to get tickets from work to go to the Bayhawks game, which is our local D-League team. As you all know, my parents LOVE basketball...of course, my mother is obsessed with it. Needless to say, it was a good time! We only stayed until halftime because little one has a bed time...but here is a picture of what pretty much describes the night...

And yes, they're wearing purple...always purple. Goooo LAKERS!!! They represent their team no matter where they are.
Saturday we had a low key morning. Neil made us breakfast and it was an opportunity for the adults to catch up while baby was sleeping. After Jos' nap and lunch, we headed over to the Convention Center (where I work on Thursdays) - where they were having a dog show. We all love doggies, so it was a great way to spend a couple hours...I mean, why not? I didn't take any photos of this - not sure why. There were some great dogs, all in one building. They are always serving up good food there, so we made our way & had some lunch...courtesy of the convention center - I work for some great people I tell ya! We then made our way up to the 2nd floor where my boss happened to be in the building & working....on a Saturday. It was nice though, to be able to show my parents my work space & have them meet at least one of my bosses.
On our way home, we of course stopped at Romolo's - I mean, it was right. there.
We came home and my mother got to cooking while I had a notepad in hand. There are 2 things that she made us growing up, that I still haven't mastered - pansit and this tomato chicken stew thing you eat over rice. Well, I wrote down EVERY.THING. Autumn came over at one point & hung out w/my crazy family. Love her. She's the best.
Well, that was our visit w/my CA family. It was filled with snow & cold weather, which they loved bytheway. It was a great time. Here is a final shoot we had with grandma & grandpa...

We dropped Jos off at Grandma Cindy's, and headed to Cleveland where they were then off to Omaha, NE to visit with Jeri, Kristen and my 4 nephews.
I was definitely more on the sad side of things after the drop off...I really miss my mama. I felt brain is constantly thinking "CA or PA?" Especially now. Josephine is in the world, and it makes things a lot more hard...but all of that is for another day, another post....

Neil & I definitely couldn't be in Cleveland and not eat at Melt. This is the entry way. I love it...

It was a nice lunch date w/my baba.
On our way out of Cleveland Heights, we stopped at Neil's favorite coffee place: Caribou Coffee. That little stopped turned out to be a blessing because a snow storm came through & dumped inches of snow...and we just followed behind it...thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I needs to blog.
I'm working on it.
As of today, I have a 10 month old.
I attempted to take photos last night, but she thinks it's a game when I tell her to stay. Apparently to her "stay" means "go" and she books it to the edge of the bed, or whatever she's on. It's super fun - but not last night. I was frustrated. But whatever right? She's cute...

Oh, and I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this - but she LOVES music & dances. I'm afraid to show this video because near the end Neil and I are (jokingly) yelling at each other about final Jeopardy...well, more like, he's yelling at the'll see if you watch it 'til the end...Video: Josephine Dancin'
Turn the volume up a bit so you can hear her toy.
You see she ignores our conversation & just keeps playing her music. Precious.
So, this will have to hold you folks over until I get the time to post about the holidays...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Back it up!

I can't believe I haven't blogged about the holidays of 2011 yet. Since the iphone has been in my life, I never go online at home. So. Moving on...the holidays were AWESOME! As much as I wanted to be back in CA for the holidays, it was once again nice to be here in Erie where Neil's family is. They're always a good time. And believe me, I'm going to start my campaign on Thanksgiving or Christmas 2012 in CA takes awhile to convince my husband of a good idea....we'll see what happens...
This was the weekend of Thanksgiving. Decorating the house, and putting up Josephine's pink Christmas tree - my new favorite thing. I already can't wait to deck out her room next year. I have ideas. (Thank you pinterest).
Thanksgiving day we went to Aunt Ann & Uncle Fred's place...
Here is Jos & Grandma Cindy:

The next day, we went to an annual event here in Erie called "Festival of the Trees" where all local companies come together & each decorate a tree. I've gone every year that I've lived here & it's something I look forward to. It was really great this year because it was at one of the facilities I work at, at the Convention Center. We packed up the little one & headed over...the trees were beautiful.

Oh and in this little collage, is how I set up Josephine's room for Christmas...

Onto Christmas Eve...
We decided to spend the night at Cindy's Christmas Eve Eve night...we planned on being there Christmas Eve morning anyway, why not? Plus, we wanted to test the waters of Jos sleeping at grandma's. Here are a few pictures from our time there...

Just to let you know, she slept perfectly! Yay! I didn't hear a peep out of her. I, however, didn't get any sleep. We brought Cali with us, and she had anxiety or something all night. She was restless, which kept me up all night. I don't think I've ever had more coffee in my life, then I did that day...
We literally ate allllll day, and watched Christmas was wonderful.
The next morning we had Cindy come to our house for stockings & breakfast - a tradition that was always my favorite as a kid, and would love to start having in my home from now on....

Here is Josephine playing with her favorite toy from grandma Cindy:

The following weekend was New Years Eve and we had decided, along with Erin & Leroy, that we'll just hang out - keep it low key and hope we stay up 'til midnight. There was waaaay too much food, of course. It was a good time for sure. And we did it! We stayed up to ring in the new year, watching Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve - not that we knew who the performers were. Talk about feeling old. The good news? Josephine didn't cry ONCE while Leroy was here. For some reason she breaks out into tears when she sees him - but as you can see, she's over that....

Well. That sums it up! Nothing too crazy....
I got "The Help" for Christmas, and here's just a random picture of Josephine watching it along w/me. Her outfit is cute....

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I've been working a lot these last few weeks, and I've been feeling extremely guilty about it. On top of working, there's my gym time that I squeeze in when I can. After a 12 hour day today, I drove home with a heavy heart.
I kept checking the time while at work, and as the clock struck 8:00 - Josephine's bedtime, I wanted to cry. Neil is usually the one that puts her to bed & gives her last bottle, but I didn't see her at all today. Except for the 1st hour & a half of her day this morning.
Is she aware I'm not around?
I went straight to her room & watched her sleep for a couple minutes. What I really wanted to do was pick her up & squeeze her!!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Surprisingly enough we haven't had any serious snow yet, and it's almost December. I'm shocked! And we've had the most amazing Fall weather - absolutely perfect. I mean, take a look at these trees:

Jack-o-lanterns we made:

Obsessed with pinterest, where I learned to make this wreath:
(I did add a few flowers & such...didn't take a photo though - so strange. I ended up giving this one to my friend Autumn. Plan to make more!)

I have always wanted to be considered a "crafter" but never put my craftiness into action. Well, except for quilting. Thanks to my friend Virginia, I've been quilting for 10 years or so, and still love doing that. Since pinterest is in my life, I've taken action. It's so much fun. I want to refinish every furniture piece in my house, mod podge every photo, and basically - I want to just hang out at Hobby Lobby...
My next project, Christmas stockings. Oh! And head bands for Josephine...annnnd for myself. We'll see how all of that turns out. I have a really bad habit of rough draft projects. I learn to master something, and the 1st drafts end up in the trash. Don't judge. Slight case of OCD? It's very possible.
I have been aching for CA these last few months, and I came across this shirt at Old Navy:

This shirt is meant to be in my possession. I chose not to buy it though...we're trying to save all we can to actually visit my home state. So, I texted it to the husband in hopes it'll end up under the Christmas tree this year....?
We've had some lazy days around here. It must be the weather....

We find ourselves in the living room most nights, watching anything from the Wonder Years, to Sons of Anarchy, to Arrested's nice & cozy here in the Hartman house. On occasion we'll have a visitor. But it's mostly just us. We're happy with that. :)
Driving to my friend Autumn's house after work last week, and the sky looked like this:

I didn't edit this photo one bit. Seriously? How extraordinary is that?!!!
As of last Friday, we have an 8 month old in the house. She is so dang precious!!!!!!!!!! I'll sing to her (usually Adele), and it ain't pretty - let me tell you...but she'll just smile & sway side to side. Anytime the Wonder Years intro song comes on, she'll zone in on the tv, and smile - she loves that song. She also does this shy thing. When I tell her no, she hides her face in her arm. (Breaks my heart every single time.) When someone new talks to her, she'll go all shy as well - hiding her face either in my neck, or in her arm. It is seriously the cutest thing. Here are some recent photos of the munchkin:

8 months?!! It's already going by too fast. It shouldn't be a shock to everyone that I'm already thinking about what to do for her 1st birthday party. (I haven't even started on my Christmas cards yet. Goodness.)
Sorry this post was all over the place. I just reread it, and it really just jumps all over. Sorry!