Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell 2008

Good Riddance! What a depressing year. I don't have to list it all, but I'll just say I think my New Year's resolution for 2008 was to sell my house. Guess what my 2009 resolution is? Sell my damn house! This year, I mean it!
I'm sure some good things happened in 08. Tiki was born. We bought the new office. Umm, I'd have to think hard to list more. I've been cranky and bitchy for most the year. I'm irritated that we are so stuck in this house. I feel trapped. It's so hard having a house on the market while raising three boys in it. It's downright depressing sometimes. I'm so ready to move on to the next thing.
So, maybe in 2009 I can get a fresh perspective and an attitude check.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Today's Adventures

Today, me and the kids hopped in the van and went to the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta. We had such a nice day. The kids were awesome. They have a great cafe with a yummy chicken salad sandwich. It was so nice to get out of town and have fun. I didn't want to wait here to hear back from our agent. She did call and said she couldn't get much feedback from the other agent. The couple plans to return in January and select a house then. I guess they don't want to reveal their cards yet. Not terrible news, but not the news I wanted either.

S actually took this picture of me and Tiki! I thought he did such a great job.

They were polar bears.

They were penguins.

They listened intently on a 25 minute lecture on reptiles, and of course they were in awe of the giant dinosaur displays.

After tomorrow, G will be home for a four day weekend, then school will resume Tuesday. Three weeks is a long break, and they've been bored, but it's been nice too. We're almost there!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Market update

Okay, so I'm not gonna get all excited and convince myself that this is "the one." Well, I am, but I'm gonna try not to. We had a showing today. It is a couple coming to town, and they handpicked the houses they wanted to see in four subdivisions. I'm hopeful. They will come back in January to make a decision, but my agent will try to get some feedback for us tomorrow.

Also, we closed on the new office today. It's good to be on the buyer's side of things. We got a great price and awesome terms and rates. Everyone who's sitting on the fence just needs to jump in there and stimulate the economy.

It will be so wonderful if we both buy the office and snag a buyer for the house in one day. I even asked my mother to annoint and bless the house today. Please, God, let us move on and sell this place.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

From Santa to the Tooth Fairy

S on Christmas day wearing his crown.
All he had asked Santa for was a diamond,
and his Nani obliged.

S, 5 1/2 years old, is my sensitive child. He is so much like me, and it's a testament to how strong genetics really are. Some of our quirks leave my husband just shaking his head. Like our skin. We are very picky about what touches our skin, and we would both be happier if we could just be in our underclothes all the time. A tag in our clothes can be enough to drive us crazy! Not just, "can you please cut this tag out of my shirt when you get time" crazy, but "I'm gonna strip down in public if you don't get this tag out" crazy. Last weekend, I took my shirt off while driving to the mall because of a tag, and we had to cut it out in the parking lot. Anyway, this is just an example.

Because we are so much alike, it helps me to understand him. Believe me, if I didn't know where he was coming from, some of his antics or behaviors would drive me crazy. Well, sometimes they still do, but I can usually relate if I try hard enough. Also, I can usually predict his reaction to things. Like today while we were taking down the Christmas tree. I prepped the kids that it was coming down, and I invited them to come say goodbye to it. N, 3, didn't have the time or desire to do that. But S ran in there and lovingly said goodbye to the tree. Sure enough, when he saw the ornaments coming off, he got tearful. It was sweet. I bet lots of people get sad to take down the tree. Even my husband admitted that he was saddened. While I agree, I love to get the tree down every year. By then, I'm ready for things to get back to normal.

There's one other cute story about S today. While my husband and I were sitting in the office/nursery admiring the clean open space recently occupied by the tree, S came in. He said, "Mom! Look, one of my tooth is coming out of my mouth!." I said, "Oh, is your tooth loose?" "No," he replied, "it's not loose, it's coming out of my mouth!." Well, of course, it was just slightly loose, but it is his first loose tooth. We were all excited, and he sat there looking proud and serious as we told him all about the tooth fairy and how his tooth will eventually fall out. And so we enter into another phase of growing up and think, with sweet memories, of when we first saw that little tooth erupting out of our baby's swollen gums.

Friday, December 26, 2008

How to make caramel

After making caramel FOUR times on Christmas Eve, I finally learned how to make it without burning the sugar. That means I had to throw away a lot of caramel. The first time, I made Aunt Bill's Brown Candy from the Bon Appetite magazine. It turned out good, but it had a strange tang to it. Next I needed caramel for my cake. I was making the Chocolate Cake with salted caramel and ganache icing, also from Bon Appetite. I burned that caramel, and it made me realize what tasted so weird in the candy. We made it again, and burned that batch too! The fourth time, my husband and I both stood over it and watched intently, determined to learn how to make good caramel. What happens is, as you are cooking the water and sugar, it goes from clear to yellow to amber and immediately to dark brown. Amber to dark brown (and very smoky) takes just a few seconds. Mine was smoky and burnt before I removed it from the heat and added the cream. So this time, I removed it just before I would have thought it was done and way before the time was up on the timer. Right as it became a darker yellow. Finally! We had ourselves a kick-ass caramel. It was awesome by itself, but it really dressed up the cake into something special.
So, my advice to anyone making caramel is to cook it on a lower heat than the recipe (my recipes all called for high, so I ended up doing a medium high). And watch it like a hawk. Pull it off and add the cream just. right as. it thinks about becoming amber.
Here's the recipe I used:

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cp heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice
large pinch of French grey sea salt

Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water and corn syrup in deep medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
Increase heat to medium; cover pan and cook 4 minutes. Uncover; increase heat to medium high. Boil without stirring until syrup is just turning amber.
Remove from heat! Add cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk in butter, then sour cream, lemon juice and pinch of sea salt. Cool completely.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

making candy

One thing I love about Christmas-time is baking. I want my boys to have magical memories of us together in the kitchen. The smell of gingerbread and cookies filling the house. Sneaking bites here and there. We're doing what we can to take the focus off the gifts. Yes, they will have gifts, but hopefully they will just be a small part of the celebration.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obama's beach photo

I pleadge allegience...

In a spirit of complete respect, I must say that our new president is HOT!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gingerbread House

We finished decorating the gingerbread house today. It is our first one, so there are things I would change about it. I used the recipe in The Joy of Cooking, and usually their recipes don't fail me. But the instructions for assembly were not good compared to others I have found, and the dimensions weren't great. The roof was huge, and I had to cut it down a bit. Anyway, we are proud of it and the boys are thrilled.

Holiday Construction

Our gingerbread house is assembled and ready to be decorated. Just pay no attention to the drunk, naked builder propped up on the side of the house! We are gonna have to fire him. The first house he built collapsed into a pile of gingerbread, so the brothers will have to share a house now. You just can't find a good contractor these days.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the smell of Christmas

Ahhh. I love the smell of Christmas. Ginger. Cinnamon. Cloves. Pine. The kids and I are making gingerbread houses. We are taking our time because it is a long process. Last night, I made the dough and cut the patterns. Tonight, we rolled out the dough, cut the pieces and baked them. We all snuck a gingerbread bear, and they are delicious! Tomorrow (hopefully) we'll make the icing and construct the house.
We also have a playdate in the morning to make cookies at my friend's house. Yum. I don't like the commercialism of Christmas, but these home-y traditions make me remember why it's such a wonderful time of year. I hope my children will remember this and hold it dear.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting back on track

G and I decided to get ourselves a new treadmill for Christmas. I have missed aerobics so much since Tiki got too old and I had to quit. I did worry, though, that it would sit down there unused like our bowflex has for the past couple years.
It came in last week, and we have really enjoyed it! It has a t.v. screen built in and great speakers, so we aren't just staring at the wall, and we didn't have to put it in the living room. I've only used it twice, but G has used it every day! I'm so excited to finally get to work out again. And I've found that it encourages me to do other things while I'm down there like abs and upper body. Maybe we'll finally get some use out of that bowflex.
I've noticed I really feel better on the days I get to exercise. Let's face it, I need all the endorphins I can get! Now, if I'll make time to start doing yoga again (haven't done since having Tiki), I'll bet I'll start feeling like my old self again. The aches and pains of parenting is something nobody warned me about. Having a 27 pound 9 month old who insists on being held all the time is no easy job. It's so important for moms to take care of themselves too, but it's so hard to make the time to do it. Maybe this will be my new year's resolution.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I got the last one!

Awhile ago, I made a wish list on amazon for the grandparents. I thought I'd buy the items that were left about 10 days before Christmas. On the list was a WowWee Lion cub for my 3 year old. One day, I noticed the price had jumped from $49.00 to about $150! It was going out of stock. Next thing I knew, it was nowhere to be found. So, I compromised and selected the tiger cub instead. Of course, this morning, when we decided we'd better buy the gifts, it was out of stock most places, and listed at $162.00 at amazon. Because a similar thing happened last year, you'd think I'd have this Christmas Frenzy figured out by now! I remembered seeing several of the tigers (no lions) at Target, so I rushed to the store, and I got the LAST ONE! It was ten dollars more than the original amazon price, but it was a bargain compared to $162!

I called my husband to exclaim that I had gotten the last one, expecting his shared excitement! He sighed and muttered something about "I can't believe you got yourself in the position of having to get the last one of anything." So true. I wonder if I'll have learned to shop early by next year?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I can relax.

The open house is over, and I'm so relieved. I've done nothing but stress about it for a week! We just knew nobody came when I picked up the phone to call the agent when it was supposed to be over. We were so happy to hear that she had been busy the whole time. My husband dropped me and the baby off, and we let the realtor go. I stayed another hour and a half until the Tour of Homes was over, and I got two more couples. In all, we had 14 to 16 visitors. It was all worth it!
Now, these people were not in the market for a house. But you never know who they know, and it can only help to have people come see the house. One of the women that came while I was here said the reason she came was because she heard other people talking about how beautiful my house was at one of the houses on the tour. I thought that was great. Many people took fliers and said they would spread the word for us. I guess only time will tell. Still, we accomplished what I was hoping for.

Monday, December 1, 2008

busy week

I have so much to do this week in preparation for the open house. Sometimes it feels like trudging through mud to do stuff with these three kids, though. The baby pretty much demands to be held all the time, and when he's sleeping I have loads of other chores to do. Like right now, for instance. This internet is not gonna browse itself!
That mostly leaves the time after my husband gets home from work. It seems like a mad dash of dinner, dishes, bath and bedtime most nights, though. Tonight, we have an art show. I'm very excited about this one, as it is at my son's elementary school. As a fundraiser, every year they have a show with your child's art framed and displayed. You have the option of buying your child's art. If that is any option at all. hehe. This year, I think it is gonna be quite good. I have a tree with fall colors that he did earlier in the year with sponge paint that turned out so beautiful that I had it matted and framed. He's becoming a pretty good little artist. He is left handed, so if there is any truth to the myth, he'll turn out to be the creative type. My little temperamental artist.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Open House

We made a decision about participating in the tour of homes. My husband and I don't think we decorate in the way people expect on such a tour anyway, so being on the tour was pretty much out. Then, our agent called back yesterday to say it was too late anyway. The surprising news was that the lady organizing the tour didn't want us to even have an open house on that day. They are friends, so my agent felt awkward about "stepping on her toes." Unless, she said, I really want to do the open house. Usually, I shrink in these instances and do whatever the person wants me to do. I was proud of myself yesterday for saying, "I'm sorry, but I really do want to do it." I told her that I would understand if she wanted nothing to do with it, and I didn't mind holding the open house myself. She immediately stepped up and said, "no, you're my client and I'm gonna do what you want." So, we planned for her to tell her friend that I was adamant on it, and that it was just business. I'm okay with playing the picky client. Especially because I suspect I am a picky client sometimes.

So, we are gonna have another open house next Sunday. That gives us one week to prepare. I still feel like I have to do some tasteful Christmas decorations, so I'm gonna try to start that today. I can't get much done on week days with the kids around. I really want to have some baked goods and hot apple cider too. I know these people aren't necessarily looking for a house. I just want them to see mine, and maybe they know someone who it's perfect for.

My house is one of those that looks much more modest and small from the front, but is quite large and nice when you get in. So, it's important to get people in so they can see that. Many of the houses in my neighborhood look huge from the front. Sometimes those are actually smaller than mine. I feel like the curb appeal keeps people who want a large house from even considering mine.

This is the back of my house, where you can tell the size of it. I've got pictures on the listing information. They say there is a perfect person for every house, but I'm starting to wonder if it's ever gonna happen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Strategy

I may have a new trick up my real estate sleeve. A friend (who's a builder married to an agent in my neighborhood) called today to suggest this plan to me, and I like it. There is a Christmas Tour of Homes in my neighborhood in a week and a half. I knew she was doing it, but I didn't think to tag along. She suggested I have an open house on the same day. There are only 4 homes on the tour, and they are all in my subdivision. She estimates 200-300 people will be coming through. She has a home in this tour every year, sometimes even when they are for sale. Now, the people won't necessarily be in the market for a house, just browsing at other people's decorating. For the record, I'm not a decorator! But my oldest friend is, and I've already had her come over and help me out for a recent open house. I have other friends here who could help with the Christmas decorating, and my husband actually has a very good eye.

My agent is sceptical about the idea. She is calling now to see if she can just add my house to the tour or at least ask the organizer of the tour if she'd be comfortable with me having an open house at the same time. I guess it'd be better just to join the tour. Honestly, I can't imagine we'd need to get permission, but I know they have a relationship that my agent doesn't want to disrespect.

If it does happen, my next issue will be the holiday decorating itself. See, were we live, people have other people decorate their houses, and it looks like everything came out of an interior decorating magazine. Not one of the magazines I would read, either. We have more of a "lived in, family" style. While we don't keep clutter around, we also don't have 2 lamps on the mantle and over sized candlesticks and all that stuff I feel like people expect on a tour of homes. For Christmas, we use colored lights and passed down ornaments that have absolutely no color scheme. I don't know if we should do business as usual, or if we should switch to white lights and blue and silver matching tree stuff.

Funny story, our first Christmas here, I'm pretty sure we were the ONLY house with colored Christmas lights. Every year since, a house or two would go to colored. Last year, there was a good mix of colored and clear. Hehehe. Maybe we're rubbing off on 'em.

Anyway, what's your advice?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Guess what happened after we dropped the price of our house by $15,000...


I'll remember this next time the agent suggests dropping the price to "bring people in."

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Three Year Old

Somehow, three years have gone by since I brought my sweet Booboo home. His was the hardest pregnancy and the longest delivery. That's bizarre to me, though, because he has been so sweet and easy going his whole life. He has a way of charming everyone he comes into contact with. He simply adores both his brothers. He is independent and strong, yet he loves to sit in my lap and cuddle.
After he was born, we just kept waiting for it to get hard. It never did. He just glides through life seeing the good in things. For instance, after his Thanksgiving party at school today, we were walking to our car. It had been lightly raining earlier, and it was chilly and overcast. Most people would have found it to be cruddy weather. Nate says, out of the blue, "It's a beautiful day, mama. It not raining anymore. It's beautiful." I looked around me again. I had not seen it like that. But as I looked through his eyes, I realized it was beautiful. The air felt crisp, not chilly. The ground was wet, but it was refreshing. The clouds gave the sky a nice hazy look. My little three year old boy teaches me how to put things into perspective. That's the kind of person he is and always has been.
We talk about what he'll be when he grows up, and I truly believe the sky is the limit. I ache to think it'll be here too soon. Time has a way of rushing by, and we are so busy with our days that we miss it. We ignore the beautiful days right in front of us. I want him to keep his innocence and excitement... his enthusiasm. He turns to at least one of us in the family every day and says, "you're my best friend." I can picture it so clearly. I hope I don't forget. I want to remember every little habit and expression. That's what I like about this blog. One day I'll be an old woman, and I'll only have my memories. I hope Nate will have wonderful memories too.
Nate, you're my best friend. I love you, sweetie.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Booboo's last day being two

Tomorrow's Booboo's 3rd birthday, and his pirate birthday party.

Today is full of shopping and baking. He is my blessing from God, and I don't know how he is already three. He had cupcakes at pre-school, and was so excited. He says "it's my happy birthday!"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Better

We had a much better day today. My mom and I took the kids to the mall. I always feel better at the mall, even though I'm not a huge shopper usually. I had a gift card to Macy's I'd been wanting to use, though, so I got three great pair of pants. I wanted shoes for the kids, but the guy at Stride Rite said to wait until black Friday for their sale. I stopped by Party City to get eye patches for all the kids coming to Booboo's party on Saturday. It was a MUCH better day than yesterday. The kids seem to be climbing out of the germ pit. Maybe I can even send them both to school tomorrow and get started on the cake!!!

At the office, the builder started the demo this week! I love the smell of construction. Or in this case, I guess it's deconstruction. I thought I smelled the hint of cigarette smoke too. I love that smell... construction and cigarette smoke. It always reminds me of my dad when I was a kid. Thank God he stopped smoking a couple months ago! I never thought I'd see the day that happened. So, things are looking up around here after a very hard week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

House of Germs

All three of our boys are sick. I don't even know what is wrong with them. We have taken turns passing around everything. Vomiting, colds, coughs, fevers. I'm getting ready to haul them all to the doctor in hopes he can cure everyone before Saturday, Booboo's 3rd birthday party.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On a good note...

Let's move on, shall we? Surely I have more going on in my life than a depressed housing market. There is some real estate news I am very excited about. We seem to have come to an agreement on the office space for my husband's practice.

We weren't in the market for any space and have been renting forever. Someone in the same building selling his space began pursuing us, but we couldn't afford it. Because he had no other prospects, he continued to call us. Finally we had a meeting and decided to go for it. That was a month and a half ago, and today we finally seem to have made a solid agreement and got all the details in order. We are to close just before the year's end. Now, my husband doesn't count his chickens before they hatch, but I am very excited!! The space will need complete demo and rebuilding, so it will be a nice project to distract me. Also, it will be wonderful to pay a mortgage instead of rent, and this is one of the prime medical office buildings in our town.

We are picking a builder by Monday (hopefully), so construction will begin soon. The wonderful man we are buying from is allowing us to work on it before we close so we can get in at the new year. Our last obstacle is the lease for our current space. It lasts through 2009, so we just have to pray we find someone to sublet. I'll try to get over there to get some before pictures so I can document the journey. Maybe we'll be rewarded for buying in this down market by getting a buyer of our very own.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The results are in.

One loved it and can't afford it. The other doesn't love it. My agent suggested I drop my price FIFTEEN THOUSAND, and I did.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Second Showing!

As soon as we got home from the first showing today, our agent called and asked if she could bring someone else for a showing at 5pm. Thats wonderful for two reasons. The obvious is that we got another showing. The second is that I didn't have to clean the whole house again for the second man! Two birds with one stone~

breakfast room

Our agent and some of my friends who decorate have been telling me to put a table and chair in the room next to the kitchen. We had used it as a dining room, but we were advised to move the dining room table into the formal dining room when we went on the market. So, this became a sitting room. Today, I bought a table and chairs from one of my friends, and we finally got this room set up the way it should be. It looks SO much better. I wish I had done it years ago. I got them for a great price, and I love that they are "pre-owned."
We had a showing at 3 pm, so maybe this will be the change that sells this house! I'll let you know!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The First Mother

Daddy's home!

I heard somewhere on the news that Michelle Obama's biggest project, if her husband were to win, was to be The First Mother to her girls. I think that was back when I was still on the fence, and it made such a huge impact on me. As bad as it makes me sound, I couldn't come to terms with how Sarah Palin expected to be in such a demanding job with five kids, one of them the same age as my baby and special needs. I have many days that I can't even vacuum the rug under the dining room table! Even if she is a stronger woman than I, I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that her children would suffer. I'm one of those moms who believes it is my job, and a very important one, to raise my children. It's sometimes hard, and it's not always fun. It certainly isn't glamorous. But I feel it's something I signed on for when I decided to bring these little people into the world. Now, don't get me wrong... I had plenty of other reasons not to like Sarah Palin as time moved on. This was just my first impression. All that to say, I'm so proud to be an American today and excited to see where we will go under this new presidency.

On the topic of putting the job of motherhood first, though, I have a dilemma that I want to put out there. I have many friends who are stay at home moms. We have playdates and talk occasionally on the phone. We even try to have a coffee date once a week when most of our kids are in school. I enjoy these relationships, and they often help me through on the days that are hard or lonely. I am careful to keep them in "my" time, though. My closest friends are those who have priorities similar to mine, and it is something that usually goes unspoken. Other friends who don't know me as well are more likely to try to arrange girl time during evenings or weekends. One friend in particular just invited me to a "girl's night in" where we would hang out in her house and spend the night. It is the third one I know of that she's had.

This is my dilemma. I really like the girl. But, I don't feel like I'm in a period in my life that I could go out with the girls and not come home. I don't even like going out just with the girls except for special occasions. I know I would feel weird about it if my husband decided to go out for the night and not come home. In all my life, I can't imagine my mom doing that. Last time I was invited, I had a legitimate excuse. This time, I just had to respond that I didn't feel right doing that right now. I always feel like the truth is the way to go. I just hope I haven't alienated her or made her mad at me.

I know I am old fashioned. I love to be with my family, and I miss them when I'm not. I am excited to share that priority with the First Lady Elect. There will be time for the rest later.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

getting soft

Today, we took the kids on a family bike ride. We've always wanted nice bikes, and we finally bit the bullet and invested in the bikes, a trailer for the younger ones and a tag-a-long bike for the 5 year old, and 5 helmets. We are all set to be a biking family. After loading up, driving to our location and getting on the bikes, the ride lasted 10 minutes or less. The baby is still too young and doesn't like it too much. We are supposed to wait until he's a year, so that's okay. But what I'm upset about is that I'm in such bad shape. Really bad. I had to push us up the hill!

I spent all summer going to aerobics with my mom, and I was in good shape. I was so proud, I felt really good, and I had energy and endurance. Tiki got too old to sleep in the portable swing, so I quit "temporarily." Really, I have no solid plan for going back. It's at the same time as his morning nap, and the whole day is messed up if we miss that morning nap. It seems like a pathetic excuse, but it's not. In the meantime, I feel myself getting soft and lazy. I think I could work it out if they had a class at 10am, but they don't. I don't have enough drive to work out by myself.

Babies are time eaters. I love having a baby, and I know how fast these months pass. It bothers me much less with each baby than it did with the first. But you really have very little time to do anything but be a mama. I don't want to miss anything, and I try to burn into my brain how it feels to cuddle him. I'll be so sad when I no longer have a baby to hold. I remind myself that life is a series of phases, and I'm in the phase today of taking care of young children. I'll be a soft cuddly mom, and I'll have time to all buff and healthy some other time. Hopefully.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

cash in the attic

Tiki (right) and his buddy on a walk

It has been such a long day! I was outside in the cold at 7am getting ready for the yard sale. My friend who was "co-host" showed up soon after. People start showing up before the sun comes out at these things. I thought it was a success overall. I didn't sell the big things I wanted to sell like furniture and expensive strollers. Maybe I'll do consignment. I did sell a few of the furniture pieces that were priced a little lower. I came out with $291.50, which was pretty good for stuff I wasn't even using. I got the money to pay for my new desk, and that was my goal. Still, my back has been hurting for 3 days. I need to schedule a massage, but I honestly don't know when I could do it. The kids thought it was one big party, and were surprisingly okay with me selling some of their stuff.
After we all had a nap and cleaned up, my friend and her family came back over for dinner. It was one of those good dinners where you just throw together whatever you have. I made my signature banana bread and a great, big salad. She brought fried chicken (yum!), mac and cheese and we made a really good apple dish. Her baby is just 2 months older than Tiki, and my boys love him.
With the extra hour we got for daylight savings, I swear today seems to have been two separate days. How wonderful it feels to have Halloween and the yard sale behind me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wizard of Oz

Here we are... Ready for a night of trick-or-treating. I was Dorothy, Booboo was the Lion, Coocoo was the Tin Man, Dad was Scarecrow, and Tiki was Toto. But tonight only the older boys and I dressed up. I hope I can get a copy of the family picture from the night of the big party. My husband looked awesome! We had a great time. I love Halloween because it's so much fun to dress up, and it's such a magical time for the kids.
Tomorrow, I'm gonna try to convince them to sell their candy to me, though. I heard some dentists do that, but I haven't checked around. They don't need it, and I really don't need it!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

mounds and mounds of crap

I'm hosting a multi-family yard sale here on Saturday. I finally got around to going through the house this morning for stuff to sell. I had actually convinced myself that we had done such a good job sending things off to charity in the past that I wouldn't find much to sell. Boy was I wrong. My attic is full of boxes and baby items. That is actually the reason for the sale. But I found far more in the basement storage than I realized was there. I mean stuff from boxes we moved in here more than 4 years ago. I also found treasures, like photos I thought were missing and artwork.
I hauled much of it into my garage to clean up and price. Not paying attention, as usual, I piled it all up behind my golf cart. I use the golf cart to get my more elderly massage clients down to my basement office so they don't risk falling down the stairs. So of course, at 11:30 I found my client standing in the garage wondering how to get to her ride. My children will be doing the same thing tomorrow night when it's time to trick-or-treat. Ugggh. I have no choice but to get in there later today and move it all to the other side.

Right now, I can't imagine I'll make enough to warrant all the time and work involved. It is a nice way to clean out the house, though. Especially in the case that we ever sell it. And yard sales are green, right?

Monday, October 27, 2008

red wine induced rambling

What a nice moment. I had no idea how much I missed my computer. The baby is sleeping, the kids are downstairs playing, and I can smell a wonderful pork tenderloin cooking in oven. Oh, and I'm enjoying a nice glass of pinot noir. Is it a bad sign when you start drinking your wine from a tinted juice cup? I always break my wine glasses.

Anyway, I love having my desk next to the kitchen. I feel like an adult again. I'm still in the phase of holding Tiki ALL the time when he's awake. This desk is like a corner of "adult world" where I have MY stuff. All the cords are conceiled, so I don't have to worry anymore about Tiki chewing on the cables or pulling stuff down. I love being next to the kitchen and in the middle of everything going on with the family. I can turn the study into a real bedroom for him. Not that I ever wanted it to come to that. It can't be good for the market to have a makeshift bedroom... I'm not gonna worry about that right now. Dammitt, having a house on the market for so long with three very young boys is downright stressful. I get so tempted to just take it off for awhile. But we need to unload it. The lot payment is expensive. And there is the new office space we have a verbal contract on. That's exciting news, but it's still secret and I don't have time to get into it, so I'll write about that later. It has been a great distraction for me, though! I'm just so damn obsessive!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm back online!

Man, I've really missed having access to my computer! I got a new desk this week for an area near my kitchen, so I could finally move the computer out of the baby's room. My cousins were in town, and they helped me get the computer hooked up after my husband and I assembled the desk. Not surprisingly, given my inablilty to plan, my cousin found that we had no phone connection near the new desk! Ahhhh! During the middle of our "What do we do now?!" conversation, my hubby casually suggested he run a phone wire to the new location. Why, my dear, I think that just may work! So, today he got my phone jack in, and I am up and running! (thank you, sweetie)

As an answer to a question I got today about the house. Nothing is happening. We had an open house which drew two lookers, and I think that is great. Also, a man dropped in last week and asked about the house. My agent said he called her and she's worked with him in the recent past. He currently has a very low offer on a house in a nice up and coming neighborhood that is heading for forclosure. She doesn't expect it to work out. So, maybe we'll hear from him again. I'm okay today though. I have my moments... I think the winter will be fine because I like this house during the winter. It's the spring and summer when I get the big itch to move on. I want a super energy efficient home and access to a pool in the summer. Plus the winter just goes by so quickly. I'm optimistic that the spring will bring in a new, refreshed group of buyers, and the economy will begin to recover.

In the meantime, I need to go begin to prepare for a big multi-family yard sale some of my friends and I are having next weekend. I'm trying to talk them into having mimosa's like my friend did at her recent yard sale. Fun!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

So down...

It's so hard to feel positive right now. The election has me crazy. I feel like we might get some hope back if we feel happy with our president. I've been on the fence about who I like better; I wish we could pick and choose policies.

I don't know where we are going in the financial market. Part of me feels like we are a nation of spoiled bratty kids who don't know how to manage our money, so a little recession (okay a big one) may help us set our priorities straight. What I worry about more, though, is how vulnerable this makes us to our enemies. I feel like we are a big, loud target right now, and that is frightening.

Lastly, the housing market. My two showings Saturday may have just made me feel worse. One couple loved the house except the kitchen isn't big enough. Really, how big of a kitchen do we need, people??? The other couple want a more private back yard. Mine backs up to a golf course. I can't blame them for that.

We're gonna have our first public open house Sunday. Really, my agent is just trying to make me happy. I don't expect anything to come of it.

I'm very down today about it all. I know we just have to ride it out. I think maybe things will begin to look up after the election.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

taking advantage of the times?

Hopefully somebody has finally decided to take advantage of the BEST TIME IN HISTORY to buy a house and are gonna buy mine! After a long, long drought, our agent finally called last night with TWO showings scheduled for today. I'm not even upset about having very little time to get ready for it or being out of the house for 4 hours with the 3 kids. I've really tried to be a good sport about that the whole time. Look where it's gotten me... No, I'm not slipping back in to pessimism. I'm gonna be positive. This could be the one. Just when you give up, right?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I no longer get any chance to be on my computer! We've moved Tiki's crib into the study because we only have 3 bedrooms on the main level. If he's sleeping, my typing wakes him. If he's awake, I pretty much have to hold him these days. Right now, he's sleeping in my bed, so I'm constantly wondering if he's about to fall off! I've asked the magic fairy (my husband) for a laptop. Seems like a petty thing to buy during this current economic nightmare, though. Maybe I'll find a place to move my computer desk. All this baby stuff is really starting to cramp the "show-ready" condition of the house for the market anyway. Not that anyone has come to see it...

I'll get back to posting when I can. There's lots of stuff going on around here.....

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where are they now?

Here's a little background before I get to my story:

I tend to leave my shoes out all over the house, and it makes my husband nuts. S0 about 9 years ago, he started hiding them when he'd see them out. He thought it would be a quick way to teach me to put them away. To some extent, it has, but I still leave them out frequently. So he still hides them. It makes me laugh unless I'm in a real hurry to get out the door and don't have time to look for my shoes. Luckily, I know his hiding places, which include the freezer, top of the fridge and on top of armours.

A few days ago, I found his Uggs that he wears around the house under the coffee table. I left them there for him to put away when he got home. The next day, they were still there. It hit me that I finally had a chance to hide his shoes! So, I put them in the freezer. It took him days to finally look in the freezer and find his shoes, and I don't know when he finally found them. But that began THE GAME. Over the past two days, those shoes are popping up EVERYWHERE! We are having such fun with it! After the freezer, I opened the microwave to heat my coffee, and there were the Uggs. I then put them in one of his frequent spots, on top of the armour in the foyer. Last night while cleaning the kitchen, I opened the dishwasher to find them resting on the top rack. I quietly snuck outside and slipped them over his windshield wipers. It was so hard to come inside and act like nothing had happened! I'm not good at keeping a straight face. This morning when he went outside to take Coocoo to school, I'm sure he saw them. I hope he didn't! I'd love for him to drive up to work with them still on his windshield.

I don't know where those shoes will show up next, but I love the excitement of wondering. It reminds me of US before we had kids and when all our energy went into each other. I wonder how long we can keep this going before one of us gets caught?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Master Bathroom Remodel

We're done! It took 10 weekends to do, but some weekends were much easier than others. I'm so glad we did it, and I'm SO glad we're done.

Here's the BEFORE:

This is AFTER:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little Bastards Got Me

I'm up at 4AM because I can't stop itching! The other night, I got around 29 mosquito bites on my legs (yes, I counted), and they are driving me CRAZY. I'll never go outside at dusk again. Tiki has a cold and can't sleep well, so we are a sad pair.

I haven't been able to post much because we finally started putting Tiki to sleep in a crib. Since we only have three bedrooms on the main level, his crib is in our office, so I wake him up when I come in here making noise. Right now, he's in my bed where I should be if I could stop the damn itching!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hangin in the Ride

We spent the weekend doing the finishing touches on the bathroom project, but we did get a chance to finally take the hard top off my husband's Jeep. We crammed the carseats in the back, and I was very impressed that all three of them fit. The picture that resulted is probably my favorite picture ever of the boys.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Coocoo Started Kindergarten

I can't believe our little Coocoo started kindergarten this week. He did really well, and the teacher said he was very sweet and a little bit shy. When he finally decided to talk about it, he said, "momma, can you believe it was my first day of kindergarten and I already made a new best friend?" That made me sooo happy! Booboo really missed him and cried when we had to walk out the first morning.

I have mixed emotions about it. It nice to have a quiet house in the mornings. On the other hand, I miss him. Booboo misses him. When he gets home, they run downstairs and play until dinner time. They really bonded over the summer, which was my number one goal this year. On the first morning, he kissed me and dad and the baby, but Booboo's the only one he looked up from his drawing for and really hugged.

Now Booboo asks for his school everyday. He'll go to a church program for 3 mornings a week this year, but it doesn't start for another month. I think he'd be just fine if I left him at the big school every day with his brother.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I couldn't do it.

I had a talk with Coocoo yesterday and told him I would offer him a choice. He could either miss the party or loose his computer for 3 days. I told him he would loose the chance to choose if he got into trouble one time. He choose the computer, so we all got to go to the party.

I'm so glad! I felt too much guilt over the whole thing. It was a wonderful party, the good old-fashioned backyard barbecue. They played games (like sack races) and rented a big bouncy thing. It was steaming hot, though, so Tiki was a little fussy. I know I put myself into a bad position, but I decided the whole family shouldn't suffer for it. Or should I have held firm and made him miss the party? Maybe. This parenting thing is hard.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Mama's Remorse

I'm stuck in that awful corner we parents get into when we make a threat we don't want to follow through with. We had two birthday parties scheduled for today. This morning was a swim party, and tonight is an awesome super-hero dress-up BBQ. We went to the swim party, and everyone had a great time. The kids were well behaved. The difficulty always comes when it's time to leave. I got the baby and 2 1/2 year old ready, and I spotted the 5 year old heading towards the pool. Following him, I said, "don't get back in the pool, it's time to go." He got faster. I repeated myself. He started down the steps. Then I heard myself say, "if you get back in the pool, you can't go to Tobey's party tonight." Dammit! Of course, he went right on in and continued to pretend not to hear me.

I walked to the other side, and I said, "Coocoo, do you hear what I'm saying? I will not warn you; if you don't come with us, you aren't going to the next party." Well, that was a warning, but I was trying to save face. I know many of the parents were listening, and most of them will be at the party tonight waiting to see if Coocoo gets to come. He ignored me again. I said goodbye as we were walking out, and he did get out and run to catch up.

To be sure he heard me, I asked him what I had said and to describe the situation. He recalled it with complete accuracy, ending with, "and I went back in the pool anyway." Yeah, he heard me. I have no "out." I can't let him go tonight.

What kids don't know about consequences is that it really does hurt the parent as much as it hurts them. I will dread all day long the look on his face when he watches his dad and brother go to the party. I'm sick about it, and I want to throw up. Why did I have to reach so deep? Why couldn't I have said he'd spend an hour in his room or loose his computer for a week? Or just not made a threat at all while on my toes?

The new book I'm reading, Have a New Kid By Friday, says not to warn or threaten. It says to make your request calmly, walk away, and allow the child to make his own consequences. If I had done that, I would have had more time to come up with a consequence. Then again, if it doesn't hurt, what's the point? I have to establish respect and obedience now if I ever wish to make it a habit.

Now I have the horrible image of me running after him, out of control, spouting off threats with him ignoring me. I think we both lost this one.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Morning

Blueberries and Blackberries from our backyard: free

Cost of flour, sugar, eggs, etc: minimal

An Old Fashioned Family Breakfast:


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Locks of Love

(I'm never in pictures, so this is me and the boys when
BooBoo was a baby, 2 1/2 years ago)


I've had long hair almost all my life. I've cut it to shoulder length a couple of times, but that's as adventurous as I got. I've also highlighted my hair most my life. A couple of months ago, I had my hair dyed to my natural color. At least, what we think is close to my natural color. Yesterday, I had it cut about 11 inches so I could donate to locks of love. You have to cut off 10 inches to donate, then they have to cut a little more to trim it up. I've wanted to donate for years, but it took me a long time to get the nerve to do it. I told my hairdresser that I want to live my 30's differently than I lived my 20's. I've gotta say, I feel sassy with the new style. In fact, I think it's the first time I've actually had a style.
I was so hesitant when I sat down in that chair. About 10 minutes in, when I was talking to the hairdresser, Guy called and said "Cut it off." I thought it was so sweet that he took time out from seeing patients to think about me. I think I drove him crazy the night before trying to decide if I wanted to do it or not. He really likes it, but the kids were shocked. The older boys wouldn't even look at me for awhile, and the baby smiled and looked all around my head. Coocoo said he's moving to a different house until my hair grows back.
I'm happy with it now. I guess we'll see if I change my mind when they baby gets old enough to stop pulling it all the time. For now, I think I did the right thing. What do you think?

Monday, July 21, 2008

backsplash talk

Here is a picture of my first tile job. It is the backsplash in our kitchen. It was not too hard. There weren't many cuts, and we did all our cuts with a nipper. Now, I really see the advantage of having (or renting) a real tile saw. For some reason, we favor those little 2x2 tiles on the grids, and I think they require a little more work. Just more surface to grout and set tile. In this case, we used slate. While it's easier to set because you don't have to get them at exactly the same height, they were really hard to grout because they had crevices EVERYWHERE! I had to constantly wash and scrub them to get the grout off the tile. Still, I think a backsplash is a great place to learn to tile. If you decide to do it, I want to see pictures!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Okay, we just finished laying the tile in the shower and tub. I think we're in week 6 of this project, but we're only able to get any work done on the weekends. It looks good. I don't know if I'll start grouting tonight or tomorrow, but I can't wait to have that done. I'm so anxious to get this finished.

As for other news, we haven't heard anything from the couple who looked at our house last week. I'm trying not to think about it. What a bad time to be trying to sell a house!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Thoughts Today...

Today was a wonderful picture day. Here are the better ones...

Here is our beautiful, ever-sweet Booboo. His smile lights up the room, and we expect him to be on Broadway one day.

These are of our gorgeous Coocoo. He is emotional, intense, and ridiculously smart.

This is my mom with Tiki. So far, at four months, he may be the most friendly baby of the bunch.

I am so grateful for these blessings. I pray they will be healthy, happy adults who find love and fulfillment. I pray for guidance in my choices while raising them, and I hope they have sweet memories of these precious, fleeting days.

Monday, July 14, 2008

work, work, work

We finally got in bed just before 1:00 this morning! We haven't pulled a night like that in years. We managed to get the two big shower walls done. The glass guy came today to measure for the doors, so it was important to get as much done as we could. What took the longest was the tile in and around the shelf. Here's how it turned out...

I think it's the part I'm the most proud of. Whew, we still have so much to do. It is a great distraction from the housing market, though.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Keeping my fingers crossed...

I think the showing yesterday went very well. We worked our butts off all day to get this place back in shape. Our bathroom work had created a mess that seemed to creep all over the house. I barely had time to run outside and cut some flowers to stash around, but I'm so glad they did. Aren't the hydrangeas beautiful? That bush is very sentimental to me.

My agent called last night and had already heard from the buyer's agent. The agent herself thought it was so beautiful and said it's the one she would buy if she were looking. That's good, I think. But it's a stretch for the buyers and they were going home to review their budget. It is between mine and two others. One is the same price but smaller. The other is $75,000 less and also smaller. They have three kids, so they loved the space of ours.

Honestly, I'm excited and even a little hopeful. But I've been in this situation so many times that I don't expect to hear back from them. Thank goodness I have the bathroom to obsess over. Oh, they did say that they love what we've done there.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I won't be tiling tomorrow because

WE HAVE A SHOWING! It's the first showing in over two months. Because it's been so long, I've really neglected some cleaning. So tomorrow will be all about getting this place back in shape. It'll put me a day behind on the tiling schedule, but who cares! Oh please let this be the one!

Do you think the unfinished tile job in the bathroom will be a big turnoff?

A few more tips I've learned

We finished tiling the bathtub last night. It went so smoothly and easily after getting that kick ass saw. These two other things I learned from the first day helped too:

We are using the tiles that are joined by a mesh to make a 12 x 12 tile. There is paper stuck to the back. Last time, I didn't try to tear off the paper until after I had spread the thin set. It ended up that often the paper doesn't come off easily, and I was racing the clock to get all the paper off before my thin set dried. It became so frustrating, especially combined with not having the proper saw. Last night, we removed the paper before we began setting the tile. Also, we trimmed off the extra mesh with scissors, which just helped to keep down the mess and lay the tile more quickly.

That's just my little tidbit for the day. More to come on tiling!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

we have a shelf!

I'm so happy with our shelf! Guy lined my shower stuff up and cut the shelf to hold it all. Well, at least that's the plan. We still have a little hardibacker to install over the new shelf, but this is what the progress looked like as of Sunday night. The tile around the bathtub is done except a few finishing cuts. We haven't grouted yet.

My new #1 advice for anyone wanting to tile... GET A WET TILE SAW! Like idiots, we used nippers and the manual snapper thing all day. My husband was bleeding and the room was a mess! Finally, I asked my dad to bring over his wet tile saw. The few tiles we had left to cut were a breeze! What a difference. I don't have one yet, but I think I will buy a file too, if they have such a thing. I'm thinking a round one would work to smooth out the cuts we need to make around the window frame.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Add this to the "Lessons Learned"

After two long days, Guy got the prep work done for our shower. We were looking at the finished hardibacker when it hit us (well, Guy anyway) that we had forgotten to build in the inset shelf! We had talked about it, but we both forgot!

We have no choice but to cut one out and frame the shelf in. Ugggh. Hopefully I'll still get to tile today. Once the week begins, we just don't have much time to work.

Friday, July 4, 2008

learning the hard way

So far, I have learned these things about tiling shower walls:

1. Plan ahead and order your tile early to prevent driving around to FOUR Home
Depots to get all the tile you need.

2. Allow more time than you think you'll need for prep work.

3. Don't forget to measure ALL the walls, even the half walls, unless you want
to drive 47 miles back to the only Home Depot remaining that still has
some of your tiles.

4. Try to do all this on a day when your four month old is not teething and
refusing to nap and crying when anyone but his mom holds him. (poor baby)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

house anxiety

I would love to say this bathroom remodel is going smoothly, but it isn't. Of course. The cabinets look great; the panel in front of the tub looks great. The mirror... Not so great. We had it removed and cut down a little. In the meantime, Guy spent two nights building a frame for it. They came to install it this morning, and our frame isn't as thick as the mirror. That think is thick! So, it wasn't proper support. They had to install it on a "J ledge," which sticks up out of our pretty frame. I'm hoping Guy will come up with an easy fix for it tonight when he sees it. Mostly because I want him spending time with me and the kids at night and not with his tools.

I think I'm mostly just nervous about this weekend's project. We are planning on using the 3 day weekend to tile our shower and around the tub. I'm very excited and nervous to get that going.

Also keeping me on edge is the fact that we haven't shown our house in TWO months. I'm having a hard time keeping my spirits up. Three other houses in the neighborhood recently got contracts. What's wrong with ours?

Friday, June 27, 2008

This will be funny someday

My husband installed the faucets on the new sinks today and hooked up the plumbing. We reused the old faucets, so he had to put them back together. He knows just enough about plumbing to be dangerous, I guess. He was having trouble with one of the faucets dripping, so he took off the handle to tighten something. Not thinking to turn the water off, he created pressure and the little piece (not sure about the technical names) shot off, hit and broke the light bulb and sprayed water and glass everywhere! I made him smile for the picture promising that we would look back on it and laugh.
The good news is that we seem to have gotten all the glass cleaned up, and the faucet worked perfectly once he got it put back together. I wonder if he's laughing yet?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Doing a granite dance

Our granite counter tops were installed today, and they look soooo good. It makes a huge difference. Here's what the bathroom looks like at this point in the remodel.

We have a pretty long way to go, and I can easily get overwhelmed if I think about it all. In the meantime, three houses in my neighborhood have become under contract. I'm glad to have them off the market, but I am sad that it wasn't mine. That's the whole reason I'm doing the bathroom remodel. I want to make this place irresistible! There are so many beautiful houses in this neighborhood to choose from, and people are selling cheap.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

a great idea

I just read a very interesting article about screen savers. I'm one of the people who has a floating photo slide show of my children for a screen saver. I've struggled with the idea of turning my computer off when I'm not using it, but I've never considered just turning off the monitor. I used to be good about turning off my computer at night, but I've gotten very lazy about that. So, here's to putting in a little more effort when it comes to the energy my computer uses. Every little thing makes a difference, right?


So many milestones have been happening around here this week. Maybe that's why everyone is kind of out of sorts.

First of all, Tiki got his first two teeth.

Okay, not really. But I do think he's teething. Coocoo got his first tooth at 20 weeks, and Booboo got his at 3 months exactly. Tiki is 16 weeks now.

Booboo has slept through the night for 3 nights (not exactly consecutively, but only one night in the crib) in his big boy bed. Right now, it's just a mattress in the floor. In the picture, you can see his crib beside him. First potty training and now this? My sweet baby is becoming a little boy fast!

No milestones for Coocoo, but we are trying a new book on him. Have a New Kid by Friday by Kevin Leman. So far I love the book. He's responding to it too. Except when I have shameful relapses like yesterday. I'll try to do a full book review once I finish it.